The next day dawned bright and early and William found that he couldn't sleep a moment more. Sitting up in bed, he walked towards the window and threw open the curtains, inhaling the fresh morning air deeply and letting it out with a soft sigh. This place really was beautiful, he had to admit. The morning dawning in many bright colors as the greys and blacks of night gave way to the brilliance of the rising sun. He rubbed the back of his head and leaned against the window frame for a moment, just taking in the scenery, the peace of it all. Long, tapered fingers slid through his raven dark hair as he moved it back behind his shoulder, tucking a strand behind his ear from where it was tousled from sleep. Sleep. He was surprised he had slept, at all, actually. He never slept or never slept well back home. To concerned with the feats and trials that life constantly threw at him; but here, here he had had the first peaceful, uninterrupted sleep he had had in years. That thought, was oddly blissful, as he turned his face to the warmth of the rising sun and closed his eyes, just allowing the moment to seep into his bones. Then, with a deep, body wracking sigh, he shoved off from where he was leaning and went to greet the day.
A bath was needed first and foremost. He hadn't had a chance to bathe properly since he had been bedridden. Upon entering the bathing room, his eyes had gone wide in surprise, only for a moment. The room was as large as his bedroom, with a deep, in ground tub that resembled a pool in many ways. The room had running water, which intrigued him for it was unheard of in his time. Not yet being discovered until 1833. The mechanical mind in him wanted to learn more about this new and inventive contraption, but once he figured out which handle made the water warm, and which cold, he tentatively sank into the pool-like tub up to his chest with another deep sigh. Leaning back against the marbled side, arms spread out against the coolness of the stone, hair floating around his shoulders, he enjoyed the warmth that spread through him and into him.
About thirty minuets later, Tavington left his rooms, clean and refreshed. His clothes were again the tunic and flowing pants of her people, but he found that while not what he would have normally have worn back in his time, they were comfortable and very practical. His hair now glistened and was pulled back once more in a black bow tied with a ribbon and hung down his back. He glanced around, wondering where to go for he was hungry and hadn't yet learned his way around. Hearing low voices coming from his right, he walked down the hall and towards a door near the end of it. Pausing, he looked inside as the door was open and he saw a small group of four or more Valkeria talking amongst themselves. Talking that ceased when they saw him at the door, and stared at him questioningly. Feeling a bit awkward, William was about to try to communicate with those inside when, without warning, the door slammed shut in his face, making him jump slightly and blink at the actions of those involved within.
"William?" Hearing that soft voice call his name, made the fluttering emotions of anger settle as he turned and saw Becca standing behind him, a small smile upon her face. "Dining hall is this way. Come on, I'll show you." She chuckled and turned to lead him back the way he came and away from the soft, muttering voices from the room within.
Upon entering the Dining Hall, William allowed himself the leisure to look about as he followed his Angel towards the many delectable scents that wafted from the room within. She stopped at a door and handed him a tray with a grin. "We choose what we each like to eat here, and the cooks remember it and prepare it for you while you wait. Each meal time can be different, but the cooks always make things taste amazing." She nodded for him to go first, as she followed behind and picked out a bowl of fruit and sat it on her tray, followed by a plate of eggs, light and fluffy and bacon, the likes he had only ever heard of but never tried. Biscuits with honey or jam followed as well a cup of coffee, real coffee and nothing imported as well as a glass of juice, and she was done and heading for a place to sit. He had followed in kind, grabbing what he had wanted, which was basically the same things she had gotten and joined her. Savoring the first real meal he had in days now that his throat was completely healed. Becca tried not to giggle at the look of pure delight that had crossed his face as he sipped his coffee and ate his eggs. He was adorable and didn't seem to realize it.
'So, what does this day bring for us...me?' He quickly corrected himself, casting Becca a look as he finished up his meal. Both of them were not very big talkers while they ate. 'What do you have planned for today?' His sea-blue eyes met and held hers with a look of both curiosity and amusement. Could he admit that he was actually looking forward to spending more time with her? That maybe, in some small way, she was beginning to grow on him? He didn't really like the thought, as he had always been something of a 'lone wolf' but she seemed to understand him in a way no one ever had before, or even tried. That made him pause, sometimes, in his actions and thoughts, knowing full well that she could read him like a book or hear him even when he wasn't trying to communicate with her. Being that Intune with someone, truly frightened him, but he would never admit it. Not ever.
Becca looked up at William, at his question and smirked, finishing up her meal and sipping the last of her juice. "You just wait and see." She said with a hint of playfulness that made William's eyes furrow. Chuckling, she stood and waited for him to join her as she then showed him where to throw his trash away and place the trays when they were done. "Now you know where to go, should I not be around, to show you." She said with a hint of a smile. Something he caught and filed away for future use before she grinned at him once more. "Ready? Come on...I got a surprise for you." She slipped her hand boldly into his and he did not pull away, yet instead, entwined their fingers together as she led them out of the castle and into the bright sunshine.
Where she was taking him, she would not say, not even if he asked her several times, as he would find out soon enough, and sure enough, after a brisk walk through a smaller part of the forest, they came to a stop at what looked to be stables of some kind. Becca paused and looked up at William, before giving his hand a gentle squeeze and letting go, continued on her way inside, throwing the doors open wide. Upon her actions, many horses popped their heads over their stall doors and knickered and snorted softly. Rows upon rows of the majestic animals, and they all seemed eager for attention, ears perked forward expectantly. "This is where we keep and breed our best horses, William. These stables are known, far and wide throughout my world." She paused and stopped to stroke the nose of a dark, fiery stallion gently. "This is Apollo...and he has been my friend, for many a year." The way she spoke of her horse was with such feeling, that William had to tilt his head at hearing it. Horses were just animals...or so he had been led to believe, but he knew, deep down, that they were so much more then that, and seeing Rebecca with them, it made something within him flare just the faintest.
'They are beautiful, Rebecca. Truly.' He meant his words as he walked up and down the looseboxes, coming to a stop and petting one horse and then another. He had an affinity with these creatures from a time he had been very small, and they seemed to understand him and he, them.
"Pick one." Becca's voice rang out, causing William to look back at her in shock. "Anyone you desire, William." Her smile radiant as she watched him subtly.
'I could no sooner choose a star from the Heavens...' He inadvertently thought, allowing Becca to hear such a thought before he caught himself and tried to school the faint blush that wanted to grace his features. 'They are all beautiful, Rebecca, I can not pick just one...' He trailed off as his eye caught sight of a grey dapple, with one blue eye and like a moth to the flame, he went to it. Reaching out a hand, he held still to allow the horse to sniff him and a faint, ghost of a smile crossed his features when the animal snuffled him and allowed him to pet it.
"That's Grey Wind. Mate to my Apollo." Becca's voice was soft as she watched. Fancy, that William should choose that horse, and it choose him in return. "Want to go for a ride?" She asked with a hint of laughter in her voice. William's smile was almost a true smile, bright as it nearly lit up his eyes at her request and he nodded slightly.
Seeing his reaction, Becca wasted no time in brushing down Apollo as William brushed down Grey Wind, before they both tacked up their mounts and headed out of the stables together. She led him past the paths that wound through the forest and onto the animal and game trails. Places only she had ever been before. When the way was clear, she gave William a brief smile before she nudged Apollo into a canter, and then a gallop! Apollo didn't have to be told twice, and he took off in a flash, his strong legs eating up the ground under him in a brilliant stride, his long neck reaching for the distance even as the earth sped by.
William, not to be outdone, and thoroughly enjoying himself for the first time in a long time, simply changed his seat and a soft squeeze of his knees and Grey Wind followed suit, racing to catch up to her mate. Onward and upward they raced, Becca glancing back as William caught up and they raced neck and neck. Both horses striving to outdo the other, laughter echoing around them as Becca laughed at the joy of it all and William, unable to resist, joined in.
It was as they finally slowed, to allow their horses breath, that they actually looked at each other and for the first time, felt something pass between them. Becca didn't know what that feeling was, and apparently neither did William, for both suddenly looked away from the other as their horses walked slowly, side by side.
'Thank you, for that, Rebecca.' William's voice was actually soft, as he turned his gaze back to hers. 'That was thrilling, in ways that I can not begin to describe. I haven't ridden a horse for the joy of it in...so long.' He ventured to open up to her before he realized it and slammed the door on those emotions he had told himself, many years ago, that he wanted no part of.
Becca, able to sense the war within the man, simply nodded and smiled lightly over at William. "Thank you for joining me, William. It was fun, and we shall have to do this again sometime...now that Grey Wind is yours." So saying, she clicked her tongue over her teeth, giving Apollo his head as he trotted a bit in front of the mare, and leading them back upwards to the meadow in which she had shared with him previously. Not seeing the look of surprise and then shock on Williams face as she did so, but she could sense it, and it nearly made her smile to herself.
Pulling to a stop in the meadow, William dismounted first and strode over to where Becca had just pulled up Apollo, and without asking nor warning, reached up for her and pulled her gently off the horse, setting her lightly upon her feet. The action had been instinctual, as any gentleman of his time would help a Lady off her horse, but the feelings that flared up inside him at his holding of her waist, looking down into her eyes as they stood so close to each other was not known, and the confusion burned brightly in his eyes for her to see before he pushed such thoughts aside, clearing his throat and nodding lightly to her as he took a step back.
Becca had felt it too, that intense pull between them but wisely, said nothing. She walked back to sit among the soft grass and this time, laid back upon it with a gentle sigh, looking up at the clouds that wafted overhead. William joined her, resting nearby, one hand behind his head, the other resting lightly over his torso. For a long while, they said nothing. Just focusing their thoughts and emotions inwardly. Enjoying the closeness of the other, without having to say anything at all.
"What do you see up there, William?" Becca's voice broke both their thoughts as she turned her head slightly to look at him. "In the clouds? What do you see?" When he looked at her, utterly confused, she chuckled and smirked lightly at him. "My father and I used to do this all the time...make shapes and figures in the clouds." Here she scooted closer to him, and pointed to a rather fluffy looking cloud. "See? How it looks like a bird." she used her finger to draw an outline of the animal she said she saw up there and it took him a while to realize what she was doing. To see the bird in the clouds. He blinked a few times when he realized that he too, could see what she saw and he turned to look at Becca for a moment before looking back at the clouds. "Your turn William...what do you see?" She asked, so softly.
He took a moment, before he raised his hand and drew an outline of cat in the clouds. Though he didn't really see it, he saw it enough to try and humor her a little. He wasn't good at this sort of thing. 'A cat. Running from it's Master.' The humor wasn't in his voice as he answered, even though he smirked and lowered his hand. He sighed and tilted his head to look at his Angel, who watched him in return. 'I am sorry, Rebecca. I am not...good at things like this.' He apologized yet again, for thinking he had upset her, and when he saw that look of understanding cross her face again, he bit his lip in frustration. Damn it! He didn't want to be pitied, in any way! He knew that wasn't what she felt, but his anger flared as he suddenly sat up and glared at her. 'I am NOT like you, Rebecca. I don't see the things you see. I don't understand your world, nor your feelings, nor mine for that matter! I try and I simply can not do it.' He sighed and looked away, his anger fading and the feeling of utter hopelessness returning. 'Why did you save me, Rebecca? I have nothing to offer you...NOTHING! At least when I was alive, I had title, Rank, privilege. Now I don't even have that anymore! I have nothing! I am nothing! You should have let me die on that battlefield, then at least I wouldn't be hurting you! I am, I can see it and I have no idea why that bothers me!' He suddenly caught himself ranting and saw that she had heard every word and in a fit of both shame and panic, he stood and headed towards his horse. He couldn't bear to look into those beautiful emerald eyes a moment longer! What must she think of him!
Stunned by William's unexpected outburst, it was all Becca could do for a few moments after his tirade, to just sit and stare. She had not expected that and when she blinked and noticed he was leaving, she stood and called after him. "William! Wait!" She followed quickly behind him, and stopped him just as he reached Grey Wind, who was snorting and tossing her head, feeling the tension in the air between the two of them. "William...I'm sorry." Her voice low as she looked up at him. Seeing the emotions flickering within him. "That wasn't what I wanted to happen when I asked you what you saw. I was merely trying to share a part of my life with you. I don't want anything from you, William, honest I don't. Nothing but your time...I..like spending time with you." She struggled to find the right words, for it was rare that a Valkeria attach themselves to any but their own kind. William was a human, Becca was not.
He had hurt her, again. Upset her with his words and his actions and for once in his life, William felt sorry for it. Actually, bone deep, truly sorry. But he couldn't admit that, not without looking weak, could he? Instead he stood very still, looking down at her, unmoving but silenced as well. Watching him for a moment, Becca looked into his eyes and saw what she needed to see there. No words were needed, she could tell by his actions how he felt, and she nodded ever so slightly to let William know she knew. Watching as the tension slowly ebbed out of him, she offered him her hand, and he took it without thought.
They lay there in that meadow for the rest of the day and into the night. Talking of little things, sharing bits and pieces at a time of their stories. Watching as the sun slowly set and the stars came out, and with it, the Northern Lights danced across the sky. William seemed to marvel in it as he watched the brilliant colors cross the sky, and as they rode back towards the castle to see to their horses, they stole looks at each other and soft smiles. William walked her to her room, something he had never done before and bidding her goodnight, raised her hand that he somehow still held to his lips and kissed the back of her hand, his eyes never leaving hers, before he retired to his rooms. As she lay in bed, moments later, Becca was aware of one thing. Something had happened today, between them. Something big, and she wasn't even sure what it was yet. But she was excited to find out.