Maelin stayed in the doorway, watching the scene unfold. She trusted LM to do the right thing, but she was ready to hit him hard with her magic if he tried to harm either Isellta or Jay.
Her magic warmed inside her palms, ready and waiting to be used.
“Please. If you can help him, help him.”
LM tilted his head. “Wouldn’t it be a lot simpler to let him die?”
Jay didn’t seem to be shocked by the question, which mystified the half-fey. “I’ve been wondering that too.”
LM blinked quickly. “I don’t understand. I thought you said you cared about him. I thought you said you’d do anything for him.”
“I do. I have done so much.” Jay stroked the back of Isellta’s closest hand. “But I keep thinking that letting him go might be the right thing to do.”
LM slapped him. “You imbecile!”
A blast of magic slammed into LM, shoving him to the back of the room. He crashed against the wall. “Oww…”
It took him a few minutes to regain his wits. He sat up and rubbed the back of his head. “That was uncalled for. I slapped him. I didn’t try to kill him.” He glared at Jay. “But you are an imbecile. You have no idea how much trouble I went through to get up here. And now you’re trying to tell me I went through all of that for no good reason?” He stood.
Maelin positioned herself in front of Jay. “If you touch him again—”
“I won’t. I’m not a stupid human.” LM returned to the side of the bed. He rubbed his head again. “You didn’t have to shove me that hard.”
“You slapped him. I didn’t know what you were going to do next.”
“And here I thought you were part PEACE dragon.”
“I am. But don’t mess with the ones I love.”
He rubbed his head one more time.
Is he worth it?
Is he worth me walking up that whole long drive?
LM scrutinized his face.
What do they see in him? Why do they value him so much?
Then, LM saw it. Words tangled up in the threads of his blond hair.
Five simple letters.
Robin written in silver letters.
Robin written in letters of gold.
And how they sparkled!
How they shined!
It took LM’s breath away.
He matters to you. And you matter to him.
“You’re always on his mind. He loves you, Isellta. Robin loves you. He can’t stop thinking about how much he loves you. Even when he’s talking about other things, you’re there.”
LM pinched some strands of Isellta’s hair between his fingers. He heard Isellta’s distant, muted thoughts.
Robin. Robin. Robin.
He frowned. “There’s something wrong with his thoughts. They don’t feel right. They don’t feel like real thoughts. More like…a memory. A memory of a thought.”
“Can you help him?” Jay asked.
LM released Isellta’s hair. “Let me see him.”
LM sat on the bed and crawled over to Jay. He took a hold of Jay’s hands. “Let me see why he matters to you.” He didn’t wait for anyone to give him permission.
He entered Jay’s mind.
Soft voice. Gentle touch. Wings flapping. Smile so bright. Strength. Weakness. Vulnerable. Need to protect. Keep safe. Kid. Child. Love. Innocent. Pickles. Close. Hug. Grabbing onto the back of my shirt. Don’t hurt him. Protect him. Don’t die. Please don’t die. I love you. I’ll keep you safe. I failed you. I’m sorry. Isellta, I’m sorry. Pain. Grief. Loss. Don’t die. Don’t leave me!
LM released the guard’s hands and sat there, stunned from the onslaught.
If Jay felt violated from the half-fey prying through his mind, he said nothing about it. “Can you help him?”
LM nodded. He closed his eyes and, even though he dreaded it, turned into Robin. He opened his eyes.
Isellta was a merge of clear and foggy.
LM tried to scrunch up his bad eye, but the eyelid didn’t close completely right.
“How does Robin live like this?” He tried to cover his bad eye with his hand, but that just annoyed him. “How does he not go insane?
Jay got off the bed and went over to Maelin. She hugged his arm.
LM gave up. He relocated to Isellta’s side. “Don’t worry, Jay and Maelin. I will help him.” He laid his hand along the side of the fey’s face. “Isellta. Isellta.”