A/N: Thank you all for your patience! And thank you Elira for being who you are (my grammar angel).
Chapter Twenty Four
Lynette didn't sleep much at all that night. She kept going back to Farengar and what he told her about the witch. It's no wonder he is the way he is, she thought as she rolled over to her other side in her bed, Folkvar now at her back. He can't love. I can't imagine what that must be like.
After only an hour of good sleep, Lynette got up. It was still dark outside. The mess downstairs was a chilling reminder of what had transpired a mere handful of hours ago. Colored glass was everywhere along the shelves and the floor, the contents of the broken bottles now dried on the floorboards. A pool of blood near the dying light of the fire pit was not quite dried in the center. More blood was smeared here and there on the floor. Lynette could feel her heart clench in her chest at the sight of the shop. She had to try and clean it before Arcadia got home.
First, Lynette got Folkvar up and took him out to do his business. Then, after taking him back inside and making him stay upstairs, she set to work cleaning the store. She swept up all the glass and ruined ingredients that were strewn across the floor and got an empty pail to drop all of her sweepings into. Once she was done, she grabbed another bucket and a scrub brush and got to work on the pool of blood by the fire pit, since it was not yet completely dried. She had to go dump and refill her bucket with fresh water a few times before it finally started making a difference, but the floor was still stained and would probably need a coat or two of paint to cover up. She then started work on the floors near the shelves and the counter where the potions were tipped, broken, and spilled. Most of it came up, save for a potent poison that seemed to have eaten through the floor a little. She was careful to wash her hands thoroughly once she was done.
Her last action was to take a mop to the entire floor. When she was finished, she stepped back and looked at her work. There was still the presence of what happened last night looming over the shop, but at least it was cleaner. She had a feeling that presence would never fully disappear, not even with time.
It was morning now. She fed Folkvar some dried meats from her bag and made her way to the temple of Kynareth to see Arcadia, the dog faithfully at her side. When she walked in, Arcadia was up and about with Danica Pure-Spring at her side, helping her to walk.
"Lynette," Arcadia said with a smile. "How are you dear?"
"I'm fine. I'm more worried about how you're feeling."
"My chest is sore, but healed. Danica says Farengar got there just in time."
"Thank the Eight," Lynette said. She looked to Danica and said, "May I have some time with her?"
"Of course," the priestess said with a bow of her head.
Lynette came over to Arcadia and took her arm. Danica released the older woman, excused herself, and went to check on someone else Lynette did not recognize.
"Arcadia, I wanted to apologize for what happened," Lynette said, leading the woman to a bench against the furthest wall in the temple.
"Lynette, the guards told me everything. It wasn't your fault."
"It was my fault. I should not have let that woman go. I should have let her die. I had no idea she would come back for my life, and very nearly yours."
"Well, she didn't get it, and she didn't take mine or Folkvar's, either. Don't hurt yourself over it, Lynette. I'm just glad you're alright."
Lynette helped Arcadia to sit and then took a seat beside her. Folkvar did a circle and laid on the floor between them.
"Arcadia, I'm leaving tomorrow, unless you need me to stay a little longer until you recover."
Arcadia's features took on a look of concern. "Lynette, is everything okay?"
"I've brought enough trouble to your life. It's time for me to go."
"Where will you go?"
"To the college. Farengar will be writing a letter of recommendation for me."
"This is all so sudden..." Arcadia glanced at her hands, then back into Lynette's eyes. "I am going to miss you, Lynette. You were like the daughter I've never had."
"And I'll miss you." Lynette looked away. "You've done so much for me. You brought me in when I was homeless. You gave me a job. You took care of me and mended my clothes. You taught me so much about Skyrim's herbs." She looked back up with a smile. "I really am going to miss you."
Arcadia leaned in and gave Lynette a hug, then pulled away with watery eyes. "Why this sudden decision?"
"Part of it is because of what happened last night," Lynette admitted. "The other part is something I cannot talk about. Let's just say that I am ready to go."
"You worked hard to become what you are. You will make a fine wizard one day, Lynette."
"Thank you." Lynette sighed. "Do you think you will be alright if I leave tomorrow morning?"
Lynette wrapped up the conversation and told Arcadia that she would watch the shop for her for the day, then left. She glanced toward the tall structure of Dragonsreach, but decided against going there just yet. She had a lot planning to do while she worked today.
She went back to the shop and opened it for the morning. Customers came in, some to make purchases, and some to check on her and see how Arcadia was doing. Sinmir stopped by and gave Lynette his regards, and asked if she would be attending the service for the guard that was killed in action. She let him know she would be there for sure.
Arcadia came back around noon and Lynette immediately put her to bed. She made sure she ate a piece of bread and cheese and gave her tea to help her sleep, then went back to work. By early evening, she closed the shop early, woke Arcadia, and together they made their way to the Hall of the Dead to pay their respects to the guard that lost his life for them. Lynette was surprised to see Farengar there, of all people. Before he could leave, she stopped him.
"Farengar, I'd like to speak with you in private."
"Alright. Walk with me back to Dragonsreach?"
Lynette turned to Arcadia, who nodded. "I'll be fine."
Lynette walked silently beside Farengar all the way up to Dragonsreach, all the while going over exactly what she wanted to say to him in her mind. They made it inside and made their way to his office. He offered her a seat, but she shook her head.
"Is there anywhere...more private than this?"
Farengar's brow rose beneath his hood, but he did not push her question. "Yes, my bedroom."
She followed him to his bedroom and stood in the center of the small room, unsure of where he wanted her to sit. He shut the door and waved to the bed. "What is this about?"
"I've decided to take up your offer for a letter of recommendation," Lynette said, taking a seat on the edge of the bed. "I will be leaving tomorrow morning for the college with your blessing."
"You don't need my blessing," he said, pulling up a chair to face her. He sat down and leaned back. "You seem tense. Is there something else?"
"I'm listening," he said.
"Farengar, may I have this night with you?"
The wizard blinked, then rubbed the side of his cheek with his fingers. "Lynette, I may not be able to love, but I definitely don't want to hurt you."
"No, it's alright. This may be the last time you ever see me, anyway."
Farengar was silent for a moment, thinking. Lynette waited patiently for his answer.
"Tell me why," he said.
"Because I need this. I'm not entirely sure, but I think you need this, too."
"We only need to eat and breathe. Everything else is optional."
"Please? Give me this last night with you. After that, I will leave, and you will never see me again. I am well aware of the consequences."
Farengar covered his mouth with his hand and sighed through his nostrils. He took his hand away and asked, "Are you sure?"
Lynette nodded. "Yes. More than anything."
"Then meet me here just before midnight," he said. "I will have one last lesson for you."
Lynette could not help the grin that spread across her face. "I will. Thank you."
Farengar leaned forward in his seat and waited for Lynette to meet him halfway; a kiss to seal the deal, she realized. She leaned forward, as well, and their lips met. It was a soft kiss, one that promised he would be careful with her. One that said he cared, even if he could not love. Lynette drank in every second of it until he parted from her mouth. She sat back up and looked away, blushing.
"Midnight," Farengar reminded her. "Don't be late."
"I won't," she said, then stood and left.
Lynette's first stop was the Bannered Mare for Arcadia. She wanted to give her a wonderful meal for the night, and figured Hulda would have just the thing for her. Lynette was surprised when Hulda gave her an apology for the way she talked to Lynette when Lynette was first stuck in Skyrim.
"Not all mages are bad," Hulda admitted. "It was smart of you to learn from a wizard like Farengar. Mage or not, he's still a Nord."
Lynette accepted the apology and went to give Arcadia her dinner. She then took Folkvar and headed to Anoriath's stall to buy him his last steak there. Anoriath was just closing up and packing everything away, but made an exception for Lynette and picked out one of his finer meats for Folkvar.
She continued on, heading up to Jorrvaskr to see Vilkas.
"He's in the back," the tall, bulky man said. "Follow me."
Lynette followed the man, who looked an awful lot like Vilkas in a strange way, as he led her around the side of the building to the back, where a training area was set up. Vilkas was practicing his swing on a dummy in the corner.
"Vilkas! Some girl is here to see you," the man called out.
"Who?" the warrior asked, but got his answer when he turned to see Lynette. "Ah, Lynette." He sheathed his sword and walked over to the two. "This is my brother, Farkas," he said.
"Heard a lot about you," Farkas said with a smirk.
Vilkas led Lynette to the dummy he had been hacking at and asked, "Is everything okay?"
"Yes. I'm leaving for the college tomorrow and I thought I would let you know."
Vilkas took on an expression of concern. "I heard about what happened. Did they ever catch the elf with that bandit?"
"No, not yet," Lynette said. "She's probably halfway across the continent by now. I doubt she'll be caught."
"Be careful, then. I would hate to hear that you didn't make it to the college."
"I'll be fine." Lynette smiled sadly. "I just wanted to say goodbye, and thank you."
"For the other night. For not taking advantage of me."
"I would never," he said, and leaned down to kiss her brow. "Let me know if you need a Companion's services. I will gladly fight by your side."
"Thank you, Vilkas," Lynette said.
She left for the temple and repaid Danica in coin for helping her out all that time ago when she came there, injured and less of a mage than she was now. After that, she ran into Sinmir and shook his hand. He seemed sad that she was leaving, but was very understanding. She made sure to visit Belethor and Andurs, as well.
Lynette looked to the skies once she was outside again. It was nowhere near midnight. She decided to go back to Arcadia and pack. If her plan went well, she would be gone well before morning.
Midnight came. She asked Arcadia if she could borrow the key for the night and promised to return it before she left for the college. Lynette then made her way to Dragonsreach.
The guards let her in without a fuss. Farengar must have told them she was coming. The hall was dark and quiet, save for the soft light coming from Farengar's office. She walked slowly, feeling nervous and unsure of herself. When she made it to his office, she realized she was holding her breath and released it as softly as possible.
She felt a strange, warm tingle pulling her inside. Farengar's magicka, she wondered? How was he able to project it out like that and touch her? She followed it to his bedroom door and knocked.
"Come in," she heard from inside.
Lynette turned the knob and opened the door. Inside were lit candles on the dresser and on a table, giving the room a soft yellow glow. Farengar sat in the same chair he had pulled up earlier that day, facing the bed.
"Sit," he told her.
Lynette brushed past him and took a seat on the edge of the bed. "What is all of this?" she asked.
"Your last lesson," he said. He took her hands and sat on the very edge of the chair, her knees between his. "Remember when I helped you find your magicka?" he asked.
"I want you to reach me only using your magicka. Put your forehead to mine."
Lynette did as she was instructed, leaning forward to place her forehead to his. She went deep down within herself and called on her magicka. It was there, shimmering, light, and warm. She drew it up and out, reaching for him. When her magicka touched his, he sent a wave of pleasure straight into her, and she jumped.
"Don't move," he said patiently. "Just relax. Try again."
Their magicka touched again, and this time Lynette was prepared for the oncoming wave of pleasure. It spread throughout her body, then centered in her belly before fading away like a sweet dream.
"Good, very good. Don't loose the link." He smiled softly. "Now, I'm going to move away from you. I want you to hold onto me with your magicka."
It took a few tries for her to keep connected to his magicka without touching him, but once she could do it, Farengar came back to her and sat down. He leaned forward and kissed her. "Keep the link," he said, his lips on hers.
He sent her one wave of pleasure after another, and just when Lynette thought she would go mad from the ecstasy of it all, he slowly, carefully broke the link and leaned back.
"Do you think you can keep the link now?"
"Yes," Lynette breathed, her eyes half closed. She was love drunk, and had a feeling he knew it.
"Once you have me, no one will ever be able to satisfy you again." Reaching out to touch her with his magicka, he asked, "Are you sure you want this?"
And Farengar had been right. Never before had Lynette been satisfied quite like this, and once it was all over and they laid together in his small bed, side by side, completely bare, trying to catch their breath, she knew that she would never feel this with any other man ever again. The thought made her almost tear up, but she choked her emotions down and just tried to enjoy the moment for what it was.
"So, why didn't you tell me about the link the first time?" Lynette asked him, snuggling closer to his side. He was warm and smelled of morning pines mingled with his own personal smokey musk.
"You mean, when I taught you to reach your magicka?" he asked, staring at the ceiling.
Lynette nodded into his shoulder. "Why not tell me? Why keep it a secret for so long?"
"It was no secret. It honestly slipped my mind, as it is common knowledge to most magicka users. I wasn't thinking."
"I also didn't expect the link to be as strong as it was, for only reaching out to you once. It is much stronger now. Do you feel it?"
"I feel it," Lynette said, hiding a smile. It truly felt wonderful, as though she were connected to him in a way that no one ever could be. She could feel his magicka now, even though it laid dormant within him as they laid there under the covers.
"You can't hide your joy. I can feel it easily now."
"How do you know I was trying to hide it?"
"I felt that, too."
Lynette blushed. "I'm sorry. I can't help it, Farengar."
"I know," he said. She detected a hint of remorse in his voice.
"Hey," she said, calling his attention to her. He turned his head and moved away a little so that he could focus on her. "No worries. I know what we did is a one-time deal. I understand what I agreed to, and I regret nothing."
His brows furrowed. "You say that now, Lynette, but I have gotten to know you over the time you've been my apprentice, and I know that you feel emotions strongly."
"I do," Lynette agreed, snuggling back into the crook of his arm. "That is why I am treasuring these moments now, while I still can. Please, don't mistake this for anything more."
"Oh, but I know," he continued. "It will be hard for you."
"I don't disagree, but I think that because I understand the situation a little better now, I can let go easier."
"Good." Farengar began to stir, and Lynette moved away so that he could sit up. "If you'll excuse me, I need to go relieve myself."
"Certainly," Lynette said. She watched him dress from the corners of her eyes, blushing at his thin, slightly muscled physique and nicely rounded backside. He dressed himself and left the room quietly. Lynette's grin instantly vanished. She counted to fifteen, until she was sure he was far enough away that he would not hear her, and then jumped up, naked, and began opening all the drawers in the room. It didn't take her long to find the crystal that the siren had used on them. She quickly tucked it into the coin purse on her robes and began dressing. By the time Farengar returned, she was putting on her boots. She slowed her movements as not to appear suspicious and put her mind elsewhere in hopes that he would not sense her anxiety.
Farengar smiled as he closed the door. "Thank you, Lynette."
"For not making this complicated. I was afraid I would have to push you out."
"Oh." Lynette continued lacing her boot, hiding her disappointment from him. "Not a problem. I understand."
"I know what you are feeling, but I appreciate that you aren't acting on those feelings."
"I can't lie to myself. It hurts. But it will heal in time." She looked up, boots on and laced, and gave him a smile. "I must be going. I need lots of sleep before the journey tomorrow."
"Of course," Farengar said. "Oh, one thing." He took a folded piece of parchment from the very dresser Lynette had taken the crystal from and handed it to her. "Your letter for the college."
"Thank you." She walked up to him and stopped close. "One last kiss?"
The kiss was empty. There was no passion, no feeling behind it at all. Farengar had gotten what he wanted, and there was nothing else left. Lynette tried not to let it bother her.
"Goodbye, Farengar. And thank you for everything."
"You are most welcome."
Lynette walked out of the room and down the hall. She didn't start running until she hit the top of the steps of Dragonsreach, rushing down them as fast as she could go without tripping on her own feet. She reached Arcadia's in record time and unlocked the door. Arcadia was nowhere in sight. Good. She didn't want to have to explain why she needed to leave now.
Dashing up the stairs, Lynette went to her packed bags and grabbed them, waking Folkvar with her movements. She stuffed the letter in the bag, grabbed the staff Farengar had given her, and patted her leg for Folkvar to follow her.
Together, they left the shop and jogged down the street toward the gates. She went right up to the carriage driver and paid him for a ride to Windhelm to get to Winterhold, giving him a few extra coins to make it a quicker ride. She watched Whiterun disappear from her seat in the back, and when it was out of sight, she curled in a ball and tried to sleep.