"She hasn't said anything," Onako looked down as if ashamed of her bruised face. "Or eaten. Not since it happened. It's like she's not even here anymore."
Hod put a comforting hand on the younger Orc woman's shoulder. The marks from her fight with Mikey were still dark blood stains on white bandages, a black eye, a split lip. He ached for her and was numbly frightened of what it meant for Mikey and Onako in the future. "You did all you could, O," he offered.
Onako tensed and avoided Hod's deep sea eyes. "She . . . she can't stay here anymore. I'm afraid of what she might do to the boys." The Orc glanced out the window to where Minana was playing with little Thrall and Grom and JuJu. The children looked happy for the moment, but JuJu at least knew some of what was going on.
Hod closed his eyes and exhaled, exhausted already. He felt old, like the bitter winter cold had finally seeped into his bones to stay. "I'll handle it," he murmured. "Leave us."
Onako nodded quickly and brushed out the door to join Minana and the children outside in the dusky half light. She gave Hod only one backwards glance before closing the door behind her. He was kneeling down beside the silent and deadly Troll woman sitting bolt upright in the chair by the empty fireplace.
Inside Onako's little house, Hod crouched by Mikey's feet. He looked up into her smooth, expressionless face and saw the emptiness staring back at him. Her smoky golden eyes didn't even register him being there in front of her. She had almost no marks from the fight, he saw. Her knuckles were scuffed and there was a burn on her shoulder, but otherwise she appeared completely healthy. Except for that blank stare . . .
"Mikey," he began, gently taking her hand in his. "Mikey, it's me, Hod. I came back for you." There was no response. "Mikey, Mia," he tried again. Still nothing. He cupped her placid face with his other hand. "Mia, I don't know if you're listening somewhere in there, but come back. Please come back, Mia. I don't know what to do. I was always the one who followed you, remember? And I was sick for so longyearsand you took care of me all on your own. I don't have the strength you have. I follow and take orders. I do what I'm told. But now?" he leaned in and put his forehead against hers. She still seemed to ignore him, sitting silent and perfectly still while he began to shake with the first wave of oncoming sadness and anxiety. "Mia, now I don't know where to turn. Do I take you away somewhere safe? But where is that? Nowhere is safe anymore. Do I tell someone? Mikey, you . . . you were going to try to ki" his voice hitched painfully in his chest. "You were going to try to kill Garrosh! How could you?" Hod's voice changed to barely a whisper by the end. "He is the warchief, now! He's the one Thrall put in charge!"
"If Garrosh dies, maybe Thrall will come back." She sounded monotone and miles away even though their foreheads were still touching. "Make everything better." Mikey blinked slowly, but she still didn't appear to see Hod as he pulled back from her. "It was the only thing we could think to do." She gave the tiniest of shrugs.
"Killing Garrosh will never bring Thrall back," Hod murmured, swallowing his relief in one gulp. She was back, if not entirely herself yet. He reached for his waterskin and lifted it to her dry lips. "Drink something," he begged, sniffling away the tears. Mikey didn't say more, but she turned her head away from the waterskin. Her eyes were slowly coming back to life, but her face was still as blank as before. Hod wasn't entirely sure he liked what he glimpsed in her golden eyes, and was reminded that that serene and beautiful face was still the face of a killer. The male Troll put the rejected waterskin aside and sat back on his haunches. "I don't know what to do," he said again. "If I tell Garrosh there is a plot against his life, they will kill you for treason."
"You worry for Garrosh?" Mikey laughed single soft snort and her gaze finally drifted to Hod's face.
"I worry for you," Hod corrected. "They would kill you and your dissenting friends and I am not sure they would be wrong for doing it." It stung him deeply to say it. "They would kill Mina, too. Onako as well, maybe." He shook his head. "I cannot tell anyone, not until I get you safely out of Orgrimmar for good. We don't belong here anymore." He waited for some kind of sign that Mikey had heard him and understood what he was saying, but she gave no indication. "You're the link to Mina, and O was only directly involved when she tried to stop you. I think if you're gone and Mina leaves town she'll be all right." Hod took Mikey by the shoulders and stared down the death in her golden eyes. "Mina is too young. She should never have been involved in this mess, and you very nearly killed Onako! It's a miracle she didn't turn you in herself." A flicker of concern passed so quickly across Mikey's placid face Hod wasn't entirely sure he'd seen it at all. "I can't say I would have done the same in her shoes." He sighed and turned to gather the few possessions Mikey had. He took an empty knapsack and began filling it with the little bit of clothing, the tanned skins and bone needles and thread that had been Mikey's hobby before everything fell apart. He found a leather thong with a single amber stone strung on it underneath a warm wolf skin cloak and held it up to take a closer look.
"A widow is a cruel and bitter thing," Mikey said as if reciting an old adage. Her face was as still as a mirror pond, but her eyes were filled with pain and defeat and fixed on the necklace. "Widowers can go out to the battlefield and glut their grief in blood and pain, but for me there is no relief. I am a burned out husk. I am nothing but a creature of woe. Death is my gift, and I am here to give it freely. Perhaps I hoped only to do some good with it before I end."
"He gave this to you, didn't he?" Hod stopped and turned back to look at the Troll woman still sitting quietly, bolt upright in the chair by an empty fireplace. "This was never about Thrall leaving," he realized. "This is about Kal."
Mikey was staring into the empty fireplace, but as soon as her dead love's name was spoken aloud it seemed to break her. She appeared to snap at the ribcage, and her passive mask crumbled to reveal the honesty below it. She drew one sharp breath in before folding over on herself. Hod was by her side in an instant, his arms around her and pulling her out of the chair. They sat together on the floor, the male Troll rocking the female gently as the bitter grief shook her to the core. He leaned his head on hers and sang softly in a husky voice old lullabies. She held the amber stone clenched in her hands until her knuckles turned white, and for the first time since Kal died, Mikey cried.