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Recluse

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“What did you mean?” you ask her. “‘None so weak as those who prey on ones weaker than themselves.’”

You’re at, as she’d put it, ‘the burger place.’ It’s Tuesday. Four days after your own patrol (you hadn’t counted).

Her eyes spun to you. At least, you think so. You can’t really tell, behind the yellow lenses of her mask. You don’t shrink under the gaze (you don’t).

Long arms gently lay burger upon tray, not bothering glance at it. Her legs are crossed ever so delicately.

She chews her food as she takes her time to answer you, and mastication never did look so effortless. She’d pulled her mask up only enough to allow eating. You yourself were wearing a domino mask. More practical, in situations such as these (you want her to see you) (does she like you?).

“‘ones they feel weaker than themselves,” she says, finally deigning to reply, with a firmness that seemed incongruous with the quiet of her voice. It was as eerie and off-putting as everything about her always was and had been (delightful (entrancing)).

You weren’t sure you understood the line between the two statements.

You only allow yourself a raised eyebrow.

A corner of her lips tugs upwards. You wonder if she’s laughing at you (she is).

“Nobody is strong all the time,” she says. “Doesn’t make them weak.”

One of your muscles twitches. Does she truly believe this weak and strong stuff? Sure, sometimes you explain things in those terms yourself, but that’s different. A metaphor. A handy tool, nothing more (not an ideology (not)).

“I suppose,” you allow, noncommittal. You let a mischievous smile make its way onto your face. “So, you’re saying it’s not just a badass line?”

She smiles back, and her shoulders tick upwards slightly, and you see, behind her poise, some honest amusement (you want more).

“Well, it’s that too,” she says, a bit of satisfaction in her voice, and her hands pick up her burger and she takes another bite.

You shake your head and glance out the window. A smile shoves its way onto your face.