Born of Fury (Page 68)

Born of Fury (The League #7)(68)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Unable to cope with it, she froze in the doorway, hugging the doorframe. Syn ran past her to kneel on the other side of Dancer’s body, while Nykyrian brushed past her. Dancer was so pale. His eyes were half open and he wasn’t breathing.

Tears filled her eyes and choked her. He really was dead.

How?

“What happened?” Syn snarled to Darling.

“I don’t know. A f**king doctor came in. Said she wanted to check his injuries. I was watching Kalea for Hauk when Eleron told me his vitals were down. I handed her off to Nero and ran in here, and found him on the floor with no sign of the doctor. This is why I f**king hate medics! You can’t trust any of them! I swear when I find that bitch, I’m going to blow her entire family into the upper stratosphere!”

As the others began arriving to witness the horror, Nykyrian pulled Darling away while he continued to snarl in anger and make more threats. Then Nyk handed the emperor off to Maris. He met her gaze.

Sumi couldn’t move. She was frozen by grief and terror. Frozen by the agonizing fear of losing Dancer.

Forever.

You can’t leave me…

Like Darling, she wanted to curse everyone. She wanted to spill the guts of anyone who’d ever hurt or insulted Dancer.

Instead, she slowly approached him and knelt so that she could press her cheek to his. Brushing her hand along the stubble, she winced at how cold his skin was already. She buried her hands in his braids. “Don’t leave me, Dancer,” she whispered in his ear. “I need you here. Kalea needs you. Please don’t break our hearts. You promised me you wouldn’t leave me alone, again.”

“Pull her back.”

She started to protest until she realized Syn had pulled a defibrillator from his pack. Without protest, she allowed Fain to hold her while Syn worked on Dancer. Fain wrapped his arms around her and rocked her. He watched with a stoicism the bright tears in his eyes belied.

Silent tears fell down her own cheeks as she prayed and waited.

Nothing worked.

“Damn you, you fat, f**king bastard!” Syn shouted before he slammed his fists down on Dancer, in the center of his chest. “Get up!”

Dancer sucked his breath in sharply, then coughed. He glared at Syn. “What the hell are you doing? Damn it, stop hitting me! Gah, did you run over me or something?”

Sobbing, Sumi broke away from Fain and threw herself on top of Dancer. She rained kisses all over his face. “Don’t you ever die on me again!”

“O… kay.” Then he stiffened and groaned in pain. “Where’s that bitch,” he growled.

Pulling back slightly, Sumi frowned down at him. “Who?”

“Pera Duece.”

“Who?” she repeated.

“My mother’s girlfriend.”

Every pair of eyes in the room went to the doorway, where Darice stood, watching them.

Dancer pushed himself up, even while Syn was trying to hold him down. “Stop!” he snapped at Syn, slapping at his hands.

The look on Syn’s face said he was one heartbeat away from punching Dancer. “Three minutes ago, you were completely dead. You’re the one who needs to stop. Don’t make me slap you, ’cause I will!”

Dancer glared at him. “I’d like to see you try.”

“How about I help him, then?” Nykyrian asked drily.

Dancer nodded slowly as he lay back down and allowed Syn to return to scanning his body. “Floor’s looking mighty sweet.” He glanced back to his nephew. “What were you saying about your mother?”

Looking away, Darice rubbed gently at his wounded shoulder. “She and Pera have been lovers since before she married my father.”

Hauk was sure the stern scowl on Fain’s face matched his as he met his brother’s gaze. “Did you know this?”

Fain shook his head. “I don’t think anyone did.”

Hauk’s frown deepened as he remembered what his brain had been trying to tell him on Oksana, outside of Aksel’s base. It was a snatch of a childhood memory when he’d walked into Keris’s house for a practice climbing session. Dariana and Pera had been in the living room, and they’d jumped apart guiltily, before Dariana had taken his head off over not knocking before he entered her home. Her extreme anger over it and the backhand she’d given him had been completely unwarranted.

Unless he’d walked in on them…

Darice kept rubbing his shoulder. “They made sure to keep a lid on it, because they knew what would happen to them if anyone ever found out. But I think my father knew. I’m pretty sure it’s why he hated Pera, and went off into a rage every time he saw her.”

And Keris had beaten her right before his death…

A bad, bad feeling went through Hauk. “How do you know this?” he asked Darice.

“I’ve suspected things for a long time. I knew Pera stayed over… a lot, especially at night. But I didn’t know how far it went, not until you came back with Sumi. My mother has no idea how much her voice carries when she’s angry. Nor how verbose she is when she rants.”

Fain sighed heavily. “Is that why you went to your great-grandmother’s to stay?”

Darice nodded. “And it’s why I refused to sit with her family today.” His lips trembled. “They killed my father… if he is my father.”

“He’s your father,” Fain chided. “Your DNA was tested.”

Shaking his head, Darice scoffed bitterly. “Pera’s a doctor. She’s…” His voice broke off before he continued. “That baby my mother’s pregnant with isn’t a War Hauk. Keris’s sperm didn’t take with it, so Pera used someone else’s, and then fabricated the DNA results to keep my mother from having to marry another male, who would live in her home and find out about them. I think they might have done the same with me.”

“Sweetie,” Sumi said gently. “You look just like your uncles. You are a War Hauk.”

“Maybe… but Pera and my mother have been scheming for years to shield my mother from having to sleep with a male. It’s why Pera gave my mother drugs to keep Keris under control, and why my mother has never honored her pledge to Dancer.”

Hauk met Sumi’s gaze. “I’m hoping you won your match.”

She gaped in mock anger. “You didn’t just ask me that, did you? As if.”

“Good.” In spite of Syn’s protests, Hauk rose to his feet. The room swam around him and for a minute, he thought he’d be sick. But he was through with these games.

Syn, Fain, Nyk, Ryn, Drake, Maris, and Darling formed a wall between him and the door.

Hauk glared at his family. “I’m ending this. Now.”

“No,” Fain said sternly. “You’re going to let Syn treat you before you fall over.”

Hauk shook his head. “This is my family they’ve threatened.”

“And it’s my brothers they abused. My brother they killed. I’m not letting them kill you, too.”

“Dancer?” Sumi placed her right hand on his arm then cupped his face with her left. She forced him to look at her. “Remember what I told you? You are my life. I’ve already seen you dead once today. Don’t make me do that again.”

The tears in her eyes and voice weakened his resolve. And when one fell down her cheek, he was completely undone by it.

Nodding, he brushed her tear away. “For you, mu tara. I will be a good boy.” He dipped his head down to whisper in her ear. “But only if you reward me for it later.”

Sumi pressed her cheek to his and held him there as she savored the warmth of his body. Choking on a sob, she agreed. “Let Syn clear you of whatever she did to you. Vengeance can wait.”

“Okay.”

“Are we better now?” Syn asked sarcastically. “Can I finally take you to the hospital and flush the poison out before you collapse again?”

Dancer made a mocking face at him. “Next time, I’m going to collapse my fat ass on top of you.”

Sumi rolled her eyes. “I wish all of you would stop saying that. Yes, Dancer’s big as a house, but there’s not a bit of fat on his body. And you all know it.”

Holding her hand to his heart, Dancer rubbed noses with her. “My fierce mia. Always defending me, even against myself.”

She gave him a light kiss and stepped back as a medic team brought in a stretcher. “I’ll see you at the hospital.”

He inclined his head before he lay down and allowed Syn to begin treating him again. Even though the two of them slapped at each other like children, and argued the whole time.

Rolling her eyes at them, Sumi stepped to Darice and gave him a hug. “Don’t frown so, sweetie. You are a War Hauk, and you are loved by both your uncles, and by me. And by your cousin.”

He glanced up at her. “Is she here?”

She nodded. “Would you like to meet her?”

A slow smile broke across his face. “Very much.”

Taking his hand, she led him upstairs to Kalea’s room, where Nero sat, playing with her on the floor, under the watch of two guards.

“Mommy!” Kalea came running and launched herself into Sumi’s arms. “You’re back!”

She held her daughter tight. “I told you I would be.”

“Did you win?”

“Of course I did.” With Kalea on her hip, she turned toward Darice. “And this is another of your cousins. Darice Hauk. Dare, meet Kalea.”

“Oh yaa!” she breathed happily, clapping. “Finally a cousin with my name.” She launched herself at Darice with enough force that he staggered back.

“Wow, you’re strong, Kalea.”

She grinned at him as she wrapped her arms around his neck. “Just like my daddy, but not so big yet.” Screwing her face up, she fisted her hands in his braided hair. “You got hair like my daddy, but not all of it.” She touched his chin where he had a little bit of stubble. “Can you grow hair there, too? Or are you a girl-boy?”

Darice wasn’t sure how to answer.

Sumi laughed at his confusion. “Darice is a male, and he’s just at the age where his facial is starting to grow. In time, he’ll be able to have a moustache and goatee like Daddy.”

“Oh.” Her eyes widened as she squealed in delight. Then she squeezed him tight and laid her head on his shoulder. “I love you, Darice, even if you don’t have chin hair yet!”

If Sumi lived a thousand years, she would never forget the shocked, tender look on his face as he held Kalea. And she knew Kalea would have another very fierce protector in her cousin.

She met Nero’s speculative gaze. “You’re being remarkably quiet.”

“Not sure what to say, other than yes, I’ll watch her and make sure nothing happens while you’re gone.”

A chill went down her spine. “You shouldn’t pry into people’s thoughts, Nero.”

“You shouldn’t have thoughts around me you don’t want me to know about.”

“What thoughts?” Darice asked.

“None whatsoever.” Nero went to take Kalea, but Darice kept her in his arms. He smiled at Darice. “Why don’t I take the two of you to the hospital to be with Hauk? Knowing Syn, he won’t release him until tomorrow. He’ll want to run every test known to make sure he’s fine.” He paused to meet Sumi’s gaze. “See you there in a few hours?”

She nodded. “Thank you.”

“No problem.”

After he left with the kids and guards, Sumi went to their bedroom to dig out their backpacks that someone had delivered after their return from Oksana. No one had bothered to unpack them. She paused as she found the violin case in Hauk’s pack.

A smile tugged at the edges of her lips as she remembered how beautifully Dancer played. When this was over, she was going to make him serenade her.

And that steeled the determination in her to see this to the end, and to make sure no one ever threatened him again.

She rooted around until she located her League gear. It was time for her to go to work.

Sumi slowed as she felt someone following her. Turning into an alley, she fell into the shadows and waited.

Once the tall male walked past her corner, she grabbed him. She started to punch him then recognized the familiar form. “Bastien? What are you doing here?”

He offered her an unrepentant grin. “I figured you could use the backup.”

“I’m an assassin. I work best alone.”

“Even Nemesis has backup for these kinds of missions.”

She glanced down to his stomach where he’d been marked a Ravin by The League. “I thought you hated the killing business.”

“This isn’t business. It’s personal, and that I understand better than anyone.”

She supposed he did. “You’re planning to go after the one who killed your family?”

He nodded. “Once you’re squared away, and I don’t have to worry about the debt I owe the two of you. Hell, yes.”