She cried as her mother lay down on that hospital bed, no hope for the older woman, as the doctor said. She was old and far behind the transplant line. Her own daughter couldn't save her, their bond not earned by blood, but by love and law.
A man saw her tears and approached her carefully, afraid of startling her, as she was awfully distracted in her grief.
But she looked up before he could say anything, and gave him a hopeful smile. The woman offered him a seat. He inquired about her problems and she told him everything.
He was always around hospitals and heard that story more times than he would have desired. And he could and wanted to help the young woman and her poor mother.
After arrangements and some degree of manipulation, the man gave his kidney and his pancreas to the dying woman and saved her.
And now the daughter had an eternal debt. However, the woman knew it would happen since the moment her body sat down in that hospital hall that she was about to sign a deal with the devil.
Galathea was a dedicated woman. Demian was a reckless man. He did not mean to imprison her when he decided to donate his organs. But good intentions do not stop bad things from happening.
Demian expected to be out of their lives in 2 months after the surgery recovery and then, maybe show up during birthdays and that's it. But he found himself waking up from his haze to the face of marble that was Galathea. He had learned to recognize her even during the mist of heroin after he pops his joy way too many times.
The smell of his vomit and urine infested the apartment, if that housing for scum could be called an apartment. Rats and cockroaches ran away when the lights were turned and the woman winced. She hated this kind of situation. She loathed the apartment, the smell, the syringes on top of a small table, so old you could see dried blood there.
Galathea put on a face mask and rubber gloves and grabbed the cotton shooter by the shoulders, taking him to his bathroom and leaving him there, under the water coming from the showerhead above.
"Don't drown. I'll be right back"
"Thea..." He smiled like an idiot.
"Sober up. Another shot and you're dead."
"That's why you here then."
She didn't answer. It was obvious. She came to his place whenever she saw he was going to die if he kept using his drugs at such a fast pace.
Galathea kept him away from the drugs just long enough for him to be acceptable to donate his kidney. After that, his life belongs to himself. She simply preserved him alive. There was a limit even for his body and she stopped him from going any further than that.
The woman said nothing while she cleaned everything the best way she could, wiping puke from the old titles that were already in a terrible state of conservation, throwing away the needles in the safest way she had available, killing cockroaches and scaring rats away using a broom.
It wasn't perfect. But it was better. At least the smell didn't make her want to waste all her dinner on the floor she just cleaned up.
Her face was hard as marble as she walked to the bathroom and pity herself the task to undress the man in front of her.
"Thea... I can do it."
She looked at the wall for a few seconds before turning her head to him and grabbing the shirt he wore and taking it away from him.
"No, you can't."
"You promised not to see into my future all the time."
"I break a promise when you break yours. You promised no more heroin. Equivalent exchange."
She disrobes him completely and grabs a soap that is way too small to give a baby a decent shower. But she's using it. There's more inside her purse, but she isn't about to pamper the big idiot.
Galathea might have been a little too rough with him while cleaning his body, but she was a veterinarian, not a nurse.
"I'm feeling a bit better."
"I know your body doesn't allow you to stay high for too long but you can't take one dose after another and another." The woman threw a towel at him. Tired of his shameless nudity.
"I'm not very good at keeping count after a while."
"There must be a better way to control this."
"I gave you my other idea and you said no."
"I can't cut off the extra parts your regeneration creates when you don't get hurt or when it is not busy cleaning your body from drugs and alcohol."
"Yes, you can."
"I'm a veterinarian, not a doctor. I'm not cutting off extra limbs of a human being! I might lose my license."
"You might!" Yes, he was getting sober fast. "so you saw into the future and there's a chance you're not caught!"
"Yes, the future where you stop using this shit so frequently like this!" That was a lie. She just wanted him to stop. Just wanted to stop this routine of coming here and finding something worse than a crime scene.
"Well, if I stop the drugs then I need you to cut the tumors."
"Talk to a doctor!"
"And what the fuck am I going to tell the doctor, Galathea? Hey, I'm a fucking freak! My body keeps restoring me even when I'm not hurt and it creates extra limbs or tumors all over my body and I need you to remove those things."
"You're asking exactly that to me, Demian!"
"But we are the same, Thea! You're a freak too! You know what doctors and officials will do if they put their hands-on either of us. And just so you know..."
"You're going to sell me out."
"Stop looking at my future!" Demian moved so much his dick was like a helicopter between his legs and Galathea was about to cut it off.
"I wasn't, you're just so damn predictable!" Another lie for Galathea.
"I'm not going to be a lab rat, Thea. But if I'm going that way, you're coming with me."
"I think there's another solution. We give something for your body to reconstruct."
"I donate organs all the time already."
"Not that. Something smaller."
"That ain't something small, you fucktard."
"You barely feel pain. So... Maybe small scrapes and cuts. Nothing too deep. From what I've noticed, your body just needs to regenerate often, not necessarily something big." Galathea threw a pair of clean underwear at the male.
"So you want me to self-harm?"
"It sounds quite terrible when you say it like that..."
"But that's it, right?" He covered himself to shield the older woman's eyes from his nudity display.
"Pretty much so. Sounds like a bad idea now."
"It is a bad idea. But it's not as if my ideas are any better, Thea." He smiled and brought her with him so they could talk somewhere else.
They sat in his living room. Galathea didn't felt comfortable sitting on his dirty couch but they needed to talk things out. One more time.
"I had this idea when I was high a few days ago." Demian barely initiated and Galathea was interrupting him already.
"Are you sure you want to keep talking? That's not a promising start."
"Hear me out, woman! It's just something obvious really. We are superhumans. We can help people. I mean, I helped you and your mother. I help lots of people with my blood and organs. Maybe being a superhero isn't impossible. I could do some good things and if I get hurt is alright because I need to keep the regeneration factor under control."
"Hero? You? You have the morals of a pig."
"I know. That's why you'll have to be my sidekick."
"First of all, how dare you calling me a sidekick when I'm clearly the most competent of the two of us. And second of all, I'm pretty much a borderline sociopath."
"I know you are. And I know I'm terrible too. But we can do it. I can be the shield and you can be the brains. It's not like you don't do that already."
"Yes. But I don't own shit to other people." Galathea rolled her eyes. "Why is your couch so sticky?"
"I don't know. Semen maybe?"
"Ugh, Demian, please do not even joke with that kind of shit, please."
"Just give it a day ok? I know you've used your skills to be a dick and mock people..."
"Damn right I did."
"But you also used it to save your mother. And to save me from an overdose, several times. You can help others. And they can own you shit. Imagine that, Thea."
"Listen, I get it. It could help you and, hey, bonus stage! Help other people too. But that also exposes both of us too much. If it starts to be seen as more than just two idiots fighting crime... The cops could get involved. Then the federals. And if someone higher than that actually sees what is going on really we are fucked!"
Demian held her by her shoulder and gave a little squeeze.
"Don't go so far seeing the future. Not even you can know with certainty what's going to happen. You can only see the possibilities."
"I know that very well. But I can see the past written in rock. I can see the present tattoed on skin. And I can see Which future has more chances of happening. I'm not going too far. Those are the possibilities in seven to ten months from now. And to avoid that we can't help everyone and get them out of danger always unharmed. And we can't save everyone. Some people will be left behind."
"I imagined so."
"And I'm making those calls, ok? You will simply obey me when it comes to who is going to be saved by us and who is going to meet their own fate."
"Not even a 2 minutes debate?"
"Only if you are sober."
"Very reasonable, my amazing sidekick."
"The chances of you getting slapped in the face are increasing drastically."
Galathea looked at his hands and he was shaking already. It's not his abstinence yet, even though it does comes fast and strong but also leaves rapidly. Demian just can't stand the days of the torture the lack of cocaine and heroin represents.
"Thea... I need to eat something."
"I'll call and have some food delivered here." Her yawn was somehow cute. Demian had a soft spot for Galathea even though she did not felt the same way.
"Can't you... Cook for me? Just something easy like fried chicken and potatoes."
She sighed and debated with herself if she would actually do that. She bathed him, cleaned his house, saved his life (again), came all the way from her farm to the periphery to help him, and now she also has to cook?
The older woman was about to say No in quite the rude tone. But she saw his tired face, the huge dark circles under his eyes, the way his shoulders shake slightly because he was still wearing only underwear and it was a cold night. Galathea said yes.
She helped him get dressed up, made some fried chicken with vegetables and even helped him when he had problems reaching for his mouth with his hardened fingers.
"Ok, now I'm going back home."
"Really? Can't you sleep here? You don't have to work tomorrow, right?"
Demian missed her. She was his only friend. And he had been in love with her for three years now. She was bossy and cold and quite annoying but she was the only one that never told him how he should live his life. She didn't like the way he was excessive but she never really told him to stop with it completely. Galathea was brutally honest and she always seemed to be upset with something. But he understood it. She could see the future, she couldn't have fun watching a movie because her skill would spoil it for her. She saw the punch line miles away from the joke. She could know the end of every book just touching them. She knew everyone's past and she could tell all the bad things they could do to her so a date was just a disaster. However, he still loved her. And that was surprising for Demian as well.
"I do have to work tomorrow." She wakes him from his daydreaming. "But only after 1 pm. I don't have to go but this place is filthy, Demian."
"Take me with you then."
"I'll behave, promise. I just don't want to be alone tonight. Please, Thea. I'm going to help you with the animals and I can sleep on the couch."
"You sleep on the couch on your own house." She wasn't impressed. "Oh, please, don't say that, is terrible..."
"But I... Oh, ok, you are still peeking."
"Fine, you can come with me. Just because I'm too tired already." She pressed her fingers against the bridge of her nose. "Can you at least pack some clothes? I know we are the same size but I don't want to share."
"You wore my period panties last time!"
"It was 100% cotton!"
"That's why I bought it for myself!"
"Alright, alright. I promise. I'm going to get some clothes in my room. Don't leave me while I'm getting ready, please."
She just nodded and got close to the door, not standing that sticky couch anymore. She would shower as soon as she got home. An entire day at the clinic, dealing with pigs, was better than staying in his house.
Demian grabbed just a pair of pants, underwear for a week, and shoved everything inside a paper bag, running to see if Galathea had left without him as she had done another times before.
However, Galathea actually waited for him. She was jiggling her car keys, tapping her feet against the floor and when the woman looked at his face she almost laughed. He was like a dog wagging his tail, all happy and goofy.
"Ok, boy, let's go." She joked.
Galathea helped him get to where her truck was parked. She was thankful he lived on the first floor because his legs were as firm as banana peels.
As they left the building and walked toward the truck, a man grabbed her by the shoulders, forcing her to drop Demian on the floor. Galathea felt the cold metal of a gun being pressed against her back.
"Oh, so that's the timeline we are..."
"The car keys, bitch." It was a man.
"Oh, for fucks sake." She sighed.
"Not the appropriate answer, Thea!"
"Listen, I'm not giving you the keys. I don't have money for a cab and I'm not sleeping here."
"That's not an option, baby." The robber hit her back with the gun.
"Don't hurt her!" Demian was about to cry. He mustered his strength to get up. "Thea, give him the car keys!"
"No way, I'm still paying for that truck!"
Demian got closer to Galathea and the robber, keeping his hands raised, trying to calm the situation. His friend was not helping at all and Demian was trembling. He could not lose Galathea. It would kill him.
"Listen to your boyfriend."
"Oh, no, you didn't." Galathea grabbed her keys and used the tip of one of the longer keys to hit the robber on his thigh, going all the way to the hilt of the key. "Who is the baby now, bitch?!"
The moments between the man screaming and Galathea retrieving her keys from the man's flesh were short, but enough for Demian, who jumped between the two hot-heads. He heard a "bitch" and then an explosion. The gun has been shot.
Demian felt the arms of his beloved behind him and smiled. She wasn't the one that got hurt.
"There's a bullet on your stomach!"
Well, everyone has to pay a price.
Some people started to peek out of their windows. Some screams of "call the cops" or " get an ambulance" getting louder and louder.
The aggressor grabbed his gun and made his away toward a dark alley. A terrible day to commit a crime wearing ripped jeans.
"Are you ok, Demian?"
"Yes, but we have to get out of here."
Galathea was thankful for all the training the animals she treated with provided. She was strong enough to carry the other adult and put him inside the truck. Demian wasn't thin even with all the drug abuse. His regeneration kept his muscles there, so he was quite heavy, but he got inside the vehicle and Galathea drove away as fast as she could.
"Good one, hero."
"It could have gone better, miss know-it-all! How you didn't saw him coming?"
"First of all, it was actually a compliment! Second, I didn't know that was the current timeline we are living! The timeline with the highest chance of robbery was the one you stayed inside and left me alone. It was unlikely, ok?"
"Ah, it hurts..." He cried out.
Demian had his hands full of blood. He tried to keep the pressure on the wound, it was under his ribs on the left side so he thought it wasn't so bad. Galathea was driving fast, eyes on the road. She was trying to figure out if the future would be better if they went to a hospital or just head straight home.
"Thea how could you not know..."
"Let me think! Do you think I have a fucking search bar on my brain?!"
"Well, do you?!"
"No! Now shut up!"
If they went to the hospital, there would be the normal procedure. Cops asking questions, having their phone numbers and addresses. They would have to go to an interrogation room. To a trial eventually. It would take months to end. Even years. They couldn't deal with that.
Going home meant taking care of Demian herself. The neighborhood is not cop friendly so they wouldn't get much there. There were rare possible futures where someone remembered any number of her car's plaque. But she wasn't sure where this timeline was heading to. From what she could calculate, the chances of peace were higher if they just got home.
"We are going to my farm. For a few days. Or weeks, I don't know. You can't get back there and talk to cops." Galathea grabbed some tissues on her work bag and threw them at Demian.
"All that time?"
"Probably. Just until things cool down. You just have to behave. My farm is not a rehabilitation camp, you hear me?"
"Loud and clear."
He was in pain, bleeding, shivering, glimpsing black dots on the corners of his eyes, but he was happy. An entire week seeing Galathea and spending time with her. Maybe even more time. Maybe now he could show her his not-jerk side. He wasn't bold enough to assume he could make her fall for him. But maybe like him. She barely stands him now. It could be a great start.
"Hey... I'm a hero now, right?" He smiled at her.
Galathea almost choked. So much blood on his teeth. That's not good at all. She tried to keep her cool. But a human is different than an animal bleeding.
"Yes... I guess you are, idiot."