August 27, 2018 at 3:00 pm
MUSC, Charleston, SC
He looked up from the case folder spread out on his desk at Dr. Ilyza Ukinov with a frown. She was normally down in the E.R. as a rape trauma doctor, so for her to be up here there must be another case. But by the way she stared at him with sympathy and the understanding a doctor only had when they were about to break horrible news about a loved one his stomach dropped to a ping pong between his knees. And he knew by the way her expression softened that it wasn't a case. It was something worse.
Sebastian rose to his feet, hands braced on the desk. He told himself it was to keep up his intimidating persona, but he knew Ukinov saw through it by the way she smiled at him. Neither of them were fooled. It was to keep him from falling on his face because his legs were suddenly numb.
Is this what fear feels like?
"Where is she?" He didn't elaborate but he didn't have to.
"In trauma five. They're checking her out now. By the time you make it down there she'll probably have her own room," Ukinov answered, her Romanian accent thicker than usual but likely because she was reading off his emotions.
"Thank you," he replied and meant it even if the news she'd brought him wasn't remotely close to what he'd wanted to hear. "Let me lock up and I'll be right down."
Ukinov nodded before stepping away from the doorway but she paused and turned back instead of leaving.
"You really care for her, don't you?" She sounded awed, not that he blamed her.
He'd worked with most of the staff here for a decade, some for longer, and in all that time none of them had known him to show any interest in another human being besides the patients he cared for. Even then his façade only cracked around children. But then he'd met Brianna and everything had changed. He had opened up to colleagues who previously hadn't known much about him. He told them incessantly about Brianna, his golden-haired Persephone, the light in his world of darkness and death and the heartless victims he'd stacked up around him like the walls of a fortress.
And it would seem he'd been less subtle than he'd thought if his colleagues had kept an eye out for her name, for her description, in case she arrived at any of the local hospitals for anything more serious than a head cold or the flu.
If he was capable of it, he'd probably feel touched.
"Yes," he answered while looking at the only picture frame on his desk.
It was of him and Brianna outside Velocity after an afternoon of chasing each other across the trampolines. Her face was flushed, smile wide enough to split her face and crinkle the corners of her eyes, hair pulled back in a messy bun. He looked gobsmacked, staring down at her with a look of wonder and something unnameable, his hair windswept, cheeks flushed slightly from the exertion of the workout. He hadn't known she had been taking a picture until after she'd giggled and turned the phone to show him. Sebastian had been too caught up in how easily she'd slipped her arm around his waist and pulled him against her side. Too shocked by how natural it had felt to press his palm against the small of her back, the wind carrying the scent of her to him, intoxicating and cloying in a good way. Too amazed by how agreeing to something so simple as going to Velocity with her that day had been enough to keep her smiling all day long.
"Seb?" Ukinov's voice broke his reverie. With a shake of his head to clear it, he looked at her with a raised eyebrow. "Come on. I'll walk with you."
He wanted to argue that he knew the way, wanted to argue that he was fine. But he didn't because doing so would make him into a liar. And he was many things but a liar wasn't one of them.
"Alright," he answered and pushed away from his desk, grabbing his phone, keys, and wallet from the top drawer.
As he closed and locked his office behind him, as he turned and followed Ukinov to the elevators, he tried to get control of his expression, tried to stay calm because the closer they got to the E.R., the less he looked like Dr. Sebastian Kane and the more he looked like the Heartless.
But if someone had harmed his Brianna? He'd happily take up his tools again and go hunting.
And he'd bring the Lowcountry to its knees.