So many unfair deals there are revolving around children in their world, he thinks. Maya. Himself. Who knows how many others. So many families willing to hand over those they should be protecting for money, for favors. It makes his chest ache. It brings back all of those old feelings of his youth for a moment. All he ever wanted was his parents to come get him, to bring him home, to go back to being his parents again. They never did. He stayed with his new keepers until he watched each of them die, and yet even in death he can't escape them. In the case of his parents, however, death made them no more wanting to approach. In the midst of a thousand yammering spirits, his parents still won't speak to him.
He holds Maya's gaze while she talks, but it isn't that same dark, penetrating one he casts around the rest of the time. There's something gentler in there that so few people ever get to see; something encouraging, and warm. And yet, still so very cautious.
"I know that you are strong, Maya," he begins. "I never meant to make you think otherwise." He shifts away from her so that he can sit up and turn. He perches at the edge of the sofa. His hands, both bare and confident now, find hers again to grip them both. "I know that you are capable. I know that you are smart. And you're kind, and loving." His dark brows draw together over his eyes. "I don't want to taint what little of those things is left, but I promise I won't let him take any more. I promise you that."
Despite the invitation, the cat does not come. She remains on the table watching her master and the woman on the couch with those wide green eyes and that incessantly swishing tail.