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  • Reigna
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    😭😭😭 noooooooo!!! I need to know what happens!! -anxiously waits by computer for new chapter-

    DovaBunny
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    Soooo remember how I said this chapter was going to be delicious chaos?

     

    …enjoy.

    Also, a friendly reminder to keep in mind for this chapter. In Chapter 3 of the story, Bishop asks Diana how she found out she was the Dragonborn, to which she responds: “Same way I found out I swing both ways – crashed the wrong party and the wrong time.”

    AND! Like I’ve done before with Ella, Brianna and Meg – I’ve written Helena and Viv into the chapter as minor characters cause I needed names and I’m lazy to think of new ones, but also I like putting you guys into the story cause it makes me happy. Just to be clear – nothing actually happened between Diana, Helena and Viv! She was just turned on by them cause they hot. It’ll make sense if you read it, I swear!

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    CHAPTER 31

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    Ouwie.

    Molag’s Mutton Chops… Diana hasn’t had a hangover this bad since that time she and Farkas broke into Nazeem’s cellar that weekend he was out of town and drank it all.

    Urgh. And her mouth tastes like Arkay’s ashy ass!

    Eyes still closed, body still feeling like it’s been shat out by a mammoth, Dian faintly hears irate mumblings. The words ‘blasphemers’, ‘heathens’, and ‘oh no, he’s hot’, were heard amongst other low mutters and grumbles.

    “Fuck the wha…” Diana felt a blunt kick to her side, thankfully numbed by the Oblivion-only-knows strong alcohol that has no left her system though what feels like an exorcism as she slowly grunts to full consciousness.

    “Get up you filthy blasphemer!”

    It was at this point that she realised she was lying face down on cold marble floors. Groaning when another soft kick landed in her side, more to rouse her than harm her, she just lifted a middle finger to the offender, her face still planted on the stone as she started stirring various parts of her body to make sure she was, in fact, not mammoth poop.

    “Why you insolent- … Diana?”

    At hearing her name and the sudden change in tone as she flopped over with great effort, like the elegant gracious being she is [not], opening her eyes in squints to see a gorgeous young Khajiit in priest robes leaning over her. An expression of confusion and disgust on her face. The expression was familiar – it’s the one she usually drew from people – but the face was also familiar, which was a little more unsettling as she didn’t know from where.

    “Well tassel my tits and call me Talos! It is you!” The expression changed into one of fondness and, again strangely, one of understanding, as the priestess reached out to grab Diana’s arm and help her up.

    She almost toppled right over like a log being tipped, the shorter woman barely being able to keep her upright. She swallowed down something that tasted like mouldy cheese and Hircine’s armpits that tried to escape her taffy-hole, then looked, really looked at the pretty young thing in the robes holding her arm.

    “…Viv?”

    She could never forget that face. Vivia was the most beautiful Khajiit Diana had ever seen, although she suspected some Nord blood mixed in somewhere, and even now she radiated beauty with her midnight-black fur and smouldering golden-yellow eyes, with curves that would make a a Redguard jealous. Everything a Dibellian priestess should be – hot, pretty, and so sweet it’ll give you a toothache just talking to her, but with enough in her sly, mischievous smile to make Diana wonder if the perfect little priestess didn’t live some dark double life as a dominatrix in Markarth. Diana could totally picture her in all tight black leather and whips.

    Coincidentally, Viv is part of the reason Diana learned she swung both ways.

    Viv smirked at Diana, brows raised in mock disappointment as she shook her head disapprovingly. “Care to tell me what in the Oblivion drove you to crash in the temple of Dibella with a handsome knight, and a giant’s toe, smelling like goat, my dearest Diana?”

    Diana looked at the priestess, blinked, then slowly turned to survey the room. Her head was still throbbing with the worst hangover since the Hero of Kvatch partied too hard with Sheogorath in the third era and ended up the running into Oblivion gates and the ruler of the Shivering Isles. At least the temple was dimly lit and smelled nice which helped.

    She spotted a bunch of empty wine bottles, what looked like bits of goat fur, and a big giant’s toe, and…

    “Hggggnnnnnhfff…” a fairly large man groaned from where his body was draped over platform at the feet of Dibella’s statue.

    “Cassy-pants?”

    The Paladin slowly lifted his head, squinting at the world around him like a newborn fawn.

    A ridiculously manly and muscular newborn fawn.

    The man was a walking contradiction. It was adorable, but also, and she’ll never admit this to anyone, he was a little scary when he got into fight-mode. She may have peed herself a little once as he went all berserker on a group of Orc bandits.  Jap. Totally only once.

    “Heey, aren’t you supposed to be dead?” Vivia slowly turns to Diana to ask, the thought only occurring to her now, “or is there another beautiful ‘Diana the Dragonborn’ somewhere who likes to save cities and ride Dragons into the clouds before killing it?”

    Urg. Diana was really not feeling up to explaining herself right now. She tries to clear her head, opening her mouth to explain with a heavy sigh when Cas fills the silence for her. “Dragonborn magic,” he says simply. She turns to give him warm appreciative smile, that he returns with a ‘I got your back’ wink.

    “Fair enough,” Viv shrugs, her chirpy voice making both Diana and Cas wince a bit. “Hold on my beauties…” she smiles and moved to one of the cabinets. Cas was still limp, and Diana was standing but leaning heavily against a pillar, unsure if she wanted to violently murder the sun, or violently throw up. Eitherway, violence was on her brain. “Here you go, drink up!”

    Diana gave the little cup of greenish fluid a suspicious sniff and raised an eyebrown to Viv who just rolled her eyes and tipped the cup up, before pouring it down Cas’ throat too. Diana recognized the taste of the Dibellan priestess’ hangover cure – as potent and secretive as the priestess’ wild parties. Which reminds her…

    “The last time I had this was…”

    “Sister Helena’s birthday, right?” Viv giggled knowingly. “We still talk about the crazy wild girl we picked up near Helgen while travelling to Riften! That was some roadtrip…” the priestess sighed dreamily.

    It sure was. Helena was the other half of the reason Diana knew she swung both ways. Pretty girl, all innocent smiles and warm, bright eyes, she was so shocked when she heard Diana had never kissed a woman that she declared it her birthday present to herself, and kissed the young huntress in front of the then cheering group of priestesses on their way to Riften to attend a former sister’s wedding. To be fair, they weren’t in their robes so Diana didn’t know they were priestesses. Still hot as balls though.

    Cas coughs and sits up, eyeing the two women, not liking the feeling of being in the dark. “Ladies, I hate to interrupt the reunion, but how exactly did we get here, and what smells like goa-”

    “Cas, what is that?” Diana interrupts abruptly. She often interrupts him, but the sobriety of her tone and the way her large eyes are fixed on his hand where he’s running it through his hair has him instinctively worried.

    Slowly he lowers his left hand, her eyes follow, Viv slaps a hand over her mouth to stifle a giggle. His hand down on eye-level, he tears his gaze off Diana and sees…

    A Ring.

    Not just any ring, oh no. A wedding band. On his ring finger.

    For a moment Cas couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe, over the high pitched screaming in his head.

     

    “Sir, sir- I’m going to need you to stop throwing cabbages!” Diana ducked down out of the way as a green ball of fury and leaves was hurled at her, “No! Step away from the cabbages!”

    “You Imperial scum!” the very angry Redguard tossed another cabbage at them, “You took her! You took my Gleda!”

    “Sonava mother-!” Diana jumped out of the way as the Redguard ran out of cabbages, and instead hurled one of his chickens at her head.

    “Sir, please, contain yourself!” Cas’ voice was impressively calm and controlled, causing the angry man to pause for a moment, “Please, whatever we did, I assure you we are very remorseful and will do everything in our power to rectify it.”

    “You mean… you mean you don’t even remember?” the man, severely out of breath, asked as he held another chicken in his hand, ready to throw.

    “Remember WHAT?!” Diana yelled from her hiding place, cowering behind a little coop on the other end of the former vegetable garden now-crime-scene, getting impatient but also not wanting anymore livestock or produce aimed at her.

    Cas shot her a threatening look before turning back to the man, “I’m afraid we have no recollection of the past few days mysir. We’re here trying to re-trace our steps to figure out what happened.”

    To figure out how in Oblivion Cas and Diana somehow got completely shit-faced off some stranger’s free booze and woke up in the temple of Dibella with a ring on Cas’ finger! In the very least they had to find out if the ring meant what he feared it did – that he’d been so intoxicated that he’d gotten married but had no recollection of it. Mara preserves us…

    The angry man lowered the chickened-hand, but kept it to his chest as he regarded them suspiciously. “Well… I guess that would make sense. You did seem completely out of your minds. Especially the tall female. Kept rambling about a wedding and how you was going to get laid and had her to thank, right before you stole my Gelda and ran off giggling like a Argonian Maid,” he glared at her, “…wench”.

    “HEY I resent that!” she huffed with her arms tossed up in the helplessness of the situation.

    And ‘BOFF!’ Chicken to the face.

    Not the kind of breasts she usually appreciates in her face. But hey. It’s been a while. Diana’ll take any action she can get.

    Before she could come up with a witty response, or better yet, throw the man with his own chicken, Cas’s low voice stopped them. “…what?” he spoke softly, “what about a wedding?”.

    “You two were rambling about a wedding. Something about needing a ring for your fiancé, and needing a giant’s toe to help pay for it. Which is why you stole Gelda! She didn’t deserve to be giant food. She was a good goat.” The man got emotional at that.

    “Hold the courier – GELDA is a GOAT?! Arkay’s ashy ass-chaps – all this about a damn goat?!”

    “Gelda was more than just a goat, alright!” the angry Redguard spits at her.

    She holds up her hands in surrender, “listen man, whatever happens between a man and his goat is none of my bees. Look, I’m sorry, but we’re both in shit here. So here’s what I’m thinking – I pay you three times what a goat is worth, you tell us everything YOU know about us, what we said and did, and then we’ll be on our way and pretend this never happened. Happy?”

    The man growled a bit, but Diana didn’t miss the way his eyebrows twitched when she mentioned their price. Coin – it’s the one language everyone speaks. “Very well,” he finally caves.

    Cas is eerily quiet as she fishes out the coin and hands it over with a smile pulling into her left cheek. “Now your half of the bargain?”

    The man is happily counting his coin, not even looking at them, as he mumbles, “I hardly saw you, only heard your loud drunken slurs and whispers from my window after dinner. I knew something was wrong, because that’s when Gelda usually comes scratching at the door to be let in out of the cold. I figured maybe she was just curious so I let it slide while the two of you whispered and giggled. The knight kept mumbling on and on about the ring, something about ‘doing things the proper way’, and you spoke of a contact that could procure the perfect ring, but that you’d have to make him do the talking cause you’re ‘on the DL and don’t roll that way anymore’, or something. A Ysoline or Ysolada…or…” the tried to think.

    “Ysolda?”

    “That’s the one.”

    Oh steamy skeever shits.

    “Anything else?” the man shook his head in the negative, so Diana just sighed. “Alright then. Thank you for your time, enjoy the coin, and err… sorry about your goat.”

    They waved the man off as Cas fell absent-mindedly into step behind Diana.

    “So…this is going to be awkward as balls. Ever been to Whiterun Cassy-pants?”

     

    So as Diana saw it, she had two options. Sneak in and possibly bribe Ysolda… no, knowing Ysolda she’ll definitely insist on being bribed, probably bodily, or the other option was to just march in, head up, and shrug off the strange looks.

    But was Diana ready for that? Being done hiding and running? It was all she knew, finding hard to recall life before that. Running from her demons, running from her responsibilities, running from those who wanted her dead, running from…him.

    No. She shook her head at the thought. She won’t linger on that.

    In the end she decided to camp outside town, sending Cas in to fetch Ysolda. She’d come out of hiding eventually, but on her own terms.

     

    “Wait, there’s no Khajiit caravan here! What’s the big idea?!” Ysolda spun on her heels and poked an angry finger into an unsettlingly placid Casavir who just deadpanned down to her as the pretty redhead huffed and tried to intimidate him.

    Their plan worked, Ysolda recognized Cas as the patron a few nights before who bought an engagement ring from her, and lured her outside town by turning on the ‘Knightly-charm’ Diana assured him he had, and mentions of a rare  Khajiit caravan just outside town. She followed him without question, making ‘dreamy sigh’ sounds.

    But now Cas’ part of the job was done and it was up to Diana.

    “Ysolda…” Diana greeted causing the Nord to turn back around. Diana grinned a little forcefully, not knowing how to quite approach this. “Sooo… how you been?” she tried conversationally.

    She probably should’ve expected the blood-curdling, high-pitched yelling, followed by cries of “Demon! DEMON LEAVE THIS BODY!”, followed by weak but determined raining down of fists on her chest and over her head as she tried to shield away.

    “Yso, Mara-dammit, Ysolda! It’s me! Stop hitting me! Holy mucrabs what’s with the violence against me today!?”

    “Wha- … no, no! I saw you fall! The whole town did!”

    “Dragonborn magic,” Cas filled in from where he stood behind her, his strong arms crossed over his broad chest, his large figure imposing and silently intimidating.

    Diana threw him a grateful wink. “What he said. But listen, we’re kind of on a mission here and as much as I’ll love to catch up, two things – First, you can’t tell anyone you saw me. Second, the ring Casavir bought from you, did he offer any further info on it?”

    Ysolda opened her mouth to object, to curse, to question, but a soft growl from Cas made her realise how vulnerable she was, trapped between an undead Dragonborn and an apparent Knight with a split personality. He was so giggly and sweet when she saw him last, and now he was all grunts and business and ‘I could kill you with a spoon’ -eyes.

    She swallowed nervously. “Alright. But you owe me Diana!” the reptile-born nodded in agreement, “Good. Now…” she turned thoughtful for a moment, “he talked about marrying your companion, going on and on about the companion and how exited he was to propose and get married.”

    That was it. The moment they’d dreaded.

    They were married.

    Well, shit.

    She looked up to see where Cas had frozen in place. She swallowed the harm lump in her throat. As much as she teased, as much as she could admire the Knight – she honestly had no desire to bring him harm or tarnish the few virtues he still held on to. He’d told her many times before how precious and beautiful he thought love and marriage was, and that it always used to be a dream he was denied, being a Paladin, and that maybe now, now that he was unceremoniously freed of those binds by becoming a felon, he could yet find a wife and have a family, living in love and happiness and growing old together.

    She remembered how his eyes sparkled with hope and his cheeks tinged pink as he spoke. She recalled how deeply she wanted that for him, but also the jealousy she couldn’t fight,the voice in her head telling her that such things weren’t for her, she didn’t deserve it. But Casavir, he did. That and more.

    “Did-”, she cleared her throat as her voice came out a little broken, “Did he say anything else? Anything at all?” If there was a way to undo this, she would. She would kill the priest who officiated the ceremony and every witness in attendance to erase it if she had to.

    “He… oh yes! He mentioned being off to the wedding venue! A place called ‘Misty Grove’, but said he was on his way to Morvunskar. Now I won’t go pretending to be an adventurer, but as far as I know that place is ankle deep in-”

    “rogue mages…” Diana fills in with a hitch in her breath and Ysolda nods.

    Well, shit.

     

    After nailing down some details, Cas and Diana set off for the old fort. Diana is pretty sure Ysolda won’t be able to keep that pretty mouth of hers shut about seeing her, but that’s not of concern right now. Her concern is the Knight next to her, so quiet and shrunken that it tugs painfully at her chest.

    She tries to lighten the mood as they make their way, but it falls on deaf ears as the Knight keeps his head low, eyes trained on the road.

    “Oh come on, you can’t ignore me forever!” she tries again with a lopsided smile as she leans forward to try and catch his eye, “your ol’ ball-an-chain just cares for you, you know? At least pretend to laugh at my bad jokes?”

    Cas grits hit teeth and turns his head away from her. She didn’t miss the way his lip curled up in a snarl for a moment before he schooled it back. That hurts more than it should.

    “…I’m sorry Cas.” She finally admits to the unrelenting guilt she feels, stopping in her tracks, causing him to also stop to face her, “I’m sorry this happened, I’m sorry I roped you into this, and I’m sorry the thought of being married to me is so…unbearable for you. I know I’m no prize. After we deal with whatever is at Morvunskar, we’ll go to Riften, go see my friend Erandur, and have this annulled. I’ll take care of it.” With that she held out her palm, eyes on his ring, silently asking for it.

    Cas, taken aback, only then realised how his remarks and reactions could have come across, could have hurt his friend. He feels remorse wash over him at his unacceptable behaviour, it’s not her fault anymore than it’s his after all. “Lady Ana, it’s not that, it’s-”

    “It’s not? Really?” she laughed mirthlessly, “Cause from where I’m standing, it seems like you waking up as my husband is close to the worst possible thing that could happen to you. Like Ulfric walking up married to General Tulius. Vekel walking up married to Delvin. Mavern waking up married to anyone who is not herself. And I know, I get it, you believe in love and romance and all that fairytale shit, and I’m as far from your princess as they come. I’m sorry Cas, I am. I’ll fix this. We can pretend it never happened, I swear,” but then he sees her ball her fists and avert her eyes, tense, “But – but if you could at least just… keep your disgust at the idea to yourself…” her words soft, like she regrets the weakness in each one as soon as they fall from her lips.

    Diana had never had an issue with feeling unwanted. She was often approached by beautiful strangers, or had them return her almost impulsive advances. But this… this triggered a deep ache she’d left hidden for a long time. A memory that there used to be one person, only one, who really knew all the parts of her – and still wanted her. Didn’t just see her shadows, not only her body, or only her laughs and charms, but all the parts of her – and looked to her with love in his eyes. Having another she allowed into her life, this repulsed to the idea of being tied to her… it hurt a lot more than it should.

    She bit her trembling lip, refusing the tears, refusing the swelling of memories and feelings, a fleeting memory of a warm hand on hers while looking at the stars, strong arms pulling her up and spinning her around on a doorstep, a rumbling laugh that melt into a roguish smile beneath molten amber eyes…

    Her spiral was stopped when a hand closes her open one denying the request for the ring. “I apologize, my Lady… my behaviour has been inexcusable.” The regret evident in those deep blue eyes. “It is not you, I assure you. I just… I’ve always dreamed of falling in love and getting married, the whole ‘fairtytale crap’ as you call it,” he says with a soft laugh, “and I just… I blame myself for drinking whatever it was that guy gave us, for I would very much have liked to be there, consciously at least, when I got married.” Diana’s eyes look up, large and confused and surprised, “and call me old fashioned my Lady, but even though neither us may have been in our right minds at the time, a promise is a promise. And if I promised to love you and care for you all my days, then that’s what I’ll do.”

    Diana can only stare wide-eyed. She’s speechless. Never, not in her wildest dreams, would she have expected this. Casavir is many things, but liar is not one.  He is honest, brave, kind-hearted and soft-spoken, and stronger than people think.

    She is vaguely aware of the warm moist in her eyes when a gentle thumb wipes away a traitorous tear. His hand lingers in her cheek and she sees his eyes fall to her lips as he swallows hard.

    She decides not push it, just watch, as he slowly, cautiously, lowers down his lips to meet with hers. Warm, soft, and…

    …wrong!

    She’s not sure which of the two pull back first, but their expression is the same and she has to resist the urge to spit as they both reel back in discomfort and mild disgust.

    ‘Like kissing your brother’ comes to mind.

    Their eyes finally meet for a moment, before they both break into awkward laughter, that becomes more hearty and unrestrained as they both just laugh at the ridiculousness of this whole situation. Because what else can you do!

    “Well now…” she chokes out between barely restrained bouts of laughter, “I guess we’ll need to work on that!” she grins genuinely at Cas who returns it, happy tears of laughter still in his eyes, and his cheeks are beautifully flushed.  She almost regrets that their attraction is most certainly not a romantic one, but comforted in that the sentiment is mutual. But he cares for her, and she for him, that at least they both know.

    “I guess so my Lady,” he smiles at her with a few last chuckles, “now though, I guess we need to keep moving. I’d like to at least see our wedding venue!”

    She giggles and winks at him in confirmation. They fall into comfortable silence as they fall back into step.

     

    It takes them two days on the road. In the late afternoon of the second day, they’re walking happily exchanging banter and sharing wild dreams. Particularly, the one where Diana infiltrates the Empire, becomes Emperor, wipes out all laws, replacing them just one (‘don’t be a dick’), all while moonlighting as a pirate-queen, using her intel as Emperor to hit all Thalmor ships and island hideouts.

    “I’m going to make a shit-load of gold stealing and selling Thalmor shit.” She grins menacingly.

    “And pray tell my lady, what exactly do you intend to do with the winnings of your exploits?” Cas asks, smiling amused at the animated tall woman with the wild look in her eyes.

    “Pile it all up on my bed. Lie on top of it, like a Dragon.”

    “That’s idiotic.” He huffs, but the corners of his mouth quirk up.

    “…And NEVER LEAVE!”

    “And unhygienic.”

    She gave him a deadpanned look, “Congrats, you’re no longer invited to my awesome Dragon parties. How does that feel?”

    “Liberating.”

    “Asshole.”

    “Hoarder.”

    “I don’t hoard!”

    He looks unamused, “So you’re telling me, if I we get home and I open the chest next to your bed, I will NOT find at least 30 wooden bowls, 15 soul gem fragments, and 20 linen wraps?”

    “I…need those.” She said, only semi-ashamed.

    “For?”

    “…crunchy linen-soup. For my awesome Dragon parties.”

    He dropped his head into his hand.

    “SO not invited…” she mumbles to herself.

    But before he can respond, Diana shoots an elbow into his ribs. He looks up to see that they’ve reached their destination.

    The old fort is larger than he expected. By now they’ve been travelling together for nearly four months, and clearing out forts are familiar tasks. Delvin sometimes got very hush-hush but very, very lucrative requests from an advisor to General Tulius to clear out forts held by mages or bandits. They made bags of coin, and the empire didn’t have to waste the men and time to clear it out before moving in to gain more ground against the Stormcloaks.

    This fort, however, positively vibrated with dark magic. Being a Paladin to the divines, (maybe not in formal title anymore though) he could sense foul magic and daedric activity long before seeing it. And this place reeked of it.

    With a quick nod, Cas unsheathed Justice from his back. Diana had his trusty steel greatsword reinforced with Dragonbone and ebony, to match his custom armour. Her own armour black leather and dark Dragonscales, offering quick movement and light footing, opting for her chaos-elemental enchanted Dragonbone bow that could randomly do either significant fire, frost, or lighting damage at a strike. Diana liked the unpredictability. Said it kept things interesting and unpredictable.

    The undead Dragonborn master-thief felt her life needed more excitement and unpredictability.

    Mara take the wheel…

    “Plan?” he asked as he readied himself.

    “Avoid sharp and pointy. Keep a ward up as long as you can. Don’t get killed.”

    “Sounds good.”

     

    The rogue mages put up quite the fight, and Cas had to frequently had to wash his restoration magic over them while Diana has to Fus Ro Dah to destabilise the mages, letting their wards fall and casting cease for a moment, allowing her arrows and his blade take them down.

    Eventually they reach a large hall, seeming to be the heart of the operation…only to freeze at the entrance.

    Still heaving heavily, they exchanged cautious glances. Black hair stuck to sweaty foreheads and cheeks flushed, both their looks asked ‘what the actual fuck?’ when they turned back to look at a large Dremora making short business of the remaining mages in the hall.

    “There you are! Finally!” the Dremora called out to them as the last body dropped to his giant daedric greatsword that had Diana tingling with envy.

    Envy, however, was quickly replaced by even deeper confusion. “You… what… wait, what?!”

    “Come on! Before more come! There’s a dungeon just that way. And you know these mages. The creepiest ones are always in the dungeon! Now come on my lovelies, this way!” his voice was low but strangely sing-song-y as he opened a portal, “The Misty Grove awaits!” he declares as he gestures grandly to the portal with a bow.

    The way he addresses them seems familiar. Unsettlingly so. And Ysolda did say the Misty Grove was where they got married?

    “Fuckit…” she shrugs and walks toward the portal. Shits weird enough. Skyrim has lost itself to crazy. Why start question now?

    Inside they are met by a beautiful, dreamy grove with an otherworldly ambiance. Lanterns light the way through the soft mist in the fairytale-worthy forest as they follow the comfortably strutting Dremora down the path. In the distance she can hear the familiar sounds of celebration and feasting with beautiful music.

    “Took your sweet time getting here, didn’t you my darlings?” he chimes to them with a quick glance over his shoulder. His dark, glowing red eyes were familiar, as was that mysterious smile. “It’s been an absolute NIGHTMARE controlling that raging husband of yours! He’s a fiery one that! I see why you like him so… grrrr!” he growls seductively.

    “Wait, what do you mean my husband?” Diana and Cas pause in place at the Dremora’s words, just as they reach a clearing where, as she suspected, a lively party was roaring around large tables loaded with food and drink. At first glance everyone appeared human, only slightly setting the Paladin at ease who had been praying feverishly in his mind as he silently followed his fearless, and seemingly oblivious leader.

    “Not YOUR husband,” the Dremora huffs at her apparent idiocrasy, “HIS husband!” he points at the Paladin next to her, who immediately straightens up and goes the palest white she’s ever seen on a living person. “He’s been insufferable! So I might have… maybe… drugged him. Just a little though! Okay maybe a lot. It took a lot to get the big guy to go down okay!” he seems positively self-defensive and there’s a crack in his confident bravado that makes Diana wonder…

    “Who exactly are you…?”

    The Dremora blinks at them. “You’re… you’re telling me you don’t remember?” Diana’s distrustful glare and Cas’ blank stare offer his answer. “The drinking contest? The wedding? Catching his husband? Your friendly uncle Sam also known as Sanguine the Daedric prince of debauchery?” he gestures at himself. Still nothing. “Oh this is a mess… Delicious madness! I should’ve listened to Sheagorath when he told me that booze is too strong for mortals!” he slaps himself in the forehead. “Urgh… this way…” he sighs heavily and stomps off.

    Diana and Cas exchange another look.

    “Sanguine?” suddenly she recalls why the name is familiar, “hey hold up! You got something I want! A staff of some kind. Super flowery and gay and magic-y. Turns your enemies into random creatures. I want it! Arm wrestle you for it?”

    Before Cas can slap her upside the head or she can make another case for wanting the infamous staff, they enter a cabin, walking into a beautiful room. The furnishings are gold, black, and marble, and soft pillows and blankets adorn the couch, chairs, and bed along with lush furs. And speaking of bed… there’s a man in it.

    The Dremora gestures wildly to the bed with exhausted eyes. Diana takes a few cautious steps up to the bed. Slowly reach up she pulls the blanket down just enough to reveal a face.

    “…Farkas?”

    “It was quite entertaining, I must admit, the case you made for this one,” Sanguine fills the silence, “I of course wanted to marry you two off, after hearing that this one here is a recently converted Paladin!” he giggles, “welcome to the dark-side by the way beautiful!” he winks at Cas, “but you were having NONE of it,” he says turning back to Diana, “Saying that the knight’s heart was too pure, and that there was only one in all of Tamriel that would be worthy!” he gestures back to the passed out Nord.

    Now it made sense. Why they’d been in Whiterun. Why Ysolda had said Cas was ranting about marrying a ‘companion’.

    Holy mudcrabs, Casavir had married Farkas!

    She peeped down at the big hand peeking up from the blankets. Sure enough the ring matched Cas’.

    “He was quite resistant at first! So the three of us had to literally kidnap him!” Sanguine seemingly giddy at the reminder, “It was such fun! Your idea to lure him out with the rumour that Nazeem had gotten a new shipment of wine while he was out of town was GENIUS! Never seen a man that large look so much like an excited puppy! After some explanations, and more drinking, our gallant knight here did the whole ‘get down on one knee’ thing, so you and I gave them some privacy, playing pranks on the townsfolk. Even stole everyone in Whiterun’s left shoe! It was marvellous!” Sanguine practically bounces, a grin that wide has no business looking that cute on a Dremora, “When we found the two again, the Knight had the big one swooped up like a maiden, kissing like the oblivion gates have opened and there’s no tomorrow! Hah, but when the big one here woke up alone  – boy was he PISSSSED! Some men just can’t handle their daedric alcohol…” Sanguine shrugged, “pffft. Mortals” he huffed in annoyance like it’s a common thorn in his side to have mortals not keep up with him.

    “Wait, so… we didn’t actually get married?” Cas asked hopeful after wincing at the mention of him kissing the Nord.

    “Oh no you totally did! Officiated it myself!” Sanguine smiles proudly, “Would’ve gotten Mara to do it, but she was hanging with Merida and Nocturnal. Girls’ night, you know. Was right before he passed out and you two scurried off. Something about having unfinished business in Markarth and some ungrateful, verbally-abusive hobo wanting a Dibella statue.”

    As if on cue, the large mass of Nord stirred under the covers.

    “Farkas?” Diana asked affectionately as she reached out to touch the Companion’s hair.

    The large man stirred, manoeuvring himself to sit up with little grace, a hand going to his head which was clearly throbbing judging by the wince on his face. “Wha… where am I?” he opened one eye and then the other, looking up the first thing he saw was the Paladin’s face, big blue eyes wide, cheeks flushed, swallowing hard.

    ‘Oh no, he’s hot…’ might’ve been the words that jumped to mind for the Paladin, but he quickly dismissed it as Diana’s voice in his head. But still, he was a little speechless and very awestruck at the sight of the shirtless Nord with the easy roguish smile, kind grey-blue eyes and long black hair that fell effortlessly over strong, muscular shoulders.

    “…Diana?!” The big Nord’s rumbly, warm voice asked as he tore his eyes off he Paladin to look at the figure at the side of his bed. And it was his turn to be speechless and awestruck.

    “Heeeyy Farki-farts,” she said apologetically, putting on her most charming smile, “how a… how you been?”

    “I… I thought I dreamt that!” realisation settles into the handsome Nord’s face as he eyes the occupants of the room, gaze settling on the Knight’s left hand, then back to his gorgeously flustered face, “hello sweetheart” Farkas purrs and winks at the Paladin, who turns an even deeper shade of crimson.

    Sanguine giggles, please with himself. Casavir is trying to change into a crimson snowberry and has become so immobile Diana isn’t sure he’s breathing. Farkas is eyeing the poor Paladin like he’s eyeing the last sweetroll. Diana is completely and utterly flabbergasted.

    “Okay… hold on…” she rubs her forehead, trying to reel back the threatening migraine at her head going a mile a second. “Let’s just… let’s all take a moment to breathe, eat, sober up, and then we’ll head to Riften and get this shit sorted out. Okay? I think we can all agree bad decisions were made and there was a little too much alcohol involved. Daedric alcohol, apparently.”

    Sanguine pouts, Faskas rolls his eyes, Casavir does… nothing. He’s still a frozen snowberry.

    Diana sighs.

    Skryim man… shit’s crazy!

     

    Diana wakes to the sound of a crackling fire. The smell of musky cave fills her senses and she’s aware that she’s on a bedroll on the floor before she opens her eyes.

    She moans in protest to sleeping on the floor as she slowly sits up. The memories of the past few days come flooding in, and for a moment she wonders if it had all been a bad dream till her eye catches the Rose staff on her pack next to the bedroll. The one Sanguine gave up after she bested him in charades, which was apparently the prince of debauchery’s game of choice.

    That dude… Two words. First word – crazy. Second word – fuck.

    She groans again at her sore back as she sits up and leans against the wall behind her. Blinking she looks around the cave.

    Wait, where’s Cas? And Farkas?

    A moment of panic as her head whips around. They’re not here. This isn’t even her bedroll. Nothing looks familiar besides her pack and staff in fact.

    The last thing she could remember was bidding the two men goodnight while they talked around the campfire. Cas had just started to manage talking to Farkas without blushing wildly at the way the Nord winked and smiled at him, and at Diana’s demand, Farkas had toned down the cute nicknames and marriage jokes, and to just be himself. Farkas had the uncanny ability to make anyone feel at ease, he was the one who welcomed her into the Companions years ago, after all.

    But after falling asleep… nothing.

    A shuffling sound across the cave catches her eye, and she instinctively reaches for the staff, lip already in a snarl for being abducted like this. Diana does NOT take kindly to being kidnaped. It’s like being told what to do and where to go – but worse!

    A tall leather-clad figure moved from the shadows into the flickering firelight, settling onto a stump on the opposite side of the fire.

    Honey-amber eyes cast down at the fire, dark brown hair with coppery licks, a scar running over an eyebrow, broad shoulders slumped forward, dangling around his neck a simple silver necklace holding a silver ring with a wolf’s head.

    Diana jus stares. Her mind and expression perfectly blank, lips parted in stunned silence.

    A heavy ragged sigh sounds like it’s being dragged from the man. “I heard the news. Congratulations, I guess.”

    That voice. That low, warm tone. It felt like something in it ripped through her heart.

    In a lower and softer voice, he speaks again, sounding equal parts pained and betrayed.

    “That should’ve been me.”

    MegDiana
    Participant
    Post count: 11

    This ending, ive never been so upset i loved this chapter

    Drea
    Participant
    Post count: 16

    You are leaving us like this? With a sad Bish? you are a cruel Bunny!

    *tries to get into the story and tie them up togehter so they can’t get away from the cuddles anymore*

     

    Also congratulations on making this quest even better than Bethesda, I had to interrupt reading for hyperventilating and laughing! 😀

    Helena
    Participant
    Post count: 159

    Ohhh myyyyy. My heart is fluttering and I also got to kiss Diana 😎😎😋.. Thank you for that, hehe.. a great chapter as always.
    Oh how I look forward to these stories, they give me a grin and a giggle.

    Vivia Brightstar
    Participant
    Post count: 15

    This chapter was amazing. All these chapters are amazing! Can’t wait for the next one :0

    Tava
    Participant
    Post count: 20

    *Squeals and kicks with laughter*

    I love this~! OMG~! I’m dying~!

    DNR until next chapter

    DovaBunny
    Participant
    Post count: 75

    HAVE A BISHICAKES!

    Your comments as always make me super happy!!! Thanks for always keeping me excited about the story and motivated! Ya’ll are AWESOME!

    Also, for those who don’t know, I’m also on AO3. If you’d prefer to read on there – http://archiveofourown.org/works/8315203/

    ALSO! So… yeah. Farkas. Hehe… 😉 Bet you didn’t see that one coming!

    ______________

    CHAPTER 32

    ______________

     

     

    The news spread like a wildfire.

    The Dragonborn has been sighted again, two years after the infamous day in Whiterun with the Dragon attack. Although many made Ysolda’s accounts off as the girl being high on moonsugar and seeing a ghost, she did hang out with the Khajiit caravans, Bishop knew the red-head wouldn’t lie about something like this. More than that, he knew she was alive, and traveling with that Divine-forsaken knight.

    So hearing that Diana had gotten married to him…

    It was easier to believe than it should be. It didn’t make it hurt any less though.

    Feeling a stake driven into his heart, he was forced to admit to himself that a part of him had always wished, hoped, that someday he’d muster up the courage to approach Diana. That she’d be relieved, happy even, to see him. That she’d have forgotten about the promise she made him take. That they’d be able to put back together what he had broken those years ago.

    That she could learn to love him again. Or in the very least, that they could be friends again. Because Mara knows he missed just having her around.

    But hearing the news… Something snapped. Something pushed. Damn every divine and damn the promise he made to keep away! He had to see her, had to hear it from her lips! She owed him no favours, he knew, but he did save her life countless times, and for two beautiful years they had been companions, friends, and lovers.

    He had never had the concern that another would steal her heart. She was never the marriage type, the type to be tied down. Hell, it took him long enough to even get her to really open up! And he worked for that right, gritted his teeth at her foolishness, steered her away from stable boys and tavern wenches, kept her focused on her goals, shared his ale and his bed, pretended not to laugh at her stupid jokes, and stayed at her side through the good and the bad. But thinking about it now, it had been wishful thinking. His own stupid ego telling him he was special to her somehow, that only he had managed to get that close to her. Not even Loran in all their years together had managed that, and although it was touch-and-go there for a moment, not even the sweet-talking swoon-worthy Forsworn Chief could tie her down.

    He wasn’t special enough it seems.

    Still, he refused to believe the Paladin was. That damn chantry-boy, goody-two-shoes doesn’t deserve her, he would never be enough for someone as incredible as Diana.

    He had to hear it from her lips to believe it.

     

    “That should’ve been me.”

    Bishop’s words were soft and low, almost as if spoken to himself, but heavy with emotion.

    “…Bishop,” she said his name, not in question, she knew it was him, she could recognize him on any fragment of his body or the warm ringing of his voice. For a moment, she almost thought she saw a slight shiver ripple over him when she said his name. She hadn’t said it in three years, but it was still so comfortingly familiar on her tongue.

    He didn’t look up from where his eyes were cast down at the fire.

    This has to be a dream, she thought. However, she could feel the earth hard beneath her, smell the mouldy musk for the cave, feel the heat of the fire and the humidity in the air, and see the man in front of her. Feel her heart race in her chest.

    Also, if this were a dream, he’d have swooped her up, smiled at her, they’d be at their shitty little cabin in the middle of nowhere between Dawnstar and Solitude… This was real.

    Holy mudcrabs.

    With the rush of realisation came the opening of floodgates to memories she worked very hard to keep locked away from her consciousness. It was almost overwhelming as she had trouble breathing for a moment and her vision blurred as she slowly stood.

    She fought the urge to run; run like she always runs when things get too hard or too complicated. A memory stirred, where Bishop teased her that her middle name should be ‘flight-risk’ and she choked out an involuntary, ragged laugh that her hand was quick to cover.

    He looked up at that, eyes questioning but also cautious – like they wanted to drink her in, but restrained.

    “What am I doing here, Bishop.” Her words, again, didn’t come out a question, but rather a command for an explanation, although without the wrathful fire that had flared a moment before.

    He studied her for a moment. Those intense, private eyes searching her face, brow furrowed like it wasn’t finding what it was looking for. “You’re not denying it then?”

    “Denying what?”

    “Don’t – don’t play dumb with me, Diana.” He saw his jaw clench in restraint.

    She just frowned at him, honestly feeling at a loss. This, all of this, was a bit too much and a bit too familiar. Too distant and too close at the same time.

    He huffed and shook his head. “Your husband will be looking for you…” he said soft and low again. He had been so driven to find her and have her alone that now that he had that, he didn’t know what he wanted.

    Or no, he knew what he wanted. He had refused to accept his defeat until he was faced with it.

    “So you what – you’ve kidnapped me just to stare at me like a villain?” she pointedly ignored the ‘husband’ comment. “Should I expect a pit of slaughterfish? You need me to do the damsel in distress squeal? Also, you should know your evil laugh has never been that impressive…”

    Bishop grit his teeth and growled. At least some things didn’t change. Diana was still a pain in the ass. That had no business being as reassuring and comforting as it was. Molag’s Balls… he still wanted to strangle her and kiss her. Some things didn’t change indeed.

    “So it’s true then?” he breathed looking up, catching her gaze. The moment their eyes locked it felt like his built up rage just slipped from his grasp and he couldn’t but… simply stare.

    For her part, Diana also felt her breath hitch at that moment. His warm eyes feeling like they’re boring right through her; feeling like home. “Why does it matter?” she answers the question with a question.

    Apparently, that was the wrong answer. Bishop shot to his feet in frustration and the swell of anger coming back in a rush.  “Because that should have been ME!” he cried out, “The Paladin Diana? Really?! It seems I wildly overestimated you if that’s what you settled for!” This time, saying it right to her face, brows furrowed, lip in a snarl, eyes dark and demanding.

    Diana was silenced. Mind blank. She pulled, lips parted, eyes large as she stared at the other half of her broken heart. She could see the hurt in his anger, like an injured wild animal snarling and snapping, she always could.

    Bishop watched her face for a defence, for biting remark, but when none came he just sighed and pinched his nose bridge, mumbling something that almost sounded like ‘but I blew it’. When he spoke up his voice was heavy with emotion and defeat, “Whatever. I’m done fighting. I’ll take you back to him. Wouldn’t want him to worry.”

    Her mouth was dry and her chest heavy as she looked at the man in front of her. His head hung in surrender, bright amber eyes dark with pain, proud shoulders slouched like he’s been carrying a weight heavier than he could handle for too long. He turned to collect his things to depart, avoiding her gaze further.

    “Casavir didn’t marry me.”

    Her lips trembled as she said it. Not sure why though.

    His head lifted, expression confused but achingly hopeful. “What?”

    “I’m assuming Ysolda?” she asked with a sad knowing smirk, he nodded, “Yeah, the ring, the marriage… all a trick by Sanguine. Cas got married, but not to me.”

    “The- Daedric Prince of Debauchery?” Bishop couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing. Diana never was the religious type. Then again, she tends to attract crazy!

    “That’s the one…” she offered with a vulnerable, half smile.

    Bishop blinked rapidly and she could almost hear him think. He always did have that goofy look when he was processing something strange.

    “If he didn’t marry you… then…”

    “Farkas, actually!” she said with a giggle she couldn’t quite help, the whole situation was so ridiculous! “We’re on our way to Riften now to get it annulled. The binding at least wasn’t…err… consummated. To the Paladin’s relief. Not for Farkas’ lack of trying though!” she chuckled warmly, recalling the doe-eyes her old friend had kept making at the handsome Paladin when he wasn’t looking and the not-so-subtle flirting and marriage jokes that had Casavir blushing sweetly.

    Bishop’s eyes went wide at that, a smile gracing his features and her heart skipped a beat. He always did have the most beautiful roguish smile, as rare as it was. “Wow… well then…” he huffed a small chuckle and shook his head. “Sounds like you’ve had an interesting few days…?” he asked with a soft smile.

    “Oh you have no idea!” it was so strange how easily they fell into the old rhythm, sharing and teasing, “I’ve had cabbages and chickens hurled at me, woke up in Dibella’s temple, seen a person turn unnatural shades of white and red within 10 minutes, kidnapped a goat named Gelda, played charades with the Daedric prince of Debauchery – and won, mind you!”

    Bishop’s eyes rose in amazement, but for Diana, it actually didn’t sound that far-fetched. He ignored the pang of jealousy of not being at her side during this, it sounded like fun.

    The chuckles died down into strange comfortable silence. Diana looking at the fire, mind softly mulling over the past days to this moment, trying to think of what exactly to think of all this. Bishop just gently looking at her. It’s been three years, but she looked older, more mature. There were more freckles over her nose and cheekbones, and soft wrinkles from laughing and frowning too much. Her black hair long, and no longer short and wild like it used to be when he first met her. He met a girl, wild and fearless and foolish, he was looking at a woman, strong, smart, and still as beautiful as ever.

    “Diana…”

    “No, Bishop wait…” she interrupted, she was scared for where this was headed, yet she didn’t have anything else to add. She wanted to stay here, but also wanted to run away, but also wanted to throw him with something blunt and heavy, all at the same time.

    “It’s been three years.” He adds gently.

    “Yes. Yes it has.” She looked at him then, trying desperately to look for an excuse, a reason to push him away, that would be the easiest but… “Arkay’s ashy asschaps, this would’ve been so much easier if you didn’t somehow get even hotter…” he laughed awkwardly despite herself, “Seriously, couldn’t you at least have gotten fat or something? Sideburns maybe?”

    A low, rumbly chuckle broke out from Bishop, and for a moment her heavy heart lifted at the warm, familiar sound. “Sorry to disappoint. I would’ve gotten fatter, but someone had been keeping Skyrim’s stocks of taffy and sweetrolls low,” he smiled and raised his eyebrows as he eyed her fuller hips, although she still had a gorgeous toned, tall lean frame, not quite as muscular as it used to be.

    “Hey I resent that!” she responded in mock offence, “I’m a stress-eater, and being the leader of the thieves guild, trying to keep a Paladin’s virtue intact, killing Dragons, keeping a kid away from performing sacrifices, and staying in hiding cause you kinda faked your death gives you a lot to stress about!”

    “You… you have a kid?”

    “Kinda.” Crap, how did that slip out. “Aventus. But he’s not mine, the guild adopted him, I’m just the only one with a house, so he stays with me.”

    “…How old?”

    “8, 9… not really sure actually?” she laughed embarrassed, “He’s so strange, like a 60 year old man in a boy’s body! Walks around making disgusted noises at everyone and drinks those herbal teas old ladies drink, always so serious too! You’d like him,” that last bit slipped out before she could think. Talos’ tasselled tits, she needs to think before speaking… she’s never been good at it though.  Especially around him.

    Bishop had not known this. Would never have pegged her as the mothering type, but something about her taking in such an odd kid under her very unmotherly-but-eager-wing did fit her. She always did care very easily for the little orphaned runts in the towns and cities, handing out her coin and food. His eyes softened as did the smile that crept up. “Sounds like a cool kid. Not that I expected anything close to normal and boring from you, Diana.”

    Oh Mara have mercy… did he have to say her name like that. It was so long ago, but all those memories were rushing back.

    “Yeah, but as I said, he’s not mine. Hell, he’s more of a parent than half of the guild!” she started rambling, trying to drown out her thoughts, distract herself, “Delvin, however, has been letting his latent grand-pa instincts kick in! Kinda sweet actually, seeing him teach Munchkin, that’s Aventus’ nickname, to read. Munch really likes cooking too though, so Vekel is teaching him! He also likes the help in the kitchen, seeing as though numbers are climbing and he can’t keep up. Hell, then there’s Tonilia! At first I thought to keep her away, but she’s-”

    “Diana…”

    “Yeah?”

    “…I missed you.”

    That’s when her breath hitched. There was no more pretending this wasn’t happening, pretending the feelings she felt weren’t real.

    “Bishop…”

    “Don’t. Please, just don’t. If you’re going to tell me to leave you alone again… just don’t. Please. I can’t make that promise again.”

    “…again?”

    One thing Bishop didn’t account for. With the blood loss, the trauma, and the aftershocks of the prolonged lighting through her body that fateful night… Diana have very little memory of it. What she had was fragmented, confusing. She could recall the fort, snippets of fighting through the defences, Thorn, violently shaking on the cold stone floor under the lighting keeping her pinned down, then Bishop was there and Thorn was gone. Then next thing she could recall was waking up in the tent with Cael.

    She did not recall telling him to leave, making him promise to stay away. All this time she’d assumed he ran. His guilt lead him to follow her, but after seeing that she wasn’t murdered by Thorn, he cut his losses and took off, whether in his own shame, the discomfort of her finding out, or anger at her attacking his old clan at their headquarters and almost killing his former lover.

    The sense of betrayal and anger was still there, the intense distrust and old scars, both emotional and on her body, of that night. But even that has lost its intensity after three years.

    But standing here, seeing her confusion, she really didn’t know what he was talking about. He chose not to remind her of the promise that has kept him shackled and caged all this time. He just bit his lip, shaking his head.

    He took a tentative step towards her, she took a step back.

    “Bishop, no. This- it doesn’t work. We don’t work. You that.”

    “Why?”

    “You know why. Mara dammit…” she laughed mirthlessly at herself, “I wish I could be mad right now. I wish I could get angry, that would be so much easier…”

    “Then why not-” he took another step forward, and she took another back, cutting him off.

    “Because I don’t trust you, Bishop. I can’t. Because the past can’t be undone. And besides, me and you, we’re just too…”

    “Awesome?”

    “…alike. We’re fire and alcohol, a tornado and a volcano, a brothel and a skooma-den.” She tried to smile, but knew it didn’t reach her eyes.

    Bishop couldn’t respond. Didn’t trust his tongue, so he bit his lip and averted his eyes.

    “I’m sorry Bishop…”

    “Don’t be. You’re right. I don’t know what I expected.” His voice was cold and distant. After another moment he stepped away, giving her full access to the exit of the entrance of the cave. “Follow the trail, take the second left. Your camp is just on the other side of the river.”

    This was her cue to go. His asking her to. This is what she wanted. Then why did it hurt? Why did it feel like all her nerves were screaming at her to stay.

    The painful ache in her chest washed over her, and tears threatening. She bent to pick up her pack and staff, and took two steps to stand at his side, facing the exist, him facing the fire at her back.

    She opened her mouth to say…something. But nothing came out.

    “It was good to see you, Diana.” His low, rough voice soft as a whisper, breaking the silence. “I won’t seek you out again. Be happy. Please. You deserve nothing less.”

    That was the tether snapping. A choked sob broke from her chest and she reached a hand out to cup his cheek, turning his face to her, planting soft, trembling lips on his.

    Her heart skipped a beat. She could actually feel it stop for a moment when lips touched.

    For three tender moments of weakness, she allowed herself to remember and memorize the taste and feel of his kiss, before pulling back to look up into teary, honey-amber eyes.

    “Good bye Bishop. Take care of yourself.”

    It was selfish. It was a dick-move in every sense. But this was the goodbye she never got. The one she thought she needed; closure to forget the man.

    He reached for her hand, but she knew she had to leave before she caved. She was weak, she couldn’t trust herself with him. She knew she shouldn’t have done that, she shouldn’t have kissed him, leaving him confused and rightfully angry.

    So she ran.

    Cursing every deity and demon in Nirn for the cruel fate set upon her as she choked back old and new tears.

    She ran because that was the one thing she was good at.

     

    “Diana! There you are!” Farka’s booming voice immediately washing over her as comfort and safety. He had jumped to his feet and rushed to meet her, and she didn’t stop running until she was swept up in his strong arms, immediately lifting the 6’2 Diana off the ground like she was nothing to embrace her in a crushing, somewhat angry hug. “You had us worried sick you ass! I was just about to… Di?”

    It was at this point that Farkas realised Diana was sobbing like a child, her face hidden in his soft hair falling to his shoulders.

    “Farkas?” Cas appeared from the trees, seemingly out of breath, “I thought I heard- Lady Ana!” His relief was evident in his voice, but that soon turned to deep concern when Farkas looked to him with eyes that were wide with confusion, and he saw Diana’s shoulders shake in time with the muffled crying in the Companion’s broad, strong shoulders.

    “Diana? What happened sis?” Farkas asked in the soft, cautious voice he reserved only for wounded puppies or upset kids. He was NOT okay with his shield sister being hurt, but he knew he had to clamp down the anger for tenderness right now.

    Casavir, feeling just as lost as Farkas, stepped closer to place a warm, comforting hand on her back.

    “Bishop… I saw Bishop.” she answered between the broken sobs.

    Farkas’ lip pulled into a snarl as he held her tighter in a protective embrace.

    “Where? Where is he? I’ll rip that sorry excuse of a-” Cas’ stern look made Farkas complete that dark desire quietly to himself, but his expression of burning anger remained.

    Cas felt his stomach twist. He was torn between the desire to go violently injure the man for making her cry like this, and never leaving her side again ever to protect her and dry her tears, but he knew between the three of them, he’d have to be the voice of reason right now. Still, Cas was a protector at his core, and seeing someone he cared about in such evident pain, pain he couldn’t do anything about, it was awful. He’d never seen Diana break, never thought he’d ever see it. She could be friendly and approachable if she wanted, but when it came to her heart, she was shielded and private, preferring rather to be a pillar to those who needed it, and a beacon of hope to those who had nowhere else to go. She was one of the strongest people he knew.

    “Shhh, it’s okay love…” Farkas soothed as he hitched up her legs, her arms still clinging around his neck, and sat on a log by the fire, wrapping his strong arms around her as he placed her in his lap. “You want me to go break his neck?” he asked sweetly, and Diana had no doubt that he would, without a moment’s hesitation, if she asked. Diana shook her head, her face still buried in his neck where some of his hair now draped over her head.

    “I’ll a- I’ll make us some tea.” Casavir busied himself with his task, not quite trusting his instincts at the moment. He felt too conflicted. But one thing was for sure, if he ever did meet Bishop ever again, he was going to have some VERY stern words with the man! And then step back and let Farkas break his legs.

    So Diana let herself cry. She allowed the opened old wounds that had been locked away for years to run through her. She had no more strength or resistence to push it down, to put her guard up. Instead, she cried. Because she felt safe tucked in Farkas’ big chest, felt cared for with Cas’ gentle touch caressing her hair.

    So she let go, and faced her demons. She didn’t run, and didn’t hide. She was done hiding, done being afraid of her own stupid fragile heart.

     

    Diana didn’t really speak much the rest of the journey to Riften, looking either completely blank or furiously in thought like she was questioning everything she ever knew, and then some. Occasionally the two men could hear her mumbling to herself, or muttering curses under her breath. Something about punching in the stupid handsome face, choking on the stupid wolf ring, and hoping a skeever shits in someone’s bedroll.

    It weighed heavily on Cas’ heart to feel so helpless, but Farkas assured him this was her working through things, and that she went through something similar after Helgen. Farkas was able to fill in a lot of gaps for him on their mysterious leader, telling what he knew about Bishop, adding how pissed as a sack of flaming dicks Vilkas is going to be when he hears all this. He told Cas what had happened in Helgen, and shared his favourite stories of ‘Diana the Companion’ too. Her ‘humble beginnings’ Farkas teased, but he could see there was only admiration for Diana in his eyes, and something reminiscent of sibling-love.

    Cas couldn’t help but feel drawn to the man. He had such an easy smile, spoke as if he’d known him for years, listening like he truly valued the Paladin’s thoughts, and had an atmosphere of strength and kindness to him.

    That, and the little flirty comments and winks the Nord threw his way when Diana wasn’t there to scold him made him feel all mushy and fuzzy.

    He didn’t quite know what to do with those feelings. His Paladin training never quite covered that.

    The fact that Diana, even in her incredibly intoxicated state, had declared the Nord to be the only man in Skyrim to be worthy of the Paladin also didn’t help with the fuzzy feelings. She knew a lot of people, a lot of amazing and heroic people too! To single Farkas out as the best, despite not having seen him in years… that, must mean something?

    But, regardless, they were on their way to Riften to get it annulled. To request Erandur, Diana’s friend, to petition Mara to free them from their vows. When he had thought he had gotten married to Diana, he was set on seeing it through, despite there being no romantic attachment, because it was Diana – his sort of companion and friend. They could both use someone who cared and looked out for them.

    Farkas, from what he could tell, needed nothing and no one. Hell, the guy could probably punch a Dragon into submission and then have Jarl Elisif ask if she could buy HIM a drink! The few bandits, wolves, and stray bear they’d run into while on the road had also showed him the man fought like a demon, while Cas’ fighting style was all discipline and precision and fine-tuned skill. He did kill more than Farkas had, a fact the Companion praised him for with admiration in his eyes.

    Cas felt an all-too familiar blush creep melt into the tips of his ears. Next to him, Farkas was telling some silly story of when Diana saw her first giant spider, and thought the creature to be ‘kinda cute and fluffy’, and was convinced if she approached it cautiously and petted it, it won’t attack – despite Vilkas’ stern warning.

     

    They had barely arrived in Honeyside to the scolding glances from Munch when there was a knock at the door, the rustle of a lockpick. Tonilia and Brynjolf strolled in like they owned the place, both raking their eyes over the new blood.

    Having eyes and ears everywhere, the guild apparently eagerly awaited her return and didn’t dally on the word that they were home, the reason soon apparent.

    “There’s the happy couple!” Tonilia chimed and wiggled her eyebrows at Diana, Bryn coming over to slap the Paladin on the shoulder. His hand slid down Paladin’s back, leaning in as he asked discreetly: “How was the honeymoon, oh noble Knight? If you have any questions, you know you can always as-.”

    A growling sound behind the red-head, made him suddenly pause and turn…then lift his head up to meet the grey-blue eyes glaring down at him.

    “Can I help you?”

    “Can you get your slimy hands off my husband?” responded without pause.

    Cas eyes went wide, and the fuzzy feelings stirred wildly as he watched Farkas glare down at Brynjolf as the man stepped back, confused, looked at Cas’ left hand, and then to Farkas’ where a matching ring sat.

    It only then occurred to Cas that they had travelled here to annul the wedding, but somehow neither one brought up taking the rings off. A small, secret part of him liked the way it felt. Liked seeing it on the big, fearless Companion’s hand. Not that it meant anything…did it?

    Bryn lifted his hands in mock surrender and stepped back even more, allowing the low-growling Companion to take his place at the Paladin’s side, distrusting eyes still on the sly, charming red-head.

    During this Tonilia and Diana had been in conversation. Or rather, Tonilia was babbling Diana’s ear off with the latest gossip in town, and the newest recruit with a knack for infiltration that Vex had taken under her wing… and taken under herself too, if Tonilia’s eager graphic descriptions are anything to go on. However, the sudden silence in the room and Diana turned to see Bryn smirking at a safe distance while Farkas was glaring at him like he’d just admitted spending his free time kicking puppies, and Cas was again a frozen snowberry, with Farkas’ hand possessively on his shoulder.

    “Oh my! This is a delicious development!” Tonilia purred with wide eyes.

    “Careful now, Nilia,” Bryn warned. “This one’s a possessive wolf!”

    “So where’s the honeymoon going to be my sweets?”

    “It’s not-, we’re not-, I mean-” Cas stammered.

    Diana watched as Farka’s ears all but drooped like a scolded pup’s. Slowly he removed his hand from Cas’ shoulder, rounded his shoulders and stepped back.

    “Yeah,” he said slowly in defeat. “We’re- not.”

    At Farkas’ sad tone Cas looked up to see big stormy grey eyes looking down.

    Diana could see the exact moment, the very second the switch in Cas came. It was as if the torched in his head had been lighted and he finally saw.

    Slowly Cas reached out and took Farkas’ hand, causing the big Nord’s head to whip up.

    “We’re not…” Cas started, Farkas watching in wonder. “We’re not getting it annulled.”

    The brightest and happiest smile she had ever seen on Farkas beamed at Cas. One moment they were smiling sweetly at each other, the next Farkas swept Cas up bridal style, planting a full kiss on the Paladin’s lips.

    It was sparks. Cas felt it immediately. It was so different to kissing Diana, that was…wrong. But this? This was warm, and sweet, and right! Cas felt himself melt into the kiss.

    The room erupted in whoops and cheers, even from Munch. Diana laughed and felt her heart glow in happiness for her dear friends. They were so beautiful together, they fit, they… they were everything she wanted, she needed, she had…

    “I made a terrible mistake…” she said softly to herself in realisation.

    “What was that, lass?” Brynjolf asked.

    “I…” the room quieted and looked at her. “I’ve made a terrible mistake!”

    “What are you talking about, love?” Tonilia asked.

    “Bishop!” She started paing around the room. Everything made sense now. “He loved me, I know that without a doubt. He wouldn’t have just ran, he wouldn’t have just left me. Talos’ tits! Why didn’t I just LISTEN! I was the one who ran! I…. I have to go!”

    “But we just got here?” Farkas complained.

    “You stay here, I have something to do!”

    Diana grabbed her backpack she had just put down, darted around the kitchen picked up some food, and headed for the door.

    “I’ll be back! Don’t give Munch sweets after 8! And don’t let Farkas stay up too late! He gets grouchy. OkayIloveyouallbye!”

    The group stared as

     

     

    The young man awkwardly shoved a letter into her hands, somehow confident that he’d found the right person. “Ella,” is all her offered before he spun on his heels and hauled ass out of there like he had a sabre cat that breathed fire and pooped demonic mudcrabs on his tail.

    Diana lifted an eyebrow at the strange man, watching him dart out the city gates, chancing a look around to see if maybe there was a mythical feline around. The only other time she’d seen a man run like that had been that time Vex had found Delvin sneaking a peak at her in tub. Poor old man, there was no safe house or fort in all of Skyrim he could hide from her. Never mess with someone who makes a living finding people and things and could break into any place with little effort.

    “What was that about lass?” Brynjolf’s smooth voice pulled her attention back to the letter at hand. She only knew one ‘Ella’, and had exchanged letters to her and Meg a few times over the years. Usually them writing first, asking for updates, sharing exciting details about the village, and how, apparently, after Meg had a pretty nasty run in with a dragon, Cael for some reason became very concerned about her safety and wouldn’t let the young warrior go hunting without him anymore. Ella thinks the chief might have a little crush, brought on by the realisation that he almost lost his best warrior and one of his closest friends.

    But even so, their letters were usually thicker and delivered through the normal couriers or by sparrow. Yes, sparrow. Cael thought it hilarious. Ella apologized for her idiot brother.

    She closed the door and opened the letter under everyone’s curious gaze.

    The letter was short compared to the usual ones Ella wrote; the handwriting messy as if written in a hurry. She read out loud without meaning to:

     

    ‘Dear Diana

    We need your help. Silverbloods have grown frustrated at their failed efforts to steal Forsworn land for silver mines. Madanach found dead, and Cael and Brianna are missing. We know they’ve been kidnapped, but our best trackers can’t find anything.

    Without a king, queen, or successor, the Forsworn are too weak and divided, and will soon fall. Forsworn in Markarth tell of Silverbloods raising an army of mercenaries and city guard after they corrupted the Jarl.

    You said you’d be there if ever we need you.

    We need you. I wouldn’t ask if I weren’t desperate.

    Please come as soon as you can.

    Love

    – Ella’

     

    Diana stared down at the letter. Although she had rescued Cael, Madanach and a group of Forsworn those years ago from Cidhna mine, she would always feel indebted to the Forsworn for saving her life after…

    Shit. Shiiiit…

    No, no that wouldn’t work. He wouldn’t.

    But, the more she thought about it, the more it made sense.

    “Don’t get comfy boys, we’re going to the Reach.” She let out a heavy sigh, “And we’re going to need a tracker. A damn good one.”

    Her own damn pride and grudges aside, she would not sit by and let harm come to Cael or Brianna, or any of their people if she could help it. Madanach was already dead, they were running out of time, and if the Forsworn trackers couldn’t find them, she’d be damned if she wasn’t going to find the best tracker she knew.

    Bishop.

    Shit.

     

    “Bishop? Bishop!” she called, walking through the forest in she heavy shade of the trees. She left Farkas (who had insisted on coming, and she was glad for it), Casavir, and Tonilia at the Falkreath guild safehouse. Bryn stayed behind to see if he could get any intel about the Silverbloods’ plans or where Cael and Brianna could be, while sending out rumours to hopefully delay the attack.

    “Bishop! I know you’re here! I need to talk to you!”

    Actually, she hoped he was here. She’d gone back to the cave and used the little tracking skills she had from her hunting days and the tracks led her here – the deep Falkreath forest. Even so, she knew he’d probably be too pissed at her to talk to her. Or too hurt. Or both.

    “Bishop! Could you stop being such a pussy and show yourself you prick!”

    She was never known for being tactful or sensitive.

    At that she felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand. Her eye caught shadows dodging in the distance, keeping away. Falkreath’s forest offered a lot of hiding place; she understood why he liked it here.

    “Bishop!”

    Nothing.

    “Fine… suite yourself… Guess I’ll just have to go do this alone. You know, and hope I don’t die or whatever…”

    It was a dirty move, but playing nice wasn’t working, and she didn’t have the time to lure him out like a wild stray cat. Funny how familiar and comfortable she was with being mildly annoyed at him while planning a sneaky trick on him.

    So she walked, up towards the mountains. She felt the eyes follow her, too far to be seen, close enough to keep an eye. Curious. So she walked, alone, up, towards Ancient’s Ascent, a Dragon lair.

     

    The woosh of giant, dark wings alerted her to the fact that she was in the right place. The roaring cry of a dragon ripping through the cold air making every nerve in her body stand at end.

    Welp. This was a bad idea.

    Oh well.

    She manoeuvred around till she was sure the beast saw her. “Hey! Fight me you lizard!” she yelled as she shot him with an iron arrow.

    Jap, ‘iron’ arrow.

    Throwing it with a dead mudcrab would’ve done more damage.

    The beast roared and took off from its perch on the word wall, circling in the air, turning back towards her.

    Watching as the giant creature approached, she sighed heavily, and tossed her bow to the side, eyes defiantly on the beast. She unsheathed her swords, throwing them to her bow too, followed with her chest armour and gauntlets. She turned her head to the left, and let out a ‘FUS!’ at nothing at all.

    Standing in the fast-approaching beast’s way, she stood unarmed, with minimal armour, no shout power ready anytime soon.

    Talos’ tits this was a bad idea.

    She took a steadying breath, closed her eyes, and braced for impact.

    Next thing she knew she was tackled from the side by a strong, heavy force, just in time to avoid the frost breath of the Dragon.

    “ARE YOU INSANE?!”

    “Oh, there you are Bishop.” She said casually as she lay pinned beneath him in the snow while the dragon turned back into the air to circle back around. “You are a hard man to get hold of, you know that?”

    “This- this is for MY benefit?!” he yelled in disbelief, “Are you out of your fucking mind Diana? You could’ve been killed!”

    “Yes, but did I die?”

    “Wha-”

    “’Zactly… now be a dear and kill help me kill the lizard. I need to tell you something.”

    Bishop stared at her, an expression of mixed fury and confusion and the intense desire to ‘slap-a-bitch’.

    The dragon roar and Bishop shot to his feet. His bow was out and his eyes to the beast as he stood between it and Diana as she retrieved her gear, mumbling curses under his breath. Something about Dragon food, no cure for stupid, and an ass kicking so hard her great-grandmother will have trouble sitting.

    He had questions. Ohhh boy did he have questions. But right now, there was a Dragon in desperate need of some arrows in his ass.

    If one of his arrows happen to stray and hit another reptile-born in her ass…

    …whoops.

    Nothing a cheese wheel or six can’t fix.

    “Salty Sanguine nutsack… When did dragons get so hard?” Diana asked, heaving as she tried to catch her breath. “Phew! Thanks for the help there Bishicakes.”

    “Bishicakes?” Bishop asked in outrage, leaning against his bow as he too breathed heavily after the fight. “BISHICAKES? Talos’ tits woman… You’re a real piece of work, you know that?? First you disappear into the night over a misunderstanding without allowing me to explain! Next,” he counted down on his fingers. “You nearly KILL yourself! Then you go on and make me promise to leave you alone forever! But is it over? No! Then I hear you’re dead! But wait, not dead, married! To the most virgin Paladin ever! And it’s STILL not over! Then you go and break my heart – again! – by telling me you’re not married but you still don’t want me near you after giving me a glimmer of hope, right before you KISS me! And now this?!”

    Diana looked up at him, quirking an eyebrow, and smiled fondly. She laughed softly as she shook her head.

    “Holy mudcrabs I missed you…”

    “Now you come here and- …Wait, what?”

    “I missed you, you skeever-faced asshat.”

    “You did?”

    “Yap. People tend to miss the one they love.”

    “…you do?”

    “You have to ask?”

    A moment of disbelief, then Bishop was in front of her, sweeping her into his arms. His lips on hers tasted like coming home; soft, strong, perfect.

    He kissed her again and again, as if making up for lost time. She just smiled and kissed him back.

    Finally, he set her back down on her feet, resting his forehead against hers, his eyes closed.

    “I… I love you so much Diana, you have no idea.”

    “Oh I think I do.”

    “You wanna bet?” he chuckled. “Marry me? Be mine forever?”

    “You have to ask?”

    Drea
    Participant
    Post count: 16

    WOHOOOO!

    Also Cas has a thing going….. *swoons*

     

    Keep going you awesome bunny!

    Tava
    Participant
    Post count: 20

    *Crawls to DovaB with outstretched hand*

    Need… more… to fangirl… over…

    I love this. Keep it up. XD

    MegDiana
    Participant
    Post count: 11

    Oh my god this chapter was brilliant im so glad Diana and Bishop actually spoke again!

     

    cant wait for the next chapter ❤️

    Helena
    Participant
    Post count: 159

    Right now Dova. I am not sure if I love or hate you lol.. you keep me, no Us all coming back for more.
    I love this story

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