This is a crossover between Shades-verse and Anne McCaffrey’s Talent universe. In the Talent books, Ezro is Miss Not Appearing in this Book, so I made everything up about her… including her gender! Although the witch’s streak is said to be a family trait among Rowan’s descendants, so… yeah.
“In case you forgot, that’s my dad lying there.” Anastasia does not want to leave her dad alone in the hospital. This doesn’t go over well with Christian; fortunately, Ana’s got a little Talented backup.
My hands shake as I slowly drink my tea. I can’t taste it; my mouth is dry and cottony. My mind is running in circles–Ray’s the only father I’ve ever known. He saw me through my first tooth lost, my first bike ride, and my first crush (followed by my first heartbreak). He’d even held a small service in the backyard when my hamster, Chewbacca, died.
I can’t lose Ray. He’s my father in all the ways that truly matter. The doctor’s put him under, so at least I know he’s not in pain right now.
I stare at my dad’s face, as Christian announces, “Anastasia, we have to go.”
Without looking at my husband, I reply, “No. I’m staying here.”
“Anastasia, I’m not playing with you.”
I finally turn and glare at him. “You think this is a game, Christian?” I jab a finger in the direction of Ray’s unconscious form. “In case you forgot, that’s my dad lying there. You can leave if you want, but I’m not moving from this seat till I’m damn good and ready.”
He grabs me by the arm and drags me out of my seat. My Styrofoam cup of tea hits the floor, a lukewarm puddle forming on the pristine white floor of Ray’s hospital room.
My voice is sharper than I ever remember it being. “Christian, no!”
“Is there a problem, here?” A young lady pops her head in; she doesn’t seem to be a nurse, as she’s wearing a t-shirt and jeans. Her dark hair has a thick white witch’s streak, and is pulled back in a fraying ponytail.
Christian speaks first. “Not at all. We were just leaving.”
“Sounds like she wants to stay,” the woman replies.
“I don’t think it’s any of your business,” Christian snarls at her.
“Actually, it is my business when an untested Talent tries to use their gifts to manipulate people.”
I can only stand there, confused. I’d heard of the Talents, but I didn’t realize they worked anything other than interstellar shipping.
“I’m Ezro Gwyn-Raven, T-3 medical. I’m the Talent assigned to your dad’s case.”
Christian audibly gasps. I frantically search my memory for a link. Gwyn-Raven… did that mean that Callisto’s Prime Rowan and Earth Prime Jeff Raven were her parents?
She nods at me. She can hear my thoughts! Though it may sound odd to some, that excites me rather than freaking me out. I’ve heard the Talents have very strict rules of etiquette, and respect a person’s right to their private thoughts.
I just wanted to stay with my dad for awhile, I think at her. But my husband wants me to leave. Unbidden, the thought of what he might do to me for my disobedience springs to mind.
Ezro’s pale grey eyes narrow and she turns a withering glare on Christian. “Sir, I think you had better leave, or I’ll call security.”
“Very well.” He jerks me toward the door.
“She stays,” Ezro insists. “There’s some sensitive matters I have to go over that require attendance by Mr. Steele’s next of kin.”
I sigh. Thank you.
Her eyes unfocus for a moment, as if she’s being spoken to, then she adds, “But as for you, Mr. Grey, the Talent Center Director wants to see you. The LEOs are on their way to collect you.”
At that declaration, he bolts. But, just as suddenly, he trips and face-plants onto the floor–an obvious kinetic shove.
“I’m not as strong as my parents in ‘pathing or ‘porting, but I do have enough juice to deal with the occasional troublemaker,” Ezro says calmly. “You, sir, are going to sit down and be quiet until your escort arrives.”
She then smiles at me. “Ms. Steele, I’ll meet you at your dad’s bedside in a few minutes. You may take all the time you need.”