As promised. I have finished my projects. I am also halfway through 'Shadow's chapter, so give me a mo.
I was sick. Sick and frightened. The only safe place was a dark corner high in the lofts of the windmill, which creaked and groaned against the breeze.
Today, it creaked because there was no wind, just rain, and Link heaved away at a grinder down below. I knew he couldn't see me. I counted at that. Last time he had found me up here he had freaked, but it wasn't like I had a huge belly to stop me. If anything I only had a hard lump nestled in my hips, though of late I'd been able to see the bulge when I looked down.
A grunt, and the scraping of flour into a bag. I clenched my shaking hands between my legs. They shook a lot lately, and I jumped at the smallest of things. I would've felt bad for hiding up here while Link worked so hard below if I hadn't finished the housework in the early hours of the morning when I couldn't sleep, or worked the garden late at night doing the same.
"Kara! Could you give me a hand?"
I winced. Guess there was no helping it.
He didn't spy me until I was halfway down the beams, hanging onto one like a monkey, and nearly ran to catch me as I made a jump to the ground.
"What do you not understand about being with child!" he almost snarled at me. "Goddesses! Have you even gotten any sleep today? I heard you sweeping before dawn this morning."
"Sorry," I whispered.
The meek tone, one I had to concentrate on in order not to use, softened him, and he sighed.
"Didn't you need my help?"
"Just getting this flour packed away. I need you to hold the bags open."
I did so, watching the brown, gold flecked powder as it slid down and thought, as I always did, of the fine bleached white flour of my own home. If I had my powers still…
"What you thinking about?" he asked.
"Flour," I said. "Multi-purpose flour. The kind from my world."
"Oh? I think you mentioned that. White as snow, finer than dust, used for desserts and stuff?"
"Used for everything." I fingered some of the flour left in the grinder. "This stuff is so coarse. No wonder old fogies have no teeth."
He chuckled under his breath, and for the next few minutes we filled the sacks in silence. As he tied off the last and threw it onto the pile with its brethren, he glanced down at his flour coated self and smiled.
"Up for a shower? It rained yesterday, and the water should be warm by now."
I liked showers. They reminded me of…they were meditative.
I followed him to the corner of the house where he had set up, under my direction, a stone stall with a drain at the bottom and a perforated circle in the ceiling. A small latch separated it from the water collector above it. I didn't pay much attention as we stripped, following the lines of the stones in the floor and the walls. I remembered black volcanic stones, copper sandstone, and off-white limestone. But these were grey. Different shades of grey.
A callused hand appeared in my view, running along the length of the small rise of my rounded abdomen.
"It's okay. You're safe." And as though to promise it, he closed the door behind us, leaving only the tiny rectangle window to light our closet sized room. His naked skin radiated the heat of his exertion and made my own skin look pale and wan. As I touched him, the shapes, the muscles, and soaked in the protection they gave, his own hands traced me, pressing lightly along my shoulders, my hips, my breasts.
"You've lost more weight," his voice sounded thin.
I said nothing. Though I rarely threw up, the constant nausea and twisted up guts made forcing food down my throat its own battle. Perhaps that was why my brain felt like dead weight now adays. Why I leaned my head against his chest and instantly felt my consciousness crawling away.
His fingers continued stroking until his other hand could pull the lever to let the water down, and there he smoothed out my long hair down the length of my back. I could smell his want, but could feel that his dismay was that much stronger.
"Maybe I can talk to the potions lady," he muttered, more to himself than me, he had gotten use to this half-awake, trembling version of me. "Get something to give you and the baby nutrition. Maybe something to help you sleep."
I said nothing, but buried my face into his chest and breathed him in. It was only during times like this that my muscles finally uncoiled and sleep came easy.
It wouldn't be the first time I fell asleep leaning against him in the shower. I woke up only long enough to realize the water had turned off and feel Link scooping me up into his arms. He sang low, soothing lullabies in a hum like a dream. I heard bits I recognized, and bits I didn't.
"Kara, I love you."
"I adore you," I breathed, catching him as he rose to leave me where he had laid me out on the bed. "I'm sorry this is so hard on you, I really am trying, I'll try to eat more, I'll—"
He hushed me, coming back down, still bare and warm. I drew the warmth in, hungry for it, desperate for the peace his presence gave me.
"I have work, love."
"Just for a minute? You feel so…safe."
He hadn't needed to be persuaded. Even skinnier and with a small bump of life in my stomach, he buried me beneath himself and tried to work out the frantic worry into his love making. I responded in turn by drinking in the comfort, the sedative, into the constant anxiety that plagued me in my pregnancy.
When he finally pulled away, it took me but a moment to fall back asleep.