“Forgive me if my appearance startles you. It’s still me.”
Dropping his cloak to the ground at his feet, out there in the woods, Ana had been a little confused for a moment, but only a moment, for as he disrobed further, her eyes were transfixed on his face, his eyes already changed from their usual glowing green to a violet hue now, his skin even darkening before her eyes. She didn’t move. Even if she’d wanted to, out of fear, she might not have been able to. Her legs wouldn’t budge, and so she just stood there, a little in awe at the sight of his transformation. She did startle and jump back a step or two at the sound of the loud and brutal sounding crack when the massive black wings burst from his back, beating a couple of times to stretch out the muscles.
Wide eyed, she covered her open mouth with her hand, horrified, yet still awed, unable to take her eyes off him, and his altered form. He stretched a now clawed hand out to her, and she noted that were he not in absolute control of himself in this state, he could apply just the wrong amount of pressure to her hand, should she offer it, and every bone would be shattered. But, she only hesitated a moment before stretching out her hand to him slowly. She trusted him.
That clawed hand would take hers and draw her close to him, wrapping her up in his massive and powerful arms, huge veins almost seeming as if they would pop out of the darkened skin itself and she looked at him for just a moment, thinking to ask him what was he doing, what was going on, but then her feet left the ground, both of theirs did and all she could feel was her arms around his neck, the cool night air blowing through her hair and the moonlight shining down on the two of them as if the moon were almost close enough to touch now.
What she wouldn’t give to fly now. She’d been walking for hours, so many she’d lost count. All she knew was that the sun had just been coming up when she’d set out from the estate and it had just set again over the woods. Exhaustion had set in long ago, and she was literally just putting one foot in front of the other to simply just get there. She wouldn’t stop until she was home. She could have taken one of the Hawkstriders stabled at the Order’s estate but it wouldn’t have felt right to do so. That, and she would have actually had to go to the stables to begin with, and she could have run into someone on the way out, and she hadn’t wanted a confrontation of any kind or to have to explain herself to anyone about why she was leaving again so soon, so she’d simply just left on foot. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Her only thought and focus had been on getting home.
By the time Ana actually reached the Stormblood house, her hand curling around the doorknob, she was ready to fall asleep where she stood. She wasn’t even sure when she tried the door if it would be unlocked or not. They’d not locked the door before, the demons guarding the house enough security that it was unnecessary, but still, maybe since she’d gone, Kaeth might have started locking it, or changed the locks even, to keep her out. But he wouldn’t actively try and keep her away would he? Now that she thought about it, how would he feel once he saw her again, what must he think of her now at all having just up and left him like she had. And suddenly, she paused, her hand still on the door, hesitating.
The door swung open, and there, as if it were any other regular night before it, was Ghaad, his head tilted up towards her, but he didn’t move right away as he normally would have before, bounding forwards, his claws clicking and scratching the polished floors before he rubbed himself against her legs. He seemed to be waiting. She wasn’t sure what for, so she simply spoke to him as she had before.
“Can I come in, boy? How long you been waiting there for, hmm?” And at that, the Felhound finally moved to the side, making those familiar clicking, grunting sounds of affection that she had been accustomed to, and she smiled, just a little, stepping into the hall, quietly closing the door behind her. The rest of the house was silent. Ana did wander around for a few minutes, but the place was oddly silent. There was no sign of Chobis, not even Eyla.
A little disappointed at not being able to see him right away, Ana sank down onto the bed in his, no, their room. It was still theirs wasn’t it? She wouldn’t know, not right now anyway without Kaeth home and as much as she wanted to sit there and wait for him all night, it was only a matter of minutes after she sat down on the soft familiar bed that her eyes felt heavy, and she kicked her boots off, before curling her legs up on the bed, resting her head on the soft pillows, allowing herself to fall into a long and sound sleep. She wasn’t sure whether she was dreaming or not, but at some point during the night, Ana heard his voice. He was there, standing beside the bed, looking down on her, the expression on his face stoic, giving away nothing as to any emotion he was feeling, if any, but his voice, when he spoke was a little softer than usual, or at least she imagined it was.
“I see you’ve found your way back…”he murmured, “I pray the shadows didn’t blind you too much, Miss Blackcrest.”