THE BEST OF SECRET AFFAIRS: moments that stopped my heart.
Rowland mouths “oh ha ha” in Damocles’ direction as he’s faced away from him, stopping in his steps as Damocles turns around to reprimand him. Then he mutters quietly,
"Just trying to ease the tension."
In truth, he had become gradually more concerned as the time went on without seeing Maeve and Alayne, knowing they wouldn’t have a need to wander so far but he tended to ramble when he was worried and then stops again as Damocles holds up a hand, leaning in to see what he was looking at, eyes widening in further worry and fear.
"But what could ha—" He brings his hand up and looks forward as he hears some movement up ahead. "Did you hear that?"
Quietly, Damocles was still gripping the wand hard enough that he’s fearful it might crack, every inch of his face a hard line, angular and sharp, as though his entire face has been transformed by his anger and concern. So as not to harm her wand he slides it into a pouch hanging off his sword belt, gripping the sword again one moment later. He snaps his head up first at the sound and then looks at Rowland exasparatedly, saying just as sarcastically as before.
"No, I have gone temporarily deaf."
He presses his lips together, cut off from saying anything further when there comes another noise and he stands up, gesturing with his hand that Rowland should follow him, quietly. Rowland rolls his eyes and exhales quietly, keeping a comment at bay on pure will alone, looking forward again as he hears another noise. Walking behind Damocles, he cranes his neck around in order to be able to see better.
Damocles is walking forward slowly, his hand on his sword and eyes tracking through the forest, as they turn a corner he straightens up in surprise. Nodding once in relief, he doesn’t initially notice the ripped gown, blood or bruises, as he is merely relieved to see Alayne alive, breathing quickly.
She turned around at once, shivering to hear the name, wishing she had heard her own. Straightening her back in relief as she realizes who it is, her eyes widen as she swallows hard, lifting a hand to her brow and wiping it off, ignoring the dried blood that clings to the back of her hand as she does so, taking a few steps forward. “M-m’lord.”
She presses her lips together, sore from how often she had bit them to keep from speaking and then tilts her head once and relaxes—almost immediately—as she sees Rowland.
A smile crosses her lips.
"Alayne…" Damocles words were quiet. "Are you all right?"
She nods slowly, not paying very much attention to him and trying to calm her breathing. “Ye-yes.”
And with all the weight in the world in his tone, a weariness and barely-contained fear giving his words a heartbreaking tremor, “Where’s Maeve?
Six. Where’s Maeve?
…MYWIFE. MYBABIES. Mother of all ships, torn apart at that moment by the bloody engagement—Damocles was suddenly here faced with the realization there was something worse than her marrying someone else. He could lose her all together.
Rebecca and Rowland’s story I feel, is so much separation via space and time, that it tended to overshadow the fact that Maeve & Damocles were equally—actually more so in this plot, separated. They were torn by expectations and duty, forbidden by their parents, dealing with an unwanted betrothal—and while they battle this, while they fight to be together, the world intervenes and smacks them with the fact they really only have today. Damocles realized he did not want to spend the rest of his life without her in it: she was necessary to his existence, and not as some other man’s wife: as his, wife, as he wanted to be her husband—hers. For always.
Writing the kidnapping killed me as Damocles—and as Rebecca obviously—but when reading Maeve in the dungeon, her fighting, my heart was so unbelievably heavy and heartbreaking that I couldn’t help but let out a sob (or like twelve). Maeve, just, she broke my heart and was so bloody damn strong all at once!! Terrifying actually! My lady. Stopped my heart. Mhm.
And then Damocles was back at the manor and he was writing in his journal in a way that made me keel over again. I think I spent the whole week that Maeve was still kidnapped in a permanent sense of pride and terror: horrified for what she was going through,
scared bloody terrified and angry fucking furious as Damocles, and then…proud of her strength. Proud of her kick ass moments and words—she wasn’t afraid to be upset, but she fueled it in such a way that I pretty much…oh I’ll bow down in front of her. Follow her anyways.
So yeah all rightttt this isn’t really a moment, because there wasn’t just one moment! The “Where’s Maeve?” Moment made me choke. And Maeve in the cell did. And Damocles thoughts…
She…means more to me than anything: I would do anything to get her back, give up anything. And add a hundred more eloquent phrases coined by Shakespeare or Austen here, for they feel at once too silly for me to utter without feeling ridiculous and too profound for my lips. They are the masters at expressing how I feel when I care, and I am only a child. I have honestly never felt as young as I do right now, a slave to my boyish need for immediate satisfaction.
I cannot sit here, talk and wait any longer.