Vaughn could hear the other end of the conversation, but waited until Lucas had hung up to tell Faith. "Hawke said they found a huge crack in one of the walls supporting that area, hidden behind some wall hangings. They're shoring it up as we speak." He nuzzled her neck. "He also said thank you for the warning."
"What about the last part?" Lucas raised an eyebrow.
Vaughn growled. "That wolf likes living dangerously."
"What did he say?" Faith asked, intrigued by the smile on Sascha's face. The other Psy looked like she already knew what Hawke might've said.
"Nothing." Vaughn bit lightly at the shell of her ear, the gesture so possessive that she could feel color attempting to fill her skin. It was at times like this that Psy training came in very useful.
"Tell me." She scratched her nails on the skin of his chest. "What did he say?"
"The damn wolf asked if our F-Psy was pretty. And bloody Lucas said yes." He sounded less human with every word. "So Hawke said he'd kiss your pretty mouth in thanks the next time he saw you."
Everyone except Vaughn was grinning. Even Clay had a small smile on his face. After her initial wariness and in spite of the knowing she'd had about him, Faith had discovered she liked the intense sentinel. She'd invited him to dinner a week ago and, much to Vaughn's surprise, he'd come. And he'd touched her. A slight brush of knuckles against her cheek, it had told her she was accepted. Was Pack.
"Well, he can't," Faith said, not hesitant in front of these cats who lived and loved with wild fury. "Because I only want to be kissed by you."
"I think I like the wolf if he makes you say things like that."
Laughing, she let him kiss her, allowing it because Vaughn needed her to allow it. He was more openly possessive and dominant than the other males she'd seen with their mates. But that was fine with her. She could bear being thought of as utterly his.
"I used to worry that the dark side of my ability was evil, a materialization of the twinning of the Net," she said to Vaughn as they sat outside near their home. Stars peeked through the thick canopy and the denizens of the forest went about their business, safe in the knowledge that the resident predator was otherwise occupied. "But now I know that though what it shows me can be either good or bad, it in itself isn't evil."
Vaughn, sitting behind her with his arms and legs cradling her, rested his chin on her hair but didn't interrupt. Her cat knew how to listen. It was getting him to talk that was sometimes a problem.
"I haven't come to terms with it completely, but I'm starting to understand what it is I was meant to see, what anyone with my ability is meant to see."
"Your gift, Faith. It's a precious gift."
"Yes." She smiled, liking the word. "What I feel like right now - I'd compare it to waking from a dream and seeing the real world. It's a beautiful place, but it also has darkness. If you try to eradicate that darkness, you also destroy the light." Pain for the future of her people tightened her heart.
"There's hope. Your NetMind is fighting back."
She had to believe that. "And others, too, are starting to wake from the dream." A dream of Silence. "It might take years for the ripples to chase across the Net, but they're there now." Putting her hand on his bare arms, she anchored herself in touch, the very thing that had once threatened to shatter her. "I'm so glad I found you."
His chuckle was a rumble that vibrated in her bones. "Sorry, Red. But I found you first."
"No, you didn't." She scowled - he liked getting his own way far too much. "I walked out into the forest."
"Yeah, but I was waiting for you to walk out." He nuzzled the side of her neck. "I was drawn to your place like an addiction. If you hadn't walked out when you had, I would've come looking."
Her eyes went wide. "Some things can't be changed." It was a thought that might've scared her once.
"The future isn't always mutable." And what did that mean? "I've never before considered that. The ramifications are enormous. What is, what isn't changeable - who chooses? What sets some things in stone and others in clay?" Excitement whispered through her. Finally she was in charge of her gift, able to chase things that fired up her imagination.
"Some things are meant to be." Vaughn bit her neck, forcefully bringing her attention back to him. "You were never going to be anyone's but mine."
"You're very possessive." She tilted her head to meet his gaze. "So am I."
The jaguar in his eyes was pleased. "I like your claws."
She stretched to brush her lips over his unshaven jaw. "Do you think you can teach me to purr?"
"Baby, you purr every time I stroke you into orgasm."
Lightning swept over her and everything seemed to become sharper, more in focus. She pushed away and rearranged her body until she straddled him. Face-to-face. It was fast becoming her favorite position, though she did have to bargain with Vaughn for it - her changeling's preferred mode of sex was far more raw. Her flesh heated at the memory of his driving thrusts as she put her hands on his shoulders and leaned in to kiss him. But the expression on his face made her pause. "What?"
"I love watching the lightning in your eyes."
She smiled. It seemed right that her eyes now reflected her mind.
"Is it talking to you again?" Vaughn asked, having learned to read the shift in their bond that signaled a visit.
She nodded. "It's curious about you."