Raven woke to a sharp pain in his chest and tears running down his face. He rubbed his tears away, but they kept falling.
He pulled out his phone and called Ambrose’s number.
Please answer please answer please ans—
“Are you well, sir? Are you—-”
“tryna sleep, idiot.”
“Then, you are well. What of Robin? Where is he? Is he all right, sir?”
“nnnnnngh. waz goinon?”
“I. I am uncertain, sir. Just. I have a bad feeling. I want to make sure my family is safe.”
“ugh. unnn. Robin? ehh? He isn’t here.”
Raven sat stiff, still, and frozen. He could feel his face turn white. “Find him. Now.”
Ambrose grumbled a long line of German that may have been random obscenities or random words that sounded like obscenities. It was honestly hard to tell.
Raven winced as Ambrose mentally called Robin’s name over and over.
He does not need to yell that loud.
Raven heard the bedroom door open and slam shut.
“Darnation! What the world is your damage, yelling your head off like that?”
Raven smiled with relief.
“Don’t blame me.”
“Huh? Whaddya mean don’t blame you? You’re the one hollerin’ like a howler monkey in heat.”
“Oh, so I’m a monkey, huh?”
“Yeah, stupid. A big oaf monkey.”
“You heard me.”
My boys. They are safe.
Raven ended the call and laughed.
They are safe.
My vampires are safe.
Then, what was that feeling?
His pupils widened in panic.
Raven quickly rose to his feet and stumbled over to her hospital bed. He shoved Jeff out of the way. “Missy!”
Her eyes were closed, but her chest still rose and fell with wonderful regularity.
“huuh. huuh. huuh.” Raven panted.
She is safe as well.
“It’s okay, Raven.” Jeff patted his back. “She’s okay. She’ll be okay.”
I do not understand.
That feeling of loss…
Who did I lose?
“I don’t want to stay here.” LM said. “I can’t. There’s too much hurt here. Too much loss. I have to leave.”
Carthage said nothing.
“I do not intend to ever come back. There is nothing here for me to cling to.”
Carthage spread his hands on the floor. “Nothing. There’s nothing. No dust. No bones. No skin. No ashes. Nothing left for me to bury.”
LM tried to flatten his wings against his back. He failed. As usual. “I am sorry. I am so sorry.”
Carthage shook his head. “Don’t be. You did what you could to help him.” He stood.
LM looked up at him. “Where will you go?”
“I wanted to rebuild The Institute, but I can’t do it alone. Not without Capernaum and Antioch. I would feel their absence too much. I will search for my XQ and then.” He sighed. “I’ll have to figure out what happens next.”
LM stood. “I wish you all the best.” He held out his hand the way Capernaum had taught him.
Carthage shook his hand. “Same to you, fey.”
Carthage gave LM’s wings a quick look over. “Close enough.” He hugged him, catching the half-fey completely off-guard.
LM hesitantly returned the hug.
“Thank you. For everything you’ve done to help him, thank you, LM.”
The half-fey closed his eyes. Memories of Antioch and Capernaum played out in his mind. He held Carthage a little tighter. “I will stay with you, if you need me.”
He didn’t respond.
LM released him. “If you don’t, I will leave. It’s up to you.”
Carthage shook his head. “Go.” He managed a slight smile. “Find a safe place you can call home. Somewhere with no experiments. No XQs. Find someone who will care for you and love you the way Capernaum loved you.”
LM shook his head. “That isn’t possible. No one will ever love me the way he did. It just isn’t possible.”
“I know. But don’t settle for anything less than that. You hear me?”
“Good. I hope we meet again, fey.” He left the room.
LM sat down on the bed and covered his face with his hands.