Aztak trotted behind the two and did not growl upon seeing Oikawa this time.
The eerie atmosphere was cut as Tooru flinched when the enormous wolf’s head moved over Lemsa.
She grinned and momentarily forgot the focused eyes that lingered on her just a second ago. Her head tilted up to meet her wolf’s fur and she scratched his neck lovingly.
Without moving her head down her eyes trailed to Oikawa and she motioned him closer.
The young man came closer with a strained look on his face, remembering how Aztak felt very protective over the healer.
As his hands almost touched the wolf’s snout when he suddenly bared his fangs and exhaled loudly, pushing hot air out of his nostrils.
“Eehp!”, was the unexpected sound that left the man’s mouth and he almost jumped away, his hands quickly retracting.
Lemsa bared a gigantic grin, and Oikawa almost expected a laugh until he realised again that she wouldn’t use her voice.
He couldn’t escape the curious thoughts that filled his head.
What does she sound like?
Something tells me I want to know.
Shaking the sudden feeling of loss, he saw Lemsa blink at his facial expression.
Did she catch that quick moment of curiosity?
Not even mentioning it any further, she beckoned him closer again, this time shooting Aztak a warning look.
The grumble he replied with almost sounded himanlike.
While Tooru moved closer, her hand was guiding him closer without touching him, she kept scratching Aztak’s fur.
Oikawa’s hand finally grazed over the wolf’s fur, and his eyes filled with wonder. He sunk both of his palms in the abundance of the thick strands and started petting him.
Standing tall, the wolf towered over Toorus head, reaching over two meters.
The wolf craned his head towards him and blew another airstream into his face, and the young man’s eyes widened, but this time there was a smile on his face.
He looked at Lemsa for approval, who just nodded eagerly, waiting for him to jump up.
The man took the tree trunk as a help and hoisted himself up with “hepp” and clung to the fur on the wolf’s neck.
Oikawa’s eyes were almost glowing, but his gaze was focused. He drank everything in that he could and Lemsa could see the wires in his head connecting.
“Do you trust me now?”, he asked the wolf, being a bit forward to catch a glimpse of his yellow eyes.
The wolf huffed and shook his head, but it didn’t feel like a disapproving shake. Right?
As if on cue, Aztak started moving back to the village, and Lemsa gathered the rest of the stuff laying around and jogged towards the duo.
The sun was almost gone, the light tinted everything deep orange.
Lemsa’s hands were full as she picked up everything in a hurry and tried to catch up.
While walking, she stuffed everything into her bag and picked up her pace until she walked next to her patient.
Aztak was on his right side and Lemsa to his left, while Oikawa walked with a new weight in his step.
His eyes were fixated on something that wasn’t there, his hair still a bit damp from the water clinging onto his forehead.
The young woman observed from a distance. Her hands clasped behind her back while eyeing the side of his face.
What is going through his head now?
The setting sun made his skin glow in a golden colour, and his presence now had nothing in common with the sick man in the tent from the last weeks.
His aura radiating from him was warm and yet commanding, his steps were firm and adamant on moving forward, she slowed down while in though and caught a glimpse of his back.
Something about watching him from behind showed a sign of purpose. It felt like a posture that inspired and led towards something bright.
But what is it?
The town was getting closer and closer, and Lemsa tried to catch up with him before they reached it.
His head swayed to her side with a smile and she gestured for him to walk slower.
“Is everything okay?”, he asked with slight concern in his voice.
Lemsa nodded and tried to explain the nagging feeling in the back of her head.
He was healthy now. He was bathed and ready to talk to the chief.
As she remembered the chief’s eyes piercing through her, a shiver went through her body.
She turned to his side with a stern look.
Her hands went from herself to a salute, hoping he would understand what she meant.
“Soldier?”, he asked with a confused expression.
She shook her head with almost a smile and saluted again, this time gesturing to herself again.
“Your? Wait you’re saluting…”, his hand went to his chin and he rubbed it in thought.
“Something like captain?”, he concluded and the girl shrugged and nodded.
“You have a captain? Your leader?”
A memory swept through his mind, a piercing grey gaze on him.
“Ah, I think I know who you mean. She told me to leave when I felt better”, he talked with a calm voice, his eyes fixated on something far away.
Lemsa caught his gaze and fell into deep thought as well.
Suddenly the air felt heavy.
She needed a plan to show the chief that Tooru should stay.
But does he even want to stay?
Shyly, she looked over to his side profile but kept quiet until he caught her staring.
“Are you okay?”, he asked again, and her smile floated onto the surface before it vanished again.
His concerned look was fixed on her, and her forehead wrinkled again.
Her irises dipped up and down before she stood still.
He stopped in his tracks and waited for her hands to start moving. He could feel there was something bothering her, at it’s not as if he wasn’t troubled as well.
He knew he was ready to go physically, but there was something telling him he should stay.
But was that even possible?
Her hand started to roam in the air as if she was searching for the right sign.
She pointed towards the town close by, with small kids playing between the tents and the cackling of the fires before supper and then to him.
Her index finger pointing to his chest that stood in front of her and moved to form another sign.
Both of her palms motioning towards the ground twice, as if to focus on where she was.
It was rocky, but the question in her brow made it all come together.
“Do you want to stay?”, he said slowly.
His whole life was a quest of searching for something.
He was cursed to never be able to stay anywhere without feeling lost and alone, whatever he did.
But why was he so sure that he wanted to stay?
Will he find the reason?
Or will it be an endless problem he will try to solve forever?
“I want to stay”, he looked towards her and saw how she shifted in relief, “If I am allowed to?”.
She looked at him sternly, but the defiance in her eyes was not for him.
There was someone else they had to go through.