|Maella Abbey (maella_abbey) wrote,|
@ 2008-03-28 20:21:00
|Current music:||09-Wanted Dead or Alive - Bon Jovi|
[Fic] The Bonds that Hold Fast, Rosalind Albert
Title: The Bonds that Hold Fast
Fandom: Dragon Quest VIII
Character/Pairing: Rosalind Albert
Word Count: 724
Written For: 100_women (Prompt 52: Mother)
A/N: I considered replaying this section to see what actual dialog is in the game, but decided strict canon compliance could take a back seat to the story I wanted to tell.
The whispers of the servants alert her in time to go to the window and pull aside the curtains that hide the blood-red sky, in time to see the rag-tag little group climbing wearily but determinedly up the hill to the mansion. The young man in the lead looks grim, even compared to the last time she saw him, and her heart stops for a moment before her eyes confirm that the flash of red hair at the back of the group is not a trick of the light; Jessica is with them, trailing behind, but well, whole.
Rosalind watches until she is quite certain they are coming to the door, then lets the curtain fall and block out the horrible sky. Voices drift up the stairs as she returns to her chair; she strains her ears, but Jessica's is not among them.
She wonders if her angry last words to her daughter are going to haunt her now.
Nonetheless, she is composed when footsteps - heavy, booted, definitely male - come up the stairs; her pride, her stubbornness, will allow nothing less. They carried her through losing a husband, burying a son, and they will carry her through this, as well, whatever this may turn out to be.
When Jessica appears on the stairs behind her companions, Rosalind betrays herself only a moment, eyes closing and a prayer of thanks going up to the Goddess almost against her will.
Their leader hangs back a moment when he sees her; he doesn't look at Jessica, but she can tell from the abortive turn of his head that he wants to. The brigand with them does look back, puzzlement clear when he finally shrugs and stomps his way across the space between them.
She listens quietly as the leader explains about the demon called Rhapthorne and the danger to their world. Her gaze never leaves his sincere, dark eyes, but she pays attention to little save Jessica, standing just at the periphery of her vision. There is little enough time for study, for his tale is short and to the point; he's tired, weighed down by knowledge and responsibility, lines that have no business on a face so young etching his features. Rosalind says something, the words a formality, not what she wants to say at all.
Protect my daughter. Bring her back to me. Leave her, and face this beast alone.
From the corner of her eye, she sees the Templar move, his head bowing low beside Jessica's, his hand briefly squeezing her bare shoulder. Jessica nods, almost imperceptible, and finally steps forward, so that Rosalind can look at her.
"Mother." Rosalind supposes that the slight unsteadiness in Jessica's voice is imagination, wishful thinking. "I hope you understand that I must see this through. It's gone beyond just revenge for Alistair. Our entire world is at risk if we don't do something."
Rosalind studies her, a stranger and yet not, not with pride holding her head high and a familiar stubbornness stiffening her spine. Hold on to those, Rosalind thinks. When you've nothing else, hold on to what makes you my daughter.
"Of course I understand," she says aloud, and if understand is an overstatement, she at least accepts that Jessica cannot be other than who she is. "Take care of yourself, and when you come home...we shall undoubtedly have a great deal to discuss."
Jessica smiles, not too proud to let her relief show, her expression lightening as if the battle is already won. The strength of her embrace surprises Rosalind - her body is hardened like a warrior's, despite her womanly curves - and still Rosalind thinks Jessica's physical strength is but a pale reflection of the strength of her spirit.
She wants to hold on, to keep Jessica there, but knows the attempt would only weaken them both, when neither can afford it. When Jessica's arms loosen, Rosalind pushes her gently away.
"I'll expect you home soon."
"As soon as Rhapthorne's defeated."
"I'll escort her home personally," the Templar says, and for some reason that makes Jessica ram her elbow into his ribs. Rosalind resists the urge to cluck in disapproval.
"When the sky goes back to normal, you'll know I'm coming home," Jessica says as they leave.
Once they've gone, Rosalind orders every curtain in the house drawn back.