Binding Moonlight

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 22 (v.1) - Chapter 22

Submitted: January 19, 2019

Reads: 11

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Submitted: January 19, 2019

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Theo clicked his tongue as he took Tobi's hands and gently brushed his thumbs over the man's knuckles. His big violet eyes regarded the bruises and cuts before sliding up to meet Tobi's.

“Don't be a judgy asshole,” Tobi croaked, his voice rough after spending nearly two hours screaming and cursing. “Just heal them, please.”

“Are you going to tell me what happened?” Theo wondered, covering Tobi's hands with his own.

“I, uh, just had a bit of a temper tantrum is all,” he admitted. His teeth chattered from the cold of Theo's healing ability.

“What for?”

Tobi stuffed his hands under his arms and flopped down into a chair at the kitchen table after Theo finished. “I spent a few hours following Robyn around.”

Nodding patiently, Theo leaned against the island counter and crossed his arms.

Sighing through his nose, Tobi met his friend's gaze. “It's not good, Theo. He wants to slaughter every last Deldin. Every half-Deldin, anyone with any Deldin blood at all. Two days from now.”

Theo didn't answer immediately, letting the information sink in.

“Well, the joke's on him,” he finally scoffed, shrugging one shoulder.

“Joke? What the hell—”

“Tobi. He's part Deldin. He may not know yet, but he could have a change of heart when we inform him of his maternal lineage.” Theo pushed himself off the counter and approached Tobi at the table.

“Or he might get even more pissed off and start killing us,” Tobi grumbled.

Theo shook his head. “You aren't thinking straight. He's outnumbered. There are seven of us. Eight if you count Shelsea.”

A slow grin spread across Tobi's face and his shoulders visibly relaxed. “You are absolutely correct. I feel better now. Still not great, but a lot better.” He reached out and snagged the hem of Theo's shirt, yanking him closer. Tobi wrapped his arms around Theo's waist, squeezing him tightly. “Thanks.”

Theo's mouth gaped, and he turned red to the tips of his ears. He tried to reply but kept stuttering, unable to form full words. Eventually, he put his hands on Tobi's shoulders and just waited.

“You're too sweet for your own good, Theo. Probably a good thing you aren't a girl because I'd be all over you,” Tobi teased, sitting up again.

Though Theo was blushing, he shook his head. “No, you wouldn't.”

“How do you know?”

Theo smiled, his cheeks returning to normal color as he put his hand on top of Tobi's head. “You're too deeply in love with Nrekeeka to even think of anyone else.”

Tobi's jaw dropped. “How...?”

Rolling his eyes, Theo perched on the edge of the table. “I'd have to be blind not to notice.”

“Dammit. I've tried to be subtle about it, but I guess I haven't been very successful.” Tobi sank low in his chair and let his chin hang against his chest. “Yeah, I love her. And I think she likes me too, but it's not the right time. Y'know, she kissed me earlier today, but ended up in tears. I told her not to worry. Honestly though, when she did it, it made me happier than I've ever been.” The corner of Tobi's mouth twitched as he lifted his head.

Theo crossed his legs. “I'm happy for you, but what do you mean you told her not to worry about it?”

“She apologized to me afterward. She doesn't want to make Shelsea jealous, so I told her to focus on herself and her sister for now. She doesn't need to worry about a relationship right now. Once things settle down maybe we can give it a go.” Tobi gave a halfhearted shrug.

“At least you know she's interested, right?” Theo replied in an attempt to cheer the man up.

“I guess so,” sighed Tobi. “But none of it will matter if we don't do something about Robyn.”

“Do you have something in mind?” Theo asked, raising his eyebrows.

Looking up at Theo from under his eyebrows, Tobi let out another sigh. “No,” he admitted. He let his head loll back on his shoulders and groaned as he stared up at the ceiling.

Theo sat forward, tucking his hands between his knees. “I don't know what to say, Tobi. I'm not exactly a tactician. I can make you some good food, or fix you up when you get hurt, but planning is all up to you and 'Keeka.”

“I didn't think things would go to shit like this. To be perfectly honest, I didn't expect to be in this situation at all. If I was better at saying no to Nrekeeka, we wouldn't know about any of this,” grumbled Tobi, shooting to his feet.

Watching his friend pace, Theo asked, “Wouldn't that be worse, though?”

“How?”

“Robyn would still be doing this with or without your knowledge. At least you have the chance to do something. Ignorance is not always bliss, despite what some people say.”

Stuffing his hands into his pockets, Tobi hung his head again. “Right again, brat.”

A bright grin swept over Theo's features.

Eyeing the brunet, the infectious expression morphed Tobi's features as well. “Honestly,” he mumbled with a shake of his head.

Take a deep breath, Theo hopped off the table. “How are you going to tell Nrekeeka?”

“I'd prefer not to tell her at all,” replied Tobi.

“Tell me what?” Nrekeeka asked on her way into the kitchen. Curiosity quirked her brows when she looked at the men.

Tobi and Theo exchanged a glance.

Nrekeeka crossed her arms and shifted her weight onto one foot. “Well?”

“It's probably nothing you don't already know,” Tobi said, eyes locked on the floor at her feet. Licking his lips, his eyes slid up to meet hers. “I trailed Robyn for a while today.”

Nrekeeka's expression darkened. “What did you find out?”

“I confirmed what Max said. In two days Robyn is going to release a strain of the Amaran virus and kill off anyone with Deldin blood.”

“I see.”

Nrekeeka and Tobi stared at one another for a long while. Theo felt like he was intruding on a private conversation as he stood off to the side.

“I know when and where he's doing this 'Keeks. If worse comes to worst, we can ambush him,” Tobi told her.

Taking a deep breath, Nrekeeka nodded. “Do not tell Shelsea about this,” she stated before grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge and leaving again.

Watching the door close, Theo bit his bottom lip. “I'm confused. Did this go well?”

“No.”

“...I didn't get that.”

Closing his eyes, Tobi clenched his teeth. “Because you don't know her as well as I do.”

 

***

 

Nrekeeka sat in the overstuffed chair on the far side of the common room, watching her sister flirt with Gabe. She wasn't really listening to what they were talking about, but Shelsea laughed, grinning from ear to ear. Her expression alone should have gone a long way in cheering Nrekeeka up, but it didn't. She was anxious about Robyn, fretting about coming up with a plan.

Sitting forward in her chair, Nrekeeka put her face in her hands and let out a long, slow breath. Who was she kidding? She couldn't even take care of her own family, let alone a bunch of people who were basically strangers to her. They shouldn't expect anything from her, but it was her own stupid fault for putting herself in this position. Now she had no choice. She had to do something even if she had to make it up as they went.

Sighing heavily, she sat up to find Shelsea and Gabe watching her with matching expressions of curiosity.

“You okay 'Keeka?” Shelsea questioned, tilting her head to one side.

Not even a little. “Yeah, I'm fine. Just tired,” she answered, hoping her meager smile convinced them.

“Why don't ya go have a nap or somethin' 'Keeks? Little Sea Shell here seems ta be doin' all right. Yer probably so stressed  ya haven't been sleepin' well, right?” Gabe's soft eyes held brotherly affection. It went against everything she knew about him.

Licking her lips and clearing her throat, Nrekeeka nodded. “Right. Sounds like a good idea. Will you be okay if I go, Shelsea?”

The younger Seldon rolled her eyes. “'Course I will. I've got good company,” she replied, patting Gabe's knee.

As she got to her feet, Nrekeeka pushed her hair away from her face. “How many times do I have to tell you to behave yourself?” she asked her little sister.

“I am behaving myself!” Shelsea pouted, letting her arms fall to her sides.

“I'll believe it when you stop flirting with every guy you see.” Smiling at her sister, Nrekeeka leaned over and kissed the top of the girl's head.

The chair Gabe sat in creaked loudly as he put his feet up on the corner of the table. “Ya don't have ta worry, 'Keeka. I've already been thoroughly lectured by Max. I wouldn't have done anything anyway. I've learned when ta keep my hands ta myself.”

Nrekeeka held Gabe's eyes for a few seconds before conceding. She ruffled Shelsea's neatly groomed hair, laughing at the girl's protest on her way out. The pneumatic hiss of the door covered the sigh passing through her lips when she was alone in the hall. She really was tired, but sleep was the last thing on her mind.

When Nrekeeka returned to her bedroom, she went straight to her closet. In the back corner of the top shelf was a box of old photographs. She took the box to her bed, removed the lid and tossed it aside. A spark of pain shot through her chest when she saw the picture on top of the stack. She, her sister, her parents, and Tobi all grinning at the camera, completely unaware of the future awaiting them.

Tears sprang to her eyes and one hand went to her chest as her fingers grazed the photo.

Shaking her head, Nrekeeka scooped up the stack, quickly shuffling the offending image to the bottom of the pile. Puffing out a sharp breath, she blinked rapidly to clear her vision before turning her attention back to the pictures. She had forgotten about a lot of these. There were pictures of her, Shelsea, and Tobi being goofy, pictures of her family before they moved to Cellier City, pictures of her parents when they were younger. There were so many pictures of her mother in this box. Their father loved taking pictures, and Shi'tamo had been his favorite subject by far. She was a beautiful full-blooded Deldin woman. Nrekeeka inherited her blonde hair and blue eyes, but not even a fraction of her natural abilities or raw beauty.

Tobi's voice in her head told her not to belittle herself.

Pushing the thought aside, she focused on the pictures again. So many memories came flooding back. More than once she caught herself grinning like an idiot at the snaps. She set a few aside so she could get them framed. Her favorite so far was a candid of her and Tobi examining a book of some sort, except Tobi's attention wasn't on the book. His eyes were on her, and he had the most adorable expression on his face. Nrekeeka vaguely recalled Shelsea giggling to herself while she took the picture. Then she remembered it was the first time she had ever worn a low-collared shirt. Tobi was standing in just the right place to look down her shirt. Belated embarrassment overtook her and she made a mental note to ask Tobi about it later. Oddly enough, she wasn't angry. Actually, it made her kind of happy. Just a little, though. Shaking her head, Nrekeeka moved on.

The next image in the stack was not one she recognized. Two people stood at the door of a house, holding a newborn child between them. Shi'tamo was the woman, but Nrekeeka didn't recognize the man she was standing with. She brought the image closer to her face as though it would help her decipher the mystery of its contents. Something seemed oddly familiar about the man. Narrowing her eyes, she stared at his face. He was certainly handsome, whoever he was. His gaze was intense, his bright green eyes expressive behind his black-framed glasses. He looked so happy. And so did Shi'tamo.

The image confused Nrekeeka as she examined the details. It made her uneasy. Why was this man so familiar? Something told her she knew him, but his face was wrong somehow. Her eyes moved to the baby cradled between the pair and her blood ran cold. Surprise hit her like a ton of bricks, knocking the air from her lungs. She knew exactly who this was, and she didn't like what she was seeing.


© Copyright 2019 Kristin Kuffner. All rights reserved.

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