She swallowed but didn't admit defeat. "And where would that be?"
"Nikita Duncan has the bad luck to live closest to us."
"I see." She looked at her feet and then back up at him. "You felt no guilt at killing those men."
He waited, able to see her working something out in her head. Though he'd never admit it aloud, he was a little worried. She'd seen him at his most brutal. Now he waited for her reaction.
"And yet, it was clean. You didn't taunt them and you didn't get pleasure from it."
"I will when I take down animal prey." He wasn't going to lie.
"I think I can deal with that because it's natural." Ignoring the blood, she wrapped her arms around his waist, her fingers delicate points of heat where they brushed his skin. "I won't say I wasn't shocked by the way you dispatched the assassins so quickly, but I wasn't repulsed or horrified. This is who you are. And I love you."
The simple declaration brought him figuratively to his knees. Enclosing her in his arms, he let the tension seep out of him. This was who he was. And she loved him. It was all he'd ever wanted.
Faith followed Dorian along the path back to the alpha pair's lair, glancing over her shoulder to try to catch a last glimpse of Vaughn. But he was already gone, a blur in the forest. Five leopards and one jaguar. So much power. So much fury. For her.
"I could run with you," Dorian offered after ten minutes. "I'm latent, but I have the strength of a changeling."
"I'm sorry." Faith made her tone very polite, conscious that Dorian didn't like her. "I don't know what latent means in your world."
"I can't shift into leopard form." Said without any hint of self-pity.
She looked at him. With his sky-blue eyes and blond hair, he looked more like a college student than the merciless predator he was. "Thank you, but no. I'm not comfortable being that close to anyone but Vaughn."
He nodded and they kept going. She thought over his words, wondered if that was why he had such anger in his eyes. But that anger was directed at her and she'd had nothing to do with his latency. After almost half an hour of silence, she decided that the only way to know was to ask. He was family now.
"Why don't you like me?"
He didn't answer for several long minutes. "I don't know you, so I have no reason to dislike you as a person."
It didn't take her long. "My ability. That's it, isn't it? You think I could've prevented something."
"Not you. Foreseers as a whole."
"You're right. Maybe we could have." That they hadn't, was a tragedy. "But I don't think foreseers ever saw everything. If they had, then nobody would've ever been murdered, no great disaster would've ever killed millions." It was something she'd been thinking over. "So maybe we could've prevented whatever it was that happened to you, but maybe we couldn't."
"At least you could've tried if you'd been on the outside."
"Yes." That was an irrefutable truth. "Yes."
He didn't say another word for five more minutes. She spent the time thinking over her own statement. It was what she believed, but it was also a guess. She didn't know what past F-Psy had seen. Those records had been purged from the PsyNet, lost in the mysteries of time.
The knowing, when it came, was quiet, silent, like the male beside her. Dorian. Broken, shattered Dorian would one day be whole. And in a way not even he could imagine. She saw him clearly in her mind's eye, a beautiful leopard with dark facial markings and, in this form, eyes more green than blue.
The knowing drifted away and she wondered whether to share it with him. It hadn't been a true vision as such, had told her no specifics. But he'd been older. Not old, but at least two or three years older than he was now. What if she told him and then the future changed because of some act of his or another's? A false hope. She made the hard decision to keep the knowing to herself. Sometimes, Silence was the right choice. It was only when it wasn't a choice that it turned into a cage.
"I heard you lost your sister."
She'd gotten so used to his quietness that she was surprised into a soft gasp. "Marine. Her name was Marine."
"My sister's name was Kylie."
Their eyes met and she understood. He'd try to forgive her for being what she was, if she'd try to never let another sister die. "Yes."
Vaughn returned to Faith about three hours before dawn. From the coffee on the table and the alert expressions on their faces, he could see that neither she nor Sascha had slept. When he appeared, Faith stood and came to him. Nobody said a word as he took her hand and they exited the lair for the second time that night, leaving Lucas with his mate.
They covered the distance to the car in silence. It had been cleaned of explosives by Dorian, but Vaughn did another check before opening the passenger door for Faith. The cat continued to monitor the area for threats - he wouldn't breathe easy until they were back in his personal territory.
The drive took almost another hour, but neither of them was in any mood for sleep at the end of it. Faith didn't ask any questions, didn't demand any answers, just watched as he showered, then stripped and joined him under the flow of water. He felt her worry.
"It was done without any problems," he told her. "They never knew we were there."
"Nikita Duncan's residence?"
"And a few others connected to the Council at the highest levels." He'd had to fight the urge to go in and crush some more Psy skulls when he'd made his delivery.
"I could feel that you weren't hurt or in danger."
"Good." He wanted her to get used to the bond, had no problem with her utilizing it to see if he was okay. That's what mates did. He couldn't see the bond as she did, but he could feel it in a way that had no explanation - if she were ever hurt or in trouble, he'd know.