She slipped to the floor next to me and said, “You could come with me.”

Go with her. Leave Chicago. Leave Murphy, the Alphas, Michael. Leave a horde of problems-many of them ones I’d created for myself. I thought of packing up and heading out. Maybe fighting the good fight. Being loved again, held again. God, I wanted that.

But people would get hurt. Friends. Others who might be in my kind of danger and have no one to turn to.

I looked into Susan’s eyes and saw hope there for just a moment. Then understanding. She smiled, but it was somehow sadder than ever. “Susan-” I said.

She pressed a finger to my lips and blinked back tears. “I know.”

And then I understood. She knew because she was feeling the same way.

There are things you can’t walk away from. Not if you want to live with yourself afterward.

“Now do you understand?” she asked.

Jim Butcher, The Dresden Files: Death Masks.

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