Travis groaned and slowly opened his eyes. Travis heard a beeping to his right and looked around, grimacing slightly when he moved. A soft shape was curled into the crook of his arm purring, and Travis smiled when he looked down and saw Nyx. Travis sat up, rubbing his elbow where the IV was placed and scratching at the cast encasing the rest of his arm. He was in a hospital, no doubt about that, but where? And who had brought him here? He looked out the window but could only see a small courtyard with trees and even a small creek.
"Let's go, Nyx." Travis said, putting his feet on the cold tile. Hospitals were too cold and too impersonal for what hospitals were intended to do, for what they stood for, in Travis's opinion. He hated them and the sooner he left the better he would feel.
"That's not the best idea." A Russian voice said. Travis turned to see a blonde man lounging on the bed next to him, flipping through a cooking magazine. His hair cut short, almost closed crop but just a little a little longer. He wore a black uniform and had a gun on his hip.
"Who are you?" Travis asked suspiciously. He glanced around for a weapon but could not find anything he could use.
"Don't hurt yourself, I'd never hear the end of it." The Russian said coolly, not looking up from the magazine.
"What is your name?" Travis repeated, standing up slowly. The whole world tilted and Travis got nauseous. Nyx scrabbled to hold onto he gray gown Travis was wearing as the floor raced up to meet Travis. A hand was on his shoulder, steadying him and easing him back onto the bed. Travis hadn't even seen the blonde move.
"If you sit down, I'll tell you." The Russian said, readjusting the IV. Travis allowed the Russian to adjust Nyx, despite her hissing that didn't seem to faze the Russian anyway, before Travis looked at him expectantly. The Russian saluted Travis and said, "Captain Yuri Gregorovitch."
"Gregorovitch…your father, is he-" Travis tried to think of where he had heard the name. The door opened and another blonde man came in, looking similar to Yuri but with slightly longer, tousled hair and softer features. He even wore an identical outfit. The differences were that this man was several years younger the Yuri and had a less noticeable, nearly non-existent Russian accent.
"-Dead, so far as he's concerned. I couldn't care less about the man myself. But you more than likely know him, considering who you are. Do you recognize us?" The younger Russian asked.
"You expect him to remember us? That was nearly 20 years ago." Yuri snorted derisively.
"Give him credit, brother. His memory is good. Too good, some may say," The younger Russian walked past his brother and sat down on the edge of the bed by Travis's knee. "I'm Lieutenant Nicholai Gregorovitch." Nicholai watched Travis's expression for signs of recollection.
Yuri snorted again and sat back down, shaking his head. "Americans can't remember anything beyond-"
"Dimitri. Your father's name is Dimitri. He's my father's right hand. I met you when I was 16, my father and I went to Moscow shortly before my sister died." Travis said suddenly, nodding. He sat up once more, stroking Nyx's fur. Nyx purred and settled over Travis's heart, one eye focused on Nicholai.
"Ah yes, I knew you'd remember. That was two months before our parents separated." Nicholai smiled at Travis, seemingly happy that his parents had divorced.
"Three months. Three months and it was your father's fault!" Yuri snapped, standing up and flinging the magazine across the hospital room. Travis was fairly sure it was aimed at him, but paper is difficult to control.
Travis tried to stand as Nicholai rolled his eyes. "Don't act like that; you blame Father more than anyone else. You hated Father before he ever left Mother. Damian's presence just gave you someone to hate besides Father." Nicholai reminded his brother, casually pushing Travis back against the pillows.
"So that may be," Yuri retrieved his magazine, grumbling in Russian.
"Don't insult me, Yuri," Travis growled. Yuri looked mildly surprised that Travis had been able to understand Russian but Nicholai simply smirked.
"Of course you can understand…can you speak it?" Nicholai asked, leaning forward and petting Nyx. Nyx purred slightly and then nuzzled into Travis's chest more. "How bizzare. Do you know why she purrs even while she's in ferret form? Is she a feline naturally?" Nicholai inquired, tilting his head.
"I don't know. She likes to purr. I can speak and read Russian." Travis scratched her ear and examined the older Russian. "He hates me." It was a mix of a question and a statement.
"Yuri hates everyone, most of all Father. And Mother. He actually doesn't really like much of our family…" Nicholai scratched his jaw.
"Why?" Travis looked around and licked his lips. "Water?"
Nicholai nodded and tossed the remote at Yuri. While Yuri surfed the channels, Nicholai grabbed a cup from the sink and traced his finger in a circle above the cup. The air shimmered and water started to pour from an invisible faucet into the cup. Travis raised an eyebrow at Nicholai and slowly took the cup.
"Tap's not good enough?" Travis asked, putting the cup to his lips. "So what's the deal with your family?"
"Drink it," was all Nicholai said. He smirked as he thought of how to answer Travis's second question. "Our family has interesting dynamics. Father is gay, Mother sleeps with Father's brother, Grandmother is insane, Grandpa has Alzheimer's and I'm certain three of my cousins are retarded. A few years ago they strapped a rocket to a bear and tried to ride the bear. It didn't end well for anyone involved. Aunt Natalie, however, is a wonderful girl." Nicholai stood up just then.
"Speak of the devil." Yuri growled and also stood. Yuri's hand went to his Glock and Nicholai slapped at his hand.
"He's not alone, at least," Nicholai said, scratching his neck. "We should leave. James is coming, I told him you were awake." Nicholai grabbed Yuri's arm and steered him towards the door. Reaching back to shut it, Nicholai mouthed to Travis, "I'm sorry," and closed the door.
Travis sighed and looked down at Nyx. "Why do you purr?" Travis asked. He never had actually thought about it.
The door opened and James entered with Rebecca. Rebecca went straight to Travis's chart and began reading. Travis smiled. Last time Travis had seen Rebecca, the white band that she wore on her bicep had a simple red plus sign. Now it bore a crimson caduceus on a silver shield with a halo above the caduceus. She was moving up in rank. James had also moved up and now bore the insignia of being a Second Lieutenant for the Army.
"Couple more ranks and you'll be caught up with me." Travis said with a smile as Rebecca fidgeted with his monitors.
"Yea. You look well," James said quietly, sitting next to Travis.
"What's wrong?" Travis asked, touching James's wrist.
"Travis, there a few…uh…problems we need to address. Thing you need to know." James cleared his throat. Just then there was the sound of a metal tray hitting the ground and a clatter as metal tools hit walls and tile. Someone started yelling in Russian and a calmer voice silenced the shouts. A few minutes later the door opened and a hulking man ducked to enter the room.
"Father," Travis said stiffly, adjusting his gown and the blankets.
"Leave it to you to wish to be dignified even when it's not possible. Our blood runs strong through your veins." Damian Anderson stood next to James. Travis's had not only gained his fiery hair from his father but also his height. Travis stood at 6 foot, 2 inches; Damian however stood at 6 foot 9 inches, without his boots on.
"I can't guarantee how much blood is left in his veins. Your presence is not welcome right now. Come back when Travis can beat your-" Rebecca was silenced when James gasped and said her name sharply.
Damian simply smiled and shook his head. "True. You should rest." Damian told Travis, reaching out to pat his hand. Travis pulled away and glared up at his father. Damian looked like Travis had punched him in the groin, so great was the pain on his face. The expression vanished and Damian nodded. "You hate me."
Travis didn't respond, simply turned away from his father. Just then the door opened and the little girl from the train came in, followed by Ash and her mother. Damian nodded once more and turned to leave. Before he could, the little girl grabbed his hand.
"You're just like me!" She exclaimed, "Don't worry, it'll be over soon." She smiled up at him. Damian pulled away and, with one last glance at Travis, left.
"Mary, what did you mean by that?" Rebecca crouched next to the little girl. The girl smiled knowingly and then climbed in bed, curling up next to Travis.
"It's nice not being the one in bed." She said softly.
Travis hugged her slowly, closing his eyes. He must have drifted off to sleep, then. He vaguely remembered Nicholai and Yuri returning, Yuri cursing in Russian and Nicholai shaking his head and speaking to James. Rebecca adjusted Travis's IV and checked his vitals periodically. Travis rested, at peace for once. Just for now, he wouldn't have to run.