The ‘high-class sleeping arrangements’ as Addie had called them turned out to be three small connecting rooms that she told Race had been used for counseling when the fighters at the Compound got overly stressed. She’d pushed the desks in each one to the side walls to serve as dressers, and then swept them out and put down the workout pads, topped with sheets and blankets.
Now, Race lay on his ‘bed’ staring up at the ceiling. Not that he could actually see it as it was pitch dark, but he knew it was there, looming over him, the weight of the destroyed Compound just above. And it felt like a weight—not in reality but the history behind it that had shaped the lives of Addie, Shan, and so many others who had once lived there.
Despite what the others had said, he didn’t belong here and he knew it. In case of trouble, and he had no doubt that before this was over that would happen, he’d be more of a hindrance than a help. If he were anywhere else but here he’d leave, but he didn’t even know where ‘here’ was. Restless, unable to sleep despite the fact that he was bone tired, he got up, lighting the stub of the candle he’d used earlier before inching his way to the door. He opened it as quietly as possible and slipped into the hallway.
From there he made his way to the first tunnel and started up the incline. When he reached the top, he carefully slipped through the brush he and Shan had put at the entrance to hide it and stepped out into the early morning light. Shivering as a chill breeze hit him, he realized that the clothes he’d taken from Shan’s island home were no proof against the high mountain temperatures at this hour of the day, even though it was summer. Wrapping his arms around himself he moved to the closest tree and settled against its leeward side, out of the wind’s path.
He had to admit that it was beautiful up here. Even the ruins had a sort of strange grandeur, covered as they were with new growth and trailing vines. He wouldn’t really mind being here if he could be more than the stray kid Shan had taken under his wing. And therein lay the main problem, as far as he was concerned. He didn’t know how he would deal with living here for however long it took, knowing that all Shan saw him as was a kid, and a possible student if he really did have the magic potential Kayne though he had.
As the sun rose, beginning to warm him finally, his thoughts went around and around with not resolution. Finally exhaustion took over and he slept.