Author’s Note: So… It wasn’t entirely my idea, but it seemed to fit in more ways than one. I didn’t think that Luna’s words would end everything and make it so everyone was happy, and so this felt more realistic.
“You have another demand?”
“It is not a demand. It is a request,” Tynan said, not liking the matron’s reaction. “I fail to see why wanting to respect a custom that is a part of Luna’s culture is a problem. Her father said I was denying her it, but I am not. My intentions are honorable.”
Luna laughed, and he frowned at her. She shook her head, waving it off, and the matron now frowned at her. “You wouldn’t understand. It’s an old cliché on Earth, and I’m not going to go into it. You’re not really going to object to us getting married, are you? I know it can be a production, and I don’t know what your customs are like, but it can be very simple, too. All we need is the right civil authority to officiate, we exchange vows, and it’s done.”
“Yes, and the vows are ones we have already made, you see,” Tynan said. “I have pledged to stay with her, and she with me, and that is, as I understand it, the basic tenant of the bond. I know there is more, but I am not as familiar with it as Luna would be.”
“It’s also about loving, honoring, and…” She coughed, seeming to choke on the last one. “Obeying.”
“Well, that also is easy, for when one loves, one honors, yes? Or is honored?”
“Ah, I see. Yes. That. Now, obeying, is that about me or you? No, both of us, yes. I listen to you, and you listen to me, and we will be happy as we were before. Well, different, but similar, yes? I think so. That is what I hope, at least,” he told her, and she smiled at him, touching his cheek.
The matron folded her hands together. “If that is the ceremony you require, consider it done. Now, we have arranged a transport for you—well, for the human and the other since I know your kind does not require a vehicle, vortex—and it is waiting at the docks.”
“I think she’s trying to get rid of us.”
“Friend Matron is tired. Friend Matron has been very, very busy all day long. No, more than one day. Was longer. Many days. Confusing. We are confused, but Friend Matron has explained that too long has passed several times. She was impatient.”
Luna started giggling, and the matron glared at Alvin. Tynan supposed that the woman must regret having taken him on when the doctors said that he could not be in the room when they worked on Luna, since Alvin could be quite tiresome. Even Luna lost patience with him, and she was very kind to everyone.
“As long as we have what we need and you are not exiling us somewhere where Luna and Alvin will not survive, we are willing to depart,” Tynan said. “In fact, we are perhaps more impatient than you are.”
The matron nodded. “I have arranged for an escort to take you to the ship. There are not many. Some still disagree with the course of the council.”
“I understand. I reserve the right to leave the place you have chosen if your government follows us there and attempts to harm anyone. If you fail to uphold your part of the bargain, so will I. I will stay in one place only as long as Luna and Alvin are safe.”
“Agreed. However, if a rogue faction makes such an attempt—”
“That is different. I cannot hold your government responsible for the actions of a few. It is not the standard that you applied to me, but I am not like you,” Tynan told her. He reached for Luna’s hand. “Let us go. I would like to resume our life together.”
“It’s kind of a new one. A new chapter, at least.”
“Oh. We shall not have your books, Luna. I will miss that.”
“Me, too, but we can make up stories, I guess. Just as long as we’re together, that’s what’s important.”
He nodded, leaning over to kiss her cheek. Hmm. Now that was different. He would have to compare the feel and taste of anywhere he might kiss her. That should be very interesting indeed. He could spend much time indulging his curiosity about her, which would never fade.
The matron motioned for the guards to move, and Tynan followed them. He was aware of the looks that they kept giving him, but with Luna’s hand in his, he did not care. They were almost out of here, off whatever world or complex they were on, and they would be free again. Luna was happier when she was free, and so was he.
The halls were clear as they walked through them, and Tynan knew that it was because he was still feared. They didn’t trust him, and no one wanted to be close in case he did decide to use abilities here. He did not want to, and he did not think he would, but he did not like knowing that they were all hiding, either. He did not want to think about it.
“Will you miss your father?”
“A bit. Well, maybe a lot. I don’t know. I alternate between being so angry with him and remembering that before my mom got sick, he was different. He wasn’t so determined to lock me away. I know a part of him was just trying to keep me safe, but I didn’t like it.”
“I hated it. You were not yourself then.”
“Now you’re stuck with me forever. Well, for a very, very long time. Oh, you know what? You’ve got to be the first of your kind to be married.”
“I suppose I am. How curious.”
She giggled. Alvin flew around in front of them. “Marriage is part of hive?”
“Not exactly, Alvin, but don’t worry. Even though we’re married now, I think, we’re still part of your hive.”
“Good,” he said, and he smiled right before the shot made him fall. Luna let go, moving toward him, dropping to her knees beside him as she tried to look at his back.
Tynan looked behind him. Their escort had fled, at least the ones that had made up the rear of their party. He, Luna, and Alvin were alone with the ones that had turned on Alvin. He looked down at their friend, unsure of the severity of the wound. “Luna?”
“I think it’s bad. He’s not talking, and you know Alvin, he always talks.”
“He is nothing. Grab the girl,” the guard ordered, and Tynan saw the one that had tortured him back behind the others. So he was in charge. That explained a lot, didn’t it? He must have convinced some of his “friends” to join the escort team and used the opportunity to ambush them.
“Stay away from us,” Tynan warned, knowing that he could not let Luna be taken by them.
“What? I thought you were all peace loving. That means you won’t hurt anyone. You can be trusted.” the guard sneered, moving past the others. Luna glared at him, and Tynan knew that she would not leave Alvin, not after what they had done to him. “I guess my friends are cowards, but I’m not. I’ll deal with both of these traitors, and then it’ll be your turn, monster.”
Luna shook her head. “You don’t want to do this. If you come any closer, then not only will I teach you what I learned living in the city, but you’re going to get Tynan angry, and you don’t want to do that. He’s already made it clear that he will defend me.”
The guard’s companions joined him. “That thing has to die. If that means taking care of you first, don’t think we won’t, human. You’re a stupid little fool, but we know better.”
Tynan moved, shifting in front of them and making the guards back up a step. “You’ve forgotten that I can bend space and time. I can be upon you in an instant. You could be dead in that same instant. Shoot me if you want. It will not matter.”
“That’s why the girl has to die. The only reason you went free was her, and without her, you’ll be executed.”
That was true, and he knew, without looking behind him, that the guards he’d thought had fled had returned—at least one of them—and now Luna was in danger from both sides. If he went back, they’d attack from the front, but if he did not, then she was vulnerable the other way, and he did not know how to protect her.