Luc still watched me, brows pinched.
“You know, it kind of reminded me a little bit of the people that the Daedalus mutated with those newer serums.” Dawson’s jaw worked as he stared at the floor. “I saw enough of it with my own eyes while I was … with them.”
Air lodged in my throat. Dawson had been with the Daedalus at some point? I remembered what Luc had said about the Luxen that had been held by the Daedalus and all the terrible things the organization had forced them to take part in. Unspeakable things.
“It’s like what some of those subjects went through, but not. The ones I saw were a lot … bloodier.” Dawson exhaled heavily. “And the Daedalus is no more, so it can’t be that.”
“But that doesn’t mean that someone didn’t get their hands on leftover serums or injections, just like we already suspected.” Luc now had my hair between his thumb and forefinger. No one in the room could see it, but it felt like everyone knew because I was so hyperaware of what he was doing. There was something soothing about his touch and the gentle tug on my scalp every time he ran his thumb over the strands of hair. “It’s possible that’s what happened to her.”
“Or maybe—God, I can’t believe I’m saying this—but maybe it is some kind of sickness,” Emery said, exhaling heavily. “We don’t think there’s anything we can pass to humans, but things evolve, right? Or maybe it’s something human we haven’t seen yet. You all saw the news about the people that got sick with something that resembled the flu, right? Killed them quickly and supposedly had symptoms that none of the doctors had seen before. You guys had someone already die at the school, and then the other guy got sick.”
“Can we all just acknowledge that a flu doesn’t do that?” Kent was still perched on the arm of the couch. “Unless it’s, you guessed it, a zombie flu.”
Dawson cracked a grin.
“She levitated,” Luc reminded Emery. “Straight up left the floor. That’s more supernatural than viral.”
Emery exhaled heavily. “We need to find her, because that’s the only way we’re going to figure this out.”
Actually, I had an idea. A good one. A smart one. A helpful one.
Excitement thrummed through me. For once, I could actually be useful when it came to their problems instead of being a part of their problem. “I can talk to, um, my mom. I mean, if anyone knows anything about the Dae—”
“No,” Luc cut me off. “Absolutely not.”
I stiffened. “Why not?”
His eyes flicked to mine, and those jewel-tone eyes were as hard as granite. “I don’t want you discussing anything you see here with Sylvia Dasher.”
My skin prickled like an army of fire ants had descended on me. “That makes no sense. She already knows about Ryan and Coop, and if anyone knows—”
“Wait.” Dawson pushed off the wall, arms unfolding as he stared at me, his eyes slightly wide. “You’re the daughter of the Dashers? I thought you were—”
“Kind of,” I said. “She’s kind of my mom.”
A whitish glow began to surround Dawson’s body as he moved toward me. The center of his pupils turned white, encompassing the irises until his eyes shone like hard diamonds.
I didn’t see or feel Luc move.
One moment he was lounging next to me, and a heartbeat later, he was directly in front of Dawson, eye to eye. “You need to calm down,” Luc said, his voice as soft as it had been when he’d spoken to Sarah. “Evie has nothing to do with the Daedalus.”
Dawson didn’t respond, but Emery had removed her arm from Heidi, her entire body tensed and ready. Meanwhile, Kent looked like he was missing a bucket of popcorn to go along with what he obviously found entertaining.
The whitish glow pulsed around Dawson, and Luc stepped into him, forcing the Luxen a step back. “She’s not his daughter. She’s had nothing to do with them, man. You need to calm down or I’ll have to make you calm down. You feel me? I’m hoping you do, because I really don’t want to make Bethany a widow and little Ash fatherless.”
“Luc!” I gasped, scooting to the edge of the couch as Daemon’s warning surfaced once more. “Jesus. That’s a bit much.”
“No, it’s not.” His reply came on a low growl. “Not nearly enough.”
I gaped at him. “Yes, it is.”
The faint light around Dawson faded as a long, tense moment passed. “I feel you, Luc.”
Neither moved for a long moment, and then Dawson returned to where he’d been standing against the wall, his jaw thrumming as his emerald gaze flicked from Luc to me. “Sorry, I’m just a little confused.”
“Welcome to the club.” Kent grinned as Luc returned to the spot beside me.
Heidi eyed me, her nose pinched like it always was when she was trying to figure something out, and my stomach sank. Since she didn’t know the truth about me, I knew none of this made sense to her.