Promise Child


Ghet was half-asleep when Galain arrived, more relaxed than she'd been for days. His words slipped under her defenses, and she smiled gently, before she opened her eyes. "Lisse-lambe," she mumured, and leaned up towards him, kissing him, her sheet slipping a little. Certain fires could not be put out just by running, and for a moment, she forgot why she was here.

Not long enough, though. Her heart was stone-heavy. She curled against him in the seat and sighed. "I didn't really expect you to. I... ran away." It was one of the patterns of her life, when things got too tough; she ran away and hid. Galain had been forced to run her to earth before. "I... didn't really expect you yet." There was a weight of unasked questions in her voice.

"You didn't expect me yet?" Galain inquired with a small laugh. "I could go away again and come back later..." He teased gently. But he couldn't miss the heaviness in her voice or the feelings leaking across their bond. He was bone-weary and sagged a bit. His body had yet to be given time to recover from its wounds and rapid healing.

"It's been a busy past few days... very busy past few hours," he said. "I just came from Nenlante. And before that, The Diirlathe. I looked for you there, but you'd gone." He stared down at his free hand and splayed it across his knee. "I haven't been a very good boy," he finally said, looking at her from the corner of his eye.

Ghet didn't smile. She could feel how much they both needed comfort, and she wondered if they could really manage to give it to each other, or if things were just going to get worse. "You will anyway," she said quietly, without explanation. "You'd better just tell me, I think. All of it." 

"Yes'm," he said. Any urge to attempt lightness in his tone fled and he sat up straight again. He wasn't sure where to begin and decided he'd just go back to the day of the Tourney.

"A few days ago, back at Callan's keep, when Tay was snatched by Nargus and I was working on trying to heal her... I noticed something. Telltale marks. Those sort of marks -- and I didn't give them to her. I didn't say anything though, didn't want to think the worst." Galain stared upward at the sky.

"So anyway, after I left The Diirlathe I caught up with Tay on Whispin, by the lake.  Questions were asked, answers were given and not given, and then -- she fell apart, Ghet. Her soul -- it completely unraveled.  I tried to stop it, but it was no good. And it hurt so bad. We've been going wrong for so long... I took her back to the cottage and would have stayed with her, but Agaru took consciousness and pretty much told me to get lost. But I didn't leave and just go home."

He was sharing images of what had happened through their bond. His words simply weren't enough and Galain stared anxiously at Ghetsuhm.

"I stole the key to Callan's forge and I went to Aerdon and waited. I waited and then when he wasn't ready and I was, I found him and I attacked. I wanted him dead. I still want him dead. I will find a way to kill him." He had a fevered look in his eyes as he spoke. He rubbed at his forehead and went silent, sharing the images of the fight, unable to look his wife in the eye now.

"Y'Roden miraculously came. He stopped us. I actually owe him my life." His mouth twisted. "I realized Tay was there in the keep then. I left the forge and went straight to her. Mira apparently has a special gift and was able to restore An'Thaya -- re-weave her soul. She'd gone mad -- Tay, that is. Hadn't eaten in days, had cut herself repeatedly." Galain looked up and stared out into the darkness. "She had asked me questions and I gave her answers..." He murmured.

"I took her to Nenlante. Y'Roden and Silverthorn are looking after her. But she's not the same Tay. It's funny, we still have pieces of our souls in each other, but it's not the same." He kept staring outward. "How are you?" He asked abruptly, turning to gaze at Ghetsuhm, hungry suddenly to just stare at her.

Ghet was silent as he spoke, but past a certain point she couldn't look at him. She felt so much, so many directly conflicting things. Pain, anger, frustration, bitterness, sympathy, grief... but there was an awful lot of anger. She stood up, tucking the sheet under her arms, and leaned on the porch rail with her back to him while she tried to contain it. He was so battered, in so much pain, the last thing he needed was for her to yell at him.

When she turned back, though, she was still shaking with fury. All she'd managed to repress was the urge to hit him. "You will not. You'll not lay a hand on Callan. Gods, you tell me, you show me, that, and you have the nerve to ask me how I am? If it was up to you, I'd have lost everything I cared about, and I'd probably be dead by now. Callan would have killed you. You put your life, and mine with it, at risk because you can't face the fact that An'Thaya chose to screw him? Just like she did Adarin? Gods, Galain, are you ever going to blame that woman for anything? Or is it always going to be someone else's fault, how she treats you?"

She took a deep breath, trying to rein in the rage, though it wasn't spent yet. There was so much else she had to deal with, but this was the most important, the most immediate thing. "I know, no matter how many children you have, how much people love you and depend on you, you'll never value your own life enough to think before you risk it, never. But I will not lose you again. When you die, so do I. Perhaps that will be enough to make you a little more careful, but I doubt it."

Galain simply stared back at Ghetsuhm. He'd told her what had happened, had actually mustered up the courage to show her. He had told Tay that he couldn't promise to stay away from Callan.But things had shifted so much with her. It was quite different when Ghetsuhm absolutely forbade him from seeking his twisted version of vengeance.

Iavan, Avathar and Gareth, Y'Roden, Adarin, Callan... these men, in one form or another had managed to touch his wives and turn their worlds upside down and Galain couldn't touch them. Galain continued to keep his head bowed and eyes closed. Hells anyway. You're right. He stood up abruptly and lurched forward to stand against the railing, wrapping his hands around the wood so tightly his knuckles went white.

"I have murder in my heart. I've destroyed an alliance. I've hurt you." He looked down into her eyes. "I'm sorry." He felt incredibly empty inside. "Her choices are her choices." He stared down at the hand that wore the wedding ring Tay had made. He gripped the railing hard again and looked outward again into the jungle. "I'm a selfish ass, aren't I? I just leaped in, forgetting I was taking you down with me all the while. Gods..." His voice broke and he turned, his eyes full of sick remorse as he pulled Ghetsuhm into his arms. "Gods I'm sorry."

Ghet's head bowed under the force of his pain, her anger not abating, but changing, shifting subtly, redirecting. She didn't know how she could ever look at An'Thaya again. She gave a short sob when he held her, and hugged him back hard. She felt his empty loneliness, and her soul flooded in to fill it. She couldn't take the pain away... well, actually she could, but she wasn't going to. But she could push it back. "Gods, I'm sorry, you shouldn't be having to comfort me. I just..." But it would be a waste of time telling him how much fear she felt. She kissed him. "I love you, I love you so much it scares me. I'm sorry I ran away." She pushed his vest back and kissed the mark over his heart. "But I'm always here. You're never alone, even if perhaps sometimes you'd rather be. I'm always with you, and I will never, never hurt you."

She hoped it was true, anyway. Now was not the time for making nice distinctions. She laid her head on his heart and sighed. "What now?" she asked quietly. "What happens when she comes back for you?"

Galain gave a humorless bark of laughter at her question.

"I don't know if she'll come back for me this time, Ghetsuhm. I took care of her in Nenlante. We talked a little, but there wasn't the usual resolution -- the usual... forgiveness. I don't know what to think anymore. After all this time..." He shook his head and returned her kiss.

"Ghetsuhm, sometimes you need to run away. I just want you to run back when you're done," he said, giving her a crooked smile. He looked down at the mark on his chest and sucked in his breath as it glowed softly, giving off a warmth that gave him immense comfort. He touched the mark over her heart and bent to kiss it too.

"I don't ever really want to be alone. I might have those moments where I need silence, but..." He trailed off, unable to speak anymore. Instead he just held her close to him, suddenly overcome with the sensation of how precious this woman was to him. How much he took for granted. Anxiety gnawed at him and he finally was able to speak again.

"I won't endanger you again. I won't do that again," he murmured.

Never, since An'Thaya's unexpected return to life all those years ago, had Ghet ever allowed herself to think about having Galain to herself. There was clearly no hope of it, she would only make herself mad. And in time it had seemed things had worked out anyway. She'd been happy. Sure, there'd been some rough patches, but everyone had those.

She could not contemplate Galain without An'Thaya. It was unthinkable. She would not wish for her own personal happiness at such a cost. She held him closer, though she kept a little distance in their souls. Room for all the pain. "She will, I think," she said quietly, wearily. "Time might let her work out what it is she actually wants, and then she'll come and ask for it..."

Ghet stopped. She'd just worked out what her own problem was, why she was behaving so awfully. She took a step backwards, then sat down again and looked up at him. It had to come out. "Galain, I'm so sorry. I know sometimes I don't make much sense. But... whenever there's a crisis between you and An'Thaya, I get so scared. I wonder if she's going to ask, and what you'll do if she does, if you'll give in to her again. See, the two of you were always meant to be together, all that time... I was just a mistake, an aberration. So I think... I can't help it, I think that one day she'll ask you to put me aside, and you'll do it. I'm sorry, I know it's stupid."

'Time might let her work out what it is she actually wants, and then'... Would Tay come back to him? Ask him? Galain was pondering what his Amazon wife would want, if she would come back to him. His thoughts were paused by Ghetsuhm stepping back. They froze completely when she presented her thoughts and he gaped at her.

"Ghet... You mean if she asks me to rebond to her? What do you mean she'll one day ask me to put you aside? Ghet..." Tay also loved Adarin, Mystical and Jaiden. Why wouldn't she return to them as well? Or would she? He just didn't know anymore. He couldn't even begin to answer on that score. But the idea of anyone giving him an ultimatum was appalling. He gave himself a few moments to consider such a thing happening and it made him physically ill. His face paled and he struggled to breathe.

"No one can ask me that. And if I ever hear you call what we have a mistake or an aberration... I WILL kill them. Ghetsuhm Riker-Alcarin! I can't believe you'd... gods, I can understand why you'd think such a thing." Tears sprang to Galain's eyes. His very soul was tied to this woman's and the idea of severing such a deep bond brought sharp, knife-like pains that seared their way from his gut to his heart.

"I waited too damn long for you. I hear too often of what would have happened if things had turned out otherwise. You are mine. I am yours." He closed back in on her and drew her to him, his embrace fierce. When he kissed her it was almost angry and definitely possessive.

Ghet was weeping, hard. She knew it was stupid, but she could not make that fear go away. Chase and Y'Roden had both promised her things, too, and she'd lost them, irrevocably. Losing Galain would kill her.

She went eagerly into his embrace, giving herself up to his ferocity gladly. The hardness of his mouth pushed the doubt back. He was here, now, and they were bound together so deeply and tightly she didn't know if it could be undone. She gave in and removed the last of the distance between them, letting him feel all her fear and pain, the insecurities that plagued her. At the same time, she embraced his confusion and grief over An'Thaya.

She would not take her mouth from his to speak. Galain, indonya, I would never want things to have worked out differently. I love you too much, I was too stupid and timid for too long. I belong with you, I always did. I just don't know if... the same is true for you. There's such a hole in me when you're not here, an emptiness. As if I'm only really alive when we're together. It scares me. Her body pressed hard against his, her bondmark flaring brightly. Swear to me, here, in our soul. Swear you'll never leave me.

It was a relief to have that distance Ghet had been holding closed. Galain heard her words and nodded, breaking the kiss a moment to cup her face.

I swear it. I swear to you that I will never leave you, he told her. His bondmark flared brightly as well -- almost painfully. He returned to their kiss, grasping onto her fear and pain, tucking those insecurities tightly into his heart.

Ghet felt a small surge in her heart, and she could not mask its nature. It was triumph. And there was a feeling she very much associated with Galain: bright joy, tinged with guilt that her happiness always seemed to come at someone else's expense. But she had a right to be happy. She'd accepted the losses she had taken in her life as her due, the price that had to be paid for what she'd gained. Galain was the prize, and she would never give him up.

She looked up at him looking down at her, tears in both their eyes, and she turned her head slightly to kiss his hand as it cupped her cheek. She wanted very much for there to be some way to seal this between them. There should be something she could look at, or touch, when she was feeling broken, and be reminded, that this was when he promised. 

Shyly, she turned her gaze back to his, and smiled gently. She sought for words for what she wanted, and couldn't find them. Still, she was afraid that maybe this wasn't the right time. So instead she shared a memory with him, of a day they'd made a momentous decision and Fate, in the shape of the D'Riels, had butted in and stopped them following through. Of the child whose soul had never been woven.

Galain had been watching Ghetsuhm, smiling when she kissed his hand. His smile deepened when her eyes returned to his face and then a look of surprise stole over his features. He remembered that day well -- the joy and then the frustration as other priorities came to the fore. They had never sought to renew that particular moment and the elf wasn't sure why, but now...

He nodded, realizing this child would be a physical sign of his promise to her -- a golden, beautiful promise.

"I think that would be perfect," he said softly, kissing her again.

Ghet smiled softly. Ro had been right. It had hurt, and now, there would be joy. She just hoped the same would be true for Galain, and even for An'Thaya, and Callan, and gods, poor Adarin, and Jaiden... all those children touched by the ripples of one action...

But that was for later. For now, her only responsibility was to heal the damage her husband had taken. He'd wanted this child for a long time now, and she wanted very much to give him it. She gave up on the sheet and wriggled out of it, then kissed him intently. "Not here, not up here. Down on the grass." S'Hea still pulled at her. She wanted to mate with her husband with her skin pressed to its soil. She stood and tugged at his hand, almost dancing down the steps to the clear grassed area next to the river.

"No, you're right, definitely not up here. Down there. In the grass," Galain agreed, followning his wife's naked form off the balcony, a dazed smile on his face as he watched her practically dance her way to the grass, where they could hear the river's gentle murmur and feel this planet's magic seep into them. He shrugged off his vest and left it somewhere behind them as he unloosened his trouser ties. The fey nature of his Elen nature surfaced as he shuddered and soaked in the night air against his skin. 

Ghet turned, and saw him smiling in the darkness, and her heart surged with pleasure. It was all she'd ever wanted, to be able to make him happy. Well, okay, not all...

She wound her arms around his neck and kissed him, then pulled him insistently down into the grass and helped him out of his boots and pants. Her eyes were shot with tendrils of green, when she stroked his chest gently, there was a little spark. This night had brought out the wildness in both of them, a blessed relief after the strains of the last few days. She could throw off all her cares and concerns, and the last vestiges of her mind, and just feel. They would make a child together, who would be a promise, and a joy, and hope for the future. She was caught between laughter and tears as she kissed him, his mouth, his throat, his chest, the delicate insides of his thighs. The last of the boundaries between their souls faded away as she took him in her mouth, loving the taste of him.

And then she was stretched out beside him in the sweet grass, the gentle vibrations of S'Hea blending perfectly with her own joy and excitement as she held out her arms to him.

Galain came to her without a second's hesitation. Her kisses and caresses sent twinges of pleasure shuddering through his body and his smile grew as he took Ghetsuhm into his arms. He touched her gently, almost reverently, moving in a deliberately slow fashion and laughing when sparks literally flew between them. He welcomed the darkness' shrouding of their twined bodies and let the frustration, anger, grief and confusion seep away to be replaced by the passion, love, lust and sweet pleasure that washed over him now.

He inched down his wife's body, trailing kisses that warmed her skin for a moment before he moved on to the rest of her body. For a moment he reared above her, his soul twisting in a sensuous dance with hers before he covered her again and entered her body with a dual purpose -- pleasure and creation. There was so much pleasure to be had though as he drove hungrily into her, his kisses growing more insistent as they lost any sense of whatever was around them.

It was when a third soul joined their dance for a moment and separated that Galain let out a cry -- a wild shout of joy.

Ghet had missed the moment of Rhagi's conception. She'd been dying at the time, and didn't need the extra stress. This time, she was intensely aware of the start of a new life, she could feel it become separate from the two of them in a wash of profound physical and spiritual pleasure. She felt Galain's joy twined with her own, and she clung to him and wept, sharing with him her unreserved happiness at what they'd done.