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(Created page with "{{ArcNav|Arc=Time Heals All Wounds}} '''Synopsis:''' ''After Kyori tries to get more detail on Linken's disappearance, but Nancy has nothing to give. Kyori returns to Penelop...")
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Revision as of 04:59, 1 July 2020

Part of the Time Heals All Wounds Arc

Synopsis: After Kyori tries to get more detail on Linken's disappearance, but Nancy has nothing to give. Kyori returns to Penelope's shop after a couple days of cooling down from their fight. The two push their anger to the side and they cover it with.. light humor. The spell blade gives the healer an aventurine ring that connects to his sword. A protective call for when he needs her. Emotions run thick between them, and the warrior finally breaks the barrier and kisses the Ardelian. Penelope questions if it is selfish and wrong, although she could feel the want too, so Kyori suggests he takes her out and she could decide from then on.

Halifax Roots

After all Kyori’s talk about not leaving Penelope’s side, he stayed gone for another two full days before heading back at Halifax Roots with his duffel bag slung over his shoulder. The blonde warrior didn’t know if the healer’d relocated to that worn down cabin in the woods yet but if she had, he hoped a healer in the clinic would tell him. Or maybe Penelope and her apprentice were still packing up the shop. It was an undertaking and she’d looked tired last time. So tired he could almost smell it with his keen senses. They’d both been on edge. Her apprentice, Kyori couldn’t help but deem him useless (for combat), had stormed out before his arrival last time. Tensions were high all around. But that was days ago and anything can happen in a couple days. The two days he was gone, Kyori’d spent asking around Kelay about a possessed man and any distressed children seen coming or going from Penelope’s shop. He hadn’t promised her to leave it alone but he hadn’t tried to hunt Linken down either. Part of Kyori’s talents involved tracking people. His method of questioning rarely roused suspicion and that barmaid Nancy knew a lot more than she let on about the rumors of Kelay. Figures, since she works in the tavern. Liquid courage loosed tongues damn near better than the threat of death. He was determined to not let another friend die. They were both stubborn, the healer and the spellblade. Time would tell who won out.

(1 of 2) With the events that caused the landslide of terror, Penelope had decided to put Linken to the side. Even though solemn faces from teenagers reminded her each day, there was really nothing she could do. Penelope knew that Aeric would be working on the game-plan, but the Ardelian had other tasks to attend to. Aeric had understood although the two of them most likely had a fight about it. Deep in the tavern, however, with the nosiness of Nancy would be short. The only information that would be given is that… "word is"… Linken is no longer on Lithrydel soil. Nancy would probably try to bat Kyori away because who wants to mess with an entity, anyway? There was no more word. The only one that would keep the clues of how to bring Linken back would be Linken. And the clues were with a journal that was left behind and given to Penelope. Penelope was the keeper and had yet to give the book a glance (mostly because Linken's narrator knows more than Penelope's narrator and he's on hold unfortunately). Aeric, most likely had, but it would be a while until the attempt would be given.

(2 of 2) Days passed. In those days, Penelope could not find a bone in her body to ease herself down from… working. Everyone had been adamant that the druidic witch should take a break from the medical field, so there was nothing else to do but find other projects that would distract her mind. She knew, however, that in a day or so she would have to write to Kailani about making her way to the desert of Gualon to begin tutelage with the elements. The bruises that were on the healer’s neck had faded away completely. The bandages were taken off and there were less swollen scars. They were clean. Covered, but clean. Although the shop had been a place where events transpired, she could not find herself quite comfortable in the old home of a cottage. Halifax Roots was really the only place to get away from the rest of the group who were staying in the old cottage doors. So when Kyori ends up at the shop, she is not inside but outside instead today. Raking and pulling weeds outside of the shop doors. There were a few plants at her side. Penelope LeAnne was gardening with a flowy checkered blouse and worn down denim rolled at the ankles. Hair pinned back messily with the small tangles framing her olive face. She appeared pieced together since the prior days earlier. She was actually well-kept again. In her facial features, those tired eyes still appeared worn, but not as dark as before. The Ardelian had some rest in her system and a better head on her shoulders than before. Sleep, however, was still hard to come by, but eventually it came knocking at her. If Kyori would approach, there would be a waft of… softer tranquility for once. Perhaps it was the earth beneath fingertips. Something to control. It was helping.

Kyori let the minimum information Nancy offered cycle through his mind as he walked. People died but there was hardly a whiff of information about this man and the entity within. Nancy was friendly with him. He knows she’s not withholding information. He trusts her. Once Halifax Roots is in sight, Kyori slows his pace. Stopping completely at the perimeter when Penelope’s back comes into view. Penelope. He sighs out a puff of smoke and grinds the cherry of his cigarette against the bottom of his boots to put it out. Sapphire eyes scan her appearance, the way she moves and breathes, and senses the aura of peace around her. He can guess she isn’t fully healed from the emotional trauma, who would be, but she looks...better. More like herself. The afternoon sun is bright through the thin, rolling cloud cover. He feels a warm sense across his shoulders like an embrace from the sun goddess herself. Maybe she’d listened this time. The warrior repositions his duffle, the contents clinking and shifting audibly as he starts walking towards the healer and her shop. He hopes the right words will come, will come, will come but when he stops a couple arms lengths away his head is empty and his face solemn. Too late he tries to rewrite his expression to be less serious. “Looks like rain soon,” he says by way of greeting, pointing at the growing shadows on the horizon. The air smelled of fresh rain and cool winds. The promise of a purifying downpour. He wants to say he’s sorry but instead he looks for bruises that have healed. He can still see them in his mind’s eye, purple and dark and all consuming. “How are you?” His voice is quiet but sincere.

Penelope takes the mini hand shovel and digs a deep enough hole. The girl then grabs the dirt and roots of the flowers that were being planted on the outskirts of the shop. Burnt orange marigolds. The voice that echoes at a back angle which makes her hands bury themselves deeper in soil out of mild startle before she recognizes the familiarity. That voice. One the Ardelian had been thankful for. He returned from the slow burn that was stinging anger, but perhaps he was only simmered. After all, the world still turned, and she knew he could not be mad forever, or maybe he could. Moss eyes shift to look over her shoulder to gaze at the man who basks in golden rays. Picturesque. She takes her time to take in his expression. His duffel. His attitude of sincerity. The healer might have stared too long, but there was a silent pull of relief to see him return. Her direction then moves towards the grey clouds that want to creep beneath the sun. Then, her eyes cast down at the plant again before placing dirt around the flower and packing the plant tightly into the earth. “Flowers like to remind us why rain is so necessary,” she then sits back on her heels once the marigold is planted properly. “Read that in a book of poems once.” There was the strangeness that she always carried. And with that odd side note she offers, he would most likely know she was doing better than before. Odd comments equal normal for her. The girl then pushes dusted hands on her knees to stand. Penelope finally turns around to face the taller warrior. She is not sure if she should smile or not due to how they left off, so she chooses to keep an expression that is cool and resolute. Soft. “Well, I’m planting a garden,” meaning, she was taking a step forward in a positive light. “And you?” The tone is genuine and light.

Kyori keeps his eyes on the sky. ‘Flowers like to remind us why rain is so necessary’. He huffs through an amused smile. A book of poems huh? The passage comforted him though he didn’t know why. It made the moment feel normal. Like they didn’t walk away from each other in a clash of stubborn wills. This is where he’d make a bad joke and she’d humor him with a laugh. It feels like yesterday he’d carried this duffle here and they’d walked through the mountains, playing that guessing game that ended as quickly as it started. ‘You like games,’ she’d said then. He liked shields, things to hide behind. Games, lies, fake smiles and easy airs. The warrior liked wearing the mask of a man who’d never suffered the loss of his family. It felt better than being this vulnerable husk of a person that Penelope was starting to see. He hated that man. The healer stands and turns toward him, making him push that thought away like she could see the stamp of self hatred on his forehead. “A garden, huh?” He angles his head around her to see the flowers in waiting. Why was she planting flowers at a shop she was selling? Instead of asking, Kyori decides to answer her question instead. “You look better.” He says gently, meaning it. But how was he? He didn’t know how he was. Lost felt like the best explanation. He’d brought all his stuff from the tavern, true to his word to stay beside her, but didn’t want to start where they’d left off before. A new day. A clean slate. “I’m here and can’t ask for much more.” The spell blade gives her a half cocked smile that doesn’t match the inner turmoil. Her smile. He felt it just under the surface of her gentle stare, just out of reach. He takes a step closer to look down at the progress she’d made with her work. “Why these specific flowers? Do they cure insomnia or do their leaves make a fortune telling tea?” What he wants to say stays buried like a seed, packed deep and waiting for it’s own rain. “Or are they just for looks and I’m an idiot?” He gives her a wider grin, enough to show his teeth this time, but it still feels hollow.

Penelope kept her gaze steady on the man before her. He was a wanderer. An easy-faced one. A challenging one. Even though their lashings spiraled days before, she knew that she would still be able to face him. Let the spell blade come with open arms because internally the healer knew his company enlightened her even if it scared her. Kept her on her toes. The warrior that hid behind the shield was one light she continued to follow and allow by her side even when she convinced herself she did not want it, for she was not an easy character either. Lies and games were what they both liked to play. The first day he sauntered into the tavern in a piffle, she attempted to challenge the man with snarky dry comments… now, they were both creeping underneath the surface of who they both were. It was daring. Kyori had been poor timing, but perhaps that was how time worked for connection. With the admittance of the slaughter of his family, the battered state she appeared in, the tense words thrown at each other, it was no wonder it was difficult to be in front of each other. There were many unanswered questions for both of their stories. He comments on her appearance. “Wild what a blouse and a comb will do, huh?” The Ardelian puts the layer of sugar on her words with the sarcasm, but no smile cracks. Keep it light. Keep it light. The freckled face remains on his returned answer. “I’m glad you came back,” the words linger in the air between them—raw and earnest. She hated how she let him walk away. Pushed him out of the shop. Then, he is one step closer where she could take the scent of cigarettes in, though she remains quiet on her stubborn thoughts before realizing there was a coating sense of comfort. Green eyes follow to the flowers. “These are for… symbolization. These are the supposedly ‘herbs of the sun’. They symbolize mourning, but also lead spirits into the afterlife. Fortunately, with what happened, those once spirits are still living beings,” although technically undead, but not the looks of them. “But I figured… the old place needs some love before I leave it behind.” As he grins, she inhales, and although he feels hollow about his, the corners of unpainted lips lift with sincerity and grace… Finally. Smiling. Despite it all. “You’re such a dork. So hard on yourself. Where’s the confidence?” She questions herself whether she is allowed to hold the smile she carries, so the beam of a smile fades into a faint, subtle, and hesitant smirk, instead.

Her juniper eyes and that smile always catch him off guard no matter how many times he sees it. It made him want to be a better person, to be the reason she smiled at all. It was difficult to come. She’d sent him off. She was right to, he’d lost his temper at her insistence to keep his nose out of it. Her reply on her appearance earns her a surprised smirk. Yes, obviously it was her hair and shirt that needed addressing. Not her wounds. Penelope’s words are honey sweet and silk soft. “I’m a confident idiot.” He interjects with boyish charm, more serious questions than answers curled up tight inside his mind. He wants to ask but...he wants this moment to see her. Sapphire eyes flick to the flowers. “Beautiful and strong.” The flowers and the healer planting them. The spell blade plops his duffel in the grass a safe distance from the herbs of the sun. The bag clinks, metal on metal, muted by canvas. “Calling me a dork,” Kyori snorts, pulling a small box from his pocket and pretending to study it. “Guess I’ll just keep this present I brought for the plant nerd who owned the place.” He shrugs, brushing it off as an inconvenience and nothing more. “Horrible shame though, I think she would have liked it.” The blonde makes a show of shoving the box back in his pocket and turning around as if to leave. “Good luck with your flowers, witch.” He waves a hand in a pretend and lazy farewell.

Penelope grins crookedly again when he reassures her that he is a ‘confident idiot’. The charm that wafts off of him now has her grinning ear to ear again even if she knew that they would have to address what happened between them eventually. She was taking her time, for the druid missed their banter. His smile that made everything seem okay. The charm worked, for she found him silly and refreshing. On normal days, he had her laughing like a snorty hyena. As he holds up the box and twirls it, her brows narrow with the subtle smirk again. “Present?” A cant of her head. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold up,” she then begins to meander forward as he waves his hand away. “You called yourself an idiot, so I was just icing the cake for you with another synonym. You set me up for my success, Drama,” her voice sounds justifiable and teasingly sarcastic. “Besides, I think you secretly like it,” she drags out slyly with a wave of her hand in a ‘pish posh’ way. The healer then looks up at him attempting to reach for his pocket. “What ya got in your pocket, Kyori D.?” The druidic witch rocks back on her heels with her lightly, innocent; taunting tone.

Penelope’s laugh. It fills up his thoughts with light. He plays the sound over the memory of their fighting. Not their best moment, spun up in emotion. They were better than that. They were closer than that. Ah, but that’s been the trouble hasn’t it? Push away to protect, accidentally let slip in through the cracked door. Because they had their own shields no one could pass through. Except… He turns around, grinning impishly at her backpedalling. “Whoa, whoa, whoa.” He mimics her, staying out of reach with one large step to the side. It’s a boastful move - as if saying ‘I’m taller i.e. have longer legs, remember? Impossible to catch for you Ms. Halifax’. “Give me another synonym then.” His sapphire eyes dance with mischief, encouraging a retort. “Go ahead, lay it on me. Sure do hope it’s flattering. Or at least creative.” The box appears again, stealthily pulled from his pocket. It’s his name, taunting and gay, that makes him bark a laugh and almost forget the game. Kyori D. Damn her. That easy. She wrung out all his sodden uncertainty.

“Rude.” Is all that escapes her lips when he moves out of the way. The tall warrior had a foot on her. All legs. His laugh creates a warmth between them. The clouds above begin to hover over the two of them. The sun still tries to shine the rays through the hazy grey, but the rain slowly starts to trickle. Very gentle… hardly noticeable. The rays that pierce through the sky create stripes across his bone structure. She stays put as juniper eyes watch him from that slight distance. “How about antonyms,” the book worm carefully decides before beginning to circle about him. Scrutinizing his moves. “Smartass is a good one,” she begins with a laugh. “But you wanted flatter.” Her steps are slow. “I could say prodigy, but that is just way too much. Even for me, so that is out of the question.” The Ardelian is now behind him. It was easier this way. To not see his expression. “I’d say… wise. Warmhearted,” the words were so serene and they break off easily. Those words linger behind him for a beat or two. “And right. So right that it makes me left sometimes."

(1 of 2) Kyori watches Penelope start to circle him in the afternoon mist. Sorry excuse for rain. More a promise than a deluge. She wove through strips of sunlight with a dancer’s grace. That same light catches her eyes when he meets her gaze. She’s a light well recharging in the sun, reflecting what she catches back into the universe. “Smartass is flatter,” he assures her, boots holding steady on the uneven ground. The badge of ‘prodigy’ stings deeper than she knows but he keeps it light with head shake. “Nope, try again.” She can’t see his face by then. Good. It’s a force of will to not turn and face her when she stops at his back. He’s anticipating a push, a nudge, a dive for the box but he becomes the recipient of Penelope’s gift for words. Wise. Warmhearted. Right. He’s glad she can’t see the stillness and shift in expression on his face. There’s that urge again, to spin and...And what? Kyori doesn’t know what he’d do then and doesn’t trust his judgement. She’d been through hell, he had an ego driven need to keep her safe. If he saw her face, lit up in golden sun, saying those words he’d...The box, he remembers, manipulating it until his arm is behind his back. Palm up, box free for the taking. “Open it.” His dulciloquent voice encourages.

(2 of 2) The box is small and earthly, impossible to tell if it's on purpose or just dirty. When opened, Penelope will find two items. The first is a gem, mossy green with tiny flecks of black that turn white when exposed to the sun. The second is a gold ring with an identically colored stone set in it’s center. Simple, petite, and bright. “Aventurine,” he names the stone through a half saddled smile. He turns his head just far enough to look at her shadow peeking out from behind him.

Penelope keeps still behind him. ‘Open it’. His voice is tanged with sweetness. She feels safer behind him than looking at him too. There is a delay of taking the box that was offered after playing such a game with him. A hand lifts in hesitance before she reaches for the box to examine. Her thumb sort of smooths over the box before she flicks the lid up and slides the lid on the bottom. Silence washes over, and an expressionless line appears on the Ardelian’s features. The gem is lifted first where the green stone gleams with those flecks of spotted black turning to white. The healer places that back in the box before observing the same reflected stone in the ring. ‘Aventurine’. Something lifts in the girl’s chest as she stares at the jewel. Her heart beats a few paces quicker. Something foreign and heavy that she had felt only few times in the past. Feelings she often shoved away where they would not normally be found... The gift makes her clear her throat, for she felt sort of caught at a loss for a moment. “You know… they say that the stone brings harmony, comfort and protects the… well,” heart, Penelope. Heart. There had been plenty of meanings for a stone like this, for the meanings were so beautiful and comforting. She tries to sound nonchalant, but she is cracking under the surface. “Well, obviously why am I lecturing you? You’re the one who…” The healer was trying to finish her sentences, but she was failing miserably. The girl sort of brushes past him with her head down as she places the ring on her right ring finger. A little loose, but she could fix that easily. “Kyori D. is a good gift giver, who knew?” The lightness tries to peek through her voice as she fixates and adjusts the ring on her finger idly. Moss eyes finally flick up to him, and they are gently ardent. “You really didn’t have to, and I don’t know why you did, but… I…” Love it, Penelope. Those are the words you want to use. Kyori would know just by the look on her face. There was no smile, but her eyes held what she was thinking. Thankful and calmingly content. Pause. “Thank you."

Kyori heard her heart pick up it’s steps. He knew it was a healing stone, his mother’d told him as much, but there was a dual meaning to the gift. Three, if he’s honest. “I have heard that,” He agrees quietly, facing forward until they are standing face to face again. “Not a lecture.” He grins. Besides, he liked when she showed that passionate and knowledgeable side of herself about a subject. Like the plants he’d asked her about on their search for the flower. She’d mentioned the corpse flower and talked about it’s benefits, her juniper eyes shining and her so bright. A healer through and through. “Not entirely altruistic. Here…” He tugs his sword off his back with his right hand. Between the other colored jewels in the handle, there’s a new groove about the same size as the larger gem. “The ring’s gem is cut from this larger stone.” He points to the box. If she knew a great deal about stone work, she would be able to tell he spoke true. “They are linked, essentially.” Not essentially; absolutely. “But it’s another thing that makes this damn sword so important.” Kyori doesn’t move to take the gem from her. “It works as a…” What’s the right word? “...bell, signal maybe?” Blonde hair shakes and he studies the other jewels, afraid to see hesitation in her face. “These other jewels are…” He stops to correct himself “...were my family members.” It was how his sisters could help him with his ghost whispering. They’d chosen to stay with him, letting the sword and their brother continue his work. “But only if you set the gem,” it has to be on her own terms for it to work, “it doesn’t have to be now or ever. Don’t feel pressured to do this Penelope.” There’s an unwritten note of apology in his tone. “But if you do set it, you can tap that ring twice from anywhere and it’ll tell me. If you’re in trouble or don’t feel like sending a letter.” He digs the sword’s blade into the ground hard so it stands on it’s own. The spellblade gives her what he hopes is a reassuring smile, taking a step forward to shrink the space between them. Carefully, slowly, he’ll lift his left hand and try to rest it on her cheek. Her words still buzzed in his head, inebriating him to potential consequences. He needed her to know. If she pulls away, he won’t blame her. “If you need me for any reason, I’ll be there without hesitation.” Sapphire eyes tilt down to see her, really see her, as she’d asked before. “My mother told me Aventurine’s name comes from the saying ‘by chance’.” Like their meeting and friendship, the way they’d fallen into caring about each other. “It’ll give me peace of mind to know you can reach me if you ever need to.”

Once the sword is pulled out, there becomes a creeping unease on the back of her neck. Her face remains steady, though the trigger of unease still lingers on that back of her neck. Blades were not easy to swallow or to be near, as of recent, but she tries to remain as calm as they were. That a confession for perhaps… never. Her heart is a little uneven for a moment to process before she finally realizes what is happening. Eyes trace the empty groove for the larger gem. Penelope did not know much about stone work, but enough to realize that gems came from stones. Eyes then lift as she watches him and listens to what he has to say about linkage and signals. The healer would not appear hesitant when he looked at her. A signal was harmless. Especially between the two of them, but it is only when he says that the other jewels were his family members that her lips become a flat line. Her eyes remain soft, but internally this is not easy to soak in, and perhaps it was the feeling of an undeserving nerve. One that only wanted to protect him by keeping him at a distance. ‘Don’t feel pressured to do this, Penelope’. He is aware that she might feel the way that she does now. Anxious. There had been other things about the night with Linken that he did not know. Horrible things that she did. Moments that came to haunt her at night when no one was watching. It had been best if she did not call for him, but then, she would not have to. She had the power. The control. The rain above begins to pick up with more drops as the sun slowly begins to cover. The warrior diligently closes the gap between them. Close enough he would smell the soothing scent of cinnamon and lavender. And dirt. Her hands had still been dirty from the earth. A ginger hand lifts and green eyes watch it carefully before it sets on her warm face. Kyori really looks at her, and she feels raw and bare, but she holds his stare. They met each other by chance. A closeness that she had not had with another in a long time besides her daily “family”. ‘It’ll give me peace of mind…’. Peace. That was what she wanted for him throughout this hell she had to confess. To protect his sake of mind and well-being. Make him feel better. By chance, she did care. With a long pause, and hesitant thinking, her hand rises to his hand resting on her cheek, and her hand attempts to curl around his own. If he lets her, she would place the aventurine stone in his hand and attempt to fold his hand over to clutch the gem tight. “I mean, if we are talking for your sanity,” her voice is quiet, but there is that small bit of humor. There was some truth, but overall, she trusted him, but she also knew she could control if she needed him. "You should get out of this rain. I'm about to go upstairs and sort through the bedroom. I'll... see you soon?"

Kyori watches her eyes, watching the gears turn in her mind over his words, the gift. He wished he could read them. A parchment receipt printing out in real time so he’d know what her fears were. What made her hesitate. How she felt about all this. It was a weird bargain to strike, he’d admit. But his family was all he had time to embed before it all went to hell. He’d barely learned how to set them when they were killed. All of them. So close the tang of copper in the air suffocated him. So far away it could have happened to someone else instead. She lets him touch her cheek without flinching like she had when he’d reached for the air around her in the shop last time. She lifts her own hand, sandwiching his between. The gem is warm when she passes it back. He turns it over to find the flecks of black dimming with the quickening rainfall. He didn’t know if she’d use it, the ring, but he hoped she would if she needed to. Really needed to. For a reason as stupid as pulling a crate off a high shelf or as dire as life and death. “Maybe I just want more excuses to see you.” Not a lie. More excuses to be close to her. His handle on needing her was less intact. She suggested he go, with gentle concern, but he can’t stop looking at her. Her eyes were so close and bright, her skin flecked with droplets of rain. A rose with a whisper of morning dew. Kyori leans down with smooth, slow precision to graze his lips against hers. He cared. Cared enough to try. Cared enough to back off if she gave him any reason at all. His selfish want to kiss her won out over his awareness that he should walk away. A little rain never hurt anyone.

Penelope feels what she thinks is danger in her stomach when he says those words that held… truth, but a fickle girl could not remember the feeling of… flutter. Aching, yearning flutter that felt foreign to depict out from wrong. Juniper eyes stare at him so cautiously when he says what he says. That he wanted to be so close, and deep within her she wanted to resist. Resist the spell blade that made her so vulnerable. It was a wicked game they both played and he was making the next move. The delicate, blue eyed man leans down to kiss the cinnamon girl. Warm, lightly drizzled lips press gently against hers. So soft, smooth, and tentative. Both hands attempt to reach up and caress his face while lips lingered in captivity. There was an aching pain that stung in her heart. A slow burn from the amount of safe keeping and care that exhilarated from the kiss, for Penelope knew that she was terrified of the want. Was it wrong? To let the selfishness take the two of them? The healer was not sure. As she pulls back, her eyes are closed as if bracing herself to gaze at the man before her. Moss eyes eventually open and search his gaze, for once she was not sure what to think or say. It is as if she is looking for an answer from him. All she knows is that there is a mix of internal fear, but also a desire to keep him close the way he wants her. Care for him. Protect him. Be there when he needs her. The rain is the loudest noise between them.

Kyori eases into their kiss. The world is warm skin, the chill of rain, lips that felt welcoming but...afraid. The world is cinnamon, juniper, and earthy. Fragrant, messy, frozen. He lets her hands touch his face while his wrap her in a brief but firm embrace, pulling her in. He too smells of earth, of metal and musk. Bland tavern soap and warm summer sun. He smells of want, if such a thing had a smell. It tingled under his skin like a lighthouse beacon, a warning of treacherous waters. His lungs ache as if he’d been underwater the past few months and Penelope was the first draw of fresh air. He’d forgotten how to breath but he wanted to remember. Wanted to gulp down the air until he was drunk and light headed. Kyori kissed her like it was the first and last thing he’d ever do. When the healer pulls back, the warrior’s arms slack around her. Wide juniper eyes searching his sapphire blues and he gives her a small smile. A real smile. He moves his empty hand up to touch the back of her head, lean down to press a small kiss to her forehead. She’s looking at him like he’s a blank book and her eyes could summon any words to fill the pages. “I care about you. Though we have secrets and lives and fears, I care about you.” Through lies and fights and disappearances. Through witty retorts and dangerous journeys. He hadn’t wanted to but he did. Keep it light. Lie. Smile. His tools of the trade. But she’d...used his own tools against him. She made him want to say the things he hadn’t said to even himself. Hadn’t dared to. “And I know you don’t need me to take care of you,” He whispers against her forehead, pulling back now to see her fully. It breaks his heart with a blissful pain. “But I want to. I want to stand at your side and face the dark. Together.” Together. What was ‘together’? Her eyes, were they asking him too? She didn’t want him to treat her like she had a heart of glass. “All together has to mean is by each other’s side.” It can mean more but no less. He cracks an easy smile, smoothing his hand through her hair to stop at her cheek. “Let me take you on an actual date,” when things are less life and death. When she feels up to it. “...then you can decide what to do with me.” He pauses, tentatively. “Okay?”

Penelope watches the curve of his lips go up in that genuine smile. The smile that always made her bounce her witty remarks. The smile that let her guard come down. The smile that made her feel… like everything was okay. Only if just for a moment’s time. Her eyes move to every fine detail and sculpt of his features when she gives him that blank stare. That smile always caught her off guard. It was nice along with his easy eyes. She finally takes him in. The close-up version of Kyori. He kisses her gingerly on her forehead, and the healer gets another waft of warm, earthy musk that made it hard to catch her breath, for her heart was lifting too much at the emotion. He finally begins to explain with the talk of caring. A breath finally is able to find air, and one of her hands somehow find one of his arms to latch onto. That faint whisper of desire against damp, warm skin has her eyes closing with that same ache from the prior kiss. The same guilt-filled desire. There is a gap of stillness before eyes finally open. “I want you to, too,” she whispers back with graceful silk, and then there is a pause. The warrior pulls back, and her expression is still before he says the word ‘together’. One of those teasingly snarky smiles perk on her lips. The hand that rests on his arm slowly slides to his hand. “I get it. Save the lecture.” Each other’s side was… easy, and a relief. For now. The atmosphere from the past days had caused a whirl of emotions for the both of them. Her hand then releases his own before his other is on her face again. “A… date.” Lips purse in contemplation. The freckled woman finally perks that confident chin she always paraded around. Doe eyes look over his appearance as she tucks a loose damp strand behind her ear. “I’ll be off to Gualon here in a day or so. I’ll be gone for about three days.” Quickly she adds, “Kailani, from the Healer’s Academy. We’re travelling together. Guess I need to learn more about druidic balance,” in case he needs explanation. Penelope Halifax did not waste time, or ever did find a moment to breathe when it came to work. Unless it was nighttime, and breathing felt… like she was drowning lately. “So… I –am- going to write you a letter. As much as you want me to,” she lifts her finger with the gem, “use this.” A crooked grin appears on her face. “What can I say? I’m old-fashioned,” she lets off a wink. “And… keep it light. And yes, you –can- definitely wear those cute pants. Thanks for asking,” she points to whichever pants he wears when he does not say a thing about them. The girl was toying with the blonde of course.

Kyori’s face scrunches in amusement. “Not a lecture.” Wily woman can’t give him a moment’s peace. Her wit was another charming facet. He remembers, when she tucks back wet hair, that they’re standing in the rain. That glint of fear and want in her eyes shifts back to controlled amusement. “Write me all the letters you want, princess.” He says without thinking. “Relax on your trip, would you?” Was she old fashioned, calling his pants cute? “What?” He smiles wryly. “Pretty sure you talked non stop about how horrible my clothes were.” He rolls his head, shaking his wet hair and sending drops in every direction. “Cute pants.” He repeats, incredulous. A sparkle of mischief played through his expression before he turns to gather his duffle and sword. “Don’t wink at me like that or I’ll take you out of the rain myself. Go.” Kyori casts a grin over his broad shoulder in her direction, daring her to challenge his resolve to do so.

As he calls her ‘princess’, he is offered an odd look. She felt anything but, but either way, she nods to him telling her to relax on her trip. The getaway. Penelope Halifax would try to succeed under such pressure. “Well, I didn’t say –all- of your outfit,” she remarks with a knowing grin. "Getting ahead of yourself there, Kyori D." She watches him pick up his duffle, and in a moment, there was a twist in her stomach. He was leaving. The laughter would be over, but she still presses her grin forward, although faulty, but it looked the same as before. A great liar. “No need for an escort,” she smirks with that annoying confident tone. “You probably wish you could,” that silken teasing voice continues. The Ardelian's back is now turned to him, and she, too, looks over her smaller shoulder. “And, one more thing, don’t call me ‘princess’.” The healer was always scolding him before parting, but she gives him one last bit of light before she goes. Feet then glide the porch steps and into the empty shop; closing the door behind her. The feigning grin fades in the dimmer lighting, and Penelope is left staring at the hollow room before her. The room felt denser and a little hard to catch a breath from what Kyori’s light just poured into her. Without another thought, she strolls up the stairs to get started on the letter and pack for Gualon. Kailani, here she comes.