The Longest Battle – Ch 51 – Scenes from the Reception


The First Dance

When Jin and Way took to the dance floor it was the meeting of night and day. For the wedding, they wanted everything to be as real as it could be and so neither had changed anything with dream magic. The reception on the hand was a very different matter.

They entered the hall together and were the first on the dance floor when the music began. As they spun and twirled their wedding dresses flowed and morphed to reflect them better. Jin’s dress became an elegant swath of the night sky, stars and galaxies and constellations sparkling in its liquid depths. Way’s gown, by contrast, shown diamond bright, becoming the pale blue of noon with heavenly clouds drifting along, and a brilliant yellow glow of sunshine radiating around her.

In their dance, night and day frolicked and played with such abandon that no one was able to place the moment when Jin stepped into Way’s gown and Way stepped into Jin’s.

As the song finished they bowed to each other and then to their guests and invited all and sundry to join them.

The Parent’s Table

The meeting between Gaia’s Champion and the Knight of Oblivion was one that Jin had been biting her nails over for weeks before the wedding. The last thing in the worlds she wanted to do was to deny Way the chance to share their day with her parents. On the other hand though, the last time Gaia’s Champion and the Knight had met they hadn’t exactly been on cordial terms. Jin had turned into a dragon, had left a crater in the earth and had burned up in an all consuming dark fire that night. She was reasonable sure she wouldn’t need to repeat all of those on her wedding night, but part of her was preparing for the worst anyways.

And then they’d met.

And it was a disaster.

Though not at all how Jin had imagined.

“And when she was two, you should have seen how Jin liked to sing!” her mother, the Champion of Gaia said. “I still have the pictures of the ‘recital’ she put on for the family on her birthday!”

“They’re so adorable at that age aren’t they?” Way’s father asked. “It’s a shame you didn’t bring the pictures with you.”

“Oh, I but I did!”

“We have to see them then!” he said with a delighted smile.

“I can’t believe how well they’re getting along!” Way said, holding Jin’s shoulders. She didn’t seem to intentionally be keeping Jin from strangling her mother, but the effect was largely the same.

The Friends Table

“So you met Jin before she was a dreamlord?”, Quinda, the patchwork girl asked.

“Sort of,” Heartbeat said. “We went to school together but I was in my secret identity and Jin was a bit of a wallflower.”

“How did you finally figure out who each other were?” Quinda asked.

“She helped me rescue a bunch of firefighters from a burning building,” Heartbeat said.

“That sounds pretty brave,” Quinda said.

“I think it was for her,” Heartbeat said. ”If I remember right, it was the first night she had her powers and I don’t think she was too familiar with what she could do.”

“She wasn’t,” Nell said. “And she’d already been through hell rescuing me and a bunch of others from the old Shadow Court realm that night.”

“The one a mile under Brassport?” Heartbeat asked.

“No, the one that got destroyed,” Nell said. “It was a faerie realm but it got wiped out so hard that it retroactively never existed. No one remembers it except for the few of us that escaped before it burned.”

“They’re that powerful?”, Quinda asked, looking at Jin and Way wide-eyed.

“I can never tell,” Nell said. “They have some weird limits, but I think a lot of them are self-imposed.”

“What did they do for you?” Heartbeat asked.

“It was just Way actually,” Quinda said. “She helped me out of the rain and got me to someone who could patch up my wounds.”

“I thought you were saying that your body was filled with the spark of eternal life from the process that reanimated you?” Heartbeat asked.

“It is, but I had deeper wounds that I needed help with,” Quinda said. “Way introduced me to Marcella for that.”

“Ah, is that the woman in the wheelchair who you arrived with?” Heartbeat asked.

“Is she dancing at the moment?” Nell asked, spying Marcella stepping lively to a country line dance.

“Yes,” Quinda said. “From what Way said, this is just a dream for us, for all of us I think, but we’re happy to be here anyways.”

“And we’re happy to have you with us,” Jin said, kneeling down to chat with her guests. “Thank you for joining us, it’s so cool getting to see you folks again, or getting to meet you at last!”

The Wedding Party Table

“So how did your plans for setting up a honeymoon after this workout?” Minnie asked as she helped herself to a slice of cake that was so delicious it had to be the 8th Deadly Sin in material form.

“A certain very nice Professor ran interference for us,” Way said and smiled at Lynne Haffrun who was too busy devouring her own slice of cake to do more than nod and smile in return. “So we’ve got a whole month before we need to report in for our official swearing in ceremony.”

“Do you still think you’ll be able to spend some time working on the Last Island?” Kari asked.

“Definitely!” Way said. “We’re only planning to spend a couple of weeks on our honeymoon. Then we’ll be right back to help with our little project there.”

“What are you doing there?” Peri asked, helping herself to her fifth slice of cake. Jin had promised her a magical evening but the eight year old hadn’t imagine that would include endless slices of cake! And she wasn’t even getting full!

“We’re creating a kind of a refuge for lost travelers and an insurance policy against some of the nastier problems we run into,” Way said. “With our duties Jin and I won’t be able to tend it full time, but it looks we happen to know someone who was recently being courted by the Parliament’s Administration wing.”

“They just said they were interested in reviewing my transcript so far,” Kari said with a slight blush.

“Actually they’re exact words were; what do we have to pay you to let her transfer, just name your price,” Lynn Haffrun said, finally finishing her slice of cake.

The Coworkers Table

“I have to admit, it feels a little strange being invited to their reception,” the man-in-white said.

“You fought against them I take it?” Adella asked. Beside her, Patches the cat boy was lost in a haze of delight at the aroma wafting off a just delivered fish entree.

“A lot of us who make that mistake wind up like this,” Guy McIntyre, or the Monster-Under-the-Bed as he still liked to think of himself, said.

“Living happily ever after?” Madelaine asked her husband.

“Oh, you don’t even need to fight with them for that to happen,” Healer Grida said, winking at Colten as he brought them back two glasses of divinely good wine.

“You all got significant others, all I get is a new teacher,” Samantha said with a wry tone in her voice.

“My star pupil has graduated!” Pen said. “I need someone new to do all the work for me.”

“And you need a chance to stretch your wings at last,” Jin said, giving Samantha a hug.

The Toast

“I would like to propose a toast,” James said. “To the two women who brought us together tonight.”

“When I first met my sister, she was a very different girl than the woman who stands with us tonight. I’ve watched her transform over the years, not through magic or super powers but by becoming more of herself. I know that she’s saved people and done amazing things, but the most inspiring thing I’ve seen her do is learn to be open about who she is.”

“It’s through her openness, I’ve come to know my new sister-in-law. I’ve seen the strength of the love that unites them and how they can find the best in each other because they know how to look for the best in all of us.”

“I’m proud of my sisters, not for what they can do, but for what they chose to do, and not for who they are but for who they chose to be.”

“I don’t think the battle to figure out who we want to be ever really ends, there’s too many choices to pick from, but I think the acceptance, and kindness, and love that they have shown gives us all a bright star to guide ourselves by.”


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