(This chapter follows the events in Faerie Bound chapter "Logic over Heart")
Mike's voice still rings in my ears as I walk off. I would normally be scared, but now I just accept it.
For once, I'm on Mike's side.
I contemplate running, but my legs feel too heavy. Everything feels heavy now, like there's a weight tied to it.
Like the one tied to my heart at the prospect of leaving.
But I have to go, otherwise they'll all be in danger. And I could never forgive myself if any of the people here were hurt.
I turn as Morgan stops me a short distance away from the others, just out of earshot. My heart wrenches when I see the look on her face.
She knows I have to go. And I suspect she plans on following me.
"I've already told you Morgan," I say half-heartedly "this is my fight, not yours. You need to finish your training, leave my affairs to me."
"I know," she says quietly.
"Look, I know how... what?" I half mid sentence. Did she just say what I thought she said?
"I know I can't go with you," Morgan says again, still not raising her eyes to meet mine, "that's not why I'm here."
"Well then, what are you here for?" I speak slowly, somewhat confused by her apparent meekness. I was expecting more of a fight than this quiet acceptance.
Morgan sighs and looks me straight in the face, "I came to ask you to stay. We're stronger if we stay together, and the island can protect us from your family until we're ready to face them. You don't have to go!"
If only it were that simple.
"I can't stay. If I do then they'll only fight harder to get here. Not even the island can hold them off forever, they're too strong. Someday they'll break the barrier and come here. I can't risk your safety by staying." I'm trying to sound calm, but I know my fear shows in my voice. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm scared of facing them. Particularly of facing them alone.
I take a step away from Morgan, trying not to meet the pleading look in her eyes. I don't want to leave, I'd rather stay here where it's safe. Where my family can't reach me.
But I'm not safe here. Eventually they will get through, and then there'll be hell to pay. And I won't let anyone else pay for me.
"I'm sorry Morgan, truly I am. I wish there were some other way, any other way. But there isn't, I have to go. I'm sorry I put you through this, through everything. Up on the Flat, at the hospital, the fight with Pete, the sparring, I'm sorry for everything. At least now you won't have to worry about me fighting with your dad eh? Give you some peace and quiet."
My attempt at humour falls flat. We both know it's a lie. There is a long pause before she speaks again.
"I'll come after you," says Morgan suddenly, "When I'm finished training I'll come after you. Me and Dad. Next time we meet we'll fight them together."
I shake my head sadly, trying to hide the tears that are beginning to form in my eyes.
"There may not be a next time Morgan." I say softly, half to myself as much as to her.
Then, without knowing what I'm doing, I pull her close to me and kiss her full on the mouth, wet tears streaming down my face. How can I tell her how much this hurts? How can I possibly describe the agony I feel by doing this? I feel like I'm losing half of myself, like my heart is being ripped out of my chest and torn to pieces before my very eyes.
I feel like something's broken inside, that can never be fixed. Amidst the pain and torment of my mind, I feel the connection between us. As long as that's there, she'll feel every bit of agony I feel, experience the same horrors. I concentrate hard on that bond, letting Morgan know every part of the love I bear her, in all it's fierce, blazing passion, like a great crimson phoenix rising from the flames.
Then the bond shatters, and I'm alone in the great black expanse of my mind.
I break away from Morgan, my face wet with tears and sweat:
"I'm sorry." I whisper, my voice choked with sadness and pain.
Then I turn and run, leaving her standing there like a statue in the glade. She calls after me, crying my name over and over.
I ignore the cries, lost in the botomless void where my heart used to be.
From now on, it's fight or flight.