He laughed, a bitter laugh that hinted at a snarl concealed. A growl lightly coated with black humor. “You gots de justifications in place. Now all you needs is the speech that ends with ‘Fools! I will crush you all!’ and you be ready, hey?”
Spike flinched. She'd had enough family history to know that anything that started out that way presaged a very bad end indeed. But she'd also sworn an oath, promised with her life's breath that she wouldn't tell about the newly hatched Order of the Phoenix Reborn. And anyone who'd take one oath lightly, she thought, and in that, she had it.
"Sascha, I promise that if I were able to explain what I was doing, and why I was doing it, why I had to use the bird the way I did, that I would." He raised an eyebrow, and she took his hand. "But to do that, I would have to break another promise. That would leave us in a bad way, because . . . because I think if you knew what I was doing, you'd feel compelled to stop me -- or at least to make me promise that I'd conscript my behavior to the safer paths -- and how could you trust my word after that?" His ears laid back flat against his head for a second, then moved back to neutral. "If you see another way, please help me find it."
"So . . . necessary, was it?" She nodded, showed him the bandage on her finger where she'd drawn the drops of blood to finish giving it the right smell. He looked at it closely, seeing the tiny red fleck that had come through the gauze. The fire in his eye died, and his shoulders slumped. "Necessary like the monster you building for the OWL?"
She sighed, shook her head. "The OWL . . . the OWL is because I can. Yeah, hubris, I know, I know. 'Fools! I will crush you all!' and all that. This . . . this really does have a higher purpose in mind, and there's a team counting on me. Watching out for me. I'm responsible to others who will help me stay on the straight and narrow. I think . . . I think that if I could tell you all about it, you three would be proud of me." Scared out of your minds for me, terrified of what Atyets would do if you slipped and I fell out of your hands like an egg on the flagstones, but proud.
He leaned down, picked a flower, turning it over in his huge square hands, examining the tiny florets carefully. Running one finger over the texture of the petaled bells. "So. Promise me one thing."
"If I can."
"When you can talk about this, do. Tell all three of us. We can watch you, guide you, but we gots to know where you going. And right now, it looks like you going a very bad way indeed."
"Right off the cliff, where the villagers wait below with torches and pitchforks." She stood up, brushing the leaves and mulch off her robes. "I promise. If and when I am free to tell you about . . . what I'm doing and why, I will."
Later that night, as a token of her promise, she crafted a square out of purple. Purple for unity, purple for hyacinths, purple for a bruised heart, and hung it on the wall by the door to her rooms.