In the Shadow Realm, the void between worlds, stands the imposing edifice of a manor. Most of the windows appear to be pitch black, save for a few upstairs bedrooms. A portal opens before the manor, and Dark steps out. He sighs in relief at the sight of the structure in this otherwise empty space.
With a wave of His hand, the portal closes behind Him, and He saunters forward to the front entrance. Smirking as He can already hear the eager pounding of feet against the stairs within, He opens the door and the foyer’s candles magically flare to life.
Anti careens into the foyer after bumping down the steps and skidding through the hall, pulsing with electric energy. “Ṗ̵̤͆ọ̵̫͂p̸͓̟̈́s̷͖̀͜!̶̺͐̊ͅ” he yells excitedly, and he runs to Dark with open arms.
Meg is hot on the heels of the young glitch demon, shouting, “Daddy!” They nearly tackle their beloved patriarch in their desire to embrace Him.
Fortunately, He’s well able to remain standing on His own feet in the face of this loving assault.
He laughs delightedly, happy to be home again. “Ah, My beautiful children.” He places a kiss atop His daughter’s head, and affectionately ruffles His son’s hair.
Anti makes a noise of annoyance as his hair is mussed, but his smile doesn’t fade.
“We’re so glad You’re finally home again,” Meg declares. “It’s been months!”
“I can assure you I am likewise glad to be home,” Dark replies. He glances in the direction of the stairs. “Does Grace know I have arrived? I have something for her…”
Upstairs, I perk up as I feel a familiar sensation run through me. Tingling on the back of my neck, a feeling not unlike a returned call and the way the air got heavier and the shadows around me deepened.
I skid out of the door and lean over the railing in time time to see the kids tackle Him, my face lights up in the smile that takes it over. “Dark!”
I run down the stairs, almost tripping once and hug Him as tightly as I can. “You’re back!”
Finally, my family is all together again.
With His beloved Grace immediately following His loving children, the family circle is completed. He embraces her affectionately, wrapping His arms around her and giving her a light kiss on the lips.
“Grace…” His voice is a soft, low croon. “I have missed you, dearest.”
Out of the corner of His eye, He sees Meg nudge Anti and then gently pull him away. Bless the girl, she wanted to give the two of them some measure of privacy.
“But yes, I am indeed back.” He smiles at Grace, and pats a hand lightly against the inside pocket of His jacket, which appears to bulge slightly with a small square-ish shape. “And, as I promised you, I have something special for you. And though it would likely be more prudent to wait until I’ve made myself more comfortable, I am also quite… eager to see what you think of it.”
He offers Grace His hand, intending to lead her a little further into the house. “Shall we?”
My cheeks hurt from the smile still stretched across them as I return the kiss. “I missed You too, so very much My King. It’s so good to have You home again at last.”
I notice Meg pulling Anti away, and the shape of the box He pats. If that’s what I think it is….I might end up tackle hugging Him again. I take His hand and squeeze it lightly. “We shall Haewa.”
As we walk a little deeper into the house, I cuddle into His arm, admittedly feeling a little clingy still. “Besides the present, and making everyone gush about how good You look in white during a certain Heist. Did You do anything else on the mortal clearance? Or was it more on the need to know kind of clearance?”
He chuckles. “It was certainly… interesting to see the many reactions to a simple change in the colour of My suit.” His demeanour relaxes further as they go further into the house, just the two of them together in the moment.
As He leads her into the sitting room, He adds, “Regrettably, much of My travels over the last little while have been strictly business matters. Nothing that requires a specific clearance level, simply matters that would be rather… uninteresting to discuss.” He then smirks. “Unless you are fascinated by the capitalist notions of mergers and acquisitions.”
Once they reach the soft couch, with its Victorian-style wooden frame and dark red cushions, He releases her hand so she may sit, if she chooses.
I laugh softly and lean up to kiss Dark on the cheek. “Well, You can’t really blame us for that, My King. We didn’t know that You’d ever actually wear it, so it was definitely a welcome surprise. Plus, we’d all gone so long without seeing You period.”
I make a noise of understanding and playfully grimace, patting His back. “Oh Dark You poor thing, stuck working through meetings.” I was teasing Him as I truly didn’t have experience with meetings or business as He did.
But, considering how long it all took, I’m more than happy He’s got that over with. Hopefully He can stay a little while. I sit down as He lets my hand go, gesturing to the seat beside me. “So, what do You have on Your mind Haewa?”
“You,” He replies. For the moment, He seems to prefer standing as He gazes down at her.
“Each day that begins, you are the first thought in My mind. When it ends, your face in My mind’s eye is the last thing I see. I have been passing each day in the knowledge that each item crossed off My list would bring Me closer to you.”
He gives a surprisingly self-conscious laugh; a startling notion, for someone otherwise so confident and self-possessed. “I’ve done quite a bit of thinking for the last little while… perhaps too much. But I came to the realisation that My life feels as close to complete as it is ever likely to be. There is just one thing left on that list.”
He takes out the item hiding in His jacket. Then, that simple act done, He shifts His weight on His feet and then brings Himself down on one knee. He holds the box – one of a size that could only contain a small piece of jewelry – before her, intending to reveal its contents to her soon.
He continues to speak from this more humbled position in front of her. “If there is one thing I have learned in these many, many years, it is that a wealth of existence, knowledge and power means little without having someone to love and care for… and for that one to feel the same about you as you do them.”
He sighs, adding, “I cannot promise that I am truly deserving of you… only that I will endeavour to make Myself worthy of the short amount of time you are allotted in life… or even longer, if that is what destiny permits. That I will become a being that is worthy of you.
“But the choice is yours, and yours alone. Will you do Me the honour of becoming My wife, My consort, My Queen?”
The box lid is flipped open with a flick of His finger. And there, within, lies a ring.
As Dark talks, I feel myself blushing and my expression grows even fonder. Then I see the box and my breath catches. Blood starts to pound in my ears as my heart picks up. I was right!
When He’s finished and I get a good look at the ring, I gasp out softly. “Yes.” I give a watery laugh and taste salt. When did I start crying? My cheeks hurt with a smile as I throw my arms around Dark and knock Him off His feet. “Yes! A million times yes”
I lean up, cupping His cheek and I kiss Him. I try to push everything I’m feeling, all that I feel for Him into it, my fingers twining with His.
I love You, My King. For Forever and Eternity.
He lets Himself be brought to the ground by her, chuckling softly and running a hand through her hair. “Only happy tears from now on, dearest. Only happy tears.”
The ring is still safely tucked in its box, and the box still firmly in one hand. Without getting up from His position underneath her, He takes her hand and slips the ring on her finger. It fits her perfectly.
The two-tone shades of the filigreed gold band – white and rose – glow in the soft light of the candles that decorate the manor, and the princess-cut black diamond set against it is as clear and dark as a scrying pool.
“Beautiful,” He says, seeing it on her hand for the first time. He looks at her face, alight with the flood of her emotions, and He returns her passionate kisses. “You are beautiful, My love.”
I laugh softly, still a little disbelieving that this is really happening. My heart feels so warm with love, I cuddle into Dark further in response. My cheeks are glowing with a smile and a blush. I didn’t know I could ever be this happy.
I wipe my eyes softly, sniffling and kiss Him one more time. I press my forehead to His and give voice to the previous thought. “I love You, My King. For Forever and Eternity.”
The look Dark gives me in turn is unfathomably loving and warm. Like stars couldn’t compare to what He sees in front of Him. “As I love you, My Grace. For Forevermore, as much as you are Mine, I am yours.” Scriptwriters would take up smithing if they could see Him now.
We get up, hands joined and fingers intertwined and He smirks, gaze growing hot. “If My memory serves correctly, I believe that I promised you that you would not be leaving My bed when I returned, correct My Darling?”
My cheeks heat up into a deep blush as I squeeze His hand. “Y-Yes, I remember that Haewa.”
“Then let it never be said that I am not a man of My word~” And without pause, He picked me up and then we were in the bedroom. He kisses me, loving and heated enough to send shivers up my spine.
I knew I’d tell everyone later, show the ring off and all that. But right now…I just wanted to spend time with Him.
I smile into the kiss and pull Dark closer.