(OOC: Set during Ceremonies of Light and Dark, 1111. Written by Dorian Grey)

“I wasn’t expecting to see you today,” Bríd remarked as she began to parcel up Fionnuala’s purchases.

“Why not?”

“Oh, well, the Protector’s gone off somewhere, hasn’t he – and you usually go on much the same trips as him.”

Fionnuala made a face. “The Protector generally has a lot less work to do than the High Priestess has,” she said. “This one’s some kind of social get-together. I really couldn’t justify taking the time.”

“Hmph. And we haven’t seen that nice young man of yours for months, either,” Bríd remarked inconsequently. “I hope you two haven’t fallen out.”

Fionnuala shook her head. “He’s Grand Master of his Order,” she replied. “He’s as busy as I am.”

Fionnuala sighed as she returned to the Temple. Bríd meant well, she knew, but she did wish the other woman would keep her curiosity under wraps. It was bad enough that she hadn’t seen Elrood since they’d returned from Albion. She didn’t really need to be reminded. And she really didn’t need to be reminded that if she’d just dropped everything and gone to this museum opening, she could have been with him now.

Well, she couldn’t have done that, and that’s all there was to it, she reminded herself. She had too much to do here – things that only the High Priestess could do – things that only she would do. Best to just get on.

By the time the evening rites were over that day, Fionnuala’s nerves were rasped raw. It seemed everyone she’d met during the day wanted to know why she hadn’t gone with the Protector – and most of them had some comment, snide or sympathetic, to make about her love life. She still wasn’t sure how she’d managed to not slap Maureen when she’d made that crack about Outlanders being unreliable.

Sinking into a comfortable chair, she poured a large glass of wine and gave thanks that she wouldn’t have to see anyone else today.

A knock came on the door.

She groaned, and went to open it, fully prepared to tell whoever it was where to go and what to do with themselves when they got there.

And stopped, and stared, at the sight of young Marcus (who had no business even being in this part of the Temple) clutching a huge bunch of flowers. “Message for ya, Lady Fionnuala, mam,” he announced cheerfully, shoving the bouquet at her.

“Message?” she repeated, bemused, as she took it.

“There’s a letter,” he explained helpfully, pointing to the folded paper tucked amongst the blooms.

“So there is. Thank you…”

“Enjoy! Gotta go -” and he was scampering off down the corridor.

Fionnuala closed her door again, staring at the flowers. Roses and lilies and others she couldn’t even put a name to… She laid them on a table and opened the letter.

As she read, a smile came to her face, and suddenly the day didn’t seem so bad.