[size=9]20th June, 2013[/size][/b]
Sleep could heal all manner of wounds, even those that cut deep into the soul. A sleep induced by the god of healing ... that can do wonders. And so it was for Becky, brought back to Porto Helio in the wake of Athena's trial and laid to bed, to sleep off the worst of the damage that had been done to her somewhere safe and warm.
Once Becky had returned, Sam had refused to leave her side, even to eat and sleep, taking his meals there in the rooms Ares had been so kind to offer them. Not even Ayden could convince him to abandon his vigil at Becky's side, even for a few minutes. He only sat there by her side, holding her hand, and waiting patiently and anxiously for her to awake - like a knight waiting for a princess to wake from a spell-induced sleep.
But she didn't wake, not until the night had come and gone, and the gentle warmth of a new day was beginning to dawn. As soft sunlight filtered into the room to illuminate her face, Becky stirred at last, moaning softly in protest against the light even as her eyes opened, blinking to clear the fuzziness from her vision. She didn't recognize the room, or the sounds of the place outside ... but she did recognize Sam, her lips curving in a sleepy smile as her eyes fell on him.
He'd surrendered to sleep some hours ago, unable to keep his eyes open any longer after his long vigil at her bedside and all the pain and worry he'd suffered after the Furies had taken over her mind. He was slumped in the chair by her side, his face peaceful in its repose, his fingers still tangled in hers despite his sleep.
"Sam." Her voice was barely more than a whisper as she shifted toward him, rolling onto her side with lazy comfort to squeeze his fingers and bring him round. "Sam, wake up."
Instead of the knight waking the princess with a kiss, it seemed it was the princess doing the waking of him instead. "Hmm?" he murmured, lifting his head with a small wince at the crick in his neck, his eyes slow to open and remember where he was. "Becky?" he asked, though, of course, it was Becky. Who else would it be? For the first time in what seemed like forever, but had only been a few weeks, she seemed like herself. Her eyes were bright and lucid, her smile warm and welcoming. "Are you okay? I've been so worried," he said, leaning forward to take her hands in his, his expression a mixture of relief and weariness.
It was Becky; Becky as she had been before her father's death, warm and lucid and brimming with the vibrant personality so few people had bothered to get to know. As Sam took her hands, her smile deepened. "I'm fine, I ..." But she wasn't fine, was she? She gasped as the memories flooded back; memories of weeks of nightmares, of fingers in her mind, of what she had done under their influence. "Oh god," she whispered, horror overtaking her expression as her eyes filled with tears. "I killed her. Sam, I killed Jo, I ..."
Sam scooted closer, moving off the chair to sit beside her on the bed, giving her hands a warm reassuring squeeze as if to remind her she wasn't alone. "It's okay, Becky. It wasn't your fault. You didn't do anything wrong. It was the Furies. They were trying to drive you to madness. It's a long story, but Mom is okay. I promise. You've been through a lot, and you need to take it slow, okay?" he asked, touching his fingers to her cheek and pushing a strand of hair back from her face, that worried expression in place again. "Everything's gonna be okay. I swear." There was one thing he couldn't promise though - he couldn't promise to bring back her father.
"But ..." It was a lot to take in, to realize that she had been targeted for some reason, that she had done something terrible under that influence and yet Sam said it was okay. "How is she okay?" she asked, rising onto her knees, needing to know. "Sam, I slit her throat. I had her blood all over my hands, and ... how am I still here? I ..." She looked down at her stomach, remembering how she had twisted the knife to kill herself.
"Just calm down and take it slow. I'll explain. I promise, but I don't want you getting yourself upset, okay?" he urged, settling his hands against her shoulders and meeting her gaze. He looked tired, worn, like he hadn't eaten or slept right in weeks, which was the truth, but all that would change now that Hades was dead and Becky had been returned to him. "First thing you should know is Hades is dead, so the war's over for now," he told her, tugging a tassled rope that would summon one of Ares' servants. It was a crude means of ordering breakfast, but they weren't in South Dakota anymore.
Her eyes followed his hand as he pulled the rope, a faintly curious frown touching her brow even as she settled down at his urging. She trusted Sam completely - even more so now she recalled the way he had looked after her as her sanity was eroded from the inside out. He had never once allowed her to feel alone or lost, and he was here now, even after everything she had done. She had to believe him when he told her all was well. "All right," she said quietly, twisting about to sit with him, her head on his shoulder. "Tell me."
He slid an arm around her to hold her close, while she rested her head on his shoulder, and he told her what had taken place over the course of the last six or seven weeks. He knew it was upsetting for her to know that she had killed his mother and tried to kill herself - to know it hadn't just been a dream - but he hoped the outcome would bring her comfort, knowing that Jo still lived and the conflict with Hades was over. He left nothing out, telling her how Artemis had led his father to the Underworld to rescue his mother and finish off Hades once and for all; how Ares had taken Becky to Olympus to see to her healing and to expose Athena's lies, not only to Zeus but all the Olympians. He explained where they were, and that Ares and Ayden had offered them sanctuary here in Greece for as long as they wished.
And lastly, once the story was almost at an end, and they were finished with breakfast, he tangled his fingers with hers, his eyes bright with tears, and asked her the question that he'd been longing to ask her almost since they day they had met. "I know this is sudden, and I don't expect it to happen today, but I love you, Becky, and I want to spend my life with you. Would you be my wife? You don't have to tell me today. Just think about it, okay? And tell me in a few days."
The storytelling helped. At heart, Becky was an academic; she enjoyed a good story told well, and Sam spun a good yarn. Add to that the fact that she knew most of the characters, and the circumstances that had led to this moment in time, and it became easier to square with the confusion in her own memories. It would still be a few days before all her questions were answered, but that was just the way she was. She took her time to analyze and understand, never rushing to a conclusion. So Sam's unexpected proposal was a bit of a shock.
"Uh ..." Blinking rapidly, she squeezed his hand, trying to put together a response that wasn't going to hurt him or give him false hope. "I ... I-I ... okay, in a few days," was what she eventually came up with. "I think you just made my brain stop working."
"Sorry," he said, frowning as he tried to hide his disappointment. Maybe he should have listened to his mother and given her a little more time, but watching Becky suffer these last weeks and worrying he might lose her only made him realize how much he loved her and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. He had never considered she might say no, but he realized now that it was a very real possibility, especially given all the pain and grief she'd suffered because of him. "I shouldn't have asked," he told her, dismissing the topic of discussion from his lips, if not his heart.
"I didn't say that," she pointed out, touched by how disappointed he was not to have a resounding yes right away. Rising from where she sat, she moved to plant herself in his lap, turning his face until his eyes met hers. "You're all I have, Sam," she reminded him, her voice soft but vehement. "I love you, and without you, I'd be dead, or worse. But the Furies didn't let me mourn my dad, and I'm not cruel enough to give you the yes you're looking for when my heart's still hurting over the last words I said to him. It's not a no, and I don't think it'll ever be a no, I just ..." She could feel herself tearing up as she tried to explain this to him. "I don't want my yes to be dishonest. I don't want it to be fueled by loss. I want it to be only because I love you, and not because I'm afraid of being alone. Does that make sense?"