A/N: Another prompt fic! This one is A/U. The prompt was 'goodbye'. I hope you enjoy, because I hit inspiration, and it hit me back!
Set after ROTG, but Numair and Daine don't know that the other is in love with them. Daine is going to return to the Realm of the Gods to be with her parents.
Fare Thee Well
"Tomorrow's the day," Daine sighed as she stroked Cloud's mane with the brush. She was a little distracted today, and Cloud was suffering in effect.
If you're not happy, then stay here. Cloud snorted as she nudged her mistress.
"People don't understand two-leggers," Daine insisted as she continued to absentmindedly brush her mare, "Ma misses me fair terribly, and I can't very well let her stay miserable."
You're not a two-legger. Cloud replied to her mistress' idiocy. You're People, and People do what they want.
"I may be People on the inside," Daine argued as she stopped brushing and began to prepare Cloud's meal, "But I'm two-legger on the outside, and taking care of our sires and dams is one of the duties of two-legger foals and fillies."
But your sire and dam aren't really two-leggers, either. Cloud replied as she nudged Daine in the back with her nose.
"Stop that!" Daine chided her mount as she placed some hay in Cloud's feed bucket, "You're being fair foolish! I promised Ma and Da that I'd come live with them, and I won't back out of a promise!"
Fine. Cloud seemed to sniffle as she moved towards her food. But you're making a big mistake. Think of Stork-man…
"He hasn't tried to keep me here!" Daine declared stubbornly as she stepped out of Cloud's stall, "There's nothing to think about! I've made my decision, and it's final! I'm going tomorrow!"
*The Next Day*
Daine stepped out into the open field, wearing only her favorite outfit (a full tunic, legging-like breeches, stockings, and soft leather boots) and her leather thong which held the badger claw and her pregnancy charm (which she had never tested). In just a matter of minutes, she'd be entering the Realm of the Gods, where she'd be living for the rest of her life. She need just give the command word, 'maisichiko', and the barrier would open, allowing her just enough time to step through.
It seemed to her that everyone she had ever met in Tortall was gathered in the field, waiting for her. Almost all the Rider groups (including Evin, Miri and Buri), Sir Knight Alanna and Baron George, King Jonathan and Queen Thayet, Sir Raoul, Sir Gary, Duke Gareth, Onua, Sarge, Perin the clerk, and all of the rest. They had gathered to give their final goodbyes, and see her off.
As Daine walked, she was welcomed into a multitude of hugs and embraces. It was as if no one wanted her to go, which, if she was being honest with herself, was most definitely true. She herself didn't really want to leave, but she had promised her Ma and Da. She wasn't one to break a promise. Her Ma and Grandda had taught her better than that.
Besides, other than her friends and Cloud, nothing was keeping her here. She had no lover, and no perspective lovers (other than Perin, but he didn't really have a chance). No one wanted a midwife's bastard, even if she was also the daughter of a god.
Numair wouldn't care… Daine thought, but she immediately scolded herself. She couldn't think like that! Numair had never showed any interest in Sarra's bastard, no matter how much she had prayed to the Mother Goddess that he would finally see her. To him, Daine was probably still that scared little thirteen-year old girl from Snowsdale. He never noticed how she had matured over the years. He had never looked at her the way that he looked at the other Court ladies.
Daine reached the middle of the field, which everyone had formed a massive ring around. They would be here until the very end, she supposed. How much her life had changed in what seemed like just a short time. Just three years ago, she had been an orphaned bastard from Galla trying to get a job as the assistant to the Horse Mistress for the Queen's Riders in Tortall. Now she was the Wild Mage of Tortall, had many people that considered her as family, and she was the daughter of one (now, two) gods. Coming to Tortall was probably the best decision she had ever made.
"Before I go, I must offer my goodbyes," Daine began as she reached the very center, "During my three years here in Tortall, my life has changed so much. Back in Snowsdale, I was looked upon as a freak, and the midwife's bastard. But now I have a large family, and many wonderful friends. I have never been happier. So I must thank you all for being so welcoming to me and my powers, which were once a burden, but are now fair wondrous."
She took a deep breath as she looked around the circle, and tears began to fall. Everyone had tears in their eyes, and the looks on their faces begged her to stay. But she couldn't. She belonged in the Realm of the Gods, with her Ma, and Da, and the Badger, and Queenclaw, and all the rest. She wasn't a two-legger, and she wasn't People. She was a demigod, as she had learned that half-gods were called. And demigods belonged in the Realm of the Gods.
Daine closed her eyes, and took another deep breath. These last words would take all of her concentration. All that there was left to say was the real goodbye. "Goodbye everyone. I love you all, and I promise to watch over you. Thank you for giving me a home."
But Daine's final goodbye wasn't enough for one person. He dug his sharp elbows into many people's sides as he fought his way through the crowd, finally emerging near Alanna. He raced towards the young girl, his anguish plain as day on his face.
"Don't go, Magelet!" Numair cried as he raced towards her. She was stunned into place, the sight of her wild-eyed teacher (who was usually so calm) making her still. "Don't go, Magelet!" Numair repeated, getting closer to his young student.
The onlookers watched in awe as the giant man reached the tiny girl and scooped her into his arms. Although they couldn't actually see it, they were all pretty accurately imagining the passion in his eyes as he gazed at his student. Many of them had long ago guessed the large mage's secret, and his actions now only confirmed their beliefs. Numair Salmalin was in love with Veralidaine Sarrasri, and he could not lie to himself any longer. Not when his love was about to depart to the Realm of the Gods forever.
Daine stared into Numair's eyes, her own eyes filled with wonder and confusion. Was it possible that Numair felt for her the same way that she felt for him? She had hoped and prayed for so long, but she had never believed that her labors would actually bear fruit. It was improbable that Numair could love her, if only because he was fourteen years older than her, but his eyes were filled with what looked like a very intense passion.
Daine was very confused, Numair could tell. He chuckled, and decided to take the guess work out of it for her. He leaned down and pressed his lips to hers in a sweet kiss. Once she got over her original astonishment, she replied by pressing her lips passionately back against his. They engaged in a love-filled and hungry kiss, forgetting their surroundings. When they surfaced, the two (now) lovers were met by tumultuous applause. They both blushed, and Numair grinned, as Daine nuzzled her face into his tunic.
"What was that?" Daine asked shyly into the cloth, not daring to reveal her face.
"I'm in love with you, Daine. I don't want you to go to the Realm of the Gods, for I cannot join you there, and I cannot bear to live without you any longer. I understand if you don't feel the same, and still want to be with your parents, but I had to let you know, before it was too late. I would go to the ends of the world for you, Daine. Please, is it too late? Is there any way that you could love an old man such as myself?" Numair whispered emphatically into the girl's ear.
Daine looked up at him, still blushing, but with a smirk also adorning her face. "I think there's a fair chance of you and I working out," she giggled before reaching her arms up and pulling his heads towards hers. They met halfway, and she captured his lips in a fervent kiss, full of heat and lust. Daine didn't see how it could get much better than this.
A/N: This only took me one day (actually, it was more like three hours) to write, but I hope it was still good. This is my most favorite one-shot (that I've written) to date, and I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did.