"John?" the woman said with a hint of fear. Her smell was that of Eve, but he had already confirmed it. Even with all the years gone by - his changing into that of a lion, his slow adaption into nature, his rise to head of a pride, and raising cubs - Vatralav still remembered her.
The other humans turned, but Vatralav was prepared. He smacked one of the guns from it's owners grip, then bit the other human's gun and wrenched it free. It tasted bad, like a plant or the blood of another lion.
A human, a tall dark-haired one, backed away calmly. "Is this really him?" it said to Eve. She nodded, nearly sending her hat to the ground. Vatralav slowly crept forward, ignoring the third human as it tried to back away without being noticed.
"Yes, look at the scar on his lip," she said, removing her hat and letting her dark hair flow over her shoulders. She smiled wide, her fear nearly gone, but not quite. Was this some dream? Was he really facing a woman he had forsaken when the mages had punished him?
"I guess it is." Vatralav stopped smelling the violence he had earlier. It seemed these people were peaceful now. Then again, he knew that.
The woman took something out of her bag and walked toward Vatralav. He felt like backing up or attacking, but resisted both urges. This woman would not harm him. He was sure of it.
"This," she said when she reached him, "will allow you to speak properly." Vatralav growled, a deep rumble from the depths of his throat. She gave him a sideways look. "Don't be mean, John, I just want to talk to you!" With that she hooked what appeared to be a collar around his neck. It felt odd, but Vatralav allowed her to continue and press a few button's on the side. What was it she was doing.
"There!" Eve said, standing up straight, "Try saying something." Vatralav wanted to tell her how foolish it was for him to speak with a collar, but he felt as if he should say something else, should the collar actually work.
Vatralav growled in the way one lion would greet another and was surprised to hear a robotic "Greetings" appear alongside his rumbling. He step back in amazement. "I can speak to humans?" the voice said alongside a small growl.
Eve looked close to tears. "Hello, John," she said, before dropping to both knees and hugging around his mane. Instincts would have made him lash out, but Vatralav ignored them. He was human at heart, no matter how much he had tried to change that over the years.