The Alternate Universe Weekly Challenge Thread
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03.09.2013 , 08:54 AM |
Introducing just a little private Lodestone thing, I guess, for
. I dunno why this keeps universe occupying brain cycles. No game spoilers. 1000 words.
L + 23 months
Ruth was down the hall putting Cole to bed. Wynston settled in the living room to read over his correspondence and some news bulletins. One of the first items in his feed happened to be a minor news note on a direct and positive consequence of a job Ruth had completed a couple of weeks back – just the sort of thing she found encouraging when she got to hear about it. He took the excuse to freeze the display and go find her. The necessity of staying connected notwithstanding, he took every excuse he saw to bring the conversation back to her while he was in town.
He paused outside the door. Within the nursery, Ruth was singing.
Wynston shied away from interrupting; there was likely a reason she was so quiet about it. But her voice was nice. Low, smooth, without the command that habitually edged her public speaking. He was no musical expert – far from it – but he could tell she carried the melody faithfully, and the flow of it soothed.
He had known her for years, and still she surprised him.
The song ended and Wynston stepped back to wait. Ruth emerged within moments and stopped, wide-eyed, just inside the hallway.
"I never knew you sang," said Wynston.
"I don't," she said quickly. "Or not…" She blushed pink, looking as off balance as he'd ever seen her. And as lovely in embarrassment as she was anywhere else. "Just for Cole."
He stepped forward to gather her warm small hands in his. "The rest of us have been missing out, then."
She squeezed his hands, taking up some of her usual proud carriage but keeping the blush. "You really don't have to say that. This isn't my talent."
"There's enough about you to praise without exaggeration, darling, I hardly need to make things up. You have a beautiful voice."
Her smile turned definite, and she met his eyes for a surging-heart second. When she once again cast her gaze down at nothing in particular, the smile stayed. "I sang more when I was little. My father played the mandoviol, some nights he would teach me folk songs from places he'd been." Her brow and her hands contracted both at once. "It feels like a very long time ago."
He guided her hands to his chest so as to free his own arms to wrap around her. "You'll have to let me hear the start of that song sometime," he said gently.
It worked to ease her away from her discomfort. She met his eyes again. "What, the lullaby? It's really nothing special."
"I didn't recognize it. It sounded like Mirialan?" He didn't know much of the language, but the sound was right and a few words seemed familiar.
She nodded. "Yes. I don't know what the words mean. Father said there was no Basic translation that worked as a song in its own right."
Wynston nodded. The words, whatever they were, were irrelevant to her and him and the loveliness of her voice and the quiet strength of it when she was addressing her son. He kissed her cheek. "Sometime," he said softly, "before I go, I would very much like to hear the rest of it. If it's not just for Nirals, that is." Again, if he had never heard it before, there was likely a reason. Still, he was selfish enough to ask.
"If it's mine it's yours," she said. Her blush was rising again. "But I can't just launch into it. Tomorrow, when I put him to bed."
"Tomorrow, then." He kissed her nose and then shifted his embrace to turn a little. "Come with me, there's something I wanted to show you."
- 13 years later -
Wynston floated in the sole tank of a private medbay on the
. He'd been in there for two weeks now and might have to be for longer. The damage sustained in the last battle they had faced together had been close to fatal; now, slowly, he mended.
Ruth watched. Someone had set up a chair in here but she felt too tense to do anything but stand. His injuries were in part her fault. If she had done things differently he wouldn't have had to suffer this. Now he was right in front of her and she had never missed him this much in her entire life.
But he was alive, and he was close, and because of him the greater danger was past. The mission was accomplished, and the two of them were home.
Ruth set a hand on the transparisteel tank wall and sang.
It was the same simple lullaby he had asked about ages ago, its melody suited to her voice and its words soothing in their syllables. She never had gotten around to looking up what the words meant. It didn't really matter between her and him anyway.
The barely-audible hum of the monitors changed. A few life signs subtly shifted. Ruth had studied, in the last two weeks, what normal Chiss ranges were and what meant danger, but this wasn't danger. Just his heart rate stepping up a little, the way she had found it did when she sang.
She repeated the last verse just to have a little longer with him. After that…the fallout from the big battle was ongoing and she was the strongest fighter Wynston's people had in their efforts to stabilize the situation. If there was more she could do for him right now, it was out there.
"I love you," she told him. "There's work to do, but I'll come home as soon as I can."
She restored her command presence and headed out to face the galaxy. When she and Wynston were back together and whole, she wanted to have something good to show him.
Yep, she didn't stay in practice with the singing in canon, not after Rylon was a few years old. Though it might have bubbled back to the surface in some unguarded moment after Quinn's return…hmm…
Holy cow, it's a major headspace adjustment to think through Wynston's brain when a) he really cares about someone for her own sake and b) he's playing the natural dynamic with a considerate, affectionate, straightforward person. As opposed to the natural dynamic with Crazypants Djannis.
If one is training on colorful neutral planets such as Nar Shaddaa, as Ruth's father Colran did, and one is curious about everything after an insular upbringing, I could easily see seeking to pick up songs and any other cultural scraps one can. One of his friends at the Nar Shaddaa temple I mentioned was a Mirialan, so…possible source there.
This universe has gotten…dense?...over time? In Lodestone's first chapter Wynston noted that Ruth wasn't thrilling, not like he was used to, but now after three and a half years of knowing her he's still learning things. Another thing, here he still handles conversations in terms of eliciting reactions from her – his lifelong habit. Also, he likes her even when she's vulnerable, something that as hinted at in a recent SFC canon piece she never got a sense of and never ever cared to test with Quinn.
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