The Dark Sky, Left

The moonlight is soft as it filters into her bedroom window. Against it she can see the silhouette of a red-tailed hawk; Tobias is silent and watchful from where he perches on her windowsill. It's a cool night and there's a slight breeze. Rachel shivers and immediately Tobias looks at her, cocking his head to one side.

((You okay?))

"Just a bit cold," she replies, brushing it off. "No big deal."

((Maybe I should go. You can close your window.))

"I'm fine. Stay." The smile she gives him is a forced one. It's the truth. She is fine and a little cold won't hurt her. She does want him to stay. Even so, she always finds it hard seeing him. He's a hawk now, and though he can morph into his human body for a set amount of time, she misses him. The human, him. That is what has her feeling less than excited and forcing smiles to the person she cares about most in the world.

Tobias ruffles his feathers and then his wings settle down again across his back. ((Something's wrong. I can feel it. Rachel, if there's something you're not saying you can tell me. Please.))

"It's nothing," she says. "I'm just worn out, you know?"

((We all are.))

"Yeah," she agrees. She curls her fingers around her ponytail and lets the hair slip through her fingers. It feels more knotted than usual. "It was a long day."

A gust of wind sends the leaves in a nearby tree rustling and they both hesitate for a moment to listen. Off in the distance there is a dog barking. It stops and then silence falls once more.

Tobias spreads his wings. They make a sound not unlike the rustling leaves in the nearby trees. ((I should go.))

"Do you have somewhere to be?" she asks. Her tone is sarcastic and immediately she feels regret for aiming it at Tobias. "Sorry. I didn't mean that."

If he had been in human form, he probably would have rolled his eyes at her, a complete contradiction to the words he says. ((I know. I want to get home before morning. And a hawk's got to eat.))

"Right." Rachel watches him and steps closer. "Will I see you tomorrow?"

((Of course. Our visits are the best part of my day.)) Tobias nuzzles her hand with his beak and makes a soft noise when she strokes his back. He waits until she stops her movements before he thoughtspeaks to her again. ((See you tomorrow, Rachel.))

She reluctantly moves her hand away and smiles sadly at him. "See you, Tobias."

He flies off into the night, disappearing from sight far too quickly. Rachel leans on the windowsill and stares at the dark sky he left her for.

Fin.