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The Rain is Warm (Like Your Embrace)

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“Ashe, Ashe, come quickly!”

Ashe looked up from his laptop, startled by Petra’s excited shout. Shutting it quickly and getting out of his chair, he left the room and quickly walked towards the stairs. Just as he started to descend, he paused, seeing something he hadn’t seen before in Brigid: large amounts of rain.

“I’m coming Petra, where are you?” he shouted as he resumed his descent.

“The kitchen, be hurrying!” he heard her call back.

Ashe made his way through the ground floor, dodging the various boxes that were still strewn about from their recent move-in. Finally making it to the kitchen after a brief wrong-turn, he saw Petra slightly bouncing on the balls of her feet with her back to him as she looked out the sliding doors to their lānai.

“It’s raining,” Petra said excitedly in Brighealg. “We almost never get rain in June. This is the first time it’s rained while you’ve been here, If I’m remembering correctly.”

Ashe smiled at her using her own language. She’d been mostly sticking to the Fódlan language in the couple of weeks since they’d graduated and settled in Brigid, and while she claimed it was to keep her skills at it sharp, Ashe suspected it was mostly for his benefit. Even so, he liked it when she spoke her own language: when she did, she spoke with an expressiveness and vibrancy that contrasted greatly with the woman who chose every word she spoke with great care that he’d first met a continent away.

“It is,” he replied in her tongue. “We should…ah, be making the tea so that we can be watching it.”

“What?” Petra said confused as she switched back to Fódlan, before realization dawned on her face. “Ashe, this is not the cold Autumn rains of Fódlan, this is a summer rain of Brigid! Let us go,” she said eagerly, sliding open the door and causing the sounds of it falling to magnify.

Petra stepped out, and Ashe followed with slight hesitation. They stood there for a bit, underneath the awning that ran along the back wall. “Stick your arm out,” Petra said suddenly, causing Ashe to turn to her.

“What?”

“Put your arm out into the rain,” she said with gentle encouragement. “You will find it quite warm.”

Ashe slowly stuck the palm of his hand out, initially wincing as the drops hit it, before relaxing at just how warm it felt. He turned to look at Petra with an amazed smile, who flashed him a grin in return. “It’s really warm. I mean, logically I knew it would be, but with all the Faerghus rains I grew up with…”

“Yes, it is much warmer,” Petra agreed, and before Ashe could say anything else she pulled off her tank top.

“What are you doing?” Ashe asked. He was very much used to the sight by now, but it was a bit spontaneous, even for her.

“You cannot be going out into the rain in clothes,” Petra said simply, as she undid her shorts and pulled them down along with her panties. Grabbing all her discarded clothes and tossing them back into the house, she looked at him with a smile before running out into their backyard.

Ashe briefly had the impulse to call her back, but fought against it. They had settled in a rather exclusive neighborhood (though he had to admit, far less exclusive when put up against Brigid’s Royal Palace or the Gaspard Estate), and while between the large acreage and fences they were completely out of view of the neighbors, Ashe still felt a brief worry over what they might think. Which he knew was silly, as he’d learned for himself during his stay last summer just how much more relaxed people here were to this sort of thing, especially when you left the tourist areas.

Whatever the neighbors may or may not think vanished as he heard Petra let out child-like laughter as she ran around their lānai, before stopping maybe ten feet from him and spinning around before coming to a stop facing him at a slight angle, head and arms raised towards the sky, eyes closed and with a content smile on her face. The sight of it, the water running down the curves of her bare skin…Ashe quickly removed his clothes, tossing them on top of Petra’s before double-checking the latch to ensure it wouldn’t lock before sliding the door shut and walking up to her.

She lowered her head and opened her eyes as she smiled up at him, bringing her arms around his neck. “Hello, my fiancé,” she said happily. “I see you have joined me in complete nakedness.”

“Well, when in Enbarr,” Ashe jokingly shrugged as he wrapped his arms around her. “Or Heʻeia, as they case may be.”

Petra smiled and brought him in for a kiss. “I was thinking I would need to be waiting until after the Autumn Equinox for you to be experiencing this. Rain is very uncommon during these months.”

“You know, you reminding me that it rains in the winter months just makes me want to hide in our bed under every blanket I can find,” Ashe said with a grin on his face. Petra snorted in response, before moving herself and bringing Ashe with her.

“We are to be dancing now,” Petra said at Ashe’s inquiring gaze.

“Should I put on some music?” he asked, glancing back at the stereo under the awning.

“No, I am thinking our own music will do,” she replied, and before Ashe could ask she started humming what he recognized as a traditional dance tune.

She led him in it around their yard, as she expertly avoided the lounge chairs, the thatched tiki bar, and other scattered accessories as their feet moved from stone to dirt and grass. As Petra’s tune ended, he pushed her until her back was up against the mango tree near the back of their yard. Hearing leaves rustle from above, he quickly reached his arm up and a mango landed in it, right above Petra’s head.

“It seems an assassination attempt on me has been thwarted by my guardian knight,” Petra said breathlessly as she gave him a look that made his stomach coil.

“Always, my future Queen,” Ashe said, lowering his head slightly. “Now let me lead you in one of my dances.”

He began humming his own tune, carefully leading Petra downhill on the path that cut through the small glade of various palm trees that led to their own beach, open and clear except for the small dock and gazebo at the far end where their boat was tied up. The sand further away from the water was only slightly damp, but they soon reached the waves, and as they spun around Ashe reveled in the feeling of the wet sand against his bare feet as the warm waves repeatedly washed over them.

His own tune ended, and they stopped, smiling at each other before Petra grabbed his hand. “Come on,” she exclaimed, leading him into the water until they both had to tread.

“Petra, should we be in the water?” Ashe asked nervously. “What if there’s lightning?”

Petra pouted at him before giving a conceding look. “You are right.” She made to move back to shore, before turning back with a devilish grin. Before Ashe could inquire, she pulled him in for kiss, before pulling away with that grin only wider. “You are it!”

Ashe barely had time to reach out to her before he felt a decently hard kick on his chest as she propelled herself off him and began swimming away parallel to the shore before turning towards it. “Hey…hey, you come back!” Ashe shouted as he began to swim after her. He had the sense to angle for where she was getting out of the water instead of swimming directly after her, not that it mattered, as she’d waited for him to get on his feet before taking off with a laugh, Ashe chasing behind her. She was fast, and could certainly outlast him in a marathon, but between his longer legs and her not trying very hard, he caught up with her, and on a whim, swept her up in a fireman’s carry.

“Put me down this instant, Ashe,” she said, giggling. Ashe ignored her, walking back towards the water. “Where are you taking me?”

“I couldn’t have done this so easily when we first met, but you got me onto a workout routine, and now you’re going to pay the price for it,” he responded, trying to sound intimidating.

“But you were worried about the lightning,” she said in a not-so-desperate plea as the water reached his chest. With that he heaved her off, and she let out a shriek as she splashed into the water. Ashe braced himself for her retaliation, vaguely seeing her outline circle him below the waves even without the sun’s rays. He was confident he could fend off any ankle attack, but was caught off-guard when she instead grabbed a much more sensitive area. He had the briefest of moments to reflect on how he should have expected that when he felt himself pushed towards shore before being lifted up as Petra grabbed him in a fireman’s carry of her own.

“You are thinking I would let the student surpass the master?” she said smugly as she carried him back onto the beach. “Or are you forgetting that the woman in this relationship can carry the man with great ease?”

“I definitely did not forget,” Ashe said with a laugh, remembering the time at a college party she’d bench pressed him on a drunken whim.

Ashe felt himself get heaved forward as his back hit the sand, just beyond the waves. Petra straddled him before he could do anything, and he once again looked up at her: long braid and skin soaked with both rain and seawater as the water ran over her as if in slow motion. “So,” she said with a triumphant grin as the rain continued to pour down around them, “I am thinking of a different type of dance to do now.”

Ashe responded by pulling her down for a deep kiss, and as they lost themselves in each other, he hoped to remember to tell her she was it now.

——————

If Ashe had to guess, it’d been close to an hour since they’d stepped outside in the rain. They were currently lying together on the beach, limbs hopelessly entangled with each other’s. The rain had passed on, and now they looked across the ocean to a mix of blue sky and fluffy white clouds, the sun starting to re-assert itself as a double rainbow took up most of the horizon.

Ashe sighed in absolute contentment. “It’s so beautiful,” he said quietly, playing with Petra’s hair. “Super muggy though.”

“It is,” she agreed, seemingly on both counts, “and you should be grateful I was getting you out of your clothes, it would be much worse otherwise,” she said, disentangling herself from him and standing up. He took her proffered hand and let himself get pulled to his feet as well as he regarded the smile on her face.

“Do you know what we should be doing now?” Petra asked rhetorically, with a great deal of enthusiasm.

“You tell me,” he said, eyebrow raised.

“Now is one of the best times to be exploring the reef, the fish will have taken shelter during the storm, but all be coming out to grab food now. It is only…” she paused as her head turned towards the dock’s gazebo where a large clock was, and Ashe was reminded again that while he had 20/20 vision, Petra’s was beyond that to a level nearly super-human. “It is only being just past 10:30,” she said excitedly, turning back to him. “There is plenty of time to swim among it and be back for lunch.”

“It still amazes me that we live less than 1,000 feet from the edge of an incredible coral reef,” Ashe said, as Petra grabbed his hand and began leading him along the beach in its direction.

“That is why my family was acquiring this land centuries ago,” Petra replied excitedly, increasing her pace until they were both moving through the sand at a slow run. They reached the section of their beach where the reef started and Petra stopped in the shallowest parts of the surf, and she turned back to him as he felt the waves wash over his ankles. “Thank you for this morning, Ashe, I am glad we were sharing our dances together in your first rainstorm. I remember when I was little and my parents were taking me out during these summer rains to dance.”

He brought her into an embrace. “I’m just sad that between the week in spring break and the full summer break last year I was here I never got to experience it with you.”

Petra gave a chuckle, and Ashe nearly melted at the look of adoration she gave him. “You agreed to be coming here years ago, but even as we were in our graduation robes, a small part of me was still scared to death that you would not be wanting to make such a huge change to your future plans by coming here.”

“And two weeks after officially becoming a resident-cum-citizen of Brigid, here I am,” he said as he cupped her cheek with his hand. “I know there’s going to be a day where I’m homesick to the point of wanting to go back, but even then, remember that this, right here, is where I want to be.” He brought her in for a brief kiss before flashing her a grin. “Well, maybe not right here, I think I want to be in that reef right now.”

Petra brought him in for a much deeper kiss of her own, before pulling away and leading him into the water. They transitioned from running to swimming, and they dove under and began moving among the coral. Ashe watched as Petra swam among the many colors of angelfish, the small rays, and even a blacktip reef shark that she respectfully but fearlessly passed by, and he marveled at how even more beautiful she was when the water completely enveloped her.