Strike

Lavender Heights Community College 
#1
There was a mix of excitement and dread as she pulled up to the College Campus. The situation was definitely not one she preferred, and it was hard to gauge how upset Raziyya really was about her not being the first to know. She decided to come in her human form, knowing she could only do it twice, and wanting to save it for sunrise if Raziyya didn't outright refuse. It sucked to consider that maybe it wasn't any option anymore. But, she had hope that she could sweet talk her into forgiveness. Maybe.

She parked at the far end of a visitor parking lot, and started on a stroll throughout which she would keep her senses out for Raziyya. Eyes on both the sky and the grounds before her.
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#2
Raziyya had only just pulled up herself, electing to drive instead of fly. It wouldn't be long before she spotted Safiya in the entrance parking lot, approaching her way. (She had, of course, some time ago charmed the admissions office into giving her a free parking pass.)

Taking the role of the scorned mother, she folded her arms and waited. Beauregard's words played again in her head, but still — she would have Safiya writhe some before relenting.
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#3
Raziyya was hard to miss. Both in strength and just generally being visibly striking. Safiya's gaze fell to her, and she adjusted her course accordingly. A small smile tried to play convincingly on her lips, but she could tell immediately all of the things she'd read into the periods about were true. Raziyya was pissed. And Safiya wished it was the first time this had happened. "I'm surprised you didn't fly in and dive bomb me." She said in the form of greeting, stopping close to her sire despite the clear air of disapproval.
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#4
"Mm. And risk a scene before dinner?" she asked with a brow raise. "I hope you know I'm smarter than that. I hope you, also, are smarter than that."

Though she'd attempted to startle the Dominus, which was an unkind thing. Raziyya could punish her for that as well.

"Though I suppose by now you must be a master of the chiropteran form, going by that picture."

This she said as she unfolded her arms and began to lead them some way towards the main campus buildings.
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#5
Safiya was... not into this. It was a whole lot like being scolded by her mother as a child. And while Raziyya was definitely her mother in the sense of being undead... it was hard not to lean into more dramatic or childish tendencies. She tightened her jaw at the criticism, regretting even coming out tonight. But then again, if she hadn't, things would likely turn out worse.

She didn't even know what chiropteran was. Safiya followed, refraining from a sharp sigh. "Actually, I fell right after he took that." She corrected with an attempt at a huff of laughter. "It's only been, like... since that thing with the wolves." She informed her. So, not that long ago. It wasn't like she was hiding it for months.
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#6
She was uncomfortable? Good. Raziyya would have it this way until Safiya had made up for it, some way or another. She listened in to all those thoughts, humming. It was good to imagine her falling, stumbling. Maybe Raziyya hadn't entirely outlived her usefulness then.

"I see. And then after the wolves you were... away fighting a war, I assume, until tonight?"

There was a faint smile for all this.
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#7
Ugh, Raziyya. Safiya clicked her tongue and shook her head, at a loss and chuckling for it.

"Yeah, Beau didn't tell you I took them out to the swamp and killed them one by one?" She countered back. Yeah, right. Especially after being informed that she could literally die if she was crushed as a bat, there was no way she was going to be using that form in anything but a quick transportation or for ultimate stealth. No one saw a tiny gerbil with wings coming.

"I admit I should have reached out sooner. I did want to keep it from Beau, though, until I had the chance to try and trick him." Just to see if it would work. Honestly, she should have thought about the fact that he'd be able to sense the power difference. It was hard to imagine being anywhere near as strong as Raziyya, no matter how she joked about catching up to Beauregard. Maybe it would even take another century, or two, or ten.
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#8
She fell into snark and excuses. Raziyya hummed as if it didn't affect her.

"Do you know that there is no force stronger in the universe than a bloodlusted Dominus?" she asked casually. "You're lucky you didn't startle him that far."

Of course, Raziyya had, and Raziyya would. But Raziyya was the one individual in the clutch Beauregard sought out for a physical fight, and so she had no issues striking him as needed.

She would permit no one else the same honor.
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1

#9
Well, that made sense, but. "He doesn't strike me as someone that would be that startled by a tiny bat." She said simply. Did Raziyya think so? "I didn't know about how injuries transfer, though. Otherwise I wouldn't have risked him batting me away." Lesson learned. She did have a bruise on her knee from her fall from the coat rack. It would be gone by tomorrow night, most likely. As they spoke, Safiya did not forget why they were here. Her eyes scanned the grounds for people milling about after sunset, pushing curfew. Her nose worked to pull in smells, and her ears pushed beyond Raziyya's words for the sound of a heartbeat. Nothing yet.
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#10
"Best not to tempt the urge."

The fairest way of putting that she was gravely underestimating him. And anyone, really. This girl who shot to power so quickly could just as easily crumble to ash if she didn't learn to respect the potential for disaster.

Safiya sought someone to hunt, and Raziyya would permit it, hanging back and allowing her to lead the way. She might even forgive her if she found someone worthwhile.
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#11
The hunt would commence, a target being settled on after not too long of a search. A shrimpy little guy, likely a freshman, shuffling his way back to his dorm room from the library; probably fell asleep studying. It was pretty easy to lure him, two pretty women under the guise of being new foreign students looking for a certain building.

Once he was in range and got over a bout of anxious avoidance of eye conctact, she managed to suggest him to not make a sound and forget what happened on the walk from the library to when he got to his dorm. With that, he was pulled to the side of a building, and they were gentle about their feeding. It was no drunk girl coming home from a party, but it sated the hunger and did the job. With him sent on his way, Safiya sighed heavily and pulled out her phone to make sure her mouth was clean. How embarrassing would it be to walk around with dried blood on the corner of her mouth.

“We can find another, if you want.” She suggested.
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#12
It was unsatisfactory. The target, the play, the feeding, all of it. Raziyya felt it happen in something of a blur, and the boy wasn't even attractive. Certainly, Safiya could have made a better effort to impress.

"No need," she answered. "Tell me why you came."

It wasn't for a dinner worth enjoying, she could gather.
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#13
No need, but it didn't seem her mood had lifted after feeding. The question drew her gaze to her sire, and she frowned some. No option but transparency. Why'd she come? She was beginning to not know why, if it was going to be impossible to make up for her mistakes. "That's the reason I wanted to. I guess I don't know how." She commented on her own thoughts as if she'd expressed them aloud. What else could she do? Aside from just... "I'm sorry. That's all I can do, apologize." Something she really just fucking sucked at doing, her entire life. And yet she found herself doing it more often than she ever had when she was alive.
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#14
Funny, considering Beauregard had told her quite a different reason.

This was not her Safiya.

A sorry pathetic sack, snipping and sniveling for a way back in, a girl who came to make an apology and did a fantastically piss poor job of it; Raziyya was insulted, not by her actions but by this masquerade of her daughter being less than she should have been.

The backhand she gave across Safiya's face was a manifestation of that personal hurt and disappointment, fiercer than she'd ever been with the girl, anger a conflagration that threatened to singe her calm.

Her hand stung for the effort, and she exhaled for the lesson to be learned here. "I loved you enough to give you a second life, but I have never raised you to be pathetic."



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#15
She didn’t see it coming. In both senses. Couldn’t have ever anticipated Raziyya striking her with the intention of actually harming her. And, as quick and sharp as her eyes were, Raziyya’s movement was quicker.

At first, she hardly felt it, and in a moment of pure confusion she convinced herself it might have been a bird freakishly flapping by. But then it stung, and then it ached, and she moved to grasp at the place where her cheek began to burn as she righted her head from where it had snapped sideward with the impact. It took a few moments as the words bit and burrowed into her ears and through her mind, but she realized Raziyya had slapped her.

Slapped her, because here she was. Feeling sorry for herself, feeling like she needed to snivel and apologize for something she hadn’t realized was so crucial. Raziyya’s words echoed Beauregard’s. They didn’t go through the trouble of turning her and keeping her alive for her to be... this. Whatever this was. Cocky until she was chastised, confident until her feelings were called into question.

As the pain rang through her skull, there was little time to process much else of a rationalization. Only a clear, screaming decision drawn from the pain and frustration of being a fucking child. She dropped her hand, pried her chin up, and set her jaw as she looked to her sire. The one that made her. The one that expected nothing more than for her to grow strong and be everything she had the potential for.

So,

“Again.” She challenged.
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#16
"Again," she dared to challenge, even now losing what it meant to respect and honor her maker. Standing there and repeatedly hitting Safiya while she put up a brave face and challenged her to continue was not the point of this.

Raziyya did not need insincere apologies, but neither did she want some show of repeatedly beating her to get a lesson in. The slap was a singular moment of peaked rage; it was not her way to persist in the expression of it.

"No, I don't think I will. Why don't you tell me, truly, why you came here. The half-effort you give to your apologies insults us both."
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#17
Safiya grit her teeth at the rebuttal, anger flaring as she was refused the only thing she really could rationalize in her brain right now. Raziyya wanted words, and Safiya wanted action. She wanted to be hit, to hit back, to tear and claw and punch. But she wasn't allowed. And if she did, she'd be torn in two. Because for all her growth, all her advancement... she wasn't strong. She wasn't learning. Her eyes stung as she met Raziyya's gaze. "I want to know more. I want to learn. And you're the one that... that can help me do that." Beau had given her the information behind it, but he hadn't cared enough to show her. Teach her how to use what she was given. He cared for her, wanted her to be informed, but his love for her was different than Raziyya's. Safiya knew, she wanted her to really learn, to really grow. And she wanted to it to. Even if she hadn't been fucking acting like it.
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#18
There was something Raziyya could accept. The desire to learn, to be better; not to make some dramatic show of nothing and neither drag her feet on sentimentality.

"Now I can see your intelligence again," she commented, and it was neither mockery not praise, holding both forms of emotional expression from Safiya for now. But it was fact.

She turned on her heel and motioned Safiya to follow her. "Tell me what it is you want me to teach you tonight."
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#19
While it was true that their relationship was very much like a mother and daughter's, sometimes it was etched out to be anything but. This was her teacher, in this moment, though it went beyond even that. A teacher that chose specifically to bring her from the brink of death to instill... a thousand, or more years of wisdom into her. There wasn't a word for it other that Sire.

It wasn't often Safiya let herself feel like something completely inhuman. It didn't sit well in her brain. But right now, she really, honestly felt like a different kind of creature all together. A vampire, wholly and undeniably, and finally forced to look that right in the face and acknowledge it. "I want to learn how to fly with at least some amount of grace." She answered, taking the steps to follow her Sire.
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#20
A reasonable request. Raziyya nodded and then moved so that they would situate behind a building.

From there, she held out her hand to Safiya.

"Give me your hand and transform. Be prepared to hang by the hook of your thumb."
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#21
She'd follow to somewhere more discreet, and do as was instructed. A kind of awkward grip as she made sure her thumb was folded over Raziyya's hand. With that, she shut her eyes, and forced her mind to imagine herself fitting the mold of a tiny little bat. In a blur, her body shrunk, and the thumb that once belonged to a girl sharped and hooked around a finger as the rest of her body swung through the air with the momentum of the change. Her free wing flapped to keep her from flailing too wildly, and a foot moved up to grasp for a better purchase along with the thumb hook. In the end, a tiny little bat blinked up at Raziyya from her hand.
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#22
So small.

Raziyya could not resist the urge to offer a faint smile to the tiny creature, smaller even than she was shifted.

"The joints in your wings can function just like the fingers of your hands. You can ride on or cut through a draft with far more ease than any bird. And don't be afraid to stretch the wings to accomplish those things. The membranes are elastic."

Raziyya summoned a draft as she rose Safiya up. "Any questions?"
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#23
She clung to Raziyya's hand somewhat precariously, having to readjust her feet to grip better. She listened to the information laid before her, looking to her wings at the long bones that were knitted together by apparently durable skin. The wind beneath her was startling until she realized it was Raziyya, and she let herself hang by her back feet as she outstretched her wings and flapped them to push air beneath. With that, she released her hold. Her body dropped a foot, then curved sharply upward as she righted herself in the air, flapping against the flow of the wind to look toward her sire. "Can I climb things?" She questioned, having not really fully tried it.
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#24
Rather than shove the wind in Safiya's face, she instead shifted it to ride beneath her wings so that it would keep her aloft.

"You can, so long as the surface is porous enough to use your thumbs as hooks."

She smiled, and pushed the girl up higher with air. "Practice your flight. Use your fingers to angle your wings and control how the air flows beneath you."
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#25
Porous for thumbs, got it. She'd have to try it later. For now, she focused on letting the air fill the space beneath her wings, stretching them to their full capacity and flapping them at a frequency that kept her aloft. It was, admittedly, and incredibly freeing feeling. Something she was growing to really enjoy, the more she tried it out. With the advice, she focused in on the long fingers that made her wings, testing out turning one slightly outward and slowing the flapping of the other to carry her into a swooping turn in the air. Then downward with both, sending her diving toward Raziyya's feet, before abruptly twisting to turn the opposite way and carrying her backward and upward, to where she had started. "Man," She exclaimed.
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#26
She flew like a natural. It was easy to set aside the hurt of earlier to marvel at her, to find it endearing that she was so capable. Raziyya did tense at the dive, but better that she hurt herself in company than alone.

"Wonderful," she offered praise, finally. "Fly to the top of this building, now." Raziyya motioned to the building she stood next to, folding her arms thoughtfully.
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#27
The praise was easily appreciated. It warmed her little bat chest. At the instruction, she looked up toward the rooftop. Two stories, easily. She'd gone higher, but it had been sort of terrifying. But, with Raziyya here, she was all but seeping with the confidence to do so. So, with a few powerful flaps of her two inch wings, she was sending herself up. A bit wobbly, and she had a close call with getting too close to the wall, but she didn't scrape against it, and eventually she was rising above the edge of the roof. She turned her gaze first to the view. It was easy to forget how freaking pretty Lavender Heights was. The campus was expansive, and the twinkling lights amid the velvet blue of the landscape was pretty enough to stop and appreciate.

Then, she looked down, and Raziyya was a tiny little face looking up at her. "Ugh," She said, a little thrown by the perspective. It was different when you were on a plane. Somehow, she felt like a giant when she looked down from a window in a landing plane. Here, she felt like a tiny speck in an endless abyss. Because, well, she was.
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#28
Raziyya was patient while Safiya went up, watching the little bat figure out her bearings. She would have to learn how to fly without flapping about so frantically, but as with everything, she had time.

Eventually she did make it, and Raziyya smiled up at her, placing her hand against the brick of the wall.

"Now climb down to my hand."
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#29
"Now, what?" She exclaimed, looking down at her sire as her wings held her aloft, flowing in arching movements through the air and leaving her body and feet to dangle. Climb down. Safiya looked down toward the edge of the roof, and swooped to hover above it before settling her feet against it. "Um, backward, right?" It made the most sense. With her wings folded up, she crawled along the ledge, inspecting it for a place that looked good enough to ease her body over. Surprise, none of it looked good.
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#30
The reaction amused her greatly.

"Backwards, forwards. Eventually you'll learn both ways, but for now start however you are most comfortable."

She would watch the discomfort with enthusiasm. But ultimately Safiya would need to learn to do more than just fly with this new form.
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#31
Okay, okay, okay. She could go backward. Her wings were easily maneuvered, like hands, right? And she had claws to dig into the rough surface of the brick. She was definitely light enough not to lose her grip from too much weight. And, even if she fell, she had wings to catch her. Still, it was daunting for such a tiny creature. She swallowed heavily, nodding her little head as she turned her backside to the ledge and worked to spread her wings forward to hook her thumb against the lip of the roof. Gently, she'd ease herself backward, and find a comfortable hold with her back feet before she moved her wings down one by one to cling to the side of the building. Don't look down, don't look down.

In slow, not entirely sure movements, she would start a backward decent along the vertical surface. One foot, the other, one arm, the other.
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#32
Raziyya watched patiently.

When she'd gotten about halfway down, she sent up a small whip of a draft to push at her. Just to mess with Safiya a little, test her reflexes.
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#33
The burst of wind was surprising, but rather than letting it lift her from the wall, her wings tucked inward, her 'elbows' angling inward toward the wall. It split the gust, and kept her against the wall with little more disturbance than a soft squeak of surprise and the soft hair along her back wavering against the wind. Safiya persisted, picking up speed as it became increasingly more apparent that she wasn't fucking this up. Before the knew it, she was level with Raziyya's hand, though a foot or so off her mark. Which... she adjusted with a sideways scramble.


Once upon her palm, the tiny bat would turn herself around, and her lips would be pressed into as much of a smile as her features would allow.
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#34
Good for her.

It wasn't the smoothest trip down, but Safiya made herself excel for a new form, and Raziyya appreciated that. She smiled to the little bat, shaking her head.

"As much as you can manage it, do not smile in this form. It makes you look rather rabid."

Advice and a tease at once.

"Have you practiced your abilities in this form?"
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#35
Mean! She smiled harder, just to make sure all of her tiny little teeth were visible. Roar. At the question, the smile dropped. She had, and she'd actually managed it. Not that it had meant much of a difference, given Beau hadn't fallen for it for a second. In example, she opened her mouth, but the sound of the Dominus' voice rang out, "Why, yes, yes I have." Ha!
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#36
An eyeroll for her taking the tease and not the advice. It was her loss if she scared a target away.

And then she spoke with Beauregard's voice and Raziyya accidentally startled enough to toss her off her hand.

Oh dear! Thinking quickly, she sent a draft of wind to aid the little bat fledgling with height, but hopefully she'd unfurl her wings in time.
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#37
And then she was being launched thrown into space!

Not really, but she was being thrown at a speed that she didn't prepare for. So, her tiny body plummeted for a moment, her heart sinking into her butt as she belatedly stretched out her wings. Thankfully, she was caught by a gust of air that helped to catch beneath her wings, and with a few mighty flaps of her little wings, she was swooping away from the ground. With the momentum, she soared once in a circle around Raziyya, before coming to flutter in front of her with an aghast laugh. "I could have died!" Probably not, but she would have gotten butt bruises :[.
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#38
"And yet you didn't!" she replied back, equal parts impressed and yet still startled. "Stay airborne. I'll join you."

And Raziyya would, first by transforming into her bat form and then climbing up on the brick wall she'd sent Safiya down. Once enough feet up above the ground, she twisted her front half around and kicked off, wings unfurling to catch air and push herself up and away from the building.

With practiced agility, she would change direction abruptly towards the campus' belltower, set stop the main library. "This way," she offered helpfully, if Safiya didn't catch on.
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#39
She didn't!

And yet, Raziyya was twenty times more graceful than she was. There was time, of course. So much time. She'd get there. Safi would keep her height as the larger bat fluttered into the air, and with the prompt she would happily follow after her, doing her best to keep pace. But even if Raziyya was a bat, she was still significantly larger than Safi. But they made it, fluttering toward the bell tower, and eventually coming upon a ledge. If Raziyya didn't have anything else in mind, Safiya would glide into a landing. Only a little bit of staggering.
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#40
"Ah-ah," she spoke sharply of Safiya's landing.

"Land into a hanging position. Up here, watch."

To the decorative ridge surrounding the ceiling in which the bells were mounted, Raziyya would turn to perform a chiropteran twist as she sought to grasp her feet to the grooves in the structure, looking out to the east.

Another thing Safiya would have to learn.
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#41
Oh, right. She was pretty shitty at landing like an actual bat. But she pushed off from her folded wings, and fluttered upward after her Sire after inspecting how she'd done it. In a twist that felt both parts naturally and unnatural, she gripped nearby Raziyya. It wasn't anywhere as smooth, and her wings splayed out to flap a few times as her body swung and her footing almost gave. But after a bit of pushing herself back into balance, she folded her wings around her tiny frame and twisted her head to look to Raziyya. Everything around her was upside down, but Raziyya appeared right side up. Weird, but not uncomfortable. "We will stay till sunrise?" Watching the sun rise upside down was not entirely how she pictured it, but seeing it at all was something she'd take without protest.
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#42
"Yes," she said decidedly. "After which I'll fly you to my apartment and there we can spend the day."

She didn't inherently give Safiya a choice in the matter, but she suspected she didn't need to.
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#43
"Sounds like a plan." She knew when she did and did not have a choice on the matter of things.

It wasn't an incredibly long wait. Or, it didn't feel like it. Small chatter here and there, but otherwise Safiya chose to watch the city below them. At some point, most of the lights had snuffed out, and it was crazy to see the city being lit by streetlamps and traffic lights. Her vision was sharp enough even to see a few nearby roads light up green, then yellow, then red in a cycle, directing no cars but maybe two or three every thirty minutes.

Eventually, it seemed the city was stirring. In the dim light, the streets began to crawl with the cars of early morning commuters that left their houses before the sun came up. Even a few bodies bustling about below in the campus itself. The thick veil of nighttime darkness began to pale some, pulling into a greyish blue, then a soft lavender. Raziyya directed her gaze then, toward the east. And there, though upside down as she was, she could see the beginnings of then sun raising its head over the far off mountain range. Rings of light blues, purples, then pinks, oranges, yellows. At some point she did lift herself to twist and see it from right side up, her eyes hardly moving from the slope of the sun as it breached the top of the mountain peaks.

It was scary, at first, to feel the warmth of the sun on her. So many months in the darkness, fearing the thought of the sun or the flicker of a flame. She found herself bracing as the sunlight reflected from the bell behind them, and washed her in a dewy orange light. Though, after a moment, that warmth calmed her. What she wouldn't give to be able to shift back and stretch her arms out, shake her hair and smile into the sun. There was stupid vision of running through a field like a dirty hippie child. But this would do. This would more than do. She knew it was a lot longer without the sun for so many other vampires, and she knew that one day she'd get to see it in her actual body. But for now... as she dropped back down to hanging upside down, and closed her eyes as she spread her wings out wide...

Yeah, this would do just fine.
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