Elincia hadn't been this weary since the beginning of the Mad King's war. No one ever told her that pregnancy would take so much out of her. All the books had were joyous women with apple cheeks and the unsaid knowledge that this would ensure they were kept as a wife. She sighed, her eyelids drooping as leaned against her door. That thought had never been a worry for her, even if she'd been barren, Lucia never would've cast her aside. As it was, there were no meetings that couldn't be rescheduled, no gatherings of senators or balls. She hadn't been up for dancing for months, with the way her feet had begun to swell.
She slowly opened her door to her quarters, and caught a whiff of fresh fruit and pastries, and saw the spread of blue gingham over her crimson and gold duvet. Lucia sat upon it, one leg crossed over the other as she finished a small reddish-yellow apple. A basket was beside her, its contents obscured from this distance.
"I thought you'd gone for the day," Elincia said.
"No, I was waiting for you. I wanted to surprise you, but you seemed to want nothing more than rest." Lucia shrugged. "I thought it best to combine them."
Elincia slowly came closer, balancing her weight as she sat down beside Lucia.
"Did you eat enough?" Lucia asked. There was this knowing edge to her expression. There was no escaping Lucia's scrutiny.
"I ate," Elincia said.
"You're eating for two, perhaps even three," Lucia said. "My mother was a twin, you know."
Twins ran in Lucia's family. Elincia's hand fell to her stomach, wondering at the growing life there.
"Honestly, it's unseemly. Ike and Lord Skrimir look at me as if I've outdone them at the dinner table, and now I'm being proclaimed the rival to the little mage girl who ate the entire contents of a supply wagon." Elincia's lower lip quivered. Ah, her emotions had been all over the place as of late.
Lucia rested her hand on Elincia's shoulder. "Eat," she said gently.
Elincia's stomach gave a most unladylike rumble as she lifted up the top of the basket. Inside were a variety of delicacies, from sweet smelling fruit tarts to another few reddish yellow apples, and another cloth. She unwrapped the white cloth to find a large drumstick.
She took a great bite of the drumstick, completely losing herself in the flavor in a way she could not in public. She moaned. "Ah, I was hungrier than I thought."
Lucia was smiling in that faintly amused way.
"Oh, not you too," Elincia said. She delicately wiped the corners of her mouth with a napkin.
"I, for one, would pay gold to see you thrash Ike and lord Skrimir and Ilyana at the dining table," Lucia said.
"Lucia," she protested.
Lucia kissed her on the cheek, and lingered there, resting her head against her.
"What can I say? I love watching you beat all the boys," Lucia said wryly.
"Just for that, I'm calling forth an all you can eat meat challenge," Elincia said. "And I will soundly beat them all."
"I love it when you're dominant," Lucia said.
"I know, you told me last night," Elincia said, looking down with the faintest of flushes over her cheeks. Lucia kissed her neck, light and soft. From inside her, she felt a stirring of their child.
"Ah, the baby is kicking–"
Lucia laid her hand over Elincia's stomach. Their fingers entwined over her swollen belly.
"I can feel it..." Lucia said softly, a tinge of wonder in her voice.
For a while they just savored the moment. Elincia leaned against Lucia, their hands together over her stomach witnessing together this first spark of life. All Elincia could think was that she'd never known such joy, even with the hardships it'd taken to reach this point.
The child within her fell still.
"I think the child is sleeping," she said. "All that kicking must've worn it out."
"Already the child is starting on practicing its swordplay," Lucia said.
"Then Kieran will be glad to hear of it, he's been proclaiming how he will train this little one...a bit of a frightening prospect," Elincia said.
Lucia gently traced her fingers around Elincia's navel. The day was unseasonably warm for an autumn day, the red and golds outside faded to mere specks from this high up in the castle. Elincia nestled deeper against Lucia, and idly ran her other hand along the blue gingham laid across her bed.
"I think I shall have the child's room decorated in blue regardless of if it's a boy or a girl," Elincia said.
"Any reason?" Lucia said.
Because it reminds me of you.
"No..." Elincia said. "But it's what I want."
"Then if it's what you want, I'll endeavor to give it to you if it takes moving the heavens and the earth to do so," Lucia said with a sort of mock gravitas.
Elincia giggled despite herself. "I doubt having a room decorated will require epic quests.
"Only if you do it right," Lucia said, smiling wryly.
And you always do, Lucia.
Who else would've thought of bringing the picnic inside, instead of scrapping it? Who else would tease her like this? She could feel the voluptuous curve of Lucia's breasts from where she leaned into her, the rise and fall of her breath, a hint of her heartbeat.
"I feel like eating the entire lunch and then the basket too...and then napping for the next week," Elincia said with a sigh. "These cravings are quite unexpected."
"Then do so," Lucia said. "There's no courtiers to judge you, and I've already eaten. "
Elincia reached into the basket for more. "And you'll stay with me when I rest?"
"Of course I will. As if you have to ask," Lucia said.
Elincia smiled. Of course Lucia would be there for her. She always was, she always would be. Resting close to Lucia, the day seemed so much brighter somehow, not just because of the impromptu indoors picnic, but because Lucia was in it.