The Ravening

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A Terrible Comfort

I fell asleep and when I awoke it was to warmth at my back. I realized I was propped up. Resting in the cradle of Van's legs. My back against his chest and one hand loosely draped around my waist to balance me as he leaned forward to throw another log in the fire.

It was already evening.

"Where has the day gone?"

"You slept through it." He gave me a quick look.

"And you let me?"

"As insatiable and ravenous as my urges are. They can be overcome by emotion."

"I didn't know you feel emotion?" I twisted to look at him over my shoulder.

The same body that had ravaged me throughout the last night.

"I don't. That's why I'm usually only ravenous...Lustful." He tossed another log.

"But you feel it now?"

"Remorse." He swallowed hard. Making the column of his throat jerk. "And affection. And fear."

Can a demon really even care for a human.

"I don't know in general." He shrugged. "But I know I do."

"Why?"

"You're spirited, courageous, clever. You've a drive for self preservation but a sense of honor. There's much of you to be admired."

"I'd have thought all your compliments would be to my flesh."

"Those are too numerous to name." I felt him hardening slightly behind me and felt a surge of panic.

Don't hurt me.

"Calm down." He rocked me slightly side to side. "Calm down, Zira. I'm not. Not tonight."

"I don't understand this at all."

"It doesn't make sense to me either."

"How are you touching things, logs, cloth?"

"You're tired and it feeds my strength but also I think perhaps something else. Though I don't yet know what."

"What if you change when nightfall comes. What if the pure demon comes back to finish what he started?"

"He can't." Van said simply. Staring at the dancing flames. "I have him carefully locked away. The only way he walks free is if you speak to him directly. Don't call him out." He urged me.

"Never again." I vowed. throat going dry at the fearful prospect.

"Sleep, Zira. You'll get no other such reprieve from me."

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