The person stood against blue light, like a restless spectre.
Why they stood there or how they got onto the dropship he wasn’t sure, and right now Elliott couldn’t care less.
He was far from a light sleeper, but the noises made by the stranger were enough to make him turn in his bunk, seeing the figure slip through the hallways of the dropship, past the several darkened dorms of his colleagues, following the dimmed lights breaking in through the shuttered window from outside.
Panic ran down his spine. He blamed it on his sleepiness or on the lack of light, but he has genuine problems to recognize the person’s silhouette. He has been part of the Apex Games long enough to be able to tell apart his frenemies by their shadow.
Maybe he should inform the security. There was security around.
But then again, they would have reacted already if they had registered any abnormalities, right?
Elliott held his breath as he pushed his blanket aside, slowly lifting his body up, praying to the mattress under him to not make a single noise. Cautious, with naked feet, he got up, eyes still glued to the back of the strange person.
A little voice in his back cursed over the weapon ban on board, he’d definitely feel a lot saver with a Wingman in his palm right now.
He managed to make a single step. No noise. A victorious grin.
Maybe if you put your finger against their back they will think you got a gun, he thought, daring to take another step. Just to make sure they don’t act up.
Slowly he followed in the person’s steps. He passed through the hallway, past the now dark den of the oh-so-smart new guy, the low green LEDs (he could tell Octavio forgot to take off his mask again before sleeping in on his desk, he always snored when he kept it on) and the quiet yet heavy breaths of a resting chemist.
His walk slowed however.
Shit. The bird.
From the corner of his eyes he glanced over to the dorm next to where he paused. Burned down candles, furs and leather, skulls of creatures he couldn’t pronounce. And a large raven, with its head under its wing, sleeping in an iron cage.
A silent sigh of relief dropped off of Elliott’s lips before he turned his attention back to the target. In his head he chuckled. Bloodhound would be proud at my sneak game right now.
For whatever reason, they just stood there. Gazing through the barred holes on the side of the rumbling dropship, watching the snow outside fall.
Now, barely two or three feet behind the person, he managed to get a good glance at the nightly roamer. Or at least of their back side.
A long coat, knitted from grey and green wool, hang over their shoulders, hiding most of their shape, aside from two worn, surprisingly dirty looking feet. He noticed short, almost black curls, a single long strand of hair hanging down the back with shimmering pearls braided in. Very minimal getup for an intruder.
His heart pounded against his chest by now. Why? Why are you panicking? C’Mon, man, you are freakin’ Mirage. Even if it was someone who snuck on board, you can take care of it. You are a Legend, god damn it, a Legend! You just throw them over your shoulder and pin them down until the security comes and then -
A gasp. There was a creak. Too much weight on his left foot.
The person turned.
He felt the person’s gaze peer into him as he pinched his eyes shut in frustration.
Shit, fuck, shit!
He dared to open one eye. The light of the storm outside framing the stranger, their shape now clearer. The short hair was dark brown, not black, their face covered in scars from knife cuts and animal claws, a large chunk of their lower lip missing as if someone bit a piece out of it. Two slim green eyes caught Elliott’s with the same intensity he had felt even when he wasn’t looking. It sent another sensation through his body. A pleasant one.
They stood and stared for a moment before the stranger finally broke the long eye contact that had gone on way longer after it had gotten awkward. Or at least it felt like it did.
They let go a chuckle.
“Well, shit.” came from them in a low whisper as their fingers tugged out of the too long sleeves to adjust the collar, holding the coat closed with crossed arms. “This is not favourable.”
Only now Elliott had noticed he stood around with his mouth open, his lips almost comically popped when he spoke again finally. “Ah, uhm...what?”
Another amused huff as they turned back, looking out of the dropship. “I would have preferred for nobody to know. But I guess sooner or later it was bound to happen, given how closely we all live to each other during the season.”
Now, without fear, Elliott closed the gap between him and the stranger, looking outside as well. Snowflakes, the size of a palm, hid the glass.
“I won’t tell anyone, promise.” he muttered, now trying hard to avoid that strong gaze.
He was rewarded with a hum. “I’m afraid I would have to kill you otherwise.” There was humor in their voice, but Elliott knew that statement held a kernel of truth. Bloodhound wasn’t known to jest around as much as other Legends after all.
“Merlin,looks so lonely in her cage.”
Elliott tossed a look back. The bird was still asleep. “That why you can’t sleep?”
Bloodhound’s head hang low, their chin against their chest.
“Hey, look. He’ll show up again.”
“Arthur is no simple bird. He doesn’t just get lost.”
Elliott scratched his cheek nervously. “Well, I’m no bird expert, but I’m an expert in escaping heated situations and if I were a bird that accidentally got startled by a Marvin, I’d take flight, too. Especially when that Marvin is Pathfinder.”
He nudged towards the darkness behind them, knowing very well there was a charging robot somewhere beyond it.
The hunter shook their head. “I saw blood.”
A hard swallow. Now Elliott was crossing his arms, too. He gave into his curiosity to take another look.
They were greying at the temples. A tiny mole crowned the surprisingly sharp cheekbones. There were two more braided - not, dreaded hair strands hanging down from their neck. The pearls had runes on them. They had their nose broken at least once.
And yet, their features looked soft. Worn, but gentle. Tired, but warm.
“Maybe we’ll find him once we finally reach World’s Edge.” he whispered, suppressing a yawn.
“I pray to the Allfather you are right.” Another tug at the coat. “I’ve had him since he was a chick...I wouldn’t want to lose him like this.”
Elliott mustered up a grin. “I’m always right, you know that, Hound.”
“May I remind you of that one time you said -”
“Aside from the thing with the Bunker, I’m sorry.”
“What about the Arc Star Rain at the Hydro Dam?”
A chuckle. Not one tinted in melancholy. Bloodhound turned away from the window, their feet tapping against the metallic ground as they walked back to their dorm.
“I will rest now. Forget you saw me.”
Elliott followed the almost sway of the heavy wool and couldn’t suppress a smirk.
“What, I’m supposed to forget a face as pretty as that?”
“...charmer. Go lay down, Elliott.”
“Fine. But I mean it.”