"I'm sure you have places to be," Parker added, somewhat bitterly. Teige's tail twitched.
"He does, to be sure," he mumbled. "Don't know that I'm in such a rush to get there for my own sake. Not anymore."
Parker blinked at him. "Mm? I thought you were planning to join the Order?"
"I was. Am," Teige amended himself, not really looking at her. He'd gone rather still, leaning against the window, thinking about seeing his own blood on Hawk's palm, about him and Hawk both clutching at the hole in his chest as if to hold everything inside him. "Just," he continued slowly, "Shakes ya, to realise what that means. How in over me head I might be. I've never even been in a proper fight," he added, this very quietly, "not that I could admit that to Hawk ever."
When he glanced up, Parker was giving him a scornful look. "Is this some dumb masculinity thing?" she asked dryly.
"No!" Teige said, and then, "er, mebbe, a bit. More that, kid's barely treading water as it is, and..."
He trailed off, but Parker didn't pursue it--she was now looking at the bar, which was still suffused in the warm, dim light of the glowing shelves behind the bartender. The seat Hawk had been in was noticeably empty. "Huh," she said, "I left Hawk at the bar. I wonder where he's gone off to?"
Teige followed her gaze, seeming unconcerned. "Dunno," he said, "we've been an hour here, yeah? He must've got bored waiting."
The neon light outside diffused on the hazy night air, but gilded everything it touched in the room with a thin, hard pink light. The man sitting at the window was nearly completely in the deep purple shadows, the light edging his bare arms and shoulders and thighs and making the thin waft of smoke rising from the cigarette almost glow.