And be yourself my ally in love's battle
“I should have married you,” Leto said, looking up at Jessica. Her auburn hair was dark in the quarter-light of their chamber, the night somehow deeper than any night on Caladan had ever been, and there were shadows beneath her eyes and along her throat. She kept moving her hands gently across his forehead, stroking his temples and occasionally running a hand through his hair. It was quiet and then she spoke.
“Because being the Duchess would have bound me to the House of Atreides and the House to me, equaling if not superseding any loyalty or debt I owed to the Bene Gesserit, allowing me to draw upon the full might and power of the armies, to command Halleck and Idaho in your place? Because as the Duchess of Atreides or Dowager Duchess I could stand in the Landsraad and speak for the House, rally an alliance other Houses to Paul’s defense against the Harkonnens and even the Emperor?” she offered, her voice even and calm and so warm, the timbre familiar from the early days when she had sung Paul to sleep in the carved cradle that had held the Duke of Atreides for ten generations.
“Yes, neshama,” he answered. He could not be taken aback by the diamond clarity of her assessment, the perfect delineation of the advantages and angles, ones he had only partially considered over the years, when life was easier and Arrakis was distant, mélange almost unreal. “And no, that’s not what I meant.”
“No?” she said, letting her fingers move to the back of his neck, to the base of his skull where his hair curled when it grew too long, dipping her head slightly closer to his.
“I should have married you because I love you beyond any measure. Because in the known Universe, there is no one I trust more with all I hold dear, none whose voice I long for more at daybreak, at twilight, when the stars array themselves in every night-sky,” he said, reaching his hand up to cup her cheek, the hand that wore the Atreides signet. “for when I look at you, even a moment, no/ speaking is left in me/ no: tongue breaks and thin/ fire is racing under skin,” he quoted, knowing she would recognize the poem, the lovely words ancient when the ships first left Old Earth for the vast, yawning wastes between the galaxies.
“Beyond all hope, I prayed those timeless/ days we spent might be made twice as long/ I prayed one word: I want/ Someone, I tell you, will remember us,/ even in another time,” she replied, but she used the old tongue, the Aeolic Greek words uttered with a gravity that spoke to another binding made between them, here on this planet of exile, of intolerable sky, intolerable sand, the spice in the air a miasma, the burning blue of Fremen eyes like the heart of a flame.
“O come to me, melissa,” he said and so she did.
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