Same universe as previous two weeks. Enjoy!
He was always there. Cecil always noticed him coming around wherever she was, unless it was her room, of course. He was especially prominent whenever she ventured outside of the garrison. She didn’t really mind and, in fact, usually thought they were just coincidences, but she soon noticed that he tended to have one of his axes on him as well. Eventually, she gave him a look, one that he noticed and immediately turned red, and she decided to ask him what was going on.
“Why do you follow me?” she asked, taking a page from Kachina’s book and getting right to the point.
Burnan rubbed the back of his head, having the grace to look sheepish. “Paranoia, I think,” he said.
“You think?” Cecil replied skeptically, prompting the young man to continue.
“The last time I left someone I care about alone,” he elaborated, “she was killed.”
“Burnan, we’re at the garrison,” Cecil said, trying to sound patient, “during a time of peace. You don’t need to keep following me around—Wait, why just me? You’ve known the others for much longer. Why aren’t you following around Reyna?”
“Reyna gets mad at me,” Burnan said. “We’ve known each other for a long time and we trust one another to watch the other’s back, but she’s not the type to want a protector around the clock. Besides, Tarrant seems to have taken up that mantle,” he added as an afterthought, and Cecil wondered if the really reason that Burnan truly didn’t watch Reyna so closely was due to the wyvern rider quietly taking up the task.
“Still, why me?” Cecil said. “Do you believe that I can’t handle myself either?” Perhaps months ago she would have assumed that, but now that she knew she was of the dragonfolk with the ability to morph into a dragon, she had a hard time believing that.
“No, I… I mean, yeah, I know you can handle yourself,” Burnan said hastily, apparently getting confused with her words. “I just… I don’t watch you for your safety. Not just for your safety, I should say. It’s more… It’s for my sake too.”
“I don’t follow,” Cecil said.
“I can’t stand the idea of losing someone else,” Burnan admitted. “I know, with our jobs and all, it’s the nature of being a Watcher to sometimes lose a teammate. I… I know that… But then I lost Mayah. You didn’t know her. She was a knight under Ellery’s command and… She was my sister.”
Cecil’s heart broke for the young man, for she didn’t want to think about losing Kachina. Cecil stayed silent, though, and listened as Burnan continued.
“Avery stayed with me through my grief,” the axe-user said, “and she was okay with me feeling the need to try to protect someone, to always be around in case something happened so that they wouldn’t die like my sister had. Then I failed. Avery was killed too, because I was too slow to keep up with her.
“I’m sorry if I’ve been annoying or creepy, as Reyna said,” he continued on, “but I just… I want to be able to protect someone. I want to feel as if I can do my job and… I care about you, Cecil. I admire how you stayed strong through everything that you had to endure and you still are able to smile. I don’t want to lose that. I don’t want to lose you.”
Cecil’s mouth and throat went dry with Burnan’s confession. After trying to swallow a few times to parch her throat, she croaked out, “You barely know me.”
“I want to get to know you,” Burnan said, unfazed at how his confession seemed to have rendered her surprised and nearly speechless. “That is, if you let me.”
Cecil found herself nodding. “I’ll let you… As long as you let up on the following act. I agree with Reyna in that it is a bit creepy, and it hurts that you don’t trust me enough to defend myself.”
“I do trust you–”
“Then prove it and give me space,” Cecil said. “I’ve grown up with a thief and have done my fair share of stealth acts. I’m small and nimble enough to get out of most predicaments that I may have found myself in. I can even now turn into a dragon that I can control.” She gave him a crooked smile. “Not to sound arrogant, but I think a dragon’s fire breath can do more damage than your axe on an enemy.”
He rolled his eyes, an easy smile on his face. “Okay. I’ll try to lay off with acting like a mother hen. I just… Can we start over?”
Cecil smiled and nodded. “Yes. Hello, my name is Cecil. What’s yours?”
Burnan put down his axe and shook her offered hand. “The name’s Burnan. I hope to get to know you better.”
“You will. Don’t worry, you will…”