Petrov exited the monitor room the exact same way he’d entered it —- right through the door. There was no need to muck around with doorknobs and opening doors when one could just walk straight through it. At least, that’s how he felt about the matter.
His darkness filaments swayed softly as he walked down the hall. He wasn’t particularly tired even though he had been up all night watching over Robin’s cell. So, he wasn’t heading to bed. He was heading to the kitchen to get something to eat. For, while he may not have been tired, he was hungry.
And he was very happy.
Robin was still in his prison cell.
No one had gone in there.
No one had rescued him.
Robin remained pinned to the wall.
The Great Caten will be happy.
Petrov turned the corner and nearly walked into Hank. He did a quick avoidance maneuver. Walking through a door was fine. Walking through a person was not. It was uncomfortable and discombobulating. Sometimes their thoughts and memories got stuck inside his head. If he were unfortunate enough, he’d accidentally absorb one of their bones into himself. Not at all a great experience to have.
He noticed that Hank walked alone, all quiet and downcast.
His lover must not be home yet. That means The Great Caten has not returned. But he will return. He always does. He will be safe. Safe and well. For he is Mark Caten and he cannot be destroyed. He is everlasting.
Petrov smiled as an amusing idea came to his mind.
Still quite invisible to everyone around him, he followed Hank.
Hank trudged his way to the kitchen. Mark Caten wasn’t in his room or in his office. Maybe he’s having breakfast. Maybe Dave is in there with him.
I find that hard to believe.
If Dave had come back, he would have let me know he was here. He would have found a way to come to me, if even just for a quick kiss and nothing more.
He opened the kitchen door and entered the room. Much to Hank’s surprise, Maelin was already at the table, eating a large omelet. Jay was nowhere in sight. “You’re up early.”
“Mm. I was hungry.”
“Hm.” He made himself a bowl of cereal and carried it to the table. “Jay still sleeping?”
Hank dug into his cereal and scooped up a spoonful.
“Is Dave back yet?” she asked.
He shook his head. “Not yet. I’m hoping he’ll come back soon, but, with Caten being Caten, it will probably be later tonight.”
She nodded again and ate a generous forkful of omelet.
Hank ate his cereal in silence as he considered her eating. He winced. “You’re going to be leaving soon, aren’t you?”
Maelin swallowed her food, but she didn’t respond. She stabbed a potato in her omelet.
“Does Jay know?”
“I haven’t told him yet.” She raised the fork-stabbed potato to eye-level. “It doesn’t get any easier. The first time I had to leave, I had a small hope that we would both become used to my coming and going.”
“But it hasn’t.” It’s a statement and not a question.
“It hasn’t. If anything, it’s become harder.” She set her fork down on her plate. “I love him. And, even without my magic influencing him, he loves me too.”
“Have you considered just staying with him for good?” Hank asked.
She nodded. “So many times. But I can’t. I can push off the inevitable, but I eventually have to give in. I have to leave.”
“Will it ever stop?”
Maelin looked down at her food. “Only if he gives me the command to stay. If he gives me the command, it will magically bind me to him and I will be unable to leave.” She smiled sadly. “He will never do that to me, no matter how much he wants me to stay. And that is one of the many reasons why I love him the way I do. I will always return to him.”
None of this was big or awe-inspiring news to Petrov. He already knew a good percentage of it. He yawned and wondered when they were going to discuss something, anything more noteworthy.
He leaned back against the wall and continued to listen.