Before he gives himself over to the desert completely, Leto visits Ghanima one last time.
"How I've missed you," he says, because it's what he always says, ever since he saw fit to take increasingly long absences from the sister whom, some months ago, he had rarely been apart from. That was before the Golden Path, however; before Leto accepted his destiny, a destiny his father, their father, had been unable to undertake.
When they embrace, Leto smells rustic, wild. Ghanima runs her fingers softly down his left arm, and then across his neck and down his chest, the soft abrasions on his skin both piquing her interest and saddening her. "It's spreading," she says softly. When their eyes meet, Leto's expression is unreadable, and Ghanima knows that this will be the last time they will be together.
Nonetheless, things proceed slowly, as they always have in the past. Ghanima leads Leto by the hand into her private chambers, where there is rich wine waiting in matching goblets. They both drink deeply. "Shall we toast to your impending marriage?" Leto asks, and now his eyes are sparkling the same way they always have.
Ghanima shakes her head just so. "Though our families will continue to work together for the common good," she explains, "House Atreides and House Corrino will never officially marry."
"Just as our mother was not wife," Leto adds, and he doesn't have to ask if it was what Ghanima was thinking, because he knows it is. They sit facing one another on Ghanima's bed, and Leto gently takes her hand. "Is this what will make you truly happy, though, Ghanima? Following in the footsteps of our ancestors?"
Ghanima's small face is troubled now. "I sincerely doubt I will ever truly be happy," she says honestly. "I fear it, even."
"Fear is the mind killer," Leto reminds her with a small smile, and brushes his finger against her temple. Ghanima leans into the touch and closes her eyes.
"I know," she says. "But you must admit: Everything is different now, Leto."
Leto's eyebrows draw together slightly. "Everything is as we have foreseen, Ghanima. We have embraced the Golden Path. Arrakis will never again be under tyranny. Spice will flow freely always. You know this as well as I do."
Ghanima nods. She does know, and she also knows that there is nothing that can convince Leto that there is anything wrong with this; that the long-term goals of the Golden Path might not encompass everything that happens here and now; that even though she is heartbroken every time Leto comes home more mottled and changed, she knows this is the only way for them to live because of who they are and what they know, and so she will paste a smile on her face and live the life she was meant to.
Fortunately, Leto does not make her lie to him with false sentiments. "Though all of the hands of fate have been placed on the table, palms up, it does not make me miss you any less, Ghanima," he says. He leans in and presses his lips - somehow still moist and soft in spite of the harsh desert elements in which he mostly basks - to her forehead. Then their lips meet, and Ghanima wraps her arms around her brother's shoulders, curling into his embrace as well. "My beautiful sister," Leto breathes against her mouth. "We must savor this, Ghanima."
Ghanima watches Leto step out of the few remaining articles of clothing that he still sees fit to wear. Her brother is also beautiful, and she feels shy when he motions for her to remove her own dress. "Help me," she entreats, and Leto's nimble fingers fiddle with ribbons and fastenings until the garment is loose enough to slip down Ghanima's now-bare shoulders. Leto's gaze is appreciative as he takes in her willowy figure, her small, pert breasts. Stripped to the waist now, Ghanima moans softly in pleasure when Leto reaches out to gingerly cup her chest, one breast in each hand. His fingers rub tentatively across her nipples and she bites her lip. "Leto," she gasps.
"Beautiful Ghanima," Leto murmurs. He begins to kiss down her neck, pressing her gently back against the bedding until she is prone and staring up at him wondrously. Carefully, Leto takes the dress off the rest of the way, as well as Ghanima's dainty shoes, and then hovers over her, bracing himself on both arms, and then laughing a bit breathlessly when Ghanima sees fit to tug him down so that he's flush against her. "I want to make this last," Leto tells her, but acquiesces to the kiss that Ghanima initiates, her tongue probing inside of her brother's mouth before pulling himself up again. Ghanima watches as he rearranges himself on his knees, tugging her legs apart and sitting between them.
"Leto," she begins, but he silences her with a finger to his lips. Their eyes meet and Leto continues to hold Ghanima's gaze even as his head dips. His left hand remains pressing against Ghanima's thigh, while the digits of his right reach between Ghanima's spread, slightly quivering legs. Gently, he scissors her folds apart, rubbing at her entrance with two fingers, smiling when Ghanima breathes his name again, the syllables more pronounced this time.
Eventually, Leto darts his tongue out and begins to lap at his sister's crevice. Ghanima is quickly wet, and as Leto can tell by the musky, heady scent pervading from her nether regions as he nips and suckles at her, she is quite aroused. He licks broad stripes along the inside of Ghanima's cunt, reveling in the way she shakes and squirms at his touch; at the way her back arches off of the bed when he inserts one finger, and then another, inside of her, pumping them a little.
"Leto," Ghanima cries, and he can feel her small, elegant hands scrabbling unsuccessfully for purchase against his bare shoulders. "Leto, I want you here, inside me, please, Leto ..."
Leto smiles and wipes at his mouth, and then slides back up Ghanima's body, settling, this time, firmly over her. "Ready?" he whispers, and she nods, and he watches her face as he enters her, using his right hand to position his cock. Ghanima is tight even being well-lubricated beforehand, and her eyelashes flutter, her head lolling back, as he begins to move inside of her. "Gods, Ghanima," he chokes, and feels her fingers dig into his back. He leans down and kisses her, and she can taste herself on his mouth, and it inflames her desire even further. "More?" he asks Ghanima softly when he's pretty sure he won't be able to resist any longer.
Ghanima nods. "Please, Leto," she breathes, and he slides in to the hilt, and then back out a ways, and then in again. A rhythm is established and holds, and Leto stares down at Ghanima's flushed face, the way she pants and gasps with each thrust. "I love you, Leto," Ghanima sobs, and Leto smiles, cupping her face with his hand.
"And I you, Ghanima. You are forever cherished in my heart." Leto's breath is staggered now. He presses his forehead to Ghanima's, and she spreads her legs to accommodate him reaching down to rub at her clit, trying to bring her off in close proximity to his own orgasm. Ghanima whimpers and groans and tugs Leto to her again and bites down on his lip a bit accidentally, eliciting a guttural moan from him that does her in. She comes as Leto fingers her, and with two, three, four more particularly hard thrusts, Leto is coming too, his pupils huge, his mouth open and gasping. "Ghanima, oh, Ghani," he says, breathing her name like it's holy, like he'll die without her. "Love, Ghanima," he says as his chest stops heaving, and Ghanima smiles beatifically at him.
"My love, my Leto," Ghanima tells him. She braces herself for Leto to extract himself from her, and then happily curls into his forthcoming embrace as he lies length-wise alongside her on the bed. Ghanima regards Leto, his nude and ever-so-slightly flushed frame adorned with a glaze of sweat and the markings of fate, of the Golden Path. "Stay with me tonight," she begs him. "Just tonight. Just this one last time."
Leto kisses her temple. "Of course," he promises. He pillows her head against his shoulder. "I'll always be here, Ghanima," he asserts, and points at his own temple. "In here."
"Of course," Ghanima mimics, and they both smile, and it hurts. Ghanima ignores the ache in her heart, however, and concentrates on the serenity that surrounds them in this exact moment.
"Rest, dear sister," Leto urges her, and Ghanima allows herself to drift off to sleep, knowing full well that when she wakes up anew, Leto will be gone, and she will be left to greet the new day alone. For now, at least, it's enough to feel his soft breath on her cheek, drying the single tear that slips down her face and drips off of her chin into the thick air below.