The pair were cautious towards each other for a time. There was a hesitancy in the girl’s demeanour that hadn’t been there since the earliest days, but it seemed the dreadful knowledge they had gained about one another could be, if not forgotten, at the very least skirted for a time and they quickly remembered the rhythm of their companionship.
There was much left unsaid but in that gap, intimacy carefully blossomed.
She allowed the wounded boy to stay in her room. His makeshift bed of blankets was reconstructed on the floor but as he recovered his strength they would just as often have their one-sided conversations in her bed, talking their pidgin language of gesture and word until their heads slumped on each other’s shoulder.
The wound at the girl’s collar healed to a dark scab that lended her something of a roguish aspect, and then eventually a fine white scar. Fabien’s injuries healed much more slowly, to his great frustration, and would be tender for a long while yet. Colombe insisted on wrapping his neck with fresh bandages although it was likely this was just as much so she could avoid looking at the grisly mark of the vampire’s teeth.
She was busy as ever with the myriad tasks required to keep the house running, and during the day her visits back to her room and the friend that waited for her with the affection of an excitable dog were brief. The vampire had not provided her another opportunity to purchase food and for a time meals were sparse - a crust of bread and a slab of hard cheese or an apple misshapen from where she’d cut the rot away. But soon enough the master of the house relented and she returned from her foray into the living world with plenty for hot meals and a few bottles of wine tucked under her arms for them to share in the evening.
The vampire did not intrude on their hideaway. Even Colombe saw him rarely, as he spent much of his time away or sequestered behind the austere double doors of his bedroom. There were days he did not return home at all.
Fabien took these rare opportunities to stretch his legs, nervously haunting the halls with ears strained for any sign of the vampire’s return. Whether intentional or otherwise, their paths did not cross.
These getaways were infrequent. Colombe did her best to accommodate his requests for trinkets to pass the time and would often return to find the clothing and scraps of paper affixed to her walls shivering in the breeze of an open window with her friend perched sukily on the rooftop, wisps of smoke in his air and his fingers smelling of tobacco.
There came a time, however, when Colombe could no longer tolerate the clutter her bedroom had become and, between gathering empty bottles to discard and blankets to launder, she ushered the protesting boy from the room. She did not have to speak for him to understand that he was not welcome back until he presented himself bathed and in fresh clothes.