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Ian tried to shake the bad news his father had given him. Another Atlantian had been found, dead and in pieces.

He opened the container of clothes Jorah had brought for Sonora. On top laid a wrap, which he picked up and shook at Sonora indicating she should put it on, but as she was doing so, he stopped her.

"You are wounded," he said.

"Oh, it's fine, I just scraped my back on a bit of coral. It's nothing." That wasn't totally true. It had been bothering her, it was just that everything else had been bothering her more.

Ian grabbed her hand and pulled her back into the kitchen not slowing no matter how many "I'm fine's" she repeated. Finally, she gave up when he growled for her to be quiet and come along, he was not in a mood to be resisted.

When they got there, he turned her away from him and held her waist with one hand while he waited for her to stop wiggling. His hand sat patiently on her, warm and strong through the thin wrap. She felt her breath quicken.

Satisfied she would listened, he let go of her waist and pulled back the wrap that covered her wound. The light material tickled her skin as it went. One palm he planted on her upper back to hold the wrap in place and with the other one he smoothed a salve over the injury that he'd taken from the cupboard.

He was gentle, but still, Sonora felt a flare of pain as his fingers moved over the wounded area. She hissed and shifted forward, away from him. Ian immediately shushed her and said some soft words in his language. His hand grazed its way from her back to her shoulder and pulled her back to him.

When he was done, he released her allowing the wrap to fall and cover her again. "There. Is that better?"

"Yes. It is. Thank you." She quickly stepped away from him and tied her wrap. Her heart thumped as she cast her mind for something to break this mood. She said the first thing that came into her mind. "Your father had bad news?"

If anything his expression became darker. Sonora took another small step away from him. Clearly, it wasn't the best choice of subject.

Ian quickly ran his hand through his hair. "Someone killed one of us."

"Oh! I'm so, so sorry!" Without a thought, she laid a hand on Ian's arm, but then, let it stay there, hoping it would give him some comfort.

"Humans." Ian's voice was a low rumble as he looked at her with what she thought was suspicion. "Humans murdered him."

Sonora's voice trembled as she spoke. "How do you know that's who killed him?"

"They make it clear. They have tried it before. Tried to kill him, tried to kill me. And because he came to us, like all the others have. In pieces."

Sonora quickly covered her mouth as she inhaled a quick breath. What was happening here? She started to ask another question but stopped when Ian laid a hand on her shoulder. 

His face turned dark as he studied her. "We are not discussing this further, do you understand?"

She gave a quick, frightened nod as her teeth clamped on her bottom lip. Ian strode back to the table and once again, waited for Sonora to sit down before seating himself. Sonora followed him to the table and dropped into her seat. The news had stunned her. Some humans apparently did know Atlantians existed, and they were hunting them. 

No wonder he hates them. Us.

She took a couple of bites of her food hoping for the expression on his face to lighten.  It didn't. Sonora felt a change of subject might help.

It took three nervous clears of her throat to be able to speak. She wasn't sure she wanted to bring attention to herself, a human, with what he had just revealed. But by then, he was looking at her with curiosity, and with what she worried was mistrust.

"I've been trying to get my questions about your home in order. First, well, isn't this a little off from where Atlantis is thought to be? I mean-,"

Ian cut her off with a wave of his hand. "Do you sit here in my house, in my city and question me when I tell you where you are?"

Sonora dropped her fork as she sat up and leaned back in her seat. She quickly pressed her lips together to stop herself from speaking. What came to her mind was that if he hadn't kidnapped her, she would know exactly where she was and there would be no questions. Scanning his face, she knew that wouldn't have amused him very much at all.

His face softened. "I apologize. That came out harsher than I intended, but Sunny, you are where I say you are. I do not lie."

"Okay, but can you understand why I'm having trouble believing it's Atlantis? And don't look at me like I'm stupid," she said when he gave a shake of his head. "Ok, just so you know, this is not normal, everyday information."

"I don't think you are stupid, far from it, you have great intellect. And your curiosity is so immense that when it wakes, you totally lose your fear." Ian's mouth curled slightly. "It amuses me."

A little frown appeared on her brow; she wasn't sure she liked amusing him so much. She looked out the window at the city. "How many people live here?"

Ian squinted out the window. "A few thousand, I am not exactly sure of the last count. We are one of the larger communities."

Her eyes widened. "What? There are more?"

He nodded. "Yes, several. All over the oceans. Once we created one city, it was easy enough to create others."

Sonora put a hand up to her cheek and looked from the city to him to the city again. Ian was, of course, laughing but this time she'd joined in his laughter. For a moment, it all seemed like some kind of crazy dream. When he looked at her, she didn't look away but enjoyed the moment.

Ian's eyes danced as he leaned over the table toward her and said in an almost confidential tone, "What if I show you where it all began? How we lived when our island sunk into the sea?"

Her face lit up, and she leaned in, "Oh, yes, please! That would be wonderful." But then caution seeped through, "Are we going out there?" she asked pointing at the window. "Will I see more Atlantians? Will I be safe?"

"No, maybe and yes, very safe. It's just a short walk. Nothing alarming or frightening at all," he assured her. 

Then Ian rose and held out his hand to Sonora. After a moment of indecision, she offered up hers to him.



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