Data Collection by Dalhousie, Dr. Donna L.
New, confused. Powers unknown.
No longer viable in the test pool, he remains in isolation.
Reclassified to staff status. Useful, malleable.
Confined in a sterile research facility and treated like a lab rat, Chris is alone and terrified. His special powers are his only escape, allowing him to psychically connect with other patients.
Alone in his cell for longer than he can remember, Vance is hungry. When newcomer Chris makes a mental connection, Vance is intrigued and wants more than just conversation.
Chris and Vance seek comfort with each other, and with Simon--the only staff member who's shown them a hint of compassion. Their relationships develop during stolen moments, and they turn their thoughts to escape. But as Dr. Dalhousie's madness spirals, more than cell walls threaten to keep them apart...
"Last night I dreamt you finally got laid."
Chris blinked and his hand froze halfway toward the fruit bowl. "Glad I'm getting sex somewhere." He grabbed the last pear and took a bite. "Was it someone devilishly handsome or a girl?" His face twisted in disgust. "It wasn't you, was it?"
Caris looked down at her biology textbook. "I doubt it, since I didn't wake up with the lingering taste of vomit in my mouth." Chris tossed the pear at her, and she just barely managed to dodge. "If I had a dream about you and me having sex, I wouldn't tell you."
"I wouldn't want you to tell me."
"Thus we are agreed." She stabbed at his hand with her fork when it strayed too close to her pancakes, but he managed to avoid it and snag a stray piece. "I have a final tomorrow, by the way, so on the off chance that you do find someone willing to offer you a mercy fuck, go to their place so I won't be inconvenienced by the need to castrate you."
"And since my chances are much better, I'll do the same during your finals next week so you can study."
Chris shrugged nonchalantly.
Caris sighed. "They're going to accuse you of cheating again."
"I am cheating."
"No, you're picking the answers out of the profs' brains using telepathy."
Chris regarded her with a raised eyebrow.
"Huh. When I say it that way, it does sound a lot like cheating, doesn't it?"
He nodded and stole another pancake.
"Why don't you just quit? You don't want to be a vet. I haven't seen you within five feet of an animal without you getting that look on your face."
"Imagine me naked. Thatlook. Vaguely terrified, not sure if you should be amused or disgusted. You get the same look around kids." She rolled up the last pancake and shoved the entire thing into her mouth before he could make a play for it. She continued with a cough, "I don't think that's going to go over very well when poor Fluffy is bleeding out on the operating table."
Recognizing the beginning of an old argument, Chris stood and crossed the kitchen.
"Chris, as your self-appointed best friend, I feel uniquely qualified to tell you that even though you thinkyou're doing what Brennan would want you to do, you're not. He'd just want you to be happy."
Chris slumped against the counter. "I know. But I need to do this for him." They had a longstanding agreement that he wouldn't deliberately read her mind, but he couldn't help the projections she shot his way. Worry. Warmth. Love. Frustration. Hope. It was a jumbled kaleidoscope of emotions that always threw him off, and her earnest concern was just enough to unnerve him.
They had stumbled into their friendship during freshman year when their roommates started dating. Caris had shown up at his door one night, grumbling about oversexed jocks and inconsiderate bimbos, and dumped her stuff in the spare bedroom. Since then, it had been her bed, her room and her rules. Chris hadn't heard from the oversexed jock in question since the idiot had come whining at the door for his bed back and been frightened away by Caris's pre-coffee face.