She had felt… happy. A peacefulness to her days. She smiled more, laughed more, allowed herself to love and be loved, more. It wasn’t something she noticed until it was gone. Until too few words uttered broke her so completely from that new sensation of comfort.
He was standing beside her before she realized who he was. Speaking in that voice she’d never forget. His hand touched her back and she swallowed the urge to scream. So calm he was, so sure of his own power over her, he didn’t need to force her, didn’t need to threaten. He spoke calmly, clearly and escorted her out of the City.
Not far, still within the Capita’s shadow but once out of the confides, she felt a little more venom bubble up, her gaze hard and locked on him as she quipped in that usual way. Where she bit at him with words, not unlike a panicking housecat. No real aim, nothing precise. Just claws and teeth, sneering and sarcastic.
His promises were so vile and yet so oddly appropriate. No room for doubt, and she didn’t for a second think they were empty. In fact, they were heavy and dark and all too guided into the heart of her. They each hit their mark as she glared, as she hardened herself, or attempted to. His promises that he’d be back. That he was watching. His hand on her jaw as he held too tightly and told her that he’d hurt her again… and again… and again.
She stood tall against the verbal onslaught, arms crossed and body language as casual as she could force it. He told her it was pointless, that he saw through her, saw inside her, more completely than anyone else ever had or ever will. He laid claim in a way, with his hands and with his words. So she would know, so she could feel it.
As he eased away she shook her head gently, as if she could shake free all the things he had accused her of, all the dark promise and most of all, all of the truth of them.
“Oh… And what is that boy’s name… Kiro? Inform him to stop looking for me. If he continues to be a nuisance, I’ll make an example of him using his loved ones.”
Her breath caught violently in her throat as he turned his back on her. Dark lashes blinking away stinging tears. Her hands rose, burying her face in her palms to stifle herself, watching instead as he walked and slowly got some distance away. She wanted to scream again, she wanted to fall to her knees and cry. She wanted to give in to fear and worry. Her dear friend’s name lingering in her thoughts, with that man’s voice cooing the word.
She hated herself all the more in that moment. Not for being what Rori thought she was, not for the threats and no doubt the torment he had in store for her. It was Kiro’s name that cut her deepest. Maybe the creature knew that, maybe it was planned. But she couldn’t hate herself any more completely than the moment she realized she had put her friend in danger.
Instead of crying, of sobbing and sitting on the ground and letting the world move around her, she forced a foot in front of the other and made her way back through the City gates.
“Kiro?” She spoke into their comm link. “I need you to stop. The Rori thing. It’s over.”
“He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun. He’s ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time and can see the turn of the universe. And… he’s wonderful.”