November 8, 2006
noon (NYC time)

"I'm late, I know," Lynette says as she steps into her office building. Everything in the office was white, inside and out, with glass and silver accents. It gave the space a sort of futuristic look. Lynette stood out in her black suit and red top. Shoes, too. "But I brought coffee," she says as she hangs her jacket on a coat rack near the receptionist's desk. Turning, she sets a coffee cup down on the desk. "You're not mad, are you, Reya?"

Reya, a small woman with a gentle voice, reaches over to take Lynette's face in her hands. It is an uncharacteristically rough gesture. "Mira," she says, turning her toward a small TV on the far side of the desk. Lynette hadn't even noticed it on when she came in. Reya's hand drops from Lynette's face and takes her hand instead.

BREAKING NEWS flashes on the screen over a reporter looking blanched. It takes Lynette a moment to realize what she's looking at. A live feed of Midtown from the air, smoke obscuring most of what was left of the buildings. The feed cuts to a ground view, distant enough to see some intact buildings, with destruction in the distance.

"…coming in from the ground. There is no way to know the extent of the damaged caused by the bomb at this time. Emergency responders have not been able to safely enter…"

"I don't — " Lynette cuts herself off. What was there to say. She grips Reya's hand and the pair of them stared at the screen, hoping that this was all a nightmare. Coffee forgotten. Work day forgotten. Their phones start ringing, family and friends trying to reach out to make contact, but neither woman was ready to answer. Not until the shock passed.

It wouldn't come quickly.

November 8, 2011
3 pm (NYC time)

Ahead of her, a number of escapees and their guides taking them to the evac point. Not a high enough number. Behind her, gunfire getting quieter. Her lips tremble as she fights off a sorrow she can't account for and guilt she'll learn to live with. Whoever he was, she had never seen him before in her life, not that she could remember.

But he saved her. Died for her. Was dying for her.

Who was she to deserve that? He might have known her, but he didn't know her. If he did, he'd have known better.

She pulls out her gun, checking for ammo, forcing her mind to think of something else. Even if his face and the blood blooming on his chest were burned into her mind. An after image cast over hallway walls and bullet-pocked doors. Her feet came to a stop. She took in a breath. Two. Three. Slow, deliberate. Her hands had to stop shaking or she wouldn't be much good to anyone in this facility. And she had to be.

She had to save someone in here. Anyone.

Just one? Please.

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