I don’t intend to make this a political blog, but… well. Yeah. Clearly, cats were looking the other way just then.
They sat back-to-back, staring into opposite directions. The target was sleeping soundly — and loudly — next to them. She wondered if he had used his pipe on the poor woman. Apparently, the pipe had many applications she had been unaware of, until now.
How was she supposed to have known that it’d mess up her head like that?
She glanced at him from over her shoulder. She opened her mouth, then closed it again. Her brows wriggled towards a scowl.
She turned away.
He had been waiting for her to apologise for a while now. Maybe a part of him knew that she wasn’t about to do it, and maybe another part reminded him of the fact that they should get moving, apology or no, but…
All he could currently think about were the rumours floating around the office. Nobody had actually seen her face. She always wore a veil or a mask and nobody really knew why. It wasn’t a religious statement, for sure, so what was it, they asked, was it that her face was so terribly disfigured? So many questions.
Well, he had some of the answers now. In the confusion, her veil had fallen off. He had barely even registered the significance of the fact at the time, but now, thinking back on the stupid grin he had seen on her face, he realised that he was the first agent to ever get a chance to see that grin. He was the first agent to see her face. He wasn’t sure what to think.
She was not disfigured.
He had memorised her face, of course. Of course, because it was his job to memorise everything he ever saw, to the tiniest detail; it happened naturally, he didn’t, couldn’t, heh, maybe wouldn’t control it. So he remembered. He remembered the tiniest dimples and the small, round nose. He remembered the grin. She had such a grin.
She wondered what he was thinking. What did he think about what had happened, and more importantly, what did he think about her? Was he as annoyed as he had seemed earlier? As annoyed as she was?
She was annoyed. “You should have warned me,” she said hotly.
“I did warn you,” he replied, and now that he was talking, she forgot her concerns regarding what he might think about her, and her irritation bubbled out again.
She grabbed his shoulder and yanked him by the shoulder to tell him, “You should have warned me,” she glared, “specifically.”
He turned to face her, less because he wanted to and more because he had little choice — she was a strong one. He met her blazing eyes and noted that she had replaced her veil. Of course she had. He should think nothing of it, but he had trouble not thinking; her face haunted him. He paid attention to the details differently. He saw a group of little crinkles in the corners of her eyes, and he imagined her face, imagined how each muscle moved to create those crinkles. Her grimace was fierce, he believed, her lips pulled tight over her teeth, yes, and he would see a tooth that would make him think, fang, that’s right, she was a little beast, wasn’t she?
He was so focused on contemplating her face that he completely forgot to think about what she had said, and so he did not reply.
Her eyes narrowed to thin slits. Why was he looking at her like that? She didn’t like it. She didn’t like it, because she didn’t understand it, and she hated not understanding things.
“Are you listening to me?” she demanded.
He gave a distracted nod. He took note of how a slice of the veil ballooned and sagged to the rhythm of her breathing. He pictured her mouth moving as she talked. He hated that he couldn’t quite remember the shape of her lips — he had glimpsed her mouth, hadn’t he? He had. He should remember.
Again she was saying something, and he was beginning to realise that it was very unprofessional not to answer. He looked at her in the eyes. “Hmm?”
There’s a long story behind this picture. It seemed an appropriate tale to tell today.
Dedicated with love to the memory of the victims of the mass shooting at Pulse, a gay night club in Orlando.
…but it is taking a little break. I am too busy with life right now to draw the comic, so I decided that rather than fret every week, I’m putting the comic on a mini-hiatus until the end of May. The Protocol will be back in June!
Also, here’s a Mini for you.