- It’s not only raining, but there is thunder! It’s late and person B is terribly scared of thunder. Person A hugs them closely, calming them down. Person B falls asleep in their arms.
A crack of thunder boomed in the west of London. For a split second or two, everything in the Ainsworth household was illuminated by the lightning. Darkness enclosed the house soon after until a spark of fire came in front of the window. A gloved hand held the end of the match and lit a candle in its other hand. A few more were lit until the flame extinguished and the match was discarded.
Elias Ainsworth took a look at the candles set atop the counters. The power had gone out at the height of the storm and it didn’t look like it’d cease anytime soon. So, he and Silver were lighting candles in the meantime. All he had left to do was light the candles upstairs so they could wait the storm out. He hated tedious weather like this.
He gave Silky a nod before exiting the kitchen and looking at the rack next to the front door. His robe was missing from its usual spot. Elias tilted his skull to the side and took a look around the living room. It wasn’t within sight, but that was probably because it was dark. Elias never removed his robe from the rack unless he was going outside or there was a draft.
Maybe I misplaced it, he thought.
He went up the stairs to the second floor and found all of the doors open. As peculiar as it was, he assumed it was probably from the force of the thunder. He soon shrugged it off and went to enter his room to look for his robe. Ruth suddenly ran into the hallway and stepped in front of him. Elias saw the flash of black before he came and immediately stopped.
“Ainsworth,” Ruth said. “Chise...she won’t come out.”
“I beg your pardon?” Elias asked.
Ruth ducked his head and entered Chise’s room without a word. Elias assumed he wanted him to follow so he went in there as well. It was completely dark. Elias took out a match to light the two candles on the nightstands beside the bed. The room was dim but it was better than dark. When Elias looked around the room, he found no sign of Chise. He turned to Ruth to inquiry but found the dog staring at the bed. Elias saw a bit of worry in his red eyes.
He lifted the covers of the bed but still found no sign of his apprentice. Another boom of thunder came and Elias jumped when he heard someone yelp. He immediately recognized it as Chise’s voice. The sound came from somewhere in the bed. Elias went on his knees and took a look under the bed. He grabbed the candle from the nightstand and shone it so he could see.
He called, “Chise?”
No response came. He then saw the pattern of his robe tucked to the side. He went to grab it until he felt something pull back against his grip. Green eyes met with his for only a second before they hid again. Again, he recognized it as Chise.
Ruth walked over to Elias’ side. He looked under the bed for himself and Chise concealed herself from the two. She was using his robe to hide from what Elias assumed was the storm. He remembered her being afraid of weather like this. He came to her aid last year and made themselves a blanket fortress. He spooked his apprentice with ghost stories that night. It was sensible that her fear hadn’t gone away.
“She won’t come out.” Ruth suddenly spoke. “I kept calling to her and tried to assure her, but....nothing. She’s been down there for 10 minutes.”
Elias looked up at the dog and saw from his posture that he was upset. The last time he saw Ruth like this was when he went into a state of despair for letting Chise get hurt. He assured him at the time to let him know when Chise was in danger and how she felt if things got too overwhelming. Ruth took another breath as he avoided the magus’ eyes.
He said, “She’s depressed and scared, Ainsworth. I don’t like what she’s thinking about right now. She won’t snap out of it.”
“Depressed?” Elias repeated. That word rang a bell but he didn’t know what it meant.
He peeked underneath the bed again and saw her moving in his robe. She still didn’t reveal herself and that’s when Elias realized something was wrong. During the last storm, she told Elias a bit more about her childhood and why she was scared of thunder. She used to have to endure it alone and it just became a fear for her. She told him that it reminded her of when she was abandoned by her family. Something in Elias’ chest twinged at the thought.
Elias put the candle back on the nightstand and rested his hand on the floor. He grabbed at his robe again but felt Chise pull back once more. A clear sign to him that she wasn’t going to budge.
He asked, “Chise? Are you okay?”
Nothing. Ruth gave the back of Elias’ skull a knowing look but the magus didn’t look back. His eyes were locked on the robe and Ruth could tell that he would remain like that until Chise came out. Elias removed his hand and watched Chise squirm around. Lightning cracked just outside the window and was soon followed by some more thunder. Chise screamed again and the two of them saw the robe start to shake.
“Chise, it’s okay.” Ruth assured. “It’s just some thunder. It isn’t going to hurt you.”
She still didn’t budge. Ruth sighed at his lack of help. Elias turned to the dog and sat up so he could look at him properly.
He said, “Go downstairs and help the Silky. I’ll try to get Chise out.”
“Are you sure?” Ruth asked. When Elias nodded his skull, the dog hesitated to leave. He trusted the magus’ word and soon left. His paws hitting the stairs gave Elias the sign to lean back down and turn to Chise. When his hand grazed the robe again, Chise scooted away from him to the other side of the bed. Elias leaned forward when he heard her start to sob.
“Chise?” He panicked. He quickly rushed to the other side of the bed but heard Chise roll back over. Her cries didn’t stop and it pained Elias. He froze when he heard her speak. Her voice was muffled and her sobs were audible. He hadn’t heard her like this before.
“Elias....just....g-go. I’m...being lethargic. I’m a trouble t-to...y..you...”
Lethargic? Elias leaned down and saw that Chise was now facing him. He’d have been thankful for this a few minutes ago when she wasn’t crying. Only her face was visible from the robe and he didn’t quite like the sight. Tears were streaming down her face and her cheeks were red from the heat. She sniffled and wiped a few tears with her free hand. Elias extended his arm and Chise turned away from him.
“Chise...” He breathed. He tried to gather his words but came to no avail. What should he say? He hadn’t seen her crying much before. Where did this sadness come from?
“Th....the day we m-met...” She choked. “I remember...you told me that I-I’d be a trouble to you if I st-stayed like this...I’m so sorry, Elias.”
He took a moment to recall the memory. It’d been so long ago since he thought about the day they met. And it had been awhile since she brought anything up in relation to it. Granted, Elias would admit that didn’t quite know what he was doing back then. His intentions were misguided and he was in the midst of showing himself back into the world. Why would she bring this up now?
“I didn’t know what I was saying, Chise.”
Elias reached for her and managed to grab a hold of her hip. With little to no strength, he slid her back towards him. Chise fought against his grip but gave in when he suddenly pulled her out from under the bed. He then placed her in his lap and Chise immediately concealed herself again within his robe.
“Chise,” Elias called for her. “Please, look at me.”
She didn’t move. He opened his jaw to say something else until he felt her move. Slowly, she revealed herself once again and she looked paler than before. Elias was satisfied with her progress. He stood with her in his arms and gently placed her back on the bed. When another round of thunder came, Chise yelped again and clung to his arm. He took this chance to take a seat next to her and get a better look at Chise.
Her hair was ruffled from all that moving around. The tears she had were starting to dry but her eyes were still watery. Her breath was shaky and her grip on him was deathly. Elias was taken aback when Chise voluntarily crawled into his lap and rested her head on his chest. Another sob came form her throat and Elias rubbed the back of her head to soothe her.
He said, “I really don’t like it when you cry. It pains me.”
Chise closed her eyes when she felt Elias’ arms wrap around her. They stayed like that for awhile. When thunder came again, Chise would tighten her grip on Elias and he’d hold her closer. The silence between them seemed to calm the redhead down. He wiped the rest of her tears from Chise’s eyes with his thumb. A few moments after she looked up at him.
“I’m sorry.” She said.
“Don’t be.” He replied. “All that matters is if you’re alright. Are you okay?”
“I am now.” She rubbed her eyes. Elias could tell that she still a bit fazed. Perhaps it was because of the way she clung to his robe and his vest. He’d seen her sad before but never depressed. It must be an extended period of sorrow. Either way, Elias didn’t like it.
Chise explained, “I was using your robe as a blanket when I heard the thunder earlier. I sort of panicked afterwards and ran upstairs when the lights went out. I was just so scared that I hid under my bed. Then I thought about my family and my thoughts kind of wandered from there.”
“Did you now?” Elias asked. Chise nodded.
“I thought about how things were before Ruth and I suddenly remembered the things you told me. How you wanted to use me as an experiment and that you only purchased me because people were pressuring you. I felt really bad for being scared and I just thought I was troubling you by being so afraid.”
Elias looked down in thought. He replied, “Chise, you’re never a trouble for me. Like you told me once....You don’t have to be that afraid. I’m always going to be here for you.”
He meant it. There wasn’t a time that he wasn’t willing to help her. He always made sure he was within reach wherever she was. That was the whole point of giving her that necklace. His intention was to learn about humans but overtime he felt the purpose change. He wanted to cure Chise from her curse and protect her from the evils of the fae world.
Chise looked down shyly. She said, “I’m sorry for taking your robe. I should have asked you first.”
Elias shrugged it off. He said, “You’ve slept it in before. I don’t mind it at all.”
He knew she wouldn’t remember it. He carried her when she was unconscious and in his robe. Chise didn’t question it and sat in silence. She seemed to be thinking about what he had said. He looked down and noticed the faint blush on her cheeks.
She asked, “Am I still an experiment?”
“You are no experiment nor have you ever been.” Elias looked at her and rubbed her cheek. He continued, “I don’t know what I was thinking, Chise. My view of the world was limited then and I made horrible impressions on those around me. You really changed that.”
“I did?” Her green eyes widened. Elias nodded.
“Ever since you came around, I’ve been more active with those around me. There are still those who despise me and I deserve it, but because of you people have given me a second chance. You’re a breath of fresh air to everyone around you, Chise. Including me.”
The redhead seemed breathless. She stared up at Elias in awe before hugging him tightly. He returned the hug and felt a warm feeling come to him again. He’d been accustomed to feeling it around her so much it was starting to become a normality. And he told Chise he never lied to her. That was still true to this day. He never found a reason to.
Elias looked outside the window and gazed at the dark clouds. He watched the rain pour from the sky and hit the glass repeatedly. When another boom of thunder came, Chise clung onto Elias once more. He leaned down and tilted her chin upwards so she’d look at him straight in the eye.
He told her, “Never be afraid, Chise. I’ll always be with you. Through these storms and the ones that will soon come. I’ll protect you from any creature that dare try to lay their hands on you. And I would stop death should he try and come for you.”
Her eyes were locked with his. Not even when another clap of thunder came did she flinch. Instead, she leaned forward and lay a kiss on the end of his skull. It was a sign of nothing but her complete trust and affection to him. One that wouldn’t change so long as she was in his life. Chise laid back in his lap and snuggled him in his lap. Elias leaned down to nuzzle the top of her red hair.
She asked, “Did you mean it when you said you’d make me your bride, Elias?”
Ah. So that still lingered with her. Elias tightened his grip on her back when he replied, “Yes, but it’s completely up to you, Chise. I won’t force you into anything you wouldn’t want to do.”
Her response was endearing. “Why wouldn’t I want to marry you?”
He looked down at her in disbelief before holding her close to his chest. The thunderstorm around them didn’t matter anymore. Chise seemed to have forgotten about it already. If anything, Elias did more than what he needed to. There mere thought of Chise being his and his only gave him a great sense of love he hadn’t felt before. She made her decision; He made his long ago.
“Then I’ll get you another ring.”