Wullie drifted awake with a contented smile, as the first fingers of dawn crept across the floor towards the bed where the warm, naked body of his Queen curled possessively round him. If he’d imagined six months ago that this was where he’d find himself whenever he was home, he’d have called himself ‘Daft’. But here he was and he was fulfilled.
As his Elven lover shifted slightly in her sleep, he felt the cool touch of the golden wrist cuff he had made for her brush across his skin. She had loved her gift, the first of many he had made, and wore it always. He could not fathom what had made her consider his advances on their return from the temple mission, but she had and they were now together.
A more superstitious Gnome might speculate that someone was watching over him, but that wasn’t Wullie and he was not going to get complacent about his apparent good luck. In fact – despite only Hamish and himself returning from the temple mission, they had seemed to have luck on their side ever since. They’d been on many missions with their new squad since then and despite all the dangers, both Gnomes had returned unscathed from them all. They were getting a reputation.
In a few hours he & Hamish would be off on another mission for their Queen, but no need to get up yet. Wullie twisted round and snuggled closer to his love, gently caressing her face. She was as beautiful as she was wise. He wondered idly if the possibility that the Gnomes were undying was giving her some vague hope that his life might not be as transient as many of the others in the citadel. She had lived more lifetimes than most, bar a few of her Elven courtiers and it was a harsh, uncaring world out there. He really hoped that he was providing her with the comfort and love she deserved.
Wullie highly doubted his life would be any longer than most, but while there was breath in his body he would return to her. She had told him that whenever he was away on missions she found herself anxious for him to return. Their celebratory reunions confirmed the truth of it to him. He might only be her consort, but he would do anything for her, even more so than when he was but a mere scout prepared to die for his secretly beloved – if such a thing were even possible.
He pulled her close to him. A little longer till he would have to get up and prepare to meet Hamish and the rest of their squad. Before he left their quarters, his love would fuss over him in a most un-queenly manner, while he would shower her in kisses and sing Elvish love songs. Then they would exit into the more public areas of the palace, where they would be all dignity and decorum. The Gnomes, with the squad, would have their final briefing. The Queen would let him and Hamish borrow things from her private armory if the mission indicated they might need more than their usual kit. And then they’d be off with a marching song to carry them on their way.
Wullie’s smiled again. He was one fortunate Gnome!