NOW THIS IS WHERE WE STAND
Aleksandr Yeterian & Carolena Yeterian
prompt: happy birthday, dru!
It was raining. His reflection blurring, distorted by the streams and rivers of water racing down the glass, he watched the city beyond the window as the first rumbles of thunder rolled overhead and far off in the distance an arc of light raced across the clouds. A storm was coming. It would be here soon. Over the many years he had been alive he had seen enough storms to be able to judge and gauge them well enough by now, it was more of a sense than anything tried and tested, not something that humans would be able to understand in the least.
When she entered the room he saw her reflection. The door had been closed but she had opened it so quietly, not so quietly that he wouldn’t be able to hear but quietly enough that mortals never would have known she was coming. Her training had never faded, neither had his, they had been raised to be warriors and leaders and weaknesses were not something they tolerated, either one of them. He watched her reflection as she stepped into the room, her chin lifted and her shoulders set in that way he had come to recognise as subtle defiance. One brow quirked upward but still he did not turn to look back at her.
“Alek.” Not a question, more of a request than anything. They still had times when they clashed and quarrelled and their last had been just as tense and trying as the first. So many years, so many conflicts. Aleksandr was tired of them but saw no end to them either. His only response to her statement of his name was a sigh through his nose.
Carolena’s lips set in a line, he could see them in the glass, her features a little warped by the ever-shifting streams of downward-racing water. He heard her echoed sigh and saw the way she turned her face from his back and gazed towards the floor across the room. The sight of her doing something like that, something so defeatist, even behind his back, made something in his chest go tight. That was a feeling he recognised as well much as he wished he didn’t.
His jaw clenched and his gaze firm he turned at last, focusing his attention on her. Aleksandr could give her that much at least. Immediately her eyes lifted from the floor and she was facing him fully again, just as proud and unwavering as before as if nothing had happened, as if she hadn’t shown that small sign of resignation. Perhaps she thought he hadn’t seen it. No, she was smarter than that. Carolena knew him better than that.
“A storm is coming,” he said to her as if she might not have noticed and he felt some of the tension from his shoulders bleed away as she took her gaze from his, just for a moment, to look out the window in front of which he stood. “It will be here within the hour.”
Without a word, after a moment in which she drew in a deep breath as if to brace herself, she strode forward and closer to him. She kept her gaze on the window, looking past the streaks of heavy rainwater and to the city beyond. Unchallenging. Accepting. Aleksandr read both clearly in the way she approached him and when she reached his side, close enough for him to feel the warmth of her, he turned to look out of the window as well.
“I love a good storm,” she said, her voice low and quiet, and when he glanced down at her he saw the first trace of a smile on her lips, felt a similar one creeping across his face in response.
With a small nod Aleksandr turned his attention back to the city stretched out before them, his voice just as quiet and low as he said in return, “As do I.”