Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Saren, Nov 1, 2013.

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  1. "And stay out, you filthy Wanderer!"

    Both were true, and the insult ran through Aerin's mind long after the metal gates slammed in his face. Huffing, he pulled his hood over his head, covering the cropped blond hair and shielding his eyes from the glaring sun. It was the fifth settlement he'd been removed from. The Illstar-infected people didn't want him around. No one did. He was only trying to help.

    Another sigh escaped his dry lips, and it made him reach for his water bottle. It was growing light in weight, something that wasn't a good sign. Pure, unaffected water was increasingly rare, but he could take whatever he could get. Shouldering his pack, he left the settlement in the dust, continuing on his path as a Wanderer.

    After the Illstar spread, Aerin had discovered he wasn't like the others. Illstar had not killed him, and no symptoms had arisen even after a year since the virus had spread into the world. He became shunned, not welcomed. It was truly awful being banished to the now wasted Florida terrain.

    At least there weren't any alligators to snap at him.

    As far as Aerin could tell, he was near what used to be the Everglades, and the only reason he thought that was because there were dried up rivers and dead trees. The only reason he knew he was in Florida was because of the "Welcome to Florida" sign he'd found smack in the middle of the road two weeks earlier. He had come from the northern state of Wisconsin, even if that territory rivaled that of Florida. It was a long trip, one that had been worthless so far.

    Lost in his thoughts, he almost skipped over a tiny pond of dirty water. It would have to do. He pulled off his hood along with a mask to filter the dust and grime from his face, cupping water in his hands and rubbing it on his cheeks. He took a small sip, wishing he could spit it out after. It tasted foul, but it quelled his thirst for the most part. He dipped the bottle in, filling it to the top. Finding shelter was his next objective. The Everglades was a national park, wasn't it? They had to have buildings somewhere, even if they were abandoned.

    Aerin couldn't trust his eyes anymore. After the sunlight played tricks on his vision, giving him mirages of friendly people or trees, it was hard to think anything was real. However, he almost ran headlong into a dilapidated brick building since his head had been cast down. Plants that hadn't been killed off by the Illstar were growing over the building, but he was able to wrench a door open. Heat blasted past him, and he moved inside before he closed the entryway. Fumbling for a light switch, he flicked it on, finding a single, uncovered light blazing before dimming. Well, it was better than nothing.

    Aerin dropped his backpack on a table, unslinging the LSAT light machine gun from his shoulder and setting it beside his pack. He'd picked up the weapon about seven months ago, having found it after a battle had ensued between the infected and some Wanderers. He'd taught himself how to fire it, though reloading and aiming were still not as good. But he had it, and it made him feel better in case anything broke out within a settlement. He also had three knives and a .44 Magnum pistol. Bullets were hard to come by, so he often shied away from using the guns, but they were there.

    Now, if only he could find someone who didn't immediately want to shoot him for being Illstar-immune...
  2. Gah, she loathed the color black. It attracted too much of the sun and in a place like Florida, the sun was unbearable on the best of days. And there had been very few 'best days' since the Illstar virus broke out. Pulling her hood down for a moment, Nova brushed the damp hair from her even sweatier forehead, glancing down at her canteen before she shook the thought away, pulled the hood back up and started moving once more. She couldn't afford to drink right now. She was running low as it was. But then again, she couldn't afford not to drink eventually either, not in this scorching weather where heatstroke could kill her where the virus had failed.

    Oh, she'd gotten sick at first, had even started vomiting blood like those near the end-stage, but she hadn't died. Nova couldn't explain it and by that point neither could anyone else. Both her parents had died early on in the year and her little brother... The thought caused an ache so she pushed it away, too and focused on what was around her...which admittedly wasn't much. A wetland, a place filled with water and vegetation and the land was parched dry as far as the eye could see, nothing but spars forested areas and dry foliage visible. The Everglades had changed drastically, just as everything else had in the last year. It was hardly recognizable. Still, Nova knew that if she approached one of those copse of trees, she'd find somewhere to stay. It was all a matter of finding the right one.

    In the distance she could see shapes moving, like mirages in the heat, but she knew they were real enough and smiled slightly. She'd catch up with them later. For now, she had to get out of the heat and the brown-haired woman started looking again, a few miles later finally spying what looked to be a building nearly buried under the desperate vines seeking sanctuary from the hot, dry earth of sand.

    Eh, good a place as any.

    She approached cautiously, though, drawing an arrow from the quiver across her back to notch it silently to the bow in her hand. Nova stepped quietly until she came to the door and hesitating for a moment - what if there was someone in there? No guarantee they'd be friendly - she used the flat of her palm to bang on the wood. "Hello? Anyone in the building?" she yelled before backing up a safe distance and nocking the bow, ready for any danger even if her heart thudded fast in her chest.

    She really, really, REALLY didn't want to get shot again.....really.
  3. For being someone who wasn't really jumpy, Aerin bolted to his feet, hands swiping the Magnum off the table at the banging sound. Then through the door, he heard the voice of a girl asking if there was anyone inside. He sighed, holstering the pistol and padding to the door. He almost didn't want to open it, but he couldn't leave her out there. She could be like him... or it could be a trap and someone could just be waiting to kill him and use her as bait.

    Another sigh and no more thoughts as Aerin cracked the door. "Don't shoot, please." It was a rehearsed line, one that came out gruff. He had been arguing with the settlement's leader before they'd declared him a threat and forcibly removed him from the grounds, even though he hadn't fought. Illstar had ruined everything, even people who were once kind.

    "I'm not here to hurt anyone," he added after clearing his throat to soften his voice just slightly. One hand, donned in a fingerless and tattered glove, slipped out in a placating gesture before he let the door open completely. In the glaring light, his ensemble appeared white, but it was dark with dirt and some spots of blood. Aerin looked at the young woman in front of him, taking in the bow between her fingers more than anything. He didn't appreciate weapons pointed at his direction, but agitating her would get him nowhere.

    "If... If you're needing a place to stay, you're welcome here. There's plenty of room."
  4. Don't shoot. Well, at least he wasn't stupid enough to think she wouldn't have a weapon. Still, the fact that she'd found someone at all almost disappointed Nova even as it interested her. He went on to say he wasn't going to hurt anyone and the woman surmised quickly that he was a Wanderer by that fact alone and probably one that had tried to fit in with the Illstar-vulnerable community. She knew without asking that he wouldn't have any luck there....but apparently being rejected hadn't changed his manners. Interesting.

    The bow lowered after a moment, arrow was replaced in the quiver and the weapon itself was slung across her back before one could blink twice. Nova pushed her hood back and pulled the mouthpiece down, offering a quirk of a smile as she looked him over. Mmm, good-looking. Bonus. At least she'd be staring at something attractive all night. Wasn't like she was going to sleep with someone else near. "Don't worry. I'm a Wanderer, just like you. Nothin' to fear here unless you cross me." So saying, she looked out once more to make sure they were alone before approaching the door, trusting he wouldn't shoot her. And if he did....well, guess she'd be joining her little brother. That wouldn't be horrible.

    Nova came to stand just out of reach of the other Wanderer and raised a brow. "You gonna let me in or you just going to stand there?" She wasn't going to come close enough for him to touch her, that was for sure and she wasn't offering a name until it was clear there really was nothing going on here but an innocent meeting in the once fertile wetlands.
  5. The bow was out of his face, and Aerin visibly relaxed as he hefted open the door to allow her inside. Finding someone like him was good enough. Not being shot and left with a festering wound was better. Closing the door behind the newcomer, he locked the bolt at the top, just for good measure. While there were Wanders, there were also people driven mad by the Illstar. There was no real name for these people, and someone had tried to call them zombies, but they weren't dead. They were alive and fully aware when they hurt people.

    The dim light from the flickering bulb was enough to illuminate their faces and nothing beyond that. The windows were coated in grime and dust, preventing light from really streaming through. She was pretty, even though she had the ragged and dirty appearance of a Wanderer, just like he did. However, just because she had the immunity he did, it didn't make them friends. He didn't extend a hand in greeting, though his etiquette told him to.

    "I'm Aerin Belsaiven," he said, trying to hide the caution in his voice. Names only mattered when someone wanted to kill him, and she'd already iterated that she wouldn't unless he crossed her. Well, it was better than nothing. "Who are you?"
  6. She looked around the dim building carefully, wary of a trap, but found nothing to be alarmed about and she leaned against one of the walls. Her fingers reached up into her hair, taking it out of the ponytail and brushing it out halfheartedly before she started to put it back up again, glancing at the male as she did. Aerin. Hmm, not a name she'd heard before. They hadn't met. He asked who she was and the woman smiled just slightly, a mere twitch of the lips as she let her long hair go back over her should and sank down to rest against the wall, one knee up and her arm resting on said knee.

    "My name is Nova." was what she offered, declining her last name. was a name well known by now. After all, her father had been the one to first discover the cure for cancer. The Illstar virus it was known as now. When your family was partially responsible for killing tended to keep your identity private. Brown eyes looked up into his face, studying slowly as there was little else to do and her head tilted.

    "So, how long you been in Florida...and where are you from?" It was the question most people asked; name, where was someone from, where had they passed through, what were conditions like there and what news had they heard about other places.
  7. "It's nice to meet you, Nova." This time, it wasn't just a passive greeting. It really was nice to meet someone who wasn't going to shoot him on sight.

    It fell silent in the building, and Aerin sat against the opposite wall, pulling the Magnum from its holster and unloading the clip. He had five out of the eight shots available, which wasn't terrible. He'd only fired one shot since he'd found it three months ago. He'd used it to kill a dying calf he'd found in a farmland somewhere that wasn't Florida. Some animals had survived, which was the only thing keeping the human population alive. Some settlements had been able to start their own animal population again, even if it was slow.

    He had just snapped the clip back into the gun when she spoke. "I... I don't know. A month, maybe? I've kinda lost track of the days." He'd been there a while, he knew that much. Initially, he'd tried counting the days but that had stopped after only a few weeks. He knew the seasons had changed at one point, so months had passed. He just didn't know which one they were on.

    "I'm from Wisconsin." It explained his slight accent in the way he pronounced things. "I've been looking for my father. He was on a business trip in Virginia when all... this happened. When the cell phone towers went down and we lost the Internet connection, I wasn't able to call." It was a little too much to reveal for only knowing Nova for five minutes, but Aerin didn't mind. Besides, most Wanderers left each other's company after sharing tales and sometimes food or clean water.

    As he thought about food, he pulled out a few strips of dried meat from his backpack. Taking one for himself, he held the other out to her. "Jerky? I've got a little bit to spare."
  8. Nova tilted her head, watching him with a veiled kind of curiosity. He was far too forthcoming with his information in her opinion, but she supposed that was part of his charm. He seemed civil, more open than many people - Wanderers or not - that she'd met and yet...he was still alive. Impressive. Maybe there was more grit behind those clear green eyes than she could actually see. Seeing the food, she reached out and took it carefully, dipping her head in thanks before she paused for a moment and then opened up her own pack and took out three or four slices of dried peach. She handed two toward Aerin without a word and leaned back after he'd taken them.

    "I'm from Illinois." The epicenter of the virus as it had started in Chicago. "I've been in Florida for two weeks and three days. Haven't found much. Came from North Carolina before that. They had some pretty decent Illstars settlements up there. Some decent pickings for food stores up there, too." This was basic exchange between Wanderers and Nova relaxed just a bit, seeing that no threat was imminent even if the man she was speaking to had a gun out and loaded. If he was going to use it, he would have already done so, of that she was sure. Besides, he didn't look like the kill first, ask questions later type.

    He'd shared about her father, but Nova didn't have anyone to look for. She already knew where they were and it wasn't here any longer. "Hope you find who you're lookin' for. Where you heading next?" Most likely she asked so they could avoid going the same way. Nova wasn't all that sociable anymore. She'd heard that lots of Wanderers were looking for a place to settle, to all be together and the thought didn't much appeal to her. She was fine wandering. You stayed safer that way in her opinion. Who knew when the Illstar might mutate and start affecting those immune?
  9. He accepted the food without a word. It was hard to come by these days, even if one raided an abandoned home for canned goods. The peaches, having been dried out, had lost some flavor, but he wasn't complaining. It was food, and it made him content. Aerin snapped a piece of jerky from the main bunch, chewing as she explained how she'd gotten to Florida. It was a straightforward journey, if one called wandering straightforward. "Illinois was where everything started, wasn't it?" He wasn't far from the state, which is why it hadn't taken long for the Illstar to spread up and infect his hometown.

    His head lifted from his meticulous dismemberment of one of the peaches as she asked about his next destination. "North. Or at least I'll try. If my father stayed in Virginia after Illstar hit, he might have settled in with someone. If he's dead... then I'll find him." He didn't want to think that his father might have died from the Illstar or any other reason. If Aerin was immune, then maybe his father was too.

    "Where are you headed?" he asked, doing so for the complete opposite reason. Having a traveling companion wasn't so bad, especially when that companion had a good weapon. He could at least talk to someone. Having no social interaction, except when being shouted at to leave, was taking its toll on his sanity. Before Illstar, he'd been one to chat up anyone, stranger or not. Now, with nothing but the wind to converse with, Aerin thought he might go insane.

    ((Just realized I spelled his last name different on here than on my blog. I totally know all of my character's names. XD))
  10. Right. Virginia. Father. She should have retained that. She was more tired than she realized, but she still could not see herself sleeping around Aerin. She didn't know him and for all she knew, he was far more dangerous and devious than he appeared. She had to give him some credit, though; he was determined to know what had become of his family and many people were ready to just assume that all those they'd loved had died. They gave up before they even knew for sure, they didn't try and Nova labelled them cowards for it. At least Aerin wasn't that it seemed and so she could have some respect for that at least.

    "Yeah, it was." she intoned quietly to his question about the virus starting in Illinois. At his second question, though, brown eyes looked away and up toward the ceiling, avoiding having to answer right away by looking thoughtful, as if she didn't quite know the answer yet. And it was partly true. She didn't know why she was going, but now she was certain she wasn't going North....unless something dictated otherwise.

    Nova shrugged, finally looking back to the blond male. "Don't know. I've got nothing to go to and nothing to go back for." She glanced toward a window and stood, moving to the glass and wiping away some of the grime to look out at the blurred landscape. "Where I go usually depends on where my three companions lead me. They tend to make the choices in that regard." A small smirk touched her lips as she looked back at Aerin from behind her brown hair. "I guess if they go North then I will be, too. Otherwise...who knows."
  11. Aerin tilted his head back against the wall and closed his eyes, listening to her before he cracked an eyelid open to watch her wipe some of the dirt off of the window. Even after they left, it would reappear, even if there was no one inside the building. Dust tended to do that when one wasn't looking.

    Her nonchalant motions about going in a random direction only served to knock him down a few pegs. Of course he shouldn't have assumed that she wanted companionship on her travels, because not everyone was like him. He sighed, dust curling through the air as he did. And then she mentioned her companions.

    "Companions?" he asked, confusion lacing his voice. No one had come in with her, and he didn't feel right leaving people outside when there was suitable, albeit dirty, shelter. She was letting them lead, despite her being the only one in the building near him. "I didn't see anyone else."
  12. "Well, you wouldn't, not unless they wanted you to." Nova replied back, unconcerned as she looked back out the window. She saw the shapes in the distance growing closer and smiled to herself. They'd obviously discovered the presence of Aerin and were coming back to investigate. They'd come across her tracks leading here too soon enough and then they really wouldn't leave. The thought made Nova look back at the blond. Well, time to see if he was a human being she had any desire to hang out with any longer. Meeting her companions was always a good way to tell such things.

    The brunette moved away from the window, lithe body skirting around Aerin's own in the small room as she went to the door, looking back over her shoulder with the beginning of something between mischief and warning in her gaze. "If you want to meet my companions, they're outside now. I warn, though, they can get the drop on you faster than you could ever hope to on them and if they don't for some bizarre reason, I will." The threat was more than clear, but Nova's expression spoke more toward inviting than rebuttal and she crooked a finger as she opened the door. "Well, come on. You've got to be dying of curiosity." He seemed like the type to.

    Her form disappeared out the door into the twilight setting of the wasteland and a true smile broke over Nova's face at the three forms that bounded toward her. They were large with long limbs and graceful bodies, shaggy fur from nose to tail, tongues lolling out of their mouths past deadly fangs. They were wolves, pure and simple, and they approached Nova like they would one of their own pack. Small yips and whines filled the air as they surrounded her, large paws on her body, tongues licking at her face. There was some snarling as well as the more dominate of the three warned the other two away for a moment, but Nova smacked the brown-tan wolf on the shoulder with a frown. "Stop that. Besides, you might have something else to growl at."

    She stood then and looked back to where Aerin was, smiling a bit wolfishly herself as the canines' ears perked toward him, fur standing slightly and tails rising in alert poses as they started to assess whether he was a threat or not. If they thought he wasn't, then Nova would stay the night and if he was... Well, those fangs weren't for show. Still, even if he wasn't a threat, the last thing she expected was that the wolves would want to follow him and take her along. That had never happened, even with decent people they met.

    "These are my companions. Meet Fang, Shadow and Rifle. Wolves, this is Aerin."

    Fang, the brown-tan wolf and the alpha, glanced at her and then at the male, moving forward slightly to sniff at the blond before he looked back at Nova again. Not-sick. You same-kind. Safe-male. Good-male. Brave-male.

    Nova chuckled slightly as the wolf relaxed and the rest of the pack did the same, looking back at Aerin. "Well, you meet with their approval. Fang thinks your brave, so I guess you now have my approval, too."

    Show Spoiler

    Fang - alpha wolf, leader of the pack, male wolf. And Shadow - beta wolf, middle position in pack, female wolf.

    Rifle - omega wolf, lowest in the pack, male wolf. He's half-dog, half-wolf.

    #12 Kaisaan, Nov 4, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  13. If they were people, why wouldn't want their presence to be known? He stood up but didn't immediately follow her. He instead listened to her, caution and curiosity clashing in his mind. Danger was something he didn't want to dive into, but his wonderment won him over and he followed her outside. Immediately, he saw three racing forms, the creatures on all fours. Aerin took one step back, ready to slam the door in Nova's face, but then the wolves, as he saw, jumped up and licked her. Wolves weren't commonplace where they were, so she must have been traveling with them for longer than a week. Plus, with the way they reacted around her, they seemed to think she was friendly enough.

    The brown one stepped forward to scope him out, but Aerin didn't stoop down to his level. Wolves were proud creatures, and if he thought he needed to lower himself, they probably wouldn't take kindly to that. And Aerin liked being alive. He waited for the brown wolf to step back before Aerin himself relaxed, finding that he'd been tense and ready to flee at any moment.

    The way Nova talked about what the wolves thought, it was almost as if... "How do you know? Are you... are they talking to you?" It seemed impossible. Aerin knew Illstar had done strange things to people, but he'd never heard of it gifting anyone the ability to converse with wolves, or anything remotely helpful.
  14. Well, he wasn't stupid. That was the second time she'd been ask that question in the last seven months, so she'd give him credit for brains. Still, her answer could very well trigger a less than friendly reaction in him and so Nova's body tensed, demeanor becoming more guarded and the wolves around her echoed it; stiff-legged, fur rising and falling, fangs flashing and ears half-back as they prowled around her and snapped at each other. Brown eyes met green in the fading light and Nova's seemed to illuminate for a moment before the affect was gone...if it had even been there at all.

    "They talk to me, yeah. Any canine or feline does. It all started about eight months ago, so I can only assume the Illstar is to blame." Seeing, sensing he wasn't going to blow his top, the brunette relaxed a bit again, shrugging nonchalantly as her fingers rested on Shadow's black head, the wolf's body pressed up behind her legs. She glanced down at them as Rifle laid down, panting and Fang stayed alert, never still.

    "I follow where they go. They have better instincts than I do and they're all I've got now." A slight smirk crossed her lips. "Not like I've got anything better to do or anywhere to go. No one does if they're honest with themselves." She'd been in medical school before all this happened. Fat lot of good it did for her now.
  15. Aerin wasn't sure whether or not to be scared or in awe. He hadn't really felt the effects of the Illstar. He'd been lucky. There had been fatigue and pain everywhere, but that was the extent of it. He knew not everyone had gotten away like he did, but Nova had something to show for it. Finally getting over his anxiety of the wolves, he broke into a smile.

    "That's amazing! Do they understand you, or do you simply listen to them? Can't say I know what goes on in a wolf's head." Wildlife hadn't been his forte. As someone who much preferred the solitude of art and design, Aerin wasn't one for anything outside related unless it was hiking. It'd only paid off since he became a Wanderer, but it didn't explain his quick adaption to weapons. Now that was a little scary.

    "Where did you find them? They look healthy for the most part." No one was healthy in the wake of the Illstar, even if they looked it.
  16. Nova relaxed a bit more, finding a shadow of a smile crossing her lips at his first words. She'd never gotten that reaction before and she found it amusing. The brunette moved toward the house again and she motioned for Aerin to move over before she sat on a step of the stairs, scratching at Rifle's ears as he army-crawled toward her and laid on her feet. His ear pricked up to acknowledge Aerin before he laid his head down and proceeded to ignore the male. Shadow had taken a curled position not far away, still alert, but relaxed and Fang had taken a seat looking out at the landscape, ears twitching, watching.

    It allowed Nova the ability to speak without worry that something might sneak up on them and her brown eyes met green once more. "Communication works both ways. They understand me just as easily as I understand them. Sometimes certain things get lost in translation, but we seem to talk well enough for the most part. They speak a bit differently than humans do, but they aren't stupid."

    She looked down at the half-wolf on her feet and stifled a yawn. She hadn't slept in about three days and it was catching up to her. She pulled her brown hair over her shoulder, feeling it tickle against her neck and then leaned back on her elbows, the step behind her digging slightly into her back even through the leather corset. "We met in a wildlife reserve in Indiana. Their keepers were dead as were most of the animals at the reserve, but out of the eight wolves in the exhibit, they were alive. That was seven months ago and we've been traveling together ever since."

    It was more information than she usually shared with anyone, but Aerin was the first person to have showed any interest other than fear and the desire to get away from her as soon as possible. It stirred some of her own cautious curiosity and she tilted her head slightly, eyes flashing with light again from an unknown source as it was already growing dark rather quickly. "So, you full-immune as in you didn't get any symptoms or part-immune as in the virus didn't kill you?"
  17. Aerin sat down beside Nova, watching as the wolf peered at him before deciding he wasn't interesting to keep watching. Aerin let him have that thought. He wasn't going to argue with a wolf. He focused his eyes on the dark landscape before them, but there was little to pick out since Illstar had killed many of the trees. He chose to listen to Nova as she shared how she'd met her canine comrades. It still didn't make sense how she'd obtained the power, but Illstar itself didn't make sense, so he left it at that in his thoughts.

    He scratched at the unswept concrete below them before he looked up at her question. He caught the last hint of light in her eyes before they went back to a normal color, and it stopped his words. With a slight shake of his head, his eyes turned back to their surroundings. "Full immune... I guess. I got pain and fatigue, but not nearly as bad as I saw when I started moving out." The sight of the people suffering had spurred him to help in whatever way he could, but once he realized that the Illstar-infected people wanted nothing to do with him and his immunity, he kept going. Still, it didn't stop him from hoping to settle in somewhere.

    Anything else he might have said was cut off as he covered a yawn with the crook of his elbow. "S'pose it's that time again. If you want to go, you can. You're welcome to stay here as well. I'm not the type to kill people in their sleep anyway. That applies even further when said person has three wolves with her." Standing up and brushing some dust from his hands, he hefted the door open before slipping inside, leaving it unlocked if she wanted to join him for the night. He could imagine that the wolves fur was much more comfortable than sleeping on the ground, but the shelter was more important than anything.

    Flipping open an old sleeping bag, he lay it underneath the small lightbulb, arms propped under his head. His boots hung off the edge, but it didn't matter. There was cushion between him and the wooden floor, and it was good enough.
  18. Full-immune. Huh. Seemed the majority of Wanderers she met were that way. She'd only met two other half-immune Wanderers and one of them had been shot through the head before they could get more than a hello out. She'd gotten out of the ambush okay, but it had made her far more cautious about going up to people. 'Course, there had been more to tell her people were bad news than just that episode...but she didn't like to think about that time in her life. Nova pushed the beginning of the thoughts away and came back to her curiosity about full-immune people verses part-immune people. The only other part-immune Wanderer she'd met had been able to manipulate small amounts of electricity; a rather useful tool, but only if there WAS running electricity.

    They hadn't been together long and Nova hadn't met anyone else like her since. It seemed that track-record wasn't broken. It also would seem that there was indeed a connection between surviving the virus and having things about the way your body worked change. Still, Nova was pretty sure that full-immune people would be far more valuable in time to come than part-immune. After all, immunity was what people made cures from, right?

    Brown eyes blinked, coming out of thought as Aerin spoke again about sleeping. She smirks just slightly at his quip at the end and she waved at him slightly as he disappeared. She stayed out for a while, but when the cold started to come in - scientists were not sure how it had happened, but the Illstar virus had even begun to change weather patterns - the woman stood, watching fondly as the wolves curled around each other near the steps leading up to the building, and then slipping inside. She didn't have to move around Aerin as she simply laid her own sleeping bag against the wall closest to the door and settled there.

    She hadn't thought she'd sleep with a stranger near, but exhaustion won over and she fell into a restless slumber, hand under her head and the sleeping bag both, a knife clutched in her fingers.
  19. Morning found him in almost the exact same position, except his hair was now disheveled from sleep. Moving it back into a semi-up position, Aerin stood up, brushing dust from his clothes. It sure settled fast for a room with stale air. He rolled up the sleeping bag as tight as he could to save space under his backpack, reattaching it with the clips. He pulled the LSAT from the table, unhooking the clip and checking the bullet count. He had less than half a clip, which wasn't reassuring. If he relied on his knives, he could avoid shooting, which was messy and wasteful dependent on the size of the fight.

    He slammed the clip back in with more force than necessary. If Illstar had never happened, he could be at home, doing something that wasn't thinking about shooting someone for his own survival. With a sigh, Aerin holstered the pistol, made sure his knives were in place before he grabbed the top of his backpack and slung the LSAT over his shoulder. He walked outside, remembering the wolves. Setting his stuff down on the step, Aerin avoided accidentally stepping on a tail and losing his foot. Once he got to a dusty spot that wasn't threatening to be tossed about by the wind, he found a long twig.

    He began to draw the shape of a wolf's head in the sandy dust. He knew the shapes didn't stay, but it was a way to forget about his predicament. Designing anything had been his life before Illstar, and it was rare to come across paper that wasn't being guarded by the infected people. Ink was even rarer, but he often found pencils in people's homes. He picked them up as he saw them, and paper whenever he was able to get a hold of a sheet. He'd been lucky to run into a half-used notebook, which helped immensely. Still, it was never enough. And if things continued on their previous course, it never would be.
  20. His first movements woke her immediately and Nova tensed as she watched him carefully. She didn't move, but tension curled in her limbs with every noise and her brown eyes watched Aerin until he left out the door. She waited for a moment, but heard no shots, no snarls and in that moment she knew her tentative tolerance of the human had not been unfounded. She let herself relax then, exhaling heavily and stirring the dust close to her before she stretched as languidly as a cat and then rose. It was a simple matter to roll her sleeping bag up and clip it on to her bag again before she sheathed the knife she'd slept with in her boot and walked outside, closing the door softly behind her.

    A shadow of a smile danced on her lips at seeing Aerin drawing in the dirt and the wolves sleeping away. Apparently they really were not worried about the male human because she'd rarely seen them sleep through being observed. Interesting. "Morning."

    She came down the steps and easily side-stepped and walked over sleeping limbs and tails. Sensing and probably smelling her presence, Fang raised his head first, looked at her and yawned before he rose, stretching. The other two stirred then and went through their own waking routines, Rifle shaking out his fur and Shadow stalking a few steps away to relieve herself before she came back, tail high and wagging slightly. She snapped in a half-warning, half-playful way to Rifle, just to remind him of his place before she looked to Aerin, ears flicking forward and then back.

    Male long-walk. Nova long-walk. Go same-trail?

    Nova had tilted her head and was busy brushing out her hair with her fingers. She paused for a moment, glanced at Aerin and then back to Shadow. "I don't know. He goes North."

    Fang looked the direction she spoke of and whined slightly before looking back to his pack and then its human member, loping around Aerin, seeming to study him before he trotted back to Nova and stood before her. North good-trail. He good-human. Stay together. Good-smell, brave-smell. He help. Not-sick.

    Her hair was back in the ponytail and Nova blew her long bangs up with a huff, looking back at Aerin as she pursed her lips and pulled them to the side a bit, thoughtful and reluctant and knowing the choice she was going to make even before she did it. Finally she sighed and hoisted her pack a little higher. " do you feel about traveling companions?"
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