She gripped it with psychic hands, holding on with every ounce of strength in her. You can't leave me!
Under her physical hands, his blood continued to gush with every beat of his heart, dripping past her fingers and onto the floor. Forcing herself to think past the terror, she scrambled for some way to fix this. But she was an M-Psy who worked on the level of DNA. She had no ability to heal the artery, close the wound.
The bond wavered, began to flicker.
She was going to lose him. "No!" It was an instinctive act to reach out with her soul, to pour her life energy into the bond, and force him to stay alive.
For a single, shining second, the bond grew stronger. Then blood spurted harder from his neck and it flickered again.
Ashaya was a scientist. She understood cause and effect. And in that instant, she understood that she could hold Dorian here - hold him here long enough that maybe the paramedics could transfuse enough fluids into him to keep him alive, until a surgeon could fix the wound. She could hold him here as long as her life existed. And then she would go with him.
Keenan, my baby.
Her heart cried and broke in two. It wasn't a fair choice, she thought deep in her very soul. How could she possibly let her mate die? How could she leave her son? Perhaps if she'd had longer, the choice would've tormented her into madness, but she had only the barest fraction of an instant.
And Dorian's blood pulsed over her fingers like an endless river.
Don't leave me, please, Dorian.
Keenan would be safe, she thought, tears blinding her. He would be loved. She'd caught a fleeting glimpse of the small web she now inhabited. Her little man was linked to Dorian, but already, other minds were reaching out, preparing to hold him in the web if Dorian died. Because he was a child and these leopards didn't kill children.
Her sister would die with her, of that she had no doubt. It would end. She could accept her death, accept Amara's death, but she would not accept Dorian's.
So she poured her life energy down the bond, knowing it would only last minutes at most - the psychic transfusion was directly related to how fast he was bleeding out. But it would double his chances of surviving till help came. Her hands were so wet, the jacket so heavy that she couldn't hold it in place any longer.
Then slender fingers were closing over her own, helping her apply the pressure. Somebody was at her back, holding her upright because she was losing the strength to do that herself. And suddenly, someone was shoving psychic energy at her in desperation.
You can't die. Please, Ashaya. Don't die.
Ashaya didn't have the strength to answer her twin. Her eyes fluttered shut, but on the psychic plane, she held on to the mating bond with gritted teeth, held Dorian to the world. As things started to go gray at the edges, she thought it was strange, but it felt as if Dorian was sending energy back to her. Odd.
Then it ended.
Mercy was crying and trying not to f**king break apart when two men appeared on Dorian's other side. She had her gun out and pointed at them in the blink of an eye. It flew out of her hand in a telekinetic blast.
One of them knelt, saying a single word, "Foreseer."
She stared at him, dull with sorrow but with a second weapon already in hand. However, neither he nor the Tk who'd brought him here had any visible weapons. The one on the ground pushed aside her bloody hand and Ashaya's limp one. Dorian's blood had slowed to a trickle.
"His heart's still beating," the stranger said.
She didn't know why she let him put his hands on her best friend's neck, didn't know why she didn't put the gun to his temple and pull the trigger. "Too slow."
"Enough. It's enough." He placed his fingers over the wound.
She could see nothing, but heat radiated out from that spot to where her bloody fingers lay against her knee. It made her glance up at Ashaya in hope. The M-Psy remained slumped against the cameraman, Eamon, her normally glowing skin lifeless and dull.
Eamon was crying, too. So was the director. The slender woman - Yelena - stood there shaking, her cell phone in hand.
She'd screamed at the paramedics, told them to hurry, all of them knowing it wouldn't be in time. The f**king Psy Council had got this one right. They'd timed it, used a gun instead of relying on a psychic strike that might've been deflected by tough mental shields, done everything with clockwork precision.
And now two people lay dying. Mercy reached out and gripped Ashaya's hand. "You hold on." To think she'd once wondered if the other woman felt anything for Dorian, she always looked so damn unaffected. "Hold on." Her other hand she closed around Dorian's. Linking them both. "Don't you dare die on me, either of you. I plan to be godmother to your goddamn brats."
The stranger kept touching Dorian. Heat kept radiating. When Mercy's cell phone rang, she ignored it. Then Eamon's rang. Then Yelena's. The other woman stared at it as if it was a snake.
"Answer it," Mercy said, starting to come out of the shock. The man working on Dorian, he reminded her a little of Judd. Not in looks. No, this guy's ancestors had come straight from some part of the Chinese subcontinent. He was all sharp bones, olive skin, and slanted eyes lashed with ridiculously long lashes. His hair was cut short but it was oil-slick black, straight as a ruler. No, he looked nothing like Judd. But there was an air about him, the air of an assassin.
The one standing looked even more the type. His eyes were gray, his hair black, but he was the same. And Faith had sent them to Dorian. No, Mercy thought, not Faith. Of course not Faith. She swallowed, looked down. "He's still bleeding."
"Patience. I'm a surgeon, not a miracle worker." Quiet, clipped words.
Strangely, they soothed her. Surgeons were always up themselves. And if this one saved Dorian's - and by association, Ashaya's - life, then he had a right to the arrogance. The man reached into his back pocket with one hand and brought out a flat box filled with lots of small tubes. Lifting his hand off Dorian's skin for only the instant it took to angle himself so he could get a better look at the wound, he flipped open a tube and began to pour white gunk on Dorian's bloody skin.