(Note from Colleen: Did you guys really think I could go without posting about Molly and company for an entire month? I’m introducing the first of the HIDDEN interludes, which are short episodes that will be telling the story from the mortal realm and from other character’s points of view. Enjoy! Oh — and you might notice a couple of new links in the sidebar: one to rate and review HIDDEN, and another to vote for HIDDEN. If you feel so inclined, I’d hugely appreciate any votes/ratings. Thanks!)
Brennan paced the training floor, his thoughts on Molly. He didn’t know what was happening out there, and it was driving him nuts. He held the gauze to his throat. He was supposed to be still but the energy and stress coursing through him made it impossible. Shifters are creatures of action. Sitting here when who-knows-what was happening out there….yeah. This was his own personal version of hell, knowing she was out there, putting her life on the line and he was sitting here, useless.
He knew he was useless in a fight. He knew the imps had been right, that he’d only distract her if things got bad at the gateway. He glared down at his body.
The doctor the Grosse Pointe shifters had sent over had stitched up the huge gashes across his abdomen, chest, and arms. His right arm was in a sling. Broken humerus. Thank god Eunomia had busted her way in when she did. Neutering was next on the list of tortures her family’d had in store for him.
He glanced toward the chair in the living room, where E sat, hunched in on herself, knees drawn to her chest. Her left wing hung limply; she’d broken it on her flight from where she’d rescued him. Her other wing was bandaged. They’d sliced through it mercilessly.
Agents of death weren’t supposed to be so broken.
He paced more, and soon he felt several presences coming up the elevator.
Ada. Stone. Nain (he still couldn’t believe it). Levitt and Shanti. Shifters.
Not her, though.
They all walked in, and Nain went immediately to his old room, and Brennan heard a bestial roar. Something crashed, and the floors shook with his rage. He looked at everyone else. Bloodshot eyes, pale faces. Terrorized.
“Guys?” he asked softly. He looked around, his stomach twisting with worry. The only ones not totally freaking out were Bash and Dahael, her imps. “Where’s Molly?”
At the words, both Shanti and Ada started sobbing, and Stone left the room, closing himself in the tiny bathroom near the kitchen. He glanced at Levitt. He, too, looked stricken.
“Our Lady is dead. I am sorry,” Levitt said, his tone one of disbelief. Nain released another insane roar from his room, and something else crashed against the wall.
His first instinct was to deny it, to panic, to freak out.
He took a breath, closed his eyes.
He focused on the connection he’d made to her, so long ago. And then he took another deep breath, this time in relief. There. Weak. As if she was so far away their connection was stretched impossibly thin, on the verge of breaking. But she was there, her darkness and her light, in his soul, just as things should be.
He opened his eyes when Nain’s bedroom door opened. “Fucking gods,” Nain roared.
“She’s not dead,” Brennan said quietly.
“Fuck you. She’s gone. All that was left was fucking dust,” Nain roared, and he looked insane. He wore his human skin now, unlike when Brennan had seen him in the Nether, but his eyes glowed blood red and the building shook again with his rage.
Brennan glanced at Dahael, who looked back at him. She gave a tiny nod, and Bash followed suit.
“She’s alive. I can still feel her,” Brennan said.
Nain stomped over to him, drew a fist back like he was about to slug him. Brennan just stood there, watching him. Knew that, even injured, he’d be able to move quickly enough to defend himself. “She’s gone. I can’t feel her,” Nain growled.
“Yeah. And she couldn’t feel you, either, when you died. You’re not the only one who held a bond to her soul. And I can still feel her.”
Nain snarled at him. “Freaking delusional.” Then he looked at the imps. “You two. I want all the imps here, now. If the gods are going to fuck with us, we’re going to be ready.”
Bash shook his head. “Don’t take orders from you, demon,” he said.
Nain stared at him in anger and disbelief. “I’m the strongest demon here. You’re mine now, and I gave you an order.”
“Our Lady is not dead,” Dahael said. “We still serve her.”
“Are you clueless too? I saw what was left of her,” Nain said, looking less sure now, some of the anger fading.
“We would know,” Bash said. “We belong to her until her death. Not dead. And we will follow her orders until she gives us new ones.”
Nain watched the two imps. “Yeah? And what were your orders?”
Dahael looked up at him, then went to stand near Brennan. “To protect and serve her mate in any way we can until she returns.”
“I’m her mate,” Nain growled.
“Who can feel her? You? Or him?” Bash said, hobbling toward Brennan as well. “Can feel her in him. He’s the one we serve, til Mistress comes back to us.”
Nain made another fist.
“Want to back away now, demon,” Dahael said. “We protect him from everyone. Including you.” Her steely gaze didn’t leave the huge demon’s face, and her knobby fingers rested over the hilts of the twin daggers at her waist.
“Guys,” Brennan said. “Stand down. It’s okay.” At his words, both imps relaxed, then moved to either side of him. Nain and Brennan studied each other, the rest of the team looking on. Ada and Shanti’s sobs had subsided.
“So…she’s not dead?” Shanti asked in a tearful voice.
“She’s alive,” Brennan said, eyes still on Nain. “And until she gets back, it’s our job to defend this realm against her enemies.”
“And if she never comes back?” Nain asked, his voice still a growl.
“Then I die doing what she wants me to do,” Brennan said.
Nain just snarled and stalked off, up the stairs that led to the roof. Brennan looked around. Stone had come out of the bathroom again during the scene with Nain. “Okay. Fill me in on what you saw and heard at the gateway. If what I heard in the Nether was right, things are about to get rough.”