It was dark when Amanda stepped into the Black Room. She saw the fake sky hanging like a piece of dark velvet above, lit up by a series of bright specks that were meant to represent stars and other celestial bodies. She climbed up the nearest column and looked for the wall to her ancestors' memory. It was hard to miss from this height - the glowing blue wall set in the strange mineral that dotted Animus Island. She spotted a campfire some way below her and leapt down from the column to drop in front of it. She landed in a crouch, the pain of the impact shook her but didn't break her. Amanda looked around and she saw him approach from a line of trees.
“Did you have to make such a grand entrance?” Daniel asked, walking up to her and putting out a hand.
Amanda took it and allowed the man to pull her into an embrace, “I was being lazy, that's all,” she murmured, tracing a finger over his lips.
Daniel smiled, “So. How come you're back so early?”
“What? Not happy to see me so soon?”
“Well, the regular absence does make your... presence more appreciated.”
Amanda giggled and kissed him, “We have got to get you out of this machine, Daniel,” she said, “I can't stand you using such big words.”
“Sorry. Me, Daniel. Very happy,” he grabbed her arse, “Me want-”
Amanda laughed and covered his mouth with her hands, “Although the caveman impression is all very applicable-”
“-I can't do this right now.”
“Is this the part where you tell me why you're here?”
“I'm on a mission to find someone.”
“Oh, 'mission'?” Daniel scoffed, “Is that what they're calling it now?”
“What did you call it?”
“A mind-fuck,” Daniel said, “Because that's what it literally does.”
Amanda rolled her eyes, “I don't have to go now, but, well... Berg is in the room.”
Daniel paused, his whole demeanour deflating, “Aw, for fuck's...” he let her go and sat down.
Amanda furrowed her brows, “You can still hold me,” she protested.
Daniel didn't hear her. He was too busy stabbing the ground with a stone.
Amanda sat in front of him and took his hands, “Stop that.”
Daniel looked away.
“What's wrong?” Amanda asked.
It took a moment for him to look back at her, “Nothing. Everything is fine.”
Amanda came forward and sat on his lap, she pressed him down so that he was lying flat on the ground, “Tell me what's wrong.”
“Nothing's wrong,” Daniel said, “and we shouldn't do this. Like you said, Berg is in the room.”
“Oh, to hell with Berg! I don't care about that right now,” Amanda said and repeated, “Tell me what's wrong.”
“Are you...?” Daniel touched her waist, “Are you dressed like this? Unconscious?”
“I'm just... I...”
“Dr Sung is also in the room!”
“Oh, okay, that makes it alright, yeah.”
“Daniel, what's the matter?”
“I told you. Nothing.”
“Then why is there a stick up your arse?”
Daniel blinked, “Sorry,” he said carefully, “I'm just... glad to see you, but not as glad that everything you do here will have an effect on your actual body and Berg will see it.”
“Would it help if I tell you that I don't really care?”
“Why would it? I know you do.”
Amanda bent over and kissed him, “But I don't.”
“Stop it,” Daniel whispered on her lips, but acting with very little resistance.
She touched the sides of his face and said, “It comes to a certain point in my mind where that's just not an option anymore,” she sat up and pulled her vest off over her head, “Not when I'm with you,” she took his hands and placed them on her hips. They didn't hold immediately, but as Daniel began to warm to the idea, his grip became firmer, “Not when we're like this.”
Daniel looked at her with desire, refusing to look at her face. He sat up and kissed her, supporting her back with his strong arms. Amanda took his coat off his shoulders, and reached under his shirt to feel his skin. Something electric snapped at her and it was anything but pleasant.
“Ouch,” she said, pulling away, “What was that?”
Daniel gave her a look, “What was what?”
Amanda pulled his shirt off over his head and gasped. Daniel's torso was split up into small cracks, blue light shining through them.
She was shocked for a moment, holding her hands to her mouth, only managing to say, “What's...? What's...?”
“It's nothing,” Daniel said dismissively, taking back his shirt and putting it on, “It's a small glitch, it fixes itself.”
“Just, Amanda, leave it,” Daniel said, cupping her face in one hand, “It's a virtual nothing, really. Just don't touch it.”
Amanda looked at his face and decided, “Okay, then,” and kissed him - even though she knew something was amiss and very, very wrong.
She ignored it for the moment - for his sake and for her own.