Slender arms stretch out, to press into pale, cool sheets. Something was off. The pillows her head was resting against were softer than she was used to. In the few moments it takes for her sleepy mind to awaken, she realizes. Not her sheets. Not her bed. Eyes snap open, fully alert as those golden orbs observe her surroundings through a slight haze. Rubbing her eyes and raking her hand back through her mess of fiery red and gold locks, she stares up at the ceiling. No. Definitely not her room.
Tilting her head to the side, the sound of the softened cotton beneath her head seems to echo loudly in her ears. The sheets shifts against her bare skin. She was naked. Now she was fully awake. A soft intake of breath to steal herself against what she might have just woke up to. Propping herself up on an elbow, she pulls the sheets up to cover her bare breasts, knuckles nearly turning white with how tightly she holds the fabric. She keeps her calm, however. Her gaze shifts then, to the sound of someone on the other side of the room. He was naked, save for a towel draped low around his waist. Blinking, she sits fully up, palm pressing into the firm bed. There is a moment of panic. What had happened? Had she been drugged? Taken advantage of when she was passed out? Too many dark, horrendous thoughts flashed through her mind.
Gulping down a breath she scowls at the mans back. He seemed to be finishing up shaving, knocking the razor against a basin of still steaming hot water. Mira could feel the heat starting to rise within her. The flame in the pit of her stomach begins to rise. Then she blinks. Wait a minute. The man’s back. It was tanned, stripes of white scar tissue lining his elongated torso down to his low back. Though her want to pull at her fire element and singe this man was great, she holds it at bay and speaks, an undercurrent of barely contained rage scraping past her lips.
“NORRIN! Where the fuck am I?! AND WHY AM I NAKED!!”
It felt good to have a shave. Sure. He kept things short and scruffy along his jawline and little bit down his neck. But cleaning up the sides a bit could make anyone feel like a new man. The scolding hot shower certainly helped with his hang over. That and a hearty drought of a dark porter. A little hair of the dog. Humming lightly- he taps his razor against the wash basin and goes about to drying it off. When he hears her raised-angry as usual-voice.
Not even turning around he just grins a bit. The joker in him cannot resist.
“Darlin! I had hoped you would remember such a hot and steamy night.”
Wiping his chin with a towel he turns around. He smiles broad. Those hazel eyes of his shining with laughter. Even in the face of her near rage-he could only admire the fiesty being that she was. Especially naked with her tumble of messy hair over one bare shoulder. Her stare at him alone would melt any mans flesh from his skin. But he knew how to handle her rages. Even if they have become more real-deeply seeded. He has to keep telling himself that she would return to normal. Maybe after this quest of hers for whatever revenge it is she feels she needs to accomplish. Pointing both hands towards her in the gesture of guns-he clicks his tongue once and adds a wink. Just to piss her off more. She at least owed him a little moment of playing around.
“You! Were A M A Z I N G!”
The moment stretches out far longer than he believes she would be able to stand. Watching her eyes narrow-though- and he gives a roll of his eyes. Running a palm back through his short cropped hair he lets his head fall back. A long-exasperated sigh issues forth.
“For Fuck’s sakes, Mira! How long have you known me?”
Taking a risk-he knows-he moves towards her and sits at the edge of his bed. He can feel the heat coming off of her as usual. She always had her defenses up these days. He was getting used to it. Hated it. But used to it.
“Your in my room to which I carried you to once you passed out drinking with some of Gent’s mercenaries. Completely oblivious that quite a few of them were eyeing you for THEIR bedrooms.”
Norrin abruptly stands once more and walks away from the bed. Pulling the towel from his hip and discarding it upon the floor he reaches for his pants. Keeping his back to her while continuing on with the story.
“I slept on the hard ass floor. In my own damn room. You’re naked cause your clothes had quite a few spills of ale on them. I didn’t want you mucking up my sheets-thank you very much.”
After zipping up his pants and shifting the boys around he then turns back to face her. He is silent as he keeps his eyes upon hers. Never mind he had taken the time while she was asleep to admire her form. He was a red blooded man- after all. Finally he reaches for a glass of cool water and approaches Mira confidently to offer it to her.
Eyes had narrowed indeed when he turned around with that smug, stupid smile of his. She had always known that smile to make all the other girls swoon. But she saw the laughter in his eyes. And yes, she did know him. She knew he would never touch her without her permission. But even that reasonable thought in her head, turns to ash as the familiar voice in her head pokes at her relentlessly.
“He dares to mock you! Burn him alive, Mira!!” Eryth hisses behind her eyes.
Mira shakes her head, sending stray tendrils across her gold eyes and catching in her thick lashes. Pressing a palm to her temple to silence the voice that seems to always speak when she just wants peace. Quiet, peace. Just a few moments! Her lips purse angrily. She could feel the tears trying to well up behind her closed eyelids. Inhaling sharply she holds them back. After a moment, she opens them to look up at Norrin’s back. He was putting his pants on, careful not to give her an eyeful of his manhood.
“I….I could have taken care of myself…” She stubbornly squeaks out.
Deep down she regretted being so unthankful. As long as she could remember, Norrin was always there to watch her back. She knew full well his feelings for her had started to veer more towards romantic interests. But he was good at keeping it buttoned up. If only to make her feel more comfortable. These days, however, she was never comfortable. Not even in her own skin. Everything felt upside down, even though her elemental ability had seemed to double, if not tripled.
And after a long pause, she sighs heavily. And begrudgingly she grinds out between her teeth “….thanks.”
Her eyes look the room over. Edging over one side, she looks for any sign of her clothes, brows drawing down into a frown once more. Chewing on her lower lip, she twists the blanket tighter around her torso, her curvy form only becoming more pronounced as the sheets were drawn closer to her.
“You can’t trust him! He’s lying to you!” Eryth sounded quite angry inside her head. Like he was nearly seething with jealousy.
“Enough….” She says under breath.
Again wiping her eyes with the heel of her palm. He was making her head hurt. Too much thinking. The anger of Eryth was seeping into her very being. Purposefully feeding that furnace of bitterness. What happened to the days when she was happy? When she smiled with ease? Laughed with Norrin? How had she ever loved someone like Eryth, who was consumed with revenge and hate? It all made no sense. Even now.
He grumbles and then lets it build to a husky laugh at her words. Yeah. Could take care of herself. Sure. She was a ticking time bomb-if you asked him. He watches her carefully as she starts to search for her clothes. Lifting a brow-he tilts his head at her mumbling under her breath. His gaze would turn swiftly to one of concern. Sitting back down he reaches a hand up to settle on her shoulder lightly.
“Mira. You talk to yourself. In waking and in sleeping.” His voice is somber now.
Mira flinches at his touch and she turns her head sharply back to Norrin. Eyes searing with silent warning. But even as she again turns to look for her clothes, she feels something tossed into her lap. Looking down at the bundle she uses her one free hand to unfold a fresh pair of pants and a blouse in the style she would normally wear. They were not her own. But a faint perfume was wafting into her nose. Ah, yes. Perhaps one of his past conquests had left her clothes in Norrin’s room. She greatly hoped they were at least clean.
“Talking to myself?” She pauses, guarded. Then looking up to him she frowns. “What did I say in my sleep?” There was concern in her eyes. Maybe in her subconscious, there were answers?
She flinched. At him. HIM. It’s enough to bring his exasperation back. He lifts off the bed in a huff. Turning away from Mira to reach now for his re-enforced shirt. Slipping it over his head and then looking to Mira as she inspects the clothes. It was like mind reading.
“They are clean. Thoroughly washed. So don’t ask where they are from.”
He was a man. Men needed soft-warm-distractions from the rest of the messed up world. She couldn’t blame him for that-certainly! He starts assembly his waist belts-slipping in the knives where they needed to go and securing things. When she asks what she says in her sleep-he hesitates. After shrugging into his dark brown leather ripped jacket-he sighs slowly while adjusting the collar. Without meeting her eyes he answers.
“About the desert. You are……” How would he put this? “….screaming for Them to stop…..” He looks back down at her. To gauge her reaction.
She can only blink in disbelief at his words. Not looking up to meet his eyes, to which she feels his on her keenly, she shifts uncomfortably as she slowly strokes the silken fabric of the shirt she was given. Swallowing hard after a few long moments, she can’t keep the tears from stinging. Her jaw clenches and unclenches uncontrollably. Desperately, she tries to search her mind. Why would she say that in her sleep? What was she referring to?
“Don’t listen, Mira. He’s lying to you. Trying to trick you into telling him something he can then use against you later!” The voice of the man in her head whispers vehemently.
Mira waves a hand dismissively to his whispers. And looking up to Norrin, realizes she was doing it again. Just not with words at the moment. Though tears do not fall, they glaze her golden eyes to make them all the more piercing. And taking a deep breath, a memory clicks in place. Like a flood of water bulldozing her over. In that moment, all her emotions are bared in the raw for him to see.
“They wouldn’t stop. They just….kept killing them.” Her voice is low. Tortured.
He stops dead in his fidgeting with his jacket. Looking to Mira he has to steal himself. It had been forever since he saw vulnerability in her. Tears in her beautiful eyes. That flash of clarity that had once looked like nothing but a haze of doom and gloom. He cannot help but sit beside her once more. Both hands reach for her shoulders. Fully aware she may flinch away again. But he was not a stone. Not towards her. So if she does retreat-he will persist. She needed a life line. Maybe he could be it.
“Mira……Who is it your after? What did they do?”
This time she does not flinch away as he takes her by her shoulders. She was too busy struggling to hold it all in. Not to look weak. She had to keep herself together. Just a little longer.
Looking at Norrin in the eyes finally, she sucks back a breath in order to compose herself. Bold eyes once more, she sets her jaw firmly, then wets her lips, for they felt so very dry. And with cold eyes once more, she answers.
“The Slavers. I’m going to kill them all.”