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The Singer Elizabeth Hunter 2022/7/22 11:38:40

Rhys went backto the Oslo house to let Lang know what was happening. Malachi stayed in the spare bedroom at Max’s. Renata had given Sari that address. When Ava came to the city, she would meet them there.

Malachi tried to sleep, but his dreams troubled him. He was once again walking through a dark forest. Ava was nowhere in sight, and she no longer called for him. In fact, the air was dead silent. No birds sang. It was as if all life had left the place. He walked through the shadows, softly calling for her, but she did not answer.

When he woke, he stared at the ceiling, wondering what it meant. From the beginning, his dreams of her had kept him sane. Was she simply not sleeping? Had she withdrawn? Was that even possible between mates?

It was early morning, but the moon was still out. He stared into the blackness outside Max’s flat, ignoring the city lights and looking at the stars. A soft knock came at the front door, and he sat bolt upright in bed.

His heart raced, but the only voice he heard was unfamiliar. And male.

Malachi threw on a shirt and walked to the door. Cracking it open, he saw an Irin couple standing in the entry way. The woman was embracing Renata, the man was shaking hands with Max.

Damien. This must be the Watcher they spoke of. He was imposing. Commanding. His presence filled the room, and keen eyes swept the apartment. Malachi opened the door a few more inches and watched as Damien finally saw him.

Shock. Grief. Disbelief. Awe. The emotions flickered through his eyes though his expression did not change. “Impossible,” he whispered.

“Not impossible,” said Max. “He’s here. It’s him.”

Malachi stepped into the room and saw Sari watching him.

“It’s him. It’s…” She grabbed for her mate’s hand. “Damien?”

“Yes.” The first hint of emotion hit Damien’s voice. “It looks like him. Brother?”

Malachi approached. “It’s me, Damien.”

An exclamation of praise in the Old Language, and then Damien walked to him, grabbing his shoulders in a tight embrace. All taciturn soldier forgotten, he hugged Malachi as a brother.

“Praise heaven! I don’t know how this is possible,” Damien choked out. “It’s you. Your voice— It’s truly you. How?”

Max said, “We don’t know. Evren thinks it’s Ava’s power. That she somehow brought him back.”

“I heard her,” Malachi said quietly. “In the Old Language. She called me to come back to her. And… I did.”

He heard Sari say, “She can project her visions. Can she actually will them to be?” Her voice bordered between awe and fear.

Damien slapped Malachi on the back and stepped back, wiping his eyes. “No miracle like this would occur without the will of the Creator himself. Who are we to question this, milá?”

Sari was still eyeing him with some suspicion. “This will be a shock to her.”

Damien nodded. “We will be cautious. But this could not have come at a better time. She has been drawing away. She bought plane tickets to London on her phone.”

“What?” Max said. “London?”

“Her father is there. I think she was planning to go to him. Not that I’d have allowed it, of course.”

Malachi bristled at Damien’s tone, even though he knew the watcher was guarding his mate. “Where is Ava?” he asked. “Is she with you?”

“Heaven, no,” Sari said. “We needed to make sure Renata hadn’t lost her mind first. She’s at Lang’s house. She was happy to see Brooke there.”

“And Rhys,” Damien added. “Though we warned him not to say anything about you yet.”

Sari said, “I think she and Orsala were going to get some sleep. Neither was able to rest in the car.”

“So you know she was planning to escape to London, yet you left her in an overwhelmed scribe house with only a few guards?” Max asked. “That seems… prudent.”

Malachi walked to the door, grabbing for his jacket. “Take me there.”

“Brother, hold.” Max put a hand on Malachi’s shoulder.

“Take me to my mate!”

“Give her time to rest,” Sari said. “This is going to be a massive shock. I know you need to see her—you must be going out of your mind with it—but give her time. Otherwise your reunion could go very badly.”

Malachi vibrated with need. His heart was racing just knowing she was within reach. He ached for her, but he tried to think of Ava’s needs before his own. She thought him dead. It was going to be a shock no matter how much they prepared her. He slowly released the grip on the doorknob and stepped back.

“It’s not even dawn,” Damien said. “Stay here. We’ll bring her to you later today. But let us give her time to prepare. Don’t forget, Malachi, she felt you die. You don’t remember that pain, because you were gone, but she lost half her soul that day. She barely ate. She has grieved, brother. This may be far more difficult for her to accept than any of us can know.”

“And you are not yourself,” Max added, squeezing Malachi’s shoulder. “You barely remember her. You barely remember any of your past. You love her, but you don’t know her anymore. You will have to learn each other again.”

“Give us time, Malachi.” Sari, the Irina whom so many regarded with frightened awe, came to him and embraced him. “Give your Ava time, and we will bring her to you.”