Havoc had been expecting the detective for a while, but not like this. Not with blood oozing out of slashes in his clothes, not with bruises across his eyes and nose. His eyes were focused on her, glazed with pain. Despite how many times he’d tried to kill her, despite the decades of one-sided animosity, Havoc rushed forward to catch him before he collapsed.
His dead weight nearly caused her to drop him. Carefully, she lowered him to the dirty wooden floor, his back against her chest, his head over her heart. Her colors, the black and red she’d been cursed with since her rebirth, bled into his body, like they were trying to turn him into a part of her. He gazed up at her, his usually piercing brown eyes glazed over with pain. “I remember… Scarlett.”
She hadn’t heard that name in a long time. It hit her like a shard of glass through her heart. “You remembered again.” They rarely let him recall long enough for him to get to her name. She smiled, ignoring the tears that burned her eyes. “Hello, Michael.”
He cupped her cheek and smiled back, his teeth bloody. “Scarlett…” He sagged into her and his eyes fluttered closed, his body limp with any mistrust forgotten with the reemergence of his memories.
Havoc closed her eyes as well. If she ignored the hum of the multiverse and the painful glitching of her powers, she could pretend they were normal again. That the Department never kidnapped him, that she never died. There was no more Myrios and Havoc; they were just Michael and Scarlett again, husband and wife.
But these little moments, these minutes of clarity where Michael remembered and came to her… they never lasted long. And despite her attempts to ignore her powers, the will of the multiverse didn’t take lightly to being ignored.
Michael’s hand dropped from her face and she opened her eyes. “Where… are we?” His voice was just above a whisper.
“You know, I’m not quite sure.” Which version of her even was this? They were in a valley, with mountains looming over them both. But the grass here was red, and the few trees she could see had withered black trunks and white leaves. “We’re in a field.”
Michael tried to sit up, but with his wounds he collapsed back onto her chest. “What is this?” She felt his breathing pick up, hyperventilating. “Scarlett, what the hell–”
She covered his eyes. “Don’t worry about it, honey.”
It was like this every time he woke up and the dimension they were in was different to earth. Her Michael was a non-nonsense kind of man. Loving, of course, but he had no patience with the so-called supernatural after a case involving a woman’s murder being blamed on a werewolf. He even hated sci-fi and fantasy movies, she recalled as she scratched his scalp. He melted into her touch.
Her Michael would no doubt hate the life he lived without his memories.
She didn’t have much time left. Like every other time before then, the Department would be searching for Michael. Every time he remembered, he looked for her, and every time he found her, they took him back and erased his memories again. So she used what little time she had left to hope he remembered this time.
“I love you,” she told him. “I love you, Michael. I always will, no matter what happens. Even when you don’t remember, even if you never remember again, please know that I will always love you.”
He tried to move her hand from his face. “Scarlett, what–?”
“Don’t look, honey.”
In the empty field in front of them, two men appeared. They hadn’t walked up or teleported in a flash of light; one second, the field was empty, the next, they were there. Both men wore gray suits like the bloody one Michael wore, the uniform for the Department. She didn’t recognize them; what happened to the usual agent that took Michael back?
One of the men, who had short-cut black hair, sighed when he saw them together. “Of course,” he said with a sigh. “He always finds his way to you, right 361?”
Havoc stayed silent, but Michael didn’t. “Scarlett? Who is that–”
“Christ, Myrios, why do you keep doing this?” The other man asked. He was identical to the first except for his hair, which was kept long. “Do you have any idea how much trouble you’re in? You killed O’Brian!”
O’Brain, that was the name of the missing agent. So, Michael’s escapes were escalating.
Michael struggled against her grip, but with her impossible strength and his wounds, he couldn’t get off the ground. He tried to pull her hand away, but he was so weak he barely tugged at her arm. “Scarlett, let me see! Who are these people!?”
“Geeze, he remembered that much?” The short-haired agent shook his head. “Let’s get this over with then. 361, are you going to fight this time?”
She wanted to. Desperately, she wanted to. Some versions of her fought with magic, others with an ax, others with a sword. They never managed to keep Michael, regardless of how hard they fought, but at least they fought at all. But this version of herself was unarmed, and these agents carried guns.
And Scarlett was so tired. Every version of her was tired.
“Scarlett?” Michael’s voice was barely a whisper. If he didn’t get medical attention soon, he’d die.
Instead of speaking, she just shook her head at the agents.
Being aware of the multiverse changes people. Being conscious of the minds of every other version of yourself, an infinite army separated by time and space, changes you beyond human comprehension.
Her only consultation was that they’d never kill Michael. He was the only person she ever allowed close enough to kill her after all.
Scarlett lowered Michael’s head to her lap. With one last brush of her fingers through his gray-streaked hair, she stared down the barrel of a gun, not for the first time. At least Michael wouldn’t remember this in a few hours.