"Why me?" asked Venus, her question bringing Mordecai back from his thoughts. "Of anyone else in the pack you favor – why did you choose me? I don't...." Her breath hitched on a note as she struggled to find the words to say. It could have been amusing to see her flounder but a weight hung from his heart and he could not even muster a smile.
"I do not want to fail."
He sighed, though whether from her words or the growing exhaustion, he could not tell. It seemed Mordecai would now have the task of gently reassuring her without increasing the pressure he had placed upon her.
"And you won't," he said softly, letting his head dip down to place the lantern upon the floor. He took a single step forward while watching Venus to make sure she didn't suddenly back away. Then he pressed his head against her neck and nuzzled it gently.
"Because though you infuriate me so, you are invaluable. I am proud to have you as my Consul." His magic reached out to her shoulder where the rune had been torn through and unwound it from her flesh. There was little he could do about the wound but he tried to hold it in his magic and warm it slightly. Then he pulled away and rested his gaze upon her eyes.