Rating: PG 13
Soundtrack: The Village OST, especially "Gravel Road" - I'm pretty sure I could listen to that song on repeat for the rest of my life and still be completely satisfied.
Disclaimer: I am not M Night Shyamalan, I own nothing.
When my world first enveloped into darkness, he was one of the few, kind people who patiently helped me around the village. Now, it was my turn to be the patient one. I sat crouched behind his bed, reaching out until my hand fell comfortably into his. I could feel my dusty red hair, sweaty and unbrushed tickling my ears, but I didn't move my hand. I didn't move a muscle. I just stared at him, wishing, hoping, praying, for a miracle.
Hours past and still I didn't waver. Lucius without his color was like the world without a sun, and his color was the faintest I'd ever seen it. Sometimes I would lie the side of my face to his chest, finding solace in the soft drum of his beating heart.
Lucius Hunt was not dead. He wouldn't die. He couldn't die - there were so many things I still wanted to do with him; to find with him; to share with him.
I felt a small tear carve itself down my cheek as I thought for half a second on the worst case scenario. But, no, he wouldn't die.
He couldn't die.
What would I do without him guiding me? I'm dreadfully impatient for him to wake up, as it is.
"Oh, Ivy." Mrs. Hunt entered her son's bedroom with a sigh. It was a warm sigh, full of motherly love and affection. I knew she had been thinking constantly on her son in his current state. So had I.
She walked with soft, calculating footsteps to where I sat beside his bed, and put a gentle hand on my shoulder. She gave my shoulder a short squeeze of comfort.
"Ivy." She began, her voice shaking, "He would want you to stay happy and healthy. Please go h-"
"How do we know what he wants." I said, my voice almost hoarse from chocking back my tears. It sounded harsher than I'd intended and I immediately regretted it. Mrs. Hunt quietly took her hand off my shoulder.
"I'm sorry." I told her in a broken voice, searching for her hand behind me before placing it back steadily on my shoulder. She slowly began massaging it, digging her thumb into my tensed muscles. I closed my eyes and sighed.
"He'll wake up soon." Mrs. Hunt said, an air of whimsical confidence in her voice.
"But what if he doesn't." I said quietly, finally putting my greatest fear out of my head for all of the world to see.
"He will. Medicine from the towns will make sure of that."
I, personally, wasn't so sure. It had been 3 days since I returned from the towns and despite what the doctor said, Lucius didn't seem to be making all that much improvement as far as I could tell. He was still in a coma, that's all I knew and all that mattered.
"Do you think he can hear us?" I asked Mrs. Hunt.
She paused for a moment. "Yes and no." She finally said. "We have no way of knowing for certain, but personally, I'm not sure that it was only the medicine that brought color back to his cheeks. I think he can sense that we're here, and that we love and care about him and hope that he will … someday soon … get better."
"Yes." I agreed in a small voice. I had been losing so much power and strength in my voice over the past few days, I wasn't sounding like myself.
"Maybe I should get some rest." I said after a long silence. "But just for a few hours. I'll be back." I reached for my walking cane that I put somewhere on his bed. Mrs. Hunt grabbed it from the floor where it had fallen without my noticing and placed it in my hand. I firmly gripped it and set myself out of my chair.
"I'm not surprised in the slightest." Mrs. Hunt said lightly; I could tell she was smiling.
"Good night, Mrs. Hunt."
"Good night, Ivy Walker."
Two days later his hand started twitching in mine, and sometimes I heard him mumble things. Sometimes the things he mumbled sounded like 'Ivy', but I could never be sure. Each time he did, my breath hitched in my throat and I leaned in to his ear and whispered encouraging words. But each time he always fell back to sleep. The Doctor said he had awoken from his coma, but the medicine from the towns were keeping him asleep for now, until his body could fully recover. His color was almost fully back now.
3 days after that, he opened his eyes. And blinked at the bright sun coming through the window. Before he could go so far as to clear his throat and ask what happened, I was hugging him tightly and crying unashamedly onto his bandaged chest.
"I-vy." He finally managed to say.
"You have no idea how long I've been waiting to hear that." I breathed, smiling through my tears into his chest.
"Ivy, you're probably hurting him-" Said the elder who was also the village doctor.
"Alright." I said, getting up out of my chair to stand in the back of the room and pace excitedly, every once in a while glancing over at his pulsing, healthy color.
Everything was finally alright in the world.
We had our wedding a mere week after Lucius recovered. While having a wedding very soon after being betrothed is in all ways the norm, it was somewhat unexpected by many of the townspeople who didn't believe that Lucius should be walking around and being outdoors after his fragile state.
Yet, the wedding happened.
I'm told that my dress was beautiful, that I looked beautiful. That Lucius looked incredibly handsome, that he smiled more than anyone in Covington Woods had ever seen him smile before. That the reception was beautiful.
But, of course, I didn't experience any of that. All I could experience for myself was the rush of repeating my vows and hearing his vows in return, sliding the ring on his finger, the ring sliding on mine, the claps and cheers of everyone in the audience.
And the dancing. I'd never danced the waltz before, but I soon found it very agreeable. Lucius took one of my hands out to the side and gripped his other hand around my waist, which at the same time as it felt scandalous, also felt very warm and comforting. He rubbed small circles into my side; sometimes a heart. I put my own hand on his shoulder, and we began to dance.
When I asked him to dance with me, I didn't think that it would be like this, but I wasn't complaining. The elders danced with their spouses beside us, and Lucius caught on to the dance quickly.
"Follow my lead." He whispered into my ear with what I was sure was a devilish smile.
I let out a small giggle and we proceeded. This dance didn't feel so much like a dance, but like flying. Lucius was so close to me, there was little room between us and the air there felt stiff.
I sighed, contented. I might never have wanted to stop if it hadn't been mentioned that the newlywed couple would be the first to leave the hall. I couldn't stop thinking of the metaphorical implications. Leaving this hall into a whole new life - the life of a married woman, the life of a woman in love, the happiest life I could imagine.
And out we went.
I had heard rumors about what my wedding night was supposed to be like for years. Some very happy, not-altogether-truthful accounts of perfection and wholeness. Some terrible, pessimistic accounts of hurt and pain. My first time was a little bit of both.
"What's wrong." I asked, my voice trembling nervously. "Your breathing has changed."
Lucius let out the breath he had been holding and brushed the side of his nose down my chin to my collarbone, where he left the lightest of kisses. He shrugged the last layer of my undershirt off of my shoulder and kissed the bare flesh were my clothing had once been.
I shuddered under his touch. He noticed.
"I promise not to hurt you." He whispered into my ear.
"I trust you." I told him, my voice gathering back it's strength.
"I love you." He said, before kissing me so deeply I wondered if the world had started spinning.
When we broke away from the kiss, I laughed quietly.
"What is it?" Lucius asked, hiking my knee up to his shoulder where he began to slowly roll off my stockings.
"Nothing." I said, smiling and happily feeling around the air for his hand. I found it and brought it to my lips and kissed it. "I just love you too."