She winced inwardly at that freezing tone. Oh, he was pissed, but covering it with a layer of Psy arrogance. "He's right." She looked at Riley, her hand flattening on Judd's thigh. Strong warm muscle. It hadn't relaxed even a fraction. "You two need to back off before you suffocate me. You, too," she said to Hawke.
White lines bracketed his mouth. "Until we figure out what the hyenas were up to, the rules still apply. You've become a symbol of changeling strength - if anyone succeeds in taking you out, it'll lead to blood. So stay in the den or within the inner perimeter."
It chafed but she nodded, deciding to fight one battle at a time. Right now, that involved keeping her brothers and Judd from tearing into each other. "But you have to send Drew back to San Diego and reassign Riley so he's not in the den so much."
Her brothers growled. Hawke raised a hand to cut them off. "That's family business. I need them here."
"Then I want a room at the other end of the den," she insisted, deriving strength from the dark angel at her back. "Or I swear I'm moving back to the city."
Andrew swore a blue streak. "Now you're being - "
"Don't." Judd's quiet menace.
Her middle sibling went motionless. "How do I know you're not..." His voice trailed off as she let out a choked cry, able to feel her face twisting into a mask of shock.
"That he's not what? Controlling me?" she asked, throat thick with hurt. "Is that what you think of me - that I have no spine unless a Psy is forcing it on me?"
"I didn't mean - "
"Then you shouldn't have said it!" She chose to turn the heartbreaking pain into anger. "I need you to stand by me, not chip away at my confidence. Do you know the only person in this room who's never made me feel inadequate? Judd."
Andrew sucked in a breath, as if he'd been punched. Riley was the one who answered. "You take these rooms. They're the most secure in terms of their location. We'll find bunks in the soldiers' section." He left without giving her a chance to respond, forcing Drew to go with him.
Hawke shot Judd a measuring glance. "I'm sending someone else to cover the cabin region for now."
Hawke left the next second.
Finally, she was alone. Except for the assassin at her back. "I need you to go, too."
The muscled thigh under her palm bunched. "I know what they don't."
She broke the intimate contact - though her body wanted to explore it, to roll the feel of his hard body around her - and turned. "I'll talk to Sascha soon. Promise."
Cool Psy eyes met hers. "I'll be in the den if you need me."
"Where did you go yesterday?" A tendril of remembered anger wormed its way to the surface.
She frowned. "The den is safe."
"Not for me." Not when he was unconscious and unable to defend himself. "At least a percentage of the population believes I killed Timothy."
"They'll get over it." She shifted her balance from one foot to the other, then back again before continuing. "I spoke to Marlee."
"I'm sorry. I didn't know I was being such a bitch about Tk-Psy. I swear I didn't." She swallowed but didn't attempt to break eye contact. "There's so much in my head that doesn't make sense, like the way I went after Greg. I don't even like the guy."
Something dark in Judd reared its head at the mention of the other man. "See if Sascha and Faith have any new ideas about what might be happening. I'll do some digging on my own."
She thrust a hand through her hair. "I will. But the thing with Greg - "
"Don't say his name in my hearing ever again."
Brenna's mouth dropped open. "You're still furious." Her voice was a whisper.
She was wrong. If he'd been furious, blood would be soaking these walls, the smell of human tissue thick in the air. "Make those calls." He left before she could ask him any more questions. The answers might send her screaming.
Sascha turned to Lucas as they lay in bed, thinking over the call she'd received a few hours ago. "I'm worried about Brenna."
"I thought you said she was recovering." His arm came around her, urging her to sprawl over his chest.
"Pay attention." But she was where he'd wanted her.
A satisfied cat smile. "I am. Tell me about the wolf."
"I can't. Confidentiality."
His hand slipped over her na**d bottom. "Bet I can make you talk."
"It's not playtime." She nipped at his chin though the urge to purr was strong.
He moved his hand to her lower back, his version of behaving. "Tell me."
"I don't know what to do." What Brenna had told her this evening - in particular the sudden changes in personality and behavior - was deeply troubling. "I'm worried I missed some of the damage in her psyche." Her mind-healing abilities were still new to her, having been suppressed by Silence for most of her life. A lot of it was instinctive, but Brenna's mind had been so badly torn apart. "Half the time, I didn't know what I was doing."
Lucas's arms tightened. "You brought her back. Don't second-guess yourself now."
"No," she disagreed. "She brought herself back. Her will, Lucas, it's like a steel flame, one that refuses to go out. Brenna should be dead right now."
"If she survived Enrique, then she can survive her own mind."
Sascha buried her face in the curve of Lucas's neck, breathing in his scent. "I'm not sure. Faith told me that most F-Psy in the PsyNet eventually go mad, and they're trained to deal with mental pressure. Brenna isn't."