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Professor's Pride: The Professor's Lady (EM Fiction)

Discussion in 'UO Atlantic' started by EMTiberies, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. EMTiberies

    EMTiberies Journeyman

    Nov 14, 2011
    Likes Received:
    This conversation between lovers took place in the immediate wake of the EM event on November 26.

    “Professor?” Theresa asked sleepily, as Professor Yusef Ad-Din entered the room they shared at the inn in Skara Brae. It was dark; she had fallen asleep waiting for him. Theresa sat up and drew the sheets around her, pulled them up to her neck.

    “It is me, child,” said Yusef, as he lit a limp. The room, small but luxuriously furnished, flooded with oil light. Outside the room, life went on as always; the low rumble of commerce and making of goods could be heard. Britannian society never really slept, but it did slow down at night.

    Theresa smiled and let the sheets fall. “Hello, Professor.” They had been together for years, but she still called him 'Professor.' She smiled at him. “How did the expedition go?”

    He sat down on the bed beside her. He kissed her, and touched her, and she beamed radiantly. “Not well I am afraid.”

    “Oh. I'm sorry Professor.”

    “Oh well.” He stood up and began to prepare for bed. Theresa studied him.

    “I'm sorry.”

    “It's all right. Part of the job is failure.”

    “You don't mean that, Professor,” she blurted out. “You hate failure as much as any warrior of myth and legend.”

    “When did you come to know me so well, my child?”

    “We have been together a long time, Professor.”

    “Yes, I do suppose we have.”

    Theresa gestured to her lover, a gesture he recognized. He sat on the bed, facing away from her. She rubbed his shoulders. Yusef sighed contentedly.

    “Remind me, child. Did you finish your studies? Or did you leave them unfinished to be with me.”

    “I can't remember, Professor.” The reply was a little too abrupt to be sincere.

    “Yes you do. It is I who forgets such things, my child, not you. Often, you are my memory.”

    She sighed. “I finished.”

    “Have we ever discussed your coming to work for me at the Lycaeum? We could be together more.”

    “We have, Professor.”

    “And what have we concluded, my child.”

    Theresa spoke quickly, like she was afraid she wouldn't finish unless she did, and like she had been waiting to say this a long time. “Every time you are about to file the papers with the school, for them to take me on as your Research Assistant, you decide you should be doing things on your own and you tear up the papers. You remind yourself, and me, that in the desert you had to live by your wits. I remind you that in the desert you had help: you had your people, your family, your brother. You say it's different here, that here you should only get help for things you can't do on your own, like when you hire mercenaries for the actual finding of an item. But the research, the writing, the reading, that you should not need help with, and do not need help with.” On her last clause Theresa, seemingly without meaning to, imitated Yusef's cadence and word choice, if not his voice. She stopped rubbing and wrapped her arms around him. He half-leaned into her.

    “Am I a Prideful man, child.”

    She continued to speak quickly. “Deeply Prideful, Professor. I love you. Yes, Professor, you are a deeply prideful man. I mean, look at us. How many years has it been? And I am, in your eyes, still your student, not your equal, and still your concubine, not your lover, let alone your wife. That's why you won't let me help you, my love. That's why you refuse to buy a house, to marry me, to live.....Normally. It's Pride. Pride holds you back. It makes you not go forward.”

    He took one of her hands and kissed it. She leaned her head on his shoulder. “Is it Pride that prevents me from finding the artifact? Does it hold me back from that as well?”

    She didn't answer right away.

    “Speak your mind and your heart, my child.”

    “I think you can't find it because it doesn't exist at all. If it ever did it doesn't now, if it ever did and still does it isn't what the legends say.”

    “One of them, one of the Britannians who answered the call to come help, called it a mad quest.”

    “Whomever said that was right. I'm sorry my love. I'm sorry Professor. But that is right. It is a madness born of Pride.”

    Yusef sighed. “Two more tries,” he half-spoke, half-whispered. “Then I will surrender, and accept that it does not exist, and find something else.”

    Theresa's eyes got very wide. “Do you mean that?”

    “Have I ever limited myself like that before?”


    “Yes. I mean it. And, after this, we shall see about....Other things as well. About us.”