"Because you've done nothing wrong."
The words resonated inside of her. The very matter-of-fact way that Marin said them made her feel absolved of the situation, but she knew better. She still couldn't help but feel suspicious of this woman even if she had saved her life.
"How can you say that? I drained someone within an inch of their life," Lia narrowed her eyebrows to look as intimidating as she could, but somehow it fell flat because Marin was smiling again. It was both surprising and a little unnerving at how it made her scowl soften.
"You beat someone with malicious intent within an inch of their life," Marin corrected her, tilting her head to flip her chestnut hair out of her eyes.
"How could you possibly know that?"
"My job as an emissary is to keep balance, and you're doing nothing to throw it off," Marin's eyes darkened as she tilted her chin downward, "But, if you had been killed back there..."
She had heard of emissaries as a child, but never within a good context.
They were kind of like the boogiemen of the succubi world. "Be careful
or the emissaries will get you..." Her mother's words echoed in her
head. But how could she be afraid of this woman with her doe eyes? Every
touch on her skin was soft as silk and made her forget about the burns,
even if only for a moment. If emissaries were so dangerous, why was her
smile so reassuring?
Lia actually laughed at this, even if it was bitter and sarcastic, "So what? Are you saying I'm important somehow?"
"Your death would have thrown off the balance," Marin said calmly, "So I suppose you can say, yes. You're important."
That was something Lia had never heard from anyone. Her eyes went to the ground and she scoffed at the words.
"Won't you heal now?"
"I told you, I have no power left to heal," Lia said in defeat.
"Then take mine."
Lia looked surprised. This woman put herself in danger's way to save her life, "I couldn't..."
"There's no way you can make it back home inconspicuously unless you're in disguise."
Lia nodded hesitantly as Marin held out her arm for her to touch. Lia reached out, but she couldn't bring herself to do it. Her fingertips were mere inches away from Marin's forearm when her hand started trembling. Her eyes couldn't stop looking between her own fingers and those damnable eyes.
There was no way she could leave their haven without a disguise, and there was no way she could achieve that without touching Marin. It was so simple; just reach out and touch her. She didn't even have to take a lot. Just enough.
But Lia pulled back her trembling hand before her eyes dropped to her lap, embarrassed, "I can't, I just can't do it."
Marin nodded with an understanding expression before she put her hand on Lia's shoulder, "Then let me," she whispered before she leaned forward and pressed her lips to Lia's.
Lia froze. It was a kiss that didn't intend to take, it was given, a gift, and it asked for nothing in return. The kiss was pure, unlike anything else she had experienced. As they kissed, she could feel the burning pain on her skin disappear and she could feel the horns and wings disappearing.
In that moment, she swore Marin was all that she could see. Marin was the sun and Marin was the moon. Marin was the air around her, Marin was flowing through her veins. Marin's skin smelled fresh like strawberries in the summertime. If heaven had a flavor, it would be Marin's lips. Her energy was the most fulfilling thing Lia ever had the pleasure of becoming one with.
Lia slowly, reluctantly pulled back and looked at her. The awe of her beauty and the taste on her tongue still fresh on her senses left her speechless. Marin smiled and stood, offering a hand to help her up.
"Don't worry about the Holidays bothering you anymore. I'll make sure they stay far away from you," Marin assured Lia as she pulled her up.
Lia stood, holding onto Marin's hand a little bit longer, enjoying her touch, before she let her hand slip away. She spoke in a voice barely above a whisper, "Thank you."
"Can you make it on your own?" Marin asked, squeezing her shoulder in assurance.
"I'll be okay," Lia managed a smile of her own.
As soon as they turned to part ways, Marin turned back one more time, "Lia?"
Lia felt herself turn around so quickly it nearly made her head spin.
"I work in the holistic shop downtown if you ever need me," she smiled, that brilliant, gorgeous smile.
Lia could feel her face glowing with heat as she began walking away quickly. Soon, she broke into a run, elated at the energy coursing through her body. Running felt like drifting. The air around her felt pleasantly warm and the sunset looked like a gold drop against lavender skies. This energy made her feel whole and new somehow, but she couldn't put her finger on why.
When she got home and went to her room, she allowed her disguise to slip. No need to waste this precious energy if she didn't have to.
She sat down at her computer desk, deciding that she would catch up on her studying and her homework. Lia needed something painfully mundane after the last week. She reached for a pencil and happened to catch her reflection in a mirror she situated nearby. Her brows creased in concern at what she saw, wondering for a moment if the face staring back was really her own. She grasped the mirror and held it closer to her face.
Her blood red eyes had softened to a brilliant pink.
Her mother told her a long time ago that a succubus with pink eyes was the mark of a weak succubus because it meant they had fallen in love.
"It's against our nature to be in love. Humans are food for us. Why would anyone want to be manipulated by their food?" Her mother said in disgust.
But if that was true, then why did it feel so sweet?
With trembling hands, Lia set the mirror on her desk and pushed herself up. She walked to her window and stared at the first star in the sky, wondering what everything - the Holidays, Marin, and her new found pink eyes - meant for her future. Anxiety stirred in her belly until she thought about the kiss that literally changed her. It didn't just touch her lips, it touched her very core, and something about that made her feel hopeful for what was to come.
(AN: I'll definitely write more about Lia in the future, but I think this is a good stopping point for now. :3)