Unlike the day before, the pool area was actually pretty empty. Most of the spectators were gone, either having checked out of the hotel or just not coming up at all. Not all who had used the pool deck as a viewing platform had been staying at the hotel. But now there area was relatively free of individuals. And those that were there seemed more intent on enjoying the facilities instead of using the high vantage to check out the wreckage down the block.
Fred gave a gratified smile as he sank down into the heated whirlpool tub, the jets pressing against his back. "Now that's more like it." And while the day hadn't exactly gone s planned, it was a nice note to just sit back and relax.
"Still nothing new on Hiro or Aunt Cass?" Honey asked Kally as she set her towel on a nearby lounge chair.
Kally shook her head. She had her phone next to her, secure in a waterproof baggy. "Not yet, but Sammy will let us know if anything changes."
GoGo stepped down into the hot tub. "Just try not to worry about," she admonished. "It's not like we can do anything to remedy the situation."
Fred slid over to give GoGo access to the nearest jets. "So true," he agreed. "Might as well make the best of it." He leaned back against the wall of the small pool, resting his head on the cooler concrete.
Honey had to admit it was probably better to not worry about it until they had to. She removed her sandals and headed towards the stairs leading into the hot tub, feeling the bubbles wash over her skin as she entered the water. "This is nice," she had to admit as she settled onto the built in seat circling the entire pool. "You should really join us," she added, glancing over at Kally, who had taken up the lounge chair next to the one Honey's things occupied.
But Kally shook her head. "Once was more than enough for me." Instead, she held up a book she'd brought with her. "I can still get some sun while I'm out here though. And someone needs to keep the time so you guys aren't in there too long."
Fred found he had to agree with that. "I do tend to stay in the tub too long," he confessed. "It just feels so good!"
GoGo just shook her head at him. But the water was relaxing, even if the jets didn't quite hit where she wanted them to without slouching.
A sudden wave of almost vertigo seemed to ripple through the air, radiating out from below them and Kally found that every hair on her body felt like it was standing on end. Her senses kicked into overdrive and her muscles tensed. Just as suddenly as it appeared, the energy wave washed away, like a rippled in a pond moving away from its center. "What in the world? Did you guys feel that?"
"Feel what?" GoGo asked as she looked over at the teen. "I didn't feel anything. Did you guys feel anything?"
Fred looked a bit embarrassed. "Um, sorry guys… I may have… um... you know…"
GoGo gave him a look. "No, we don't know. You may have done what?"
The mascot gave a nervous kind of laugh. "I may have passed a bit of gas."
This comment caused GoGo to roll her eyes and Honey's eyes to go wide, though neither girl volunteered to get out of the hot tub.
Kally resisted the urge to smack herself in the head. "Not what I meant." But it became apparent they hadn't, and it was probably just as well. There had been a hint of the same energy from back at the Hydra base, though she wasn't sure if that was important or not. But that thought led her to Hiro. If it had come from him, chances were good he was still in the immediate area. Part of her wanted to go and look around but she knew she'd get in trouble without an adult with her.
The two girls in the hot tub continued their soak while Fred got out, dripping water as he moved towards Kally's lounge chair. "Something up?" he wondered, trying to be quiet as he sat on the other side of her.
But she just shook her head. "Must have just been a cold chill from the breeze."
Fred nodded. There was a bit of a breeze that had picked up. "That or you're hungry. I know I am." He turned to face the hot tub. "How about it, guys? You hungry yet? Cuz I'm starving!"
"When are you never hungry?" GoGo quipped but decided to get out of the hot tub anyway, followed closely by Honey. There was no sense in wasting the opportunity to eat good food.
Lucifer pulled up onto the airport tarmac and couldn't help but notice the various emergency vehicles still present, including the bomb squad. He supposed it only stood to reason, though none of the fire engines seemed to currently be in use. The devil couldn't help but feel a bit lucky to have gotten past security at all, without Chloe having to be there or vouching for him that was. He supposed that only meant he was well enough known that he'd gotten by on that alone. Until he realized who was actually leading the investigation.
"Jack Harkness," Lucifer greeting in an almost ironic ton. "I somehow felt I hadn't seen the last of you." He gave him a meaningful smile, with hints of his devil face underneath. "If you'd be so kind, I'd like to find my partner."
The space captain was there to greet him the moment he'd parked his car, something that was meant to be a little disconcerting. He was sure Maze had already told him the man was still alive, despite many attempts to "take out the garbage", as it were. "In a moment," Jack replied as he took the man aside, next to one of the still intact hangers. "I wanted to have a word with you about her."
Lucifer rolled his eyes, letting out a bit of an impatient sigh. "If you want to know if you can date and or otherwise sleep with her, the answer is no. She's not interested. I thought she'd already made that abundantly clear at our first meeting."
Jack shook his head, resisting the urge to roll his own eyes. "I wasn't even thinking of asking that, but thank you for making it quite clear where the detective stands."
"You're welcome," Lucifer returned with a bit of a stiff bow. "Now, if you don't mind, I'd really like to get to work." He moved to go around the hanger and to the area where most of the activity seemed to be happening but was stopped by Jack grabbing onto his arm. He looked down at the offending appendage and back up. "Unless you want to lose that arm, I highly recommend letting me go."
Counting to ten in his head, Jack refused to comply. He just chose to count quickly, lest the devil actually attempt to make good on his threat. "I wanted to ask just how badly she was injured in that blast."
He now had his attention and it showed as Lucifer just stared at him, trying to comprehend what he'd just been asked. Was that concern he saw in the cocky man's eyes? Yes, perhaps it was. "I'm not privy to the exact amount of damage inflicted, but I believe it sufficient to cause her difficulties," he answered hesitantly. Just where was the space captain going with this? Not to mention, how on earth had he managed to become the man in charge? Just judging from the way the others in the area treated him told him that the man was definitely seen as the ultimate authority. "I did send her to the hospital shortly after she sustained her injury."
Jack nodded to himself. It didn't exclude the possibility that Chloe was downplaying it far more than she should. "All right then," he said in a sudden change of emotion, rubbing his hands together. "Let's go find your detective, shall we?"
Lucifer eyed him with some misgivings, wondering why he'd thought it important enough to ask. Well, as soon as he found the detective, he'd see for himself, if she was willing to cooperate, which wasn't always the case. "Very well," he sighed in resignation. "Lead on."
Wasabi was not happy. And by not happy he meant less than enthusiastic at the way things had turned out. Why on earth had that Dirk guy decided to come back, and without the others there to act as some kind of buffer? It wasn't like he knew him or anything. "Now why are you here again?" Wasabi asked as he tried to eat some of the lovely green jello one of the nurses had brought him.
Dirk sat on one of the chairs in the room, grinning like the cat that ate the canary. "I thought I told you," he replied. "Out of all of Hiro's friends, you're the only one I haven't really gotten to know just yet. Besides, it will help me with my investigation."
The physicist gave him a look. "Okay," he said slowly as he set his jello cup down. "I'm not sure I know what that means." He winced as he took in too large of a breath, making his ribs send out a sharp stabbing pain. "Just why are you investigating Hiro again?" It took some effort to not wheeze out his words but he managed.
The holistic detective waved an errant hand. "Not for anything you might be thinking," he decided to supply. "And, to be perfectly honest, I'm not entirely sure, other than that the Universe told me to look into him for some reason. It could be I need to tell him something or he holds the key to something else. But I'll figure it out in the end. I always do."
A look of confusion crossed Wasabi's face. "So wait. You're telling me you don't even know why you're investigating him? Just that some entity calling itself the Universe told you?"
"Exactly." Dirk beamed, looking rather pleased with himself.
Wasabi resisted the urge to throw his jello at the man. It wasn't something he'd normally do, but he was getting more than a little frustrated. "You know that's now how things work, right? There is order for a reason! You can't just go investigating someone because some entity tells you to!"
Before Dirk could answer that, however, a nurse entered the room to check in on things. "Visiting hours are over," she announced as she double-checked Wasabi's heart rate. "And if you can't calm down, I'm going to have to sedate you." She gave both men an admonishing look.
"I am calm," Wasabi said through clenched teeth, his muscles tensing so that every ache and pain pinged in a most uncomfortable manner.
The nurse gave him a look, one hand on her hip. "The monitor would say otherwise." She slipped one hand into her pocket, pulling out an already prepared needle. "You can't recover if you can't rest." And before her patient could protest further, she injected the sedating serum right into Wasabi's IV line. "As for you," she gave Dirk a look, "out."
Dirk stood without further prompting. "I'm going," he said, sounding slightly like a sulky child. "There's no point talking to him. He seems completely unable to give me the information I need anyway." And with that he walked out of the room.
Wasabi wanted to utter some kind of protest, either directed at Dirk or the nurse, he wasn't sure, but his thoughts started to cloud over as the medication took effect. "Now I really know how Hiro felt," he drawled before sleep claimed him.
Hiro felt like he was swimming in black ink, much like that one time he'd passed out in Tadashi's lab during one of those repeated timelines. And just like at that time, he saw random fragments of memory floating around in the excess of space. And then everything honed in on the memory of that less than awesome event where he'd somehow known there was a bomb at the airport. He wasn't exactly thrilled to be reliving it but knew it was all in the name of getting answers.
An almost electric jolt of energy seemed to pass through him, though nowhere near as strong as some of the others he'd felt over the past few years. But it was enough to make his breath catch in his figurative throat for just a moment before he resumed normal functions. And then the memory was over.
But, instead of just stopping there, as he thought Loki would, he heard the man say, "Forgive me for looking, but I must know."
He wasn't sure what Loki meant but then his memories seemed to cascade around like a flood, a flood that threatened to wash him away with it. "No!" he protested, unable to do anything to stop it. Just like that time inside the Hydra computer, he felt his mind being pulled further and further way. Except, instead of being pulled deeper into a data stream, he was being pulled deeper and deeper into his own mind.
It hurt, on so many levels, having to at least look at those memories once more, some of which he'd already reintegrated for a second time, cementing his acceptance of them. Until Loki seemed to settle, by chance or choice, on a specific memory, one that Hiro didn't want anyone to touch. He pushed back with everything he had and everything suddenly seemed to shatter around him like fireworks going off and fading into the inky blackness, leaving him alone in a void of nothing.
Hiro panted, trying to catch his breath after the whirlwind of information he'd been caught up in. "Why does this keep happening!" he yelled, getting not so much as an echo in return. "Why?" he asked, with less energy this time as he metaphorically went down to his knees, shoulders slumping over, head bowed.
"Hey, none of that," Tadashi's voice admonished. "You're better than that."
The teen looked up, half expecting to see nothing. After all, half of the time Tadashi didn't even materialize for him. But this was one of those times where he did. "Tadashi?" he asked, still not sure if he should trust his metaphorical eyes.
"We really need to stop meeting like this," Tadashi responded, rubbing Hiro's hair in a manner similar to how he used to when he was alive. "What's got you down now?"
Hiro ran a hand down his face, momentarily covering his eyes, nose, and mouth. "I don't even know," he confessed. "Loki wanted to try something to see if he could figure out how I knew about those bombs and I'm not exactly sure what happened after that."
Tadashi's hands went to his hips. "Huh. Sounds like you experienced an overload to me. I take it he wanted to poke around a little."
Giving a bit of a dry laugh, Hiro nodded. "You could say that. He did apologize, but I somehow doubt what he was looking for is related to recent events."
Tadashi looked—Well, Hiro wasn't sure what expression was on his face, if he was being honest. "He just said he had to know."
"That could mean a lot of things," Tadashi reasoned, looking thoughtful.
Hiro shook his head. "I don't know. Seems like there are a lot of people who want to know things I can't even begin to tell them. He's just the first to really do something about it I guess. It's not like I could exactly stop him."
Few words could describe the look Tadashi gave him, though disapproving and disbelieving might come close. "And yet you did," he reminded.
Now that he thought about it, Hiro had to admit that was the truth. "I just didn't want him to see that memory," he confessed, head downcast again. It was a memory he didn't want anyone but himself to see ever again. It wasn't that it was bad or anything. It was just too painful, that first time he'd lost his brother after realizing he'd been given the chance to save him and failed.
"Hey," Tadashi said, more gentle in tone this time. "It's okay. Everyone has something they want to forget."
But Hiro shook his head. "It's not that I want to forget," he countered. "It's just that… I don't know." He impatiently raked his fingers through his hair. "I just don't want to share that moment of weakness, I guess. If only I'd realized what was going on, I could have stopped and none of this would have ever happened."
Now Tadashi looked more disbelieving again. "Uh huh. I somehow doubt that. Like any scientist, you had to try, over and over again until you realized you'd only keep getting similar results. It just proves you're human."
"Am I though?" Hiro countered, his face showing doubt. "My DNA isn't the same anymore. I'm not the same anymore. I know I'm different. I know I'm something… something more."
Tadashi let out a deep sigh. "And there's nothing wrong with that. It's understanding and accepting that difference that will help you the most."
Hiro threw his hands up in the air, now more frustrated than anything. "And how on earth am I supposed to that?! When not even those few powerful people around, who aren't 'quite human'," he applied air quotes, "don't even know what I am?!"
"Hey! Just calm down a minute," Tadashi soothed. "We'll figure this out together. But trust me when I say it's important we do. You do want to understand why all of this is happening, don't you?"
"Yes," Hiro pouted.
Tadashi lifted Hiro's chin so he could look him in the eye once more. "Then we'll figure it out. I have a pretty good idea that this Loki friend of yours is on the right track. You could do worse than believe in him, just as you could do worse than to believe in yourself. It's all about balance."
Hiro had to laugh at that. "How did I know you'd somehow sneak that in there?"
"Because I'm your brother," Tadashi answered as he pulled him close to give him a noogie. "And no matter what, I'm always here for you."