And we were as free as we could be

Ross Farm Museum

POSTED: Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:02 pm

A warm, spring wind blew off the shattered coastline and tussled her cropped mane. She swallowed down the tightness in her throat but could not quell her nerves. Would he come? Where time after time before he had not, would this day be different? Thyri paced and she wondered and she worried; oh, gods, did she worry.

She had been stood up by him – whether intentional or through outside intervention – too many times in the years of their friendship to feel confident that this time would prove different.


With the wind blowing off the coast and her trepidatious thoughts dulling her senses, she had not been aware of the approaching figure of Merlin Knight. She whipped her head around and the fringes of her mane danced in the air around her. "Merlin!" Her voice betrayed her relief and, by the rueful smile on her friend's face, she knew that he recognized it for what it was.

"Sorry if I made you nervous that, you know," he said, lifting his eyes and drawing his lips into a straight line. "I wouldn't show up." Merlin shrugged helplessly and lowered his ears. When he parted his mouth to add "again," Thyri took a step forward.

"Don't," she said, looking up at him with that fierce, passionate glimmer she commanded so well. "Just... don't. You're here, and I'm here." She took another step toward him, thinking she would embrace him. But when the donkey brayed, the magic of the moment was lost and both of them shifted their attention to Magnificent Beast. "And so is Mags," she laughed.

It was because of the donkey, whose ownership Thyri intended to return to Merlin, that they met today. But it did not take long in the presence of one another to remember how easy and warm and good their companionship felt. And it was from that seed of promise and hope which many future rendezvous bloomed.

As the days became weeks, the abandoned and overgrown homestead of Ross Farm Museum became their regular meeting place. Responsibilities in their respective packs kept them from meeting every day, but they made their plans and Merlin always showed up.

And, with every meeting, they grew closer and more intimate. Brief touches shifted to hand-holding; sportive nudges became gentle caresses; playful nips turned into experimental kisses. Something beautiful – something terrifying and exciting – was happening. But it wasn't until, a number of trysts later, when Thyri found herself tucked into the crook of Merlin's arm with her head pressed against his broad chest, listening to the strong thumping of his heart, that she realized what it was.

She was falling in love.

"Merlin," she whispered, adjusting her head against his chest and looking up at him through her eyelashes. "I love you."

She could hear the pace of his heartbeat quicken and her throat tightened uncomfortably. Daring not say anything more, hardly daring to so much as breathe, Thyri felt as though she had stepped off the edge of an abyss and was falling toward limbo.

"I... I love you, too." If it wasn't for the firmness in his tone that painted those words with such truth, Thyri might have mistook his hesitation for disagreement.

But the rest of their time together afterwards proved to her that he had spoken true.

"What's it like in the Court?" Merlin asked her one day, after they had first confessed – and confirmed – their love. A high, summer sun painted the old homestead in golden light and, beneath the shade of a broad oak, the two wolves sought comfort from the blistering heat.

Merlin sat against the trunk of the oak, running his fingers through her mane. With her head comfortably resting against his thigh, Thyri looked up at him and smiled. "You've been there before," she replied. "You know what it's like."

"Being a visitor isn't the same as living there."

A gentle crease formed between her brows. "True," she conceded, looking past him into the verdant canopy above. "It's... warm and comfortable; safe. My family is there, my future is there. It's... I don't know, it's home." Thyri picked a dandelion from the grass next to her and twirled it between her fingers. "It's where I belong."

Looking up from the dandelion, she saw something on Merlin's face that she couldn't decipher. "Is something wrong?" she asked him gently.

The smile that he pushed onto his face was small and sad. "I was just thinking," he began, brushing a stray hair from her face. "How Casa doesn't feel like that to me anymore." Merlin sighed and shifted his back against the trunk of the tree. "It just... It doesn't feel like home. It just feels like a place where I live.

It was a feeling that Thyri understood well. She blinked slowly, waiting for him to continued, and the dandelion spun lazily between her fingers.

"I mean, I love my family and I'm grateful for everything they've done for me, especially Arthur. But..." He shrugged. "After Midnight Shores, and then..."

"I know."

"The only place where I feel like I belong," he continued. "Is with you."

There was something exhilarating, and altogether terrifying, about the implications of those last few words. Thyri held her tongue and felt her heart thrum within her chest while the skin within her ears burned red and hot. She wondered if the meaning of his words matched the hope in her heart. She was afraid to know.

Their eyes met.

"Your family..."

"...Will understand," he finished through a warm and genuine smile. "Besides, there isn't much distance separating our packs. I can visit them easily."

Unbidden, tears were forming at the corners of her eyes and Merlin's smile faded. "You don't want me."

"What? No!" Thyri rose from Merlin's lap and faced him, her legs folded beneath her. The surprise in his eyes from the brightness of her face and the violence of her tail's cadence was palpable. A tear slid down her cheek when she cupped his face between her hands and kissed him. "I want you. I was just afraid to hope that you wanted me back." He wiped away the tear with his thumb. "But you do and I... I can't remember when I've ever felt so happy."

Empowered by validation and overwhelmed by elation, Merlin scooped Thyri up into his arms, laughter bubbling from her throat, and held her to his chest. She tucked her head into the crook of his neck and was tickled by how perfectly it fit there.

And, tangled together beneath the sprawling oak, they embraced their future with fervor and beauty and love.

Above all else, love.

OOC: This RO takes place over the course of three months, starting after this thread. <3

[WC — 1141]

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