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There is a point of no return.

We'd hit it.

And then we'd bulldozed right over it.

Before and After had solidified themselves. We knew where we stood and we knew what was no longer acceptable.

I just wished, in those days, we'd known better everything that we were willing to throw away. Maybe it would have made it just a little easier if we had acknowledge right off the bat what we would sacrifice for one another.

Neither of us thought it was permanent, the things we gave up. At any point, we were dumb enough to believe that everything would work out. Given enough time, it would all form into something new but familiar.

It was permanent. The losses were real. Nothing worked out how it was supposed to.

Some people break under that kind of knowledge.

I wasn't one of them.


An hour later, we were lying in the motel bed, my body pressed against his side while he had an arm around me. His fingers kept twirling the ends of my hair and letting it fall onto my back. It was a good, comfortable, easy position and I didn't want to move.

"What now, Istas?" he asked, his voice low and slightly hoarse.

I knew what he was asking. I just didn't have an answer. Nor did I really want to have to answer. If I could just let the same amount of frantic energy continue... But we couldn't.

I sighed. "We can't go back to how it was before."

Meaning we couldn't live on the other side of the country from each other anymore. We were together now. For good or ill.

His arm squeezed me tighter. "I agree."

"I want to stay with you." There. Nice and clear. No misunderstandings.

"Well, we can't stay here," he said with a grin. I knew he was talking about more than the hotel room.

"Your family is close by, aren't they?" I murmured.

He nodded. "Moved back to the area last year after I found out about my mom."

We both fell silent then, our minds traveling over the same worn road. I wondered how the nightmares were holding up. Were they as vivid while he was awake? I hoped so.

Shifting so that I could see his face better, I asked, "Can you read my mind now?"

His grin broke the tension. "You can still feed off me, can't you?"

I could. But we were touching, so obviously it was possible. Which meant it was also possible for him to hear the thoughts jumping through my brain.

"I could hear your thoughts as soon as I stepped in the room," he remarked.

"We were touching as soon as you stepped into the room," I snickered. As a point, I shoved the memory at him. His hands locking me in place against him while he shoved his tongue in my mouth.

"Fine. I'll stand at one end of the room and you stand at the other. Then we'll see if it works just as well as it does in the gray place."

He shifted as if he was going to stand and I practically threw my body over his to keep him in the bed. "Later," I growled and he laughed. Resting my head in the crook of his neck and shoulder, I sighed. "I can't be around your family because they know about the legend."

"Yup."

"And it wouldn't take them long to figure out that I'm your other half." In more ways than one.

For a moment, his arms tightened around me and I would have killed to have his ability just so I could see if I spooked him with that remark. Bastard chuckled and hugged me tighter.

"No, you didn't. It's true. And no, it wouldn't take them long at all."

"Well then, I get to avoid the awkward 'meet the parents' dinner. Sounds great. Still not hearing a solution."

"You know the solution. We better find someplace else to go."

That wasn't exactly what I was going for. I wanted him. We were never going to be separated again. But for him to uproot his whole life...

He sighed. "You don't get it, do you? I'm as nomadic as you are. A year is as long as I spend in any place."

"Really? What about work?"

"Tattoo shops aren't always hiring, but there's always people looking for home jobs. And they pay cash for it. I own my own equipment and inks, so it's no big deal. Besides, I have more than one skill set."

Lucky him. I didn't. I'd built my entire business on what I could dream up for people. And all of my supplies and shit were back on the rez with D and Sarah. Damn, my entire life was a clusterfuck.

"Not all of it," he murmured, pressing a kiss to my neck. "And you can still work your business. Who's going to stop you?"

It wasn't them stopping me that I was worried about. I just didn't want to deal with them. If I kept working, it would be reflected where and when in my finances. D would be able to track me. Then O would show up. That's exactly how that would go.

"What's so wrong with that? You miss the hell out of her."

"Hey. You can follow my thoughts, but emotions are still mine. Back off," I grumbled. "And the problem is that she knows we're not supposed to be together, too."

"I'm not afraid of her," he laughed.

"One, you should be. Two, if you're not afraid of my sister knowing, why should I be afraid of your parents?"

At once, the amusement in his eyes died. His voice was solemn when he said, "My parents knowing is an issue because there are supposedly ways to ensure compliance. Your sister doesn't know them, and I doubt she'd use it against you. She doesn't seem like the 'fate of the world over the safety of a sister' type."

My eyes narrowed. "Safety?"

For a long moment, our gazes held. At last, he broke the silence with, "You have a sister. If you die, the power transfers to her. If I die, the power will transfer to one of my cousins. And you can bet your ass whoever winds up with the nightmares next will get a long and bloody lecture on avoiding the Dreamcrafter."

He'd called me by my title. I tried not to preen.

"Your parents would do that? If they found us together, they'd end one of us for the sake of a legend?"

"My mom wouldn't. My dad would try to avoid it. But everything, for him, has a point of no return. If he found out about this, I'm pretty sure he'd behead me himself."

His 'this' meant our three day sexcapades and I couldn't halt a grin. He rolled his eyes at my thoughts and chose to correct me. "Four days."

Eh. Whatever.

"He'd have to go through me, first. And between the two of us, we could turn the axe into a rubber chicken in a blink. I think you're safe."

His arms tightened around me before he suddenly rolled. With his body resting on mine, I grinned when he pressed a kiss against my neck. Then he murmured against the skin, "How about we figure out what we're doing with our lives. Then we'll discuss adding other people to them."

Sounded fucking fabulous to me.

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