June 29, 2016 by Lyn
Is this in my head?
I don’t know what to think
“So nice of the weather to cooperate for us,” Emrys said, leaning back against the bark of the great oak and smiling as if at some private joke. Since Shahin was fairly certain that he didn’t have the Words to Work the weather, she wondered if, instead, the weather was controlled around here. Either way… she settled into the shade, studying the picnic dinner he’d laid out for the two of them.
“It is a beautiful day,” she responded blandly. It was, at that; he couldn’t have picked a better day, and by the sound of it, he had actually picked it. The sun was just beginning its descent, casting long shadows and ruddy hues across the landscape. A gentle breeze tickled the grass around them and sent the autumn leaves dancing, whirling and cavorting in a riotous blaze of color. She smiled faintly at the leaves. “To what do I owe the honor?”
Something was up, she could tell that much. Granted, it wasn’t totally unlike him to randomly whisk her away for a romantic evening; it was just one of the things she loved about him. The past week had been strained, though, since her return, and even moreso when Xaviera was around. Moreover, their connection let her feel him to a greater degree, and the additional tension was palpable… Was that it? Was this going to be the end, then?
His reply did nothing to elucidate.
“I thought it would be nice for us to get away for a bit, and talk.”
She swallowed a lump of panic, her vision, for a moment, going blurry. A dragon swooping from the sky above a ruined city… “Talk?” She managed, mostly, not to squeak it.
“Talk,” he agreed easily. “About everything that’s happened, and us, and the future.”
..ruined city, the remains of what had been a skyscraper making their bridge across the lava-filled road. Her hand in his… She shook her head, trying to clear her vision. “For ‘everything that’s happened to us,’ we might need more time.”
That elicited the ghost of a smile. “Granted. This past week, then, and those before. You’re not comfortable around Xaviera.”
“I know it’s silly,” she admitted. “Keeping her was my idea, my plan. But I wonder if she’s plotting something, and you do seem rather attached to her.”
He nodded slowly. “We can get rid of her, if you want. We have that power, at any time. It wouldn’t be pretty or nice, but it’s there.”
She winced. “You make it sound like offing her. No, we agreed to try to help her, and I’m all right with that. Sometimes I just feel as if we’re losing something, sharing so much of our lives with her.”
Emrys rose to his feet and began to pace a bit, watching the setting sun. “It’s possible. Sometimes, I think, it’s better to really focus on one thing at a time.”
“And what thing is it, that you wanted to focus on?” She froze in anticipation of his reply, her body involuntarily locking up. Emrys turned towards her, hands in his pockets, expression maddeningly unreadable as ever.
“You, Shahin. Us. In spite of everything that’s happened, it’s still about us. It always has been, and it always will be.” He knelt to the ground, hands coming forth from his pockets with a small box, opening it as he proffered it forth. “Marry me, Shahin. Know that whatever we choose to do, we’ll keep choosing it together.”
She looked down at him, her hands trembling, licking her lips. This was the last thing she’d expected. This was the last way she’d expected him to do this. “Emrys…”
The ring sparkled beautifully, capturing the rays of the sunset, dazzling pink and orange fire in its depths.
“Shahin. My love. Take my ring. Let everyone see and know what we have.”
“I…” It was so quick, so sudden. Even though, in the eyes of the Law, they were already married. Even though she was carrying his son. She blinked back tears.
Emrys was waiting for her, like a statue, the setting sun at his back like a bloody halo around him.
“Stand up,” she demanded, her voice rough.
He rose to his feet, still holding the box in front of him, regarding her with a curious expression.
“None of that between us, not ever again. Partners. Equals, right?”
“Partners,” he agreed. She took the ring from the box.
“Did you have any doubt?” she asked softly.
“There’s precious little in the world we can be a hundred percent certain of,” he answered.
“You…” She shook her head at him, still cocky, still hiding himself, even now.
“I’m certain of this,” he added, and leaned forward to kiss her.
“Me, too,” she allowed breathily, holding him close. “Emrys… yes.”
He kissed her again, longer, and as he held her she felt the ring slip onto her finger, a cool, slender weight, unfamiliar and yet immediately comforting.
She pulled back to look at his face. “A real wedding?” she asked, a little amused at herself. “With all the trimmings?” Her aunts. Emrys hadn’t met her aunts.
“All the trimmings,” he chuckled. “Yes.”
She wrinkled her nose at him. “You can’t tell me you don’t want it done properly, too.” With their family and friends there.
Family. She frowned, just a little bit.
“I do, of course. I just wouldn’t have thought to phrase it like Thanksgiving dinner.”
“I was thinking a Christmas tree,” she admitted. “I don’t want to be quite that overdone. But, Emrys… family?”
“We should be able to make arrangements to have it outside the school, so that they can be there.”
“But,” she frowned, feeling a loss she hadn’t known she cared about, “I don’t know who my father is.”
“Your father…” Emrys nodded slowly. “A lot of people around here have that kind of problem. We can find out, though. There has to be someone who knows here, or a record of it somewhere.”
She nodded, relaxing a little bit. “I’d kind of like him to walk me down the aisle,” she admitted. “And…” she rubbed a hand over her belly “…rather soon, I think. Before I have to go with ‘maternity wedding dress’ fashions.”
“Soon it is,” Emrys agreed, smiling broadly. “It shouldn’t be too difficult to track everyone down.”
“Should…” She shook her head, looking at him in a little bit of awe. “This is really real.”
“It is,” he said, taking her hands in his as he took a small step back, separating their bodies. “It’s all real.”
“Wow,” she whispered. “So… how do we do this? What do we tell… everyone?” Yngvi, Ayla. Xaviera.
“Traditionally we send out invitations. Although around here…” He grinned, lifting her hand and its sparkling jewel. “People may figure it out sooner than that.”
She smiled at him. “Small town, and all. I didn’t know ‘rock’ was one of your Words.”
“It’s not magical,” was his simple response, watching her expression.
She blinked, and looked down at the ring again. It wasn’t huge, or ostentatious, but it was lovely, suited to her style – and certainly not cheap. You’re insane didn’t sound quite right, so she kissed him again. Each time they kissed, it seemed more and more as if they would simply melt together, the waning sun stoking some inner furnace as their passion rose. She pressed into him, loving the feeling, wanting nothing but to be with him forever.
They stood over the ruins of the city, in a place where nothing could live anymore, the fumes of the unnatural lava below held off only by their magic. They held hands; when it was this bad, they always held hands. Better to be close and die together than be separated by their enemies.
They were flanked on the bridge by their children, their son and their daughter, as strong, as wild, as determined as their parents, their expressions now grim. The enemy was coming. She squeezed his hand again, her lover, her partner, her husband. They would stand or fall together… with their family.
Beyond their children stood their grandchildren, and, guarding their backs, the oldest of their great-grandchildren. They were surrounded, enveloped, by the family they had made, facing down their demons.
“Forever,” she whispered, as the Dragon swooped out of the sky.
“Forever,” her husband agreed. Around them, their children, their descendants, their family lit the sky up with fire, dragged in shadows from the ruined buildings, and pelted the monster from her nightmares with everything they had.
“Forever,” she whispered, the swooping mouth of the Dragon burning itself into her mind. No one lived forever. But they could fill their lives with each other… and their family… while they tried. “…or die trying.” The prospect no longer seemed terrifying; they’d die together, when they died. She blinked, clearing the visions from her eyes, and smiled at Emrys. “I can do this.”