Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Island belong to their respective creators, Joss Whedon and Michael Bay.
She wants him to call her Summer.
She is upstairs, on the couch, legs folded under her as she dozes. He watches her from five doors away, on a small screen he holds in his hand. He was on his way inside, returning from the facility, and he couldn't help stopping to check and see where she was.
He's been standing there for an hour, watching her and telling himself it's observation.
She's transparent, really, to anyone who knows her—pouting when he's neglectful, sulking if he censures, but softening, always softening, when he takes her in his arms. Starved for his attention, pretending she isn't. He's found that she's naturally shy, but also quite affectionate if given both time and patience, and that she tends to confuse physical intimacy with emotional attachment.
From surveillance, he knows she's becoming more and more restless, spending her time prowling from room to room when he's not there. She's tired of reading, of exercising, of playing on the simulators, of waiting all day for him to come back. He's seen her on the screen standing at a holoprojected window, staring into the distance of the recreated sky and ocean. He's seen her walk back and forth from the door of the bedroom to the door of the house, the motion of her body slow and liquid.
She's begun to exhibit certain indicators of matured replication. Her reaction times, from what he's observed, are already twice that of a normal girl, and her reflexes are improving. He calculates that, at this rate, it's only a matter of months before she develops the meta-human strength and speed that Walsh couldn't shut up about, the extra-human characteristics that he couldn't find any sign of in either her pre- or post-embryonic DNA. The theory is that once she actually starts to present those abilities, the genes will also have presented themselves, and from there they can trace the mutation—if it is
a mutation—to the origin.
There is, of course, a chance that the mutation won't be there at all, that it was specific to the original specimen and hasn't repeated through the process. If that's the case, he'll have to wipe the project and try again.
On the screen, she sighs and stretches, the material of her white dress clinging to her skin.
He disconnects the screen, pushes off of the door of the car, and goes into the building.
The security systems register his biosignatures, from corneas to DNA. In the entryway, he stands still as he is decontaminated and scanned, and, when the light greens, proceeds through a third door and into the house itself.
She's sleeping when he reaches the top of the stairs, an arm over her eyes. He puts down his briefcase, his coat, shrugs out of his jacket. When he leans over the back of the couch, she exhales fitfully and turns into the cushions.
“One-Alpha,” he says, low, nearly a whisper. “One-Alpha.”
She turns her head. Her eyes open, but she is still half-asleep when she whispers, “Merrick.”
He raises an eyebrow.
One-Alpha shakes her head and looks at him again, awake now. “Ben?”
He smiles. “Good morning.”
She looks vaguely guilty.
Soon, he'll have to take her in. There is testing required that he cannot apply here at home, and samples to be extracted in the lab. He's already preparing the sedatives he'll have to use when he brings in the removal unit.
He asks her, “Are you hungry?”
She seems distracted throughout dinner. This is something different—he's accustomed, after six months, to being her focus. He is bothered by it—not because of anything else, but because it is a change in her behavior that he didn't expect.
Her mood persists through the meal and after, when they are tidying up. Abruptly, as she is taking a dish out of his hands, she asks him, “Do you love me?”
It is a question he's been expecting for weeks, and he's prepared. “What do you think?”
She bites her lip. He hasn't seen her do that before, and he wonders suddenly where she picked the gesture up. “I don't know.”
The expression on her face and the tone of her voice are of hesitation. It's one of the things her psychological profile warns of, that Subject One-Alpha can be extremely disarming in her vulnerability.
He does not balk. “You know how I feel about you.”
She smiles, radiant, and he decides it is a measure of her physical beauty that there is an unfamiliar tightness in his chest.
When he takes her to bed that night, there is a certain urgency in their movements. It is reminiscent of the first time they were together, the night five months earlier when he'd gone to check on her and been unable to leave. She gasps and whispers beneath him, her fingers in his hair, her lips against his skin, and he can't help but think of her face that first, desperate time, when she trembled and cried out and then wept, hands stilled clutching at his shoulders where she'd tried to push him away.
One-Alpha is flawless. There is a certain symmetry and perfection to the strands of her DNA that he has never seen before in any of his other subjects. When Walsh had sent him the first specimens with which to replicate the original, he had felt his heart stop in his chest. She'd refused to tell him where she'd gotten it, would only provide the sparsest details as to the original, and then the woman went and turned up a corpse, killed in an accident on a military testing site.
Somewhere in the world, there is a small, blonde, green-eyed girl whose DNA could be the next rung in the ladder of human evolution.
Benjamin Merrick closes his eyes, his body pressed, rigid with need, into that of Summer One-Alpha, and thinks of her.