He could see exhaustion in the slope of her shoulders and droop of her head, but there was still a maniacal energy present in her shifting eyes and scrambling fingers. He could see those same fingers worn to the bone from trying to claw her way out of wooden prison. For now, though, said fingers were only slightly stiff and sore from too many hours spent researching.
His ego was soothed somewhat knowing that he was the reason she had gotten so little rest. Her hours spent researching were all spent trying to find a way to retrieve the soul her best friend had unwittingly freed him of. However, if all went according to plan, Willow would soon have more important reasons not to sleep. He would still be behind those reasons, of course. He wouldn’t have it any other way.
It was only fitting that she should devote so much time to him. After all, he had spent so much time studying her, even with his soul.
There were the covert glances from the corner of his eye when he was needed to help with the newest threat. Not to mention the long intense staring from the shadows that he was almost certain she could feel. He took in everything she was and everything she did. He took note of all that her friends didn’t, was witness to all they didn’t realize about her.
But he knew her, knew far more about her than she could have ever imagined. He could see her innocent academic dreams woven through the plaits in her hair, and her fantasies of chaste kisses revealed in every eager, longing glance sent towards her oblivious childhood friend. He could also see the things that weren’t there, at least not yet.
He saw the flash of pale skin and yellow eyes, heard the low growl and the snapping teeth. He could almost smell the blood spill and hear cold laughter. Where there was grim determination as she sat at her computer following down countless dead ends, soon there would be ruthless, enthusiastic experiments in torture. She had endless potential and would do him proud, he was sure of it.
However, he was getting ahead of himself. First, he had to let his latest obsession know that she was his alone. He was not one to share with some mongrel pup that had barely cut its first tooth. He knew how to deal with competition. You either converted it, or destroyed it. His family did not need a puppy.