I burnt myself out a bit with yesterday’s 10k, so today’s output wasn’t particularly stunning. I hit a bit of a rough patch that I had to power through to get to the good stuff, but at the end of the day I’m currently in the middle of a scene that I find quite moving. I’ll probably hate it later, but I’m just going to bask in the brief glory while it lasts. Here’s an excerpt:
“All right, kids,” said Valora. “We need to talk. Allan, get your ass in here.” Cassandra switched her wary gaze to Valora. “Oh, don’t look at me like that Cassandra. This is an intervention, not a homicide.”
“I’m not sure there’s a difference,” Cassandra said quietly. Darian would have laughed if he wasn’t about as concerned as she was about Valora’s intentions.
“Oh, hush.” Valora poked a finger vaguely in Cassandra’s direction. “We need to sort out your issues right now.”
“You heard me. There are going to be times when you’re stuck alone with Allan and you won’t be able to do anything about it. Did you spend the whole time just glaring at him while Darian and I actually did some actual work?”
“Pretty much,” Allan said before Cassandra could protest. “I was bored by the end.”
“Are you all just going to conveniently forget that I nearly got killed by one of his kind?” Cassandra snapped.
“And Allan stopped you from dying,” Valora pointed out. “You can’t just use that incident as an excuse, since one werewolf hurt you while the other helped you. What the hell is our real problem?”
“Oh, you mean aside from all the stories of people like him killing and eating innocent people?”
“It’s not uncommon for scared people to come up with stories to explain a fear that appears to be irrational to outside observers,” Darian said quietly. He didn’t have Valora’s preference for painful bluntness, but that didn’t mean he could just be a spectator while Valora tore Cassandra to shreds and Cassandra did the same to Allan.
“Oh, great. Now you’re against me. Thanks.”
“You were able to accept that I’m a victim of the establishment rather than just another cog in its machine,” Darian told her. “Can’t you at least consider Allan and many other werewolves aren’t the heartless monsters you’ve been raised to believe them to be?”
“Why?” The word tore itself from Cassandra’s throat, almost turning into a shriek. “So I can let my guard down again and let somebody else get hurt?” Her voice cracked on the last word. Darian got the feeling she wasn’t talking about what happened to her the other day anymore. She was angry when she talked about what had happened to her, but she’d never let her voice run out of control before. Now there were tears in her eyes and her knuckles were turning white from clenching her fists.
Valora must have realised that as well, because she took a step back as if Cassandra’s emotion was a physical force pressing against her. “Are you going to tell us what you’re talking about?” She sounded strangely calm, not like herself.
Cassandra raised a shaking hand to a strand of her frizzy hair, which had fallen out of its ponytail, and tucked it behind her ear. She suddenly looked a whole lot younger in her fear, but older at the same time due to the set of her mouth, as if she was restraining herself from crying to preserve her dignity. The stark change in her expression and mannerisms struck Darian as familiar, like it was a visual representation of his own feelings when he thought about his parents. From the look on Allan’s face, he recognised the meaning behind the change just as well as Darian had.
“You lost someone, didn’t you?” Darian said softly.
The scene runs even longer than that, but it’s quite long so I’m going to leave it there. I’ll post a longer excerpt on my Tumblr here for anybody interested in reading a little more (about another 400 words, but still not the entirety of the scene since I’m still currently writing it).