11 September 2006

Mine by Bela Luna, the sort of sequel to Running.

Disclaimer: I do not own No Rest for the Wicked ( w w w . f o r t h e w i c k e d . n e t). That lovely comic is by Andrea L. Peterson, an Icarus Falls Production.

sSsSs

Red padded softly down the hall, away from her room nd November's ears. She kept in the shadows, though almost all of it was shadows. Her stomach felt bloated, and the gut below it ached with a familiar ache. She left her red cape back in her room, for red being too obvious a colour. She kept her long, sensitive fingers against the wall behind her, leading her to the stairs.

She had left her axe behind, for it was too cumbersome to bring tonight. Her hands felt strange without the familiar weight of her axe, a comfort on such a night. Red bowed her head a little lower, her black fringe getting in the way of her eyes. Her hair was too dark, skin too pale. Even on such a dark night, anyone would be able to spot her slender palms and sharp features.

But they would never be able to catch her eyes.

She paused, frozen. She strained to hear, hear even the slightest of noises. All that she could hear was the inn-keeper's snores and November's restless body. Her muscles relaxed, smooth as water. No one was out. She could not hear a sound.

Her feet wandered down the stairs silently, leading her along into the main room. She kept close to the wall, wincing whenever she heard the raspy flutter of the hem of her dress against the oak walls. Red slowed down, her muscles tightening once again. Something menacing was near-by.

Her gut ached, and she struggled not to bend over. Her heart pulsed in her ears, hitting against her skin from the inside as if trying to leap out.

She heard the muffled sound of boots, and the swish of fine cloth. She squinted in the dark, trying to make out some image. She saw the light colouring, and her sensitive nose picked up a rather distinctive scent mingled with forest and hay.

Red leaned against the wall, unwilling to show any part of her back. She could feel the thick blood, too dark to be natural and too much to be alive still. She could see the faint figure a little better, black and white in the dark. As it came closer, she could recognise the scent.

"You," she hissed in an inaudible whisper.

She had expected her heart to slow down to its usual leisurely beat, her muscles to relax, her mouth to twist into a sneer. But none of it happened. Her heart beat painfully against her ribs, her muscles went too slack for her own liking -her arms were the only ones willing to support her- and her mouth quivered.

Red felt bare without the folds of her cape to hide her thin body in and without the heavy, lethal axe that had protected from the worst of beasts. Something deep within her stirred, awakening as if from a deep sleep.

It was almost as if he was still half-asleep. Red thought of running off, screamed at her body to move, but her heart wrenched itself within her chest. It was only when he was close to her, close enough to touch, that she was able to move a finger's width before he grabbed hold of her fragile, pulsing wrists.

His gloved fingers curled around her wrists firmly, the only part of him touching her. He delicately sniffed her hair, a rumble coming from within his chest. Red tried to keep still, but her hands shook. Her breath caught in her throat. She had never allowed herself to show weakness, to allow herself to act like a girl with all the right mannerisms and all the right words. His hands gently rode down her arms, his own hooking under her shoulder blades and pulling her closer.

None of it felt real. It could not be real. Red struggled feebly, but stopped from fatigue. She hadn't slept for a few nights already, kept too awake by November's tossing and turning and muttering. She fell against him, not even realising that her face was so close to his.

As his mouth brushed hers, she felt a shock run through her. Her mind was fully awake, confused and panicked. But she could not move. A small voice from a dusty corner of her mind murmured reassuringly, saying that it was all right to act as she was. It wasn't like last time. For the moment, she was safe.

sSsSs

I think that I am beginning to understand these characters better than I did a few months ago. It's another strange sort of fluff, but I am rather pleased with it. I tried to write it in a way that was least embarrassing, but I am afraid that I didn't quite acomplish that. It also didn't quite come out the way I wanted it to. Someday, I shall be at the point when I can.