Spoiler Level: Neverseen
[Takes place around the time of Neverseen]
“Fitz, I-” Sophie glanced at the ground before forcing herself to look up. “I may be ready to return the favor I owe you.” Ready? No. She didn’t think she’d ever be ready, but she really had to just get it over with. He deserved to know, and even if he hated her afterwards it would be over with.
She looked into his impossibly teal eyes. He looked confused, adorably so. He must not recall what he had told her before.. “I won a favor when we were searching Keefe’s room,” she told him nervously. He still seemed confused, but she could tell he was thinking hard. “But you said if I didn’t call it within a month it became yours. I didn’t, because of our.. busyness. It became your favor.” She saw understanding dawn in his eyes, but continued to shove the words out before she could stop herself.
“The favor you asked was for me to tell you the secret I’ve been holding back, because,” she faltered as she remembered. “Cognates have to share all their secrets with each other.” He had been so excited about being Cognates, and now this could ruin it all. “And.. I guess it’s time to share the secret.” She looked around herself, checking no one else was near where they were. Then again, who would be?
They stood outside Wildwood Colony, looking at the land that had been devastated with the plague a month ago. A month? It felt like yesterday. It looked almost hopeful. Green sprouted in the ancient forest, newly budding plants. The gnomes had been working hard to plant new trees and cut away the old branches, restoring it to new glory.
Fitz’s mouth opened, looking almost like a smile. “It does seem overdue,” he softly agreed. “If you’re ready.”
Sophie took a deep breath, tugged out a loose eyelash, and blurted out the secret to destroy everything.
“Fitz, I like you.”
She wanted to suck the words back in the second she said them, and even more so after she saw the look on Fitz’s face. He was frowning.
“I knew you wouldn’t be ready to share the real secret.” Fitz’s forehead furrowed. “Did Keefe put you up to this?”
“What?” Sophie was shocked. In all of the awful responses she had pictured, none of them had been like this. “No, of course not!” She felt her cheeks flushing. “That was the real secret!”
“What?” he repeated, his expression softening. “I thought you liked Keefe. I thought that you would--”
“Tell you?” Sophie interrupted. “You do know who you’re talking to, right?”
A corner of Fitz’s mouth quirked up, “I suppose you are the Master of Secrets.”
Sophie tugged out an eyelash, “So you don’t like me back, our Cognatedom is over, and you’ll never be able to look at me again, right?”
“Sophie,” Fitz slipped his hands into hers. “I like you, too. And our Cognatedom will be stronger than ever now that we’re being open.”
Sophie didn’t know what to say, but she didn’t have to say anything, because Fitz was leaning in...