Numair Salmalin has tried everything he can think of, but she still won't say yes. [DainexNumair][The Immortals][Post]
Warning: Spoilers for book four of The Immortals series: The Realms of the Gods.
Disclaimer: I do not own The Immortals book series, nor any of its corresponding and rightful characters, and/or settings.
"Will You... ?"
By Pink Rapid
Numair Salmalin had tried everything. Exasperated, he clutched the quill, dipped it gingerly in ink, and swept it lethargically across the parchment. Watching the liquid leak small dark tendrils into the finely flattened paper, the mage was at a complete loss of what to try next. "End of the list," he muttered gloomily, taking another forlorn look at his messy scrawl before crumpling it up in his large hands and tossing it over his shoulder.
A chirp sounded beside him; Numair glanced down to see Kitten observing him with inquisitive black eyes. Shaking his head, he patted her nose and rose from the writing desk, stretching his limbs and releasing a yawn. "She's impossible, Kit," he told the dragon, rubbing his sleepy eyes. The dragonling purred curiously, and scowled when her questions went unanswered. Huffing, she waddled out of the room, leaving Numair to smile ruefully. "And so are you."
"Who are you talking to?" a female voice asked. Veralidaine Sarrasri walked in, the dragon cradled comfortably against her hip.
Her lover smiled, closing the distance and placing a soft kiss on her lips. "Just Kitten."
Glancing down at her scaled friend, Daine grinned. "She says you're being moody again."
Rolling his eyes, Numair threw on his cloak and shrugged. "That's funny, coming from her." He smirked, hearing Kitten's indignant chirrup behind him. Turning to Daine, he brushed a stray curl from her cheek and pecked her lips once more. "I'm going for a walk with Jonathan. Will I see you at dinner?"
Daine nodded, glancing at the open ink pot on the desk. "What have you been writing?"
"Love letters to Varice," he teased. He received a venomous glare. "I'll see you at sup." He exited then, leaving both Daine and Kitten to glare at his retreating form.
Wandering down the castle halls and dipping in and out of the various archways, Numair finally came into sight of the king. Greeting his friend, they both welcomed each other with warm smiles. "How are you?" asked Jonathan.
"Not as well as I'd hoped," muttered Numair, starting off on the worn path that wound about the castle grounds.
"How many times have you asked her?" inquired the king, curious.
"More than I'd care to count," the mage replied, shaking his head morosely. "Perhaps she just does not wish to marry me."
Jonathan laughed. "There is no woman in all of Tortall who does not wish you marry you."
Numair smiled. "Unfortunately, there is at least one."
The king clapped his hand on his friend's shoulder in reassurance. "She does wish to marry you, Numair, she simply does not know how."
The mage rolled his eyes. "It's rather easy, if she'd only think about it."
"Perhaps she thinks too much about it," Jonathan stated, looking out at the wide expanse of forest. "That could be her problem."
"I've told her not to worry about our ages," he said. "If anyone should be concerned, it is me!"
"But think of how she must feel. She fears that one day, you'll wake and see her as a child, rather than a woman. Considering your past relationships, one would not take her for your type, physically speaking."
"How could I see her as anything less than a woman?" Numair wondered, beleaguered. "She is more a woman than any lady I've consorted with in my life."
"Then you love her?"
The mage gave his friend a frank and obvious look. "I'll smite anyone who suggests otherwise."
Smiling, Jonathan raised his hands in mock arrest. "You are passionate about your love. You should show her that passion, as well."
"You think I haven't? I've tried every romantic ploy imaginable, and still she will not accept!"
"Ploy?" The king's brows rose in a fine black frown. "You make it seem like a battle."
"That's what she makes it," Numair stressed. "I cannot go in blindly without a strategy, or she'll think me a fool."
"If I were her, I'd think you a fool now," Jonathan stated simply, glancing off at the stables.
"What do you mean by that, pray tell?" The mage's voice was irate and barely constrained within reason.
The king shrugged. "If you keep developing schemes with which to woo her, of course she will not agree. No woman wants to feel like you're agonizing over marriage. Daine is stubborn: the more you try to 'fight' her, the more she will retaliate." He looked at Numair frankly. "You're the one that is thinking too much, friend."
Numair huffed. "It is easy for you to say such things, when you've already married quite easily. Daine is difficult."
To the mage's surprise, Jonathan released a hearty chuckle. "I wouldn't be too presumptuous of Thayet's disposition, were I you. There is more than meets the eye."
Noticing they had made their round and were nearing the stables again, Numair sighed. "By Mithros, Jonathan, you are of little help tonight."
The king laughed again. "If you wanted advice on proposals, you should have asked a woman. In fact, why don't you ask Daine?"
This time it was Numair who guffawed, though his tone was haughty and laced with sarcasm. "Now there's a fine idea."
"Well," Jonathan ventured, "if I'm correct, it's the only one you have left."
Bidding each other short farewells, the two friends separated again. His heart heavy, Numair clambered slowly up the staircases and through the winding hallways. Straightening, he entered the chambers he shared with Daine and her multitude of animal friends. Shrugging out of his cloak, he placed it on a peg near the entrance and wandered into his study. He was greeted by the sight of his lover reclining in his writing chair, biting back a smile and holding a piece of worn parchment in her fingers.
Hearing him enter, she glanced up, her blue-gray eyes sparkling mischievously. "Hello, love."
He regarded her quizzically, curious and slightly afraid. "What is that?"
"Oh, this?" Daine wondered, glancing at the paper in her hand. She shrugged emphatically. "It seems an enemy is strategizing ways to conquer a certain land, and they've rather recklessly left their plans lying about."
Worried at first, Numair suddenly realized what she was talking about. "You're not meant to read that." He glared.
She grinned, eyes running over the scroll again. "You know, there's some here you haven't tried yet. It'd be a shame not to put them to action, after all the meticulous planning you've gone to."
Rolling his eyes and rubbing his temples, the mage resisted snatching the paper from his student. "Daine..." he grumbled angrily.
Enjoying his frustration, she paced lazily about the room, reading off the list. "'Propose at party'. I remember that one. Quite embarrassing for you, wasn't it? A relief only the king saw. 'Propose on full moon.' Ah, that one too. You were sick that night, and barely able to piece together your sentence. I thought you were delirious."
"Daine..." he tried again.
She giggled and continued. "Your handwriting is terrible. I can barely read this one. 'Propose with bouquet of roses and honeywine.' That was a delicious dinner, and I believe I was too full of wine by the end of the night to give you an answer." She looked up, smiling as she watched him grit his teeth. "Really, love, you're so good at this."
"I sometimes wonder why I bother trying," he muttered, collapsing into the seat she had vacated.
Taking a spot on his knee, she wrapped her arms around his neck, allowing the cursed scroll to rest on his shoulder. "No, really. You almost had me on the full moon. I simply cannot resist a man who sneezes more often than he blinks."
Laying his head back and closing his eyes tightly, he couldn't help but grin grimly. "You're cruel."
Daine shrugged, brushing a streak of black hair from his forehead. "You shouldn't go planning these things without my advice. You know we work so much better together."
"Is that so?" he asked, staring at the ceiling.
She nodded. "In fact, I added one more suggestion to the end of your little list."
He looked at her and smirked. "But if I ask you now, there will be no surprise."
Diane's tongue jutted out from between her soft lips, her eyes dancing impishly. "You know how I hate surprises."
Quickly snatching the paper from between her fingers, Numair's eyes traveled to the bottom. His lids narrowed to slits as he squinted, trying to read the small, messy writing that barely perched on the edge of the parchment. "You have a healer's handwriting," he cursed, and she laughed patiently. Finally, he deciphered her impossible scrawl: "Just ask."
He looked up, eyebrows quirking, and she smiled. "There's no need to be lavish or romantic. Our relationship has never been very romantic, after all."
"That's not true," he protested, though his heart seemed to skip a beat at the prospect of her acquiescence.
Daine grinned. "Yes, it is. Our first kiss was when you rescued me from spidrens. I was bleeding, cut, and calloused in more places than I'd care to name. The first time you proposed was after the war with Ozorne. I was exhausted and you, fair teacher, were much worse for the wear."
"If I may say so, magelet," Numair interjected, "what I did then was 'just asking'. I don't recall pulling a bouquet of flowers from my cloak after defeating Inar Hadensra."
She waved a hand in the air, her tone aloof. "Yes, but I was tired and hungry. The last thing I wanted to do was get married."
"Quit teasing," she scolded.
"Or what?" she asked, blue eyes taunting beneath rich, brown lashes.
"Or I'll never marry you," he said simply and shrugged.
"That, dear one, would be as much a punishment for you as it would be for me," she told him frankly, and then glanced over at the dragon sleeping beneath his desk. "Besides, Kitten would be heartbroken."
He laughed. "Then we must stay together for Kitten."
She nodded, dramatically raising a hand and placing it over her heart. "As much as it pains me."
"You are hurt?" he said tauntingly. "Then perhaps we should find you a healer. A priest perhaps?"
"Tell me, Numair Salmalin, do matrimony ceremonies possess healing qualities?" she wondered, lips precariously close to his own.
"By spades, magelet," he told her, his voice now a husky whisper.
"Then we must go to one immediately," she said, drawing away from him devilishly and looking deeply into his eyes. "I will marry you." She grinned again, soft lips dazzling him. "That is, if you will have me."
"Daine," he muttered venomously again, pulling her forward and crushing his lips against hers. She returned the kiss voraciously, wrapping her arms around his neck and weaving her thin fingers through his coarse black hair. Numair poured all his elation into her, allowing his hands to roam down to the small of her back. Eventually, they broke for air, though Daine continued to place light kisses along his lips and chin.
"Then I will see the queen tomorrow," she whispered, and he could feel her smile against his cheek.
He, too, smiled, and enveloped her body in his arms. "For some reason, I feel I should be afraid," he said jokingly.
"You should." She kissed him again. "For when my pain ends, yours begins."
Numair shrugged, pressing his lips passionately to hers. "Marriage itself could not possibly be more painful than the process of asking for it." Both grinning madly, Numair stood and swept his lover into his arms, exiting the study and making a quick, deliberate journey to the bed.