Ordinary and Extraordinary
Author: Raindrops on Roses
Category: Romance, Holiday
Word Count: 1,949
Fandom: Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop
Spoilers: Through short story "Kaeleer's Heart" (Dreams Made Flesh)
Summary: After an ordinary Winsol day, Jaenelle makes of Daemon an extraordinary ordinary request. Daemon/Jaenelle.
Disclaimer: I own no characters or concepts used here; all characters and concepts belong to Anne Bishop.
Author's Note: Written for Katharos for Yuletide 2008.
On the thirteenth day of Winsol, Daemon awoke slowly, savoring the warmth of the bed he shared with his wife and the sweet softness of said wife tucked against his side. Every night for the past twelve days, he had slept in a bed not his own, and every morning had been woken rudely. The Queens of Jaenelle's former First Circle had each sent invitations to their Winsol celebrations, and Jaenelle had insisted on attending as many as possible. Daemon, who knew how badly she had missed her friends, had gladly (though not quite cheerfully) accompanied her. The previous month had been a whirlwind of shopping, for gifts (which Jaenelle enjoyed) and formal wear (which she despised, but Daemon approved of).
Then, of course, were the celebrations themselves--travel to each Territory, plus the balls, and of course wreaking havoc with any other visiting members of Jaenelle's former First Circle. Add to that the number of children now making an appearance, it was amazing that the realm was still intact. Morghann and Gabrielle had both delivered daughters, and Kalush was currently with child; Daemonar, Lucivar's son, was at the age where he was constantly on the move--and with an Eyrien boy, the ground wasn't the only place to keep an eye on--and apparently Marian was with child again! Privately, Daemon was relieved that Karla hadn't found a Consort yet; any child of Karla's was bound to be a little terror.
Daemon thought back to last Winsol. Jaenelle had still been so very fragile, even months after preventing the war between Terreille and Kaeleer. She had shattered her Ebony Jewels in the process, and very nearly had not survived. Daemon still felt guilt when he thought of her rising from the healing webs too soon; because of his own pain, he had caused hers, and he hated the thought. The slightest brush of her skin had bruised her, and each bruise had been a blow to his heart.
But Jaenelle was fully healed now, and Daemon told himself that whenever he began to worry. She was healed, and getting stronger every day. She trained with Lucivar regularly, and though she hadn't yet put him in the dirt as easily as she once had, she could spar with him to a standstill. She was practicing Craft daily, and if she couldn't recreate those beautiful and terrifying gifts of power, she had an equally beautiful, unique gift now. Twilight's Dawn, Jaenelle's new Jewel, had confused them all at first--and then Jaenelle had started to truly experiment with it. She did not have the sheer power of the Ebony, but her touch was far more delicate. She could weave illusions she once could only do through brute force, and that other, lighter Jewels could build by working together.
Daemon opened his eyes to the gray light filtering through the windows. He eased himself from his wife's arms and out of the bed. The warming spells on the room were still strong, which was fortunate, he noted as he pulled the curtains aside. A blanket of white covered the courtyard, and crisp snowflakes swirled through the air.
Jaenelle had been disappointed with the lack of snowfall before they had left SaDiablo Hall. She believed it wasn't truly Winsol without snow. Daemon had tried to placate her, telling her there would be plenty of snow in Glacia, but she had shaken her head and said it just wasn't the same. She had still enjoyed the massive snowball fight between the coven and the boyos, however, especially when she found that her gentle touch could shape and hold the snow together quite easily. The boyos had gone down in defeat against the coven's endless stockpile of weaponry after that.
Daemon padded back to the bed and gently brushed Jaenelle's silky blonde hair back. "Jaenelle," he called quietly. "Wake up, sweetheart." Jaenelle grumbled and pushed his hand away. "Come on, love. You don't want to miss this."
She pulled the blankets around her tighter and mumbled into the pillow, "Want to sleep."
Daemon laughed softly. Jaenelle could go days without sleep, but once she did, she slept hard and only woke up with a carafe of coffee. A surprise could do the job just as well sometimes. He leaned over and whispered in her ear, and sat back before she smacked into his nose.
"Snowing?" Jaenelle asked, sapphire eyes glowing. She threw the blanket back and scrambled out of bed, rushing to the window. Daemon admired her lithe form outlined against blustery winter sky. "Oh, Daemon, it's snowing!"
He grinned at her excitement. "Isn't that what I just said?"
She stuck her tongue out at him and called in a set of clothing--lined boots, thick brown woolen socks, heavy pine green sweater and pants set, and the soft black cloak with a long-lasting warming spell she'd received as a Winsol gift. She looked at him as she was tugging her pants on. "Well?"
"Well, what?" Daemon replied, trying not to think of the time when she couldn't even call in her shoes.
Her reply was muffled by the sweater she was pulling over her head. "Aren't you going to get dressed?"
"We're not going outside before breakfast."
Jaenelle cocked her head to the side. "Why not?" Her large blue eyes were pools of disappointment.
Daemon raised his eyebrows. "Because I don't want Mrs. Beale roast me as part of tonight's feast."
"Mrs. Beale would do no such thing! Now hurry!" Jaenelle laughed. And, as he always had and always would, Daemon followed his Queen even in the face of his doom.
They were intercepted in the hallway by Ladvarian, the brown and white Sceltie dog who had watched over Jaenelle during her long convalescence. A Red Jewel, on a chain around his neck, flashed in and out of sight rhythmically as he trotted alongside them.
*Are you going out in the snow?* Ladvarian asked brightly.
"Oh, yes!" Jaenelle exclaimed. Daemon's lips curved in a small smile. It still awed him at how even after so much pain and loss, Jaenelle could find joy and beauty in the most ordinary things. "Will you join us?"
Ladvarian wagged his tail. *Kaelas is out hunting, but maybe we could practice shields without him today!*
"That sounds like fun!" Jaenelle agreed brightly.
"Whatever you want, little Brother," Daemon nodded, subtly steering them toward the dining room.
Jaenelle scowled, but allowed him to escort her to the table. He removed her cloak and set it on the chair beside her, then went to the sideboard and fixed two plates of fluffy scrambled eggs, hot bacon, and lightly buttered toast. He set one plate before Jaenelle and the other to her left, then poured them both large mugs of coffee. Jaenelle poked at her breakfast with her fork, and when he gave her one mug, took a long gulp.
Daemon cajoled Jaenelle into eating at least half of her breakfast before she lost her patience and dragged him from his chair. He relented, hoping that some fresh air would give her more of an appetite later, and settled her cloak around her shoulders before he pulled on his long warm coat.
As they stepped out of the Hall and into the beautiful Winsol day, frigid air greeted Daemon like a slap to the face. The wind had died down, and the snow had stopped falling, though the sky was still the color of iron. A pristine white blanket covered everything, even the gray-brown trees scraping the clouds.
He closed his eyes, breathing in the scent of winter--wood burning in a fire somewhere, the pine of a Winsol tree, the frozen smell of new-fallen snow. Beside him was the musky psychic scent of his wife, the scent that drove him wild, that he would gladly spend the rest of his very long life surrounding himself with. He slanted warm golden eyes to his right.
She may no longer have been the Queen of Ebon Askavi, but Jaenelle Angelline had been born a Queen, and Queens knew the land, intimately, instinctively. Daemon found his wife, his Queen, smiling, feeling the land on a level he could never imagine. The land was asleep, but it was alive, content, resting in the knowledge that the time for renewal and growth would come once more.
Jaenelle laughed, took two steps, and jumped to the top of the snow, air-walking with such skill that one would only realize she wasn't actually touching the snow by the lack of footprints. Daemon followed and caught her left hand in his right, Ladvarian barking and leaping around them.
They spent hours outdoors, frolicking in the snow and enjoying the last day of Winsol. As the light of afternoon descended into dusk, they retreated into the Hall, soaked and starving, yet light-hearted and happy. Ladvarian shook himself off, splattering water everywhere, then left to search out a warm fire. The servants had been dismissed for the evening for the celebrations in nearby Halaway, so Daemon and Jaenelle hurried through the corridors to their quarters, laughing as they tried to clean the dripping trail of slush and melted snow behind them. Neither had ever mastered hearth-Craft, so Helene would likely be irritated with them when she returned the next day.
Despite the warming spells, their teeth chattered as they dropped their sodden garments on the bathroom floor. Daemon drew them a hot bath, and they settled in the steaming water, quietly relaxing.
When the water cooled, they rose and stepped out of the tub. Daemon drained the water and then turned to his wife. He took the thick towel from her hands and patted the droplets from her skin. He then helped her into a silk robe and, after swiftly rubbing himself down, donned his own.
Mrs. Beale had left supper in their rooms before leaving for the night. Daemon was glad when Jaenelle's appetite proved larger than that morning, and they ate in silence for some time.
After they had settled on the sofa in front of the blazing fireplace, Jaenelle broke the silence. "Daemon?"
"Hmm?" Daemon murmured, gently stroking his wife's golden locks.
"I've been thinking..." She bit her lip.
Daemon frowned in concern. "What is it, love?"
"I'd..." Jaenelle took a breath, and lifted her chin. "I'd like for us to go off the contraceptive brew."
Daemon blinked. Then the true meaning of the request bludgeoned him like one of Lucivar's training sticks. "I... uh..."
"You don't want...?" She sounded hurt. Daemon realized she'd taken his surprise as a bad sign and hurried to reassure her.
"Of course!" He imagined Jaenelle, asleep beside him, heavy with his child... gazing lovingly at a blanket-wrapped babe at her breast... helping his son or daughter discover Craft... All ordinary moments, moments most families would have, yet truly extraordinary in that it would be their family. His wife. Jaenelle. His grin probably made him look rather foolish, but he didn't care much at the moment. "Of course I do. There's nothing I want more."
Jaenelle's return smile could have lit up the entire Hall. Daemon lifted his hands to her face and leaned down for a soft, warm, loving kiss that soon turned hungry. Jaenelle drew back. She had a playful, teasing look in her eyes. Daemon's body tightened in anticipation. "You know, conception doesn't always happen right away," Jaenelle said.
"Oh? And what did you have in mind?" Daemon asked as she rose and dropped her robe, firelight casting shifting shadows around her nude form.
She gave him a sultry smile, full of heat. Her response was nearly a purr. "Practice, of course."
Daemon stood, pure feline, predatory grace, and followed her to the bed.