The hero returned, not with fanfare, but with silence. AMPERE
resounded with it, the sudden void, bereft of sound, as if that too had been devoured by some uncanny force. Teja knew it was him
, of course - how could she not, when his very presence
seemed to draw her in? The silence was unlike him, though, and the void was far too quiet.
She knew the reason. She'd sent them - her people - to LA, because she'd trusted them - trusted them to take care of each other, but Hector returned quiet. Reports from the area were confused, as they always were, but they were clear about the fire, and they were clear about the ice. She knew him well enough to understand how it had come to the sudden cold - and she knew operations well enough to understand what the cost of that had been - in infrastructure, in collateral, in lives
No doubt it would have been even greater had the fire raged unabated, but it was always too easy to say 'there must have been a better way'
- and all too hard to find one, in the moment. She started towards where he sat in silence, then paused, a quick command through her Society watch translocating her to the other side of the room. One didn't approach a soldier
from behind once they got off the front lines
Teja walked towards him, calmly and without sudden movements, finding with some surprise that there was a part of her that was infuriated at the extra few half-moments it took to do so, that wanted to be there with him now
, immediately. Together
. He drew her to him, as always, but he didn't need her quickness
at the moment.
The few instants of her approach gave her time to look at him - the silence spoke volumes, of course, but it was beyond just the silence - he'd divested himself of his armor on return, and while he didn't bleed
, there was no way to miss the scarring
over his skin. She couldn't help but wonder
, for a moment, if she had done that
No. It was new
, a retaliation for his casting
of the lightning, not for absorbing it.
And yet, yes
. His skin had always been somewhat strange
since... it was hard to say, really, when the change had happened - they had not been close
, for long, in the grand scheme of things - but there had always been what she had chosen to assume was a resultant coloration
to it - though perhaps discoloration
would have been the better word, all things absorbed by the void of his being, even the very pigments
. There had been a subtle demarcation
about it, though, along the veins... she'd thought that, too, was intrinsic to whatever he now was.
But in sharp relief, it was all too obviously the spindle spine of branching lightning.
Be careful now; for I might be made into the gods' curse upon you.
She knelt before him, her voice a soft thread to be woven into the silence, not to shatter it.
Her touch was cautious
, brushing ash from his forearms to fall undesirable upon the ground.
"...I'm here, now."
Teja took his hand in hers - and why not? It was all too obvious
she had already branded
him her own.