I wanna settle down, won't you settle down with me

Raze <3

POSTED: Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:16 pm

Alistair never realized just how loud crickets were until he became a loner. Without the hustle and bustle of pack activity, the lives in his hands living and working around him the night came alive. He was just beyond the fire's glow rubbing a brush through Merlin's inky hide. Atalanta was beside the fire cooking their latest catch, a few fish he'd caught in the river. She'd gotten some spices from a passing merchant. The smell of them filled the air with their appetizing aroma and set his mouth to watering. Cooking was a luxury the knight and his companion could rarely afford making tonight's meal a special occasion. Both wolfdog's were leaner now, grayer. Alistair had quickly learned not to be choosy.

Atalanta. It was a long name for such a slight woman. Then he remembered Lola had been shorter, yet another thing Atalanta had going for her. Or Ata as he called her, her name really was too long. But, he supposed she deserved it. She deserved a great deal, his storyteller. His. Huh. There was a thought. He ran the brush down Merlin's neck in a long stroke and glanced her way. When he caught her eye, he smiled and went back to his work, to his thoughts and what they might mean for the both of them.

They'd passed months together, long summer days staring at clouds as he listened to her light foreign lilt tell him all sorts of stories: of Apollo and his chariot, Zeus and his lighting, Hades and the underworld, and of Artemis, the huntress and the goddess she valued over them all. Long winter nights passed similarly, often with Atalanta reclined in his lap or nestled up against his chest. She was free with her touches, and perhaps a little new to the concept of "personal space." And Alistair allowed it. He allowed it because it'd been too long since he'd been close to someone. He allowed it despite the ache in his belly as she toyed with him, teased him with all the innocence of a pre-pubescent child. Didn't she know how wild she drove him? Maybe. She was hard to read, but at times he felt fear. She was inconsistent, a little bird flitting from branch to branch, never settling. Confounding and alluring all at once as if she wanted him to chase her. Chase her, unsuccessfully. Never close enough. Tonight all that would change. She made him happy, but that happiness came with a lot of frustration. He spent many nights sleeplessly watching over her, because he cared, because he more than cared, because he was in love with her. And he wasn't going to spend another waking moment pretending, pretending they were "just friends."

“You are driving me mad! There, I said it.” Alistair stepped away from his horse and tossed the brush aside. No, that wasn't right, he had to try again. He cared for Atalanta and he wanted to do this right. “Right, that was unfair." The knight rubbed at his graying temples. "Let me start again.” He took a moment to collect his thoughts, searching for the right words then came to squat down beside her. Tentatively Alistair reached for her hands.

“Atalanta, we've been traveling together for a while now, yes? And it's been...I wanted to tell you, it's been the best time of my life.” He dared himself to look her in the eyes and won. And, if she let him, wrapped her callused fingers in his own.

Back-dated to around Summer-time, evening.

Alistair Callow

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Luperci SoSuWriMo 2013 Champ! have you ever licked a lamppost in winter...?
I am the Sword
the Light
and the Shield

POSTED: Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:02 pm


Atalanta turned the fish over the fire, reaching up to sprinkle another light dusting of spice on their other side. The herbs tasted nothing of home, despite joking with Alistair that they had such exotic spices on the Mediterranean -- no, they were simple and perhaps natively-grown, if still a treat. They needed a little luxury and reward here and there, even if during the hardest times Ata knew they only needed one another.

Alistair had become her partner over the seasons: hunting and fighting at her side, offering a warm body during the cold winter nights -- even just being another soul to talk to, to make her feel like a real person in the isolation of loner life, was an invaluable thing.

Atalanta surprised herself by trusting him implicitly. It had been rough the first few weeks on the road, an unspoken tension between the former King and the woman who had, by all accounts, abandoned the pack to chase after him. She was a flighty creature, and many times she had felt afraid, too, because they were after all a man and a woman lonely on the road.

He looked up briefly from brushing his horse, and when he smiled, Atalanta offered a wink of fond acknowledgment. She studied his jaw, and the little streak of silver at his temples, when he looked back at his work.

She watched him a lot like this, too. She appreciated him, all of him. As the days had passed by, she became less afraid. She didn't think twice about his intentions. She laughed with him as they cleaned blood from their fur from their prey, or counted their loot from grateful families they'd helped along the way. She allowed herself impulses she didn't think about, playing with his hair when it was tousled a certain way, brushing her hand along his arm as they passed in close quarters getting ready in the mornings.

Atalanta honestly thought nothing of it, or of the flirting. Alistair was such a beautifully witty man, and it amused her to verbally spar with him; she crowed victory on those occasions he got flustered. They were friends, partners in crime, and these things were all very much normal to her.

And so it happened very slowly over the months, so slowly that Atalanta did not notice or understand. For now.

Alistair shattered the silence with a sudden exclamation. Atalanta, who had been trying to slip a fish off the spit, fumbled, and it landed in the coals. She quickly rescued it before it could catch fire, tossing it into the grass -- that one was definitely his fish now -- and staring at him, her brow tensed in a grimace. The furrow deepened with concern as he was then crouching beside her, collecting her sooty, spicy hands in his callused ones.

He spoke with an earnestness she didn't think she had heard from him before. There was a note to the accented low tones that made her heart suddenly leap and begin to race.

It clicked.

"Oh no," she said, her blue eyes wide, a curly strand of hair fallen between them, but her voice was far too quiet to stop him. It was more like a breath, or a prayer.

avatar by marinatedmermaid

POSTED: Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:56 pm

Alistair felt her pulse jolt then start to race through their joined hands. And it was all he could do to keep his steady. His hands held- not caged- hers in a gesture of care and a unity he hoped, desperately to evoke.

He'd been here before, with Lola. They were so different in so many wonderful ways. But one thread tied them together-- these two stunning and vibrant women who had each stolen his heart- neither one desired the same commitment as he did. And it had been fun...for a while.

He was older now, grayer and life (especially without a pack) was not a guarantee. He was hardly decrepit-- he would fight to his last breath. But he'd come to appreciate, even desire, a sense of stability. They'd come to rely on one another, not as co-dependants, but individuals. But this life they led was tumultuous, even dangerous. A well-placed blade, or an especially cold winter could finish them off for good and he didn't want to die with this uncertainty.

She made a small sound, an exhale, or a murmur he couldn't discern. And neither encouraged, nor discouraged he pressed on. It was easier this time to find the words, experience perhaps.

“When we first met, I’d thought I'd given up-- maybe I had. I'd just left the woman I loved, my home was nearly destroyed, I got taken advantage of, captured. I killed my own father. My whole world was falling apart.”

One of his hands twitched with the desire to tuck the fallen lock of her hair back into place
Instead, he squeezed hers gently and used the connection to ground himself to the here and now. Because despite the storm she caused inside him it was still a comfort, and if this was to be their last night together he wanted to remember it.

“And then, for what felt like the first time in a long time, you made me laugh. You were like this tiny ray of light in a very dark night. I was alive, but I wasn't living. You helped me see everything I was missing. I started to...forgive myself.” He looked up, found her moonbeam eyes and held them. “And it's all because of you.”

Alistair kept going, because he didn't want to stop. He couldn't lose this moment, this perfect chance- perhaps, his last one.

“I know you're scared. So am I. I've been in love before, and I've lived long enough to learn that sometimes, sometimes love isn't enough. And I remember thinking to myself ‘that's it, that was your one chance and you blew it,’ but with you. I want to try. Just one more time. Just.” He whispered as he closed his eyes, “once.” A wish, or maybe even a prayer.

“What do you say? Because I can't keep living like this, Atalanta, I can't. I love you and I need to know where we stand.” He shuffled his feet a little to keep his balance. “You drive me crazy.” He chuckled and shook his head. “Worse, you make me sane.

“I'm yours, if you'll have me. I feel like I have been for a long time.” The admission took him aback at first, but he settled into it, realizing a truth that had gone unsaid. And if they did go their separate ways he would be content knowing that he'd laid his heart bare. And that wasn't such a terrible feeling.
Alistair Callow

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Luperci SoSuWriMo 2013 Champ! have you ever licked a lamppost in winter...?
I am the Sword
the Light
and the Shield

POSTED: Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:25 pm

She'd been here before, with Skoll.

That had been four years ago. She remembered how he had come to her, his hair tangled and his emerald eyes bright with grief, and how angry and hurt he had been. His world had fallen apart, and she was there.

You're my safe place, Ata. It was a responsibility she never wanted. I love you. It was a feeling she had never asked for.

Why couldn't men see these things for themselves? It was because they were all stupid, her mother had been fond of saying, and Atalanta couldn't help but agree. They could live their whole lives wallowing in their own self-hatred and loss, and one look at a beautiful face, and it was a ray of light, a missing puzzle piece, a miracle cure. Skoll must have thought that she would change the whole world for him, and she wondered sometimes if she would have. All she could imagine was how her own life would change.

It terrified her, even now. She didn't want change.

Her breaths were coming faster, but her fingers trembled and clenched his worn hands. Tears welled in her faded blue-grey eyes as Alistair – her strong, reasonable, clever Alistair – laid his heart bare in words that, another time, she would have liked to steal for her stories. But instead she heard about how she helped him, she changed him, she drove him crazy and made him sane. She felt like she could hear the choppy waters near the warehouse docks. She thought about how heartless men were to charge her with such things.

I can't keep living like this.

A golden back walked away from her, and Atalanta called apologies, tried to pull him back, promised him that she was here, she wouldn't leave, she was still here, and yet she hadn't seen Skoll Haskel again for many, many years.

I can't, you know I can't, Atalanta said, and her voice was a desperate whine. Her fingers squeezed his tighter, tighter. I can't and it's not fair, Alistair! He would charge her with his love, his security, his sanity. She would be expected to throw her life away, wouldn't she? Everything would change. And yet, because she said no, would he leave like Skoll left? It wasn't fair to him, either, to expect him to stay sane and with her, when she couldn't give him everything that he had asked for.

Why – did you tell me? Why did you ruin a good thing? – but that also wasn't fair. Why was she so terrible? She cared about him, and yet she was seized with fear, her own terribly selfish desires. They led her to throw herself into his chest, wrapping her arms around him, clinging on tight and sobbing.

I can't say yes but I don't want you to leave, I don't want it to be different, I don't want to ruin everything we have.

She rubbed her face against his fur, drawing in the scent that made her feel so protected, not understanding the truth of her own emotions – because none of this had frightened her until she dare put a name and expectations to it.

I can't love you but I don't want to lose you, Ata whimpered.

She couldn't have another man – cherished, appreciated, trusted – walk out of her life because she could not give it all to him.

[589 words]

avatar by marinatedmermaid

POSTED: Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:13 pm

A part of him knew he was playing with fire.

But why did he feel so cold?

He saw the change in her, the fear, the tears...and then the words that hurt more than he could say. But the grip on his fingers only seemed to grow tighter. Tighter. As if her hands were snares to bind him to her in her own frivolous and self-indulgent panic. He drew back, away from her. He would have dropped her hands had she not held them fast. His jaw clenched around his own emotions as she accused him of-- what, exactly? Telling the truth? How was he supposed to understand the dynamic of their relationship when she kept throwing herself at him at every turn; she was doing it now!

His body tensed and somehow didn't flinch when she lunged at him. But his hands, free of her vice, remained at his sides. She sobbed and held onto him while he remained still. So very still. And when he spoke the words held no inflection, nor the hope of those before. "You're right, Ata." Alistair assured. "You can't."

He didn't resent her, nor was he angry-- why would he be? He'd expected this. But that didn't mean it hurt any less. "You can't have it both ways." Every inch of him wanted to withdraw but he endured her sobs and the arms that clung to him because it would break his heart if he couldn't comfort her.

It took everything he had to reach up and stroke her hair, everything he had to wrap his other arm around her, even as she rebuffed him. He knew it wasn't right, he knew the hand in her hair was better served by his side. Because she did not deserve to have him there-- still there, still holding her even as she sobbed about how she couldn't love him. When he knew she did. He just knew. And nothing would change.

"It wouldn't be any different," he emphasized and set his jaw, "and neither am I leaving." That much was clear. He couldn't imagine his life without her, and he wasn't going to start.

"You can let go of me now." Suddenly, the scent of her in his nose became too much to bear, the silk of her hair slipping through his callused fingers hurt too much to hold.

"I had more to say," He swallowed, focusing his eyes anywhere...but her. "I don't feel like talking anymore."
Alistair Callow

User avatar
Luperci SoSuWriMo 2013 Champ! have you ever licked a lamppost in winter...?
I am the Sword
the Light
and the Shield