“This…is just wrong,” He was misguided perhaps, but not completely wrong.
“You don’t understand, child,” She was nearing the edge of irritation. “We cannot afford another confrontation.”
“But, we are not created for the purpose of wallowing in our sorrows and ignorant of the future,” He pleaded, as much as it was for his people, it was for Eridani, for her; his mother was trapped in a portraiture of fear and insecurities. “Imagine, our human charges would suffer the same if we are stuck in inaction!”
“We were slaughtered the first time, what makes you think we are in a position to defeat that demon this time?”
“We were surprised before, if we plan with the other clans and prepare –”
“– You are an image of your father, full of ideas and inexplicable assurance with no grasp of reality,“ She was exasperated, he knew, she only mention the comparison when she was truly upset. “Look what that led him, he defied the Creator, rendered his family fatherless with a poor excuse of a Nokshan in his place –”
Words crept up his throat before he checked them: her dismissive attitude towards his sister, her daughter, so he lashed out, “You cannot speak of Eri like that. She’s miserable because of your thick skull’s idea of respect for father that is in truth a parade of pointless mourning that kept our people in circles –”
His mother’s reputation as a fighter is not baseless, as even her reserved strength in the strike across his face made him question if his jaw stayed its ground before he drank in the sharp sting of iron pouring over his tongue from the inside of his cheek.
“You do not deserve the lordship with your brash, immature judgements,” She ruled, cold.
“And you,” He panted, though his jaw was fine. “You do not deserve to call yourself a mother if you blame your child for an incident she did not even witness.”
He opened his eyes from the memory then, saw instead of the stormy night the welcoming, warm sunlight pouring in through the half-opened window, falling upon the plants he used to raise and a few books in neat clusters upon his writing desk; his hand darted to his side as he shifted against the comforting weight of blankets, found the wound well on the way to scar and leaving nothing but numbness in its wake. Then he realized he wasn’t alone, turned to his bedstead and met the calm eyes he spited in his nightmare.
“Mother,” He muttered, wondered if the Creator imparted his dream for the sake of making this meeting even more difficult than it already was. “I…”
“I’ve missed you,” She took his hand in hers, read his mind. “Forget about all that.”
“I…should not have said such a thing,” He mumbled, realizing for the first time how dry his throat was. “I am sorry.”
She bowed her head in silent agreement, never expected her pride to allow her the utterance of a direct apology, “You have a firm grasp of our people’s purpose at such a young age, you are more than deserving of the title.” He felt the gentle squeeze on his hand. “In an attempt to save myself from my own fears, I have trapped you in them.”
She let go, and he managed a smile, “Is this another dream? It’s quite a sudden change of heart now that you are blessing me,” He jested, she smiled before embracing him.
Then a polite knock interrupted, knowing it was one she summoned, Alvenia sprung up and answered.
Lyra stepped into view, scanned the simple decor before her eyes settled upon him. She smiled so brightly, it didn’t help him feel less dream-like.
“I have some business to attend to,” Alvenia left with a purposeful expressionlessness that made her son shake his head.
“I brought you some water,” She offered as she plopped down on the edge of the bed. “How are you feeling?”
“Significantly better, thank you,” He accepted the wooden cup, sipped as his groggy brain stumbled for a word.
Lyra wasn’t sure what to do with her hands again once they were free of the water cup, and questions boiled over relief as she contemplated if he remembered the little moment his feverish self instigated. Part of her demanded that such improper interactions remain in her memory alone, though a larger part of her wanted to feel his arms about her again, the warmth of his wings protectively draped about her.
What did she just…imagine?
She shook her head to clear her mind, and as though the thought left her mind and landed on his with the motion, a dull thud of wooden cup on wooden bedsteads, “I vaguely remember….some impropriety on my part, I am sorry…”
“…No, no, don’t worry about it. I would have caught a cold otherwise.”
Silence fell, she thought to leave, but he cleared his throat, “Lyra.”
“…Thank you…you…saved my life, you defeated the Fallen. You undid the contract: I am…amazed…” Once the silence was broken, he wanted it back to save his rambling mess. “I was just trying to say that…I am infinitely grateful, and despite the fact that I am no longer obliged to help you out of the constraints of the contract, I want to stay by your side –”
She pulled him into a tight embrace, pressing her ear against the racing drum of his heart. She felt the clumsy, shaking touch brushing her cheeks and strands of her hair, smoothed the ruffled feathers beneath her fingers.
She shifted back only enough to meet his eyes, “I love you.”
She felt her short breaths merging with his as she squeezed her eyes closed.
He rested his forehead against hers as though to convey the thought he declared aloud regardless, “I love you, too.”
She nearly froze, felt him lean forward while she tried not to burst into a happy ball of flames.