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Kess and Paiva- paiva's nightmare
What a long day. Avery had me going left and right, and Tairon was no better. Those women. They’ll have me doing their laundry and delicates before you know it… I am so wiped out. Another day will come tomorrow. Time to go to sleep…
I’m so beat. So what’s wrong with me? I didn’t have too much kahlia… Oh. I wonder how Paiva’s doing. That dream in the woods shook her up a lot; I wonder if she’s making it fine by herself. *Groan* I bet she’s going to make me get up… Oh Paiva, why? I’m so warm and comfy in my own bed, why do I have to do this? I bet you… I bet you a million bucks in three, two, one…
Silence, that’s a first.
“Kehhhhhs?” she whined, two doors down.
She’s going to wake everyone up and she knows it. Why does she have to yell?
“Kess, would you come here for a sec? Kehhhhhhs?” He closed his eyes and sighed for one last moment before ripping the covers off and starting down the hall. The floorboards were dry and cold and creaked under his feet. He didn’t have the strength to hover. If that girl wakes up Avery…
“I’m coming, I’m coming, keep it down,” he murmured. He stopped at the doorway, her tiny pink lamp aglow. She always slept on the side of her bed closest to the door. And with its positioning, this put her head and bedside table hugging the threshold. She looked up at him, eyes wide and silvery hair askew about her pillow.
“Sorry,” she whispered.
“Mmm,” he grunted. The light was too bright for him, although it was dim in her room. He couldn’t stand to sleep with any sort of light source, while Paiva on the other hand, drew open her curtains and kept several fireflies. He squinted.
“I couldn’t sleep,” she added, hushed.
“So I’ve heard.”
“You know I wouldn’t come without,” he sighed. The light was bright, and his body felt disoriented and he wanted nothing more than to crawl back into his own bed and never come out. His own warm bed… He didn’t even care to snuggle up with Paiva. He was too tired tonight. Taking the steaming to-go cup, she wondered how he got to her room so quickly with the cocoa. He must have expected her to call him. But he didn’t seem too happy about it. She sipped it carefully.
Harboring the awkward pause, she couldn’t stand to let him leave, although she knew it was torturous for him. Usually, she’d be considerate and let him sleep in his own bed. But tonight it wouldn’t enter her mind. She was lonely, and a little scared. And she needed him.
Paiva looked up again, at his expression and bedhead and resentment. She giggled.
“What,” he snapped.
“You… Your… Honey, you have these dark, dark circles under your-“
“I know I’m tired I’m ugly, okay?” She laughed again.
“Shhh, you’ll wake Avery. Ha, I didn’t mean it in a mean way, it was just-”
“That’s great, can I go now?”
“No, you still have to read to me.”
Kess groaned. “Why?” he whined. “No one else has to do this but me, I’m so tired and it doesn’t even matter and you females are going to have me run around and do you little favors the whole freaking day and I can’t even hover, let alone stand.”
She gave him a pouty lip in return. “Ohhh, poor baby, look at you. Tell you what, I won’t let Tairon or Avery, or Castille or Logan make you do annny favors tomorrow, okay baby? Does that make you feel better?”
The glisten suddenly faded from her eyes as she remembered what she called him for. “Kess?” she asked, very softly this time.
“What.” He caught her gaze, and softened.
“What is it,” he asked, a little more whole-heartedly.
She shook her head. “Those howlers, they cornered me.”
“You knew you could fight-“
“Kess, they cornered me!” her voice rose. “They cornered me and I thought they were about to kill me… But they did something much worse.” She shuddered. That evening, a black and blue forest about her, she was dancing and singing and praying in the full moon. She was never afraid to be alone. Except for when the howlers came. The wretched snake, dog-like animals snuck up like a tiger on a butterfly. They were intelligent, disgusting young things, and were the most dangerous creatures by far. They were clever. Some were charming. And they could get inside your head. While she had been meditating, the voices penetrated her thoughts. Shadows. Suspicion. Closing in on her, she knew they would charge her head on, ripping her piece by piece, breaking her down emotionally as well. Then, they would retreat and start again, until she was tortured out of right soul and mind, rendering her crazy. That was their strategy. And she was completely alone. It would work.
They touched her. They whispered to her. They showed her a vision of her own painful death. She closed her eyes and wept loudly, tearing her wings in an attempt to escape. She couldn’t clear her head enough to contact Kess. Kess… And with the thought, the howlers projected a vision of his death, much more painful and gruesome than her own. She screamed and cried and nearly tore a wing in half, struggling under their grip, banging against the underbrush. Then, they vanished. She reckoned it was because Tairon and Castille heard her distress, coming to the rescue. They had no idea what was going on, just that she was in trouble. It was too bad Kess didn’t hear. He would’ve torn them to shreds, if he knew. But as soon as he got wind of her emergency, the entire clan was down there to ask her if she was alright. Paiva said yes, looking shaken and slightly mauled on the forest floor, and told almost everybody something must have made her hallucinate. It was only hope that she had been seeing things. But then, she pulled Tairon and Kess aside and told them it was howlers. They proved to be fatal creatures, but hurt more emotionally and by empty threats than anything else. They liked messing with your mind. Or at least that’s what Kess had told her. But she never went into detail. She never told him what actually happened down there, alone, or the things she saw. Only that they were there and she was mortified. And it was scaring her… The things they whispered before they left, the poison wrapped around and wisping up into her nose like smoke. And she couldn’t keep it in; Paiva decided she must tell somebody.
“Kess, those howlers… Those howlers. I wasn’t hallucinating.”
“I know.” He sat down on the bed beside her, waking up a bit.
“I… I. They gave me a powerful vision, thrusting their thoughts onto mine. And they showed me my death.” His eyes didn’t widen, nor did he gasp like she expected him to. “They showed me how I would die, Kess! They showed me shriveling and melting and crying in he**. In he**!”
“Paiva, you know you wouldn’t-“
“I know, I know, but what if?” she countered, shortly. “What if? What if it happened? What if I’ll be murdered or starved or assaulted or kidnapped… or… or,” she breathed shallowly. He came closer, hoping his presence eased her mind. He was awake.
“Shhh, it’ll be okay. They’re gone now. I’m here. They can’t hurt you.” To his mild surprise, she waved him away and turned her head.
“But what if they do. You can’t be here all the time. Heck, you can’t even hear me all the time, how can you say you’ll protect me?”
“Well, it’s true. And you can’t be with me all the time. Sometimes, I have to be alone, because… I just do. And you know that. So you can just stay here and do all the crud Avery makes you do. Stay here. It’s too danger… Dangerous,” she faltered over the word. Caressing her hair, he gazed into her eyes, smiling softly.
“I’ll go wherever you go, whether you like it or not. He**, whether I like it or not.”
Suddenly, she threw her pillow at him and moved away, half-whispering, half-yelling “you can’t! You can’t, and I won’t let you! Get away from me! Just go! You can’t come with me, you… You have to stay. You can’t go out… Go out… There.” And her breathing became so shallow, he wondered whether she would collapse or not. And she started to cry. Loudly at first, then softly, with hotter tears. Kess was at a complete and total loss for words. He knew girls were weird, but he had a feeling this wasn’t a girl thing.
She was standing up now, a couple feet away from her bed, and swayed. He hurried over and caught her before she could fall. Kess slipped her back into bed, holding her now. The heat blanket must have been on. It was really warm. “Shhhh, it’s okay sweetheart, I’ll take care of myself okay? I’ll be careful.” That seemed to ease her sobbing a bit. “I won’t go out of the house, and Sayko will be watching me the whole day, with a bow and arrow ready. Is that okay?” She nodded. “Okay.”
He rocked her and kissed her forehead, and let her curl up in his arms and fade in and out from sleep. Then, with her chin tucked under, resting in the crook of his neck, she whispered “Kess. Kess, they killed you too. I had to watch you die. They killed you too. And they conspired and plotted and filled me with threats. I will never be theirs. I love you, Kess. And I’m scared. I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you.” This surprised, if not shocked him. So this is what scarred her and plagued her throughout the day. No wonder she was acting crazy. She saw him die. If that had been vice-versa, Kess swore he’d have killed them all, right on the spot, despite his weakness. He’d kill ‘em somehow, with fresh blood dripping from his dagger. And she was a delicate thing, although she denied it. Poor girl. And she wouldn’t tell anybody, he knew she wouldn’t. She would just tell him. And she said she loved him. He poked and prodded for this answer occasionally, those 3 words. But he knew she never really meant it. It was only a play on his ego. Just something they said, just because they could. Nothing serious. But at that moment, he decided he did love her. He loved her more than anything, or anybody. And nothing could change that. She was everything. He could spend his life with her if it pleased him. And more than once, lying in a bed and kissing, he wished it could lead to other things.
“Paiva, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for how I treated you, and what you had to go through today. But I told you, those things mess with your head, they can project whatever they want. I won’t die. Oh baby, I swear on anything that won’t happen. I won’t let it. I won’t die, baby, kay?”
“Kay… I’m sleepy,” she slurred.
Now that’s my girl. “Okay, go to sleep.”
“You can’t leave.”
“I won’t, babe, I’ll sleep with you tonight, okay?”
“Mmhmm…” And she fell asleep in a matter of minutes, in his strong arms and reassuring humming. He always eased her anxiety. Her soul suddenly felt peace after confessing, and also a closeness of his soul, meshed as one. She loved him. She really did. And she knew he loved her back.
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