A sharp buzz sounded through the dark room. Adam jolted awake, already alert, eyes searching for the source of the noise. It turned out to be his cell phone. Carefully, so as not to wake Violet, he extracted his arm from beneath her and grabbed the vibrating phone on her nightstand. The last thing he wanted was to wake her after the fight she had with Daniel.
"Yeah?" he whispered into the phone. "What is it?"
"Where are you?" came Chase's irritated voice. Adam knew the tone was not directed at him, but rather at the reasoning behind his late night call.
"With Violet. We were talking and fell asleep." He stroked his sleeping girlfriend's face with the back of his hand. She stirred, nose wrinkling a bit in the moonlight that streamed through the half drawn curtains. "Is there a mission?" Even as he said it, he doubted there was one, otherwise the alert would have shown up on his phone.
There were voices from the other end of the line- notably his sister's and his father's- and then Chase answered him. "No, it's not a mission. There's a situation and we would- I would really like your input."
Adam hesitated. He did not want to leave Violet, or the warm coziness of her bed he had quickly grown fond of, but Chase hardly ever asked for his help. Even after how close the two had grown over the last few year, he would not have called him unless it was absolutely necessary. "I'm coming. Five minutes." He hung up the phone.
"Adam?" The main source of his hesitation sat up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. They landed on him and she immediately wrapped her arms around his midsection, face cuddling into his chest. "Who were you talking too?" Her voice was drowsy with sleep.
Holding her close, he placed a kiss on her hair before resting his chin on it. "That was Chase. They need me back at the quarters."
"Oh," her head tilted to look up at him. "Will you be back?" Her sentence ended on a hopeful note, making him lean down to peck the tip of her nose.
"I'm not sure what's going on, so I can't say." She pouted. "But I'll try," he amended quickly, hating to see her sad. The cries and sniffles that had accompanied her into an uneasy sleep still rang in his mind. "I promise."
"Should I wait up for you?"
"Don't," he told her. Adam slipped out from under her covers, and pulled them over her seated form. He leaned over and rubbed his nose against hers. "If I can't get away, I'll text. I don't want you waiting up all night wondering, okay?"
Violet nodded sleepily. "Okay." She stretched her arms high above her head, the motion drawing Adam's eyes to her exposed stomach as her sweatshirt went up with them. He had to squint, but in the dim light, something was definitely glinting on her skin.
"Violet, what is that?" He pointed at her belly button. Sitting there, tiny but definitely noticeable, was a jeweled ring. The top part was a circular diamond, bar going through her skin and ending in a tiny dangling heart. It was unbelievably sexy.
"A belly button ring," she said nonchalantly. She had already turned on her side and was dozing off. "I got it on a dare during freshman year. Did I not mention it?"
"You did not." Adam reached down to pull back the covers. Violet's eyes flew open, then a loud squeal left her lips as he lifted her shirt and pressed his lips against the jewelry. "I have a thing for navel piercings. They're very hot," he mumbled against her skin.
Violet giggled. "Good to know." Adam kissed his way up to her lips.
"Any other piercings I should know about?" he questioned between kisses.
Violet shrugged one shoulder. "Not a piercing, but I do have a small tattoo of a butterfly on my-". Adam's phone buzzed again. Violet's mouth snapped shut as the couple looked over to the object.
"I should go before Chase blows a fuse," he said apologetically. Violet nodded. "But we will finish this conversation. I'm very interested in hearing more about that tattoo." Devilishly, he grinned and leaned down to kiss her again. She melted easily into him as their lips melded.
"It's a shame you have to leave," she said breathlessly once they had pulled apart. A hint of mischief was in her eyes. "I was about to show it to you."
"Stupid Chase… Stupid phone call… Made me leave my girl…" And just when he was about to get a glimpse of that tattoo, no less. Adam shook his head as he neared the mentor's quarters. He knew Chase did not intentionally interrupt them, though he could not help the annoyance that built up in his chest. Violet and he had barely had anytime together since the Ferris wheel. He just wanted to stay with her for a bit, even if it meant only sleeping next to her.
The sounds of yelling pulled him out of his self-indulgent thoughts. He heard two main voices- Davenport and Chase's- interspersed with Bree's. If Douglas and Leo were there, they were just spectating. He opened the door to see Chase and Davenport chest to chest, both males red in the face and clearly more than a little upset.
"Mr. Davenport, this is not a good idea! I'm telling you he hasn't changed!" Chase was yelling.
Davenport's reply was instantaneous. "That's exactly what I said about Douglas before you guys talked me down. Look how well that turned out for us!"
"He isn't Douglas," Chase shot back. "Not everyone deserves a second chance."
Adam nudged Bree, who had moved over to stand next to him. "What the fuck is going on?"
Bree rolled her eyes. "Ask them. I'm tired of this." Adam walked over to his brother and father, inserting himself between them. He placed a hand on each of their chests until they stepped back.
"What's going on?" Both men eyed each other warily. In the end, it was Chase who spoke.
"Mr. Davenport got a call from the institution that took in Lexi, Tank and Sebastian after their failed rebellion. They're supposedly rehabilitated, and while Tank and Lexi chose not too, Sebastian wants to come back."
Adam blinked. "Come back where?" He looked from Chase, to his father, and back. "Wait, here? That's crazy! Mr. Davenport, you said no, right?" Guilt weighed down the older man's face, sending Adam reeling a few steps back. "You said yes?"
"I said I'll consider it," Davenport replied. "Of course, I know what he did. I know he was deranged and he tried to take over the academy-"
"Amongst other things," Chase muttered. Adam winced. His brother's sourness over the boy who pretended to be his best friend was still evident after three years.
"The fact is," Davenport continued, "that Sebastian was a great student. He was the only other student with bionic intelligence and while some of the kids are pretty smart, we need someone with a strategic mind like yours. We need another you, son, and Sebastian is our best bet."
"So, you wanna do what?" Bree asked. "Put him back in with the students? Give him a chip and forgive him, just like that?" Her tone was curious instead of accusing. Trust Bree to see the situation from all sides.
"Not at all. I suggest we have him back at the island for a bit and see how he fits in. We won't give him a chip until we're sure he's sorry and ready for it."
"What's he gonna do without a chip?" Adam whirled around. Leo had been so quiet during the ordeal that he had completely failed to notice him on the couch. He was surrounded by blankets, only his head visible at the top. "I mean, there's not much to do here without one."
Davenport thought for a second. When an idea struck, he clapped his hands together. "Douglas is gonna be on the mainland for a bit. He may not have his bionic intelligence but he's still got an above average IQ. We can put him in the lab." Adam turned to his father.
"The lab? With Violet? Hell no." Davenport gave him a strange look. Adam scrambled to excuse his firm tone. "Uh- I mean- Isn't that dangerous? She's only human. Won't you be responsible if anything happens to her?" He said this as nonchalantly as possible, so as not to arouse further suspicion. The last thing he needed was for his father to figure out what was going on between the two.
"His psych eval is clear, as were the notes from his doctors and therapists. Guys, Sebastian is better. I'm sure of it-"
"But-" Davenport waved off Chase's interjection.
"Look, I say we take him back for a bit and see how it goes. We can monitor his behaviour for a month or so, after which we send him back to the centre for another round of testing and evaluations. If they say he's okay, we can consider giving him back his chip again." He looked around at his children. "How about we put it to a vote? Bree?"
The speedster did not answer. She was staring at Chase long and hard, sizing up his stiff posture. After a while, she shrugged. "I'll just go with the majority vote. I don't want to be responsible for any of this."
Davenport nodded. "Leo?"
"Absolutely not. This is a horrible idea and I want no part of it." The boy turned on his side and pulled the covers over his head, leaving the rest of his family standing awkwardly. Davenport turned to Adam, expression neutral.
"Son?" Adam folded his arms. He agreed with Leo. It was a bad idea to bring Sebastian back to the island, rehabilitated or not, and he wondered why Mr. Davenport could not see that. There was also the fact that the rebel's return would put him in direct contact with Violet, something he was not at all comfortable with.
"I'm with Chase," he told his father. "Whatever his vote is, that's my vote too."
All eyes turned to the genius. He did not flinch under the sudden scrutiny, but rather squared his shoulders and rose to the occasion. A small part of Adam was proud at the sight of how far his little brother's confidence had come. He had been fearful that his constant bullying would have beaten it out of him.
"Chase? What do you think?" Davenport prompted. Chase took a deep breath, then opened his mouth to reply.
When Violet walked into the lab on Monday morning, there was another person standing in front of her desk. He was tinkering with the latest invention she had been working on, completely unaware of her presence. Violet pinched the bridge of her nose in annoyance. Between her fight with Daniel, then Adam running off in the middle of the night only to be sent on some secret mission the day after, she was not having a good morning. "Why are you touching my things?"
The boy jumped and spun around. "Oh. I'm so…" His voice trailed off as he caught sight of her, lips parting in surprise. Brown eyes roamed shyly over her form, making Violet clear her throat to snap him out of his reverie. "I-I'm so sorry. I swear I didn't mean to mess with your things. I didn't even know they were yours." He was taller than her, not as tall as Adam but enough for her to have to crane her neck to meet his gaze. She could tell he was nervous by the way his square jaw kept working, and it made some of her earlier frustration dissipate.
"It's fine," she waved a hand. "I just didn't expect anyone to be in here."
"I'm not actually supposed to be in here," he admitted to her. "I just got here last night and I was told I'd be working in the lab for a bit. I haven't seen it for a while so I just decided to pop in." He ran a hand nervously through his brown hair. "Again, I'm sorry if I messed up your stuff. Just wanted to see what I missed."
Violet eyed him curiously. He was speaking as though he was familiar with the lab, as though he had been here before, but that could not be possible. In addition to the fact that she had never seen him around the island, no one had ever mentioned a past lab assistant. As far as she knew she was the first. "Who are you, exactly?"
"Sebastian." The answer came from a voice at the door. Violet was surprised to see Chase and Adam standing there, arms folded, looking at the boy next to her with disdain. "What are you doing here? You're supposed to be in containment." There was an underlying tone of hatred in Chase's voice that she had not thought possible. It made her want to know even more just who this 'Sebastian' was."
"Sorry," he replied, "I just wanted too-"
"You don't have the luxury of doing whatever you want. The terms of your stay were clear. Don't like it? Go back to the mainland." Violet looked at Adam, aghast. She had never heard him speak so derogatorily to someone before. Come to think if it, neither brother had ever displayed such passive aggressive behaviour before. Whoever this boy was, he really got under their skin.
"Let's go." Chase raised a hand and parted from Adam. The boy- Sebastian- shot a nervous look at Violet. Despite the tension, she felt sorry for him and gave him her most relaxing smile. It seemed to do the trick.
Once Chase and Sebastian left, Violet felt free to round on her boyfriend. She fixed him with a stern look before asking, "Don't you think you were a little rude to him?"
Instead of responding, Adam simply walked over to her swivel chair and slumped tiredly in it. He patted his leg for her to take a seat. As she slid onto his lap, she noticed bags under his eyes and stubble on his jaw that had not been there two nights ago. The poor guy looked drained- both physically and mentally. "Sebastian's not a good guy. I need you to promise me you'll limit contact with him."
"Okay," she said, because she had grown to trust his judgment. "What did he do?" Adam ran a hand over his face. Violet, in turn, placed her arms around his neck and settled in for the story.
"It was three years ago, during the first few months of the academy's opening. Sebastian was Krane's soldier- S3, I think, which means he was someone who was closer to Krane than the others. When he came here he was sort of a leader amongst the other students because of how good he was. He was one of the top students, along with Lexi and Tank, another speedster and another guy with super strength, like me." Here, Adam's mouth set into a grin line.
"I'm guessing they did something bad?" It was a top guess, considering she had never heard of or seen these students before.
"They tried to kill Mr. Davenport and take over the academy." Violet's eyes widened. "Yeah, I know. Chase let it slip that we killed Krane before we had properly discussed how to break the news to the students. They considered him a father, Sebastian more so, and he used it as his fuel to rebel against us. I won't lie to you, it was close. The three of them were the strongest and so well trained that if Chase hadn't figured out a way to short out his chip, he probably wouldn't have killed us all."
Violet covered his mouth with her hand. "Please don't say things like that. It just reminds me exactly how dangerous your life is." Adam took her hand in his and gave it a kiss. "Is he dangerous? Can he hurt me?"
"Not on my watch," Adam said solemnly. "He doesn't have his chip but Sebastian is crafty, manipulative, and I don't trust him at all. Especially not with you, and especially not after I saw how he was looking at you. He has a thing for you." Violet blushed. Sebastian's appraisal of her had indeed been one of interest. Interest she did not return.
"I'll be careful," she told Adam, taking his face in her hands. "I promise, and as you may recall, I'm quite skilled in fending off unwanted attention." The two shared a smile at her recall of the Jesse situation.
"Good, because I didn't get my hands on him three years ago and I don't need much provocation to do it now." She laughed and nestled her head into his neck. Like her room, the lab was one of the only places she felt comfortable embracing him. No one came here except for Chase, who would not care, and Douglas, who was on the mainland. "I saw your parents leaving when I was coming in. Did you tell them about Daniel?"
"Yeah," she sighed. "Though they can't exactly force him to forgive me, they said they'll talk to him. Either way he won't be talking to me for a while." Adam's hand came up to rest on her face, stroking her cheek softly. "Do you think I did the right thing by keeping it from him?" Her voice was small, even to her, as she waited to him to reply with bated breath.
"When you thought he was dead, yes. Afterwards… no. I understand why you did it, though, and it must have been so hard to keep that from him. Is that why it took you so long to come visit him?" Abashedly, she nodded her head against his chest. "I figured as much."
"You know we have to wait longer to tell him now, don't you? Especially after he flat out asked me if there was anything else I needed to tell him and I said no." When Adam did not answer, she lifted her head to look at him. "I'm sorry we have to hide and lie so much. I feel like being with me is more complicated than not-"
Violet never got to finish her sentence, because Adam cut her off with a kiss. It was long and passionate and made her head giddy with glee. When he released her for air, he gazed down at her with nothing but pure adoration. "Being with you is not complicated, the situation is, and we will figure it out together. I don't like sneaking around but I have to admit it's kind of fun. Being with you here in the lab, or alone at night in your room when no one knows where we are… It's becoming a bit addictive, isn't it?"
"A little," she agreed. "It's kind of like we're in our own little bubble, and I'm not sure I'm ready to let anyone in yet."
"And we're not going too," Adam promised. "Not until Daniel forgives you and not until we're ready." He kissed her forehead. "And he will forgive you, Violet. He loves you. How could he not?"
Sebastian trudged down the hall a few steps ahead of Chase, his proverbial jailer for the foreseeable future. He knew the genius could not stand being near him, felt the waves of disgust rolling off him, yet he knew Chase was too smart to turn his back to him, or walk beside him.
"Left," Chase said, as they passed a few doors. They were on the opposite side of the island to the dorms, closer to the mentor's quarters. The plans of the island he had studied so long ago came back to him and he knew he was on the side where Davenport kept his guests and his wife when she came to visit. "Around this corner, at the end."
"Got it." Sebastian followed dutifully. He wanted no fight with Chase. All he wanted to do was work, keep his head down, and hopefully gain back the trust of the inhabitants of the island. The simple life Lexi and Tank had chosen did not suit him, and he had surely tried. It had only taken him a month of living with the newly expecting couple to realize his natural talents were being wasted. He needed to get back to the island and do what he had once stupidly given up the chance to do- become a bionic hero.
"This will be your room," Chase said, entering the very last one and waving a hand over the light sensor. Sebastian took a tentative step in. It was simple and futuristic, and very much to his liking. He could see himself staying here for a while quite comfortably. "Davenport wanted me to give you a tablet but I talked him out of it. I don't think you're ready to have access to the academy's information yet." Sebastian winced. He had noticed the lack of a computer in the room.
He turned to Chase and shoved his hands in his pockets. The other boy was looking at him angrily, but he was thankful that at least it was not Adam. Adam, he was slightly afraid of. "Chase, I wanted to thank you for giving me a second chance. I heard it was your vote that got me here, so thank you."
"I didn't do it for you, I did it for Davenport. The guy gave me an incredible life so the least I could do is go along with one of his ideas." Chase fixed him with a curled-lip look. "Even the bad ones."
Sebastian looked down at the floor. He deserved more than a few jabs after what he did. "Still, thank you. I'm hoping I'll be able to win back your trust."
Chase scoffed. "Not likely." He made to leave when Sebastian stopped him again.
"Hey, the girl, the one who was in the lab with me? Will she… Is she going to being working with me?" While initially annoyed, the pretty girl with the near-purple eyes had shown him the first glimpse of warmth since his return to the island. The little smile of encouragement she had given him kept replaying in his mind, and he found no problems with it. Working with her might actually be the pinnacle of his day.
"Violet is the lab assistant, yes, and she will be in the lab, but don't get any ideas. I'll be popping in ever so often, as will Adam or Bree, so she'll hardly be alone with you." Chase watched him sternly before leaving. "Leave her alone. She's like a sister to me and I won't have you trying anything. I mean it."
Violet. Now he had a name to match to the face. It was a tantalizing name, with a plethora of meanings; modesty, affection, faithfulness…love. That last one was what he had yet to achieve, or even feel, from anyone. He thought Krane had loved him, but years of treatment had taught him he was wrong. Krane was a manipulative mad man, capable of many things, but not love. And Sebastian was determined to feel that if it was the last thing he did.