Meghan leaned into Gabe’s arms, tears freely flowing down her face. Drew was pale and hugged Reyna when she came near.
“It’s over,” he whispered. “It’s really over.”
“This is just the beginning,” she said quietly. “Now we have to rebuild.”
“A brave new world,” Drew murmured.
“We need a memorial,” Meghan whispered.
Reyna nodded, releasing her brother to look across the room full of the fallen. “A memorial for everyone who sacrificed themselves to get here. For Tye, Sydney, Washington, Xavier, Tony…Everett…and so many more.”
“So much death.”
“We’ll never forget them.”
Gabe turned to her then. “Well, General, what do we do now?”
Everyone’s eyes turned to look at her and she took in each and every one of them—Gabe, Meghan, Drew, Jodie. She thought about all the others still working to fix this mess. About Brian and Laura back in Beckham’s safe house. And Prisha, who had come out of hiding for this. All the anti-vamp people who had risked their lives and worked with the vampires they claimed to hate. About every person who had ever fought for this cause.
It was the best she could offer them. And at the same time…it was everything.
Beckham appeared at her side then. He gently touched her arm. She smiled at her friends and left them to grieve.
“We need to get you medical attention,” Beckham said.
“I’m okay,” she lied.
“You’re going to run yourself into the ground.”
“Look who’s talking.”
Beckham brushed her hair off of her face and smiled…genuinely smiled at her. “You did an incredible job today.”
She blushed. “Thank you.”
“I’m lucky to stand at your side.”
“Forever and always, right?”
He nodded decisively. Forever and always.
Reyna stared up into his dark eyes, so full of longing. It was amazing that she had ever believed him expressionless. She opened her senses to him and enveloped his heart, body, and soul with all the love in her heart. He pushed right back, colliding, capturing, encasing her. They were both weak from blood loss and using their powers, but they were strong in all the ways that mattered.
She stood on her tiptoes and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. His hands moved up into her hair, tilting her head and melding their lips together.
They had won.
The world was still turning.
They knew there was much work left to do.
A world to save.
But here, now, there were just two blood matches who had found the cure to their souls.
Reyna wrapped her arms around Beckham’s torso and hugged tight to him. The motorcycle hummed noisily between her thighs. Wind whipped her hair in her face as they zipped out of the city and farther into the countryside.
It was a beautiful day with clear blue skies. The sun was shining. Birds were singing. More cars than ever were running to and from the city. It was only six months post-Harrington and already the world was looking up.
Beckham had taken control of Visage in what he called a temporary capacity. She’d been by his side every step of the way. And every single step was harder than the next. But she had never wanted to be anywhere else.
Not when they released the remaining prisoners of Visage and discovered that Everett’s brother, Edmond, had been killed quickly after Everett had stopped giving them information. Or when Beckham offered actual free housing to those in need. Using those rooms for good instead of the horrors that had been committed down there. Or when Meghan and Gabe had spearheaded a conversion of the yard into a memorial for the fallen soldiers. Their names chiseled into stone and wrapped into a semicircle as a reminder and a remembrance.
A genius task force of scientists had replicated the cure based on Washington’s detailed paperwork, which Zoya had located on a backup server. It was now being offered free of charge at any Visage hospital. And a surprising number of vampires had come forward for it. Jodie had taken the research on her blood for herself and decided she’d rather not know what it could do. She’d also finally called off the search for June. They’d held a funeral service for her and officially labeled her deceased. Putting June to rest had been difficult, but Jodie and Katarina were happy together and that was what mattered.
Thanks to a rather large cash infusion into the economy, courtesy of William Harrington, it finally looked as if the country was coming out of the recession that had held it in its clutches for so long.
Which meant that Brian and Laura could buy a real house in the suburbs to raise their baby boy and recover from the trauma of their past. Drew had decided to stay in the city and had a new boyfriend—Philippé—which shocked everyone. But it was just another part of the vampire and human equality that they’d promoted from the start.
Reyna felt at ease for the first time in years.