... Things will be better...It's only a shop, it can be repaired. He told himself these hopeful tunes, grateful when the sound of shuffling glass inside distracted his inward thoughts. Someone was home.
After the news the Newcomer had just received, he needed a friendly face; he needed to know everything was going to be okay again. That things could be normal.
The door creaked as he walked in, knocking slightly on the disheveled frame. He gave a slight smile, expecting to see Deyri or Nadiya, but it fell back off his face when he saw Tuku cleaning alone. The sight of her made his heart sink back into his stomach.
“Tuku! What are you doing out of the hospital? You look...you look…”
It didn’t matter. Cayo’s stammering said it all.
The girl wore the same dark grey tunic and trousers she had worn in that quiet chamber in Heilig, clothes for hard work and hard truths. There were still faint bruises shadowing her face, and small scars on her arms and head. It was unclear if another reversion would erase those marks.
But one change was permanent.
Her braids were gone. Her dark hair had been shorn, cut close to her skull. The air was cold where it shouldn’t be, and she felt uncomfortably light, ungrounded.
The girl didn’t look up from her work, jerking back on the dustbin with another, painful grunt. The bin slid a few inches across the floor.