Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I watch from the doorway. His ears twitch, so I know he has either heard me or scented me. I smile and turn my attention to the hall instead. A sylph hurries past with a bundle of diapers. Another pauses by the door. I shake my head and it hurries away.

His voice is quiet, a slight bit of brogue softens his work tones. "Nadji, come sit with me? I don't want... I want time alone with Mera before I have to leave. But I need to talk to someone who understands."

I know where this is going. I didn't expect it to be Keon pondering such things. But life is odd that way. I slip in and settle next to him on the loveseat. Mera looks at me with her large eyes, quickly returning her focus to the bottle she is devouring. Her eyes are a beautiful shade of dark blue. I wonder briefly if she will end up with blue eyes or dark as her daddy.

He sets the bottle aside and raises her to his shoulder, gently patting her back. In moments she gives a big satisfied burp. He lowers her back to the cradle of his arms. It is only then that he raises his eyes to me. There is so much pain, so much guilt, in that single look.

"I failed her, Nadji. I was too far away from them and Morgan stabbed her.  Cassie saved Mera, but Morgan would have had her if not for the others. I wasn't going along. I was going to stay with Mera. But I asked the Lady for guidance, and she sent me Grace. All she did was have me look at Star. She looked so lost, knowing Erik was going to face the bitch on her behalf, but so proud too." He looks down at his daughter and strokes her pale cheek gently. "I can't stay. I need to seek justice for what Morgan took from us both."

I reach for Mera and he gives her to me. "That is why you asked Star to care for Mera while you joined Gareth's group?"

I watch her ears twitch, focusing on Keon's voice. There are tiny points, yet nothing different from so many humans who have no idea they have Fae blood. I wonder briefly if they will lengthen or stay more human. She watches me with her dark eyes, then sniffs slightly. Moments later she closes her eyes, drifting off to sleep.

Keon rises and starts to pace. "Perrito, what else is scratching at your thoughts?"

He turns and shakes his head. "Have you ever thought of having a child, Nadji?"

I laugh aloud. "Keon, I am a Huntress, an assassin, a damned Succubi. Babies are not in my future. I will leave that to my kith and kin and be happy being *Tante Silk."

His smile holds an edge of sorrow. "I knew you, of all people,  would understand. I am not fit to be a full time father. Cass... Cassie would have been a wondrous mother, but..." He turns and stalks to the fireplace, leaning against the mantle. "Morgan is going to pay for taking her life."

I wait as he gathers himself, rocking a little as Mera stirs in her sleep. He leans back against the wall and sighs. "I canna leave either 'job'. Hell, I don't have the compassion to raise a child full time. The only thing I can do is foster her with someone I trust, someone she is comfortable with, someone who is willing to let me stay in her life."

His eyes meet mine and I smile. Anyone else would have thought he was going to ask them to foster Mera. Me, I know better.

"Keon, Perrito... You need to think on this, think it through. Mera will think of the people who foster her as her parents. They will set her rules and punishments. Even though you are her true father, you will need to abide by their judgments."

He waves a dark hand at me. "I have been thinking on this. She will need to know all her life that I love her, but I want the best for her. Nadji, I am not the best for Mera. I was thinking... Erik and Star."

I look down at the baby girl in my arms. "Good people, Ke. Think on this more, ^mi amorata. Human adulthood is eighteen years. That is a long time. Can you live in her life part time?"

His eyes are sad as he takes Mera back into his arms. "I have to, Nadji. I see little choice in my future." His eyes harden. "And I'll be damned if I take her to Court. My family will have no knowledge of Mera if I can help it."

A blue form hovers in the doorway. The sylph moves in, motioning to the hall.

Keon nods. "Star has come down. It is soon time to go." He presses a hand to my cheek and kisses me gently. "My gratitude, My Mistress, for listening to this old dog's thoughts."

I see Star smile as he settles Mera in her arms, telling her that she has been fed and burped.

*Auntie Silk

^my dear

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