I zeroed in on the chair nestled in the corner, just outside the reach of the lamp’s faint glow. The chair wasn’t empty, and that wasn’t a shadow shaped like a person.
The breath I took hitched as he rose from the chair and crossed the room, as silent as a ghost. He knelt a foot from the bed, his head turned to Luc, and then his gaze drifted to mine.
He didn’t speak. Neither did I.
And then he did, his voice so low I doubted it would wake even Luc. “He’s not unstoppable, you know. He can weaken.”
My stomach hollowed at the thought. Luc always seemed incredibly larger than life itself, never weak, never tired, but I knew better than that. “I know,” I whispered.
Grayson closed his eyes, and then a golden glow radiated from the center of his chest. The light washed over him as he slipped silently into his true form. A human-shaped being of light so bright it was almost like looking into the sun. His arm rose, and from within the light, I saw his hand, his fingers as he placed them on Luc’s arm, the one closest to him. A ripple of light danced up Luc’s arm, scattering across his skin in a glittering, golden wave. I felt the warmth and the low-level buzz of energy where my skin met Luc’s.
Luc still slept, his breathing even deeper, and Grayson was giving Luc some of his own energy, replacing some if not all of what was surely lost from trying to save Spencer and then healing me.
Grayson withdrew his hand and then stood, gliding back from the bed, his true form fading until he was once more in his human form. He left without saying another word.* * *Not too long after Grayson left, Luc’s arm around my lower back shifted, tightening and then relaxing. I lifted my head to watch his eyes flutter open. His gaze focused, meeting mine and holding.
“Hi,” I whispered.
“Hey.” His voice was rough with sleep as he lifted the arm Grayson had touched. He placed his hand against my cheek. “How are you feeling?”
“I feel okay. My back aches a little, but I don’t feel like I’ve been … you know, shot in the back or anything.”
“Good.” His gaze remained locked with mine, and there was an intensity in his stare that I was only beginning to recognize and realize had been there every time he looked at me. It sent a shiver of knowing over my skin.
“You?” I whispered.
I wondered how much of that had to do with Grayson, but I said nothing. I had a feeling Grayson didn’t want Luc to know what he’d done for him.
“You sure you feel okay?” he asked. “That was one hell of a wound. Got one of your lungs. Nicked a couple of vital arteries.”
My skin chilled at the knowledge unspoken in his words. If I’d been human, I most likely would’ve been like Spencer, bleeding out before anyone could do a single thing. “I feel fine,” I told him. “Because of you.”
He still hadn’t looked away. “I killed that man.”
“He didn’t know who you were. Eaton had managed to get an alert out that there was an intruder. He saw you and thought you were it. He was just doing what the community trusts him to do, and I killed him.”
My gaze searched his as I rose a little onto my arms. There was a tender pull against the skin of my back, but nothing more. “Luc—”
But he hurt you. He made you bleed. His voice slipped through my thoughts. I don’t regret what I did.
“I would’ve done the same,” I admitted, and that was the truth, right or wrong. It was the truth.
“I know.” He dragged his thumb along my jaw and then slid it to my throat, where the pad of his finger rested over my pulse. “I had no idea if you could die from a wound like that or if the SOL guy was right about what could kill you.”
Massive brain trauma. That was what Steven had claimed could take out a Trojan, and apparently blowing them to smithereens could, too, but that wasn’t something we knew for sure. Especially if I was different from the others, and it was really beginning to look like that was the case.
“You were bleeding everywhere. That blood still stains your skin right now. It stains mine. That’s the second time in a very short period of time that I feared I’d lose you.”
“Don’t apologize, Evie. Don’t.” He cupped the back of my head as he eased upward into a sitting position. The motion was fluid, causing little strain on the area between my shoulders. “There are a lot of things we need to talk about. Sarah. Hunter. What happened with her—with you—but right now, I need you. I need to feel you, be surrounded by you.” His forehead pressed to mine. “I need to forget that we’re both stained with your blood.”