From all accounts, the surgery was a success. The damaged chip and the scar tissue were removed from her parietal lobe without observably traumatizing the surrounding tissue. Her vital signs had remained stable throughout the procedure. She had woken up briefly in recovery and when asked what her name was, replied,

"I'm batman." and then giggled and fell back unconscious. Daniel hoped that was just anesthesia induced delirium. People often said silly things first awakening from surgery, the drugs causing both delusions and amnesia. He had sat at her bedside watching the monitors, lulled by the steady beat of her heart monitor into a near sleep when she first opened her eyes. She felt unreal. Was she still dreaming? She lifted one of her heavy hands and saw the IV coming out of it, reached up to her face and touched the nasal cannula of the oxygen. She reached a hand up to her head but felt only heavy bandages. She wiggled her feet, and was very pleased, secretly afraid that if they removed the chip they would damage her some irreparable way. She could see Daniel, sitting next to the bed, eyes closed, lightly dozing. He was so handsome. Dark, almost raven haired, long and curly. Long eyelashes resting on his high cheekbones. She tried to clear her throat and speak his name but her throat was so dry she only managed to croak a little.

"Dan....Daniel...." she whispered loudly and he sprung to his feet, startling her, as evidenced by the increase in the beeping of her heart monitor, whose alarm started sounding, alerting the nursing staff to a change in her condition. He had just started toward her as the nurse came crashing through the door to check her patient.

"Oh good! You're awake Miss Hightower!" The perky little nurse chirped. She was about five feet nothing, bright red hair pulled back into a french braid, intelligent light green eyes darting from machine to patient, noting things down on her clip board. She worked opposite the side of Daniel so he could hold Lily's hand unimpeded. The nurse finished her assessment of Lily, asking about pain, assuring her that she would bring her some pain meds and ice water right away before dancing out the door to see to it leaving her alone with Daniel. He was gazing at her in an adoring way and made her blush.

"Are you okay? Do you know who I am? Who you are? Where you are?" LIly nodded yes to all of the questions and as soon as the nurse gave her the water and she had swallowed her pills, she replied,

"Yep. I seem to be all here, as far as I can tell. How much trouble am I in?"

Daniel patted her hand and told her not to worry about that now, there would be plenty of time later, and besides, Rock had signed a confession stating that he took full credit for this adventure and proclaimed that she was his unwilling hostage. The court would certainly look at her leniently in light of that. Lily dropped her eyes to the bedding. She could feel her heart swell with tenderness that Rock would protect her that. But what of him? What horrible punishment would he meet? The thought was interrupted by an alarm sounding on the base. Many feet went running by and she could see many men outside, large platoons swarming the grounds, their weapons at the ready. Daniel went to stand and look out the window. His cell phone rang.

"Tortuga. Yes? What?! Find him! I don't care anymore, dead or alive."

Daniel swung back to look at Lily. "He's escaped. We don't know how, but he has."

Lily smiled a little inward smile and looked at Daniel.

"You can't keep him in a cage. It just doesn't work. He is a free spirit, a ghost practically. I know. I've tried. It can't be done." Daniel went on talking about the government and how far reaching it could be but Lily knew it's limitations and one of those was Rock. He was free. Somehow that thought made her very, very happy. It meant that someday, somewhere, she would meet up with him again, and who knew what would happen then?


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