The Blind Leading the Blind (attn: Eiryk)
It was a rare night when Rowan found himself off of work without Cris. Granted, tonight wasn't a full night. Rowan had a couple of hours to kill before his shift began and as much as he wanted to spend them with his partner, Eiryk had asked him for some of his time and Rowan couldn't turn down a request from his long-time friend. He was certain Cris would have tried to meet him for at least some of his short break from work but he had had to apologize to his lover and decline. Cris, as always, was understanding, but Rowan resolved to make it up to him when they were together again... many times.
He'd met Eiryk at the waterfront and they'd gone down the dock to Rowan's ships, located at the very end due to their size. It made it easy to don swim trunks and dive right off the back, not having to worry about much more maritime traffic. Up on deck they had a bottle of Eiryk's mead, chilling and ready to be opened.
Rowan didn't press Eiryk for information right away. Clearly his friend wanted to talk about something specific and while Rowan might tease the hell out of him on a regular basis, he did care about Eiryk. So for the time being they simply swam until they felt relaxed, indulging in their usual friendly competition, head-dunking, and faux-drowning with neither of them really getting the upper hand.
It was good therapy, Rowan figured, for both of them. He missed Cris, and he smiled to himself at the adage that absence could make the heart grow fonder. He could not get fonder of Cris. Tonight, absence was making the heart lonely and more than a little horny. He did his best to push down those feelings though; he wanted to give Eiryk his full attention and, well... maybe he could channel the lonely and the horny into a really good 'I missed you' snuggle with Cris very soon.
But the point was no schedule was insurmountable and they'd found some time together. Eiryk had eyed Rue's boat moderately impressed and for a moment or two debated upgrading his own. He was fond of his little yacht though and didn't think too hard on the matter, just a bit. Besides, his thoughts had been elsewhere lately. And in a very un-Eiryk like move he was actually thinking about this instead of diving right in. It was something he might have talked to Aishe about, but since Rowan's arrival a few months ago his old friend was the more natural choice.
That didn't mean they weren't going to engage in some horse play before hand. It never did cease to amaze him that even though neither of them really needed to breath much that they'd always wind up dunking each other. It was some sort of primal instinct or something Eiryk figured. The exercise and the time in the water though was just what he needed, it helped get him out of his own head and going around and around. And thank God for that, he was getting dizzy.
One powerful kick brought Eiryk back to the surface and he shook his head, trying to get his hair free of some of the water.
"If you drown me who are you going to pick on? I mean really Rue have you thought this through?â€
He tried to sound injured but it was impossible to miss the huge good natured grin. Eiryk had, after all given as good as he'd gotten neither one of them had come out of this game un-splashed, un-dunked or without being dragged under at least once. And he also knew that giving him hell was Rue's way of showing he cared. Eiryk figured it was his own fault for being a good sport. At least that sounded good if you ignored the fact that Eiryk had no issues goading his friend right back with little or no provocation.
"I was just planning to drown you a little," he said mischievously.
He watched his friend climb out of the water and immediately slip on the surface of the boat. Rowan shook his head.
"Has anyone ever compared you to a manatee before?" he asked with some disbelief. "You're about as graceful as a bull in a china shop on land but throw you in the water and the result is almost disturbing."
Without anything to trip on, Eiryk was remarkably graceful. He was an excellent swimmer. Rowan wasn't ashamed to admire the play of muscles over scar-marked skin as Eiryk righted himself, but it was with a detached sort of appreciation, like he were looking at a sculpture. Nicely made but lacking that certain appeal.
That was what monogamy did for you, was it? Rowan mused about it as Eiryk came up to join him. He couldn't compare one blond to the other - they weren't the same. Cris's lithe build and delicate looks were the only thing that attracted Rowan now. It was more than physical, of course. Rowan loved his boyfriend's personality. Serious and cool on the outside but full of emotion and passion and complete perfection throughout.
He wondered how Cris would feel about being compared to a coconut. Sort of gristly and hard and somewhat difficult on the outside but once you cracked the outer shell, sweet, full of body, surprisingly tasty and complex.
Yes, Cris could be a coconut. Except for the furry brown part. That wasn't very Cris. Well, it wasn't a perfect analogy.
Rowan realized he was standing at the rail of the upper deck with a somewhat goofy, daydreamy smile on his face. He pulled himself upright with a sheepish grin and walked over to the table Eiryk's mead sat on, in its ice bucket. Rowan gathered up the two glasses he'd brought from the galley and set them next to the bucket, then pulled back the cover to the hot tub. The night was warm but the sea had been refreshingly chilly. He'd enjoy a quick soak and Eiryk might too.
If nothing else being relaxed might help loosen his friend's tongue and get him to cough up what was on his mind. Rowan suspected it might have to do with Alex but what in particular, was a mystery.
Eiryk said while cheerfully rolling his eyes. That only lasted a second as he had to engage in some creative contortions to keep on his own two feet. His sea legs were as good as ever and Eiryk could walk a deck in a storm like he was strolling across his living room. Unfortunately he was just as likely to fall on his face in his living room for no apparent reason.
Finally feeling a little stable he looked up incredulously at Rowan not quite sure what to make of that. As usual though Eiryk took it as Rowan not being terribly serious.
"After all these years, the truth comes out. You think I'm a cow. I'm wounded Rue."
He wasn't sure Rowan even heard him though given that goofy day dreamy smile. Eiryk was hard pressed not to laugh he wasn't sure if Rowan and Christian were still in the honeymoon phase, or if it was serious, or both but whatever it was it was having an effect on his friend. It was rather cute. It also crossed his mind that he might look that way thinking about Alex now and then, he he was living in a glass house. But he threw a stone any way.
"I'm not keeping you from something... some one am I?"
As he asked Eiryk set about opening the mead. He wasn't sure about this one Pak had unintentionally inspired it. She had a thing for jasmine tea and had forced it on him enough that he'd gotten the idea to infuse this batch with jasmine. It was something he'd never tried but the jasmine tea with honey was good so, he had hope.
Pouring two glasses he waited for Rowan to get the hot tub set up before handing the red head a glass and joining him. Funny not too many years ago this might have been a prelude to something more intimate, now that was the last thing on Eiryk's mind.
"I have no idea how this one turned out, but you are obligated to love it although you make make constructive criticisms. As in 'Eiryk this is wonderful I've never had anything better than this in my mouth but maybe you've lost your touch.'"
Fully aware of what he'd said and how it could be interpreted he gave Rowan a mock leer.
Yeah he was working up to his problem, situation, thing. Once he knew how the mead turned out then he would be ready to talk. He sipped it carefully experimentally working at getting all the flavors out. It wasn't bad, the jasmine was light and floral catching the pallet as a top note and adding depth to the nose. The honey was light and not over overpoweringly sweet blending beautifully.
"Maybe just a touch of citrus next time. It isn't as complex as I'd like."
Eiryk managed to get himself up on deck while Rowan stopped daydreaming. He glanced up at Eiryk's question. "No, you're not," he said truthfully. Cris was never far away. He sent to Rowan regularly, particularly at times like this when he knew Rowan was off work and not likely to be making life-altering decisions about the health of someone's child. Rowan hadn't told him about the coconut thing yet but he probably would.
Rowan climbed into the hot tub, taking the glass of mead from Eiryk with a word of thanks. He sighed as he sank into the hot bubbling water.
"I can't believe I have to go into work soon."
He didn't want to. The schedule he was trying to keep up would have killed him if he were mortal. He loved his job but the situation right ow was harrowing. He was growing increasingly more terrified of collapsing on the job but at the same time his tendency to sleep through nuclear disasters made it impossible to take a nap at work. No one would be able to rouse him and the gig would be up. He would find a solution soon.
He raised his eyebrows at Eiryk. "You know I'm your number one fan when it comes to mead, dear, but do you really want to know what I've had in my mouth recently?"
He continued to favor Eiryk with an arch expression while waiting for his answer. Inside, he was definitely inspired to daydream about his recent experiences. He gave a little "mmm" that could easily have been attributed to either the mead or the memory of his lover's taste, scent and feel.
"Really, Eiryk, it doesn't need to be too complex," he said with a grin, sipping the mead again. "I think it's just right. What did you use in it?"
It wasn't and Eiryk knew this. If Rue wanted him to get to the point he would simply say so. But it wasn't a bad reminder they didn't have all night.
"Are things still crazy or have they found some one else for you to lean on. I mean you aren't as young as you used to be."
Really the hours could be insane and yet they would have expected this from a human doctor. Why you'd try and kill someone who was trying to put people back together Eiryk didn't understand. But he also knew Rowan was a big boy and could handle himself, so Eiryk didn't say anything about working too hard and taking care of himself etc.
"I have a rather good imagination so graphic detail won't be necessary. Just flatter me and my outrageous artistic temperament please. My ego needs a boost."
No, actually, it didn't. It rarely did but he was not above fishing shamelessly for compliments.
"A light clover honey and jasmine. A friend has an obsession with jasmine tea with honey and it grew on me. "
He turned another sip over in his mouth considering it.
"Maybe simple is good, you might be right. I'll give her a bottle and see what she thinks."
Maybe he'd invite every one over and they could have a tasting party. Oh! That was a good idea. Eiryk made a note to plan that for October as it got cooler it would be fun.
"I think I might be complicating something else. Care to help simplify?"
Rowan tried not to let his stress show but he was truly starting to worry about losing control of things. His boss was a nice enough woman but she was stuck using what she could. Rowan had a hard time saying 'no' when he knew he was needed and she used that to her advantage. He knew she wasn't proud of it, but running a hospital was her business and she did what she had to do.
He shrugged his shoulders at Eiryk. "It'll work out. It's nothing I can't handle right now." He took another sip of his wine. "And the last thing your ego needs is a boost. If your head gets any bigger it's going to fall off your neck and I'm not chasing after it for you."
It was an old game. Of the two of them Eiryk was more the spotlight-seeker. While Rowan adored being in it himself, it tended to fall on him rather naturally, he thought, without him having to go looking. Of course he might seek it out on occasion... when the circumstances were just right. Sort of... ah well... what he meant was, he didn't fish for compliments often. Did he?
"Well, your ego aside, it's good." Eiryk's mead always was. A thousand years of practice did tend to help one refine his technique.
He listened to the small talk, the little comments, the things that didn't mean anything. Finally, though, Eiryk's face grew more serious. Aha, Rowan thought, now we come to it.
"You know me, love, I'm all about simple."
He nodded at Eiryk, trying to look simple. It probably wasn't a stretch. "What's on your mind? No trouble with Alexander I hope?"
Eiryk frowned and tried to do some mental math. He didn't try too hard. It was an absurd number for any one man (or vampire) to do. But he also knew that Rue wouldn't do it if he didn't want to, if he didn't need to.
"I could take up medicine. I'd be ready to jump in and help in what.. eight years? Six?"
He rolled his eyes at Rowan gave him hell about his ego. It wasn't out of control, it was just healthy and he liked to keep it that way. And of course since he got his compliment out of it there was no need to snark back at Rowan.
"Good I'm glad you approve."
There was no doubt that Rowan meant it. It wasn't a rave, it wasn't high praise but it was honest and he could handle that. Eiryk knew Rowan well enough to know it wasn't a polite lie, it was the truth.
Sighing he took a long drink of the mead and for the first time didn't try and dissect the flavors. He just wanted the drink. It was hard to nail this down it was all so vague. So Eiryk being Eiryk dove in head first.
"No... no not trouble. Not really. Maybe. I'm confused. The long and the short of it is I think I want to ask him to marry me, but really... 'till death do us part' takes on a very different meaning since I'm already dead and he's made it clear he's not interested in joining me on this side of the great beyond. And honestly I'm not even sure it is fair to him to ask that. He deserves a partner he can grow old with. So.... "
Eiryk just trailed off letting Rowan take it from there. And the ting was that Eiryk didn't care that Alex was going to grow old. Thirty or three hundred Eiryk was going to love him, human or vampire. It didn't matter to him. It would hurt like hell when he finally lost this man but that was years down the road and he wasn't going to think about that now.
Rowan knew Alexander didn't want to be a vampire himself. It was a remarkably mature conclusion for him to reach, Rowan thought, being certain enough of himself to know what he wanted yet able to accept Eiryk for what he was. Rowan didn't know him well enough to say it there were other reasons behind the man's logic, and there surely must be, but from where he stood it was better to know what you want than to make a choice you would regret down the line.
He let Eiryk wind down and then smiled at him. "You know, I've never seen you in love before," Rowan observed. "It's kind of cute."
Without waiting too long he said, "I know this might be a stupid question but have you and Alex discussed this? Maybe he has an opinion. I'm assuming you're just not sure about getting married to him because you won't grow old as he does."
Rowan tilted his head. "How will you feel, watching him waste away? In another thirty years or so he's going to slow down and you're still going to come home ready to love, ready to drink or go out, and he won't be able to keep up. It's not just Alex who deserves someone to grow old with; you deserve someone you can love long enough."
Rowan liked Alex, sure... but Eiryk had been his friend for over a thousand years and that was a long time. He might not be in love with him but he did love him. He was glad his friend was happy now but he didn't wish upon him the pain of watching Alexander die in front of him, knowing he could help but unable to do so against Alex's wishes.
"I'm having an emotional crisis and -now- I'm cute?"
Why did people keep asking him that? After all that was Aishe's question after the whole sort of semi break up. OK yes he should talk to Alex, there was a chance he'd propose and Alex would just shoot him down. Knowing Alexander he'd feel terrible about it too and that wasn't a nice thing to do to his boyfriend. Still Eiryk raised an eyebrow in a manner that some how conveyed 'If I'd had this conversation with him do you think I'd be having it with you?'
Rowan's question though brought Eiryk up short. He looked rather stunned and just sat in silence, blinking once or twice while he considered that. He'd been so worried about Alex he hadn't thought about that. Once he recovered his powers of speech though, Eiryk had an answer.
"That doesn't matter. Yes, adjustments are going to have to be made but for him it doesn't matter. It'll kill me to watch him go,â€ Possibly literally Eiryk thought, "but I'll do what I can to take care of him, for however long I have him."
And if that meant staying home for thirty years doing nothing but going to doctors offices, bingo parlors and watching day time TV Eiryk would do it, not even a question, and enjoy it because he'd be with the man he loved. Hiring a full time doctor or nurse to take care of Alex... Eiryk shoved that idea out of his head. For now Alex was young and healthy and alive and vibrant and he wasn't going to worry about what was to come just yet.
"Well I will admit you're hot on a regular basis but... yeah. Alex makes you cuter."
He grinned at the blond in the tub with him. Eiryk knew he was good looking, Rowan wasn't going to argue that fact. But there was something much more endearing to him now that he seemed to realize exactly what he had and what it meant to him. Rowan thought it was good for him in spite of the dilemma he had now.
It wasn't hard to put himself in Eiryk's shoes. Rowan knew what Cris did for a living was dangerous. Cris could be taken away from him in a heart beat, doing nothing more than his job, protecting their Clan - protecting him. He understood some of what Eiryk felt. Maybe not on the same level... Rowan couldn't truly wrap his head around the idea of what life might be like without Cris. They were happy living together but that was still new enough that they hadn't settled into a true routine.
Eiryk and Alex had been together long enough, now, to understand something of how the other one liked to live. Rowan had seen them together. It was evident in the way Eiryk did little things for Alex he thought he would like, and how Alex quietly, unobtrusively, behind Eiryk's back in most cases, moved things away from flailing arms and hands before Eiryk could knock them over.
"I don't think you're doing him any favors, not telling him how you're thinking," Rowan said. "If you're afraid to ask him to marry you though, why not make it more informal than that?"
What was marriage? A piece of paper. Rowan understood that. But, he realized, a marriage was legal. It was asking society to acknowledge the fact that you were together as a couple and had a right to protect each other, share things with each other, take care of each other. He sighed. He could see why Eiryk and Alex might want that. His thoughts drifted to Cris once again and Rowan wondered if his lover would want it, too. Cris was used to being alone. He seemed to value their time together but if Rowan were in Eiryk's position now, would he feel any more confident about offering Cris a ring and asking him to spend an eternity with him?
He sighed. Rowan had no prior experience to draw upon. If he'd been a married man in life, he didn't remember it. So any advice he gave Eiryk was just based on conjecture and supposition.
"Why not offer him a promise instead?" Rowan asked. "People do that. Promise rings, things like that. Let him know what you want from him, what you want to give him, and open the way to talking about it."
Rowan thought it was ironic to seek out his advice since he was the last person who would willingly, openly, discuss certain aspects of his personal life. But that didn't mean he didn't understand how important it was to communicate with your partner. If Cris had asked him, for example, to divulge his innermost fears and insecurities, Rowan would gladly do so. It was important to be honest, he knew that.
He was -not- going to go all googly eyed and wax poetic about Alex but it was true. You could put Alex on a rhinoceros and it would look sweet, cuddly and adorable. Eiryk had no idea how Alex did it but there it was.
With a sigh Eiryk just looked up at the sky and thought about this. Maybe he could per-propose or something. It would ruin the surprise but it would be for the best. It could actually be done without ever bringing up the 'M' word if he was careful. If nothing else he remembered the result of not talking to Alex about the whole vampire thing. First there was the semi break up and then there was the whole accidentally being roasted alive when Alex opened the curtains. Check that, talking was good. Necessary.
Eiryk shook his head at the whole informal thing though. It didn't set well with him.
"I don't know. It does make some sense but I want him to be taken care of if something happens to me. I want to be able to look out for him while we're alive and I don't want to slight him."
It was hard for Eiryk to conceive of any kind of middle ground with any thing and even less so with this, something, some one he cared about more than he'd ever cared about anyone before. In his head this was an all or nothing commitment. OK not nothing, but he wanted to offer Alex everything he could.
"A promise might not be enough, I've already given him that."
Even if t wasn't in so many words Alex had to know there was no way Eiryk would leave him.
Rowan hadn't realized this conversation could hit so close to home. "The point is that he'll know you're thinking about it. Unless you want it to be a surprise. But it didn't sound like it."
He quirked an eyebrow up at Eiryk. "Which do you like better? The romantic elaborate surprise proposal, or the absolutely no-nonsense practical discussion about your mutual futures?"
This topic really had him thinking. He had never considered marriage himself. In a million years. Finding someone whose company he actually enjoyed day in and day out was surprising enough. He was still basking in the new feeling of enjoying waking up next to the same person.
But Rowan never wanted it to end. Ever. And Cris had said 'forever' as well. So did that mean he would marry Rowan? Best not to travel down that road and ask for more than his lover was willing to give. Rowan didn't want to jinx anything at all.
He sank further down into the hot water with a sigh. "Alex is part of Evenhet now," he pointed out. "No matter what happens to you, he'll be taken care of. With or without the formal binding. You know I would, Cris would. All of us would even without that."
New England in autumn a last cruise up the coast on his boat, the leaves changing, silvery moon light, a bottle of mead, wrapped up in a blanket together on the deck and then Eiryk would slide a ring on Alex's finger. That was plan A. He had a plan B through G as well and was working on H.
"But my surprises have backfired a few times and I don't want him to feel obligated I want to know this is what he wants. Can't I have both?"
He asked exasperated. But short of using suggestion to have Alex forget the practical discussion came first there was no good way to have it both ways. Of course Alex meant more to him than his romantic notions but Eiryk was rather attached to the dream.
Eiryk inclined his head in silent agreement. Rue and Christian would take care of Alex, the odds were good that Kem and Aishe would. Hell even Pak would if push came to shove. And for all of these people it would be more than ensuring that Alex had part of his estate. Was that enough though? He wasn't sure. Eiryk had never had a human lover he had this kind of feeling for.
"Good God Rue I'm hopeless. I haven't got a clue here. What would you do?"
Part of Eiryk really was worried that Alex would say no. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibilities. Alex had not expected to get involved with a vampire when he moved to Nachton and there was that whole growing old together thing. At the very least Eiryk would write up something formal for his lawyer so that Alex wouldn't be left out in the cold if something totally bizarre happened.
"This is getting bad, almost an obsession. I walk by a jewelry store window and I have to look."
Not when he was with Alex of course, but any time he was alone.
"And we've only just barley moved in together. Am I moving too fast?"
He'd never been married, not once in over a thousand years, and had no idea how once proceeded here. Maybe he should hare proposed first and -then- moved in together.
He blinked at Eiryk's advice question. "You're asking the wrong guy, dear. When have you ever seen me succeed at a long term relationship?"
He shrugged his shoulders helplessly at his friend. "I can't tell you what I'd do," he said. "I've only just learned what it means to want what you've got."
Rowan tilted his head back, carefully, so as not to repeat Eiryk's previous performance, and sighed. "I'm telling you I would be honest," he repeated. "I know coming from me that's a hell of a line of advice, but Eiryk, if he means that much to you, you should discuss these things. If it's what Alex wants too then you can still surprise him with the place and the time and the setting."
He tried to put himself in Eiryk's shoes. "I just can't say what else I would do myself," he said. "For one thing, Cris and I have a different situation. Obviously, he isn't going to grow old and die. When he goes, I imagine it'll be fast."
Rowan's voice trailed off as he considered that. He couldn't see Cris fading away. Cris would go out in a blaze, going down fighting for something he believed in, if he had to go at all. He didn't want to think about it. He knocked back the remainder of his glass of mead, setting it aside and leaning back once more, closing his eyes.
Of course he'd been around humans who had been in healthy long term relationships, vampires too, and he hadn't learned anything. But Eiryk was temporarily assuming Rue was smarter than he was. Or at least his head was less clouded by emotion regarding the situation
Inspire of himself and his dilemma Eiryk smiled at those words from Rowan. He loved the fact that his friend was in love, it made him very happy. The best part was, for some God only knows what reason, Eiryk trusted Christian not to hurt Rue. Unexplainable gut instinct but one Eiryk wasn't about to question.
Eiryk almost fell off his seat in the tub at Rue's advice.
"You... -you- want me to be honest?!"
He spluttered while not falling or, more importantly, not spilling his mead. It had to be at least half way good advice if Rowan of all people was offering it. Alright, he'd consider that, work his way up to it. So... he'd wind up asking Alex some time in 2015 given his knack for avoiding potentially uncomfortable or potentially awkward conversations.
"I don't think he's in any hurry to die love and you know that is true of any of us. I don't think you need to worry."
Eiryk was happy enough to take a second away from his own troubles and offer a little consolation to his old friend. It didn't sound like Rowan was too worried about losing his lover, but the fact that he was even thinking about it meant that this was serious, not just a fling, and at least Rue was thinking long term.
"Are things that serious with you two?"
"And that's why I'm telling you that communication is important," he said, letting his voice take on a warning tone. "Don't wait for Alex to open the curtains again, Eiryk. Talk about it now. Remember, his life span is shorter. You let five years go by while you dither about how to phrase it, you might lose him."
Rowan felt for Eiryk. It wasn't easy to love someone who was going to die before you really knew them. Rowan didn't know how he'd feel if his partner were human. He'd had human lovers before, some of them frequently over the years. He'd seen a few of them age but he hadn't been so emotionally engaged that it had hit him the way it did Eiryk.
Eiryk's reaction to his advice was predictable. While his friend spluttered in shock Rowan took the opportunity to splash him, avoiding the mead, chuckling softly.
"I know when it's appropriate to do it," he said, "I just choose not to. Frequently."
Rowan generally saved his worst lies for people he didn't know well. His close friends, he tried to be honest with. Eiryk generally tended to know when Rowan was indulging in some... hmm... creative elaboration. Generally. He still thought there were a few tales Eiryk didn't know the truth of, and he liked keeping the erstwhile Viking guessing.
He nodded absently when Eiryk asked about himself and Cris. "We're living together," he said as he pondered vampire immortality for a few moments. It was a huge admission from him. He and Eiryk hadn't been constantly together all of their lives, but he suspected Eiryk knew he'd never lived with anyone in a relationship before. Rowan had lived with Henri, and later, Henri and Renee; he'd lived with roommates, friends, but never a lover.
Shaking himself free of the serious air, though, he grinned at Eiryk and shrugged his shoulders. He wasn't ready to be too up front with his feelings just yet. Not even with Eiryk.
"Who knows though?" he said cheerfully. Pessimism wasn't a word Rowan often explored the meaning of. "Serious is a relative term. We haven't been together long enough for serious. We enjoy being with each other, that's the important part. Maybe a century from now it'll be me nagging at you about what I'm supposed to do for a proposal. Anything could happen."
He laughed brightly, but inside there was a tiny, very serious voice that denied his words. Anything could not happen. Rowan hadn't lied about being in love with Cris. He loved him completely, and if he had any say in it (and he damn well suspected he had at least fifty percent), they would be together until they wasted away.
"You're right. You're right. Soon. I'll think of something."
Maybe he'd go with Plan A and have the heartfelt honest conversation and if it went well he'd propose right then. That might work. No later than Christmas Eiryk promised himself, because Plan B involved talking Alex into going back to that resort they spent last Christmas at. Either way he'd have the ring and be ready if Alex sounded like he'd say yes.
"I might lose him yet you know... he might say no. He might dream of living in a retirement community in Florida. I don't think I'd fit in there."
He said miserably more to his mead than to Rowan. It scared the crap out of Eiryk that Alex might turn him down, might not be willing to deal with a lover he wasn't going to age. Sure he gave Alex more credit than that but Eiryk had to acknowledge the possibility.
Eiryk made an odd sound, sort of a strangled laugh covered by a cough at Rue's 'honesty'. They all had their quirks. Over the years he'd gotten fairly good at knowing when Rowan was spinning a yarn and when he was being honest. Oh he didn't bat a thousand but he knew more often than not. All things considered though, Eiryk would take his own gift for tripping over air than telling tales.
That was a surprise. Eiryk's eyebrows rose waiting for Rowan to elaborate on this living together. When the elaboration was more of a side step he took that as an admission that the two of them were passionate in love. Of course, Eiryk was a romantic, it could still be lust but he preferred his rose colored glasses. Eiryk wanted Rue to be in love with some one who was good for him, who recognized how special his friend was.
"I don't care when it happens, I just call dibs on planning the ceremony and expect a generous budget to work with."
Even without moving Eiryk gave the impression of bouncing up and down at the prospect of planning a wedding.
"Yeah, you might," he agreed. "Isn't it better to have had him for a little while though? Better to have loved and lost, as they say."
He always thought that saying was a crock of shit, himself. Until he actually experienced love. Now, thinking about Cris, knowing that he could lose him... Rowan was quickly revising his opinion. It would hurt like hell not to have his partner with him; even in such a short time he was ready to acknowledge that. But if Cris did decide to go his own way Rowan would never forget having had him and he would certainly keep those memories dear to his heart for... ever, probably.
He merely rolled his eyes at Eiryk. "No one gets dibs on anything," he drawled in his muddled European/English/Irish mess of an accent. "I suspect if it ever came down to it, we'd manage just fine on our own. Besides. You're jumping the gun."
Quite a bit, really. Eiryk was a hopeless romantic. Rowan knew that, having fallen in love finally, Eiryk wanted to see everyone around him experiencing the same, living in domestic bliss themselves. He had a good heart.
He shook his head at Eiryk's eager expression. "Can it, Jensen. It's not going to happen the way you want it, so best get used to that now."
He laughed again. "The more eager you appear, the less likely you are to get what you want, you know. Worry about your own wedding. I'd better be your best man."
Rowan tried some reverse psychology. The last thing he wanted was for Eiryk to get overzealous and mention this to Christian. Rowan wanted time. They were still new at this, or at least Rowan was. He didn't see any need to rush. His heart knew where it wanted to be and for now that was good enough.
"I hope you never find out."
Eiryk was facing the very real realization that even if Alex said yes, even if they were together for all of Alex's life he would lose Alex. It was inevitable. Eiryk honestly could not conceive of an 'after Alex'. Of course, he'd never tell Alexander that it would only be pressure, hurtful even. But Eiryk didn't think he could face a world without his lover. It was bizarre, he'd raided, looted, pillaged, burned, traveled the world, stared down storms at sea and never really once thought his life ending, there was just no fear because there was always something new to learn or see or do. Thanks to Angus he had all the time in the world, as long as he wasn't stupid. Eiryk had never even considered and end, but now he might be as mortal as his human boyfriend. Ending Alex might just end him. Strange thought wasn't it?
For now though, he shrugged it off and cheerfully played with Rowan who was denying him something he very much wanted.
"I thought they jumped brooms out here but I'll find you a gun to jump over if you'd rather."
He sulked, but only for a second, maybe three just long enough for it to look appealing but not drag the moment down.
"I don't care if it is in three weeks or three hundred years, I call dibs. You get all busy with your doctor stuff and will probably forget to order the invitations, possibly forget to show up and besides you know I have connections and better taste than you. You just get used to the idea and let me know when."
it was said with an easy going confidence, as if he knew the results were inevitable. Because, in Eiryk's mind, they were. Of course Rue would have him plan the wedding. Really who else could? So for now Eiryk was satisfied he'd have a new project probably inside of this century. He could wait. Oh maybe he'd be a wedding planner in his next 'life'. That would be fun and he'd still have pretty things about.
"You had best to be a bridezilla though because I'll kick your ass if you are."
He warned. Although he did his best to appear indifferent taking Rowan's threat at least somewhat seriously.
It was easy enough to switch gears to his own wedding. It would be beautiful. Oh wait, he'd best include Alex in those plans too, he might have some ideas as well. Still that would wait until after he got a 'yes'.
"Oh I think we can work that out. It would be you, Angus or Pak and Angus can't be pried out of his monastery and Pak looks funny in a tux. I was thinking something wintry, snow and all that, but you just don't have the coloring for white although black would look smashing against snow it would pop quite nicely, maybe with red accents, of course that is a touch clichÃ© so it isn't firm. And snow will be cold and wet and probably ruin shoes and who wants to hide black tie under a coat? And of course it has to be outdoors..."
It was all one single thought, almost one single breath. It was possible Eiryk had been thinking about this a bit.
Rowan couldn't remember anything from before he was turned. So as far as he knew, after Henri, Eiryk was his oldest friend. There was very little he wasn't willing to help him out with, or do for him. While he wouldn't necessarily say they were best friends, they were old friends and they were close. Rowan didn't consider himself a best friend kind of guy, until Cris. He'd hate to see Eiryk dealing with the pain of the inevitable.
The return back to their usual lighthearted joking banter was a welcome one for Rowan. Laughter suited them both better than tears. He sighed at Eiryk and hoped his friend wouldn't be terribly disappointed if things didn't work out his way.
"I wouldn't miss my own wedding," Rowan said defensively. He had a tendency to be late, it was true, but he could get himself ready on time when there was an important reason to do so. "Besides, marriage isn't for everyone. And what makes you think I'd be a bride?"
He was pretty sure Eiryk, Cris, and, hell, even Alex, would all look better in a dress than he did. He teased his friend back, preferring a smile on Eiryk's face over the stiff mask he'd just worn. "You'd look great in satin and lace yourself."
He leaned back and let Eiryk ramble on about his wedding plans, grinning. It didn't matter to him if he was the best man or not. He had no doubt he could rock a tux, and he'd enjoy dancing with Cris. He thought maybe Eiryk was worried for nothing... Alex clearly loved Eiryk. He couldn't see him turning him down.
He wished they could convince him that being immortal wasn't so bad. It would be terrible to watch Alex grow old, but that was the nature of the world. Not everyone could be, or wanted to be, what they were. And the sad thing about living amongst humans was that they all died. Some sooner than later. Rowan knew that from experience. Modern medicine was making a lot of difference; the lifespan of the average human being had nearly double in the past few centuries. But it wasn't fast enough to give Alex more time than the rest of the world. Eiryk's boyfriend would live and die as humans all did, and Eiryk would be left to pick up the pieces and move on.
Rowan sighed and thought about Cris, sending up a little prayer. For what, he wasn't sure. Keep him here. Keep him safe. He kept those thoughts in mind even as he laughed at Eiryk's long-winded wedding plans.
"And this, when you haven't even received a yes or a no... or proposed. Are you sure you don't want to get married just for the sake of having your dream wedding?"
He shook his head and ducked under the hot water, still laughing.