A/N: I felt the need to write some Numair angst, after writing so much fluff. It's fun to be mean to the poor guy sometimes. And play with overly dramatic language. Please review!
Characters: Numair, Daine
Time: Beginning of Realms of the Gods-ish
Disclaimer: Everything you recognize belongs to Tamora Pierce, not me.
He watches her from afar as she sails through the air on broad wings, a small black silhouette against the clear winter sun. She is as graceful as an eagle as she is as a girl. No, not a girl. Not anymore. She has not been a girl for some time.
His heartbeats rush and dwindle without warning, just like the wind currents that she rides. When I see her face again, what shall I do? The face of the woman I love, the face of the woman I cannot love? As fond as he is of lists, in his mind he does not list the reasons why she is forbidden. They are already so well ingrained in him that is pointless.
Instead, as she soars higher into the soft slips of cloud, he allows himself to imagine he is there with her. Tearing through the endless sky, away from everyone save for each other, so fast that not even his conscience would be able to catch them. Maybe then, she would be his. He can visualize, so perfectly, the warmth of her eyes when she smiles, the strength of her gaze when she is determined, the clarity of her voice when she calls his name. In this flight of fancy, all that she is becomes his to love, to protect, to cherish.
She will never be mine, he reflects as the eagle reaches the peak of her climb. The slender shadow turns, twists, dives. She belongs to the sky, the sea, the trees, the stars. She belongs to herself.
She will never belong to me.
But he doesn't want to possess her. She would not be who she is if she were not her own ruler. He wants only to hold her. To somehow be granted the right to love her. It is an only idle dream, and he savors the memory of his fantasy as it fades. The eagle has disappeared from the sighing sky. A woman clad in a loose shirt and breeches is running toward him, her boots unlaced.
Just the sight of her sends equal parts fear and joy coursing through him. Turn away, his conscience demands, you lecherous old man, you betrayer of trust. You have no right to speak to her. It is all true. He should not allow his emotions to overwhelm his good sense any more than they already have, for Mithros knows to what kind of pain that may lead. He should not even speak to her.
He does anyway. He can't resist her. He never could, and as she laughs, his heart swells, and he knows he never will.