They were more then friends
He gasps as the otter jabs him in the ribs with an elbow, and look nonplussed as the other male apologises with a smirk of his own.
“Ignore him. Friends or not, we're not going to start asking the temple acolytes about their private business.”
The fox blushes. He apologises, and seems relieved when you shrug and tell him its okay. The pair disappear into the chamber, hand in hand. You close the door behind them as instructed, and then...
You realise you have no more instructions. No more tasks to accomplish. You don't know whether you are meant to wait here for the pair to be done with whatever they're doing in that room, or if you're meant to do other jobs in the meantime. Uncertain, you decide to go and find Lira. You know a time will come when you need to be able to stand on your own two feet... or rather, your own two paws, but right now you're still too unsure. Unwilling to act on instinct, because those instincts are still working with the rules and abilities of a whole other world.
It takes a little while, but eventually you find Lira. She is in the room where you awoke. Kneeling, meditating upon the same stone floor from which you rose in your new body. When she hears you enter, she turns, and you see her wiping her eyes.
You should be the one asking her that question, but it's her who speaks first. All you can do is answer, face reddened with embarrassment beneath your fur.
“I... nothing. I just... I didn't know what to do next. I took them to their chamber.”
She looks weary. Sad and weary, her eyes obviously filled with tears even now. But as though you haven't noticed, she nods and smiles.
“Okay. We can find you another job.”
Before she can do more than rise to her feet though, you find yourself speaking again. Talking with that deep and purring voice that still doesn't seem entirely familiar even though its your words emanating from it.
“The room they went into. What's it for? They... they said something about us. Or... I mean, you and... Serrin. Using it.”
Immediately, you feel as though you've made a huge mistake. The look on Lira's face goes from sadness to anger. From embarrassment to humiliation and fury.
In that moment, as you see the rage and the anguish upon that wolf's face, something clicks.
The sorrow you've seen upon her face right from the start. The respect she's shown you, but the distance she's kept. Not showing you anything of Serrin's own life beyond his work. No possessions he owns. Not telling you of his family. Of the life he lived before you appeared into it.
And that room. That temple chamber... into which the two men walked hand in hand.
Of course she's sad. Of course she's angry.
You didn't just move into the body of her colleague. Her friend.
Serrin was more than that to her. Much more.
And now here she stands, facing his body, the same body that had stood with her and smiled at her and probably held and kissed and touched her countless times... only occupied by a stranger. Someone who looks at her, and sees nothing of the life they shared, bound by not only their service to the arcane and the whole of this world, but their love for each other.
Lira begins to cry, and though you move towards her, to comfort and reassure her, and to apologise for all of this, she steps away. She shakes her head.
Written by Jeeves on 21 September 2017