[This post is from Marin’s point of view.]
Drawing closer to the fire, I saw Thom sitting near it, leaning silently back against one of the split-log benches, out son against his chest. He looked like he was nearly asleep but fighting it. My breath hitched for a moment.
I thought he was below. I thought he was safe. What the hell? What was he thinking?
The problem was, I knew what he’d been thinking—or I thought I knew. His eyes blinked open slowly as we got closer and he winced, pushing himself up a little straighter with a groan.
“It’s over?” he asked quietly, eyes on me and nothing else. There was a fever-gleam there, one that was becoming disturbingly familiar.
“Yeah,” I said as Leinth and I eased Seamus down beside him. “For now, anyway.”
“Always for now,” Thom murmured, watching me for a second before he glanced at Seamus, then back to me. I shook my head.
“You’re happier not knowing.”
“Are you okay?” he asked, surprising me when he didn’t press for an answer to the question he hadn’t asked.
A lump built in my throat as I dropped to one knee next to him, my fingers moving of their own accord to brush along the curve of his jaw. He was warm, but at least he was there. “Am I ever?”
He pressed my hand against his cheek, exhaling quietly as he stared up at me. “None of us are.”
“We turned them back this time,” I said softly. “At least there’s that.”
“I sent her because you needed her,” he said. I blinked at him and he smiled. “Hecate. I could—just a gut feeling Mar. You needed her more than Lin and I did.”
My throat got tight again and I hugged him tightly, ignoring the fact that I knew he was still hurt and that I was soaked to the skin, briefly sandwiching our sleeping son between his. Thom winced but reached up to lace his fingers through my wet hair, cheek pressed against my temple.
“I just want to keep you safe,” he whispered. “Even if I can’t be there, I want you safe.”
“I love you,” I whispered back. There was nothing else that I could say—even those words didn’t adequately express everything I was feeling.
Thom pressed his lips against my temple and held me there for a moment longer. It was only a moment, but it was everything—everything.
I can’t lose him. Not today. Not ever.
We were one and we both knew that.
Unfortunately, it was starting to seem like the rest of the world did, too, and was determined to do something about it.