D's Daily Drama (fablespinner) wrote,
D's Daily Drama
fablespinner

FOLLOWING TIDES III -- Chapter 6

And the LAST Installement in this insipid little series....
Following Tides III
COMPLETE STORY in SIX PARTS:




You know the drill -- I'm posting unproofread drivel as I write it... Well, only *I* proofread it.... I'm sure I missed a TON of Mistakes


TO READ THE ENTIRE SERIES:

FOLLOWING TIDES PART I "ILYA and VAN" Go here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V **  PART VI ** PART VII ** PART VIII ** PART IX ** PART X




FOLLOWING TIDES PART II "SASCHA and YURI" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI ** PART VII **




FOLLOWING TIDES PART III "TOMAS and LEIF" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI **




Series Title: Following Tides III
Chapter Number: Six
“A New Life”
Author: D. Sanders
=============================


Tomas and Leif had just walked in the door when a voice in the mirror shouted his name. “TOMAS!”

“Mum? Daa? Vangel? Ilya, Andre? Why are all of you doing calling me at once?” Tomas asked as faces undulated in his mirror. Leif stood jaw hanging to his chest as people’s faces churned in the mirror making him almost seasick.

“What do you mean why? We all just get every mirror on every ship broadcasting to us as my son is standing there in a field getting married, by two GODS no less, and he asks us what we’re doing here?” Sascha grinned, he and Yuri the clearest of images.

“You saw?” Tomas asked and Yuri smiled, dabbing her eye with her sleeve.

“Aye baby, we all saw. Oh gods.” Yuri croaked in happy tears and Sascha chuckled.

“Your Mum’s been blubbering since it started.” Sascha grinned turning to look at Leif frozen stiff at Tomas’ side. “Well? Are you going to introduce us to your handsome spouse son or not?”

“Oh Aye! Aye. What I was bloody coming in here to do when you threw me for a loop Daa!”

“Boy gets married by two gods and WE throw him for a loop?” Van teased and Ilya chuckled.

“Ha, ha Uncle Van.”

“Oh do get on it with!” Sergei bellowed and Tomas just shook his head resigned to always having one demanding and quirky family to deal with.

“Leif, let me point out the faces then.” Tomas said literally pointing with his finger and as he spoke their names, each face took on a clarity as it was spoken. “That’s me Daa and me mum. Sascha and Yuri.”

“I am most being honored meeting you. Tomas and Sonja much telling me of you. Make joy in heart meet good Mother and Father.”

“Oh how sweet. The joy is all ours Leif son. Welcome to the family.” Yuri smiled sniffling and dabbing her eyes and Leif was enamored. Sonja had said she was beautiful; she was more than beautiful and much, much younger than he had expected. She could only have been in her mid-thirties but looked in her mid-twenties. Fabulous, blemish free skin in a dark tan color. Tomas favored his father’s coloring but indeed had his mother’s stunning green eyes. He could see why Tomas adored his mother. She was easy to fall in love with. The alpaca would just adore her.

“Aye welcome son. What a morning you two had! We saw it all from the minute you appeared on the field. It was right confusing and none of us know what the hell happened to lead up to this shocker, but I assume we’ll be getting details? Right Tomas?”

“Aye Daa. Give me a minute there’s all of you here you know! There are a lot of introductions to make. One bloody thing at a time Daa!” Tomas rolled his eyes and then hurriedly introduced the rest of the family in the mirror. His grandparents, his Brother and his wife, His uncles Van and Ilya, and so forth and so on. Once the family members were named off. Tomas sat on the edge of the table and pulled Leif into his arms, smiling at his husband and looking into stunning blue eyes. He was looking at Leif as he narrated the last week of events to waiting ears.

“How do I make this short? It’s complicated.”

“I be thinking just tell all, no way keeping short.” Leif grinned and Tomas chuckled.

“Aye, you’re right. Make yourselves comfortable and no interrupting with questions until I’m bloody finished or we’ll be here all damn day.” Tomas began as Leif settled beside him on the table and they held hands while Tomas talked.

“Okay, you’re all getting the bare bones version here. You all know my strange vision in my bowl. That was apparently a God Directive. If you want to get technical EVERY TIME we scry, we’re getting a god giving us counsel and advise. So I hare off here. I’m not here an hour when I see this face come walking in and lose it, I was drooling in my shoes.”

“Tomas never be telling me that!”

“Well love it was true!” Tomas laughed and continued.

“That didn’t last long before I felt sick to my stomach. Long story short, they call men like us here “Gers” and up until this morning and for the past forty some odd years men like us literally were persecuted. No rights, no honor, no social interaction. It was treated damn near like leprosy. And the only reason we even met Leif in the first place was he could speak our language and they assigned him as our interpreter. That night he showed us his animals, and we got a new herd of beasties coming home with us that will knock all your socks off. I’ll save the explanation of Alpacas when you all can actually see them yourselves. Fabulous animals. That’s when I learned Leif’s gifts. He can talk with animals. Well he can communicate is more accurate I guess. Animals emote rather than talk and again come our next reunion; we’re going to be testing everyone to see if anyone else has these untapped gifts. It’s High frequency empathic reception in a nutshell. Right, where was I? Okay, me standing in nifty animals and learning about one certain blond and blue eyed boy. Before the night was over, I was head over heels, knock you down in love. But I was a good boy for a change and kept my hands to myself and went home right pissed off at his forced way of living.” Tomas said then chuckled remembering Sonja’s reactions.

“And if you think I was pissed? You should have seen Gran! Swore the air purple she did.”

“That does sound like me mum.” Sergei laughed and Tomas nodded.

“Okay, day two. We’re out in the market; Gran is spending a bloody kings ransom out there. Leif and I trailing in her wake. Lovely morning that was. I spent all of it staring a hole in Leif and trying not to make it look obvious.”

“You not obvious. But I could tell I be being watched. Most nice.” Leif smiled and Tomas smiled back.

“Right, back on track again. So shop until we drop basically until lunch. I forget he can’t eat with us, and then get pissed off all over again. I stewed all afternoon. He had to be inside before dark since he’s wasn’t allowed out after sunset. So I stewed some more until about midnight. Decided to just say ‘Fuck it’ and I grabbed him food, tossed myself under a cloak spell and high-tailed it to his cottage. Woke him up, barged in, plopped him on the floor and fed him.”

“You most insistent I be eating and drinking. I half sleep! Still feel like dreaming when you come. It most nice, never forget.” Leif’s eyes met Tomas’ and Tomas just lifted Leif’s hand to kiss it.

“Needless to say, that was a very nice night. I felt our soul-connection loud and clear. I knew I’d have to move mountains to keep him. It was a very painful night too. The laws hanging over our heads were, in a word, suffocating. Our love would kill him if it was known. So come dawn, I was back under a cloak and leaving. Felt like my bloody soul was bleeding to death.”

“Aye. Hurt much.”

“Enter hell from here. Neither of us expected that, while we were out, the shaman was in Leif’s cottage sniffing out evidence. He found our meal and even dug through furs to find, well…” Here Tomas had the decency to look sheepish “You know what happens to sheets after. We missed a spot basically. Utter chaos, they came took Leif away up into mountains. Like they do all ‘Ger’ who are suspected of, you know, being HUMAN. So up he goes to be so called out and judged by the gods. I follow them up under a cloak ready to just kidnap him away if I had to. The old bastard used religion as a convenient way to dispose of Ger. He’d Strip them naked in the harshest climes I’ve ever felt and make them live Seven days alone up on top of that mountain. It’s a death sentence. There were bones everywhere up there. They left and the old bastard was SMILING! Gods I was livid and worried out of my mind! I go over and wrap my coat around Leif ready to drag him back and he refused to go! Leif is stubborn as hell, Uncle Ilya you two will get along fabulously.”

Ilya just laughed but didn’t comment.

“Next thing I know, I’m face down in snow and a GOD is talking in my head. Tells me to basically bugger off and wait, he’s not mine yet to protect. I needed to be elsewhere waiting. So you don’t tell a God ‘no’, so off I went to wait and worry. Then SHE turns up, tells me all about Wizards being from her blood, tells me what we have to keep doing as her warrior sons, and let me tell you when Gods speak, you can’t help but listen. Basically we Wizards are like her judge and jury. She said we are here to protect and we’d better keep right on doing it, because occasionally her brothers select special people to send to us. We’re supposed to be their guardians and transportation while they go about influencing people around them. She told me Gran is one. Mum is one. Ilya is one and now Leif is. She said that’s how it is and how it will be after us. So here we are. You all saw the rest of it. Leif not only comes down alive and whole. The God brings him down dressed up like a bridegroom! I can take a bloody hint! Not like I wasn’t going to bond to him anyway, but ya know, actually proposing to him would have been nice! But again, you tell a GOD ‘no’.  Next thing I know, I’m also dressed in white, I’m dribbling love sonnets like an amateur bard, and I have Gods wedding me and giving me orders. Then I’m stopping a hateful and insane old man from murdering my new spouse. Then all of YOU are in here waiting. There, you’re all up to speed.”

“Wow.” Van was bug-eyed and said no more.

“Yes, Wow. And forgive me mum; I’m about to be rude. But I’d like you all to piss off now for a while. As you can well see, I have a gorgeous new husband, freezing here dressed in a bloody sheet in sub-zero weather outside and I’m off to warm him up with a good old-fashioned bonding day snog. So please if you don’t mind, get out.”

Sascha laughed. “Right, we’re gone! See you later!” Everyone was laughing as images faded and the mirror only reflected the two of them sitting on the table facing it.

“What snog?”

“I’m about to show you beloved. Come here.” Tomas picked up Leif and tossed him into bed with a bounce. Leif was laughing as Tomas proceeded to show him what “snogging” meant. They were sweaty and breathless by the time Tomas was finished.

“Mmmm, Like snog much.” Leif purred where he lay sated.

“I thought you might.” Tomas grinned as he pulled the covers up over them. “And After a nap beloved, I’ll teach you what ‘shagging’ means.”

Leif laughed, he had a fair idea now what it meant. “Tomas, heart of mine, most funny. I be seeing I be laughing much with you.”

“Perfect. As it should be. Get some sleep beloved it’s been a long night and even longer morning.”

“Aye.” Leif said snuggling up and falling into the warmth that Tomas radiated. This was heaven on earth.

~*~*~*~*~

That evening, under the spell of summer on the decks of “the Handmaiden” a wedding feast was served. Tables brought up from the galley lined the edges of the main deck, leaving the center free for dancing and mingling. Tomas brought out his mandolin to play along with the other musicians and got a pleasant and unexpected surprise. Leif ‘borrowed’ a fiddle from one of the musicians since his was back in his home, and proceeded to demonstrate he was no slouch of a musician himself as he sawed the instrument in half with a bright lively jig. One more thing they had in common and would be able to share with one another, Tomas thought his face was going to fall off, it hurt from constant smiling.

Leif finally got his first glimpse of the greenhouse deck and he wandered the gardens in awe. “I cannot be imagining whole island like this being.” He said in wonder, exceptionally warm as he tugged the laces free on his shirt. His body was acclimated to cold, he’d have to get used to warmer temperatures. Sonja turned up and grinned.

“I know son. Hot as hell in here to people like us at first. I remember. I wanted to run around naked that first year, thought I’d never cool off. Cold baths help a lot.”

“Aye. Feel much hot in here. Never get like this, not even summer here this warm.”

“It’s a balmy seventy-three degrees in here. This is pleasant, wait until we hit the equator and it’s a hundred-degrees in the shade!” Tomas chuckled sitting on a convenient pumpkin.

“I be in bath and not be coming out then!” Leif grinned right back, his mind not being able to fathom such heat. He’d never felt air warmer than sixty degrees in the worst heat wave they’d ever had on the Island.

“Love you running around naked is fine by me.” Tomas winked as the tour continued and Leif learned his new home.

That evening Tomas was getting ready for bed and Leif was curled up on a chair, a huge, fluffy, smashed face, white Persian cat with big blue eyes was curled up on his lap purring.

“I see Czarina found you.” Tomas winked from the bathroom, wrapped in a towel and brushing his teeth.

“Aye. She be telling me rules.” Leif chuckled as his fingers worked her soft fur behind her ears.

“Rules?” Tomas quirked an eyebrow.

“Aye. She say I take her place in bed and no like. But willing to let me have place in bed since her man like me. Says no destroy my shoes if I give good scratches. We make deal.”

“Threaten to shit in your shoes for sleeping with me?”

“Aye. I tell you before. Cats have own way seeing world. Cats own us, not us them.”

“Czarina you little bitch!” Tomas waggled a finger at his cat. She ignored him.

“She be Cat. Her way. Deal fine, like much Tomas cat. No pain to scratch ears to be saving my shoes.” Leif grinned rubbing his nose against the cats. He got a lick before she hopped off and made herself comfortable in the middle of the bed.

“Don’t get comfortable Cat!” Tomas ordered her, combing out his wet hair.

She ignored him as usual, groomed herself a minute or two before settling down to sleep and going off in a huff when Tomas picked her up and deposited her on the couch instead as he and Leif went to bed themselves.

She was sitting on Tomas’ pillow, between them, come morning. Her butt right in Tomas’ face, her chin resting on Leif’s forehead. It appeared she liked Leif more than Tomas this morning and was teaching Tomas a lesson in manners. How dare he usurp her and order her about.

“Damn cat.” Tomas grumbled shoving her behind off his face as he got up to wash the hair she had shed on him out of his mouth. Leif was still asleep, and Czarina decided to groom his hair like he was her kitten, still pointedly ignoring Tomas.

Tomas just chuckled and put the kettle on to boil. It was time to get up anyway.


~*~*~*~*

The next few days were spent getting all of Leif’s alpacas installed for the ship. These were his children in a way and not a single one was going to be left behind. All forty of them. Five herdsires, twenty dams, four of them pregnant, five yearlings and five Cria. This was the new herd of Safe Harbor, a strong and healthy one at that. Leif was, even when an outcast Ger, respected for his prime animals. He had the best herd stock and always had the gentlest hand with their care.

He had always been present at every birth, even for others. His gifts kept the Dam at ease in her labor and the Cria would immediately trust its human shepherds thereafter. It had Leif’s calming influence over it at first breath. He would be teaching Sonja his secrets in communication since she too was an empath who could pick up the emotions at higher frequencies. Since the herd was about ready for shearing, they’d wait until they reached Safe Harbor and got them settled. He’d then teach all who wanted to learn and help raise the new herd how to properly go about shearing them. There was a knack to it to avoid cutting them and getting the most useable wools in large, easily managed sections and Leif wanted to make sure those he was entrusting his ‘children’ to, knew how to care for them.

Leif spent most of the first day building a pen on the upper deck for them. Tomas had some of the earth from their current pen at Leif’s cottage transported over and spelled it so the grasses would grow constantly and their soft feet would be protected from the hard glass bottom. They’d also be fed from said grass cushion while they made the journey back to safe harbor.

They were not going to wait until the reunion to get the animals back home to Safe Harbor. They were not sea faring creatures and not food-stock animals, they were wool and pack animals only and it would be a hard enough journey just getting them to their new home over the next eight weeks.

A special section was made for them in their pen to drop their dung and a cushioned bed of hay was set-aside especially for Hjorn, the eldest, twenty-five year old Herdsire and Leif’s life long friend. He was old and needed special attention. Leif was affectionately getting him settled for the journey first. His animals adored him, and likewise Leif was in his element surrounded by them.

Czarina had taken to trailing him wherever he went, rubbing up against his legs, getting underfoot and just giving him all her undivided attentions.

“She acting like I be her baby.” Leif chuckled one evening as Czarina perched on the back of the chair and was constantly grooming Leif’s hair.

“You can shoo her away.”

“I being all right. She like and I no mind. Hair wash and knot will comb out later.” Leif grinned as he tended and mended Alpaca tack and bridles for the trip at the table. Working a rag dipped in softening tanning oils into the leather strips and checking all the buckles for wear and tear while Czarina completely soaked a section of his hair at the back of his head with her tongue, Tomas was highly amused by it all and he noted that Leif had the patience of a saint.

Once the animals and all their needs where seen to and they were happily settled on board, Leif and Tomas packed up the little cottage. Leif’s few belongings were transported over and put away in chests and on shelves in the cabin he now shared with his husband. The little cottage looked bare as they stood there doing one last look over to make sure they had everything.

“It still like dream. Hard to believe I be leaving tomorrow. Hard believe married to Tomas. Hard be getting used to, but much happy I am.” Leif turned to smile up at Tomas who leaned over and kissed him.

“I know. I certainly wasn’t coming here thinking I’d be sailing off with a husband either. Nice though isn’t it?”

“Aye. Most nice.”

They walked back to the Village that evening and the entire population turned out in the longhouse to give a farewell feast for Leif and Tomas. Johan looked subdued, he’d lost five years of his son’s life and now that his eyes had been opened his son was leaving.

“Father, I come back visit someday. It not being over, we have much time rest of life. I be knowing love me as love father. We be being all right.”

“Aye. Just worry now. You not sailor. Hard life.”

“I learn father.” Leif chuckled. “If not, I just being sick over side much.”

This made his father laugh. “You will see much things. Bring back much stories.”

“Aye. Will be writing them down for all so I be not forgetting. Tomas give me book with empty pages and quill with ink inside. No mess inkpot. He call it fountain pen. Ink no smear, no run when wet. I be keeping what he call journal. He keep one too, show me how. Stories I keep for you. Our language be teaching Tomas too, we want learn. Be teaching children too, so next time coming red ship, peoples be talking better.”

“I be teaching too our children. I be seeing much new trade in future now.”

“Aye. Tomas map us, other peoples now be knowing we here now. Much changes coming, world becoming open to us now.”

“We will change with times. Cannot be being closed to different people. It be good change.”

“Aye father, good change.”

~*~*~*

They’d been out to see a week and Leif was looking green. He hadn’t found his sea legs yet. The alpaca were fine and the transition wasn’t as hard on them as it was Leif. Tomas handed him a cup of tea.

“Gran said drink it and you’ll not be so queasy love. You’re just seasick.”

“Being sea-near-dead. Up down all time. Take much getting used to it.”

“Land-lubber.” Tomas teased as Leif drank the medicated tea.

“Aye.” Leif grinned as the tea settled his stomach and he managed to choke down his breakfast.

~*~*~*~

They headed straight to Safe Harbor and Leif gratefully hugged the beach. Literally falling onto dry land with a whoop of joy, he’d gotten his sea legs after four grueling weeks, but once a land boy always a land boy and he was grateful for the break. Even if he was sweating like a pig and walking around dressed in barely more than his underwear.

Tomas wasn’t complaining about the view. Leif was a fine specimen of healthy twenty-year-old male. Quite easy on his husband’s eyes.

Leif watched Tomas and Alexandre and a few of Alexandre’s brothers work a mountain and a wide meadow with their magic. Snow fell in perfect fat flakes and you could see the barrier of summer and winter where they met. Outside this section the air was a humid eighty-degrees, a tropical paradise. Inside the winter barrier, temperatures were a just under freezing, thirty degrees, the alpaca loved it; this was glorious eternal springtime for them. No fencing would ever be needed; there were no predators on Safe Harbor Island. They would not leave the barrier; it was far too warm for them on the other side and they new it instinctively. They cavorted in their new pastures, running and jumping about and tearing up sweet grass in mouthfuls. The Cria drinking and splashing in a fresh and ice-cold stream that fell down from the mountains toward the sea. Fresh crystal clear water, clean snow, tasty grass and a huge meadow to play in and a mountain covered in redwood conifers and young pines to climb and explore. Leif was awash with their joy.

The wizards then shifted cut lumber into a beautiful barn, mimicking the craftsmanship of Alexandre’s table to look like a Skandan barn. It was open on one side so the animals could come and go as they pleased. Several shearing stalls, a large room to hold hay, and a tack room. Leif whistled merrily as he hung the tack up on hooks. Still half naked and not a shiver in sight.

“Aren’t you cold?”

“Love, this being spring to me. Very nice in here. Be perfect, Suri love.”

“So do you I see. I can build us our home here off the barn if you’d like. Whenever we come back we each have our own places. I never got around to building my own yet. Would you like it here?”

“Oh aye. Be close to Suri, much like. But not off barn, alpaca clean, but still will smell like barn. There, by trees being nice. Will make nice smell pine inside, be being easy to cut firewood.”

“Love, you married a wizard. There’s no need to be swinging an axe again love. But you’re right, we’ll have a nice mountain view there and you’ll be able to see the whole meadow.” Tomas said as Tomas and his family set to building He and Leif their own home on the Isle. Tomas made it look very much like the cottage Leif had left behind. He cried grateful tears. He had a little of his homeland here so far away.

If Leif could give up his home and life and endure being on a ship for Tomas, Tomas would endure the gentle wizard-winter climate they’d created for Leif and the Alpacas. He had to admit,  a big welcoming fireplace, a huge carved four poster bed with bed curtains to pull against the chill, rugs and furs and alpaca wool woven blankets in bright cheerful colors covering the floors, bed and walls made a cozy and rustic little sanctuary. It also wasn’t like he couldn’t walk twenty feet out of the barrier into summertime either. He’d live. Even if handsome young husbands were being evil little shits and throwing snowballs at an unsuspecting wizard spouse. Tomas shivered as it trickled down the back of his neck, Leif had impeccable aim with frozen projectiles. “You’ll pay for that! Come here!” Tomas grinned and chased Leif across the field.

He was fast on his feet too. Tomas was winded by the time he caught Leif and tackled him into a pile of fresh snow. The local children coming to watch the building laughed and played in the snow with the alpacas and Leif grinned and taught children who’d never seen snow how to have proper snowball fights, make snow angels and snow men.

Leif was a huge hit with the children. Sonja was getting her alpaca workers and volunteers together and they all were bundled up, playing with the Dams and the cria while the herdsires and geldings played with the children. It was a beautiful homecoming for them all as they got to know their new land and people.

They spent that first day just acclimating to their new home and family. Leif met Alexandre’s older and also retired brothers, he met the locals, he played with the children. He walked the beach with Tomas and watched in awe Tomas surf waves on a flat board.

Leif had never set a toe in the ocean; waters where he lived were far too cold to be swimming in. So Tomas had to coax him into the water. “Got to learn to swim love. It’s vital to know just in case you fall overboard.”

That logic was enough to sway Leif into the water. It was cold, but nice on his hot skin. Tomas was holding his middle while he attempted to learn to move his arms and legs right. It would take a few days, but they had time. They weren’t intending on leaving any time soon. There was much for Leif to teach the locals in the care of the new herd. He would supervise the training of the new shepherds and also teach Sonja and the other women how to card the wool, thread it, and how to use Sonja’s new loom. There was a lot of work to be done and “the Handmaiden” would more than likely be sitting in her moorings until the reunion again in fifteen months giving Leif ample time to teach others his craft while he got a crash course in learning to be a sailor, like learning how to swim for starters and moving on from there.

That night as Tomas took a nice hot bath inside their new little cottage, he watched through the open door as Leif puttered about the living space. Hanging their instruments on pegs on the walls, tripping over Czarina who had made her presence known in the room, Leif just chuckled and stepped over her, as he laid out the blankets on their bed and tied back the bed curtains. He was always industrious, always doing something of some kind; Leif and the word Lazy could not be used in the same sentence without extreme irony.

“Love you are making me tired watching you. Do you ever take a break?” Tomas called out and Leif turned and smiled.

“Be needing to be done.”

“You’re just futzing now. You’ve moved that rug four times. If you need to keep busy, there’s a nice big tub in here and a husband who’ll let you futz with him.”

Leif laughed. “You just being always in heat Tomas.” But he walked into the room anyway and plunged a hand under the water to grip Tomas’s manhood. “See.” Leif chuckled at Tomas’ hiss of breath, giving him a teasing squeeze and then removing his hand.

“Tease.”

Leif stuck his tongue between his teeth in a grin and winked before he began to undress and slipped into the tub with Tomas. “I like tease. Tomas very… receptive.”

“I’ll show you receptive.”

Leif just smiled and hummed as he leaned over for a kiss. “Later heart of mine. Me be wanting futz more as you say. Wash your hair I want do. Hair so soft, I like much. Then shave you; I like be doing that too. Then maybe I be done. Maybe not.” Leif winked as he shifted to sit behind Tomas on the edge of the tub. Soaking his hair and deft fingers on his scalp made Tomas purr in delight and bliss, the same skilled hands with a sharp razor went to work on Tomas’ chin and once again, a clean close shave was smooth as silk to the touch.

“It’s my turn laddy-o.” Tomas said making Leif switch places with him. Tomas lathered his hair and it was Leif’s turn to moan.

“Oh, that being nice.”

“Aye. I’ll make you relax if it kills me.” Tomas leaned over and kissed the end of Leif’s nose.

“I much relax. Just excited to be being here. Like wonderful dream.”

“Aye. I’ve never been happier beloved.”

“Same me. Much happy, much love feel you and for new home. Look forward many year with you.” Leif smiled up at Tomas and Tomas drank in that look of love and affection.

“Many years indeed beloved. Growing old with you will be a joy.”

“Aye. Bounce grandbaby on knee, tell fib story by fire, drink good beer, laugh much. Aye, be much joy.”

“Grandbaby?”

“Aye. You not be wanting baby of own someday?”

“Well yes, but I never really thought about it much.”

“I in no rush, but Gran Sonja be telling me of Uncles. You be able switch me. I think not really want being woman at all. But would try if we can have child of own. Like children much I do.”

“I’ll keep that in mind then for when we’re ready to try for a family. I’ve no desire right now to be a Daa. I just want to be bloody selfish and have you all to myself for now.”

“Then we be being very much in agreement. Want selfish time with Tomas too. But someday yes. Must pass wizard blood on, part of your duty and being with you mine as well, SHE tell you that no?”

“Aye SHE did. But not immediately. I’m not ready.”

“Aye, me not either. Long time off yet for us.”

“Aye. But we can practice a bit until then.” Tomas grinned and Leif laughed.

“You need no practice. I hear much story of you. Know from experience Tomas love know what he doing.”

“Gran ratted me out?”

“Aye. I honored being lover you choose over others.”

“Love. I may have had a dozen partners. Only one I loved.” Tomas leaned over and kissed Leif soundly and Leif melted.

“Be showing me again talents?” Leif asked as he suggestively climbed out of the tub. Leaning over slowly to pick up a towel off the floor, Tomas groaned.

“Oh aye beloved. Oh Aye.” Tomas smiled seductively as he followed Leif into their bedroom and shut out the cat.

~*~*~*~*

*EPILOGUE* (Ten Years later)

“They’re here!” Yuri cried as she saw “the Handmaiden” make port and she pelted across the pier in excitement. Sascha right on her heels. Tomas and Leif came walking down the plank all smiles, a ten-month old baby on Leif’s very sturdy and slender and male hip. He had not liked being a woman at all, the same as Ilya and the moment the baby was weaned Leif was right back into the skin he fit best in. Not to mention he said he made one hell of an ugly woman in his opinion. Tomas denied it, but Leif knew better. His face was suited for male features, square, cut and lean. He called himself horse-faced as a woman. He and Tomas had very differing opinions on the matter.

But nevertheless, after nine years together they had finally decided to start a family and their son Bram Leifsson-Tomasvich, a double surname to reflect their joint heritage and culture was born on their tenth anniversary. Yuri had only seen her first and only grandchild in a mirror and she was dying to get her hands on him. He was chewing Leif’s collar as they descended. He had silky fine hair like Leif’s, but black as the night sky like Tomas’. His face and eyes were definitely Leif’s and his skin a shade between the two of them. He got the best features from them both. He was a handsome little brute.

“Oh gods let me see my grandson!” Yuri squealed taking the baby off Leif’s hip and showering his little pudgy face with a myriad of kisses. “Oh I could eat him up! Who is Gran’s big boy?”

“We’ve lost my mother and our son for the duration of the reunion.” Tomas chuckled as hugs were exchanged and news shared.

“How was your journey?” Sascha asked as the family headed off the pier toward the longhouse.

“Not too bad. Five or six stubborn pirates. Mainly dealt with bad weather rescues this time out. Bad hurricane nearly wiped out Nanta’s crops. I spent quite a bit of energy there spelling the fields and rushing a new harvest growth. They’d totally lost all the mature growth. Pretty bad. You?”

“Your mum and I finally made the trip north, met your Father Leif. Nice chap, he sends his love and asks we pass on a guilt trip on to you. Says it’s been six years and he’d like to see you again.”

Leif chuckled. “Aye. We are planning on going after we leave here. He has not heard about Bram. We figured we’d tell him he had a grandson in person. Easier to explain HOW if he can see. Aspect changes are not something my people have even heard of let alone seen. Not that I be showing them what I look like as woman. Most ugly.”

“Oh not again, you’re not ugly!”

“Not as man no. As woman horse-face, you fib to make me feel better.”

“I don’t fib. You’re not ugly damn it. You’re not a goddess no, but you’re far from ugly.”

“Tomas bias.”

“This is an old argument.” Sascha grinned as they reached the longhouse and Sonja came over to greet the baby. Tatiana with her arms holding a stuffed toy that looked like an alpaca.

Well, vaguely like one, you could tell an eleven-year-old made it. “For my nephew!” She grinned and handed it to her big brother.

“Did you make this?” Tomas asked indulgent.

“Aye. All by myself! Mum didn’t help me at all!” She was pleased with herself. She’d made it from the tightly women alpaca fleece that Sonja made. Soft and filled with unprocessed fleece, perfect for sleeping babies to cuddle up with at night.

“Why don’t you give it to him?” Tomas handed it back to his sister who went over to her new nephew and it went straight in his mouth.

“Success! If it goes in his mouth love, he likes it.” Tomas laughed and Leif rolled his eyes.

“Being most things he loves much then. Chew on dry dung-rock if give him. Cut teeth on table leg if let!” Leif mumbled under his breath at Sonja who laughed.

“He being a handful?”

“He being Tomas son much. I have two hand full.” Leif grinned and Sonja cackled.

“You married him.”

“Gods have much sense of humor I be thinking. But I have much fun. They both be brining me many smiles.” Leif grinned, watching Sascha bounce Bram on his knee.

“That they do love. That they do!” Sonja grinned as food was passed around and the family reunited and gathered to meet the newest member. Who was chewing on whomever held him as he was passed around from hand to hand.

~*~*~*~

Johan saw the red sail in the distance and hurried to send out the guide ships. Three other traders were in port and the once small village was now a bustling port of trade. As the ship drew closer and Johan realized it was “the Handmaiden” he dropped all he was doing in his hands and raced to meet his son and son-in-law.

Johan’s jaw dropped to the vicinity of his shoes as Tomas and Leif walked down the plank, a toddler shaped bundle of coats propped on Leif’s hip.

Leif smiled as they stopped and turned to indicate the eighteen-month-old baby on his hip. “Father be meeting Bram, Your grandson. Bram can you say Herga?”

“HEGA!” The babe said hello, badly, in Leif’s tongue.

“Herga Bram. Really being Grandson? When adopt?” Johan asked stunned.

“No adopt. Tomas and I be birthing him, he being mine. Look at face, not tell mine?” Leif asked and Johan took the child and settled down with him on his lap.

“How? I seeing both Tomas and Leif in him! How?”

“Well Johan, that’s a long story. Let’s just say I have a few tricks up my sleeve and your son was a daughter for about a year.” Tomas winked and Johan once again looked like a stunned reindeer.

“You were woman?”

“Just long enough being to have son with Tomas. I still man, just have Tomas change body for little while. Hard to explain. I know nothing how he does change either. Wizard do many things I have no way describe. But we want son, so we have Bram.”

“Name him after Mother Father?”

“Aye. I like name, Tomas too. Come it being cold, no want Bram catch cold, not being used to cold he not. Inside please, talk much over warm drink.”

“Aye. Welcome home son. And Hergastol Meina An Lina Bram dotta!” Johan said bouncing his Grandson inside to immediately show him off to everyone who’d listen to him babble on like a proud grandfather.

“What did he say love?” Tomas asked as they followed. He knew a good portion of the language now, but not all.

“He say ‘Welcome Home Mine Most Loved Grandson Bram’.” Leif smiled almost tearful with happiness and firmly at peace inside.

Just over a decade ago, he would have never dreamed he’d hear his father say those words. Gers had no sons, had no honor. But times do indeed change and people change. Leif had everything he had ever desired. He had his honor restored, he had his beloved husband at his side, they had their son and they were always welcome in Skanda and Leif drank in his homeland.

He may travel the world at his husband’s side. Working with animals and people in places so far away from this land he’d never have imagined them as a boy. His home on Safe Harbor was a little pocket of nostalgia and yet no matter how far he went, no matter where he was, Skanda was always a part of him and it was good to be home again.

BE ENDING NOW



TO READ THE ENTIRE SERIES:

FOLLOWING TIDES PART I "ILYA and VAN" Go here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V **  PART VI ** PART VII ** PART VIII ** PART IX ** PART X




FOLLOWING TIDES PART II "SASCHA and YURI" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI ** PART VII **




FOLLOWING TIDES PART III "TOMAS and LEIF" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI **


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