It would have been a welcome, if not terrifying, sight to wake up in the hospital, surrounded by what flowers had been left and small gifts of well wishes that had yet to be cleared out by his mother or his uncle during their routine visits, but with rays of sun dancing across his face where there had once been darkness wasn’t exactly unwelcome either save for the blinding effect it seemed to have on his eyesight while the rest of the world - whatever world it might have been - filtered in around him. It took on a far more natural feeling, replacing the hard black of what may have very well been his subconscious with a world swathed in light and heat that was of sharp contrast to the water his feet had been found in when the firm ground beneath him had seemed to melt away, becoming liquidus and fluid like the river he had found himself floating in now. Not without support, the cushion of manufactured plastic beneath him in colors appropriate for the water park he had found himself in kept him afloat without struggle - no need to hold more air in his lungs that necessary to float on his own or balance his body just so while they drifted along.
It was only in recognition of the time and place that Connor had found something amiss, suddenly jerking up from the raft only to flail when he was tipped from it, dunking himself into the relatively shallow water of the lazy river - one of many attractions that, contrary to its thrilling water slide companions, served as a moment of peaceful normalcy after the events of the prior weeks when death may have just as well been knocking at the doors of his existence.
Even here, in parts illogical for someone else to be in that wasn’t born of someone’s own psyche, she had been there, lasso in tow on the off chance that trouble might have followed them from Knowhere or parts and problems unknown - one could have never been too careful as identities were becoming far more revealed, outed by circumstances that they couldn’t avoid no matter how valiantly they had fought back - with a smile and laughter on her face, even if it did come at his own expense when he had finally surfaced again, spitting water out of his mouth as he ran a hand over his face and through his hair to clear it from his eyes.
It hadn’t been the first time he had flailed like Kermit the Frog and, continued surprises pending, it likely wouldn’t have been the last, but where he would have rather found himself evading stray water wings, tossed off by children who didn’t want the wear the things and managed to pull them off, or intentional splashes of water from an innocently playful water fight, there was something - a jolt from the unknown - that had brought him back to a conscious and unfortunate reality, an unfortunate situation, that hadn’t been so telling of the same peace and happiness that might have been found in the light at the end of a long tunnel. That something - that shock from another world - seemed to draw him in another direction, to another place in time, where things weren’t so idyllic.
There was nothing idyllic about being electrocuted even if the reasons for it in the reality of his situation had been for the better, his hands reaching up with all the urgency and ferocity that could be found in his bones to try and pry the imaginary collar off of his neck. Each jolt was another twist to the landscape around him, another reason to clench his fingers tight against the metal he could feel there, and a splice of one memory into another that didn’t always line up with what anyone would have hoped to see when their life flashed before their eyes.
And when it had settled, when the jolts had stopped and he had been given an opportunity to lay back down in that darkness again, he heard it again - that fine line of sound that pierced through his mind with a shifting tone, flat at first, but beeping with a growing consistency that, had he given it some consideration, some thought versus focusing so intently on the labor of heavy breathing and the phantom pain of events once lived, matched the beat of his own heart. Eyes closed, body recumbent, the world around him seemed to fade into calm again much like it had in the I.C.U., fingers unknowingly clenched around one of the few dolls that had been left in the room, a recent gift from the very same woman to grace his memory but moments before, and the same he had woken his eyes up to again when he had finally felt at ease once more.
Not that the sound of falling artillery shells and gunfire was particularly pleasant nor did it put anyone at least, but even No Man’s Land had to quiet even if just to dwindling plinks of ammunition hitting the unsuspecting in the distance. The village had been liberated thanks, in no small part, but the grand of it, to the woman who had been so inclined to stay awake, to keep watch, while the men, weak and weary in mortal frames, took to their drink in celebration and took to their rest with the realization these moments were few and far between; and Connor, abstaining where he had save for a night cap in lieu of rest that was much more beneficial to his well-being than wines of unknown makes, thought the world of it.
Sometimes, it took an army. Sometimes it took a bomb, but sometimes, and in the most rare of forms, it took a single woman - blessing of the Gods or not; but even as he moved around this space projected by his own mind, memories not his own lived in the form of a dream between two people, with a sense of ease, the fear felt palpable - that maybe there was an ending on the other side of the church doors they had bunkered up in, destroyed by the invading forces though not without the hope of being rebuilt; that maybe if he took a sip of the bottle he had in tow, still with a considerable amount left in it, it would somehow bring the roof crashing down above them; that maybe, somewhere in the vastness of a world still widely unknown and parts of the Earth not made for the eyes of man or mortal, the Gods weren’t smiling on him as favorably as Ares may have, because he knows what happens at the end of this story and it doesn’t involve flying a plane peacefully into the sunset.
But even so, that isn’t the end as the fiery explosion to come of such sacrifice finds itself nothing more than an irritant sparked up by someone with a cigarette and a lighter, burning away the unlit tip of something practically non-existent on the public streets of San Francisco, Connor waving his hand over his food as if it would do anything to propel the irritant away until his attention is cast into another direction, to another person, to the chaos caused of a sister gone missing through mysterious circumstances and the poor person stuck to a wall because of it.
“I'm Donna, Donna Troy, and you are?”
“I'm Terry. Mcginnis.”