“Me and you?”

“No, empaths and Arrows.” Me and you? We’re just beautiful.

No curve of his lips, but there was light in the winter frost, a deep happiness in the bond that tied them together.



“Have you ever thought of having children?”

Tumbling him to his back in the sand, to Rabbit’s excited “woof,” she kissed him all over the face, sensing his startled delight. “Yes, with you.” It hadn’t been a subject she’d ever thought about before him. Now . . . now she wanted her Arrow’s babies. “What about you?”

He spread his hand on her lower back, eyes locked with hers. “I think . . . I’d like that, too.” It was a wondering statement, as if he’d surprised himself. “But we’ll have to wait until things are more stable.”

“Our world’s not yet ready,” Ivy agreed. “I want our children to grow up happy and wild and—”


Her heart clenched at the odd poignancy of those words. “Yes,” she whispered, almost able to hear the raucous laughter and mischievous glee of the children they would one day have. “That sounds perfect to me.”

It was a promise of joy, and one they sealed with a lingering kiss.

“Do you think our race will make it?” she asked later, after the sun had set, the desert draped in pale gray.

“We’re clawing our way back—we’ll never be what we once were, but that isn’t the goal.”

No, Ivy thought, it was to be better.

That night, she dreamed of a woman of infinite darkness. Her rage and loneliness was a crushing weight on Ivy’s chest, but Ivy wasn’t afraid. No, she was just sad. Holding out her hand, she felt the darkness brush past her senses with a malevolence that stole her breath . . . but it did her no harm. And as she slipped into a deeper sleep against the muscled warmth of her Arrow, she saw the now formless darkness intertwine with a river of starlight riven with translucent color.

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