TITLE: The White Phoenix
Cassandra has magic that could kill Silas. They’ve sought refuge in a cave from a terrible thunderstorm.
Cassandra spun around. His back was still to her. “ No, that is not your fault.” All this time she’d blamed herself for Korynn’s death. She had never once considered the possibility that Silas could fault himself. “Have you really been thinking that this entire time?”
“What else should I think?” he asked. “How can you not blame me for that?”
“I led those monsters right to her,” he whispered. “I took someone you love away from you, Cassandra.”
Cassandra hobbled over to his side of the cave and knelt behind him. She laid her hand on his shoulder. “Silas, stop. Stop saying that," she chided softly. Silas turned to look at her at last. It struck her then how very little they were both wearing. But his eyes, reddened and swollen, didn’t stray from hers, never once wandered downward to undress what little clothes remained on her body. In the face of his vulnerability, her own exposure was a faraway, petty concern.
“I can’t do this,” he admitted. “Zeus, the gods—they made a mistake.”
“That isn’t true—”
“I can’t be this great hero everyone wants me to be. I—”
She held his face in her hands and kissed him hard. His lips had barely the time to reciprocate before she pulled away with a fast jerk of her head and she sat back on her heels. Her hands hung tensed and frozen in the air.
Silas merely stared at her, unmoving, unblinking, his lips parted as she’d left them, as he’d had them before she had interrupted his words with her mouth.
She was speaking so fast, breathing so heavily, it was hardly audible, “I—I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry.” Cassandra scrambled to her feet and rushed headlong into the cave’s depths, seeking refuge in its darkness.