Characters: Linda Downey, Leander Hastings
Fandom: Heir Series by Cinda Williams Chima
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Prompt: LJ community 31_days Oct. 24 once more, with feeling
AN: I wrote this over a year ago and realized that I had never posted it here. Takes place between the last two chapters of Wizard Heir, so after the meeting at Second Sister. Probably not best to read unless you want an important plot point spoiled. Comments and constructive criticism are always appreciated. Enjoy.
It hurt like hell, letting him go once. She was damned if she was going to do it again. The last two years had been very strange between them. She alternated between being furious at him for letting Jack fight in The Game in the first place, worried about his dangerous stunts, missing him whenever she was in his presence and he treated her with obvious disdain, and loving him- or at least her memory of him, because he wouldn't let her close. Not anymore. Not after what she did.
The irony, of course, is that he had no idea until a week ago just what it was she did.
Seeing him for the first time in fifteen years was a challenge, but they got through it. She nearly panicked when she walked in and found him talking with Seph over a year later. It was a miracle he didn't notice anything- but then again, the idea that he had a son would never occur to him unless it was posed to him, and she sure as hell wasn't going to do that.
She loved him, but that didn't mean she trusted him.
He's still fairly week, and Nick says it will probably be at least a day before he's back to his full power. Somehow, the idea of him still being weak and possibly malleable appeals to her. Seph is in the kitchen with Becca and Jack, making dinner. Jason is outside in the back somewhere, smoking. Becca didn't even raise an eyebrow when Jason was introduced, but she did put her foot down when he brought out a pack of cigarettes. Come to think of it, if she didn't know better, she'd think that Becca had become bewitched somehow, with how well she took all the news: Seph being alive, Jason's presence, the fact that she and Lee had been an item, that they had a son and that the son was Seph. But that was Becca, she supposed. After all, hadn't she told Seph that Becca would take in anyone who needed it?
He's sitting on the porch swing, a cup of soda in hand, staring out at the street. Silently, she creeps up on him, dodging all the creaky boards in the weather-worn porch. She doesn't want him to be on the offensive before she can speak her piece.
"I want to thank you," she says, gingerly sitting next to him, making sure there's some space between their hips.
"For what?" He doesn't turn his head, but she can see his eyes flicker towards her.
"For saving Seph." The fact that he tried to sacrifice himself for her- their son- is something she would have never expected of him. Then again- she's known from the beginning that his family meant everything to him. And Seph is his family.
Still, it shocked her.
Seeing him in chains scared her. Even thinking that he might have murdered their son, she still didn't want him dead. She still didn't- couldn't- admit that even after all these years, she still cared for him. She didn't want him to die without having a chance to say something. Anything. To apologize for leaving, for hiding Seph. To rant about how he finally had learned that he wasn't all powerful, that he wasn't immortal. To whisper that, through all the years, she had never completely stopped loving him...
"He's my son," he replies, his tone flat. "I would do anything in my power to save my son."
"I'm sorry," she whispers, finally placing a hand on his leg. He turns towards her, brow raised. "I'm so sorry for lying and leaving and making you worry and not talking to you for fifteen years and then basically ignoring you once you had come back- come back only because I asked you to."
"I couldn't refuse," he mumbles under his breath. "I was so shocked- and relieved- to hear from you that I couldn't think of saying no. You needed me, and so I came. Like I promised."
Promised. Yes, right. He had promised her, when he had first rescued her from the Trade, before they could be considered an item that he would be there whenever she needed him. And when she called, he came. He always did keep his promises- even if he tended to twist the wording towards his liking when he felt like it.
It hurts even more, remembering that while he had kept his promise, she had completely abandoned hers.
"I-" He takes her hand, holding it loosely in his own. She tries again. "I- thank you. For everything. You saved our son, and for that, I cannot thank you enough. I dont't- I know that a lot of time has passed. I know we've changed. But I-" Her breath hitches in her throat and she has to fight back tears. "But I never stopped loving you. I have been furious at you and worried for you; I have lied to you and I have tricked you. I have fought against you and some of your methods I will never agree with. But I do still love you."
He stares at her unblinking for several moments. Finally she makes to get up, go inside. "Dinner ought to be done soon, I think -"
"Linda," his voice sends a shiver down her spine. "Please, don't go." She turns back to him, a question in her eyes. "I don't-" he seems to think for a moment before continuing, "I have never been one to settle down, but I do know that I will not let you or our son leave my life again."
"Lee," she whispers, watches him stand up, still gripping her hand. "I-"
But she cannot continue, because he has put his mouth over hers.
It is not a passionate kiss; it is not a kiss that makes you melt. It is, however, a sweet kiss, a kiss that promises more, though more of what, she cannot yet place. It reawakens feelings long buried, feelings she forced down after leaving him: The memories of his touch, the way he spoke her name, of being in his arms, of loving him.
He breaks the kiss, holding her close to him. "I don't know what we're doing," she whispers.
"Neither do I." His lips turn up in a slight smile. "But I think we can figure it out."
And that is all she needs to hear.
She initiates the next kiss, waking those forgotten feelings with a fierce fire, letting them burn through her. Their relationship will never be simple. But it's enough to know that he's there now, there for her and their son.