||[Nov. 9th, 2005|04:52 pm]
Just discovered this community, but it seems at risk of being slightly dead, so I thought I might revive it with a fanfic. Might be considered pre-slash, but doesn't have to be.|
Title: Waiting for the Betrothal
Fandom: Wind on Fire
Pairing: (loose) Bowman/Mumpo
Disclaimer: Wind on Fire (c) William Nicholson
Bowman looked no different than when I had last seen him, the same grave, quiet young man--I dare not call him a boy now that he is the Bowmana of Gang--and I know that he is happy with Sisi as his wife. And I, who will soon be wed to Pinto, had to see him.
It hurts, I want to say, Does it hurt you like this?
I did not need to ask him this, for she was his sister, his twin, and they were closer than breath, close enough to reach into each other’s minds. They loved each other with a love that was more than devotion, a fierce emotion that shone from their faces every time one glanced at the other. I loved her, too, so it seemed right that I should seek out his company before leaving that love behind at last.
He gave me a room across the hall from his own chambers, richly furnished and much too complex for my tastes. I wondered how he, who had grown up in Aramanth in the same mediocre district as I had, could stand all of the luxury, especially after having been an apprenticed Singer. I suppose one could get used to it.
The food was good, too, like nothing else I had ever tasted, but truthfully it was nothing compared to a bit of bread and some of the cheese from Creoth’s cows. After we had eaten, Bowman called me out into the garden, and I followed him, eager to give voice to the turmoil that swirled within me.
But he did not want to talk about that, it seemed at first, and so I answered his many questions about whether Mrs. Cherish had left her bed yet, and whose babies were growing fastest, and whether our betrothal was still set for the same day.
It was this last question that caused both of us to lapse into an uncomfortable silence that was made even more so because we had never been this way; we had always been open and able to tell each other everything, and now Kestrel’s absence hung like a great wall between us, leaving a gap in our friendship. I found myself reaching for words to answer him, and none seemed able to describe what I was feeling. “I know that the day is approaching,” I began carefully, “And that she loves me, and I will gladly marry her, if only for that love. But, I can’t help wondering whether—” I broke off, suddenly aware of the sobs that had crept into my speech, squeezing my lungs, causing my breath to come in sharp gasps.
Bowman turned to face me, and I could see the raw emotion in his face in a way that startled me. He had always felt things deeply, but he had mostly kept those feelings to himself, effectively hiding his thoughts from everyone except Kestrel and those he spoke of them to. She, on the other hand, had only felt and reacted once the doing was over, but when she was feeling something, it was written clearly on her face.
Now, he was speaking, words pouring out of him almost too fast to be understood, “She is with me, all the time…Her mind was so close to mine to begin with that she never really left when the firesong took her. She is sometimes more present, more there, and other times she is just me, a part of what I feel and say,” His face had a dreamy, sad look, as though he was listening to her faraway voice.
A moment of silence passed in which I seriously contemplated leaving him there with his thoughts, thoughts that I couldn’t help but envy, because he shared them with her. But then, he seemed to become aware of his surroundings again, and he spoke, “She would have loved you, Mumpo, if only her fate hadn’t already been sealed.” These words finally brought forth the tears, and I curled up on the garden wall and sobbed. A tentative hand on my shoulder caused me to turn, and I saw that Bowman was biting his lip, fighting tears himself. He seemed to be speaking to himself, now, sobs choking his speech, “I wanted to be the one—I thought that I was to be the child of the Prophet, that I was to die.”
I tried to comfort him then, saying, “You’ve done what we all wanted you to do…You’ve come back, and taken on a role that allows you to directly deal with the corruption that led to Kess being needed in the first place.” There wasn’t really anything else I could say after that, and I simply reached up to him, and we held each other like the children we had once been, crying away our troubles.
When it was all over and we had both wiped our faces and generally made ourselves presentable to the public, we made our way back to the long, splendorous halls of the Palace of Gang.
Things might not have been perfect, but they were close.