"There's nothing to interrupt," Sascha said quickly, thankful for their presence. She needed a buffer between Lucas's demands and her own clawing desire to give in to them. "I was just telling Lucas I stole information about my family from the PsyNet."
Lucas shifted from his position by the window and headed over to the sofa. His eyes tracked Nate's every move and Sascha felt a huge wave of almost dangerous possessiveness hit her. In a quiet moment while Lucas had been out, Tamsyn had shared that leopards were highly unstable at this stage of the mating dance and liable to attack anyone they saw as a threat.
She'd asked Sascha not to dispute Lucas's claim, warned her that fighting an alpha male during mating was simply not done. Sascha understood why Tamsyn had cautioned her but knew she couldn't follow the healer's advice, not if it meant a lifetime of loneliness for this male she adored. But she let him sit beside her on the sofa, let him put her feet on his thighs, let him massage her calves.
"Why would you need to steal information?" Nate frowned and took a seat as far from Sascha as possible. Tamsyn perched on his lap with her arm around his neck.
"Our family's physical records were destroyed during a fire at some stage in the past." Sascha had always been frustrated by that, had always felt like there was so much she didn't know. "The files on the PsyNet should've been our backup but we were told the Net information had been inexplicably corrupted."
Lucas's hand tightened on her calf, a silent signal to pay attention to him. "Was it?"
"No." She met his gaze. "It's all there, centuries of history." A rich archive that had been hidden from the very people who should've had access to it. What else did the Council keep from her people? What else was labeled restricted?
"What did you find out?" Tamsyn asked, curling up on Nate's lap. The movement was so catlike, so sensual, that Sascha was momentarily startled. The other woman's practical nature had almost blinded her to the fact that she, too, was a leopard.
"There was nothing really unusual until I went back to my great-grandmother, Ai." Without conscious intent, she found she'd moved closer to Lucas until she was almost in his lap. One of his arms was stretched along the back of the sofa, while his other hand continued to stroke up and down her bent leg. "Her record was tagged with a red flag."
"Is that some kind of indexing system?" Nate was rubbing the back of Tamsyn's neck and his mate was almost limp in relaxation against him.
Sascha was struck by the trust evident between the two. No Psy would ever leave herself that vulnerable to a bigger male. Yet Tamsyn had without hesitation. And so had Sascha when she'd let Lucas love her as he pleased. These men might have the potential for the negative emotions that had driven her race to cripple their own children, but they also had the ability to care on a level the Psy would never experience.
"Not that I know of." She glanced away from the other couple to find Lucas's eyes looking at her so intently, she had the feeling he knew precisely what she'd been thinking. "My suspicion is that it's something Henry and Shoshanna Scott are doing on their own. I can't see my mother allowing them to go through our familial history."
A tree limb waved across the uncurtained window, casting shadows against the wall. And she became aware she was sitting in Lucas's lap, held to him by one arm while the other moved rhythmically over her outer thigh. She should've have been frightened at her need for him, a need so deep it was overriding the powerful mental blocks she'd created to force herself to keep her distance. Instead, she wanted to rub up against his masculinity until heat and sensation were all she was.
"Kitten." The raw edges of possessiveness were gone from the husky murmur against her ear. It was as if her slow capitulation had calmed him. "Why the red flag?"
"I'm not sure but I think it had something to do with her talents as a Psy." Laying her head against him, she shared the most terrifying thing. "After I saw that red flag, I went back through the more recent histories. There was a second flag." No one spoke.
"It was on my record." Her mind snapped back to the way Enrique had been shadowing her. Someone knew or had guessed her flaw. That someone was watching her for any mistake. It was entirely likely that Enrique was playing both sides of the field, using Nikita and Henry to his own advantage.
"Do you have any idea why they might've singled you and Ai out?" The rough edge was back in his tone.
Sascha undid the top buttons of his shirt and slipped her hand inside to lie against the fury of his heartbeat. Almost immediately, she felt him pull his aggression back under control. It no longer startled her how she knew what to do to soothe her mate - it was part of the magic. "The terminology used back then was different. Ai was labeled an E-Psy. We no longer have that term in our lexicon."
Tamsyn frowned. "Was there any other information?"
"Ai was born in 1973. Silence went into effect in 1979, when she would've been six years old. Everyone under seven years of age was automatically enrolled into the Protocol." She couldn't imagine how that young girl must've felt at being taught to obliterate everything she'd learned to value.
"How many did they lose?" Tamsyn asked gently, her healer's mind seeing the problem.
"I don't know. The numbers are buried deep but everyone knows it was devastating. The transitional children had a very low survival rate."
Lucas's fingers stroked through her hair, which he'd undone while she'd been speaking. "But Ai survived."
"Yes. It was noted in her file that her mother, Mika, was one of the strongest opponents of Silence. I thought at first that that was why Ai's file had been tagged but there were other odd things in there. Her designation was as an 8.3 E-Psy at birth but after she completed Silence, she was relegated to a 6.2 non-specialized Psy." More had been destroyed than simply Ai's soul.