I throw myself at Aram and grab his wrists, wresting them from around his neck. He—or rather, his Voice—throws a fist out and it firmly connects with my cheek, but I keep my iron grip on Aram. I spit a tooth and a glob of blood onto the floor.

Eventually, I manage to pull Aram's arms away from him. I force one to the floor and kneel on it. He roars in frustration and grabs my jumpsuit with the other arm, trying to pull me off. I sink my teeth into his hand.

"Sorry, Aram," I mutter. I glance over my shoulder, desperately looking for someone who might help us, but none of the guards seem particularly bothered. Of course—it doesn't matter to them if Aram dies, as there are hundreds of other test subjects who could take his place.

"Help me! What do I do?" I ask the Voice, but there is no answer. Trust it to walk out on me at a time like this! Now I feel truly alone and helpless.

After grappling with Aram for the longest two minutes in my life, I finally succeed in pinning his arms to his sides from behind. He's beginning to get tired, but still I cling on with as much energy as I can muster.

Despite having to gasp for breath and becoming more and more exhausted, Aram's Voice keeps struggling. I know he could seriously hurt himself if he carries on like this. I decide to calm him down in the same way I would calm my little sister down when she had nightmares. I'll talk to him.

"Hey, Aram, did you know that my Voice used to really hate me, too? I mean, it never actually strangled me, but sometimes I would be running through the woods at home, chasing game or something, and I would just run into a tree for no reason. I didn't even realise it was the Voice making me do it, I just thought I was really clumsy," I prattle. To my astonishment, Aram's struggling becomes less powerful. I can tell that there is an internal battle going on inside his mind, and listening to my chatter might help him win. I carry on. "When I was younger, the Voice used to really hate me. It got better, though. Once, my friend and I got kidnapped by bandits when we were trying to board a star ship. The Voice helped us escape, and probably saved both of our lives." I leave out the part about not knowing what was happening at the time, and the part about the terrible detachment I felt when the Voice took over, because I don't think that will help the situation.

Aram is calmer now. His breathing is still fast and laboured, and there are red finger-marks around his throat, but I can tell that he has full control of his body again.

"I bet you've forgotten about home," I continue. It's been so long since I've seen home that my memories of it have become slightly hazy around the edges. It will be good to hear someone describing it again, even if it is my own voice.

"Yeah, I have. Tell me about your village," he rasps. I pull him over so he's sitting next to me, leaning on me for support. I keep my firm hold on his arms, just in case.

"Well, it was only a little village, in the middle of the forest on the side of a mountain. There wasn't much there, just a few shops and some houses. Me, my mother and my little sister lived in a hut at the edge of the woods. The forest was the best part about home; in winter, the whole place would wear a thick winter cloak of snow, lined with crisp air and fluffy silence. Sometimes the blizzards would last for days at a time, and the snow would come right up to my waist."

I glance at Aram. He has a small, faraway smile on his face.

"In spring, there were flowers blooming everywhere. It was like a rug in some places, and I didn't like hunting through the meadows because I didn't want to crush the flowers. It sounds silly, but I felt really guilty if I stepped on some. The river would be full of little silver fish, but they were impossible to catch because they just darted right through the net. You had to wait until summer, when they got big and slow enough to catch. Once, I just reached right into the water and grabbed one, but then I fell in." Did I just hear a short grunt of laughter from Aram?

"And what about autumn?" he murmurs. I can't help noticing how heavy his body has become.

"I don't like autumn. All the leaves go a muddy brown and it's never cold, but never warm either. Summer and winter are the best seasons. Spring and autumn are just in-between times."

For the first time since our arrival, I glance around our cell. There is one bed. That is it.

"Come on, Aram. You should get to bed," I say, feeling almost motherly as I help him up. His breathing has returned to normal, but his body is still weak from exhaustion and nearly being choked to death. Still, this is a lot better than I was after my Voice first took over. After I had regained control then, I immediately fell unconscious and slept for several hours.

"Aram," I say as he lies down, "does your Voice have a name?"

"Seran," he mutters, before his eyes flutter closed and he falls asleep.

I sit on the floor at the end of Aram's bed, not wanting to leave him in case Seran tries something while he is sleeping. I cross my legs and lean my head against the bedframe. I feel my eyelids beginning to droop, but I shake myself awake. I will not fall asleep. I will not.

I thought Seran was the name of Aram's Voice, but having it confirmed makes me feel slightly uneasy. The Voices are no longer invisible phantoms residing at the edge of our consciences—having their own names gives them an identity. Who gave them those names? Did they bestow them upon themselves, or were they chosen by a parent—that is, if Voices can breed at all?

I thought you handled that pretty well.

My anger flares up like a winter hearth, but I keep my voice low for Aram's sake. "Where the hell were you just now? One of the few times in my life when I actually want your input, and you're not there!"

I was doing my bit, OK? Just because you can't see me, doesn't mean I'm not there.

"By the way, do you have a name?"


"Aram's Voice is called Seran. Do all Voices have names?"

I've not met many others, but yeah, they all had names.

"So what's yours?"

You're not going to like this one bit.

"I don't like being locked in here with only you for company. Tell me."

Well, perhaps there's some stuff I should explain first, about the experiments and stuff...

"Just get on with it!" I hiss.

My name, says the Voice, is Ruke.

A/N: This is where things start to get complicated. For me, at least xD The good news is that I've finally finished watching Death Note, so now I have no distractions! :D I'm still trying to get over the ending :P See you soon! x