Lucas pushed past Trevor and Isabel and leaned down towards the computer. “We absolutely should. What the hell did you do to me?”
Lady Morrow pursed her lips for a moment before answering. “I saved your life.”
“Yeah, a little too well. Why can’t I die? Who is the Nameless?”
“I can’t answer all of your questions… ” Lady Morrow stopped mid-sentence and stared at Lucas for a moment. “Who’s the Nameless? You mean… oh, you gave him a name. I bet he hates that. I imagine him fuming.” The edge of her mouth twitched upwards.
Behind Lucas, Trevor coughed. “It was my idea, actually.”
Lady Morrow snorted. “Yes, we’re all very proud of you for contributing. Lucas, since you were changed, I’ve tried to shield you from being a part of this. It was my hope that the Nameless would simply leave you alone and pursue me single-mindedly. Clearly, I was wrong. He is more petty, more vindictive than I could have imagined.”
“Protect me?” Lucas spat. “You made me a part of this… whatever it is! I’m in more danger because you won’t tell me what you did!”
Lady Morrow leaned forward. Lucas could clearly see her brow furrowing on camera. “I hoped-”
“Whatever you hoped, it didn’t happen. You’ve put everyone around me in danger, and you won’t even tell me why!”
“I owed you!” She snapped, her voice leaping up to higher levels. “I did it to save your life, like you saved mine. Do you understand that, Lucas? You would be dead. Dead. The world would continue without you, and you wouldn’t know. I gave you a chance to fight with your stupid boyfriend, to watch your friends worry over you, a chance you wouldn’t have had if not for me. You’re my fault.”
Lucas learned forward to fill up most of the camera. “Then you need to take responsibility for it. Not just guilt.”
Lady Morrow deflated. “Fine. You’re a part of this now. I’ll accept that. Come to Paris. I will find you there, and explain everything.” The screen flickered, and the video call ended.
Nobody moved for a good minute. Finally, Trevor broke the silence by clearing his throat. “Guess you know where to go, then. Better hop on the next flight to Paris. Isabel, you’ve got this?”
Isabel nodded. “Indeed I do. Two tickets to Paris-”
“No.” Trevor cut her off. “Just one.”
Lucas’ heart broke again. He leaned back against the nearby dresser, inadvertently putting his hand in something wet and sticky. He didn’t even feel like pulling it away. Instead, he just focused his attention on staring at his shoes and trying not to cry in front of Wyatt and Isabel.
“Lucas, I…” came Trevor’s voice from somewhere above him. After a moment, his footsteps echoed across the room and the door shut behind him.
Lucas looked up to see Wyatt and Isabel staring at him – Wyatt in confusion and Isabel with concern. Before either of them could say something stupid, Lucas swallowed and forced words out of his throat. “Isabel, I’ll go to Paris. Alone. You should get back in the public eye, make it so that the Nameless can’t strike at you without attracting attention.”
“I agree,” said Isabel. “And I think I know just how to do it. I’m going to sue for my father’s assets. If I can get them and remove myself as a viable target at the same time, it will be twice the benefit to our cause.”
“Well, that’ll do the trick.” Lucas looked down at Wyatt. “And you should stay here. You’ll be safe in school.”
Before Wyatt could answer, Isabel cleared her throat. “Actually. I’ve got a better idea.” She looked down at Wyatt. “I’m getting the distinct sense that your skills are somewhat wasted in a university setting.”
Wyatt smirked. “Oh, you bet your ass they are.”
Isabel smiled back, with only a hint of malice. “Wonderful. How about a job with one of the richest women in the world?”
Lucas took a cab to the airport. Isabel gave him enough cash to get him through to Paris, and assured him that they’d worry about his expenses once he actually arrived. The driver didn’t attempt to engage him in conversation, which was good, because Lucas wasn’t much in a mood to talk.
He kept thinking about Trevor. The way that Trevor had just walked out. It stung. It was exactly what Lucas had wanted, but it had stung. Now that Trevor was gone, presumably safer, Lucas felt as though some part of him had been ripped away just when he needed it most. He supposed he’d just have to put it up with, though. This is what Lucas had wanted, after all. Trevor out of harm’s way.
But Lucas didn’t feel better.
He didn’t feel like Trevor was safer.
He didn’t feel at all.
The cab dropped him off at the departures. Lucas got his ticket and made it through security without much fuss. He passed by several food courts on his way to the gate, but he didn’t feel much like eating. Instead, Lucas just made a beeline for his gate and took a seat as far away from the gate as he could.
He closed his eyes.
Down again through the tunnels and chasms, down past the ice and rock, down towards the source of the pulse across time and space. Lucas moved quickly, so quickly he couldn’t even feel the ground under his feet. The pulse slammed into him over and over. His body shook with each burst.
At last, he passed through a crumbling archway and saw the source of the pulse – a circular amphitheater.
An empty circular amphitheater.
Lucas walked into the middle of it, confused. The source of the pulse, whatever had drawn him here, couldn’t be far away. It has to be somewhere in the room, in the stone, in the air, in-
And then Lucas realized where the pulse was coming from.
It was coming from Lucas himself.
Somebody tapped him on the shoulder. Lucas jumped up and spun around, expecting the Nameless. His hands shot up, ready to defend himself.
“Calm down,” Trevor said. “It’s just me.”
Instantly, Lucas felt the energy that had been gone from him come rushing back. “Trevor? What are you doing here?”
“I went back right after you left. Isabel bought me a ticket on the same flight as you. I was right behind you the whole time.”
“I thought…” Lucas choked on the words.
Trevor seemed to understand that Lucas didn’t want to finish the sentence. He reached forward and took Lucas’ hands in his own. “That’s the thing. You told Lady Morrow that she needed to take responsibility for you. You were right. But you also need to take responsibility for Isabel, and Wyatt, and me. Not guilt. Responsibility. I know you want to protect me, but you can’t do that if we’re away from each other.”
“I…” Lucas swallowed. He didn’t know that else to say. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have tried to push you away.”
“No, your heart was in the right place. You were just wrong.” Trevor smiled. “I’m used to that with you by now, Lucas. I love you.”
Lucas laughed. “I love you too. And you’re not leaving.”
“No. I’m never leaving you. Ever.”
Lucas threw his arms around Trevor’s shoulders and buried his face in his boyfriend’s neck. “So we’re in this together,” He said, his voice muffled in Trevor’s skin. “No matter what ‘this’ is.”
Trevor kissed the top of his head. “Together.”
A flight took off from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport just as the sun went down. It was watched by many people of no consequence, often people who just glanced up to see what the noise was all about, despite carrying two very important people aboard it. As it ascended off the runway and into the air, most of them went back about their business without giving it a second thought.
Beyond the airport fence, however, one person watched it with a grim, cold expression. He blended into the shadows at the end of the day easily, as he had no color.
“I think,” he intoned to his companions, “that it’s time for a change of plans.”
His hands caressed the slick black fur of the two huge dogs on either side of him. Like him, they watched the plane slip beyond their reach. One of them growled and looked up at the man with glowing red eyes. The other howled.
The man looked down. “Oh, don’t worry.” He glanced back up at the clouds. “Our time is coming again.”