Others, 49

Weddings Represent the Future, So It’s Normal to Think about it During One

My Patrons voted to have a Devin chapter!

Ao3 Link

Devin always cried at weddings.

It was unsightly for him to do so today, because he was supposed to be running security at Gabrielle’s wedding and he could hardly keep an eye out for assassins with water obscuring his vision. But he had anyway, because Princess Gabrielle was important to him, and not just because she was going to be the queen someday.

Though he was her bodyguard, Devin also thought Gabrielle was his friend, and she’d said as much to him several times. It was not a privilege he took lightly, though at the same time, he fully understood that were she to realize he thought their friendship was a privilege, she would disapprove.

He followed along with her and Franz as they walked down the aisle of the cathedral out into the city to begin their walk back to the castle. He was one of many knights in the honour guard, flanking them both for ceremony and for protection as they headed back.

Devin wasn’t even worried about security. The wedding had gone off without a problem, and though normally he was the first to assume that meant something terrible was about to happen, this time he was quite certain that everything was fine. And it had better be for all the effort the order had put into making it so. If they couldn’t even protect a royal wedding with their whole force mobilized, there was little to nothing they could do at all and it would mean the order shouldn’t exist.

Devin had had more than a few moments of thinking the order shouldn’t exist, but he’d long outgrown those.

At the bottom of the cathedral steps, Sir Owen sidled over to Devin. Most knights weren’t good at sidling and Owen was no exception, but he did it as unobtrusively as he could. “You’re going to get a full report later,” he said, without preamble. “But just so you know there was a thing under the church just before the wedding.”

Devin looked at him sidelong. “A thing.”

Owen nodded. “Someone tried to open that hell portal. It didn’t open and everything’s fine, and they arrested some people.”

Devin blinked, looking at Owen full-on now. “Why was I not informed of this?” He was running security at this wedding and he hadn’t been told that the city had almost been destroyed?

Owen shrugged. “Because the wedding was starting and I didn’t have time to inform you. It’s dealt with. I’ll give you a full report later.”

How full, Devin wondered. Sir Owen had taken on some of Prince Gavin’s less laudable traits, and his tendency to leave out details he didn’t consider meaningful was one. But Devin nodded, because as long as everything was under control, there was no reason to be angry that something had been dealt with quietly and nondisruptively. It was more than he normally dared hope for from Owen, whose diplomatic style tended to resemble an avalanche and whose abilities with conflict de-escalation often involved public nudity. “Fine. If there was a formal arrest, make the report written.”

“Then you won’t get it until tomorrow,” Owen said with an easy nod. “You may have heard, but my sister-in-law got married today. I think someone may have mentioned it in the mess hall or something?”

“Yes, you’re hilarious,” Devin told him. “By tomorrow at noon, that’s an order.”

Owen saluted, an easy smile on his face. “Yes, sir.”

Devin wasn’t sure why he’d bothered. Owen’s written reports were perfunctory, hard to read and usually required him coming in and explaining himself anyway. But protocols were protocols and they mattered. It was rules and regulations that kept them in line, kept them from just being a pack of assholes with armour. “That will be all, Sir Owen.”

Owen nodded again and sidled back into his place in the procession. Devin sighed, just grateful that the problem had been averted. His own wedding had been disrupted too, by an arsonist who’d tried to burn the building next to the church down, and though Devin didn’t think his leaving to place the arsonist under arrest was the reason he and Anita had divorced, it probably hadn’t set the right tone for their marriage.

She had always accused him of being more in love with the order than he had been with her. He’d told her that was a lie at the time, but of course he had, because they hadn’t been arguing because they hated each other. They’d been arguing because Deborah had died and neither of them had known who to take that out on. At this point, had Anita made the same claim, Devin didn’t know that he’d be able to disagree.

Devin wasn’t happy that Gabrielle’s wedding had gone well because his own hadn’t. That had been twenty years ago and it would be foolish to still be hung up on it. It was just another thing that happened, and he was happy for his friend, and for his queen.

The walk down to Founder’s Square was sedate and filled with cheers and joy, the people having come out to see their princess on her wedding day. Devin could hardly blame them. She looked resplendent in her gown, a rare sight for her and one he was surprised she wore so comfortably. Next to her, Franz was a perfect fit, also regal but not overshadowing her. He’d chosen to wear a gown to the wedding as well, and Devin had to admit it had been the right look for him.

The married couple paused in the square to kiss for their onlookers, and some of the security detail moved around for better protection. Which was how Devin ended up in earshot of the knight commander, who was speaking grimly to Sir Edwin. “What do you mean you had him arrested?”

“I mean he’s in custody, sir,” Edwin was saying. He looked tense. “He should be in a cell under the fortress by now.”

“You arrested a harmless street preacher on the day of the princess’s wedding?” Richard was scowling up a storm, and Devin could hardly blame Edwin for looking pale. “And you think that’s an auspicious thing to do? This is the exact kind of situation we did not need.”

Edwin swallowed, standing straighter. “With respect, sir, the exact kind of situation we didn’t need was an angry mob armed with a magical construct attacking the cathedral as guests were entering for the wedding because they believed the Leader was inside, and we were able to avoid that with minimal disruption.”

An angry mob? A construct? What in blazes was happening in the city today? Devin chose to intervene. “Sir,” he said, because sometimes the knight commander forgot that he wasn’t just a man, but an office. “Sir Edwin is right. There was no other option.”

He had no idea what Edwin had done, but the boy was no idiot, so Devin felt safe backing him up.

The knight commander looked at Devin, then at Edwin. “You’re dismissed, Sir Edwin.”

“Thank you, sir,” Edwin said, to Devin. He saluted and returned to his post near the rearguard.

Richard Stormhowe glared at Devin. “I’ll thank you not to undermine me in front of our subordinates, Sir Devin.”

Devin nodded, not cowed. The knight commander was a good man. But he was also just a man. “Yes, sir, my apologies. And I’ll thank you not to take personal animosity as a reason to chastise a knight who did his job perfectly.” The knight commander had put Edwin on the hardest detail today, and not a single knife had made it into the wedding, at least not that Devin had seen. “I’d like to remind you that the street preacher in question has been a problem in the city for a year now.”

That was a gamble, and Edwin had better appreciate Devin for it. He could assume based on what Edwin had said that he knew who the boy was talking about. And frankly the man was better off in prison.

Richard Stormhowe’s face had gone stony, but after a second, rather than hitting Devin with those stones, he sighed. “You’re right. My apologies, Sir Devin. Perhaps the stress of today has led me to make some questionable decisions.”

Devin smiled. “We’re all only human, sir.” That was why they didn’t operate alone. They were only human. The order was more than that. More than them.

“That we are.” The procession began moving again, Devin and Richard with it. “Are they still planning to stage some protest against the order?”

“I believe so, sir,” said Devin. He didn’t know the nature of it, but Warren had told him they were planning something. Young people always had something to complain about.

“I shall count on your support, then.”

“You’ll have it.”

Or rather, Devin thought, the order would have it. Individuals and their desires and politics and agendas didn’t matter. The order was what mattered.

They left the square, and Devin glanced at Gabrielle, her hair shining in the sun. Sometimes he wondered if Deborah would have looked like her, if she’d been able to grow up. But that was foolish, and in the past. What mattered was now, and what was in the future.

“Devin?” Gabrielle asked.

Devin saluted. “Yes, your Highness?”

Gabrielle laughed. “You’re staring at us.”

“Ah.” Devin smiled, loosening up. “I’m sorry. I just wanted to say congratulations.”

Gabrielle took his hand, just for a second. “Thank you,” she said. “Walk with us.”

Devin nodded, tearing up again, and he walked just behind the married couple towards the beginning of their new life together.

Gabrielle was the future. So were all these stupid impulsive young people who couldn’t rest if they hadn’t complained about something this week. Regardless of their personal gripes or feelings, they’d all come together. Because the order was always the present, and it was needed to make sure that the future was safe and secure. And Devin would do everything he could to make sure that didn’t change.

Previous (Story)

Previous (Series)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s