Such a turn of events was not expected. But there is no way in
hell I'm going to complain.
Disheartened, I told Merlin that I would need time to think about
this entire mess with Swayvill. I was very, very close to just saying the
hell with it all and marrying him, just for the power and political
advantages. To hell with what I felt. I had always looked to myself as
unfeeling -- feelings get in the way of the Warrior's Code. At least I
did until I came to Amber. Maybe on some unconscious level I realized the
denizens of Helene as Shadows, and then didn't feel the need to feel for
them? But that would not explain Graham, my foster father... But this
solipsism is best left to the minds of our family.
In any case, I thought about things at my desk, and as I was about
to Trump my father, I felt the contact. I was Benedict, and I pulled him
to me. He smiled enigmatically, and presented his arm to me, and
realization crept upon me.
I breathed deep and tried to think of something to say to him, but
he continued that brief, faint smile, and we talked. We talked as a
father and daughter should; he realizing that I was my own woman, and I
realizing how he must feel about his child. The resolution we came to
that day gave me a purified feeling, as if I had nothing left to hide.
Benedict's permission to "align myself with Sawall," as it were,
opened doors, but presented new problems. I don't want to be anything
other than open with Merlin, but my past, including my child, needs some
shadowing, lest too much be known. It hurt to have to cloud things when
talking with Merlin.
He took me to a hangout of his in Shadow, and we watched a
"movie," which involved heroes trying to save their world. Typical. This
Earth is an unusual place, somewhere in-between Helene and the Intellex.
We chatted about what to do next. I thought we could exercise some
weaponry skills -- I wanted to show Merlin my abilities. I wanted to make
sure that he didn't think I was like the "heroine" of the "movie" we just
saw, with little ability. This Earth is much like Helene in its attitude
He blanched at my suggestion. He then grinned rakishly.
"Well, I know something we could do, but it would involve us
returning to your bedroom..."
I blushed. "My bedroom?"
"Unless you had somewhere else in mind..."
I became even redder. Merlin gets a definite kick out of
embarrassing me in this fashion. Why it couldn't have been this easy with
Ulysses so long ago, I'll never understand.
We returned to my chambers and made love until the morning.
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