Home > Tragic Bonds (The Bonds That Tie #5)(4)

Tragic Bonds (The Bonds That Tie #5)(4)
Author: J Bree



I've never held a soul inside myself before that wasn't there purely to be consumed by my bond, so, naturally, I panic.

Full-blown, sweating and shaking and heart-pounding panic.

How long can he stay inside us like this? How did you get him… here? Does he know that he’s here? What the hell is going on? I ramble, absolutely freaking the hell out, but my bond is nothing but sure and calm.

I can keep him in here for as long as we need, but you need to fix the vessel so it has somewhere to go.

That's fine, I can totally fix the vessel. That’s kind of my jam, right?! I have fixed my Bonded a million and one times—this is a cakewalk.

Except the moment I attempt to fix him, it becomes clear that while my bond is sure that none of this damage is irreparable, my Gift is definitely not, and no matter how hard I push, I can't get it to heal Nox.

I can feel my bond’s anger at me, and I snap, I know I need to do this. I am trying, but it’s not as easy as you seem to think it is!

It snaps back, You don't really believe that we can bring him back, it’s stopping you from doing what’s required.

Well, of course I don't think we can raise somebody from the dead!

Even the voice in my head is shrill. I can tell that my bond is frustrated at me, but it’s holding on so tightly to the soul inside me that it doesn't have much choice but to let me panic about what is going on, to flounder and panic my way through this nightmare situation.

We need the Healer. Send the Transporter to get the Healer.

Okay but, again, easier said than done. For one, they're gonna look at me like I'm fucking insane for wanting a Healer to heal a dead body. And for two, if I can't heal Nox in the state that he's in, what's to say that Felix will be able to?

Would you stop with your useless human panicking and do as I say? Girl, I have been around this earth for more than a million years, you think I don't know what to do when something like this happens?

It still feels as though it's feeding me hope in a situation that cannot be anything but tragic, but finally I open my eyes and face Gryphon. “We need to take him back to Felix.”

The shocked and blank look on his face cracks a little at the sound of my voice, and I think I'm about to see two of my Bonded start crying. I can't focus on anything except what is going on inside my body right now. I can’t lean into him to try to comfort either of us.

If Nox has a chance here, even the smallest of chances, I’m going to do whatever I have to do.

“Bonded, it's too late for Felix.” The softness of Gryphon’s voice, the way he’s trying to be gentle with me, even now, hurts me.

I nod my head, because there is no arguing with that, not really. My voice cracks as I say, “I know it is; I’m not stupid. But we need to go to Felix now. Please just… listen to me.”

Gryphon looks up at North, but I can't turn to look at him right now. It's not that I'm angry that they didn't listen to me when I’d begged them to turn back, even though they absolutely should have. They all tell me to trust my bond, and yet at such a crucial moment, none of them had trusted it. But it's not about that.

No, if I look at North grieving his brother right now, the last of his family members left on this earth, there is no way that I'll be able to keep myself together enough to give restoring Nox a proper go, so I keep my eyes away from him and focus on Gryphon, who is doing a little bit better at keeping himself together.

He looks at me very carefully and then glances around the area, so it has just occurred to him that we are still technically on enemy land, potentially surrounded by the enemy.

There’s footsteps behind me as Gabe and Atlas finally catch up with us, both of them asking a million questions over each other and themselves all at once.

“What the fuck was that?”

“Why weren't you listening when Oli spoke? We’re supposed to listen to her!”

“What the fuck were you thinking?”

“Holy fuck, what the hell happened?”

North doesn't react to them or say a word. He doesn't move from where he is stuck still, and I turn the other way, making sure I don’t catch a glimpse of him as I meet Gabe’s eyes. “I need Kieran. I need you to get him and bring him here right now. I need him.”

Gabe’s eyes drift down to Nox and then back up to mine, pausing a little on the tears still streaming down my cheeks. “I’ll get him, Bonded. Give me one second.”

Then he's off, moving through the inky blackness of North's shadow creatures who are all just standing still, as though in a trance.

Atlas steps over to me, careful not to touch me or Nox as he kneels at my side. His eyes take everything in, none of his snark coming out about Nox, for once.

“What the fuck was that?”

Gryphon glances up at him with a glare. “You really think now's the time for this?”

Atlas nods, not biting back at the vicious tone directed at him. “If it could come back and kill us all at any second? Yes, I do think it's the time for it. It just wiped out a fucking Draven. It might’ve killed all three of you if Oli hadn’t been here feeding you power.”

The sound that tears out of my chest is inhuman, a wrenching and terrible thing, and the tears are still coming down my cheeks without me taking much notice of them. I try to focus on the soul inside myself and coax him into staying put until I can heal him.

I don’t know if he can hear me, but I try anyway.

Just a few minutes longer, and I'll get you back. We can figure this all out. Just stay with me. I know you didn't want to, but just stay with me, and we'll figure this out.

He doesn't answer me, of course. I don't know if he can. I don't even know if he can hear me or if I'm just talking to myself right now, but I try.

I try because I don't want him to wait until next time to figure out how we can love each other. I want to figure it out in this lifetime. I want to know everything. I want to see everything and accept whatever it is that I need to accept. I want to learn how someone like Nox Draven can be loved and accepted, and then I want to spend the rest of my life doing it.

I want to learn whatever I need to, and I want to figure it out together. He might be the most arrogant, infuriating, manipulative, vicious man I have ever met, but I also know without a doubt that he's mine. Whatever battle it is that he’s fighting within himself, my place is at his side to fight it with him. Someday, we will get to a place where he’ll accept that and he’ll accept me.

Maybe I'll even get an apology out of him for the things that he did while dealing with everything he was going through.

“Holy fuck,” I hear Kieran hiss as he and Gabe approach us, and I glance up to see him staring at Nox’s empty eyes, still staring at his brother sightlessly.

All of North’s shadow creatures are still standing around us as if they’re waiting for my Bonded to come back from the ledge he’s currently on, the grief overwhelming him entirely. Every inch of my being aches to go to him.

But I can’t.

Gryphon stands up and walks over to North. I can hear him muttering to him, trying to break him out of the trance that he's found himself in, but North doesn’t answer him.

I stay on my knees with Nox. I couldn't move away from him even if I tried.

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