Author’s Note: It was interesting how the name thing ended up working out. The one character’s was rather hard to pin down.
“You have an actual name, right? He didn’t bother to tell me what it was, but you can since I was stupid enough to bring him back here.”
The supervisor glanced toward her, and she almost regretted asking. Apparently he was willing to tell her about Vershon, but not about himself, though why she couldn’t know his name didn’t make any sense to her. She wanted to leave, regretting more and more her decision to come back even if she had learned a bit about Vershon and couldn’t ignore him as a doctor.
“If you continue to stand there, you will want this,” he said, holding out a bowl to her. She frowned, not making a move to take it.
Vershon shouted in his sleep, a loud and unsettling repetition of no before he rolled over and started heaving. The bowl was under him before she saw anyone move—damn, that guy was fast—and Vershon leaned over it on all fours shaking long after he was done vomiting.
The other man placed the blanket over his shoulders, and he curled up into it, leaning back against the chair and closing his eyes. “How long was I out?”
“Not half as long as you should have been for the dose they gave you.”
Vershon winced. “Not again.”
She walked over, ignoring the bowl, holding out his glasses to him. “Here. I took them off you back at the crime scene.”
He looked up at her. “You’re… actually here?”
“It would seem she passed the first test.”
Vershon groaned. “They could leave me out of the damned thing next time. I hate training. I don’t even know what they’re punishing me for this time. Do you?”
“No.” He held out a cup of tea, and Vershon took it, sipping from it with shaky hands. “You should rest. You know the drugs are not gone.”
“Yes. I know.”
She frowned, looking between the two of them. “Wait, that was a test? You just got done telling me they sedate him because they’re scared of him, but they did it as a test?”
Vershon shook his head. “No. It… It proved a test, which you passed by not running or abandoning me, but it… I failed to control my temper, and they sedated me. That is… unfortunately very common. It was not something they planned, though they probably could have. My temper is… something of a joke among our superiors.”
“Not this one,” she said, and he glanced toward the other man. Fatigued, he closed his eyes again.
“There are some that consider Bonaventure like a father to all of us,” Vershon said. “Though I don’t think that just anyone should go around making assumptions like that.”
“He has a first name. No one dares use it.” Vershon almost seemed to smile. He set down his cup and managed to make himself smaller as he huddled against the couch in his blanket.
“You need to sleep,” Bonaventure said, lifting him back onto the couch. “There. Stay.”
She thought about asking Vershon about his first name and then decided against it. She didn’t actually need to know. She at least had a name for Bonaventure, finally. She wasn’t sure it suited him, but she was glad she had something to call him.
“Is that an exaggeration?” She folded her arms over her chest. She wasn’t sure what to think of either of them. She didn’t think that Vershon should be able to lie—at first because he was so soulless and now because she knew he was constantly stoned. Was he joking about Bonaventure? Or was that true. “About you?”
“The part about my status as an unofficial father figure or the part about no one using my first name?” Bonaventure didn’t even smile as he asked the question. “I am not certain anyone else knows the name. As for my status, I would not know. Most of the staff keeps its distance and would not speak to me of such matters. Aside from when I give them their assignments, we do not interact much. If they have a concern, they seek him out before they do me.”
“They’re not scared of him?”
“He trained most of the ones here.” Bonaventure said, adjusting the blanket. “Though that is not even the true answer.”
She knew that she had a Talent, and she’d been sent here. Vershon had a Talent. Bonaventure might not show a scar, and he had not spoken of his Talent, but she was certain he had one, even if so far all she’d seen from him was his aura of command and incredible speed. Still, even if those others out there hadn’t been brought in like she had, she had to figure they had Talents. With a Talent at the head of this part of their division, would anyone actually be comfortable working here if they didn’t have a Talent? Even if Bonaventure didn’t have a Talent, with Vershon here and his Talent’s existence obvious by the scar on his neck, if they weren’t Talented, they probably wouldn’t last more than a day.
People without Talents feared those with Talents. They feared the power they didn’t have.
People with Talents tended only to fear people with Talents they couldn’t counter. She didn’t fear many, given what she could do, and she doubted Vershon feared any Talent except maybe his own. Bonaventure didn’t seem the type that feared anything.
Still, that they didn’t fear Vershon was interesting. Was it because they had seen him like this too much? He did seem weak and vulnerable like this, but that wouldn’t last forever. Was it a bond from training? Or did they feel better knowing the Talent that ordinary people feared so much was on their side in Vershon?
In spite of herself, she was curious. She wanted to know just what it was he could do.