They Walk Among Us
I let him tuck me under the blankets, and I rolled on my side to watch him turn off the lights. He checked the locked door before he stripped and joined me. I moved into his arms, and rested my head on his shoulder.
“You know meeting you complicates things, Raven,” Zach admitted.
Snorting, I smiled, even though he couldn’t see me. ::It complicates things for me as well, Zach.::
Zach hummed in acknowledgement. “I have to admit, I think there’s more going on with you than you’re telling me.”
I didn’t stiffen or let on how close Zach had come.
“You’re playing several different games. I just hope none of them result in you or me getting hurt.”
Pushing up to brace myself on my elbow, I looked down at him. I could see him clearly in the darkness. He stared up at me, not knowing he showed me his worries and fears in his gaze. I brushed his hair off his forehead with a gentle touch.
::I promise I’ll do everything in my power not to let you get hurt. There are pieces in play you know nothing about, and it’s best if you don’t.::
“I’ve had this feeling for years, that what humans know about Opalites is only what you’ve let us find out. You’re like an onion, so many layers need to peeled back to find the core of who you really are.”
::I’ve been called a lot of things, but this is the first time anyone’s compared me to an onion.:: I joked, because I couldn’t really say anything else.
Zach didn’t laugh, and I sighed.
::Isn’t it enough that I’m trusting you with mine and Rissa’s life? You know what we are, and if you’re inclined, you could turn me into the government. Or you could take me to Gideon and the rebellion. Either way, I’m screwed. Yet I’ve followed you without question or doubt because I trust you to keep me safe.::
“But can I trust you to keep me safe when all your game pieces fall into place and your plans work?” Zach didn’t move away from me.
It was a simple answer, but the truth. There were provisions in our ultimate end game for humans who helped us. I had the power to ensure Zach wouldn’t be hurt after everything came to a close.
“Who are you that you can promise me that?”
I didn’t want to continue the conversation because I couldn’t tell him who I was, or how I could promise him such a thing. I started to lean down to kiss him, but he turned his head away from me.
“Who were your parents, Raven?”
Flopping on my back, I sighed dramatically, even though I knew he had every right to ask me.
::They saw the writing on the wall, and knew humans weren’t going to take their arrival calmly. My parents convinced some other Opalite parents to allow trusted humans to take them and raise them as their own.:: I closed my eyes, trying not to feel the searing pain of separation again. After my parents left, I’d spent weeks in my room, crying and trying to fight every compulsion they’d placed on me to make me stay with the humans.
“Why did they come then?”
The mattress moved as Zach rolled over to face me.
::They weren’t given a choice. Either they come here or they remained on our home planet, and that wasn’t an option for them. I’m not entirely sure how they knew things would go bad here, but they made provisions for their children.::
“And those provisions have worked so far. Yet something tells me you’re not as upset about Rissia’s capture as you’d like me to think.” Zach sounded thoughtful.
::Never doubt that I am worried about my sister. I know what the government is capable of when it comes to Opalites, and anyone who is different from what they want. Humans don’t have a good track record when it comes to accepting differences.::
A blinding pain pierced my head, blocking out Zach’s reply. I clutched at my head, working through all the pain and terror rocketing around my brain. Once I established it wasn’t Rissia, I began to unravel the threads connecting me to all the Opalites in the world.
Zach reached over and turned on a light when he realized something was wrong.
“What the hell is going on, Raven?”
His hands hovered over me, but I knew he wouldn’t risk touching me. I glowed blood red, the Opalite color for distress. I couldn’t shake my head to tell him I would be fine eventually. He fell silent, and that was what I needed to focus.
Finally, I found the link creating the disturbance. I followed it wherever it lead, and what I found brought a frown of disgust to my face. The Opalite was far younger than me, and he’d been taken by a group of humans. The things they were doing to him almost brought tears to my eyes, but I wouldn’t let them fall until after I had the Opalite in my arms.
::Show me what you see.:: I ordered the boy, steadying him enough to allow him to do so.
What I saw brought a growl bubbling up from my chest. I’d never made a sound in my life, but my fury drew it from me.
::Hold on. I’m coming for you.::
The link was severed somehow, and I dropped back on the bed, panting.
“Did you just growl?” Zach laid his hand on my chest.
At his touch, I shot off the bed and across the room to where my clothes were. With my hands shaking, it took longer to get dressed, but finally I finished. I turned to look at my lover.
::I need you to take me to the rebellion’s headquarters.::
Zach’s eyebrows shot up, and he shook his head. “I’m not risking Gideon and Tyler getting their hands on you.”
::They got their hands on another Opalite. He’s young and in a great deal of pain. They’re torturing him, and I won’t let them kill him. I don’t care who the hell they are. He is one of my people, and I will do what I must to save him.::