SUMMARY: When Marcus, Cottia, and Esca come for a visit, Uncle Aquila notices something he hadn't seen between them before.
NOTES: Written for Makioka as a pinch-hitter treat in the 2012 Sutcliff Swap Fanwork Exchange. Thanks to Isis for the beta.
I am only posting some of my fanfiction to this site, due to FFN's content restrictions; the rest can be found at archiveofourown DOT org SLASH users SLASH Carmarthen. Also, if anyone here is looking for more Eagle or Eagle of the Ninth fanfiction, ninth-eagle DOT livejournal DOT com is Ninth Eagle, where there is a whole lot of stuff by a whole lot of people.
He might have sent Marcipor to fetch them, but after a day spent in his study, Aquila thought it would be pleasant to stretch his legs outside; and elderly as Procyon was, he, too, still liked to walk a little every day. So Aquila wandered down to the apple-garth with his hand resting in the coarse springy fur of the wolfhound's neck.
At the top of the hill, he checked himself, for he had not expected to see Esca with his hand pressed to the hard curve of Cottia's growing belly, and Cottia's pointed little face alive with laughter. It seemed a great liberty for Esca to take, Aquila thought, but then Marcus caught both of them up into a rough embrace and pressed his lips to Cottia's forehead.
Well, it might not be proper, but they all looked happy enough, and there had been a time when he had not thought he would ever see his nephew happy. Aquila had never been one to worry overmuch for propriety, and he was certainly too old to begin doing so now.
But the moment seemed too private to intrude on, so as he made his way carefully down the hill—ah, he was getting older, older every day-he said loudly to the wolfhound, "Come along, Procyon; let us find out what my nephew has got up to."
The three in the apple-garth sprang apart in an instant, and Aquila had to suppress a smile. They were very young, all of them; but they fit well together, like the white petals of a trillium that would be incomplete if one petal were torn away. "Sassticca has prepared a fine supper," Aquila called out to them, "and we must go eat it before it grows cold. I dread her fiery glare."
Cottia tossed her head as if to say, "I am not afraid of Sassticca," and Marcus and Esca laughed at her, but gently, as if it were an old joke shared between them all and not at Cottia's expense. And then they all turned back towards the villa, with Cottia leading the way and Marcus and Esca at her shoulders. There was a careful space between all of them, but Aquila could tell that they were perfectly aware of each other, so that they seemed to be together even when they were not touching.
He reached down and ruffled Procyon's ears; the dog's plumed tail waved gently, twice, and they followed along, both already thinking of Sassticca's roasted chicken.