I did not go directly back to my seat beside Victor; I made my way though the guests first, smiling and asking them if they were enjoying the performance. Ben Grimm was fast asleep, his head thrown back and seismic snores emanating from the depths of his throat. I forebode to comment.
When I stopped by the X-men, and I asked them what they thought of it, the Beast smiled and replied, "A marvelous interpretation. I'm finding it quite inspiring. Xavier's has never had a tradition of putting on a play—perhaps I will institute one, while I'm there."
"You're taking up teaching there?" I inquired.
"For the time being. Professor Xavier's health was taxed during recent…events, and he'll be recuperating for a while, I believe."
Perhaps the Professor could be persuaded to retire. "I hope he recovers swiftly and completely. I think that Xavier's School will only benefit from your tenure there." The Beast-Dr. Hank McCoy—was a more practical person, as far as the X-men went. He had actually held down a real-world job for several years.
"Thank you." said the Beast. "I think that Latveria—and your new husband—can only benefit from your presence here."
"How charming of you! I hope your students are enjoying the play as well."
I looked at the rest of the group. Storm said that, yes, she was, and she appreciated that the Fairy Queen was being played by a woman of color, and Kitty added her appreciation, but Meg said, "It's enchanting and beautiful—but it's incredibly inaccurate, historically speaking."—and then looked horrified that she had said a word.
"Well, yes." I agreed. "If you think of the characters as having been named for the historic figures, maybe that will help."
"Um, yeah. Thank you." She was bright pink again—I felt for her, as I had the same propensity to blush at the least little thing.
Eventually I made my way back to the bridal canopy, where I smiled at Victor as I took my seat. My dear husband must have been dying to know what Richards had said that caused me to slap him, but he didn't ask, and in any case, the play was beginning again.
I watched, entranced, as the lovers lost in the wood and befuddled by love-spells fell asleep, only to wake, unsure of the events of the previous night, and certain only that they loved each other. Titania gave the Indian boy to Oberon, and Bottom woke from his dream. The Duke won not only the hand, but also the heart of his Amazon bride, and they all lived happily ever after…
Perhaps they, too, existed somewhere, in some other universe, where Shakespeare was to them what Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were to us.
For that matter, perhaps someone was writing my story, as I lived it. That was an odd thought…It would have to be fanfic, because I couldn't see the Marvel Comics Group permitting someone to marry off Doctor Doom, let alone all the other events of the last week. I wondered what she—and I was sure the postulated writer was a she—had in mind for us next. Maybe, if she did exist, there was someone else in another universe writing her. That was a very Alice-Through-The-Looking Glass thought, where the Red King slept and dreamt about Alice dreaming about him.
Victor's hand covered mine, and brought me out of my fancies. "I do not need to ask if you are enjoying the performance. The expression on your face speaks for you.," he murmured.
I wondered just what my expression was, but he sounded pleased. On stage, the actor playing Puck declaimed, "Give us your hands, if we be friends. And Robin shall restore amends!" The play was over.
I clapped, as did every one else, and rose. The roasted ox was nearly ready for eating, and the fireworks were set up and ready to go, but Victor and I were not staying for either of them. I had read that there was no surer sign the honeymoon was over, so to speak, than a pair of newlyweds who thought that partying and dancing with their friends all night was preferable to…anything they might do alone together. (Although the image of Victor doing the Electric Slide was enough to make me giggle to myself.)
It was all arranged: he and I would mingle with the guests for a while, and then separately slip off to the hangar, where his craft was waiting for us, complete with luggage. We were sneaking off, in other words. I saw Victor say something in Boris' ear, and I smiled to myself, guessing what Victor was telling him—not the full news, not yet, but where to meet us.
I made my rounds once more with impatience—all these people to speak to, and all I wanted was to be alone with Victor! But in ten minutes or so, I realized Victor had disappeared, and I slipped inside the castle and went up to change. White silk with gold embroidery was a poor choice for traveling.
Ulrike had linen pants and a knit top waiting for me, and I changed and was down to the hanger in less than fifteen minutes. Victor, back in his everyday armor, stood with Boris by the aircraft.
"I wonder if my heart will burst," I said when I reached them. "I don't ever remember being as happy as I have been in this past week, not in my entire life."
"Your heart will have to endure it." Victor told me. "You are not to die before I do. I will not stand for it."
"Where would that leave me, then?" I spluttered. "It will have to be simultaneous. However, Boris is here. We're ignoring him."
"That is wrong." Victor agreed. "Boris—Father, our gift to you is this: It has been foretold-." He looked at me, to fill in the rest.
"That we are to have a child, a daughter, within a year." There—I had left some wiggle room that didn't admit I was already pregnant.
Watching the smile that spread over Boris' face was like watching the sun come up. Victor certainly knew what gift to give him. It was like the look on the face of a saint or an angel in an Annunciation—which was quite appropriate, come to think of it.
"Bless you." Boris said, when he could speak again. "Bless you both…Now go on. That child won't make itself, you know." With that farewell, we went on board the aircraft.