It had been two days since Santon had last seen Bree, and now, finally, he laid eyes upon her again. She lay at the bottom of a hole, dug with her own hands, with a sheathed scimitar clutched in her grip. She appeared to be sleeping, but did not wake at his touch.
Santon crawled into the pit and tried to pry the sword from her hands, but found her grasp too tight. He frowned. Carefully, he lifted her from the soil and placed her upon his back before climbing out of the hole.
He walked to the nearest room with a sturdy roof, the brightly coloured shrine, and placed her upon the ground. Her skin was cold to the touch, but dry. Santon sighed as he sat down beside her.
When he had first met Bree he had seen not a woman, or a conquest, but a kindred spirit. He had looked into her strange mismatched eyes and felt not arousal, but acceptance. He had recognized immediately that she had lost everything and everyone important to her, just as he had. He recognized that they were the same. Two of a kind.
He had known then that she would be the one person he would save, no matter the cost, just as Haleen had saved he and Chochy all those years ago. He would be a brother to Bree, a protector; the family they both so obviously longed for.
He frowned. It had barely been two weeks and he had failed already. Apparently, he was not as good at this as his sister. He shrugged off his backpack and pulled out a blanket. He wrapped it carefully around Bree. Behind him, he heard footsteps.
“Star Flower?” a voice asked.
Santon turned to see Trevvis hovering by the doorway. When had he arrived?
“I saw you carry her in,” Trevvis said through clenched teeth. “What happened?”
“We don’t know.” he said simply, unsure of how to voice his suspicions. Bree seemed to like Trevvis, and he didn’t want to spoil it for her with tales of possession and slimy insides.
“You said you’d take care of her!”
“You also told me to keep my hands to myself, which I obviously have not.”
Trevvis clenched his fists and Santon frowned. He hadn’t meant it like that.
“I had to carry her.” Santon said in an effort to defuse Trevvis’ anger. He stood.
Trevvis stepped forward and raised his fist. Santon didn’t move. Trevvis punched him once, solidly in the jaw. A dribble of blood seeped from his lip.
Santon spit a gob of blood onto the floor. “I tried to protect her.”
Trevvis frowned but lowered his fist.
“I haven’t stopped trying.” he continued.
Behind him, Bree stirred. Both men rushed to her side. Her eyes fluttered open. One was green and the other was blue.
Santon sighed in relief.
“Star Flower?” Trevvis asked.
Bree raised a hand to her head and frowned. “I…”
Trevvis threw his arms around her. She stiffened at his touch.
“I think I need to be alone for a while,” she said.
Trevvis pulled back, looking hurt. Santon patted him on the shoulder. “Come on. She’s had a rough time. Haven’t you, Bree?”
Bree nodded, but didn’t look at them. “Yes.” She gazed down at the sheathed blade in her lap. “A hard time.”
Trevvis frowned as Santon led him from the room, leaving Bree alone in the shrine. He raised his fists and punched Santon again, solidly in the jaw.
Santon frowned. This was getting old.
“You stay away from her!” Trevvis shouted, turning red with anger.
What Bree saw in this man Santon couldn’t imagine. He stood and waved his palms in the air before him. “Fine.”
It was better this way. Bree would prefer Trevvis’ company over his own when she came to her senses. If she wanted to see him, she would ask. Santon rose from the ground and walked away. As he left the cloister walk he turned his gaze back to the Shrine.
Trevvis sat on the ground, just outside of Bree’s room, looking as if the world were crashing down upon him.
Perhaps he should try harder to get along with Trevvis.
“Santon!” a sultry voice purred.
Brotis raced towards him and threw herself into his arms. She kissed his neck frantically.
On second thought, Trevvis could wait. Santon had more pressing matters to tend to.