|Subject: Chapter 291 - Part 1
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Date Posted: Monday, June 25, 07:11:09am
In reply to:
's message, "Dreams in the Dark - continues with chapter 289 >" on Monday, June 18, 06:55:17am
Dreams in the Dark (291/?)
by Katherine Gilbert
The night proved to be long--but in the most satisfying way. Over and over, they shared their love and passion for one another, cherishing every sign of pleasure their lover gave; no amount of joy seemed to be enough. Only many hours later, once the lights within the room were finally off but the light of day was already well in the sky, the sun shining through the curtains into this place of devotion, did the acts of love themselves finally cease. But that didn't mean that the happy couple's adoration ever evaporated.
They were lying together now, Michael spooned up to his lover's back, under the highly-askew covers--his hands tracing over both her hair and her swollen belly. They were naked, their bodies still covered with the sweat of their efforts of love, their mutual satisfaction far beyond words. He kissed her ear tenderly, again and again, before stroking her long, soft hair back behind it. Still, while there was a contentment which surpassed any other, there was also a sadness. Tomorrow morning, he would leave her--and neither of them were certain what might happen after that.
It was this uncertainty Nikita was caught in, even as her husband's touch kept her marginally sane. It was almost too much to bear. For three, terrible months, she had endured without him--every day stretching into an eternity of pain and doubt. While she had worried for him more than once, she knew she had been lucky; it was only some accident during training which she had had to fear for, up till now. She couldn't help her small shudder. But what was to come would be much worse than that.
It was his unknown fate which plagued her--as well as her own, in his absence. Soon, her beloved husband would be on his way to England, would be so much nearer the hostilities than he had been before. And, once he was so much closer to the enemy . . .
She trembled slightly with the terrors which so easily arose with these facts, could barely stand the possibilities she feared. He held her closer, his face buried in the crook of her neck, trying to comfort her--but all the anxiety remained. While the idea that he might be hurt, possibly grievously so, was hideous enough, she thought that she might be able to withstand that. So long as he could return to her alive, she would be thankful. Even if it meant a lifetime as his caretaker, she would happily survive it, so long as he was near.
This possibility alone was a terrible one, was not a fate she would wish on anyone, especially a man as proud as he was. It made her ache to think about it--but she almost wished for it, given the other, dreadful fear. If he were alive--even if it were only physically, his mind gone, even if it were with the absence of one or more limbs or their use--she could go on. He would at least be with her. Unbearably selfish though it was, she almost wished for this, rather than the worst.
She knew she couldn't allow herself too much self-analysis here, knew how self-centered her desires were. His death--the possibility which she could barely allow herself to acknowledge--would at least be better for him than her previous fear, and all the limitations it would entail. Michael wasn't the sort of man who could easily endure any sort of incapacity--his pride and belief in his abilities strong; for both better and worse, it was part of what made him the man he was. And, if such incapacitation were to come, his situation would be even worse because of the press and public's attention. If he were a private man, he could at least endure his indignities in peace. But, if he were to return to her in such a condition . . .
It terrified her to even ponder this contingency, the fear that she wouldn't be able to help him strong. Maybe even that was selfish. For all the time she had known him--even long before she had realized it--she had been the center of her husband's world. Still, even as he was now--so strong and real--he sometimes clearly didn't feel worthy of her; it was a conception she couldn't understand, always feeling much the reverse. But, if he were to return to her with any sort of serious mental or physical ailments, such anxieties would be difficult to control. She feared very much that she might lose him altogether after that.
This terror was strong, so hard to get past; she had to take a deep breath, willfully pulling herself back together--barely noticing her sweet husband's wonderful presence. More than anything, she needed him to still want her, to be with her--whole and conscious. The physical side of their bond--as intense and perfect as it always was--was the least of the desire. She just needed to see his love for her reflected completely in his eyes to know that everything was well.
These fears were intense, but they said nothing of her much-deeper terror--the idea that he might never be able to return to her at all. If he died . . . She gave a shudder, unable to finish the thought, her mind moving sideways. If he were captured, she would probably never have another chance to be with him; her shivering became much stronger, remembering all that she had heard. With such a prize on their hands, it just didn't seem possible that the Nazis would ever let him go.
This truth was really too much--made her father's demands all the more brutal--but that didn't change them. It was Michael's star status which would endanger him the most, in such a situation, his value as a captive immense. True, it might mean they wouldn't kill him instantly, but what *would* they do with him? She felt his arms tighten around her, as her trembling increased. It didn't bear thinking about. In many ways, with both of these terrible possibilities, he might be much better off dead.
The tears were flowing now, her terror of losing him in any way far too great to conquer. While she had told herself that she wouldn't follow this path while he was here, wouldn't waste their short time together in pointless worrying, it was simply impossible to avoid. No matter what--no matter *how* selfish--she wanted him with her, whole, well, and happy; her eyes closed tightly, but the tears came nonetheless. There was just nothing left to hope for, if he were gone.
Her sadness wasn't contained, all of it shared so thoroughly by her husband. Not only did he understand the causes of her many anxieties, he knew that they weren't without basis--both their futures entirely unclear. But it wasn't entirely himself he thought of. Once he was away, he couldn't look after her. Of course, she, thankfully, had guardians; the fact wasn't enough to settle him in any deeper way, but it would have to do. But he . . .
It wasn't his future alone which worried him--Michael incapable of thinking of his fate in any singular sense; that change had been guaranteed ever since the moment when he had first met her beautiful eyes. All of it was inevitable. Nothing much mattered, if only he survived.
Still, he tried to comfort her, told her what he could; he held her very close, his lips to her ear. "I'll come back to you, Nikita." Her weeping continued, making him kiss her temple, wishing he could really help--wishing their future happiness were guaranteed. His hand stroked so softly over her abdomen, giving another message entirely. "One way or another, I'll be here."
To her sadness, she understood what he was saying, knew that he couldn't promise to return to her either physically or whole. Still, as much as she cherished this child within her, as dearly as she wanted him to be well, it wasn't enough without Michael--wasn't enough *of* him, either. As pleased and amazed as she was that she had been allowed to be his wife, was going to bear his child, being the mother of a little Samuelle was not enough reason for her to want to go on alone.
She had said nothing to his reassurances, made him sigh--seeing her answer. He understood it, as well, knew that--if both he and the child were to live, while she died--he would not choose to continue on alone, either. They had not married for the sake of children, had not planned for this alone--only accepting them happily as an inevitable result of their love. As dearly as they hoped that little Adrian--boy or girl--would be happy and healthy, living as a single parent was not something either of them had any desire to do.
This truth lay between them, unspoken and understood. His arm slipping beneath her, she took his hand--their fingers entwining, as he tried to give her the strength to continue, wishing he had the right words. But there were none. They had fallen in love and pledged their devotion because they needed to be together, could not feel whole without each other. While his dearest wish was that they would be able to raise their children together happily, neither of their desires were entirely parental. Had one or the other of them proved barren, there would have been no sadness. The only true dream they shared was to live together in devoted peace. Everything above that was just details.
His hand was stroking over her abdomen, his heart so saddened, wishing that he could give her some sort of promise, some guarantee of what would be. But life pledged none of those. Even without their enemies and the dangers they faced, there could be no promise that they would live long, happy lives together--fate often much more capricious than that. Even when no apparent dangers loomed--even when a couple were truly well-matched and eternally devoted--there was always the possibility of illness, accident, or disaster. Tragically, no amount of love alone could ever ensure a happy life.
He wished, like so many people before him, that things were different; both of them did--but that didn't change the facts. Now especially that he was heading off to war, his job there only useful in dangerous situations, there were absolutely no guarantees. Whether he would return, the condition he would return in, if he did--even the basic fate of the world itself, whether it was doomed to perish under the reign of tyrants and monsters--were all unknown; his sigh lingered against her cheek. All he could do was promise that his will to survive and be with her was strong--and then hope fervently that life helped him to see this desire through.
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