Dani quickly cast perfecting on her camera and fortune’s protection on herself. Then, she left her weapons, armor and the mage hold behind. She needed away and to be herself. This was not a good day to be a mage, not a good day to be alive. She might be exhausted and dead on her feet, but she had to replace the images in her mind. The volcano ash falling from the sky was safer than trying to sleep with the pictures of the people she killed haunting her, and it wasn’t like she hadn’t gone lava surfing before the ash settled before.
Zu hadn’t understood why she hadn’t wanted magical healing after the battle in the opera house, but had respected her wishes. Dani’s mind played through the battle at the opera house as she searched for images to cleanse her mind. Trying to cover the Seattle Guard as they were attacked from behind, spinning to shoot the mage that zapped Zu with lightning, running up the stairs to deal with the snipers, taking their place since they had repelled over the edge, spiraling down the rope while shooting and spinning her way down to land next to Mallory, shooting the Banisher after Lucien knocked Zu out with more lightning, and turning to follow Tam’s directions and taking out the last sniper. Today wasn’t the first day, well it timeline was, she had killed someone, but the sniper had been running away…leaving combat.
Dani clicked a photograph of the teenage boy helping the elderly woman out of the hot ash. She didn’t deserve to be healed, she didn’t deserve to be up and walking around. Allah help her she was no better than the Witch Hunters killing someone just because they were on opposite sides. Dani still didn’t know if they had succeeded or if she had lost everything she cared about. Her soul was troubled and her heart longed for someone that might not be waiting for her. She had known the risks when she had come back, but watching Zu and Mallory fall in love brought home exactly what she had to lose; what they all had to lose. She had lost a part of who she was by taking the last sniper’s life and had reacted irrationally when the possibility arose that she could lose everything that was important to her. She owed Lucien a thank you for not killing her on the spot when she had sworn the oath to hunt him and whoever hurt Zu down if Zu did not survive the council meeting. Hopefully, Lucien survived so she could tell him that.
Dani took a photograph of the police officers dealing with the small group of looters. Zu had turned the female sniper from the island over to the police, but the other two’s lives were in the hands of the Fates. The witch hunter stronghold had been easy to clear out, but seeing Mallory and Zu interacting after Sister Rosalyn’s words had torn a bigger whole in her own heart. Sister Rosalyn had healed the physical wounds from the opera battle, but even time in prayer and trying to warn the madam via Freya had not salved the stain on her soul. Sister Rosalyn had asked her if she had someone waiting for her, and Dani had been honest that it depended on time. A touch under a third of a century separated her from John, but even if they succeeded in their mission their time would change. Dani had no guarantee that keeping Zu alive would leave what was the most important to her unchanged. She had killed someone that could have been taken prisoner, what right did she have to expect her future to be the same. She truly understood on a personal level what the Marines she had been assigned with had wrestled with on a daily basis.
Dani was hot, exhausted and weary to her very soul. She turned at a familiar sound and took a more in depth look at her surroundings. Only true bikers would be on their bikes during a natural disaster. She snapped a couple of pictures of the bikes that were being moved into the garage before almost falling down when she realized where the Fates had led her steps. She snapped a couple pictures of the club before sitting down on the steps. The closest she could be to John was here, the club and garage where his parents were bound to be. Man was she screwed if he wasn’t waiting for her in her own time. The Fates had guided her footsteps to the Tribe of 1980 in spite of the fact her parents and family were in the same town. She had known she had loved John, but had not realized that it was the fiery love she had been running away from her entire life. That was the only kind of love that could draw her here instead of to her parents. She had sought death after losing her parents because she wanted to be with them and when given the once in a lifetime chance to see them again, she had been drawn to John’s family. She sat on the step with ash falling on her and tears streaming down her face. If they had changed the past too much, she had lost the only man she had ever loved without ever telling him the words. Words had power and if she had told him, she might have hope, but she had not realized how much he truly meant until it was possibly too late.
Dani turned at the sound of the door opening behind her. John’s mother looked exactly like she had in her wedding picture. Dani accepted her invitation to get out of the ash and have something to drink. Dani knew if she screwed up anything with the Tribe of 1980 her future was totally gone, so she did not linger long. She did ask for a picture of the leader of the Devil’s Own Tribe and the Angel that was his wife before she left. John’s parents had smiled at her wording, but had agreed. John’s mother had been reluctant to let her go back out into the ash storm, but Dani had simply said she needed to find her way back to the man who held her heart and let him know that she loved him. Her answer was solid truth, but was it possible? She hoped so because she realized that love was the only thing that could keep her going.