He watched her quietly, the Lady Cymrian, as she stood several feet away, standing atop the worn stone ramparts. All around her, illuminated by the luminosity of the full moon, Ylorc slumbered, unaware of anything but the gentle and inevitable rhythms of the night. She was weeping, he knew; he'd known it from the moment he felt her rise from her bed, from Ashe's bed, and stole away into the darkened stone corridors of the ancient fortress. His very soul was attuned to her heartbeat, to her breathing – even the most infinite changes in her well being did not go unnoticed. Normally, being the creature he was, he would detest this closeness, this binding ...

He heard her quiet sob as it was caught on the wind and tossed back to him. He wouldn't have it any other way, he acknowledged to himself, and then he was moving. A shadow with all the other shadows, he made his way across the crumbled edges of the wall, skirting around the rubble, moving with a stealth and grace that was inherent. She was unaware of his approach; still she wept, tears cascading down as if her heart were breaking. He suspected it was. Standing now only an arm's reach from her, he paused, drinking in the sight of her, bathed now in the light of the moon and looking like a wayward child of the stars. Her tears had traced glittering paths down her face to fall, unnoticed, to the barren ground far below. Another instant passed, and then she realized she was no longer alone.

She didn't start, nor did she gasp. She simply turned her head and her eyes met his; he caught his breath at the intensity in their emerald depths. Her gaze was beseeching, pleading, and so he did not deny her what it was she silently begged for. Swiftly, surely, he stepped forward and wrapped her in his embrace, and sighed inaudibly as the rhythmic pounding of her heart synchronized with his own. His embrace was quickly returned, her hands creeping upwards to wrap around his neck. Her tears were gone; dried at his arrival, and deep within himself he felt a primal satisfaction knowing that he was the one to make her feel secure, that he was the one to uplift her spirits.

They remained thus for long minutes, each content to be held by the other. When finally she spoke, her voice was no more than a whisper, "Achmed?"

He tightened his arms around her, to show he was listening. "Yes, Rhapsody?"

"I – I don't think he loves me, anymore."

Jubilation and sorrow were simultaneous within him at her words, but he forced them aside. This was what he had foreseen, what she had known was coming. "His time has come, then?"

"Yes." Such sorrow in that word, such bitter longing ... and yet Achmed was able to discern something underlying, something strong: relief. She continued, her voice soft, "He will leave me soon. Already I see the dragon lurking in his eyes. He will forget me."

"No." Achmed said, shaking his head. "Ashe will never forget you. Forget what it was like to be with you, yes, but never forget you. No one could ever forget you, Rhapsody."

There was a short silence. And then she said, "I will miss him."

"I know."

"But ..."

"But?"

"I will have you, won't I?" She said the words quickly, and could not disguise the uncertainty and the fear in them.

He understood that fear; centuries had passed since her marriage to Ashe, since she had become the Lady Cymrian, since her life had changed forever. And it had been back then that Achmed had promised her he would wait, that she would be his and he would be hers in the end. But centuries were like eternity to those who could live that long, and she wondered if perhaps his feelings had changed. To answer her, he removed one gloved hand from around her waist and raised it to gently, slowly trace the line of her jaw. She had gone still at his touch, incredible eyes watching him carefully, fearfully. Many, many years ago he had touched her thus; both had understood that to be together in the end they must first be separated. And finally, at long last ...

His own mismatched eyes held hers as he placed upon her brow the softest of kisses. Tension drained out of her then, and she became pliant in his grasp. Her fingers lifted to his face to trace the intricate, delicate web of his skin. He shuddered infinitesimally at her caress, and when she allowed her lips to touch his own it was like water denied to one dying of thirst, and like a dying man he drank deep. Her mouth clung to his a moment longer, sharing a breath, before she dropped her head against his chest.

He said, because he must, "You should go back inside."

"Come with me."

"Ashe isn't gone yet, Rhapsody."

"He is close enough. Achmed, please. I – we – have waited so long ..."

He understood what she was asking; she wanted him to finally assert his claim upon her; to prove, once and for all, the depth of what it was he felt for her. There was no use denying it; he was helpless to resist the flood of emotions rolling through him now. After centuries of dreaming, of longing, everything would come together perfectly.

"Achmed?"

"Yes, Rhapsody." Was all he said, and when he lowered his head for another kiss she met it with passion unchecked.


And it was that night that the Child of Blood and the Child of the Sky became as they were meant to be; together, beyond all hope and beyond the barrier time had placed upon them.