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Dominic tossed the wrench he was using on the workbench above him as he rolled backwards on the creeper and out from under the car. The garage was void of workers except for him which was never unusual this time of the day. Mostly everyone would be gone around 5 or 6pm, but he tended to hang around a little longer because this place was more than just a job, it was a hobby, and he enjoyed being able to work in the quiet.
As the classic rock song crackled from interference, his eyes looked to the ancient radio which was almost as old as him. A message was coming through from the dj that was breaking up just as badly as the music was, but from the few words that did come in clear, he was urging people to not leave from wherever they were and to stay off the road. His hues slowly moved upward as the wind howled over the rooftop. For once it seemed the meteorologists might be right; It looked like a storm was coming.
Groaning, the therian sighed and stood up, reaching for his jacket which lay on the hood of the vehicle he'd been fixing. It was barely springtime and it was rather surprising a storm of this magnitude was being predicted, but it also was no secret that Colorado would be hit by all kinds of bad weather throughout the spring and summer seasons. Today was unusually warm and it appeared all the conditions were perfect for the predicted storm.
He had taken no chances either. Dominic had made sure his home was properly boarded the night before just in case and had told Sio to take the pets and stay with Clarissa inside the city and away from the river where they lived. Being in the woods during bad weather wasn't exactly the safest place to be, especially since his cabin was so close to the river which would undoubtedly rise from the flash flooding.
Pulling open the metal door leading outside, a drop of rain landed on his cheek. He glanced up to the darkening sky which had a sickly green color to it and he immediately knew that whatever weather event the citizens of Evermore were about to see would not be easy on them. Hopefully now that rush hour was almost over, he'd be able to make it into the city fairly easily. Climbing into his truck after locking up the shop, he reversed onto the road which was becoming sprinkled with the oncoming rain and put his foot down a little harder on the gas. Dom lightly bit his lower lip in thought. There was one thing that brought up a bit of concern that could make getting into the city mostly impossible. He'd need to get over the bridge before it was deemed impassable by the bridge operator who could shut down drivers from crossing into downtown. Dominic would no doubt be stuck on the wrong side of the city and not many options to find somewhere safe. With a bit more pressure on the pedal, he drove faster towards the bridge.
Autumn scowls slightly as she turns up the volume on the radio, knowing it's pointless as the static won't clear, but trying it anyway. She'd spent most of her day running around, trying to secure things in this new city before the money she had saved up runs out. That is more difficult than one might imagine considering that there's no record of her - her grandfather had kept them on the run where that sort of thing just made you more likely to be found - and she only recently got hold of some paperwork by way of one of her new tribe.
She presses slightly harder on the pedal, fighting down a wave of nausea as she heads toward the bridge, her last obstacle before she can clear this sickly green sky. She shouldn't have gone to the river in the first place, but she'd been so flustered at all the crap that officials wanted to put her through that she'd needed some form of peace, and now she's paying for it. The storm is blowing in quickly and she'd found out about it too late. Already the wind is whipping and rain is coming down ever harder, causing the young Niveis to have to swallow down her apprehension before she loses her nerve. Already her mind is wanting to flash back to that night and it's through sheer force of will - and repetition - that she's keeping it back in these conditions. 'Just make it across the bridge. Once you're in the city you'll be fine. It's just a storm.' Cycle through her head on repeat, a mantra that is the only thing keeping her grounded.
The storm is only worsening as she pushes the car closer to the bridge, the wind enough to buffet the car she's driving, and the rain already coming down in sheets. She reaches the bridge to a crack of thunder and jumps, only to silently curse herself. She shouldn't be acting like this, it's ridiculous. However, reaching the bridge, she's forced to stop. The water is roiling beneath the bridge, the wind whipping it up so that it's beginning to splash onto the bridge. Autumn brings her car to a swift stop, tires squealing as she hits the brakes hard, her heart in her throat as she stares out over the water at the storm rolling in.
Her car sits there idling and Autumn's white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel is shaking. The wind roaring around her is almost deafening but somehow she can hear her own heartbeat pounding through her body above it. She's suddenly cold, despite that she shouldn't be, and feels like she's pitching violently, though she's completely still. If the bridge is empty or not she has no idea, all she can see is the storm, and she's sucking huge breaths in but it's like she's suffocating. Lightning illuminates the angry waters and Autumn is frozen, staring in abject horror as the water rises continually, slamming into the bridge and already it's to her tires. Her car is not large and is already beginning to float, the water carrying it back toward the river. Tires spin but find no purchase and yet again she finds herself sending up silent prayers for help as her car lurches, out of her control.
The therian tapped his fingers impatiently against his leather worn steering wheel as the line of the cars to get into the city was at least a couple dozen back. His eyes glanced into his rearview mirror where he could see the frustrated drivers behind him honking their horns uselessly while they all were at a stand still. Reaching across to the passenger seat to pick up his phone with some annoyance, he dialed Sio's number. He wanted to make sure that at least she had gotten into the city where it would much safer to shelter with Rissa. Pushing the speaker button on the phone's screen, he tossed it onto the seat again, keeping vigilant to see if the cars ahead of him were moving and only seeing the flashing lights of the gate that remained closed while other cars were still on the bridge not moving. "Shit," he breathed out in annoyance, rubbing his temple as the man behind him continued honking.
Another familiar yet troublesome sound began to rise above the noise as Dominic's brow furrowed. The city's warning sirens began to blare loudly indicating the dangerous weather event was going to be soon upon them or was already here. His gaze moved out over the darkened water as it thrashed about and had risen so quickly that it was pouring onto the bridge where cars were still stopped. The birds above him flew passed as if they were trying to escape something and he knew that whatever was about to happen, it was going to be very fast and very bad.
Stepping out of the truck just as his cell connected, Dominic climbed onto the hood of the vehicle, attempting to get a better view. He could see the bridge operator was waving frantically towards the drivers to move backwards which was rather impossible given that they were bumper to bumper. The wind had significantly picked up as his hair whipped around his face which he fought against to see what was happening, but it was unmistakable. The cars that were currently on the bridge were beginning to finally move forward, but the river had risen enough that it was lifting them off their tires.
Dom jumped off the truck and onto the road as people began to scramble. The drivers that had not made it onto the bridge were now attempting to reverse to get away as the ones who had been on the bridge began to vacate their cars and wade in the rising flood. The thunder crashed loudly in the sky making him jump as a few screams followed. He could see the operator attempting to help people off the bridge to safety as he moved closer, the water rushing over his boots. As others were fleeing, he continued forward looking into the abandoned cars that were floating about that were crashing into each other. The water was now above his waist and he knew he couldn't stay out on the bridge any longer.
Lightning crackled along the clouds and lit up the eerie colored sky which made him do a double take as the light illuminated a face inside the next car over. Dom waded through the water with more than a little difficulty and looked through the window. "Hey!" The young woman seemed to be frozen in place, too terrified to moved. He banged on the glass to grab her attention, but it seemed to do little good. His hand wrapped around the car door's handle and he pulled, but she was locked inside. Taking his jacket off, Dominic quickly wrapped it around his arm as some protection before quickly striking against the glass with his elbow. The window shattered into pieces as he reached in and took hold of her arm in some attempts to snap her from her trance. "Hey, hey. I'm gonna get you out, okay?"
The water was now halfway up to his chest and from the look of this girl inside, she wasn't going to be able to stand without going under. He fumbled inside to unlock the door, but a sudden shove from behind knocked him forward against her car. Groaning in pain, the therian turned around and placed his back against the car door, leveraging himself as he put both feet against the other vehicle which had just hit him, and pushed against it as hard as he could. However, the force of the river was too much as her car was pressed against the wall of the bridge. The metal of the bridge structure began to twist and whine from the pressure of the water and he could hear the cables beginning to snap. The car began to lift above the bridge wall high enough now that it teetered dangerously. Dom gave one more final push against the other car which gave him enough time to squeeze out and move to the hood of her car. He lifted his boot and kicked in the windshield, watching as the water began to pour into the driver side.
He fumbled for his dagger that was always attached to his belt as he lay on his stomach, half in the car while his legs were out. With a quick swipe across her seatbelt, Dominic pulled at the girl's arm and took her back through the windshield. Her car began crumbling under the weight as the other vehicle was still pushing against it along with the water. The wind was howling loudly now and he knew they were trapped with only one way out. Glancing over the side of the bridge, he knew it wasn't a far drop, but the idea of falling twenty or so feet into the freezing river in these conditions were not ideal, not to mention the fact that this girl seemed terrified. Before he could even ask if she could swim, a huge portion of the bridge gave way and collapsed into the river below.
Autumn isn't even present on the bridge, her mind elsewhere entirely. Her fingers are gripping the steering wheel so tightly they've turned white and still she doesn't move. She's not seeing a river, but instead a roiling sea, her floating tires already beginning to rock in a way that would make her nauseous if her body didn't instinctively remember the feeling of the waves. Somewhere in the back of her mind she registers hearing the warning siren and the cars honking, but the rest of her mind seems to be in lockdown mode.
It's because of this that she doesn't notice when people start bailing out of their cars around her, the screams and shouts just blending into the cacophony of noise already mixing in her head. The creaking metal of the cars as they begin to bump and collide to her just sounds like the bending metal of a ship and every time the thunder cracks out she flinches. The remaining logical part of her brain that's yelling at her to get it together is being drowned out as she stares at the darkened sky and angry water. She feels something hit across her left side but doesn't register it as glass, especially not with the rain now whipping into her car. The sudden feeling of a hand grabbing her, so different from what she was expecting, is what finally snaps her out of it. She whirls around, eyes wide as she starts to register what's going on. "I- what are you doing?!" She knows what he's doing, but he's chest deep in the water at this point! Why on earth is he trying to pull her out of her car instead of getting to safety?
She shifts around as he reaches back in the window to unlock her door, attempting to unbuckle herself so she can get out without putting this man in more danger, but the thing has been stubborn all day so of course now it doesn't want to unbuckle. She pulls at it, but she can't force it apart and she can feel the car moving ever more precariously toward the edge of the bridge. Another rumble of thunder causes her to jump and she misses it when another car pins the man, only noticing when she turns. She doesn't manage to ask if he's okay before the loud groaning of the bridge catches her attention, but then he's freed himself. She honestly hoped he'd get out of here after that, but he doesn't. She raises her arms to protect her face as he kicks in her windshield, allowing water to pour into the car. "I can't get the seatbelt undone!" She doesn't have to worry about it long. She doesn't register the flash of the blade thanks to the water, but suddenly she's being pulled out of the car and onto the hood, staring down into the water.
Immediately her throat closes on the thanks she was going to give him and it comes out as a strangled gasp instead of the words she was going for. She can hear the bridge groaning and the sound of supports giving way and she knows he has to be freezing since he's completely soaked, but this is nothing compared to if they fall into that river. The water has swollen and between the wind and rain she knows it's dangerous for almost anyone to fall in right now. Unfortunately they're not given the choice. She can't even force a word out before the bridge collapses under them and a scream tears from her as they both plummet into the freezing water.
She doesn't feel the cold of the water as she goes under, but she can feel the debris stinging against her face. Her lungs are filling with water and for a moment she panics again, remembering the complete darkness that had overtaken her before. Then she realizes her body isn't straining against the water and she allows herself to breathe and finally notice the bright blue glow that surrounds her. Her wings had unfurled from her back, steadying her instinctively just as they have done before. It comes in handy too. That man can't survive long in this river, not between the cold and the current, and the bright light from her wings gives her some ability to find him in the dark waters while also making it easier for him to see her. They must have gotten separated by the current after hitting the water. She pushes her body forward, swimming swiftly with the current. At this point she can only hope he didn't get caught under a falling piece of bridge debris, even underwater she doubts she'd be able to lift it off of him and he'll need air soon.
In the light shed by her wings, Autumn can make out the shapes of the concrete and steel that broke off from the bridge being carried by the swift current, twisted from the pressure they’d been under. It’s among those shapes that she catches sight of him and she makes her way over to him, her wings allowing her to cut her way through the water with ease and avoid the hazards until she reaches him. This time she reaches out and grabs his arm, swimming around in front of him so she can make sure he’s okay.
As the bridge gave way, the world seemed to slow. His body hit the water and felt like ice which quickly seized at his limbs, making it hard to fight against the current and reach the top of the surface. Pushing against the forces keeping him down, he swam as hard as he could in the darkness surrounding him, but just as Dominic felt his hand break the water, a car which had fallen from the bridge knocked into him and began to sink.
The weight of the car pushed him further down into the river and with the speed of the current, Dom couldn't pull himself free before it crashed against a grouping of rocks, slamming his back against one of their jagged edges. The air that he had managed to take in as he went plummeting into the water was quickly running out. His lungs were starting to burn and his chest gave small spasms as his body craved the oxygen it desperately was after. Managing to wriggle himself from between the hood of the car and the rocks, the Guard pushed off from the boulder, but was quickly rejected as something from the undercarriage hooked into his pants.
Dominic didn't know if it was the crushed metal of the car that had seized his leg, but he knew that if he didn't get free, he would drown within a few moments. Reaching down, Dominic pulled at the fabric which was keeping him captive. The satisfaction of feeling it tear free was relieving, but his strength was failing him. The spasms in his chest were painful and he wasn't going to be able to make it to the surface as the darkness around him seemed to be closing in. His body could only react to the one thing it needed more than anything and that was the need for air, so as the last of his adrenaline coursed through his muscles, Dominic swam for the surface.
The task seemed impossible and he didn't want to accept that he might drown. Drowning was not how he ever expected to leave this world and his mind flashed to Siobhan as he last saw her sleeping in bed this morning before heading off to work. The thought of that being the last time he would see her began to creep into his thoughts as the remaining bit of his will to get him to the surface was spent.
As he started to slip into unconsciousness, a bright blue light appeared in the haziness of his vision. Dominic couldn't be sure if it was his mind playing tricks on him as the last of his air ran out, but the swirl of light seemed to be moving rapidly towards him. His eyes couldn't make out what it was coming towards him in the murky waters until she was right upon him. As the girl from the bridge reached for his arm, Dom grasped onto hers in turn, just before his eyes closed.
Drowning is terrifying.
It’s a statement that most know to be true, but it’s a reality that Autumn knows from first hand experience. Most don’t realize just how painful it is, thinking that you just drift away, but that’s not true. The pain your body experiences before you lose consciousness is excruciating and it’s something that she would wish on absolutely no one. It seems a good time to be very thankful for the changes that now allow her to breathe while underwater, even if the currents are attempting to buffet her and take her off course. But this river isn’t the ocean and she refuses to let her own fear lead to someone else experiencing what she did.
The water is murky, sediment and debris having been kicked up by the nasty storm and obscuring her vision. It’s next to impossible to make out what the shapes are until she’s right on them and she curses the hunks of concrete that are vaguely person sized as she blows past them. Unless he’s like her and can breathe underwater, he doesn’t have much time left. She’s beginning to panic in her search, wondering if she’ll ever find him in this mess, when she catches sight of something coming up, fighting against the current. She immediately adjusts to swim down to him, relieved to see that he’s at least not stuck.
That relief is quickly dashed as, as soon as she reaches him and grabs onto him, his eyes close. Autumn immediately panics. Her only thought now is to get him the hell out of this river before he inhales too much water as his body fights to breathe. Quickly she loops his arm over her neck, getting as good a grip on him as she can, and then she forces herself upward. Her wings provide her the boost she needs to force them both through the current, though the addition of dead-weight is making it more cumbersome than she’d hoped. She’s not heading for shore just yet, her only immediate thought is to get his head above water so that hopefully he’ll start coughing and wake up, and the fastest way to do that is to go straight up. As soon as her head breaks the water she hauls him the rest of the way up, the sound of rain and howling wind immediately assaulting her senses but she doesn’t have time to worry about that right now.
Dragging him the rest of the way to shore is more of a fight than she’d anticipated. Keeping his head above the waves with his weight dragging her down is difficult, if it weren’t for her abilities she doubts she’d be able to do this. She’s panting by the time her feet touch muddy ground, the last pull to get him onto land thankfully assisted by the water. Autumn doesn’t drop him on his back, instead she gets him on one side to let the water escape his body and she shakes him, hard. “Wake up! Come on, please!” She gives his shoulder another hard shake, then rolls him onto his back to check his breathing. “You have to breathe! Wake up! You don’t get to pull me out of that car and then not make it, wake up!” She knows yelling at him probably won’t help matters unless he’s coming to consciousness and can hear her, but if he doesn’t start coughing up that water right now the next step is CPR.
The darkness that came was one Dom had known in his lifetime before. Being a Guard tended to get you into rough spots and quite often for him since he was the one called on for most of the dangerous missions. He never did mind though. Being a Guard was one of the most rewarding experiences of his life and he owed his second chance at a fresh start to the Aspects. Without them, he would've been locked up or dead. However, never did it feel like it should be the end when he was falling into this dark place. There was a lot of life he still wanted to live and people he needed to tell things to that he never had the stomach to even when life somehow pulled him back from the brink.
It seemed today would be another one of those lucky ones. There was an unfamiliar voice dulled in the background. It was frantic and filled with concern. A young woman's voice and as his supernatural senses began to balance out once more, he knew he didn't recognize her scent. The water that had filled his lungs suddenly came out as he coughed violently, bracing himself on his side. His eyes burned from the salt water and his chest felt as if a fire had started inside of it. Words couldn't form yet as he turned towards the scent and saw the girl from the bridge sitting there. Confusion filled his features as he looked at her and then towards the rising waters. There was no one else around and the only conclusion he could come to was that she was the one who had pulled him from the river.
Dominic shakily stood up and assessed the situation, knowing they needed to move again because the water was not slowing. She had somehow gotten them to the shoreline and as he looked back towards the bridge, he could see that most of the structure had torn away. "Holy shit." The words he spoke made him immediately go into another coughing fit, his lungs still working on repairing themselves from the trauma he'd just endured. They were on the opposite side of the city and had no choice but to find shelter in the nearby woods. Taking a breath to ready his body, he spoke again, but with a raspy tone. "We need to.. move."
The wind was whipping badly and forcing him to take a wide stance against it in order to not be knocked over. He reached out and grabbed her arm, knowing that that meant it would be far worse for this girl, moving her in front of him as they pushed against the storm. Debris was falling from the trees as they walked along the road that was void of anyone else. Dominic couldn't help but wonder how many people from the bridge managed to find somewhere safe to get to as this storm only grew.
A few, small buildings on the road came into view which was a welcomed sight. They had their choice of a gas station, post office, and public library, the closest being the latter. Dominic hurried up the few wooden steps and could see they had boarded up the doors and windows in preparation for the storm. He quickly picked up one of the benches and rammed it into the window, shattering the glass and small planks they had nailed up against it. Beckoning to the girl, he helped her through the window before pushing out the rest of the boards in order to get himself through and into the vacant library.
He’s been still for far too long now. Autumn has been in a state of panic since getting on that bridge but now she feels almost sick from it. He wouldn’t have stayed on that bridge if it wasn’t for her, a complete stranger, and his attempt to save her. Someone drowning because of her twice in such a short time is not something she can stomach and it’s only that desire to save him that keeps her from completely shutting down.
She doesn’t get any indication from him that he’s coming to consciousness until he’s suddenly coughing up water and immediately she reaches over to help brace him so he won’t have to fight so hard. “Oh thank goodness…” it comes out as a murmur, but the relief to see him moving is palpable. She’s positive he’s hurting but at least this means he’ll be okay. Once the coughing spell ends she backs off of him, giving him room. She can see the confusion cross his features as he looks at her but she can’t quite bring a reassuring smile to her face. “You’re heavier than you look, you know.” An attempt at a joke to help ease his mind and to keep her from focusing on the raging storm around them. Focus on literally anything else and hopefully she won’t freeze up again. It’s then that she realizes her wings must have faded back into the tattoos on her back, leaving her looking quite human. That explains the confusion but she’s in no hurry to clarify how she pulled him from the river.
She remains kneeling in the mud as he gets to his feet, all the adrenaline from before starting to leave her limbs and leaving her exhausted. She’d been so focused on everything else that she hadn’t even thought to check the bridge and, as she follows his line of sight, she’s horrified by the state of it. At this point there’s virtually nothing left, leaving them stuck on what she now realizes is the wrong side of the river. She quickly springs to her feet when she hears him coughing again, fighting the wind to take a couple steps closer to him. “You have to take it easy!” He has to be exhausted and she’s positive it’s going to take him a while to recover from nearly dying, even though he does have a point about them needing to get away from this river. She doesn’t fight his grip as he pushes her in front of him, helping to shield her from the worst of the wind. The top of her head barely reaches the top of his shoulder, meaning he serves as a very effective wind block as they push their way forward. Well, he’s doing most of the pushing, she’s mostly just attempting not to fall over and hinder their progress.
The sounds of the storm, accompanied by almost complete silence from them both, just makes things worse on her as they push forward and she can’t help but jump as thunder cracks out across the sky. She wishes he would say something, anything, but she’s not about to break his concentration by opening her dumb mouth. Obviously he’s better at this than she is, he actually seems to know where he’s going, and as the small buildings come into sight ahead of them she has never been more grateful to see them. His solution to getting them into the library isn’t kicking in the door like she’d expected but busting the window out works too. Even if it is with a bench. She’s starting to suspect he’s not human either, but isn’t really that concerned about it. She’s far more grateful to be getting out of the storm and she quickly hauls herself through the window and into the blessedly dry interior of the library, moving as fast as she can away from that window to escape the howling wind.
She hears him getting himself inside and for a moment she just slumps against the wall, trying to control the trembling that her arms seem to want to do. A moment of calming down later and she starts looking around, heading quickly into the back to find something. By the time he gets himself situated she’s found what she was looking for and she goes back out to the front, handing him the towel she’d managed to find. It’s not a blanket but it’s better than nothing since she’s sure he has to be freezing. “... Thank you.” That seems very insufficient, especially to someone who just pulled her out of her own worst nightmare. “I’m sorry about… all of that. I didn’t mean to put anyone in danger.” Better, still not good enough, but she’s really not sure what else to say. She moves to one of the walls away from the window he’d busted through and sits down, pulling her knees up to her chest. “I’m Autumn by the way.”
Dominic pulled a small shard of glass from his hand as his way through the window was not without some small injury. He tossed the piece outside and watched as smaller things on the porch of the old library began to fly across the property and away with the wind. The plastic chairs began trembling and soon tumbled on their sides just as the bench swing tore from the roof and went crashing along the porch, making Dominic step backwards just as it hurled itself against the window.
He was beyond exhausted, but they needed to ensure the place was secure as possible if this storm was going to get worse. Moving to the side of the nearest bookcase, he pushed it towards the open window, looking towards the entrance. They had boarded it up well inside and out as he suspected and he hoped that it would hold for now. With a few last grunts and some fallen books, Dominic was able to get the bookcase in front of the window which seemed enough to keep the howling wind from coming through.
As he turned around, he could see the girl coming back with the offering of a towel. He would've told her to keep it for herself, but it was fairly obvious to Dom that she wasn't exactly in need of it. Frankly, the cold from the river and fight against the water had drained him completely and she didn't look like she was anything more than a little wet and scared. Dom's eyes stayed on her as she thanked him and moved to the opposite wall. The words she said to him were dulled since his concentration was more on trying to figure out what she was. It was only after the silence happened for a moment or two following her mentioning her name did he finally respond. "Dominic."
The towel was most likely from the kitchen in the back. This place had been an old house once and he assumed the staff kept it as it was while turning the rest of the space into the library. He wiped his face quickly with the worn and rough cloth before tossing it on one of the cushioned love seats, looking to the fireplace next to her. Now that the adrenaline was beginning to slow, he could feel how numb his extremities were and pulled his soaking wet shirt off along with his boots in attempts at getting warmer. The silence in the space only grew as he tossed a few of the wooden logs into the hearth and fumbled for his zippo which was still deep in his pants' pocket that clung to him. The trusty flame came on as his thumb rolled over the flint wheel and Dom was able to get a fire going.
Satisfied that they would at least be able to have some form of heat soon, the therian pushed one of the sofas towards the fireplace and sat down. His gaze moved over to the small girl and he was still rather in shock that she had pulled him from the river. "You're welcome," he replied to Autumn finally as his hues moved back to the flames that were beginning to grow. "Though I suppose I should be thanking you too." The quiet fell between them again with just the whistling of the wind coming through the cracks of the open window and the shaking of the foundation from the storm. "I know you're not human, but my nose can't figure out what exactly that means which is usually not a problem for me."
Autumn is very thankful for the relative quiet inside the library, which is even more pronounced in the back and away from the busted window. Part of her doesn’t want to go back out to the front and to the howling storm, but she does it anyway so that she can hand him the towel. She’s just in time to see him hauling one of the giant bookcases in front of the window and she pauses in her steps to watch him for a moment. That’s definitely not something a normal person could manage but she’s still not one to pry. So she doesn’t ask, just hands him the towel and adds ‘making it quiet from the storm’ to her mental list of things to be grateful to him for.
She can feel his eyes on her as she goes to the back wall to sit down, the silence almost oppressive despite the wind that manages to get in. She has to resist the urge to start babbling and when she finally does sit down she looks up and meets his eyes. It’s hard to tell what he’s thinking but he doesn’t seem angry with her, which is good. She’s not scared of him, hard to be scared of someone who would risk that storm to save your life, so she ends up deciding that he’s just exhausted and cold and not to think any more into it than that. He’s been quiet for so long that she’s almost surprised when he finally volunteers his name. “Well it’s nice to meet you… even if it was under bad circumstances.”
Autumn does actually like libraries. This is one strange, obviously having been converted from a house, but it still has that nice cozy feeling that most libraries have. Though she must admit she’s surprised that they kept the fireplace, fire plus books isn’t generally a good idea but it is useful in this case. She remembers how they used to keep fires going on deck all the time to help warm hands when gloves just weren’t cutting it and she knows from experience how wet clothing just sucks all the warmth right out of you. That being said, when one expects to be getting wet they usually dress for it and he obviously wasn’t expecting an icy dive today. She still ends up looking away as he pulls his shirt off, picking a book up off the floor that had fallen as he starts the process of starting the fire.
As the crackling noise starts to fill the room she scoots a bit further away from the fireplace. She’s always preferred the cold, even if the reasons have changed now. Before it was to smother the flames that ran through her blood, now it’s because her kind just prefer the cold. Now that Dominic has settled on the couch he pulled over she pulls her gaze away from the book, setting it down beside her and looking up at him. “You shouldn’t. If I hadn’t been on that bridge in the first place…” she trails off, not really wanting to finish that sentence. The silence stretches for a bit before he catches her attention again and she smiles at the not-quite a question. “You’re not human either. Though I suppose I should be grateful that means I don’t stink?” She holds her arm up then for him to see, the icy blue markings circling her wrist standing out now that she points them out. “I’m a Niveis. It’s the only reason I managed to get you out of the river.”
“Why did you do it? Try to get me off that bridge I mean.” He couldn’t have known that she probably would have been alright, but he had to know how dangerous it was. He nearly died! In fact now that she’s had a moment to settle she can feel how sore her body is. She can only imagine how much worse it must be for him, especially after nearly drowning. “How are you feeling? Drowning is painful… and I know you got hurt on the bridge. I got you out of the water as fast I could, but it was hard even for me.” There’s really not much she can do if he is hurt besides help keep an eye on him to make sure nothing gets worse, but she can’t help but feel responsible for it.
Dominic nodded shortly to her mentioning of him not being human. Seeing as he'd been able to figure that out about her rather quickly due to his keen sense of smell, he didn't feel it necessary to hide while they were in such a precarious situation. Rules were rules and revealing that you were a supernatural to a human that was unaware was a big no no in Evermore; at least if a situation wasn't life threatening. Thankfully, he didn't have to deal with that kind of decision which probably wouldn't have been much of an internal battle at all. That was definitely life or death.
As she presented her wrist to him, he could see the blue patterning along her skin. He had never seen anything like it before, but as she mentioned her being a niveis, it perked his ears and interest up. The Ailwards had mentioned the new arrival of the species in town and none had ever actually met one before or at least not knowingly. Their tribe had apparently been in Evermore for some months now and staying in the taller elevations of the mountains because their kind preferred the cold. Dominic understood now why she moved farther away from the fireplace as the heat intensified.
His brow quirked at her asking why he tried to help her on the bridge. The therian looked at her as if she had three heads. "I don't know, because you looked like you had no intention of seeing tomorrow?" Dom replied sarcastically with a smirk, squeezing the excess water out in his shirt and laying it by the flames. "I'm a cop." Not true and by the look of him, a lie no one would really believe. "So to speak," he added quickly after. "Danger is kinda something I'm used to. It's my job and so is helping people, so." His matter of fact tone was probably rather confusing and abrupt, but it also had a sense of finality to it which meant he was done talking about it. It wasn't as if he could tell Autumn he was an Ailward Guard.
"Believe it or not, this is not the first time I've almost drowned. Can put that to more of the being a cop thing." Dominic cleared his throat of the still slightly burning dryness that lingered. "I'll be fine." His hazel hues moved back to Autumn, catching her eyes. "I'm a therian. Lycan more accurately. Faster healing, more agility. Body is sore, but it'll bounce back in no time. Some of the perks." What he wouldn't give for a nap here and now on this couch if it weren't for the raging storm pounding against the library.
"You though," he began, giving her a quick up and down. "I've never met a niveis before. It was you in the water I saw. The bright blue light." Dom's memory bank filed away this new scent for future reference along with the smell that made her up. "You would've been fine hadn't I showed up anyway, right? Well, if the fall into the water with crushing debris didn't kill you first." Dominic tried to remember the bits and pieces the Ailwards had shared with everyone on what they knew about the new species that was living in their city. "Why did you panic on the bridge then?" It was obvious she was terrified and yes, it was a terrifying situation to be in, but if she had ended up in the water, from what he understood with the little information he had on her species, Autumn would've been able to survive much more easily than any other person.
Autumn picks up on the interest in his eyes as he sees the markings running along her skin, but she doesn’t elaborate quite yet. She’s still very new at navigating all of this. Before it was imperative that she told no one what she was but everything has changed now in more ways than one. With her still being so inexperienced with the ins and outs of this city she figures it’s better to wait to explain until she’s asked before she attempts telling him things he already knows. She’s guessing not much by his expression, but to be fair she knows very little of the other factions herself, only what she’s been told by the tribe since arriving.
In retrospect, her question was definitely strange. She can’t help but let out a laugh at the look on his face, as though he’s staring at some alien creature instead of just a girl, but his quip does help to put her at ease a little. “Sorry, I guess that was a strange question. It’s just not every day you meet someone who would risk almost certain death to pull a complete stranger out of their car.” His comment about being a cop immediately causes her to look him over, raising a brow at the rather obvious lie. He’s no cop. At least not like any of the cops she’s seen and she’s been all over. “A cop ‘so to speak’? Next time, go for a lumberjack. Or a biker. I’d believe you faster.” Despite the nagging curiosity that he’s now piqued she doesn’t push him farther than the light teasing. It helps that she actually believes the last part and he doesn’t seem like he wants to keep talking about it, though she does seem entirely unperturbed by his rather abrupt tone.
Dominic’s comment about having almost drowned before just serves to confuse her more. Surely someone that had experienced that before wouldn’t be rushing to leap into a raging river during a storm and yet he had done just that. She’s pretty sure it reads on her face, though she’s also sure he doesn’t intend for her to ask. She really wants to but, for the sake of politeness with someone she’s stuck in a building with, she refrains. “Ah. I’m afraid I don’t know much about therians, but if you’re sure you’ll be fine I’ll take your word for it.” From what she has been told, mostly by her tribe, lycans can turn into wolves. The other information is new to her but from what she’s seen from him she does believe it. “You do sound like you could use some water though. I could try to get some, the water in the kitchen might still work.” Personally she’s exhausted, but she couldn’t sleep right now if she tried. For as much as the library blocks out the worst of the noise from the storm she can still hear enough of it that she’s far from relaxed.
She rubs her wrist when he starts bringing the conversation back to her, running her hand over the still-new markings that cover her skin. “Yeah, that was me. Or, well, the light was my wings. They’re the actual reason I was able to get you out, they make all of us very strong swimmers.” She’s pretty certain the initial clue to her identity was that her tiny self managed to pull him out of the river but she can’t worry about that. She is not letting anyone else die. “Oh yeah, had the giant pieces of falling bridge not managed to crush my head or impale me, I would’ve been just fine,” she does mean it as a joke but her laugh is a bit too harsh, her thoughts flashing back in time giving her tone a bit of an edge. She catches herself and gentles her tone. “Yeah, I probably would’ve been okay. Still grateful you showed up though.”
Autumn knew the next question was coming, it’s only natural. After all, why on earth would a species that can breathe underwater be as scared as she was on that bridge? She still wasn’t prepared for it and she breaks eye contact with him this time, staring down at the markings on her wrist instead. “Well I suppose that makes us even. I know next to nothing about therians and you don’t know about us... I wasn’t born a niveis. Most of us weren’t. Up until about a month ago I was a phoenix.” She almost seems to be fighting to get the words out, her sentences choppy and halting. “I… a phoenix turns into a niveis when they drown or die somewhere really cold. I was in the arctic with my grandfather when a storm sank our ship. It was really bad… apparently the worst the area had seen in decades. When I woke up, I was like this.” She doesn’t seem to notice that her voice has dropped in volume, but now that she’s over some of the worst of the memories she glances back up at him. “I guess I just wasn’t prepared for another storm.” It’s an understatement and she’s sure he knows it, but that incident is also a big part of the reason she refused to leave him behind in that river. She was not going to let him drown like the crew did, like her grandfather did.
Dom could immediately pick up on the hesitancy she had when speaking about what had happened on the bridge. Whatever it was, he could tell it had more to do than just a little fear of the weather. Listening to her brought back some of the pieces of information the Ailwards had on their kind. The fact that they had once been phoenixes was rather astounding when they were told. Something like an evolution of their species and what a jump of differences from their previous lives. Every pair of eyes in the meeting room immediately went to Sapphire as she was one of the only phoenixes known to still be around in Evermore, let alone the greater area of the region. Dominic knew it was hard for his friend on the Guard and yet, she still remained the bubbly personality she always was despite a certain extinction her species was going through.
His eyes moved away from her and back to the dancing flames. "I'm sorry." Dom wasn't much for expressing his feelings, but he did mean the apology. It wasn't his intention to pry or bring up what he could only imagine to be the worst moment in her life. It certainly must've been a very traumatic experience for her to go through and to have lost her grandfather on top of it just a month or so ago. "Still, that was very brave of you to come after me and I appreciate that. If you hadn't, no amount of therian abilities would've saved me from the awfulness of drowning." The tingling feeling in his fingers and toes were acting as pins and needles while his body began to warm up from the steady fire.
"Whatever you've heard about therianthropes is probably true," he began, glancing over to her while raking his hand through his still wet hair in slight annoyance as it clung to his bare skin. "There are a few different kinds though. Foxes, cats, and then wolves, like myself. Each have their own unique abilities too. All therians have longer lives, better senses, and tend to live in packs." Tend being the key word there. Dominic hadn't been part of a pack since he lost is mother and didn't intend on ever being part of one again. However, now that he was part of the Guard, a pack had no real place among the faction. Every member had a loyalty to the Ailwards and not to each of their own species.
"Did you just get to Evermore then?" He assumed if Autumn had only been born as a niveis a month ago, then she would've moved with her tribe into the mountains as well. "What do you think of the city so far?" It had been strange for him to be in such a bustling city when he came from living with his family on their own property that stretched for acres of farm land. Even when he was traveling the country in his uprooted existence of never staying in one place for very long, Dominic avoided all the big city towns. He hated city life, and though he wasn't part of the Evermore pack, Dominic was quick to find his piece of land in their territory out in the woods.