“Garfas?” I asked out the the pair of eyes, who else could they belong to? “Where am I?”
“Mara’s hut,” Came an immediate response, it was unusual for him however. His voice was shaky, nervous even.
“Mara’s hut?” I asked sitting up, a dull pain throbbed within my chest and muscles. “What am doing here?” then it all returned to me. “Wait, don’t answer that. I remember now.” I finished with a sigh. I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, still feeling exhausted, but not wanting to fade again. I readjusted myself and saw two large arms try to aid me, I held up a dismissive hand to signal that I was alright. There was hesitation in Garfas’ hands as they retreated.
“Um…” Began Garfas in the darkness. All I could see were his eyes. The moonlight shone through the window in the room but it wasn’t enough to illuminate the white charr’s silhouette. “So you’re really here? Is that really you?” The question caught me off guard, then again I suppose it wasn’t out of place to ask something like that. Had I been a regular person, I would have been dead. I should be dead, but I wasn’t, that must be what Garfas was thinking at the moment.
“It’s me,” I said smiling in the darkness. “Don’t worry you big oaf, I’m not going anywhere.” I stretched my arms, allowing the muscles to spring back to life, the muscles on my right arm felt tense however, I suppose leaned on it incorrectly, that or the battle still had me jumpy. I glanced back at Garfas, or his eyes more like it, my body froze as I heard him hold back a sob. There was a bright sheen of moisture coming from his eyes.
“Garfas?” I suddenly felt myself being pulled into the massive charr. I did not resist him, in its own way it felt natural. As if a large burden had been removed from me, I allowed my weight to be carried by the larger charr and I wrapped my arms around him. A wave of relief overcame me, my body felt weak again, but not in a fatigued sort of way. I felt as if I could finally let him see a part of me very few knew about. Then I asked him, “so you don’t think I’m a freak?” Garfas moved back slightly, still holding me but we were face to face now. His eyes locked with mine, I could see the swirling emotions within the amber orbs. I could sense them even, surprise uncertainty, fear. I couldn’t read minds however, I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. Was he unsure as to how he saw me, was he afraid? Perhaps even repulse—
“Garfas, wha—” my blood flow began to race through my body as Garfas placed his lips against mine. The confusion struck me immediately, along with a myriad of other emotions. Then it all made sense to me, what he was talking about back during the battle, what he was hiding from me. I really was a dense idiot. Garfas removed his lips from mine, once again our eyes met.
“Does that answer your question?” He asked, I was too stunned to answer. “You should get some rest, cub. I’ll see you in the morning.” He moved to get off the bed, but I found my hands latching on to him.
“Stay,” I said to him, barely louder than a whisper. “Please.” I wasn’t sure what I was doing, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. All I knew was that this was something I wanted. Him laying next to me, wrapping me in his embrace, my head sinking into his fur and using him as a pillow. All of this was so new to me, all of these swirling feelings of joy and excitement, yet at the same time uncertainty. I looked up at Garfas’ face, his hand rested on my back, gently combing through my fur. “I don’t know what to say,” I said to him.
“You don’t have to say anything, cub,” he whispered to me. “Go to sleep, I’ll be here when you wake up.” At that point I couldn’t stop my body from fading back into slumber. I woke up to the silent purring coming from Garfas, he was still holding me, still running his fingers through the fur on my upper back.
“You could have said something,” I said as I looked up at Garfas, he jumped at how suddenly I woke up. He looked like a cub that was in trouble, I smiled at the thought of seeing any cub-like characteristics in him. “would have saved us both a lot of time.” I crawled up to the charr and it was his turn to act surprised as I placed my lips against his. Garfas parted his mouth and the both of us began to become more…unrestrained. I was already lacking a shirt since my chest had a series of bandages wrapped around it, leaving Garfas free to explore my upper body. I was resting on top of him as I grew bolder with my motions. MY own hands began to explore the charr in front of me, not exactly knowing what I was doing but enjoying the feeling of holding on to someone out of affection.
What am I doing? What am I doing? What am I doing? was all I was thinking. Until I heard the loud crack of wood sounding through the room, it was followed by Garfas releasing a howl of pain and jumping away from my embrace. Then I heard the crack again, except now it was my turn to feel overwhelming pain on my skull. My gaze shot to the source, and I found Mara holding a rather sturdy looking wooden scepter in her hands, looking at both Garfas and I with a scowl.
“What did I do this time?!” Roared Garfas.
“That was for advancing on him while he’s still recovering,” Mara then pointed the scepter to me. “and that was for being a stupid cub and sending yourself to the slaughter in the first place!” I took that as Mara’s way of saying that she was glad I was alright.
“You’d hurt an injured patient?” I asked still rubbing the newly formed lump on the top of my head.
“You got an arrow through the chest, not your frontal lobe,” Mara narrowed her eyes at me. “And I’ll be damned to the realm of torment if you two make a mess on my bed. Go on, get up! if you have enough energy for intercourse you have enough energy to walk.” I allowed my shoulders to slouch as I got off the bed, Garfas followed suit, still donning a disgruntled face for being interrupted. I gave him a sheepish smirk that calmed him a bit. The three of us walked to the living room, where we all took a seat, Mara on her recliner and Garfas and I on the couch. I could smell Mara’s scent still on the couch, it led me to believe that she had slept on it while I was unconscious. It made me unconsciously rub the still tender wound on my chest. From the looks of everyone’s faces, it looked like I was going to be alright.
“So how long have I been out?” I asked, glancing at Mara.
“A little less than two days,” said Mara as she leaned back on her seat, staying calm and composed. “Garfas and your Sire showed up at my doorstep with you draped over this one’s back,” Mara jerked her head to Garfas. “He was begging me to ‘fix’ you, that was when I realized something was probably wrong with your channels.”
“Mara explained the whole thing to me,” chimed in Garfas. “How you don’t have a heart and how you have some sort of spell on you that keeps you alive.” I looked at Garfas with a surprised gaze, I suppose I still couldn’t believe him of all people being able to accept that part of me. But his smiling face confirmed it, the way he reach out for my hand and held it confirmed it.
“So…” began Mara as she looked at Garfas’ hand holding mine. “How long have you two been together?”
“You sound surprised Mara,” said a hoarse voice coming from the door. The three of us rounded to find fumus with a large sack in his hand, smirking at the scene before him. “It was honestly only a matter of time before these two began to see what they felt for each other.”
“Don’t treat me like an idiot, Fumus,” said Mara. “What they felt for each other was obvious to everyone but themselves. I’m just surprised they had the courage to finally address those feelings.”
“We are right here, Mara,” I said as my tail curled around my leg. I felt my face flush, by this point Garfas and I had released each other’s hand in an attempt to cover our own embarrassment over how Mara and Fumus were pointing out our recently established relationship. In addition, I never expected Fumus and Mara to get along so well. Fumus had never met Mara during the time when I was training my necromancy and I made sure it would never happen. For as long as I could at least. So the moment I was brought here two days ago would have been the time they’d have to get to know each other. It took that long for them to already be friends, I was somewhat hoping they would be at eachother’s throats.
“No harm intended, my son,” said Fumus as he strode into the room and gracefully placed the sack he was holding onto the coffee table before us. “Just our way to express our elation. We’re happy for you, belive it or not.” I rolled my eyes as fumus began to take out assorted fruits and pastries from the sack. I didn’t bother with manners, since my stomach felt void of any sustenance. I took a muffin and downed the entire thing in one bite. I swiped an apple and made quick work of that as well.
“Where are your manners, cub?” said Mara with a sigh.
“They’ll come back as soon as I’m not worried about starvation,” I said as I reached for another bread based confectionery. Fumus chuckled while Mare rolled her eyes. Fumus’ face darkened slightly, I was able to catch it in time and placed the food down. Everyone else began to notice the atmosphere growing tense.
“There is still a concerning issue however,” said Fumus. “Based on previous reports, including yours. Flame legion activity has increased substantially. I smell a plot.”
I gave a concerned glance towards Garfas, and was given an identical glance. We weren’t about to deny that theory, it was true that our encounters with the flame legion were beginning to grow more numerous. Whatever they were planning, it couldn’t be good for the citadel.
“So what’s our next move?” I asked.
“Nothing at the moment,” said Fumus. “For now let my warband handle the espionage. You two need to be on alert, however. Something is amiss, I can sense it.” The tall charr’s eyes narrowed. Then they snapped back open to their cheerful mood. “Anywho, how long have you two been an item?” My scowl returned.
Burn me now, I thought.
“last night,” I said irritated. “Or this morning depending on how late it was. Can we change the subject please?”
“Very well then,” said Fumus with a chuckle. The rest of the day was spent talking, mostly among Fumus and Mara. They were both sharing stories, mostly about me. On occasion I would glance over at Garfas and his eyes would meet mine, I would give him a smile and he would reciprocate. I excused myself from the room after having eaten a bit more and donned my robes before walking out of the hut. I needed a bit of time on my own to think and to get my body used to moving again. I kept my hood on while I strode past the narrow pathways of the gladium canton. Some would give me a silent nod, knowing exactly who I was. I came here frequently enough for quite a few to know me. More often than not I was simply known as “the cub who visited Mara a lot”. I simply returned their greetings and continued on my way.
Eventually I reached a deeper area of the canton, as rugged and shabby as the rest of the place, but what made this particular area different was that it overlooked the old ruins of what used to belong to humans. I always found ruins interesting, in my eyes these dead things breathed life, waning but persistent. I needed a moment to relax, and this was helping. Despite nearly losing my life yet again I couldn’t remove this stupid grin from my face. And of course, the reason for said grin appeared right next to me and sat down.
“Had enough of those two?” I asked Garfas.
“I had enough yesterday,” grumbled the white charr. “So how are you feeling?”
“Fantastic,” I said . “It still feels like my channels are adjusting but I’ll be fine.”
“Good,” said Garfas with a sigh of relief. He remained seated, trying to take as little space as possible. Again his uncertainty was showing. I leaned against him, my way of giving him permission to hold me. I felt his arm wrap around my shoulder and hold me closer.
“This is better with Mara not slamming a scepter on our heads.” I said, eliciting a hearty laugh from Garfas. I rested my head on his chest allowing my ear to press against it. The pounding thumps that were his heart echoed into me. I always wondered what it was like to have a heart. “So… what did you tell the warband?” I asked. “Surely they must be wondering where we disappeared to.”
“Well Thoc sorta told them that I got hurt in my mission and that you were seeing to it that I would get better,” said Garfas sheepishly.
“Why you and not me?” I asked.
“Well I didn’t want to give Itan another excuse to think you were prone to injury,” said Garfas. “It was a bit of a last minute thing really, Thoc and I didn’t really plan it out too well. But he was able to make sure no one asked too many questions, or try and visit me while I ‘recovered’ for that matter.”
“I see,” I said. “probably for for the best, that way Itan and the warband wouldn’t be wondering what I was doing in Diessa.”
“Yeah,” said Garfas. “I mean, you saved my furry butt back there, but I don’t think the warband, or the legion for that matter, would be too happy about helping out, ash.”
“Best keep that a secret,” I said. “At least we have Thoc to thank for our absence not causing any suspicion.”
“So stuff can go back to normal once we meet back with the warband,” said Garfas.
“Well,” I began. “Not completely back to normal I hope.” I glanced back up at Garfas who had an arched eyebrow accompanied with a smirk. “At least I’m hoping this new found relationship, whatever it is, will persist after we regroup with the warband.”
“Well it took me this long to finally say something,” shrugged Garfas. “I’m not going back on it now.”
I wasn’t entirely sure what it was that Garfas wanted, I wasn’t entirely sure of what I wanted. It was an entirely new area of exploration for me, not that I have never pondered about these feelings before. I just never expected me of all people to be experiencing them. It made my blood race, not in the same way that battle would, however. It was like the excitement of learning a new spell, but much more intimate. My face wouldn’t stop being warm, I had to resist the urge to giggle. That was another action of all things that I thought was impossible, me giggling. Then again a little more than a year ago I thought it would be impossible for the warband to even accept me.
“You know,” began Garfas, my ears perked up as I glanced at the larger charr. “My condition could be bad enough for me to take one more day off. Maybe one where you spend the night at my place again?” MY eyes widened as I saw the implication in the charr’s eyes. “I-If you want to of course! I understand if you don’t wanna.”
“Lets go,” I said immediately. I took the charr by the hand, we returned to Mara’s hut, got our things then went back to Garfas’ house. We spent that night together, with no interruptions, no attacks, not a single worry of the outside world. Just the two of us, by the time it was past midnight I found myself once again in his embrace.
“You don’t have to save me anymore,” he said into my ear. “from now on I’ll watch over you.” I was too exhausted to respond, but if I could I would have told him that I wasn’t about to be a burden on him. That I would save him a hundred times over if I had to.