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Yet another snake crossover bit.



“What happened?” Jian asks softly, neck bent so he can see her arms as he tends them, using alcohol from the first-aid kit Emberley gave him to clean the wounds from the bug’s mandibles – but not the puncture marks from Dance’s teeth. Wren told him to leave those as they were, to simply bandage them.

“I was about to code,” Wren answers, and Jian doesn’t look up, but his grip on her wrist tightens for a moment, and the liquid-soaked sponge in his hand presses into the gashes harder than before. Excess alcohol runs down her arm, drips in the dirt.

“The bug’s venom,” she continues after a moment. “I think it was a paralytic of some sort, a neurotoxin. I think that when my system wasn’t able to neutralize it, my body started overloading on adrenaline instead, trying to counteract it.”

Jian nods, head still bowed. “And now? How are you doing now?”

“Shaky,” she replies without any hesitation. “I can tell I’ve overtaxed myself more than I usually do when I use…the boost…and I’m going to feel it for a while. But I’m doing better already. The feeling is starting to come back into my hands, and my vision is improving. My pulse is starting to get closer to normal.”

“I think,” Jian says calmly, voice pitched low to make it harder for their new acquaintances to understand him, “that when we get back to HQ, you should tell Laith about this new development, and have him check you out.”

Wren is silent for a moment. “I don’t like letting on more than I have to, about the alterations. Even to Laith.” It goes unsaid that telling Jian things does not count as ‘letting on’ anything.

“I know. But…this is obviously potentially dangerous. Three years ago, your body didn’t use adrenaline the way it does now. It didn’t…surge like this. I know it’s been useful, but-”

Wren nods. “Alright. I’ll talk to Laith.”

Jian doesn’t say anything else, finishes bandaging her hands and arms in silence. Wren is content to let him. When he’s done, he carefully packs up the remaining first-aid supplies and returns them to Emberley.

It takes three of them to get Dance back over to the Jeep. Wren wants to help, but Emma points out that she’d be more in the way than anything else, and she has to concede the point. In the end, she watches from the Chevy as Jian arranges things over in the Jeep, his instructions quick and sure and reminding her very much of the war, back when they were younger. A lot younger, she has to admit, watching him move and taking in the line of his back, the way he shifts when Dance vomits.

Emma is bouncing back and forth between the two vehicles, obviously concerned about Dance but also reluctant to leave Wren unattended, and Wren finally just gives in and stops trying to get the woman to go tend to her lovers. The fact of the three of them is pretty obvious, in Wren’s view. She suspected before, but after watching Dance’s tail as he woke up…well. There’s really no questioning it.

She thinks about Emberley, and the information that name brings to the forefront of her mind. She thinks about the story Darryl told her, years ago, about Eric Tseng and Martin Vail and the dustup with Zelin Corporation. She looks at Emberley, and wonders what, exactly, they have stumbled onto here.
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Kiyakotari

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