He was talking about April Collins, a frenemy who’d hated on the Luxen so much she’d rallied together like-minded classmates and held daily protests. The irony of it all was that April wasn’t even human.
She was like me.
Her hatefulness was engineered by the Daedalus and had the sole purpose of sowing fear and distrust of the Luxen into the human populace.
When Heidi and I had somewhat accidentally exposed her as something other, April nearly killed Heidi by putting her entire hand through my friend’s body.
Luc and I had found a stash of serums at her place, but we’d had no idea what they were for and we’d lost them when Luc’s club was raided. The serums weren’t the only thing we’d discovered at her place. We’d also found her handler, who I’d … shot … in the head like it was something I’d done before.
For all I knew, it could be something I’d done countless times before, and I just had no memory of it.
“And the Daedalus survived only to grow stronger, to grow smarter,” Eaton said.
“That doesn’t explain how a dead man is supposedly alive,” Luc shot back.
That was a damn good point, one I couldn’t wait to hear explained, but I suddenly felt … weird. Wired, almost. Like I’d downed three of those espresso shots Zoe liked to drink. Had to be the fact that I was hungry and unused to not having at least several tablespoons’ worth of sugary snacks by this point in the day. I pushed the odd jittery feeling aside and focused.
“Did you see Dasher die, Luc?” Eaton asked, shoulders sunken and weathered face tired. “No. All you saw was that he was shot and that he bled.”
“He was shot in the damn chest, man.” Luc’s hands curled into fists. “He went down and didn’t get back up. It was a mortal wound.”
“Did you hang around afterward?” The worn leather couch shuddered when Eaton sat, his long legs stretched and boneless as he met Luc’s stare fearlessly.
Luc didn’t answer for a long moment, and a ripple of power flared around him, causing the air to thicken.
“I wanted to destroy everything that he was, erase him from this earth, but I couldn’t.” His chin dipped, head tilting to the side. “Jason had contacted members of the damn alien task force when I arrived. Officers were on their way. I feared my presence would…” He trailed off as the veins under his skin began to glow as white as his pupils.
“You feared if you lingered, your presence would jeopardize her.” Eaton jerked his head in my direction.
We were made for each other.
That was what Eaton had told us. That the Daedalus had a hand in us meeting the first time, when I’d been Nadia. That they were counting on him to form some kind of bond with her—with me—and through that bond, they thought to control him.
Like they’d tried with Dawson and Beth, Daemon and Kat, and most likely, countless others.
If that were true, it made sense they’d anticipate Luc doing anything to make sure I was safe. Even if that meant taking the risk to leave before being a hundred percent sure Jason Dasher was truly dead.
He wouldn’t do anything that would ever hurt me. That was the one thing in this world I knew for certain. He would rip himself apart cell by cell before he harmed a single hair on my head.
But I …
Sudden clarity sliced through me like an icy wind. My next breath threatened to choke me. I could hurt Luc. Badly. In fact, I already had. If he hadn’t gotten through to me, reached through to me, when I went all psycho Trojan, taking out the Sons of Liberty, a group that had been activated to take out the Trojans before it was too late, I would’ve killed Daemon.
I would’ve killed Luc, who I loved with every fiber of my being.
But in those woods, he was not the boy I loved before and the man I loved now. In those moments, Luc had become nothing more than a challenge to me—a threat this alien part of me saw and had been trained to take out. I …
I had peeled his flesh from his bones with just a thought.
Sickened, I squeezed my eyes shut, but that did nothing to stop the images of Luc going down on his knees as his skin tore, as he begged me to remember who he was.
I had believed in my heart of hearts that if I became what I had in those woods outside the safe house, Luc would be able to stop me. He’d find a way to get to me before I hurt anyone. But we’d been missing an important piece of information.
That I was coded to answer to Jason Dasher.
I had an idea of what that meant thanks to April’s reaction to me after she’d used the Cassio Wave, a device that had awoken whatever training I’d had. She’d expected me to go with her without question, to return to him, a man nameless at the time but I now knew to be Jason Dasher.