Raven’s pupils widened. “Missy. Don’t.”
Robin released him and hurried over to the monitor.
DARN IT! It’s just like before.
Stupid Raven. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
Antioch joined him. “Isn’t she magnificent? Look at how heartless she is. Relentless. Unfeeling. So perfect. She won’t stop until I tell her to.”
“You have to stop her. She’s hurting him.”
“Yes. She is.”
Raven doubled over inside her flames. He bowed his head and her flames danced on the back of his neck. “Missy. I will not leave you. I’m here.” His vision warped and wobbled from the heat.
Every breath he took was fire and heat and drying pain.
His breathing turned into wheezing.
“I won’t leave you. Missy. Missy. I’m here.”
Robin watched his fellow vampire agonize on the monitor.
I need to get him out of there, but first.
“Okay. Fine. I give up. You wanna roast and toast him? Fine. Not much I can do about that. In exchange, you’re gonna do me a favor. No, two favors. One: Turn on these monitors.”
“All of them.”
“I’ll tell you why after you turn them on.”
“Turn ’em on and I’ll tell you then.”
The heat from Missy’s flames reached a point where it stopped burning Raven and started to freeze him instead. He shivered. “Mi…ss…sy…” His teeth chattered. “S…ss…st…stop. XQ. sss…sss…ssst…stt..sto…XQ. STOP.”
She stopped. All of her flames withdrew into her body.
She transformed back into Missy and looked down at him.
Danger. He’s a danger. Master said so. I must destroy him.
My danger alert isn’t going off.
Is Master wrong?
That can’t be right.
But my danger alert is never wrong.
He curled into a fetal position. His teeth chattered.
He doesn’t look dangerous.
Her mouth dropped open. It’s him!
My pretty shirtless Raven.
She touched his chest and drew out all of the heat from her flames.
His body relaxed.
My pretty Raven.
He opened his eyes. “Mi…Missy?” He raised his head.
She smiled down at him. My pretty shirtless Raven. You didn’t leave me this time. You stayed. I hurt you, but you stayed.
She twirled her fingers in his hair. You stayed with me.
He sat up quickly and hugged her. “Missy. Come home with me.”
She closed her eyes.
She didn’t respond.