[This post is from Marin’s point of view.]
“Are you all right?” Hecate asked me.
My gaze flicked up from the infants to meet hers, where I saw a flicker of fear almost overshadowed by concern. I took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly, nodding. “Yeah. Yeah, I’m okay. I should—I should really get back to Thom, now that you’re all out here. You’re going to stay a bit, aren’t you?”
“Not very long,” she said quietly. “I’ll need to get Tory back to Neve and Cameron, and then I think it’s probably time that Matt and I get some sleep. It’s been a long night.” Her smile was radiant, though small. For the span of a few heartbeats, I saw the girl she’d been trained to be so many yesterdays ago in a time and place long erased by time. It was a glimpse of who she had been before she’d been broken and remade. Matt wrapped his arm around her shoulders, staring down at Tory for a moment.
For a second, I could see another tomorrow—not long in the future, either, it seemed—one where I could see them together, but it was their child, another member of our slowly growing family. There was relief and love in both of their gazes and it made my throat tighten.
Then I blinked and it was gone.
Lin had wrapped his tiny fingers in the swaddling around Tory. I smiled weakly and reached to disengage them. Hecate shook her head.
“Let them be for a moment,” she said softly. “They’re bonding and that’s as important as him bonding with anyone, isn’t it?”
“I suppose so,” I whispered softly, reaching with my free hand to gently smooth my hand over the newborn’s dark hair. He had Neve’s eyes, but I knew in my heart of hearts that he would grow up to take more after his father than his mother, would grow up to look remarkably like his uncle as well. “He’s beautiful. Tell them for me?”
“Of course.” Hecate smiled at me, warm but tired. I reached up and squeezed her shoulder gently.
“Get him back to his mother and father and sister, then,” I said softly. “Then pack yourself off to bed.”
“Do I look that bad?”
“Worse,” my brother said, then pressed a kiss to Hecate’s temple. “Come on. There’s some blankets with our names on them.”