ᴇ ᴠ ᴇ ɴ ɪ ꜰ ɪ ᴛ ᴛ ᴀ ᴋ ᴇ ꜱ ᴀ ʟ ʟ ɴ ɪ ɢ ʜ ᴛ ᴏ ʀ ᴀ ʜ ᴜ ɴ ᴅ ʀ ᴇ ᴅ Y ᴇ ᴀ ʀ ꜱ.
𝒃 𝒆 𝒕 𝒕 𝒆 𝒓 𝒅 𝒂 𝒚 𝒔 .
𝒃 𝒆 𝒕 𝒕 𝒆 𝒓 𝒅 𝒂 𝒚 𝒔 .
𝒃 𝒆 𝒕 𝒕 𝒆 𝒓 𝒅 𝒂 𝒚 𝒔 .
𝒃 𝒆 𝒕 𝒕 𝒆 𝒓 𝒅 𝒂 𝒚 𝒔 .
[ 𝚊𝚗𝚞𝚋𝚒𝚜' 𝚘𝚏𝚏𝚒𝚌𝚎 ◆ 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚕𝚒𝚝𝚝𝚕𝚎 𝚖𝚊𝚛𝚓𝚘𝚛𝚊𝚖 ].............
████████████████. . .████████████████. . .████████████████. . .████████████████. . .████████████████
Familiarity was an intimate acquaintance to all beings immortal. It bred not only contempt but also melancholy. It was conceptualism wed to flickering déjà vu that broke across the mind in waves of wistful memoirs; each tremble of wanting imagery was a quivering pass of phantom touches. Tortures.
Bastet could only offer and lay blame to the willing spike that chained her to fate irreplaceable and eternally cruel as before her loomed a familiar facet of days gone by. Though, this was a different time, a different place, and a different building that eclipsed her pleasantly against the settled evening. Here there was a break of an absence of a summoning text or a hastily placed phone call that would've brought her to this plane of consistency, the words were often sweet things, whispers of affection that brought with it broken laughter. She's been here once, maybe twice, always on the whims of the heart and late hours that kept him there. Chained, she thinks, beautiful, golden chains spliced with obsidian and thick brass. Bound willingly, Bastet had to remind herself often, for even with her tugging on those restraints, they gave not under her touches that gifted solace and pain. From the shadow at her heels comes a soft mewl, an inquiry of concern that brings her soft gaze down and away from where she would, without a doubt, enter into once more.
Such a simplistic fallacy. It's a mantra that flings itself upon the chasm of her disparity the moment her cooled fingers ply open the doors -- oh there's one more delivery I should make -- and the foyer greets her with an unmanned desk. Amber luminescence toned down, it's past normal office hours after all, but somewhere yonder where assistants would be there to seek her intentions, she knew he would still be there working.
You're okay, it's okay, this is okay.
She veers to the right on memory but she feels like a silhouette upon the fringes of a dream, her gestures are sluggish in comparison to her usual elegance and somewhere betwixt her ears her heart lays and drums to a hummingbird's wing. It's the soft twine of a tail around her calf that brings her clarity and golden eyes that pierce to the depths of her anxiety to vanquish the panic that has risen to her throat. It's just Anubis, Bastet's scolds.
It's only the man you love.
His office is all dark grain woods and black ran through with gold and immaculate to near-obsessive compulsion, it's what she expects of him as she enters his office without so much as a knock to announce her. He'd know it was her. Or maybe Ammit, but she imagines that latter to barrel through with all the subtlety of her animal manifest. Still, Bastet ghosts her path to his desk held within incredible order, not a single object kept out of place and every accessory aligned. It's not until she comes to a standstill that she breathes, finally, and flattens her palms against the quiver in her belly.
"Should've known you'd be here. Keeping late hours, again."
The hunch of his spine, creaking with the weight of life that never leaves him. Always buzzing around and pulling him to and fro, it is by this direction that he’s spent another day at his desk. The papers are a scattered mess, an outlier among the order of the room, but it’s a testament to the growing stress and the control that’s slipping between his fingertips.
Tension coils his muscles taut, the grind of his teeth deafens his ears, dark eyes scan over the documents, there’s a missing piece to this puzzle, and it’s the roadblock to freedom for an innocent man. Only the melody of a voice that tugged at the strings of his heart before it registered in his mind broke his focus. Blinking away the words the threatened to burn into his mind, with how many times he read them, his vision was filled with Bastet.
Surprise flickered across his face for a moment before a furrow rested between his brow in confusion. A question caught on his tongue, and almost slipped away from him before he swallowed it down. Anubis was happy to see her and thankful for the chance after the mess of the conclave. The Guide of the Dead pushed back his chair, relaxing against the plush leather, and nodded at her words.
“Perhaps centuries of a similar routine have made me too predictable, but the same does not apply to you.” A comfortable smile tugs at the corner of his lips as he motions for Bastet to sit wherever she’d like, “I am happy to see you again, especially after the events of the conclave. How are you?”
Her responses are simplistic. It’s easy, almost, to slip into the adoring simpers that grace upon her features at his quip, his voice a remedy to the plague of her previous uncertainty. Bastet laughs, a quiet bell that springs from her throat whilst her gaze turns oblique, cutting through the fringe of her lashes at his confession and inquiry.
“I suppose not.” She rejoins cooly, absently tracing her nails against the seam of a leather-bound chair. How many clients have been here, facing towards a God of the Dead?
“I’m as well as I can be, as any of us are.” It’s the lingering reaping of the damned that she contemplates at that moment, for even they were subjected to an eternal fall from grace. “And you?” Bastet mutters, her golden gaze fleeting, tracing scattered papers she hadn’t noticed before, their haphazardous display stark in relation to his usual equanimity.
A shrug of nonchalance meets her inquiry, his gaze averting further from her truth seeking eyes. Anubis doesn’t feel like being read in this moment, or talking about how he has been, at least not truthfully, so he settles for a sellable, ”Fine.” But he knows that’s not enough, not for someone that had seen his heart, and so he tries again after clearing his throat and running his hands over his sweater clad chest, “I mean, I’m doing fine, between the news from the conclave and my cases I’ve been-”scared, tired, worried, helpless, the words are swallowed down and the God of emotional dishonesty the Dead motions to his desk, “severely busy.”
Anubis nods at the answer, he’s satisfied with the half-truths. The chime of his phone distracts him momentarily, a reminder for Imentet’s gathering lights up the screen and he’s already putting his desk back into order, “Care to accompany me to the tea house? I can take you home after as well.” There’s an underlying hope in his tone, his tidying pauses to glance up at her, his obsidian eyes softer than they had been days ago.
It’s not the answer she desires, but it’s the only answer he’s willing to give. The slight proffer, though subdued and carefully restrained, is suspended on both lie and truth, and Bastet deciphers the charade with ease. Somewhere between his doubling effort, a sigh plumes into the air; an all too knowing slip of wistfulness and hope hung upon words she has heard before. Severely busy was entirely an understatement, she’s witnessed the immense workload he undertakes and even endowed well in strength and obligated cause, Bastet has to wonder -- yet again -- just how much a man could endure.
“I see.” It’s a silent admission of peace and a promise to not inquire further to his state of affairs, for it would only lead to a dead end. Bastet knows an omission when presented, especially one sputtered from his lips and eyes cast purposely low in retreat. She reads the lines of his profile instead, settling for a gentle reproach. “I can only imagine how busy.”
And she could. The conjuring memory was of heated words and strained pleas against hopeless tongues, of biting nails and rigid bones yielding under pliant flesh. It’s the softness of his obsidian gaze that brings her forward, her gestures quiet whilst she gathers papers within her palms and hands them forward.
“I’d love to.” She answered truthfully, lips drawn into an affectionate smile.
Anubis met her offering halfway, the graze against her fingers sent a familiar electricity buzzing along the muscles in his arm. The final touches matched the desk to the rest of the room, and everything was back in order. With his keys and phone in hand he offered an empty arm to Bastet, “It has been a while since you’ve last visited the tea house.” Anubis’ tone bordered that of a question hidden within the observation he provided.
He really wanted to know why she stopped coming, but some part of him already knows the answer. A large part of him does not want to hear her say it, at least not tonight. Tonight Anubis wants to let his worries melt over the delicious tea Imentet would provide and laugh along to the vibrant stories his family would certainly share.
It’s immediate the way she takes his arm with fingers aligned against his forearm and nearly just as instant there’s a jolt that coils from palm and upward to nestle against her ribs. It’s that surge of familiarity once more that nearly robs breathe and reason from Bastet but then there’s the calm. The soothing relation and ambiance that Anubis provides in his simple act of offering her passage to and from the tea house.
“I’ve been… Busy.” It’s an ironic admission, an excuse that she has coined from his own repertoire of justification, and the truth of the utterance is not lost upon her. “Between patients, clients; you know how it goes.” Bastet waves her hand as if to banish their intrusion into her thoughts that very instant.
“I’ve even been offering time at the shelter, strays are abundant in this city, the cats and I do what we can to protect them.”
Bastet is careful to avoid mentioning just how far her influence has gone among the many, and how her cats have a constant watch of the shadows, even the ones at their very heels. Instead of attempting to reason the real cause behind her absence -- not just from the tea house -- she nestles against him and lays her head against his shoulder, allowing herself just this tiny sliver of sudden peace.
“The city is always bustling with life, overflowing even, and that makes us all far too busy for our own good.” Anubis’ reply is soft and without any inclination of pestering or accusing. Outside of the courtroom he liked to take people at face-value, he could see into the hearts of man but usually let their wickedness remain behind a mask of beauty.
The night around them was quiet in this part of town near the bay. Partly the reason Anubis chose it. The street was empty of traffic and the only sound was that of their footfalls and easy chatter. A minute felt like a few seconds, their nights felt like small moments in time, and days passed in a blink of an eye when he spent time with the Feline Goddess. Anubis feels at peace in her presence, his mind is clear and his tensions have eased away as Bastet’s heat and weight rest comfortably against his side.
The goddess is safe in his presence from any harm that would dare to even look her way, “This reminds me of simpler times, before I became so involved in my work.” Anubis’ tone is far away, his eyes gazing at the stars above them, “We are like planets in opposite orbits, coming together and drifting apart in cycles. I am embarrassed to admit that it’s taken the threat of an enigmatic foe to inspire some reflection on my choices and actions, but I have been thinking about my place among mortals, about our brothers and sister and about you.”
Anubis stops beside his sleek black car, leaning against the side and allowing his hands to cup Bastet’s face affectionately. The dark gaze that met her earlier is alight with love and honesty and his words are dipped in an aged melancholy, ”I can not envision a life where I idly stand by in the face of injustices. I cannot fathom turning my back on the descendants of our people that need my help, and so I must continue with this duty. But I cannot imagine being able to carry on in any measure without you here, Bastet. I am a lesser man than I was a god, and as a god, I was cast aside many times, but I have learned in this endless existence that change and growth are not kept far away from our grasps. My heart aches for the mortals, but it beats for you Bast, and I only wish to prove that to you in the coming days, if you will allow me.” Anubis finishes with a deep inhale and a small smile settled on his lips.
“Anubis…” His name is a breathless prayer that spirals into a mantra that gallops recklessly betwixt her ribs aching to confine her heart. The struggle is nearly euphoric, her voice carrying silken intonations of yearning, “There are days and nights where I want nothing more, I fear these mortal times, I am fearful of this sudden reaper that’s stalking after our souls and what it means. I know what you feel that you must do, I may not have always agreed, but I understand. I want to protect them too.” She smooths her palms against the planes of his chest, memory serving their path whilst electricity bounces from her gestures, the subtle twinge of attraction, desire, and need sparkling from her fingertips.
“We are nothing like we once were, but if I could rewrite the tales of our divinity, I would.” There’s power and abandon flung upon her statement, sinking deep into the gold of her eyes that bury themselves lost and forgotten into the darkness of his gaze. Against the warning that sounds off in her head much like a funeral tole for the damned fools of love, the Feline Goddess surrenders to the God of Death. Likened to smoldering embers fanned to life, she whispers, “Death may come for me tomorrow, and I would not hold any regrets, so long as I can share this night with you.”
It’s there in her voice: love. The promises of their confessions, of the words they share, and this moment in time suspended just for them. A creature of life and song and one of death and sanction that merge beyond their godly and mortal limitations to bask in the eternal bonds of man and woman. For that moment, Bastet cast aside the anguish of her lonely nights that sired his likeness in her dreams and allowed the warmth of his touch and words to melt into the very depths of her soul that shone so brightly then, just for him.
With their promises for better days invoked, Anubis seals the moment with a soft meeting of their lips. There’s an eagerness he holds back, giving his all into a kiss would further set back their arrival to Imentet’s gathering and she was a woman better left not waiting. Reluctantly he parts their sweet affections, his caress along her face lingers a moment longer before he’s breaking the enchantment of their proximity by opening the car door, “We’ll set off like bandits in the night once again, for the treasures of tea and laughter.” He can’t pass up a chance for another stolen kiss before he joins her taking his place behind the wheel, a smile he cannot hide tugging the corners of his lips upward, “I’m glad the winds of the changing season carried you my way, Malikati”
How long has it been since they last kissed? Touched? Or the last moment where he smiled so. Bastet couldn’t contain that bubble of laughter that escaped so suddenly, her heart and body lightened at the moment from endless days of lonely burden. She settled in his car easily, but not before she gave the shadows a glance, finding that her familiars had already departed.
“Then lead us there, Malik! With the winds at our back, the night is ours to make.”
It was like stepping into the past, almost, being here with him and suspended high on love, promises, and sealed kisses of entanglement. The purr of the vehicle lulls her into bliss and every so often their eyes would clash and unabashed Bastet would gaze upon his mouth where he had stolen her breath and heart (again) just moments before. It’s the promising evening that prevents her from setting upon him with that ravenous appetite the stews away in her belly, coming low and bringing a powerful quiver up the links of her spine. He guides them through traffic seamlessly and with ease and even in such a mortal gesture, it’s perfectly controlled and bound with an order that no mere man could obtain.
With the tea house quickly coming into view she feels a sudden and prickling sensation of unease, undoubtedly Imentet would be pleased to see her, and the cats have missed being apart of social gatherings of her kith and kin, but there’s the guilt of having been away for so long that sidles her anxiety. She quickly glances to her phone whilst Anubis places his car to park -- even that is perfect, fluid, as he lines up perfectly between painted lines -- and notices an unread email, within her personal inbox no less. She deigns to read it later, following the silhouette outside tinted windows that comes to her side and opens the door for her, old habits, she muses with a delicate smile.
“It really has been so long,” she whispers, absently twirling a braid with her index finger in a quant sign of agitated emotes. Instantly her calves are met with entwined tails and soft fur, her eyes drawn down at the trio affectionately at her feet. “I bet you’re all excited to be here. Best behaviors, you’re the only cats allowed in such a place you know.” They mewl in eager response, trotting up to the doors and awaiting entrance at their leave, golden eyes cast upon them.
“Shall we?” She said, uneasy laughter plucking upon her vocals and bringing them an octave higher.
Anubis weaves his finger between hers, giving an affectionate squeeze, “They will all be glad to see you.” He offers in encouragement before leading them forward. The inside of the tea house was as welcoming as ever, the small space was big enough to host a decent sized crowd on the weekend night, and the chatter among tables never rose to a level that drowned out the live music coming from a dimly lit corner of the room.
“She’s waiting downstairs for y’all. Have fun down there Kai, and it’s great to see you finally getting back into the dating scene.” The familiar young woman offered a playful smile and wag of her brows before she was twirling off to tend to her patrons.
“Everyone always seems so involved in my personal affairs.” Anubis mutters with a small chuckle as he takes the stairs to the basement floor. The room greets them with subtle incense and visions of their homelands framed and painted on the walls, “Your favorite brother has arrived, and even before Ammit has had a chance to bulldoze her way here? Dare I take the overall favorite spot from her?” Anubis calls out in a casual tone to his sister, “It’s good to see you Imentet.”
The Little Marjoram is like stepping into an entirely different world and with it comes the witness and renewal of an entirely different man. Anubis’ gestures are soft betwixt her own, woven deep and anchoring to reality despite the flutter in her belly like frantic butterflies. It crests and falls before becoming lodged within her throat to watch him evolve to someone so familiar and comfortable in these graces. Bastet’s glance is stolen over her shoulder for only a second to where a young woman is intermingled with many patrons, but not before she offered the goddess a wink and a smile -- genuine it was. It brought her statement unto a threshold in Bastet’s mind whilst they descended downstairs where the world shifted once more.
Bastet felt a euphoric blessing of coming home, magical tendrils wove themselves among her braids and flitted over her shoulders and went southward upon her spine. Through her arm, down to their connection that only amplified the electricity their bond shared. It was a reminder to earlier, blessed times, of festivals of life and death; renewal and respite, and the sun where it burned and scorched and chased. It reminds her of who she is and who she is with and what once was.
Imentet is a vision and so Bastet takes this moment to bask in the familial affection that bounces from their greetings, at least until her cats trot merrily among their heels, mewling eagerly for attention among those who have gathered. It’s their eagerness that encourages her own steps and without her former hesitation, Bastet’s face is woven in a smile that brightens endlessly:
“I second that; it’s so good to see you. I regret having been away for so long.” On that notion she retrieves the gifts she’s prepared. “I’ve brought some things for you, and --” she laughs, watching as Cleopatra sways on her hindquarters, preparing to launch herself into her arms “ -- the cats have missed you terribly it seems.”