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You're Going Places I Can't Follow

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You're Going Places I Can't Follow

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Female Dragonborn/Sanguine

 

A/N: Decided to branch off from my usual Bioware driven fanfiction, and dabble into TES writing. And of course I pick one of the strangest pairings. This follows the “A Night To Remember” questline in Skyrim.


 

 

 

Mother of all hangovers...

The Nordic woman squinted accusingly at the nearly blinding sun and cursed again. Unfortunately, a mother and her young child were still nearby while Rakel damned every god she could think of. Mother Dearest glared at her while her pride and joy started repeating Rakel's less than courteous word choices. Rakel snickered while the mother smacked her child and led them away, glaring behind her all the while. As if Rakel cared. She was the Dragonborn; her job was to slay dragons, not act as a damned example for the children to look up to. She had definitely proven that last night with Sam.

Sam. That fucking arsehole. Thanks to his brilliant little drinking contest at the Bannered Mare she had been spending the majority of her day stealing goats back from giants and apologizing to priests for feeling up statues. And now she was heading back to Whiterun, her ass sore from riding her horse all damn day.

This staff Sam promised me better be worth it. Rakel had been retracing Sam and her own's steps from the previous night. From what she gathered the two of the them had had one hell of a night. And she was the only one paying the consequences.

Now she'd been led to Ysolda, the Divine must have known why because she certainly didn't. “Hope I didn't steal your goat, too,” Rakel muttered as she approached the Whiterun woman. She liked Ysolda, though they could hardly be any more different. Rakel, her face always painted for battle and the sides of her head shaved with the rest of her pale hair braided down her back, was a stark contrast with the proper, always polite Ysolda. Regardless, Rakel was not looking forward to finding out how she and Sam had fucked up Ysolda's night.

Relaxing and trying not to look neither guilty nor hungover as she spoke to the woman, Rakel addressed her, “Ysolda. Might I have a word?”

“Harbinger!” Ysolda dropped the basket she was carrying and threw her arms around the dragonborn's waist, the highest the much shorter woman could reach. “I'm so happy for you!”

It definitely wasn't the reaction Rakel had anticipated. “Thanks?” she finished uncertainly.

Ysolda pulled away, to Rakel's relief, and smiled up at her. “We didn't think it was ever going to happen, our Thane getting married! And imagine me getting to be the one to supply the rings!”

Married?” Rakel was terrified at how high pitched her voice had become. Then she looked down at her hand and saw the plain gold wedding band on her finger and became even more terrified; she screamed.

“My Thane?” Ysolda asked, taking a few cautionary steps back.

Rakel quickly calmed herself. “I am fine. I'm simply confused. Uh, I hate to ask this, but who did I marry?” Or was it whom?

Ah. She knew that look. Ysolda was eying her incredulously. Rakel had received that look so many times before. How could you forget where you hid those dragon bones? And how could you possibly forget where you threw your pants? And how in Oblivion did you forget who you married?

Ysolda spoke again. “You never said their name, only that you met someone in some place called Misty Grove.” Rakel had no idea where that was. “And you were to be married in Morvunskar.” Rakel still had no idea where any of these places were. “But the Companions are saying you and your spouse-to-be invited them to Riften to be married in the temple of Mara. From what I hear, the two of you had quite the reception.”

She had been hopeful when Ysolda had said she was to be married in a run down fort. It would have been easier that way to convince the temple of Mara to annul the whole damn marriage. But if the affair was done officially and under Mara's priest's direct supervision...she may be stuck being married to...whoever the hell she was married to.

Rakel thanked Ysolda for her time (and promised to pay her back from the rings at a later time—preferably after she beat the gold out of Sam) and headed for the stables outside Whiterun. She had considered walking to Jorrvaskr and just asking the Companions what had happened the previous night, but she couldn't stand the thought of Vilkas looking down on her or Farkas laughing his hairy ass off. What was Sam's angle here? Trashing a temple, selling a giant someone else's goat...that was funny, but marrying her off when she vowed never to do so? That was less funny.

Not wanting to face her brothers and sisters in Jorrvaskr or the Mara priests, Rakel headed to Morvunskar, the only place she might get answers without embarrassing herself.

 

If this was the place she had first intended to be married at, she had certainly picked a shithole. A witch infested shithole. Rakel was less prejudice against magic users than her fellow Nord countrymen, but that didn't mean she appreciated being set on fire.

The inside of Morvunskar was as pleasant as the outside; it wasn't at all. Why in the name of Talos would I want to be married here?

Better question. Why would I want to be married at all?

Not certain what she had expected to find here, Rakel searched the inside thoroughly for any sign of Sam or her new husband or wife. She found nothing. Nothing until a dark blue and black portal opened in one corner of the ruin, waiting for her to walk through it.

Hesitating for a moment, Rakel approached the force carefully.

Don't touch it, she thought.

She touched it.

 

Her vision was slightly obscured by a thin, moving mist. Rakel turned in circles, examining her surroundings. The only things she could see clearly were a few hanging lanterns and she tentatively walked towards those.

The lanterns led her to a small clearing. There was a table further in, filled with people drinking and talking, but the only person Rakel was paying attention to was the smug son of a bitch right in front of her.

“Guevenne! You're a drunken bastard!”

“And you're not wrong,” the man replied jovially. He hadn't changed since their first meeting; still wearing that stupid grin on his stupid Breton face.

Suddenly infuriated with him, Rakel stomped up to him and grabbed a fistful of his collar. “Dammit, man! About what happened last night...it's all fun and games until somebody gets married!” He was still smirking so Rakel pushed at his chest with on hand, while hanging onto him with the other. “Now, tell me. Who in Oblivion did I get hitched to?”

“Who in Oblivion, indeed.”

Just as she was about to ask (demand) what that had meant, there was a dark flash and standing in Sam Guevenne's place was a blighted dremora.

The first thing Rakel did was let go of what had previously been Sam. Next she attempted to apologize profusely. The dremora just laughed at her, his white teeth flashing in the moonlight. “You obviously don't remember much of anything if you're surprised to see me!”

Rakel stepped back. “Last night's festivities involved me hanging out with a dremora.”

“To be specific, you hung out with,” his voice dropped an octave, turning sinister, “Sanguine, deadric prince of debauchery.” Sanguine's voice returned to it's usual, upbeat and slightly inebriated tone, “Also, I'm not sure if 'hung out with' is the correct term either.”

Rakel stared at him. “We stole a goat together, I don't think there is a term for that.”

“There is.” Sanguine held up one of his hands, letting her see the shining gold band that fit over his gauntlet. “It's called marriage.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 2: Could Be Worse, Could Be Raining

A/N: I hate what I titled this but I'm not good with titles so...


 

Rakel stared at the band of Mara on her finger and then stared at the one Sanguine was wearing. Then she started laughing. She was laughing so hard that Sanguine joined in until it started to sound more like she was crying. She wiped uselessly at her eyes and asked, “But, seriously, this is just a prank, right?”

“A prank on Mara,” Sanguine clarified with a pride she was frightened to see. “Imagine, she wed a Daedric Prince and the Dragonborn! And her priests had absolutely no idea!”

This couldn't be happening. How could the Divines ever allow this? Eventually Rakel found her voice and pointed out bluntly, “It's not much of a joke if no one else realized what was happening.”

The Prince was undeterred. “Then it's more of an inside joke, but it's still good, no?”

“You married me for an inside joke?”

“Believe me, I have done much more for so much less.”

Oh, She didn't doubt it. “So...we're married.” The word stuck like stale bread to the roof of her mouth. The Companions were never going to let her live this down, her marrying what they foolishly assumed was a Breton mage. Rakel focused on that irritating thought until an even worse thought hit her. “Talos, we didn't...consummate the marriage, did we?”

Sanguine's shit eating grin said it all. But he still felt the need to say it anyway. “Only a few times. No more than six, at the most.”

Her complete lack of memory was suddenly a blessing. This was probably an unnecessary questions, but she was going to ask it anyway. “Did you, uh, look like you did when we met at the Bannered Mare or did you look like you do right now when we, ah, did the consummating?”

“Does it matter?”

Yes. No. YES. Unwanted images of a heavy breathing, charcoal limbed daedra hovering over her and, Talos forbid, thrusting filled Rakel's mind and made her want to tear her eyes out. She startled when Sanguine laid a hand on her shoulder, leading her towards the table in the center of the grove. “Come on,” he slurred. “Looks like you need a drink. I know I do.”

Drinking was the last thing she needed to do, looking at where it got her the first time. Rakel ducked under his arm, shaking her head. “I think I'll sit this one out.”

“Suit yourself,” Sanguine shrugged, snatching a bottle of brandy from one of his servants. Rakel watched him drink, waiting to be sent back to Nirn but eventually she realized Sanguine would drink himself unconscious if she didn't bring it up first. She recalled the whole reason she had agreed to that blasted drinking contest and growled, “Your dick better not have been the 'staff' you promised me.”

Sanguine spat out his drink. He chuckled darkly and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “There's the girl I married! Always too clever by half!” Rakel knew the Prince was supposedly complimenting her and she should act grateful and shit, but she really wasn't feeling it at the moment. “Anyway,” Sanguine continued cheerfully as if she wasn't glaring up at him this whole time, “you won the contest fair and square. You earned this. You...you're going places.” A short staff appeared in his hands and Sanguine handed it off to her. The first thing Rakel noticed about it was that it looked exactly like a rose. Had petals and thorns even, the whole shebang.

If I show up to Jorrvaskr with this I'll be laughed out of Whiterun.

Looking up to thank him, Rakel was shocked to find herself back in the Bannered Mare with the local bard staring at her and wondering where in Oblivion she had come from.

Had he asked, she actually could have answered that.

 

Ever the optimist, Rakel struggled to find a bright side to her new, hell-ish situation. Being wed to a deadric prince was, in a word, horrifying. But, it could have been much worse. Sanguine was probably one of the less evil daedra, more like Sheogorath than Molag Bal. They were more to be tolerated, rather than feared.

And, Rakel doubted Sanguine would show up again in her lifetime. Their wedding had been, using his own words, a prank. Not to be taken seriously. It might even work out in her favor. She could easily make up some lie about her absent husband and now she wouldn't have to worry about any future marriage proposals coming her way or people asking her when she was going to finally settle down.

She had these thoughts in mind when she entered Jorrvaskr for the first time since 'it' happened. Rakel had left the Sanguine Rose at Breezehome, hanging from a weapon rack. She didn't even know what the staff did yet and honestly she wasn't exactly dying to find out. She felt as though using it might remind Sanguine of her presence, as so far, for the past two weeks he had made no attempts to contact her.

Good.

“Look who's finally back from their honeymoon,” Farkas's voice boomed out over the sounds of weapons being cleaned and mead being poured. His twin brother's head rose slightly towards the door in interest, his eyes narrowing when he saw Rakel standing there. She didn't have time to take in Vilkas's hostile expression as she was being tackled by Aela and her probing, mostly inappropriate questions about her new husband.

“Aela, for the last time, I'm not going to discuss the size of my husband's genitals, thank you.” Rakel was sitting at the Companions' dining table, forgoing her vow to never drink ever again and was now chugging ale faster than was healthy.

“Then how am I to know if he is worthy of you?” the Huntress asked before placing a strong hand on Rakel's stomach. “Or if he will be a worthy father to your children?”

Spitting out her ale and quickly removing Aela's hand from her abdomen, Rakel told her quietly, “There will be no talk of children.”

Sensing she had somehow gone too far, Aela struggled to change the subject. “Your little mage husband can certainly hold his liquor.” She started picking out the bits of dried blood from underneath her nails. “He out drank Farkas.”

“I'm not surprised.” Rakel snorted, the tension in her eyes lessening.

“Well, the rest of us were.”

“You don't know him like I do.” And I know him very little. I hope to always know him so little.

Aela swiftly reached out and snatched Rakel's empty mug away. “Your marriage was very sudden, shield-sister. I had thought, if you were to choose anyone, it would have been Farkas.”

Rakel muttered bitterly into her shoulder, “It would have been.”

Aela looked as though she wanted her to elaborate, but before Rakel could someone dropped into the seat next to her. “Darling! Dearest!” Sanguine's voice echoed throughout the hall. Any other time Rakel might have been furious at the attention he was drawing to her, but honestly this time she was simply glad he had remembered to wear his Breton disguise. Having to deal with a drunken mage was much better than having to deal with a drunken deadra.

“How did you get in here?” Rakel hissed, not in the mood to play along with whatever this new game was.

“The. Door.” He spoke in clipped, loud tones. His darling wife growled when he threw an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. “You left a very important staff at home all by it's lonesome.”

“I bet she did,” Aela smirked mischievously. Sanguine grinned lopsidedly at her. Rakel just glared at her, unappreciative this one time of Aela's dirty mind.

“He meant an actual mage's staff,” Rakel corrected her, hoping the rest of the Companions were currently looking the other way. The Sanquine Rose, not his dick! Now is not the time, Aela!

“Oh, I know what he meant.”

This was going nowhere. Rakel suddenly stood up from the table. “I'm going home,” she announced through gritted teeth. Her hope that Sanguine would forget all about her was vanquished. She should have known he would drag out this damn prank much longer than necessary.

Of course Sanguine followed her. “Good,” he replied jovially, swaying on his feet as he trailed after her. “I made dinner.”

 

He made dinner.

Rakel didn't need her wolfblood to tell her that his idea of dinner was much different from a human's idea of an acceptable meal. She held up the wineglass and swished the contents around. “This is blood, isn't it?”

“Yep.” She slowly moved to the table and stared down at the meat pie. “Should I even ask what sort of meat is in this?”

“Are you going to tell me humans don't eat other humans?”

Thank Talos that Lydia wasn't there. She was off doing errands for the Jarl, something Rakel was grateful for. When she had accepted the title of 'thane' she hadn't anticipated it would come with a roommate.

Well, when she had accepted Sanguine's drinking challenge she hadn't thought that would have come with a husband, either.

Rakel turned on her heel, grabbed her ax, Wuuthrad, and headed briskly for the exit. “I'm going to go find a dragon,” she informed him when he asked what she was doing, “and then I'm going to kill it.”

“Have fun, dearest dragonborn,” he teased. “Oh! And don't forget this! You might need it.” Sanguine stepped in front of her and held out the Sanguine Rose, waggling his eyebrows and smirking until she snatched it from him.

I am pawning this off the next chance I get. “Thanks,” she said in a monotone. Talos, she hoped he wouldn't be here when she got back.

Once the glow from the dragon's soul began to fade, Rakel climped atop the dragon's snow white skull and sat on its brow. She twirled the Sanguine Rose in her hands, glaring down at it as if this inanimate object was the source of all her troubles. But, as infuriated as she was by it, she might as well find out what it did.

Waving the staff halfheartedly, Rakel sat and waited and was unsurprised when a dremora appeared before her. The dremora's greatsword was drawn and ready and remained so until he saw that she was in no danger. The Kynreeve stalked over to her to demand why she had summoned him without reason. Rakel interrupted him first.

You're it?”

 

When Rakel returned to Breezehome Sanguine was there. In her bed. Naked. Waiting for her.

Rakel stared for a moment, stunned, and then went back downstairs and left.

It was a week before she felt it was safe to enter her own home again.

 

When she entered again he was still in the same place, only this time he had dropped his mortal disguise and was lounging around in his deadra form. Still fucking naked. Why he thought that would help she didn't rightly know. This time she wasn't turning tail and running.

Rakel slammed her fist on the nightstand. “Get your bare ass out of my bed!”

“I've been waiting for you,” Sanguine grinned and motioned for her to lie down next to him.

“I can see that. Unfortunately I can see everything.” Rakel grabbed one of her fur blankets off the ground and dropped in on top of him. “Why are you still here?”

“I've been back and forth.” Sanguine sat up and stretched. “I know you finally tested out the staff. The Kynreeve said you're a bitch. Don't worry,” he said, waving a hand, “I reprimanded him for it. No one talks about my wife that way.” 

"How long are you going to keep this up?' she scowled quite impressively and wondered if she shouted at him what would happen.

“How long do mortals live again?”

Rakel snatched one of her pillows out from under him and, pressing it over her face, used it to muffle her screams. Sanguine reached over and tried to pat her arm. She shirked away. “Don't touch me.”

He was perplexed by her statement. “Then how are we supposed to have sex?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Strange Shields

A/N: Where have I been? Why did this chapter take so long? Are you just that lazy? I can answer most of these questions. For the last four months I've been finishing up Naval basic training and starting my A-school. Just got back into a sort of normal life. Jk, no I haven't but I wrote this thing anyway.


 

They stared at each other. Rakel was thinking about setting her bed aflame with her Thu-um while Sanguine was still in it. She had no idea what in Oblivion he was thinking.

“Come lie with your loving husband.” His teeth flashed as he grinned maniacally.

She was considering trying to use the pillow in her hands to smother that damn smirking daedra prince when Rakel was reminded that she had a roommate.

Lydia stood in the doorway, her face ashen white and her body swaying unsteadily on her feet. Before Rakel had a chance to try to calm her (how that would have even been accomplished with a nude daedra occupying the room Rakel had no idea), Lydia let out a weak battle cry and, unsheathing her longsword, swung down on Sanguine's suddenly not smirking form.

Rakel did not know why she did it, logically Sanguine would have been fine. From what little she knew about daedra they weren't easily killed. She knew that little from personal experience.

But, forgoing all of that, Rakel side-stepped in front of the down swinging blade, her hand outstretched as if she could stop the blade with a single thought. If she were a mage, that just might have been possible. As it was, Lydia's longsword sliced her from collarbone to the other side of her ribcage.

“Oh, my Thane!” Lydia's voice was broken with fear and what Rakel assumed was a sob. “I-” she began before she lost her voice. Rakel was vaguely aware that Sanguine had quickly leapt from her bed and was hovering over her. Lydia, though she had been momentarily startled by Rakel's unwise decision of getting in her way, picked up her blade again at the sight of the daedra.

“Stop!” Rakel shrieked, one hand held out in a halting motion and the other attempting to cover her new chest wound. “Fus!”

Lydia flew back, tumbling out into the hall. Rakel felt a moment of regret at using her Voice against her companion, but in the end it was justified. If Lydia had actually managed to wound, or attempt to wound, Sanguine it wouldn't have ended well. At all. Perhaps even in Lydia's death. Daedra were unforgiving beings. This thought was what had inspired her to step in front of Lydia's downswing in the first place.

The hurt on Lydia's face as she tried to pick herself up pricked at Rakel's conscience as she tried to mend it with broken words placed in between gasps and near sobs. “It's just my husband.” The words were foreign to her mouth. “My husband,” she repeated as Lydia's fear turned to horror and disgust. “No, this form is an illusion; he's a mage,” Rakel clarified. Louder she repeated, “An illusion.”

Sanguine took the hint and she felt the warmth of Sanguine's magic as he changed out of his daedra form and into his human one. “See?” the daedra gestured to his robes. “Completely human.”

Studying Lydia's expression, Rakel noted the warrior was still red-faced, but she gathered it was now from embarrassment instead of battle rage.

“Husband?” Lydia repeated in a daze. She stammered, “I had heard rumors but I thought--”

“It was a joke? It is.” Rakel couldn't even be bothered to hide her obvious disdain of the entire situation, not with her blood dripping over the white bearskin rug she had fought a necromancer for. Lydia seemed to notice that, too, because her next words were, “Talos, you need a healer!”

Sanguine's head whipped around to look at his bleeding wife. “Oh.” His interest was suddenly peaked. “You're dying,” he said with a hint of amusement. “Now why did you go and do something so silly like jump in front of a sword?”

She blamed the continuing blood loss for what Rakel said next. “She was trying to cut you, you ass.” Suddenly unsteady on her feet, Rakel grabbed a handful of his robes to catch herself. “Dammit.” To Lydia she ordered, “Go get Secret-Fire. Now.” Nevermind his main skill set wasn't healing; she wanted a magic user whose main concern wasn't getting everyone in the vicinity to get naked. Obviously, that left Sanguine out. As an afterthought, Rakel shouted after Lydia's sprinting form, “And a priest!”

Sanguine's raised brow might have been mistaken for a sign of concern if he were any other being. But he wasn't. “A priest? Are you planning on dying?”

Oh, Talos, she should be sitting down. “Well, I wasn't exactly planning on getting married and look how that turned out.”

“Wonderfully?”

His response caught her off guard with that fake, hopeful tone. She let out a sharp bark of a laugh before she slapped a hand over her mouth to silence it. Rakel had been so angry with him, for so long now, and yet it all dissipated with a single word.

Was she getting soft? Talos, she hoped not. She was probably simply delirious from her wound.

Rakel slid down to the floor, tugging meaningfully on Sanguine's robes. Her other hand was covering her chest, applying pressure to the wound in a desperate attempt to slow the flow of blood. “I had better not die. Can't go from slaying dragons to dying in a simple domestic accident.” She laughed again and then coughed.

Sanguine squatted down next to her. “I haven't heard you laugh since the wedding.” He prodded at her wound curiously. “Do near-death experiences normally do this to Nords?”

“It's most likely just me, but I don't want to act like I'm special.” Is Lydia walking backwards? Where's my damn healer?

“Are you going to die?”

“Dammit, man...daedra, whatever, just shut up.” Rakel attempted to reach what very little magical talent she had and cursed her parent's fear of magic when she couldn't attempt even the simplest of healing spells.

He started playing with a lock of her hair. “Are we having our first fight?”

“Are you going to stop asking so many damn questions?” Rakel gestured towards her chest. “Can you do something about this?”

“Your breasts?”

She was going to bleed out slowly while listening to horrible jokes. This couldn't be how she was supposed to go. “Uh, I mean the gaping hole sliced into me.” Lydia was taking far too long; she needed to handle this herself, like always. She swatted at Sanguine's arm, “Help me up. I need to get downstairs.”

Tilting his head thoughtfully, Sanguine took a moment before he swept her up, bridal-style, and headed for the stairs. Rakel's brow scrunched together. “This is ridiculous. You are ridiculous.”

He ignored her, instead asking, “Where am I taking you?”

“To my alchemy lab. I need a healing draught.” Rakel was almost certain she had a few extra potions lying around to aid her condition. She did go through healing potions like children went through sweetrolls.

Sanguine nodded and deposited her outside the lab, watching her stumble inside and tear into her apothecary satchel until she produced a small red vial. She downed it quick enough, sinking onto the floor in a heap. When he made a move to help her, she merely raised a trembling hand and muttered unconvincingly, “I'm fine.”

“No, you're damn fine.”

It was easier to forgive him when she wasn't being stared down by Farkas's forlorn expression or Vilkas's hate filled and betrayed glare. She also decided forgiveness was coming easier because he hadn't tried to harm Lydia when she had attacked him.

“My Thane!” Rakel turned to see her companion with a priest and the wizard trailing in behind her. When she looked back to Sanguine she found he was gone.

“Daedra,” she cursed and called out to her friends for aid.

 

 

 

 

The Kynreeve was hovering, too close and entirely too sober. “What do you want?” Sanguine slurred once he came to terms to the fact that the lesser daedra wasn't going to leave on his own.

Sanguine was back in Misty Grove, at a table that was once filled with guests but was now empty save for himself. And the Kynreeve that was bound to the Rose staff for all of, well, forever.

“Why aren't you with the mortal?” The Kynreeve stared unblinkingly down at him, waiting.

“Why aren't I?” he repeated mockingly and took another swig. If it was witty banter the Kynreeve craved he would have to come back later. Sanguine was in one of his rare, I-want-to-drink-copious-amounts-of-alcohol-alone moods.

The Kynreeve continued in his dull monotone. Sanguine struggled to recall why he kept him around. “I thought she was dying.”

The prince simply waved his tankard at that. “She was. She's fine now.”

“Fine?” That earned him a raised brow and the glimmer of an almost emotion. “She was sliced nearly in half. I expected to be summoned so I could cut down that foolish woman, but no such luck.”

Sanguine paused in his drinking and sat there, confused. Had the wound truly been that bad? Wait...how much weaker were humans than daedra again? The Kynreeve kept on dully, saying, “Considering she risked her skin for yours I would have thought you would have at the very least bought her a drink.”

Sanguine blinked at him in surprise. In fact, that had almost sobered him up. “...risked her life for mine, you say?”

“I never said she was intelligent. It's not a common trait in Nords. Foolhardy, stubborn, leading always too much with the heart... Those are much more common.”

Risked her life for mine. Sanguine stood up a little too fast, swayed, and saluted his boring underling. “I'm afraid I have a wife to take care of. Try not to miss me too horribly.”

“Heal her quickly,” was all he asked, working on cleaning a bit of blood out of his armour. “The healthier she is, the more I get to fight.”

“Bloodthirsty little thing, aren't you?” He was going to have to start background checking his minions. Soon, but now he had other bloodthirsty things to intend to. Specifically, his wife.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: Recovering Alcoholic and Just Recovering

A/N: Nuclear A-school is so difficult I don't want to talk about it.


 

She was bedridden, Secret-Fire's orders. And Rakel hated it. She entrusted Lidia and Secret-Fire to keep her current condition a secret so, as Rakel had fully expected, it was a mere two hours before she started receiving visitors and well-wishers from the local Whiterun community. Rakel had never liked talking to people and now she had no choice. She stayed in bed and struggled to make an interested face as visitor after visitor came, wished her good health, and then proceeded to talk about nothing at all.

Although, one topic did come up every time. “Where is your new husband?”

It was about that time that Rakel subtlety pointed out the door.

The worst part of the whole ordeal was being stuck in bed while Lydia returned with news of dragons attacking nearby homesteads. It was infuriating. Vilkas visited as well, asking for her opinions on several Companion jobs. Those decisions were the most difficult because she couldn't give her normal answer when she had to choose who to send to clear out bandit caves; “me”.

“Send Aela.”

Vilkas did that sighing thing he had developed right about the time she had taken over as leader of the companions.

“She's already taking care of a pack of wild dogs in Rorikstead.”

At that point the calming draught Secret-Fire had left her had worn off and Rakel was not in her best mood. “Dammit, if you won't let me do it, Vilkas, then go yourself!” It had been a snap decision with no foreseeable consequences until the next day when it was Farkas this time that came to Breezehome with Companion business.

Oh, it was awkward. He didn't want to be there, she didn't want to be there and neither of them knew what they were doing. The Companions had several accounts to settle and neither Rakel nor Farkas had any idea that any of these had even existed until now. Rakel stared at the records for a good hour before she threw them down and screamed. “I've only heard you scream like in two different situations.” Farkas was chuckling and though she was frustrated, Rakel smiled. “When you're killing a dragon, and, well-”

“When I'm killing two dragons?” she prompted him jokingly.

His grin grew more forced. “Exactly so.”

Damn. How was she ever going to smooth this over? One drunken night and she had somehow managed to hurt the feelings of their toughest Companion. Sure she and Farkas had had some fun together after missions, but... “Farkas,” she began uncertainly, waving towards the intimidating stack of papers scattered on her floor. “Let's be honest, neither of us are Vilkas. We have no idea what we are doing. We just kill things. That's what we do and that's fine.” Her little speech earned her another laugh.

“Are you suggesting we leave this mess for my brother?”

“That's exactly what I'm suggesting.”

He stood then, looking at the fallen papers with disdain. “Then I'll leave these with you.”

“Don't.” When his expression turned confused Rakel rushed on, “I meant, leave the papers here, but stay. Supper is soon. Stay and eat.” She paused. “Actually, cook for me because I'm not technically allowed to move.”

Supper? Boy, do I have excellent timing!” Rakel almost wasn't even surprised to see Sanguine's human form in her bedroom doorway, his arm hooked around Farkas's shoulders. Farkas, however, was completely startled. His teeth were bared but it seemed to be only a reflex. “You're husband is home,” he stated the obvious and quickly removed Sanguine's arm from his shoulder.

“Came to check up on my little songbird,” Sanguine smiled and waved his fingers at her.

Her own fingernails were involuntary digging into her palms. “Don't call me that.” It was getting worse. Somehow he was making this worse.” And, Talos, Farkas was present for all of it.

He seemed to notice this, too. Farkas backed out, carefully stepping over the Companion's accounts and towards the door. “Harbinger,” he said and Rakel winced at the formal use of her title, “I'll see you back at Jorrvaskr when you are well.”

Rakel felt herself nodding. “I'll bring the accounts.” And he was gone and she was left with her new beau. “What are you doing here?” she demanded once she had heard the door to Breezehome slam shut.

Her bed dipped with the added weight as Sanguine sat heavily down onto her mattress. “I'm here to nurse you back to health,” he smiled as that should have been obvious and patted her leg.

She made a face. “Lydia will be returning from Dragonsreach soon. That's unnecessary.” Rakel was quickly learning to hate that smug grin.

“Oh, it's no trouble--” Interrupting a daedra prince was not something Rakel normally did nor was it something that she recommended, but something in her snapped. She scrambled out of bed despite Sanguine's half-assed protests and headed for the door, pausing at the doorstep to catch herself. “I'm confused. I thought you had mentioned supper?”

“Why are you here?” Rakel slammed her palm on the doorway for effect. “And don't give me that same bullshit answer you're been giving me. I get it, we pranked Mara but while it has had no consequences for you... I, however, have been stabbed.”

“More of sliced, really.”

“And that's not even the worst of it.”

Sanguine actually seemed to consider that. “You're referring to that pouting werebaby. He'll be fine. I'll just take him out for a few drinks out at the Drunken Huntsman and he'll end up okay. Well, mostly okay. Naked, possibly, and hungover as all hell.”

To Sanguine's surprise, when he looked over to Rakel she did not look pleased. “You will do no such thing. He will be left alone.” She was growing bolder but before Rakel could say anything too condemning Breezehome's door swung open again.

“Here comes Lady Slice and Dice,” Sanguine sang, moving downstairs to the kitchen. When Lydia made a disgruntled noise he corrected himself. “Sir Slice and Dice? Either way you tied to kill me and I only accept apologies in the form of brandy. No exceptions.”

It was only a reflex but Lydia's hand moved to her blade. She looked worriedly about the room before focusing on Rakel. “My Thane, you should not be out of bed.”

“Agreed. Saving my life from your slash happy bodyguard must have worn you out.”

“Saving your life was not my main concern. Ensuring Lydia kept hers was.” Rakel made her slowly down the stairs as Lydia protested. “Dammit, Lydia, if I can fight a dragon one-handed I can walk down a dammed flight of stairs.”

“Fine!” Lydia snapped after Rakel shrugged off her help. She watched Rakel stubbornly stagger like a drunkard downstairs, shove past her new husband, and then run full sprint straight out the door.

Lydia exchanged an irritated glance with the only other person in the room. “Well,” she whistled through her teeth. “Shit.”


 

Running out of her own home was not at all what Rakel had intended when she had started down those steps but as soon as the only exit was in her sight it seemed like the best option. Considering the alternative was sitting and eating an awkward dinner with Sanguine and Lydia...running away was most definitely the best option.

She headed to the stables and after falling off her horse very slowly and dramatically and in front of the stable boys Rakel decided that she was not strong enough to travel alone. Instead she climbed in back of the nearest carriage and asked where they were headed. “Markarth.” Perfect. Markarth was a pretty terrible place but it did have one thing going for it; no one there liked her so she could drink alone and no one would bother her.

It was exactly what she needed. Exactly what she needed so it wasn't at all surprising when a Vigilant of Stendarr asked her to enter a creepy haunted house in the name of banishing daedra. And considering her feelings towards daedra at that moment, Rakel agreed. She had to ask to borrow a sword which was pretty embarrassing, especially being the dragonborn, but soon enough they were inside and about to experience the worst night of her life.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: Molag Bal

 

A/N: Where is this even going? Who can tell. I can't.

 


 

 

This could have gone better. If only because it couldn't have gone any worse.

Whatever daedra was now holding them hostage was attempting to make them murder each other and it was working.

“No. Kill him. Crush his bones. Tear at his flesh. You will kill--”

“Shut up!” Rakel was lucky this Vigilant was shit with a sword. Her wounds slowed her down a notch, though it made no difference in this fight. She would not fall to this Vigilant but she would not be able to keep this up much longer. After ten minutes of trying to get through to this guy, Rakel thrust her borrowed sword through the Vigilant's chest. She had been aiming for the leg, but with the lighting and the timing...

“Why do you people always listen to the evil daedra and never to me?” It was a question she would never have fully answered. Groaning irritably, Rakel limped over to the ornate door they entered with and found it was locked. That usually wasn't a problem. Positioning herself directly in front of the floor, Rakel took a deep breath and sent a wall of pure force that was intended to cave in the door.

It did nothing.

Confused, Rakel staggered backwards as a booming, eerie laugh echoed throughout the home.

“Yes. Your reward is waiting for you, mortal. Further down.”

She knew the daedra was somehow indicating the basement door. Rakel quickly realized the last place she ever wanted to go was into that basement. She searched the room for a window or any other means of escape and came up disappointed and empty handed.

Into the basement we go.

One day she'd get to meet a Vigilant of Stendarr that could actually do their job.

“Look,” she said as soon as she entered the basement, “I'd love to do whatever mundane, little task you have for me but Meridia already wants me to fix her damn beacon and I just finished marrying the Prince of Debauchery so I'm going to have to pass on--”

Unexpectedly, a black cage closed in on her from all sides. Rakel dropped instinctively into the fetal position, covering the back of her head. Fear was heavy around her and the trembling in her muscles was entirely involuntary.

Shit. Shitshitshitshit--

It was then made very clear to her that she did not have a choice in the matter.

“Fool! Did you think Molag Bal, Lord of Domination, would so easily reward you?”

“Oh, fuck me.” Rakel had done her research after her first encounter with a daedra prince, specifically the Prince of Madness. Molag Bal was quite literally the last prince she ever wanted to see. When she felt brave enough to look up, Rakel saw the 'reward' the prince was referring to. Now why would she want his rusty, dirty mace for?

He interrupted her thoughts. “What do you see from that little cage? Speak.”

“No.” Rakel looked straight forward, unable to find the true source of the voice. “I'm not playing your games. Find yourself another champion.”

There was a pause. She took no small amount of pleasure at getting a daedra to pause. “You dare make demands of--”

“I know who you are,” she replied, still fighting the urge to shake. “And I repeat, I am not the champion you desire.”

Be it today or tomorrow, mortal, you will submit to me.”

And Molag Bal fell silent. Rakel pushed against the cage, the black iron cutting into her hands. The dark room began to shake and groan again.

Rakel quickly called what little magic ability she possessed and summoned a small ball of light to accompany her.

Molag Bal snuffed it out.

 

“Where is your wife?” The Kynreeve stood over his master and waited patiently for an answer.

Sanguine squinted at him. “How should I know? She ran out on me. It was all very dramatic. I'm currently drinking away my sorrows...or I'm just drinking. Haven't decided yet.”

The Kynreeve sat down on the bench next to him. Sanguine realized he had never seen him off his feet; this Kynreeve wasn't exactly the sitting type. It made him very annoying. “She hasn't summoned me in days. Usually something has tried to kill her by now.”

“That is usually the case. I think this mead has gone bad. I didn't know that was possible. Who keeps mead around so long that it spoils?”

Sanguine had the distinct feeling that this Kynreeve listened to nothing that he said. “My Prince,” the lesser daedra asked, dully and politely. “May I have permission to search for your wife?”

“If she hasn't called for you...fuck it, do what you want. I don't care. And I'm going to drink this anyway. Spoiled or no.”

 

Submit.”

It was the seventeenth time Molag Bal had asked for her submission (Rakel had been counting) and the past sixteen times she had told him to eat dragonshit but she found she couldn't muster up that same fire again. Rakel stayed silent and really considered her situation. Did she want to submit? Hell no. Was it looking like she had a choice? Another no.

“Nord.”

Rakel froze. That monotone voice was very different from what she had been hearing for the past few days. “Kynreeve?”

The daedra was standing still at the entryway to the basement. “How do you get yourself in these situations?”

“Forget about that.” Her voice was a rough whisper. Damn, she needed a drink. “Can you get me out?”

“No.”

“Then,” she hissed, afraid at any moment Molag Bal would become aware of his presence, “get me someone who can.”

“I only know one who can.”

“Shit.”

“Who trespasses upon my domain?”

Before she could warn the daedra, the Kynreeve was gone.

 

“She's where?”

“Locked in a cage by the Prince of Domination.”

Sanguine rubbed his temples. “Am I drunk? Wait, that was stupid, of course I am. But am I hearing this right?”

The Kynreeve rarely blinked. It was unnerving. But mostly irritating. “If you are hearing that your wife is trapped in a cage then yes, you are.”

“Well.” Sanguine quickly stood up and prepared to transport out of Misty Grove. “I suppose I should do something about that.”

“It would be wise. Molag Bal was about to break her when I left.”

 

How much longer could she hold out? Her waterskin was empty and, really, that was the deciding factor. What would Molag Bal have her do? Probably something horrible.

“Having fun?”

The tension of withstanding Molag Bal's tortures had been too much. Rakel screamed involuntarily. She immediately felt anger, but it dissipated when the reality of her situation sunk in. “Sanguine? What are you doing here?” That was followed very quickly by, “Get me out of here!”

“All in due time,” the Prince promised. He looked over to the altar and the rusted mace. “Uh oh. Looks like Dom is waking up. Should be interesting.” Rakel heard him mutter, “I'm entirely too sober for this.”

Rakel leaned against the back of the cage. “That makes two of us.”

“Who dare approaches my altar...” Molag Bal's voice suddenly cut off after going up an octave. “Wait...Sanguine? Is that you? What are you doing here?”

“Thought you'd like a smoke. I know I could use one.” Sanguine pulled out something that Rakel had had several Khajitt try to sell her. She may have even bought one. Or two. She owned twelve.

A dark, writhing mass of shadow emerged from somewhere behind the altar. “I have business with this woman. Leave us to discuss--”

“Oh, this is a discussion?” Sanguine cheerfully asked before started to smoke whatever toxic substance he had stuffed in that pipe. “In our household we discuss everything together.”

The shadow stopped advancing towards Rakel's cage. “We?

“We're married,” Sanguine and Rakel said in unison, though with two very different tones.

Molag Bal asked a question Rakel asked herself every day. “Why?

The Lord of Domination was ignored. “So, honey, about this deal the Prince of Doms is proposing?”

“No.”

“No?”

“NO.”

“Got it.” Sanguine shrugged in the direction of the altar. “Sorry, Dommy, but the lady of the house has spoken. We'll be leaving now.”

“I do not think so.” The black mass came rushing out, coiling and unfurling as it rose to attack.

Sanguine stood still, and very slowly blew a large cloud of smoke out at the approaching black mass. The mass instantly retreated back into the darkness. Molag Bal flew into a fit of coughing. “Sanguine, what in Oblivion was that?”

“Some quality shit,” Sanguine replied and bent the bars of the cage wide enough for Rakel to barely crawl through.

She did. And, then, while cursing, she ran back up the stairs as fast as her weakened body could manage. Little did she know that Sanguine was two steps behind her doing the exact same thing. He immediately made it clear.

“Move! Move! Move!” He pushed at her back until she turned around frantically.

“Why are you panicking?”

“I don't want that slime touching me! Wait...no, no. I don't.”

Rakel stopped at the door. “It was locked last time I tried.”

“Try again.” Sanguine waved a hand wildly at the door.

She did. “Still locked! What was that damn hand waving about?”

His laughter was disconcerting. Rakel thought she could hear Molag Bal moving below. “I don't know; I'm totally high. Let me try that again.” There was a bit more hand waving before Rakel was able to throw open the door and tumble outside into the street.

Sanguine stepped out after her and it was then that Rakel finally got to see him in the light. Her voice barely squeaked out, “Dremora!”

His red eyes narrowed at her. “Pardon?”

“People can see you!”

“Ah.”

While he changed back into Sam Guevenne, Rakel stood up in the middle of the street and caught her breath. As soon as she was ready she faced that abandoned damn house and shouted, “Yol-toor-shur!”

Sanguine watched her burn that house down with mild interest. “I'm really not surprised you fell into Molag Bal's clutches. That sort of thing always seems to happen to you. You're the new Hero of Kavatch.”

“Thank you.”

He did a double take. “What did you say, dearest?”

Rakel glowered down at him. She could do that when he was in his mortal form. “I said thank you. Now buy me a drink. Actually, several.”

He immediately picked her up in a hug that she squirmed out of. “There's the girl I married!”

“Please don't yell that. People can hear you.”



Chapter Text

Chapter 6: Why Is The Ale Always Gone?

A/N: Heeeeeyyyy, I haven't totally dropped this but I have been very busy with training. I know where it's going though so there's that.


 

How much could one mortal Nord possible eat? Sanguine had the feeling he was about to find out. Rakel had burst into the Silver-Blood inn and slammed both of her palms on the bar. “Ale,” she demanded, elbowing the other patrons crowding the bar out of her way. “And stew. And bread. Oh, Talos, and I need meat!”


“Oh, I can take care of that last one,” Sanguine quipped before Rakel kicked back at him without even turning around.


Rakel organized her order. “Two bowls of stew, whatever you got. A couple sweetrolls. Lots of bread. And quick.”


“You good for it?”


“I'm the Dragonborn, of course I'm fucking good for it.” Once he left, to Sanguine Rakel muttered, “You think you got this one?”


That was almost insulting, if he was capable of the feeling. “I'm sure I'll figure something out.”


Rakel didn't touch her ale until she had eaten what Sanguine suspected was half the tavern's stores for the winter. And only after that did she settle down and proceed to down her own ale as well as Sanguine's. He watched on in amusement, mostly keeping himself busy by pranking the other customers.


Once Rakel was good and properly buzzed she stopped staring down at the bottom of her tankard and stared openly at him instead. “You know,” she drawled, stretching out the words much, much longer than necessary, “I hate you.”


“You've made that very clear,” Sanguine replied cheerfully and gestured for the local bard to come over. He made a quick request before shooing her away. “Crystal.”


“No. No, no, no.” Rakel swatted playfully at him. “I don't mean you, I mean Princes. You lot are always losing something in some draugr infested dungeon. D'you know how many dragur I've killed? And why are you guys always losing stuff? And things. So many things.”


“I--” he began, not really sure how to answer. His high was starting to wear off.


She didn't give him a chance to figure it out. “And you always need me to kill people.” Rakel stopped her ranting when she realized what the bard was singing.


The Prince in front of her perked up upon hearing his 'wife' humming pleasantly along to the bard's lovely rendition of the Dragonborn's tale. “Are you singing along to your own theme music?”


His words seemed to get her back onto her original train of thought. “Not you, though. You didn't send me away on some ridiculous quest. You came with me. Up close and personal.”


This was unexpected. “You are very, very drunk. And I am not. Maybe let me have a turn,” Sanguine said, ignoring her previous statement and taking her tankard from her. “Fair is fair after all.”


She continued on, her hands waving animatedly through the air and succeeding in knocking over several vases. “Which one was that back there again? Mole Boy?”


“Molag Bol.”


“That's the one,” she agreed and dropped her voice to a low, comedic growl, “Molag Bal, Lord of domination.” She laughed. “What a fuck.”


“Worse has been said of him, I'm sure,” Sanguine agreed. He was slightly surprised that she was being so agreeable. The drink helped, certainly, but she hadn't once entertained the idea of punching him in the face. It had to be a record.


“What I'm trying to say,” Rakel nearly shouted, her palm slapping the table, “is that you're not so bad. As, you know, you could have been.”


“Awww, that was lovely. It was really--” Saungine paused, a frown threatening to overtake his features. “What are you doing?”


Rakel had reached over the table and offered her hand to him. “I want you to shake it. My hand. You, ah, really saved my hide back there. So...” Rakel waved her hand around a little bit before Sanguine finally took it and shook it enthusiastically.


“You know, Dragonborn, I think we're finally starting to starting to get along.”


Sanguine's words were drowned out by the sounds of Rakel vomiting into the bard's lute.

 

 

Rakel was half asleep when she felt someone gently take her out of bed and carry her out of her room. If she had been truly awake she would have put a stop to it immediately but as it was she simply shut her eyes, enjoying the rocking motion of being carried around. She half heard a door open and definitely felt the cool chill of Skyrim air. Not quite ready to be fully conscious just yet, Rakel shut her eyes tighter and tried to scrunch herself up as small as possible. It worked well until she was thrown out of those arms and landed in what she later learned was a full watering trough.


“What the f--”


“There are children, dearest,” that irritating and growing to be all too familiar voice joked. “Language.”


Rakel wiped water from her eyes and tried {and failed} several times to lift herself out of the trough. A horse nudged her curiously and she quickly palmed it's face away. “Why would you do this? It's still morning--”


“It's well past noon.”


That did nothing to ease her exasperation. “You're such a--”


“Language.”

 

 

After an hour of slowly gathering her things, checking her various bumps and bruises, and downing whatever disgusting concoction that the bartender promised her would cure her hangover, Rakel was ready to leave. Sanguine was still hanging around, mostly getting in her way. But why he was really still there was unclear to Rakel unless her hungover self was much more entertaining than she realized.


Rakel opted not to take a cart back to Whiterun; she needed a good walk to clear her throbbing head. Unfortunately her walk was accompanied by Sanguine who no matter how many times she told him to go home was stuck firmly to her side.
She suspected, embarrassingly, that perhaps he didn't think she could handle herself after the whole Molag Bol disaster. He had seen her in a very compromising position. She had appeared weak. It was annoying. More annoying than the ballads Sanguine was singing off key between sips from his flask.


They ran into a few bears during their journey and though the only weapon Rakel had left was the sword she had gotten from the Vigilant of Stendarr they managed to survive without too many new scars.
After almost allowing herself to believe that maybe she could get back home without anything strange or completely insane happening, the pair of them ran into an oddly familiar Argonian.


“Uh oh,” Sanguine said loud enough that the approaching Argonian could easily hear them. “We owe that guy money.”


“The fuck you mean we?”


“Hey, there you two are, you drunken bastards!”


Rakel groaned; she knew this man. Deep-In-His-Cups. And then she vaguely remembered something about some sort of bet? It was...


“I did what you said. Ran through that bandit camp to get you this damn hat.” Deep-In-His-Cups shouted, waving said hat around like a flag. “Now where's the 10,000 gold you owe me?”


“The 10,000 what?” Rakel turned slowly to Sanguine who merely shrugged, adding, “It's a really nice hat.”


She wanted so very dearly to punch something. “Sorry, but I don't have that kind of money on me and even if I did can you really expect me to pay that much for a stupid hat? I don't even wear hats.”


An unhelpful voice from behind her said, almost scolding her, “You really should consider it. Skyrim's not exactly a tropical paradise.” Deep-In-His-Cups nodded solemnly.


“Regardless, I'm not paying that much for a hat. Sorry.” She wasn't.


Deep-In-His-Cups was determined. “Since we're such good friends...”, Deep-In-His-Cups began slowly, thinking the situation over, “how about you pay me 750 gold and we call it good?”


“How about you take that offer and stick it up--”


Sanguine's hand slid over Rakel's mouth to smother the remainder of that sentence. “Hey, hey, hey. We'll pay the 750 gold. It's a fair amount considering I do believe you were stark naked when you ran into that bandit camp.”


“I was.” Deep-In-His-Cups had a hand on a blade that Rakel assumed had previously belonged to whomever owned that ridiculous hat.


“Right,” the Prince continued, “And fair is fair, but first...” Sanguine dangled his flask out in front of him. “I want you to try this. Took it from some daedra worshipers that were going to use it as an offering. It's strong. Best I've ever had,” he bragged to sweeten the deal a bit more.


“Were they...” Deep-In-His-Cups looked suspicious and deeply curious all at the same time. “Were they Sanguine worshipers?”


“They were.”


“Hand it over.”


What was the point in all this? Rakel frowned as Deep-In-His-Cups took a huge gulp of whatever liquor Sanguine was keeping in that flask. They couldn't pay this man and it had become clear that if they could not that this would boil down to a fight. So why put off the inevitable?


She didn't understand until Deep-In-His-Cups returned the flask, blinked a few times, and then promptly passed out. Sanguine then delightfully stepped over his body and gestured towards Whiterun. “Shall we?”


“Is he dead?”


“Nah. He's not...” There was a long pause. “He's probably not very dead.”


Rakel moved Deep-In-His-Cups off the main road and hid his still breathing body in some bushes. Hopefully he'd awaken soon and before any stray animals found him.
As Rakel followed Sanguine, her eyes narrowed suspiciously at his swaying back. Finally she asked in a more excusing tone than was probably called for, “Why didn't you kill him? He would have tried to kill us.”


He whirled around and nearly smacked her in the face while doing so. “I think you underestimate how many problems alcohol can solve.”


Rakel abruptly looked away. “I think I underestimated something.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 7: Blood Drunk

 


 

Rakel didn't want to look her “husband” in the eye. When he acted like this, acted nice, all she could think about was how easily he could kill her. It wasn't the most logical connection but it was the way her mind worked.


Instead she stared down at the toes of her boots and was pissed to find that she could actually see her toes. She needed a new pair of boots and soon. Irritated, she turned to Sanguine to complain about her shoddy footwear and found she was speaking with the air. As suddenly as the Prince had appeared, Sanguine had vanished from Rakel's sight just as quickly.


Rakel sighed and headed towards the main road. Perhaps if she was lucky she'd run into a cart that could offer her a ride.


She found only one cart. It was driven by a jester. And it held a corpse.


Rakel continued walking.

 

Sanguine was almost certain he was forgetting something. Something very important. Something that had a tendency to overreact and do silly little things like throw axes at her problems, her problems being mostly her new husband.


Ah, yes. He was supposed to be seeing Rakel back to Whiterun when something else equally important had come up; Sheogorath had cracked open a new bottle of brandy. Even in another plane of existence Sanguine could smell the rich aroma, taste the strong, lingering... Gah, he stopped pretending that he knew anything more about alcohol other than it got him delightfully and efficiently plastered. All that mattered to him was that the Prince of Madness had liquor and Sanguine needed to be a part of it.

Even at the cost of abandoning his terrifying bride in the cold, dangerous wilderness without explanation.


Of all the Princes, Sheogorath was by far Sanguine's favorite drinking buddy. Most others were too concerned with trying to destroy all of Nirn to even consider sitting back and sipping on a cold one. Not that Sanguine himself did too much sipping.


“Sheo!” Sanguine exclaimed, noting that the Mad Prince's dinner table was filled with the usual guests. The usual guests being lunatics. “Love what you've done with the place. Everyone's drooling and happy and pissing themselves. And no one's even drunk yet!”


“Oh! We wouldn't dream of starting without you!” the Prince of Madness's loud brogue echoed throughout his realm, though it did little to stir his guests from their own mad, little thoughts. “We dream of much less pleasant things or of cheese. All depends on what I eat before bedtime. Turnips,” Sheogorath whispered to Sanguine seriously, “Turnips give me the strangest dreams.”


“Riiiight,” Sanguine returned, looking around. “Hate to be blunt, but where's the liquor? Or those weird mushrooms we had last time...”


“Hold on. Sit down. Stay awhile,” Sheogorath drawled and sauntered over to a red-backed chair. He had an opened bottle of brandy nearby and poured them each a tall pitcher. “I'd like to have a little chat with you. I think there may be a few things you're unaware of about your new...” There was a pause but probably not for dramatic effect. Honestly Sangine just assumed Sheogorath had forgotten what he was talking about. Or to whom he was talking to.


Sanguine nodded like he was listening intently and focused on his brandy. While he waited for Sheogorath to continue on Sanguine occupied himself by counting tiles on the floor, beams in the ceiling until...


“Wife!”


“There we go,” Sanguine raised his glass and took another healthy chug. Or unhealthy depending on how you looked at it. “And what do you think you're going to tell me about her that I don't already know? Besides practically anything?”


“Well, she's mad for starters. We'll start with that. Like I just said.”


Sanguine looked doubtful. “I think we're thinking of two different kinds of mad.”


“No, no, no. She is mad. Barking mad. Ha ha! Howling at the full moon kind of mad.” Sheogorath leaned towards him eagerly. “And you are mad as well. Trying to take what belongs to Hircine.”


“What does Hircine have to do with...” And suddenly it hit him so hard he had to take a hit from his skooma pipe just to calm down. “She's a werewolf, isn't she?


“Exactly so. I was wondering how many puns it would take for you to catch on.”


Sanguine made a face. “And Hircine is...?”


“Less than pleased. But also considers you beneath Him so you have that in your favor.”


“How is that in my favor?”


“It really isn't.” Sheogorath didn't dwell on it long. “Anyway, this all sounds like a 'you' problem and not a 'me' problem. So let's drink!”


“That's the first thing you've said that's even remotely made any sense.” Sanguine toasted him.


The two Princes both laughed for a very long time but Sanguine had the sneaking suspicion that were laughing about very different things.

 

 

Rakel barged into Jorrvaskr very unceremoniously and headed directly into the barracks. She had decided that her best chance at a full night's rest was to stay with the Companions rather than at home. Sanguine might be more hesitant to randomly appear with some many witnesses wandering the hall. Or he might not give a fuck.


Exhausted from her journey and her eyes half closed, Rakel groped for a door handle and tried to open one of Jorrvaskr's bedroom doors. She got it part of the way open before someone slammed it shut. “Talos, what the fuck?”


Rakel turned from the door and met a pair of warpaint smeared eyes. Vilkas stared at her, frowning but that wasn't exactly unusual. “That's my brother's room, Harbinger.”


She flinched. “My apologies. Must have been, ah, habit.”


Vilkas's mouth twitched downwards even further. Then he sighed. “Use my room. I still have to go over the documents you won't touch so I won't be using it. Just...” Vilkas moved back towards the main hall. “Don't cause my brother anymore pain.”


Rakel couldn't think of anything to say. Nothing to smooth things over or to heal. The only word she could produce as Vilkas walked away was, “Fuck.”

 

After a few hours of much needed rest, Rakel was shaken rudely awake. She cursed and buried her face further into Vilkas's pillow. “If that's you, my Prince,” she spat out sarcastically, “I'd advise you to never wake me up like that again.”


“You have a nickname for your husband? That's so sweet!”


“Aela?” Rakel really didn't want to leave Vilkas's sheets now. “I thought you were--”


“Your prince?” Aela repeated gleefully, her deep voice breaking up into laughter. “Oh, wait until I tell--”


“No one. You're going to tell no one,” Rakel hissed, raising her head up off the pillow. She furrowed her brow and asked, still irritated, “Why did you wake me?”


Aela tugged on Rakel's arm, forcing her out of bed. In the dim torchlight Rakel could see Aela's warpaint was fresh and shining. “Wait, is it a full moon tonight?” Rakel was nearly bouncing with excitement.


Aela grabbed her shoulders to calm her down. “Yes.”


“We're going on a hunt?”


“Yes.”


Her heart was racing. The Companions used to hunt as a pack monthly and always under a full moon. It was the first time Rakel had felt safe since she had been sent to the chopping block by the Imperial army.


Aela continued to chuckle as Rakel raced past her and into Mead Hall. Her shield-siblings were already there, dressed in baggy clothes and all stirring with anticipation. She found Vilkas first who asked her, “Did you get any sleep?”


“A bit,” she said quickly. “I thought we decided we weren't going to do this anymore. Having the whole pack out at once... I thought you said it was unnecessary and dangerous?”


“It is,” Vilkas returned before he shrugged, “but I think it is needed. Due to some recent events our family has been less of a family.”


Rakel sneered; she knew what 'recent' events he was talking about. But she decided not to dwell on it. They were going hunting.


Purely out of habit, she searched for Farkas's shaggy head. He was bent over his boot, tugging the leather up over his calf. When he looked up suddenly, sensing he was being watched, their eyes met for a brief second. She tried giving him a half-grin and he returned it with an extremely forced grimace.


It would have bothered her more if a hunt wasn't in her near future.

 

 

To avoid suspicion Vilkas had the Companions sneak out of Jorrvaskr one by one and told them to meet by Honningbrew Meadery. Rakel paired herself with Athis and they ran out together. She could feel the change starting before she even reached the gates. Managing to hold it off until they were out of eyesight of Whiterun's guards, Rakel let out a wild scream as she transformed violently. It had been a long time since she had entertained her inner self. Her wolf was feeling neglected.


Forgive me, Lord Hircine.


“Wait for me!” Athis shouted after her, still unchanged.


Rakel couldn't reply even if she wanted to. He would catch up eventually.

 

 

She was pacing behind the brewery by the time the rest of the Companions found her. Rakel growled low to signify her distaste at their lateness. Farkas and Aela were already changed. Aela padded over and nuzzled Rakel's pale fur appreciatively.


Rakel nipped at her, teeth flashing in the moonlight. The last time the Companions had done this it had been under a different Harbinger. The family had stalked a few deer and one saber-tooth before heading back. As the new Harbinger, Rakel had other plans.


She set them in the direction of Silent Moons camp and stopped them right outside its entrance. Rakel focused her gaze off in the distance until Vilkas nudged her with a growl. She knew he had guessed what she had planned. If he could have spoken at the moment Rakel already knew what he would have said. A mammoth? Really?


Really.

 

 

The ripe stench of fresh and bloody meat being exposed to the open air hit Sanguine's nostrils the second he stepped onto Nirn. He would have expected no less considering who he was visiting.


“Darling?” he began, the simple word slurred and spoken too loudly. He followed the stench of blood, swaying a little, until he came upon a pack of wolves knee deep in a mammoth carcass. A giant lingered nearby, furious at what the pack had done but too afraid to come any closer. The pack would have easily torn him apart.


The pack sensed his approach and all growled, ears flattened against their heads. Unperturbed, Sanguine still swaggered up to them, a grin playing across his lips as he asked, “Now which one of you is my lovely wife?”


As the pack simultaneously paused Sanguine wondered if they could even understand him. His wondering was cut short as a large wolf parted them and made its way to him. He recognized her immediately. That pale blonde fur stuck out like a sober man in Misty Grove.


“Hello, sweetie.”


Sanguine received a sharp bark at his attempt at flattery. Rakel moved from all fours to her hind legs, momentarily towering over him. She sniffed at him, paying particular attention to his throat as Sanguine stood still, smiling and looking pretty. Finally Rakel returned to all fours and began walking away from her pack. Sanguine assumed he was to follow.


Her brethren were displeased at her exit, one of the pack almost tried to follow before angrily returning to its meal.

 

 

Rakel led them a good ways away from the rest of the Companions and Sanguine was happy enough to follow. He had a few questions for her.


“So...Hircine? Really?” he whined in between singing shanties very off key. “Of all the Princes you choose to serve Him? You know he has an unhealthy obsession with skinning people? Even Sheo's temperament would have been better. He has better brandy, too. Did you even take that into account?”


His wife had either tired of his rambling or they had reached their intended destination, a small camp near some hot springs. Either way, Rakel forced herself to change back into her human form. As she thrashed and twisted, all Sanguine could say was, “Well, that looks uncomfortable.” When she rose from the ground, completely and gloriously nude, he changed his tune. “But completely worth it.”


Her face darkened in fury but her eyes suddenly narrowed and focused on him. “Now you,” she said quietly, the first words from her mouth all evening.


“Oh, I can't do that particular parlor trick,” Sanguine laughed. “I do have a little spell though that turns everyone around you naked. Gave it to the Hero of Kavatch. He used it very, very wisely.”


“No,” Rakel frowned, impatient as always. “Change into the real you.”


“Ah. You mean this.” Sanguine gave a drunken little turn and abandoned his human disguise. He flexed his arms, giving her a nice view of his armour.


“Good,” she breathed in return. “Now cast that other spell you mentioned.”


His smile stay fixed. “What?”


She almost looked ready to pounce. “Lose the armour.” She swayed a little as she waited and suddenly everything made sense.


“You're drunk,” Sanguine realized and he laughed too loudly and for too long. “No, you're blood drunk. Was the mammoth a little too much for you?”


“Is this a little too much for you?” she spat bravely. Or stupidly.


Sanguine's voice lost it's chipper, inebriated drawl. “Don't insult a Prince.” He herded her further into their stolen campsite, preparing to make a move until she jumped him first.

Chapter Text

Chapter 8: Some Sort Of Madness
A/N: I really really like the game chandelier. Except my crew called it rage cage.


 

She was surprisingly quick for someone so tall, Sanguine thought as his blushing bride suddenly sprinted at him. Rakel hit him at his waist and used her momentum to wrestle him to the ground. He suspected she was using her dovah abilities, cheating essentially, to try to get the upper hand. She needed to realize one never got the upper hand against a daedra.


“Are we fucking or fighting?” he asked suspiciously. Mortal attempts at displays of dominance were amusing now and then and always good for a laugh, but it was simply not something that could be tolerated.


“This little joke of yours has gone far enough,” Rakel snapped back as if that was something she could decide. She never answered his first question but the way she sat up, straddled his waist, and began to grind against him, in a way, did. Then she did a few things with her mouth and hands that made him forget what the hell he had even asked her. “This might as well happen.” She quieted, looking up and at the still bright moon. “After all, I can't exactly cheat on a daedra and expect to live, can I?”


What was she playing at? She did always get mysterious when she was drunk. And creative. A combination that had always previously gone in his favor. Now, though...who could tell? Sanguine squeezed a warning on her hips. “Are you attempting to suggest something? A way to get you out of our forever binding agreement?”


Her eyes flickered down to his, shockingly curious instead of angry. “No. I suggest we fuck.”


Now this was an interesting turn of events.


 

 

Rakel felt the Prince's large hands tighten on her hips, probably hard enough to bruise. She let him set the pace; she was too full and too preoccupied to completely focus. I should not have ate so much.
And then she had another thought that she decided to completely ignore. I probably shouldn't be doing this, either.


But dammit if it didn't feel great. And it might have continued on feeling great if a shadow hadn't caught her eye. Rakel shouted and tumbled off Sanguine. He shouted back at her, startled by her sudden outburst. “What's got into you? Besides me, I mean.”
She stuttered uncharacteristically. “I thought I saw...I thought I saw that daedra from the house.”


“What?” Sanguine sat up, groaning. “No, he is not. I would have sensed him, even as occupied as I was.” He beckoned her back over. “C'mon. Let's try for number four. The night is young. Or morning. I have no idea what time it is.”


But Rakel was still staring off into the distance, searching. “I need to rejoin the others. Thanks for, uh, you know.”And then, before Sanguine could argue the point, Rakel was a wolf again.


Leave it to Molag Bal to ruin the mood without even having to be there. Typical. “That's a dirty trick,” Sanguine whined. “And I usually love dirty tricks.”


Rakel licked his hand in a surprising show of sympathy. He watched her pad off, howling until one of her pack answered her.


At her departure Sanguine briefly considered stealing everyone in Whiterun's left shoe but he opted for returning to Misty Grove instead. He planned on playing a new game one of his newest worshipers invented, something called “chandelier”. Alas, it was not to be. He had a special guest waiting for him.

Sanguine groaned and grabbed the nearest Kynreeve. “Why did you let Mr. I Swear Antlers Are In This Season come in here? This is my space.” He gestured around wildly. “My space, man.”


The Kynreeve shrugged. “We took bets on how long his Lordship would wait for you. Couldn't risk dirtying the pool. You know how it is.”


“Ah, well, as long as you had a good reason.”


“Stop this jabbering immediately.” The ever impatient Lord Hircine slammed his spear against the ground. “I need to speak with you, Sanguine. You've been meddling again.”


“Again? What was the first time?” Sanguine pushed back the Kynreeve to greet his very unwelcome guest. “Actually, forget that. I don't care. I'm entirely too sober for this. Now, be a dear and get the fuck out of my face. You're trespassing.”


“It is telling that that word “trespass” would come to your mind so quickly, Sanguine.” Hircine was clearly not to be moved. He stood tall, bare chested and with a large set of antlers adorning his head. “You are trespassing on my property.”


Sheogorath had warned him of this. He had done it cryptically, of course, but he had warned him nonetheless. Sanguine sighed. He was unprepared for this. That wasn't unusual. It wasn't in his nature to prepare for anything. “Hircine, I think you're using the word “property” wrong. And I'm not the issue here. If your followers were so loyal they wouldn't be opening up for me.” And then Sanguine laughed for a long time. Hircine stared at him.


Sanguine decided to try a different tactic. “She's not worshiping me, Hirc. I mean, she obviously should be. Just look at all this.” He gestured down at himself. “And she does drink a lot. A lot. Even for a Nord. But I assure you that she's still loyal to you. Just an hour ago she was naked and howling at the moon. And on a completely separate note, she later turned into a wolf.”


“She is mine to hunt,” Hircine spat. “Not yours.”


Frowning, Sanguine remembered how Hircine treated his subjects in the afterlife. Not well. “Put that in the fine print, did you?”


Hircine was unmoved. “She is aware of the cost.”


“Guess you know why she chose me over an eternity of being hunted.”


“Then you admit it.”


Dammit. He tried to backpedal. “That wasn't exactly what I meant.”


“Unbind yourself to her.” Hircine was certainly a man of few words.


Well, Sanguine could never resist a challenge. “Or what?”


“Or the hunt begins early.” There was a rather sinister pause. “For both of you.”


What Hircine wished to do did not concern him. Rakel had earned Hircine's wrath long before they had crossed paths. Sanguine stared back at Hircine, this feeling entirely new to him. He was unused to feeling so... angry wasn't it. A competitiveness. Due to his drunken and unruly nature he had never before had another Prince view him as a rival. Though he was new to all this, Sanguine was still fairly certain he had absolutely no desire to be a part of their games.


And as much as he wanted to tell Hircine to get the fuck out of his space, Sanguine chose another option.


Saguine gestured wildly behind Hircine, shouting, “Look out! It's the nerevarine! Right behind you!”


Hircine spun around, his spear raised in one defensive motion. Sanguine burst into loud laughter behind him, doubled over and wheezing. It certainly did nothing for their relationship, but it was totally worth it.


“The nerevarine is dead,” Hircine spat and then he actually spat on the ground at Sanguine's feet.


“Allegedly.” Sanguine grinned. “Still made you jump, though.”


Hircine repeated himself once more before storming back to his plane. “Unbind her.”


Then he was gone.


Instantly the Kynreeve that was attached to the Sanguine Rose appeared at his master's side. “We need to act quickly.” He glanced quickly at Sanguine. “Can I assume that we are not going to war with Lord Hircine?”


“Look at what we have to work with, Champ.” Sanguine made a sweeping gesture to the table in the middle of Misty Grove and the men who sat at it. One man was doing the slowest jig Sanguine had ever seen. Two were vomiting on themselves. Like, a lot of vomit. Another was singing “The Dragonborn Comes”, but in the completely wrong tune. “They're a bunch of beautiful, drunken morons. I love these assholes, but let's be realistic. Look at that one. He's completely naked and is kicking a beehive. A beehive. Tactics and strategy clearly are not some of our strengths.”


“War is out of the question, then?” If Sanguine didn't know any better it sounded like this Kynreeve was disappointed.


“As much as I hate being told what to do, and I really, really hate it,” Sanguine lamented, “I think I know how to handle this one on my own. But I'm not going to like it.”

 


 

Mead Hall was loud and full of a pack fresh from the hunt. There were boasts all around, each pack member trying to claim that their part in the mammoth hunt had been the most pivotal. A couple fights broke out but it was all in good fun. Just a few bumps and bruises, here and there. The drinking was expected. Rakel watched her companions bark and nip at each other. Some even tried to sing, but they were always drowned out by the others howling in protest.


It was, quite simply, home.


Rakel sipped at her drink, watching the others fight and flirt. She had no time for their games now. She had been sated earlier, in more ways than one. Perhaps there was to be some good out of having a daedric husband. He definitely compensated for it in certain areas.


Her pleasant mood, however, was not to last. Rakel was humming and drinking when a heavy hand clapped down on her shoulder. “Paws off, buddy,” she snarled solely out of habit.


“His Lordship requests your precense.”


What was the fucking Kynreeve doing here? In broad daylight?! Rakel scrambled away from, already noticing how quiet her friends had become. Swords were being unsheathed. The Rose was tucked away at home. She'd made sure of that. So why was he here in the middle of Jorrvaskr?


“What it the meaning of this?” Vilkas demanded from somewhere across the hall. Rakel had a similar question, but with a few more expletives.


Their questions were never answered. The Kynreeve opened up a portal which did nothing to calm the Companions. “Time to go.”


Rakel slowly turned to try to give her friends some sort of explanation. In the end all she could do was shrug, “Mages, am I right?” before she was yanked through the portal and back to Misty Grove.


 

“I like what you've done with the place.” Rakel found herself actually with a spot at the table this time. Her last visit had been a rather short and confusing one, without so much as a goodbye before she had been kicked out and sent back to Nirn. “The aroma of stale ale and piss. It's to die for. Not literally, of course,” she added pointedly. “That's not why I'm here, is it?”


Sanguine pushed a mug of ale in her direction. “Now, now, settle down. You're just here for a drink.”


“That was a lot of pomp and circumstance just to get me a drink,” she commented. Her fingers curled around the mug. “Makes me nervous.” Something had changed between them and the night they recently shared together instantly came to mind. Perhaps she had crossed a line? Nah, Sanguine didn't have any lines.


“Well,” Sanguine drew out the word. “It's not just any drink. This one comes with some, ah, consequences.”


“I thought all drinks came with those.” Rakel tried to take a sip but Sanguine placed a finger on the rim and pushed it back down on the table.


“Hold on, tiger--”


“I'm a wolf.”


“Besides the point. I want you to know what these consequences are first. Lay out the terms up front.”


Rakel leaned away from the drink. “What are you going on about? This isn't another drinking contest, is it?”


“No, but the drinks of a similar concoction of the one we shared the night we met.” The Prince's usual smirk waned. “I had a talk with Hircine.”


He watched her pale. “Can't imagine that went well.”


“And it's not something I'd particularly wish to repeat. He's dreadfully boring.” He pointed at the mug still in front of her. “I want to talk about this. It's, ah, a fix for our little situation.”


Her eyes snapped to the mug. “A fix?”


“You ever wish there was some magic potion that would make everyone forget about our betrothal?”


“Always.”


“Okay, that hurts.” Sanguine huffed, holding two hands over where his heart supposedly was. “But that's what this drink will do. It'll save you and me, mostly me, a lot of trouble. The bad kind of trouble. I'm all for the good kind, but Hircine's a little too friendly with that spear of his. I'd hate to be on the receiving end.”


Rakel pulled the drink back over to her. “You're telling me this drink will make everyone forget? Everyone?”


“The temple of Mara will forget. Your Companions will forget. The exceptionally hairy one, too.” Sanguine nodded as he listed off the names. “Oh! And you'll forget. Forgot to mention that. Ha!”


The drink was halfway to her lips. “Wait? I'll forget?” She wasn't certain how she felt about that.


“If you want Hircine off your trail it's all or nothing.”


Rakel peered suspiciously at him. Was he drunk?


No, she suddenly realized. Sanguine was entirely sober. And that frightened her.

Chapter Text

Chapter 9: And, Now, A Toast
A/N: Notes will be at the end of the chapter this time.


 

She had a choice. It was not something Rakel was used to being offered; the right to choose, regardless of the outcome. Everything was always “do this or else the world as we know it will crumble into dust”. But, now...


“I can't decide,” she blurted suddenly.


Sanguine tilted his head curiously. “That is...not what I thought you'd say. Are you sure? Do you need me to explain the situation again? Hircine's pissed that you're playing both sides. Says it's unsportsmanlike. I can draw you pictures in chalk if all these big words are confusing you.”


“That's unnecessary.” Rakel stood. “I think I need some time to mull it over. Can I have a day? Just a day to think over the situation.”


“What's there to think about?” Sanguine's hand gestures were getting out of control now. “Honey, if Hircine comes barging in here with those dogs of his, it ain't gonna be pretty. I think you of all people know that I'm a lover, not a fighter. A really, really great lover. Just fantastic. Unbelievable, even.”


“I feel like you're going to go on for a bit so can I go home?” Rakel brushed off her leggings. She was pretty sure she had sat in something wet. “I need to consider my options.”


“What options?” Sanguine shouted, voice cracking on the last syllable.


The Rose Kynreeve grabbed Rakel by the elbow. “You can find your own way out, Dragonborn.”


“No, I really can't,” Rakel protested while the Kynreeve opened up another portal to Nirn behind her. He shoved her through it and Rakel tumbled backwards and back into Jorrvaskr. She landed, ass first, on top one of the dining tables much to the Companions' surprise.


There was stunned silence until Aela snapped, “Get out of the butter, arsehole.”


Sheepishly, Rakel lowered herself off the table and with the small amount of pride she had left walked out of the hall to hole herself up in Breezehome.

 


 

Sanguine stared at the still full mug of alcoholic potion and wondered, she's just going to let that get warm? To the Kynreeve he snarked, “What was that all about? You kicked her out before I could tell her what a huge mistake she was making. I don't have the time nor the energy to fight her jealous ex.”


“Are you accusing me of something, Lord--”


“You know exactly what I'm accusing you of. Linking you to the staff has made you increasingly bloodthirsty. Not to mention it hasn't exactly done wonders for your complexion. We've all noticed.” Sanguine rubbed his face, irritated, which he hated. He was usually the one irritating others. “Are we sure the nerevarine is dead? Maybe we give 'em some drinks, get 'em on our side, and use 'em to scare the shit out of Lord Hircine and his pups.”


“We can always ask Hermaeus Mora what it knows.”


Great, now they had to talk to that know-it-all. “I'll leave that to you, General. I have a game of chandelier waiting for me.”


The Kynreeve paused, unsure whether he should ask. “Do you think she's going to do something stupid?”


“Oh, absolutely.”

 


 

Rakel had thought going home would help clear her head. Give her time to make a pros and cons list. But her mind kept wandering and every time it did she thought of her predecessor, the last Harbinger. Kodlak had made her promise that his soul would not go to Lord Hircine's hunting grounds. And she had kept that promise, though in her opinion hunting in the Afterlife with Lord Hircine didn't sound so bad. Now, though, Hircine thought she was trying to avoid his hunting grounds due to her commitment to Sanguine.


She knew why Lord Hircine was so displeased. To him it looked like she was still enjoying the benefits of his lycanthropy and trying to skip out on the cost. It wasn't fair.
Taking Sanguine's way out, dissolving her marriage to him and completely erasing all memories bound to that situation... It would certainly convince Hircine that Sanguine claimed no real hold on her. And a unnecessary war would be avoided. Her life would return to normal and she, and everyone she knew, would be none the wiser.


It would be better, if they all forgot about this. It would erase all that confusion and all that pain that came from it. No good could ever come from communing with daedra. Talos, if any of the Vigilants of Stendarr ever guessed her secret...
It wouldn't end well.


What she should do was clear. But she still wished Kodlak was around to ask his opinion.


Wait! What was she even considering here? Of course she needed to erase her marriage and completely burn that bridge. Not only to keep Lord Hircine from hunting her and everyone in Misty Grove to their very last breath, but also because it was the morally correct choice.


And she was clearly all about morals.


Why was she mulling over this at all? Sanguine had caused her nothing but trouble. Okay, the goat thing was actually pretty amusing. Not at the time, obviously, but in hindsight.


There's the girl I married! Always too clever by half!
She had always been so short and frustrated with him. So what was all this? The thought of forgetting everything...the good and even the bad...
The thought made her ill.


I'm here to nurse you back to health!


No, no, no. She had been delaying for hours now and she was still no closer to a decision.


I think you underestimate how many problems alcohol can solve.


Rakel walked upstairs to her bedroom and stuck her arm underneath her bed until she found the bottle of brandy she kept there. Strictly for when she couldn't sleep. Honest.


She poured out a glass and threw it back like a professional. “One shot for Hircine.” Quickly pouring out another, Rakel took that shot as well and said, smiling wryly, “One for Sanguine.”


And she continued on like that for a good while until there was only enough for one last glass. Half a glass, really. Huh. Rakel had thought she had more than that. Someone must have been helping themselves to her stash. Shrugging, Rakel downed that last drink quickly.


“Well, I guess that decides that.”

 


 

“You've been acting odd,” Aela commented when Rakel returned late that evening. “Even for the Dragonborn.”


“I'm about to act odder,” Rakel admitted, sitting down heavily. Her head was throbbing and it hurt to open her eyes. “Fetch Vilkas for me. I need to speak with him. With both of you.”


“Vilkas is sleeping.” Aela's eyes narrowed, her usually paint smeared face clear. “You smell wrong. Where--”


Her teeth were grinding together. Rakel's patience thinned and she snapped, “That was an order, Aela.”


The silence between them is suffocating. Rakel winced, both of them knowing her position as Harbinger is more a counselor's job than anything. She shouldn't be issuing any orders.


Her apology is quiet and somewhat rushed. “Aela, that was unworthy of me. I shouldn't have snapped. I'm grumpy and in pain. I ran into a bear on my way back here and it's difficult without--”


“Without what?” Aela asked and Rakel could sense she was still bristling.


“Please wake Vilkas. I need to speak quickly. I have somewhere I need to be soon.”


Shockingly, Aela left to get Vilkas without further argument.

 


 

“How was I supposed to know Hermaeus Mora knew I thought it was a know-it-all?” Sanguine sank heavily into the chair that normally served as his throne. It was rustic, extremely comfortable, and well suited for a large number of positions.


The Kynreeve seemed amused. “Because you called it that to it's face.”


“That was out loud? What else did I say?”


“It got worse from there. And then a little bit better. And then bad again.”


“Ugh. All that work and we still don't know where the nerevarine is.”


The Kynreeve decided to avoid mentioning that all their “work” had mostly entailed insulting Hermaeus Mora and binge drinking. “At any rate, the Dragonborn should have her decision.”


“Bring her here. Then we can figure out what kind of screwed we are.”

 


 

The Dragonborn looked smaller somehow when the Kynreeve appeared to take her one last time to Misty Grove. She was sitting in what appeared to be her home, warming her feet by the fire and staring at the doorway. “I've been waiting for you. Almost thought you'd forgot about me.”


“That's harder to do than you think. You're awfully loud.”


Rakel stood and stretched. “Are you saying I shout a lot? Huh? Does my shouting intimidate you? Does--”


The Kynreeve considered slaughtering her for a moment. Rakel couldn't help but notice that the Kynreeve did that often. “I see now why Sanguine continues to bother with you.”


“I know you don't mean that as a compliment but I'm going to take it that way regardless.”

 


 

“Did you just party foul in my presence?!”


Sanguine stared at the mug of potion that Rakel had just overturned, spilling all its contents onto the table. There was no greeting, no warning... Rakel had just waltzed in, sauntered over to him, and dumped her only way out of their shitty situation.
Rakel sat across from him. “I did something bad,” she sang off key.


“Oh, I daresay you did. But specifics, honey. I need specifics. Are you about to make the Kynreeve's day? He's been sharpening his sword meticulously. It's...disturbing.”


“It was stupid, too.”


Her words were considered. Sanguine sucked his teeth and repeated, “Something bad and stupid? Why did you do this?”


“I was drunk.”


“Naturally.” He suddenly leaned forward. “Now spill. About what happened, I mean. Not more alcohol.”

 


 

“You're lying!” Aela slammed a fist down on the dining table, her eyes swimming with a hint of tears. “You did not! You would not!”


Vilkas hushed her, watching Rakel curiously. “Aela, she did. Can't you tell? She smells...human. Just human.”


This was going much better than she had anticipated. Rakel stood, knowing she'd have to make her leave sooner rather than later. “I went back to Ysgramor's Tomb. I brought one of those witches heads with me--”


“You still had one of their heads? After all this time?” Vilkas sputtered, clearly and thoroughly disgusted.


“So I'm a hoarder. Judge me if you like.” There was no sense in stalling now. “I'm cured of my lycanthropy. And I'm naming both of you to replace me as Harbinger. I think the two of you can handle the physical demands and the paperwork that I never did anyway.”


Aela was easily the most upset by all this. Vilkas had probably sensed it coming a long time ago. Her duties as Dragonborn had begun to distract her from Companion business.


“Just because you're not a wolf anymore doesn't mean...” Aela began, searching for a way out of this. A way to convince her, but Rakel just shook her head sadly.


“You will always be my sister, Aela.” It was harder to say this that Rakel had thought. “But I've poisoned the pack. Even you can see that. And we need a Harbinger that can be more attentive.”


“How did you come to this decision?” Vilkas asked most likely because he felt he must.


“Well, I got really, really drunk...”

 


 

“So, yeah,” Rakel finished retelling her story. “That's pretty much how that went down. Good thing I kept that witch head all this time. Really came in handy though I'm starting to think I should clear out my inventory more often.”


“You cured yourself of your wolfiness?” Sanguine's expression was blank and starting to scare her. “You love being a wolf.”


“What can I say? It was the only way to get Hircine to fork over his claim over my mortal soul.” Rakel drummed her fingers on the table absently. “Misty Grove doesn't seem like such a bad place to spend eternity. Plenty of booze and I don't have to remain a wolf forever. I mean, I like being a wolf, sometimes, but for forever? Seems excessive.”


Sanguine's expression turned sly. “And, again, how did you decide this? You seemed pretty, ah, split last time we spoke.”


“I...” Rakel stopped herself, a few things clicking together. “I used a bottle of brandy to choose.”


“Interesting choice. Couldn't have just flipped a coin?”


That would have been much quicker, much more decisive. “Didn't occur to me at the time but now that you've said that...” Rakel turned still. “You didn't...influence that, did you?”


He was playing with her now. “Me? Cheat poor, old Hircine out of the Dragonborn's soul? Why I'd never!” His laughter turned to cackling. “I'm, ha, insulted that you'd even ask that! But as I am a forgiving Prince, I'll let that one go. Just this once.”


“You sneaky sonofabitch!” She suddenly felt much less independent. And a little afraid. “Tell me you didn't!”


“I didn't.”


“Sweet Talos, you did! If Hircine ever finds out about this we're dead. Well, I'm dead.”


“He's not that clever. And I tried to do somewhat right by you, as much as it pained me to even consider it. Luckily you stalled and I came back to my senses.” While Rakel grinned stupidly Sanguine clapped his hands together and motioned for his servants to gather closer. “Ladies and gentlemen, I think a celebration is in order. Bring out the kegs, quickly now! I've been sober all damn day and I've already ordered three executions so chop, chop! And by that I mean move faster, not send more heads rolling off the block.”


“Hey!” Rakel snapped. “I was almost decapitated once and I find that very offensive.”


The rest of Rakel's sentences were much less coherent. Sanguine's minions returned with way too many kegs and the party went downhill from there. After arm wrestling every single daedra that showed, and Sheogorath when he randomly appeared, Rakel found herself sitting pretty in a creek. The water was cool and refreshing and most importantly kept her from nodding off. So far she had outlasted most of the others, but a few were still going strong. Even with all the kegs empty.


Oddly enough, Rakel was feeling fairly good about herself. Never mind she had broke Aela's heart, left the Companions, didn't offer Farkus so much as a goodbye... Oh. She was a terrible person. Huh. That certainly explained a few things.
Forgetting all that, though, this whole thing could have turned out worse. Yes, she was still married to the Prince of Debauchery, Talos, she was glad her parents weren't in the country, but she wasn't currently hanging on a wall as Hircine's newest trophy. There were some positives.


“The after party's going to be at Sheogorath's place.” Sanguine cocked a brow when he saw her strange state. “How'd you get in there?”


That had an easy enough answer. “Don't recall. Help me up.” She was yanked to her feet quicker than she anticipated and found herself braced against Sanguine's chest. “Don't know if I'm going to make it to the after party.”


“What about the party after the after party?”

 


 

They did go to the after party. And the after after party. And the party after that where things had started to get weird.


But that weeks ago. And a lot had changed. Currently Rakel was just waking up, tangled in a mess of sheets in her new home in Riften. Sanguine snored alongside her, a bottle of wine cradled in his arms like a babe.


Honeyside was a long way away from Breezehome, but the pair of them felt right at home among thieves and drunkards. The fact that there was a brewery in very close proximity certainly helped in the decision making.


Aela visited often and Rakel did a few odd jobs for the Companions if they really needed the extra sword, but other than that Rakel avoided Whiterun for the most part. She had no desire to catch Hircine's attention. Thus far she'd been left alone after curing herself of her lycanthropy. It was an adjustment to be sure and she had to do a lot more cooking than before. Raw meat just didn't taste like it used to. She kept reminding herself that this was what Kodlak had wanted and he was a very wise man. Of course, he wasn't betrothed to a deadra. Who knew how that would have affected his decision?


Had she just made the worst choice of her most likely short life? Historians would probably say, yes, yes, she had. But Rakel wasn't going to dwell on that. She had world ending dragons to fight. Unburdening herself of all other responsibilities had felt good. Her eyes flickered over to Sanguine who still was out cold. Well, she had a few other things that felt good.


Once she had stopped fighting their relationship Rakel had had a lot more fun. So much fun that it was probably illegal. Most of it was actually illegal.


“Wake up, arsehole.”


One dark eye cracked open enough to peer at her. “Good morning, honeydew. Wow, you are lovely in the morning.”


Sanguine knew flattery got him absolutely nowhere, but Talos, did he try. Her response was not quite as flowery. “I haven't bathed in days.”


“Ah, that must be it.”


Moving carefully around the bed, making sure not to step on any discarded bottles, Rakel began gathering her regular traveling equipment. “I'm heading out for a few days. I'm thinking about breaking into the Blue Palace. Just for funsies.”


“We should definitely do that and then once we're inside move all the furniture an inch to the left. It'll be madness.” Sanguine was fully awake now and scheming.


Her grin is hard to hide. It was an odd feeling. She was starting to like it when he said “we”. Hmm. Tolerate it was a better description. “We should.”


Sanguine changed back into his Breton disguise and he was nearly out the door before she could even tug her boots on. He shouted behind him, waving at her to move faster, “And we steal the throne.”


Talos, help her. All she wanted to do was commit a felony, not high treason. “No.”


“No?”


Well, at least he had asked first. Rakel rethought her answer and, catching up to Sanguine's rather energetic stride, looped an arm through his. “...Maybe.”


 

 

A/N: Uh, I have some news. This is it. It's done. To be quite honest this was only supposed to be three chapters long and it got away from me. I know this is a fun, weird little thing and I love hearing your feedback when I actually get around to updating, but I'm starting my sea tour and I'm not sure how much attention I'll be able to give this. So I've worked late trying to tie up most of the loose ends. I wanted to give this an ending instead of leaving it on a cliffhanger and then not update for months on end. Because I've never done that before. In conclusion, I am really glad this made some of you laugh. But this is the end. It's 2 am so I'm just going to post this and go to sleep. Thanks for everyone's responses to this! I would not have finished this without those. I am easily motivated.
I am going to sleep. I had a martini and despite what you all may assume I am the lightest of lightweights. Goodnight.
P.S. Also I almost deleted all of this. On accident. I screamed.