He looked at me quietly, and I stared, unsure of what to say, wondering whether he wanted to say more.
"Rory..." I said gently, his eyes averting my cautious gaze.
When he said nothing, I prompted him gently. "Rory, what happened then?" His eyes slid up quickly, meeting mine.
"Jack left, to go meet his partner."
"It's not always chance meeting?" I asked inquisitively, my voice light and intrigued.
He laughed, hard and cold, and a chill ran down my spine. Lucky love is unconditional. "No, it never is. You hardly think I just happened to be sent here?" He said, his tone cutting and sarcastic.
"Sorry, I'm new to this, you know more than I do, I'm in the dark!" I snapped, his tone still in my mind, resonating like a stinging smack to bare skin.
He stared back moodily, his eyes black and bitter. "Yeah. My father sent me here, to set off the process, make me, make us, Kashian Protectors. He had figured that if you were changed just before adulthood, you were stronger, and more deadly. He cared not for the cost to the Protectors."
At this, whether it was his own realisation of the bitterness, or whether he read it in my eyes,dribbles of his own sweet, gentle personality began seeping in to his voice.
"That's why I left, I wanted him to try hold the whole thing off, leave us alone until we were ready. I had no idea he was attacking you, I really didn't, Evangeline, I'm so sorry you went through that alone," He said, his voice tender and tormented, my heart melting the acid guard I'd placed around my mind.
"I know you didn't." I said, my tone still a little stiff, I didn't want to let him quite back into my heart yet.
"I went back, and he totally blanked me." He said,incredulous.
I sent him a little taster of the confusion in my mind, and he smiled. "Getting good at the whole mind thing, huh?" He laughed, wrapping his arms around me.
I hesitated, but relaxed into his arms after a moment, too weak. I smiled teasingly. "Didn't have much choice!" His smile faltered, and he tightened his hold, close enough for me to smell that unique scent, one I could never describe.
"I know, sorry," He muttered starkly.
I brushed it away with a light sweep of my hand, not wanting him to return to the black bitterness. "Enough,enough. Let's focus on what's happening."
He loosened his hold, and held himself back.
We looked at each other, and it became apparent what this was all about. It was about us. We were the ones who had to deal with this, no-one else. We were the ones, who were going to die, like all the rest before us, if we weren't the best. The strongest, mentally and physically. We needed to do it together, whether we were falling apart or not. And that all began, with the training.