This is for, I believe, Friendly Anon’s “E” prompt, “Emrys.
There had been any number of hard things in Emrys’ life with Shahin.
Many of them had been, in retrospect, a very soft level of “hard,” teenage drama, teenage angst and jealousy and anger.
Some of them, even some of the moments very early on… there were nights Emrys still woke with the memory of that cabin, the dragon, the monster’s knife sliding down Shahin’s pale skin. Those moments still counted as hard, diamond-hard. (“Our love is harder than diamond.” They still said that, moments when everything seemed harder than they could bear.)
Walking away from Shahin had been harder than most of those times. They had squeezed hands, kissed, and broken their vows of forty-seven years without a backwards glance. Neither of them had shed a tear. Neither’s voice had trembled. Their kids were grown and gone; their grandkids were grown and gone. Their great-grandkids would be leaving for Addergoole soon.
And neither of them were big on revealing their cards, in any case. So he walked away from his warrior wife, walked into the hands of another woman.
That had been a hard moment, sapphire-hard like the etchings in Shahin’s arms, blue-hard like the tears he wasn’t going to shed. That had been a difficult moment, but it had been what he had to do. They were warriors, and this fight was going to happen here, with these people, and not where Shahin’s path was headed.
They were warriors, and they had made their decision, hard as it had been, hard-like-sapphires and blue like misery as it had been.
That had not been the hardest moment in Emrys’ life, but this one was. Kneeling on the floor of their enemy’s camp, knowing that he had failed Shahin, that moment was harder even than diamonds. And he did not know if their love was stronger than that.
And this one is a bonus. It comes after Addergoole: TOS, at the beginning of Year 6 of the Addergoole School.
“How does it feel, not being the youngest anymore?”
Emrys rested his hand on the small of his wife’s back as they watched the new students trail in. She, in turn, leaned into the hand, so subtly that no-one but him could tell she was leaning at all.
“They look so young.” Her voice was pitched for his ears alone; she shifted to pose as a new student stared openly. Shorter even than them and ginger, he looked as if he’d never seen a goth before.
“So did we.” Emrys turned his sharpest smile on the ginger boy before he got any ideas. “Remember?”
Shahin smoothed an imaginary wrinkle in her dress. “That was a century ago.”
“The same thing, in the fullness of things. It was forever ago, either way.”
Emrys found himself smirking, just a bit. His wife, love her as he may, was a bit of a drama queen. “And here we are, back at the beginning.”
“Back at the beginning,” she agreed. She licked her lips and turned her smile, now, on a tall blond in a cowboy hat.
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The woman stalked through the forest.
She had not worn a name in many years, and could not, precisely, remember what she had been called when she had landed here.
She spent her time, her attention, worrying about more real concerns: She had to eat, and to eat, she had to hunt. She needed shelter, sometimes, and for that she needed to build. She needed, more rarely, companionship, and for that she needed to speak to the fur-hunters who also worked her forests.
“Wild girl,” they called her, and chasseuse sauvage, and fourreuse de forêt, and more pleasant names. They paid her in trinkets and good food for the furs she brought them, and gave her company without asking questions.
And none of them asked about her ears, which perked above her twisted hair like a deer’s.
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/528106.html. You can comment here or there.