The next morning, Falcon finally drags himself out of the tent, still groggy from sleep, and makes his way back towards the main camp. Eternal is still asleep, her face peaceful and her breathing deep and regular. Falcon slips out quietly, being careful not to wake her and smothering a yawn as he makes his way back to the rest of the camp. He feels as if he hasn't slept in a month, nightmares had plagued him the entire night, almost all of them concerning fire, screaming and the smell of blood. And Eternal.
Suddenly, before Falcon can even think, he finds himself standing almost nose-to-nose with a furious Dane.
"What the hell are you doing Falcon." Dane hisses, looking like he wants nothing more than to pound his leader into the ground.
"What do you mean?" Falcon asks, taking a step back. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"You know damned well what I mean!" Dane yells, "What the hell were you thinking, diving into that bloody lake in the dark. You're acting like a madman, what is wrong with you?"
"Dane, relax, I knew what I was doing." Falcon raises his hands in a gesture of surrender, attempting to placate his friend's fury. "It was all under control-"
"Liar! I saw you come out of the lake, you'd half drowned yourself down there! And what was she doing with you? She's messing with your head, can't you see that? She'll be the death of you, and of the rest of us too!"
"Don't talk about her like that!" Falcon retorts, his temper flaring. "She had nothing to do with it, leave her alone."
"Are you blind? She's the reason we're in this mess! Two people have already died because of her, how long before there's another? Blaze is on our tail, Frost have got wind of us and there's bloody soldiers infesting the whole bloody forest! That damned witch going to kill us!"
"Stop!" Falcon roars, grabbing Dane by the shoulders and lifting the slighter man right off the ground, "Stop talking like this! You're just as stupid as the rest of them, she's not a fucking witch! Just because you don't understand her you think she's evil."
With that, he lets go of Dane's shoulders. Dane lands on his feet, looking a little shaken, but still with that mutinous glint in his eye: "You're mad," he hisses, "She's turned you mad. I should have known all along. You're in love with her aren't you you stupid fool? Bet you had a good night in that tent. Little witch is evidently just as good a whore."
Falcon lost his temper completely. Before Dane could even raise a hand to defend himself, Falcon had kicked him hard in the jaw, sending him sprawling. Then, before he could retaliate, Falcon seized him by the throat and slammed him into the rock wall of the cave, snarling like an angry beast:
"Don't you dare." he snarled, "Don't you dare say that again. If you even so much as think that, I swear to the gods I'll hang you with your own entrails and then leave you for the dogs. Do you understand me?"
Dane struggled, desperately trying to breathe through Falcon's vice-like grip. Still enraged, Falcon rammed his knee into Dane's chest before dropping him, gasping and whimpering in pain before turning on his heel and stalking back towards the tent.
Bastard, he thinks as he storms away, that rotten little bastard! How can he even think like that? I ought to kill him for that...
Suddenly, just as he reaches the front of the tent again, he stops dead in his tracks. It was as if all his fury had simply vanished, to be replaced with a deep, black void of horror and guilt.
"Oh gods," he whispers out loud, "What have I done?"