#1



that's how the light gets in


He thinks Hester can’t see him, crouched in the gutter of the cobbled street. If she weren’t looking quite carefully she might have missed him, but she is looking carefully—besides that, she’s spent every one of her living years trying to trap rats like him, and she knows better than anyone what to look for. The sound of tiny feet. The way the shadows wiggle when they do get brave enough to dart. Hero, to his credit, is doing a stellar job keeping still; the only part of him she can really see is the shiny dark of his eyes and the little twitch of his whiskers. The freckles of black on his coat blend almost perfectly into the shadow cast by the curb he’s pressed up against. To the untrained eye, he is nothing more than the impression of something rodent-like.

The paving stones are still frigid from the just-passed night, burning squares of cold into Hester’s skin as she lays on her stomach on the street and watches him. Overhead the sun is finally breaking the horizon, and Nyker is silent and perfectly still. They are the only ones out and about at this hour, except for the birds twittering from the rooftops. Windows are still shuttered, doors still locked, and there’s no one to bother her yet. Even her father is still asleep; it feels as though she and Hero are the only beings alive, at the moment. “You’re quite the cad,” Hester tells him matter of factly. He only blinks at her.

She pulls herself up and props her weight onto her elbows. Hero gives her a shifty look, and his whiskers twitch a little, but he doesn’t quite move. Hester grins at him—he’s quite the mischief-maker, but it’s good that he drags her out of the house every so often, even if it’s only to chase him down before someone with less of an affinity for rats finds him. “You’re lucky I’m so chivalrous—“ 

With a little squeal of triumph Hester pounces. Hero starts to scramble away, but she grabs him with one swift hand before he can run too far and rolls onto her back, plopping him down onto her stomach. He wriggles for a moment, then relaxes, splaying out like a dog against her chest. “Villain.” But she grins at him. Rivers of black-and-white hair lay loose against the cobblestone behind her head as she lays back, and light is only just starting to flood the streets, warming her from the outside in as Hero starts to sleep on top of her shirt. 





open for anyone! <3