I woke up. My arm was a blazing fire of agony. I winced as I sat up and was startled to find I was on my bed. I glanced down at my arm and saw that it was completely normal - I could see the skin and none of the flesh or bone underneath - but extremely painful.
Had that been a dream? It had felt awfully real.
"I wish you had been dreaming." The quiet voice came from the foot of my bed. I saw Timothy's silhouette.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" I hissed, not wanting to wake Leanne up.
"I'm so sorry. I just ... lost control. I became more wolf than witch."
"You're sorry? Sorry?" I was disgusted and disbelieving. "I don't think sorry covers it, do you? You nearly ate me!"
"And, um, that's why I'm saying goodbye."
"You're leaving?" My voice had calmed down. I felt odd, as if my heart had just stopped beating without majorly affecting me.
Timothy nodded. "Let's hope you never see my face again."
Why was I suddenly sad? I nodded at Timothy. "Yes, because I don't think I could stop myself from hurling insults at you."
"I... um... wanted to give you a choice."
"A choice? What, as to whether you leave or not?" I raised an eyebrow.
"Oh, no, no, that would be totally stupid, seeing as there's no other option than for me to go, but I wanted to ask if you'd like me to concoct a forget potion."
Oh. ‘Would I?' I asked myself. A part of me was nodding, saying ‘Why would you want to remember him when he's done this to you?' while another was telling me quietly no. The latter part didn't sound as if it hoped it could convince me, but another part of my mind was wondering if I'd just fall in love with him if I saw him again. That could be dangerous; since I wouldn't remember the fact he'd attacked me.
"Um, I don't know," I told Timothy truthfully. "Part of me hates you and a very tiny bit of me still loves you, but I'm worried that if I ever see you again, even catch the briefest glimpse of you, I'll fall in love with you again."
"Well, ignore the bit of you that loves me because that part is insane, but your last point was a very valid one."
Something tugged at my concentration in my mind.
Oh, what now?
‘Stare in his eyes and forget this ever happened.'
What? He's not a hypnotist. Why would I want to anyway?
‘Because you love him. And it'll work because you'll lose yourself in his eyes.'
I don't want to.
‘Just do it.'
I blinked to bring myself back to the room. I gazed over at Timothy.
"Um, no thank you is my answer. I wish you'd never attacked me in the first place but I couldn't forget that or forget you without endangering my life."
Timothy nodded. "I hope you don't get too sad."
"Well, hopefully you've broken my heart enough that it can't be fixed again."
Timothy looked unhappy but nodded. "I guess this is goodbye, then."
I nodded. "I guess it is."
I could tell neither of us really wanted to say it. Timothy might have hated himself, but he still loved me and I knew that I still loved him.
Suddenly, the moon shone out from behind the bank of cloud that had been obscuring it, through my window, and bathed Timothy in a pool of silver light that made him look as if he were glowing. My breath caught in my throat as his hair seemed to take on a darker brown but with greyish tinges that made him look slightly supernatural, slightly wolf-like but also wise beyond his years. His eyes, a darker shade of green than usual, resembled ivy leaves. There were faint silvery lines stretching out from the pupils to the edge of the irises' circumferences which reminded me of the veins of such leaves. This added to the overall effect of Timothy looking older. Features like his cheekbones seemed to sharpen as well and his skin seemed to radiate a pearly glow. Its present pale nature made him look magnificent. A lump rose in my throat.
"You're so... beautiful," I gasped.
Timothy frowned. "Looks are very evidently deceiving. My personality is far from that."
"I ... can't do it," I said, only realising it as I spoke the words. "I can't say goodbye."
"Then, I'll do it," he said firmly. "Good..."
"No!" I interrupted.
"Tani, you don't know what you're saying! Good..."
"No!" I cut him short again. I suddenly remembered the part of the poem he'd recited to me. "The precious rose-dove ... is joined with her kingfisher in undeniable love." (The bit about foxglove wasn't really necessary at this point).
"Undeniable," I repeated softly. "I can't deny I love you. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't."
Timothy's frown deepened. "But you can't allow us to be together."
I frowned and looked down. "Perhaps I'm crazy enough to pretend tonight didn't happen."
"You really would be crazy."
"Then I accept that. I love you," I said simply. "And I'll always love you."
I found myself crawling along my covers to sit on my knees next to Timothy. He frowned as I reached out to stroke his grey-streaked hair. My fingers remained entwined in it as our minds connected.
‘I want to be a witch...' I thought, yearning to look as dazzling as my kingfisher. I kissed Timothy's cheek. ‘Make me a witch, Timothy.'
How am I going to do that?
‘I don't know. Can't you just bite me while you're a cat or something?'
Witches aren't like vampires or werewolves, Tani, and seeing as even those don't exist; I can't see how you'd transform into one.
‘Oh. That's a shame. Maybe you could use your sapphire...'
‘But why would you want to be a witch? Is it because I look slightly more handsome at night and you want to look prettier?' Timothy chuckled.
‘You're much more than slightly more handsome,' I told him reproachfully.
‘Tani, you're beautiful as you are.' He smiled at me warmly. The smile was quickly replaced by a frown. ‘Witches aren't that special anyway. I'd go as far as saying being human is better. Witches are much more likely to succumb to evil than humans'.
I thought you'd have guessed they are. You've seen the aura of dark energy that sometimes surrounds me. That's more than coldness, Tani: it's a sign that I'm not a totally good witch.
No, I didn't say that. I've just used dark magic before. I mean, it was even slightly dark to control your mind with my sapphire. Although my intentions weren't malicious, magic shouldn't really be used to force people into submission. And turning into a wolf when I know I may potentially end up killing or eating someone is never a good thing.
‘Why did you turn into a wolf this evening?'
Well, you know I can be feeling quite heartless sometimes and it was a sort of proof to this side of my personality that I'd never escape the other side.
I shivered. ‘It must be scary, having an alter-ego.'
Timothy laughed humourlessly. ‘I'd say this was my alter-ego, Tani. I've only ever been this tender since I met you. So, in that sense, having an alter-ego is a good thing. It's a relief from constantly putting up walls between me and other people.'
‘Am I helping?'
‘Yes, Tani, you're amazing.' He sounded sincere. ‘I feel like the division between the sides of my personality is a blurring line when you're around. The cold side of me puts up fewer walls.'
‘That's good. Maybe they'll merge into one someday and you'll be kinder than you'll be icy.'
‘Hmm. That would be good. Or maybe I'll totally suppress my cold side...' He sounded wistful
‘So, we're definitely going to be in a relationship?'
We already are, but yes, we'll make it official.
I beamed. Timothy smiled faintly.
I took my hand away from Timothy's hair and let it drop to my side. I yawned suddenly. I was exhausted.
"Are you staying over?" I asked sleepily.
Timothy snorted. "What would Leanne think?"
"Ah, good point. Well, be a cat and I can pretend to be equally mystified in the morning."
"Where should I put my stuff?"
I frowned. "Pardon?"
Timothy grinned. "Well everything other than the layer of clothing immediately next to my skin falls off when I change."
"Really? I didn't know that. Have you got your stuff from when you became a wolf?"
"Yeah. I collected that when I brought you back here."
"Oh, just hide it under my bed."
I crawled back to my pillow and slid under my covers. "Make sure you're on my feet or something so we can still talk tonight."
I felt a slight rise in my mattress as Timothy stood up. I made myself comfortable and waited for him to change.
A few minutes later, I heard a gentle purring. It was a comforting sound, and as I was already quite comfortable, I found it sent me off to sleep. I drifted in and out of pleasant dreams which all involved Timothy. It was as if the earlier attempt on my life had never happened.