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Thread Contributor: Arjay Lo'RanFamily is what you make of it
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#1
Visiting family, Arjay reflected, was something that ran counter to making one feel secure about the decision to start one.

Not that the visit had been bad, of course, far from it. His sister had been completely taken with the fact that she'd (finally) be an aunt, and that there was finally another woman around that was (apparently) her age. His mother, knowing as she did just who was the mother of her grandchild, had been respectful, even awed.

His brothers? Well, they hadn't showed. Cyssic was off in Calimport on some ill-thought scheme, as was his wont, and Joleth was… well, still not getting along with his elder brother. Arjay couldn't say that either instance surprised him.

Being back in the forest, though, he couldn't help reflecting on just how much he'd changed since last he visited. A part of him longed to fall back into the quaintness of life in the tribe… but that thought in itself showed him that he didn't feel like he was one of them anymore, if he ever had been. He lived in a Nexus of all realities. He was the consort of a goddess, and her newly ascended exarch. He only slept to reach out into the dreams of her faithful, and even then not every night. He was, in many respects, cut off from this life he'd once known.

Still, this was a place he loved dearly. Late that night, while all were resting, he found himself atop The highest treetop lookout, lying there, staring up at the stars. He hadn't told Sune where he'd been going, he knew she'd understand this little need for a moment to himself, just as he knew that she'd only give him so long before she came and found him. She was his goddess… finding him would never be an issue.

“You know,” he mused teasingly, “I rather expected you to come at least a quarter hour ago. A lesser man might suspect that you're starting to tire of him.”
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#2
Sune had been... uncertain, entering this situation. Arjay's mother knew who she was, what she was- and Sune so desperately wanted his family to love their child. So the fact that thus far, they were kind and generally welcoming was overwhelmingly wonderful. She didn't know what this kind of meeting was supposed to go like, only that it had gone so much better than she had feared.

Sune thought there was a reasonable chance that her suffering may have helped. There was not a woman who had given birth that didn't sympathize with her when she had to get up every twenty minutes to go to the bathroom because a child was sitting on her bladder.

She had expected that Arjay's brothers would be there, seeing as she thought they would know who Sune was, but it seemed that Arjay's mother had decided not to share that information with his siblings. Which, was her prerogative she supposed.

Now Sune was changing her opinion on whether she wanted to be here for this. Which is to say, she really didn't feel the need to talk to Arjay's mother about her plans for teaching Mel'inde. It didn't matter what language she would speak first, since she would inevitably speak them all- Sune was certain that an amount of her frustration could be attributed to her hormones. A greater amount came from the fact that she had many many more children than Arjay's mother ever had.

Still, the two women had shared a pretty wonderful moment when Mel'Inde had decidedly to join the conversation. It was more than enough to put a smile on both of their faces and for Sune to finally find a polite exit to the conversation.

She didn't bother climbing the tree or anything like that. At seven months pregnant, it seems like a poor choice. Instead, she flew, landing more lightly than she ought to have been able to considering her state. She smiled at him, carefully lowering herself to a seat in order to kiss him. "Can it not be seen as consideration? Attempting to give you the space you had sought out?"

She paused before giving up with a grin and another peck to his lips. "I was in conversation with your mother. It seemed rude to leave simply because I wished to be with my beloved more."

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#3
Arjay couldn’t help smiling a bit at that. “At some point, a desire to be alone turns into a desire to see if anyone is presently missing you while you are alone.” He kissed her back, allowing himself a moment to get lost in the intoxicating scent of her, the silken touch of her skin, the musical quality of every single noise she made… but just a moment. He was, after all, not one of her intoxicated sycophants. He was her lover, some might even argue her partner, and she didn’t want him to simply bask in her glory. Besides, it would be unseemly to not have any sort of self-restraint, now, wouldn’t it?

“You’re the one who wanted to come here so badly,” he teased as he slipped around her, bracing himself so that she could lean back against his chest. “Your time here with my tribe is limited, whereas I’m at your beck and call literally any time. I wouldn’t dare to impinge upon this visit that you so dearly wanted.” He reached around with his free hand, resting it on her belly as he nuzzled affectionately at her neck.

He sat with her for a bit, staring up at the stars, feeling that bone-deep contentment that came from being so close to her. It wasn’t really until he found himself picking out the same constellation for the third time that he forced himself toward the question that he was avoiding asking of her. “This is what it’s always been like for you, isn’t it?” he asked quietly. “Being surrounded by so many people who are happy to see you, who mean so well and would happily include you in whatever you like, but knowing that their lives simply… aren’t compatible with you anymore. They’re too small for the level that you operate on. That you’re forced to see such a… bigger scale than they can possibly comprehend.” He leaned his forehead against the back of her head, breathing in that flowered scent of her hair for just a second. “The Hub is a marvelous place to forget about that feeling. So many people there live on that same scale, but coming back here, I can’t help but remember that as much as I love this tribe, every decision I’ve made has meant that I’ll never be able to come live here like I used to promise myself I’d one day do.”
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#4
Sune liked being worshipped as much as the next goddess of beauty did. She was gorgeous. She knew that, and had no qualms about accepting it. However, the larger she got, the less certain she was was of any supposed beauty. So she was happy to let him bask in what he considered her glory, save that she didn't feel particularly glorious. She nuzzled against his throat, sighing as she melted into the warmth of his skin. "I understand that. It has gotten... rare. Of the past few centuries for me. But at the beginning, when the things I got asked for proved to be too much- I would retreat to my home. And I'd sit there until I was truly lonely- but there was always some true believer who tried to seek me out despite that. And those believers were the ones who I knew truly loved me."

Sune smiled at him again, pressing a kiss to his cheek quickly before tucking her head into the curve of his neck. Silently, her mind whispered against his. "Have I mentioned that I truly believe in you?" She offered, a little too embarrassed to say the words out loud. Being a goddess of love, Sune wanted to blame pregnancy hormones for her blush, but being honest, she was just out of her depth. She had never had this before. A relationship where she wanted to meet his family and plan their own and- She was on unfamiliar ground.

(Her other exarchs liked to poke fun about that. Referring to him as her consort, or husband to be.)

She sighed in relief as he moved behind her. Another part of pregnancy; Sune was trying so very hard not to whine endlessly but she hurt. All the time. Her back and her legs and her chest and her head and her feet. So she appreciated it greatly when he moved to accommodate her limitations and help support tired muscles. She did gasp with faked annoyance and wiggle in his grasp when he teased her. Sune's attempt at protesting died quickly however and his hand on her belly was enough to bring her smile back. "I know." Twining her fingers with his, her smile grew as their daughter gave a few good kicks, hitting his hand at least once. " And I am so thrilled to meet them in this form. Properly. Your sister is so kind, and your mother has been more welcoming than I dared hope, considering she knows who and what I am. I can't wait to introduce them to our daughter properly as well. But-" She paused, snuggling back against the heat he provided. "I will always choose you over them."

She was content to sit and watch the stars, though the break from kicking, and the quiet contentment, did mean that she drifted towards sleep before he spoke. Thankfully, Sune didn't actually require sleep- but her eyes had certainly fallen closed when his question woke her. She sighed softly. "I never had a point where they did fit my life, so the anymore doesn't apply to me, but yes. Given many years of practice, millennia really, I learned to operate on that level. To love how a mortal does. To appreciate the little moments. And every exarch does the same, though often faster than I did by magnitudes. Since you already know how, you will just have to reconcile it with who you are now. But things like Mel'inde kicking your hand, the sound of her heartbeat, how your sister hugs, the taste of your mother's cooking... the scent of my hair when I'm curled up with you. The smile that I reserve for when I see you. I'd loke to think that those little things are some of what matters most to you. Small scale things." She pulled his hand to her lips just long enough to press a kiss to it before resting it once more on the prominent bump that was her abdomen.

"I am sorry, truly sorry, that my greed for you has pulled you from the life you wanted. But with time you will find that who you are now- is not actually much different than who you were before you became my exarch. It just takes that time, to reconcile what you know, and can do, with what matters to you." She trailed off, throat closing up once she was done speaking. Sune blinked away tears, wondering- not for the first time- whether she was cruel in allowing him to love her. He knew, as she did, that even if he was the person she loved most, she could never be only his. She was taking him from a life where he could have that. Where he could meet his beloved's family the same way she met his. She was taking from him the future where he returned to his tribe and settled down as one of them. Sune had stolen so many wonderful possibilities from him, and yet she couldn't stop herself from taking more.

She hadn't been satisfied being the one he loved most. She hadn't been satisfied knowing he would never again have a woman who was comparable. It wasn't good enough for her that she had warped his sense of beauty that no other could match it. Nor was it enough to pull him into her home and know that he belonged to her world now. She always wanted more. She wanted to have a family with him. Sune didn't want anyone else to. She wanted forever and a day. Couldn't be happy with the time that she would have with him otherwise. It wasn't enough that she would have his child, she wanted his family to know it too.

Sune was so greedy. And no single person had she wished so much to be selfless for as she did Arjay. If she had the strength to, she'd let him go. She'd raised their daughter alone. She would return him to his people and take his power and memories so that it simply seemed a strange dream. She'd scour the world and would send the best possible woman his way. Would plant a love in their hearts that would grow strong and healthy. Sune was so very weak. She closed her eyes against the welling of tears, taking deep, even breaths to keep from crying, from shaking in the slightest.

A small and broken smile played at her lips that she'd have an excellent excuse if she did tear up. A small blessing from the horrors of pregnancy. If she broke down, she wouldn't have to tell her beloved Arjay that she was thinking about how she ought to leave him. She could lie just a little bit more. Be a little more greedy, and stop from helping him notice everything she had taken from him.

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#5
Arjay couldn’t help smiling at her answer. “I will admit that the more frequently I find the answer to be ‘yes,’ the less frequently I feel the need to check,” he told her. It was true, of course. What was the cure for melancholy and loneliness? Well, not to be trite, but love was, and he had access to that in abundance now. Her further answer, though, where she seemed slightly… embarrassed? That made his breath catch. He granted himself the luxury of a moment to take that statement in in all of its full implications. Gods were creatures that subsisted on belief and faith, and that belief was generated by simple mortal minds. The belief of a god? There was power in that, not to mention responsibility, but mostly, he had to draw the parallel between the two of them. She believed in him just as he believed in her, and so she loved him just as he loved her. And knowing just how much he loved her? This was a powerful admission. “No,” he said quietly, his voice quite a bit thicker than it normally was, “I don’t believe you have.” He cupped her cheek, smiling faintly, just for the lack of knowing how else to react. “I love you too.”

He wrapped his arm a bit tighter around her as she confided in him, or rather reaffirmed his confidence to her. “I don’t know if I ever could have settled back here,” he admitted. “It was always a little promise I gave myself, if everything was too much, if everything fell apart, the tribe would always take me back. The problem is… I think I always was too taken with the larger picture of the world to come back here into this little corner of it anyway. I left here, completed my training, and then went on to play the politics of nations, which I admittedly did well enough that both sides either hated me or strongly disapproved of me. It might have left me world-weary, but would I have ever been happy avoiding it?” He sighed, then shook his head. “In a way, it doesn’t feel like I’ve been taken away from this life. It feels more like I’ve finally found what I’ve been growing into without knowing it.” He smiled at a further thought, then leaned over, pressing his lips to the curve of her neck. “The only real difference is that had you asked me a year ago about the life of an exarch, I’d have told you that it seemed like a fairly lonely existence. I’m frankly ecstatic to learn that I was wrong.”

The Goddess might have been facing away from him, might even have been controlling her reactions, but Arjay Lo’Ran was no one’s fool. He knew when a lady was troubled, even without the powers he now possessed (which he was rather sure wouldn’t have worked on her anyway). “You know,” he said, “And actually, I’m sure that you know, the Faithful have started to talk about the Consoler, the one who comes in their dark dreams to tell them that everything will be all right, to ease their loneliness, to offer them the reassurance that love is true…” He crossed his arm posessively across her chest, his hand clasping her shoulder as he held her tightly back against him, his lips against her ear. “But if I can’t even have my lady confide to me her troubles, do I really deserve the title?” He smiled a little, considering it. “Of course, I wouldn’t mind them coming up with a better one, as titles go it’s rather… uninspired. But come now, love. What thoughts are turning this silence so suddenly pensive?”

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#6
Sune smiled at Arjay, cupping his cheek and pressing a kiss to his lips. "Then I shall endeavour that one day you don't have to wonder at all." She whispered against his lips, resting her forehead against his for just a moment. She stole another kiss before returning to her snuggle against his neck. She felt more than saw his breath catch, his Adams apple bobbing against her skin. It sent a great deal of relief through her that she hadn't embarrassed herself for no reason at all.

Not that she thought she had, even if he hadn't understood the weight of her words. She rolled her head out from under his long enough to watch the expressions that flashed across his eyes. She pressed a kiss to his palm when it curled against her cheek, smiling at him. "I am impatient for the day when you will be able to understand my love for you in its totality." She offered, her mind brushing against his with the sheer weight of emotion she held for him. It was a well that became less unfathomably deep each time she shared it, but only because his mind could fathom more each time. One day he would understand that it wasn't just seemingly endless. Rather that there actually wasn't an end to it.

Sune breathed more easily at the extension of his words. The hole that her mind was digging was no sleep deep or steep, but the relief was a light above. Swallowing around the thick feeling in her throat, she remarked off hand about that. "Sounds a lot to me like you always operated on top large a scale to live here- but that you didn't notice until you were looking through the eyes of a father to be." She offered softly, rubbing circles on her own skin, impatient to hold her daughter properly in her arms. To see into what will inevitably be the most beautiful eyes in all of reality. Sune only hoped that she could come to the strength to make the right decision before she had to tear that away from him. She didn't want her daughter to meet her father only for Sune to finally make the choice she should have the moment he was strong enough to no longer need her to lead the way.

Should have left him, and held only the memory of his beautiful voice, no matter how much more she wanted. "I am glad that you are not lonely, though I think you will find yourself even less so once you find your place amongst my exarchs." She offered softly, vaguely aware that despite knowing she ought to send him away, she still kept making plans for a life with him in it. One where her home was warm and filled with music and laughter and things she wanted so very desperately.

Sune's will to hold back her tears lessened as he talked about her faithful. Another reminder that it might be too late for her to give him back his life. As he held her close and whispered to her and she was reminded again how empty she would feel without him at her side. She wondered idly if it was a hurt she would ever move past.

The straw that broke the camel's back was nothing so large. It wasn't a declaration of their life together, or a whispered promise, or request- All Arjay had to do was call her his and she was sobbing ceaselessly. She cursed her state that she couldn't just turn and tuck her head into his chest where she could pretend none of this was important. That it was just the two of them. Rather the three of them however, any perfect world, any perfect moment, would not be so without their daughter.

She rubbed at her eyes, desperate to stop being the pregnant woman sobbing and to remind herself that she was the Goddess of Love and was stronger than this. She bit her lip to keep it from wobbling so pitifully. "I-" Her voice broke instantly, her sobs stronger than ever. "I was thinking that if I was strong enough, I should have sent you back. Should have taken your memories of me, and let you have the wonderful normal life you deserve instead of what little I can offer you. I am not someone who was made to be loved long term. I was made, built from the very beginning to be flighty and impermanent and there is a reason why of all of my exarchs, you are the only one who loves me like this. Because I am not something that anyone should want in their life. My powers, certainly, love is wonderful. But I am not and you deserve someone who is and I just keep taking so many more things from you- I do not want to. But at the same time, I love you more than I have ever loved another and the fear of a life without you is too great-" Her eyes closed against the tears, her throat choking up, as her daughter started up with her internal assault, picking up on and being affected by her mother's distress.

Sune went to bury her head in her knees- save that she couldn't reach them, being forced to hide behind her hands instead. "I am not a good person, Arjay. I am not even a person. I am troubled because my greed alone has taken so many things from you and I am afraid that one day you will wake up and understand that just as well as I do."

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#7
There was something… odd about the embodiment of love being so conflicted over him. In all honesty, he didn’t think he deserved that sort of attention, particularly not from her, but there it was, and the reality of it was undeniable. Here she was, and pregnant or not, it was a goddess sobbing over his well being and whether or not that best interest of his involved her. So Arjay did what he did best in situations like this and just listened, holding her tightly, rocking her gently as she vented her most painful doubts to him. It was always best to let a lady finish before you tried to answer, if nothing else it kept them from cutting in while they gathered their breath again. Of course, she didn’t necessarily need to breathe, but that was beside the point.

“Has it occurred to you,” he mused, “That whenever I’ve had the opportunity for that fabled normal love, normal life, it’s turned into some sort of tragedy? My personal ‘normal’ is to fall in love with some woman, then to have everything violently stripped away in some unlikely dramatic fashion, usually through some fault of my own. The idea of returning to the whims of the ‘normal’ love is utterly depressing…. But come to think of it, it would be completely in line with all of my other tragedies to have this wonderful love, this wonderful life, stripped away from my mind for my own supposed good.” He nuzzled his face against hers, his lips twitching in something approaching amusement. “Thankfully, I suspect that you would much prefer to be the one to break that trend for me.”

There were so many things that he would have to classify as a paradox here, he almost didn’t know where to begin. Her agonizing over this was one of the most unselfish thoughts that a person could have, that a god could have. At the same time, she did have a point, did she not? “What is love,” he mused, “If not the uncontrollable need have a person with you, while at the same time wanting something better for them than what you think you will provide? All that you’re telling me now is that you do truly love me, and that is all that I need to hear. Let me be very blunt with you, my love: So long as you love me, I know that there is always a chance that in the end, I will lose you, probably through some shortcoming of my own, and it will hurt me. I know this, and I simply don’t care. I would rather suffer the pain of this love’s loss than to never know the joy that could create a loss that painful. That is the lesson of love that I contribute to the divine whole that is your power. Llira teaches us about the joy it brings, Sharess about the pleasure… I know of its pain, and the importance of not being afraid of it. Because there is also the chance that you will not hurt me, that we will just raise ourselves up higher and higher and never fall. I would rather hope for that than run in fear from pain.”

There was an amusing duality to the pair. She was the uncontrollable, flighty, unrestrained passion of love and beauty, and he was the man who was constant enough to believe in that love and beauty despite all of the hardships it had put upon his life. “Besides,” he mused, “It’s too late to walk away now. No matter what, you love our daughter too much to push me away and deny her her father, and you love me too much to deny me our daughter. I don’t expect you to be perfect. That goddess, that value of love that I’ve worshipped through my life isn’t perfect. That doesn’t stop you from being everything I want.”

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#8
Arjay's silence was well meaning but poorly thought out. He may have intended it as room for Sune to speak, but in her mind, though his body went through the physical motions to comfort her- his mind was making the connections she had so feared. He was noticing that she was the catalyst that destroyed his hope of an ordinary life. The only reason her sobs quieted was because it caused her too much pain, and she stopped breathing rather than wail so loudly everyone could hear her.

Hear her and know what she was. Her divine radiance was visible through cracks in the mortal guise she wore, illuminating the area around them, even as Sune struggled to contain herself.

She sucked in just enough air to let out a shaky laugh at his words. "That pain doesn't happen because of you. It happens because of me. Because the loves I have given you weren't strong enough to survive the trials they were put through. I am to blame for all love related pain in your life. If your wife's love had been strong enough it wouldn't have faded. If your beloved adventurer's love had been strong enough, she would have trusted in you and not gone off on her own. If Luthien had loved you enough, she wouldn't have left." Sune offered, forcing out the last of her air once more. So that even though she still shook, still had tears running down her face, she didn't sob. Her final words in reply were whispered. "There is more than one way to break such a trend."

Without even truly wanting to, Sune's power reaches out to the women of this world. Looking for one who could be good enough for her Arjay. Coming up short because these women weren't Sune and she wasn't strong enough to picture him truly being with another women- and more importantly, with Sune never being with him again. Never again to feel the touch of his fingers tracing the curve of her cheek, nor the soft brush of his hair when she woke at his side. Would it be a blessing, that she would still be able to hear him? Or would she languish away listening to his voice? It was all too easy to picture. Remaining just out of reach of his mind but watching him and no one else for the rest of her days. Doing the same when he came to brightwater. Forgetting her faithful, her exarchs, herself- just to listen to him for one moment longer.

Sune took a moment, listening to his words but also slowly shifting so that his back pressed against her side before finally turning her head the remaining distance and burying it in his chest. Where she could listen to his heartbeat, one of the two most beautiful sounds in all of reality. Where his warmth shielded her from the reality of her own thoughts. Where she could pretend nothing mattered past the three of them.

Arjay and their daughter were swiftly becoming Sune's world. Even more greedy perhaps then that she kept him by her side. How many had she already ignored for the love of this man alone?

Arjay's words sunk in slowly. They echoed in her head as she tried to process them. Tried to connect her fear to his seemingly easy acceptance. She didn't understand. Sune couldn't comprehend how he could love her so much. She was little better than a toy. She was two dimensional, and not living. Not the way he was. She had said it before and she would say it again- if she were destroyed, she could be put back together. Only unlike how she would handle a soul, she was no puzzle. There was no wrong way to build her. If she were disassembled, someone completely different could be built from the pieces, and they would still be the entity that is Sune.

She had wondered in the past if that's why she has no memory of being anything other than what she was. Perhaps there was a soul that became her. And it was just rebuilt to be unrecognizable.

So how a man as good and kind as Arjay could possibly love a thing like her- let alone love her enough to accept the pain that may come- seemed more unfathomable to her than her love must have once seemed to him.

She was silent. Unable to express those thoughts, though the shaking in her shoulders lessened and their daughter's kicks moved to target only the portion of her body that was pressed against Arjay. She forced her throat clear, giving a small, frankly pathetic smile as she attempted humour. "She'd still have one more parent than I do. And I turned out alright. You know. With the sobbing on random buildings and attempted to blind your settlement with my inability to contain my emotions." Sune offered, voice somehow both hoarse and melodious. She wrapped her arms around him, giving in to the desire to let out the hiccups and sobs, less terrified of them now that he had belied her fears. At least for the time being. Sune forced her radiance back down, fingers digging into Arjay's shirt like a lifeline. "I love you." She wailed, needing him to know. Needing him to feel the truth of her words. "I love you so much."

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#9
"I'm sorry," he said patiently, "But I do believe that I get to bear my own blame for my abysmal common sense in regards to the women I was with, and I do believe that they need to bear responsibility for their own choices as well. You were the one who told me that you are the goddess of love, and that includes loves that are ill suited. You sent love my way repeatedly, and in each case, I must say that the ladies left better for the experience. I am more than happy to have been your offering of love to all of them." He wasn't sure what she was doing with her power. He could tell she was doing something, his power was tied too closely to hers to not, but her intent? He wasn't exactly sure. He could guess, though, particularly given that last little comment.

Leaning forward, he touched his lips to her ear, his hand resting on her belly, his voice low and cutting through her desperation. "You can't," he said simply. "You are the goddess of Love, your nature is to embrace this, not reject it, not when you don't want it and I don't want it. What we have is good, what we have is right, and you know the truth of this. It couldn't be true if you weren't ready to sacrifice your own joy for me, nor if I weren't ready to suffer heartbreak for your sake." Her radiance was blinding, an intoxicatingly painful brilliance, and he had to force himself not to let himself go within it, ride that radiance out into nothingness... if that was even possible for him anymore. He didn't want to find the answer to that little mystery, so he forced himself to focus, to keep trying to calm her.

He slid his arms around her, holding her close as she finally, finally relaxed against him. "The hardest thing for me to believe is that it's me, of all the people in all the centuries of your existence, who's affecting you so. You're... changing, just as love changes everyone. Just as it's changed me time and again. I love you too. I love you with my body and soul, with a love I'm incapable of even considering letting go. I love you more than I fear the pain of loss and death." He touched her cheek, turning her eyes up toward his before he leaned down to capture her lips in a deep kiss. "And I'm sorry that you're learning just how frightening and conflicting this all can be, but I'm glad that I'm the one who is showing you. I wouldn't trust your heart with anyone else."
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#10
Sune shook her head as much as she could. Insistently. "My fault." She croaked, rubbing at her tears. "Even if I am still the goddess of ill-suited loves, I should have made an exception for you. I claimed to bless you and then allowed you endless pain despite that. I should never have allowed such a trend to develop." Her tears didn't slow. She recognized the truth of her words. That if she forced things to work, then she was destroying the free will of mortals. But it didn't matter to her because she could have searched the world and found that one woman who was a perfect match to him.

That one woman, who wasn't her. A woman who could give Arjay dedication, as much attention as he could ever wish for. A woman who could share in his passions. Who could change. And grow.

Of those things, the only part she had to offer was regarding his passions. But she didn't do that, because she didn't have the time to. So regardless of her capability, she couldn't fulfill that either.

Who would argue her this one selfishness? Certainly she'd be affecting fates- but only once. She had never so blatantly warped the ebb and flow of love. Just given a push in the right direction every now and then. And once she had given Arjay what he deserved, she would become the one thing she had always dreaded. A god of love, so spurned, so wounded, that they closed themselves off from the emotion forever. There would never again be another she cared for enough to twist fate so.

She was drawn from her wallowing by his voice once more. Unable to contain the shaking of her shoulders. More than one part of her was tempted to just close herself off now. Be done with it. Destroy the pain before it could overwhelm her. But she couldn't. Because Arjay was right, the pain was proof that she had loved at all. And if Sune were to pull Arjay from this life before the birth of their daughter- she had no right to cut off their daughter's only remaining parent. One day. When Mel'inde was grown. Then Sune could close off.

Sune hated that he was right. That her very nature was yet again the reason she couldn't give him the happiness he deserved. That her very being was built of love and she was incapable of giving hers up. Not this time. Not even to save him an eternity of torture. She needed him. Not just emotionally, but at this point, it was quite possible that losing him would tear enough love from her to cause her to lose everything. She was quite likely physically dependent on his being with her. At least until after their daughter was born and her strength began to return.

She curled into his arms as much as possible. Wishing desperately that she were small enough to do so properly. She whispered a correction to him. "Millennia." Sune offered. "Not centuries. Millennia. More than you could imagine." But otherwise she held her tongue and allowed him to speak. Perhaps the most frightening part of this was that he was quite possibly right.

She sucked in a shuddering breath. "I'm not even supposed to be able to change. Certainly I have a personality. Which responds to different situations. But I'm a constant of reality. I'm a force of nature. I'm not supposed to be capable of change." Sune whimpered as her voice quickly transitioned to a somewhat whiny tone of voice. "It's bullshit." She proclaimed before adding a final thought.

"I'm glad it's you, too." She whispered, afraid of her one words. Of her acceptance that she was changing. Because true or not, it was more than frightening, it was fully terrifying. She hadn't changed in the entire time she had existed. Not notably. (Well except for the secondary personality of Hanali forming.) So to be so different. In less than a year. Was unbelievably scary.

She sighed and snuggled further against his chest, groaning once more, but only because their daughter had seen fit to render one truly powerful kick to try and get her father's attention.

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#11
“The only blessing that I have ever sought, that I have ever needed, was your approval,” Arjay countered, his expression flattening a bit as he realized that yes, this was a somewhat hysterical rant he was hearing, “To know that I had not made too many mistakes to be forgiven. Though I admit that I'm not complaining about any of the others you've given me. Were I to desire loyalty to have been handed to me, there are no small number of powerful enchantments I could have employed. Does that sound like the sort of course of action you would wish me to take in my pursuit of love?” No, she hadn’t explicitly said she would do something similar, but the implication was there. If she said she hadn’t meant that, well, he could always say he didn’t either.

As she leaned back against him, giving up her fit (for the moment), Arjay pulled her over toward the rail around the platform, leaning back against so he could use both of his arms to hold her close. ”If it’s been millennia, there have definitely been centuries,” he countered, nuzzling affectionately against her ear. He took a moment to try to put himself in the shoes of the immortal, constant being he’d always imagined, then tried to picture the sudden turn of events that had happened to her in the relative eyeblink that had been the past few months, few years, hells, even his entire life. It ran against everything that he would have thought, but the answer was obvious once he put his mind to it for just a moment. “The first step,” he murmured against her ear, “Is to admit that it frightens you, that you don’t understand what is happening. Even if you’re just admitting it to yourself, admit it.” His fingers stroked through the crimson tresses curling against the side of her head, offering soothing, reassuring touches to this momentarily vulnerable immortal being. “Admit that you are now in danger of much more pain of loss than you ever have been, and that that’s because you’ve never had the chance to love as deeply as you do now.” Goddess, he sounded pretentious attributing that much importance to himself, but this was the only conclusion she’d left to him.

He gave her a few moments to process this, then he turned her slightly so he could meet her eyes, his expression very serious. There was no particular answer he was looking for now. While he suspected the answer she would give, he knew from long experience that there was always the chance that the answer would surprise him. “The second step is to look at the situation and ask yourself if the risk is worth it, or if you would be better taking the comparatively easier escape now.”
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#12
Sune's hysteria was swiftly losing purchase as her damned beloved chose to make sense. He was so idly logical and it was incredibly annoying right now because she was vaguely aware of her irrationality but she still didn't like being wrong. To make matters worse, he had to systematically address each concern and give her a solid reason for why it was factually incorrect. Her own divine radiance- why couldn't he just be dumb and pretty like her other lovers?

Because then she wouldn't feel for him so strongly, her traitorous heart offered. Because if he were just dumb and pretty, then the song that echoed in her mind wouldn't have such a haunting beauty. Sune would be looking forward to seeing their daughter's eyes only for the colour and the reflection of herself- where instead she knew with a bone deep certainty that the most beautiful thing would be seeing the spark of her father's mind in those eyes.

Her mind brushed against his once more, not yet able to form words around her tears, but more than capable of stringing them together to begin with. "There is almost nothing you could do that I would not forgive. And every single unforgivable act is centred around the treatment of our daughter." The thought was feather light. So quiet that it may be missed among the ruckus she was making in the physical plane.

She bumped his forehead with mild annoyance at the correction. "Yes, but I felt you failed to grasp the magnitude of my life. You have lived centuries, Arjay. And I have had afternoon naps that lasted longer than the sum total of your years." Sune offered, quaking as that knowledge truly set in. She couldn't properly recall the last time she had cared so much for the passing of time. Now she counted seconds until she could see him again.

She didn't hesitate. Sune was a proud Goddess, certainly, but more than that she was a woman nearing the birth of her first child with her beloved and she found pride was supremely useless in the preparation. "I am confused, and aggravated, and- Yes. Petrified to the very core of my being. The knowledge that you are so mortal still. So fragile. And so young, that though you may see yourself as an adult, I cannot help but wonder if at some point in the future you will lament that you did not understand what it meant when you committed to forever with an immortal being. Or that I will be tending to my faithful and find you broken beyond repair when I return." She began strong before her words trailed to a whisper, fear setting in that if she spoke them louder that they may become real.

Sune sighed once more at his second instruction. Her heart knew long before her mind did, and it's opinion would not be swayed. "You know the answer as well as I." She whispered, lips quirked in a pathetic smile. "I have to take the easier choice. And keep you at my side. Because I am not strong enough to pull myself from your heart. To never be able to see your smile directed at me. To never have you hold our daughter or sing her to sleep. To never again feel the touch of your lips against mine. Even if it might be comparatively less painful than losing you in some other fashion- I am incapable of giving you up." She offered, sagging in his arms as the decision became concrete in her mind. No other woman would ever be good enough for her Arjay. Because he was hers and she was largely his and she had already sunk her claws in so far that to tear them away would shred them both. Sune quite possibly may never love another man. She hated to use absolutes but she was certain enough to say it in this case- she knew she would never love another man with the same intensity as she does Arjay.

Wiping her eyes, she pressed even closer, seeking as much warmth as was possible. "I'm sorry for being a raving lunatic." Sune offered, her voice finally expressing the dry nature of her comment properly. "I love you."

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#13
In truth, Arjay didn’t catch the words she thought at him. No, there was too much emotion charging the air between them, the pounding of their hearts was too loud, his sensibilities were far too fixated upon her disquiet that he couldn’t hear that soft thought, but he did sense it, absorb the idea of it, that wordless sense of her thought that he would recognize anywhere.

Yet of course, she managed to verbalize in order to correct him, which made him smile slightly. “Shhhh. Quiet, love, I’m busy being the logical one, you’re busy being the irrational one,” he teased, running his fingertips along her cheek to emphasize the seriousness the statement utterly lacked.

“I’m sure that you have a perspective that I cannot hope to recognize, my love, but I believe that in this case, that position is mutual. You haven’t ever had someone love you this completely, so much so that it changes you as love changes any mortal it touches to their core. For quite a long time, you’ve been the goddess of beauty first, love second. Now?” He leaned down, brushing a kiss lightly across her lips, “Now perhaps that changes, and this is the only way it truly could change. How could a goddess of love truly embody the sentiment if she were alone?” Personally, he thought that this change might have something to do with her becoming the current incarnation of love, something that (to his understanding) reached farther than just their world, but it was a station that would eventually come to an end (to his understanding) and the changes would likely be long lasting. “In all your millennia, you’ve been adored, you’ve been worshipped, you’ve been revered. Now you get to have someone love you with their entire heart. Yes, I’m sure that there will be aspects of eternity that escape my current understanding, but I do believe that that is a part of growing up. I don’t believe that anyone ever grows out of their ability to love.”

Finally, finally she was calm, and Arjay found himself relaxing with her, wrapping her tightly in his arms, tugging his cloak around to cover them both. “You know,” he mused, “Every time I say that I love you, it means anew that there’s nothing that can ever not be forgiven, including being a raving lunatic.” And, he knew, he meant exactly that. She could do something that could cut him to the core, and he would forgive it at the slightest expression of her regret, always.
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#14
Sune poked Arjay at his reply, though he did pull a small quirk to her lips. No matter how much she played annoyed, he did make her laugh.

She shook her head in argument with his words. Though the sentiment at the end filled her with warmth, Sune couldn't help but see the hole in his logic. "I have been loved by all of someone's heart before. Men and Women who have begged for even a small piece of me to keep them warm at nights. To be blessed that they might have a reminder of my love. Many of them becoming mother or father to one of my children, having prayed for years some times that I may love them enough to have a family with them." Sune carefully raised her hand up to cup his cheek and turn his eyes to meet hers. "I have not, however, loved someone with all of my heart before. Though my heart will always find room to give more love, I have never been so consumed by my love for another."

Taking a deep breath, she kissed him again, her smile coming more easily now. "I love you Arjay. More than I know what to do with, if I am truthful. Stay at my side." Sune whispered, both a promise and a demand, before closing her eyes and resting in his arms.

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