"In my eyes, you are beautiful too,
Sharing the top of the world."
'Finale', Hunchback of Notre Dame
One Month Later…
Sancha sat at the mezzanine window, a mug of tea in hand. The cup before her steamed, inviting her to take the first sip. Instead, she watched the goings-on in the square below, observing the merchants and farmers set up their stands and hawk their wares. It was well past noon, and Quasimodo had left about an hour ago to put up banns with Phoebus. Esmeralda was supposed to visit later, but until then, Sancha savoured her time alone in the bell tower.
After Tavera's death, there had been no shortage of chaos. As soon as they left the catacombs, Sancha had needed her arm to be stitched and cauterized, which left her permanently scarred. As she sat by the window, the girl absentmindedly ran her hand over the mangled flesh, now hidden by her dress sleeve. It had stopped hurting a while ago, but she always knew it was there. The scar was a small price to pay for her life, and though recovery had been slow, Sancha was simply happy to have escaped with what she considered minimal damage.
After returning to Notre Dame, Marguerite had found her and given her an earful about risking her life and abandoning her claim to sanctuary. The bell towers practically shook with the old woman's admonishments, her screams almost louder than the bells. Despite everything, Sancha didn't blame her grandmother for flying into a rage over her actions. She had scared Marguerite badly, and she recognized the noblewoman's right to be upset. Still, Sancha had heard the sentence, "You could have been killed" so many times, the words eventually lost all meaning.
Marguerite's presence was not a total detriment to her granddaughter's peace, though. Since Sancha was technically a member of the House of Beaumont, Philippe du Chastel was hard pressed to blame Sancha for the death of Tomas de Tavera. Esmeralda had a working theory that Philippe only wanted to rule Tavera's death as an accident because the cardinal had caused so much trouble in Paris. Whether it was because of her maternal lineage or a personal grudge, Sancha would take any bid to freedom she could afford. All that mattered now was that there was no reason to live in fear anymore.
Watching the square, she raised her cup to her lips and hesitated. Sancha drew the mug away and stared at the steaming, reddish water. In a little more than a week, she would finally be married, free to continue her journey through life, unimpeded, with a man she adored. The very idea made her break out in a giddy smile. After some consideration, she leaned over to make sure no one was directly below her and dumped her tea out the window.
A rattle from the mezzanine staircase drew her attention. Sancha turned, expecting to see Esmeralda. Instead, her stomach fluttered when she saw Quasimodo's red head appear over the edge of the platform. She practically ran to greet him.
"How was it?" Sancha asked as he caught her up in a tight hug.
"Just fine," he laughed. "A lot of people came to say congratulations. Some looked a little surprised."
Sancha broke away from him and raised an eyebrow. "If anyone in this city has paid attention, they would not be surprised."
Quasimodo smiled and touched his fiancée's cheek. After a few weeks of stress, Sancha had regained some of the rosiness in her cheeks and the brightness in her eyes. She was starting to laugh more, and she no longer talked feverishly in her sleep like she used to. With each passing day, he thought she appeared lovelier than ever.
"It doesn't matter," he told her. "As long as you're happy, I'm happy."
Sancha smiled at him, caressing the hand that held her cheek. After a moment of observing him, she asked, "Are you surprised?"
Quasimodo's gaze went to the ground. He knew better than to fib to her. "Maybe a little bit… I never thought I'd ever get married…"
When he looked up again, Sancha was ready with a gentle kiss and a soft voice.
"I never thought I would be so fortunate to have such a husband," she murmured. "Every girl in Paris shall be jealous of me."
His expression must have said more than his words ever could, because Sancha laughed and followed up with a change of subject.
"I made lunch. Do you wish to eat it on the roof with me?"
With a smile, Quasimodo nodded and silently accepted Sancha's previous assertion. As of late, he had been getting better at believing her when she said things like that. Still, there was a subject neither of them had broached yet, and Quasimodo had been thinking of a proper way to bring it up. On their way to the roof, he decided now was good a time as any, especially since banns announcing their marriage were now posted throughout Paris.
"Sancha, there's something I want to ask you."
She glanced at him, her gaze sweet and unassuming, but Quasimodo still hesitated. Although he had been circling back to this issue since he asked Sancha to marry him, he was afraid of making her upset. After everything they had both been through, reminding her of past traumas was the last thing he wanted to do.
Still, he had already started asking, so he pushed on.
"Is there… Is there anything that needs to be done for… Well, since we're about to get married, I wanted to know… Is there anything that your f-father would have wanted?"
They pushed through a door and onto one of the balconies of the South tower, which led to their picnic spot on the flatter part of the roof. As they settled down, Sancha watched her fiancé carefully, her brow furrowed.
"I-It's just, I've only ever seen Christian weddings performed here." Quasimodo stared down at his folded legs. "I've never seen a Jewish wedding before… They must be different in some ways…?"
His assumption was met with silence. When he looked up, he saw Sancha smiling at him. Even though her eyes glimmered with a nostalgic sadness, she seemed genuinely touched.
"You are sweet to remember this part of me," she said, her voice almost lost on the wind. She put their picnic basket aside and looked out onto the city, her eyes far away and thoughtful. "You are right: Hebrew weddings are different from gentile ones. But the people of Paris must not know that I really am part judía. They may expel me."
"I know," Quasimodo said, reaching for her hands. "But if there's any tradition you want to follow in private, I want to help."
"Ay, mi alma…" Sancha leaned over and planted an affectionate kiss on his cheek. "To put yourself at such risk, you are a good man. But if you could have heard the conversation between my mother and father about my future wedding…" She laughed and shook her head. "They could never agree if I would be married by a priest or a rabbi. Until…"
"They decided that I would choose," she finished, a triumphant smile tugging at her lips. "They said if I chose to marry a Sephardi man, I would have a Jewish ceremony, and a Christian one if I married a Catholic. My parents made their own decisions about their marriage, and so they would let me make mine.
"And in the end, I chose you." Sancha moved closer to him and leaned her forehead against his, her soft gaze holding his. "That means I wish to be married here, in Notre Dame, with my friends as witnesses. I wish for a simple wedding and the freedom to live as your wife for many, many years. Traditions are nice, but that is all I truly want."
Quasimodo returned her smile and whispered, "Me too." He wrapped his arms around the woman who he would soon marry and kissed her, his heart so full he was afraid it would burst. Sancha curled up against him, deepening the kiss until they nearly became lost in each other.
When they broke apart, Sancha's eyes were glassy, but her smile was wide. Quasimodo cupped her face and said, "I love you, Sancha."
"I love you too. More than anything, Quasimodo."
She shifted and leaned into him, her head against his shoulder, her arms around his torso, and her gaze on the skyline of Paris. There were no clouds above the rooftops, and the wind whistled a melodic little tune as it skipped through the city. Sancha drew in a deep breath, her body warm against Quasimodo and her spirit light.
"Finally," she whispered to herself. "I am home."
Wow, it's done... It's really done...
What can I say to you, dear reader, except thank you so, so much for reading to the end. Writing this has been such a journey, and I'm so happy that you decided to join me! Thank you, as well, to all of the people who reviewed and commented on this fic - You didn't have to do that at all, but you did, and as a writer, I can't tell you how happy those messages made me :)
Well, Sancha's and Quasimodo's story has finally come to a close, and I will miss them dearly. But I'm really glad I got to tell this story, and I'm also happy there were people out there who were interested in the little Jewess who came from Toledo and fell in love with our favorite bell ringer.
Keep an eye out, dear reader, because there will be more stories in the future. I can't promise I will write strictly for this fandom, but I fully intend to create more stories and more characters that, hopefully, you will enjoy.
Until next time, my dears, take care :)