The Fire in My Blood: Ch 25

I rolled over to the sky suggesting light at the edges of the tree line. The biodome panels radiated with shimmering greens and purples, creating murky swaths of smudged stars.  The dome was cooling with autumn’s approach. The birds were whispering in the quiet. I pulled together my best clothes and trench coat. With some goading, I convinced Sanctus to emerge with me for an early morning walk.

The rock path clipped under my heel. A cold hand tucked into mine. Sanctus was bundled into his trench coat. A knit hat and scarf wrapped around his ears, leaving his nose pink in the chill. He ran the fingers of his other hand along the bobbing grasses, amused with their texture. “Where are we going?” he asked, unable to make out shapes in the dark shadows between the fields and the woods. 

Keeping the house a secret for three months was killing me. Cortex had almost let Sanctus in on the present by accident once. Otherwise, everyone else knew to keep their mouth shut about it when he was around. “You’ll have to wait and see.” I teased. Medicus had given me the good news that I was free from his medical restrictions the night before. Mater and Aurelia had been there when he told me. We set up the plan for the following morning, if only to provide a semblance of suddenness that was traditional to bond tying.

The two story structure loomed up in front of us, perched at the edge of the forest. “You’re having a house built?” Sanctus asked me. The barn was already finished and the paddocks had been installed for Praesepe to move his herd in the following week. The main structure was projected to be finished in time for the autumn family tying ceremony. I helped him climb up to the wrap porch. The steps had not bee installed yet. I shimmied up to the boards and motioned him in to explore. He peered in nervously as magenta bands on the horizon lit the inside in steel blue shadows.

“Do you want to live in it with me?” I pulled his hand into mine before he could take the steps up to the second floor.

“Yes, I would love to.” He let me tug him into my embrace. “Has Sam and Abby seen it yet?”

“They told me where to put the stairs and that a proper living room needed a fireplace. They even got Scriba in on it with her picture books.” I had found their opinions amusing and implemented some of the good ideas. Having the living room pointed to catch the sunrise, and the eat in kitchen to look out on the vineyard at sunset had been Sam’s idea. I loved the thought he had put into the arrangement. The two had also asked for their rooms to have closets. Not having ever been privy to a closet, I found the idea nice. Somewhere to hide all my junk. A large master bedroom was off on the shadowed end of the first floor, facing a section of the woods that I had hollowed out for a small shade garden.

“You ready for today?” Sanctus’s fingers crept to my hips as he pulled me into a secluded alcove in the kitchen.

“Someone told you?” I mused against his lips, savoring their softness.

“Rain was singing. Aurelia must have told him. He told me I was supposed to keep it a secret.” He laughed. 

I invited myself to taste the corner of his smile before moving up his cheek to plant a kiss on his forehead. “I’ve been looking forward to this evening. Sorry it couldn’t be here in the house. I didn’t get my timing organized.” I pushed his hair off his shoulder to run a series of small kisses down his neck to his collarbone.

“As long as I get to have this evening with you, I don’t care where.” He turned to capture my lips, annoyed with my teasing. I relented to his touch and let his desire swamp me. “What is with you and giving me things? You’ve given me so much already.” His fingers found my pony-tail, twisting the ends as he let me back to my amusement.

“I like it. Something I enjoy doing is seeing people’s reactions when I give them things they like. Also, if I’m being honest, you feel like fireworks when I give you something you like.”

“I do not!” he protested.

“No, you do. Providentia emotions have different sensations to them, and I like the one when you’re happy the most. You can feel like a thunderstorm, or like standing in the canal, and the first wave hits when the main is opened up, like mountain fog at dawn. This one, though. It’s like a waterfall, fireworks, sunrise in autumn.” I rested into his shoulder, his arms wrapped around my back, and breathed him in. I watched as the grey shadows around us shifted to lilac.

“I never knew it felt like anything for an Ustor,” Sanctus mused, his thumb rubbing rhythmically against my shoulder blade. “Paul and Aurelia?” he asked, curiously.

“Similar sensations. Your brother tends more towards rain, and Aurelia is like the surface tension of a lake or the mist that hangs over it in the early morning. That’s from the couple times I’ve touched them. I don’t know about when they are happy or in pain.”

“Pain? Does that feel different?” he asked, his voice going low.

“Live wire, a broken electric bulb in my palm. That jumpy sensation that raises hairs when you stand in a lightning storm. The dark blue almost black cold of deep water. It makes my heart stutter,” I admitted quietly. I hated that feeling. I would do everything in my power to help him never touch that sensation again. 

“Do others feel it?” he swallowed.

“Cortex and Mater said they could after we got back from Mercurius that once. Medicus does. Ustors can feel it. Sam doesn’t. You feel like any normal person to him.” I backed up to give him a bit of space.  I had thought he would be sullen about this news. Instead, contemplation was wiggling his eyebrows like when he had too many questions flitting through his head. “They’ll be getting impatient soon,” I cautioned, returning to kiss the hollow behind his jaw.

“I’m impatient now,” Sanctus quipped, nipping my earlobe.

“You’re going to have to wait. I don’t think you want your first time with me on the subfloor. Or in a pantry for that matter.” I pointed out the splintered boards.

“If you’d let me have my way it would have been on flagstone and three months ago.” His fingers were playing magic against my stomach.

“Aren’t you glad you waited?” I had to keep from untucking his shirt and having my own bit of fun. Instead, I wrested my arms on his shoulders and let him do whatever torturous thing he was doing that was going to leave me hard as infernus and dying for this evening to come.

“I question that decision frequently. Probably would not have done your stomach any good at the time, though,” he huffed, returning my shirt back to its proper location.

“I’m glad we’re doing this proper, though, with everyone’s blessing.” I brushed my thumb along his chin and kissed the tip of his nose.

“I am too. Sam and Abby were excited, and you were right. Medicus said pretty much what you said he’d threaten to do if his family hadn’t been invited. Even Praetemptura and Ambulatio were thrilled to be invited. Their son looks so much like Prae, I’m amazed Ambulatio was the one to have him. He’s adorable. 

“It’s been nice, it really has been, to have such a large family. I had the embroiders guild, my mother, and my siblings, but nothing like this. Thank you for bringing me into Caeruleum.”

“I had made an arrangement with Prae and Ambulatio to not talk about this with anyone, but if we’re bond-tied, you should know,” I stuttered as he found the line of my hip.

He stalled, his power spiking with adrenaline. “What?”

“Their son’s mine.”

He stalled at that news.

“We have an arrangement. I helped them conceive, and no one finds out unless something happens to both of them. If something does, I claim him back as my own.”

He found his tongue. “You weren’t joking when you said you’d dance with anyone willing.”

“Prae and I share a heritage, and she wanted her kid to look like her, but she can’t carry. I didn’t want this to come as an unwelcome surprise, or that I was hiding something from you.”

He pulled me into a fierce hug.

“I’m taking that as you aren’t mad at me about that. I know we are no longer of Angelus, but I’ve wanted to ask you for a while now,” I started, reaching for my back pocket while I continued my fixation with the wealth of skin his white shirt exposed.

“Ask me what?” He molded himself to me as I teased him.

I flipped open the little black box to expose a pair of matched steel rings. Clavis had enjoyed taking the commission, amused with the idea of the tradition. Inlaid in mine was Sanctus’s cobalt blue thread. He had my turquoise. He looked down at the little box, and his eyes went teary. I took out his band and presented it to him. “Marry me, Jude?”

He nodded his head mutely, his cheeks going mottled red behind the largest smile I had ever seen from him. I slipped it on his finger and held it to the light. Kissing his knuckles I went to shove the little box back into my pocket. He stalled me, taking the box and the ring. “As long as you’ll have me, Dimitri.” He placed my ring on my left ring finger and returned the kiss.

“For as long as you’ll tolerate my shenanigans. Now, we really should get to the festivities if we don’t want Mater chucking a plasma ball at our little love nest.” I planted one last kiss on his neck before turning him from our spot in the pantry and let him lead me outside.

On the opposite side of the warehouse, the sun coming up over the heads of half of Caeruleum, Praesepe threatened his small farm. It was less terrifying this time hearing the threats that was part of this dome’s traditions. Flumen would leave the plants to die in the greenhouse. Clavis and Tempestatis would take the fleet and machine shop.

Sam and Abby, beaming with pride, stood watch next to Cortex and Maria Mater. Rain shifted from foot to foot next to Sanctus’s siblings, wanting to play with Abby. Praetemptura and Ambulatio were back in the front row of the crowd with their son. Medicus had warned off my family ties from threatening Sanctus, as would have been tradition for both bond-tie families to do. They kept their word and let Sanctus have his ray of happiness.

Mater, Cortex, Aurelia and Paul were last to come forward after all the half-hearted threats were finished. My brother and sister ties stood next to me. Aurelia and Paul took up Sanctus’s hands. Cortex pulled me into a fierce bear hug after all of those threats. “We are brother-tied, Nigrae Lunam. I take responsibility for you with Caeruleum as you take responsibility for me.” 

Mater crossed her arms over her chest and glared at me. “As I am sister tied to you and your Persephone of Caeruleum. Are you intent on joining with Sanctus?” she demanded of me. Words failed me in the moment as the reality I found myself in finally hit me. Cortex twisted me to face Sanctus with this deluge. Sanctus stared at the group in confusion. His brother and sister spoke with him in hushed tones in Angelus. They turned him to me as Vestitor produced a long scarf of sky blue sateen. He took our left hands and joined them together, wrapping the fabric around and tying it into a not. 

“Who here recognizes the bonding-ties Nigrae Lunam and Sanctus share?” Mater asked, her hands on ours.

“I do,” those of Caeruleum who had come out for this unusual bond-tying responded unanimously.

“Nigrae Lunam, do you accept the bonding-tie you share with Sanctus? Will you protect him and see to his happiness? Will you keep his best interest for Caeruleum?” Mater asked me. I gulped as cognac eyes studied me in a pale face. Aurelia quietly translated for Sanctus, aware that this situation might have caused his grasp of Imperian to evaporate.

“Gladly, I do.” I responded in both Imperian and Angelus. I squeezed Sanctus’s hand in gentle reassurance, our rings clinking against each other. Maria Mater turned the question over to Sanctus as Aurelia translated for her. His tongue touched his bottom lip as he watched her speak before turning back to me. “Yes, I do.” His eyes were shining, and his power washing through me was that of a shaded spot of water in the canal on a hot summer day. Relief filled my lungs. “We here recognize the bonding ties shared between Nigrae Lunam and Sanctus. If these bonds should be broken, those present will hear claim and delegate upon that time. Nigrae Lunam and Sanctus’s bond ties are officially recognized in Caeruleum,” Maria Mater pronounced, removing the strip of blue sateen. “Let me be the first to congratulate you two. Make each other happy. You already do that, so you don’t really need my demand, though, do you?” She folded the fabric and handed it to us for safekeeping.

Chapel Orahamm (C) 2022-2023. All Rights Reserved.

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