Recon - 3 | ii

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Shea woke from her nightmare fighting against ghosts that were not there.

"Hey, hey, it's all right." Ichiro got up from the chair where he sat by her window. The rain outside was now a drizzle. Holding her by the wrists, he held her down as she continued to fight. Ichiro had to straddle her on the bed to keep her down. "You're safe now."

She continued to buck and kick trying to get free.

"Shea! Stop fighting me."

A few seconds later she settled down her chest heaving. Ichiro kept her pinned all the same. Her thick wild mane of hair covered her face. It was longer than it had been when last he saw her.

Two months ago, he did not know this woman. He and Zigor had not been on the Mountain for two full months and the last twenty-one days had been the worst period of his entire life. All because of the woman he held pinned to her bed. All because of a virtual stranger. A stranger that was not even human. A stranger, who, as it turned out, was his mate. It was an odd concept for him to grasp but then again so were werewolves, vampires, and magic. He had seen the latter three so being the mate of a werewolf was not that far out there in his new reality.

"Leave me."

"I-I can't do that." Not that he had tried which bothered him. The thought had never come to him once to walk away. He was not that kind of man. From what the others told him, it would not be easy. Distance would not cancel out the pull he felt towards Shea.

In a quiet voice, she said, "I'm sorry."

He released her wrists moving to sit on the edge of the bed. "Sorry for what?"

"For all this. For—us meeting."

"I shot you, remember. You should be sorry you met me."

"You joke because you don't understand."

"I'm trying," Ichiro's voice gave away his inner conflicts.

Shea turned her head to look at him. He was staring through the window at nothing in particular.

"You are free to go."

He looked at her then. "Am I?"

"Always," Shea said. She looked up at her ceiling. "I would never hold you against your will. I know... I know what that feels like. I would never do it to another person."

"Marx said you would explain it all to me."

Shea's laugh broke into sobs. Rolling onto her side Ichiro was now looking at her back.

"I don't know you, Shea," Ichiro started. "I came here to help a friend and found myself walking into a world I never knew existed. This situation is all—new to me. And as much as it is not easy for me but from the little Marx told me, it has been worse for you.

"If you need someone to put your pieces back together, I am not him. But if you need someone to make you strong enough to heal, I can be that. I do not know how to be gentle, Shea. I don't have soft words." Ichiro sighed. "It is I who should apologize for you meeting me at a time when you need gentleness and sweet words."

She rolled over to look at him. She did not bother to wipe away her fresh tears. Ichiro's brow knitted at his reaction to the sight of them.

"I don't want either."

"But what do you need?"


"That is something you can only find inside yourself."

Shea sat up pulling her legs to her chest, wrapping her hands around them. She brushed her chin across her knees.

"Do you want to be here?" Shea asked. "With me I mean."

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