Every warning beacon in his head flashed red. To expose himself to more contact would spell trouble for both of them. So he kept his distance - except for the fingers stroking through her hair - and watched her sleep.
Brenna knew she was dreaming. She also knew she couldn't try to wake. There was something she had to see, had to understand.
It was a true dream. Fractured, fragmented. But the strange thing was that it was black-and-white. She'd never dreamed in monochrome before. Her dreams were drenched in color, in scent. But this place was cold...metallic.
She had such power. And it was so finely controlled. One thought and the target's heart simply stopped beating. The man was dead before he hit the ground. She'd killed before. This one had been almost too easy.
For her people.
She did this for her people.
The cold water was cutting against her skin, but she had to wash away the blood. Blood no one else could see. Because she had executed an innocent. They'd -
Fragments of sound dampened by shadows of black and white, icy clawing fingers born of her own mind. A sense of danger closing in.
But no fear. No rage. No anger.
And that was when she knew.
This wasn't her dream.
Her heart began to race the second she opened her eyes. Until the moment she'd woken, it had been absolutely calm. Frighteningly controlled. She blinked several times to clear the images that continued to dance in front of her eyes, slowly becoming aware of the glow of the laz-fire in the hearth...and the fact that she was no longer alone in the bed.
Judd. His familiar scent calmed her panic before it could begin. Rising onto her elbow, she found him asleep on top of the sheets. One arm lay along the back of her pillow, while the other was braced over his forehead. He was still. Silent.
She couldn't even hear him breathe.
It scared her. "Wake up." She touched her fingers to the roughness of his cheek. It was the first time she'd seen him less than clean shaven. "You're having a nightmare."
His hand closed around her wrist with such unbelievable speed that she actually squeaked in surprise. He released her as quickly. "I apologize."
She put that same hand on his shoulder when it looked like he was planning to get up. "Stay." For a long moment filled only with the sound of her breathing, she didn't think he'd acquiesce, but then he gave a slight nod.
She didn't move her hand off his shoulder, hyperconscious of the muscle and strength beneath the black of his sweater. "Want to talk about it?"
"About what?" No tremor in his voice, nothing to betray the impact of a dream that would have terrified her had it been her own.
"Your nightmare." She knew what she'd seen even if she couldn't explain how.
"I told you, Psy don't dream."
Sighing, she snuggled impossibly closer, the wolf in her craving contact. It probably made Judd very uncomfortable, but he didn't make any move to break away. "Liar."
Judd felt his mind stop at that single affectionate word. He recognized affection, had been around changelings long enough to understand the import of such seemingly lighthearted comments. However, it had never occurred to him that he might one day be on the receiving end of this most sensual form of it. Especially from a woman who had been so angry with him bare hours ago. "A dangerous accusation." In the PsyNet, that would've been true. No one wanted to be indicted of having a flaw.
Brenna chuckled and tugged at the arm he'd placed across her pillow until she could rest her head on it. Her weight was slight, but he knew he wouldn't be moving before she did. "Promise I won't tell," she teased, breath whispering over the skin of his neck. "Your tough-as-nails image is safe with me."
It was difficult to focus with her curves pressed into him. He reached into the depths of his Arrow training and forced absolute restraint over his instincts. It was the only way he could allow himself this forbidden contact. "Why do you think I was dreaming?"
The atmosphere changed and though he wasn't looking at her, he picked up her distress from the sudden tenseness of her muscles. "Brenna?"
"I saw it."
The words hit him like bullets fired at close range. He knew what he'd been dreaming about - he always remembered the images he saw in sleep. "What did you see?"
"You killed someone." Said in a breathless whisper. "Then you discovered he didn't deserve to die."
Judd's brain shifted into automatic damage-control mode, spitting out option after option. At the top of the list was denial.
Never get into a situation where your status may become known.
If you are, however, trapped in such a situation, never admit anything.
Maintain control of your physical reactions if placed under duress and answer all accusations in the negative. Denial is key to protecting the squad.
It was one of the very first things he'd been taught after being removed from his family and taken to the training facility. But he'd stopped running from the truth a long time ago. "It wasn't a dream but a memory." He braced himself against the horror, disgust, and rejection to come.
One of her hands rose to lie against his chest. "Why that man?"
He told her the truth - he would not defend himself with hypocrisy and lies. "His name was on a list given to me by Ming LeBon."
"Councilor LeBon? The Arrows work for the Council?"
"No." That had never been their raison d'etre. "The fact that the squad is currently under the direct command of LeBon arises from him being a senior Arrow himself, rather than his Council rank. Arrows are a force independent of politics and money. The man you saw me kill, however, was no threat to anyone but Ming. He had the unfortunate distinction of having cut into the Councilor's business interests."