[This post is from Hecate’s point of view.]
Lightning struck near enough that it shook the ground and left them both momentarily blinded, the crack of thunder that accompanied it leaving their ears ringing. Thom lurched toward her and his son, as if to shield them out of instinct. Lin startled violently in her arms, then started to wail. An inaudible curse slipped from her lips as she shifted her grip on the infant, holding him pressed against his shoulder and rocking back and forth, making soothing sounds neither of them could hear.
Damn! Are they fighting for control of the storm now, or is someone’s control just slipping a little? Hecate wasn’t sure she wanted to know the answer. Her head rang even as her vision cleared and her hearing started to return. She could feel the buzz of electricity against her skin, as if the ambient energy in the air hadn’t faded.
Thom was shaking slightly as he pulled away, complexion washed-out in the firelight. Hecate cursed again, more softly this time. Lin was starting to calm, though only slightly.
“Here,” Thom whispered. “Let me take him.”
“Please,” Thom said, slumping against the log bench behind them. “Besides, you may need your hands free soon.”
Hecate swallowed bile. Did he just see something? Or is he just taking precautions? “Are you—?”
“Not really,” Thom said as she eased his son into his waiting arms. He winced slightly as he shifted Lin into a more comfortable position. He was still crying, but it was starting to taper off, as if his fear was ebbing. There was no doubt in her mind that he’d been crying from fright. She’d seen reactions like it before in infants and that was always what it was.
Hecate brushed her fingertips over Lin’s hair, glancing up to meet Thom’s gaze. There was fear there, fear that set her guts twisting again. “Thom.”
“You need to get to the wall,” he whispered. “Go. They need you.”
“I just do,” he said. “Don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answers to.”
The problem was that she really did want to know the answer—he just didn’t want her to press.