April 27, 2022
06/23/2022 12:11 PM
“Standard procedure Mr. Harrington I assure you, just a few questions and you’ll be on your way like the rest of your friends.”
The protest of the former king echoed through the room but was met with declines. They were pulled in, all of them. Nancy and Jonathan stood outside with the rest of the group while he was taken in after El and questioned. The group made their intentions known right away and admittedly Steve had known their plan for quite some time. They wanted to bring El back in control of her powers in order to stop what was inevitably to come. That much was clear, and defending not only Hawkins, but his world, in general, was something Steve believed in so much, he quit his job at Family Video and enlisted to help. He enlisted, he joined to help, and it was all done in secret. It’s amazing how well a secret could be kept from the public when the aid of the government was on your side. A shadow task force was formed to eliminate the threat of the impending danger on the other side and Steve, refused to set on the sidelines defenseless anymore. He could barely keep himself and the others alive last time, no more. For the past few years he stood by their side and learned from them, evolved with them and became more than a burden, he actually did something of use. He trusted him and for the most part he believed they trusted him, but this was all offputting and he couldn’t put his finger on why. Speaking of, his right hand absently gripped the dagger that was on the table beside him. The white room used for interrogation was used on him and yet they kept a weapon on the table? Did they simply forget, something like a sharp weapon couldn’t be so easily overlooked right?
“Sir, I can’t help but notice the weapon on the table. Perhaps it should be concealed.” He spoke to which the interrogator turned to face Steve and nodded. “Would you look at that. No, please leave it where it is.” That was odd. “All due respect sir I don’t believe a blade like this should be in reach of the others.” “But the others are not in here right now are they?” He interjected. “Should I be concerned with the weapon in your care Mr. Harrington?” Eyes shifted from the weapon before he finally let it go and shook his head. “No sir.” That was all he needed before he placed a few files on the table in front of him and opened the manilla folder in order to sort through the documents that stood inside. The reflection from his glasses gave light to the paperwork in his hands and although Steve focused on it far more than he probably should have, he broke the focus when he was finally addressed. “Tell me about your family Mr. Harrington.”
This was not a conversation he was expecting to have. “What’s there to say? Mom and dad were never home. Always on the road dealing with business or just taking vacations, whichever mood struck first. They were basically shadows in my life. I raised myself.” A truth he hated to admit but there it was. “Can you describe them for me? What they were like, what you remember?” A soft shrug left him. “Your guess is as good as mind sir. Like I said, they’ve been gone a long time. I don’t remember much of anything at this point.” Again, simple and straight to the point. “Again sir all due respect but what do my parents…”
“What were their names?” The sudden question took him off guard. “What?” But it was repeated. “What were their names Mr. Harrington.” His posture shifted and he leaned forward more before his mouth opened to give the simple answer. What were his parents name? How mundane and stupid of a question to waste their time with. They were brought here for a reason, why were they wasting time on him and not figuring out solutions for what was coming? Fine, just give him the damn answer so we could move forward. Just tell them their names. Tell him their names are…
“You can’t, can you Mr. Harrington?” He was frozen, mouth opened and clouded in thought. Why was it so difficult? “Their names are…” He stopped again before his eyes dropped down toward the table and then shot back up toward the interrogator as if a plea in his eyes asked for help. What the Hell was going on? Why couldn’t he remember their names? “You can’t remember their names because you don’t know who they are, you never did. Their names are Henry and Margaret Harrington and they died when you were still an infant.” Again his body froze and the look in his eyes, it was as if his soul was being ripped from his body. His lips once more opened to speak but he was interrupted once more. “They were killed in a hit and run, mercenaries sent to eliminate them and retrieve something of importance, you. Thankfully you were never in the car with them, you were instead with us, with Dr. Brenner at Hawkins Lab. Okay this was all moving so fast and he needed to slow it down. His right hand ran along his face and through his hair before he opened his mouth to speak but was again was interrupted. He was honestly getting sick of this little trend. “Dr. Brenner took you in as a favor to your parents. They had suspicions something would happen and while losing them was incredibly heartfelt and saddening for all of us, keeping you alive was so much more important.”
“Stop! Just stop!” He needed a moment to process it. “My parents are dead? No, that’s a damn lie I just heard from them a few months ago.” But that was already foreseen. “A letter right? One we sent you. Letters, phone calls, all made to keep the image alive.” This was driving him crazy, “What the Hell for?” “To keep you from breaking Mr. Harrington. A few years ago you came to us with the intention of joining the fight and saving our world. That’s what you know. What you don’t know is that you didn’t come to us for the first time. You see when were old enough and it was time to tell you the truth about your parents, you didn’t cower away, you rose up and said you wanted to help. Dr. Brenner and several others were already working on a new project one that we’d known for a while would take technology and its advancement to the next level. One we were already aware at the time would combat what stood on the other side. You took it on yourself to harness the power needed to fight what was coming.”
“I joined your organization and learned to fight to protect my home and the people I care about but this, it’s…
“Bullsh*t Mr. Harrington?” God if there was any word he absolutely despised it was that. “You know I hate that word sir.” “Those people out there Mr. Harrington, they look to you as a leader, they look to you to keep them safe. All of them, they depend on you. There is a war coming and they need you to stand up and fight for them, not to cower away and hide until it’s all said and done.” Steve was always ready for the fight, he knew it was coming for years now. But this, all of this that he was stating really was bullsh*t, it had to be. There was no way that Steve, never wins a fight, Harrington had any kind of power to fight what was out there, not in the way he was insinuating. “I’m not El, I don’t have the power she does.” A truth that he told himself every single day. A reason why he knew he needed to do more for the people he cared about.
“Eleven, Eight, Three, Six, Nine, all incredible with power unimaginable to the human mind. Each of them capable of extraordinary and unfathomable things. But they’re no leader, they’re not capable of taking others into battle with them. They’re not you, are they…” He paused and for a moment Steves eyes shifted to meet his before he spoke again and once more his body tensed and his fists tightened.
“Number One?” His eyes quickly shifted away, trying to piece together the logic of it all. This was ridiculous right? No it absolutely had to be. The words repeated on his tongue and it sounded so foreign. And yet his hands unclenched and he glanced down at them almost as if it felt normal? “You don’t seem as shocked to hear that.”
“Why? Why don’t I?”
“Because you know it’s true. You volunteered and you were our first experiment. You were our perfect experiment, our perfect soldier. You adapted to everything we gave you and you kept moving forward. When we brought in the others and they were terrified and ready to lose their way, you kept them from falling. You stood by them and made sure they rose up again. You were and always have been a leader.”
“A few years ago I could barely throw a punch and now you’re saying I’m some sort of solider? That I’m anything like El? I can hold my own in a fight now sure but I can’t do what she does?” The interrogator shook his head. “Of course you can’t because you’re not her nor were you ever supposed to be. You’re Steve Harrington, you adapt, you learn, you grow at a far quicker rate than anyone around you.” “Then why don’t I remember?” A valid question. “Because we put a block on you or rather, Eight and Three did. You always volunteered first. You wanted every new experiment to be run through you so the others would be safe in case anything went wrong. Unfortunately the last process we ran you through did go wrong. When we were in their world, we found a piece of him, of it whatever. The creature that leads them, we found a piece of it, dna, and we needed to see if we could adapt to it. We ran the test on you because you volunteered and, we infused its dna with yours but once we did, you broke and nearly pulled yourself apart. Were it not for Eight suppressing whatever it was you were exposed to in a small part of your brain and for Three convincing you there was absolutely nothing there, you might have taken your own life. His hands were gripped together before he took in a breath.
“So a piece of that bastard is inside of me and you let me go through with it?” It was ridiculous to say out loud but there was the reality of it. “Yes, and since then, despite Eight placing you in a more fond memory living in a place you believed to be your parents home, you’re slowly opening up once more. That home you have, the one you believed was yours, we gave you. And when you sleep there you get those nightmares don’t you? Visions of the past, something you pushed away as just a bad dream.” Again he took a breath, “How did you…” “Because we’ve been monitoring you Mr. Harrington. The brain is ever learning, ever-evolving and it wants to open up the box we placed in there. Our fear is, once the box is open one of two things may happen. You might find a power unlike any we’ve seen before and hopefully use it to help the others in battle and end this war, or it will finish the job it started and kill you.” If ever there was a lose-lose situation. “But if you don’t feel any of what I said pertains to you and you think this is meant for someone else, perhaps we can have one of your friends out there take your place…” The interrogator stood up from his chair and stepped toward the door. “Perhaps I’ll just ask…” But before he could make it to the door the dagger that was on the table was impaled into the wall just in front of his face to the left. Barely missing him, with Steves arm extended and a look of anger on his face. With the interrogator making eye contact with Steve, a smirk overtook him. “The prodigal son has returned. So you know, you were pretty good with knives long before you ever picked up that bat.” But Steve wanted none of it. His arm returned to his side before he asked.
“When do we get started…”
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