January 3, 2015

In Which Rina Bites the Pomegranate

November 20, 1188

"Oh, good. You're still up." Rina kicked the door shut and joined Severin in front of the fire, for all they lacked a bench. Mindful of the possibility that some funeral-goers would opt to spend the night, he'd taken up residence in the smallest spare room Arkon's castle had to offer, one that was usually reserved for higher-ranking visiting servants. If Rina had had her way, he would have had the king's suite. "I just wanted to thank you, again. For coming with me."

"It wasn't any trouble." As if he wasn't in the midst of a slew of difficult Anatomy classes. She'd been selfish to ask. "How are you holding up?"

"Well enough, I guess." Her relationship with her mother... well, it hadn't been the best. There had been love there, sure, but with a father like hers, Rina had needed a protector. Her mother hadn't stepped up. On a logical level, she could understand why, but that lack of action had been a defining point in their shared existence. She'd forgiven her mother, now that her father was dead--but forgetting was another thing entirely. "I'll miss more what we didn't have than what we did."

"Oh." He'd probably guessed a lot of it, but he didn't gloat in light of being proven correct. Rather the opposite. "I'm sorry to hear that."

"It's fine. The truth is, our lives would have been so much better if not for my father. Or if Grandfather hadn't had his apoplexy." Was she a horrible daughter if she still thought more often of her grandfather than her mother? "Honestly, I think Grandfather would have been the only reason to consider coming back to Dovia after graduating."

"You're for sure staying in Naroni, then?"

"Yes." She stepped forward with a bit of a shake in her feet, but it proved an easier feat to take his shoulders and kiss him.

"With you."


Her finger met his lips, replacing her own. "Marry me."

It was a yes or no question. Severin took a third option. "You could do so much better than me."

"Maybe." Though she doubted it. "But I don't want to."

"You'd really rather I dragged you down to the Underworld of Naronian stewards' sons?"

"You've been working too hard in Classical Literature." And if she'd gotten that right away, maybe she'd been too. "We haven't read anything from Persephone's point of view, have we? Maybe there was nothing on the surface for her. Maybe Hades was a welcome escape from the eternal nothingness in front of her. Maybe she only left those three seeds because he begged her to leave herself an escape."

She thought she saw some trace of a grin on his face. But of course, that wasn't the end of it. "Are you sure that's what you want?"

"I wouldn't have asked you if I wasn't." Stupid boy. She supposed she'd just chalk it up to him fearing this was some impulsive coping mechanism. "I love you."

That did it--a smile. He took her by the hands and squeezed. They were so much warmer than that guard's hands. "I love you too."

He kissed her again. Was that a yes? She didn't want to just assume... "So..."


She'd never been the type to swoon, but she found herself leaning back somewhat, head light and heart bursting. How to proceed with this? They wouldn't marry until after they'd graduated, but surely...

"Um. Do you want to...?" She nodded toward the bed.

"More than you know. But maybe this isn't the best time. You know--your mother." Yes. That was probably true. "When we get back to Naroni?"

That would be for the best. She nodded. "Before we even unpack."

"All right." He squeezed her hands once again, then kissed her on the cheek. "Good night, then."

It had been a long time since Rina had smiled so widely, but she doubted she could stop if she tried. "Good night."



Van said...

If that seemed a little too easy to you, you might be right. ;)

It's my birthday! And I got some awesome presents from some awesome people. I'd link to them, but the Keep seems to be down at the moment. I'll post links on my Tumblr when it gets back up again.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday. :)

Well, Hades' and Persephone's marriage was supposedly a happy one (he never cheated on her at the very least, more than can be said of his brother). And there really were interpretations of her going willingly (at least one version had Demeter as a mother hen).
But to get back to the chapter: Yay for Rina and Severin, though it wasn't so surprising to me. xD

Van said...


Yeah, Zeus is definitely up there in the running for Worst Mythological Husband. It's always interesting to see those different interpretations.

It's been a long time coming. XD

Ann said...

Happy belated birthday!! Did you have a good day? Without family stupidness?
I wish you all the best things for your new year! <3<3<3<3<3
And a hundred bunnies to dance for you! :)

(Also, awwws! What a resolution there. Good for Persephone to have her own ideas and act on them. :) )

Van said...

Thanks! Yes, it was a quiet day, which was good. No stupidness at present. :)

Heheh... I don't know if that's quite their resolution. ;) But yeah, I think acting on her ideas was a big step for Rina personally.