could you do a Philippa and Sile mini fic about Philippa having a nightmare or something and Sile comforting her? Thanks!
Of course I can friend!! (I’m not AS sure on Sheala’s character as I am on Phil or Triss but…I will have a good stab)
Sheala woke to the sound of screaming.
She had sat bolt upright, her power flaring at her fingertips in a heartbeat, but she was still too late. The bed beside her was empty and the door that led out to the small balcony beyond the room was banging open.
The shout had not finished echoing before there was a bright flash of light and a swift rustle of wings from outside, telling her Philippa had transformed and taken flight.
Sheala didn’t waste any further breath or magic. She let her power dim and the adrenaline that had just pounded through her as she’d prepared for the fight fade away. Glancing to her left, she saw that the sheets were damp with sweat. A nightmare, then.
Though she was exhausted, further sleep was obviously out of the question while Philippa was gone.
The rain was hammering so violently against the walls outside their home that it seemed to be trying to burrow its way inside, to reach her where she lay, warm and sheltered. The constant battle of mother nature and human nature, as both sought to rule; a war that they would never be done fighting, but that she did not think to lose tonight, though the storm was certainly vicious.
Rolling her shoulders in a vain attempt to work out the rigid knot of tension that had formed between them, she slid out of bed and tugged on a robe lying over a nearby chair. Then she padded into the living room. A vaguely muttered spell had a fire roaring in the grate, bathing the area in a soft glow, warmth starting to filter through the cool air.
Philippa would have paced, had she dared to take flight in such a manner. She would have stalked up and down in front of the great heart, roaring as fiercely as any fire, magic bursting from her palms as she vented her agitation and frustration. That was, if she had been unable to reach her and drag her back.
Sheala had no intention of dragging Philippa anywhere. One would meet with more success in taming mother nature’s wild whims than Philippa Eilhart’s steel will. Besides, if she wanted to be here, in her arms, that was where she would be.
Sheala did not pace. Nor did she flee into out into the storm and begin combing the nearby city and countryside for her lost love. She did not send out a rallying cry to the many informers and contacts she had nearby that may have been able to help her track Philippa. Sheala was, frankly, far too old for that shit.
Philippa was not a child or a lost lamb, she would return when she was ready, and until then she would find some way to occupy herself that did not involve wearing through the plush carpet she was rather attached to.
She settled herself down at the desk in the corner and pulled her notes and tomes towards her. She and Philippa had been working well past midnight on a new project they were both intent upon researching together.
Sheala had been quite content and comfortable with her solitude and the ability to work on things on her own. Philippa, however, had been the only person in recent memory she had been able to stand working with. They understood one another, that passion, that drive, that obsessive need for answers, for explanations, for more than was on offer.
Perhaps it was unhealthy, in some ways, perhaps she should have sought a partner who could balance her more, who could convince her to stop sometimes, to take breaks when she needed them, to take better care of herself. Sheala was too old for that shit as well.
She hadn’t needed some soft wet rag fussing over her, she had needed a whetstone, something to sharpen her, to bring out her best, to push her, to give her an edge. Philippa was certainly capable of that; perhaps the only woman in the world capable of that.
Perhaps that was why Sheala had fallen in love with her.
With little more than half a thought she had lit the candles around the desk and set to work. The gentle flickering of the light, the rhythmic scratching of her pen against the paper, the occasional tinkle of glass on glass when she dipped it into the inkwell to refill it, the smell of the ancient books, was comforting to her.
They soon lulled her into a state of intense focus, where her concern for Philippa, though still raw and intense and raging in her heart, was something she could manage by smothering it with her mind for a time. There was nothing she could do for Philippa until she returned, and fretting and wringing her hands in the meantime would do nothing to alleviate the situation, if indeed, she had felt inclined to that kind of behaviour.
Sheala did not pause in her work until she caught a familiar flash of light from the corner of her eye. Then, she set down her pen neatly at the top of the paper, straightened the stacks of parchment she had been writing upon, closed the books, stood, and turned.
She was just in time to see Philippa push the door open and collapse over the threshold.
She strode forwards, her robe rustling, and supported her partner inside, closing the door behind her and muting the furious roar of the storm that continued to batter the world beyond their refuge.
Philippa was drenched and pale as a corpse. The shadows under her eyes and in the hollowed pits of her cheeks were thrown into greater relief by the dancing fire behind her, making her look even more ghastly and haunted. Small cuts and bruises dotted her skin, but none were serious or required her immediate attention or healing.
Philippa stood still, numb and silent, near catatonic, swaying slightly on the spot before the hearth. She allowed Sheala to strip off her wet clothes without a word, and to coax her into a soft towel and a robe she had already fetched from the bathing chamber before her arrival. She allowed herself to be settled in an old, varnished rocking chair before the fire, but did not say a word, and did not turn her face towards her.
The ornate band she typically wore around her ravaged eyes was in their bedroom. She did not wear it when she slept. She had tried, some time ago, but had tossed and turned so much in her discomfort that Sheala had lost patience and reached over, plucked it off, and set it neatly on the table beside her.
Philippa had frozen, shock written on her features, and had asked whether or not the sight would bother her. Sheala had only shrugged, settled back down, closed her eyes and informed her simply that she was asleep, her eyes were closed, she cared not how she looked, only that she was comfortable.
Philippa had found that amusing, and had suggested wryly that, if that was the case, she could simply sleep in her owl form. Sheala had growled at her without opening her eyes and she had laughed. For the first time in what had felt like centuries, she had laughed.
She had not worn the band at night since then. Sheala fetched it now, however, knowing it would make her more comfortable. The light silk strap was akin to armour for her partner. It had little to do with vanity, little even to do with pride, though that was what she would pretend to those who did not know her as Sheala did. She knew it was for herself, to cover the scars that reminded her of a brutal incident she had not fully recovered from, whatever she tried to force others to believe.
Once she had knotted the band at the back of Philippa’s head, she paused. “Would you like me to sit with you?” she asked her quietly. The chair she was perched upon was large enough for two, if they were pressed closely together. She doubted, however, if she would want that kind of company; if she was ready for it yet.
The response was not unexpected and not hurtful in the slightest. Sheala simply nodded and turned, making to retreat back to their bedroom to afford Philippa the time and privacy she needed to recover.
Before she had gone a step, however, Philippa reached out, slim fingers closing around her wrist, halting her. “Stay,” she murmured. The words were rough and coarse, as though forcing each one out caused her pain and cost a great deal.
She was not looking at her. Her hidden face was turned towards the fire. The flickering flames were causing shadows to jump and dance across her still pale skin. Her hand shook, only slightly, but enough, where it gripped Sheala’s arm. But her tone had been of iron, firm, defiant almost. Sheala nodded her understanding and acceptance of the request.
She returned herself to the chair she had recently vacated and began to work on her notes once more. The familiar rhythm of her scratching pen, the rustle of turning pages, the smooth black lines of the ink upon the parchment, filled the room once more. This time accompanied by the faint creaking of Philippa’s chair as she rocked it gently back and forth with her foot.
Silence fell, and the two gently into it. For a long time, they remained as they were, the soft creaking of wood, the quiet tapping of Sheala’s fingers against the desk as she pondered, pausing in her note taking to think, hearing Philippa’s voice in her head, presenting a solution she would never have thought of alone.
A small smile tugged her lips. She continued.
When next Sheala glanced over her shoulder towards the rocking chair by the fire, it was still. Philippa’s head was resting on her chest and she had slipped once more into a peaceful sleep.
Sheala turned back to her notes, chest loosening with relief. She would wake her in an hour or so, coax her to come back to bed, or she would spend most of tomorrow morning massaging the kinks from her back that came from spending too long in that chair.
For now, though, she continued her work, and she allowed her love to sleep in the gentle silence that filled their home.