Everyday, for nearly three and a half weeks, Shawn administered Marvel, twice a day to keep Alana happy. She never seemed to come down, but he wanted to make sure she never did while they were at Daldestine.
Pixie was watching the pair from a far at all times, more so concerned about Alana at this point. Like any drug, she would become addicted and never be the same. Despite this, eventually Alana had to do the unthinkable.
Alana was altered to reset things and to keep balance in the universe, an idea Ralden was now questioning, considering that the universe hadn’t been reset in twenty-eight years. It was truly perplexing too, how nonchalant Manifesto was going about everything, but it had to be because Alana was human this time around.
Emotional, easily attached, anxious, thoughtful…everything you couldn’t possibly be functioning as reincarnation itself. How did she manage to come back into existence as a child? Perhaps the protocols and programming enforced through Manifesto’s creation process were altered this time.
Or perhaps being an omnipresent being meant you actually did have the power to choose…
Ralden took another swig of his drink, then tipped his waiter as he started to retreat to his room. An ignorant but happy Alana slumped past him in the hall, giggling and briefly holding onto Ralden for support as he and Shawn made uneasy eye contact for a quick moment. Alana then bumped into a wall, laughing loudly as Shawn was there to pick her up.
Ralden didn’t stick around to watch them, he didn’t want Shawn becoming nervous. Delgado looked back at Ralden entering his room, making note of which one it was. And Alana was still in a daze, now making her way through the crowd and to their prescribed table. When she sat down, Pixie smiled at her, passing a glass of clear, orange liquid. Shawn intercepted it as quickly as he could and raised his eyebrows.
Pixie mouthed, “it’s a stabilizer,” before Alana caught on, suggesting she’d still be high-just not messy. Shawn then allowed Alana to consume the beverage, and saw an immediate change in her demeanor; she was still high and ready to have fun.
When she stood and walked off, Pixie slapped her hand on Shawn’s arm, making sure he caught her distraught look.
“You’re tearing her to pieces day by day with this drug, Shawn…” Pixie stated, “her let down will be tremendous, and she may very well hate you forever.”
“I don’t know what else to do,” Shawn admitted, “besides, she’s Manifesto type A, it doesn’t do any damage.”
“But she’s human, Shawn. The majority of her genetic makeup is Manifesto; her vessel and her soul are as fragile as glass. She will crack, then she will shatter. You can’t pick up all the pieces and fix her…”
Shawn sadly looked up and watched Alana mingling among other humanoids, some singing her praises as they had been since she arrived. Perhaps Pixie had a point.
“Shawn…this entire thing is a huge mess. I understand why you’re going about it the way you are. But this will do more damage than good. She is the reason we have a reason. She’s not a second guess, but a second chance. That is always definite. Compassion, understanding…trust…you’re etching it out of her by doing this.”
Shawn snatched his arm away and glared at Pixie. He felt like he was trying to help Alana. That was the part he didn’t tell anyone else except Ralden. He was going to give Alana enough money that she could buy a spacecraft of her own, find a crew and run from Manifesto as long as she could. He couldn’t stomach the idea of meeting someone like Alana…knowing she would never be the same. Ever again.
“I’m making sure she enjoys her life since it clearly isn’t her choice to do so otherwise,” Shawn said as he walked away, “so please, let me allow her the opportunity to indulge before she’s forced to make a decision that not even you or I could make.”
Though it sounded selfish, there wasn’t much else to add to it. Alana would eventually learn what she was, and that she had to help set balance for the universe, time and time again. It had taken Shawn ten years to muster up the courage to even approach Alana. When he finally did, he seemed to be winging it the entire time.
Just the same, the person bringing her in has to deal with the fact that this individual doesn’t realize how important she is…and how mindless her alterations were.
Does the universe truly need a reset button?
Shawn was watching everything about Alana right now. Her long, graceful arms with slender wrists and elegant fingers. The slight dimples that appeared when she smiled. Those light brown eyes…how they glittered even when she wasn’t enjoying herself. The light gold skin tone of her…how in some ways she was a soft copper…and ever so mesmerizing. The other reason he had given her Marvel was to keep her from glowing so no one suspected anything. It would cause issues among the other guests, and Shawn didn’t feel like leaving.
The feeling of regret was weighing heavy on Shawn this time-he didn’t want to readminister the drug to himself. He did so anyway, stepping into the restroom, and sitting in the last stall. Afterwards, Shawn stared at the bathroom door for a while before leaving the bathroom and finding Alana, who was still all smiles.
If his last dose was wearing off, it was possible hers would be doing the same as well. Perhaps because of the genetic makeup, they were becoming immune and it was then Shawn decided it was time to tell her.
As he approached even closer, he was surprised to see Ralden, who was dressed in typical Manifesto garbs, wearing a high collar, navy suit with a hard part on the left side of his head…sitting with Alana and other females, happily chatting and sharing drinks. Ralden was doing all the talking, but caught Shawn coming up and lifted a brow at his presence.
So maybe not quite yet.
As the night went on, Shawn found himself consuming Marvel a few more times, but Alana only had one more go. When it was time to head back up stairs, and the time lapse allowed the sun to shine brightly within the furor and game halls, Shawn tugged Alana to the elevator, then off as they headed towards their room.
He wouldn’t pursue her this time, and allowed her to sleep as he stared off into the space around them, wishing he never agreed to capture her and bring her in. It’s why it took him such a long time to retrieve her in the first place. She was seventeen going on eighteen. Even then, she was absolutely stunning, and Shawn did his best not to say anything. But he would watch her, kept tabs on her.
He even saw her spiraling out of control. Though she didn’t commit the actual crimes her ex boyfriend had, she was his get-away-driver, which was enough. Alana was then sentenced to probation and banished to Render-not that Earth was a good place to stay at the time. Manifesto never gave him a time frame because of Alana’s delicate nature.
No parents, no history of origin. No friends, no other family members. She was adopted, and when she turned eighteen, Alana immediately left her foster parents. Since that moment, she had always been in harm’s way.
Only to grow up and be intercepted by Shawn and Manifesto. Then, she would learn what she really is. Ralden was specific with his own instructions. Not to sway her mind, but to tell her the truth.
In this case, though. You are Mr. Delgado. And you love someone you’ll never get to see again
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