Life slowly returned to being normal after Liev was captured. Or, as "normal" as one could possibly be after such an experience. I knew that normality and myself were doomed to be forever separated regardless of what I wished.
I was carried upstairs by Felix and brought outside to be placed on a stretcher. As the paramedics worked over my brutalized stomach, I couldn't resist looking around for my brother, wondering if he had escaped. But Felix knew what I was searching for and told me to simply relax and enjoy the sunshine, because I'd probably be in the hospital for quite a while.
The air around me was buzzing with activity: I could hear news reporters begging for interviews with Liev and I, and asking about the "dead girl" who had apparently committed suicide. Sunshine soaked through my skin, offsetting my guilt due to the part I had played in Terra's death. She had only been a teenager. Innocent, to an extent.
Felix stood by silently while I stared at the blue sky and considered what might have happened if he hadn't intervened. Again he could read my mind - he smoothed my hair and told me not to worry about the past. I wanted to tell him how impossible that feat was.
My entire life revolved around what had happened in the past.
"They're taking your brother in for a psychiatric evaluation," Felix said.
I could hear someone screaming at Liev above all the other voices. When I turned to my head to investigate, I saw a young woman with a blonde bob weeping while her black-haired husband shouted that he was going to murder my brother. Liev was hanging limply in the manacles around his wrists, but he stopped at the threat. He turned. Smiled.
"Enjoy the autopsy."
Terra's father exploded at that point and had to be restrained by several officers. Liev kept grinning, then twisted to face me just as he was pushed into the squad car. He winked at me and mouthed "I love you", then vanished from my sight.
Felix turned to a passing officer. "I want him under the heaviest security you can imagine. No bail. We're going to root around in his past until we find something worth chucking him in a prison cell and throwing away the key. And make sure you find a damn good psychiatrist."
The officer nodded and continued on his way. I felt the stretcher move beneath me as the paramedics lifted it into the back of the ambulance. They had stemmed the bleeding and injected me with enough morphine to bring down Godzilla, but still wanted me back at the hospital. I was probably going to be back in therapy for a very long time.
"Please don't leave me," I begged when Felix looked over his shoulder.
He turned back to me, eyes brimming with tears. "I wish I could've helped you more. I wish I had been there when you were teenagers. I wish I had rushed back to the apartment. There's so many things I wish I could've done for you, Tory. But it's too late now."
I wasn't sure if that was his way of rejecting me. For a moment, I felt my insides shriveling up; even my brother hadn't hurt me this badly. But Felix rubbed his eyes with the pads of his thumbs and pulled himself into the back of the ambulance with me.
"It doesn't matter," I said before a breathing apparatus was affixed over my face.
The doors slammed shut and Felix reached down to gently touch my belly. He had a peculiar expression on his face. "Exactly. Sleep, Viktoriya. You're safe now."
And amidst the wailing sirens, the screaming people, and the whispers resonating within my own head, I somehow fell into a blissful slumber.