RP:Nothing Fecks With My Baby
Part of the Seven Dwarves All Around Me Arc
This is a Rogue's Guild RP.
Direct sequel to Bad Things Happen in Basements.
Summary: It's a hard day's night for long-lost lovers Eleanor and Leoxander. Amid a series of painful truths coming to light, the pair standoff in the manager's office of the spellrogue's cabaret. Burning tempers escalate, and there's no doubt that an untamed beast lurks within them. To their credit, a mix of stubbornness and love drive them forward too, and when bespelled push comes to clawed shove, El doubled-down in a gamble to save Leo. Despite the conflicts of their past, the moment she somehow managed to lure Leo to the forefront of his hybrid self, she unleashed on him the entirety of her magical reservoir—in an improvised binding spell potentially capable of uniting man and wolf, hoping that the latter may never tear the former from her again.
The Office, Cenril
Leoxander needed some fresh air. It was a risk he had to take despite the danger and warnings offered in their discussion regarding 'work.' If the pirate had anything of a conscience, it was probably buzzing in his head at that moment moodily: 'Just get the ears, put a little coin in your pocket.' A few pissed off drow would be nothing compared to the audacity it would take to try for this five digit bounty. What did he owe the spellrogue, anyhow? (Everything…) NO. Especially with the bomb she'd just dumped on him suggesting another, or others were 'involved.' Involved... Bloody confusing witch.
Handfuls of minutes passed, enough time to be a half a town away from that damned place. And Leoxander found himself looking back over his shoulder toward the door to the office, having not paced more than a dozen feet away. Torn and waging a mental battle with himself, there were a few times he started back, stopped himself, drug his fingers back through overgrown blond roughly, and then told himself he was walking away. Only to be actually opening the door to make for her office moments later, his disposition darkening his eyes and expression like a storm cloud companion. Whether or not she had brought herself from the basement by then, Leo did what he could to not make direct eye contact with her, or strike up another chord of conversation that would probably have him painting with a colorful pallet of foul vocabulary and unintentionally bearing his wolfish teeth. He went for her desk, though it might not yield what he began to search for so obviously, he intended to start searching for the books. Any list of people who had frequented the club, any aliases registered to the business, and maybe even a hidden or locked drawer that might hint the confidential records branded by a mark burned into the wood of the sealed door in the basement. Locks wouldn't be a problem for Leo, but Eleanor might not take too kindly to the fact he helped himself to her seat and began looking through her desk, skimming files for names and numbers he meant to commit to memory. He'd been out of the loop so long it would be easy for him to make a mistake and confront or watch the wrong person. He'd also look for more subtle telltale notes, like any diminish in profit or mysterious spending that didn't entail a clearcut reason. Not everyone knew that the rogue had spent a long time as a smuggler, bounty hunter and a captain of war. His mind, missing however many memories, was still as sharp as he kept his concealed weapons.
Eleanor was starting to feel like this was the beginning of the longest night ever. But even if that were true, that could only mean one thing: every night following would never be quite as bad. At least, that was what the spellrogue told herself as she paced a groove into the floorboards of the basement. She didn't regret trying to tell Leo, but gods if she didn't hate absolutely every single bloody second that stretched past since he had gone upstairs. Finally lighting the cigarette, she puffed at it anxiously and listened as the pirate moved around. Casting her glance askew toward where Tuna had resumed slumbering, the tiger's rumbling snores feeling at odds with the anguish roiling within herself as she could sense his unease too. Scowling, she turned to move up the stairs. But as she heard Leo move into the manager's office, Eleanor froze. Her hand on the railing, she used it to steel herself through a steadying breath and took the rest of the steps two at a time.
By the time the spellrogue swept into the first floor, anything to reveal her ties to the basement's more nefarious dealings had disappeared from her appearance, leaving just El as, well, herself, which was a decidedly rare thing, these days. In many ways, Leo pulled her out of her shadows and layers of deceit. But as she came to hover in the doorway, her arms folded as a final line of defense. She made no move to stop Leo from looking through everything; after all, she felt pretty bare in front of him anyway. There were simple books and accounts mentioned in shelves and drawers, along with several references to a group called Bread for the Birds, and the man who presumably ran it—Lord Albery Close. Eleanor, meanwhile, was quietly watching the wolf and didn't offer up any helpful clues. Instead, she leaned a shoulder into the doorjamb and let him sort through ... well, anything and everything. It wasn't that she was trying to delay the inevitable (albeit that was certainly true as well), but that she already felt she'd said too much. As she stood there in the doorway, she would leave it up to Leo to ask, should he decide he wanted to know, about who else she had endangered with her reckless liaisons, about BftB, or even Lord Close. No matter the route they took to get there, though, El knew none of the answers would come easy for a variety of reasons.
Leoxander knew she was there in the frame of the doorway but he continued leafing through documents like he was her ungroomed, black clad accountant. He didn't need to write anything down. It was as though what he had lost from his mind made plenty of room for new photographs of memories, and that was a necessary skill in his line of work, past and present. No evidence. A few of those scars were from those who had tried to make a scoundrel spill his secrets, but in the end to no prevail, only the mapwork of marks meshed in with an abundance of ink, each thread or symbol on his skin like an entry in a faded journal. Finally, he spoke, and it might as well be a saw through a wall of ice for the tone of his voice. "Who is he?" Or she. But either way it was a hazardous question. If she answered the 'wolf' might just easily add a name to his newfound list. Although he left enough of a gap for her to decide if she wanted to answer the first question, Leo went back into a neutral, no-nonsense mode and dropped the stack of papers impatiently back into the desk drawer with a follow up that sounded more like a demand than a request. "And where's the rest?"
Eleanor continued to try and pretend to be unperturbed by the other rogue's demeanor up until the point his words sliced into her like the blades they both kept. Her painted lips drew into a dark frown, and her distant celadon stare crinkled around the edges, fixing on Leo. There were a lot of answers to his first question, but with the palpable undercurrent of additional thoughts he had not yet spoken, she was beginning to wonder if he was ready for them. The breath she snorted through her flared nostrils was as much of a tell as anything else she did in his presence, and she countered with needling, "Dae ye pure want th' answer tae 'at, Leo?" Where he might have dodged her eyes before, she dared him to meet them now, the twins of sea glass swirling in a mixture of defiance and taunt. And although she had definitely picked up on the tone in his latter question, she refused to relent on her own. "Coz Ah'll teel ye," she continued, straightening from the jamb and uncrossing her arms. She tried not to ball her hands into fists, keeping them at her sides, if a bit stiffly. "Ah will teel ye every single excruciatin' detail, if that's whit ye need—" Despite her best efforts at driving forward through this, Eleanor faltered, and she had to draw in a new breath. Like the ones before, it made her chest feel shallow and tight, yet the cigarette in one hand wasn't to blame. "Ah'll warn ye noo, though, loove ..." When she spoke this time, her voice was thick, and it took her a thundering heartbeat to add, "—nane ay it matters." El shook her head weakly; layers of her resolve were starting to fray at the edges, and she struggled to swallow before blazing forward with a terse, "It happened, alrecht? An' noo Ah hae tae deal wi' it, wi' ur without ye."
Leoxander, in fact, lifted his stare to her. Like she was the target, and his stare was as locked as he might aim a deadly arrow from his compound bow. Even lost behind somewhat greasy strands of dirty blond, she would be able to glimpse the hard, crystallized blue beneath. He waited, as patiently as he could, for her to say all the words she needed to say, including the last of them, which seemed to fracture his expression just enough for the edges of his jaw to loosen from the tension of clamped back teeth. "What was that the other night, then? You gonna try to play me? I ain't no (explicit) pawn in this game." He knew that retort would only stir the storm and get him in trouble, but it seemed their most heated moments typically became the most significant. He closed her desk drawer harder than necessary and continued to occupy the chair, for now, finding his usual slouch with tattooed arms on the surface. "You…" Don't do it, Leo. Don't let her get to you. "You can't do this. You can't fuggin' tell me all you did then tell me you're in trouble then top it with this…" A few more angry and explicit words followed that statement, and he finally stood. Underweight, unshaven and wearing only the clothes he could afford, he still might come across as intimidating as his eyes started to bleed in a bit of gold.
Eleanor hadn't wanted to hurt Leo again, but now she did. She now wanted to hurt him precisely like when he had hurt her. Like when he had ripped her heart out of her chest. And then tried to stuff it back in again, over and over and over, breaking her a little more each time. The venomous words rolled out past her sneering lips before she could stop herself. "Ye glaikit feckin' dog." El started to curl her left hand into a fist, but her right hand trembled with the cigarette, dropping ashes amongst the rest of the grime of the club's floor. "Play ye, Leo?" She started to pull herself away from the doorway, away from him, and sniped below her breath, "Go tae Hell." She rolled her eyes and started to pivot away from him altogether, then stopped herself to turn back to him, a heated flush rushing up to her throat and into her cheeks. "Ye ken hoo Ah feel abit ye," Eleanor continued, lifting her left hand to jab a gloved finger toward the pirate. "Hoo Ah hae always felt abit ye."
She glowered at him a beat before adding scathingly, "Weel, guess whit, ye werenae thaur, were ye? Ye didnae save me frae th' curse, he did. An' ye werenae thaur, efter ye feckin' kissed me here, an' 'en left fur gods-knew-whaur—Sae yeah! Efter Ah spent six months waitin' fur ye again, efter—" The color in her cheeks was spreading, the tumultuous memory of that night, Leo's kiss, a familiar buzz between her temples that she couldn't possibly excuse as the smoke. The diadem felt like a vice around her head. Nevertheless, the woman began spitting out, "Six months lookin' fur ye again, some semblance of ye!" Beat. "An' he jist—showed up one night, an'—" The way her eyes flew around the manager's office before fluttering back to Leo didn't help much in keeping her thoughts concealed. "Gods aboove, Leo, Ah dornt hae tae feckin' explain myself tae ye, leest ay all fur somethin' 'at happened last year." Frustrated beyond her limits (in more than one way), she added wearily, "Noo, Ah've tauld ye enough. Either ye decide whit ye wan', ur nae, but there's nae feckin' games, haur, nae atween ye an' me."
Leoxander didn't bother to test if that desk was bolted down. If it was, a hard creak would still probably shake a few items off of it, the way he suddenly pushed it forward with just a hand. And if not, it would slide a few feet toward her to offer more of a mess on the office floor. "For what? You didn't need me. Not when you had her. Them." He only knew a few of 'them' from the names scanned, but could guess the rogue community that would flock toward her like crows and vultures toward a kill. "I'm f—in' in hell, Eleanor. And you goddamn well know it."
Leo's tiny bit of conscience was flailing. Stop! It's only making things worse! Well, this seemed to be what he was best at. He took a few steps forward passed the desk or that square of floorboards where it used to be. "I came back. I didn't know why, or what the f— I was gonna do. But I came back. And you go 'head and trust whoever the hell you want, Fox. I'm gonna be the stupid bastard that finishes this." That statement was more confident and strong than anything he had said or felt in a long time, and the way that anger and emotion came out even took Leoxander aback. He broke eye contact, searched the ground between them, then lifted a fire-filled gaze to her. Literally, it seemed amber in torchlight started to fill previously blue irises, and with both hands clenched, muscles in his forearms twitched and bulked just enough to be noticeable. The hair growing along the outside line of his limbs started to thicken like a serpent gliding through sun-dried grass, disappearing under his sleeve at his bicep. "You want this done, you tell me what I need to know. I pay my dues, you pay yours, and I'll quit disrupting your perfect plan." Seemed that metaphorical snake had let the wolf borrow some venom of his own.
Eleanor; The desk wasn't bolted down, and it came screaming across the floor toward her. However, while she flinched, Eleanor didn't have time to catalog that or even consider bolting the damn thing down later. Her pale seafoam eyes flashed in the dim light, a glimmer of mirrored bioluminescent haloes in her angry oceanic depths. And instead of withdrawing from the wolf's aggressive advance, Eleanor dared closer, her chest heaving in her midnight-black gear as she fought to contain her thoughts. "Yoo're in hell? Ye hae nae idea whit it's been loch, do ye? Gods, Leo, Ah would hae given anythin' fur it tae hae been ye haur—" As the words stumbled from her lips, she finally soaked in the sight of the changes to his physique, but El was caught between frustration and her own stubbornness. "Whatever, Leo." She released a heavy sigh and started to pull away again. "If ye refuse tae actually hear onie ay th' damn things 'at Ah'm sayin', loove, 'en mebbe Ah cannae troost ye fur thes job efter aw."
So Leo dared to grab for her arm. It wasn' the most reckless of things he'd accomplished in the last twenty-four bells. He almost seemed to anticipate a jolt, and would accept those consequences. "I AM here, goddamnit!" His voice raised to a near snarl. "And I'll f—ing destroy whoever gets in my way." That pitch boiled several degrees deeper and the left bandaged hand holding her (if he caught on) might burn like a started fire, only enough for some red pigment that would heal in a day, so long as she tugged her arm free. By then, Leo was starting to somewhat hyperventilate, and he finally released her grip - only to begin having an attack. It wasn't anxiety, it was lycanthropy, buried too long away. Any response he might give would be lost as he started to convulse and collapse in her office. Dal'ken had found a door.
When Leo grabbed Eleanor's arm, her entire body felt split down the middle; one half wanted to instinctively jerk away, but even with everything, the other half of her sang out with a chorus of yearning. Caught between both, when she did try to pull her arm away from him, there was no conviction behind the gesture. It wasn't until she felt him through her sleeve that she was forced to react. El might normally have been able to withstand a bit of that Hellfire, hell, she might even be considered an arsonist for how often she wanted to play with the man to whom it was bound. But the unexpectedness of it paired with her already vulnerable state, and her knees started to buckle from the pain, an inhuman sound bubbling up from her throat. As Dal'ken clawed his way to the surface before her, Eleanor barely managed to backpedal away from him, sagging against the doorframe. The spellrogue didn't have time to process the pain Leo's touch had burned into her before she became aware of his transformation. Already her sun-blessed skin was working to repair itself, the gem feeding off whatever dregs of energy it could to repair the damage, and as she took a moment to take stock of the situation, she pulled the office door closed, shutting her in with him.
Leoxander | That bandaged hand lost grip on her and smacked down onto the ground, veins and ligament lines along his hand bones defining and popping out for the tense way he curled his fingers into the floorboards in pain. Eyes squeezed shut, the man was on his hands and knees trying to clench his teeth against a scream, but his angry curse of a harsh word escaped him with some spit speckling the floor between his hands and coating his lower lip. The ringing in his ears overpowered and deafened him to the sounds around him, but he could feel the vibrations beneath him and sense that she scrambled for escape. At least, that was what his mind registered her doing, expecting that she would get herself out of that room and lock the beast up to prevent him from the destruction of more than a mess of paperwork and broken furniture easy to clean up.
It had been a long time, too long, and despite the number of years he had lived with his… anomaly, that instance was not so simple as calmly removing his clothing and fluidly morphing into another form. It never was. Sickening pops sounded during the cavalcade adjustments of his spine and his body began to tremble from the stress and exhaustion. Instinctively, he tried to drop a hand to the front of his belt, feeling the familiar, suffocating squeeze though it was his ribs and chest that expanded, but his shoulder joint rotated roughly with a snap as blond-brown hair thickened to the state of fur, spreading toward his knuckles as still blunt nails dragged hard enough to leave some scratches in the wood. He collapsed to the point that his jaw hit the floor, unable to do more than unbuckle the metal catch, which would mean that new fitted shirt and leather pants would be distressed in rips and tears in moments. An arm was extended toward her, and he managed to lift his head just enough, panting through lengthened wolf teeth cornering top and bottom rows, and Eleanor had the opportunity to witness the haunting expression that briefly existed in his citrine stare. It was either a desperate look for help, or a silent plea that she run. Run.
Then humanity washed away, Leoxander was lost, and Dal'ken's pupils shattered to black, pinpoint starbursts as his glare focused upon prey - the woman who was not unfamiliar, but could be considered the cause of the wolf being locked away, caged, trapped for the length of time that he was. The hybrid creature not transformed into a true wolf, but a cruel twist of humanoid and animal, shakily started to find footing, digitigrade legs still covered in some shredded leather bending to clutch with clawed toes, handpaws sharpened with thicker nails finding grip. His head lifted slowly with fur tipped ears rising from spikes of mane like wings unfolding, swiveling with interest forward, toward her, before they began to pin back irritably. And even though fury seemed obvious in his focus and body language, ironically, the beast seemed to grin.
While Eleanor may have been just a simple human, compared to a lycanthrope like Leo, she was also anything but ordinary. Dubbed reckless, sure; cold, distant; but beneath that burned a fire, not unlike the Hellfire hiding a touch away. Her gem was particularly fond of Dal'ken, flawed as it was, and her headache was growing stronger despite the drink and herb she had consumed liberally with the primary goal of keeping it at bay. Mutually provoked though the standoff might have been between them, Eleanor's determination was unfaltering now as she fixed the wolf with her shimmering blue-green depths. With her back pressed to the door, she watched as the man she loved was broken and reborn, but no fear kept her inside this room, kept her boots filled with lead. And when what remained of Leo locked eyes with her, she stared back with an unfathomable stubbornness.
The turquoise pentagon started to glimmer with light. It matched the pale flames of her stare, but her lids dropped to shadow them, and she sagged a bit more against the door. She'd dropped the cigarette at some point, and it rolled into the corner of the door and the jamb, cherry-red in the darkness of its position. Her hands were positioned near her hips now, as if ready to grab something—or someone—at a moment's notice. As the hybrid turned on her, Eleanor straightened, planting her booted feet and lifting her chin to meet that lupine gaze. "Och aye, it's bin a while." El's voice was lowered, caution in her tone, but there was also a bit of a challenge hiding behind the words, further exemplified by her readied stance. "Hasnae it?" Hiding near her left hip was one of several wands, a boomstick, as she liked to call it. She hated the idea of having to use it for more reasons than she could count, but it also comforted her to remember it was there if worse came to worst.
The office wasn't nearly big enough for the both of them, metaphorically speaking at the very least, but El had no intention of running off, of leaving Leo behind or trying to block the wolf inside. She was here, just as much as Leo'd been insisting he' was here, since his return, and there was no way she was going backward, no giving him space anymore. She had said her piece, but Eleanor could never just walk away from Leo, not really. And right now, her magic wasn't about to let her, either. Slowly, the spellrogue lifted her left hand until she brushed her gloved fingertips against the familiar blue-gray iron of her diadem, but she didn't remove it—yet. She was making sure it was still there, still in place, because the way her head was swimming right now, there was no way to truly be sure until she felt its unyielding curve around her head. El continued to straighten and lowered her hand once more, leaving the crown in place. She even took a half-step toward Dal'ken; another challenge. "It's guid tae see th' real ye again, loove."
Leoxander | Some of the diabolical expression on the wolf's face faded as the light of her eyes and that unpredictable gem began to flicker, ears shifting ahead once more with a slight tilt of his skull that happened naturally in a canine state of mind. Nostrils widened and the whiskers decorating his muzzle flared out as though sensitive to the unseen magic that was building like a charge of lightning from a dark looming storm cloud. A headache could not compare with what his soul felt, at first. Hungry, starving might have been the best way to stamp a word upon it. But once more, an ear flickered as she spoke. Words meant not for Leoxander, but to the creature he had become in those emotional, enraged moments. Her familiar tone was like a curious cleanse - to feel more free, uninhibited - some of the weight lifted from his back and shoulders as she regarded him not as a monster, but perhaps an alpha alongside her position as a leader of others. And it had been a long time since he felt that, no matter how he tried to live in the now of the moment in that form. A chuff of breath acknowledged her words as he approached, clearly stalking her, but now somewhat confused if she was in fact his prey. When that half-step came, it actually caused the beast to pause.
His teeth slightly bared with a crinkle of snout in a warning or challenge of his own, telling her to stay put, without words. When he continued his approach, it was with a hint of caution and less aggression, at first, swerving somewhat to the side when he got close enough, to begin circling her. Since she hadn't (been allowed) to wander far from the door, his fur would skim across her backside and lower back in his crouched, four-legged motion. He easily stood between six and seven feet with his head low when elevated upon hind feet, but the length of his frame displayed that as he absently rubbed against her, a sweep of his bristled tail catching that skin between the top of her boots and the crease where strong thighs met curves. It also seemed he meant to layer his scent upon when he stopped and intentionally thrust his head and nose into her hip to try and get a stumble out of her, weighing her level of fear which seemed more absent than abundant. Those wrinkles kept coming at the top of his muzzle but it almost seemed to be an effort on the lycan's part keeping them present, because the furious rage that should have been there in the moment of his long-overdue escape wasn't quite there. The circle finished with his head lowering nearly to her feet, but not in reverence or submission. His nose traveled from her knee, up the center line of her body, cruelly brushing his snout across inappropriate places until he was at eye level on his handpaws, hackles raised and just a drip of saliva trickling into his chin fur, eyes ever judging her.
Eleanor knew better than to let Dal'ken out of her sight. Although she would be lying if she said she didn't also enjoy provoking the beast in Leo, it was for his benefit just as much as her own. The flaxen-haired woman had a … delicate relationship with her magic, but at least she used it, at least she acknowledged it … so to speak. And it had killed her to lose Leo to his wolf before. Even after everything they had tried to build together, after facing Dal'ken on her own before and … Well. Their previous encounters had been … unforgettable. Was it stupid for her to indulge in the fantasy that she could somehow help? Or somehow … do … something for Leo? Because it was fecking better than nothing, as she was telling herself. But El could scarcely hear herself think; the throbbing in her temples was reaching unendurable heights, but it would be nothing compared to the ecstasy of somehow re-connecting with Leo in a way that wasn't just fighting.
And then there was Dal'ken to consider as the hybrid loomed in the darkened room. Her dimly-lit stare edged toward him as he circled around her, and although she turned her chin, keeping her eyes on the predator, the woman kept her boots planted where she was. Following him with her bold stare, the spellrogue kept her chin level. It was almost in spite of the way she had offered her throat to him earlier that very night—letting him know that it was there if he wanted it, but he'd have to ask nicely first. There still existed in her heady gaze the challenge, the back and forth feeling both old and new. It was intimately familiar to El and yet … This Dal'ken felt new. Just like this Leo felt new. Old and new. New and old. Gods, she didn't even want to admit to herself just how it felt. The mix of adrenaline, herb, smoke, and that damned bastard gem was doing a number on the rogue. Nevermind all the other things they'd already spoken of. All the old feelings wrapped up in shadows and shame. Old wounds that she had gone and thrown salt into herself, and then rubbed it in for good measure.
Dal'ken sizing her up felt like a familiar pastime, and even though the foggy haze that was her mind, Eleanor could feel drawn to him, to Leo. Maybe it had been a lucky chance that she'd found his posting on the board, but it was a fractured will that kept driving her back toward him. El's mind was a deceptive labyrinth of memories, and despite the resolve spooling up in her muscles, she hoped to any gods who still listened to her that he couldn't see it on her face. That he couldn't see the way her gaze wavered—just for a microsecond, her pupils dilating into saucers as she reacted to him. She hoped he couldn't smell the perspiration beginning to dot the back of her neck and the space between her shoulders. That he couldn't sense warmth rushing to her skin in a flush that likely betrayed her nerves and excitement.
Drawn out of her thoughts by the hybrid wolf's snout, whatever solid footing she'd had a moment before was disrupted, but she recovered quickly, and the glare she shot him was glacial. "Och aye, Ah see ye." There was a tense undercurrent of warning in her accented words, but Eleanor's chest was tight, her throat thick. It was an effort to keep her arms lowered, still hovering near her hips. Part of her had instinctively wanted to reach out to smack the devil out of Leo, and she flexed her fingers, the gloved digits itching for action. Somehow, she managed to keep it all together. Somehow. Somehow, Eleanor had managed not to buckle or bend, or at least, she fecking hoped. Forbidding the tremble she felt threatening her words from taking hold of them, she added a husky, "If ye want somethin', wolf, yoo're gonnae hae tae use yer words …" Even with the bravado going into her tone, it was clear the term 'words' was open for interpretation.
Leoxander | It was unfortunate for Eleanor that he could. Smell the salt of her sweat, hear, feel the palpation of her heart and practically the aching pulse in her mind. To follow her words, a demand for words, the werewolf suddenly moved. A lunge of motion that might seem, for a second, as though he were going to barrel her over into the door. But the flats of hand-shaped paws pounded loudly and suddenly against the door that protested the pressure with a soft groan as he caught his weight upright, in front of her, forelimbs extended like arms to brace himself at either side of her head. The heat rolled from his body and through his fur like a solar wave across the bared flesh in her choice of clothing. Head lowered with his shoulder blades flared in hackled spines of wheat and dirt coloring, his leather nose got real close to hers, predatory stare locked to the rings of celadon that remained, but more importantly the wide black orbs in her eyes. His canine skull canted again just enough, enough to ask, "Oh am I?" without fulfilling her request. Her throat. He glanced at that column of flesh then darted a look back to her eyes as though he expected something, lynx-like ears sliding back toward his skull in a threat of his own. He smelled himself all over her. Bittersweet plant, sharp liquor, musk... Leo's musk, soaked into her clothing and his taste on her skin from the exchange below, and the wolf eagerly licked his chops as he waited for her reaction, waited to see if she'd risk trying to escape, retaliate, attack or submit.
Eleanor might have flinched as Dal'ken came lunging toward her, but she didn't cower. If anything, she stood a little straighter, drawing in a steadying breath as she tried to level her gaze with his. The muscle in her jaw feathered with tension as the spellrogue sucked in another shuddering lungful through her nose, and in contrary to her previous invitation, El dropped her chin. It was not a sign of submission, however, but another silent challenge as she stared at him through her gold-tipped lashes. The fingers of her left hand flexed again, the wand inches away but … she'd go to hell first before forcing herself to use it. Instead, carefully, she began to pull her hands in front of her, and with painstaking slowness, peeled the glove off her right hand. The swirling blue lines of the portal spell stained her palm, just shadows in the darkness, but as she reached behind her, toward her hip, the inscription took on an ephemeral glow. The lines came alive in that brief moment it took her to wrap her hand around the doorknob, but she didn't yet activate the spell in its entirety. Eleanor kept her gaze up, held those pale sparkling eyes transfixed on Dal'ken. But it wasn't the name of the wolf she spoke, but rather, the pirate. "Leo …" The sound was quiet and full of yearning, a desire to find him through the years and the fur now shielding him from her. She knew what had brought this on, and the guilt she felt was unquantifiable. But her hand left the knob. The spell dimmed in her palm, and her hand fell to her side. More confident than she'd felt a moment ago, the spellrogue repeated herself. "Leo." Were it up to her, there'd be no disconnect between the man and the wolf. They would be one and the same … But she didn't know the story. She didn't understand why he struggled or why they were always at odds with each other. What she did know, however, was that she would do anything, anything, now, to bring him back to her. No longer addressing Dal'ken, she spoke again with that same low demand in her tone. "If yoo're gonnae be haur, then feckin' be haur."
Leoxander | Nothing of her response was on the wolf's agenda. There were rules to nature that he had to obey. Dal'ken was an alpha, pack or no, and females were his to lead, protect, control. So the irritation started weaving into the movement of his ears, his eyes, those lines spanning the bridge of his muzzle, the structure of his body and the language it spoke. Tension bulged biceps and shoulders on the upper half of the hybrid, tail raising from a lazy hang and his spine curving straighter toward the lower half. The padded and clawed fronts of hind feet curled into the ground and his sharpened nails scraped a few new minor scars into the paint or wood of the door where either hand braced.
But there was that name. Not just repeated - echoing down what seemed like a tall well: dark, empty, and unclimbable. And there was Leoxander at the bottom.
The angry expression and intensity in amber lupine eyes withered for a blink. There was a sudden pant and short gasp from parted jaws before something incredible happened. For a mere moment, Leo's mind was in the beast's form. He felt the weight of the increased mass, the shield of his thick fur, along with the faint prickle that set certain patches of it on end, likely due to her ready and relentless magic. Blue fused into the gold like late sun rays on the surface of a shallow pool, rippling back and forth as windswept waters might do. Confusion switched to fear, then to annoyance... resentment... all eventually fizzling back into a sepia hue that focused back on her after a rough shake of his head. Sending some fur flying in the dark. The wolf was fighting back so stubbornly - until she said that name and her pronouncement reached the bottom of the well. I'm here. he heard his mind yell out. It felt like death again, in the base of a tomb staring up impossibly high at just a speck of light - his escape. Any feeling of hope sank right through him, when abruptly, that blot of glow flashed so radiantly that it overtook him, and he was blind. His vision finally rehabilitated itself to reveal the tenacious expression of a valkyrie, champagne locks braided and spun for war, an iron crown fit to brow, body posed tense for battle. No, those weren't wings in her aura; details of his human sight mixed with the selective color (blindness) of an animal's, abstract smears of a vision that could he could almost feel as well as faintly see, radiating from her like a thermal heat.
Maw somewhat agape, the lycanthrope's tongue moved with a whisper of breath, but it couldn't be defined as a sound beyond 'Ahl.' His leaning weight was pushed against his arms for a step back, and on the odd bent legs of abnormal anatomy, he stumbled a step or two with a swing of his tail instinctively trying to balance out. Wide, blended irises with rounding pupils fixed on her until he noticed his hands tipped in claws, padded with roughened palms and coated in fur, and he held them symmetrical to study one, then the other in that moment of shock. Never before had his human subconscious been summoned without a shift back to skin. Given the wolf's ill-tempered nature in either shape, it was something that he had never tried to achieve. But the spellrogue had somehow woke him out of oblivion, while the terrible display of lycanthropy remained.
Eleanor may or may not have a penchant for high stakes gambling, a trait she undoubtedly shared with her former lover. As the spellrogue began to sense as much as see the sudden change in Dal'ken's demeanor, her luminescent celadons widened, and she sucked in a sharp breath, the air catching in her lungs. And when the woman heard what she wished to be her name on his wolf-curled lips, El knew there was no telling how long such an illuminating fugue might last. She watched Leo gape at his lupine self through new eyes in what could only be described as a gods-damned-miracle for what felt like the longest second ever, and then she doubled-down.
Her right hand instantly reached up to yank off the crown, and the other hand snapped down toward the wand holster tucked under her layers of light-absorbing leather. She didn't withdraw the boomstick, yet; instead, she brandished her crystal-tipped wand, her fingers tightening around its familiar form. A pipe-dream had begun to swirl around in her addled mind. She couldn't spare the time to internally argue about the logistics or even sanity of the spell she began to create. Every single morsel of raw arcana she'd amassed over the past several months started to build up, and as the turquoise in her forehead grew brighter and brighter, the buzz between her temples had become a thunderous roar.
In their own way, Leoxander and Eleanor had each tried to ante up throughout their renewed dalliance, and tonight, it was all or nothing. As Eleanor's skin broke out in a feverish sweat, and her gaze faltered, her mind reeled about as if she were The Eternity being buffeted by Mother Nature's worst. A fleeting glimpse of such imagery evolved in her head, and even though she'd never seen the ship herself, as her unfocused eyes stared through Leoxander, the war-stocked galleon was all she could see.
The air in the office grew thick as molasses, crackling with an acute, metallic aroma. The channeled arcana started to burn through her arm, becoming an amalgam of each tattoo it absorbed and spread through on its way toward the wand. As it did, El hoped that, if he really could see her, if he really could at least understand what she was trying to do, that she was trying to help, maybe, too, he'd see the multiple layers of apology in her otherwise empty seafoam stare.
A binding spell. That's what El murmured in her native tongue; she hoped it was the right wording, the right meaning, the right intention. It was so far detached from the spell she'd cast on Hudson a few years ago. Instead of trying to subjugate his wolf, Eleanor was trying to bind Leo to Dal'ken. It was a new spell … It might not even do anything, and then again, the amount of raw magic she was trying to brand him with might very well kill him. El hoped and prayed it was at least somewhere in-between. And as she started to release the magic in a torrent toward Leo to ripple through the fur and skin in a uniquely intimate design, she hoped he would hear her through all the anger and resentment. Eleanor hoped that he would catch her say she loved him. And then her mind went white as the intensity of the energy being discharged inundated her senses, and she began to crumble toward the floor.