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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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Jocelyn

Cracks in the Ice & Stone

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Kedyn closed the door of the Scout barracks. The sun had begun to set below the horizon and left the eirie glow that went along with the transition from day to night. He turned away from the barracks and headed to the messhall towards the center of the barracks. It was also a wooden structure as everything had changed from tent to wooden housings only a few days ago with the completion of the last wooden barracks.

 

He dared not go to see Mari for she would only deny him a drink and today was a day that Kedyn truly needed one. The gaping hole in his chest had begun to take in everything and the wieghts of responsibility and grief had become to much. He needed something to escape, to shore up the walls he had made inside and close off the hole in his middle. To soften his pain through drink. It helped to forget the pain, but only for so long and to the pit of doom to what others thought of him.

 

What the mess hall served was a weaker brand and a rather atrocious thing but it had the same desired effect. He pushed open the door and walked into the soft din of the mess hall. It wasn't as crowded as he would have thought it would be but then again there was still many people training and going about there duties. Kedyn's reports had been filed and the rest of his work pushed to Malastair so he could come here.

 

He walked up to the counter and asked for what he wanted and the cook handed it over without pause. Having almost six thousand men in the Band did jave some benefits, making it so he could not know everyone. Taking a seat in a corner, away from everyone else he surveryed the room. Laughter came from most of the tables and the others the groups were huddled in low conversation, only Kedyn sat alone this night. That was fine. Alone to his grief, self pity and his memories. Jenna, Lavena, the faces of the Scouts who had died under his command. He tilted his mug back and took a long swig of ale.

 

Kedyn

 

Miria stepped lightly on the way to the mess hall, glad to not have any pain in her ankle. She was starving, and in particularly good spirits. And why not? The day was turning into a beautiful twilight, her ankle was healed, and she had practiced with her bow earlier, discovering that her skills hadn't abated much at all, in the time since she last trained.

 

The sound hit her before she even opened the doors, bringing a smile to her lips. She sometimes missed the bustle of the city, and the din from the mess hall almost reminded her of the common room of the inn back home. She smiled and waved at the new friends she had made as she made her way to the counter. Her grin broadened when she spotted Kedyn. He was sitting by himself, admittedly, but at least he was out, instead of hiding in the barracks being miserable.

 

Try as she might, Miria had still not been able to crack Kedyn's aura of gloom, despite her best efforts, and cheerful disposition. He was civil enough, but he still hid behind his armour, hiding from his real self. If anything, Miria was finding it very frustrating. She was at him constantly, trying to draw him out, yet nothing seemed to work. It was almost as if Kedyn was deliberately thwarting her. Surely not, but that's what it felt like. As if he refused to join the real world.

 

Whatever his reasoning, Miria was glad to see him away from his room. Ordering a simple watered wine, Miria thanked the cook, holding her drink up as she threaded her way over to where Kedyn sat. If he was going to sit in the mess hall, he was going to have her company, she decided. She flashed him a grin as she neared, her dimple creasing her cheek as she sat opposite him. "Nice to see you here Kedyn." She grinned, though it faltered slightly when she took in the empty tankards littering the table. No doubt they were left from the last soldiers, she thought. "And what a lovely evening it is proving to be." She mused, raising her tankard in a half salute, before taking a sip.

 

Miria eyed Kedyn closely. Something wasn't right with this picture. His eyes were slightly glazed, normally they were bright and clear, sparkling with intelligence. Now they just seemed...dark. Kedyn seemed dark, even for himself. "Is everything alright, Kedyn?" Surely he hadn't drunk all of that ale. Her eyes narrowed. All the effort she had spent on him, if he was running away and losing himself in drink...well lets just say he had better not be doing what she thought he was.

 

 

Miria

 

Kedyn watched warily as Miria walked into the mess hall and headed towards him. Of the people he would have wanted to see him like this she was perhaps the last on that particular list. He had been drinking straight for a while and he had drowned quite a few, he could alreadly feel the effects starting to both dull the pain and to dull his wits as well. He was glad he was alone as well.

 

She smiled, still intent on being as cheerful as possible. "Nice to see you here Kedyn. And what a lovely evening it is proving to be." It was unnerving how cheery she could be. Lovely, sure, there were so many different ways to see the night and say that it was possible to believe it lovely. He smile faltered as she saw the tankards and Kedyn prepared himself for the dissaporving words that always came when someone caught him like this.

 

"Is everything alright, Kedyn?" Kedyn snorted and pushed his newest empty tankard away from him. Ther didn't seem anything right in the world, even the world itself was wrong. The Light had abandoned this world long ago, Lavena was dead and he was still living. Nothing was right.

 

Kedyn pushed himself back from the chair and rose slowly. He staggered as he stepped away from the table. At the moment he was in no mood, nor the position, to face Miria and her cheerfullness and insistence to bring him out of his shell. "I have...I have things to do." Only spoiled slightly by a small stagger Kedyn made his way out of the mess hall away from everyone. His pain was dulled enough to live and Miria only seemed to bring about painfull memories.

 

 

Kedyn

 

 

Miria watched Kedyn with a frown as he pushed himself from the table. He was quite unsteady on his feet. Miria jumped to the obvious conclusion. He was drunk. She sighed. Why he thought he could hide from his pain was beyond her, but getting drunk did nothing but give him a sore head the next morning. Which he would rightfully deserve.

 

"I have...I have things to do." Miria gritted her teeth, seething with anger, her previous good mood long gone. He staggered slightly as he walked out, and Miria slammed down her mug and rose to follow him, ignoring her friends, intent on her goal. Kedyn. She'd tried so hard, but now she'd had enough. It was time he realised he was damaging everyone under his command, not just himself. Light, didn't he know how much she hated seeing him that way?

 

She shoved aside the door and looked around for Kedyn, spying his silhouette as he staggered towards the barracks. So, he only came out to get drunk did he? Miria gritted her teeth and marched after him, catching him as he pushed the door open to his room. Shoving in behind him, she slammed the door and stood with her back to it, hands on her hips, glaring at him.

 

"I don't know what the bloody hell you think you're doing, but it stops now." Her voice was slightly raised as she glared up at him. "I will not stand by and watch you do this to yourself. All the stories I hear tell me you are a good commanding officer...well when are you going to act it, you wool-headed idiot?" Miria very near yelled the last, her chest heaving with her rage. Light, she didn't think she'd ever been this angry with anyone before. She certainly hadn't with Kedyn. The bright cheery approach hadn't worked, and now, quite frankly, she'd had enough of him.

 

Miria balled her hands into fists, all thoughts of sensistivity gone. "You are still alive Kedyn, so stop living as though you are dead!" Miria exhaled loudly, trying to calm herself down. Goodness, she was berating her commanding officer, who was greiving. And drunk. That steeled her resolve, as she boldly glared back at him.

 

Miria

 

Kedyn staggered slightly trying to get his bearings. It wasn't to bad, the only thing that was truly different was his motions. He pushed open the front door to the barracks and stepped inside. Shaking his head he made his way to his room, wanted to sleep. He felt better even if the medium he used for that feeling didn't help in the long run.

 

His wits impaired Kedyn wasn't aware that there was someone following him until the door didn't shut when he pushed it closed. He was turning slugishly when he saw Miria slamming the door behind her. Kedyn let out a long breath as it seemed what he had been running from had followed.

 

"I don't know what the bloody hell you think you're doing, but it stops now." With her voice raised Miria made herself seem taller and more imposing than her small frame suggested. "I will not stand by and watch you do this to yourself. All the stories I hear tell me you are a good commanding officer...well when are you going to act it, you wool-headed idiot?" Of all things anger slowly began to rise to the surface.

 

"You are still alive Kedyn, so stop living as though you are dead!" Kedyn's nostrils flared and he opened his mouth to speak up against Miria. The ale had taken its hold of his wits as much as his emotions and let his tounge run more freely. His hands slowly clenched into fists and Kedyn's voice was louder than Miria's had been.

 

"If I am still alive why do I feel like I am dead. I should be dead! Lavena is gone and I am still here and if the Light had any force in this world I should have died with her!" Kedyn's breath came in ragged gasps and his chest was heaving. "And why should I bloody not drown myself in ale. It hurts to much not to! There is a hole in my chest where my heart used to be for it was ripped out the day Lavena died! I feel like I am dead, without Lavena what point is there in living!" Kedyn's voiced creschendoed near the end to the point until he wasn't sure that the walls were not shaking. The pain was beggining to return along with the memories, everything that accompanied talking about Lavena. Still seething Kedyn took a long breath trying to recover somewhat.

 

 

Kedyn

 

 

"If I am still alive why do I feel like I am dead. I should be dead! Lavena is gone and I am still here and if the Light had any force in this world I should have died with her!" Miria fought the urge to take a step back when Kedyn began shouting back. What had she expected, for him to od calmly and tell her she was right? "And why should I bloody not drown myself in ale. It hurts to much not to! There is a hole in my chest where my heart used to be for it was ripped out the day Lavena died! I feel like I am dead, without Lavena what point is there in living!" Miria felt her insides boil with renewed fury. The idiot was drowning in self pity, thinking that would help anything!

 

She growled softly and took a step forward, eyes blazing dangerously. "You idiot of a man! Do you honestly think drowning your wits in ale is going to change anything? Yes, Lavena died, and you did not. But no one said that life is fair! You cannot change the past by dwelling in it. You cannot remove your pain, by masking it." Miria stepped forward again, her voice was strong and hard as steel, her eyes boring into Kedyn's.

 

Reaching out a hand in her frustration, Miria poked Kedyn hard in the middle of the chest. "I know it hurts, but being a miserable drunken fool will not help one whit!" Miria's hand shook, with the fierce emotions flooding through her, and she tried to gain some control, drawing in a ragged breath. "Moving on and enjoying your life will not be betraying Lavena. You mourn, you move on, and you forever hold her memory in your heart. You cannot change the past, so don't let it rule you!" She poked his chest once more for emphasis, her anger building once again.

 

"You are in a position of authority - your men look up to you. What kind of a leader are you being for them, for me? Will you happily condemn them to death while you drink away your life, unstead of being there for them?" Miria's eyes widened at the wild look in Kedyn's eye. Maybe she had gone too far, said too much. But she could not take it back now, so she glared back at him, jaw clenched, her chest heaving as she tried to hold onto the thin thread of her self-control.

 

Miria

 

But no one said that life is fair! You cannot change the past by dwelling in it. You cannot remove your pain, by masking it." Her words were like a hammer, each putting a nail to crack open his shield of ice doing there best to expose him fully and truly. He knew the words, knew deep inside that they were true. Coming from Miria was no different than from anyone else, but it still felt different, perhaps because she was the first Scout to be this blunt.

 

Kedyn grunted and took a small step back as Miria poked him, it would be hard to believe that Kedyn had to look down at her, that she came up to barely his shoulders. "I know it hurts, but being a miserable drunken fool will not help one whit! Moving on and enjoying your life will not be betraying Lavena. You mourn, you move on, and you forever hold her memory in your heart. You cannot change the past, so don't let it rule you!"

 

And here Miria hit the heart of Kedyn's problem. She was slowly lining up every problem he had and shooting as many holes in them she can. Kedyn wouldn't, couldn't admit, that the past was over, that moving on was not a betrayel to Lavena's memory. The boyish, foolish, mule headed, fantasy that some how there was some way to change the past. Why should he enjoy his life while Lavena no longer had a life of his own.

 

"You are in a position of authority - your men look up to you. What kind of a leader are you being for them, for me? Will you happily condemn them to death while you drink away your life, unstead of being there for them?"

 

In all Kedyn's reaction to Miria's onslaught was anger, pure and simple. There was nothing else. But as he steemed he began to think about Miria's words. And slowly his anger began to fade. The nails in his armor had shattered the ice to almost nothing. Slowly the feeling of nothingness in his chest. The cut at his ability to lead his men had been the final nail, the single stone that had caused an avalanche.

 

Kedyn turned and took a small step. He put his hand out and grasped ahold of his bed post before slowly sitting down. He ran a hand through his hair and then buried his face in his hands. He scrubbed his face for a moment and then slowly sat back up. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a moment to marshal his thoughts. Any anger that had been around previously had faded.

 

Tilting his head back Kedyn opened his mouth. His voice was shaky as he continued. "I don't know what to do. I can't let go, I tried and it was too hard. I can't let go I don't know if I am strong enough to lose someone else, I don't know if I can take losing Lavena if my memory fades."

 

Kedyn took a few unsteady breaths. "I did not intend for those I command to be affected, I was selfish thinking that if I pushed them away it would be easier to command people to their deaths."

 

"I know what you say is true Miria, I know that not letting Lavena go will only make me worse. But I don't know how to fill this hole in my chest. I fear to much that if I lose Lavena's memory that I am not strong enough to stop it from consuming me." Kedyn let his hang fall and gave out a long shuddering breath.

 

Kedyn

 

Miria blinked. She had seen the pure fury in Kedyn's gaze, but it slowly ebbed away, much to her amazement. She watched silently, dazedly, as Kedyn turned and sat, his face in his hands. Unclenching her fists, Miria felt her own anger fade, as Kedyn looked so forlorn. Did she actually get through to him?

 

Kedyn gazed up at the roof and spoke, his voice shaky. "I don't know what to do. I can't let go, I tried and it was too hard. I can't let go I don't know if I am strong enough to lose someone else, I don't know if I can take losing Lavena if my memory fades." Miria was unable to move, stunned by his words, by the openness. Something told her he didn't open up like this usually.

 

"I did not intend for those I command to be affected, I was selfish thinking that if I pushed them away it would be easier to command people to their deaths. I know what you say is true Miria, I know that not letting Lavena go will only make me worse. But I don't know how to fill this hole in my chest. I fear to much that if I lose Lavena's memory that I am not strong enough to stop it from consuming me." Miria bit her lip, looking at the sad picture Kedyn made. She forced her legs to move, going to sit next to him.

 

Miria hesitated only a moment, before wrapping her arms about Kedyn, laying her head on his shoulder. She spoke softly, soothingly, the fire that was in her voice just previously, dissipated. "I know you feel lost Kedyn. But that is when you turn to your friends. I know they want to help you. I want to help you. You are not expected to do this on your own." She hoped her words were sinking in. She knew he hurt, and her earlier harsh words probably hadn't made him feel any better.

 

Squeezing his shoulder slightly, Miria continued. "I know you loved Lavena deeply Kedyn. And it's that love that will keep her memory alive. You will never forget her." She stroked his hair absently with one hand. "You are strong Kedyn, and I know you won't be consumed by your grief. I'm sure Lavena would not have wanted you to live as though you were already gone. Keep her in your heart, and smile for the love you shared." Miria kept her voice soft, continuing to hold him, wanting to help him however she could. She was still bewildered at the change, not sure what she had said, but glad something had gotten through to him at last.

 

Miria

 

Kedyn shifted his gaze to Miria as she walked over and slowly sat next to him. She wrapped her arms around him and layed her head on his shoulder. Her words were soothing and he knew she was trying to be comforting but he could not help the memories that came with this contact. "I know you feel lost Kedyn. But that is when you turn to your friends. I know they want to help you. I want to help you. You are not expected to do this on your own."

 

His friends, if he had any left by now. He had been so determined to push them away that he had forgotten what it was like to be close to people, and was afraid that others had forgotten him as fully. And it was strange to believe that he was not expected to do it on his own, he could be helped yes but in the end it was himself that had to come to terms with his grief.

 

"I know you loved Lavena deeply Kedyn. And it's that love that will keep her memory alive. You will never forget her. You are strong Kedyn, and I know you won't be consumed by your grief. I'm sure Lavena would not have wanted you to live as though you were already gone. Keep her in your heart, and smile for the love you shared."

 

It was strange to feel Miria stroking her hair with one hand, such intimate contact comign from someone he had know for such a short time. It was comfoting and her words rang true to him, the small voice that had been smothered for so long slowly rising to the surface. Smile for the love he had shared.

 

Slolwy and unbiddenly the meroies began to return, mostly from the situation. It was swtiched in his memory, Kedyn had his arms around Lavena and his head on her shoulder, she was the one bearing her soul. Kedyn grimaced slightly, those had been better times.

 

Kedyn looped an arm around Miria and gave her a tight squeeze in something of a hug. He felt better somewhat, though drained. "I.....I have to give you my thanks Miria. I don't know why I thought that hiding would help anything or by keeping people away that it would help me in some way. I want to change, I do. I feel almost as if I have been under a fog for the last few weeks. It will be strange reverting to my normal self, but I will try."

 

Kedyn chuckled lightly perhaps saying what he did from the memory that had come to him. He had not pushed it away, instead reveled in it and used it to imprint Lavena forever into his memory. "It is strange. The reason Lavena came to the Band was becuase she wanted to harden herself to the world. She believed as I that by hiding she would be better off. Ironic that I called her foolish for that thought and that she to discarded the idea as well." Kedyn sniffed in a half laugh and smiled genuinely.

 

Kedyn

 

Miria smiled slowly as she felt Kedyn's arm loop around her waist, giving her a squeeze in a semblance of a hug. It felt good, the awkward embrace. As though all her hard work had paid off. She returned his squeeze, still somewhat dazed that she had gotten through to him, past the wall of ice he had built around himself. Maybe it was harsh, having someone who was a virtual stranger point out all your faults. She grimaced. That was basically what she had done. This could have backfired terribly. Thank the light it hadn't.

 

"I.....I have to give you my thanks Miria. I don't know why I thought that hiding would help anything or by keeping people away that it would help me in some way. I want to change, I do. I feel almost as if I have been under a fog for the last few weeks. It will be strange reverting to my normal self, but I will try." Miria couldn't hide her proud grin. She really had gotten through to him. He was going to try to snap out of it.

 

Kedyn chuckled to himself, the sound vibrating through his frame and touching Miria where she held him still. "It is strange. The reason Lavena came to the Band was becuase she wanted to harden herself to the world. She believed as I that by hiding she would be better off. Ironic that I called her foolish for that thought and that she to discarded the idea as well." Miria blinked. Kedyn was smiling. A real, genuine smile, that seemed to brighten up his entire face. Miria swallowed. He seemed so...handsome when he smiled. Carefree.

 

"You should smile like that more often." She said softly. "It makes you look far more attractive." She smirked, hoping he was picking up on her teasing tone, but light, it was true. "I think I would have liked Lavena." She said, half to herself. "Either way, it seems she set a tough act to follow." She blushed as realised how her words could be taken. Light, he was greiving over his lost love, and she was making comments like that? "I mean as a scout." She added hurriedly. Kedyn was distracting enough, especially this close, but when he smiled like that...well she seemed to lose her wits.

 

"I know you said I deserve your thanks, but I'm sorry if I said anything out of line before...I was so very angry," She gave him an almost apologetic smile. "Angrier than I've ever been." Miria shrugged. "I'm not even entirely sure why...but I'm glad now that I was." She nodded firmly, fixing Kedyn with a winning smile, her cheek dimpling. Miria looked at his chest, where she had poked him. She had poked her commanding officer! "Oh, and sorry about the poking." Miria mumbled, cheeks flushing a dull red. Light, why couldn't she think straight?

 

Miria

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"You should smile like that more often. It makes you look far more attractive." Kedyn continued his laugh with Miria's words. Lavena had teased him much as Miria was doing know, and he usually gave as much as he got so Miria perhaps should look out for herself."I think I would have liked Lavena. Either way, it seems she set a tough act to follow. I mean as a scout."

 

Kedyn saw Miria's blush and hsi grinned faultered for a moment. Red is you color. Kedyn shook his head to rid himself of those green eyes that always looked at him when he remembered that phrase. Lavena had told him first when she had made him blush. Determined to remain cheery at least for a while Kedyn couldn't help but tease Miria back some. She would have to get used to it if Kedyn truly went back to his own self.

 

"I know you said I deserve your thanks, but I'm sorry if I said anything out of line before...I was so very angry, Angrier than I've ever been. I'm not even entirely sure why...but I'm glad now that I was. Oh, and sorry about the poking."

 

"If you turly want a kiss from me so badly Miria you should come out and ask. And I am impressed it usually takes women longer to get me in here." Kedyn winked at Miria to show that he was truly teasing her. "And do not worry about your being angry, you are not the first and your had every right to be angry with me. I was being a terrible officer and since you are under my command it is your right to yell at me if you think I am doing you a diservice."

 

Kedyn continued with his smile, his cheeks almost sore from having been used to smile so little lately. "Nor should you worry about the poking." Kedyn poked Miria in the stomach to emphasise the point. "We all need to be taken down a rung or two every once in a while."

 

Kedyn took a deep breath. It felt good finally being open and happy once again. How much he may have missed in the past. "You would have gotten along famously with Lavena I am sure." Kedyn's grin took on a wicked quality. "And I would have liked it too. How lucky for me to have two women fighting for my affection." Kedyn let out a long chuckle. It felt good to laugh once again.

 

Kedyn

 

"If you truly want a kiss from me so badly Miria you should come out and ask. And I am impressed it usually takes women longer to get me in here." Miria gaped, looking at Kedyn with wide eyes. Was this the same man? His wink made her finally realise he was teasing her, and her cheeks suffused with colour once more. Surely that wasn't her heart beating faster?

 

"And do not worry about your being angry, you are not the first and your had every right to be angry with me. I was being a terrible officer and since you are under my command it is your right to yell at me if you think I am doing you a diservice." Miria smirked, and nodded. He could be certain she would tell him her mind. After all, that was what she had just done, and he seemed no worse the wear, though the teasing was slightly unnerving. Not unwelcome, just unexpected. In fact, Miria decided she quite liked Kedyn this way.

 

Kedyn continued to smile in that devastating manner. Devastating because of what it was doing to her insides. Quite bizarre, really. "Nor should you worry about the poking." Miria made a sound as Kedyn poked her in the stomach, giggling in spite of herself. Surely this was not the same man who had yelled at her drunkenly before! "We all need to be taken down a rung or two every once in a while." Miria nodded and returned the favour, poking him back in the ribs with a cheeky grin. "I'll keep that in mind." She replied.

 

"And I would have liked it too. How lucky for me to have two women fighting for my affection." Miria made somthing like a strangled sound, still not believing her ears. It should be illegal for Kedyn to grin in that manner, especially when he was saying such wicked things. It did all sorts of terrible things to her senses, not to mention twisting her stomach into a knot. His chuckle seemed to be infectious, and Miria found herself giggling along.

 

"You wicked man! Don't tell me I have to beat some manners into you as well!" She gave him a playful shove. "And for your information, I don't ask for kisses...I'm usually fending them off from all my suitors." She folded her arms under her breasts and lifted her chin, whilst giving Kedyn one of her winning grins, dimple flashing. Truth be told she had never kissed a man, but Kedyn needn't know that. Not that there hadn't been attempts, or requests, but Miria had always turned them down. Now, looking at Kedyn grin, his eyes alight with mischief, she was suddenly thinking she'd like to try.

 

Colour suffused her cheeks at where her thoughts were headed. Light, she needed to guard herself better, lest he guess where her thoughts were headed. That would not do at all. Looking at Kedyn's bright expression, Miria couldn't help but allow herself a smug grin. She had somehow managed to drag him out from behind that armour she had built up. She had succeeded where no one else had. Why shouldn't she be proud? She chuckled. "I did well didn't I?" She grinned broadly. "So what finally got to you? My infectious good mood, my stunning good looks, or my incredible charm and wit?" She fluttered her eyelashes, grinning at him wickedly. She may not have kissed a man before, but she certainly knew how to tease one. This new Kedyn could be a lot of fun, she decided.

 

Miria

 

"You wicked man! Don't tell me I have to beat some manners into you as well! And for your information, I don't ask for kisses...I'm usually fending them off from all my suitors." Kedyn laughed lightly and big smile on his face. Both from the playful words and the thought of Miria fending off hordes of suitors. She could be telling the truth as well, she was good on the eyes and any normal man would be happy to steal a kiss from her. She had a beautiful smile that lit up her face. As Lavena did. The thought brought back the picure of Lavena smiling and instead of pushing it away Kedyn embraced the memory trying to do as Miria had suggested.

 

"I did well didn't I? So what finally got to you? My infectious good mood, my stunning good looks, or my incredible charm and wit?" Kedyn chuckled to himself looked down at Miria's fluttering eyelashes and wicked grin. If she was trying to be teasing and poking fun at him she would have to try harder, Lavena had been very good and he had been far from an innocent before he had met Lavena.

 

Feigning an expression of intent thought. He tapped a finger on his chin and arched an eyebrow. She would learn soon enough that his favorite pastime had been teasing his friends. He was greatful and she had done a good job, suceeding where no one else had.

 

Kedyn grinned mischeviously again. "I am not sure. I mean there are so many different things. Your good looks are enough to stop any of the Band's enemies in their tracks." He tapped a finger against her cheek where they had gone red. "And your cheeks go well the banner's. Perhaps you should change your woredrobe to red since the color fits you so well." Kedyn's smile faltered slightly but he brought it back to normal as he realized what he had just said. The small girl with green eyes looked up at him. Her tone was cold, a paradox to the smile on her face. "Red is your color now."

 

"Of course I am unsure I should be around you in case you tie me up with your words your wit and charm are so infectious. Of course I'm not sure about your good mood. I mean you seem all gloomy and sad all the time. I mean it wouldn't hurt to smile once in a while, I bet it would be good for you." Kedyn raised his eyebrows and did his best to put an irritated edge to his voice. He wasn't able to keep his straight face for long and one edge of his mouth twitched upwards once more. "I mean I would be joining that horde of suitors and give you that kiss you seem intent to get but your being all frowny and its really depressing." Kedyn shook his head and rolled his eyes. His only thing to bely he wasn't being serious was the grin on his face.

 

Kedyn

 

I am not sure. I mean there are so many different things. Your good looks are enough to stop any of the Band's enemies in their tracks." Miria couldn't help the blush that suffused er cheeks, reddening all the more when Kedyn touched them with his finger, highlighting the fact. She had never been teased so by a man before. It was...off putting. But not necessarily a bad thing. Especially when Kedyn smiled in that way. "And your cheeks go well the banner's. Perhaps you should change your woredrobe to red since the color fits you so well." She fought the urge to poke her tongue out at him, but soon lost the fight, giving in to the urge. She giggled, knowing how terribly childish she must look, but couldn't help herself.

 

"Of course I am unsure I should be around you in case you tie me up with your words your wit and charm are so infectious. Of course I'm not sure about your good mood. I mean you seem all gloomy and sad all the time. I mean it wouldn't hurt to smile once in a while, I bet it would be good for you." Miria gaped at him, making a strangled sound, halfway between a laugh and a groan. He poked fun at this now? She could see the mirth in his eyes, the way his lips were twitching into a smile. "I mean I would be joining that horde of suitors and give you that kiss you seem intent to get but your being all frowny and its really depressing." Miria laughed at the sheer absurdity.

 

Miria gave Kedyn a playful shove, but a hard one none the less, obviously catching him unawares as he slid off the bed. "You think that's funny?" She couldn't hide the big grin from her features. Light, she never would have imagined he could be such an incredible tease. "You try being super cheerful while I'm being madam gloom and doom and see how well you keep it up." Her eyes flashed with playful outrage, sliding onto her knees and poking him mercilessly, hoping he was ticklish. The rat! Teasing her after all her good efforts!

 

"Besides which, joining the line of suitors does not guarantee you a kiss. I'm more discerning than that." She lifted her chin in an arrogant manner, though her grin remained. Light, but just the thought of Kedyn lining up to kiss her had her knees weak. What was wrong with her? Where was the strong, independent women she knew, who didn't need any man? Surely that wasn't her, swooning over a man who was teasing her, and smiling in that incredibly attractive way. "You would have to do a better job of winning me over than you are now." She said pointedly, poking him in the ribs. When did she lose her wits again? She wondered to herself, as she found her eyes wandering over Kedyn's lips again.

 

Miria

 

Kedyn's eyes widened as Miria gave him a sharp shove and he slid dangerously close to the edge of the bed. He was taken off gaurd enough that he slid of the endge, landing on his rump with a sharp "Ooomph." He ended up just laughing outloud and settling back on his elbows.

 

You think that's funny? You try being super cheerful while I'm being madam gloom and doom and see how well you keep it up." Miria's smile was truly infectious, the way it lit up her face. He couldn't help but brighten the smile already plastered onto his face. He had been pretty bad though, and would not have wanted to deal with himself in that state, hopefully no one else would.

 

"Besides which, joining the line of suitors does not guarantee you a kiss. I'm more discerning than that.You would have to do a better job of winning me over than you are now."

 

Kedyn had to admit to himself that Miria was very pretty from this position, he chin up and that grin lightling up her face. Forced t because he had for so long tried to avoid thoughts like that for they would only end up comning back to Lavena. It would be rather enjoyable to join these suitors she was speaking of, though how he would deal with it if it went anywhere was beyond him. He knew that moving on would include other women in his life, that by trying what Miria had said that he would have to move on. Love again no matter how much chance of loss there was.

 

But now Kedyn's thoughts were more on the now, and the now was making Miria blush in that cute way. It was fun as well, and missed now that Kedyn remembered how much fun this was. He pushed himself up from the ground his mouth running as he did so, "Try harder? Well, I guess I'll have to be more insitent. What should I do?" Kedyn tapped a finger on his chin for a moment before promptly sitting down on Miria's lap.

 

"Does this work, it seems to work for you but I don't know." Kedyn tried imitating what Miria had looked like, batting his eyelashes, though in a very exaggerated manner. Or tried to since he was taller than Miria by quite bit. "Or flattery." Kedyn put a hand to his heart and tried his best at imitating a love sricken maid, "Oh Miria, how your beauty radiates like a thousand suns." Kedyn flipped his hand to place the back of his hand on his forehead, "But alas all you do is scorn me. What do you think? Am I doing better? Of course it seems almost arrogant to make me do all this work. I mean why would kiss you know, or ever for that manner. I mean, your so demanding." Kedyn stuck his tounge out at Miria in what he hoped was a mirror for how Miria herself had looked when she had done the same.

 

Kedyn

 

"Try harder? Well, I guess I'll have to be more insitent. What should I do?" Miria only had a moments warning before Kedyn promptly plonked his behind in her lap. She blushed furiously, startled, but could not help her grin. Light, he was a lot more than she had bargained for. "Does this work, it seems to work for you but I don't know." He fluttered his eyelashes like a maid, obviously imitating her actions earlier, and she narrowed her eyes.

 

"Or flattery." She giggled out loud at the absurd picture he made, sprouting pretty words of flattery, perched on her lap. She tried hard to battle the blush on her cheeks, but it was so difficult, especially with him so close. His scent filled her senses, leaving her dizzy and her wits muddled. "I mean why would I kiss you know, or ever for that manner. I mean, your so demanding." Miria found herself watching Kedyn's lips as he spoke, her tongue darting out to moisten her lower lip. Why did he have to be so irresistably handsome?

 

Kedyn poked his tongue out, and Miria grinned. Her really was cheeky. Maybe she should kiss him, just to stop his teasing. Or was it because she wanted to? Shaking her head, she forced her wits to sharpen. "That will never do!" She chuckled, poking him in the ribs. "How you ever expected to win a girl like that is beyond me." She pretended to look annoyed. "You will have to do much better to win a kiss from me...and even then you would be lucky to receive one, the way you are teasing me!"

 

With that Miria's knees gave way, and she tumbled over, Kedyn sprawling on top of her. She couldn't help herself. She started giggling, her body shaking from the laughter. This was absurd! "Now see what you've done? Whatever shall I do with you?" She smirked and snaked a hand down to pinch his rear end, suprised at herself. Light, she'd never done that to a man before. but it was so very cute, and he needed to get some of his own back.

 

Miria

 

"That will never do! How you ever expected to win a girl like that is beyond me." Kedyn shook with mirth at the annoyed look on Miria’s face. Her look was only spoiled by the blush staining her cheeks. "You will have to do much better to win a kiss from me...and even then you would be lucky to receive one, the way you are teasing me!"

 

Kedyn was tumbling to the ground before he could tell what was going on. He let out a suprised gasp before he stopped falling. He reoriented himself and Kedyn found himself sprawled on top of Miria. He was shocked to find himself here to say the least. It was thrown into sharp clearence as Miria began giggling, her body shaking beneath him and making Kedyn acutely aware of his position. "Now see what you've done? Whatever shall I do with you?"

 

Kedyn had opened his mouth to speak when he felt the sharp sting of a pinch on his rear end. A look of complete shock replaced his smile for a moment and he felt his cheeks redden slightly. But he schooled his face and replaced it again with his grin. “What I did?†Kedyn rolled his eyes and had an idea. Well if she wanted to be such a tease he could have his own fun as well.

 

Kedyn leaned his head in close and touched the tip of his nose with Miria’s. He could feel her breath plaing across his lips as his did to her. He was closer than he would have thought was possible this morning. Whe he spoke it was almost a whisper. “I was going to blame you, but I guess it is myself. I can make women’s knees week at times. So I guess it’s my fault. Well I’m not sure what you should do to me though. Though this chase your leading me on is proving to be vastly entertaining. Those other suitors may have a new rival if you have to lead me by the nose like this. You are a very good tease, I think I should be the one mad at you.†Kedyn reached his hand down and give Miria’s rump a light pinch out of revenge partly and just for effect on his words. Kedyn had not expected to be this open now, this morning he would have rolled his eyes and ignored the person who had told him this would happen to him.

 

Kedyn

 

Miria felt a quick surge of triumph at the slight staining of his cheeks. Serve him right, though he recovered quickly, faster than what she herself did. “What I did?†Kedyn rolled his eyes and Miria smirked, then suddenly he was close. So very close, his nose touching hers, his breath fanning across her face.

 

“I was going to blame you, but I guess it is myself. I can make women’s knees week at times. So I guess it’s my fault. Well I’m not sure what you should do to me though. Though this chase your leading me on is proving to be vastly entertaining. Those other suitors may have a new rival if you have to lead me by the nose like this. You are a very good tease, I think I should be the one mad at you.†Miria struggled to breathe, her chest heaving involuntarily from the effort to drag air into her lungs. Her brain refused to work, the combination of Kedyn's face so close to hers, and his soft words working to lull her into a trance.

 

Kedyn's fingers on her backside made her mouth drop open with a gasp, as she jumped slightly from the pinch. She had never had a man touch her there before, even for a pinch, and it was, well....distracting. No, more than that it was...light, she couldn't think straight at all, her mouth going dry and words leaving her. Her mouth worked silently for a few seconds, before she managed to find her voice. "My my, you are determined to join the long line of my suitors aren't you, you dreadful tease." She murmured softly. "I never realised my incredible looks and charm could affect someone so self-controlled as yourself." Her words were softly teasing, his head still close to hers.

 

Miria tried not to focus her eyes on his lips, so very close to hers. Tried not to imagine what they would feel like pressed against hers. Tried not to think about what he was doing to her senses. Light, he was befuddling her brain like a potent drug, and she could not rid herself of it's effects. She had no idea it would come to this, when she followed Kedyn earlier. This transformation was more than she'd dared hope for. Though now she found she was the one faltering. She swallowed and gave Kedyn a sweet, teasing smile. "If you wanted to kiss me so badly Kedyn, you should just ask." She teased him, reflecting his earlier words, his breath still teasing her lips.

 

Miria

 

"My my, you are determined to join the long line of my suitors aren't you, you dreadful tease. I never realised my incredible looks and charm could affect someone so self-controlled as yourself." Kedyn rubbed teh edge of his nose against Miria's softly smiling wickedly, though Miria wouldn't be able to see it. No matter how suprised by his actions Kedyn was more so. And he hadn't expected how much he had missed this, or how much he would get into it when he got back.

 

Kedyn tried not to dwell on where he was, sprawled on top of a woman pressed against her as if he was kissing her. "If you wanted to kiss me so badly Kedyn, you should just ask." Kedyn shook with a chuckle as he looked into Miria's eyes. He breathed in deeply, trying to ignore the scent that was Miria that came with it. He rubbed his nose against hers and leaned his head down to lightly rest on Miria's own.

 

"Well, I will have to keep that in mind." Kedyn smiled and did his best to act like he was going to kiss Miria. He got close enough that their lips were almost touching before pushing agianst the ground and rising to his feet relieving himself from his position atop Miria. He had a small smirk on his face as he straightened his shirt and tried to recover. He hadn't realised just how much being in that position had affected him, and to that end it had scared him somewhat.

 

"My, someone is feeling rather foreward today. I mean I don't give out my kisses so freely." Kedyn rolled his eyes and shook his head, trying to look like exasperated. Kedyn tsked lightly as he leaned up against the wall, looking down at Miria. His old smile back on his face and his arms folded across his chest.

 

"Though I cannot argue with your good looks, they are rather stunning, distracting. I have to fear for the pour Foxes that are around you." Kedyn relaxed for the moment, the smile that had alighted his face. He felt better then he had in a long time, thanks to this woman. Today was becoming a very good day.

 

Kedyn

 

Miria could feel Kedyn's chuckle vibrate through him, as he was pressed intimately against her. Her heart thudded in her chest, loud enough that she would almost swear he could hear her. He rubbed his nose against her softly, before resting his brow against hers, and Miria heaved in a shaky breath. Was he going to kiss her? Light, she didn't know what to do, and besides, she was frozen on the spot.

 

"Well, I will have to keep that in mind." His lips were so close to hers now, she could almost taste his warm breath. Miria's eyelids fluttered, and suddenly Kedyn was standing, smirking down at her as he adjusted his clothing. Goodness, had she honestly thought he was going to kiss her? She really was losing her mind. She blinked a few times, before hurriedly sitting upright. Light, she had been sprawled on the floor like a trollop...and she'd enjoyed having Kedyn that close.

 

Miria straightened her own shirt hastily. "My, someone is feeling rather foreward today. I mean I don't give out my kisses so freely." She gaped at him incredulously, and flushed. She would be lying if she said she hadn't wanted him to kiss her. And she had pinched his behind before. But he had done the same to her. He was such a tease! She folded her arms and frowned up at him, though his smile was very infectious. Besides, she was more annoyed at her weak body, betraying her by enjoying his touch, his closeness.

 

"Though I cannot argue with your good looks, they are rather stunning, distracting. I have to fear for the pour Foxes that are around you." Miria couldn't hide the pleased smile from his compliment. "I'll do my best not to distract them overly, never fear Kedyn." She smirked. "Though I make no promises." She flicked her hair over her shoulder in an arrogant manner, a haughty smile on her face. "Or perhaps I will just use my powers to have you and the others eating out of the palm of my hand?" She quirked a brow and chuckled, moving to sit back on the edge of the bed, afraid that Kedyn already had her eating out of the palm of his hand, and not quite sure how to deal with it.

 

Miria

 

"I'll do my best not to distract them overly, never fear Kedyn." Kedyn had no doubt that she would be able to if she tried, though she should watch out for some of the other women in the Fox's. Some of the women had very large streaks of jeoulosy. "Though I make no promises." Kedyn rolled his eyes at the arrogant gesture, and the smile. It seemed Miria was able to give as good as she got in the end.

 

"Or perhaps I will just use my powers to have you and the others eating out of the palm of my hand?" Kedyn laughed at the thought, though he was sure if she tried she may suceed if she was as good with men as she claimed. So far Kedyn had found nothing to disprove that so he would assume she was telling the truth. Didn't bode well for the rest of the Scouts.

 

"Well then, I might as well make you sergeant now and save me the trouble of being a puppet." A full smile lit Kedyn's as it had for these long minuets. One that had not been there since the death of Lavena. For once the thought that perhaps the Light still existed in this world creeped into Kedyn's consiousness. A thought that had been absent for so long. It was little though. Kedyn beleived fully that the Creator and Light had abandoned men to their own doings long ago. There was no white, no black, in this world there was only grey. No true goodness, no true evil, only a mix of the two.

 

Kedyn shifted his shoulders as he leaned against the wall watching Miria, now sitting back on the edge of his bed. He looked at her and images of Lavena kept intruding upon his mind. For what reason Kedyn was unsure, but they did not stop and Kedyn no longer pushed them away. Slowly they began to thaw what ice remained, erode the stone. It felt good. "I have to say I wonder what the other Fox's must think, they should be back by now." Kedyn smirked, though the fact was Kedyn was slightly curious. They had not tried to hide that they were in here, nor were the walls soundproof to any extent. Some of the Fox's had interesting imaginations to be sure.

 

Kedyn

 

"Well then, I might as well make you sergeant now and save me the trouble of being a puppet." Miria giggled at the sheer absurdity of the picture of her leading Kedyn along as though he was on puppet strings. She doubted her charms would ever be that good, though it was a nice thought.

 

Miria couldn't help but beam as Kedyn grinned in that charming way. She had brought about this change in him. Somehow, but she had done it. The man that looked bright and cheery now, instead of gloomy and haunted...that was because of her. And her yelling. And her poking. No doubt Kedyn would get his own back for that in good time.

 

Her gloating was brought up short at Kedyn's next comment though, delivered in an amused tone. "I have to say I wonder what the other Fox's must think, they should be back by now." Her jaw dropped, and colour suffused her cheeks once more. Light, they could have heard everything! She hated to imagine what they thought had been going on in here. Especially after the yelling ended. Mother milk in a cup! She couldn't just leave now, and face their curious eyes, though staying longer was only going to make things seem worse.

 

Damn him! Kedyn simply looked smug. "You're enjoying this, aren't you? What on earth are they going to think of me?" Miria scowled up at him, lounging against the wall for all the world as if there was nothing wrong with the situation. Well nothing had happened, though not for a lack of wanting on her part anyway. Argh! These thoughts were not helping. "What am I going to tell them? They will think me nothing more than a cheap lightskirt! Burn me!" She stood and paced the small floor space, quickly thinking up a plan.

 

Miria

 

"You're enjoying this, aren't you? What on earth are they going to think of me?" Kedyn let out a bark of a laugh at the comment and then mastered himself to the point of just shaking with mirth. He was having a good time, mroe so than anything for a very long time. He knew he shouldn't be laughing but it was hard to hold it in.

 

"What am I going to tell them? They will think me nothing more than a cheap lightskirt! Burn me!" Kedyn shook his head still shaking but this time as well as to try and portray that he did not believe the Fox's would think that, at least if Kedyn had anything to do with it.

 

Kedyn mastered himself enough to speak though what he said only made it harder for him to control himself. "A lightskirt?" He sighed. "If I had known that...." Kedyn broke down into small chuckled and shook his head not able to go down that path. "No no, I'm only teasing. Do not worry to much about the rest of the Fox's I will make sure they believe you a good respectable lady."

 

"Though I cannot help but enjoy. I think you may find that you may have gotten more than you bargained for. Though perhaps you are already thinking of that." Kedyn stretched his shoulder's as he watched miria's pacing slow and then finally stop. He couldn't help but wonder exactly what Miria was thinking about him right now. There were some women who enjoyed having this doen to them and other's that hated it.

 

"Though it doesn't seem you are enjoying this very much." Kedyn took a step foreward and tapped a finger against Miria's cheek which still had a faint trace of red staining it. He grined evily and took a step back to take his place leaning on the door post.

 

Kedyn

 

"A lightskirt? If I had known that...." Miria's first reaction was to gape at him incredulously, before fixing him with a glare. He would joke about the situation, wouldn't he. He chuckled but thankfully didn't continue, hurriedly apologising. "No no, I'm only teasing. Do not worry to much about the rest of the Fox's I will make sure they believe you a good respectable lady." She folded her arms, still miffed. No doubt he would let them think what they wanted. After all, it was her reputation at stake. She sighed. She was being unreasonable, she knew. Of course he would defend her. She just found it hard to think straight with him looking all attractive like that.

 

"Though I cannot help but enjoy. I think you may find that you may have gotten more than you bargained for. Though perhaps you are already thinking of that." Miria simply looked at him. What was he saying? Did he know she had wanted him to kiss her before? Surely not. But maybe he did. Could a man tell when a woman wanted to be kissed? She had no idea about these things. Surely he meant something else though. Of course...her giving him a rebuking was what he meant. Still, her cheeks had warmed at the thought of him kissing her.

 

"Though it doesn't seem you are enjoying this very much." He stepped closer once more and tapped her blushing cheek. The truth was she was enjoying his company greatly. Too much really. And she didn't know that she should be. His presence was disturbing, his new found good mood infectious to say the least. She shook her head, a rueful smile on her lips. "Well I'm glad you find it all so amusing Kedyn." She resisted the urge to poke her tongue out at him a second time as she regarded his wicked smile, when suddenly an idea came to her.

 

"We simply let them think the worst." She grinned broadly, starting up her pacing once more, as the thoughts put themselves together in her mind. "If we let them think what they want, they won't be able to talk about it, right? There won't be that wondering. Does that make sense?" She wrinkled her nose and looked at him, before going back to her pacing. "I mean, if we deny anything happened, of course people would be suspicious...but if we denied nothing...well, there's nothing left for them to play with." She stopped her pacing again in front of him, tapping her chin in thought and grinning at him. "I think it will work. Right?" She waited for his response, suddenly uncertain. What if the idea of the other fox's thinking he's done anything with her repulsed him? Argh, better not to think on that.

 

Miria

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"Well I'm glad you find it all so amusing Kedyn." Kedyn replied to Miria's smile with a grin of his own and rolled his eyes. She may have had a smile on her face but her eyes told spoke of the image of her poking her tounge out as she liked to do so often.

 

"We simply let them think the worst."Kedyn was glad that Miria began her pacing once again so she missed the incredulous look that passed across his face. Of all the things he had accepted to come next he had not expected that. "If we let them think what they want, they won't be able to talk about it, right? There won't be that wondering. Does that make sense?" Kedyn let out a small snort of laughter before containing his mirth once again. Apparently Miria had not been around soldiers for very long and while they would not talk as a group she might find the times where there were only women of the Fox's around perhaps interesting. And althoug he could not garuntee it he knew the men would not spare him from there thoughts. "It makes sense." And although he knew it was a lie Kedyn wanted to see how this would turn out, and didn't want to shoot down the idea of his newest Fox.

 

"I mean, if we deny anything happened, of course people would be suspicious...but if we denied nothing...well, there's nothing left for them to play with. I think it will work. Right?" Kedyn chuckled and shook his head, it was her idea and Kedyn would go with it for better or for worse.

 

And although he did not fully believe the words he was about to say he said them anyways, trying not to give away that he was lying somewhat. "It may work, at leat better than any plan I can think of. And if you are willing to than I shall play along as well. As long as you know it was your choice if it doesn't go as well as you would wish."

 

Kedyn couldn't help but chuckle and shake his head a little as he imagined what Miria would look like if this indeed did blow up in her face. "The other men of the Fox's will be so dissapointed, I almost feel bad about breaking their hearts by taking you off the market, as it were." Of course the women would be smirking andpoking at him like they had when they had first learned of him and Lavena. Of course first he would have to get some of them talking to him again, hopefull it would come back soon if he was able to stay as he was right now.

 

Kedyn

 

"It may work, at leat better than any plan I can think of. And if you are willing to than I shall play along as well. As long as you know it was your choice if it doesn't go as well as you would wish." Miria couldn't help but grin triumphantly. Even though the plan could backfire terribly, at least it was better than denying it and having no one believe her. At least Kedyn was chuckling, so he wasn't too opposed to the idea. Or did he think that pretending something ocurred between them was so ludicrous it was funny?

 

"The other men of the Fox's will be so dissapointed, I almost feel bad about breaking their hearts by taking you off the market, as it were." So it was back to teasing was it? She pulled a face at him, stopping her pacing and poking him in the middle. "You keep teasing me in this terrible way it's your own fault if you wake up to find your room empty and your clothes gone." Her eyes glinted wickedly as she grinned broadly, her dimple flashing. She had successfully robbed his tent on his first night in the band. True, she hadn't been trying for much, but he hadn't noticed all the same.

 

"Although perhaps I would leave you with something to wear...a dress perhaps?" She poked him again for good measure before folding her arms with a smug grin. "And you would sleep like a baby through it all." She nodded self assuredly, knowing full well it would never happen that way, most likely she would be sprung in the act, but it was always fun to tease him. If only she had her newly acquired knife with her, she could brandish it and stir him some more.

 

"So if anyone asks what went on in here...we just leave it up to their imaginations, right?" She flushed as her imagination conjured up just what could have happened, and her heart skipped a beat before she hastily pushed it away. Light, she'd never even kissed a man, so where were these thoughts coming from? With a shake of her head she gave Kedyn a meaningful look. "Though that doesn't mean you need to tell them any tales." She warned playfully. That would not do at all.

 

Miria

 

Kedyn let out a small 'oomph' as Miria pulled her face and poked him in the stomach. Slightly childish perhaps, but it seemed to be one of her favorite pastimes when she was annoyed with someone. "You keep teasing me in this terrible way it's your own fault if you wake up to find your room empty and your clothes gone." Kedyn sniffed loudly in amusement at the thought, she would have to prove very adept to beat Lavena in that particular area of theft. He had lost quite a few shirts to Lavena for various reasons, and he had never gotten one back.

 

"Although perhaps I would leave you with something to wear...a dress perhaps?" Kedyn almost chocked on a laugh at that thought, combining with the touch of Miria's finger poking him on the stomach. An interesting picture. "And you would sleep like a baby through it all." Ha. Slightly arrogant at times, or just extremely sure of her abilities. She had proven herself the last time at least, perhaps she had good reason.

 

"So if anyone asks what went on in here...we just leave it up to their imaginations, right?" Miria's tone had take a more serious tone, only ruined slightly by the blush creeping up her cheeks. She seemed rather shy about this, you would think her tales of men chasing after her exagerated from her shyness. Though her looks spoke of some truth to the tales. "Though that doesn't mean you need to tell them any tales."

 

Kedyn rolled his eyes and sighed, trying his best to look dissapointed. He couldn't help himself, he new he was being positively wicked but he enjoyed it to much to stop. He had with Lavena and couldn't help but apply the same torture to Miria. "All right." He let out a long breath and shook his head. "And I was hoping to go out and have a nice long chat with the other men. Oh well."

 

Kedyn smiled at the look on Miria's face when he said that. He shook his head back and forth. "No, I'm just kidding." He was for all that he joked about it Kedyn wasn't sure he would be able to talk about it either. While he had kissed his fair shar of women it had never gone far beyond that. Kedyn reached out and poked Miria in the stomach both mimiking her and to just be cheeky.

 

Kedyn raised an eyebrow and leaned foreward a little. "You aren't going to be spreading tales now are you? That would not do having a double standard and I don't think I could hold back my tounge if you did." Kedyn shook his finger in an accusing and playful manner. His tone in a mock of seriousness, spoiled by the grin splitting his face.

 

"I know how much you women like gossiping but it would not do to let your tounge go with the women of the Fox's, I have to deal with them in the end." And they are even blunter than the men usually. And although Kedyn was being playful with his words he also wished Miria's shyness was genuine and she would not speak of it. It had been akward when taking the women out on patrols when he was with Lavena, their observations and suggestions. It would not do to have that happen again.

 

Kedyn

 

"All right. And I was hoping to go out and have a nice long chat with the other men. Oh well." Miria was beginning to recognise that teasing look in Kedyn's eyes, though it didn't stop her from giving him a warning glare. He smiled and shook his head, taking it back. "No, I'm just kidding." She sniffed, aware that he had been joking, but still, the thought of him telling those kind of stories about her was well...disturbing, to say the least.

 

Kedyn poked her in the stomach and she grunted, smiling despite herself as he mimicked her action. "You aren't going to be spreading tales now are you? That would not do having a double standard and I don't think I could hold back my tounge if you did." He shook his finger at her, grinning broadly. There was no way she would ever even know what to say, let alone actually make up a tale about that sort of thing. Light, she had never even kissed a man!

 

"I know how much you women like gossiping but it would not do to let your tounge go with the women of the Fox's, I have to deal with them in the end." Women liked to gossip? Ha, they were nothing on men. Kedyn was leaning closer as he spoke, and Miria thought she had memorised every different fleck of blue in his eyes, the curve of his lips as he grinned in that teasing way. Whoah. She blinked, suddenly aware that she had been staring at him, and she licked her lower lip somewhat nervously, trying to remember just what it was he had said.

 

Oh yes. "Well if you have to deal with them it's really not my problem, is it now?" She replied in an innocent tone, fluttering her lashes at him, and smiling sweetly. She giggled lightly, still slightly disturbed by his closeness, his scent invading her senses. She fought to keep her mind clear, and her eyes away from his tempting lips. "Never fear," she chuckled, patting his arm in a comforting manner. "I shall not tarnish your reputation anymore than I already have tonight, Kedyn." She chuckled, lifting her hand away, too aware of his warm skin beneath his jacket.

 

Stepping back slightly to hide her blush, Miria placed her hands on her hips. "Well, you distracted me from my meal, and now I am starving. What do you say, we face the crowd and get something to eat?" She hoped he couldn't see just how nervous she was. She would act as though nothing was going on, but deep down she didn't think she could handle it if the others started to look at her different.

 

Miria

 

"Well if you have to deal with them it's really not my problem, is it now?" Kedyn rolled his eyes as Miria fluttered her eyelashes and her sweet smile. Though he couldn't help but note that she did indeed look very good when she did that. She giggled and Kedyn couldn't help but grin.

 

"Never fear, I shall not tarnish your reputation anymore than I already have tonight, Kedyn." She was good Kedyn would give her that, in their small war of wit and tease she held her own and gave as much as she got. Kedyn may not be the smartest person in the camp but being in the Scouts had only sharpened his wit. Her hand patted against his arm and for once in a long time Kedyn did not back away from foriegn touch, and instead relished it.

 

He almost wished Miria's hand would not leave, but at the same time he wished it was not there. Old and New warring inside. Once not refusing to let another woman touch him for fear of tarnishing Lavena's memory, another part telling him he had to move on with his life some time.

 

"Well, you distracted me from my meal, and now I am starving. What do you say, we face the crowd and get something to eat?" Kedyn couldn't help but agree, he to was hungry and although he had been to the mess hall he had eaten little and had been sovered instantly by Miria's tirade previosly.

 

"I think perhaps that is a wonderful idea. After you then." Kedyn turned and opened the door, bowing his head and motioning for Miria to go first. Exiting Kedyn ran instantly into Corporal Malastair who had been coming from the opposite direction, a stack of papers in his hands. The man stopped, his gaze flickering to Miria's face, still stained by a small tinge of red back to his own that held a softer gaze than the corporal had seen since they had gotten back from Carhein.

 

"I thought you may want these Sergeant. They are the reports for Banner Captain Shepherd, and i though you would want to look over them." The man handed them foreward.

 

Kedyn smiled, and was pleasently suprised at the shocked look that passed over Malastair's face for a moment, before pushing the reports back to his Corporal. "I will check them in the morning. Don't worry." Kedyn weaved his way past towards Miria's side. "It's just Kedyn Corporal." The man stammered a "Yes sire." Before adopting a more quizical look and continuing deeper into the barracks. Kedyn turned his gaze to Miria and nodded towards the door.

 

Kedyn

 

"I think perhaps that is a wonderful idea. After you then." Miria nodded, letting out a deep breath as she opened the door, almost barelling the man outside down. She didn't miss the look the man flickered her way, though he was wise enough to not comment. Miria clenched her fists, fighting with her blush. It was difficult, but she met his eyes boldly, as though there was nothing in the world to hide. She could do this.

 

The Corporal looked obviously shocked at Kedyn's abrupt change of character. Would he think it was because she had bedded him? Light, she really didn't want people thinking the worst, but she would be brave. "Yes sire." Malastair hurried off, but from the look on his face the rest of the scouts would know they just came out of Kedyn's room together, if they didn't know already! Kedyn motioned her on, and Miria fought th urge to run and hide in her room and never come out. No, this was her idea. Head held high, she stepped out of the Scout barracks, into the cooler air of evening, stars twinkling above.

 

The lights at the mess hall broke the darkness, beckoning them as they walked side by side. Miria breathed deeply, suddenly hoping she wouldn't be the butt of the gossip, but she had a feeling she would be, stealing a glance at Kedyn walking beside her. He looked decidedly younger now, like the weight of the world had been lifted from his shoulders. He still looked handsome, even in the shadows. She sighed softly, shaking her head to clear it.

 

The noise from the mess hall hit them as they approached, it being full of soldiers from all different corps, eating and generally carousing. "You ready for this?" She asked softly, waiting for his silent nod before pushing open the door. Light, she didn't know if she was ready. She just hoped that gossip of her yelling hadn't travelled this far yet.

 

Joining the queue for a meal, Miria turned back to Kedyn. "Oh, you're paying for this meal too...it's the least you can do for me." She winked playfully, grinning cheekily, and almost instantly regretted it. Anyone who had suspected anything would likely take that as proof of their suspicions. If only it wasn't so hard to think around him!

 

Miria

 

Kedyn let a small smile escape as he approached the mess hall, the sounds and lights dancing towards them. His past feelings of how much he enjoyed these types of atmospheres starting to resurface. He felt as he approached the door, better than he had in a long time.

 

"You ready for this?" Kedyn nodded knowing that he was more ready than he had been for a very long time, hoping that the gossip had not spread this far. Even then he was ready though that situation would prove more trying than if it had not. Kedyn pushed the door open and held it ajar for Miria to pass through.

 

"Oh, you're paying for this meal too...it's the least you can do for me." Kedyn barked out with a laugh at Miria's words and actions. Still she was trying to be cheeky, in her cute way. She must not know that here at the mess hall the meals were free for members of the Band, you had to go into the 'city' for the Taverns where the food was better but it cost money all the same.

 

Kedyn turned his head as someone poked him on the shoulder. He turned his head and raised an eyebrow at a Fox standing behind him. "She new Sergeant?"

 

Kedyn nodded, "She joined a few days ago, where have you been?" Kedyn chuckled and rolled his eyes in fake exasperation. "I've been out scouting, she's cute." Kedyn smiled and turned back to Miria and the cooks. No denying, and no spreading tales.

 

Kedyn stayed silent as Miria told a cook what she wanted. "Not to much, I wouldn't want to go broke." Kedyn smiled to himself and ordered his own food. Taking the two plates Kedyn led Miria to a somewhat empty tables, none of them being fully empty at this time of night. Kedyn nodded to the the few soldeirs sitting ont eh other end of the table before sliding the plate over to Miria.

 

"It's not the greatest but it's food. I know some taverns here in the Citadel that serve better, I'll take you there some time." Kedyn took a bite of his food and swallowed slowly. "How are you enjoying the Band Miria, better than you expected?"

 

Kedyn

 

"She new Sergeant?" Miria turned at the voice, A frown on her face. She could speak for herself, there was no need for the man to speak like she wasn't there. Before she could reply however, Kedyn did. "She joined a few days ago, where have you been?" She smiled at the teasing note in his voice, the laugh which seemed to come so easy to him know. If anyone had told her, even yesterday, that he could be like he was now, she never would have believed them.

 

"I've been out scouting, she's cute." Her eyes widened slightly, but she valiantly held back the blush that threatened her cheeks. This was her idea, after all. Kedyn was just playing along. Still, she couldn't help the little thrill that raced through her veins when he called her cute. Did he really think that, or was he just playing? She had no chance to reply however, as she was suddenly face to face with the cook, waiting for her order. She wrinkled her nose as she looked at selection, before finally deciding on the beef and potatoes, smothered with gravy, served with other quite mysterious looking vegetables. Well, she assumed they were vegetables, she couldn't quite tell. "Not to much, I wouldn't want to go broke." She shot him a glare over her shoulder, before deciding to add bread and cheese to her order. No doubt it was more than she could finish, but that was hardly the point.

 

Kedyn carried her plate over to a table where there were some empty seats, and she sat with a smile for the soldiers she knew at the other end. "It's not the greatest but it's food. I know some taverns here in the Citadel that serve better, I'll take you there some time." She nodded around a mouthful of beef, doing her best not to pull a face at the tasteless, chewy substance. Still, it was food, and it was better than her cooking besides.

 

"How are you enjoying the Band Miria, better than you expected?"She took a moment to chew, thinking on how to answer him. All she had really expected was a hiding place from those who were hunting her, and so far she had avoided being caught. Other than that, she found she was enjoying herself, learning and making friends. "I'm not sure what I expected, but I am enjoying my time here." She took another bite before continuing, eyes glinting cheekily. "Even if I have the most insufferable Sergeant. I can handle him." She grinned to herself, her eyes noticing the grins on the soldiers at the end of the table. Were they grinning at her? She realised her statement could be taken way out of context, but surely the rumours hadn't reached them yet. No, of course they were laughing and nudging at a personal joke, not at her. Weren't they?

 

Trying to ignore them, she turned her attention back to Kedyn. "Though I guess I need some more training. I'm sure there is much you can teach me yet." Sudden laughter caused her to turn her head once more, the soldiers laughing to themselves and not meeting her eyes. What was going on?

 

Miria

 

"I'm not sure what I expected, but I am enjoying my time here." Kedyn took Miria's example and took a bite from his plate. "Even if I have the most insufferable Sergeant. I can handle him."

 

Kedyn couphed loudly beating himself on the chest as he choked on the food he was trying to swallow. He schooled his face to try and not laugh, though the soldiers to his left weren't helping with the looks they had on their faces. He finally swallowed and took a deep breath with a small smirk on his face. Kedyn knew that Miria had most likely meant it in the most innocent way but it was still amusing to think of it another, especially with the deal the two of them had going on.

 

"Though I guess I need some more training." Kedyn nodded to himself and began to think of someone he could send to her tomorrow for training, and ifa ll else failed he would just do it himself. "I'm sure there is much you can teach me yet."

 

Kedyn couldn't help but guffaw a little, letting out a full laugh as Miria turned her head. Being around soldiers all his life had shoved Kedyn's thoughts down into the mud and his first instinct was to think about things in a less than innocnet way. Perhaps he was just young and it would fade with age, but living with soldiers never helped. The deal Miria had made him promise to accept only made it more laughable, pretending that they were lovers.

 

And because he was perhaps a rather wicked person, and because he never missed a chance to poke fun at people he said, "I am sure I can find many things to teach Miria." Sharing a knowing smile with the soldeirs laughing with him Kedyn couldn't help but laugh at the confused look on Miria's face. Kedyn had began to doubt she knew much about this subject no matter her claim at having every boy around chasing her.

 

"I'll have to spend a lot of long days and many hours teaching you, it will be terrible." The soldiers next to him let out a roar of laughter that had heads from some of the other tables turning to see what was so funny. Miria's look though, it was rather schooled but Kedyn could still see the confusion in her looks.

 

Keedyn shook his head and figured he was just being even more meen by keeping Miria out of the joke that she didn't seem to get. Leaning over he cupped his hand to whisper in Miria's ear exactly what they were talking about. Hoping not to embarress her he hoped the onlookers would just assume it he was talking about what he was going to 'teach' her. It was about now that Miria's little plan was going to backfire on her, and probobly on him to.

 

Kedyn

 

Miria thought she was going crazy, the soldiers chuckling from their end of the table, but Kedyn seemed to be laughing too. She couldn't for the life of her work out why, but she was sure they were laughing at her. "I am sure I can find many things to teach Miria." The confusion must have been plain on her face as the soldiers and Kedyn set off roaring with laughter once more. Was she missing something? Well, obviously, as she didn't get the joke at all.

 

"I'll have to spend a lot of long days and many hours teaching you, it will be terrible." It would be terrible training her? She didn't think she was that bad a student. Still, she tried to maintain a normal expression, not wanting the others to think her a complete wool-brained idiot. She continued eating, not joining in the joke, when Kedyn leaned forward. His breath tickled her ear as she spoke, filling her in on what exactly she had been missing.

 

She couldn't help but gape as he whispered, colour heating her cheeks and her eyes widening. Light, she had asked for this, yet it was still al ittle disturbing. She really was too innocent at times. As Kedyn sat back Miria hastily tried to school her features, thinking quickly. This was her idea, and it would not work at all if she sat there blushing like a school girl. A wicked glint came to her eye and she toyed with her fork, before speaking, her voice loud enough for the otehrs to hear. "I thought you were going to teach me things I didn't know Kedyn. Perhaps I should be training you." The roar of laughter that came from the soldiers near by was most satisfying, and she grinned impishly at Kedyn. No doubt she was in over her head, but she was a risk taker. She would not back down from a challenge.

 

"In fact, if I recall correctly, I already showed you a thing or two that I knew in our first training session." She was, of course, referring to the knife she had stolen, which she had kept as a souvenir. The others didn't know that though, their laughter a roar, some of them even slapping the table. "Looks like you've met your match, Kedyn!" Called one, chuckling away. Miria raised a brow innocently and turned back to her meal. Likely things would not end now, she had a feeling she had just deepened her trouble, but she hastily pushed it from her mind.

 

Miria

 

Kedyn sat back slowly, a small smirk on face from the heat comign from Miria's cheeks and the faint tinge of a blush barely visible. He didn't regret telling Mir, but he had a sinking feeling that he was setting himself up for something. It was only worse at the silence for a few moments with Miria toying with her fork, if he had learned anything with Lavena was that women had a tendency to get back at you one way or another and it was never pleasent. And Kedyn was convinced Miria was more innocent then she had let on before, her reaction proved it.

 

"I thought you were going to teach me things I didn't know Kedyn. Perhaps I should be training you." He had set himself for that one Kedyn had to admit. He couldn't help but smile at the joke against himself, for it was rather amusing and Kedyn always appreciated what he got as much as what he gave.

 

"In fact, if I recall correctly, I already showed you a thing or two that I knew in our first training session." Kedyn laughed loudly along with the other soldiers, though some were laughing more harder than others, the table was starting to shake with the pounding.

 

"Looks like you've met your match, Kedyn!" Kedyn turned quickly to the soldier, grinning wickedly. "What, at least I met somebody. And you should be thankful I met her and not you, she have you running around in skirts doing her laundry by now."

 

The soldiers laughed more, though the one that was the brunt of the joke looked rather indignant, spoiled by a small smile as another one of his comrades clapped him on the soldier. Turning back to Miria he smiled and sighed adopting a far off look. "Oh I remmeber, a very long night next to the fire. You taught me a lot." Kedyn smiled, the last few words suddenly serious, though their bystanders didn't take it that way, his smile one of genuine, appreciation.

 

"I'll just have to push some things around and get in a nice long scouting trip withh you and we can see who teaches who." Kedyn smiled innocently and took another bite of his meal. Oh he was going to get now.

 

Kedyn

 

"Oh I remember, a very long night next to the fire. You taught me a lot." Miria looked at Kedyn from under her lashes. She remembered the night well, though Kedyn was giving it a much different spin to what had really happened. Had that been the first sign of his defences cracking? She thought it must have been, but now her cheeks burned, despite her best efforts to prevent them, picturing a far different scene, something more akin to what the others were thinking, no doubt.

 

"I'll just have to push some things around and get in a nice long scouting trip with you and we can see who teaches who." Miria couldn't help but smile at his innocent expression. He was the most wicked tease she had ever come across! Well, two could play at that game. At least, she thought she could keep up with him. It was going to be a challenge. Though she decided then and there that she would teach him another lesson, perhaps she would steal all his clothes and leave a dress. But for now, she had to regain the upper hand.

 

"Well I didn't find it very long last time. I just assumed you lacked the stamina for a decent...scouting trip." Her cheek dimpled with amusement as the soldiers roared, one even clapping Kedyn on the shoulder as she insulted his libido. She really had no idea what she was talking about, though she had picked up a few tidbits from the grooms and cooks at the inn where her mother had worked. If Kedyn thought she wouldn't fight back he had another thing coming.

 

"Perhaps it is just as well I joined the band, it seems you've been going on without the proper training for too long Kedyn." She clicked her tongue and shook her head. "I hate to imagine what you've been teaching the other soldiers..." Watching Kedyn choke on his mouthful was quite satisfying, along with the appreciative roars of laughter from around her. People from the other tables were also turning around, watching the play between them. If the rumours weren't already flying, well they would be now. No turning back. At least no one seemed skeptical of their act, for some reason Miria thought she would have been offended should they not believe them, as though Kedyn wouldn't, couldn't be interested in someone like her. She was certainly becoming more interested in him, the more he came out from his ice cave. She didn't know how he saw her, but she was finding herself unable to take her eyes off him, still a little amazed at the transformation in him.

 

Miria

 

"Well I didn't find it very long last time. I just assumed you lacked the stamina for a decent...scouting trip." Kedyn shook his head, smiling and chuckling to himself. He couldn't deny that Miria wasn't good, and if she was as innocent as Kedyn had started to believe she had had some less than innocent company growing up. Plausable if she had grown up as a thief. Kedyn looked over his shoulder and rolled his eyes as one of the gathered soldiers clapped him on the soldier.

 

"Perhaps it is just as well I joined the band, it seems you've been going on without the proper training for too long Kedyn. I hate to imagine what you've been teaching the other soldiers..." Kedyn coughed reflexively and was thankful for the slap on his back to get himself breathing again, as he choked on his latest bite of food. Kedyn coughed a few more times before raising his finger and motioning a tiping of his hat. He couldn't deny that Miria was able to stand her own in this battle of wits.

 

Kedyn was beating his shaking his head a smile on his face when someone behind him, a scout from another platoon it turned out, said, "Poor Lavena. I should think she had roped herself a less than adequate man for a woman such as her." Kedyn's smile faltered though Kedyn knew the scout's words were in jest, they still went a little far. But Kedyn's smile was back on in only a few moments his next attack already thought of.

 

"I don't know, you'd have to ask the women in the Fox's, I can say many of them enjoy my scout training and Lavena never had any complaints. I can't deny that I am rather popular among the fox's of the Band." Kedyn smiled wickedly and winked at Miria across the table. That was a lie yes, but they were playing a lie in their simply combat anyways so why not. "I didn't hear any complaints from you either, I just though ..scouting..had left you speechless."

 

"Of course..sword play... isn't the only lesson I can teach. Another kind of dancing, the regular kind always was able to make Lavena speechless, and I would hate to only know one way to leave you speechless. I know when to concede a losing battle. Would you?" Kedyn reached out a hand and some of the other soldiers had taken the hint. From somewhere a flute was produced and there were some that were already shifted some tables around. The other female soldiers had risen as well, looking over to see if they were actually going to while the men tried to inch closer so they could be first to ask. Every once in a while the mess hall was converted to a very large common room, though this would be the first time in the wooden version of it.

 

Kedyn

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"I don't know, you'd have to ask the women in the Fox's, I can say many of them enjoy my scout training and Lavena never had any complaints. I can't deny that I am rather popular among the fox's of the Band." Miria's mouth shut forcibly with an audible click. Did he never admit defeat? Still, she had to admit he had her licked. She flushed, glad she hadn't said THAT out loud. Quite embarrassing indeed. Besides, the thought of having to share Kedyn was an irritating one. He was not hers, she had to remind herself, regardless what they pretended. Still, the image caused her jaw to tighten a fraction.

 

"Of course..sword play... isn't the only lesson I can teach. Another kind of dancing, the regular kind always was able to make Lavena speechless, and I would hate to only know one way to leave you speechless. I know when to concede a losing battle. Would you?" Conceding? Ha! She was not foolish enough to think any such thing, but the thought of a dance was an enticing one as she eyed his outstretched hand.

 

Taking it, Miria smiled slowly. "Is this a plow for you to massacre my feet on the dance floor? I just hope you can keep up old man." Her smile turned into a grin as she eyed Kedyn, knowing full well he probably was not much older than herself. Still, he teased her relentlessly, any little she could throw back at him was well worth it. His palm was warm and calloused against hers, leading her into the space created as tables were hastily pushed aside, and musical instruments produced from goodness knew where.

 

A lively tune started, and Kedyn swung Miria around to face him, his hand resting on her waist, the other holding hers. Raising a brow in challenge, Miria let him lead her into the dance, the steps fast-paced and somewhat complicated, though it was one she had learnt as a youngster. She couldn't help but grin as she was twirled, her hair billowing out behind her. She was light on her feet, but so far Kedyn was appearing suprisingly adept. Probably all that practice at sneaking. Still, a sparkle entered her eyes and she could not help her cheeky barb, meant for his ears only. "If I had known you could handle a girl in this manner I may have torn strips off you much earlier!" Her cheek dimpled and she was silenced as she was thrown into another fast spin, forced to clutch his arm to maintain her balance.

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"Is this a plow for you to massacre my feet on the dance floor? I just hope you can keep up old man." Kedyn shook his head and took Miria's hand, soft and smooth compared to his, hardened and callous from hourse of sword and bow work. He wasn't that old, having only celebrated twenty two name days. Miria looked younger, but she couldn't be more than a few years.

 

Swinging her to face him Kedyn took her hand in his, and rested his pen hand on her waist. He gave her a quick smile as the song began to play before leading her into the dance. It was to hard, for Kedyn it was simplistic, though for someone uncoordinated or unkowing of the dance it would be nearly impossible. Kedyn suspected Miria was constrained by either as she was able to keep up with him well. Her graceful steps matched his own and Kedyn found himself having th ebest time he had in weeks. He loved dancing, though he would never admit how much to another man, and some of his best memories were on the dance floor. Back home he had spent hours on feastdays, which acounted for how good he had goten. His best memories were dancing with Lavena on those rare occasions. Their first kiss had been ont he dance floor, with Carnhain roaring in laughter behind them. Swordwork also helped, it was a dance in itself and for someone who used speed and not brute streangth like Kedyn, the steps were as intricate as any dance.

 

"If I had known you could handle a girl in this manner I may have torn strips off you much earlier!" Kedyn smiled and spun Miria around quickly, she clutching his arm for balance. They stopped for a moment in a lull as the song ended and another one started up. Kedyn took a page from Miria's book and stuck his tounge out quickly and sucked it back in. "I hope you can keep up."

 

Kedyn tighened his grip on Miria's hand as he went into one of the harder steps that he knew. The steps were quick and reqired a large concentration so you didn't simply trip over your own feet. Raising his arm Kedyn spun Miria under and then went back to the steps. One, two, three. The metronomic count that helped Kedyn went through his head as he looked into Miria's eyes. "Having fun? Or do you need me to slow down?" Kedyn smiled wickedly and winked down at the woman in his arms.

 

 

Kedyn

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Miria couldn't help but giggle when he poked his tongue out at her, in the same manner which she did to him. It made such an absurd picture. "I hope you can keep up." Keep up? Ha! "I can handle anything you throw at me!" She challenged with a grin, as he swept her into another dance.

 

The steps of the next proved just as quick, though twice as intricate. It wasn't a dance she was familiar with, though similar, so while she did her best to keep up, she couldn't help but fumble a few times.

 

Kedyn's eyes gleamed pure mischief as he looked down at her. "Having fun? Or do you need me to slow down?" Ohh, he obviously enjoyed taunting her so, his wink changing nothing in his cheeky expression. "Slow down? I was just trying to make you look better!" She shot back at him, determined not to admit defeat. He obviously accepted her challenge, swinging her again in time to the music. Where under the light had he learnt to dance like that? He seemed to be adding extra steps in somehow, making the dance more complicated, Miria helpless to do otherwise but do her best to keep up.

 

She fumbled again, and his deep, throaty laughter earnt himself a playful glare as she caught her balance just in time to be swept in another direction. It was high time she turned the tables on him, he was enjoying this thwarting far too much, and much as she was enjoying the contact as they danced, the opportunity to gain the upper hand presented itself and she couldn't resist the temptation. She took it.

 

Skipping so that she didn't trip over Kedyn's foot, Miria hastily changed her movement, her foot snaking between Kedyn's and hooking, catching him off balance. He stumbled backwards, tripping over her foot, sending his rear end towards the floor. Miria had only a moment to grin in triumph, belatedly realising he still had hold of her, propelling her forwards to the floor also in a most unladylike manner.

 

She grunted as she collided with Kedyn, though she couldn't hold back her laughter. The look on his face when his rump hit the floor was priceless, even if she'd managed to include herself in the tumble. "Sorry, should I have slowed down for you?" She managed between fits of laughter as she grinned cheekily at him. Surely he could have no doubt it was deliberate, but who would believe him? Ahh, but victory was sweet, no matter how small.

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Kedyn was enjoying himeslfmore than he had expected, rather guilty as he began to chuckle when Miria started stumbling over his feet and hers. He was begining to have to concentrate as well. For Kedyn it was reminisent of home, which brought back happy memories and only made the smile on his face wider.

 

What he hadn't expected was that Miria would have such a sense of revenge, or that she was scuh a clutz. Her feet were suddenly entangled in his and he was pitching over, unable to hold himself upright. At the very least he was able to hold on to Miria and bring her down with him.

 

Which was when the memores began to flood back.

 

Even as Kedyn was promising himself that he would not stumble, Lavena decided that she wasn't finished and kissed him on the kneck again. Taken off gaurd Kedyn missed a step and tangled his legs with hers. He triped backwards onto the table they had been sitting at bringing her down on top of him. The half eaten plate came crashing down on top of Kedyn dripping food onto his coat and shirt. Kedyn's face reddened more as he heard the laughter from the rest of the room. But in spite of that Kedyn couldn't help but laughing as well. The plate of food it seemed hadn't only hit him but part of it had splashed into Lavena's face and was running down her chin.

 

"I told you the mess wouldn't go well with your skin Lavena." Kedyn chuckled and a thought came to him, to Kedyn it seemed she wasn't blushing nearly enough. He leaned forward and licked most of the food dripping down her face off. "Mmmm. Tastes better than when its on the plate."

 

Kedyn was jolted back into the present when he struck the floor rather hard, Miria sprawled rather akwardly on top of him.Kedyn could hear laughter from around the two, as well as a few comments that would make Domani blush.

 

It took Kedyn a moment or two to com back to the real world but he immediately had the smile back on his face when he did. "Sorry, should I have slowed down for you?" Chuckling to himself Kedyn leaned in slighty, not having very far to go before he was almost touching hier lips with his own. His nose was rubbing up against her's and as he spoke their lips brushed against each other occasionally. His voice was soft, no more than a whisper really.

 

Kedyn's hand had landed on Miria's side, on a part of unexposed flesh that had been sxposed from the fall. Kedyn idly ran a finger up and down Miria's side as he spoke. "It seems to me you're going much faster love. I don't think I can keep up with you this way. I wouldn't have assumed you would be so ready fro another lesson so soon from our last one." Kedyn smiled almost pressing against Miria's lips, this little joke for only the two of them, Kedyn really only trying to make Miria blush the way he was begining to like.

 

 

Kedyn

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Miria drew in a shaky breath as Kedyn was suddenly so much closer, invading her sense, his nose touching hers. His voice was soft, and Miria had to struggle to keep her wits, especially when the warmth of his palm touched her waist, her shirt obviously lifted slightly in the tumble. Light, it seemed his touch burned her, yet she could not pull away.

 

"It seems to me you're going much faster love. I don't think I can keep up with you this way. I wouldn't have assumed you would be so ready fro another lesson so soon from our last one." Goosebumps followed the path of his finger as his lips teased hers with the lightest of touches. She knew he was teasing her, he had to be toying with her, yet she couldn't stop the blush that crept over her cheeks.

 

"Our..." She swallowed and tried to force some sense into her speech, but she felt so befuddled, her head so full of Kedyn's overwhelming presence. "Our last one?" She asked stupidly, her lips tingling where his brushed against hers in a parody of a kiss.

 

A raucous comment reached her through the fog of her senses, causing her to blink and remember where she was. Her blush deepened when it hit her that she was sprawled across Kedyn, what had started as revenge for his teasing suddenly backfiring and leaving her weak-kneed and blushing, and thinking most unlady-like thoughts. She couldn't just pull away now like a scared rabbit, unless she wanted to lose face, and possibly ruin this ruse of theirs. Instead, a slow, wicked smile crossed her lips.

 

"You should have known I was not so easily beat, old man." She whispered back, for all show sharing an intimate moment with her lover. Bah, teasing a lion more like. She raised her head a little, her blush fading somewhat as she could no longer feel his breath on her lips, though for some reason she ached to lean back forward and touch his inviting lips once more. Light, but he was distracting when he looked at her like that. She needed to do something, anything..."Are you planning to take advantage of me here in front of everyone, or are you going to be a gentleman and help me up?" Her voice was loud enough to be heard by the others, overcoming the rapid sound of her heart, which thundered in her own ears. Light that had been close. She had never been tempted to kiss any man - let alone kiss a man in public! - yet she had come dangerously close to giving in to the urge. This idea of hers was not so easy to stick to after all. Something told her it was going to be very hard to remember that it was all a game, not real.

 

Miria hastily silenced the voice that mused in her head what it would be like if they weren't pretending, as she and Kedyn disentangled themselves, her blush seeming a permananent fixture on her cheeks at the comments coming from the onlookers. She had no idea what half of them meant, but she could guess. Argh! No, don't start guessing NOW! She berated herself, appalled at where her thoughts had been heading. What was this effect that Kedyn had, this power he seemed to weild over her senses. Ridiculous, that's what!

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"Our...Our last one?" Kedyn chuckled lightly as he watched the blush creep up Miria's cheek, reveling in his small victory. Though his victory did not come without a price. He still had a women sprawled on top of him his laugh made that even more painfully aware. He could feel the strange sensation in his stomach that came whenever this had happened to he and Lavena, and was thankfully he wasn't turning as red as Miria.

 

Luckily all Kedyn did was smile from the comments coming from their onlookers, wondering to himself how being a shoulder could have corrupted his mind this much that he could understand most of them. Though his smile faultered somewhat as Miria's curved into one he had learned to dread.

 

You should have known I was not so easily beat, old man." Miria's whisper was much the same in volume with what his had been. A sense of trepidation rising in Kedyn as he realized what was about to happen. "Are you planning to take advantage of me here in front of everyone, or are you going to be a gentleman and help me up?

 

It was Kedyn's turn to look like a fool, his mouth dropping open fro a few moments before he could recalim control of his features. He hastily started to disengage himself from Miria's, rising quickly so he would be able to help Miria. The crowds comments became more racey and suggestive which produced a small laugh from Kedyn.

 

Standing in front of Miria Kedyn lifted a hand to run a finger against her cheek saying a comment that caem to mind, letting it come out before he could catch himself. "Red looks good on you." Kedyn's smile flickered for a moment before he was able to control himse Red is your color now. Kedyn pushed his sister's voice from his mind and embraced Lavena's ghostly portrait. His fight for his life with Carnhain that had seemed so long ago.

 

"It's getting late, you want me to walk you back to the barracks." Kedyn had meant it in all seriousness, an innocent offering, but the way he moved, the way he voiced the words, the look on his face was enough to suggest that he was offering something so much different. And someone, a woman suprisingly, called him on his ruse with a rather pointed and racy comment. Kedyn simply smiled.

 

 

Kedyn

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The look on Kedyn's face, his mouth hanging open, was mildly satisfying, before he caught himself and hurriedly stood, before offering a hand to help Miria follow suit. She stood, brushing herself off with a smug grin on her face, when his touch once again caught her off guard. "Red looks good on you."Speechless, she could only blush further, busying herself with brushing off her pants as she tried to gain some control. Light, it was appalling how easily he could affect her!

 

"It's getting late, you want me to walk you back to the barracks?"Miria had certainly had her fill of parading for the crowd, so was all set to gratefully accept his offer, when a comment from one of the women questioned his intentions. Cursing herself for not picking up on the double entendre before hand, Miria eyed him suspiciously. His smile was far too calm. Was he playing her for the fool again?

 

Smiling slyly, she nodded slowly, moving to his side and linking her arm with his. "I've certainly had enough of sharing you for one evening." She flashed a grin at the noisy cheers and comments. Light, she had certainly learnt a lot from those comments, enough to make a Domani blush, surely. Certainly made her blush, many times over.

 

The warmth at her side as Kedyn led her out of the noisy room was distracting, making Miria second guess her decision to link her arm with his. At least they'd played the role of lovers convincingly. As they stepped out into the cooler darkness of the night, Miria released the breath she hadn't realised she held, suddenly weary and relieved to no end. It was exhausting keeping up this charade, and it had only just begun!

 

"Well I think they bought it." She muttered dryly as the walked slowly along the moonlit street. "Though if I had had any idea that you would be such a formidable opponent, I may have rethought my decision to go in and harass you this evening." She smiled shyly and looked up at him from beneath her lashes. Light but he was tall. Well, anyone was tall to her, she supposed. "Though I'm glad I did. I much prefer you like this." Suddenly bashful Miria lowered her head with a small smile.

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"Well I think they bought it. Though if I had had any idea that you would be such a formidable opponent, I may have rethought my decision to go in and harass you this evening." Kedyn had to look down at Miria as she spoke. It didn't seem that far away since she was so close, but Kedyn had a good advantage over her, though Lavena had been only an inch or two taller so he was used to looking down to speak.

 

Miria looked beautiful when she smiled like that, the moonlight playing with her skin so that she seemed to glow. Kedyn smiled back, there was no wickedness, no wittiness from it, just pure and simple contentness, happiness. And it felt oh so good. "Though I'm glad I did. I much prefer you like this."

 

Kedyn's smile brightned somewhat as Miria turned away looking, of all things, bashful. She looked cute when she did that though. Kedyn pulled his arm in closer, creating a small amount of pressure as he hugged Miria's arm to his side. He looked foreward watching his step as much as anything else as he spoke.

 

"I never really believed that I would feel this way again. I had forgotten so much what it felt like to laugh, or dance like we did in there. And I can garantee that they bought our little charade. And I am suprised how well you kept your own as well."

 

Kedyn slipped his arm out of Miria's so he could wrap it around her waist and give her a more proper half hug. "I'm sure our little escapade will be all the talk tommorow, though I feel slightly sorry for you on teh morrow when you face teh rest of the women Fox's. They are a rather inquisitive bunch." Kedyn chuckled lightly to himself as he continued walking with his arm around Miria. To anyone that saw them they were a perfect couple taking a romantic stroll through the Citadel. The two pseudo lovers themselves seemed to have fooled themselves for a few moments at least.

 

 

Kedyn

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Miria fought with the butterflies dancing in her stomach as Kedyn pulled her closer to his side. "I never really believed that I would feel this way again. I had forgotten so much what it felt like to laugh, or dance like we did in there. And I can garantee that they bought our little charade. And I am suprised how well you kept your own as well."Miria beamed, still hardly able to believe she had pulled him out from behind that wall of ice he had erected around himself.

 

She was just about to come up with a smart reply on how of course it was no trouble for her to hold her own, when his arm snaked around her waist, the shock silencing her instantly. Warmth flooded through her from him as he hugged her, and unthinking she leaned into his embrace, her arm settling lightly at his back, a little awkwardly. She was enjoying the embrace no end, yet at the same time felt awkward. Was it part of the pretense too? Was Kedyn's stomach doing flip-flops like hers? Still, it was comforting, and Miria for the first time in a long time, felt safe. She would enjoy this closeness while it lasted.

 

"I'm sure our little escapade will be all the talk tommorow, though I feel slightly sorry for you on teh morrow when you face teh rest of the women Fox's. They are a rather inquisitive bunch."Miria groaned softly in dread. Light, if the women foxes were half as crude as the rest in the mess hall had been, she hated to imagine what questions they would ask of her! She just hoped she could bluff her way through, with the little she had learnt about what they were fooling everybody about. She would just have to do the best she could. Either way, she had no doubt Kedyn would back her up. He was proving loyal to his word at least.

 

"I will do what I can, and hope to fob them off with nothing." She replied with a smile. It was going to be a full time job, being Kedyn's supposed lover. But something told Miria she was going to enjoy the experience in the long run. Stifling a yawn, Miria rested her head back against Kedyn's arm, a small contented smile playing about her lips. She certainly could have chosen a worse man to be her pretend lover. He was witty, funny, and indeed the very sight of him quickened her pulse like no one else.

 

It seemed to soon that they reached the scout barracks, and Miria reluctantly disentangled herself from Kedyn's warm side. She hesitated, knowing she should go in, but not wanting to leave just yet. "Well, I must say it turned out to be quite an interesting evening. Who would have imagined we could be such good actors, hmm?" Once again Miria was feeling bashful as she smiled shyly, lowering her gaze from his tempting smile. She was quickly learning his smile was lethal, making her melt from the inside, and her brain turn to mush.

 

Still she hesitated, not knowing why, but finally she turned to leave. "Oh, by the way, I was serious when I threatened to steal all your clothes if you decide to sink back into that drunken depression of yours." She smiled cheekily over her shoulder and turned to the door.

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"I will do what I can, and hope to fob them off with nothing. Kedyn chuckled lightly at both Miria's groan and her confident words. He had warned her this little masquerade could backfire tremendously, and although Kedyn wouldn't be immune to what the Fox's would say, it would be easier for him to end it or ignore. Miria leaned her head back against Kedyn and he idly rubbed her arm with his hand.

 

Kedyn let out a rather dissapointed breath whe the scout barracks came into view. He had been enjoying the closeness and this had been the best day in a long while and Kedyn was loath to see it end. He let his arm uncoil from Miria's side and clasped his hands behind his back as Miria stepped to the door. Kedyn's room in the building on the left with some of the other officer's.

 

"Well, I must say it turned out to be quite an interesting evening. Who would have imagined we could be such good actors, hmm?" Kedyn smiled and nodded his head in agreement. He could not deny how beautiful she looked stanidng in the moonlight smiling shyly. It made his smile brighten and sho of the remaining icicles still trying to cling to his heart.

 

"Oh, by the way, I was serious when I threatened to steal all your clothes if you decide to sink back into that drunken depression of yours."

 

"Miria." Kedyn called as she turned towards the door. He took a quick step foreward and leaned in towards her. He gave her a light kiss on the cheek before taking a step back. "Thank you." With one last smile Kedyn turned and began to walk away, peeking over his shoulder once before continuing his trek towards teh Field of the Fallen. He had one more goodbye to say before he went to sleep.

 

 

Kedyn

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"Miria."Miria turned as Kedyn called her name, eyes widening as he stepped closer and kissed her cheek softly, sending little shivers down her spine. "Thank you." Stunned, she could only gaze back at him as he left, after giving her one more of his heart-melting smiles.

 

She stood there for some time after he left, hand pressed against her cheek, before she realised what she was doing. Giving herself a mental shake she headed inside to her room, a tiny smile on her face and her mind in a whirl. Who would have thought that this would be the outcome after she had followed him to his room and given him an earbashing? Certainly not she. In fact, she had been surprised when she hadn't been sent packing, out on her own again.

 

Breezing into the dark room, Miria didn't even bother lighting a candle or changing, instead she flopped onto her cot and lay sprawled, staring at the ceiling, stupid grin still on her face. She still wasn't sure how she'd managed it, but the old Kedyn - well, new to her - was quite breathtaking. She didn't think she'd ever been teased so brutally, nor so exquisitely. Nor had her heart ever raced the way it did now, and had for most of the evening.

 

Of course, it was just the thrill of being able to do something good, to bring Kedyn out of his shell. It surely had nothing to do with his infectious grin, or the way it had felt to be in his arms as they danced. Certainly not. Still, she fell asleep with a smile, her hand still on her cheek. Things were definitely finally looking up.

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