The moonlight filtered in through the thin drapes casting a faint blue light on the scattered blankets in the messy bed. Glinting stars sprinkled the black sky past the glass. Saphira watched the stars absently, tracing a finger over Mako’s clavicle and humming softly. She hadn’t imagined anything like this before but experiencing it was a thousand times better than anything her mind could conjure. Mako wrapped his arms around her, his wings hanging off the side of the bed. He had exhausted himself by using Manifest for so long and was already passed out. She glanced up at his extinguished skull and traced the cracks while he slept. She placed a light kiss against his teeth and turned away from him, nestling into the pillows and letting herself drop into slumber.
Mako blinked into consciousness suddenly, unaware that he had passed out so fast. He took in his surroundings before realizing his arms were hanging onto something. Saphira slumbered peacefully in his arms, their fingers entwined as she grasped his hand. Mako threaded his free hand through her hair with a faint smile.
“Saphira,” he whispered gently, “wake up, it’s about time we got going.” She whined and rolled into him, hooking her fingers on his ribcage and pursing her lips.
“Fine, just give me a second.” She huffed, tapping her nails on the bone. Just before her nail made another light click, his bones were swiftly covered in faux flesh. She smirked, nestling into the soft skin and purring. Mako stroked her hair, taking both sides of her bangs and braiding them around her head.
“You know how to do that?” She asked quietly.
“Yeah, I used to braid my hair,” He hummed, “I’m probably extremely rusty.”
“Your hair..? Hm, what did you look like way back then?” She asked, lifting her head and resting her chin on her arms. Mako dug into the bedside drawer for a rubber band, frowning and closing it after no success. He combed the braids out of her hair and started another set of braids.
“I wasn’t exactly human, even in life. I was elven. Half I think? Had the whole deal. Long ears, even longer hair, you already know I have the height. But I didn’t get the abilities. I’m pretty sure the only “ability” I picked up was the metabolism.” Mako laughed, wrapping the braids around each other. Saphira lifted her eyebrows, rolling her hand.
“Hm? And I died? What am I missing?” He tilted his head.
“Your eyes? Colors? C’mon, I wanna know everything!” She cried, slapping his chest and wincing when she tugged her own hair.
“Alright, alright, calm down,” he pressed her back down and shook his head, “let’s see. I had black hair. I usually tied it up, hence the braid thing. I had green eyes. Hm… I’m pretty sure I was a wood elf, so some shade of tan. I always had teeth like this,” he pointed at the jagged fangs filling his jaw, “probably came from my other half, but I don’t know what my father was.”
“So your mother is an elf?”
“Was… but yes. I outlived my family, in the sense that I currently exist past their death.” Mako muttered. Saphira opened her eyes from her pleased stupor and frowned, slipping her hand into his and placing her lips against the knuckles.
“I’m sorry…” She hummed.
“It’s not your fault. But what about you? The family still around?” He asked. Saphira put a finger to her chin in thought, rocking her head from side to side.
“I have a living family. Father and brothers, but the faces aren’t there yet. And they all were human as far as I’m aware.” She said, sitting up and picking her things off the floor. She tossed Mako his cloak and pulled her underwear on, wiggling into her jeans and zipping up her jacket. Mako dressed and leaned against the doorframe. As she approached the door, Mako bent for a kiss. Saphira slipped past him without offering one. He took her wrist and pulled her to him, pressing her body against him.
“Don’t go running away now,” Mako said in a smoky growl.
“Release me, beast.” She teased, lightly smacking him.
“Beast?” Mako slapped his ribs, aghast, “and I thought we were falling in love!”
“You’ll just exhaust yourself again.” She pouted, folding her arms. Mako wrapped his arms around her, attempting to kiss her lips but she played keep-away with him the whole time.
“Do you want me to stop?” He asked, straightening and releasing her. Saphira paused and looked up at him, shaking her head.
“What? I was just playing around.” She muttered.
“You were resisting a lot. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.” He informed her, watching as she took his hands and pecked them.
“I’m sorry. I was just being bratty. Here.” She tugged him down and placed her lips against his teeth, caressing his cheekbone with a gentle graze. Mako smiled down at her and brought her to the foyer. Their break, while fantastic, was due to end. Saphira took her bag of things off the living room couch. The key on her neck sparked her attention back to the task at hand. She adjusted it and nodded to herself in the mirror.
“Alright. Next destination; Obsidian proper!” She cried, racing out the door. Mako followed after her and locked the door behind him. Saphira stopped at the sidewalk, holding her arm out to him while she waited. He took her hand when he got close and affixed his mask to his skull. They walked up the road in silent bliss. The road led directly to Obsidian’s main gate. The beautifully tended topiary along the sides of the road depicted dragons and basilisks glowering down on the passersby.
Mako gripped Saphira’s hand tighter, scanning the road with tensed shoulders. The open area put him on edge. He was waiting for assassins or hunters or the demon himself to snatch her away and do god knows what to torture her. A carriage clipping the stone behind them startled him. He flinched and watched them pass with an intense and suspicious eye. Saphira frowned and leaned against him.
“It’s alright, calm down.” She muttered. They met the gates, wide open and welcoming to all. They entered the bustling city to unphased citizens running a vast marketplace filled with foreign goods. Saphira led him through the streets, looking for something and leaving Mako in the dark. Mako didn’t mind leaving it a surprise, he’d ask when he needed to.
Saphira waved at people passing by, greeting the animals and people with a wide grin. Mako glanced at people as they passed. He watched for any of Miano’s symbols, but only found the happy, open faces of free monsters living their own lives. Saphira waved at a pair holding each other and laughing, the orc woman with the tusked smile waving back and squeezing her human partner to her mighty chest and only relenting when she squeaked for mercy. The pair were young and endeared to each other. Making each other the happiest women they could be. Mako blinked and looked back at the couple that had passed.
They weren’t hiding their appearance or their love. He saw the glares from scattered townspeople, but the excited and friendly faces far outnumbered the scowling naysayers. He looked at the Mirage on his hands and pressed his phalanges to his mask. Saphira noticed him faltering in pace and looked back at him, tilting her head. He was studying himself, curious and uncertain. She reached up and plucked the mask from his face.
“This isn’t Miano. You can relax.” She said, looking into the depths of his skull. He stood stiff. This place wasn’t weighted with a failed resistance, it wasn’t blockaded by a damaged queen. Slowly, his Mirage began to fade, the green skin melting from his bones and retreating to the well of his power. Saphira smiled, brushing her thumb over his hand and smiling brightly.
“Doesn’t using magic tire you out, anyway?” She asked. He nodded and hugged her to his ribs, nestling into her hair and giving a low, pleased hum. She petted his skull and giggled, yelping as he stood, carrying her off, “ack! Mako, don’t!”