“It doesn’t normally feel like that?”
“It feels like an intricate part of me. What came out of you felt different. Maybe it’s because I was engineered from birth. I don’t think it’s like that with hybrids, either. Probably because they have a Luxen to anchor the mutation. Maybe it feels that way because it’s in you, but you’re not really a part of it, at least intentionally? Each time you’ve used it, it was forced upon you, either by physical threat or emotional distress. Maybe that will change as you grow more accustomed to it. I don’t know. Either way, I’ve never felt anything like that before.” His voice grew quieter. “That kind of power? What I felt with it in me? That could be addictive. I’m a smart enough boy to acknowledge that, but it was more than that. Like it was … I don’t know, attempting to meld to me at a cellular level.”
“That sounds really bad.”
“Yeah, and it doesn’t sound possible, either. It’s not, so I could be reading what I felt completely wrong,” he said. “But instinct is telling me if I did it often, it would change me, and my instinct is never wrong.”
Ice drenched my insides. “You mean, like, you’d become Robotic Luc and stay that way?”
“I think I would become far worse than that,” he said, and in the darkness, his eyes found mine. “I would become something to truly fear. It should only be the option of last resort.”
It shouldn’t happen again. If Luc was concerned something like that would happen, it couldn’t. “I don’t think you should do it at all.”
Luc was quiet for a long moment. “There are other ways I can lock you down, Evie, if it comes to that.”
Sensing there was a reason why he didn’t use one of the other ways in the first place, I placed a hand over his. “Those ways would hurt me, wouldn’t they? That would be the only reason why you didn’t do that instead of taking my power.”
“You know me so well.” He slipped his hand out from under me. “I can do things you’ve never seen me do.”
I managed to suppress the shiver his words incited. I’d seen Luc do a lot of things that were impressively powerful, so what else could he do that I hadn’t seen?
“If I wanted to, I could reach inside your mind and shut you down. It wouldn’t be painless. I imagine it would be like what you felt when the Cassio Wave was used,” he explained, and that had been the worst pain I’d ever experienced. “I could make you think and see things that weren’t there, just like the batch of Origins Micah was a part of could. That’s not all.”
My heart was beating heavily. “There’s more?”
He laughed, but it lacked his warmth and humor. “The serum used to create me is a part of the Andromeda serum. I know this, because there were things you did in the woods that only I can do. Things Micah and the others were only beginning to develop.”
I was almost afraid to ask. “What things?”
“The way you broke bodies with your mind? How you did it with a curl of your fingers without touching them? Those are things I can do.” He lifted a hand, brushing his hair back. “But I’m nearly as fast and as powerful as you, and I couldn’t do what you did with the earth, turning it into a weapon.”
He was talking about how I’d turned the soil into ropes of death, basically. I honestly had no idea how I’d even done that other than I’d thought it … and it had happened.
“What about Archer?” And little Ashley and Daemon and Kat’s soon-to-be-arriving child. “What about Zoe?”
“Neither Archer nor Zoe can do any of those things. I was a surprising fluke of perfection before they created the last batch of Origins,” he said, and it wasn’t said with a hint of arrogance. “Each Origin has its own unique abilities. At least that’s how it’s been. Ashley has a way of knowing things.”
Like how she’d known I was Nadia?
That was still kind of creepy.
But I was also now kind of creepy.
“In the woods, when it didn’t seem like I was going to reach you?” He shifted away from me, onto his back. Cool air immediately invaded the space. “I tried it.” He exhaled heavily. “I hated the idea of causing you pain even though I figured by that point it wouldn’t do lasting harm like it would with humans. Their minds can’t withstand it. Scrambles the brains quite literally. But I couldn’t get in. It’s like that ability was taken into consideration when the serum was perfected.”
Could the Daedalus have been that proactive? The answer was a resounding yes. They’d taken all the successes and failures of the previous serums and worked with that knowledge, not against it.