Daniel’s mask covered all of his face but his mouth and chin, making it more difficult to read him, but not completely impossible.
He stopped biting his lip, leaving his mouth a straight line.
“Daniel,” I said, “look inside my head. You’ll be able to tell what’s really going on in seconds.”
He didn’t say anything for a second, but then… “They told me you’d say that. I can’t. It’s not a fairy invasion. You’re all demon possessed. You may not believe it, but I’ve been shown the evidence. I need you to go with us, and we’ll bring to someone who can cure you.”
Off to my left on the ground, Samita quirked an eyebrow. “Really? Who? I’m not aware that we have any exorcists on the staff.”
Daniel jerked his head and frowned. “I don’t know.”
That was an opening, and I went for it. “Right there, that should tell you something. I know you. You always know that kind of thing because you can’t help but check.”
“I…” He stopped talking, drifting off into thought.
“Daniel!” Cassie had been pointing the gun off to the side, but as she spoke, she pointed it directly at us. “You know you’re not supposed to listen to them. They don’t know they’re being controlled.”
To us, she said, “Stop talking. When Camille lets you up, you’ll go where you’re told.”
Vaughn’s voice came from behind me. “Cassie–”
She interrupted him before he could finish. “Don’t talk!”
It might have been my imagination, but it seemed like I could hear real pain in her voice then. There was no denying she’d gotten louder though.
“Fuck,” Sean muttered, but not apparently loud enough for Cassie to hear.
I wondered how long I had before Sean tried to take them all out. He might be able to if he started by blinding Cassie–assuming she was limited to her own sight. She’d said something about seeing through the gun once.
No, Sean was screwed, and so was I if I let this go too long, and also apparently if I talked.
I wondered if I could get in to Daniel’s head. Normally I could sense when I was within his range even if it was more an ability to sense his absence than his presence.
I didn’t feel the easy, almost unthinking connection we usually shared. He was deliberately keeping me out. All the same, this wasn’t entirely a voluntary connection on his part. We shared dreams sometimes if we were sleeping in range of each other–sometimes dreams we both wanted to forget.
In my defense, his mom was at least as attractive to guys as he was to women. And yes, we were one hundred percent certain she wasn’t in my head.
Anyway, it seemed like our minds didn’t see any reason to respect normal boundaries with each other–which meant that if I made him angry he’d be in my mind before he knew it.
It also meant that no matter how much he tried to keep me out, it might be that he couldn’t.
I hoped he wouldn’t freak out if I succeeded.
Feeling my heart beat faster, I wondered if I should try to control my growing nervousness, possibly by breath control exercises. Then I discarded it. I could use the emotion. I needed something to get Daniel’s attention.
Besides fear might be healthy. Not being as powerful as his dad or grandfather was one of Daniel’s issues, and I was about to twist the knife.
Then I concentrated on what bothered me about the whole idea. It wasn’t he would hurt me. It was that he might not forgive me when this was all over. The last time we’d talked about it, he’d shouted at me. I didn’t want to go there again.
I ran that through my head, going where I felt the most pain.
Haley noticed. She met my eyes, whispering, “Are you okay?”
Cassie shouted, “No talking!” Her gun glowed around the muzzle, but it wasn’t firing–yet.
I nodded. Of course I couldn’t tell Haley anything, so that was more frustrating than helpful because she was distracting me.
All at once though, I felt Daniel sense me. Whether it was my own anxiety plus my frustration, or all of that plus the added stab of fear about Cassie’s state of mind that got his attention, I didn’t know.
Before I could think better of it, I thought at him, Your dad was part of the group that teamed up with Justice Fiend to fight demons in the 90s, wasn’t he? Plus your grandfather fought against the fae back in the 60s, and didn’t he stop a dybbuk on his own?
Why aren’t you as good?
I didn’t have the same level of sophistication as Daniel did with mind to mind communication, but I could sense strong emotions. What I sensed at that moment would have meant that Luke Skywalker was heading straight for the dark side of the force.
Daniel’s consciousness poured into my head. He’d done that before many, many times, but never with this undercurrent of anger. We’d had arguments. We’d even had telepathic arguments, but never arguments where I felt invaded.
He went around the defenses he’d put into my head without being stopped. Unlike the last psychic who’d been in my head, he didn’t immediately go into a screaming fit because of the “psychic landmines” that duplicated the effect that Lee had on telepaths.
He knew how to avoid them, of course.
I felt the shock of his realization as he understood what I’d been doing, and experienced flashes of every moment since I’d disappeared.
Oh, he thought.