Addergoole
Bonus Story
Memory
All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then


He came to consciousness again, this time back to his body, as well, lying on something firm but comfortable – a bed? Someone was holding his hand, someone with cool, dry hands that were nonetheless squeezing very firmly. His whole body ached, down to the joints, but it was a pleasure simply to have a body he could feel again, and – he tested, wiggling the fingers of his free hand – and move of his own volition.

“There you are.” The voice was back again, sounding worried. “You can’t go doing that yet, it’s like trying to run on a broken leg.”

“I’m sorry,” he croaked. His throat was parched and sore.

“Do what?” the other voice snapped, the voice he knew was his mistress. Regine. “Reid, what are you talking about?”

“He started digging for memories he doesn’t have yet,” the first voice explained. Had he? Ah, yes. Regine.

“He was conscious? Why didn’t you tell me?” There was a shrillness in her voice that didn’t sound right. She was unhappy; his knees curled up to his chest before he realized that he could move that much.

“You’re a major shaper of his life, Regine. He wasn’t ready to deal with that yet.”

“And what happened?” she snapped.

“He started trying to remember you, and knocked himself unconscious again.”

“Oh.” Was she really his mistress? And was it normal, to have a mistress at all? He blinked, wondering if he dared open his eyes.

“It’s all right, Ambrus. Open your eyes,” the voice said gently. Because he trusted that voice, he did, blinking cautiously but finding the light dim and pleasant.

She was sitting there, a beautiful blonde woman, a stranger whose love for him was a thudding, twisting thing in this odd extra sense, someone with whom he had no memories but still…

… still felt for, very strongly, a mixture of emotions. Loyalty and fear and frustration and, overlaying all of that, affection. Love. He loved this stranger.

“Ambrus.” She squeezed his hand again. “I’m glad you’re all right.”

“He’s not out of the woods yet, Regine,” the voice interjected. Ambrus could see him now, looking like his voice sounded, grey-haired and a little disheveled and very fatherl –

No, not fatherly. Professorial. He didn’t know why his brain shied so firmly away from the f-word, but he trusted his instincts. They were all he had to go on, after all. The professorial man nodded at him, as if he could read his mind – which made sense, didn’t it? “We need to rebuild his memories. Your memories, Ambrus. They’re all still there, or, at least, there are still impressions of them left in the brain. We just need to, ahem, restore from backup.”

He looked into Ambrus’ eyes then, looking solemn and intent. “All right, son, I’m not going to lie. This is going to hurt. You’re going to get a lifetime of pain and suffering.”

“Reid,” the woman complained.

“It does him no good to sugar-coat it. This way he can at least brace himself.”

“I still think…”

“It’s all right,” he interrupted. His voice was still a croak; this time, someone handed him a glass of water. He drank thankfully before continuing. “I can… I guess I can feel it, around the edges. There are places where I’m happy, or sad, or afraid-” mostly afraid, but he didn’t want to say that “-and I don’t understand why.”

The woman studied him for long enough that he began to squirm, and then, as if noticing his discomfort, she nodded. “All right then. Some decisions have to be made one’s self, I suppose.”

“Never truer,” the voice – Reid? – murmured. “Now, Ambrus, I want you to think about names.”

Names. There was an echo of some ancient power just in the word, more so in the thought.

Meeting Tristan for the first time:

Why do you think I named you that? I saw when you were barely a day old that your Ysolde would break your heart.

Meeting Emrys for the first time:

“What’s your name?”

“My name. You don't even know my name." Emrys shook his head, a quick, belligerent motion. "Emrys Morn," he spat.

“Emrys,” Ambrus smiled. “So she did keep it. Good.”

Before that, holding his baby son. The boy’s mother had already decided to hate him, but at that moment, it didn’t matter. The collar around his neck didn’t matter – he’d made his deal. This one, this child, would never be held the way he was.

“This is the one,” he told his owner. She, who had no place in the ceremony to come, still nodded, understanding what he meant even if the boy’s mother would not. “This one is my son.”


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