Wednesday, October 17, 2012


"I love you more."

She opened her eyes. "No, you don't. I love you more."

"Nope," he smiled. "I carved your name into the hilt of my dagger, remember? So I love you more."

"Ah," she purred. "But I gave you that dagger, last Circle Day. See? I love you more."

They were lying on their sides, facing one another. He drew back an inch or two and squinted. Mischief and triumph twinkled in her eyes as she traced a pair of fingers from the base of his neck downward until they were resting in the small of his back.

He shook his head, and the movement caused the cot on which they lay to squeak. "No, I love you more -- because it was with that very blade that I saved you from that rabid saberbeak up on Stoneknuckle Crag! So ha!"

"Not ha," she snorted. "Who was it who cooked you a very spicy saberbeak stew that night, hmmmm?? And sat by the fire eating it with you, too, even though I don't even like hot food. There's your proof: I love you more."

His hand glided past her hip to the back of her thigh. Meeting little resistance, he pulled gently until her knee was pressed against his. "Hey, I sometimes cook things the way you like them, too," he murmured.

"You try," she smirked.

He raised an eyebrow. "That I do. See?? I strive to impress you, despite great hardship and adversity. Because I love you mostest."

She laughed. "That's not even a word. If we're going to play without rules, then I love you infinity."

But no sooner had the last syllable left her tongue than she frowned and angled her eyes toward the pillow. For a while they lay together in silence, as if an invisible shroud had fallen across their naked bodies, extinguishing playfulness with a sudden melancholy.

Infinity was exactly what they had; the curse had made sure of that. The lovers had watched the decades glide by as first their parents, then siblings, and then children, grandchildren, great grandchildren... one by one had fallen to old age. Now it was just the two of them, forever together but forever alone in their house in the mountains.

He stroked her hair. "Hey," he whispered softly. "You win. You love me more."

The twinkle danced back into her eyes. "Yes, I do," she whispered, and drew his lips to hers. 

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