She doesn't sleep well. Her dreams are filled with bad memories and screaming. But as Wilykit opens her eyes blearily, she comes to realize that the screaming isn't her dreams at all. Her neighbor is throwing a tantrum again. Vaguely, she wishes she'd had the chance to fight Pumyra. If only to kill her so she wouldn't keep her up at night. Her mouth is dry, like cotton and she attempts to wet her lips. It's dark in the cell, and even with the lamplight right outside, she still finds it hard to see.
"I said get away from me!"
Her bleary eyes snap open as she recognizes the voice outside. Quickly, (too quickly she thinks as she pulls at the stitches laced across her stomach from her earlier fight) she leaps out of her bed and hides expertly in the shadows of her cell. Fate be kind, he won't find her and try to convince her to come back with them.
But fate is seldom ever kind.
Pumyra continues screaming and Wilykit rocks back on her heels as she sees Dobo emerge from the shadows outside her cell. She watches warily as he takes the Sword of Omens from a captive Lion-O and glares at him.
"You care so much about her, Lion-O?" He asks and Wilykit 's eyes narrow. Who? Pumyra? She feels a slight sting run through her and her claws dig into the soft earth at her feet. Was he even trying to look for her? She pushes these thoughts aside as Dobo speaks again. "You can join her."
Wilykit shrinks back further against the wall as Lion-O is thrust into her cell. He lands roughly on his back and it's not long till he shoots up to grasp at the bars of the door which slams shut behind him. She doesn't move, doesn't make a sound. Dobo comes closer and grins down at him. "In fact, you can be next in line to fight her."
His eyes flicker briefly towards her and she knows he sees her hunkered in the corner. He smirks and after a second, is gone. Lion-O sags against the bars and sighs. He wouldn't make it as a prisoner. She thinks. She watches as he scoots back to lean against the wall, a frown marring his features and Wilykit hopes he'll fall asleep so she can sneek past him and escape before he notices she's here. She could have left before, easily. Why didn't she? She berates herself for her stupidity at wanting to stay and try to earn her freedom. At least she wouldn't be a wanted woman but now, Wilykit would prefer being a criminal as opposed to this.
She knows that sleep will not come for him. Lion-O never sleeps in an unfamiliar place and it won't surprise her if he stays up all night, making several attempts at escape on his own. He growls softly to himself and Wilykit stiffens.
"I was only trying to help." He says angling his face towards the bars and she knows he is talking to Pumyra. Next door, she can hear her neighbor's angry hiss.
"You're a piece of work you know? You act like I'm your enemy."
"That's exactly what you are to me." She spit's angrily back at him. Wilykit cocks her ear in curiosity. Interesting.
"I am your king!" He growls. What is wrong with this woman? He thinks. He still has to find Kit. He has to make sure she's alright. Lion-O's fist clench at his sides.
"A king would not abandon his people when Thundera fell. A king would not have let his people be sold into slavery. And a king would have done something for them by now!" Her words sting and immediately his mind wanders to Kit. He remembers when she fell out of that portal, dressed in dirty slave garb and wild as crazed animal. He remembers when she disappeared, how he did nothing. He growls softly and Kit recognizes it as a more dangerous growl than one of anger. She suddenly feels the itching inclination to run but doesn't dare move. She doesn't like being cornered.
"I did what I had to do, so I could fight another day." He turns his head to glare at his feet. Wilykit knows he's thinking deeply about something and she wishes she knew what.
"And how many more days do you need before you free your people?" Pumyra growls from her cell. "So many waited for you to save them from their torment! Until their last breath they waited!" There is so much raw hatred in the other woman's voice that Wilykit cannot bring herself to feel sorry for her king. Because she feels almost similarly. The words strike home to her. Like the people of Thundera, she waited and waited for Lion-O to come for her. Ten years. Ten years as a slave to the monster Mumm –Ra! And oh how she prayed and prayed that he would come. She feels a growl rising In her throat but it quells. Because he did come. And it wasn't exactly his fault that time moved differently between the two worlds. Glancing at him and his downtrodden expression she hoped he was thinking of her in that moment. Of the pain and suffering she went through for him.
And he is. He is thinking of her and a weight settles in his chest because every word that streams from the cat's mouth makes him think only of Kit. Was that why she left? Was she angry with him? Lion-O grits his teeth. He needs to find her.
"I can't change the past!" He yells more to himself than her. After a moment, his voice softens from an angry growl to something more sedated. "I can promise that I'll stand by you now."
Pumyra laughs bitterly at his statement. "Hah! I stopped believing you'd rescue me a long time ago, Lion-O. I will earn myself the freedom my king could not give me." She sneers but then it dissolves back into that angry growl. "You better hope She-Devil kills you tonight because when we get into that arena tomorrow, I am going to rip you to pieces." Pumyra says no more but the title rings in his head. She-Devil? His eyes widen and he whips around to examine the cell. Wilykit tenses angrily. Damn than woman!
Lion-O sees nothing, only shadows and a straw bed that has slight blood stains on the surface. Examining them, he sees they are fresh and almost hesitantly, as if believing his luck could not be so fortunate, he whispers, "Kit?" Silence. He knows that she can hide as easily as if she were invisible and he sighs. Sitting on the bed, he buries his face in his hands in agitation. Why must she insist on being so difficult? His gaze alights on a spot of blood dotting the dirt floor in front of him, barely conceivable but there all the same. Slightly further ahead, another spot and then another. A trail of blood leads into the far corner of the cell and just barely, he can make out a small form crouched there.
'Found you.' He thinks with a slight smile. He stands and approaches her without caution. He thinks she is simply afraid of confrontation after she's been found. Like a guilty child caught in the act of troublemaking. He is wrong.
His hand reaches for her through the dark and suddenly she screams, lunging at him from the shadows and knocking him flat on his back. Her eyes are thin slits drowning in burning amber and he can feel her tail twitching erratically against his legs. Her claws gaze against his throat and he chokes in fear and surprise. The image of her ruthless killing in the arena comes to the forefront of his mind and for a second he is truly afraid of her. Her slight growling isn't exactly helping matters either.
"Kit, stop! It's me!" A wave of déjà vu sweeps through him. She growls louder and presses her claws into the soft skin under his chin. "How did you find me?" She snaps. Maybe if she can scare him, he'll let her be. Maybe he'll abandon her. She hopes he will. She can face his fear but not his disappointment.
Lion-O glares at her. "Call it coincidence." He snaps back. The fear in his eyes is gone and she growls louder trying to bring it back. But it stays gone and he actually has the audacity to smirk at her. "Oh please." He says and just as she begins to quirk a brow at him, his fingers brush none too gently against her bandaged stomach and she yelps in pain, reeling back in surprise. Suddenly, it's she who's lying pinned beneath him and he flips them, her wrists captured firmly beside her head.
She growls in irritation. "Get off!"
"No." He smiles. She bucks against him, hoping to push him off but he only scoots back to sit on her legs. "Get off of me, Lion-O!" She screams. The scream dies in her throat at his look. It's a look of sadness and pain, but most of all; it's a look of disappointment. She lies still and turns her face away. She grits her teeth as her eyes burn. Her stomach hurts, it's burning from where she strained it and she's sure she's re-opened it but the pain is nothing compared to the way she feels when he looks at her like that. If she had the energy, she's sure she'd push him off her and run and never look back.
He takes moment to observe her. Bruised, scratched, bandaged, bloody, reeking of the arena and looking utterly fatigued, she still refuses to be complacent. She's turned into ever the rebel. He can't blame her for that either.
"Why did you leave?" He asks softly. It's a startling sound that breaks the silence of the prison. She swallows back the tears and breaths slowly. She has to compose herself. She's not weak and she will not appear that way in front of him. "I had to." She said, refusing to look at him and instead choosing to stare at the shadows as they danced across the wall across from her. The lamp outside the cell flickers and pops making them jump erratically for a second then slow into a relaxing wave. They lull her into a calm that she has not felt in a while and she relaxes fully beneath him. Lion-O lets go of her wrist and instead braces himself on his hands beside her shoulders. She doesn't move other than to bring her hands down to rub soothingly at her wound. He winces. He didn't mean to hurt her.
"Why did you have to?"
She doesn't say anything, just lays there watching the wall. Lion-O sighs irritably. "If won't tell me why you left then tell me why you killed those people." Her head snaps back to him in anger. "They attacked me!"
"So you kill them?"
She scoffs at his silly morals and shrugs her shoulders. "It's their life or mine." She says to his disbelief. Really, it doesn't matter to her whether she's killed them or not. They were just as eager to do her in. She returned the favor in kind. Wilykit supposes she just not very sentimental anymore. "Would you have rather I let them live?" She asks him, her eyes dark. "Do you even know the full story?"
At the shake of his head she smiles bitterly. "The inn keeper was a member of a gang I suppose. Once she was sure she had me thoroughly drunk, five of her friends tried to ambush me in my sleep." She pauses at his grim expression and she takes the moment to smile wickedly up at him. She's trying to scare him and it seems the words she says next succeed in doing so. "But I wasn't asleep, was I?"
He says nothing and just stares down at her grimly. She removes one of her hands from her stomach and brushes her claws gently across his face, almost tenderly. His eyes widen a fraction as she smiles softly at him. There is a hint of sadness in that smile she's trying to hide, he can see it. "Do you still think I'm not a monster?" She asks him. "There's no hiding it anymore. You saw me in the arena; you know what I'm capable of. Can you honestly say you don't find me repulsive after everything you've seen?" One of his hands catches her wrist before she can remove it and he presses it to his cheek. He sighs as her smile disappears and is replaced with a frown. "Yes." He whispers.
She cocks a brow at him, but there is a genuine quirk at the corner of her lips. "Kit, I'll only tell you this once more, so you better listen this time." He says in all seriousness. "You're not a monster and you are by no means…repulsive." As if to prove this point, his fingers thread with hers against his cheek while his thumb rubs a soothing pattern into her palm.
This isn't her fault. It's not. She was warped and twisted and made into something cruel. She said it herself; she had no choice but to kill or be killed. She has simply grown used to it.
Boldly, he turns her hand against his face and kisses her palm softly, his eyes never once leaving her face. He may not be afraid of her, but he still isn't sure how she'll react. He's not willing to be caught unaware if she decides to react negatively and rip into his throat for this. Wilykit only watches him curiously instead, her lips parted slightly and her brows lowered over her eyes as if she were confused as to his actions. In a way she is. She's never known such gentle affection and is unsure how to react to it.
Tentatively, her other hand reaches up and cups his other cheek. She licks her lips, his eyes tracking her every movement. Her mouth is suddenly dry as she tries to find the words to speak. "Why?" She asks. Though she's not sure entirely of what she's asking herself. Why isn't he afraid? Why does he continue to have such faith in her, even when she's lost all in herself?
He smiles that broad goofy grin of his and there is an understanding in his gaze that she can't even begin to comprehend. "You've always had faith in me…why shouldn't I return the favor?"
She doesn't reply to that. She can't think of anything to say. She searches his face, looking with expert eyes for any sign of deception. She can find none and almost despairs at this fact. The silence thickens around them and the only sound that permeates is the snoring of the guards outside. Her fingers tighten against his face as his head begins to lower slowly, his eyes becoming hooded under that predatory gaze. As if they were too tired to stay open.
His nose brushes hers and his breath exhales in a slow sigh as his eyes close completely. He wants to kiss her. If only to satiate this burning desire that has plagued him since her return. But he's afraid of how she'll react. He's afraid he'll only hurt her more after all that she's been through. Simply put, Lion-O is afraid.
He is afraid. But not of her.
Never of her.
He can feel her shaking under him. Trembling in fear most like. How can he be so selfish? He can only imagine how frightened she is. How confused. Lion-O suddenly feels disgusted with himself. With his inability to control himself. Just as he starts to pull away from her and apologize profusely, he feels the slightest brush of her lips as she kisses him.
It's so soft, that it's barely there and altogether too brief but he doesn't savor the moisture of her kiss any less. His eyes shoot open in surprise to find her watching him. Golden orbs rake over his face, absorbing every detail then after a moment, close completely. When she kisses him again, he hesitantly returns it, choosing to let her take the lead, lest she changes her mind.
Her hands leave his face and travel down over his shoulders and across his back. He wishes he'd had the forethought to remove his breast plate to feel those hands against his skin. As the kiss deepens, he lowers into her, careful of her wound and braces his hand beside her head while his other snakes into her hair.
Unbeknownst to him, Wilykit's eyes crack open to watch him as her hand snakes from behind him and into the crook of his elbow. Simultaneously, her foot lodges gently behind his knee and with surprising agility, she carefully flips them. There is a slight sting in her stomach as her stitches pull in protest but she ignores it as she breaks the kiss to stare triumphantly down at him.
He meets her gaze with his own surprised look and watches her carefully for any sign of anger at his actions. There is only a coy smile he is unfamiliar with seeing on her face. There's a dark, intense look in her golden gaze that sets his blood to boiling. He opens his mouth to speak but she cuts him off with another searing kiss. Every thought prior to this leaves his head and his fingers clench greedily at the flesh of her thigh as he tries to pull her even closer. Surprisingly, she lets him. Absently, her hand reaches up to snake under the dirty straw that serves as her mattress beside them. He hears the sound of metal clinking and feels something cold encircle his wrist. He sits up as she pulls away and off him, sitting crouched back on her heels to watch him with a slight Cheshire smile.
He pulls at his wrist where she's cuffed him the leg of the bed. He sighs in slight agitation and leans back on his elbows to look at her. He should've known. The other prisoners wore cuffs, absently, he'd wondered where hers were. Now he knew. "Well…" He begins wearily, "it's not what I had in mind but ok."
She smirks and her tail swishes playfully behind her. Her expression melts into a serious one and he tenses. "Why did you come here?" She asks him.
His brow furrows in confusion. "What?"
"Down here. You must have known that was my last fight. Dobo would have told you I'm sure." He sits up fully to regard her with a questioning look as she rocks slightly on her heels. "It's the other one, isn't it? Pumyra?"
"And you too!" He interrupts fiercely. "I came to get you both out of here!" Although it seems his help is neither wanted nor needed. What is she planning?
She smiles teasingly at him. "Kat, did he see?" She asks, abruptly changing the subject. Lion-O sighs in agitation. "No, he left to explore the town with Snarf before…"
"Good." She says rocking up into a standing position. "I would never want him to see…" She doesn't finish. She hears him growl as she turns towards the bars of her cell. "Kit, you can't just run off again!"
"Yes I can, before you make the wrong decision!" She says heatedly as she gathers her things from a corner of the room. As the dim lamplight passes over her, he suddenly realizes she's only wearing a dirty wrapping to preserve her modesty and the leather skirt she adorned earlier. She turns to meet his shocked gaze with her own hardened one. "You're a king, Lion-O. And I know how you think." She says. "The problem with you is you think too much with this…" she presses a palm over her heart, "and not enough with this." Her hand moves to point at her head and he raises a shocked brow. "Isn't that how it's supposed to be?" He asks. She doesn't say anything for a minute and when she does, it's so quiet, he almost doesn't hear her. "Not in the real world." He scoffs. "I know you, I know where this is going…"
"You didn't seem to be complaining too much a few seconds ago." He snapped. She smiles coyly and he gulps as heat pervaded his senses once more at that look. "It was a test." She says. It's as if she'd dumped a pail of cold water over him. She watches as his shocked look melds into a hard glare as he settles back onto his elbows.
"I'm grateful for what you did. But I have my life back and you have yours… don't waste it." She says turning towards the bars.
"Kay, fine." He growls. "You want to leave? Go ahead. But don't pretend it's to try and save me." She quirks a brow at him and he continues, his tone growing steadily angrier with every word. "You're afraid. Afraid to be happy. Afraid of letting your guard down of letting anyone in. Because you know you don't have it in you to hurt us!"
She stares long and hard at him and he almost shrinks back from the coldness of her look. She doesn't say anything for a minute and he almost thinks he somehow convinced her to stay in his own twisted way but then she speaks, her voice calm and controlled and deadly chilly. "I'm not leaving because I couldn't kill you." She says. "I'm leaving because I could."
The words send a chill down his spine and he watches helplessly as she slips nimbly through the bars of the cell and disappears in the shadows beyond.