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The Hessian

From the personal journals of Mikanostinocolai, timelord

Chapter 4

The next morning dawned bright and clear, the sun shining brightly, the storm the night before but a pale memory left in the snow.  I put on a pretty black and white striped dress of the period and left my hair in dark ringlets.  Greta came in greeted me with a stifled yawn, at which we both giggled like schoolgirls.

"Do you plan to see him again today?" she asked, anxiously, as if she were the one whose heart was in question.

"I hope so," I answered, his strange parting words still echoing in my mind.  "I'll wait here for a while, maybe he will come for me."  I really had no idea what to do.  I knew much about him, but not where to find him.  Greta nodded and we went down to breakfast.

I waited most of the day, but there was no sign of my strong, Hessian soldier.  It was nearly teatime and still no sign.  I was growing restless.  What if he had really meant what he had said and that last night was goodbye?  I couldn't stay around here any longer... I'd go crazy with worry.  I took up my cloak and announced that I was going for a walk in the woods.  As I made for the door, several patrons watched me, one even chancing to warn me of the ghosts that lurked therein.  Superstitious nonsense, I huffed and took my leave of the cold warmth of the hostelry.

The snow was not very deep and crunched beneath my feet as I trod towards the woods where I had left my TARDIS, the sun having melted the surface just enough to form a thin crust.  I approached the dilapidated looking shack and took out my key.  Looking around just to make sure there was no one about, I inserted the key and disappeared inside.  18th Century Germany was all well and good, but sometimes I just need to be around good old-fashioned modern technology.

Having ascertained that the TARDIS was all right, I went back out into the snowy woods and headed deeper into the forest.  Sometimes I just lose myself in thought and lose all track of time.  The sun had begun to set when I decided I had better head back.  Then I looked around and nothing seemed familiar.  Great.  Here I was all alone in a strange forest with the sun about to set, and me with none of my clever gadgets to help.  I began searching the ground, looking for my footprints in the snow so I could follow them back.  That's when I noticed the other set that weren't mine.  Odd, I thought, for I had heard nothing.  I shrugged it off and soon found my way.  Patting the TARDIS as I passed, I looked up to the rising moon, and quickened my pace.  I bet Greta would be worried sick.  And if DerRighur had shown up I'm sure he'd be wondering where I was as well.

**********

Well, I was right about Greta.  She greeted me at the door with a hot cup of tea and a worried expression.  When the sun had started to set and I had not yet returned, she said her father was about ready to send out the guards to see what had become of me.  Not that he was worried, but that I had not yet paid for the room.  And besides, it wouldn't do for a lodger of his to be found murdered or something out in the woods.  "It would reflect poorly upon this establishment," he had said.

I thanked Greta and removed my snowy things to sit down to the dinner she had waiting on me.  When her father sufficed to leave us alone for a moment, I took the chance to ask her if there had been any word or sign of my friend.  She looked at her hands sadly and shook her head, knowing I would be disappointed at the lack of news.  I sighed and ate my meal in silence, as I wondered what I should do.  It was too late to do anything tonight, I thought, but perhaps I could take the initiative tomorrow.

When I was done, I headed up to my room, my hearts heavy.  I took up my vigil by the window, on the off chance that perhaps he would walk past again.  But something inside told me I was wasting my time.  Yet something else, deeper, stronger, told me to keep on.  I sighed and kept watch.

***********

The next morning Greta came in to find me still by the window, my head propped on one arm, snoring soundly.  She woke me up and helped me dress, saying that today was another day and not to give up hope.  Then she suggested that perhaps she should take a message to him.

I looked at her incredulously.  "You know where he lives?" I asked.  It had never occurred to me to ask Greta.  Of course, I'm sure everyone knew where he was.  Sometimes I could be so dense.

"Of course," she grinned.  "I know,  I'll make a picnic lunch, and you write a note asking him to meet you somewhere and I shall take it to him."

"That sounds like a wonderful plan," I grinned.  Things were beginning to look a little brighter.  So she fetched me some paper and ink and a quill pen, and I wrote out a short note, asking him to meet me in the clearing in the woods at one o'clock sharp.  Then I folded it, sealed it with wax, impressing my thumbprint to secure the seal.  Funny, I mused at this point, how we would be doing much the same thing some 600 years from now, only the wax would be replaced by a data chip on a PADD

Greta tucked the note away in her skirts and donned her cloak, telling her father that she had to go out on an errand.  Before he could protest or ask what she was up to, she was out the door and off down the street.  I watched her go from my window perch and wished her Godspeed.

It wasn't long before she reached the dingy hovels that marked the more seedy side of the town.  Just in time she spotted DerRighur coming out of one of them, carefully locking the door behind him.  She steeled herself and approached him, the note in her hand.

"Please, sir, I .. I have a message for you.  From the Lady Mika."  She held it out as he looked at her in puzzlement.  Without taking his eyes from Greta, he took the note in his gloved hands and carefully removed the seal, preserving my thumbprint.  He quickly read the note and looked away, as if weighing something heavy in his mind.

"Tell her I can't possibly..." he began.  But somehow he couldn't bring himself to speak the words sending Greta and me away forever.  "Tell her I'll be there," he sighed, softly.  Greta nodded and began to hurry off, then she stopped and turned back.

"Sir," she spoke to him, timidly.  "I... Mika is right.  You are not a monster.  You are a kind and noble man, who has been wrongly judged by all of us.  I for one would like to say that I am sorry.  I only wish that the others could see you as we do."

Wilhelm seemed floored by her sudden outburst and did not know what to say.  Greta smiled and gave a small curtsey.  "I hope that someday you can find it within your heart to forgive me," she added, then turned and hurried off to deliver her message.

[note:  I know what transpired here because of what Greta related to me upon her return.]

*************

 I took the simple meal of cold meat, cheese, bread, fruit and wine that Greta had packed into a basket and headed for the little clearing in the woods.  I spread out a hand pieced quilt upon the ground and began to unpack the goodies.  I know I was a little early as it was not yet half past noon .  But I was anxious to see my strong Hessian soldier again.  I longed to see him smile and to know he was happy if even for but a brief moment.  I tried hard not to think of the fate that was to befall him.  I still wondered if I could prevent it or if the Timelords were right and no history, no matter how small and insignificant, could be changed.

Anxious and nervous, and still having time to kill, I ventured into the TARDIS to warm up a little.  I fiddled with a few calculations, projections and such on the TARDIS computer, then piddled about with the database until the one o'clock hour grew near.  I then switched on the scanner and kept a watch out for any sign of my guest.

One fifteen came and went and still there was no sign.  I was about to give up when I caught a movement on the edge of the screen.  It was he, astride a large dapple mare.  I was so relieved and happy that I almost rushed out of the TARDIS/shack at a full run.  But I steadied myself and took a deep breath, and casually emerged from the building just as he had dismounted and was securing the horse's reigns.

"There you are," I smiled, looking him over from head to foot.  He was tall and powerful, resplendent in his black breeches tucked into tall, black riding boots, black brocade waistcoat, and white linen shirt, his black cloak billowing behind him.  His shock of short, black hair stood out at all angles giving him that slightly wild look.  I could see the blue of his eyes from even this distance.  The sight of him nearly took my breath away.  "I was afraid you wouldn't come..."

He looked down at his gloved hands.  "I wasn't going to."

"Why not?"  I walked slowly towards him, wanting nothing more than to take him in my arms and never let go.

"Because... because I am the last person you should have in your life.  I am a curse, a pariah.  You don't want to know me... " he stated quietly.

I crossed to him quickly and placed my fingers gently against his lips.  "Don't talk like that.  You are no such thing.  And I am proud to know you.  If you must know, I sought you out purposefully.  And I'm glad I did.  You're a wonderful man, so strong and handsome..."

He took my hand and examined it.  It looked so small and frail in his.  "You are a strange one, Mika.  I would never in a thousand lifetimes have described myself as handsome.  But... thank you..."  He brought my hand to his lips and kissed it gently, his eyes closing as if savoring the sensation.

I could tell he was struggling inside.  It was as if his heart was battling his head... he wanted to be with me, but knew that it wasn't the best thing for me.  I didn't care what other people thought.  I wanted to be with him, no matter what.  Sensing his trouble, I took his hand and led him to the quilt where I had laid out our meal.  He helped me to sit down then sat across from me.

I set out the crystal goblets that Greta had packed as Wilhelm removed his gloves and opened the bottle of wine.  With a grace belying his size and power, he poured out a measured amount of the sweet Beaujolais for each of us.

I held up my glass and, never taking my eyes from him, proposed a toast.

"To us," I said.

"To you," he countered, "The most foolish yet wonderful thing to ever enter my life."

A chill ran through my body as we sipped our wine, each of us absorbed completely in thoughts of the other.  I took my glass and his and set them upon a nearby tree stump.  Then I leaned in close and touched my fingertips to his cheek.  Wordlessly, he took my hand in his, touching it to his lips.  I then leaned closer and replaced my hand with my own lips. I could taste the lingering sweetness of the wine in the kiss.

Slowly, he responded, our kisses ever deepening.  I could sense the fervent passions which lay deep within this strange and tragic fellow.  If I could only find a way to get him to let them go.

"Do not be afraid," I whispered in his ear as I held him close, my cool cheek pressing against his.  I could feel his heart pounding within his chest, and knew that he could not help but feel mine.  I pulled back and took his face in my hands, losing myself in those deep blue, almost turquoise, eyes of his.

"I... I am not afraid... anymore," he said softly at last.

I drew close and, eyes shut, brushed his lips with mine.  Suddenly, he took me in his powerful arms and kissed me with a passion I had never known before nor have known since.  The sheer force knocked us over and we lay upon the quilt, in the clearing that dim winter's afternoon, entwined, and lost in each other's embrace.

Letting our deeper feelings take command, we hardly noticed the chill in the air as we made mad, passionate love, steam rising from our sweaty, naked bodies.  By the time we had exhausted ourselves, the snow for several feet around us had melted away, exposing the bare, dormant ground beneath.

As I lay atop my Hessian warrior, I drew his cloak over us, and then crossed my arms across his heaving, smooth chest, resting my chin upon my hands.  We looked at each other as if spellbound, contented smiles resting comfortably upon both our faces.

A gentle breeze rustled our hair, then first one, then another snowflake fell, pausing for a moment in our tangled hair, or melting upon contact with our hot skin.  I remember the effect was quite enchanting, as I continued to place small, wet kisses upon his chin.

Wilhelm ran his hands through up my arms and across my shoulders, bringing them to rest for a moment around my throat.  For a single instant, my mind flew back to twenty years from now and the bone chilling sound of a horse's thundering hooves and a deadly sword being drawn from its scabbard, signalling certain death for anyone unlucky enough to be the Horseman's next victim.  I thought how easily this powerful man could snap my neck. But the thought passed as swiftly as it had been summoned, as he moved his hands up into the hair on the back of my head, entwining his fingers in my soft, dark curls.

"You are so beautiful," he whispered.  He pulled my head forwards and planted a kiss upon my forehead, his lips soft and warm against my skin.  "You are the only thing in my life worth living for.  I don't know what I would do without you. And yet, yet I am fearful for you...  fearful that the townspeople will treat you as they do me..."

"Hush," I said, touching my fingers to his lips.  "I care not for what those people think.  You are all that I care about."  Then it slipped.  "I love you..." I found myself saying... and meaning.

Wilhelm froze, the smile fading from his face.  "Wh... what did you say?" he asked in shocked disbelief, as if his ears were playing him false.

I smiled and said it this time as if I meant it, because I really did.  "I said I love you, Wilhelm.  And I always will."

He looked at me in silence.  Then he wrapped his arms around me and held me so tightly, as if he would never let go.

"I ... I love you too, Mika," he stammered.  "Only I was ... afraid to...  afraid you might not feel the same... and afraid what others would do to you if...."

I shook my head and looked him squarely in the eyes.  "I don't care what other people do or say, so long as it doesn't harm you.  I can look after myself.  It's you I care and worry about.  I love you, Wilhelm, and I don't want to see you unhappy ever again."

Having declared our mutual affection for each other, we talked some more then dressed and returned to town.  He saw me to my hotel then headed back for his own lodgings, leaving me to my thoughts, light and yet heavy at the same time.  Of course, Greta wanted to know all about our rendezvous.  I happily related all that I dared, letting her share in the ebullient joy that I was feeling at that moment.

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