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"Been a long time, hasn't it?" - 05 / 12 / 2003
After a few moments of chasing after that one fleeting glimpse of gold hair and silver eyes, Kaligo suddenly realizes that what he's doing is stupid. How does he know that that person is--oh, no, that's stupid too, he's never forgotten a face, and certainly not a face like that. And he remembers very distinctly the gasped words, choked out past bubbling blood and froth--
"Good work. First class."
He has faith in his memory, if nothing else. But furthermore, what is he going to say when he finally catches up? Which he does, of course, and feels distinctly like a fool. He's quite close, close enough to lay a hand on the stranger's shoulder. But he makes no move of the sort and says, instead, just loud enough to be heard over the hum and murmur of the crowd around him, "Do I know you?"
The stranger turns, and for a moment her grin of recognition seems harmless enough, carelessly cast over her shoulder. But her voice carries a note too bright for any in the middle of a marketplace on a sweltering day, let alone a dragon facing what is (or was, even) obviously a demon.
"I'd hope you do." She tosses the tail of blonde hair back over her shoulder conversationally, facing away again with a low laugh. "Then again, talents like you don't remember everyone they've . . . known, do they?" she finishes, with an emphasis on 'know' that quite plainly substitutes another verb.
For a moment, Kaligo misses his ears. They would be pinned back right now, but he had foregone them long ago (to look more human, though he obviously isn't, but he can try). He swallows with an audible click in his throat and asks with confidence that he doesn't feel, "What do you mean?"
"Well, you knew me. And I'm sure you've . . . known . . . an awful lot of people," San continues, guiding the conversation over to the nearest stall to admire the brightly-colored spun glass beads on display, strung upon necklaces and bracelts and all other manner of trifles. "And you'll probably know plenty more. Heck, you might know me again." She grins toothily, picking up a many-stranded collar to admire it with a shrug. "You never know."
"Known?" Kaligo repeats, puzzled. He spares a glance for the beads (pretty trinkets; if he had money he'd buy them--where are the others now, anyway? are they waiting for him? he should go back, he really should) as he continues to dog her footsteps, not quite knowing why he's so persistant but reluctant to turn back. "What do you mean, 'known?'" He is uneasy. There is quite clearly something he's missing; some element of subtlety that he's not picking up on. "I mean, I know you--don't I? At least, I remember you."
He's reminded too vividly of the nightmares, of those he killed coming back to haunt him. But she doesn't seem inclined to do him harm.
"Remember. Yeah, that's a better word." Hosana replaces the collar and takes up a necklace, holding it to the sunlight. With a pointed smirk, she brings her hand to Kaligo and rests it just below the throat, the crystalline beads shining in her fingers reflecting liquid-bright points of deep crimson onto their skin. "Red looks good on you, doesn't it?"
An almost inaudible, sibilant hiss, and Kaligo's pupils contract nearly to pinpoints. In a gesture that seems remarkably unlike himself--and indeed, seems to belong wholly to another person--he tears the beads out of Hosana's hand, scattering dozens of red spots on the ground.
"Stop toying with me," he snarls, teeth bared lupine fashion, twisting his face into something inhuman. Just as suddenly, his face twitches and relaxes, slitted pupils flaring out again, and something in him relaxes infinitesimally. "I--I mean, I--"
"Shhhhhh. Down, boy." If anything, Hosana seems remarkably unphased, only digging in the purse upon her belt and calmly paying for the broken necklace with an amused expression. It is not until the money leaves her hand that she notices its flesh raked through several times where Kaligo struck, cuts beginning to fill with blood and weep from the corners. It is the sort of injury that could have only been caused by claws, though before and after the serpent-quick strike he had clearly possessed only fingers, tipped with slightly ragged fingernails that could not have produced the scalpel cuts now running parallel down her hand. She studies Kaligo for a long moment, then looks aside to the squealing children scrabbling for the fallen beads in the dust and softly laughs, shaking her golden head ruefully. ". . . yep. That's all I wanted to know."
Companionably she reaches over and pats his cheek with damp fingertips, giving a quiet, "see ya 'round, First Class," before melting back into the milling crowd.
Kaligo and Hosana