“Of course I can’t tell you and your conscience what to do,” Edna went on dryly. “I can only point out that SAC Haughn will be investigating the Shays’ organizations – legitimate and otherwise – very closely. Very, very closely. And given the Star of the Sea charity is known to have accepted their donations in the past, and some children served by that charity have now turned up in a building the Shays organized for slave labor….” She trailed off, eyes icy.
“You wouldn’t dare.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t tell Mrs. Silversmith what she wouldn’t dare, Sister,” Alan stuck in. Because damn, he could still feel the tears drying on his cheeks from where he’d broken down crying on the carpet, knowing they were all alive. And damn, he’d seen his mother take people apart like that when she had to, and he wanted to applaud. “You didn’t see what the Shays did to people. What they’ll keep doing, if people don’t stop them. You’re bringing kids here to save them? They’re helping you bring kids here so they can kill them.”
Both women were looking at him now. Alan did his best not to shrink back against Morgan and Sam, because this was his responsibility and nothing here was actually going to eat him. Even if they were kind of scary.
Morgan sniffed the air, eyes watchful; a careful non-reaction that had Alan glance toward the lounge door for her. Everyone knew he’d be jumpy back here in Boston.
So the tired gray-haired guy in an FBI-plain dark gray suit found himself facing a whole crew of interested onlookers. Somehow, Alan couldn’t feel sorry for him.
“Sir!” Drakon sat up straight, the brassy scale mail of a Partevian general rustling faintly. He reddened, as if he’d just remembered what he was wearing, and cast a scowl at Yunan that should have been arrested for assault with a deadly on the spot.
SAC Haughn raised a peppered brow, looking his younger agent over from red cape to pointed-toed armored boots. Spared a glance for Sarah and Matt, in her simple Sindrian white dress and the kid’s Heliohapt-style open-sided tunic. Stared, just a moment, before slowly scanning the rest of the assorted rescuers.
Alan didn’t even try to hide a grin. Malachy looked even more stoic and scary than usual in the white tunic and bronze armor of a Reim gladiator. Tiburon was grinning like an exhausted golden jackal, all Heliohapt’s white and gold wrapped in a Sindrian green-edged white robe. Ja’far had an almost perfectly neutral assassin’s smirk, carrying off a Sindrian court official’s green headscarf and white linen with resigned grace. And Simon, of course, was the most flamboyant of them all; violet hair still caught back with his own silver and leather tie, but glimmering in white robes over the gold-edged purple tunic of Sindria’s lost king.
Haughn, Alan noted, did not miss the swords. Any of them. Or their small trio of desert-lost kid dress, even behind Sam doing his best to look utterly ordinary, and just coincidentally block casual stares at Maria and the others. And definitely not Yunan, as the magi in the floppy hat did his best to look like just another part of the airport greenery.
Mom always said SAC Haughn was sharp.
Haughn… sighed. Closed his eyes a moment, as if hoping this would all vanish while he wasn’t looking.