“Cassian, don’t do it,” she begged him again. No matter what she said to him, she knew he’d already made up his mind. But she had to try.
“I have to,” he answered, his voice solemn.
He stood in front of her heavy black curtains that she invested in shortly after they became lovers. Her old one had been too transparent to ensure that no sunlight would get in, and she wanted him to be able to sleep over.
All that care to keep him safe and he was throwing it away. Her chest in knots, she rushed forward, clutching his arm.
“I know you miss the sun but this is reckless. Please, don’t do it. You’ll burn alive.”
He shook his head. “We won’t know for sure until we try.”
“It’s not worth it!”
“To you!” he countered.
Nothing she said was going to dissuade him. Ever since he figured out how to turn into a bat, – the first of his species with that ability – he became obsessed with knowing. Will he still burn in the sun in his bat form?
Jyn knew how much this meant to him. The sun symbolized everything he lost when he became a vampire. If he was able to feel its warm rays again, he would finally be at peace.
But she was terrified that he would just burn to death in front of her eyes and she wouldn’t be able to stop it.
Like he could sense her line of thinking, his expressions softened, his body sagging. He took her shoulders and looked into her eyes.
“I’ll be fine. It won’t kill me immediately. If I start burning, you’ll just quickly close the curtains again.”
She shook her head.
“You know it’ll give you permanent scars.”
Vampires could regenerate, except when it came to fire. If it didn’t kill them, it would leave burn marks for the rest of their immortal lives.
“I’m willing to take that risk.”
He was resolute. She couldn’t stop him.
With a heavy heart, Jyn stepped to the window and nodded.
Cassian closed his eyes, his nose scrunched up as he concentrated. It still took him a moment to channel that energy. But he was so focused and self-disciplined, nothing could stand in his way. She almost wondered if that was what gave him the ability to transform: sheer willpower.
The first time she saw him like this, she thought he looked adorable as a tiny bat with big brown eyes and small wings, making squeaky noises. It was not really fair that he was cute as a man and so cute as a bat. But now the sight only filled her with dread.
With a heavy sigh on her lips, she pulled back the curtains.
Nothing happened. Jyn held her breath, her eyes glued to Cassian. There were no flames and no pained squeaks. She couldn’t smell the familiar odor of charred flesh. He wasn’t burning.
Slowly, she pulled back the curtains further, watching as Cassian flew closer to the window like he was in disbelief himself. For a moment, he stared out, the flapping of his wings the only sound in the room. Then he turned to her and let out a joyous squeak.
“You’re not burning,” she stated, the smile evident in her voice. He couldn’t respond verbally but he rose higher, circling around the room, making tiny cartwheels in the air. Look at me, Jyn, I’m not burning.
When he finally settled down on her desk, she gave him an affectionate head rub. Cassian’s response was to flap his ears back and forth several times, his way of showing excitement. Jyn had laughed the first time she saw him do it, wondering if this was his idea of flirtation.
“Come on,” she told him and held out her arm. He took the hint and flew up to her shoulder. “Let’s take you for a walk.”
They took the day off and went on a walk around the neighborhood, Cassian on her shoulder, Jyn feeding him bits of fruit every now and then. Passersby on the street gave her strange looks, but Cassian’s enthusiasm was palpable even in this form so she didn’t really care. When her legs grew tired of walking, they headed to a nearby park and settled down in a secluded area further away from everyone else.
Jyn noticed his eyelids dropping as they sat down on the grass. Daylight was usually when Cassian slept and he’d tired himself out with the constant excited flying. Still, he tried to force his eyes open, taking in everything with the curiosity and wonder of a little kid. She couldn’t blame him. He hadn’t been out in the sun for five months.
Jyn plucked a small blue flower from the ground and placed it behind his ear. Covered in sunlight, he looked peaceful. Happy. She had to admit that it did suit him. He must have looked heavenly in the sun as a man too, and her heart ached at the realization that she would never experience it.
“Go to sleep, my love,” she told him. “There’ll be a new day tomorrow.”
Jyn woke to the moon in the sky, curled into Cassian’s chest, once again a man. He was awake and looking at her, resting on his side as he gently carded his fingers through her hair. Her eyes fluttered closed again, content.
“Haven’t you heard that watching women sleep is creepy?” she murmured, voice laced with sleep.
“I was watching the stars,” he admitted. “Until you scrunched up your nose like you were angry even in your dream, it was adorable.”
She opened one eye to glare up at him. “Says the cute little bat who did cartwheels in the air.”
Cassian laughed. The flower she’d placed behind his ear was still in place, contrasted nicely against his dark hair.
“Make fun of me all you want, it doesn’t bother me.”
“Then where’s the fun in that?” she grumbled. Cassian’s response was a slow kiss that made her toes curl. Clutching his collar, she sighed and rested her head back against his chest.
“I had a good day. I’m glad you can go out into the sun.”
He hummed, pulling her with him as he flopped onto his back.
“Thank you for being my sun in the night.”