Who

Willimina, Tallel

What

Picks up immediately after the end of Uneasy Revelations.

When

It is evening of the nineteenth day of the eleventh month of the twelfth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Igen Weyr, Caravan Grounds, Willimina and Tallel's Yurt

OOC Date 08 Jan 2018 07:00

 

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Igen Caravan Grounds, Willimina and Tallel's Yurt

Unlike the outside of this dwelling, the inside of this round tent puts the bolder, more flamboyant side of Tallel's Zingari roots on display, though it's now been augmented by all that the rest of his family brings to it. While simple in layout, there is nothing simple at all about the intricate weave of the rugs thrown down upon the light, portable wooden slat-work spanning collapsible frames. Deep wine red is the most commonly found hue, though gold, green, and silver are found as well in the hangings that drape the tent walls at even intervals. A low, wide table to the left of the hanging door serves as Tallel's primary work space for grinding herbs and mixing medicines, while another one further off to the right - round, this time - is laden with wood and steel serving ware and makes up a small dining area. Cushions lay around the yurt in abundance for sitting, the largest pile of which obscures the low mattress on which he and Willimina sleep. Nearby, a couple of folding dividers fashioned of woven reeds and silk partition off the beds their children sleep in. A few braziers for incense and candles, as well as some round red glow baskets, hang about the ceiling, which tapers up to a vent that can be shut against the weather but is wide enough to give a nice view of the night sky in the evenings.


Willimina is far from asleep when Tallel comes back into the yurt. She’s been up and worrying since he left. Currently, she sits on their bed, only the glows near the thing open and shining so that the bed is lit, but the rest of the yurt remains dark, hides spread out on the bed as if she had been attempting to work. And she had been, and had failed miserably. She’s got a hot, hot cup of tea she’s cradling in her hands, steam rising up past her worry-pinched features and the messy, curly bun she has piled on top of her head. She’s in a teddy like nightshirt, with only her underwear to accompany it. “Hi….” She says that one word again, sheepishly, for the second time tonight.

Tallel is a bit surprised to turn and find the bed still sitting in a pool of glowlight. He crosses to it with slow, steady steps, setting the whiskey bottle down carefully on the low table as he passes. Tawny eyes still shadowed with inner unease slip over Willa’s form, taking her in for a long moment, flicking to the hides and back. He can see her worry, how she’d been trying to deal with things while he’d been out and about. Then he starts to unfasten the bracer from his arm. “I didn’t go hunt him down, if that’s what you’re worried about,” he assures her, his voice quiet and gravelly. Presently, he finishes with the bracer and sets it almost soundlessly upon a nearby chair, drifting closer and then coming to a stop, looking down at her with a sort of stoic uncertainty. Stoic…except for the melancholy furrowing of his brow softening the tawny shadow of still-hurting eyes.

Willa watches Tallel make his slow progress across the room, and she sets her cup of tea aside, though her hands go into her lap, instead of her getting up to greet him like she longs to do. They aren’t angry at or hurt by each other often, so she sits on pins and needles just now, hoping he’ll forgive her for her tactless comment earlier. She watches his every movement and gesture with wide, nervous chocolate eyes. Tal’s first words have a blush staining Willimina’s cheeks because she had worried over that, but it had been the least of her worries concerning her husband this night. She certainly hadn’t known a few hours ago that Tallel would react quite this strongly to things, and she had been tactless. That stoic/melancholy look Tallel gives her nearly breaks her heart, and she can feel tension and unease rising in her chest, the muscles there tight with anxiety. Anxiety that leaks out into the apologetic gaze she sends his way. Raising a hand to rub her opposite arm, Willimina looks away, her lower lip caught in her teeth.

“I’m sorry my love….”

The anxiety Tallel observes in Willimina has much the same effect on him that his expression has on her. The rarity of these moments does affect them both strongly, it’s true…but Tallel never doubts that they’ll get past it quickly, usually in a day or two if not within a few candlemarks. She knows she misstepped, and he knows she’s been kicking herself for it since he left. It’s enough for him to forgive her. He can’t help but forgive her.

He doesn’t like that she looks away, the way his heart clenches compelling his hand forward to catch her chin and gently turn her eyes back toward him. “I know,” he half-whispers, his tone raspy with the emotion that remains. “I am too, saikhan.” For worrying her, for reacting so strongly…for not being able to understand things he wishes he could.

There might just be a little resistance when Tallel tips Willimina’s chin to look at him. She can’t stand seeing the look of stoic melancholy on his face, knowing that she was partially responsible for it. All responsible if one counts the fact that she could have kept the news about Echo’s collar to her damn self and she regrets telling him now. But her eyes fly to his for a second with palpable confusion when he utters an apology right back at her. What had he done that warrants one? She’s worried about him, so she doesn’t stop to think that he may be apologizing for worrying her.

“You have nothing to apologize for Tallel….” She says softly, still not quite able to meet his gaze, eyes staring at the hand he holds her chin in, instead of that Tawny gaze she loves so much.

Tallel folds himself down to sitting beside Willimina in a soft susurration of loose-fitting fabric, his fingers never leaving her chin. “Please don’t do that,” he whispers about her looking away, his fingers curling to gently stroke her cheek. “I need…” This. Her eyes. Being close. Just…her. It’s the remote flicker of light visible in his gaze now, if she deigns to look with his urging.

“I do have. I’ve worried you,” he explains quietly. “I don’t think…you’ve ever seen me react this way to anything.” And it makes him all the more glad she didn’t see him when she’d been taken away from him and their children. She can probably make a good guess now, though.

Willimina does look, when he brushes his fingers across her cheek, almost nervously. That remote flicker of light keeps her gaze on him, even though she still seems a bit …anxious, like a filly ready to bolt. She shakes her head in answer to his last words. No, no she hasn’t seen him react that way to anything. Ever. He’d been so steady through everything, including helping her get rid of Exsuss that fateful night she’d meted out her justice out on the elders. The sight had indeed unsettled her, seeing Tallel so torn and upset as he was this night. “You need not apologise… my worry was of my own doing.” Willimina really doesn’t blame Tallel at all for how she feels currently. She really should have kept her mouth shut. “I think…. I think I overstepped my bounds in more ways than one this night. It really is I who should be apologizing Saikhan,” Willimina lifts a hand to caress the stubble on Tallel’s cheek, taking comfort in the familiar feel of it. She smiles softly at him before red tinges her cheeks again and she looks down, ashamed of herself and her deportment. “I shouldn’t meddle in affairs that are not my own to worry about.”

Tallel shakes his head, unwilling to accept that Willimina manufactured her own worry. “We both played a part, then,” he says, “and you’ve already apologized…” When her hand finds his cheek, he leans into it, his eyes falling shut as he soaks up that simple contact. A slow, steadying breath in and out goes along with it…and then she mentions having meddled and he looks at her again, his eyes considerably clearer than they’d been a moment ago. “It isn’t meddling until you try to interfere, saikhan,” he tells her with another little shake of his head. “You told me…because she is my cousin, and therefore yours now. And I think I would much rather have found out from you than how I probably would have otherwise.”

Knowing that bears some explanation, he drops his gaze for a moment, wetting his lips a bit as he gathers his thoughts. “Some of how she acted when dinner started, and the choker… I thought she might have picked up a boyfriend. I would’ve talked with her later and asked…and what would she have told me? I would’ve kept an eye out for who she might end up with. And I would’ve found out eventually. Being so happy for something I’d always hoped for for her, only to find out she’s being kept by an escort who thinks he owns her… I don’t know how I would have reacted, but I might have driven her away, disowned my own cousin, something else…”

He shakes his head again, trying to keep things dredged up earlier back behind their bars. “This way, I have time to process, to…try to accept whatever I might need to accept,” he says, his eyes meeting hers again. “She’s going to be mortified enough as it is whenever I talk to her. And I…still don’t know how I’m going to approach her yet. Or when I’m going to be able to.”

Well, Willimina is relieved that Tallel is pleased she told him, rather than him finding out otherwise, though she still feels as if she’s meddled in business not her own. Her relief leaks out into her facial expressions as she looks back to Tallel and his clearing gaze. She flinches a bit when he emphasises the word ‘owns’ and sighs, and at Tallel’s last, she blanches some more.

“I would hope that your reactions didn’t blow quite that far, love…” She says a bit nervously, bringing her hands to wring at each other while she speaks. “As I said earlier, we cannot assume anything, including how Milosh and Echo feel about their pairing. We may even be misconstruing the term ‘own’ in regards to the escorts…” Willimina blushes. “I can’t pretend to understand how it all works…I barely asked Igraine about it when I inquired after her collar, I didn’t want to know much more than she told me….”

Maybe she should have asked more questions than she did.

As to Echo being mortified, well, Willimina has less sympathy for the girl there. “Perhaps she should not have worn her badge of ownership to dinner if she did not want one of us inquiring about it…in that, she is at fault here. She cannot expect that you would not ask after her…not after such strange behavior and certainly not after my notice of her collar.” Which Willimina is slightly sure Echo noticed her noticing. As for when Tallel should approach his cousin…”I wouldn’t, until you know what you want to say to her husband. I have a feeling that if this subject is so … touchy between you and I….then it will probably be more so on her end.”

“I would hope not, too,” Tallel murmurs roughly, and covers Willimina’s wringing hands in both of his own, bringing them to his lips to kiss them gently. His mind and heart are tired, unable to turn the possible further details of what’s going on over to examine more carefully. He does, however, nod agreement with her opinion that Echo should have been more discreet with her…collar…at dinner if she didn’t want it to be asked about. There wouldn’t have been any risk of being seen without it by Milosh while she was there, after all…

He finds himself bristling at the possibility that the escort might do something to Echo for being seen without it and batters it back hastily, determined not to dwell on it for now. Willa’s description of the topic as “touchy” between them has his brows furling subtly, and he sighs again, giving another little shake of his head. “It is a sensitive matter, yes,” he says, and reaches up to caress her cheek again, “but it is not a point of contention between us, saikhan. We weren’t arguing. You just…saw me at my worst.” He swallows, slow and hard, something clutching in the center of his chest, and his eyes are glittering, slightly over-bright as they return to hers. “Am I still lovable at my worst, min khair?”

Willimina is silently happy for the kiss to her hands, happier when Tallel brushes her cheeks. But that happy part, the part that knows Tal loves her and has forgiven her, is small compared to the side that loves him and worries for him. “I know we weren’t arguing…but I was careless with the way I spoke tonight, both at dinner and earlier, and I brought you most unexpected news. It is indeed a sensitive matter, and one we both, perhaps, should have handled better.” If that is Tallel’s worst, Willimina can handle that, anxiety and all. She watches him swallow and look at her, and what she sees actually does break her heart and tears spring to her chocolate orbs unbid, and she gathers Tallel into an embrace that she imbues with every ounce of love she has for him. This man is her husband, the father of her children, her indispensable right hand in all things, but most of all… Tallel is her home and hearth and the place where her heart lies always. She holds him as if he is the most precious thing in this world, and he is.

Of course you are Tallel. I love you. I love you to the ends of this world and back again. You are my heart, my hearth, my home. I will love you until I take my last breath and beyond because you are lovable Tallel.” Willimina pulls back, tears pooling in her eyes and dripping down her cheeks. “My love, my home.” And she hopes she drives the point home because there is nothing Tallel could do short of murdering one of their offspring that would ever make her stop loving him.

In truth, Tallel isn’t at all certain why he felt the need to voice that question. He has always had the utmost confidence in the love he and Willimina share, and it has lasted through the most strenuous of tests. But he has abruptly found himself afraid that something may have never healed for him since the night she was taken, or that it fundamentally changed some small but crucial thing inside him. The prospect terrifies him, being something out of his control…

But then Willimina is gathering him close, her own tears unleashed, her reassurances falling upon his ears and aching heart and taken into him like rain upon a thirsty desert, and he knows he is going to be alright. He buries his face in her neck, curling into her as his own tears break free again to dampen her hair and skin. He looks at her anew when she pulls back and feels his own heart break for making her cry, but just as they seem to be able to break one another’s hearts, so they excel at mending one another as well.

The strength returns to his arms and they wrap tightly around her as he strives to kiss the tears from her cheeks. “My love…my world,” he names her in a ragged whisper, and then kisses her in full, his lips melding to hers full and deep, silently seeking and pleading. “While I walked…I thought it might do me good to leave for a few days and find my center again,” he confesses thickly, speaking almost against her lips. “But I realized…it wouldn’t work. Not when you are my center. My heart. I need you, saikhan. Always.”

Willimina drowns in that kiss, it’s what lets her know they are as solid as they’ve ever been, lets her know that Tallel, though shaken, will mend. Her return is passionate, imbued with love and light and all she is. When the kiss breaks, and Tallel speaks again, she listens, eyes widening for just a moment when he speaks of leaving, even briefly, but his next words soothe and assure and she kisses him this time. A slow and passionate, and hopefully reassuring melding of the lips that Willimina draws out until she has to breathe again. Pulling back, her lips kiss-swollen and her eyes bright, she smiles at Tallel. “I need you too, Tallel. And I’m not going anywhere, ever, I’m here for you, always.”

Tallel is certain there will never be a time when Willimina’s kiss does not reassure him. The languidly ardent way in which she does so batters back the melancholy darkness that has been swirling around him these last few candlemarks, reaching deep to breathe life upon the undying spark within him so that it flares into flame once more. It is the part of himself he knows he must not lose no matter what may come, the joy and ardor and playfulness and spirit that makes up the man he always wants to be even as he matures. Sometimes it is her light that reminds him, but with her promise to always be with him, he knows he can never be lost. No matter how close he may come to being so, her love will always be the tether to guide him back.

A hand sinks into her hair as his other arm wraps around her hips, pulling her fully against him in the wake of her last. “I’m not going anywhere either, saikhan. And never back into the shadows. Not so long as I have you.” The slow fire of the next kiss he plies her with serves as a silent plea, his need for the reaffirmation of their connection illustrated in the yearning of his body and heart to be as tightly twined to hers this night as they can manage. His eyes are dark pools by the time he breaks away, the skimming of his thumb across her lower lip the tacit question mark that punctuates it all.

And it's as if all is right in the world again, or as right as it can be. Willimina sinks into the familiar and comfortable feeling of Tallel’s kiss, answering his silent plea with her own fire and heat, forging the bond between them anew like hardened steel. Her eyes are a match for his when they part, and she shivers when he runs his thumb across her lip. Leaning over, Willimina shuts the glowbasket and shoves the hides onto the floor, work be damned. And in the ensuing hours before dawn, she assures her husband that there could be no two souls as tightly entwined as their own, and that the bond between them is forever sealed, unbreakable and true.

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