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Fortune's Wheel -- Paladin

queen_bellatrix asked if I could post a scene with Elza and Michel together, a "consummation scene" from Fortune's Wheel. The consummation scene is too spoilery, but since QB is one of my oldest readers on this lj and one of the most prolific commenters, just for her a little bit from further along! Contains the spoiler that the female and male leads will in fact sleep together, if that counts as a spoiler! :) (Oh, and "letters" are condoms -- so called at the time because they came in little paper envelopes.)



It was the hour before dawn when we pulled the sheets back on the bed. The candle had burned out. I lay down on his shoulder again.

I was nearly asleep when he suddenly said, “Letters?”

“It’s not the right time to worry,” I said sleepily. “My courses are due. I thought of that hours ago.”

“I’m glad you have more sense than I do,” he said.

“I have more risk,” I said, closing my eyes. I really didn’t want to think about it at the moment.

His arm tightened around me. “I would never desert you if it came to that,” he said.

“No, you probably wouldn’t.” I put one hand against his hip, feeling the softness of skin over sharp bones. “You think you’re a white knight, a Paladin of Charlemagne.”

“I am a Paladin of Charlemagne,” he said quietly. “Where do you think they go? Do they really sleep for centuries in the hollow hills, waiting for Roland’s horn to sound?”

I smiled and curled tighter. “Next you’ll tell me that you threw Excalibur in a lake.”

“Not in a lake,” he said. “But there was a sword.”

“You are the most impossible romantic,” I said, and fell asleep in his arms.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
queen_bellatrix
Aug. 21st, 2011 09:03 pm (UTC)
I am smiling so much right now because this is what I adore seeing between couples. They really exemplify the addage that for a relationship to survive, you must be able to survive at least a conversation.

Physical attraction is fantastic, even necessary for us as humans, but the fact that they can lie in bed and tease and banter says this really will last. So much of what was missing with Charmion and Agrippa (I think he's Agrippa?) is brought to fruition here; we see how they've matured in their trials through the ages so they can come to this, companions and lovers, and really everything to one another.

And the details you include are wonderful. I love her practicality about a baby out of wedlock; it really shows that we're not in the time of feminism, that a pregnancy like this both marrs the reputation and causes a financial crisis, if for no other reason that a marred woman with a baby in toe will find it exceedingly difficult to obtain a job.

And a man who's actually worried about contraception and realizes that any baby conceived would be both their responsibilities; it's such a small detail, but fiction changes and influences, and their need to be more mentions of men like this, an acknowledgment that a man who is willing to take responsibility and share equally in prevention isn't "whimpy" but is decent and kind and the sort of man women deserve to have. I always think that the wall of China wasn't built in a day, and our world certainly won't change in one, or even a decade, not significantly, not without huge upheavals like the dark ages. But enough people manifesting with words and actions the worlds and people we want to see come to fruition, piling atop one another, and change does happen. And so often, it's just a small, well-chosen comment that resonates with people and spurs them to action.

And seeing your take on the Arthurian legends would/will be incredible, if it is indeed the Arthurian ones you were referring too?

Again, this made me so very happy today. Thank you!
jo_graham
Aug. 22nd, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you like it! I'm of the school that you have to see why these people belong together, not just be told that "they're in love!"

Yes, he's Agrippa. And they've really matured over the time. Of course, he's also older. Agrippa was only twenty when he blew it, and Michel is thirty one. He's a lot more mature as a person now!

I'm glad you like the conception issue to the fore -- that's something that comes into play seriously later, because he very much wants children. And she doesn't, at least at first. But a guy who really, truly wants to be a father? And admits it? That's something our society doesn't really like.

I think it does make a difference to have people actually talk about things like contraception and have it be part of the plot. After all, these are things that are important to many of us in our lives, and we need models for discussing them.

Oh yes! Someday maybe I'll do the Arthurian story!

And I'm so glad you liked it!
_illumina_
Aug. 22nd, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC)
And it's something that a lot of even good modern fiction rarely addresses - contraception that is. Maybe authors think it ruins a sexy love scene, but seriously, we almost all have to think about it in real life!
jo_graham
Aug. 22nd, 2011 10:21 pm (UTC)
See, I think done right it can be incredibly sexy in the love scene. It's part of the character and it reveals a lot. I love racy love scenes, but I make sure that every single one tells you something you didn't know about this person before. And that's a big, important thing!
cadenzamuse
Aug. 22nd, 2011 10:00 pm (UTC)
Oh man, I would love for you to do the Arthurian story.

And yes, for some reason our society doesn't want men to want babies (and doesn't really want them to take care of them in the physical-and-emotional-needs sense, once they've appeared). It's something my partner is very sensitive to.

And *gasp* SPOILER THE MAIN CHARACTERS GET TOGETHER I NEVER WOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF IT OMG :-P
jo_graham
Aug. 22nd, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
I might do the Arthurian story. I grew up in the era of so many wonderful ones, Mary Stewart's The Crystal Cave, Parke Godwin's Firelord, and Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon, and I've always been afraid to tackle it. I mean, what could I do that hasn't been beautifully done? But I might someday.

I have no idea why our society is so pathological about men wanting to be fathers being unmanly! In one of the upcoming SGA novels there's actually that conversation between John and Teyla, when he's taking care of her son. She says something like, "How in the world can being a father be unmanly? Isn't it pretty much the definition of being a man?" But he's from our society, and he's got all our woes. It takes a woman from another planet to say that!

Unfortunately for Michel, his society doesn't think he ought to be spending time in the nursery any more than ours does. And that's a plot point later on.

Major spoiler! The main characters get together! Eleventy one!!!!
linneasr
Aug. 25th, 2011 05:58 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for giving us introductions to these major characters! Very interesting people, all of them!

Maybe our society doesn't encourage men to think of themselves as fathers because of how much there is invested in men as warriors (particularly in an increasingly fearful and competitive society, whether it's economic or military). Life-engendering vs. life-destroying. It wouldn't do for a military man to think about how his foes were all once children, now, would it? How could he pull the trigger? Or how could you be a cutthroat CEO if you suddenly thought about all the people your hostile takeover was putting out of work, and the children that might suffer?

Which is why Michel Ney is such an outstanding character, since he's able to hold both perspectives. Soooo looking forward to this book!
jo_graham
Aug. 26th, 2011 12:55 pm (UTC)
*g* Elza asks him the same question!

“How can you do it then? Wide awake, knowing what you do?”

“It’s what I was born to do,” he said, almost gently. “We are both who we were born to be.”

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