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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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Christine

an evening out of the norm

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Walking back to the mirror, Deneira ran her hand through her hair. He would be there any minute, and she wanted to be perfect. She kept fidgiting with the curls, and she was afraid her body was shaking with nervousness. She took a little more of the lip stuff and pouted it onto her lips, then smiled at herself in the mirror. A knock came at the door, and she turned to look at it. Light, he was here. She swallowed, then ran to the door. Her hand rested on the lock, and she smiled to herself. Light, her heart was racing. She had been waiting for tonight for so long. She turned the lock, then slowly turned the doorknob. It opened, and there he stood. Her heart stopped, and her breath caught in her throat as she looked at him. “Hey,†she managed to whisper. He looked all cleaned up, and even smelled pretty good. His clothes looked new, and he was smiling. â€Hello!†he replied, and she smiled back at him. His arm was behind his back, and she asked him what it was. â€I brought you these...â€

 

Deneira had to hold back the tears as she saw what was in his hand. Flowers! She had never before gotten flowers from anyone, and one of her hands went to her mouth as she gasped. Light! Her hand, shaking, reached out to take the flowers, and he leaned forward to leave a kiss on her cheek. “Shawn... thank you!†She took his hand with her free hand, and pulled him into the room. Finding a cup, she set the flowers in them, and smiled to him. “We will have to find some water later. Thank you so much.†She had turned back to him and he was pulling her to him. She raised her hand up to his cheek, lightly tracing his jaw, and stared into his eyes. “I’ve never gotten flowers before...â€

 

Their lips touched, and she kissed him whole heartedly, trying to hold back everything she wanted to put into it. He kissed her back and held her close to him. After a few minutes, they both slowly pulled away from it, somewhat sorrowful. She wished she could stay in that kiss forever. They both wanted it, and she needed him so bad. She almost asked him if he wanted her then, but she was determined to make this night better than five minutes of passion. She wanted a night to remember, where romance was present, and she knew that he truly cared about her more than anything else. â€I think we should go now†he whispered to her, and she nodded in reply. “We should...†Her lips went forward and kissed his again, ever so softly, almost caressing this time.

 

This time, when they pulled away, they both wore smiles. Running over to the small wardrobe, she pulled out her black cloak. Pulling it on and tying the top, she took the hand he offered out to her. He led her from the room, and she shut and locked it behind her. He was so dashing and handsome, and every person they passed stared at them in surprise. Oh, if only her father could see her now. She felt perfect, and they fit together perfectly. Their fingers were linked with each other, and their hands were almost puzzle pieces. She had learned that about hands. Everyone’s hands were puzzle pieces. You just had to find the person that had the matching piece. In Shawn, she had found the matching piece, and she liked that. They got out of the yards, and were into the city. “So, where are we off to this evening?†she asked.

 

 

Deneira l'Spada

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"Well, we have reservations at the Golden Swan. I had in mind a nice romantic meal and then maybe some dancing? How does that sound?"

 

"Sounds wonderful"

 

Well, what really sounded wondeful to Shawn was having her with him for the whole night with no other distractions such as work or training. As trainees they'd spent all their time together discussing the team they'd been leading together and never really got to talk. He was looking forward to some conversation on a deeper level tonight.

 

For Shawn it didn't even matter what they talked about. After all, it was not the information itself he was looking for, but keys to her personality. What he was most interested in tonight was finding out how her mind worked. Did she think things through logically or jump from one thought to the next in a random haphazard manner? Was she more concerned with actions or motives? Her opinions were important but much more important to Shawn was finding out how she arrived at her opinions, or any conclusion for that matter. What makes her tick?

 

They had a fairly long walk before they made it to their destination and Shawn was enjoying the peace that came from simply walking down the street hand-in-hand with a beautiful woman. Not just any woman, but Deneira L'Spada, the woman who held his heart. Yet, the silence was getting to him and he had to beak it. "So, tell me Dene, is there anything you miss about being a trainee?"

 

Great, here they are on what was supposed to be a romantic date and Shawn had already brought the conversation back around to work. He really wasn't very good at this. Granted, to him it didn't matter what they talked about, just that they talked, but to her it probably did. To her this was probably a major faux pas to be discussing work and training on a date. Oh well, the question had left his lips and now he'd was forced to wait for her response.

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"Well, we have reservations at the Golden Swan. I had in mind a nice romantic meal and then maybe some dancing? How does that sound?" She had never been to that place before, but she had heard of it, and it was certainly much more upper class than the usual tavern. “Sounds wonderful,†she whispered back. He smiled at her, and she enjoyed being with him. Just holding his hand, being with him, hearing his breaths, the warmth through his hand and into hers, the way his eyes sparkled when he looked at her...

 

They were in town, and she could see the sign up ahead, and he spoke up. The way his voice appeared as music to her ears, she half closed her eyes, smiling. "So, tell me Dene, is there anything you miss about being a trainee?" Smiling at him, he led her to the door and opened it for her, smiling. “I’ll answer that in a minute.†They were welcomed inside, and she smiled as Shawn stood behind her, looking around the room. He was a good man, and would make an amazing warder for some lucky Aes Sedai one day. Until then, he was hers. She could feel him behind her, and his one arm slipped around her waist as he spoke to the lady.

 

They were led to a quiet corner, with candles and wine all ready for them. He pulled out her chair and let her sit down before sitting down himself. “Trainee days... I miss them a lot. The freedom, the joy, the fun that we all had... I miss it.†Taking the glass of wine, she raised it up to him, and he did likewise. “Lets make a toast to new days, though. To a new life as Tower Guards.†They did so, and she sipped at it lightly. It was good wine, and certainly not the cheapest he could find. It was sad, she knew he was down on money, and yet he was buying a dinner she could afford easily. She would have to sneak some extra coins into his belt purse one night.

 

“I remember the first day I arrived. I was completely lost, an absolute wreck... it was bad. Lyv was the Mistress of Trainees back then, remember? He nodded. “Well, I just appeared one day, and Lyv was so sweet and kind to me. I ended up in a room with this guy... totally naive, and he...†she bit her tongue for a moment. She didnt really like to talk about her private business. “He taught me how to spell my name. Then I met my mentor. First guy I ever went on a date with...†But the second I slept with, she thought to herself. “So what about yourself? How was your first day?

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"My first day? Well, at the time I was nervous, confused, and maybe a touch frightened, but looking back I can't help but laugh. You remember I told you before that I was traveling with the Tuathan? Well, they were attacked by some bandits, two of whom I accidentally killed trying to protect the children. The Mahdi told me to leave." Shawn still didn't understand. He respected the Tuathan a great deal but he couldn't understand just standing by and letting people get killed.

 

"Anyway, the caravan was less than a day's walk from Tar Valon so I came here. I didn't know what I would do when I got here but I had to go somewhere. By the time I got here it was well after dark and I was hungry and exhausted. I went to inn after inn looking for anyone that might give me some food, and maybe let me sleep under a table or something." Shawn was surprised he still felt so much dissapointment and desperation just from the memory of that night.

 

"Eventually I ended up falling asleep in the corner of an alley and the Tower wall. The next morning I was awakened by a member of the City Watch. While he was rudely interrogating me an Aes Sedai came upon us and dismissed him. Before she'd even asked me two questions a Tower Guard came and took me away. I felt like nothing so much as a sack of grain to be passed around so much.

 

"After a while I was able to convince him that I wasn't there as a threat to the sisters. He on the other hand convinced me to join the Tower Guard and brought me to meet Lyv. Turned out that guard was Corin, my mentor for next four years. Funny how things work out like that huh?"

 

They laughed and joked for a few minutes about Shawn's unusual arrival before Shawn changed topics. "Yes, my mentor was Corin, and that in itself got me in trouble one time. Corin had gotten in way over his head and was in a bad way in what was supposed to be a spar with another Guard, a blademaster. This Guard was beating him within an inch of his life and I broke in to help. Foolish some might call it, and maybe it was, but I didn't for a second think I could beat her, I just planned on distracting her so he could get away.

 

"Spent some time in the infirmary for that one, and some time mucking out the stables, but it was worth it. What about you? You ever have any crazy encounters like that?"

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He went into it, talking about how he had been sent away from the Tinkers. She could remember him talking about it, but she had not heard why he left them. Now she understood. To lose all of his family so many times... it was heart breaking, and she wished she could do something for him. Well, at least, as far as she knew, he was happy with her. She would do anything she could to make him smile.

 

Meeting Corin and the fight with the Blade Master... how typical Shawn. He was always acting so noble. “Crazy encounters? You have no idea. Oh, thank you.†Deneira accepted another glass of wine from the waitress. Sitting back, she racked through her brain, trying to think of what to say. “Well, I have quite a few friends I have met through random things.â€

 

“There was this one time, a few months before I got raised when I was walking through the yard. I was really tired and sobering up, when a tower guard stopped me. I had an interesting offer... I would get a bottle of spirits in exchange for help on a prank. Of course, I was all over it, not just for the drink, but for the idea of a prank. Of course, how could I have known what was going to happen with the prank.â€

 

Smiling, she took another sip of the wine and ran her fingers through her hair. “Well, do you remember a while back, when suddenly Ginae’s hair went Blue and she cut it very short?â€Shawn nodded, smiling, and leaned in to hear her story. “Well, the Tower Guard, Aran, had me drug her and we colored her hair blue. He got blamed, and I got away.†They both laughed, and she smiled again. Her heart beemed for him, and she was so happy that she was the reason he was smiling.

 

“So, any random pranks you go through? Or were you a good boy?†She winked at him, and he smiled back.

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She was the one responsible for Ginae's hair? That was hilarious. he'd have to remember to stay on her good side lest she try the same with him. Or worse. She seemed to have an almost malicious streak toward pranking. He prayed it didn't get her into trouble someday.

 

"Pranks? No, can't say as I have. I'm afraid you've hooked up with a rather boring old chap here. I like to have fun just like anybody else but for a long time after I got here I was so focused on training I didn't allow myself to have any fun. Training, swimming, and riding Blaize were the only enjoyable activities I allowed myself.

 

"I guess the most fun thing I've done though was the horse competition in Redfern. I entered every competition there was, and lost all of them. Actually, I didn't do so bad in some, just not well enough to win. It was to be expected though. I had little riding experience at that point and Blaize was still only half trained.

 

"Still, it was a lot of fun and the whole adventure gave Blaize and I the oppurtunity to form a bond. Now, I would trust him with my life." They talked for some time. Dene, whether through polite courtesy or true curiosity asked lots of questions about his horse. Questions he was only too pleased to answer.

 

"But enough about my horse," Shawn said some time later, "Tell me more about you. Tell me more of these troubles you've gotten into. It sounded rather interesting when you mentioned it earlier."

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He was laughing about halfway through her story when he realised where she was going with it. â€Pranks? No, can't say as I have. I'm afraid you've hooked up with a rather boring old chap here. I like to have fun just like anybody else but for a long time after I got here I was so focused on training I didn't allow myself to have any fun. Training, swimming, and riding Blaize were the only enjoyable activities I allowed myself. No pranks? Well, she would soon change that. He seemed like he never had any fun, and it was because of his dedication to his training that they hadnt hooked up or become better friends during practice until they were roommates. If it wasnt for being a roommate with him... she might have never become friends with him, which led to their current dating status.

 

"I guess the most fun thing I've done though was the horse competition in Redfern. I entered every competition there was, and lost all of them. Actually, I didn't do so bad in some, just not well enough to win. It was to be expected though. I had little riding experience at that point and Blaize was still only half trained.†She had a feeling Blaize was his horse. She still had her father’s old horse, which sat in the stables. Cuebiyar was growing older very quickly, and she knew that he would soon die, but it was the one thing that she had left from her father that she could actually use. It wasnt like she could use his books... When the time came that she needed a new horse, she would buy one, but until that point in time came, she would just avoid needing to ride. Only on rare occasions and for short trips would she ride her current mare.

 

"Still, it was a lot of fun and the whole adventure gave Blaize and I the oppurtunity to form a bond. Now, I would trust him with my life." She began asking about what kind of horse Blaize was, and what adventure he had been on with the horse. Shawn seemed to open up to her and was rather excited about his horse. Now she had found his passion. It was hard to talk to him at times, because he always seemed afraid to talk, but now... it was like they were into his court. She hoped that one day soon, he would open up to her and be friendly enough with her, he could tell her anything, but until that time came, it would still be hard to talk to him at times.

 

"But enough about my horse," She pouted her lip at him, and he asked about her again. Well, she couldnt say no to talking about herself. "Tell me more about you. Tell me more of these troubles you've gotten into. It sounded rather interesting when you mentioned it earlier." Trouble... light, where to start?

 

“Trouble? Where to begin? Well, there was the time I got in trouble with an Aes Sedai and another trainee. Leawen and Nyssa Sedai...†She thought back on that night when she had lost it all, and smiled to him. “But that was a long time ago, and I don’t like talking about that. There is always the bar fight I was in!†He seemed really interested in her other fight, but the mention of a bar fight peeked his mind again.

 

“Well, once again, I was with Aran. This time, we were together for an actual point... to learn about bar fights. We sat down, and gave a sailor a coin. The man asked what it was for, and Aran said to give it to his mother for the night before. Next thing you know, a fight starts. Let’s just say, it was funny. He ended up with a broken nose, and I had a bruise on my arm. It was no major thing, but still, rather funny, and Ginae decided that it wasnt too cute either, and made us pay for the broken items. It was ok for us, because it was so funny... I just feel bad for the guy that punched Aran... he got a kick in the pants.†The cringe on Shawn’s face made her laughed again. “Surely, you have gotten into trouble at least once. Or what about friends? How many have you met here?â€

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A bar fight? Well, she was certainly capable of defending herself but Shawn couldn't keep from being worried. Not worried about the fight, that was long over. No, he was worried for her safety if she continued taking so many risks like that. On the other hand, at least she knew how to have fun.

 

"Well, as for trouble, no, can't say as I have. It's hard to get in trouble training, and that's really all I did. Hearing you talk about all the fun you've had though, almost makes me regret not doing more myself while I had the chance." Well, not that he regreted staying out of trouble. Nor did he regret the training. What he regretted was not spending more time with the other trainees, Dene in particular. Not that he was about to tell her that though.

 

"Friends? Yeah, I've had a few. Most of them you know as they were on our team. And of course you know Kross, he was our roommate for that short time you were there. Might not have seen much of him as he was seldom around but he's a pretty good guy. Actually he and I got into a little mischief one time with Natan, you remember him from the blue team right? Well, by get into mischief I of course mean, tried to stop some mischief and got in way over our heads.

 

"Anyway, the three of us were heading into town one night. It would have been my first night in Tar Valon since my arrival but alas, it just wasn't meant to be." He chuckled as he thought of what happened that night.

 

"Well, as we were passing by the offices we had a noise and went to investigate. Turns out there was a thief there attampting to steal Borac's power-wrought blade. To make a long story short Natan and I tried in vain to bluff the thief into thinking we were Guards while Kross ran off to find Borac. All in all it was a rather harrowing night."

 

"Still, we all survived, the thief was apprehended and I got on the good side of the Master at Arms." By this point they had finished their meal and Shawn called a serving girl over to bring them some dessert.

 

"Now then, while we wait for dessert to arrive," Shawn stood, bowed and extended his hand to his date for the evening. "Would you join me for a dance?"

 

She accepted and he led her out on the floor as the band moved into a slow song. Shawn was amazed at how well their bodies fit together as they danced across the floor. As he held her close he asked, "Feel free not to answer if it's too hard to talk about it but I was curious...care to tell me anymore about that incident you mentioned earlier? The one you breezed over before talking about the barfight? You seemed rather upset about it. I thought you might appreciate the oppurtunity to talk through the feelings the memory brought up."

 

Here was a test, even if she didn't know it yet. Would she open up and share this painful memory with him or did he still have more to do to earn her trust?

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He talked of random troubles with people she knew, and was tensed at Natan’s name. He had been her lover a long time before… she just hoped that Shawn didn’t know that. Light, she had certainly gotten around after time. She had been foolish in her youth, but she was glad that now, she was with Shawn. Or at least, she hoped to be with Shawn.

 

They were done with their meal, and he ordered some desert, then rose from her chair. She lightly reached out to take his hand as he asked her to join him for a dance. She agreed, glancing away to hider her blush. She hadn’t danced in ages… but she did remember the Sa’sara… light, it was a good thing her father had never known. A slow song came up, and he pulled her to him. She rested her head on his chest, and he held her tight. Some how, nothing else mattered as they moved to the song. She could feel their bodies together, and she sighed happily.

 

"Feel free not to answer if it's too hard to talk about it but I was curious...care to tell me anymore about that incident you mentioned earlier? The one you breezed over before talking about the barfight? You seemed rather upset about it. I thought you might appreciate the oppurtunity to talk through the feelings the memory brought up." She froze in his arms, then looked up into his eyes. She hadn’t spoken about Leawen to anyone since Darion. But she knew she had to tell him. “Are you sure you want to know? It is a long story, and it might ruin the mood.†He nodded his head yes, and so, looking away, she rested her head back on his chest.

 

“You see, when I first came, I had one roommate. His name was Darion. Well, I had never really been around any guys other than my family, so it was new to me. I liked him, of course, and we became really good friends. Unfortunately… another man got me into bed first. I was in a bar, and he got me drunk, and took me to a room and… well, you can figure it out. Turns out, he was dating an Aes Sedai that got angry at me and…†She buried her head into his chest, and she felt the tears. He stopped dancing and pulled him to her, allowing her to cry into his chest for a moment. He took her back to the table, and sat down in his seat, pulling her down beside him.

 

Using a cloth napkin from the table, she whipped away the tears and he held her face in her hands so he could look into her eyes. “Darion lost his trust in me, and I felt alone and worthless. I guess that is why I turned into the person I once was. I never knew better, because I was never really treated much better. Until you…†He nodded, and she rested her head back on his shoulder. “I’m sorry for ruining the evening with my tears.†He looked as if he was going to silence her or kiss her, but the serving girl came with the desert, and Deneira thanked her.

 

“Please, tell me something funny so I can laugh. I really need a good laugh now.†She looked back into his eyes as his arm still held her tight to him.

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Something funny? Well, that might be easier said than done. After all, a life filled with tragedy didn't afford one much oppurtunity for laughter. He'd had some good times when he lived with Uzziel and Alexis but those time were ancient history. Besides, even thinking of the good times only made him miss them that much more. His time spent with the Tuathan was no good either. Despite how much they tried to cheer him while he was there he was a long time recovering from the tragedy wracked upon him by the Whitecloaks. No, there was no humor to be found there either.

 

A sly grin slipped across his face as he settled on something that would do the job. "You want to hear a funny story, huh? How about one you've never heard me tell before, the story of how we first met?" He saw the look of shock as she spun around to look up at him. Without speaking she practically screamed her question at him.

 

"Oh yes, I know you think you know the story, but you don't. No, it's a story that starts on my third day here in Tar Valon. I was up early to start my morning workout. As I left my room I noticed a beautiful girl heading out the door of the barracks. I rushed to catch up to her. I had to know her name. I had to know who she was. Except, when I got outside she was gone. I scanned the Yards looking for her but to no avail, the mysterious woman was gone.

 

"As I continued throughout that day I kept seeing her everywhere I went. When I was swimming I saw her in the grove, but by the time I made it to shore she had dissapeared. In the mess hall I caught a glimpse of her leaving just as I was getting in. As I left my place in line to catch her I collided with three trainees carrying trays of food. By the time I got the mess cleaned up she was gone and I was assigned work in the kitchens for a week to make up for the mess I'd caused.

 

"A week or so later I was named Captain of the Blue Team. You may recall meeting me at that first team meeting. You may recall thinking that I didn't think any more or less of you than any other member of our team. You may recall thinking that I may have even ignored you. You may recall thinking that that was the first time we'd met. The truth was, I was scared to death you'd discover my infatuation and use it against me somehow. The truth was we had met that time in the barracks, you just didn't know it yet."

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His story had her in shock. She sat there, listening, as he told her of how he had wanted her and followed her… and then have a desire for her… Deneira blushed red, and she leaned forward, kissing his lips softly. He kissed back, and they sat their for a few moments, just holding each other close. Pulling back, she whispered, “Let’s go.†He nodded, and she rose from the table as he did. After finishing things there, he led her outside, and they walked down the street hand in hand.

 

The town was quiet at night, and at one moment, she turned and looked at him, stopping in the middle of the street. He turned to her, then pulled her close into his arms as he held her under the stars. Somehow, they were suddenly dancing as he rocked her back and forth in his arms. Her head rested on his shoulder as he held her tight, and she sighed happily.

 

“Shawn… have you really cared about me since then? I had never known… I just wish you had told me.†He stared into her eyes, and they moved away from the street as he pulled her to a building. He leaned against it and pulled her to him again, and she waited for a reply. Finally, he spoke. â€Well, I am telling you now.†With that, he leaned down and kissed her on the lips, hard. She almost fell back against the building, and he held her their, their lips and tongues on fire as the passion that had been buried deep inside them seemed to billow out.

 

She heard laughter and opened her eyes to see three large men behind Shawn. She was determined to finish her kiss, and they kept on, her hand slipping down his chest towards his pants. Shawn pushed against her harder, and Deneira had to keep her head together to grasp her hand around the hilt of his sword and pull away. He was shocked at first, until she pointed out the men behind him, and he pulled out his other sword. “Will we ever have a normal date?†she asked him, ready to begin battle.

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They had walked into an alley and started kissing. Their kisses were deep and passionate. Her hand started wandering lower. Then, just as Shawn thought she was going too low for such a public place she pushed him away. She drew back, drawing his Wakizashi to herself in the process. When she did he saw two men coming up behind her in the alley.

 

She pointed over his shoulder and said, "Will we ever have a normal date?"

 

"Not tonight it seems," Shawn said as he performed a move he'd been working on recently to start the battle off. As he drew his katana with his right hand he reached with his left to grab a knife from his right bicep and threw it at one of the three men behind him. The knife caught the man in the eye, eliminating him from the first stages of the fight at least. With the initial numbers balanced at two bandits for each of them, the battle was joined.

 

Shawn knew Dene could take care of herself now that she had a sword in hand and so he turned his attention to the two men that had come up behind her. As he engaged the first man the second threw a knife that stuck in his left shoulder. After that he was lost in the moment of the fight. Wrapped in the Spring Shawn worked with all the speed he possessed to get as many strikes in as possible, but fighting two to one it was all he could to keep their swords off him.

 

Soon enough Shawn found the opening he needed. He pushed one man away and came up under the too-high guard of the second. Sliding his sword through the man's chest he turned and punched the first man in the back of the neck with a fist weighted by his sword. In addition to the knife still stuck in his shoulder Shawn had several dozen cuts on his body from blows he'd only been able to deflect instead of block, but he lived. He turned to see if Dene needed help and saw she had finished off the two he'd left for her. She was at that moment cleaning her sword, actually his but that was beside the point, on the shirt of one of the bandits.

 

Unfortunately, in the commotion of the fight they had both lost track of the man Shawn had blinded with his knife at the beginning. That man was now sneaking up behind Dene even as Shawn turned to check on her. Shawn ran him through with his sword but not quite in time. As Dene fell Shawn rushed forward to catch her, screaming in pain for her wounds. He felt for signs of life, praying that she lived still.

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"Not tonight it seems," She watched him throw his knife as he drew his weapon, and smiled for a second, glad that he was with her. Turning to the two men that had appeared before her, she smiled. “Ready to lose?†she asked as she fitted the weapon in her hand. It felt perfect, almost as if her hand was made for it, and it was yet another eerie sign that Shawn was perfect for her. She fought them both, and tried to center herself. One lunged at her, and she swung her weapon to block his attack, gracefully putting out her foot to trip him. Honestly, men were idiots. Why did they always assume that because they were bigger and stronger, they could hurt her? It was his own foolishness that had him down. She kicked his weapon away from him, and turned to the other that was now running at her.

 

Blocking his attack, they sparred for a moment before their weapons were locked and she kicked him in the stomach. He took a few steps back, trying to catch his breath. She walked to him, ready to slash at him while she had the chance when she felt something grab the back of her dress. Taking a few steps back from the jolt, she quickly spun around, slashing the man in front of her. He fell back, almost dead, when she turned around to another sword in her face. She slashed at his arm, and punched him in the face. He fell down to the ground, and she leaned down, whipping Shawn’s blade off on his shirt as she pushed away his blade. She felt something behind her, and heard Shawn, but then, a pain went through her back.

 

Screaming out, Deneira stood there in shock for a moment before falling down, feeling her back cut open from a large slash. Someone caught her, and she layed there in his arms, unable to move or say anything. He held onto her tight, and she felt the tears streaming. She tried to hold back her shouts as he checked her, and she started shaking, feeling the blood leave her body. “Please don’t let me die,†she whispered to Shawn. Tears were streaming from both his eyes and hers, and she stared into his eyes just as everything went dark.

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Shawn checked and found that Deneira was still breathing, but her pulse was slipping. She was slipping. He needed to get her some help. He cleaned the swords and put them back in the sheaths at his belt. He regretted the loss of his knife but couldn't take the time to find it. Then he scooped Dene into his arms and lifted her out of the dirt of the alley floor. As he did he felt a blinding pain and remembered the knife that was still in his shoulder. He knew how unwise it would be to remove it now, that would merely renew the bleeding that had now slowed to a trickle. Instead he bore the pain behind the focus of the Spring and lifted her the rest of the way into his arms.

 

It was late but he knew there would still be at least one yellow sister awake to tend to the denizens of the Yard. All he had to do was make it up the hill to the Tower and through the Yards to the infirmary. Dene was light but Shawn was injured. The pain in his shoulder was draining his strength and the rest of his myriad cuts and bruises were beginning to take their toll as well. He suspected he was growing feverish from the loss of blood.

 

As he reached the gate to the Yards he stumbled to his knees and Dene fell out of his arms. As he fell down beside her he heard the shouts of his peers as they rushed to their aid.

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