Kai all but passed out on his futon once Hillary arrived. Ray and him had left Ayah wrapped up in towels on Tyson's bed and the last thing he thought before giving in to his exhaustion was a plan to go shopping once he came to. After all, man did not live off of rice gruel alone, and with the rate he was working through the food with or without Tyson helping, that was pretty much all that was left.
He found himself rudely awoken when Hillary's cold fingers touched his back. He had reached the depth of sleep that normal people wake up like they're electrocuted, and Hillary was lucky Kai didn't start throwing punches.
"Sorry," she said, and she did look it. "But I made you a shirt. To go around the wings, that is, and...I'm sorry, I...um..."
He didn't have to ask. She had probably been poking his wings and who knows what else long before her stupid cold fingers got to his back and woke him.
"Go away," he grumbled.
"What, not even a thank you?"
Even though Kai did respect Hillary for her competence, he didn't much care what she thought. Being woken up by said person can do that to platonic feelings.
"Oh, did you hear? They found Max!" she said.
That woke him up for just a bit longer.
"How is he?" He had to stop himself from asking what is he.
"I don't know. His mom just called in to say they had found him somewhere at sea and that they were taking him home. Tyson threw up a big stink enough to get a response that Max was alive, but other than that we don't know anything."
That also probably meant that Tyson and his grandfather were home. Even as he thought of it, he could hear the unmistakable noise of Tyson's voice ranting from the other side of the house. Figuring there was nothing else he could do but hope the information was true, he fell back to his stomach and got ready to go back to sleep.
After a few minutes waiting, sleep eluded him. Hillary hadn't left. The only reason he was okay hitting the hay where she could see in the first place was because he was at Tyson's house. Staring at him was a bit too much.
"Go away," he grumbled again.
"What? I'm not doing anything."
He let out a snuff of displeasure from his nose. It felt warmer than usual, and he thought he could smell the precursor to flame. "I can't sleep with you staring at me."
"Oh. Yeah. Sorry....um..."
Another sigh. Ugh. "What?"
"It's nothing, really, I'm sorry for distracting you. I'll just go."
But even as she turned to stand, she hesitated. Kai was starting to get seriously annoyed. Maybe if he really did breathe fire she'd buzz off. If he didn't get to sleep before his stomach woke up, he'd have to endure Tyson's comments on his new appetite as he ate everything within reach.
"Can...can I ask you a question, Kai?"
No. But she was probably going to ask anyway, knowing her. She could be more tenacious than Tyson when she wanted to know something.
"Are you in love with Ayah?"
That threw him for a loop. 1. Why did she think that an important enough question to keep him up when he was this tired? 2. Why did she care? 3. Like hell he would tell her if he did.
"I'm sorry if that's—that's nosey—"
"Then go away already."
He heard the crack of her knuckles as her famous temper kicked in and her fists balled on her lap.
"Jeeze, rude much? It was just an innocent question, you don't have to be completely senseless!"
"Says the one waking me up by poking me like I'm some freaky science exhibition." Afraid he really just might give into the temptation and try snorting fire at her, he grabbed his pillow and pushed himself up, drawing in his massive wings and startling her in the process. Perhaps he'd get more peace up in Tyson's room. Hillary avoided that pigsty like the plague.
"I'm sorry, you don't have to leave, I'm going now!"
But he was already up and moving. His muscles protested at the movement as though he had run across the city. Damn. It would take forever to get back up to his previous level of fitness if just giving Ayah a bath did this to him.
Thankfully, Hillary didn't follow him. Not that he thought she would, but you never knew with Tyson's friends. They were uncomfortably cozy with getting into one another's business. They would all but sleep in the same bed if it weren't for the fact that sleeping in the same bed with Kai would amount to sleeping in the same bed as a porcupine—he'd make sure of it.
It wasn't till he opened the door to Tyson's room that he remembered that he and Ray had left Ayah in Tyson's bed. Even as he squinted at her through the film of sleep, he couldn't find any place to curl up where her white wings hadn't been spread. He couldn't see what Hillary had dressed her in, as they had pulled up the blanket and piled it up and between her wings. Sighing, he eyed the filthy floor and wondered if it would be more effort to go back downstairs than it would be to just find a corner.
"Damn it, Tyson...why do you have to be such a pig..."
Wait...hadn't they set up a little nest of sort for Ayah in the attic?
He closed the door quietly and looked up at the ceiling at the end of the hall where a string hung. Kai grinned.
"How western of them."
A ladder slid down once he opened the trap door. On finding that his legs would need all the help they could get climbing the ladder, he put his pillow between his wings and back for his new appendages to hold and climbed up. His muscles were burning by the time he reached the top to find a fluffy, white, small brass bed set up in the corner, only seen by the light from beneath him. He could see a lamp next to the bedside. After checking that it worked, he pulled up the trapdoor, switched off the lamp, and settled down in Ayah's bed for some serious hibernation.
When his stomach woke him with an awful cramp of hunger, the pitch blackness temporarily confused him. But it only took him a second to remember and start pawing for the lamp. Leaving it on, he went to the trap door and let the ladder slide down. The dim lighting of the hallway below told him it was night.
He gave an inward sigh of satisfaction. Perfect.
Before he started anything, he checked the kitchen for food, but it must be the same day as nothing had changed. He checked the dojo to see Tyson and Ray sleeping in their futons, Kai's left alone in its corner. A little folded lump had been left on the pillow. On closer inspection, he found what could only be the shirt Hillary had made, and he felt just a twinge of guilt. But then it wasn't anything incredibly inventive. It was just a man's shirt that had had the majority of its back cut out and replaced with a sort of tie or halter on the back of the neck. He had to step into it, as nothing would go over the mass of his wings. Then he slipped his arms into the long sleeves and tied the top about his neck. It was of a darker color, like he liked it. Either way, it was nice to finally have his torso covered.
Time for some food hunting in the big world.
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Before Beasts, There Was Water--Book 4Fanfiction
Kai should have burned to death. Somehow, he wasn't, but Dranzer has vanished, his body is going through some sickly changes, and Max has jumped overboard and vanished into the depths of the sea. Ayah's song has done more to Kai and Max than just gi...