She was free.
After months of being locked in a cell with only the prisoners and guards for company, she was back in the game, the Rebellion. Well, he had come and visited her every week too. She didn’t want to show it, but she had looked forward to his visits.
Until he had told her he wasn’t going back with her. The day the Rebellion rescued her from her prison, she’d tried one last time to take him with her. He was the only leader she’d ever known, the only other Darkling that she could trust. Not completely, but she could rely on him. But he had made it clear he wasn’t coming back.
The Rebellion’s second leader Ella Barrus had been shocked. He had been her right hand man, her most trusted partner. They supported each other, even though Ella was much older than him and therefore considered a senior. Still, they’d been working as a team for years.
Everyone was devastated, angry at him for betraying them like that. Soon, however, they were too busy to think anymore. The war with Balance intensified as parts of the Changing House were conquered, strengthening each side’s territory. Soon, they would have to start attacking each other, when there was nothing left to capture.
A lot of arrangements had happened over the last few weeks- Kyle had been nominated Ella’s new right hand man. It was a good choice; he was smart, courageous, and not afraid of battle. Whenever she thought of Kyle, she thought of their former leader. And whenever she thought of her former leader, she tried not to think at all. But Kyle had been good to her- he was one of the few people who could make her laugh now- they had both lost dear friends in the war and during her capture. Speaking of Kyle, June was organizing her troops when she heard him call her name.
She turned and smiled at him. “What is it?”
He rubbed the back of his neck, his eyes flicking to the floor. “I need to talk to you,” he whispered. “In private.”
June tilted her head quizzically. “Sure.” She dismissed her soldiers with a nod and followed Kyle towards the nearest door.
Kyle muttered a code and pushed the door open. The doorway flashed a blinding white light and they found themselves in a dimly lit room. There was a bed on one side and a few drawers on the other, plus a desk with a lamp. The curtains were drawn over large window at the far wall.
“Your room?” June surveyed her surroundings.
Kyle nodded. He stared at her intensely, waiting for a comment.
“Come to think of it, I’ve never been in your room.” June walked over to the bed and sat on it slowly, brushing her hands over the bed sheets. “So what did you want to talk about?”
Kyle sat on the chair by his desk. He didn’t say anything for a long moment. Finally, he looked up and met her gaze.
“June, I-” he trailed off into silence again.
June leaned in closer. “Kyle?”
Kyle bit his lip and started again. “June, you…Ella should’ve chosen you to lead instead of me.”
June blinked, her eyes wide. “That’s not true! You’re the perfect choice!”
“No, I’m not. You’re a Darkling. Why would she choose me over a Darkling?” Kyle protested.
“Hey, not all Darklings are good leaders,” June whispered, her thoughts drifting painfully to him. “You’ll do fine without magic.”
“You think so?” Kyle murmured.
“I know so.”
He looked up and smiled. “Thanks.”
June smiled back.
There was a long pause as both of them continued to stare at each other.
“June,” Kyle suddenly said. “I love you.”
The words sent a spark through her chest. Her mind flew to his voice, saying the exact three words. It felt like years ago. “You’re joking.”
“Do I look like I’m joking?” Kyle fixed her with a hard stare.
Slowly, she shook her head. “You’re serious?” she whispered.
“I’m serious.” Kyle got up and moved towards her, his eyes filled with a determination she hadn’t noticed before.
He reached out a hand, but at that moment, she stood from the bed.
“My troops are waiting,” she said quietly.
Kyle looked hurt and a bit disappointed, but relented. “Okay.”
June headed towards the door. With one hand on the doorknob, she looked back at Kyle. He was standing in the middle of the room, staring at her with his bright blue eyes. He smiled.
She forced a small grin and walked out the door.