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zahara stretches and nestles herself against Cerin, catching her breath. The ground is soft beneath them, and the evening sun filters through the leaves of the Sharpglade, dappling their skin with golden-red light. The Bonds slip apart and then meld together to form a light blanket that covers them.

Cerin gently kisses the back of her neck, head burried in her hair. He lies there for a few moments before he speaks softly. "I have missed that," he murmurs.

zahara smiles, running light fingers along the lines of his muscles, along the red trails that cross his skin. She tastes their sweat on her lips as she replies softly, "Mmmm I have too. I am sorry I have been so distant since your return, Love. You never left my heart."

Cerin shivers slightly as she traces those lines, but it is an entirely pleasant shiver. "I am sorry I did not see why, and let you hurt for so long, Love."

zahara is quiet for a time, closing her eyes as a breeze flows over them. When she replies, the words are quiet, apologetic. "I did not want you to know. I did not want to hurt you again."

Cerin "I would endure all that again for you, if I had to," he says quietly, afer a few moments.

zahara wraps her arms around him, holding him close. "I know you would, my heart. And I would do the same for you." A small shiver runs down her spine, and she half-smiles. "But let's not."

Cerin "Not again, no," he agrees, and then kisses her lips. "Not again."

zahara kisses him back deeply, passionately. "Never again," she whispers, tangling one hand in his hair and wrapping the other arm around his shoulders possessively.

Cerin smoothes back her hair with one hand, wrapping the other around her. He nestles his head on her shoulder after they break the kiss.

zahara holds him closely for some time, feeling the strong beat of his heart against her, the heat of his body, the scent of his hair. She smiles, feeling as if all her troubles are far away. Her thoughts drift back through her memories and pause. "Mmmm. My love, do you remember, in the dream... when I was... with Tevezst?"

Cerin tenses just a little against her, some of the relaxation fading. "Yes, I remember," he says softly.

zahara strokes his hair soothingly, "Then, you recall that there, I gave you something, after you had defied him..."

Cerin "A cup," he says softly. "Your cup."

zahara "He... forged it for me. To replace what he had stolen. So that I could feel again, so that I could be..." She pauses again, and touches his chest, over his heart. "So that I could use the Chime. For you."

Cerin "Thank you," he whispers. "I knew you would find a way, when I slipped you that piece."

zahara presses a kiss to his forehead, then to his lips. "Without that piece it would have all been for naught. I could not have done it alone." She smiles down at him. "Thank you."

Cerin leans up into the kiss. "I know how much that cost you, though. But ... you had a reason for mentioning it?" he allows his curiousity to get the better of him.

zahara nods, and pulls away from him a little ways. She closes her eyes, concentrating for a moment while her fingers make a complicated gesture in front of her chest. A glow begins to grow from her fingertips, which resolves slowly and delicately into the Cup he had seen in her dream.

Cerin watches, with wonder.

zahara opens her eyes and smiles tentatively and lowers it into his hands. "I wanted to give it to you to keep, here, but I cannot..."

Cerin holds it, running his fingers over it.

zahara shivers a little, smiling, as he does. Then she twists away from him, pushing aside a newly-fallen tree to reach her clothing. After a few moments of searching, she returns to his side.

Cerin is distracted from the cup by watching her search. "It is almost as beautiful as you."

zahara blushes at the compliment and shifts a little, so that he can see the way the light flickers across her skin as she leans over him again. She holds in her hand a locket engraved with a wolf and swan entwined, abstract and yet eminently - perfectly - them.

Cerin looks up at her, his eyes tracing over every curl and swirl anew. His eyes eventually focus on the locket, before he looks up, questioning.

zahara lets the chain slide through her fingers, so that it dangles against his chest. "Open it."

Cerin opens the locket, looking inside.

zahara The locket is empty but for a single clear vessel of adamant. After a moment to let this fact register, Zahara lifts the Cup from his hands and carefully pours five drops of the evanescent liquid from her Cup into it.

Cerin looks up, not quite understanding the significance.

zahara smiles, sealing the vessel with the tip of her finger. "Keep it safe."

Cerin "Forever."

zahara "Forever," she echoes, "you will carry my heart with you."

Cerin "I will keep it safe."

zahara closes the locket, and once shut he can see how the engraving seems to shift and move with the dancing of the liquid inside it. She lifts it from his hands and fastens it about his neck, trailing kisses behind her fingers. "mmm," she says playfully, "I think you can do a better job of thanking me than that..."

Cerin "How would I manage that?" he asks, with a raised eyebrow before he gently but insistantly pulls her back down to the ground and proceedes to thank her very thoroughly.

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