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you who were burned

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It's Brenna who reaches out to Sahara first.

One night, a few weeks after the train station incident, the one she helped avert, she mentions it to Judd when they're falling asleep. She's tucked against his side, yawning, and reaches out on their mental link. It's easier than actual words, this tired. You've talked with Kaleb recently, yes?

Judd opens his eyes a fraction, tilting his head down to look at her. Why are you mentioning him now?"

She moves her hand across his bare stomach, feeling the muscles and skin twitch. Her psychic voice has become clearer with time. Not him. His mate.

A pause along the mating bond, and she can feel him thinking. You mean Sahara?

"Yes, her. They have a bond," she says aloud, switching to verbal communication. "I hear the gossip. I want to meet her."

"Why?" the question isn't asked with concern, but genuine curiosity.

Brenna scratches her nails along his side, grinning when he curves away from her. "You have your friend. Maybe I want to know her. Plus, it would be nice for her, I think."

Warmth pulses along the bond, and he turns, reaching down to kiss her. A lazy press of his mouth against hers, mental voice whispering with admiration in its tone, You are truly wonderful, Brenna Shane Kincaid.

I know. she replies and kisses him back, smiling into it.

I'll talk to Kaleb,Judd says and uses his TK to shut all the lights off in their room. He is protective of her.

If her eyes hadn't been closed, she'd have rolled them. Unsurprising. You two are friends.

His response is a sharp telekinetic pinch that makes her shriek. They both suddenly find themselves no longer tired.




It's Mercy and Faith who do the introduction. Judd does the calling, finding out that Sahara will be with her cousin for a day, and she would not mind meeting her. Brenna nearly rolls her eyes at the formalities of it. Judd delivers it exactly as such.

Brenna knows that Sahara Kyriakus had lived briefly in the DarkRiver lands. She knows that she still sees her cousin, Faith, and Mercy, a new friend, at times. Brenna calls both Faith and Mercy friends, and she's nosy. Changelings gossip, the world gossips.

But she'd truly had meant what she'd said to Judd. That she does want to know the other woman, and she feels that it would, could, be a good thing.

Gossip and hearsay can only create so much of a mental picture.

She runs down into DarkRiver territory one afternoon on invitation. Apparently, the other three had all spent the morning together. As she breaks the tree line around Faith and Vaughn's home, she looks to find them. Mercy and Faith are noticeable not only because she knows them, but also their red hair. It's when she looks past them that she sees the third person.

Brenna's first impression of Sahara Kyriakus is that she's short. It's not even like Brenna herself is average height, but the other woman is even shorter. The difference is highlighted by Mercy next to her. Also, that she's met this woman's mate, at the train station, and there has to be a foot between them.

The second thing she notices is that Sahara is far more open than any other regular Psy she's met. The ones in Pack, the ones in DarkRiver, they've had years now to adjust outside of Silence. Plus, she's heard the gossip, knows that something was done while this woman was missing and kidnapped for years.

She expects reservations. Instead she's pleasantly surprised with the wide smile and greeting she receives before she can even speak.

"Oh, hello." An enthusiastic hello as Sahara steps forward, hand outstretched.

Blinking, Brenna eyes the small gloved hand and nearly laughs. A hand shake, even more so abnormal since Psy shy from touching. Her wolf is now so very curious and pleased. "Hello," she says and shakes hands.

Mercy and Faith laugh from behind them. The four of them eat together then, inside Faith's home, and it's nice and easy, no pressure with all of them there. A seamless introduction even if it's just general talk.




The next time it's just Sahara and her alone.

Brenna goes into the city to the offices for a few hours of work.. It's when she's leaving that she runs into Sahara. Actually, she runs into both Sahara and Kaleb. They're on the main floor, both still wearing their winter coats. There must be a meeting upstairs, and she figures that they must be waiting for someone to take them there.

"Brenna." Sahara spots her before she can speak first, and Brenna meets them halfway.

"Hello," she says with a smile.

Mentally, she reaches out to Judd, across both the bond and psychically. Your friend is here.

Her statement travels easily, and his response is quick and clear, Yes. He's here for a meeting with Hawke and Lucas.

The psychic conversation takes less than a minute, and Brenna blinks back to the two Psy in front of her to find Sahara speaking again.

"Kaleb," she says, briefly looking away from Brenna to give a small smile up at her mate. "This is Brenna Kincaid."

"We have met before." The response would be brisk, except that Brenna suspects it's not intentional. Merely a fact. They have met.

A meeting that had been spent trying to stop the central train station from blowing up. Not really the stuff of first introductions. Though this time, instead of a college baseball cap, it's a formidable black suit paired with those cardinal eyes. Eyes that should remind her of something else. She's heard the rumors about this man; she knows things too that no one else does though, and she trusts Judd beyond anything else.

"You have?" Sahara asks, curiosity in her gaze.

"At the train station. I helped with the operation."

Recognition flares in blue eyes darker than her own. "Oh! That was you. That's fantastic. You can do all that? Kaleb never said." She casts a look upwards, and judging by the white stars that flare, there's some sort of psychic communication.

Brenna finds them fascinating, amusement in her as she watches their silent exchange.

Intrigue slides across the bond, coming from wherever Judd must be close by, probably upstairs. She can only assume that he'll be included in the meeting as Hawke's lieutenant. Sahara is here too, she tells Judd before he can ask.

Oh. Tell Kaleb I will come collect him.

Brenna does, waiting for a moment when she can interrupt politely, and relays the acknowledgement. Then, she sends back, I'm gonna invite her to eat.

Brenna,his answer is a humorous warning.

She smiles, sending love across the bond in a psychic kiss. Don't worry, babe, I wont gossip about you too much.

Her invitation is accepted with a shy grin, and thanks. They leave the men to upstairs.




Brenna takes Sahara to a cafe around the corner. Not that far from the office, it's a short walk. Sahara asks her about the work she does, wanting to story behind the train station, and Brenna answers eagerly. The place has got good food, she's eaten there before when downtown doing work, and she figures it's not too extreme to upset her new friend's palette.

"Is this okay?" she asks after they get a table in the corner.

Sahara drapes her red coat around the back of her chair, nodding even as she sits. She looks around at everyone, and then across at her. "Yes. It's not too crowded."

Hands settling on the table's top after pulling her chair in, Brenna pauses. She hadn't thought on the crowd. She tries to remember if Faith or Mercy had said something, but she knows that Sahara had gone out with them a few times.

It's not in her wolf or her to ask or pry. If Sahara wants to tell her, she'll wait till then.

Brenna remembers too well how she'd been after her abduction. How she'd shied away from loud spaces in the den and the city for some time.

But Sahara has already started reading a menu, staring intently as if the intentionally old-fashioned paper is the most fascinating thing. Which to her palette it might be. "So many choices," she murmurs, dark fingers and dark head bent over.

"Do you like seafood?" she asks, not needing a menu, and reaching for her water glass.

Dark blue eyes glance up, a little furrow creasing her brow. "I'm not sure."

Brenna wonders at all how Psy ever existed on those nutritional bars. They keep some for Judd in their apartment, and Brenna had once tried it in intrigue. Judd had laughed when she'd barely been able to swallow the bite. She shrugs, and offers, "The chowder is good here. They serve it in a bread bowl. It's warm, great for today."

Humming, Sahara sets her menu away and then straightens in the chair. "Alright, I'll defer to your judgment."

Their waiter takes their order, and both sit in companionable silence for a few minutes. It's not awkward. Brenna enjoys it, and it gives her a chance to watch as the other woman glances around at others in the restaurant.

Finally, Sahara turns back to her, that shy smile back. She can't be that much younger than Brenna, but she is a bit. Telling when she smiles like this, and it fills out the still thinness of her face, the circles under her eyes. "Thank you for asking me out."

Waving a hand, Brenna grins. "It's no problem. I wanted to. I only wish I hadn't had to go through so many people and use Judd to get to you."

A tiny laugh. "Still, I appreciate it, very much so. It has been very nice meeting you."

"Well," she leans forward so as to speak over the large family that's taken up the table next to their. "Why should our mates get to have all the fun?"

Another laugh, and the free gesture makes her look younger. "If you say so." A bite of her bottom lip, and she tilts her head before going on, as if thinking before speaking, "I want to thank him too. Your mate."

She hesitates over the last word, unfamiliar by the hopeful tone.

Brenna says, "Oh? What about Judd?"

Her hands pause on the tabletop, and Sahara's voice is all even and serious now. "For taking care of Kaleb when I wasn't there. For helping him."

Brenna's wolf preens at the praise for their mate. From the corner of her eye, she can see their waiter coming. Before he gets there, she nods her head and replies, "We'll just have to do something all together so you can tell him yourself."

The smile returns. "I'd like that."

They eat their food, Sahara finding Brenna's recommendation a good one. When they walk back, the meeting is over, Judd and Kaleb waiting and talking in the lobby.

Brenna tucks herself against Judd's side and grins up at the man most people would never dare joke with. She's never been most people though. She says, "See, I returned her to you safe and sound."

She swears to anyone that listens she saw the other Psy's mouth tick at the corner.




Later that week, there's a message on her comm system from Sahara.

"I thought I would just contact your number directly-"

The message is long, but it ends asking for them to join up for dinner. All four of them.

Brenna answers yes even before she talks to Judd. She'll make it so. She has a new friend, and it's nice in the business of the world as bleak as it is. They'll go.