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On My Honor, I Will Try

Chapter Text

By luck, there actually was a Joseph Rogers from Brooklyn.  Sarah never did meet him, much less marry him, but technically, he did exist.

Sarah knew the truth about Caldruinnian herself, but she certainly never told her son.  She doubted he would have believed her if she had; after all, these days, whoever believed in fairies?

 


 

Caldruinnian was never going to be able to stay forever, and Sarah knew it when she took him in.  He made a point of telling her of the curse he bore, which spurred his feet to wandering, and the danger he sought to escape, the hunters sent by his enemies in the Court.  

But even in human form, Caldruinnian was handsome, and so, despite the risks, she offered him a place to stay, anyway.  

(Later, he would realize that she would have offered even if he weren't handsome, just because he was lost, and alone, and needed help.  And because her father was a minister, and her mother had raised her right in the eight years she’d had.

And besides which, he did the dishes.  Of course she didn't kick him out.

But he wouldn't put that together until later.)

 


 

Her father was the first of her family to leave her, passing away with yellowed eyes and a wandering mind.  There wasn't a will, and so technically, the house belonged to their father's cousin, who would presumably come and claim it some day, at which point, all three sisters (plus Caldruinnian) agreed, they would just be homeless and destitute and miserable.  But in the meantime, since their father's cousin was still in Ireland and the house was in Long Island, Sarah and her sisters just stayed put.  They had to live somewhere, after all.

Caldruinnian was grateful; he felt far more himself with a house to take care of.  A house had tasks— it had cleaning and dusting, sweeping and polishing, laundry and more laundry and more laundry, and cleaning out the u-bend of the kitchen sink after Frannie washed tea-leaves down it again.   Caldruinnian almost felt normal in a house, and he hoped that Sarah's father's cousin never, ever came over.

That was when he asked her to marry him, and Sarah agreed.  He reminded her of his curse, and of the hunters, and that he would have to leave sooner or later.  "My love is a shabby thing," he warned her.  "I can't stay with you forever.  I wish to God I could."

"Everything I own is shabby," she told him briskly, "And you are by far the least shabby of the lot.  And don't swear by a God you don't believe in."

They were married within the month, and she was, for a time, deliriously happy.

Her sister Mary was the next to leave, marrying Johnny from up near Boston even though all three of them and Caldruinnian knew it was a bad idea.  They watched her step onto the train beside him, and Frannie shook her head.  "She's gonna be broken and dead inside o' three years, then, ain't she?"  

Sarah sighed, bowing her head, and didn't answer, but it was only two years and seven months before the word came back:  Died in childbirth.  

(She'd been twenty years old.)

Frannie—well.

The less said about Frannie, the better.

That little pirate.  

(Sarah would always be a bit bitter that Frannie got to run away and join the Navy, and even more so that she had—apparently—gotten away with it.  Sarah would never have managed it, even with a temperament like Frannie's, because Sarah did not, let's say, also have a figure like Frannie's, and yes, alright, she was jealous.  But done was done, and the less Sarah thought about her sister's willful flouting of all tradition, the better for the enamel of Sarah's molars.)

Frannie (or rather, these days, Frankie) was the last to leave—besides Caldruinnian, and Sarah herself, of course.  Frannie didn't even say goodbye—alright, she left a note when she snuck away at midnight, but that was hardly the same.  

Sarah, of course, turned immediately to Caldruinnian.  "Did you know?" she demanded.

He smiled sadly.  "Dear heart, when you quench a flame, it is not chastened; it is extinguished."   He put his hand on her shoulder comfortingly.

Angrily, she shoved it off.  She did her own laundry that night, too, but it was hard work and frustrating, and by the time her skirt was dry again, she had given in and accepted Caldruinnian's arms and aid once again.

It wasn't long after that, though, that Caldruinnian felt the pulling of the curse once more, bidding his feet to wander.  At night, he heard the hounds howling, and shuddered.  (Sarah said sleepily that they were only dogs, Joseph, come back to bed, but Sarah didn't know.   It was a long time before he managed to climb, shivering, back under the covers beside her.)  

The next morning, rather than rising early to make the porridge, Caldruinnian brushed Sarah awake with fingers in her blonde hair and feather-weight kisses on her cheek.  "Dear heart, I have to leave soon," he told her.

She closed her eyes, but nodded; she had known it was coming.  "Where will you go?" she asked, brushing the dark hair of his human form out of his eyes.

He shrugged.  "I don't care," he told her.  "I might join the Army; that way, I can send you some wages.  The more important question is, where will you go?  You cannot stay here, not with all your family gone."

She bit her lip, and climbed on top of him.  "I'll be alright," she told him.  She ran her fingers down his fair chest and stomach, making him gasp, and teased him to gasping fullness before taking him inside herself.  She shifted forward and back, biting her lip and feeling her back arch in pleasure.  "I was never the sister they were worried about."

Caldruinnian's eyes shone gem-bright in the faint light, like a cat's.  "I love you," he said gravely, and surged upwards, kissing her deeply, deeply, as they rocked together.  "Never forget that.   I love you."  

She never did forget.

She wouldn't have, anyway, but also, she had baby Steven to remind her.