“Why did you marry a scribner anyway?” The cat Squirrelbane asked as he twitched his tail. His midnight black fur reflected the early morning sun more than his green eyes did. “What is a scribner anyway but an unglorified historian?”
“You know why,” Hannah replied as she dug down in the dirt with her trowel. “The Oracle told me to, and besides… I love him.”
“Mating. Marriage. Commitment. I don’t see what love has to do with any of it.” The cat had a low, growling voice that matched his attitude, but whatever voice he had was completely a construct of magic and it was probably the voice that Selig had thought matched the cats personality when he made Squirrelbane his familiar.
“That’s because you are a cat,” Hannah said as she gently pulled a plant from a small, roughly made earthen pot. She placed the plant and it’s ball of root and soil in the hole she had just dug, covered the seams and trenches left still unfilled and started to dig another hole.
“Not just any scrivner though–a Kingsman,” the cat continued, leaning back until he was on his side, his head high enough to watch Hannah’s hands from ground level. His tail still twitched back and then forth in whip-like movements every few moments.
“My father was a Kingsman once.” She tried to stand, but gasped and doubled over, grabbing her knees.
“Does it still hurt?” the cat asked sitting up.
“It never stops hurting,” she replied through gritted teeth. She straightened and moved away one step, carefully and painfully.
“That’s what happens when you fall from the sky,” Squirrelbane commented, leaning down on his side again. He lay his head back, then rolled over.
“I fell from another world.”
The cat whipped his tail. “What’s the difference?”
“I lost my wings,” she hissed at him.
“What was that you said?” a voice called from behind her. Hannah turned, as quickly as she could manage with her sore knees, and saw Yohann a few steps away, taking long strides toward her.
She shook her head at him. “Talking to myself.”
“Again?” he asked with a slight chuckle.
Squirrelbane climbed to his feet and jogged a few steps over to Yohann, rubbing against his leg, purring loudly, looking over his back at Hannah with what could almost be considered a smirk, if he had lips. Hannah frowned at him, narrowing her eyes and missed Yohann’s arms going around her until the last moment, when he was already embracing her. “Good morning, Hannah,” he said warmly as he pulled her against him.
Hannah wrapped her arms around his middle and melted against him, her cheek against his chest as he rested his chin on the top of her head.
This feels so good, she thought, and wondered why more moments they had together couldn’t be like this. She almost said it aloud, but thought better of it at the last moment. There was enough tension between them without interrupting precious moments like these.
Yohann pulled away and looked down at her, his gray eyes unreadable. “Are you talking to the cat?” He bent down and scooped up the black cat as if he weighed nore more than a loaf of bread.
“He’s the only one who listens to me,” she replied without thinking, and then instantly regretting what she said, she tried to amend it. “I mean… that he lets me talk…” She winced. She was only making it worse. She avoided Yohann’s eyes and pet the cat until he purred loudly again. “He used to sit-” She stopped and bit her lip.
Yohann waited, but when Hannah said nothing, he tilted her chin up. “What’s the matter?” He held the cat up until Squirrelbanes face was in hers. “Cat got your tongue?”
Hannah laughed, but she didn’t speak.
“What did he used to sit on?” Yohann asked.
She looked up from the cat into her husband’s eyes, but shook her head without saying anything more.
“What was it?”
Hannah started to turn away. She saw Yohann drop the cat out of the corner of her eye and stretch his arm out. She felt the tug on her arm a moment later. She spun about.
“Hannah?” His voice was gentle and his brow was low. “What was it you were going to say?”
She shrugged and pulled away from his grasp slowly. “It was about magic,” she said. He looked as if he wanted to say something but couldn’t bring it past his lips. Despite the effort in his eyes, she continued to pull away. “You don’t trust magic…” She pressed her lips together, turned and walked away.