You don’t always have to fight alone.
Julian is on the run. He doesn’t know who’s after him, but he knows he’ll have to do something about it. The fact that he’s just met his mate makes everything more complicated, especially since Tali has known for much longer than he has and hasn’t told him.
Tali doesn’t want to have to choose between Julian and the council assassins. One is his mate, the other his family. Since Julian’s on the run, Tali knows he’ll end up leaving, and Tali won’t be able to go with him.
But maybe Julian doesn’t have to go. Maybe he can accept the assassins’ help and work with them to find out who’s hunting him and do something about it.
It’s either that or be killed, and Julian isn’t about to allow that to happen.
Julian looked around, his hands on his hips. The warehouse was a mess after the attack, and it hurt to see it. He hadn’t been staying here long, but everyone had made him feel welcome, and he would miss this place. He didn’t know what was next for him—he was with the assassins for protection, but now he wanted to stay with them.
No one would be staying in the warehouse, though. They couldn’t, not when someone had found it. It had been attacked, and it wasn’t safe anymore. That meant they had to find a new place to stay, and since Julian wasn’t part of the assassins or a mate, he didn’t know what would happen to him.
Well, he was a mate, but not of one of the assassins. He was Tali’s mate, and Tali was one of the Nix who worked in the infirmary. Julian didn’t know if that would be enough for the assassins to allow him to stay indefinitely, but he hoped so, even though he knew they’d always choose Tali over him.
He wanted to help the assassins find out who did this and take them out. He wanted to have a chance with Tali, even though he didn’t understand why his mate was keeping him at arm’s length. More importantly, he didn’t want to be alone anymore. He also had to be safe, which wouldn’t happen until he found out who was after him and why.
He supposed he could survive on his own. He had for a long time, and he was more than capable. The fact that he didn’t want to be on his own anymore was important, though. Now he could get in trouble, and someone would come to help him.
He still wasn’t sure what most of the assassins thought of him, but he supposed he was lucky they weren’t kicking him out.
“What are you doing standing there?” Roark asked him as he passed by him.
“I’m not sure. I guess I was looking at the damage.”
Roark rolled his eyes and straightened an armchair. “There’s no reason for you to look at the damage. Go to your bedroom and grab whatever you need. It’s why we’re here.”
It was, but it looked like Roark had trouble doing what he’d just told Julian to do. He was moving furniture, picking up things, and looking around as if his heart had been torn out of his chest.
He’d lived here a lot longer than Julian. He’d been an assassin, and now he was in charge of them. This was his home. Seeing it destroyed, knowing that people had invaded it, had to hurt.
Julian wanted to help, but he didn’t know how. He and Roark weren’t friends—far from it. Julian had been angry at Roark for killing one of the people Julian had been hired to kill, which meant he hadn’t been paid for it and he’d had to listen to his handler yell at him. Julian had wanted to kill Roark for the slight, but he hadn’t been able to. He’d tried a few times, but instead of killing him, he’d found himself fascinated by the way Roark and the others interacted. He’d never thought that an assassin could have friends, not the way Roark did. The assassins worked together, of course, but they were also family, and it had made Julian’s heart ache.
It still did.
He wasn’t part of the assassins or their family. Now that the warehouse was gone, he would have to find a motel or go to his family. He didn’t want to pull his family into it, but it would be better than being on his own. Of course, the people after him might be able to find him there, which meant his family would be in danger, too. They were more than able to deal with it, but Julian didn’t want them to have to. He didn’t want them to know he’d failed.
“How are you doing?” Roark asked gruffly.
Julian blinked at him. “I’m fine.” Julian hadn’t been hurt, but he was confused. Over only a few hours, the warehouse had been attacked, he’d fought against the attackers, he’d been shimmered to Gillham, where one of the council members lived, and he’d found out that Tali was his mate. It would be confusing for anyone, and Julian’s mind was reeling, even days later. He had to accept there wasn’t much he could do to help the assassins, even though they’d helped him, and it didn’t go down well. “Better than some people,” he added.
Roark nodded curtly. “You helped us. Thank you. I don’t know if Tony and the others would have made it out of the infirmary in one piece if you hadn’t been there for them.”
Julian looked away. He rubbed the back of his neck, wondering how to take Roark’s words. “I didn’t do anything anyone else wouldn’t have done,” he finally said.
“I don’t know if that’s true, but still. Thank you.”
“I guess I’m going to go grab my stuff. I’ll be out of your hair soon.”
He moved toward the stairs, but Roark caught his arm. “You’ll be out of my hair?”
“You have to focus on your family, and I’m not part of it.” Not yet, maybe not ever. It depended on Tali, and Julian hadn’t had time to talk to him yet. “I can find a motel or something. I’ll let you know if anything happens to me, but you shouldn’t worry too much. I’m not your problem. I’ll be fine.”
The glare Roark aimed at Julian made Julian’s step falter. “What do you mean, you’re not my problem?”
“I’m not a council assassin.”