CHAPTER 13: I'LL COME BACK TO YOU
When Metalicana arrived at the prison, the guards had been warned that a particularly dangerous Dragon transformed into human was going to come. As a consequence, he was greeted with a lot of kindness, of respect and of attention. The first time, he hadn't passed the great door and now that he walked in front of the cells, he felt sick and clenched his teeth. He didn't feel pity for this prisoners, far from it, but they disgusted him. They had nothing human anymore, almost nothing alive. And concerning Gajeel, it was the same. Despite the madness that blinded him and misled his body, he was wasting away with each effort. Even if his strengths were still increasing, the weakness had won on him again and didn't allow him to stand. He was moaning continually, like an animal to the point of death. His condition had got worse during those two last days. His face was carved, he had bags under his eyes and he had lost weight. Suddenly, Metalicana doubted that he could save him. He was already dead physically, and his mind was fading at a alarming speed. He didn't move, didn't growl, and he barely glanced at the Dragon when he sat him on the ground of his cage, as if he couldn't see anything. He sadly nodded his head gently at the moment when the guards placed him on his father's back in order to transport him until he could take back his original form outside. Unfortunately for Gajeel, he fainted before he could even admire the light of the day after so much time spent into the darkness.
Metalicana brought him in the only place he really knew like the back of his hand, and he was certain no one would find them here, nor disturb them as long as the Dragon Slayer wouldn't be recovered. The place he had found and raised him, in a little forest between Era and the mount Hakobe. He landed in a small clearing that seemed familiar to him. There was a strange shelter, naturally composed by leaning trees, branches and brushes. The spot he called his home, and that he left for seven years. Despite all this time, nothing had changed and a pinch of nostalgia spread in the Dragon's heart when he thought about the years he'd spent here with his son. He delicately placed him on the ground inside his lair and took care of the priorities, meaning healing him. Considering his state, he'd have needed a huge quantity of magic to heal him, but who cares? He had it.
He gently placed his muzzle against his cheek, in a way we nearly could have thought it was tender, and slowly, he transferred his magic into him, chasing the darkness from his heart and his mind, as the pain left his body. The iron mage slightly growled, but he didn't wake up, and the Dragon eventually laid beside him, in a way that Gajeel could lay against his neck. Even a twig seemed stronger than him right now, and for the first time, Metalicana felt the need to protect him. Now he just ha to wait him to recover and wake up.
But he didn't. No, because despite everything, Gajeel wasn't fine. He didn't wake up, even if he had nightmares and was screaming every nights, begging invisible demons to leave him alone. And his body kept weakening. He wasn't in coma, but he was incapable to awake, as if someone wished to condemn him to suffer. He had broken his body in jail, beyond the limits of the supportable, even if his father had integrally cured him. The nutritional deficiencies he had accumulated continued to make him sick and to kill him inside, and it wasn't with the microscopic quantity of food Metalicana managed to make him swallow that he could be better. And no magic could do anything against this. For the first time in his life, he felt... useless. And even if he wanted to hide it to himself, he didn't want his son to die, he didn't, not after all they lived together. But it was the day when Gajeel really almost died and when he only just managed to bring him round that he understood he needed help, and above all a doctor, because Gajeel wouldn't healed like this. On the contrary, it would get worse until he really couldn't do anything. But he wasn't going to return to Fairy Tail, he clearly said he would take care of it himself, and he didn't want to deal with those cheeky humans. So he decided to go find help elsewhere, and he knew perfectly where. Where he was sure to find a doctor because he'd seen him: Kôkô. Le journey wasn't very long but rather difficult. Metalicana was forced to hold the Dragon Slayer in one of his pawn since, weak and unconscious, Gajeel couldn't grip his back. Plus, transporting him also meant to weaken him even more. Metalicana just hoped he could hold on until they arrived at their final destination.
Get rid of the least of danger for more than five months now, Kôkô was trying to revived as best as it could and the commerce was flourishing again. All the houses hadn't been rebuilt, there were still a few ruins, but most of the work had been done. Metalicana heard more than he saw the panic he created and a big cruel laughter escaped his mouth, after all, he still enjoyed such a panic, even if it wasn't his main goal now. He heavily landed in the main street, beside a rebuilt fountain he remembered to have destroyed long ago and he was welcomed by a wave of screams and people ran screaming: "Not again! It's a nightmare!". He took his human form, in order to reassure the villagers even if most of them were already gone, before he took Gajeel in his arms. Suddenly, the town hall's door in his back opened violently and Fiorenzo, a broom in hand, rushed at him with a scream, before he smashed it on the top of his head. But unfortunately for him, it was the broom that broke in two and his opponent took no damages.
"I won't let a Dragon destroy my town a second time!" He shouted, courageously brandishing what remained of his weapon despite his shaking knees.
If only they knew it was really him who destroy the city the first time... Metalicana sighed and cursed for the umpteenth time the humans before he turned around to face him. Why should he bother to use words when what he simply show before their eyes was talking for him? When he saw the unconscious Dragon Slayer in his arms, the mayor yelped in surprise before he dropped his stick as horrified whispers filled the streets where people hid. There, he'd done his personal effect, now he had to react seriously.
"I'm not attempting to destroy the town, but I could if you stay here motionless and don't bring me at a doctor's immediately!"
He didn't need to repeat to make Fiorenzo depart at full speed toward Sebastian's house, followed by the Dragon, followed in turn by the curious villagers. He arrived like a whirlwind in front of the door and drummed it furiously, screaming:
"Sebastian open the door! It's an emergency!"
Up to a dozen of hits, the door opened and the doctor almost took the mayor's fist right in the head.
"Calm down, I'm here, what's up?" He asked, surprised by the racket in the street usually so calm.
Then he noticed Gajeel behind the mayor in turn and immediately invited them to enter, shutting the door in the people's face that looked like a loads of gossip journalists. The three men (well, two men and a Dragon) installed the iron mage in the doctor's bed. Then when it was done, Sebastian suddenly declared:
"For now I don't care to know what he's doing here when everyone in Kôkô knows he had been jailed. Just tell me what's wrong with him."
"I don't know exactly, he's alright because I cured him, and yet his condition keeps getting worse, he'll die soon. And considering he had been jailed precisely, I thought about the nutritional deficiencies. His condition might have deteriorated because of this, since even if it's been nearly a month he had been released, he barely ate."
Sebastian left at full speed in an adjacent room, certainly the one where he put the medicines, considering the noises they heard and the mess they saw.
"But who are you exactly?" Fiorenzo suspiciously asked he had followed them inside.
"Metalicana. His father."
He had hesitated to pronounce the latter part, but one more moment of shame wouldn't kill him. The mayor took a stunned look but the doctor came back at this moment with a box in his arms, and hurried to put it beside the Dragon Slayer.
"You are lucky, I have those kinds of medicines here, usually we find them only in the hospitals."
He didn't even bother to hear an answer, too busy with the mage to listen to them. He examined him quickly, gradually realizing he was in a critical state, then he grabbed all the medicines he had to give him, injected him some of them and finished his installation in less time than it took to tell.
"I hope he'll resist the treatment, otherwise there won't be anything else I could do considering his condition." He finally whispered before falling heavily on the edge of the bed.
"Honestly this annoying kid would have caused me troubles until the end!" The Dragon complained.
Speaking of kids, the three men jumped when a long sob suddenly could be hear in their back. Lilas, who was hidden under the table since the beginning, clearly had seen Gajeel enter and had understood something was wrong with him. So she was crying. Under Sebastian's order, Fiorenzo grabbed her and carried her to take her outside, but the little girl resisted and violently pulled his mustache. Until Metalicana, who was on the edge at this moment, interfered.
"Listen to me you filthy brat, now stop blubbering, can't you see he needs some rest?! It's not with a short noisy thing like you he could feel better, do you fucking understand?! Or should I repeat it with gestures?!" He roared, more than unhappy.
And strangely Lilas obeyed. Her protruding eyes still full of tears stared at the Dragon, but her mouth was tightly close and no sound escaped it.
"Kick this brat away now!" He ordered as he pointed the door.
Fiorenzo left with the baby in his arms, who, before they closed the door, stuck out her tongue and glared at the one who just bawled at her. This Dragon was an obstacle at their love, hers and Gajeel's. From now on there was just a single solution to Lilas... get rid of him. And she already had some ideas. With a deep growl, the one who became her target sat on a chair placed in a corner and massaged his temples. The silence fell, only interrupted by the heart-rate monitor Sebastian had installed. And now they just had to wait. Metalicana had to handle his human form for a while, until the iron mage awoke.
And a miracle happened a week later. Lilas was trying again to escape Metalicana's diligent surveillance to reach the bedroom he was guarding behind himself. She'd tried so many times, but neither the dribble, neither the shouts, neither the fluffs she'd thrown into the face hadn't defeated the Dragon who remained loyal and reliable. But today, yes today, there was finally an opening. Exhausted by the little girl, he fell asleep on his chair. On all four, she passed beside him he didn't move and entered in the bedroom the door was never closed with a devilish and silent laughter. However, since all this time, Lilas had grown, and had understood the message, she mustn't disturb him. She straightened and staggered around the bed, then she stood next to the bedside table, in front of his sleepy face and she didn't move anymore. Only her eyes and her tongue that wandered in and out her mouth, creating weird sounds, proved she wasn't a statue, and she remained immobile during a few minutes. Then, because her feet hurt from standing on her legs, she climbed on the bed and sat beside him. With an excited and gourmand smile, she took the bracelet he gave her and she never left, before she bit into it like she did usually.
Her attention focused on Gajeel later and her little blue eye met the red of the Dragon Slayer's who was open and was intensely staring at her.
Of course, she had the time to improve the way she talked in six months, and now she knew a few words. The little girl raised her arms with enthusiasm and threw inadvertently her gift that hit the floor with a faint metallic sound, but it wasn't enough to awake "the guardian". Lilas approached slowly Gajeel's face, her mouth open in a perfect "o".
"Hurt?" She babbled as she awkwardly taped his cheek.
The Dragon Slayer just blinked and sighed hoarsely. Despite the month he spent to sleep, he seemed exhausted and his half-closed eyes were staring at the child in a weird way. She slightly reminded him someone but his clouded mind still couldn't put a name on her beautiful face. After a long moment where they simply stared at each other, the mage weakly placed his hand on her head and ruffled her hair with a laughter barely audible.
"I know you... Lilas huh? What am I doing in Kôkô?"
The girl smiled and a joyful yelp rang in his ears. She caressed his forehead, took a surprised look and then she asked:
He remembered her too, yes he remembered everything. What he'd been through was gradually coming back in his memory, with confusion, as if he was watching some slides.
"I don't think she'll come." He sighed almost in despair.
What he'd done came back in his mind too, he had wildly attacked her and the scene rewind relentlessly in his head. He saw her eyes and her words as if she was right before him. It made him sick, he felt so guilty he only wanted to disappear. Of course she wasn't here, she didn't want to be alongside the crazy monster he had become, even if it was just a distant memory now and he was cured now. Completely lost he curled up on himself with a moan. Lilas yelped in surprise and began to scream, alarmed by the Dragon Slayer's behavior.
Metalicana woke up with a start and fell from his chair with an insult then he noticed with horror that the baby had fooled him.
"You! You filth!"
Enraged, he caught her by the collar and made her roll on the ground like a bowl, then he slammed the door violently once she was outside. The little girl began to scream and if she had been able to swear she would have done it with pleasure. Attracted by all this noise, Sebastian finally showed himself and she turned toward him. Yes, her father was going to avenge her, he would hit this idiot Dragon and showed him who was the boss. Gajeel would forgive her if Metalicana would die during this epic and tragic fight, after all, it was to save their love. And her dad was the best! He shook his head and entered, letting the door open for the greatest pleasure of his daughter who was however disappointed since the fight she was waiting for didn't happen. So she would have to do everything by herself? Determinate, she went toward Metalicana and grabbed his leg while he was leaning over his son.
"Metalicana, could you please bring my daughter out? And you too, I'd like to take care of your son in the calm." The doctor declared as he already leaned over Gajeel and examined him.
"Are you kidding me?!" He roared back. "He's my son like you say so well! I'm staying here and it's not this brat who'll make me change my mind!"
"Metalicana, go out please, we'll talk later." Gajeel growled, ending the discussion.
Okay, the Dragon understood he was bothering. He left with Lilas, still gripped to him, and on the doorstep, he still overdid it.
"I fuck you all, you filthy stupid and inferior humans!"
Then he slammed the door and the two men inside the room sighed together.
"He is always like that?" Sebastian asked.
"Always. Ignore him."
"And you are you okay?" He told me what happened. "Do you remember everything?"
"Unfortunately I do, except that I don't know how long I've been in jail, and what my father is doing here either. And I'm tired too."
"Six months, it's been six months you left from Kôkô, and about your father, he told me he'd saved you with the Fairy Tail Guild, but nothing more."
"Tch, if he really did, he won't talk about it with me, especially because it certainly pissed him off to ally with Fairy Tail to save me. Still..."
"It's gonna be okay, I'm sure he love you more than he says. He did so much for you, you'd be dead or still mad if he hadn't be here."
"It's really surprising coming from him. But if you say so, it must be true."
"And you seem to recover quite quickly, rest for a few days and you could leave. I'm happy you're alive, boy!"
With this words, Sebastian patted his shoulder with a genuine smile and let him rest. He had others problems to solve now, like the screams on the other side of the door.
Meanwhile, at Fairy Tail, Levy was waiting. Feed with hope, she was waiting the whole day near the window with Lily, praying to see Gajeel arrived nonchalantly far off, as if nothing never happened and as if he was simply coming back from a mission, and to finally throw herself in his arms and never let him go. But now it had been more than a month they had visited the Council, and they received no news since this. Just like his process, the Dragon Slayer's liberation hadn't been disclosed, and plus the young girl ignored if Metalicana really had respected his word since she still hadn't see him. So she only could pray despite the days that passed and the hope that was fading gradually. But, fortunately for her, good news finally arrived after so much patience.
A weird shadow suddenly appeared at the corner of the street and Levy straightened and narrowed the eyes, like she did every time she saw a stranger. But this stranger, she knew him. Before Pantherlily's and the other mages' surprised eyes, she ran outside and shouted:
"Sebastian? Lilas? But what are you doing here?!"
"Tourism!" The doctor kidded who welcomed awkwardly the young girl who flew into his arms.
"Levyyy!" Lilas greeted as she jumped on her little feet.
"Hi Lilas! You can talk now? How cute!"
The mage took her in her arms and kissed her cheek with a big smile.
"Levy you know them?" Jet and Droy asked before everybody.
"It's true I forgot to do the introductions! So Sebastian, Lilas, this is the Fairy Tail mages. And Fairy Tail, this is Sebastian, Kôkô's doctor who helped us Gajeel and I, and his daughter Lilas."
"I hadn't do so much, please no exaggerations." The doctor muttered and blushed, embarrassed.
Every girls rushed at the baby with wondered exclamations that the little girl mirrored, and they enjoyed touch her face and hear her laughter. Meanwhile the men started to talk with the doctor because they wanted to know what happened with Gajeel and Levy and to hear his version of the story. A few minutes later, all of them sat at a large table in the hall and Mirajane brought drinks.
"I really didn't expect to see you here, what are you doing here?" Levy asked as she tried to make Lilas eat a piece of bread while Mirajane and Lucy were brushing her hair.
Sebastian became suddenly serious and stared at her before he stated in a grave voice:
"I've seen Gajeel. His father brought him to me a little while ago because he wasn't well at all and he left a few days ago when he awoke. I thought I had to tell you."
"Gajeel!" The baby screamed.
She waved her hand toward the door and stared at the blue haired mage with big confused eyes, as if she was surprised not to see her with him.
"But does he feel better?" Lily worried, anticipating the young girl's reaction.
"He nearly died, he was really in a critical state. His father explained what happened to him in jail and it didn't surprise me. I don't want to brag but I think I've accomplished an half-miracle when I've healed him. But now yes, he feels better."
"So he's going to come back?"
"Not now I suppose. Even if he feels better physically and his father healed his madness, he still has fits of absence rather frequently and he still remains very nervous, everything didn't go back to normal yet. His memory came back too and he remembers perfectly what he's done, I guess this disturbs him too. But don't worry, you should have some news about him soon."
Levy didn't know if she had to smile under such circumstances. Of course she was happy, but she was worried too. She had to trust Gajeel, she'd see him soon and everything would be alright. They talked the whole afternoon until Lilas showed some signs of fatigue and so they had to come back to the hostel. Sebastian informed them they stayed two more days in Magnolia and then they'd go back to Kôkô to celebrate a big event. Considering his smirk, this was something amusing, and when the blue haired mage asked the question, he answered:
"The mayor finally proposed Rosalie, his secretary, so we had to prepare the wedding. It's in three months, but he wants everything to be perfect. If you ever want to come, I guess he won't hesitate to reserve you a special place. He chuckled as his daughter was pulling him, yawning.
"Will there be a buffet?" Natsu immediately asked, making his friends laugh.
"That would be fantastic to go, I am totally agree!" Levy joyfully answered.
She stood, kissed Sebastian on the cheeks as she thanked him for everything he did, then she did the same with Lilas beside him. Finally they left, and they slightly turned upside down the young girl's quotidian because she decided to stay with them the next two days, before she took back her habits in the Guild, and waiting her friend with an new impatience.
Now that Gajeel was awake, Metalicana hadn't restrained himself to remark that he started to have enough. Lilas' terrible blows had annoyed him like ever and he wanted at all cost to be left alone, so he had curtailed his stay amongst the humans and had dragged his son by the collar to make him left the house. He returned in the forest, and took care of him for a little while, meaning by training him until he was exhausted enough to collapse on the ground, asleep. He continued until Gajeel completely recovered, as if anything never happened. But despite the guilt he felt towards Levy and Pantherlily because he had attacked them both, Gajeel still wanted to see them, and his father finally gave in, even if it wasn't his habits, even if he wanted at all cost to get rid of all this.
It was the end of the day at Fairy Tail. The sun was still here but the sky was slowly turning form gold to orange. Lily was sitting near the window as usual and was currently peeling a kiwi as he glanced outside regularly. Levy had left him for a moment to read the new chapter of Lucy's novel and was sitting beside her, a orange juiced in hand. A little farther, Natsu and Grey were doing an insults contest with Elfman. Erza was eating a cake beside the master and talking with him, pleasantly surprised that no one came to disturb her meal. In other words, the day had been rather calm, even if it was going to change soon. As he was absent-mindly eating an half of his kiwi, the little black cat noticed two strange silhouettes far in the street. Of course it was full of people, and strange people weren't rare, but concerning those two, it was their hair that seemed... strangely familiar. Disheveled, with multiple locks that flew in all directions, and long. The feline even forgot his favourite fruit. He jumped agilely on the floor and ran toward the door before the few glances that turned toward him. And he only need a single word to make them react.
"Levy!" He shouted with eagerness.
When she heard her name, the young girl looked up from Lucy's pages to see the cat pass the door at full speed and disappear outside, and a surge of excitation, apprehension and hope made her stand up like the others. Then she ran like a whirlwind in turn right behind the Exceed, mentally getting ready for what she would see soon, even if it was possible she was wrong. She ignored if Pantherlily had seen Gajeel, and consequently if it was really him, so a million of questions burst out in her mind.
If it was really Gajeel, how was he?
Had he changed?
Did he remember her now?
Did he still love her after all this time?
What about her? What would she feel when she'd see him, if he wasn't the same Gajeel she knew?
She caught the door that Lily had simply left ajar and opened it on-the-fly before rushing outside so fast she nearly tripped, to find herself nose to nose with the one she hoped to see above everyone.
"Gihihihi. You didn't change Shrimp, still being in a hurry." Gajeel chuckled.
His arms crossed, a big smile was illuminating his face and his eyes were brighter than ever. The blackness, the darkness and the madness had disappeared. His father was leaning back against a house and was looking elsewhere, annoyed, but for now, Levy didn't care, she had the answers to her questions.
Yes Gajeel was alright.
No, he hadn't changed.
Of course he remembered her!
Oh yes he loved her, she could read it in his eyes that were looking only her.
She? She cried in joy and relief, feeling the huge weight that was crushing her shoulders for six months suddenly lighten.
With a beaming smile, she threw herself in his arms, a lump in her throat due to the emotion that prevent her cry of joy to be heard. Sat on the ground, Lily was roaring with laughter, he had the same reaction when he'd jumped on the Dragon Slayer. Gajeel wrapped an arm around the young girl's waist, and the other reached her cheek where he brushed away one of the blue locks and rubbed away her tears before he bent down and captured her lips with passion. Levy muffled a faint sob and her hands gripped his black coat and held tight firmly, despite the shivers that shook them. Mocking whistles in their back interrupted them and they turned the head toward the Fairy Tail mages who just arrived and rushed at them. Not crazy, the blue haired mage moved aside and Gajeel welcomed with bravery the human wave that rushed at him. He had the powerful impression to be the American football player who has the ball and who sees everyone running at him to tackled on the ground. Natsu and Grey jumped at him while Elfman hit his back manly and the master joined them shouting greeting words. Gradually the Dragon Slayer disappeared, buried under his friend's bodies who yelled until their throats ached. People in the street glanced toward them and toward the racket they made, but no on paid attention. Filled with joy, Levy started to laugh, along with the girls who'd stayed behind with her, with the Exceeds and Jet and Droy who were hesitating to do the same as their friends. However, to their teammate's great surprise, they came closer to Gajeel when he was repulsing the mages above him with insults. The iron mage stood, dusted with dignity and ignored the Fairy Tail members and their racket. Jet and Droy patted him on the shoulders almost friendly before they turned around and went back inside the Guild in a tense pace as if nothing had happened. Levy stared at them while Grey invited the girls to enjoy with him and Natsu caught Metalicana to make him dance despite his outraged shouts of protestation. Then she turned toward Gajeel who was talking with his cat he finally found. He must have felt her gaze on him because he looked at her and gave her his usual half-smile that made her heart pounding faster every time she saw it now. Lily patted the Dragon Slayer's cheek and left to join Sharuru and Happy, leaving again the two young mages alone. Gajeel shyly reached the arms an the mage flew into them once again with an unconcealed joy, happy and appeased to feel him tighten his embrace. That was when she saw some weird white marks on his arms and caught the suddenly slightly embarrassed and contrite look of the iron mage who declared then:
"Now we can clearly say my scars aren't all coming from my father."
"It must have been horrible... what you've been through."
She wrapped her arms around his back and buried her head in his chest, eager to feel his warmth and his appeasing scent surrounding her.
"Horrible isn't the right word. It was rather depressing to death I'd say. Maybe I wasn't conscious about what I did there, but I know I hurt you, and it wasn't something I wanted."
"This isn't your fault Gajeel, you weren't yourself, and you certainly had been punished enough if you didn't forget this five past months you spent there."
"You always say it's not my fault, but it is, a bit at least."
"Maybe. But in that case I don't blame you, it's simple I can't. I missed you, you know..."
"I missed you too."
He buried his face into her hair and she came even closer to him, as if she wanted them to be one. Feeling his body and his powerful arms wrapping around her made her body vibrate in a way she didn't want to stop. She was into her bubble now, and it was as if the noise around her didn't exist. The young girl slightly looked up and stood on tiptoes as she held onto his large shoulders for leverage and she finally placed her lips on his chin. He understood the message and leaned toward her with his usual chuckle. He sensually caressed her lips with his to prolong this moment as long as possible and to fully feel all the sensations this gesture gave them before he accelerated without warning, becoming more exigent with all the time they'd lost. Gajeel slightly cocked his head and bit the young girl's lip while she answered with pleasure by a moan. They only pulled away very briefly just to breath every time in a more panting way than the previous one. Levy refused to let him go, eager to find the six previous months she couldn't have spent with him, and anyway the Dragon Slayer also refused to let her go. For him, she had acted far beyond his expectations, and despite the pain he'd caused to her, and since they'd met, she still managed to love someone like him. And he only could admire and love her even more for her unlimited kindness and her capacity to forgive so easily. He didn't deserve her and yet she always came back to him. He swore he'd never abandon her, just like she hadn't.
Slowly and reluctantly, they pulled away a last time and the iron mage buried his head in her neck and closed his eyes. With a beaming smile, Levy did the same and slipped a hand under the collar of his coat, caressing his back with her fingertips as they sighed at the same time.
"They are noisy, do you want us to go celebrate your return elsewhere? In a quiet place... alone?" The young girl suggested, half-embarrassed, half-excited by her declaration.
She felt Gajeel smirk in her neck and he suddenly placed a hand under her thighs before he lift her and carried her in his arms.
"I didn't know you were so depraved Levy, but you know I can't refuse this." He purred with a devilish smile.
He stared to his left and right, but everyone was busy to party in the street, and each of them in their corner. Perfect, no one was watching them. His bookworm still in his arms, he rushed and jumped on the roofs toward Fairy Hills, where he was sure to have a very good night without no one to disturb him. However, he didn't notice the gray cat with red eyes that discretely and innocently followed them.