Let me start off with a disclaimer:
I do not lay any claim to any characters in this story. They belong to Irony'sFriend. I do, however, own this idea and the writing, which means you ARE NOT allowed to copy, repost or distribute this in any way, shape or form. I have permission from Irony'sFriend to use her characters in this story.
This is my idea of Daniel and Emeary's wedding day/night. I based it off a piece of fanart I did for Irony'sFriend (which you can see as the story avatar thingy, or the full version is available to you by request.) This isn't a collab or anything, just my idea of what it would be like.
So before you read this, you should read The Midnight Moon by Irony'sFriend because it's really good and original. Plus it will make reading this story all the more sweet. :)
Jessie: Sorry it took so long! Being back in school has been more demanding than I thought it would, and I really wanted this to be perfect. :) I hope you like it and it's everything you imagined it'd be.
EDIT 9/3/15: Minor grammatical/flow fixes. :) Point out anything I missed!
Also, Irony'sFriend has removed The Midnight Moon from this site, which is so sad because it was wonderful! But she is working with another author on a trilogy, so hopefully Emeary and Daniel will be back sooner than we thought. ;)
"Daniel isn't breathing," Aaron had whispered to me. I just looped my arm tighter through his elbow and concentrated on not tripping over my own feet. I couldn't bring myself to look up at the man standing at the altar, the man who would become my husband in just minutes. My hands were sweating and my heart beat in my throat. It was too surreal and the thin dress I wore made me self-conscious. Almost half the country had traveled to the city just for the occasion and the millions of eyes on me was, needless to say, unnerving. Aaron squeezed my hand as we reached the arbor, reassuring me. He bent and kissed my cheek.
"Look," he breathed as I leaned up to place a kiss of my own on his scruff.
The gardens were an explosion of pigment of life and color. Roses and Morning Glories of every color and species were growing along paths, curling into hedges, scaling statues and bursting along the base of the center fountain. Baby's Breath and wildflowers mingled among the beauties like commoners among kings.
But I didn't notice all of that – not at first, at least.
All I saw was the color of Daniel's eyes and the way he inhaled sharply like he'd been kicked. I smiled and his breathing hitched. I watched his Adam's apple bob when he swallowed and as he reached for my hands, we were both trembling so hard I don't know how we managed to keep a hold of each other. Everything else seemed to fall away, we were infinite, unstoppable. And though invincible, our voices wavered when we said vows; our bodies quaked so hard I thought the earth would split apart.
When we kissed, the whole damn country exploded.
And, God, I can't even describe the way it felt.
It was as exhilarating as it was exhausting, and I am still overwhelmed with the joy that my people brought to the occasion. Elodea is indeed a changed place, and that is all thanks to Daniel, my husband, and Aaron.
Now, I am basking in the moonlight on Daniel's balcony outside his bedroom, after enduring hours of royal post-wedding rituals of torture. Though, I guess it's my bedroom too, now, and that thought frightens me as much as it excites me.
I take a deep breath of cool, rose-scented air like it's some sort of drug. From up here, I realize how beautiful the gardens really are. Along with my medicinal duties, Daniel had directed the care of this garden to me, and I spent every free second I had tending it and watching the plants grow into one breathing entity. Had Daniel had ever stood here and watched me toil away, creating beautiful things? Had he stood here in the dead of night and breathed in the perfumed air like he was a dying man?
"Enjoying your new view?"
Startled, I turn to see Daniel leaning against the doorjamb. A bouquet of blue roses is held loosely at his side and his other hand is tucked into the pocket of his trousers. His shirt is unbuttoned, the scar from Micheal's sword just barely visible. The way moonlight reflects off his tousled hair makes me think of a halo.
The blue roses are not any that I had planted. A crooked rosebush grows in a spot several feet from the base of the well from which I had rescued Daniel three years ago. It wasn't visible from here, but I knew enormous blue roses hung on thorny branches that droop from their weight, and the blossoms are bigger than my hand. Daniel had claimed that place as his own, not with words but with actions. He could be found there, staring at the unnatural roses, when his role as king demanded too much of him.
He has taken me there only once, right after he found the strange flowers. That was last year, the same night he asked me to be his queen. His hands had trembled so badly he'd dropped the ring in the tall grass and it took us fifteen minutes to find it. We spent the rest of evening by that mysterious bush, teasing and playing and kissing like I imagined we would if we'd not been denied our teenage years.
But then again, if we'd grown up normally, our paths would not have crossed. Life is funny that way.
At midnight the roses bloom and sparkle with a familiar blue aura that is completely absent from my life otherwise. Daniel thinks they must be a gift from the moon goddess to thank me for my part in saving the world. He thinks they have magical healing properties, but I don't make use of them. That chapter of my life has come to a close, and I don't want to bring it back. That was my old life, a dark life, before Daniel. My life with him now is blinding and bright and I do not want any darkness to destroy that.
"You scared me," I reprimand.
"I know, I'm terribly ugly. Forgive me." He walks towards me, his gait loose and relaxed. There is no more formal facade or uncomfortable posture, instead he moves with the graceful lope of a lion. When he reaches me, he dips his head and I tilt my face up to meet him in a sweet, lingering kiss.
"Are those for me?" I motion to the silvery-blue roses.
Daniel smiles in a way that makes me want to kiss him again. He looks at me without walls, like I am the sun and the moon and the rain. I suspect that, in some ways, for him, I am all those things.
He nods and extends the flowers with flourish, "Midnight roses for a moonlit queen."
The title feels foreign to me, yet a rush of giddy excitement floods me with force and I grin stupidly. Our fingers brush as I take the flowers from him and I notice the wedding band that glints on his left hand. The nearly overwhelming realization that he is mine, and I his, hits me. The love I feel for him swells and flutters like bird wings. I want to tell him what he means to me, how he saved me, how he runs in my veins in place of blood.
Instead, all I manage is to fumble with pinning roses in my hair, and ask him why he was at the well.
Daniel rests his elbows on the balcony railing and gives me a searching, sideways glance. "I was...remembering."
The lightness in my chest balls itself up into something rock-like that makes it hard to breathe. The rose bush is a source of both pain and happiness for him. On one hand, it symbolizes love. Our love. And it is a beautiful thing. But it grows from a place of misery and heartache and death. That rose bush has taken root in soil soaked with Daniel's blood, and drenched in his agony after I willingly took his place at death's door.
The memory is heavy, and I feel weighed down by the idea that I could have lost Daniel that night. I turn a rose in my hands, fingering the smooth petals pensively, until Daniel touches my wrist.
His eyes are dark, his pupils so dilated I can see myself reflected in the blackness. There are emotions there, the suffocation of painful memories. In that moment, I know he is remembering that I died in his arms. He had felt the last breath of air leave my lungs; knowing that it was to save him, knowing that everything I had ever done was to save him.
Emotions claw up my throat. He presses himself closer until the cold stone railing is jabbing into my back. The moonlight casts harsh lines on the planes of his face and he seems older, matured. He looks so much like the king he is, in this moment - powerful, but filled with a love that simmers like lava.
A love that saved us.
A love that saved a nation.
My heart suddenly aches for this tortured man, for the sadness that deepens his eyes. How broken had he felt, watching me die in his place?
How could you? His eyes accuse, how could you leave me?
How couldn't I?
"Daniel, I – "
"Don't." His voice had grown husky. One of his hands flutters against my cheek and tears spring to my eyes.
"I just wanted to say –"
This time, he captures my mouth with his. Soft at first, the kiss grows in urgency and passion. He crushes me against his chest; I knot my fingers in his hair. His mouth is hot and greedy and it fills me up with fire. I tug his hair and he holds me tight enough that our breaths come as one. I am burning, burning, burning.
He trails kisses down my neck, leaving scorch marks where his mouth touches. My raw lips spew smoke when I sigh his name.
He pauses with his temple against my jaw, panting. His breath is like flames fanning across my skin, drawing a sheen of sweat. We stay like that for a few moments, in silence. I am trembling so hard I fear I will fall apart.
I am melting.
"I love you," he murmurs, and nuzzles against my neck. "I love you, Em. I love you." His shoulders quake with a silent kind of sob and he holds me like he is afraid I will slip through his fingers. Melting from the heat of his kiss, I am sure that is completely possible.
I untangle my fingers from his hair while his breath traces my name in fire across my collarbone.
"My Emeary," He presses his lips to the pulse at my throat, and smiles when it quickens. My heart hammers in my ears. Fire consumes me again.
Then he looks at me with eyes brimming with emotions that will take an eternity to decipher. His smile is so genuine that it makes my heart ache. I close my eyes as he kisses away the tears I didn't realize I'd been crying.
"I love you, Queen Markowitz."
I swallow butterflies and open my eyes to meet his. I can see tiny pinpricks of light reflected in his eyes, a million stars. "I love you, too."
He traces a path over my hips with his fingertips, making me shiver. The thin silk really doesn't provide much of a barrier between our skins, but it feels like a wool coat to me now.
"A silver dress?" he says, letting his eyes roam my figure in a hungry way. I blush.
"I figured it was fitting, you know, like the moon." I am surprised at how breathy I sound.
"Fitting is one word for it. It looks incredible on you," Something in his voice suggests he's not really focusing on the dress. His hands move up and down my sides, going higher and then lower into territory that was previously uncharted and I am on fire.
"It looks better off of me," I breathe and am mortified at my own boldness, but I see the tensing of Daniel's shoulders and dilation of his pupils and draw some sort of satisfaction from it. He is breathing heavy and I want him to kiss me again. I want his mouth to touch every inch of my heated flesh. I am shaking so hard that my thoughts are scrambled, disjointed. Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me.
He starts to speak again but before a single word can come out, I crush my mouth to his. It's passionate and feverish like we are drowning. Gently, he is leading me inside. I am lost in his breaths and the taste of his mouth and the soft growl that emanates from somewhere deep in his chest when I nip his lower lip with my teeth. He is kissing my neck and I am boiling and we are suddenly tripping backwards onto the bed where he hovers above me, panting, with eyes as dark as the night sky.
"You'll stay by my side forever," he growls in my ear, awakening a memory of the first night I had met him, when he'd taken me prisoner. My mind's eye sees the cave, the fire, Daniel dying an agonizing death. His skin is hot now, like it was then. I trace the scar on his chest. I could have walked away from him, but where would that have left me?
He's observing me, blanketed in silvery shadows, his halo of hair making him look more like an angel of the night than of the day. His eyes are searching and I recognize he is waiting for my permission. I realize how afraid I am, because I have no idea what I am doing. But Daniel's touch is as soothing as it is exciting, and the gentleness with which he is caressing my thigh is driving me insane. I'm not exactly sure what I want him to do, but I want him to do something. I press my lips to his.
"And that's a promise."