Even now, she fought the wrenching need to go to him, touch her skin to his.
So long, it had been so long.
Accessing the telepathic channel between them, a channel that had been open on his end since he’d found her, she stretched out a hand into the darkness. Would you like to sit with me? It disturbed her to see him so alone.
He was seated beside her a second later, his eyes on the heavier waves rolling in to shore as the tide began to come in, the foam kissing the sand a meter in front of their feet. “You like the sea.”
“I always have,” she said, able to feel the heat of his bigger body in spite of the inches that separated them. “When I was first put in a cell, I used to imagine the motion and the breadth of the sea to keep myself calm.”
Kaleb’s eyes on her profile, potent as a touch. “You remember everything about the years you were held captive?”
“No,” she whispered, refusing to turn, uncertain she could resist the need that drew her to him, “there are gaps.” Almost, she told him about the irreversible damage done before the labyrinth, when she hadn’t understood the cost demanded by her ability.
“And before?” he asked. “Do you recall the first sixteen years of your life?”
“Not all of it.” However, she had the sense that those missing pieces weren’t permanent. “I’ll remember when I’m read—” She broke off as Kaleb rose to his feet without warning, reaching down to pull her up at the same time.
They were back on the terrace before she could do more than take a breath. Gasping, she swayed, would’ve stumbled if he hadn’t steadied her. “Kaleb? What is it?” she asked, gripping at his upper arms.
But he was already gone, leaving her holding on to air.
KALEB FOUND HIMSELF surrounded by chaos, screams shattering the early morning hush in Copenhagen. The rescue workers who’d already made it to the scene shouted for people to clear the area, their Danish rapid, fire crews rushing to stifle the flames. However, no one approached Kaleb where he stood in front of the apartment building that had collapsed in on one side from the force of the explosive device, clouds of dust lingering in the air as flames blew out windows to shower bystanders with splinters that sliced and cut.
The building was an ordinary one, filled with ordinary people—but for one thing. It was— had been? —home to a scholar working on a thesis that challenged the Adelajas’ original theories and proofs on the value of Silence. The scholar’s focus had been on the well-disguised disappearance of the Adelajas’ twin sons, known as the “firsts,” on which the couple had based their entire theory that conditioning emotion out of the Psy would save them from the insanity and violence that threatened to destroy their race.
Kaleb knew that because the NetMind and DarkMind told him everything that might impact the Net —as they’d told him of this explosion—but if this was a Pure Psy attack, then the fanatical group had far better sources of information, and more powerful sympathizers, than he’d guessed.
Glancing up to locate the source of the thin scream, repeated in Danish and again in English, he saw a woman with an infant cradled against her chest in one of the seventh-floor rooms that hadn’t collapsed in the initial blast. Judging from the thick gray smoke spiraling around her, he knew she and the child would be dead in minutes.
It took no thought to teleport up to bring mother and child to safety, the woman’s coughing drawing the attention of the medics, though it was the child she thrust at them with frantic cries. Wrapping both survivors in a blanket, the medics began to check their distressed patients for smoke inhalation.
“I’ll take this side,” he said to the teleporter who’d arrived a second before in response to Kaleb’s direct request that the Arrows render assistance. “There are people trapped in rooms we can’t see from here.”
Vasic nodded and disappeared to the back of the building. His partner, Aden, was already organizing the paramedics, including Arrow medics, with military precision. It was the first time in living memory that the lethal squad of assassins, their black uniforms marking them as some of the Net’s most dangerous men and women, had so publicly stepped in to offer humanitarian assistance.
Leaving Aden to manage the manpower so that the right people were handling the right tasks, Kaleb zeroed in on the next trapped survivor. As long as he had a viable visual lock, he could get to them.
* * *
UNSETTLED by Kaleb’s sudden departure, Sahara decided to walk through the house while she got her thoughts in order. As she knew well by now, it wasn’t the spartan cube people might expect of a cardinal Tk. Instead, it flowed from level to level, each divided from the other by a single wide step, with the lowest featuring a small internal koi pond filled with bright orange fish and surrounded by foliage that thrived in the warmth created by multiple skylights that occasionally opened to let in the cooler outside air. The temperature in the pond itself, she realized today, was regulated by a separate system, to ensure it remained comfortable for its inhabitants.
It made her so happy, that pond, her eyes spilling over with emotion. “Silly girl,” she whispered, wiping away the tears to kneel beside the jagged stone that bordered the water, emotion thick in her heart.
This place . . . this entire home, it felt so familiar, so safe.
It was a long, peaceful time later that she continued her walk through the airy, light-drenched rooms and wide hallways. Yet, regardless of its generous use of space, the house wasn’t so big that it felt impersonal. No, it was a home, with a hundred tiny details that denoted thought had been put into the design, with every room but for a limited few having wide floor-to-ceiling windows.