I could hear someone's voice calling to me, but I didn't recognize it as either my lover's or Syko's. A hand touched me and I swung my arm to hit the owner of it, finding that suddenly the manacles were gone. There was a grunt and a curse and the voice calling me more desperately now, all while another hand landed on my body. I tried to scream, yell for River, but my jaw wouldn't open. I swung blindly at the figure I couldn't see, who's hands I could feel on me. One of my arms felt heavy, even as I swatted at the unseen person, screaming in fear. As that arm connected with something solid, pain shot through me and I yelled in pain.
The hands moved off my body now, pinning my hands down so that I couldn't flail them anymore to defend myself. This didn't deter my struggle any and I began to kick my legs and thrash my body to get away. I belonged to River. All of me was his, my heart, my mind, my body. Syko wasn't going to hurt me again, not without me putting up one hell of a fight first. The voice that I couldn't place was begging something of me, but I didn't understand it, concentrating fully on screaming for River, even if my mouth wouldn't open wide enough to let the sound out completely./i
"Mr. Banqs! Zaafe!" someone yelled, drawing my eyes open. I started up at the dark haired male, my eyes wide with fright. No, no, no, Syko couldn't be here! I had to get back to River! I didn't want to hurt him! Still screaming, I landed one good kick to the man's side and his hold on me released. Finally free, I rolled off the bed and retreated into a corner, my eyes wide and my body trembling as I curled down into as small a ball as I could make. I covered my head, murmuring River's name over and over, praying that he would find me before Syko did.
"Tru? What's wrong?" River said as he burst into the room. I whimpered in my corner, unable to believe that I was hearing his voice. There was no way he was in Syko's apartment, no way was he in this horrible room.
"Trane started thrashing in his sleep, but when I went to rouse him, he flipped out," the voice that had been calling to me said. I whimpered, crying softly as I remained huddled in my corner, afraid to look up and find Syko there.
"Trane? Where'd he go?" the voice that sounded so much like River's asked. There was a moment of silence and then the voice came again. "Trane!" And then there were hands on me, warm hands, hands that didn't feel like Syko's. "Trane, baby, it's me. You're safe now." Slowly, with whimpers still sounding from the back of my throat, I lowered my arms and raised my head. Tears sprung to my eyes as River's worried face was revealed to me and I launched myself at him, wrapping my arms tightly around his neck.
"Oh, god, River! I'm so sorry! Please forgive me," I said as best I could with a jaw that refused to open very wide. As soon as the words passed my lips, a flood of images rushed passed my vision and I slumped into River's arms.
"Trane? Trane, baby, look at me," River said softly, pulling my hair away from my face before trying to tilt my head up. "Come on, look at me. Talk to me. What are you apologizing for?" His voice was soft, soothing, his hands gentle as they stroked my hair away from my face. But all I could do was cry, my voice locked behind a large lump in my throat as the memories and the pain was suddenly fresh in my mind.
"Here, Mr. Banqs," Tru said softly and then I felt the warmth of my favourite blanket slip over my shoulders and around my body. As soon as he had it securely around me, he carefully picked me up, moving back to the bed as he cradled me close. For a moment, one of his hands left me and then the door shut. I guessed that he sent Tru and Zaafe out of the room. For a long while, River gave up on the idea of me talking and concentrated solely on calming me down again. With hushed tones he soothed my sobs and continuously brushed tears from my face.
"Trane, please, tell me why you're apologizing?" he asked, once my sobs subsided. I sniffled, turning my eyes up to his face, finding him watching me with worried and curious eyes.
"I.. I couldn't stop him," I murmured and his eyes widened in surprise. "I tried.. I really did! But I hurt so much and I messed up and let him get to my head. I still fought though! I never stopped trying to get free and stop him." I stopped talking realizing that the look on his face was all wrong. He wasn't angry. He wasn't sad. He was smiling and tears were beginning to slip from his eyes.
"Trane, tell me you remember me," he whispered softly, his eyes darting from side to side as they searched mine for something.
"I remember you. How could I ever forget you?" I asked confused. And then he was crushing me against him, his lips kissing all over my face and neck as he kept murmuring 'Thank god' over and over again. "River.." I murmured, unsure of why he was reacting this way.
"You did forget me, Trane," he whispered, his voice cracking with tears as he held my face securely in his hands. "You forgot everything from before you ended things with Syko until you woke up in the hospital." I shook my head frantically. I couldn't believe that. There was no way I would ever forget River. He meant far too much to me for that to have happened.
"Never," I murmured emphatically. "I could never forget you." He smiled sadly at me and I knew, I knew he was telling the truth. I'd forgotten him. I had forgotten the most important person in my life. "I'm sorry! I.. I.." I couldn't find any words to apologize for what felt to me like the worst thing I had ever done in my life. I could feel the guilt and sorrow quickly rising and fresh tears welling up in my eyes.
"Sssshhh, Trane," he whispered and grabbed a pad of paper from the nightstand. "This morning you said something that got rid of all of my fears. Here," he said showing me the notepad, before he began to read off what I had written. "Your mind may have forgotten me to protect itself from memories of what Syko did to you, but your heart and your body remembered me. I was certain then, that as long as some part of you remembered how much you loved me and how much I loved you, I had no problems with making new memories with you."
"River... I'm sorry..." I muttered again. "I couldn't protect my body from him." His lips met mine, quickly cutting off my apology. I stared at him, in confusion and then he pointed at something else I had written. Even without my memory of the events, I had pieced together enough of what happened to conclude the truth. I'd called it rape. I had never referred to Syko forcing me into sex before as rape, but I had this morning and I would even now.
"I already know how hard you fought him, Trane," he whispered. "You've also allowed me to reclaim your body as mine. All you need to do now, is focus on healing so that we can put it all behind us for good." I nodded slowly, blushing faintly at the idea that we'd already made love since I'd woken up in the hospital.
"How long has it been since then?" I asked suddenly curious as to how much time had passed with me not knowing who River was. He raised an eyebrow, confused by the question. "How long since I woke up and didn't know you?"
"A week. A very long week," he replied, one of his hands running through my long hair. "But you wouldn't let me leave your side during that time. You kept telling me I made you feel safe." I blushed, realizing that I had never told him that before. I had always felt that way when I was with him, but had kept it to myself in fear of seeming needy. "Do I really make you feel safe?"
"Yeah, you always have," I said softly and buried my face in his neck. His arms tightened around me for a moment in response, before he pulled my head back so he could see my eyes.
"Then I'll always keep you nearby," he whispered. "I'll never leave you behind again. Never." I tightened my own grip around him, pressing myself fully against his body.
"River..." I started slowly, fearing the answer to my next question. "Syko.. is he?" River's muscles tensed for a moment and then his hand went back to running through my hair.
"He's dead, baby," he whispered softly, though I could hear a hint of regret in his voice. He probably wanted to be the one who sent him to the grave for everything he'd done to me. "After you passed out, he went after Tru and Tru killed him. He can't hurt you anymore, baby." I felt the relief flow through me at the knowledge that my psychotic ex was dead.
We stayed that way, with River cradling me in his lap as I buried my face in his neck, for a long time. Eventually, we did move however as he laid me back down on the bed to go finish his business in the living room. I wrapped my arms around his pillow as I watched the door, waiting for him to return to me. He didn't make me wait long before he was back and holding me again. Despite everything that happened, I had the feeling that it was all in the past now. I knew that things were finally going to be okay and I wouldn't have to worry about my ex finding me again. I could love River completely now, without the weight of a lingering fear weighing down my thoughts. Finally, I was free to love.