There's a mess of activity as me, Buffy and Shelly burst through the castle infirmary doors. I've got Kyra in my arms but it's becoming hard to hold her. The pain sounds she's making cause a cold sweat to roll down my skin. I've never seen her like this before. Never seen her shot with silver.
The four of us were chasing a rogue through downtown. She might not have been as good as me and B but she was good. The best we've seen so far. We already knew how this one was gonna play out. Already had an end game planned. But then we cornered her in an alley.
Here's the thing. When you corner a feral animal, they'll do anything to get out. And she did. Lifted out a pistol, ready to shoot me in the face. Kyra saved me though. Jumped in front of the bullet and took it in the hip. Always knew she had my back.
But there's something about her getting hurt. Something it makes me feel. Apparently Buffy felt the same thing.
When we'd finished we were splattered with blood. When we turned around Shelly was kneeling over Kyra. Holding her hand so tight I could see the white of her knuckles. That made me frown, 'cause she was a panther before she got shot.
And then it hit me. I think I let loose a growl, or yell, or something as I raced to her side. The only way you can force an Amari to shift back to human?
They had to get the shrapnel out of her. The infection it was causing'd spread faster if they didn't. The skin around the bullet hole was already turning black.
I was sat on her chest, pressing my weight into her shoulders. B was holding her wrists, making sure her arms and hands stayed above her head. Wouldn't do any good if she got in the way of the people trying to help her. Shelly was sat on her shins. To get it out of her they needed her as still as they could get her.
Thing about the Amari when they've got silver in them though; it's like your blood's been replaced by lava. Makes them scream like they're being murdered.
And I guess in a way she was. Slowly. By a girl that was already dead.
"If she has any chance of survival her blood needs to be cleaned." Isn't that what they've got all those fancy machines for? "No matter what we do, they'll always be a trace of silver in her blood, poisoning her. Unless we an find a donor to basically replace her blood."
"So crack a vein." I gesture to myself. She saved me. In every way a person can be saved. I'd give her it all if it'd save her.
"We need an Amari donor Faith. Your blood's too thin for this."
"Shelly?" I turn my head to her and by the look on her face I can tell she's already offered. She catches my eye and just shakes her head. I know she'd give just as much blood as me. So long as Kyra survived.
We've run out of options. Almost.
I sigh, running my hands back through my hair. I look through the window beyond, in to the room Kyra's in. She looks so still. Don't think I've ever seen her like that before. She's always moving. Like there's too much energy in that little body. Like it needs to come out somehow.
I look at Shelly again. Making sure she's looking at me to know how deadly serious I am. I think she knows what's coming next.
"Take me to them."
She talked about this place sometimes. Wistfully. I know it hurt her more than anything to be told to leave. Like your parents kicking you out.
The room we're stood in's like a throne room. Filled with Amari as they look at us. I can feel the fear of them saying no biting at the back of my throat. Buffy's offering me comfort in the only way I'll take it in public. Her finger's hooked through one of my belt loops, her thumb under the hem of my shirt. Just running back and forth over my skin. Giving me some calm in the storm.
"She'll die without it." A man sat in front of me shakes his head slowly.
"She broke our most sacred law."
"I don't care. Help her."
"She's had a good run. It's time for it to be over." I don't pay attention to all the Amari sat in seats around the room. I might even be impressed, if they weren't telling me to let my best friend die. In the most painful way an Amari can.
Wait. A good run? She's not even thirty yet. I feel the frown cross my face. He chuckles at it.
"I see Kyra hasn't told you." Told me what? I'm about to get testy when he keeps talking. "We can't die unless we're killed." My frown deepens. "Kyra is four hundred and thirty seven years old."
She's what now? I swallow hard at that. Now I know what he means by 'a good run'.
A guy stands up from his chair. He doesn't look much different than most other guys. But there's something about his face. Something so cold about his expression that sends a tingle of fear through me.
"I watched as you tossed her aside, and I didn't say anything. I've felt a piece of me missing since she's been gone, and I didn't say anything. But I won't stand idly by while you condemn her to death." He starts walking towards us. And then the main guy speaks again.
"If you walk out of that door Kaylen, don't bother coming home." He turns, fixing the main guy with a look so cold I can feel the ice from here.
"She is my home. It just took me a while to see it." He turns back to us and offers a small smile as he nods towards the doors behind us.
We leave without another word.
"You just threw away everything, and your blood might not be a match." He just offers me that smile again but doesn't say anything.
"It'll match." I look at Shelly and wonder how she knows.
"How'd you know that?"
"Because," Kaylen speaks again. The smile's gone from his face. He's staring straight ahead and I can see a muscle in his jaw twitching. "I'm her son."
I stop walking as the words hit me.
What the fuck?
The car ride's silent apart from Kaylen's melodic voice. He's telling the story of his birth. Kyra was raped three hundred years ago. By another Amari who was supposed to be her friend. The punishment for his crime was a silver bullet. A slow death by poisoning.
It tightens my fist around the steering wheel. That they'd let her die like a rapist. Like a criminal. Slow. Painful. Tortured by the silver in her blood stream.
She was so grateful that Kaylen didn't look like his father. Because the Amari don't abort. They don't have children often. So any child, no matter how he was conceived, is a blessing.
He tells us that when she got kicked out she made him stay. That an Amari away from their nation feels like something's missing. She wouldn't make her son feel that. It was bad enough that she had too.
Ever since Kyra was gone, he never left right. Like a piece of him was missing. He understands what she tried to give him. She wasn't to know his home left with her. And then she just disappeared. He wouldn't have found her. She was probably counting on that to make him stay.
I always knew there was something missing for her. It's taken meeting Kaylen for me to understand.
It wasn't the nation that she missed so much, it was like a ghost that followed her everywhere.
It was her son.
Her body rocks against me, making a soft smile appear on my lips. We're half way home. This hotel'll do till morning.
She moans directly into my ear, her fingers curling around the back of my neck. The thought of Kyra led in the infirmary, slowly being poisoned until we get there, makes me want to do nothing but take Buffy. Sometimes hard and fast. Sometimes slow. Doesn't matter how. So long as she doesn't stop whispering my name.
There's something about death. Or the possibility of it. It makes you want to live every second that's given to you. Fill up those moments with the things you love and never let go.
My hand tightens against her back. Holding her steady as it arches and she calls out my name again. When it's passed she drops forward, her head resting on my shoulder.
"I'm not going anywhere." It's a whisper said against my heated skin. But her hands don't let go from around the back of my neck. Her grip tightens if anything.
When Kyra wakes up her eyes blink for a second, before settling on me. A frown crosses her face as she looks down at her hip. The skin’s no longer than frightening black color. She knows what that means.
“You’re old enough to be my ancestor. But you’re still an ass. Thought time’s supposed to make you smarter.”
She cracks a smile at me and shrugs. “Didn’t think it was that important.”
“You’ve seen more than I ever will. How’s that not important?” she shrugs at me. A little frown crosses her face and I’m just waiting for it to come to her. How did I get a donor? Where from?
The second she looks at me again with those questions in her eyes, is when I stand up with a smirk. I open the door and her jaw hits her chest. A longing so deep I can feel it from here runs through her eyes. Her hands convulse on the bed sheets as if she wants to reach out to him. But she’s afraid he’s just a figment of a wishful imagination.
He’s not and he proves it to her. “It wasn’t home without you.” She doesn’t say anything. She doesn’t have too. He crosses the room and like a panther, he curls around her waist. I guess it doesn’t matter how old you are. If you love a parent who isn’t there, when you see them again all you wanna do is be safe in their arms.
As I quietly close the door behind me there’re tears streaming down both of their faces.
“Surrogate daughter. Actual son. You gonna start your own nation?” a smile curls the corners of her lips as she watches them play.
“Daughter-in-law soon.” My eyebrows lift up. How can she know that? She looks at me and smirks. “My room’s just down the hall from hers.”
I roll my eyes as I feel Buffy curl around me from behind. “If you weren’t so busy with me every night, you might hear them.” A disturbed look crosses my face. She can hear them getting it on?
“That’s a level of fucked up they haven’t even named it yet.” Kyra chuckles as she flicks away her butt before standing. She throws a look over her shoulder before pulling off her t-shirt. She doesn’t care about being naked in front of others. She’s just trying to avoid the all out blushes she gets.
“S’why I’ve very glad they invented earphones.” We chuckle as she walks down the few steps. By the time she hits the bottom she’s fully shifted. Shelly and Kaylen let out playful sounds as Kyra jumps in the middle of them.
I’ll never get tired of seeing them play like that.