So this is the last chapter. I hope it makes people happy! Don't abuse me if you don't like it, please. :)
I will most definitely be writing a sequel to this story - I have so much fun with Merida, and also Airril. I also want to add in some Elinor/Merida moments which we had to miss out on in this story. I've planned it to be a collection of one-shot moments that explain highlights of Merida's life after this story. Hopefully it will be up very soon! I'll most likely post a chapter to the end of Freedom Costs to let everyone know it has been uploaded.
Merida's eyes were closed, her head thrown back, against the delightful feeling of the salty air whipping her wild hair around her face. Only a couple of hours ago the orange locks had been pulled from her face and tied tightly at the back of her head, and now they were dancing in the wind around her.
The wedding had been wonderful. Merida was feeling up to standing, agaisnst doctor's orders, only a couple of weeks after she had found her way back to Dunbroch again, and with knowledge of the small ship her father would be presenting them with at their wedding and Airril's agitation at being away from the sea for so long, she'd insisted they have the wedding quickly. There was no change to her personal life, after all. She'd been with Airril almost every day since she'd been able to leave her room so here, on their home away from home, she felt no different.
Most of Dunbroch had taken part in the celebration. The main members of clans Dingwall, Macintosh and MacGuffin had also stayed to give them their blessings, and Merida had felt honoured.
Nothing made her happier, however, than to see the young girl with the long brown hair and a pair of hazel eyes she knew so well step forward and embrace the brother she hadn't seen for nine long years. Airril had been completely taken by meeting his sister again and hadn't been able to say anything for a good half an hour, but after seeing the gift Fergus had given him and his new wife, he'd felt enough to thank the man over and over again and promise Merida she wouldn't be disappointed away from the land.
She hadn't been so far, either.
The moon now hung over the water before her as she stood out on the otherwise empty deck, her hands over the railing, intrigued by the sight before her, just as she had been the night before she'd returned to Dunbroch. She felt the presence of another, and did not have to wonder who it was before her hands were laced with those browner and more calloused. None of the young men who worked on the ship would have approached Merida before getting to know her. Especially not on the day of her wedding.
Airril stood behind her and rested his chin atop her head, winding his arms around her tightly. "Enjoying yourself out here?"
"Yes," she grinned and leaned her head against his shoulder, taking a deep breath of the frosty air around her, their silence interrupted by the water that surrounded them for as far as the eye could see on all sides. The boat was no longer moving, on Airril's orders, just incase Merida began to feel homesick and they needed to make a quick return to land.
"You don't feel like your freedom's been taken away from you?"
Merida turned in his arms so she was leaning back, against the railing of the boat and gave him a wide grin. "Freedom?" she repeated. "Airril, look where we are." she motioned to the empty air and water around them and laughed happily. "Anyone's lost their mind if they think they can chain me out here." she wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a quick kiss.
"I can't think of any way I'd be more free than I am right here, with you."
She grinned at his statement and closed her eyes, savouring the complete silence of the world around her, hinting that there was no one else. Airril didn't mind that she hadn't answered appropriately to his last spoken words; he had not expected her to. He knew that some day, perhaps longer a time than anyone was expecting away, she would be able to think of him the same way he thought of her. He would make sure she did. But, for now, he was happy to have her accept him and keep him beside her. To share her freedom.
Thank you so, so much to everyone who has taken the time to read or review my story! I did not expect to get such a response, and it's been so wonderful getting to know so many people through my writing. I hope to talk to you all again soon!