Lodestone: A Wynston/Ruth Alternate Universe
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01.09.2013 , 11:44 AM |
Epilogue, scene 2: On Dromund Kaas
"It stopped raining."
"What?" Ruth went to join Wynston at the window. Outside the clouds of Dromund Kaas were a pale grey, backlit with sunlight that seemed almost ready to break through.
"Look at that. It's probably just for the day, but still." He stepped back and smiled at her. "Let's go outside."
The day was warm and still, and in the relative brightness the garden fairly glowed, from the white-and-blue lilies to the redblazes. Wynston made it as far as a broad seat by the pond and sat down; that was far enough for now. If he was going to strain himself he would rather save it for after he accomplished something useful on the job.
He really did hate feeling like an invalid.
Ruth settled beside him. "So. Emperor gone, non-rainy day on Dromund Kaas achieved. Happy?"
He settled an arm around her and kissed her, a lazy pleasant warm kiss that wasn't getting water dumped on it for once. "Yes."
"I…" She took out her holo. He saw Quinn's name before she leaped to her feet. "I'd better take this. I'll be right back." She half-ran out of sight.
Bloody hell. Wynston reminded himself that Quinn probably hadn't arranged for Wynston's survival just for the chance to hold his continuing influence over Wynston's head. Probably. Ugh. The man brought out the most idiotic thoughts. At least he was out of everyday life again. And there was a general understanding that the two would never show up in the same room again.
Ruth flitted back. "Sorry. He was just checking with me before giving Cole a blaster of his own." She half smiled. "He's careful."
"He'd better be."
Her smile faded. "I still do have to talk to him sometimes. We're not going to be long-distance best friends, but…arrangements for Cole."
"I know." Wynston didn't like it, but then, he had never liked anything about Quinn, so that wasn't news.
She bit her lip, something she hadn't been nervous enough to do in ages. "I…"
"We don't have to talk about him." He didn't think he wanted to know anything about what she was thinking.
"Don't we?" She fell silent.
Did they? There was nothing Wynston had the right to say. He took a few moments. Then, slowly, he said "There are a lot of things I never thought I could do or feel before I met you. Jealousy is the first one I didn't like."
Ruth sat beside him and took his hand. "It's over."
"Do you wish it weren't?" he said softly. A big question. Not a fair one, but he wanted to know.
"No." She said it with a conviction that warmed his heart. "I told you I'm not built for...multitasking. What you are, what you do for me, what you, as you always said, let me be...that's happiness. Having seen what's on offer? I want you."
"All right." He pulled her close. She was terribly, terribly quiet. "I'm sorry, darling. There's no blame, I acted worse than you did in this mess and with less excuse. You were isolated, targeted, and in pain, I was just feeling sorry for myself." He kissed her hair. "I should have stuck to drinking. It turns out I get unprofessional when I'm wallowing in self-pity. Reckless. It almost led to my getting two thirds of our fighting power killed by the Voice, running off without you."
"But it didn't. My terrible idea blew up in time for me to come for you."
"My terrible idea was worse than your terrible idea. Galactic destruction here."
"Hurting you here. That makes mine worse."
"Bleeding out in the Voice's station also hurt, so it breaks even damage-wise even before my plan killed the Emperor-qualified warriors."
"My plan's lead actor would have gotten me killed. He might have volunteered to help do the killing if I kept cooperating with you. So there, we're even on killing warriors, too."
"Let's just agree not to do that again, all right?"
He looked into her eyes, that lovely light blue that seemed of a piece with the newly bright world around them, and when she kissed him again it was sweet and deliberate and complete. She only broke away to swing around and straddle him on the bench, the warmth of her touch rising to heat while she raked her fingers through his hair and down his shoulders. Her body against his – not lost after all, not gone, but here, with him, where she wanted to be – was lithe and strong and so very, wonderfully ready.
She stopped and sighed. "I'm not supposed to wear you out, am I."
He bit back a frustrated cry and instead just slid his hands around her waist. "I don't see any doctors around to enforce that."
Maddeningly, she pulled away. "I'd rather be careful."
"Darling, you know I don't like to argue with you, but why must you choose now of all times to start being careful?" She made a face at him; he grinned and continued. "Tell you what, why don't I behave and just sit around gathering my strength all day and then we'll go to the Nexus Room tonight."
She smiled incredulously. "Really. The Nexus Room?"
"What? It's been a while. Drinks, dancing, then home for whatever comes to mind? It's no coup d'état but I thought it might do as a low-key sort of evening."
"It does sound nice. Are you sure you're up for it?"
"With you? Always."
"I'm serious. Walking for extended periods, much less dancing."
"Yes. I'm not that fragile, darling."
She blinked hard. Then she threw her arms around him, squeezing him close. "I've seen some close calls, love."
He hugged her and kissed her hair, her ear, her face, her lips. "Did you really think I would leave you over a little thing like a perforated lung?"
She giggled. It shook a tear loose from her eye. "It's just that most people do consider that a dealbreaker. Let it happen once and they're gone."
"Not me. Not from you." He wiped the tear away and kissed her. "I'm not that easily discouraged. …And I do want you. Do I really have to behave?"
"Just for now."
"I'll cooperate, but only because I know it's been a hard couple of months for you and I don't want to give you a difficult time."
"Also because you physically can't disobey my orders yet."
"It wouldn't have to be disobedience as such. I could persuade you."
This isn't open for – mm – debate." She swatted his hand before it could get far. "That's the point."
"Ruth, you can be a cruel woman."
"Wynston, you love it."
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