Final Things

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

by templemarker

Notes: Kim/Aileron, for Aspen in Yuletide 2008. Read it there.


Though in truth Kim was ready to go home as soon as she shared a smile with Dave, there was still plenty to be done before they could make the crossing. There were good-byes to be said, particularly when they discovered Paul had decided to stay. Privately Kim thought this was a good idea, because she remembered too well how Paul’s stare in their own world, unsettling before, became profoundly difficult to bear when it was laid on an unsuspecting friend or fellow student. Perhaps he didn’t notice, though she suspected little crossed him that he didn’t see; but people took to avoiding his gaze whenever they could, as if they didn’t want to see what would be reflected back at them in his eyes.

She was all too happy to grant him the little house by the lakeside, given to him in perpetuity with instruction that it would revert back to the Temple on their deaths, whenever those would be. She visited the memorial to Diar, and wrote down some things she thought might be useful for the rebuilding, such as it was–stray thoughts, bits of dreams that did not fit with the present course of events, but might be important later. These she gave unto Terynon’s keeping, and he took them gravely but for the pleased light in his eyes for her trust in him.

There was one thing last to do, and that was to visit the High King.

Since she first named him, forcing him to shed his constructed identity along with his false limp, he had named her in return his Seer; and there was truth in that. If he was a War King, then she was a War Seer, unlike Ysanne before her.

Once the power of the Baelroth had been held, and directed, there were few who could truly understand the burden it placed upon the bearer. Arthur was one of those, and Lancelot; both Warriors in their own right, with destinies that compelled them to great deeds. Aileron was the other, he who knew the arc of his own future and needed no Seer to show it to him; but still he needed her, and she knew that things would have come out gravely different had he not been willing to demand the right of his crown.

He understood the burden she bore, even now with the fiery ring quiescent, because he too carried the weight of his actions in his crown, and his sword; and these things would be with him for all his days, she knew.

And so in her heart she felt she must say good-bye to him privately, because she believed that some part of her would be left behind on this, the final crossing. Better to leave that piece of her with him; no one would care for it better.

She sent him a message by one of the house pages, taking some time to refresh herself after the ride from the lakeside. It was not a long ride, and short when compared to the great breadth and space she had travelled so far, but the accumulated aches and pains from her many weeks at war had finally caught up with her. She knew it would be some time before Aileron, who was now a peace king (though it did not quite suit him, not yet) could come away from the many obligations he had, and so she called her attendant to draw her a bath.

It was astonishing how so many of the aches and pains of life are forgotten with clean hair, she mused. As she donned a fresh gown, which she knew with Seer’s clarity would remain in her closet in her own world for the rest of her days, the page returned requesting her company in the King’s chambers. At this she smiled; it took little prescience to wonder how this might turn out.

Aileron was standing when she entered, and she made to curtsy as the soul twinned inside of her suggested she do; but he caught her before her head could bow. “No,” he said roughly, for he was not a man of easy words; “The Seer should not bow to anyone. It is I who should bow to you. Without you, Fionavar would have been lost.”

She met his eyes. “It was more than me alone,” she said. “But as you will; let us sit together, on this my last night in your fair country.”

“It is ours, I think,” he said, and they both sat, unsure of each other in this time of peace.

“Kim–” he started, just as she spoke, “Ailer–,” and they both laughed quietly. “We are a funny pair, are we not?” he said, looking upwards. She laid her hand on his. “Aileron, I must go home. It is not for me to stay, I think; the part of me that bound me here has run its course, and I believe there will be need for me in the land of my birth.”

When he looked at her, it was with a shining in his eyes. “I know this,” he said. “But you were my Seer. I hate to see you go.”

She brought his hand to her mouth and kissed the scarred knuckles she found there. “I hate to leave.”

“Let us not part in sadness, then,” he said, grasping her hand in his own.

“No,” she replied in kind. “No, I do not think we should.” At that they rose and entered his bedroom, which was the first she had seen of it; there was a large bed which looked as if it had been carved of trees rooted into the walls, with the half-light of the hearth and few candles making the colours turn to dark hues of blue and red.

When their lips met, it was tentative at first; the spectacle of two war heroes meeting in chasteness was not lost on her, so she pulled him closer and kissed him deeply, and he met her equally. She pressed her body against his and his hands tightened on her, almost renting the fabric of her gown. Instead of ruining her dress, she stepped back with a half-spent moan and made to untie the damned thing until she could pull it and the undergarment off, letting both crumple to the floor. Aileron too had been pulling his cambric shirt over his head, but stopped to gaze on her, wreathed in firelight. She smiled, and helped him shed the rest of his clothes.

She had thought of this moment often, until she was no longer certain if it was a true-dream or one simply wished for fervently; but it was as if her hands knew where to go, her lips where to touch. He cried out as she took him in her mouth, and she stirred under his fingers until she could but only speak his name. When they finally joined it was not unlike the burn of flowerfire creeping up her spine, a slowly coalescing hum of energy. When she climaxed, and him shortly after, there was at that same moment the deep intoning of the bell in the tower, though the bell-ringers looked at each other in astonishment, for they had not pulled the rope.

He was laughing when she finally came back to herself, a quiet, pleasant sound that chimed with the waning chords of the bell; she thought she had never heard him laugh before. She was glad she heard it before she had to leave.

“Ah, Seer,” he said through his laughter, “how can you leave me after that? I will spend the rest of my days looking for someone to match me, knowing I will never find her, as she has crossed to another world.”

She smiled, and kissed his chest while his ran his fingers through her hair; she smiled so she would not cry, and thought he must be doing the same. “Dear heart,” she said. “You must find someone to rebuild this world with; don’t spend your life looking for something lost to you.”

He looked her in the eyes, then. “Is that the word of a Seer?” he asked softly.

“No,” she replied. “It is only the word of one who loves you.”

“Then I will keep this love alive for as long as I might,” he said, and bent to rouse her again.

When the time came finally to part, she shared Paul’s glance for only a moment; but it was moment enough to penetrate his stoicism, and he was startled at what he saw. But then he laughed, quietly, until Jaelle looked at him curiously and he quietened. He stepped up to give her a hug and whispered in her ear, “Good for you, Kim. He needed that, I think.”

She raised her eyebrow at him. “What made you think I didn’t?”

That only set him to laughing again, and he was smiling as he embraced Dave good-bye as well. And then there were only chanting words, and the rushing sound of energy, and the familiar tug of the crossing–


Leave a Reply