"You weren't like anyone else I've met. I couldn't scare you, for one thing. And you were accepting."
She'd never met anyone like him before. He had been the first to see through her façade, the first to treat her as a human being, not someone to exorcise or to flee from at all cost. He'd even treated her like a lady without underestimating her abilities. Even when she'd had a name, a family, a home, she hadn't known many capable of that brand of chivalry.
She was loath to admit that she actually liked it when he called her that. She couldn't regret leaving now, not after she'd been the one to tell him that they couldn't stay together. She'd done enough for him, and it was time to move on.
Who are you?
I'm his lady.
Her blood-red eyes narrowed as she remembered her fight with Noni. In a way, she envied the girl with the icy blue eyes. Noni had been so sure of herself then, sure of her love for Zyid, her boy. She had called herself Umasi's lady, and Umasi her boy, but she was far from ready to accept the implications that came with the words.
I don't love you, Umasi. I've never loved anyone in my life, and I don't think I can learn how to now.
She had been sure of herself too, when she'd said that. But she'd gladly taken on his adversary's lady for the right to interfere with his battle, and taken on Enforcers to prevent the battle from being interrupted.
I won't be staying with you forever, you know.
He'd been crushed at that, and how she wished she could take it back, no matter how much she'd meant it.
I might break your heart.
My heart is yours to break, if that's what you want to do with it.
He'd been so understanding. She almost wanted to shake him, demand that he at least plead with her, beg her to stay.
I will miss you, you know.
She'd kissed him before she left, as a parting favour. She'd known it was wrong, that it would give him... well, not the wrong impression, but false hope - but she hadn't been able to help herself. It had just seemed like the thing to do at the time. Somehow it had seemed even more important, even more intimate than that one fevered night they'd spent together, the night she was sure he could hardly remember.
I'm glad that I met you.
But not glad enough to stay?
No, Umasi. Not glad enough to stay.
The girl with no name picked up her chain, absently admiring the way its heavy steel links shone silver in the pale morning light. It was too late for regrets. Perhaps, one day, they would meet again. But for now, there was work to be done.
As she began her deadly dance, her chain whipping in powerful motions with a delicate flick of the wrist, his parting words drifted back to her mournfully on the icy wind.