Kenny came back from returning Jennifer to her house feeling numb. When he arrived in the apartment, Svetlana was in the kitchen. Kenny could hear the kettle. He walked in and sat down at the kitchen table, putting his head in his hands.
“You’d have done it, wouldn’t you?” Svetlana asked quietly. “Made the only important thing you and her?”
“Yes,” Kenny answered.
“The Council would have chased you down, Kenny. Imprisoned you for rebelling, for going rogue... You’d have sacrificed everything.”
Svetlana looked confused.
“But she thought you were asking for her opinion because you wouldn’t have...”
“I’d have done it for her,” he said bleakly. “I wanted an excuse not to listen to the rational part of me. I wanted to abandon myself to her desires: forget Duty and Chaos and all that. But she’d have never given me an excuse. Not Jennifer.”
“She’s pretty damn amazing. To ask for a mind-wipe? To be brave enough to use emotional blackmail because she knew that you had to be convinced no matter what? She’s got the spirit of a Guardian of Order.”
“I wish she didn’t,” Kenny said quietly. “I wish she could be spared that mindset. She never said that talking to her sister hurt but I’ll bet you it did. I don’t want her to feel like the bad guy. Thinking about it, I’m stunned I even entertained the fantasy of dating her. She deserves someone so much better than me.”
“Kenner, there aren’t many guys out there who are better than you. You label yourself a criminal for being a Guardian of Order, but you know you chose that path to prevent Chaos.”
“But if we were human, we’d be on life sentences for murder.”
“Maybe not if we were soldiers.”
“I don’t even think she should be with a soldier.”
“Well, that’s all right, isn’t it?” said Svetlana softly. “Because she doesn’t know you love her anymore. And you’re too good to run after her.”
“It’s not about good or bad, anymore, Lana,” Kenny said, almost whispering. “It’s about how strong you are. Joel said love couldn’t be destructive, but he’s so, so wrong. Love is a battle. A battle against yourself.”