Disclaimer: I don't own Fate or anything related to the series. I mean, no more than anyone "owns" the various myths and histories that make up the series.
Thanks to Blind_Seer0 for editing.
WARNING: Contains mature sexual content.
Fate/Grand Order: Reunion
Doctor Romani Archaman stood at the observation window, watching as technicians ran through their system checks. He was only there as a guest and observer, so he had nothing to do but wait for the test to begin. Next to him was Marisbury Animusphere, Director of Chaldea and his partner in a crime that no one would ever find out about. Well, it wasn't like there had been any tragic victims in the crime, which helped to make it the perfect crime. They both got to profit from it, Marisbury with wealth and himself with reincarnation. A chance to put his old life, that of King Solomon, behind him to never surface again.
"All systems are functioning," said a tech, getting Marisbury and Roman's attention. "We're ready to begin the summoning process on your word."
Marisbury nodded calmly. "Very good. Commence summoning attempt number eighteen." The techs spread throughout the room started to calmly enter instructions into the system and a low hum of magical energy permeated the room. Marisbury turned to Roman. "Are you ready to witness your first summoning attempt?"
Roman laughed at the private joke between them. He smiled awkwardly, still not quite used to doing so. Of course, he'd smiled in his past life, but those had been rare, special moments. Just letting himself enjoy a joke by a friend, that was a human experience that was still new to him. Even after two decades of human life, old habits were hard to break. "I believe so. It would be impressive to witness the summoning of Chaldea's Third Heroic Spirit."
"A hopefully momentous occasion," agreed Marisbury, returning his attention to the observation window. The Fate Summoning System, a key component in Chaldea's system designed to bring defenders to protect humanity from anything that might threaten them. While this summoning, if successful, would be labeled as the Third Heroic Spirit summoned, the existences of the First and Second were well kept secrets. Only a select few knew about the identity of the Second. Of the First, Marisbury was the only one to officially know who they were. Roman knew because he had been that Servant at one point, but he wasn't very keen on revealing that to anyone else.
Roman watched as magical energy surged through the glyphs drawn throughout the summoning room. A bright glare built up which would've been blinding if the glass hadn't been calibrated to magically tint as needed. Energy started to arc from the glyphs, looking for something to take form around. One bolt struck the observation window, scorching it slightly. Several techs flinched, startled by the process. Marisbury just stared forward, not even blinking. After a moment of hesitation Roman decided to flinch as well, trying to pass it off as a normal reaction. He was pretty sure he succeeded, but he couldn't be sure.
"Magical energy inside the summoning room is at eighty-five percent," said a tech. "It has responded to the summoning circle and is attempting to latch on to a catalyst."
"How is the catalyst we prepared holding up?" asked Marisbury.
"The piece of the Round Table that we placed in the room is still intact, but the magical energy hasn't attached to it yet."
Marisbury thought for a moment. "Try to tune the energy's frequency to more similarly match the catalyst. That may be all it takes."
A nod. "Understood. Toggling through magical energy frequencies now."
The magical energy started to shift color from the blue spectrum into purple as the techs shifted its frequency. Roman prepared himself for the coming of another bolt of energy as visible fluctuations started to occur. This time when a bolt of energy struck the glass in front of him, he was ready to flinch properly. He raised his hands up slightly before him, preparing himself for the jolt. So, he was surprised when the energy struck the observation window, hung frozen in the air for a moment and then lanced through the window to strike him.
Roman was shot backwards with a yell as intense magical energy rushed through him. He landed on his side, curled up into a ball, his hands held tightly against his chest.
"Barricade the observation window. Now," yelled Marisbury, his voice seeming to reach Roman from far away. There was the sound of a heavy shutter closing followed by confused cries by the assembled techs. "What happened to the cameras?"
"Every eye into the summoning room has been cut off," replied a tech, panic in his voice.
"And the process?"
"Keep monitoring it and get me a view into there now." Roman's eyes were closed tight, colors dancing beneath his lids. His hand burned and he held it tighter to his chest as if that would alleviate the pain. Strangely, the part of his hand that his ring touched was still cool and comforting, like the other side of the pillow on a hot day. He focused on that sensation. He didn't notice until they spoke that someone had knelt next to him. "Romani, are you hurt?"
His throat was tight as he forced a reply. "My hand…it burns…"
"Let me see," said Marisbury, taking ahold of his hand. Silence for a moment. "Your gloves are unharmed. Nothing is burnt. Let me see underneath."
Alarms went off in Roman's mind and he forced his eyes open and his voice to work properly. "No," he replied, jerking his hand away. He tried to sit up on the floor, managing to do so under the concerned watch of Marisbury. "I'm fine, really."
He couldn't take his glove off in a place like this. That glove, that hand, it hid his ring, Solomon's ring. No one was to know that he had it. As he looked into Marisbury's eyes he saw comprehension as his friend realized what he was hinting at. There was a reluctant sigh. "Fine, if you say so. There doesn't seem to be any physical injuries, but get yourself checked out for magical ailments afterwards, understood?"
Roman nodded, his hand still warm, but his senses once again under control. "I will."
"How is the summoning proceeding?" asked Marisbury, looking over his shoulder at the frantic techs.
"Magical energy readings are at one-hundred percent," replied one. "The pattern is stabilizing. I-I think it's going to work sir."
A smile. "Very good. Do we have sight into the room yet?"
"No sir. All eyes are blinded, with only the energy sensor still functioning. Energy could still be arcing as well, so it would be dangerous to open the doors or observation window until the process has completed and quieted."
Another tech chose that moment to speak up. "The magical energy is coalescing. T-minus ten seconds until the summoning ritual is completed."
"Finally," said Marisbury, standing and turning away from Roman. "This is exactly what we have been waiting for."
Roman tried to stand as well but found himself unable to when a sharp pain ran through his hand. He glanced down at it and saw a six-pointed star with the Hebrew letter Shin in the middle appear as glowing magical runes underneath his glove. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. Command Seals, for a Servant.
"Three," counted down the tech. "Two, one…"
His vision disappeared and he had a flash of insight, a vision into the contents of the summoning room. He saw the magical energy disperse as if he was inside the room. Kneeling in the now quiet room was a familiar dark-skinned woman in ornate red clothes made of the finest cloth. On top of her head were a pair of twitching dog ears, and behind her lazily waved a furry tail. As Roman's vision returned to him, showing the intensely focused techs and Marisbury, he realized he knew exactly who was on the other side of that wall.
"The summoning process has completed," said a tech, excitement in his voice. "Readings indicate the magical energy levels are decreasing and should be completely gone within fifteen seconds."
"Very good," replied Marisbury. "As soon as it is safe, open up the room and let us greet Chaldea's newest member."
No! Screamed a voice in Roman's head. Not here, she couldn't be here. Not like this. There were too many thoughts and emotions filling his mind. No divine inspiration came to him as the seconds ticked down, but a single thought did. He couldn't let her be found. Not yet. So, on instinct, Roman held out his hand and concentrated on his new Command Seals. A single thought filled his mind. I order you to meet me in my room.
The order interacted with his Command Seals and the shin glowed and faded as the techs finished their count down. Excited voices surrounded him as the grinding of the observation shutter lifted and the unlocking of sealed doors started. The hum of excitement faded a second later as a clear view through the observation window revealed an empty room, one devoid of occupant, magical energy or even scorch marks to show where energy had once been. Just pure, still, and sterile like before the ritual had begun.
"Where is the Servant?" asked Marisbury, turning to a very confused tech. "Why is there nothing in there?"
"I-," said the tech. She turned to her console and quickly typed in some commands. Information ran across the screen and she pointed to a particular line. "Right here. This should indicate a successful summoning. But this line after it, there was a surge of magical energy. Now, there's nothing."
Marisbury considered that. "So, it was a failure after all. The Servant couldn't hold their form and broke apart as we tried to catch a glimpse. There is a poetic irony there." Roman stood up from his spot on the floor, finally finding enough strength to do so. Marisbury turned to him, looking disappointed for a moment before it switched to concern. "Are you fine standing?"
Roman nodded. "I am." He wasn't lying. His hand had cooled, and his body felt normal again, if maybe a little tingly. "It's too bad that the summoning failed though."
Marisbury waved his hand dismissively. "No matter. We've collected plenty of useful data. We can use this as a learning experience to make Chaldea even greater than before." Marisbury eyed him suspiciously. "Are you sure you don't need any medical attention?"
And there was his opportunity. "I could do with some rest," replied Roman. "If you don't need me for the cleanup, could I be dismissed?"
"Only if you promise to go directly to your room and actually rest," replied Marisbury. "I would hate for my promising young Chief Medical Officer to ignore proper medical care and injure himself. Or worse."
Roman smiled at that, a genuine gesture. "Thanks, but it'll be fine. I promise it'll only be sleep for the rest of the day."
"If you say so," said Marisbury, turning away from him, content with ending the conversation there.
Roman turned and left the room, trying his best to not run down the halls of Chaldea. Just the steady, average pace of a man who wasn't injured and didn't have anywhere in particular to be. Or someone in particular to meet. He ignored the increasing beating of his heart. He'd done this meeting before, and he could do it again, right?
Wait, wondered Roman. How did I do this before? She visited me, which is what's happening now, except now she's the one in the room and I'm entering even though it's my room. And she's dead, and I'm alive, except her dead will look the same while me alive will look completely different. I know it's her, but does she know it's me? Will she think it's going to be me, then be completely confused when a different man walks into the room? Can someone commit adultery with their own partner if one of them has been reincarnated?
As thoughts buzzed around in his head, he found himself quickly before the door to his room. He stood outside of it for a moment, wondering if he should knock. Deciding that since it was his room, he didn't need to hesitate or be polite, he opened the door and walked right in. He stopped immediately after the threshold…
…and he lost his breath at what he saw, the door shutting closed behind him. Kneeling on the floor before him was a familiar woman, her head down. Everything about her was as perfect as he remembered, a dark skinned, black haired beauty. Furry ears we visible on top of her head poking through a beautiful red cloak. And that was all she wore, nothing else.
"Welcome Master," said Makeda, not looking up at him.
It was unfair that she could be as beautiful as the day they had first met in his throne room. Makeda was a woman of many faces, but he had been one of the few to see her true face. She was also a woman of many names, and he had loved to call her by her most intimate. To others, she was more commonly known as the Queen of Sheba. The fabled queen of a fabled kingdom. A footnote of mythology to some, a source of evil to others and the heroine of an epic romance to the rest.
"What," he said, trying to find his voice. "What are you doing dressed like that?"
"You ordered me to you chambers after summoning, I assumed that this is what you had in mind." Her voice was even and calm, but he thought he sensed some playfulness under all the polish. She was pranking him. Two could play it that way.
"If I had, what would your husband think?" he asked, trying to keep his voice steady. "As the one wed to King Solomon of Israel, is this truly appropriate behavior?"
"I am not so sure that King Solomon has much room to speak on this matter considering his other seven-hundred wives. I believe he was, in modern terms, a bit of a playboy. Maybe also this new word I have been granted by the Summoning System. A, 'man-slut'?"
Roman felt his face grow bright red and his heart rate increase at being called out. He wanted to protest since all of that had been legal and his royal duty, to seal pacts with neighboring nations and tribes. The sex had been good but having to sleep with that many women had been tiring and time consuming. And none of it as meaningful as that one night with her…
There was a light, playful laugh. Finally, Makeda looked up at him, a large smile on her face. Her eyes looked into his and he felt like he was once again in his throne room, their souls connecting immediately upon their first meeting. She stood, her full nude glory under her cloak visible to him finally. As beautiful as the day they had separated. "Of course, any of what we had just said would only matter if before me did not stand King Solomon himself. My beloved husband."
"You knew?" he asked, struggling to find his voice. It wasn't fair that she could keep her cool in a situation like this when he was struggling to breathe. "When?"
"From when our connection was formed. Just like you knew who I was." Makeda reached out and put a hand on his check. "You might look different, but I will always know who you are." A pause. "You are so red right now."
"That's your fault," he replied. He reached up and took her hand in his, gently removing it from his face and lowering it between them. "Just seeing you here…it's overwhelming."
Her ears and tail drooped slightly at his words. "I am sorry for the surprise. I figured that you were expecting me."
He shook his head. "I wasn't." He smiled at her. "But I'm pleased to see you regardless. I…I just need a moment to gather myself. This version of me doesn't handle surprise as well, and well…you're just too beautiful and I can't think straight."
As he felt his face warming again in embarrassment, he was surprised to see Makeda's ears and tail standing on end and her confident smile fading into an embarrassed one. Her cheeks turned slightly rosy. "I…I see. Th-that is g-good to hear. My beauty has always been awe-inspiring after all."
He hesitated for a moment. "May I kiss you?" he asked, leaning in.
She moved closer as well, her eyes locked with his, an embarrassed smile on her face. "You may."
And with permission given he leaned in, his free hand moving to cup her face. Her grip on his hand tightened as their faces moved right in front of each other. A pause, breath tickling in proximity, then he closed the distance, kissing her. A shock ran through him, a feeling he hadn't experienced in a lifetime. They stayed like that for several long moments, basking in the warmth and taste of each other. When they had had their momentary fill, they broke apart, breathing heavily with smiles on their faces.
"It seems my idea to greet you dressed like this was a good idea," said Makeda.
Roman laughed. "Was that revenge for how I got you into my chambers before?"
A pout. "You mean that mean trick of yours of feeding me spicy food without enough water to wash it down then waiting until I was thirsty and dragging me into your bed in exchange for something to drink? I don't know why I would ever want to get revenge for that…"
"Enough said," he replied, feeling embarrassed by his past self's boldness.
Makeda leaned in and kissed his cheek. "I would be angry if it were not for the fact that I can create water on command with my Enigmas. Which you well knew and know."
"Even so," he said. "It was rather bold of me. I was pretty high and mighty, trying to engineer a situation like that."
"Chained by duty and position, it would have only been okay for us to meet like that if one of us owed the other a debt. And since it was your land, it was easier to make it me owing you. There might have also been a bit of your ego in there, but in the end the choice was always made by my own free will. You made the situation one that I could have avoided if I so choose."
Roman stroked her cheek gently with his gloved hand. "I am so glad you made that choice. Never had I wanted anyone so much, but it was made even more special by knowing that you wanted it as well." He leaned in and kissed her cheek. "And thank you, for answering that unorthodox summoning."
"Even if you did not intend it to be such?"
"Even so. If I were to be surprised with a Servant, I would always want it to be you." A laugh. "Since I've started this new life, I've gotten used to things never going my way or constantly surprising me. This is just another such moment."
"And if I was to be a Servant to a Master, of course no other would I wish than you." A pause. Makeda's voice was much lower when she spoke next. "Would you mind we make this both a reunion and a forging of a new pact?"
He looked at her blushing cheeks, her beautiful features and the keen mind that showed itself constantly through them. What was about to be done was a choice that could not be undone. Not that he would ever want it to be such. He could never say no to a proposition like that.
"You mean like we did that night centuries ago?"
A shy nod.
Roman removed his hands from Makeda, the heat of her still lingering as he did. One at a time he pulled off his gloves, the first person he had done so in front of for years. He showed his left hand which had a golden ring on it. "Once before we made a promise on this ring. I gave it to you, and our son returned it to me. Finally, through the ages it made it back to me in this life." He knelt and held the hand to her. "If you will have it once more, I will gladly give it to you."
"Ever the romantic," said Makeda, reaching out and taking the hand. "Of course, I will always take this hand."
"Thank you," he said. He blushed brightly. "Uh, that said, I think I need a moment to prepare. You've got the jump on me in preparing for the activity." He pulled his hand back and started to remove his shoes as fast as he could, his hands fumbling around awkwardly as his heartbeat quickly in anticipation.
Makeda laughed, a bright clear note in the room. "You may have your moment." She shrugged and removed her cloak, her only piece of clothing falling to the floor behind her. "But know that I am waiting."
"Hey! Stop trying to pressure me like that!" Another fumbling attempt to untie his shoelaces. Were they always this hard?
While he did so, Makeda walked past him and he heard the door clicking locked. Next the lights in the room dimmed, not quite to darkness, but to a non-intrusive level. He removed his first shoe, then the next. He paused, what should he remove next?
"Let me help you," said Makeda, her hands sliding over his shoulders and gently removing his Chaldea ID from around his neck. He stood as she used Magecraft to float it over gently to his desk. Roman tried to turn around, but her gentle touch stopped him. "How about I help you from here?"
"Thank you," he said, his heart beating loudly. His hands fumbled in the dim light, moving down his doctor's jacket and unbuttoning it. Once he was done doing so, Makeda's hands helped him remove one side, then the other. The removed coat floated over to the desk as well, folding neatly around the backrest. As it did, he started to unbutton his pants. Makeda's hands trailed down his hips, taking hold of his pants and bringing them down to his ankles, caressing his legs slowly as she did. He could feel blood rushing through him, his body getting excited. Very excited.
"And these." A wave of a finger and Roman's pants were gone from his ankles and folded neatly on top of his dresser.
He blinked slowly for a moment. "Wait, you could just use Magecraft to strip me in an instant. Why are we doing it the hard way?"
Behind him, Makeda stood and placed her hands back on his hips. She leaned in and her body pressed against his. Her warmth radiated through the contact. Her voice was seductive as her mouth hovered right next to his ear. "But it is much more fun and exciting this way. It is like I am unwrapping a gift."
Roman felt his heart beating even faster in excitement. He nodded slowly. "Yeah, that makes sense." He had no other words to use. His brain had stopped functioning to make coherent sentences. It was instead focused on the slow, teasing promise that was currently running her hands up his sides and pulling his shirt off. He lifted his arms, allowing her, with a little bit of air based Magecraft, to lift it over his head and arms. The shirt floated over to join the pants, folding itself neatly as it did.
"Now, where do we go next?" asked Makeda. "Maybe we should take off your socks one at a time, slowly…"
Roman turned around and grabbed Makeda by the shoulders. "I apologize for messing with you as Solomon."
Makeda put on an innocent smile. "Whatever could you be talking about? Do you believe that I hold a grudge for all the pranks and tricks of the tongue you pulled on me during my short visit? Or how infuriating it was that you deftly solved every one of my riddles with little fanfare? The ones I had spent years perfecting..."
A laugh. Makeda leaned in and kissed him. He leaned into the kiss, closing his eyes as he did. There was a small tingle over his body. He felt his hair fall around his shoulders as it was released from its tail. When they finished, he saw that his clothes had all been removed from his body via Magecraft. Everything folded neatly on his dresser.
"Will that do?" asked Makeda, leaning against him.
Roman nodded. "That will. Thank you." He reached down and took her hand in his. He led her to his bed in the dim light. It was not like she needed his help; she could see in the dark much better than him, but the gesture felt right. The pair sat down on the bed and stared at each other for a moment. They leaned in and kissed once more, deeply, their hands tracing over each other's bodies as if to memorize every contour. His hand traced down her side, over her hips, around her thigh and then between them.
Makeda let out a small gasp as his hand rubbed gently over her slit. After a few slow seconds of that he probed inside with a finger. Already she was starting to get wet and he slid his finger around a bit before bringing it slowly in and out.
There was a small moan as they broke from their kiss for air. Roman smiled sheepishly, his finger still working her sensitive spots. Makeda's hand slid sensually over his inner thigh and slender fingers wrapped around his shaft, rubbing it slowly and gently. While her finger did that her thumb came up and moved slowly in circles over the tip, exciting it. He left out his own moan, his penis standing at full attention under her attention. He was becoming very sensitive very quickly and he wanted more.
Roman entered Makeda with another finger, leaning back in and breathing on her neck. "Soon?"
"Soon," she said into his ear before moving around into another kiss. He hungrily returned the kiss, trying to hold out for just a little longer. Makeda kissed him just as aggressively and he knew she was almost ready. As they did, they both kept up their tending of each other's sensitive places, Makeda getting wetter as he felt his own sensitivity reach its peak. The moment stretched into a short eternity before they broke apart, panting in excitement and breathlessness. Makeda removed her fingers from his shaft and he gently removed his fingers from inside of her. Her voice was husky when she spoke again. "Now."
Roman climbed onto the bed as Makeda swung her legs up onto it and laid on her back. As he knelt before her, he was once again taken by her beauty. Words from another life came to his mind. "How beautiful are your feet in sandals, O noble daughter. Your rounded thighs are like jewels, the work of a master hand. Your navel is a rounded bowl that never lacks mixed wine."
A light blush appeared on Makeda's cheeks. "Trying to flatter me with old poetry?"
He reached out and ran a hand lightly over her foot and up her legs. "Just reminded of the past I guess."
"I imagine it would be hard not to," said Makeda. He noted that she sounded sad.
Roman continued running his hand up her body, crawling closer as he did. His hand moved over her thighs, then her hips and rested over her navel for a moment before he pulled away. He moved both his hands to the side on each thigh and leaned in between them, her scent filling him as he did. Finding what he was looking for among her folds he ran his tongue over it, eliciting a moan from Makeda. Sweet, just like the fruit they had ate the dinner before that night. It conjured images of the citrus they had shared halves of along with pining glances unnoticed by all who sat with them.
Slowly and deliberately he worked her sensitive spot with his tongue. If there was a benefit to having seven-hundred wives in a previous life, this was it. Each was different after all, so he had learned to read the air, learn what was effective and what was not. An important lesson for romantic partners and Kings alike. He felt Makeda's slender fingers wrap around his hair as her moans become more and more pronounced. She didn't pull or force his head down, but he could feel her gentle touch there none-the-less. As her moans increased so did his excitement, his penis excited and ready, even without constant encouragement. Just a bit more…
"And you called me a tease," said Makeda, gasping. "I am also at my limit."
Romani lifted his head up, Makeda's hands releasing him. He crawled forward on his bed so that he was right above her, looking at her flushed face and into her beautiful eyes. He leaned in and kissed her gently, very quickly, before rearing back up on his knees. "Ready?"
"I am," replied Makeda with a smile.
He returned the smile before turning his attention to her hips. Very slowly and deliberately he guided himself inside of her. Makeda let out small gasps as he did, her breathing uneven in excitement. He took a moment to reposition himself over her. Then he started to move his hips, slowly at first but with increasing intensity. With each thrust Makeda moaned louder and louder.
"Yes. Right there. Yes…"
Roman felt his own excitement reach a peak, his breath coming out in ragged gasps. He felt his body wishing for release, but it wasn't time yet. Just a bit longer…
As he fell into a steady rhythm of thrusting, a hand reached up and gently caressed his face. He saw Makeda, love in her eyes, face flushed, and lips parted to release panting moans. "Let it all out. All the frustration, all the sadness, all the loneliness and everything else you have kept inside. I am here now, give them to me."
Makeda's words flipped something in him, releasing what he hadn't known he had been keeping in. His thrusts increased in intensity to almost a frenzy. He felt pressure building up in his body to a fever pitch and her words rang in his mind. "Makeda," he whispered. "Thank you." As he said the words, he gave one final thrust and his body shuddered as he reached completion. Makeda let out a gasp as he came inside of her.
Seconds seemed to stretch out to eternities as the pair were frozen there, panting, and staring into each other's eyes. Roman took the moment to catch his breath, his vigor drained from him with release. The moment took him back to a time before, one he'd never realized he'd wanted to recapture in this new life. As he looked down at Makeda he saw her excitement still there. His mind was still fuzzy as he spoke. "Ready to continue?"
Her ears twitched in excitement even as a complex mix of emotions crossed her face. "I would be. But are you? I would understand if you want to rest."
He frowned. "Don't underestimate the Head Doctor of the Chaldea Organization." And with that he cast a small Magecraft meant to refresh the body. He also added a bit of reinforcement Magecraft as well, which was immediately clear as his penis stood once more at attention and excitement filled him again. Makeda's expression shifted between surprise to one of excitement. He guided himself inside once again. "Ready?"
"Of cour-," her words were cut off by a gasp as he started to thrust once more. She started to moan in excitement. Her arms wrapped around his neck and her legs wrapped around his back, holding them together tightly. Breathless, the pair joined for another deep kiss. This one was passionate but short as they broke apart for air. Their fervor and excitement reached a crescendo. Makeda's grasp on him tightened as his body prepared for release. Roman was glad for the Chaldea rooms being soundproof as the pair loudly climaxed together with short cries of passionate release.
Both satisfied for the moment, Roman carefully moved off Makeda and slid next to her in the bed. It was a tight fit as the room had been intended for a single occupant, but Makeda was accommodating, snuggling tightly against his chest, a smile on her face. He reached down and pulled the crumpled-up blanket over them. As he did, he caught a glimpse of Makeda's tail, wagging back and forth contently. He wrapped his arms around her, enjoying the feel of her so close.
The pair lay like that in content silence for several minutes. He wondered for a moment if she had fallen asleep before she spoke quietly through the darkness. "Every time you answered one of my carefully constructed riddles, I was happy. Finally, I got to meet an intellectual equal I had never experienced or expected to meet before."
"I felt a thrill every time you spoke one," replied Romani. "Here was a challenge the likes of which I had never felt. Sure, there was honor and pride on the line, but for that short period of time, I was able to just have fun. The most I had ever had."
A pause. "I was annoyed that you managed to solve my last riddle. My handmaidens and I had spent so long crafting those fake flowers to be indistinguishable from real ones. I was sure that would be the one to get you…"
She sounded so pouty and annoyed he couldn't help but want to laugh. Her reaction was so cute. He did feel a little guilty at his solution though. "It was a tough riddle."
"But you just solved it by opening the window and letting a bee fly inside the palace! He sniffed out the real flowers in an instant…"
"To be fair, that bee owed me a favor after he'd stung me. I'd never expected to collect. But it's the little things that are sometimes the most important."
"A great truth," agreed Makeda, nuzzling against him. A pause. "The riddles were the most fun I had ever had, and our night together the most meaningful."
"Agreed," said Roman.
Her voice was soft when she spoke next. "What do we do next? You never planned to summon a Heroic Spirit, correct? Should we break the pact so that you can return to your new life?"
"No. I don't want that. It might not have been my plan, but I've gotten used to things never going as I planned in this life. Now that you're here, I would like to stay with you."
A sly smile. "Would that not be 'want me to stay with you'?"
"So, I will need to find a way to properly hide myself in this time and place…"
"About that," said Romani, taking Makeda's hands in his own. He felt his face flushing in embarrassment at what he was about to do. It was a crazy idea, but it was also probably the best. "Would you marry me?"
Makeda blushed as well. The reaction was cute, and comforted Roman. What were they, a bunch of first-time lovers? "You are more forward in this life than I thought." She smiled and her eyes glinted with cleverness. "But that is also the best cover, is it not? Hide me in plain sight as a regular human, and one you are close to. That way our interactions do not seem strange or suspicious."
"Exactly." Roman released her hands. He then removed his ring from around his finger and held it to her. "But it's just as much for love as strategy."
"You are so greedy," laughed Makeda. She took the ring from him. "But then, so am I."
Makeda slid the ring onto her finger. Magical lines flared and traced along the surface of the ring as she did. A glow surrounded Roman's ring finger and he felt something appear in the space around it. His ring, his familiar exact same ring, appeared where it always had. The magical energy around both rings faded and the pair were left in stunned silence as two versions of the same tenth ring of Solomon now existed simultaneously just inches apart.
"I wasn't expecting that," admitted Roman.
"Neither was I," said Makeda. "My guess is that this is due to the ring having spent so much time in my possession in our past life. This on my hand is your ring."
"And this one," said Roman, examining his finger. "Is your ring from the past, brought with the summoning."
"A fitting gift. I, Makeda the Queen of Sheba, accept your proposal and will gladly be your wife in this life."
Romani felt his heart soar at her words. "And I, Romani Archaman Head of the Chaldea Medical Department couldn't be happier to hear that and will gladly be your husband in this life."
A sly smile. "Finally, I get the name of my partner in this life," said Makeda.
Roman frowned. "Wait, I hadn't said my name yet? That can't be right…"
"You had not." A giggle. "You just assumed that since I knew you were Solomon that I would know what you are named in this life as well."
His felt his cheeks flush in embarrassment. "I'm so sorry, I hadn't reali-," he stopped speaking as something occurred to him. "'Wait a second, your eyes can see names, they should have told you my name upon seeing me."
A laugh. "Of course they did. But you never told me. And that is more important than whether I know or not."
Roman let out a heavy sigh. "Is this what I have to look forward to in our marriage? Constant teasing and pranks?"
"Of course. Would you rather have it any other way?"
He shook his head and smiled. "No, I guess I wouldn't."
"How do we go about setting up our marriage and creating my human identity in this modern world? I assume you did not ever introduce yourself as married or even engaged before this."
"I didn't," he replied. He thought for a moment. "Luckily, if I was in a long-distance relationship or dating previously, it might not be weird for me to not tell others. And I've always been hiding this ring under my glove. If I take it off and pretend to just have been shy, it should be fine."
"Is there anyone we can go to for assistance?"
He nodded. "There is. The leader of Chaldea, Marisbury Animusphere. He was my Master when I was summoned as Solomon and knows my identity. I don't agree with all of his choices, but he's able to be trusted in this. He can help us fake and forge the documents and files we need to."
He paused as a thought occurred to him. "I was visibly struck by magical energy during today's summoning experiment. If I was excused for some rest and relaxation and then brought you back, that might be more believable."
Makeda's eyes sparkled with understanding. "You felt your own mortality and finally proposed and married your long-time long-distance lover. It was sudden, but she would also like to be near. And regardless of what post this Marisbury wants me to be I am most certainly qualified for it."
"You'd dance circles around anyone else in any position," said Roman, with minor amused horror. Whoever was in the position she was going to aim for wouldn't know what hit them. "We're really doing this, aren't we?"
A nod. "We are. Beside talking to my future employer, will there be anything we need to do before leaving on our 'honeymoon'?"
Roman thought on the question for a moment, coming to a quick conclusion. "There is. A very important task."
# # # # #
Mash looked up from her book as a knock came from her door. She carefully put a bookmark in the book of fairy tales and set it aside. Double checking the clock, she saw that it wasn't time yet for any of her check-ups or tests. That meant it could only be one person.
"Come in," said Mash, shifting from laying on the bed to sitting on the edge. The door opened and, in the doorway, stood the person Mash had expected and another she hadn't.
"Good day Mash," said Doctor Roman, entering the room. He had his usual easy smile on his face, although something seemed different about him. She didn't know what though. "How are you?"
"My health is within acceptable levels," replied Mash. "I was just reading for the day."
"That's good," said Doctor Roman. Behind him was the other person looking into the room, right at her. An appraising look, not a random passerby but someone to visit her? The woman, dressed strangely with a hood over her head and something poking up from it, moved to enter the room. As she did Mash saw an engineer quickly moving down the hall, right into the woman. Instead of knocking her over though he passed right through the woman. The woman also kept moving into the room as if nothing had happened, an amused smile on her face. She entered, the door closing right behind her without Doctor Roman's presence to keep it open.
"I've actually come today for two reasons," said the Doctor.
"What are they?" asked Mash, her curiosity shifting between his words and the woman hovering behind him. Was she related to his reasons for visiting?
"The first is to say that I'll be leaving Chaldea for a few weeks," he said. "Just temporarily while I get some business sorted out. The Director will not be holding any major tests without me, so you will have time to yourself for a while."
She nodded, taking that in. "Understood."
A smile. "If you'd like I'll tell you all about the places I visit once I'm back. We'll try to bring you back some souvenirs."
That was strange… "'We?'"
Doctor Roman became embarrassed, rubbing the back of his neck with a hand. "Well, that's the other bit to talk about. I'll be bringing someone back with me from my trip. My, well, my wife." The woman moved to the Doctor's side and took his hand in hers. Their grip tightened together. "Of course, I say I'll bring her by later, but she's already here."
"Hello there," said the woman, smiling at Mash. "I believe you already noticed me, did you not?"
Mash nodded. Doctor Roman looked surprised for a moment before smiling. "I guess I should have seen that coming. Even in Spirit form, you can see her. Well…" he rubbed the back of his neck again with his free hand. "Mash, this is Makeda…my uh, fiancée?"
A giggle. "Close enough." Makeda leaned in until she was just a few inches from Mash. The ears on the top of her head twitched and Mash noticed a tail wagging behind her. "It's nice to meet you Mash. I hope to get along well with you."
Mash considered the woman too for a moment. Doctor Roman looked happier and more relaxed than she had ever seen him. Their hands, clasped tight, the strange woman's friendly smile… she had a good feeling about this woman. She nodded. "Me too."
Author's Note: If there was something I was trying to convey, it would be the eroticism of the mundane process of love. From constantly asking for consent and permission, to taking things one at a time, to constant signs and statements of affection and finally paying attention to your partner's needs. A smoldering, subdued type of passion that is no less intense for the years, and is likely stronger for it. A rekindling and reaffirmation. I love these two so much.