-Her tone lowers to match the changed intimacy of the moment, though she fosters a steady smile, her affection swelled past the point of containing. She says nothing to his assent, save giving his hands a delicate squeeze. There are so many words she wishes to speak, so many ideas and plans to elaborate, though the moment seems far too tender to be spoiled by words. Aurelia simply accepts his affections, refusing to relinquish the delicate thread of eye contact with him. The sensation of his lips, his fingers all serve to fuel the dainty emotion, and one of her own hands comes to cup over his much larger one. Silence, before she whispers, in barely audible tones, the first manifestation of her affections.- … I love you, Remington.
-Her words surprise him even more than the previous announcement and for a moment he is stunned silent, his eyes widening as he looks down at her. He does not understand her sentiment, the emotion of romantic love. Familial love, as he has felt for only the Horsemen, is more understandable but it has always been an unspoken bond, not something they need proclaim to one another. Never has he exchanged such an expression with some other individual, and so the words do not come to him. Still silent, he realizes he should make some acknowledgement, some expression of gratitude, or… something. Finally he moves to gently tighten his grip on her. With an unsure smile he leans over to kiss the corner of her mouth.- I-…. -But he can think of nothing to answer, and an odd feeling of failure creeps into his gut, as though he is the one who is unable preform when he ought to, as though he has stepped into waters beyond his swimming abilities and he will soon drown. Slightly sickened with himself for reasons he doesn’t understand, Mulciber kisses her forehead, grimacing inwardly but maintaining a pleased smile, since his joy at her first announcement has not ended.- I will do my best to be a good father to our son, little lamb. -He says weakly.-
-His laugh is infectious, her own tinkling laughter mingling with his own in harmonious cacophony of perhaps the first kind within their usually silent household. Each kiss, each token of adoration only fills her heart to the brim, and she is reminded of a secret love for her husband. Chuckling softly, she returns a singular kiss, before managing to get a joyful word in edgewise.- I am at four months now— come April next year, we’ll have a little boy. -She meets his gaze, her own almost near to tears for the blessed relief of the moment, Her smile widens further, as though such a thing were possible, before laughing softly at the blessed reprieve of it all. There is nothing so great as the task of motherhood for her, and to have pleased her husband— not to see him lifted from his dark demons, instills a warmth love within her. As his hand toys with her shirt, she places her hands over his own, clasping her fingers with his.- … I want to name him “Remington”. … After you.
-He shifts his hand to grasp her fingers and lift them to his mouth, brushing the silky skin on the back of her hand across his lips, his eyes fluttering shut.- Of course. -He clears his throat, a smile still cracking through the coldness of his usual expression and he meets her gaze with soft eyes.- Remington, it is. -He has almost never spoken his own given name and it sounds strange on his lips and emotionally filled voice, unlike any other time he has heard it spoken and yet it is fitting. Quickly he leans forward to press another kiss on her lips before straightening upward and running a hand through her dark hair, pausing at the base of neck while he trails his thumb over her jaw, as if he can’t quite relinquish the contact between them.-
-As he stands, all tension dissipates. Her joy in the news is matched, or perhaps surpassed by his own, and she allows herself to revel in the beauty of the guileless moment. To be certain, the marriage thus far has been riddled with miscommunication, with cold fronts, but everything about his reaction serves to lift her spirits. A cheery chuckle parts her formerly nervous lips, and she nods- vehemently so.- I a— -Her words are cut off with with a kiss, which admittedly finds her by surprise. Cheeks flush a pleasant shade of posy, her joy heightened in almost every aspect. She is pleased by his next question, and thanks to the abilities of the St. Mungo’s staff, is pleased to answer positively.- Indeed. You will have an heir— a son. Your own flesh and blood to inherit the Mulciber name, and prolong your legacy. -She smiles at him, full of unadulterated adoration.-
-He actually laughs at this point, his mouth descending on her cheeks and lips and even the tip of her nose several more times before he speaks again, his speech coming out in short, excited bursts and fits of joy.- When? How far along? -His smile never drops as he takes a moment to look her over, and it is odd, but never has he seen his wife so radiant or beautiful. It’s a moment of transcendence, a moment cut from some other person’s life and placed within their miserable marriage. In that moment they truly are the happy newlyweds they always could’ve been and Mulciber cannot remember a moment when his heart has felt so light. He gives her slight distance to look down at the soft curve of her belly, one hand drifting to play reverently with the hem of her shirt as he imagines the change that will occur over the next couple of months-
-She waits quietly for him to finish with his important business, nervous smile curling at her lips. When he finally gives his assent, she nods in due respect, before taking another step and clearing her throat.- I … I spent a majority of the morning at St. Mungo’s, in an attempt to verify some rather … unavoidable … developments. After multiple checks, the Staff have confirmed my suspicions. You are to be a Father. … -She lets the word hang, her nerves all too apparent as she tangles her fingers together before her.-
-Her sentence hangs between them as understanding takes it’s time sinking in.- You mean-… -but he is standing so suddenly the desk jerks up against his knees and Mulciber is within reach of her in two short strides, he grabs Aurelia’s upper arms, bending to meet her eye, his eyes bright and smile wide, breathing quickening as he looks at her in excitement. There are few things that could make him lose his cold exterior, and this knowledge is certainly anything more than he had expected and everything he’d wanted from this marriage- You’re pregnant? -he asks breathlessly, but before she can answer he is kissing her lips, releasing her arms only to cup her cheeks and pull her closer- And it’s a boy?
- The truth is one she can no longer ignore, and so merits a meeting with her husband. Rather than returning to Hogwarts, Aurelia simply elects to stay through the week, and finally, when the facts are too plain, she makes her way to Mulciber’s study. A gentle knock, before she lets herself in. As she crosses the floor, a thickness settles in her throat, and she knows not whether to be nervous or excited.- Mulciber? A word? -Her query is light, though her tone lacking the newfound confidence.- There are certain … pressing matters we need to speak of.
-Absorbed in the business of the manor and various other matters, Mulciber barely responds to the entrance of his wife or her quiet announcement of herself. At last he looks up, finishing barely legible scribbles across a final line and he greets her in his usual quiet way, eyebrows raised and a small nod of assent to continue- What is it, little lamb?
-Gently, Aurelia moves his hand from his chin, tucking her fingers into his own. She casts a careful gaze over his much larger form, smile disappearing some due to the somewhat unkempt nature of his appearance.- Your hair is getting long. -She mentions, tone soft and unassuming. The relaxed candor grows a little more formal, her posture more rigid as the confines of the Mulciber Manor and Remington’s demeanor are borne into her being.- Only ten minutes or so, ago. Forgive me— I did not mean to disturb you.
-He ignores her observation and shifts his weight slowly.- There was no disruption. The music was pleasant. -His eyes glance towards the now shut piano keys.- No one has touched that instrument since your departure. -He nods slowly, and although he doesn’t withdraw his hand from her’s, he stands in the doorway uncertainly.- Welcome home.
-The chords rise and fall in magnificent crescendo and decrescendo, her form relaxing into the familiar art as she continues to play the piece. She remains unaware of her audience, and continues to play until the notes distill into a concentrated silence. It is only then she notices the towering figure of her husband, and turns towards him, her cheeks slightly pink at the unexpected performance.- Remington. -She says sweetly, brow almost immediately furrowing as she quickly corrects her mistake.- Forgive me. Mulciber. I’ve missed you. -She pushes away from the piano, delicately closing the lid, before going over and depositing a single kiss to his cheek, an action necessitating she stand on her toes, even in heel-clad feet.-
-He says nothing to her slip, eyeing her surreptitiously as she crosses the plush carpet to approach him and gently presses her lips against his cheek. With a start he realizes he can’t remember the last time he shaved and after leaning away from her, he unconsciously brushes the back of his fingers under his chin. He gazes over her shoulder, searching for her belongings. As usual his face gives little away and his voice has an almost scolding inflection to it.- This is a surprise, Aurelia. When did you arrive home?
Men call’d him Mulciber; and how he fell
From Heav’n, they fabl’d, thrown by angry Jove
Sheer o’re the Chrystal Battlements: from Morn
To Noon he fell, from Noon to dewy Eve,
A Summers day; and with the setting Sun
Dropt from the Zenith like a falling Star,
On Lemnos th’ Ægean Ile: thus they relate,
Erring; for he with this rebellious rout
Fell long before; nor aught avail’d him now
To have built in Heav’n high Towrs; nor did he scape
By all his Engins, but was headlong sent
With his industrious crew to build in hell
Paradise Lost~ John Milton
Don’t concern yourself with my doings.
-Having spent every weekend preceeding at Hogwarts, Aurelia finally elects to leave the school to visit her husband, packing only a small bag for the weekend. She comes in quietly through the back door, greeting Brutus and Cassius with a gentle pat, before setting her bag down, and going into the foyer. Disappointed to see it empty, she elects to sit at the piano bench, and after searching through her music, finds a piece, and sets to playing it, the sounds of the music reverberating through the empty manor.-
-The manor had been eerily quiet since Aurelia’s departure. It’d been obvious from the moment he’d Apparated home and stepped inside the kitchen for a butterbeer, the disquieting silence buzzing in his ear. But the quiet and buzzing hadn’t ceased that night, or the following day, it’d spread on for weeks. Which just made the sudden cadence of music even more jarring for his nerves. Mulciber paused for a moment, staring down at his work in utter disbelief before standing up suddenly and making his way to the room where Aurelia had set up her piano, the chords growing steadily louder as he drew near. When he reached the doorway he stood there for a moment, eyeing her familiar form as her hands danced over the ivory keys. He said nothing, mulling over his feelings over sudden appearance.-
It’s been such a very busy week, but I wanted to briefly check in and see how you’ve been. Classes are, as anticipated, quite difficult. Arithmancy remains a challenge, but I’ve gotten all “O”s thus far, so that’s all right then. Slughorn asked after you the other day— I told him that you were doing well.
Has your Father been well? I’ve sent him a few little missives, but have yet to hear back. He was so very excited about the idea of having you back home, or so it seemed. Have his spirits lightened any?
I wish there were more to report on this end, but truly, life has been consumed by schoolwork. I suppose I’ve been a bit under the weather lately, but it’s nothing unmanageable. By afternoon, I usually feel fit as a fiddle. I do miss you something terrible, and so you’d better be ready for this next weekend. I’ll be headed home, and all those days I’ve lost in being here will be made up to you in the best way possible.
- Your Little Lamb.
I’m pleased to hear of you successful marks, sending you off was not in vain then? As always, send Slughorn my regards.
The man is well as to be expected. Since your departure he’s taken to his study and quarters more often, and perhaps he’s a bit quieter than usual. But he’s in good health and you need not concern yourself with the workings of the house, and the Head of Mulciber Manor while you’re still in attendance at Hogwarts. Should I tell him of your concern, or would you tell him yourself when you visit come the weekend next?
I’ve begun to notice, however, when I do see him, he never shuts up about you. Have you given him some sort of love potion? If so, you ought to lighten your next dose, or he’ll drive your husband mad by Christmas.
Also, if you’re feeling under the weather you should see the Healer, get yourself checked before you return home, lest you bring some disease back and infect the dogs and myself.
We’ll speak more when you’re here, some things are best said in person.