Gray stuttered for a moment in English before switching to unaccented Japanese. “What are you doing here? Has this been you the whole time?”
“I must be what I am. A thief.”
A vein in his temple throbbed at the sight of her. After five years to see the woman he’d trusted with his heart standing twenty feet away. The same amount of distance she was when she testified at his trial. He was sure her interpreter had been smirking at him during the cross-examination. She set it up, all of it. She was the real reason he was here working for Craiter. She’d-- A shield of anger dropped over his angular features. “And a whore.” He forced the words through gritted teeth.
Kamiko didn’t flinch at his words, but he saw the guilt that flashed across her face. When her words came, they were eerily calm. “You may add murderer to that list as well.” She looked away for a moment and he seized the opportunity to move towards her.
In a flash, the blade of the chef’s knife was at his throat, its tip pressing into the vulnerable flesh. “Don’t.”
Gray let his disappointment show. “Don’t try to comfort you? Don’t help you? I have every reason to be angry, but I can’t. I know why you did it.” Left on her own, Kamiko could never hurt him. Her Master, however, had no such qualms.
The knife remained at his throat, but not pressed as deeply. “Why did I do it?”
“Your Master made you do it. I betrayed him once and he saw this as the ultimate revenge.” He managed a laugh, one without malice or mirth. “I see you didn’t know.”
“I don’t believe you. You lie.”
“No, that is your specialty. I learned from him when I was just a child. Then because I saw the price of his knowledge, I left. I never wanted to be owned. Used and discarded. I took his training and used it for my own gain. And that he could not stand. He called me Graymalkin because I was silent as the fog…”
“…On little cat feet, “ she finished. “I remember stories about his best student. Amazing tales of stealth.”
Gray smiled ruefully. “I was his best student. Until you.” His face became serious in that instant. “But I got away. And you can, too.”
The tiny doll mouth trembled. “No, I can’t. I am bound.”
“By what? Your love for him?”
“No! I love you.”
“Then why? Why did you turn me in? I get it—you found me that first night at his direction. But once we—“ He shook his head clear of the memories of their night together. Her body shiny with sweat, slid across his own, her breasts swaying just out of reach of his mouth as she rode him. “Once we were together, I thought you would leave him. We could have had everything. We could have been two thieves in the night traveling the world together.”
Her dark eyes shone with tears and she swallowed hard in order to speak. “I stay with him out of duty. It is an honor to do one’s duty.” She drew the blade from his neck and raised her arm in the killing stroke. “There will be only one thief that survives this night.”