Chapter 6: In That Sort of Thing
On the flight back, Niko wouldn't stop asking her questions. Every five minutes, just as Collie was finally starting to drift off under the lull of painkillers and the simple safe feeling of being surrounded by her own people, Niko would ask something quietly in Ukrainian, the one language only the two of them were fluent in of those aboard the quinjet.
How did you lose your hearing?
What foods are you allergic to?
What was your favorite pastime as a child?
Who was your mentor in the circus?
Who did you lose in the service?
They were personal questions, painful pieces of her past she had traded to him for safekeeping and trust. She didn't know why he was asking, but she answered in Ukrainian because it was Niko asking, and the wild glimmer in his eyes demanded it.
Finally, Niko looked out the window.
"Thank you for coming," Collie said.
He looked at her for a long moment, neither of them speaking. Finally, his hand brushed her shoulder as he came over to carefully pack away her bow and quiver in her duffel. "Sleep," he said gently.
She closed her eyes and did not dream.