Things are moving faster now and in a new direction.
The centurion was at her side, sitting on her bed, when she awoke, refreshed. He smiled, causing her heart to jump. The dark, curling lashes around his beautiful green eyes did things to her insides. His wavy dark hair looked slightly damp as if he had just finished ablutions, and he was wearing casual, light gray pants and a loose top. Azriel guessed he must be off duty.
“I have set out a meal for us. Will you join me?” He offered her his hand, the claws well retracted into his finger pads.
She thrilled to his touch, grateful for his aid as the edges of her wound didn’t stretch as much when she stood up. His hand was warm and hard; the hand of a warrior. He led her to the glass-topped metal table now covered with dishes. The Sidhe even slid the chair into place for her when she sat down, something she vaguely remembered from a distant lost lifetime and the occasional glimpse of how the rich people behaved at social gatherings.
The food was familiar by sight if not flavor. Both plates held a dressed kiki bird in citrus sauce, accompanied by a salad of dates, nanga nuts and succulent cactus flesh topped with a drizzle of oma seeds. A rich man’s repast; the choice of the Controllers. Angels only ate recognizable food if they caught it for themselves when they were out on a job and could get a campfire going in the open. Of course, the fire would depend on whether the campsite was near any of the black rock deposits that burned slow when ignited with a laz gun.
He intercepted her surprise with a grin. “We stocked up on provisions when we visited your world. Enjoy. We will be on ship’s rations again soon enough.”
“Are those on my world aware you acquired produce?”
“No doubt the knowledge will come to them in time.” His smile deepened. The tips of his brilliant white fangs showed.
Azriel wondered who would be screaming their loss. The thought was good. The food was even better, matched only by a well-aged wine. She guessed this had also been ‘acquired’. It was a long time since she had tasted a potent beverage. Her internal processors made the necessary adjustments to neutralize the effects.
“I think we will be tweaking your enhancements to allow for the full enjoyment of potent brews. A good wine must be savored without the effects being neutralized.”
“You would have me at your mercy?” The thought sent waves of pleasure thrilling through her.
“My venom is far more potent than any potable beverage.” His eyes took on a dangerous glint. “However, I prefer willing bedmates.”
A small voice of reason stirred within her. She didn’t do ‘nice’. This wasn’t her Angel assassin function, but the centurion seduced her from her role. She could not deny him and yet he chose not to take advantage of her vulnerability. Her prime directive to kill these people fuzzed into a tiny gray zone. This was not the enemy, as the pregnant girl had not been the enemy. She didn’t have to kill anymore, since her refusal would not result in punishment.
“Fight it, Azriel.” He raised his glass to her. “I offer you a life with the freedom to make your own choices and live with the consequences.”
She fought both her directive from the controllers and his venom. Her processors hadn’t honed in on his venom because he had been in her mind. Now she needed control over her life back from all those bent on leeching it away. Her head started pounding from the effort. What the controllers demanded of her faded into an unreasonable request to be ignored. No, she would not attack the Outworlders, or try to destroy their ship. The Sidhe needed her to ignore the controllers. Yes, she could do this for him. What he asked was fair and reasonable. She could see this now.
He cleared away their dishes, placing them in a service hatch, and retrieved sweet fruit sorbets in tall, frosted glasses. “Here. Live for the enjoyment of the moment while you decide how you will spend your life.”