Author Topic: A Long Time Coming  (Read 181 times)

Ailis Grimm

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A Long Time Coming
« on: February 15, 2015, 06:17:50 PM »
After a good year and a half of building contacts and taking small jobs to make money, finally the Chief and his little band of rag-tag mercenaries had managed to buy themselves a ship. Not just any ship - a space ship, a cargo freighter with speed and maneuverability - extending their range out beyond the planet that had proved to be a sanctuary for most of them. With wider range came better paying jobs, but there were still some jobs that were taken more for the need that they be done than for the payment offered. Like bandits preying on the trade lines between towns on a poorer planet; the pay wasn't great, but revolvers and horses didn't stand a chance against trained soldiers fully equipped and out for a little rough justice.

The party to which they had been invited to celebrate their success was as rustic as the town they had landed by, but the welcome was warm and open. As the sun set, bonfires lit up the open spaces between the buildings, instruments were brought out for dancing and singing, and the wine began to flow. It was an old-fashioned shindig, and for once, the mercs stayed for it at the Chief's insistence. It was about time they enjoyed themselves and relaxed for once.

"Great. A party. How quaint," John grumbled, under his breath as he and Ailis arrived to find a celebration of some sort going on in their honor. Relaxing was apparently not one of John's strong points, nor was socializing or partying with strangers. He'd have much preferred a private party that only included himself and Ailis. Maybe the rest of the team if he was feeling in a particularly good mood.

"Come on, Grumpy!" Jake scolded, slapping John on the back good-naturedly. "It won't kill you to have fun for once." And off he went, dragging a giggling Leia along with him.

Not only were they being forced to relax, but the Chief had also disarmed them - all but their smallest weapons - and removed their body armor. Ailis laughed at John's quiet grumble. "He's right, you know," she pointed out, nudging him in the side. "Everyone needs to relax now and then. Even Sam's managing it, look." She nodded over to where the company were dancing, to where Sam and Rory were being whirled through the simple steps together.

"If I wanted to relax, I'd take a nap," John grumbled. Or get drunk, though the latter was almost impossible these days. He actually envied those who could loosen up that way. Those days had ended when his sister had shot him full of Martian Chromosome 24. Still, his expression softened at the sight of said sister dancing with a man she'd confessed to having feelings for. She, at least, deserved to be happy, and so, John thought, did Ailis. "You're not gonna make me dance, are you?" he asked, softening a little, but eying her sharply.

His blonde companion looked up at him in amusement. "Would I do a thing like that?" It wasn't much of an answer. This was a woman who had guilted him into coming out with her the last time they had been on Rhy'Din and, yes, forced him to dance with her or watch her being danced with by any man on the dance floor who liked the look of her. It had been fun, but a little ... tense. She laughed, wrapping her hand into his lapel. "C'mon, Grimm, I'm hungry."

The name fit anyway, and though his sister shared it, she looked anything but Grimm. "Yes, dear," he quipped, not entirely seriously as he got dragged along. Despite Martian Chromosome 24, he still needed to eat. "I get that they're happy we've helped them, but I can't help but feeling like we're being fattened up for the kill," John remarked, lowering his voice for her ears only. Okay, so he was a little paranoid. Wouldn't you be if you'd been through half what he'd been through?

She eyed him from beneath a raised brow, her lips quirked in a laughing grin as they reached the tables that were groaning beneath the food laid out there. "They don't have much to give us by way of money," she explained quietly. "But they're proud, too proud to let us go without giving us something. So they're giving us this - a night to enjoy, to eat well and drink and dance, and be at peace for once. We'll not be sleeping unguarded tonight, love."

"No, I suppose we did a good thing, huh?" he mused aloud, quite the admission for one such as him. He was a soldier, but he hadn't always been a soldier. There was another side of him that he rarely showed to anyone, save Sam and Ailis. "I still get the feeling this was a test of some sort. Your father was testing us. Seeing how we work together, whether we can get along." In the end, they had come together as a group, even though it was no secret that the effervescent Jake Jensen continually grated on John's nerves.

She smiled, wrapping an arm about his back to squeeze affectionately before handing him a plate loaded down with good, freshly prepared food. "We did a good thing," she assured him, taking up her own plate. "And the Chief's always testing us." Always "The Chief". She never referred to their temperamental leader as "father". Heading away from the table, she thumped down comfortably beside one of the big bonfires, tearing into a hunk of cold pork with a ravenous groan. "Someone has to come up with a way to make rations taste like real food."

The hug did its part to settle his mood, at least for now. So long as they were left alone to relax in their own way and not pestered to dance or partake in any of the festivities, he was content enough to be there, if only for her sake. "Good luck with that," he remarked as he followed her to claim a spot fireside, the heaping plate of foodstuffs in his hands. He couldn't hide the grumble from his stomach that gave away the fact that his nose, at least, was appreciating the feast. With any luck, soon it would be his mouth.

"John, please, just try to switch off the soldier senses for a couple of hours?" she asked him warmly, taking a long drink from the mug that was set down beside her. "We've earned a rest, enjoy it if you can." Leaning closer, she grinned at him. "If you manage to relax a little, I might not make you say it before I take my clothes off."

"It?" he asked, arching his brows at her. "Why would I say It?" he continued, not quite catching her drift. He picked up what looked like a chicken leg - drumstick to be exact - and looked it over carefully before taking a bite out of the meat. He chewed a moment, nodding in appreciation. "Beats the hell out of rations," he admitted grudgingly. It was hard to take the soldier out of the man. Years of training had made him that way and it was hard to switch that part of him off, but he was trying.

"Because it's been a few days since you did, and I like to hear it," she smiled gently, understanding that I love you was difficult for him to say. But he needed to remember that she needed to hear it. She told him her heart every day, before every mission, after every mission, sometimes even in her sleep, paranoid that they might somehow be parted without him knowing how she felt. His suspicion of the food, however, made her laugh. "I doubt they hired us just to poison us with good, home cooking."

"Oh," he mumbled with a frown, realizing at last what she'd meant by that. Well, he sure as hell wasn't going to say it here, but maybe later, when they were alone. "Sorry, Ai," he mumbled quietly, once again for her ears alone. He'd never heard the end of it if any of the team members overheard him apologizing or God forbid telling her he loved her, though he wasn't sure why. It was clear to anyone who saw them together that they were as thick as thieves, and it wasn't just friendship between them. "They look pretty happy, don't they?" he asked, nodding a head over at his sister and her brother.
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Ailis Grimm

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Re: A Long Time Coming
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2015, 06:18:46 PM »
She smiled, brushing a brief kiss to his cheek for the unnecessary apology. "You've no need to be sorry, love," she promised him quietly, following his gaze to where their respective siblings were very nearly dancing together without mishap. She couldn't help laughing a little at the sight they made. "Aye, they do. Maybe we should get them drunk and put them in front of a preacher tonight. Save time on this dancing around they're doing."

John snorted, mostly because it was the two of them who were guilty of dancing around the issue more so than their enamored siblings. "Doubt you'd have to get them drunk for that," he remarked, hastily finishing off the chicken leg and washing it down with something that tasted a lot like beer.

"Really?" Flushed a little from the potency of the beer she'd drunk, Ailis grinned. "Have you heard Rory trying to be romantic recently? Leia interrupted them just before he asked your sister if she'd like to spend the evening helping him to repack his explosives."

From the look on John's face, he didn't look amused, taking that remark as the double entendre Rory probably hadn't meant it for, but the look didn't last long before he actually chuckled. It was a strange sound coming from him, but Ailis had likely heard it often enough. "Long as he doesn't mean what's hiding in his pants."

Ailis slowly raised her hand, turning his face toward hers to look into her deeply amused eyes. "John, think that over a moment," she suggested with a smile. "You've been sharing what's in your pants with me for quite some time now. You sure you want to tell my brother he can't do the same with your sister?"

He found himself facing her suddenly, forced to look into her eyes and away from their siblings, who were dancing a little too close for comfort. "He can if he..." He broke off, frowning again, realizing he was being more than a little hypocritical. He couldn't very well insist on her brother making his sister an honest woman if he wasn't willing to do the same himself. He sighed. "Oh, hell..." he muttered to himself.

She chuckled, leaving her empty plate on the ground as she leaned back onto her elbows, stretching out comfortably to watch the inept dancing. It had been more than a year since they'd accepted there was more to them than friendship, and though the Chief might be pushing without subtlety for a proposal, Ailis wasn't. She knew John had trouble enough reconciling his heart with everything else; she would never force him into anything more. "So ... back to the plan of getting them drunk and married then, aye?"

John had known for years that there was more to them than friendship. Maybe it was why he'd stayed away for so long - or maybe he just hadn't had any choice, all things considered. Unfortunately for Ailis, John wasn't exactly the romantic type, much preferring the direct route. She might never get flowers, but she'd never have to worry about him lying to her either. He just wasn't sure their lives were made for marriage or romance or family. He wasn't even sure he could have children, though Sam seemed to think he was more virile, if anything. What kind of life was this to raise children in? His own childhood had been a less than happy one, and the loss of his parents haunted him still and affected the decisions he made regarding his own life, but was that fair to Ailis? "What if, instead of them, it was us?" he asked, very quietly, almost timidly.

The last thing she might have expected was to hear those words. No, it wasn't the romantic proposal most women hoped for, but from John, that was almost the equivalent of sky-writing. Still, it took a moment for the timid query to sink in. She twisted a little, her entire focus falling on him. "Are you sure?" she asked softly. "It isn't a choice to be rushed, love."

"Yes, I'm sure, or at least, as sure as I'll ever be. I mean, I'm sure about you. It's the family thing I'm not so sure of," he admitted with a worried frown, wishing she'd picked a different time to discuss this than at a party surrounded by countless strangers. She probably knew the reasons for his skittishness regarding a family, but one thing at a time, he supposed. "Look, I know I... I love you..." he started, forcing himself not to cast a nervous glance around to make sure no one was eavesdropping. "And..." he shrugged, a little nervously. "I know I don't want anyone else but you." It might not be the most romantic thing to say, but for John it was practically a miracle.

Inching closer to him, to be able to have this conversation without eavesdroppers overhearing - even if they were strangers - Ailis held his gaze, deeply touched that he would even approach being so open with her, much less outside the privacy of their own quarters. "I love you, John," she promised him softly. "And the family talk is not something we need to have until we're ready for it. I'm yours, love. I've been yours a long time, and I can't see that changing. Sure, I would love to wear a ring and call myself Grimm, but it isn't absolutely necessary. You need to be sure, absolutely sure."

"It's not much of a last name, is it? I bet Sam can't wait to get rid of it," he remarked, sardonically. There was that worried frown again. He hadn't prepared for this. He had no ring and he wasn't much for getting down on one knee in front of a crowd of strangers, but spending the rest of his life with her? Of that he was certain. "I'm sure," he told her. "I'm just not sure about here and now," he said, finally casting one nervous glance around before looking back at her. "Isn't there somewhere we can go to do this alone?" Somewhere halfway private, where they could do it without making a spectacle of themselves.

She smiled gently. "Do you want to go back to the ship?" she asked him quietly, pushing herself to sit up. "The town's people offered us a room in their only tavern, too. Which would you rather, love?" She was less aware than him of every potential threat, every possibility of danger, able to give herself to a moment even in the midst of strangers. But she didn't grudge him that wariness, not at all.

"Don't we need someone to do the honors?" he asked, unsure how these things were accomplished on this world. He knew how it was done back home, for the most part, but there was no going back there. He wasn't a particularly religious or even spiritual man, but he wasn't sure about her. It wasn't something they'd ever really discussed, much less marriage, and he realized a little belatedly that maybe they should.

"Maybe the elder here can do it," she mused thoughtfully. "Or they have a preacher. I know about as much as you do about this world." Her hand gently touched his. "Or should we sleep on it, John? See what the thought looks like in the morning. There's no rush, love. I'm not going anywhere."

He said nothing for a long moment, considering quietly, as he linked his fingers with hers. He wasn't sure what was bothering him, except that he wanted it to be perfect. She deserved that much, as unlikely as it seemed. "It's just that you deserve so much more than this, Ailis," he admitted quietly, at last. "So much more than I can offer."

"Bollocks to that," was her abrupt response, offered with a smile despite her vehemence. "Neither one of us has much to offer but ourselves, and I happen to be very sure that what you're offering is something I can't live without. I need you, John, and I'll take you any way you're offering."
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: A Long Time Coming
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2015, 06:19:52 PM »
These were words he'd sort of heard before, but maybe he was just listening better now, really hearing her say it for the first time and understanding that she meant it. He'd always figured himself for a loner, at least, until he'd met her, but to hear her tell him she couldn't live without him nearly brought the stoic man to tears - and that was saying something. He cleared his throat to cover up his moment of weakness, fingers tightening their grip on hers. What was he supposed to say to that? "Well, then, will you marry me, Ailis? I can't think of any other way to say it."

He couldn't hide much from her, even when he made the effort, and unlike him, she felt no compunction to hide the sheen in her blue eyes as he asked her the one question she had never thought to hear from him. "There's no other way to say it," she told him softly. "And I will, John. I'll gladly be your wife."

To his credit, he smiled and leaned over to touch his lips to hers in a brief but tender kiss, sealing the deal between them. Their relationship might be a little rocky at times, but it was only because of the passion that drove them both, and they always seemed to find a way to reconcile their differences, no matter the argument. And there was always make-up sex. "I love you, Ailis," he whispered back, against her lips. Anyone who looked their way in that moment wouldn't be able to miss the love and devotion that was at the heart of their relationship.

Not once, but twice in the space of a few minutes, those words struck deep into her heart. Said so rarely, meant so much, she'd never asked him for more than he was ready to give her, and yet here they were, sealing a promise to marry one another that she had never seen coming. "I love you back, John," she promised him in a whisper of her own, only vaguely aware that certain members of their team were bound to notice this tender moment.

Of course, one particular member of their team seemed to have been waiting for it. It was difficult to ignore the scrabble of paws on her leg, reluctantly breaking the kiss to look down in time to find Leia's ferret friend, Sloti, dropping a small cloth bag onto John's lap before running at speed into the shadows.

John looked as surprised as Ailis to find Leia's ferret - whom he had referred to as a rodent, on occasion - scrambling up Ailis' leg to deposit a bag on his lap. He followed the ferret's retreat with arched brows, looking over just in time to see Jake giving him a thumbs up. John scowled in return, but then his gaze drifted to Sam only to find her smiling warmly at him, nodding her head at him encouragingly, and gesturing for him to open it. It was then he realized he'd just been duped, but instead of getting angry about it, he only laughed. "I think we've been had, Ai," he told her as he pulled the bag open to find two platinum wedding rings nestled inside, presumably meant for them.

"What, what is it?" she asked, bemused by the scrutiny of their friends. Her eyes fell to the contents of the bag, and her mouth fell open, blue eyes wide with shocked surprise. "That sneaky old goat!" she exploded, much to the amusement of said old goat, who wasn't that far away from them at all.

The Chief nodded obligingly to his daughter, returning to his conversation with what could only be the town's Elder.

Ailis glared at her father, turning that look onto her brother, who just shrugged, winked, and grinned. "I swear, I knew nothing about this, John."

"Neither did I," he replied, never suspecting her in the slightest. He knew her better than that, and he wouldn't put it past the team - her father and his sister, in particular - to arrange such a thing without their knowledge. They'd been dancing around the issue for too long, for years really, and it seemed the others had finally decided for them, but instead of being angry with them, John was surprisingly only amused. "Well, I guess it's decided then," he told her, closing the bag for safe keeping. The only thing that needed to be decided now was the when and where.

Before Ailis could open her mouth to answer, the news that it was safe to approach had spread, and her hand was seized by Leia. The little elven woman pulled her up onto her feet, wiggling a finger in John's direction. "One hour, main square, don't be late," she told him impishly. "And no weapons. You're getting married, not attacking anyone."

There was no time like the present, it seemed. He really had no time to respond or protest, his mouth dropping open in silent shock when Leia tugged Ailis to her feet. "What do we need an hour for? I'm ready now," he pointed out, moving to his feet to tower over the women. It wasn't like he had a suit handy to change into, and even if he did, what did that matter? Changing clothes wouldn't change how he felt. The rest was all just window-dressing.

"You really think I'm going to let you wed my daughter in your fatigues, lad?" The Chief pushed off from the wall to join them. "And I'm reliably informed that a girl needs to be dressed up to wed, even if she's not expecting it. 'Tis only an hour to wait."

"Aye, and shaving might be a nice wedding present," Rory added with a chuckle as he joined them, nudging Sam toward Ailis and Leia.

"Shave?" John echoed, as if the word was foreign to him. He hadn't shaved in years, not since he'd first joined the Marines and gone through basic training. Ailis had never complained about the ever-present scruff of hair on his face, and he'd never thought much more about it.

"Yeah," Jake interjected. "You know, that thing you do with a razor once a year or so," he teased, making a shaving motion across his face. He should be one to talk, really, with the slightly-ridiculous goatee that covered his chin. John had always thought it was a lot more trouble than it was worth.

"Wait, now -" Silenced by her escorts, Ailis offered John a slightly helpless glance over her shoulder as Leia and Sam ushered her away, followed by Sloti's prancing little form. He seemed to be enjoying himself, anyway.

The Chief chuckled. "C'mon, lads, let's fetch him into the house and have him washed up for his wedding."

"One hour, John," Sam warned him with a very smug grin, rather proud of herself and her friends for arranging this. She had a feeling it would all work out all right in the end. Both John and Ailis wanted this; they were both just too stubborn to make it happen, but that's what friends and family were for, after all. She tossed her brother a wink and followed after Ailis and Leia. It would be interesting to see what her brother looked like in a suit after all these years.

Once again, John was speechless. What could he say? He was damned if he did and damned if he didn't, and damn, but he wanted this more than he'd ever dare admit. Even like this, even after all that had happened and what he'd become, she still loved him, still wanted him. To know that his life would be forever bonded to that of Ailis was more than he could have ever hoped for.

Of course, to get that forever bonding, he had to endure the relentless teasing of his prospective father and brother in law, not to mention the wise-cracking of the closest thing he now had to an annoying cousin. The three men had a very set idea of how John was going to present himself at his own wedding, and were determined to see it through. He might have been superhuman, but decking his potential in laws was not something he could do and get away with it.
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: A Long Time Coming
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2015, 06:21:01 PM »
One hour wasn't much to make a man who hadn't worn anything but shades of khaki in years dressed up for his own wedding, but somehow they managed. He blamed Sam. It had to have been her who'd chosen the white and blue pin-striped shirt and the crisp pair of clean-pressed blue jeans. It wasn't much of a suit really, but it was a far cry from his usual attire. In the end, he'd refused to shave, but had agreed to to trimming his beard. The shirt was slightly open in the front, and without the usual ever-present t-shirt underneath. It wasn't much of a change, but just enough to make him look more like a civilian and less like a solder. He felt a little silly, but at least, Sam hadn't chosen a three-piece suit for him to wear.

If John felt silly, he could only imagine how Ailis felt. Between them, Leia and Sam seemed to have gone out of their way to dress her in as feminine a fashion as they could. Indeed, most of that hour had been spent learning how to walk in heels. From the soft lace overlay to the delicate pastel blue of the dress itself, there was nothing about the dress they'd gotten her into that even hinted at the soldier underneath it. Admittedly, she was holding on to Sam and Leia ridiculously tightly as they lead her to the main square, but at least she hadn't taken a tumble into the dirt. Yet.

John had grumbled at the fuss, but in the end, he had shocked even himself when he saw the face that had looked back at him in the mirror. Was that really him? Hopefully, Ailis liked what she saw and appreciated the effort. He could only imagine what his sister and Leia were doing to her, but he didn't have to wonder for long. That hour was over quickly, and the men had arrived in the town square a little early to await the arrival of the bride and her entourage.

At least now they knew the real reason the Chief had taken a ridiculously easy job for a town that couldn't pay much in the way of money. Taken firmly in hand, Ailis made her way to the main square, worrying about every step she put down. Heels really weren't her thing, especially on packed earth, no matter how much she was reassured against falling. It was difficult to miss the menfolk, however; they'd all cleaned up a little, but John was unmistakeable. Even shaved, even wearing clothing she knew he would never have worn without firm encouragement on his own, she couldn't have missed him. The smile that lit up her face as she was lead to his side was more than proof enough that she did, indeed, like what she saw, touched that he'd allowed himself to be dressed up as she had done. "You look very handsome."

If he looked only at her face, he'd recognize her easily enough, but the whole package - the lacy dress, the high heels - hardly seemed his Ailis. Still, he liked what he saw as much as she did, his brows arching sharply at her loveliness. If anyone knew she was all woman beneath the usual khaki gray, it was him, but to have her dressed so prettily was a bit of a shock to the soldier's system. "You look..." He was at a loss for words again, but only momentarily. "Beautiful," he said at last, after giving her a good look over. He reached for her hand and lifted it to his lips for the tenderest of kisses.

"Thank you." The grip that wrapped itself about his hand, however, betrayed the very real concern that she was going to trip over at any moment. She lowered her voice as she stepped closer. "I feel as though I'm about to fall over every time I take a step," she confessed, for his ears only, acutely aware that their companions were gathering close around them to witness what they had apparently been working on for some time now.

He smiled a little in amusement, noticing how the shoes made her a little taller. She only had to keep them on for a little while, but he didn't envy her. All he'd had to do was shave a little really. "Don't worry," he whispered back, letting go of her hand to offer his arm for her to hold onto. "I won't let you fall."

She wobbled even as he transferred her hand to his arm, grateful for his hint toward gentlemanly instincts, even if it was the lack of gentlemanly manners that had first attracted her to him years before. "So what happens now?" she asked, glancing toward the Elder who stood with the Chief.

The old man smiled, patting the book he held in his hands. "We have a very simple rite," he assured the couple, whose lack of knowledge about the whole affair had been something of a sticking point during negotiations in the first place. "There are no set words, no rituals to observe. Simply an exchange of promises with rings, before witnesses, and you will be wed."

"That's it?" John asked, brows arching curiously upwards. Why'd they bother getting all dressed up if it wasn't a big deal? But then, he wouldn't have traded this moment or the opportunity to see her like this for anything in the world. He had always seen the defining moment of his life as the moment his sister had shoved that needle in his vein, but now it seemed that this was the defining moment of his life, not that one - this moment where his heart was joined with hers forever.

"Well, if you'd like, we could save it and go back to Rhy'Din," Rory offered cheekily, safely behind Sam just in case of flare ups. "Go for the whole Catholic shebang, if you want something long and tedious."

Ailis shot her brother a dirty look. "Stop giving me ideas," she warned him, looking significantly toward Sam with her brows raised. Rory gulped and subsided fast.

John snorted a chuckle at Ailis' warning, but didn't bother to offer one of his own. Ailis' warning was enough to make the point clear, and something short but sweet suited him just fine. "Well, let's get on with it then, since you all are in such a hurry to see us married," he told them, just the hint of a smirk on his face.

The Elder chuckled, spotting his opening and jumping on it before anyone else could restart the banter between the group. Ignoring the little woman whispering to her companion, "What's a Catholic shebang?", he turned his attention to the happy couple.

Jake opened his mouth to answer Leia's question, but thought better of it, shutting it again before someone gave him the look of doom. He leaned close, dropping voice to a whisper. "I'll explain later," he told her, wondering what exactly she thought about marriage. She'd told him their souls were linked, but he still wasn't quite sure how it worked and had wondered this last day or so while they'd been planning this covert operation whether she'd be interested in a more traditional ceremony.

"We've gathered here, friends and family, to witness the joining of John and Ailis," he pronounced solemnly. "A joining that is valid in all eyes, but not yet legal. Promises shared here, before those who love you, will ease that burden, and no man shall part you again. With the rings you exchange, share those promises with one another."

No man or woman, John wanted to point out, but held his tongue. He looked questioningly at the Elder, wondering if this was his cue to do or say something, or if he was going to continue.

The pause dragged on for a long moment, both unexpected bride and groom watching the Elder for some cue to speak that didn't come. Then ... "Oh!" Rory shifted suddenly, pulling the little cloth bag out of his pocket and tipping the rings free, handing them over to John and Ailis. "Have at it."

"Have at it?" John echoed, arching a brow as he took the smaller of the two rings from Rory. It really was a lovely little thing, shaped a little like a heart and full of diamonds. It must have cost a fortune. How they'd managed to get their hands on it John had no idea, nor was he sure he wanted to know.

The Elder chuckled, shaking his head. "I believe the young man means ... speak your promises."

Ailis bit her lip, sliding the larger of the two rings onto her thumb. Like John, she didn't have the first idea how any of this had been acquired and set up, impressed and a little suspicious of the means that might have been used. They did, after all, have a magically inclined thief in their midst.

"Ladies first?" John asked, with an inquiring glance toward Ailis. He wasn't quite sure what the hell he was going to say, and he wasn't particularly comfortable speaking his heart in front of a group of people, whether they were friends and family or not.

"Come on, John," Sam interjected. "Don't be such a baby. Just tell her how you feel."
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: A Long Time Coming
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2015, 06:22:06 PM »
Rolling her eyes, Ailis swallowed her smile. Neither one of them were all that good with words, and with an audience, to boot. "All right, I'll go," she conceded, slipping the larger ring from about her thumb. She drew in a deep breath, looking up at him.

"John ... from the first moment we met, you've infuriated me. I've been frustrated and confused, too quick to anger and too slow to forgive. But it wasn't until I lost almost everything that I realized what that meant. I love you, John. I have done for years, and though I know I'm not the easiest to live with, I know I would not be living if you were not a part of my life. We don't need a piece of paper, we don't need the rings, to know we're meant to be together. One thing I can promise you is that you will never be bored with me." The ring slid into place over his knuckle, her hands raising his to let her kiss the place where it now rested. "Oh, and lots of make up sex."

He arched a brow at her introduction, wondering where she was going with that speech, though nothing she said surprised him really. He knew it all already. Despite the lack of poetry in her words, he was deeply touched by what she said, understanding her perhaps better than anyone else there, including her own father and brother. Yes, the infuriated each other and fought like cats and dogs sometimes, but only because they were both of fiery and passionate, one flame fueling the other. Turned to face her, he hoped she was the only one who would see the expression on his face, the glisten of tears in his eyes at her open confession of love and devotion, as unconventional as it was. He couldn't help but chuckle a little at the make up sex remark, hardly noticing the comment from Jake that followed: "Right on!"

John took her much smaller, more delicate hand in his, grasping hold of the small heart-shaped ring to slide it carefully onto her finger. "Ailis, I knew from the first moment I met you that you were a firecracker, that you couldn't be tamed, that I'd finally met my match. Every time we were together, it was like fireworks going off, and I mean that in a good way. You're the only woman I've ever known who could put up with me, who's been willing to put up with me. I know I'm not an easy man to live with. I know my own flaws better than anyone, but I know that I love you. You're the reason I'm still here, the reason I'm still alive. We've both been through a lot. We've paid our dues in life. We deserve a little happiness, and for me, that happiness is you. I love you, Ailis - and so help me God, if any of you breathe a word of this after today, I will kill you," he deviated for just a moment to flash a look of warning to those gathered around them, before turning back to the woman before him.

"I love you, Ailis. I always have and I always will," he told her, his voice gentling uncharacteristically as he said those words. He wasn't the poetic type, and he wasn't very comfortable speaking his heart in front of other people, but he'd done as his sister had asked - he'd spoken his feelings, as well as he could. Taking the lead from Ailis, he lifted her hand to his lips to brush a kiss where the ring now rested, a symbol of their love and fidelity.  

Despite the threat that was taken only too seriously by their companions, there was something only too genuine about the words that had been shared by the couple. They hadn't been thought out in advance, hadn't been polished to sound pretty. They were honest promises, made in the moment and born of years of affection. The Elder smiled, nodding to them both. "Promises made in love and honor," he intoned warmly. "Who bears witness?"

"I bear witness," the Chief said with a nod, closely followed by Rory.

"Aye, so do I."

"We all do!" Jake added, excitedly. "Pronounce them husband and wife already!" It wasn't his wedding, and he knew John was less than fond of him, but he was still glad to see the two of them happy, if only for Ailis' sake. Besides, maybe it would mellow John a little, or so Jake hoped.

Sam gave Rory's hand a squeeze but said nothing just yet, merely smiling proudly at her twin brother and his soon-to-be wife.

"Shhh," Leia laughed, poking at Jake's stomach as Sloti nibbled on the man's hair, both woman and ferret amused but respectful of the moment.

Ailis laughed, shaking her head at the excitement around them, turning her eyes back to John as the Elder spoke once again. "Then, by the power invested in me by the good people of this town, I pronounce you man and wife."

Jake couldn't help it, breaking into applause and whistles at the announcement, despite the warning from Leia and Sloti. John didn't even bother to toss a glare his way, instead taking advantage of the moment to seal the deal with a kiss. He pulled Ailis closer, his arms circling her waist, and kissed her in front of all those in witness of their promises. He had no regrets, no second thoughts. He secretly wished her brothers could have been there to see this, but maybe they were watching somehow, somewhere. He hoped they were as happy and at peace as he was. "Hello, wife," he told her once he was done kissing her, a soft smile on his face.

Jake wasn't the only one applauding the match, Rory letting his own enthusiasm rip free as he cheered. Ailis laughed into the kiss that drew her close, barely remembering a considered aversion to showing off their affection in front of others as she melted into John. Her only regret was that the rest of her brothers could have lived to see this moment - Con, especially, who had been John's close friend as well as her most trusted sibling. But perhaps they were seeing it, after all. John's greeting made her smile as she opened her eyes, nose to nose with the man she loved. "Hello, husband."

"I think I like the sound of that," he remarked, touching his forehead to hers for a moment as they soaked up the moment.

As it happened, Sam was the first one to come up and congratulate the newlyweds, seeing as it was her brother. She hugged them both, whispering quietly in John's ear, "I'm so proud of you!" before turning to hug Ailis, too. "I hope you never regret becoming a Grimm," she teased. She was and had always been fond of the other woman and was overjoyed to be able to now call her sister.

Enveloped in Sam's unexpected embrace, Ailis supposed she shouldn't have been surprised to feel Rory's long arms wrap around them both. "I don't think I'll ever regret becoming a Grimm," she promised Sam. "Just don't you hold off too long on becoming a Warren." She winked, laughing as Rory choked and headed over to John, seizing his new brother's hand firmly.

"Welcome to the family," he chuckled to his new brother in law, lurching a little out of the way as Leia, of all people, shot underneath his arm to hug the grim man while he couldn't stop her.

"Thanks," John replied with a happy and slightly relieved smile on his face as he gripped Rory's hand in his. No, he wasn't Con, but he loved Sam and maybe in time he'd be able to think of him as the brother he'd never had. A little overwhelmed by all the love, the look on John's face was priceless as Leia converged on them to hug him tight. He paused a moment as if in a state of shock and then miraculously wrapped his arms around the tiny elf woman to hug her back, whispering quietly, "Thank you." He had a feeling she had more of a hand in all of this than she was willing to divulge.

For someone who was still timid around all men but Jake, that embrace was nothing short of a miracle in itself. Leia smiled as she felt John hug her in return, pleased she had read him right in that moment. "It was fun," she confessed just as quietly. "Tell me when it is Sam's turn." Mischief lit up her violet eyes as she skipped back to Jake's side, allowing the Chief to clasp John's hand.

"She's yours now, son," the older man said gruffly. "Trouble and all."

Jake remained on the outskirts of the little gathering for the moment, waiting his turn to congratulate the couple, allowing family to go first. He and Leia were the outsiders here, and he always felt a little out of place when it came to family, his own family back home somewhere probably wondering what had happened to him.

Of course, Jake wasn't entirely alone. For some reason, these days he always had Sloti perched on his shoulder, or tucked into a pocket. The ferret had definitely taken a liking to Leia's bond-mate.

John's glance drifted to his sister at Leia's words, a small smirk on his face as the realization that he was off the hook and it was Rory's turn now. He intended to take full advantage of that at the earliest opportunity. "I think I can handle it," John assured the older man, with another smirk, this time for Ailis.

Ailis met John's smirk with her own. "Talking about handling me already, are we?" she asked, brows raised above a teasing smile, even as she made a grab for his arm, heels wobbling beneath her.

John laughed, in part at her comment and in part at her wobbling. "I think the first order of business is getting you out of those shoes," he told her.

Jake hung back still, feeling strangely out of place, for some reason, grateful for Sloti's companionship. If he'd been about to congratulate the couple, it seemed the opportunity had escaped him. "What now?" he asked instead.
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: A Long Time Coming
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2015, 06:23:45 PM »
"Well, someone still has to kiss the bride, you know," Ailis pointed out to the computer tech, one brow raised above her smile. "Don't think I didn't notice. C'mon, right here." She tapped her cheek, daring him to say no to the opportunity to be a part of the family the Chief had gathered together.

"Who, me?" Jake asked, actually blushing for once in his life and pointing to himself, as Ailis made it a point to single him out.

"Yes, you!" John exclaimed with another laugh. "This is your one and only chance to kiss my wife, so I'd take advantage of it. It's never going to happen again."

"If you don't, Sloti will," Leia added from beneath Jake's arm impishly. Beside his ear, the ferret chittered in agreement, though it was highly doubtful anyone wanted to see what a ferret's idea of a kiss looked like. They were an odd bunch, certainly, but somehow, despite the bumps and the irritations, there was a lot of affection shared between the myriad faces of this group, whether they admitted to it or not.

Jake couldn't very well argue with that. "Talk about peer pressure," Jake muttered, feeling the heat from all directions. "I'm glad you guys don't smoke!" he added, gulping a breath before stepping forward to almost timidly kiss Ailis on the cheek. "Congratulations," he told her.

"Thank you." The bride offered him one very bright smile, before he was dragged into a hug he could only have escaped from with violence - and even then, there was no guarantee he was actually stronger than Ailis was. She kissed his cheek loudly, ruffling his hair before stepping back.

"Ah ... get used to that, Jakey," Rory suggested. "You've been inducted as a wee brother, right there."

"Is that a good thing?" Jake asked, smiling a little nervously, mostly because he was waiting for John to scold him at any moment.

"Yeah, it is," John replied, surprising Jake once again. He offered a hand to the other man, in a gesture of friendship. No one would ever be able to replace Con, and though Jake had a tendency to get on John's nerves, John knew he was a good man.

"Same goes for you," Ailis pointed out to Leia, who seemed to be trying to hold back from them. She wrapped the little half-elf in a warm hug, only jumping a little when Sloti launched himself from Jake's shoulder to nibble gently on her cheek. "Both of you," she laughed, scratching the little ferret as he tucked himself against Leia's neck once again.

John took one look at the ferret and waggled a finger at it, er him. "Don't even think about it!" he warned, though he was in a generous enough mood that he risked rubbing the fur between Sloti's ears.

It was possibly the first time John and Sloti had done more than edge around each other warily, and the unexpected gesture of affection was more than enough for the ferret to chitter happily, catching hold of John's finger between his paws to nibble gently before letting him go. Leia grinned. "See? I told you he liked you."

Like was a bit of a stretch when it came to John. He tolerated the ferret anyway, but today everyone was his friend. In truth, he was probably far more fond of this odd little family of his than he'd ever care to admit, but that was about as close to a gesture of affection that Sloti was going to get from the grim man. "Let's not push our luck," John said with a chuckle, one arm going around Ailis' waist, causing her to totter dangerously on those heels.

It was just as well his arm was already around his new wife's waist, or she would have been inspecting the ground in close perspective. As it was, Ailis lurched into him, laughing as she wrapped her own arm about his waist in return. "Shoes," she reminded him, trying to plant her feet in such a way that she wasn't about to fall over again and failing badly.

"Just throw her over your shoulder, lad," the Chief suggested. "You've a room in that tavern there for the night. Real bed and bathroom, too."

A room with lights that worked and a bathroom that didn't leak sounded like heaven, and even more so for the woman he'd be sharing it with. "Don't mind if I do," John replied, turning to scoop Ailis up in his arms, giving her at least a little modesty where that dress was concerned. The shoes he could have cared less about though they did look sexy as hell on her, as impractical as they were. "Rory, get the door, will you? I've a marriage to consummate."

"Shush," the Chief interjected before Ailis could do more than open her mouth. "Be the girl for once."

Glaring at her father affectionately, she subsided to the tune of Leia's giggles, curling her arms around John's neck as her brother darted to the tavern door to pull it open for the newly-weds. "Just you consummating this marriage, then?" she teased her new husband with an arch smile. "Should I take pictures?"

"No, I'm pretty sure you'll be there," John replied with a grin as he carried her effortlessly toward the tavern. "You know what we call those shoes back home, don't you?" he asked, with a hint of mischief in his eyes.

"Bye, kids!" Jake called after them. "Have fun storming the castle!"

"The hell is he talking about?" John laughed. "He's so weird."

As the door closed on Leia's predictably curious response to her lover - "Jake, that isn't a castle. Where is the storm?" - Ailis laughed, ignoring the sparse inhabitants of the bar room as she hugged John affectionately. "He is no weirder than the rest of us," she pointed out. "And no, what do you call these shoes back home? Apart from horrendously difficult to walk in?" a key was tossed to them from the bar, which she caught easily in one hand, emblazoned with the room number.

"We call them **** me shoes because that's what men want to do to the women who wear them," he replied with a grin. It was pretty obvious what they were going to be up to next. He waited for her to catch the key, offering a nod of thanks to the thrower and started toward the stairs. However Jake had explained his remark to Leia was unknown.
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: A Long Time Coming
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2015, 06:24:55 PM »
"Is that so?" Ailis tossed her blonde hair back over her shoulder as she smiled at him, delighted to see her John so open with his smiles and laughter. The beginning of the evening had seen him in such a, well, grim mood, this was virtually a miracle. "And is that what you are intending to do?"

"No, that is what I am going to do, and don't pretend you aren't a willing accomplice. I know you too well, Ai," he replied as he thumped up the stairs and down the hall. "Room number?" he asked, glancing at the numbers on the doors as he passed them by.

"Mmm ..." She inspected the key they'd been given. "Six," was her answer, glancing back and forth along the hall to determine which direction they needed to go in. "That way." It may have been a fairly rustic town, but they were at least guaranteed a real bed with a proper mattress and a bathroom that didn't creak, leak, or groan at inappropriate moments.

"Six," he repeated, moving down the hall in the direction indicated until they reached the room with the Number 6 tacked to the door. "Here we are," he said, setting her on her feet at last, so he could get the door. The floor was solid and level, so he wasn't too worried about her toppling over. He held out his hand for the key.

Set onto her feet, she braced herself against the wall, just in case, handing over the key at his unspoken demand for it. It wasn't often that she allowed commands offered without words to pass by unchallenged, but Ailis was ever so slightly in shock. She wasn't entirely sure how they had gone from coming in off a mission to married, all in the space of a little over two hours.

He noticed her silence with an arched brow as he fit the key in the lock and let them himself, waiting for her to step inside first before closing and locking the door behind them. "You okay?" he asked, wondering at her sudden silence. It would be just his luck that she'd come down ill on the most important night of their lives. They'd both handled themselves well earlier in the day, but they hadn't come out of it without a few bumps and bruises.

"I'm fine," she assured him, stepping into the darkened room. She couldn't help laughing a little at the sight of the bed - it was an enormous four-poster, dominating the room to the point where it was difficult to work out how they'd gotten it in here in the first place. She turned to John, her smile soft and just a little vulnerable. "It's a lot to take in." A very soft laugh escaped her as she looked down at her feet for a moment. "Con made me promise when I was ten that I wouldn't ever get married without his permission. He'd have been pleased."

John frowned a little at the mention of her brother and his closest friend. Not a day went by that Con wasn't missed by them both. Now that they were alone, they could talk freely about things without anyone eavesdropping, but talk of Con only saddened him on a day when they should be happy. "I think it's safe to say, he would have approved," John replied, wrapping her in a hug and hoping it was enough to chase Con's ghost away for the time being.

At least she wasn't crying. The tears she had shed for the lost had only ever been witnessed by the man now holding her close, and despite the gentle sadness that came with remembering those ghosts, they no longer pulled quite so hard at her heart. Wrapped close about John, she sighed softly. "I'm sorry," she apologized against his ear. "It's not that I'm sad - I'm happier than I feel I have a right to be. Can't help missing the faces that had a right to be here, though."

"They knew what they were doing, Ailis," John assured her softly, holding her close. It was moments like these that proved how much he cared for her, the grim soldier giving way to the tender and affectionate partner. Her brothers had sacrificed their lives so she could be safe, and while he knew she'd always feel a little guilty about that, he wouldn't have expected less from them. "I miss him, too. He was like a brother to me, but I don't know what I'd have done if I'd lost you."

This was a side of him only two ever saw, and even then, Ailis gained the lion's share of the tender man John kept hidden away so much. She clung to him for a long moment, forcing herself away from reliving the day her brothers had died as she drew in a slow, deep breath. Raising her head from his shoulder, she let him see the tease that crept into her smile. "Well, you wouldn't have married him today, that one's a given."

"No," John chuckled, despite the seriousness of the subject matter. "No, I wouldn't have married him," he agreed, tipping her chin upwards. "I'd be lost without you," he said, before kissing her, not waiting for a response. He had been miserable without her; there was no mistake about that.

It had taken almost two years, but John Grimm had finally learned how to make her feel loved without needing to spend words he was uncomfortable with. Ailis melted to that kiss, warmed to her toes by the sentiment expressed to her. Their relationship had always been passionate, even rocky, but underneath it all was the underlying certainty that they were meant to be together, one way or another. It had taken the combined sneakiness of their entire team to make it happen, of course, and there would be retaliation in time, but for now, all that mattered was that they had finally reached this point, together.

And together, they were going to stay for as long as they both lived, but for now, there was something more pressing to think about - consummating the marriage. It had taken years for them to get this far, and though this was by far not their first dalliance in bed, John intended to take his time showing his new bride just what was meant by those three little words: **** Me Shoes.

[size=9]((Two years to sort out a wedding, not bad for a confirmed bachelor! Many, many thanks to my partner in crime for indulging my sudden wish to play this group!))[/size]
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]