She looked so much younger in her sleep - so small, so utterly unselfconscious. No tension. No fear. One hand curled into rippling black hair, indistinct in the moonlight... the other flung out toward the edge of the bed.
His girl. His princess.
It is almost over.
Donna had been so damn proud of herself. "We've found her," she'd said. "The true Lishaya. She's with Jason." Found her and read her, and yes, that faraway girl was the real thing.
And they were bringing her here, to reclaim the city. To take it from the Council.
Upon the adjournment of the meeting, he hadn't waited around, hadn't gotten all self-congratulatory with the others. Not caring how it looked, he'd... not fled, exactly. Not run. But left. Unable to bear being around them. And spent hours just wandering. Club after club, then finally just roaming the streets. Restless. Not knowing where to go.
Well. He did know where he wanted to go, really. Where he wanted to be. Who he wanted to be with.
The halls of the compound were busy even at this hour. He'd even seen Janos on his way in. He realized only now that he hadn't even thought of telling him. That he wouldn't tell him. What purpose would it serve? What could Janos do? Kill the Lishaya? The damage had already been done. Their run was almost through.
And his Alanna...
There was no question, no chance of her survival. The only question was who it would be. Fenris, taking his revenge for the deaths of Jessamyn and his Kirayth? The Lishaya herself? Janos, to protect his secrets?
He sat beside her, suddenly too weary to stand; he stroked her hair, her beautiful face, and she struggled awake. "Jer'mie?" she mumbled in her half-sleep. He remembered her at four, at six, calling him that. His girl...
He placed two fingers over her lips. "Shh, princess."
He saw the question in her eyes as she fully awakened. His Alanna. So close to the end of her life, and never to know it. "Shh," he whispered again, lying down beside her and drawing her into his arms. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."