Jourd’Muerta, 2nd Duema 4020
0700 came too quickly that morning. He longed to stay in bed with Yarrow, to give her a happy-birthday awakening, but he had to prepare himself for his new life. He had bags to pack, an exterior to shape into a perfect calm, and a soul to sell.
Still he had not told her. He didn’t think, now, that he had ever really planned to. He’d told himself he would, but honestly couldn’t see how it would be better for her to hear it from him than it would be to hear it at the ceremony itself. Telling her now could drive her to action too soon — to trying to take the Sceptre illegally. He’d already ruined her relationship with the law — the only important, continuous relationship in her life — once. He wouldn’t do it again.
Instead he got out of bed as carefully as possible and got ready to go without waking her. It wasn’t hard. She was out cold. Bathed and dressed, he gazed upon her sleeping form, his heart twisting with the truth he knew he held from her. Not taking his eyes off her, he opened the secret compartment in the desk she thought he didn’t know about and slipped his goodbye to her in, beside her efemira.
Then, as ready as he could be for this future that would ruin both of them while saving her simultaneously, he bent and kissed her one last time, tenderly on the lips. “Goodbye, love,” he whispered, and before she could stir he was out the door, no more than a ghost in her life now.