from the destruction, out of the flame
He does not flinch in the face of her bitter retort.
No, he merely blinks, watches as she stows away whatever dark thing had put the sharpness in her tone. She is a remarkable thing, he thinks, but does not say so. Should she want to, certainly she could hear it in the echo chamber of his head. Certainly his mother had taught her this.
She turns to face him again and he exhales his own rattling breath as she inhales easy. As if to mock him for how difficult it is for him to catch his breath. What a herculean effort it is to convince the ribcage to expand to accommodate what precious little air he draws. But he does not think her cruel, he does not believe that this was by design.
Her tone is measured when she speaks again, no trace left of that sharp sting, and he studies her brilliant face a long moment. Perhaps there is some twist of remorse in the pit of his dark, dark gut. For what he doesn’t know. He wants her to sink close again. Not to ease the pain but to blend their edges, so that he might delight at the blending of the deepest black and the most blinding white. Because it is the closest he will ever get to understanding what it means to be touched.
But it is a clear dismissal, what she says next. How clear she makes it that they are not friends. She has not forgiven him for the way he had shrunk and squinted and hid from her the first time they’d met. This has changed nothing.
He does not allow himself to be wounded by this. It is not his decision to make, is it? So, he smiles his shark-tooth smile and inclines his head.
“Thank you, Beyza.”
you need a villain, give me a name