Jason's hand trembles as tears flood his eyes. His heart swells in his chest, painfully constricting his breath as it slowly begins to shatter, scattering in random places.
Was she a mindless dog again? Wondering around by the simplistic emotions of fondness and play?
Shadow struggled to her legs, shaking a little at first before becoming steady and curling beside Jason. She leaned forward and ran her tongue on Jason's cheek, licking away the tears.
Jason turned his head and looked at her. "Shadow…Shadow…are you still in there?"
His dog nodded slowly, almost as if acknowledging being trapped inside her dog form was more painful than the experiments that put her there.
This reverse wasn't complete. She was still a girl, just inside her old body. She hadn't completely become the mindless dog she once was. All the progress she had learned as a human, slowly gaining more and more experience with her mind and body was still there.
But how much was left? Was she going to fade away with time anyway?
Jason shook his head, fumbling around with his keys as he wiped at his eyes with his arms. He still had her in there now, the girl he loved more then anything in the dog he had almost forgotten. He had some hope to hold onto…for now.
He found the right key and unlocked her shackles.
"Alright Shadow, we have to get out of here." Jason stood up painfully slow, clenching his teeth against the pain spiking up and down his back. Shadow leaned against him in her own support as he walked gingerly out of the room into the blindly white hallway. Jason dragged a hand against the wall for support. They walk for a few minutes, Jason's breath swallow with pain.
Shadow whimpers at Jason's obvious distress.
Jason turns to her with his finger to his mouth. "Shh," He whispers very softly. "We can't risk being heard."
Shadow stares at him with glassy eyes, stricken with all the things she can't say or do. She hangs her head, her ears flattened against her skull as they continue to walk; whatever she wanted to say was left in silence.
He continues to walk, turning down random corridors, the lights on the ceiling dimming.
Eventually they enter a gray hallway with numerous doors, most of them shut besides one with a clear light spilling from the room.
Curious, Jason heads toward it slowly.
Voices rise the closer he gets but he doesn't stop till he hears every word clearly, leaving them standing almost right outside the door.
"Will they ever leave?" Jackie shouts, hitting something in frustration.
"It doesn't help that he brought those two dogs with him." Someone Jason didn't know sneered.
"Even though our establishment is underground now they get so close."
"S'not a surprise," Jason frowned at this voice, Nate. "With Shadow being held captive it's easy to track a scent of a fellow dog. Especially now that she is a dog, you could see it on their faces when they realized the scent increased. They know something's wrong, probably making their search more frantic."
Jason realized what this meant. His Dad and Levy and Sugar were hot on their heels. Jason should just need to get outside, it sounded like they were out there now. Jason almost sagged against the wall in relief but was too afraid that any other moments might get under Nate's radar in the process. Shadow and Jason were already breathing barely as it was.
"When was the last time Shadow was checked on?" Jackie asked.
"A few days, but we have to wait for this next experiment, it's not completely ready." Someone Jason did not recognize said.
"So what! It's risky leaving her in that form."
Jason ears pricked, that form? What was so different about this form then her true form?
"She's still weak."
"She can still awaken; I don't want to wait to see if she's better enough to figure that out."
Shadow can still awaken? How? What would that look like now? Jason could hardly imagine it. Shadow's ears visibly prick at this information and was glad she wasn't completely useless.
"If we do it any sooner then we won't successfully pull out the human girl inside her!"
Jason couldn't believe it, so the human Shadow was 'trapped' in her old form. Completely there and not disappearing, Jason felt his heart relax a bit.
Jackie let out a groan.
Nate suddenly interjected. "I can go check up on her."
"Nate." Jackie sighed, "You know I can't let you do that."
"You faltered last time! First with the fight I could see you considered their offer! And then whenever you were on duty to visit Shadow you would give her more food! You treated her kindly!" Jackie laughed cruelly, "Even though it's your fault she's here."
Nate had been treated Shadow kindly? Was Nate still considering the offer?
"I'm heading out for some coffee. Are you guys coming with me?" Jackie threw in randomly, apparently the day was wearing thin on her.
Everyone seemed to be in agreement, except one.
"Nate?" Jackie questioned.
"I think I'll stay here a few minutes longer." He whispered, "I'll catch up."
"Whatever," Jackie sounded annoyed, "Just stay away from Shadow." Her voice held a steel authority. Jason heard their footsteps but they weren't heading toward the door Shadow and him stood behind but to the other side of the room. Jason realized that there must be a door on the other side.
After all were gone Jason stood with his breath held, waiting for Nate to leave when he suddenly spoke.
"Get in here."
Jason froze, cold fear spiking down his spine.
"You come in here or I go out there."
Jason didn't like either option but it's not like he had much of a choice, and he was too injured to enrage the anger of anybody.
He limped into the room, Shadow right behind him. Nate sat in a spinny chair that rested in front of a database of computers, all showing videos from all the cameras in the building. The floors were a cold blue tile and the walls were a fading gray. Jasons eyes hardened as he realized that the videos showed all the way to the cells. Was it possible that they had been seen? Did they already know they were loose?
"Encase you're wondering you did appear on those screens. But no one but me saw it. You got lucky."
"Why am I not attacking you?" Nate finished with a yawn, "One, you can hardly stand. It wouldn't be much of a fight. Two, Shadow isn't completely recovered either, so again a pretty useless fight." He scratched behind his ear, "Plus…I just don't feel like it."
"But it's because I'm weak that this would be a perfect chance." Jason said when a video image changed from the corner of his eye. He looked up to see Sugar, sniffing low to the ground like an animal. It was rather odd looking considering she held the appearance of girl. But he was still warmed; they were looking for them and were incredibly close.
"You almost sound like you want me to fight you."
Jason looked back at Nate to see him staring longing at Shadow. Jason moved himself in front of her, blocking her from his view. Nate's eyes lifted to Jason's with a sigh. "It's completely reasonable if you hate me."
"I do hate you." Jason couldn't bring himself to trust Nate, even with him acting this nicely towards them.
"Like I said, completely reasonable," Nate stretched his limps, slouching in the chair. "I've done nothing to earn anything good from you."
Shadow whimpered, clearly disagreeing.
Nate smiled softly at her. "I've come to realize something though Jason."
"And what's that?"
"I hate myself too."
Jason blinked, confused. "What?"
"I can't seem to decide what I want? Destroy every experiment, or just return home. I hurt people with my indecision. I almost killed someone I've grown to love."
Jason's hands clenched despite the spike of pain it caused. "You love Shadow?" Jason couldn't seem to contain the utter hate he held for Nate. As well as the protectiveness he felt for Shadow. Shadow was his. Not anybody else's.
"Shadow saw me and instead of putting up a guard and protecting herself against these strangers she was warm and caring towards me. She placed her utter trust in me." Nate's head dropped, "And I broke it without a single thought. It wasn't till I saw her nearly lifeless on the dirty cell ground that I realized what I had done, who I had just hurt, and how much Jackie was controlling me all the way through it."
So Nate saw it too, Jackie was the puppet master
"The only thing I can imagine doing to help you is getting you out of here."
Jason resisted to the urge to clean out his ears in disbelief of what Nate had just said.
Shadow whimpered and Nate shook his head. "I can't come with you. I don't deserve to."
Jason vaguely realized that Nate could understand what Shadow was saying but it didn't really come as a surprise to him. They were both animals, naturally there would be shared sense between them.
Mainly Jason just agreed with Nate but Shadow was persistent. "No…I don't really deserve to live as a free animal anymore. It wouldn't be right to run away from everything. I'll fix my mess in here, and you fix the world out there." Nate's eyes locked on Jason's by the end of the sentence and the both had a sudden, small ground of understanding between them.
There was a truce of sorts, nothing that bonded them as friends but more like comrades on the same field of battle.
Nate turned in his spinny chair and started typing with a yawn on the keyboards when he suddenly pulled up a map of the layout of the underground base that they stood in. Jason was surprised by the simplicity of it. A highlighted section popped up with a push of a few more buttons and showed a way out. "This will take you directly to were your Father is."
Jason looked at the map, "The catch?"
Nate grinned, "After the coffee break it becomes heavily guarded, and this place will flood again. This is your only open window of time and you better be quick. Chances are you might get out not as beat up as you are now."
Jason groaned, "There's no way I can move quickly in this condition."
Nate's eyes narrowed. "I forgot about that. I'll do something about it, just get going now. Leave through that door." He pointed to the door everyone else left from, "Follow Shadow, she has the map memorized."
Jason nodded and limp as quickly as he could out into the hallways that weren't nearly as lit as brightly as the ones where the cells were. Pain lanced up his back, his leg nearly pitching out from under him. He gritted his teeth together and sweat beaded down his forehead but he did not stop.
Shadow was silent and quick in the dim hallways, turning and weaving through the building, stopping occasionally to make sure Jason is still behind her.
There's a constant pressure of fear on Jason's back, his stomach clenching painfully. What happens if they get caught? There is no way they will survive.
His head started pounding as they continued down the simple hallways. Although the appearance of the layout of this building had been small on the computer screens it seemed to take much longer with each long corriders and sharp turns leading to more random parts of the building. His back is aching, and his legs are shaking. But he doesn't stop moving while breathing heavily through his mouth. Jason is visibly slowing, making Shadow restless. Jason doesn't stop though; there is too much risk in it. They weave into another hallway and then another.
It seems to stretch on forever when they finally turn down a lighter, way to silent hallway. But then again, they had all been way too silent.
There's a bright red sign at the end of the hallway. An exit sign; being this close made Jason's pain almost duller, his will stronger, and his fear turning into more sweat. Jason suddenly wanted nothing but a bath, something he hadn't had for weeks. He also wanted Shadow back to normal, her human body curling around him.
He limped with everything he had to the exit when he heard that voice behind him. "Jason! Stop right there!" Jackie. Jackie had gotten to them; Nate couldn't hold back everyone for them.
Jason didn't look behind him; he could already hear her running behind him, easily gaining ground on them. Jason got to the door and through it open just as soon as he heard a gun being loaded behind him. Shadow suddenly wasn't in front of him.
He heard the gunshot. Turning in horror he saw Shadow jaws locking on Jackie's wrist, throwing off Jackie's aim in the process. Jason then saw something amazing. Shadow couldn't fully awake (being not fully recovered and all) but she could with her teeth. Her fangs sliced right through Jackie's wrist, detaching her hand from her body. Blood splattered on Shadow's muzzle and strained her teeth scarlet as more blood splashed on the ground. Jackie screamed in agony, collapsing with pain on the stone ground as she tried to stop the flow of blood.
"Jason?" This was a familiar voice, Sugar's voice. She must have heard the gunshot.
Jason turned again to see Sugar and Levy rushing toward them. Shadow circled to Jason, whimpering. Jason looked down at her, realizing that she looked ashamed. She was worried if Jason feared her again.
Jason let out a soft smile and ruffled her ears. Yes her muzzle was dripping in blood, but Jason could keep fearing her forever. She was the one keeping him alive. Levy and Sugar met up with them quickly and looped their arms under Jason's shoulders. It was obvious Jason was injured and they immediately relieved some of the pain off of him.
Jason let out a sigh as the pressure from his back released and the spiking ache calmed down a little. They all rushed off of the base, sirens going off just as soon as they got past the gates. Jason's Dad was waiting, his car parked behind him. Sugar slid into the back and Jason slid in next to her, forced to lie down with his head on his lap so he could relax. Levy got shotgun and Dad obviously was driving. Shadow was curled up at Jason's legs, blood staining the seat.
This Chapter is admittedly rushed a little, it was late at night, I was tired, I wanted to finish this. Soooo I decided to save the better action for later. Anywho please REVIEW. Thanks :)