No, Eden, what happens next?
Xander and Eden nodded.
Eden dropped to her knees and closed her eyes.
No sense of humor, Eden said to herself.
Eden sensed she would only get one warning from any of the immortals who now wanted her Xander dead.
Eden smiled from her spot a few feet from the others.
Eden was silent, but that smile again was on her face.
Eden stood on top of the tavern overlooking the immortal city of the Grey God.
She, Eden, the Original Human, would be the one who saved the human realm by killing the Gatekeeper, the God who maintained the bridges between worlds.
Eden studied him then faced the dome marking the Grey God's palace.
Eden held her breath.
No, Eden definitely didn't want to think about what happened next.
Deep in thought, Eden was unaware of how much time passed.
There will be nothing standing when we – Eden listened.
Eden watched the pacing predator, admiring the warrior he had turned into while struggling with a new emotion.
Eden funneled her magic into the gem.
Eden gazed at his writhing body a moment longer before she rose.
With another brief hesitation, Eden turned and walked away.
Eden shook her head.
Xander remembered her older and realized he had always viewed Eden through the eyes of the child who embarked on a journey with the Oracle obsessed with destroying the last Grey God.
Eden was little older than Xander, the day he was made immortal.
Eden had been more than a friend, assuming the role of Xander's mother when his died.
I didn't expect you to be so …calm, Eden said, puzzled.
"From molten metal to the tempered steel of a blade," Eden replied.
I guess that's the punishment for our roles in the Schism – being pushed aside and forced to watch, Eden said, referring to the war that severed the two realms completely from one another.
"What're you doing here, Eden?" he asked.
Eden said, gaze stormy.
It fell, and I had nothing to do with it, but I'll be Machiavellian about it and simply appreciate the end result, Eden said and then paused.
Xander was silent, recalling how Eden always found a way to push past his defenses enough to manipulate him.
Older and wiser, Xander was aware of what she did now, just as he was starting to understand the identity crisis that caused Eden to seek him out.
Eden used Xander for her own means and yet, the Original Human's final acts of limiting Xander's power had been selfless.
If Eden succeeded, Xander died, a fact he didn't learn for many years after she left him writhing in agony on the roof of a tavern.
The driven woman was different than Xander remembered; this Eden had no vamp-army or grandiose plan of destroying a world.
Eden, Darian, Xander said and rose.
Of all the things Eden might've said to him, this one actually stung.
Maybe this is what he needed, especially after the disconcerting talk with Eden the prior day.
"If he's coming to you, and you're still alive, then he's not a threat," Eden said from her vantage point nearby.
Eden asked, joining Xander.
For some reason, the idea Eden was content after so short a time irritated him.
I don't remember them being as dedicated or genuine or approachable, Eden said.
Eden grinned, appearing even younger than Xander remembered.
Besides" Eden winked "Sofi and I have a bet about you."
Eden. I'm a friend of his.
She watched, uncertain why the woman named Eden made her uncomfortable.
Eden didn't stay long.
Eden found me then.
"When I was ten, I met Eden, the woman who often hired my mother for errands," he started.
The night my mother died, Eden gave me advice I've never forgotten.
Eden told me my mother's love for me was greater than her fear of the consequences of living in the streets, Xander said.
When my mother died, Eden gave me a choice: to use my special gifts for her benefit.
I created an army of vamps Eden used to overthrow her enemies while I overthrew mine.
Eden could've left me to die at their hands.
Xander understood how dangerous of a weapon he was; Eden exploited it once before.
He entered the mortal realm a year before without knowing the fates of any of the other Original Beings, before crossing paths with Jule, the Original Immortal, and Eden, the Original Human.
Jule, Eden and I aren't alone.
Damian and Eden were closer, his deceptive display of relaxed power causing the air to hum with even more magic.
We knew that beyond the border of our Eden men were making history by the sweat of their brows when they might better make a holiday.
Perhaps on that spring morning when Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden Walden Pond was already in existence, and even then breaking up in a gentle spring rain accompanied with mist and a southerly wind, and covered with myriads of ducks and geese, which had not heard of the fall, when still such pure lakes sufficed them.
"Yes, ikira Eden," Xander said quickly.
You are a fan of choices, Eden, the Watcher continued.
Eden touched her Oracle magic.
"Like a family reunion," Eden said.
Darian shook his head at him without speaking while Eden smiled.
"I'll be staying," Eden said.