I don’t have much written for Christmas, but I do have this scene from Hunter’s Moon.
Sonja folded another thermal shirt and placed it in her bag, but her eyes kept stealing towards her phone. Troy still hadn’t gotten back to her.
“I brought you some coffee.” Rick’s voice bustled with false cheer. “It’s really cold out there.”
“Thanks.” Her throat threatened to close as she faced him.
His beautiful dark gray eyes were red and miserable, despite the forced smile. “Are you sure you can’t wait a day?”
“I’ve done my waiting. This is the vampire that killed my family. It’s taken six years to find him again.” She paused. She knew what he’d say, and she so wanted to be wrong. “You could come with me.”
Rick shook his head. “Matty still needs me and he can’t leave Pittsburgh.”
Her chest tightened, but Sonja refused to cry. She had known what he’d say. “I understand.”
Rick’s fake smile faltered for a moment. “When will you be back?”
Sonja shrugged. “Assuming Carlos is still in Boulder when I get there, I’ll have to spend some time tracking him, find out when he’s weakest, make a plan, and I don’t have any idea how long that will take.” Especially without Troy.
Rick’s horrible false smile faded completely. “I… I’m going to miss the hell out of you.”
Sonja wrapped her arms around his thick chest. “I’m going to miss you too.” The tears came then. “Promise me you’ll stop beating yourself up over being a Speaker.”
He nodded before he pulled away from her. “Stay in touch, please.”
She wiped at her cheeks. “You have my number. Use it if you ever need some help.”
The large hands that gripped her shoulders were gentle. “You will always be the first person I call on for help.” He left without kissing her goodbye. Sonja was relieved. She wanted to hit the road as soon as possible and she had no doubts where a kiss would lead them.
She finished packing her bag, adjusted it on her back, and double checked the room. The telescoping sword sat wrapped on the window sill. It had nearly wiped out her savings, but Rick needed a better weapon than those brass knuckles.
Her eyes swept over the room once more.
Rick hadn’t gotten around to fixing it up yet. The powder blue walls had been patched, but not painted. He still had the old scuffed furniture, and the same broken, white blinds.
She looked over the bed once more, though everything was in her bag. The blankets were thin, the sheets didn’t match, and their feet hung off the bottom. She’d lived out of a single drawer in Rick’s dresser and her bag.
This had been home for a wonderful few months. The longest time she’d slept in one place in six years.
She waited a while longer, but her phone stayed silent and still in her pocket. There wasn’t much else to look at. The only thing on the walls was a picture of them on a rollercoaster at Kennywood, and she’d hung it there.
She grabbed the coffee Rick had made her, turned off the lights, and closed the door. The house stood quiet and warm, but dark. Only the tree in the living room showed her the way out.
Sonja’s hand was on the door when Sam snapped on the living room lights. The room was finished now. Mina had picked out the dark green of the walls, and found all the photographs of the city that hung framed on them.
Matty and Dean grinned at her from the new plush, tan couch. All the mismatched furniture had been replaced. Sonja almost missed it some days. She knew that’s how she’d remember this room.
“You were really going to leave without saying goodbye?” Matty bounced across the floor and hugged her tightly.
She laughed at the werewolf before squeezing him back. “Take care of Rick for me.”
“Always.” He planted a kiss on her cheek. “Come home soon, Sonja.”
Sam’s smile was the strangely irresistible one, but he had tears on his scarred cheeks and his voice broke a little. “We’ll miss you.”
“I’ll miss you, too.” She hugged the older Speaker.
His voice turned gruff again as he pulled away. “From now on, you text me when you stop for the night.”
“I will.” She might, for a few days.
Dean grinned at her. “Do I get a hug?”
“Of course.” When Dean pulled her close she took the opportunity she’d avoided for two months. “Fair warning, if I have to come back here because Matty’s heart is broken, your spine will match.”
He laughed as he pulled away. “That was my first death threat from one of you.”
“I just wanted all my cards on the table before I left.” Matty laughed and Dean wrapped an arm around the werewolf’s thin shoulders. Sonja fought down the urge to hug them both again. “Tell Mina… tell her I said goodbye.”
Matty’s eyes strayed to the ceiling. “I think she’ll miss you the most.”
Sonja nodded as she held back more tears. She’d never had a problem leaving a city.
I haven’t had this much family in years.
She stood there, uncomfortably ready to leave and never wanting to at the same time. Big girl panties, Sonja. “I have to go.”
“Of course you do.” Sam opened the door for her and handed her the coffee mug.
Sonja smiled her thanks, and walked away. The world was still, but strangely bright for four in the morning. More snow fell, piling on the drifts that already reached her knees.
Sonja appreciated the numbing cold. She missed Rick already and Mina and Troy hadn’t even come downstairs to say goodbye.
She trudged down the frozen street forcing herself to pay attention to her surroundings. There’d be nobody watching her back for the foreseeable future. A shadow drifted in front of her. Sonja reached for her taser.
“Nice, Red. I come to help and I get threatened.” The shadow materialized into a bearded man in many layers of ripped and dirty clothes.
Sonja’s heart lifted. “Troy, what are you doing here?”
He settled in beside her. “He killed my mother, Red. Then he made it so I never get to go back home.”
“I know, but, Troy… Mina.”
“Red…” He heaved a sigh as he headed down the snowy street. “Mina may not forgive me for leaving, but if I left you to face this demon lord on your own, I’d never be able to live myself.” He shook his head. “I’m just glad I didn’t have to see that smug look on Matty’s face.”
“Nothing.” Troy’s voice turned tight and angry. “I just hate it when that little shithead is right.”
She stopped. “Troy, go back. Right now.”
He glanced over his shoulder at her and shrugged. “Damage is done, Red.”
They walked in the falling snow in silence. Then she handed him the still warm coffee. “She won’t stay mad at you forever.”
Troy didn’t say anything.
“Seriously, just give it a year or so.”
“A year from now she’ll be over me and happy with someone else.” Troy took a long drink, before handing the mug back to her.
“Well, maybe that guy will be secretly in love with Matty, too.”
As Troy’s laugh rang out, the morning seemed a bit warmer to Sonja.