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To Hold Your Heart, To Hold Your Hand

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The War was over, the last battle done, and the world was healing. So why did I feel like my heart was going to shatter into pieces?

 

I knew, I knew, that I would have to leave her. Andromache who was the sun made flesh, a lioness, and a queen. A queen who had a duty to continue her line. It was the one thing I could not give her that would force her to leave me.

 

I knew where Andromache was. I knew that she was preparing for whatever would come next to ensure peace. Is it so wrong not to want peace if it grants me freedom? Grants me happiness?

 

Here, amid death and war, I was happy, truly happy for the first time in my life. Happy enough that I had not thought of my friends for days. Happy enough that I did not know if they were dead or not.

 

Happy enough that I cried while cleaning off the carnage on me. The black armor that made me feel like a warrior, made me feel like more than the girl who was dumped on the Autumn Court border and left to die for daring to want freedom. Made me feel worthy of my golden queen.

 

I just wanted to see her one more time, before I returned to the Night Court.

 

Alone.

 

I marched through the camp to the mortal side where she was, past the moans of the dying. I pretended to be her with her swagger and her confidence and her beauty. Pretended to be her with her strength that would not break down at the thought of moving on and fulfilling a duty.

 

Without thinking, I knocked on the wood post of her tent which seemed to glow. I did not have the words or the emotions ready to face her. How do you face someone that you know you will never see again?  

 

“Love, what are you doing here?” Andromache asked, looking up at me, her voice beautiful enough to rival the symphonies of the best theaters in Velaris. I would have liked to show her Velaris by my side, arm in arm. Unafraid.

 

My queen wore black armor- no longer covered in carnage- that did not manage to mute her, but make her look even more powerful. Her hair was her crown, her golden hair braided into a circlet atop her head.

 

“I need to talk to you,” I whispered not bringing myself to meet her heartbreakingly green eyes that were a shade of the dark evergreens of a place where I won my freedom in the wrong way. If I met those eyes, I didn't think that I would make it out of this alive. I could survive the War, but not goodbyes.

 

“Come in, what’s wrong?” She asked, her musical voice shifting to a song of worry. She pushed open the flap of the tent and held it open for me to enter. We stood in the middle of the tent, but the words wouldn’t come out of my mouth. “Morrigan, love?”

 

“I’m afraid of leaving you,” The words tumbled out in mumbling. Her brow twisted in confusion as if she misheard.

 

“Love, I didn’t catch all of that,” Andromache said gently, reaching out to cup my face with long delicate fingers that were not meant for war. I made the mistake of letting her. I still couldn’t meet her eyes.

 

“I am returning to the Night Court tomorrow.” I wouldn’t call that place my home when home was right in front of me.  Our eyes finally locked, hers greeting mine with something that I couldn’t place.

 

“I know that, love, but why does that matter?”

 

“I don’t think by the end of this that we will see each other again,” I whispered, looking back at the ground, looking at anything but her. I heard a gasp of breath that sounded like Andromache was trying to hold tears back. “Andromache, darling?”

 

“I know,” tears threatened to overflow from both sets of eyes which were now twins in emotion to mine despite being a different color. “I just thought that if we didn’t put it into words, then it wouldn’t be true. I love you too much to lose you.”

 

“I love you too,” I responded without thinking how those simple words were weights tying us together further, making it harder for us to let go. “But you are a queen and have duties back at your court.”

 

“Nothing is greater than my duty to my heart. My duty to you,” She whispered, rubbing her thumb across my cheek to catch the tear there.

 

“I can’t go with you, Andromache.”

 

“There is nothing that says you can’t. No rule that says that you cannot be my queen.” There was something desperate in her eyes.

 

“Your people have just been freed from slavery from my kind. I don’t think your people want a fae anywhere near their beloved queen.” She responded by grasping my chin, hard enough to get me to look at her and her angry tears.

 

“Don’t you ever for a moment compare yourself to those monsters. You are nothing like those monsters. You are the Morrigan from the War and don't let anyone including you forget that.” There was so much pride in her eyes like she had the honor of loving me. She did not realize that I had the greater honor of loving her.

 

“They think that I am a part of a court filled with monsters,” I tried. I wanted her to be free of their judgments. Because even though I could barely survive the Court of Nightmares’s judgments, I did not want to test if she could survive her own people’s judgments.

 

“You are not a monster, Morrigan, love,” she whispered partly in fear that she could not convince that I was good. I wasn’t good standing in front of a woman who was the sun herself. I would become every monster that ruled the night if it meant that she could remain as the sun.

 

“Even if I am not, they will hate me for being fae. You deserve a partner that your people won’t resent you for.”

 

“But what if I want you?”

 

Our eyes fixed upon each other. There was a step in between us that she closed as she kissed me.

 

There was something heartbreakingly gentle about it as if she wanted to savor every moment of our last moments together. Her arms wrapped around my neck, pulling me down to her as I would down the stars for her. My arms went around her waist, pulling myself closer to a goddess made flesh.

 

It was slow, and tender, and the final moments on something that could have lasted forever.

 

Our lips broke apart. “I love you, Morrigan, more than I think either of us understands. I want you for forever.”

 

“But we don’t have forever as much as I want it…” I started.

 

“Then let’s live for one last night together when we both are young,” Andromache interrupted. Tears ran down her face. I kissed them away, then put my forehead on hers, sharing breath and a part of our souls.

 

“You will always be young- even if it is only in your heart.” She let out a small sob, then crashed her lips onto mine.

 

And suddenly, it didn’t matter that we were leaving each other.

 

And suddenly, it didn’t matter that my queen would grow wrinkles, and age, and die while I stayed forever young.

 

And suddenly, we stopped thinking, and just started feeling, with sloppy kisses that set my heart racing, and sent heat pooling between my thighs,

 

Her arms around my neck pulled me closer as my hands at her waist roamed up and down. There was a grace in the sloppiness of our passion, of our goodbye.

 

Her arms unwrapped from my neck as her fingers traced down to the laces and buckles and clasps on my armor, leaving shivers in their wake. Her fingers struggled against the complicated fastenings. Andromache let out a frustrated sigh and broke the kiss, focusing on what she still couldn't get undone. I laughed, and she gave me a glare.

 

“It's-” she started close to breathless. I pressed my pointer finger to her lips.

 

“Darling, let me help you.” She nodded but I didn't go to undo my own clothes. I went to undo hers, starting with her shoes.

 

I pushed her back onto the cot sideways with her under me. She let out a laugh but wrapped her arms around me so that I fell on top of her.

 

“You don't play fair, love,” she teased from under me, giving me a nip on my ear.

 

“I never do- why did you expect that I wouldn't go to worship you first?” Andromache blushed a deep scarlet and covered her face with her hands. I hauled myself off of her to kneel by her feet. She sat up, still bright red, to see what I was planning.

 

She waited. I have her a wicked grin, and gently carefully slid her left boot of her foot. She took in a sharp breath. “Is this ok?” I asked quickly afraid that I had crossed some line I was unaware of existing.

 

“It's just-” her fingers curled around the edge of the cot. I brought my hand up to give it a small stroke but Andromache linked our fingers together.

 

“It's just?” I prodded.

 

“No one has ever kneeled for me and removed my boots in a way that matters. I like it though,” she confessed with the blush on her cheeks returning.

 

I gave her a smile and unwound her fingers from my hand. “I need this, darling,” I teased trying to get her comfortable again because it seemed like she was embarrassed by her confession. Thankfully, my queen let out a surprised laugh.

 

I removed her other boot just a slowly and carefully as the first. I stroked a finger up both of her socked feet that I hoped left a trail of feeling in its wake.

 

I removed both of her socks, gently kissing each of her ten toes. There would be no part of her body that I did not worship tonight.

 

“I'm surprised you haven't passed out because of the smell,” she tried teasing, regaining her confidence, but it was still slightly breathless. I knew that I would be worse for wear than her if she had done this to me. Yet we both knew that I hadn't really even gotten started.

 

Instead of responding I stood up from her feet and kicked off my boots. Lowering myself on her lap to kiss her, I unpinned the braided crown on her head. Undoing the braid with gentle fingers, I tugged the hair free of its intricate patterns of turns and twists.

 

Andromache reached to undo the simple braid that fell down my back. She got it out much faster than I had with hers. I broke the kiss to stare back into her Green eyes and then slowly raked my eyes up and down her entire body.

 

Her armor was not meant to be removed without help, but I could win wars, surely I could figure out mortals’ armor.  

 

I started at her wrists with the laced gauntlets which were clearly not made to be taken off quickly. Nevertheless, I got them off, interrupted by kisses from Andromache.

 

Planting a kiss to each wrist, I moved to undo the hidden latches on the side that held the dark leather breastplate to the rest of the armor.  Undoing both sides, the breastplate and backplate soon joined the gauntlets on the floor in a messy heap.

 

“I don't see why you have so many layers on,” I whispered half breathless, drunk on the feeling of goodbye. She stared up at me with wild green eyes that twinkled in an emotion I couldn't place.

 

“Says the one who has all her layers on,” Andromache teased. “Take some of them off,” she laughed while tugging at them. With trained practice, I quickly took off the upper part of my armor.

 

“Is that better, darling?” But before she could respond I flicked open the top button of my undershirt while staring at her eyes. I flicked the next button down. And the next. And the next. And then I tugged the shirt open when I got halfway down to show off my red lace bra.

 

“Well don't stop there love,” Andromache laughed, and it sounded better than an early morning in Velaris.

 

“I was wondering if you could grant me the honor of you removing this shirt for me.”

 

“Yes. Yes. Yes,” she chanted. But instead of going to finish taking off my shirt, she flipped our positions. Straddling my hips, I laid on the bed. Under her.

 

Smirking, Andromache slowly carefully unbuttoned the final buttons then pushed open the shirt. She planted a kiss to my stomach. Sitting up to get her kisses and her touch, she pushes the shirt off me.

 

While kissing her on soft lips, I pulled her shirt off her, only breaking the kiss for a second. She wore a practical plan bra but still looked every bit of a queen.

 

I stared up at her. Beautiful. Gorgeous. Lovely. They would need to invent new words to describe how beautiful she looked. In all that I've seen, Andromache would still remain the most beautiful.

 

She pushed herself off of me to shimmy out of her pants and I could see from my place on the bed where I was removing my own that her pants were armored heavily.

 

All of our clothing that was taken off joined the growing heap on the floor. She climbed back on top of me where I was now sitting up and wrapped her arms around my neck. She moved first and our lips met in a hungry harmony. This was goodbye after all. Neither of us knew if this would be the last time if we felt like this.

 

Loved.

 

I moved down her neck. kissing. sucking in ways that I knew would leave marks. Perhaps it was selfish when Andromache would no longer be mine tomorrow. Despite that, she was mirroring my actions on my neck.

 

I would wear the marks she left on me like a badge of honor and as a reminder that I was hers once. And that she was mine. And that tonight happened, and whatever we were happened. And that I, for the first time in my life, felt truly free.

 

I moved back up to her cheek, as she moved down, to kiss the remaining tears that had dried away. I hadn’t meant to make her cry. Andromache undid my bra and tossed to the floor. “I don’t see why you wear a bra like this here. Do you plan to fashion your enemies to death?”

 

“Maybe I do. You dress practically,” I smiled as I wrapped to undo her simple bra, “and I dress like that is the last thing they are going to find me in. If I die, I might as well look good, and what a scandal it would bring to my family.”

 

“You and your clothes,” she muttered under her breath. Instead of responding, I rolled pulling her with me, flipping our positions so that I was on top of her.

 

“What did you have to say about my clothes, darling? Don’t worry, I’ll always love you more than them, even though they put up quite a fair fight.” I flicked her nose.

 

“Just kiss me, Morrigan love,” Andromache whispered and I granted her request. Her hands twined in my hair pulling me closer. Close enough to never let go again.

 

My own hands cupped her breast, causing her to let out a gasp. I pulled back with a wicked smile as instead of her lips, I gave a kiss to her nipple which was hardening.  I gave her other nipple a pinch, as her gasps and pants grew louder, and her fingers wound tighter in my hair.

 

After a while of playing with the one, I switched sides, giving an equal treatment to the second breast as I had for the first one.

 

“Please,” Andromache begged. “Please, Mor,” I didn’t know if that was my name or a plea to continue. My kisses trailed lower and lower kissing plains of flat and toned stomach that I didn’t think had seen kisses that meant such a heavy goodbye before. I kissed along her panty line, her hips bucking up at me as her hands gripped at my hair.

 

But instead of going where she wanted me to go, I skipped over that and went to the miles of legs that she had. Beautiful. Why was every part of her so beautiful?

 

After a series of kisses and nips and bites up both of her legs, I decided that it was time to give us both what we wanted. Slowly, oh so slowly, I pulled her underwear off of her, more of question than anything. A question that came with an answer.

 

“I trust you, Morrigan,” Andromache gasped. “I love you.”

 

“I love you, too.”

 

Pulling her legs over my shoulders, I planted a kiss to her. Andromache gave a slight gasp, her head rolling back into the pillows, as her hands tightened in my hair. Perhaps by the end of this, she would pull all my hair out, but I wouldn’t mind if she did.

 

I gave a lick up all of her until I stopped at her clit where I started to suck causing her to let out a moan. Loudly. Hearing her moan felt like I was doing something right, not only on this cot but in life.

 

I sucked on her clit until I moved back down so I could slip my tongue inside her. Her hips bucked as I explored her with my tongue.  She tasted like a woman but also what bravery, and goodness, and sunshine tasted like if any of those had a taste.

 

“Morrigan,” Andromache whimpered, and I pulled away from her. I gave her a wicked smile or attempted to anyway because I was drunk on the taste of her.

 

“Yes, darling?” I teased, knowing that it was less about her telling me something than just saying my name.

 

“It feels good,” she tried to catch her breath, attempting deep breaths over the fluttered breathing of before. “Please, Morrigan, please,” she begged. I let out a laugh, as I returned to her clit and pushed a finger inside of her.

 

“Shit,” she cursed in surprise, but then let out a laugh. “I knew you were going to do that.”

 

Instead of responding, I sucked harder on her clit and explored her with my finger. She moaned my name. After a couple of minutes, I added another finger, understanding that she was close.

 

I curled my fingers inside of her once, before Andromache tipped over the edge with a loud moan and came, tightening around my fingers.

 

Giving her a final kiss to her clit and pulling my fingers out, I gently pushed her legs off my shoulders, placing them on the cot. I collapsed next to Andromache and gave her a gentle kiss to her brow. Pulling me to her, she smiled as we faced forehead to forehead.

 

“I am glad, Morrigan, that I met you, and had the chance to call you mine,” she murmured with tears in her dark green eyes.

 

“So am I,” I responded, brushing golden hair out of her eyes. “I have been happier here than I have ever been. I love you.”

 

“I love you, too.” I didn’t realize it would the last time I would hear her say those words to me.

 

Rolling on top of me, my sun smiled as I looked up her. “I think it is your turn now,” she laughed.

 

“Oh?”

 


 

I woke up with my queen still tucked into me. The sun was just beginning its long crawl into the sky while painting it purples and blues and pinks.

 

I gave her brow a gentle kiss knowing that it would be for the best if it was our last.

 

Uncurling our bodies, I crawled out of bed and began refastening my armor that had been thrown in the mixed pile last night.

 

I couldn't help but look her. at the queen who taught me how to lead. At the lioness who taught me how to be strong. At the sun who taught me how to shine.

 

At the woman who taught me truly how to love.

 

I didn't want to go back to the Night Court. To what waited there. But I would lock the memory of her in my heart and keep it there to help me when the darkness threatened to rip me apart. When their judgments weighed too heavy on me.

 

“Goodbye, Andromache, darling,” I whispered. Looking at Andromache, my queen, my sun, my lioness, my goddess, and my goodness for what seemed like the final time, I walked out of that tent with hair unbound and my head held high, pretending to be the queen that she was.

 

I didn't look back as I felt something shatter inside me with that goodbye. But it was for the better, I lied to myself.