breath exploded from him the moment Y'Roden and Rhagi left the room. The
tension that had held him rigid momentarily drained away and he sagged,
gingerly sitting on the bed and clasping his wife's hands.
watched Ro leave, her eyes full of feelings even she couldn't catalogue.
"He has things he has to do," she said quietly, finally
returning her gaze to her husband as he took her hands. "Keeping busy
helps. It will all come out though, just not where anyone can see."
She gave a half-smile, fighting to delay the inevitable. "I can make
him yell if you'd rather. It's a talent I have, making him completely
"He handled that a little too well," he said quietly.
She pulled her hands back, fighting hard to find the defenses she normally
wore with perfect ease. So broken, but she only had to hold on a few
minutes more. "You should go then."
Galain had given his wife his own faint smile, shaking his head as she
spoke. He'd rather not be around when Y'Roden did explode. The smile
disappeared though when Ghetsuhm removed her hands.
"I should go, but I shouldn't," he said quietly. He needed to
find a way to rescue Tay and he needed to stay right here and hold Ghet's
hands. For a moment he wished he could simply tear himself in two. For
another moment he wished he could just collapse right here and not have to
worry about anything, not juggle the love he had for both wives, not
maintain the delicate balancing-act his dual marriage required.
He shifted and looked away.
"Will you be here?" he asked.
Temper flickered in her eyes and then died. "I don't know. I don't
really see why. I might head out to the cottage. Ro can keep Rhagi safe,
but not me. And Thorn would, I'm sure, be happy to see the back of me at
the first possible opportunity." She shrugged. "There's nothing
here for me, is there? And if you do get Tay back, it'll be easier for all
of us if I'm not here." An odd look came over her face, mixed
emotions warring for what remained of her fragile psyche. "I want to
make things easier for all of us. I'm so tired, Galain. I can't go on like
She'd given up her dreams a long time ago, when she'd agreed to go back to
Galain after he'd regained An'Thaya. She wished they would stop haunting
her, that the little voice that told her she deserved better would just go
away completely. "You need to be able to concentrate on Tay. Not that
that seems to be a problem. You don't need to be torn in half all the
time." She reached out and took his hands again, and worked the ring
she'd given him off his finger. "For now."
Galain's breath caught and his face contorted with soul-felt pain. He
stared at their combined hands and then gave Ghetsuhm a silent, agonized
look. The brokenness within his wife was something he couldn't ignore and
the smile that crossed his face suddenly was twisted with self-loathing
"Right. For now," he said, the words bitten out. Ring or no ring
he was married to her and the absence of the metal circle would do nothing
to keep his attentions wholly focused in one place. Unless she shut him
out, he would feel her, know how she was doing, where she was.
He moved away, hands clenched.
"If you're not here, I will find you," he said. It's never
going to be easier. I love you. I choose to love you every day.
Needless to say his finger felt bereft without the ring and his stomach
muscle twinged. Love warred with love and the elf had the sudden desire to
just run. Instead he gave Ghetsuhm a miserable half-smile.
"I will try to find a way to bring her back," he said. "And
then... I want my damn ring back."
Well, Ghet fully intended to shut him out the moment he left. She couldn't
bear his pain, or her own, or Tay's... she was too weak. I love you,
too. It has to get easier. It has to.
She leaned in and touched his face, her eyes full of tears. "Do what
you need to do. And then... when things settle down, we can work out if
you're having it back."
The smile slid off Galain's face and he just nodded then, reaching out to
catch her tears.
"Cormamin niuve tenna' ta elea lle au'," he said. He
stood up suddenly and headed toward the door. His heart would indeed weep
until he saw her again.
night and a day on Whispin could really drag, especially if you were awake
for all of it. Ghet had sat a lot, laid down some, meandered, but...
was stuck, unable to go forward, because she didn't know where she wanted
to go. She'd never wanted another lahaya so much in her life.
Actually, she'd never wanted another lahaya at all, but now, now
she needed someone to make the walls for her, to give her a safe place and
help her find the way out of her feelings, the maze of pain and grief she
was trapped in.
was no-one else. She'd tried so hard to find her own way out. She'd told
herself she was over-reacting, that Galain loved her, that things would
come right and she'd look back on this and wonder why she'd been so
stupid. It didn't change the way she felt inside.
kept Galain's ring, and her own, in a pouch around her neck, tucked
between her breasts. She couldn't wear them, and she couldn't put them
away, either. She didn't want to lose him. She wasn't sure she could bear
hadn't had a good cry. She'd had several bad cries, a few silent bitter
tears. She was angry at Galain, angry at herself, angry at Fate for doing
this to her. She was just lying on her bed, trying to pull good memories
out of a mass of misery.
himself had just exited from a portal, exhausted. He and Adarin had taken
separate routes, each intent on their own children, Adarin assuring his
nephew that he would check on Jaiden and her children as well.
sagged against the doorway for a moment and then quietly stepped inside,
conscious of her presence, her very scent. He found her on her bed and he
paused to watch her, his heart hammering. Then he slipped forward and
knelt beside the bed, reaching out to caress her hair.
he asked quietly.
startled. She hadn't heard him come in. She hadn't felt him come in
either, which was worse, but then it was her own doing. She still held
their bond choked down hard. She rolled and sat up, the grief and
weariness on his face tearing at her. "Galain? What are you doing
here? What happened?"
much," he said. "A lot." He sank back and just brushed his
fingers over her hand now. "Are you all right?" he cast his gaze
up at her, not quite able to get it together to speak yet.
sheer banality of the question connected with a roiling core of
frustration in her. Grief came out as anger. "Of course I'm not
bloody alright! When was the last time anything was 'alright'? You've done
your duty. I'll tell you what, I'll say I'm fine, and then you can piss
off and go do whatever it is you actually want to do, because
you've made it pretty damn clear that's not 'be with me'."
recoiled and sat back, staring at Ghetsuhm. He opened his mouth to speak
and couldn't find the will to force any words out. Instead he looked away
and went very still, his jaw clenching as he tried to gather his thoughts
I want to do is stay right here," he finally said. "I'm tired, I
miss you." He finally looked up, misery filling his eyes as he gazed
at her. "It was a stupid question," he mumbled. "We're
not all right. Not at all."
anger was all pain. Her pain, and the pain she knew she was causing him.
She should wait, but then, the time would never be right. She'd been
waiting for things to calm down enough for her to talk to him since they'd
come back from Tenobrous, and it hadn't happened. Even here, shut away
from the rest of the world, she felt like they were still caught in this
storm that wouldn't let up. "You want to stay here. An'Thaya sent you
away again, then?"
bit back her next words. Hurting him more wasn't going to help. Unless it
did. Unless he needed to be hurt before he got it. "You made me a
promise," she said quietly, her voice pained but level. "You
promised me you would never take me for granted. You promised me you would
never forget about me. And then you left me alone to die. Where do you
think we should go from here? You've had so much from me, do you really
need my self-respect as well?"
got to his feet and crossed his arms over his chest, flinching when
Ghetsuhm threw her words at him. Yes... Tay had sent him away again. He
ground his teeth and listened as Ghet spoke again.
don't know where to go," he answered truthfully. "I feel split
in two. I want you to have all of me, I want her to have all of me and
it's just not possible. One moment I'm focused on Tay, the next on you and
I think... I see... it's not enough." He covered his face with his
hands, then ground his palms against his eyes.
do not take you for granted. I have never forgotten you. But I
don't know what to do, Ghet. I screwed up when I left you alone. Gods I
screwed up." His hands dropped away and he stood a moment, his
shoulders sagging. "I want you. I need you. Ghet, I know I'd die
heart felt like it was in his mouth as he spoke, frustrated at how trite
the words sounded to his ears.
stood, and put her hands on his arms, while she searched for the words.
"Galain, let me tell you something. You go with your gut instinct.
It's just what you do. And in my case, your gut instinct means you go. But
I guess somehow I always just believed that, if I was ever seriously hurt
or in trouble, that you'd be there. That was a delusion, and I need to get
please don't lie to me. You wouldn't die without me, and you know
it, because you'd still have Thaya. You're not prepared to run the risk of
losing her, because you know you might.
Jaiden, Mysti, Adarin... Honey, you're in a terrible position, I know. I do
understand, and my heart aches for what you're going through. I feel awful
for An'Thaya, though to be honest, mostly simply because of what it does
to you, even though I hold her dear. When she's not punching me, anyway.
But you know in your heart that you'll never lose me, so if it does
come down to a choice..." She shrugged. "You know whom you can
afford to walk away from."
looked up at him, and there was a certain hopeless pride in her face.
"I don't choose, Galain. I can't choose. I don't choose to love you,
because I can't choose not to. It's not within my power. You can
walk all over me, and I'll still love you. I wish you loved me as much as
I love you. Hell, I wish you loved me as much as you do Thaya, but I'm not
going to stop giving you everything I have because of it. I just...
sometimes it hurts. It hurts now, it hurts so much. I want to walk away
from you, I want to at least be able to consider it. I want to be strong
and in control and more or less heartless like I used to be when I was
married to Chase. And I'm not."
was bowing his head, letting all of Ghet’s words flow over him. He shook
and felt sick to his stomach. He went with that stomach and it made
him feel more sick. It was what he did? Just go and hell be-damned? But
he’d truly operated that way and he had never, expected there would be a
fork in the river. He thought he’d head straight toward his love or just
keep on cruising.
cruised a lot.
love you,” he said. Then he paused and looked away before he stared hard
at her. “Ghetsuhm. You can’t choose, but I must.” He paused and
shuddered. He ached for Tay.
I will not leave you again,” he said and suddenly he went to his knee
and looked upward. “Ghet. Vessė. YOU are in control and you are strong.
But I want to be your strength. I want to be there when your control hits
couldn’t answer the rest. He was recoiling from the idea of walking over
her. Gods, the very idea of Chase brought a horribly visceral reaction.
He drew away slightly as he thougth of Mysti, Jaiden and Adarin. He
hated them. Very deeply inside he resented and hated them. She might claim
him as first, but he felt last. He was tired of it all and confused.
the hell are we?” he asked suddenly, drawing back closer and feeling
absurdly melodramatic. He drew back slightly, then slipped back toward
and exhausted, Ghet slid to the floor and leaned against the bed.
are we? I'm here. In a few days I'll go back to Nenlante and my son and a
bunch of people who hate me. I don't know where you are. I don't know
where you'll be from one day to the next, and neither do you." She
shrugged. "You're tired. I'm tired. I'm thinking, if, when I first
got with Y'Roden, if someone had said to me, 'You sleep with this guy,
you'll spend the rest of your life with demons trying to kill you,' well,
I still would have done it, but at least I would have known what I was
getting myself into."
sighed. "I don't often need hand-holding, and most of the times I've
needed it you've been right there. But... I'm sorry, my love. I wish I
could just get out of this. I wish I could just, through sheer will...
trust you again. And I don't."
crouched down on the floor before Ghetsuhm and watched her intently as her
words settled over his soul and left him feeling cold and aching inside.
he started to speak and stopped a moment, then plunged on. "Ghetsuhm,
I love you. I want you and need you. I have to have you.
not going to leave you again. Not like I've done. And... I don't expect
you to trust me. Not for a while. I do charge around, reacting to one
thing, then reacting to another. I need... I need your hand in mine to
keep me from doing that again."
leaned forward and cupped Ghet's chin between his fingers.
keep me anchored," he said. "You may think I'm lying or just
dealing with this particular moment, but I mean it. I will not place you
fingers slipped from her chin to caress the side of her face.
not last. You're my wife," was all he could say for the moment.
tenderness broke her down, and Ghet cried, turning her face to kiss his
hand. Words. Yet she'd always been a sucker for his words. Her tears ran
across both their skins, the iron control that held their bond closed
faltering, breaking, pain and love flowing both ways.
am your wife," she acknowledged, her voice ragged, but it was also a
challenge. "Be proud of that. You ever apologise for loving me I'll
personally kick your arse up through your spleen. Give me passion, give me
pride, and gods, we'll heal the wounds between us, we just have to."
ever a dam break was welcomed, it was the one that had blocked their souls
from each other. Galain gloried in the golden joy of their rejoined bond,
shuddering and leaning forward.
am proud that you're my wife," he said. "I will never
apologize for loving you or choosing you." Never. He took fierce
pride in this woman and he felt something clicking deep within him.
have to do this more often. I mean... not precisely like this,"
he spoke aloud again, giving Ghetsuhm a lopsided smile. He couldn't
understand why she looked blurry to him until he wiped at his eyes and
dashed away the tears that had been lurking there.
laughed; wry, more than half a sob. She didn't know how long it would
last, but she wasn't such a fool as to choose pain when she could have
happiness. She saw his pride, and leaned in to kiss him. "Not like
this, no. The price has been too high. But still... I'm glad." She
curled under his arm, against his chest, the best place for her. "I
guess I could let you stay then," she said lightly, her words teasing
round him. "I could probably find something for you to do. I think
the gutters are blocked..."