Rush Of Blood To The Head, part 6.15.
“Well? What did he say? I demand to know what lies he spouted about me! Am I the venomous snake trying to corrupt an innocent child? Go on, speak!” Viconia shouts at us, seemingly ignoring the fact that she has disturbed us in a rather delicate moment, which is made all the more obvious by Jaheira’s partial nudity…
“Calm down, Viconia – if you have something to say then come in and shut the door behind you,” Jaheira retorts, straightening out her shirt to cover her exposed breasts, “I see that you still have not learned to knock before entering.”
“And I see that you still have not learned to lock the door before getting on with that coupling of yours,” Viconia grimaces, “so, what will it be… have you decided to listen to that old fool?”
“Dearest, I think I will let you handle this on your own,” Jaheira whispers before getting out of the bed and putting a cloak around her shoulders.
“Where are you-” I begin, but the look that she gives me, stops me at half-sentence. Of course, she just has to go and talk with Imoen… well, she is in relatively good mood, so maybe she won’t scold the poor kid too badly…
“Has she been whispering in your ear as well? That I am a bad influence for your little, innocent sister?” Viconia snarls as Jaheira has left the room. I slowly get out of bed and head over to the small table to pour a glass of wine for myself and Viconia – I fear that this might prove too difficult with a dry throat.
“Jaheira? Not much. I think I have managed to keep her… occupied, for most of the time. But I can understand her worries… can’t you?” I look at her, but she just shrugs in response.
“I can’t see how that is anybody’s business. Anyone who will interfere, risks a broken nose, I promise as much,” she spits out.
“Well, she IS my sister, so I am concerned about her wellbeing,” I point out, “but I have no reason to interfere…yet. Tell me, Viconia… do you truly love her?”
“What? What kind of a stupid question is that? I…” she stops and glares at me, seemingly unsure of how to go on, “How is one supposed to feel when… in love?”
“How? Err… you mean… you don’t know?” I look at her with incomprehension, “eh, I… I understand… well, when you care so much about the other person that you want to protect her, to see her happy and to be the cause of her happiness… and to be with her as much as possible… when seeing her hurt, pains you more than anything else… well, those are some of the signs. Do they seem familiar?”
“They… they do…” the drow replies, visibly shocked.
“Then you are in love, Viconia. I feel peculiar being the one to tell you… that was… very odd indeed,” I proceed to refill my glass, hoping that the alcohol might clear up the eerie situation. I take Viconia’s empty glass from her hands as she stands in the middle of the room as if petrified, having refilled it, I press it back into her slightly numb hand…
“In… love? ” she mutters as the glass slips out of her fingers and drops on the carpet, “that… can’t be…”
“Does that scare you? Worry not, you’ll get used to it,” I chuckle, “and you will grow to enjoy it.”
“It feels like… like a disease that you can’t get rid of and that weakens you…” she whispers, “it is not for me… no, I don’t want to feel that way…”
“Sorry, Vicky, you can’t just wish those feelings away. And I do hope that you won’t, because having seen and heard how you feel towards Imoen, I have no qualms whatsoever about seeing you two together,” I wink at her.
“Do you… do you have something stronger than wine?” she finally manages and we both share a hearty laugh…
Imoen has just finished scribing into her spellbook as she sighs quietly and lets the book slip out of her hands and drop onto the floor with a soft thud. She rolls over in her bed to lie on her back, her thoughts clearly elsewhere… the recent tongue-lashing between Keldorn and Viconia still upsetting her greatly. She hears the door to her room opening slowly and someone steps inside.
“Back so soon? I thought you were going to be tortured by Jaheira’s interrogations… boy, if she gets into the mood, you better watch out…” Imoen chortles, not bothering to look at who the visitor is.
“Is that so, Imoen?” Jaheira’s voice, while not angry but only slightly mocking, startles Imoen and she jumps straight out of the bed, looking rather peevish and guilty in the face.
“Ja-Jaheira? What are… you doing here? Isn’t Viconia…” she stammers clumsily.
“I am sure that she can discuss all her concerns with Theodur… meanwhile, I took it as a chance for us two to have a little talk, Imoen,” Jaheira smiles and motions Imoen to sit down on the bed, before joining her.
“Wha-what about?” Imoen still feels rather uneasy, but knowing what will come makes her feel slightly annoyed as well.
“You must understand that what is going on between Viconia and you is… well, it was unexpected for me. Theodur and I, we wish only the best for you and I hope that you are doing the right thing, but… you must understand why everyone is concerned…”
“To… to hells with everyone! I… I wish everyone would just leave us alone!” Imoen explodes in anger and jumps upright, yelling like Jaheira has never heard her before, “it is between the two of us, not for everyone to discuss and be concerned about! Much less for you, Jaheira!”
“Ch… Imoen, please…” Jaheira looks at her, worried, “I merely wish to know that you are ha-”.
“Ha! But I know what you are thinking and I bet you are whispering in Theo’s ears to send Viconia away! Well, you have absolutely no right to interfere in relationships of others… they way you treated Khalid! Sometimes I thought that I loved him more than you have ever loved him…” the words come out faster than Imoen can stop them and only after they are out, she quickly presses her palm over her mouth.
She glances at Jaheira, worried and waiting an outburst or even something much worse, but Jaheira remains chained to the bed, all the color drained from her face and she looks absolutely stunned.
“I… um… I didn’t really mean that… Jaheira? Jaheira, I’m sorry…” Imoen looks at her, but there is no reaction. Only as Imoen steps closer and gently shakes Jaheira by the shoulders, she comes out of the shocked state.
“Child… you… you don’t understand…” a whisper escapes her lips.
“Forgive me, Jaheira, please… I do understand… I mean, I think I do… I said it all simply to cause you pain, and that was a very bad, bad thing to do… pleasepleaseplease, forgive me…” Imoen looks at her and can’t prevent tears from escaping her eyes, “I was just… I thought you were going to give me a lesson on how evil Viconia is and how she wants to use me for her eeevil purposes… and I got really mad, that stupid paladin upset me sooo much.”
“Imoen, child… please trust me when I say that I loved my husband… for it is the truth. I did love him, but the feelings… they started to wane over the years, but they never fully disappeared… they never did. I wish you could believe that what I say is true… I never knew it, but now I understand just how important your approval of my relationship with Theodur is to me…” Jaheira is fighting hard to hold a straight face and she barely manages to stiffle a sob.
“Oh, Jaheira… I… I must confess that found it… hard, to see you both together, but… after I have witnessed the feelings you both have for each other, I think that what you two have is something… truly beautiful. And I am happy for the two of you… I feel awfully rotten for hurting you on purpose, like that,” Imoen sobs as she leans over the druid, her hands tangling in Jaheira’s long hair and her cheek pressed against the top of the druid’s head.
“I suppose I deserve some of that, Imoen… I have done things I am not exactly proud of. I understand why you reacted the way you did, Imoen… and some of my actions in the past might have been a reason for you to act the way you did, I have not always been the most considerate of friends…” a chuckle that somehow could be mistaken for a sob, erupts from Jaheira’s lips, “but know this, I only came here to know whether you are truly happy with Viconia… everything else is beyond my concern.”
“Jaheira… you can’t imagine how happy I am… err, no wait... I guess you can…” Imoen corrects herself, “I’ve never felt like this before and it is… wonderful… and you know – I guess I always felt like that for Viconia, I was just too… confused and ashamed to admit it to myself… silly me, but then she acted exactly the same…”
“Then that is all I need to know, Imoen,” Jaheira says softly, “and I… I never thought you felt that way towards my husband… I mean… I thought it was just a harmless, childish infatuation… but then I thought the same about Theodur’s feelings towards me, only to discover an ocean of passion…”
“Well, I think in my case it was just a harmless crush, Jaheira… I never felt like I feel towards Viconia… I loved him as a friend, nothing else…” Imoen pulls back to look at Jaheira seriously, “I am really sorry for the way I behaved, Jaheira… you didn’t deserve that. I wish… I hope there are no hard feelings between us…”
“Oh, Imoen… of course not… now that we have spoken about it, I feel much more relieved…” Jaheira smiles and extends her arms to draw the girl closer. Imoen drops on her knees and wraps her hands around Jaheira’s waist, her head resting on the older woman’s chest, while Jaheira places her hands on Imoen’s shoulders as they hold each other tightly as if to seal the deeper friendship between them.
“Well, well, well… Imoen, are you already cheating on me, you naughty rascal?” Viconia’s voice, coming from the doors, startles them both, but Jaheira continues to hold the girl close even as she looks at the smirking Drow.
“It does not look like you have been trying to convince or sway Imoen that this relationship is sinful and evil, so I suppose your teeth and chin will remain intact, Jaheira,” Viconia observes.
“Aww, Vic… don’t be mean to Jaheira, she only meant well… how did your talk with Theo go?” Imoen gently breaks loose from Jaheira’s embrace and turns to face the Drow.
“It was most… insightful. I… think I managed to learn some useful things…” Viconia smiles, albeit somewhat reluctantly, “I think that our leader is anxiously waiting for your return, druid… no doubt to resume what you were up to before I interrupted. Poor boy is probably starving for some mouthful of your ample bosom, Jaheira… don’t keep him waiting,” Viconia smirks as Jaheira rises to leave the room.
“Oh, one more thing, Jaheira,” Viconia speaks as Jaheira is about to pass by her, “I know that it takes a huge effort for you to keep your mouth shut about things that concern you, so I will admit that your actions, or rather lack of them, have pleasantly surprised me… thank you, Jaheira. May I…?”
“You may, Viconia,” Jaheira laughs, as the Drow briefly and hesitantly hugs her, but just as she wants to recoil from the embrace, suddenly another pair of arms wrap around them both as Imoen joins into the group hug…
“Aww… you two are the beshtest friends… I mean the best lover and a best friend that a ferocious and intimidating Bhaalspawn can have…” the young girl sighs happily and the other two only laugh in response…
Rush Of Blood To The Head, part 6.15.
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