After that, Koh disappeared for a few days.
Amon waited patiently for her to return, and the healers who came to tend him were all kind enough. He just couldn’t help but wonder how many of them knew his true identity.
That was always going to be a doubt in his mind from then on.
He had other visitors during this time. Kan-E-Senna came to check on him daily and ensured the crystals were still functioning as they should. Sometimes this led to conversation, but often, the Elder Seedseer had to excuse herself for having way too many things to attend to.
Amon understood that.
Zuri and Mocho also came to visit him. They didn’t seem to know where Koh was, which concerned him. They did bring him tidings of happenings around town, and most importantly, they brought him his fiddle. This gave him something to do while recovering and kept him from sinking into the ultimate pit of boredom.
Finally, Koh returned.
Deep circles ringed her eyes and her complexion was as pale as he’d ever seen. Her movements were sluggish, but even so, he could tell by the way she carried herself that it was Noah who was in command.
“Hey,” Amon breathed, setting his fiddle aside as she walked in. “You look awful.”
“Gee, Amon. You know how to make a girl feel good about herself, now don’t you?” Noah grumbled, but didn’t seem to have the energy to verbally scrap with him today.
“Sorry,” he frowned. “It’s just… Are you alright?”
She came to sit on the stool near his bed. It was all she could do to keep herself upright. “It is done.”
She lifted a little wooden box between her hands. “The focus. Your focus.”
His eyes widened as he connected the dots. He murmured, trying not to sound accusing. “Noah.”
“I know… I know. However, Koh was adamant. Crafting this took all the aether she could spare, but she refused to accept no for an answer,” Noah spread her hands. “I took it as slow and easy on her as I could.”
Amon groaned, combing his fingers through his hair in frustration, “Why did she…”
“Because Koh cares about you.” She interrupted. “So how about just thanking her and letting her get some rest. She’ll be fine. She’s tougher than you think she is.”
“Very well,” he reached out to accept the box.
But Noah pulled it back. “First, I have something I want to discuss with you.”
The Elezen frowned. “This doesn’t seem the time to–”
“This is the proper time,” Noah interrupted him again. She gave him a no-nonsense look, despite the exhaustion on her face.
He lowered his hand and pursed his lips, indicating that he was listening.
“I’ve thought about this for a while. I’ve made up my mind. I know you’re not going to like my choice, but I need your help.”
“Me?” Amon’s eyebrows lifted.
“Can you stay serious for a little bit?”
“I made a mistake. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now I know.” Noah let out a long breath. “The short of it is – I need you to find a way to release Koh from my possession.”
“I know that you care about her. I care about her, too. That’s why I have to do what’s right by her.” She slowly shook her head. “I’ve tried to be less intrusive… but the truth is, I’ve taken her life from her, Amon. And that’s not fair. She’s just a child with so much ahead of her. I’m keeping her from these things.”
“What will happen to you?” Amon asked, just stunned by this whole conversation.
“That’s what I need you to find out.”
He leaned back at this. “Mmm…”
“You’re the only one who has the capability to find these answers for us. The only one that I…” Noah paused and admitted. “…trust… to carry this out.”
Amon was silent for a long time, his mind running possibility after possibility, taking flight with the excitement of… actually having something worthwhile to put his thoughts towards. Something to work on.
“And if I can’t find a solution that works for you both?” He finally asked.
“Then release her as painlessly as possible, no matter the consequence to me.”
“Noah. What you ask is…”
She cut him off quickly. “Stop. I need the callous, shrewd Amon for this. Please.”
He closed his eyes and lowered his chin to his chest.
“This is for Koh.” Her voice was soft and coaxing. “I’ve already had my chance at life, and that led me to where I am now. I don’t have a right to take hers, too.”
“What does Koh have to say about this?” Amon asked.
“You know what she would say if she knew.”
He glanced at Noah sharply. “You’re going to hide this from her?”
“That was my intention.”
“After you lecture me on hiding things from her.”
“This is different.”
“No, this is something that directly affects her well-being. How is she going to feel if something happens to you?” He crossed his arms.
“She shouldn’t concern herself with me.”
“But. She. Will.” Amon lowered his brows, speaking each word deliberately. “You know that.”
Noah looked down at her hands, one of the few times she was at a loss for words in one of their conversations. Seeing her turmoil and despair sent a sharp pang of emotion through him. He didn’t even know a word for the feeling.
The Elezen found himself doing something uncharacteristic. He reached across and put a comforting hand on her knee. When he spoke, it was with a determination that he thought he’d left behind him in the Tower.
“I will not settle for an answer that cannot save you both.” Amon told her. “You have my word that I will make this happen.”
Noah’s chin jerked up in surprise, her eyes focusing on him as if she was seeing him… or some part of him… for the first time.
“But,” he gave her the ultimatum. “We cannot hide this from Koh. This is my condition. Do you understand?”
She took a deep breath and nodded. A tiny smile of thanks touched her lips, and he swore he could see the hint of tears in her eyes.