He’s telling the truth, Luc’s repeated, his voice entering my thoughts. He has a sister. This man has her or at least got him believing that he does.
Part of me understood Nate’s actions. Just like I understood why Daemon and Kat and Dee and just about everyone else wanted to kill Blake while recognizing, unwillingly, that Blake had been put in a god-awful situation.
But we all had choices.
We just never knew which side we’d fall on until we had to make that choice.
“I wish you’d told me the truth earlier. We would’ve still helped,” I told him. “You have no idea what you’re dealing with.”
Nate closed his eye.
“Daemon,” Luc said. “Go back to the community. Warn the others that the Daedalus is here. Get them ready.”
Daemon took a step, and then he hesitated. He actually hesitated, and that said a lot, because his wife was back there, his baby. And it also said a lot that Luc was asking him to go and not Grayson. Luc had to know that Daemon wanted to be back there just in case this was something that had already turned uglier than we were aware of.
“Do you guys have this handled?” Daemon asked.
“Yes.” Luc’s gaze moved from Grayson to me. “We’ve got this.”
I nodded. “We do.”
Daemon met Luc’s stare, and then he was gone, racing off to the community, to his wife and son, and I prayed things were as we’d left them.
“Let’s go get your sister,” Luc said. “I want to meet this Morton. Super-excited about it.”
“If we go through that hall, it’s the quickest.” Nate pointed at the hall straight ahead.
“It is,” Luc confirmed. “Daemon was thinking that just before he left.”
Grayson snapped his fingers at Nate. “You. I want you right beside me. Within arm’s length the whole way.”
Frozen, Nate looked at me.
“Go to him,” I said. “He won’t hurt you.”
Grayson lifted a brow.
Nate didn’t move.
“You’re not within arm’s length,” Grayson murmured. “I do not like to wait.”
The kid gathered whatever courage he had in him and made his way to Grayson.
Luc stepped into me, his hand on my arm. “This isn’t your fault, Evie.”
I met his gaze as knots formed in my stomach. “They’re here because of me, and if something happens to the people—”
“If it does, still not your fault,” he said. “And I’ll spend the next however long reminding you of that, but right now, I need you out of here.”
“They’re here for you. The last thing we want to do is lead you right to them.” He lifted his hand to my cheek. “You have to know that would be a bad idea.”
“What’s a bad idea is you not having me there. You all are badass, but we really have no idea what’s going to happen. What if they have a Trojan there?” I said, heart thudding as I lowered my voice. “What about Nate’s sister?”
“We’ll get her and we’ll deal with whatever is there, Trojan or not.”
I stepped back. “You’re not going to fight my battles without me.”
“No,” I repeated. “I don’t need you to protect me. I don’t need you to stand in front of me. I need you to stand beside me.”
His eyes flared wide and several moments passed before he reclaimed the distance, cupping my cheeks with both hands this time. “If something happened to you—”
“You’d feel the same way I would if something happened to you,” I finished for him. “You’d be destroyed. I’d be destroyed. Together, we’ll make sure that doesn’t happen.”
“Together,” he repeated, closing his eyes. “I hate this. Every fiber of my being hates the idea of you getting anywhere close to these people. That you’ve already been close and anything could’ve happened. I hate this, Evie.”
“I know.” I gripped his wrists. “So do I.”
“No hesitation, Peaches. You’re going to kill more tonight, and if things get out of control, if there is a Trojan, take them down,” he said. “Use everything you have, and I’ll take care of the rest—I’ll take care of you after.”
“I know,” I repeated.
Luc leaned down, kissing me. It was far too quick, but it was just as powerful as any of the other kisses. Then he stepped back. So did I, and together we joined Grayson as he stood with Nate. One look at Grayson’s expression told me he agreed with Luc. He didn’t want me here, and I got that. I really did. They were here for me.
And it was me they’d get.
We walked down the corridor, past the broken men who lay scattered about.
“Cleanup is going to be a bitch,” Grayson muttered. “I am not going to be on that team.”
I shot him a look but said nothing as we reached a dark department store. Luc cut the light show, not wanting Morton and whoever else to see our approach. I walked into the darkness without hesitation. It wasn’t like I wasn’t afraid. I was scared. My heart was pounding, my fear feeding the Source and making my senses acutely aware. It would be foolish, deadly so, to not be afraid. I’d taken down one Trojan before, but Sarah hadn’t been trained like I had been, like the others. I could fail. A lot of things could happen. I just couldn’t think of them as we navigated the turned-over racks and fallen mannequins. This was my fight, and if I couldn’t hold my own here, I wouldn’t be able to out there.