He barely slept last night after what happened with the slave, too eaten up by guilt to find any respite within dreams. She had felt so good in his arms, her cleaned skin soft against his and that damn scent wrapping itself around him like a warm fur. It was wrong. She was nothing, a Saxon whore who was worth about as much as a fattened pig. His sweet Margrethe would hate him if she knew the thoughts that plagued him. And that makes him hate himself.
Ivar has called all his important men to dine with him this morning, to discuss the success of the raid. He had also asked for all the slaves to be brought as well, so he can choose which ones he wants for his personal household. He pointedly avoids looking at where they are huddled in the middle of the hall, like lambs ready for slaughter. He cannot look at her, not after the thoughts that filled his head last night.
His brother sits on their father’s throne, lazily picking at some food while his ever sharp eyes peruse the room. Ubbe has to admit; Ivar has been a good king these last few years. Kattegat has prospered under his rule, although he is not sure how much he should attribute that to Ivar’s level headed Queen. How his hot headed brother ever managed to capture the heart of someone like Ljota is beyond him.
The woman in question is seated on his left, new babe nursing contentedly at her breast. Ubbe chooses to look at his niece for a while; it is better than looking at who sits on the other side of Ivar, in the chair of highest command. His fist clenches involuntarily. It should be him, seated next to the king, leading the armies when Ivar chooses not to. It should be him, and not Hvitserk.
But Ivar does not forgive easily, if ever. And Hvitserk did not fall prey to Lagertha’s schemes. Hvitserk did not fail his family.
Ivar clears his throat, interrupting Ubbe’s morose thoughts, and the room falls to silence.
“Men, the gods have indeed blessed us this spring. Another successful raid against the Saxons, slaves and riches and livestock beyond what we could have hoped. And,” he pauses, reaching out to run a hand reverently over the nursing babe beside him, “they have also seen it fit to give me a daughter and heir.” At this there is loud cheering and pounding of cups on tables. Ivar holds up his hands, and there is silence once more.
“Each man will get his pick of the plunder, both treasures and slaves alike. As your King, I will take for my household first. I know I did not raid with you, for I did not wish to miss my child’s birth. Since that is a gift far above what we have taken from the Christians, I will only take a few slaves for myself. The rest is yours.”
More cheers fill the air. Ubbe chances a glance over to the mass of scared women. She is right in the middle of them, clearly terrified but standing tall. Her gaze suddenly swivels to him, as if she can sense his eyes upon her. The flinch that wracks her body is so obvious he can practically feel it himself. Her wide doe eyes are locked on his, pink lips parted slightly. Her cheeks are flushed, her dark hair coming undone from the hasty braid trailing down over her ample chest. The words pretty, pretty, pretty echo furiously in his mind, and the hatred he feels in that moment for her is utterly overwhelming. He wants to stride over there and rip her apart with his bare hands. How dare she make him think such thoughts?
Ivar has left his throne now, his crutches scraping over the floor as he makes his way towards the slaves. He surveys the whimpering woman briefly, and Ubbe cannot help but notice that his eyes linger on her.
Something odd bubbles in his chest; he does not like the idea of his brother owning her. Mine, his inner wolf growls savagely. He desperately tries to push the wolf down, to tamper these strange feelings of possessiveness. He watches Ivar reach out to touch her as she recoils, and the wolf within gives a wild, warning howl. He is up and moving before he even realizes it.
“That one is mine,” the words tumble out of his mouth before he can stop them. “I stole her. Pick another.”
Ivar looks shocked for a moment, before storm clouds brew in his icy eyes. “And who are you to make such claims, brother? Are you saying you, Ubbe the Traitor, should have pick ahead of your King?”
The title makes his heart twist painfully, but he stands his ground. “I do not ask for much, Ivar. I accept my status in your eyes, I do as you ask without complaint. Give me this.”
Ivar’s answering grin is mocking, cruel. “You do not ask for much because you know you deserve even less. You know what you have done. Why then should I allow you to even have a slave at all? You do not want this bitch for any reason other than that I do."
"Ivar, I am asking as-”
“Asking as what? A brother? You are barely my brother anymore. Only birthblood ties us. You are making an even bigger fool out of yourself, Ubbe. Who is this slave to you, other than a chance to make a Saxon pig squeal?”
He should concede. He should step back and let Ivar take her. His brother is right. What is she to him? Sure, he may have enjoyed her warmth last night. He may even find her bland Saxon features mildly pleasing. But she is property, she is lower than dirt, she is less than even he is. She is not worth another fight.
But the wolf does not want to leave the lamb to be crushed by the serpent.
“If she is nothing more than a pig, then she is fitting for me, is she not?” He grabs her by the arm; she shrieks in terror and tries to pry him off. He holds on tighter. “Let the filth have the filth.”
Ivar opens his mouth to reply, his hand straying to the axe strapped to his belt. But before he can do or say anything, the clear voice of Ljota cuts him off.
“I wish to have the smallest girls for our house, husband mine,” she says, and there is iron in her voice. “Their fingers are nimble for needlework, and our daughter should have the finest clothes. Let Ubbe have the fat sow. She is of no use to me.”
His heart gives a strange flutter of dread and relief. Ivar may be king of Kattegat, but Ljota is Queen of Ivar. A curt nod, an icy glare, the slave cries quietly beside him. Ivar will not forget this.
He accused me of being Dumbledore's man through and through."
How very rude of him.
I told him I was.
Dumbledore opened his mouth to speak and then closed it again. Fawkes the phoenix let out a low, soft, musical cry. To Harry's intense embarrassment, he suddenly realized that Dumbledore's bright blue eyes looked rather watery, and stared hastily at his own knee. When Dumbledore spoke, however, his voice was quite steady.
Standing up on the top of Conco, which was the tallest building in the world. He cant see past the cloud line. Or rather the fog below. he has his parachute on but all he feels is the shadows and lonliness in his mind. Its been ten years since he has last seen the doctor. He has gone back to his old ways. Drinking, self harm, slowly going mad from the lack of someone to talk to. be with. The intamacy was gone.
Nightmares returned, and his silver hair was a bit tossled. Gelled back, but tossled. He had torn his office to shreds. He felt like a caged animal, and the only release was to jump.
All he could hear anymore was the echo of trying to call out for the doctor, to anyone. But nobody answered. Only his own shadow was his companion. And lately it looked sinister. No really it did. Perhaps it was the reason Shamus was not all there. Unable to cope. Because his Shadow was feeding off his happiness. His Shadow was killing him. And his shadow. Really was hoping that when Shamus jumped this time, he would just land and go splat. So it could find its next victim. How it had came to this earth is still unknown. But for the past ten Years, its done a great job of controlling and greedily feeding off Shamus.
Shamus doesn’t want to look down. He can’t look down. He turns his back to the ledge. And takes in a breath. Before he just lets go. Seeing the grey and rainy sky above him. Falling with the rain. Finally some peace. Maybe, maybe he wont be alone anymore in the afterlife. Have someone to talk too other than his echo and his shadow.
He doesn’t scream as he falls. He has quite the fall to make.