Afterward – Amaruk Wolfheart

Warnings/Pairings: Toward the end of the second part there is some suggestiveness of (to use Lixxle's phrase) adult-type touching. Nothing explicit, though. Also, the use of ellipses at the end of the first part may, by some, be considered slightly excessive. (But I'm not changing it coz that's the way it should sound so there.) Pairing is eternally and unashamedly Navarre and Isabeau.

Notes: I have loved Ladyhawke for… Good Lord, for nearly a decade now. oO I've had a vague fic idea for several of those years. This is not that fic. ^_^;; This came to me almost entirely during the last time I watched the movie. Isabeau's part is partly inspired, I'm sure, by Dark Queen 76's Ladyhawke Revisited and Tris'sLightningQuill's Flying. Both fics are quite good, and ought to be read and reviewed (hinthint). ; )

Dedicated to… all those who have added Ladyhawke fan fiction to this site, particularly the two mentioned above, and extra-specially to Mojave Dragonfly, whose brilliant fic The Blessing is my absolute favorite. Go and read it!

-Rutile's Spectacularly Amazing Disclaimer- As this is the author's first Ladyhawke endeavor, I'll make it simple: the author makes no claim to the original material, nor is any profit being made from this fic other than her own simple-minded amusement. The End.

Life wasn't perfect after the curse was broken. Honestly, he hadn't expected it to be – primarily because he had never expected the curse to ever be broken in the first place. But in that instant when he held her for the first time in two years, he admittedly had seen nothing but a gloriously happy future.

Well, it was gloriously happy, but it wasn't perfect. For example, he could not spend all day every day in bed with his love. All jesting aside, there had been several difficult weeks immediately after their reunion in which they had been separated while the Church investigated the circumstances surrounding her wayward bishop's death. True, all that had been cleared up, but those were not the only problems they faced. There were still some men that he did not trust in the guard, and even as their newly reinstated captain he could not dismiss them without due cause – particularly since many of them had connections to powerful families. He suspected that this, in many cases, was the sole reason that they had been promoted in his absence. A less serious problem, but one that occupied his thoughts rather more, was that he could not see the monk or the mouse that were so dear to him as often as he would like.

Sometimes he dreamed of a hawk and woke abruptly, half-afraid that he would see a bird instead of the woman he loved beside him. Sometimes he dreamed of a wolf and woke abruptly, half-yearning for four paws and lean, enduring strength. And of course they fought sometimes, he and his love. With his temper and her spirited nature, how could they not clash on occasion?

But in that moment… That moment just as the sun began to rise… When sometimes he woke to find her eyes already on him, but more often was granted the joy of watching her sleep for a while before her lashes fluttered and opened… In that moment when the first rays of sunlight began to brighten their room and he could reach out and ever so gently caress her cheek or brush his fingertips against the hand that was already reaching for him… In that moment in the early morning when he could touch her, truly touch her, and she did not vanish from him in a flare of feathers and screeching cry but touched him back

In that moment, Captain Etienne Navarre knew to the core of his being that life was absolutely, entirely perfect.

-.-.- -.-.- -.-.-

When she saw the light leave the bishop's eyes, she felt truly free for the first time in years. Never mind that every day of those years had been spent with wings and the boundless sky – that was nothing to this. Nothing to leaving her hood and jesses with that cruel man while the one she loved lifted her into his arms.

And yet… As the days passed, she found herself looking more and more often to the sky. She had changed. Proper ladies did not carry knives, nor hunt with them or any other weapon. Proper ladies never wore leggings, not even once in a while. Proper ladies sat demurely, perhaps embroidering. Although for the most part the women of Aquila gladly welcomed her back, she could not miss the quickly hidden sneers at her hair, or hushed, disapproving whispers about her "bad habits." Even the joy and relief of her dear cousin could not quite erase the longing she sometimes felt for a walk through the woods or a chase after a rabbit.

The monk who once again heard her confessions, though a dear friend, could not help her with this. The little thief who had done so much for her was hardly proper company for a lady, and so her time with him was rare. Her love did not at first notice the slowly growing feeling she had of being caged, but she could not blame him. Both of them were two years out of practice reading each other's expressions and moods, both of them had changed, and she tried to hide it so he would not worry. But eventually, he did notice the way she stared up from a courtyard or out from a wall top, and it wasn't long before he reasoned out why. She missed flying. She missed her wings. He tried to help – taking her out for long, vigorous rides whenever he had the time, for instance – but even a galloping horse could not truly compare to the very wind bearing her along.

It was at night when he succeeded. His hands. His lips. The words he murmured. The feel of his body pressed against hers. The sheer awe of being able to look at, speak to, hold each other at last. It gave her such a giddy, soaring happiness that she might have been an arrow shot from a bow – or a hawk on the wind.

As she slowly accustomed herself to life in Aquila, Isabeau d'Anjou Navarre often gave thanks that she loved a man who could make her fly.