Dance of the Gods Page 15

“I have more than I did before. Maybe I’m more open to it now.” Taking a few pins out of her pocket, Glenna efficiently bundled her hair up. “Maybe it’s the connection with Hoyt, the connection we all have to each other. But whatever it is, I’m finding power inside me I never imagined.”

“Looks good on you, too. You need to know, to accept, to understand, what the three of you did today was amazing, and it was powerful, and it saved lives. And regardless of that, you have to know, accept and understand it isn’t something you can do again. At least not anytime soon.”

“We could get more, I think,” Glenna said without turning around. “Maybe only one or two at a time. We were greedy, we wanted to get all we could, and we burned it all too long.”

“Glenna, it’s your territory, like I said. But I’m the one who was looking at the three of you after the serious whammy went down. The fact is, both Larkin and I thought, for a minute there, you were dead. What you were was all but emptied out.”

“Yes, that’s exactly right. Exactly the right term for it.”

“You may not come back from it the next time.”

“Isn’t that why we’re here?” Glenna’s hands were steady now as she measured the tea leaves. “To risk it all? Isn’t it true that any one of us might not come back each time we walk out the door, each time we pick up a weapon? How many times have you picked up a weapon and the gift you have and risked it all?”

“I couldn’t count the times. This is different. You know it. Larkin and I…we need you. We need the rest of you strong and healthy.”

“You nearly died today, didn’t you?”

“Thanks to dragon-boy—”

“Blair.” Glenna turned, took the steps over and closed her hand tight over Blair’s.

Connections, Glenna had said, and Blair felt it now. You didn’t evade the truth, Blair decided, with someone you were so closely connected to.

“Okay, yeah, it was bad—bad enough I wasn’t sure we’d get out of it. But it could’ve been worse. We all did our jobs, and now I’m having a beer and you’re making tea. Good for us.”

“You’re better at this than I am,” Glenna murmured.

“No, I’m not. Just more used to it. Being used to it, I can have a beer because I know we not only beat her today, Glenna. We insulted her, and that feels tingly right down to my toes. And you know what I’d like?”

“I think I do. I think you’d like to go back there and do it all again.”

“Bet your ass I would. Nothing better, that’s the pure truth. But it would be stupid, self-indulgent, and it would probably get us all killed. Take the victory, Glenna, ’cause you sure as hell earned it. And accept you may not be able to do it just that way again.”

“I know it.” Glenna walked back to the stove when the water began to boil. “I know you’re right. It’s hard to accept you’re right. In the past few weeks, I’ve held magicks stronger than anything I ever dreamed existed. It thrills—and it costs. I know we’ll need more time, more preparation if we try to do what we did today again.”

She poured the water into the pot. “I thought we’d lost Moira,” she said quietly. “I felt her falling away, slipping. She’s not as strong magically as I am, certainly not as strong as Hoyt.” As the tea steeped, she turned back to face Blair. “We let her go. We let her go, only an instant before it exploded. I don’t know what would have happened to her if we’d held her in with us.”

“Would you have gotten so many out without her?”

“No, no we needed her.”

“Take the victory. It was a good day. One question though. How did you know where to send them? Not the magic stuff, just the logistics.”

“Oh, I had a map.” Glenna smiled a little. “I’d already calculated the quickest routes to hospitals, in case any of us needed one. So it was just a matter of, well, of following the map.”

“A map.” After a laugh, Blair took a deep drink. “You’re something, Glenna. You are something else. Vampire bitch had you on her team, I think we’d be sunk. Hell of a day,” she said with a sigh. “I rode on a freaking dragon.”

“It was cute, wasn’t it, how surprised he was we didn’t have any.” Chuckling now, easier now, Glenna got down cups and saucers. “What did he look like? I paint them sometimes.”

“Like you’d expect, I guess. He was gold. Long, wicked tail—took a couple of them out with it. And the body’s more sinuous than snakelike. Yeah, long and sinuous, the body, the tail, the head. Gold eyes. God, he was beautiful. And the wings, wide, peaked, translucent. Scales big as my hand, that went from pale gold to dark, and all the shades between. And fast? Holy God, he’s fast. It’s like riding the sun. I was just…”

She trailed off when she saw Glenna leaning back against the counter, smiling.

“What?”

“I was just wondering if you have that look in your eye over the dragon or over the man.”

“We’re talking dragon. But the man’s not half bad.”

“Gorgeous, fairly adorable, and with the heart of a champion.”

Blair raised her eyebrows. “Hey, didn’t you recently get married—to somebody else?”

“It didn’t strike me blind. Just FYI? Larkin gets that look in his eye, now and again, when he turns in your direction.”

“Maybe he does, and maybe I’ll think about taking him up on it one of these days. But right now…” She slid off the table. “I’m going to go upstairs and take a really long, really hot shower.”

“Blair? Sometimes the heart of a champion is tender.”

“I’m not looking to bruise hearts.”

“I was thinking of yours, too,” Glenna replied when she was alone.

Blair heard voices from the library as she passed, and veered just close enough to identify them. Satisfied that Larkin was speaking with Moira, she rerouted for the steps to head upstairs. She wanted nothing more than to wash away the sea salt, the blood and the death.

She paused at the top of the steps when she saw Cian in the shadows of the hallway. She knew her fingers had reached down to skim over the stake in her belt, and didn’t bother to pretend she hadn’t. It was knee-jerk. Hunter, vampire. They’d both have to accept it, and move on.

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