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The Fruit of the Underworld

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The underworld was quiet. It was him and his spirits, his quill against the paper. He dragged a hand over his face roughly, pulling at the puckered skin. He was tired, to say the least. But he never slept well when he was by himself. For all that he enjoyed the silence, it grew wearisome after too long.

 

He was working too much, too hard. But humans had wars and they called upon their gods and then they died and none of their gods cared, except for him, gently guiding them onto where they belonged. He didn’t mind the work, especially not when it served as a distraction from the constant reminder that he was so tired, so lonely, so…. Sad.

 

Until a voice, musical and beyond brilliance, drifted around the corner.

 

“They say my husband is a cruel man.” the voice came into the room before she did and his stomach dropped out. Very carefully, to hide his shaking hands, he set aside the quill and looked up to watch her approach. Her eyes were glistening, blue and bright like the perfect first sky of springtime. “Hard to love. Hard to know.”

 

“And is he?” he watched as she walked to him, petals in her wake. She was wearing a gown of dusty pink, like a sunset flowing over her. Long hair, unbound, just the way he liked it. And she brought with her light and warmth like she always did, and the golden smell of the harvest of her pale skin. His most perfect goddess.

 

“He is hard and cruel, yes,” she whispered, her eyes on his mouth. He was starving, for her. For her kisses, her touch, her love. He’d craved it while she was back with her mother. “He steals girls from their mothers and locks them away for half the year. Selfish and bitter, they say about my husband.”

 

“And is he?” he idly spun his staff, trying not to show her just how badly he wanted to vault the desk and bring her into his arms so that he could kiss her until both of them didn’t have any breath left for talking and teasing. But this was all part of the joy, the buildup almost boiling over after so many weeks apart.

 

“They believe it so.” she was an arms length away, then less. He could still smell the rich scent of wheat on her skin and in her hair. Warmth radiated off her. He was freezing. He just needed her a little closer….

 

“And do you?” he could take it no longer and shot out any arm, pulling her into him. Greedy, hungry lips met his own with the same frantic need. It was like he’d gone months without air and she’d brought it with her. Sansa pulled him in, closer and closer, until she was so tangled up in him he wasn’t sure where she stopped and he began.

 

“I believe my husband is quiet and somber,” she whispered in his ear, when they pulled back to see each other. He never forgot her beauty, not when he’d spent weeks committing her every detail to memory, but she was always so much more in person than he could envision. “I believe he does his duty and treats the souls with the respect they earn. I believe he is fair and just, and not attention seeking like others. I believe he is kind, when he wants, and cruel when he must. I believe that he stole me away for my own freedom and gave me up willingly. I believe he loves me.”

 

“He loves you.” he had no reason to correct her other statements. They all rang true.

 

“I am home now, husband.” she kissed him again, a shade more urgent than she first had. They’d had a few reunions before this but it never got old, as she moved from loving to demanding. “I would like to be taken to bed.”

 

“My little bird.” he picked her up and left his scrolls on the table; they would keep and his queen had returned. “My bright, beautiful, little bird.”

 

“Home,” she whispered again, as he carried her through the caves that gleamed with their gems and lights. “Home, home, home….”

 

She had returned. And all was right again.