Silvery light appeared around his open hands, and I knew I wouldn’t survive this. I wouldn’t live. I was empty, virtually human. There was no escape. All I could hope was that Daemon and Grayson recovered quickly enough to warn the others, to get as many people as possible out of Luc’s path. That they had a chance to hide, because the biggest threat was no longer the Daedalus or their flu or even their hybrids.
It was what stood in front of me.
The Source grew around his hands as the icy burn of power ramped up all around me. The wind roared through the trees. Tears blinded me as I thought what would happen to Luc if he did come back from this and he remembered what he was about to do, and what was left of my heart withered.
He continued to stare at me, brows lowered and those eyes …
He glided forward, and I wasn’t even sure if his feet touched the ground. Then he was right in front of me. My skin erupted in tiny goose bumps as he stared down at me.
“Luc?” I whispered, eyes widening as I watched him lift a hand to my cheek. The silvery Source danced around his fingertips. I didn’t move. I couldn’t. He held me there in place with just his stare. Not a single muscle could twitch. The fingers hovered near my cheek, and I had no idea what it would do when it touched me, because I no longer knew what the will behind the Source would be.
And as he stared down at me, I knew that whatever I was about to say would most likely be the last thing I ever said.
“I love you,” I whispered, body shaking as the wind caught my clothing. “I will always love you. I love you, Luc. I love—”
His fingertips grazed my cheek, and icy heat drenched my body as the Source whipped out from him.
Outside of me, the world groaned and screamed. It shook and then fell to pieces. Cement broke apart and crumbled. Buildings as tall as mountains fell in a shower of fine dust. Roofs peeled off and shattered. Trees shuddered into themselves, and metal crunched and gave way as abandoned cars crumbled. Flames erupted from old reserves of gas or propane, the fire spitting into the sky like geysers. The air turned thick with debris as the shock wave rolled and rolled and rolled out from all around us for what felt like an eternity.
Inside of me, a different storm raged. It started in the recesses of my mind, where it was dark and cloudy, a rumbling and rattling of a locked door. The silvery light ripping through steel and cement then pierced straight through me, obliterating all the shadows in a blinding rush of pain that was a shock to the system as it raced down my spine, firing along nerves. It was so consuming, so powerful that I couldn’t scream around it, couldn’t even breathe as images flashed where the dark clouds had me. Faces and events and words and emotions that all held significance, and they kept coming, years’ and years’ worth of thoughts, desires, fears, and memories.
And then the storm quieted. The images stopped. The pain stopped. The world stopped.
I wasn’t standing.
My arms dangled at my sides, and my legs were limp. Luc held me, an arm around my waist and his palm flat against my cheek. I couldn’t speak as I stared into eyes streaked with lightning. Something was wrong with me. I couldn’t move or close my eyes, speak or stop him as he lowered me toward the smoking, ruined ground.
Over his shoulder, I saw that the tower was gone, so was the Galleria. My eyes shifted just a fraction to my right, and oh God, there was nothing there. No buildings. No trees—
The hand at my cheek slid to the back of my head as I felt my legs and then my hips touched the ground. My head was guided down, and he was still above me, his lips inches from mine.
“Never,” he said, and the ground trembled under me. Brackets of tension formed around his mouth as his jaw hardened. His eyes squeezed shut and then reopened. The bolts of churning white light slowed. “Never come for me.” He slowly slid his hand out from under my head as his lips brushed the corner of mine. “Never look for me. If you do, I will take everything from you.”
Luc slowly pulled away, and for the briefest second, our gazes met. I thought I heard him whisper my name, but then he was gone, and there was nothing but heated stone and ash, glittering like a million fireflies. Nothing more than tiny specks of what was left of the city drifted back to the ground, where it fell upon me and everything around me like slivers of snow kissed by the sun.