I felt like I was falling and I landed on a cold metal table. My back was warm even though the metal felt cold when I moved and it hurt a little to move.
“‘Bout fucking time you woke up,” Ryan laughed. “Everyone is driving everyone crazy. Alex is in a bottle. Ant’s destroying himself. The two of them won’t even look at each other. The kids are a mess, thank god for your brother.”
I groaned as I sat up and a white sheet fell from my chest. I kicked my feet over the edge. Ryan was looking at me, “Well fucking look at that.”
“What I asked?”
Ryan pulled over a silver tray that used to have medical supplies on it, but they were dumped to the floor in a quick motion. He handed the shiny surface to me and I saw my marred reflection. The scars from the werebear attack were gone, and so was the one on my cheek from my very first hunt. I reached behind me and felt new skin – unmarred by my dreams. The tattoo at my temple was gone, and I reached behind my head and rubbed my neck, but I expected the stylized dragon was gone too.
“Tell me what happened,” I demanded.
Ryan chuckled. “I’d rather you get dressed first.” He handed me a pile of clothes. “I asked Alex to give me clothes for you, I think he assumed for a funeral so it’s all I’ve got.”
I sighed as I pulled on a pair of boxers and then pants all the while Ryan watched me. “So I have clothes on,” I said as I pulled my white t-shirt over my head, the dress shirt was going to have to wait. “Tell me what happened.”
“The Venatori were alerted to your presence, Kai confirmed it with Bernstein two days ago. He wasn’t part of the mission, but he knew it was going down and they had him under lock and key – same with Dorian and Dae’lin. Anyone with potential loyalty to you. And Nathaniel was coming in to take you out. We don’t know why, but we assume it had to do with the New World Order. They got to Nate, they probably got to a few others too, so, we have to be careful who we trust.”
“So they all came for me?”
“That’s the rumor,” Ryan confirmed.
“What do they think happened?”
“You’re dead. We have put word out there will be a funeral for you in a few days and with everyone grieving they believe it.”
I sighed, “What happened to me?”
“You blocked the fireball that was aimed at us, you took the brunt of the flames and it engulfed you like dry tinder. Ant screamed and you fell. He was there in an instant and walked us out then he collapsed. I’m told Alex was a mess. Likely still is.”
“Why are you down here? I’m in the morgue right?”
“To keep the illusion, and so no one cremates or buries you.”
“You expected me to wake up?”
“Cari calls me a true believer. But she’s the one who gave me all the info.”
“Is that why you always help?” I asked.
“I’m a true believer, what can I say.”
“Why are you the only one here?”
“True believer. Everyone else is morning you.”
“Well maybe we should go upstairs and let them know I’m not dead.”
Ryan shook his head. “Nope. I already sent the appropriate messages. You’ll have visitors in a little while.”
I saw movement from the glass windows of the room we were in. The first thing I heard was Alex’s voice, “Ryan, why the fuck did you bring me down here. Rubbing.. it.. in.” His words trailed off as he saw me standing there. “Is this some kind of sick joke?” He turned to Ryan.
The blond Chevalier shook his head. “I told you he wasn’t dead. He bound one of the most fucking powerful vampires in the whole fucking world to him by accident. Cari’s bond keeps me alive, there is no reason why Ant’s wouldn’t keep him alive.”
But more than half way through Ryan’s little speech Alex had stopped listening to him and was looking at me. The ice in his eyes became fire, that he directed at me, “Who the fuck do you think you are? You don’t get to fucking tell me it’s going to be okay and then fucking die.” His words were clipped and furiously spewed at me. He’d had a little too much to drink and he was pissed.
Alex walked towards me, it wasn’t a run, nor a rush but it was much more than a simple walk. “You fucking died,” he shouted as he pressed his hands to my chest and pushed me. I took a step back and gave Alex the room he needed again. I dropped my gaze and let him yell. It would likely get me in trouble but I wasn’t going to say anything until he was ready to listen.
“You had us all upstairs fucking mourning you.” He shoved me again. It wasn’t as hard, I barely moved back.
“The kids…” Alex shoved me again and this time I didn’t move I wrapped my arms around him and pulled him close to me. His words trailed off into my neck as he pressed his whole body against mine.
I whispered, “I’m sorry.”