Thirty-eight – 01

[This post is from Thom’s point of view.]

Waves crashed against the shore in the distance. He could hear them even standing here, miles from shore. A storm was rising off the northern waters. He could smell it on the wind, sense it in the movements of the animals, hear it in the whispers of the world, see it in the black clouds massing in the distance.

I hope we have time, Finn thought, watching the wind move the branches of the trees to the north. He chewed absently at the loose edge of a callus on his thumb as he did, pondering, measuring, calculating.

Her hand captured his and held it, tugging his thumb away from his mouth. He startled slightly, glancing toward her with a quirked brow, surprised to find her brow similarly arched.

“What is it?” he asked.

“I could ask the same of you,” Brighíd said softly, watching in closely. “You have that look, Finn. What is it?”

“Storm coming,” he murmured, intending to leave it at that. She didn’t let go of his hand as he’d expected she might.

“That much I can see,” she said, her voice still soft, though it was the softness that hid the strength he knew she possessed. “But there’s more.”

“There’s always more when it comes to you and I,” he said with a faint smile. His hand twisted in hers, squeezing her fingers. “Concentrate on the coming battle, my love,” he whispered. “Hopefully it will be over before the storm hits.”

“We choose the battleground,” she said, gaze following his to the trees. “Maybe this can be used to our advantage.”

His guts knotted. “No,” he said, the word coming out harsh, perhaps more harshly than he intended. She looked at him strangely, her jaw tightening.

“No?” she echoed.

“This is going to be one of those storms that’s there no controlling, Brighíd,” he breathed, staring at the trees again before his gaze drifted upward toward the sky. “Not something to tangle with, either. No. We need to be well under cover before it hits. There’s no other safe choice.”

He pressed a kiss to her jaw, then tugged his hand free of her grip.

“Even on another day, we’ll beat her. We will. This is your land now, Brighíd. We—all of us—will die to defend it.”

“I hope it doesn’t come to that,” she whispered.

“As do I, my love. As do I.”

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