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Literature
No One Can
They told me as a girl
Not to let strangers in
How I thought they were wrong
Till it stretched me so thin
All the lies, the excuses
Broken promises, abuses
Kept me waiting, strung me along
Said I asked for too much, told me I was wrong
I give all I have
All for nothing
Don't say it
No one can
The scared boys who didn't know
What they really wanted
The ones who ran away
And left me haunted
The ones who told me to jump
And vanished when I'd fall
Those pieces I pick up
The one's I don't want at all
That near-perfect storm
On the other side of the fence
Looking back at this form
Without any pretense
But I'm out in the cold
In the dark, and all alone
And the daydreams playing
On the stage within my mind
Are a farce that lights up faster
Than a Barnum-burned demise
I used to write poetry
Now it's just lines on a page
That don't capture the feelings
Of the heartache and rage
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Literature
Blue Shoes
I am the lady in red.
Here I am at the wedding that is not mine.
The centerpieces have books and teacups
and baby's breath, like the ones I would have
at my wedding.
But they are not mine.
I sit alone on a chair away from the tables
and watch the bridesmaids run to and fro
performing their duties.
I thought that at this wedding I would at least be that much.
But I am only a guest.
By my feet, a pair of blue shoes await
for the return of their owner.
They look like the kind of shoes
I would wear, and I wonder
who they belong to.
And then, the bride appears
and takes a seat beside me briefly.
The shoes are hers.
She wears a flowing white dress to the knee
and slips into the blue shoes as she smiles at me.
I embrace her and wish her well,
my heart full of joy for her.
And then, it's time to light the sparklers
and send them away.
I stand in the row of well-wishers
and watch her skirt swish around her legs
as the blue shoes carry her away
into eternal bliss.
I tried to buy my own blue
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Literature
The Arrangement Pt.8 (Final)
"Where are we going?" Athena laughed as Atem pulled her through the palace nearly at a run, her hand clasped firmly in his.
"If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise."
"Well, what's it for?"
Atem pursed his lips and then said, "Think of it as a belated wedding present."
Athena was intrigued. His excitement thrilled through her, and she was eager to see whatever it was that had him so excited. He brought her to an abrupt stop in the middle of a central courtyard in the palace. Glancing around, he made eye contact with one of the servants, who smiled and nodded once. Atem returned the gesture and then whistled loudly. Almost immediately, Athena heard the sound of Atem's two rambunctious hounds come galloping down the corridor, barking and panting gleefully as they came. Athena rolled her eyes when she finally caught sight of them, and then gasped, her hand flying to her throat when she saw a third dog racing alongside them. The third dog was much smaller and had long white hair. His bark
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Literature
The Arrangement Pt.7
Everyone wondered at the great change in the usually serious and even-tempered young prince. He smiled and laughed cheerfully, and his eyes glowed merrily wherever he went. Whenever someone inquired after his young bride, a broad smile stretched across his face and he would duck his head bashfully and respond that she was well. Everyone could see that Prince Atem was clearly in love. Whenever the couple entered a room together, everyone's eyes were drawn to Atem as he gazed at his young bride with utter adoration. It became well-known throughout all of Aegyptus that Prince Atem truly loved his wife.
Poets began to praise the prince's attentiveness. Images of the couple were painted in several places on the walls throughout the palace. This pleased Atem's mother greatly and made her adore Athena all the more for the happiness Atem had clearly found in her. It was at the two-month mark that rumors began to circulate that Athena was expecting a child. Where the rumors originated from was
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Literature
The Arrangement Pt.6
Dinner was...interesting, to say the least. Strange and exotic foods were presented to Athena. Flavors and spices she had never tasted before greeted her palate. She wasn't sure if she like any of the food, honestly, but she was so hungry that she wolfed down whatever was offered. She contributed to the conversation when necessary, but for the most part, she sat back and kept silent, watching her new husband with curiosity. His voice was deep and masculine, and he spoke with confidence. Though it was becoming clear to her that he was not a man of many words, whatever he did say carried weight. Though they were far below his social class, many of the servants and ladies-in-waiting standing around the perimeter of the dining room hung on his every word when he spoke, clearly smitten with his good looks and charisma. Athena's own pulse quickened whenever he looked her way or attempted to draw her into the conversation.
At last, the queen yawned and stretched. "I think it is high time we a
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Literature
The Arrangement Pt.5
Atem’s heart thumped hard in his chest as he gazed into her eyes. Then, slowly, he lowered his head. Her eyelashes tickled his cheek, and a shiver went through him when she turned her face up to him. His lips brushed the corner of her mouth, feather light and cautious.
An electric current went through him when her lips met his. What am I doing?! His mind was so hazy he couldn’t think. He was kissing her. She was kissing him. Somewhere in the back of his thoughts, the more logical part of his consciousness was screaming “Wake up, you fool! She doesn’t even know who you are!”
When he abruptly pulled away, she blinked up at him. Water droplets clung to her lashes, making her look like some sort of tragically beautiful water goddess. While every fiber of his being quivered excitedly from the tingling her kiss had left on his lips, he suddenly blurted, “Aren’t you married to the prince?”
An angry squall abruptly darkened A
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Literature
The Arrangement Pt.4
Athena woke with a start and sat up, looking around herself in all directions. The room was dark and empty, but she could have sworn that she had heard something. Trying to ignore the shiver that ran up her spine, she suddenly remembered her plan and scrambled out of bed. Quietly flipping open several of her trunks, she found the gold jewelry she knew her father had sent with her--four armbands, a golden headband, five bracelets, five rings, and three necklaces. Next, she grabbed two of her favorite dresses, one a light blue color and the other a dark green, and an extra pair of sandals. She wrapped all of this up in one of the white sheets of fabric she’d found earlier in the other trunk. Securing her bundle with two crisscrossing knots, she stepped out onto the balcony and took in her surroundings. She guessed she could probably climb down from the balcony to the ground. It wasn't terribly high up, so even if she fell, the worst case scenario might be a broken leg.
Thanks to ye
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Literature
The Arrangement Pt.3
Atem was at war with himself. Half of him was burning with curiosity to see his bride, while the other half of him was ready to jump into the Nile and swim away to safety. A small part of him had always held on to the hope that he would choose whom he would marry one day. All that came crashing down with the proposed alliance with Athens. He had seriously considered abandoning everything several times whenever he thought of marrying a perfect stranger. But, honor had won out, and he had remained true to his responsibilities. For the good of his people and his kingdom, he would square his shoulders and play his part in uniting the two nations.
But now that she was officially here, in the flesh, and possibly only a room away, Atem found himself fidgeting and fussing. Quite literally, the only two things he knew about her were that she was very beautiful and that her name was Athena. It wasn’t much to go off of. What if she hated him? What if they couldn’t stand one another? A
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Literature
The Arrangement Pt.2
Greece had always afforded Athena all that she could ever want, by way of luxury and comfort all her life. But at the awesome sight of the white-walled temples, the impressive columns and statues, the impossibly large pyramids, and the exquisitely painted frescoes of the royal palace, she couldn't help standing agape at all the magnificent splendor that was Hwt-ka-Ptah. The royal palace sat on the banks of the Nile river, where bathing pools had been constructed. Athena and the whole caravan were received by her majesty the queen and her many ladies-in-waiting. Hundreds of servants came pouring out of the palace to assist in bringing in the many gifts from Acroneos, as well as all of Athena's possessions. She noticed that neither the great pharaoh nor the young prince were anywhere in sight. Damned kid is probably off picking his nose somewhere she thought bitterly.
The queen greeted Athena formally, and Athena bowed to her politely. Athena had steeled herself for every pos
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Literature
The Arrangement Pt.1
His majesty, Acroneos, signed the final agreement with a flourish of his quill, Ακρονεοσ. He smirked, obviously very pleased with himself. It pleased him greatly that an alliance with the most powerful kingdom in the modern world had been achieved through such simple means. No wars. No slavery. All it had cost him was the hand and dowry of one of his daughters.
She knew nothing of her upcoming marriage, as of yet. But then, you couldn't tell Athena anything without causing an uproar. Had it been any other nation, he would have chosen one of his less attractive but more compliant daughters. But this was Aegyptus*. Nothing less than the best would do for his offering. The ambassadors of the pharaoh had all been in agreement that Athena was, indeed, the fairest of his daughters. Though her sisters were not at all unattractive, Athena was an exceptional beauty. Long, dark hair fell in natural wavy curls to her narrow waist. Her build was slender and
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Literature
England x Timetraveler!Reader: Something Old Pt2
14 October 1066 AD
Battle, Wessex

Waking in the morning was less pleasant than the day before. Rather than slowly waking to the sun warming my skin and the smell of grass and earth, I jolted awake to faint but direct early morning light piercing my eyes through the window. But no, not the window, the trees. I could see my breath clouding over my face, and I shivered and wrapped my arms around myself. It was FREEZING. My clothes were damp, and leaves from the forest floor clung to the fabric. The ground was hard and cold. I sat up abruptly and looked around, shivering harder all the while. I was lying on a forest floor somewhere. I was still wearing the same dress I had been wearing yesterday, but it was a bit dirtier now than it had been yesterday.
I stood and leaned against a tree, my fingers and toes beginning to sting with the cold. Why was it so cold? It was summertime! Was it always so cold here in the early morning? It didn't seem likely, as this wasn't a desert cli
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Literature
Soldier!England x Reader: All's Fair Pt10
Francis locked the front door behind himself, taking a small measure of comfort in the secure sound of the bolt sliding home in the lock. He rested his forehead against the door, taking a deep breath and trying to calm himself. He and Arthur had driven through the streets without the headlights lit on the car for the past hour. There was no sense in making a target of themselves to any allied bomber planes that might be passing overhead. They hadn't been particularly concerned about breaking curfew. They were, after all, driving around in an official Nazi vehicle with Arthur wearing one of the higher-up uniforms.
 
Francis straightened up and headed toward the kitchen to grab a stack of paper towels. He still had to clean up the blood in Arthur's room. He could burn the evidence in the fireplace in his own bedroom when he was finished.
Even though he owned a larger-than-average house for Paris, they were still pretty crammed with all of the band members staying there. Th
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Literature
Soldier!England x Reader: All's Fair Pt9
Arthur nearly kicked his way through the emergency room doors. _________ was limp in his arms, and the coat he had wrapped around her was saturated with her blood. His heart thumped in his chest like artillery fire. The nurses in the emergency room looked like nuns with their hair kept up in white caps to match their starched white uniforms. They jumped to their stations moments after his dramatic entrance. Two came forward with a stretcher while another brought pads of gauze when she saw the blood, asking Arthur quickly but calmly, "What happened?"
"Gunshot wound," Arthur said, his voice shaking, "We had a break-in, and the stupid fool shot her—" Arthur's voice caught as he momentarily let his emotions get the better of him, "He shot her..." While this was true, all he could think about was how this was all his fault. When they took _________ from his arms and started to wheel her away, he began to follow the nurses down the hall. But the third nurse stopped him at the double do
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Literature
Soldier!England x Reader: All's Fair Pt8
No one was present at the nurse's station when you stepped out into the hall. Head still spinning. No one seemed to notice you as you made your way down a staircase and slipped out a back door of the hospital. Glancing around at your surroundings, you began to make your way down the street. The air was cool, and when you reached the end of the street you paused to lean against the wall of the hospital building. Across the road, you could faintly make out the sound of lapping water. You were somewhere on the Sienne, then. Above your head, you faintly could make out the name of the road Rue D'Arcole. You panted and pressed your head against your hand where it rested on the wall, waiting for the black spots in your vision to clear. If you were on Rue D'Arcole, and the river was right there, then that must mean...
"I'm at the Hôtel-Dieu de Paris," you whispered to yourself. The oldest hospital in Paris, just next to Notre Dame. Your mind was racing, trying to
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Literature
Soldier!England x Reader: All's Fair Pt7
You were really getting sick of hearing the word "miracle." Between killing four Nazi agents and the fact that both your cover and Arthur's were blown, the fact that you were still alive seemed to be far from a miracle. It was due to the bullet having somehow missed all of your vital organs and exited clean out the back that all of the doctors and nurses were wagging their tongues over you. You could already see the papers flying off the press with the news of the nation's beloved Popsie getting shot. You had no idea how you were going to cover things up this time. You honestly wished that that bullet hadn't missed its mark. Now you and Arthur were left to clean up the mess and figure out how to hide Beilshmidt and his goons.
Now you sat on the edge of your bed with your hospital-provided nightgown pulled up, staring down at the sutures in your side, trying unsuccessfully to figure out what your next move would be. You replayed the scenes in your head over and over of waking
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Literature
England x Timetraveler!Reader: Something Old Pt1
966 AD
Border of Mercia and Wales

I had never awakened in such an unfamiliar place before. Or had I? It was all so hard to remember. It was unfamiliar, because at the back of my mind some part of me insisted I had never woken up in a place like this before. For one thing, I was outside somewhere, lying on my back looking up at a beautifully clear blue sky. For another, tall grass swayed around me in the breeze, hiding me from the world for now as I lay contemplating the peculiarity of finding myself here. 
How had I gotten here?....I couldn't remember.
I thought harder, frowning with the effort to try and recall even the slightest wisp of a memory that would explain what had led me to this place. But there was nothing. It was as if my mind was a blank slate. Almost as though I had been born here in this field. And then something unexpected roused me from my contemplative state when I finally noticed, too late, the sound of footsteps tromping through the grass toward me.
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Activity


I had a random streak of inspiration recently and spent two straight days writing this story nonstop, and I'm very pleased with it. If you like ancient Egypt and romance, enjoy!
The Arrangement Pt.1
So.... I kinda got the inspiration to write a story about an arranged marriage between an Egyptian prince and the princess of a foreign nation. Here's the synopsis for you:

The King of Athens and the Pharaoh of Egypt have arranged an alliance through a marriage between an Egyptian prince and an Athenian princess. But this princess has other ideas about her fate...

Even though all of her possessions have been moved into the palace, making her effectively married to the prince of Egypt, Athena decides to take matters into her own hands and make an escape into the city. However, she makes an unexpected encounter as she's making her way out of the palace...

*"Aegyptus" was the name commonly used to refer to the land of Egypt by the 8th century B.C.
**Ancient capital city of Memphis - now part of present-day Cairo
***Greek equivalent to hell
They told me as a girl
Not to let strangers in
How I thought they were wrong
Till it stretched me so thin

All the lies, the excuses
Broken promises, abuses
Kept me waiting, strung me along
Said I asked for too much, told me I was wrong

I give all I have
All for nothing
Don't say it
No one can

The scared boys who didn't know
What they really wanted
The ones who ran away
And left me haunted

The ones who told me to jump
And vanished when I'd fall
Those pieces I pick up
The one's I don't want at all

That near-perfect storm
On the other side of the fence
Looking back at this form
Without any pretense
But I'm out in the cold
In the dark, and all alone

And the daydreams playing
On the stage within my mind
Are a farce that lights up faster
Than a Barnum-burned demise

I used to write poetry
Now it's just lines on a page
That don't capture the feelings
Of the heartache and rage
I am the lady in red.

Here I am at the wedding that is not mine.

The centerpieces have books and teacups
and baby's breath, like the ones I would have
at my wedding.

But they are not mine.

I sit alone on a chair away from the tables
and watch the bridesmaids run to and fro
performing their duties.

I thought that at this wedding I would at least be that much.
But I am only a guest.

By my feet, a pair of blue shoes await
for the return of their owner.

They look like the kind of shoes
I would wear, and I wonder
who they belong to.

And then, the bride appears
and takes a seat beside me briefly.
The shoes are hers.

She wears a flowing white dress to the knee
and slips into the blue shoes as she smiles at me.
I embrace her and wish her well,
my heart full of joy for her.

And then, it's time to light the sparklers
and send them away.

I stand in the row of well-wishers
and watch her skirt swish around her legs
as the blue shoes carry her away
into eternal bliss.

I tried to buy my own blue shoes
to run away in.

But now they are hers.

Not mine.
"Where are we going?" Athena laughed as Atem pulled her through the palace nearly at a run, her hand clasped firmly in his.

"If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise."

"Well, what's it for?"

Atem pursed his lips and then said, "Think of it as a belated wedding present."

Athena was intrigued. His excitement thrilled through her, and she was eager to see whatever it was that had him so excited. He brought her to an abrupt stop in the middle of a central courtyard in the palace. Glancing around, he made eye contact with one of the servants, who smiled and nodded once. Atem returned the gesture and then whistled loudly. Almost immediately, Athena heard the sound of Atem's two rambunctious hounds come galloping down the corridor, barking and panting gleefully as they came. Athena rolled her eyes when she finally caught sight of them, and then gasped, her hand flying to her throat when she saw a third dog racing alongside them. The third dog was much smaller and had long white hair. His bark was higher and shorter clipped in his yips. All at once, Athena was running toward him with tears blurring her vision as she cried joyously, "BASIL!"

The little dog was equally overjoyed to see her, and he jumped and wiggled and whined and whined around her, licking her face mercilessly. Athena laughed and cried in intervals, and then she remembered Atem stand several paces away, holding his own hounds back to give her space for her happy reunion. She turned wide eyes to him, her face wet with tears. Basil darted over to Atem's hounds and the three began chasing one another around the courtyard, playing. Athena hurried over to Atem, so overwhelmed she could barely form a sentence. What she did say was several octaves higher than her usual speaking voice.

"How did you--? When did you--? I mean, this is just--!" 

He was pleased with her reaction, but he was still nervous. "Did I get it right?" he asked anxiously.

Athena clasped her hands over her middle, beside herself with joy, "Oh, yes! Exactly right! How...how did you know?" she asked, reaching for his hand.

Atem wiped the tears from her cheeks, "You said 'Basil' that day. I spoke about you with one of the Ambassadors who represented Pharaoh in Athens. I knew he, in particular, would have paid attention to little things while he was there." He took her other hand, "Important things."

"And he knew about Basil?"

Atem nodded. "After he told me who Basil was, I sent a representative to Athens to bring Basil here for you."

Athena grabbed Atem's face and jerked his mouth to hers. Nearly falling over, he pressed her close to his body and returned the kiss, smiling against her lips.

When she pulled away to look at her old companion playing with the other hounds, he watched her for a moment and then asked, "Are you happy?"

Her eyes sparkled brightly when she turned to meet his anxious gaze, and then she embraced him tightly, "I am very happy."

_____________________

Later that night, Athena found herself down at the bathing pools submerged up to her hips in the water. Half of the time she would wear a foundation garment when she bathed, but tonight, she stood bare in the moonlight. She had sent the servants that usually tended to her out so she could be alone. She glided her hands over the glassy surface of the cool, still, waters, lost in thought. Her mind wandered back to the first time she had ever touched the Nile--the night Atem had rescued her from the crocodile. What must he have thought of her when he first saw her standing on the shore?

She stepped out deeper into the water and sank in up to her neck, her hair fanning out around her in dark tendrils. She recalled the feeling of his arm across her body as he towed her back to safety and closed her eyes. And suddenly she wondered what he would think if he came across her now. She stood and climbed the steps out of the water, reaching for a towel to dry off. When she turned back to the pool for a moment, she paused, gazing down at her reflection in the water. She stared at herself for a long time, taking in every line and curve of her naked body, a tremor running through her. She dried off quickly after several minutes and dressed, hurrying to return to her bedchamber.

Wearing only a sheer foundation garment, she sat at the toilet table, staring off into space as she ran a brush through her nearly dried hair. Atem had been called away earlier by the king on some business affair, leaving her with Basil for company. Basil had long since fallen asleep, happily curled up in a pile of her garments on the floor.

When Atem finally returned and closed the doors behind himself, Athena's heart began to pound as she watched him. When he saw her at the toilet table, he smiled and went to her, "You're up late." He knelt in front of her and took her hands, "Is everything alright?"

Athena freed one of her hands to reach up and touch his face. Atem closed his eyes and leaned into her touch, still smiling. Heart still pounding and her hands beginning to tremble, Athena leaned down and kissed him. He welcomed the affection, warm and undemanding. Athena broke away and stood, leading him by the hand. He gently pulled her back, taking her other hand in concern, "Athena, what is it? You're trembling like a leaf."

It was then that he suddenly noticed the sheer garment she was wearing. It left little to the imagination. Atem's eyes widened. Athena took a deep breath and then stretched up to wind her arms around his neck and kiss him again, deeper this time. His response was immediate. His hands slid around her waist and drew her closer, his own heart beginning to pound. Athena pulled away and rested her forehead against his.

"Atem?" she whispered.

"Yes?" his voice was hushed.

"Take me to bed."

He tensed, his heart rate climbing, and pulled back, searching her face to make certain he wasn't misunderstanding her. When he saw that he hadn't misinterpreted her meaning, he asked quietly, "Are you sure?"

Still trembling, Athena clung to him. But she was determined. "Yes," she whispered. "I'm sure."

_____________________

Athena shifted uncomfortably in her seat for the fourth time in as many minutes. Her obvious discomfort hadn't escaped Panatha's notice, and she asked, "You're awfully fidgety today, Athena. Is everything alright?"

Athena's mouth tightened into a thin line, "It's nothing. I'm fine." But she shifted again and grumbled under her breath.

Panatha wasn't oblivious. The moment she had set eyes on her friend this morning, she could tell something had happened. Athena looked dazed and she had an unusual glow about her countenance.

"Still sore?" Panatha asked casually, biting her lip to hide a smile as she placed a card on the table in front of her.

"Yes," Athena sighed. Then she started and looked at Panatha, who was grinning knowingly from ear to ear.

"Well?" Panatha tilted her head, "Are you going to give me the details, or are you going to make me play the guessing game?"

"It's hardly any of your business," Athena snapped. "The details shall remain strictly between Atem and I."

Panatha threw herself at Athena and shrieked with delight, "Oh, my dearest Athena! I thought it would never happen!"

Athena pushed her friend away, embarrassed and irritated. "Stop it," she flushed.

Panatha propped a hand under her chin and gazed at Athena with a proud glow, "Well? Was it like you thought it would be?"

Athena squirmed, "Almost." Then she reclined on the chaise, discarding her game cards and sighing, "Must we discuss this?"

"Of course we must!" Panatha cried. "What finally made you decide to do it?"

At this, Athena couldn't help smiling, "My wedding present."

Panatha glanced over at Basil on the floor, chewing on a gristly chunk of bone. "That mongrel dog?" She asked disbelievingly.

"That is my mongrel dog, thank you," Athena smirked. "He had Basil brought over from Athens for me as a surprise."

"Hm." Panatha clearly still didn't understand it. "And...why was that the magical reason?"

"Well..." Athena gazed off into the distance, trying to understand herself why Atem's wonderful gift had been what finally won her over. Finally, she ventured, "I suppose...it was because it showed me that he really does want me to be happy."

"That and that he absolutely adores you."

Athena looked down, tracing invisible patterns on the chaise with her fingertip. "I know." she murmured quietly. Then she looked up at Panatha seriously, "I think..." she faltered. "I think I love him."

Panatha's expression melted and she sighed dreamily, "Oh, Athena..."

Athena flopped onto her back, sighing and closing her eyes. Then, the corner of her mouth twitched, and she said, "I do have one question."

"And what's that?"

Athena peeked at her, "Is it normal to be this sore?"

Panatha burst into fits of giggles, "Oh, yes. It's perfectly normal the first time."

Athena suddenly looked curious, "But not anytime after?"

"That would depend on how wild you two are."

Athena flushed all the way to her hairline, "Alright, we're changing the subject."

_____________________

Atem and Athena sat across from one another at the game table, silent and unmoving. Athena was humming to herself, but she still had as of yet to tell Atem why she had dragged him here. She had forcibly brought him here to play a game of Senet, which she was starting to become quite adept at, but she hadn't said anything. Not yet, anyway. Atem knew her well enough by now to know that she had something to say, and she was simply holding back to drive him mad with suspense.

"Is there a reason you brought me here, or are we just having fun?" he finally asked.

"Shh!" Athena narrowed her eyes at him, "I'm planning my next move!"

Atem fidgeted. The one thing she had told him was that someone special was coming to meet him, but that he must wait patiently.

"May I inquire whether this person is someone I know?"

Athena continued to hum and said, "It will be a new acquaintance."

"Hm." He moved his next piece on the board and waited for her to make her next move.

Another hour went by, but no sign of the mysterious stranger manifested itself.

Atem steeled himself to hold his tongue, but when three hours had gone by and the visitor had still not arrived, he levelly asked Athena, careful to temper his irritation, "Exactly how long are we going to wait for this person?"

Athena looked up at him, faking surprise when she said, "Oh, didn't I tell you?"

"No." he responded, mildly irritated.

"Oh. I thought I had. That's funny." she grinned.

"Athena."

"Are you sure? I could have sworn I told you on the way here."

"Athena."

"Maybe you just didn't hear me."

"Athena."

"Or maybe you weren't listening."

"Athena!"

She smiled sweetly, "Yes, husband?"

"How much longer are we going to wait for this person to get here?"

Athena leaned back in her chair, twirling a strand of her hair around her finger, "Oh," she pursed her lips, "About nine months or so, I should think." She grinned wickedly at him.

Atem had reached the end of his patience, "You must be joking. You're telling me you made me sit here for three hours to--" Suddenly, her words registered in his brain, and the words died on his lips. "What...did you just say?" he quavered.

Athena leaned across the table and enunciated carefully, "Nine. Months."

Athena shrieked and lept to her feet when Atem overturned the table to get it out of his way. But he wasn't angry, not by a long shot. In the blink of an eye, he was on his knees and had his arms wrapped around her narrow waist, his ear pressed to her belly. Athena laughed and held his head to her.

"Well?" she demanded, "Will it be worth the wait?"

Atem stood and twirled Athena around, kissing her again and again and again as she laughed and clung to him.

Setting her down and resting his forehead against hers, he murmured, "It'll be worth every moment."
The Arrangement Pt.8 (Final)
I should probably leave a note here to inform anyone who has made it this far that it is very likely that I will continue to add bits and pieces on to this story. I enjoyed writing it so much that I'm sure more scenes will pop into my head that I'll want to add. Should you see any random changes, you'll know why!
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Everyone wondered at the great change in the usually serious and even-tempered young prince. He smiled and laughed cheerfully, and his eyes glowed merrily wherever he went. Whenever someone inquired after his young bride, a broad smile stretched across his face and he would duck his head bashfully and respond that she was well. Everyone could see that Prince Atem was clearly in love. Whenever the couple entered a room together, everyone's eyes were drawn to Atem as he gazed at his young bride with utter adoration. It became well-known throughout all of Aegyptus that Prince Atem truly loved his wife.

Poets began to praise the prince's attentiveness. Images of the couple were painted in several places on the walls throughout the palace. This pleased Atem's mother greatly and made her adore Athena all the more for the happiness Atem had clearly found in her. It was at the two-month mark that rumors began to circulate that Athena was expecting a child. Where the rumors originated from was anyone's guess, but the moment Athena caught wind of them, Atem was the unfortunate recipient of her indignation.

"Who said I was pregnant?!" she demanded, pacing the floor of their bedchamber. Atem sat in a chair and watched her as she furiously circled their room like a hawk on patrol, "I can't believe people would gossip about such ridiculous things. As if I would start showing after only two months anyway." She suddenly balked and stopped in front of Atem, "Am I getting fat? Is that what this is about?!" She pulled the fabric of her gown taught over her perfectly-flat belly, searching for any new roundness that might have slipped her notice.

Atem quickly reached out and snatched her by her hands and pulled her onto his lap, "It has nothing to do with your appearance, I assure you." He tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear and said, "You are as lovely as ever. Do not worry so much about the rumors. If they're not true, then they're not true, and that's all that matters."

"Doesn't it bother you?" she asked, amazed at his calm.

He smiled and tilted his head, "I have learned over the years to remain indifferent to such stories. The truth always comes to light eventually. So long as you maintain respectability throughout it, people learn to believe in your character more than the stories."

Athena sighed frustratedly and wrapped her arms around his neck. Atem rested his cheek against her throat and closed his eyes, inhaling deeply. Even when she was angry, she was so charming. Eventually, he could feel her temper cool down. He pressed a kiss to the hollow of her throat and murmured against her skin so quietly that she didn't catch it, "I love you..."

__________________

"By the gods, you're still making him wait?!" Panatha was scandalized.

Athena squirmed, "So? What's wrong with waiting?"

Panatha was one of the noblewomen Athena had met at court, and the two had quickly become fast friends. Panatha was nearly as unconventional and wild as Athena herself. So, naturally, the two had taken to each other immediately.

"What's wrong with--?" Panatha was flabbergasted, "It's a miracle the poor man hasn't exploded yet! Well, all I can say is that Prince Atem is even more of a saint than I thought. To think, you've been married two months now, and you're still making him wait."

Athena's cheeks were on fire now. She wasn't quite sure why Panatha was making such a fuss about it. It was hardly her business anyway. When Panatha had asked Athena whether she and Atem were trying for children yet, she hadn't thought the discussion would turn to this.

"Is there a certain reason you've been putting this off?" Panatha demanded.

Athena could hardly sit still under her friend's interrogation, "Well...no...I guess I just don't feel ready for that yet."

"Pah!" Panatha scoffed, "When I married, my husband set me straight the very first night. I can tell you now, I'm glad we got it out of the way straight off. It makes everything much easier in the marriage, believe me."

"Well, maybe that worked for you, but I feel differently," Athena countered. Panatha gave her a look that made Athena want to crawl and hide under a rock. After a long silence, Panatha told her firmly, "Making him wait this long is cruel, Athena."

"Cruel?!" Athena felt like Panatha was intentionally trying to make her feel bad.

Panatha softened and knelt before her friend, "It is different for men," she calmly explained. "Their desire is strong--so strong that it is akin to a need. When that need remains unmet, it is like torture."

Atem's voice flashed through Athena's mind as she instantly recalled the first night he had held her in his arms, Athena...You're killing me.

All she could think to say in response was, "Oh."

"Yes, oh," Panatha agreed. Watching her friend's face drain of all color, Panatha abruptly decided to change the subject, "Are you hungry? I'm famished. Let's go see what treats we can get from the kitchens."

Athena welcomed the distraction, and she put their conversation quickly out of her mind.

_____________________

As the last light of day was beginning to fade, Atem made his way into the inner throne room where he found his father seated on the throne with his mother standing beside him. Atem dropped to one knee formally, "My lord Pharaoh."

"Rise, Prince Atem."

He did so and stood waiting patiently. He had no idea why his father had summoned him. Indeed, he couldn't even venture a guess at what this might be about. Atem met his father's gaze levelly, respectfully keeping silent.

Pharaoh stood and stepped down from his throne, "Walk with me."

Atem fell into stride between his father and mother as they led him out to the terrace. Pharaoh didn't waste time getting right to the point.

"You have heard the rumors, I presume?"

Atem glanced at him out of the corner of his eye, "The rumors?"

"Of your Athena expecting a child." His mother supplied.

Atem nodded noncommittally, "I have. Though you can hardly expect them to be true."

Servants followed after the three of them carrying large fans to shade them from the hot sun. The king stopped, and looked at Atem hard, "Whether or not they are true is irrelevant. What does concern me is ensuring that the alliance between Aegyptus and Athens is secure."

The king began to walk again, and Atem and his mother followed beside him.

"But my king, has it not already been secured by the marriage contract?" Atem had a sick feeling about where this conversation was going. He couldn't promise his father anything he would not be able to follow through on, but he felt fairly certain that a new order was fast approaching. He wasn't sure he would be able to avoid it.

"Blood ensures a more permanent bond, my son. You and Athena must provide an heir as soon as possible."

Atem was stunned at the magnitude of what his father was asking of him. He adamantly refused to pressure Athena with the demands of the pharaoh, but he knew that this couldn't be avoided forever. He had simply been hoping that Athena would eventually come around so long as he was patient with her.

"Everyone expects it," his mother gently urged. "And perhaps, in this instance, it would serve to be a good thing to let the rumors be true."

This added pressure was the last thing Atem wanted. He stopped walking and looked at the ground, bracing himself. "I will do what I can, my king. But I must ask for your patience in this matter."

Pharaoh's features were hard, but Atem's mother was immediately understanding. "Of course," she smiled kindly. "We shall offer up prayers to the gods to bless you and Athena with a child."

Atem's normally dignified countenance was rattled. His father had seldom ever seen him look so shaken. Suspecting that Atem needed some time to himself, he waved a hand at his son, "You have my leave to go."

Atem bowed low and, completely out of character, made a hasty escape, breaking into a jog once he was out of sight of his parents. The first thing he wanted to do that came to mind was to go straight to Athena and speak with her. But he knew that the added pressure was the last thing she needed right now, and decided to keep it to himself for now. Instead, he headed straight for the bathing pools to cool off and clear his head. Afterward, he made his way back to their bedchamber. He thought he had gotten his stress under control until a sudden burst of frustration broke from him and he slammed the bedroom doors behind himself and stormed across the room, pausing and then sinking defeatedly into a chair, sighing.

Athena was already in bed, but she whipped the curtain to the inner chamber opened at the sound of his entrance and came down to him. She had never once seen Atem lose his temper before. "Atem?" she inquired cautiously.

He didn't respond. He leaned on one of the armrests with his hand over his face. Athena went to him and touched his shoulder, but still, he didn't respond. He actually flinched at her touch. She jerked her hand away, and then knelt in front of him, trying again and taking his free hand, "What is it?"

Atem took a deep, careful breath and let it out slowly. Then, he lowered his hand and took in her concerned expression. His anxiety melted away for a moment, and he smiled kindly at her. "It's nothing."

"Well, that entrance didn't sound like nothing. I thought you were going to break the doors right off their hinges."

Atem sighed, "Yes. I'm sorry for that. I'm afraid I let my temper get the better of me."

"Is that not my job?" she gently teased.

He couldn't help smiling a little, "I met with my father just now. He has certain...expectations of me that are hard to meet at the moment. That is all."

Athena could see the way his eyes were carefully guarded from her, and she realized that he was keeping something to himself. She wondered what sort of expectations those might be, and then it dawned on her. An heir. What other expectation could it be that he couldn't meet yet? She lowered her eyes.

"Athena," Atem crooked his finger under her chin and tilted her face up to look at him. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to distress you. Everything is alright, I promise."

Athena watched him with knowing eyes, and then said, "Alright. I trust you." She stood and then bent to kiss him lightly, "Come. A good night of sleep will help."

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PrincessAutumnArcher Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2014  Student General Artist
Whoa...
Thank you so much for all of the faves! It really means a lot to me. Thank you!
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PrincessAutumnArcher Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2014  Student General Artist
Thanks for the fave! I really appreciate it! ^^
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