Title: The Unending Promise
Author: Maeve Bran
Summary: After the King Lear performance, Geoffrey Tennant figures out just what question Ellen Fanshaw answered with a "Yes".
Disclaimer: I do not own Slings & Arrows or King Lear. They remain the property of their creators; I'm just borrowing for a little Yuletide fun.
Spoilers: Spoilers for everything. This story is a missing scene for 3.6 "The Promised End"
Geoffrey lay naked in bed, holding an equally naked Ellen in his arms. They had just proved that the problem that had plagued Geoffrey for weeks was no longer an issue. Ellen was asleep with her head on Geoffrey's shoulder but he was too wound up to join her. So here he lay, thinking.
His thoughts returned to the brilliant performance of King Lear the company had given in the church gymnasium that night. Charles had been magnificent as the ageing King; he had finally gotten all the way through the play and given the performance of a lifetime. Geoffrey himself had given an alright performance after getting over his initial stage fright -- well not exactly stage fright, but something close. Performance anxiety. He had been so close to weeping on stage before he spoke that opening line, but once he got through it the play just flowed. It was all Geoffrey and the others could do to keep up with Charles, not in a bad way, but in the very best way possible.
Geoffrey remembered that awful moment where he had thought that Charles had died with his character. It had been a very long minute before Charles responded and managed to get to the curtain call. But Charles' health scare wasn't the thing that stuck most in Geoffrey's mind about the curtain call: that was reserved for Ellen. More specifically his reaction to Ellen's kiss and her inexplicable "Yes" to a question he hadn't known, let alone asked.
That was what was really baffling Geoffrey and keeping him from his well deserved sleep. What question was Ellen answering in the affirmative? They were already living together, at least when the Lizard Queen wasn't in town. So it wasn't "I think we should move in together, what do you say?" Nor was it "Will you spend the night?" since that had before living together. The "I like you very much so will you go out with me?" question had come even before the spending that. Then it hit Geoffrey, of course the question wasn't any of those; they had been asked and answered.
No -- the question that Ellen was answering was about the next level, not the previous ones. It was a question he had asked one night, all those years ago, after another brilliant performance of another one of the Bard's plays. That had been over a decade ago, and the question hadn't been asked outright so much as implied: "Let's make babies together." Ellen had laughingly agreed while Oliver looked on drunkenly amused. Then he and Ellen had departed together, Geoffrey joking about picking out bridesmaids' dresses. Geoffrey realized that for the second time Ellen had answered that unasked question -- only this time her answer was stated rather than taken for granted.
This time, Geoffrey determined, he was going to actually ask -- just as soon as Ellen woke up. He could wait; after all the answer had already been given, so really the asking was a mere formality. He brushed his lips across Ellen's forehead, tightened his arms around her and snuggled down to sleep, his dilemma resolved into contentment. It was some time later, as the night grew darkest just before lightening into dawn, that Geoffrey woke to Ellen kissing his jaw just and nibbling his neck. He found her lips with his and kissed his reply rather soundly.
"I think I figured out the question," Geoffrey said when they came up for air.
"The question?" Ellen asked slightly confused.
"The question that you answered last night between the show and the curtain call. You said yes and told me I'd figure out the question, and I did," Geoffrey answered. "So what do you think the question is?" Ellen pushed.
"I'll ask it when the time is right," Geoffrey replied. "Right now, I think I'd like to make up for the last few weeks." He rolled Ellen on to her back and moved over her, kissing her neck, nibbling her ear, and running his hands down her sides. She responded in kind and ran her hands down his back. Soon both were practically panting.
"I fucking love you," Geoffrey said, out of breath, as he leaned in for another soul searing kiss.
"I love you too," Ellen replied as she pulled Geoffrey tighter to her.
"Ellen Fanshaw, will you marry me?" Geoffrey asked, kissing her again.
Ellen gasped in surprise and pulled her lips from his. She found his eyes and stared into them, gauging his sincerity. "I told you, the answer is yes. It has always been yes. Took you long enough to figure it out."
"So, that is a yes then?" Geoffrey teased.
Ellen playfully punched him in the shoulder and teased back, "Yes, that is a yes."
A while later, when reason began to return Ellen got around to discussing plans for the wedding.
"When do you want to do it?" she asked.
"Sooner would be good because we've wasted enough time, don't you think?" Geoffrey answered.
"We really did." Ellen replied. "Since you've resigned we can't use the stage at the festival. I've always thought that would be fitting for us." "How about at the church where we did Lear last night?" Geoffrey inquired. He thought for a second before continuing, "You've actually thought about our wedding?"
"Of course. We were briefly engaged eleven years ago, Geoffrey darling," Ellen returned, refusing to admit that she had daydreamed in the intervening years as well. "So how are you connected to that church? You've never been the church going type," Ellen said to change the subject.
"I was walking around town one day and wondered in and talked to the preacher. I've been getting counseling sessions from him all season. He really has helped me, so if it's all right with you I'd like him to perform the wedding," Geoffrey answered.
"Certainly. What were you getting counseling for?" Ellen replied.
"The thing with Oliver," Geoffrey stated simply. "Don't worry, he's gone now and this time I think it's for good."
"Good." She paused, not sure how to phrase what she wanted to ask. "No more talking to empty rooms? No more shouting at people who are invisibly driving you nuts?"
"No more Oliver butting in, in any way, I promise," Geoffrey reassured her.
"Not that I'd change my mind, but I am relieved," Ellen said as she kissed him one last time. Then she looked at the clock "Shit. I'm supposed to be at work in Toronto." She ran around the room, throwing on clothes. "I guess I better do something about that TV contract I walked out on."
"I guess you'd better." Geoffrey got up and began to dress, more calmly. "You want me to make the arrangements for the church?" "Would you? That would be wonderful, darling," Ellen called from the bathroom.
"When?" Geoffrey asked.
"A month from Saturday. That should give us enough time to sort this out," she answered
A little over a month later, Geoffrey found himself listening as Ellen said "I do," before the preacher even asked the question. He gave a little chuckle as she answered the question when it was asked again properly before he made the same vow. It seemed a tad ironic, but fitting, that they got married on the very place where Ellen answered the unasked question.