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Just keep breathing


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Between myself and my reflection.

I just cant help but to wonder,

Which of us do you love.

So I bleed,

I bleed,

And I breathe,

I breathe now...


The site of Cairma entering the door with Beast strapped to her back sobered Fior and drained whatever remaining anger he had in him. She was impressive, even beautiful as she stood in the doorway, easily taking command of the room. She dismissed Sahra and Sana quickly and, without looking at him, asked him for an explanation. He stood there for a moment, a final spark of defiance flashing in his eyes as he stared across the room at her. But no, this was Cairma. He knew that, no matter how she seemed, she only wanted to help him...


Sitting on the edge of his bed, his elbows meeting his knees, he let his head drop into his hands as everything that had happened tonight crashed down around his ears. His composure wavered... for a moment he wished his mother could be there, But no, I'm a man now, and I deal with my own mistakes. Reaching down into his shirt he pulled the medallion out and stared at it as he began his explanation.


"Two days ago we were discussing how to spend our free day, and Sahra mentioned that she wanted to show me this lake she had gone ice skating on as a child..." He paused as that sunk in before continuing. "Needless to say, this pond was outside of Tar Valon. So we started scheming up a way to get out and back before curfew."


Fior looked up at his mentor to see how she was taking all of this. "I know it was wrong, but we figured we could get away with it without getting caught. Well, we left this morning, and spent most of the day skating. Towards evening though, we were playing around on the ice. She was chasing me. I-I don't know what happened exactly. One minute she's right behind me... the next..." Fior stopped and swallowed hard as the moment replayed itself in his head.


After a few seconds he closed his eyes, pushing away the memory. "I turned in time to see her slip beneath the ice.... I knew that I only had a moment before she'd be out of reach..." Swallowing again, the fear he had felt then threatened to overwhelm him. Forcing his eyes open he stared past the medallion in his hands and pressed on. "Anyway, the important thing is that I was able to get her back out before too long. At that point I knew that I had to get her out of her clothes and warm her. We had the blankets that we had brought for our picnic and I made use of them."


Looking up and meeting her gaze, Fior struggled to read what was going on behind those emerald eyes. "It was touch and go for awhile in the darkness. I wasn't sure if she was going to make it... she was so cold, and all she wanted to do was go to sleep... Light, I thought I was going to lose her.." He said, his voice cracking. "I didn't know if my body heat was going to be enough. But after awhile, she slowly drew out of it. I managed to keep her awake and... well... I suppose you already know what happened next."


Running his hands through his hair, Fior stared at the ceiling as he tried to process the events after that. "Everything else is pretty simple. Afterwards we warmed her clothes to the point where they could be worn again. We made our way back to the Yards, and, just after we got back to our room, Sana threw open the door. The rest... well... you heard the rest..."


Wrapping his head in his arms, Fior let his upper body fall back onto the bed and he tried to lose himself in the pattern of the stone. "She almost died because of me. How could I let that happen.... Light!?" Allowing a short, barking laugh to escape his lips he muttered, "How could I have let myself believe that she had feelings for me... of course she wants Sana..."


Fior Canain


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Guest Arie Ronshor

There were a few things that Cairma had learned over the years and how to respond to them. Defiance, and broken were probably one of the easiest. She had expected a little more defiance from Fior. More privacy and more pride in whatever knowledge he had learned this night. But as the words poured from his mouth she could hear the utter broken defeat in his voice and everywhere else in him. It was such a simple thing, one that happened surprisingly more often than most may realize. A fondness for one that is shared by anouther. Common to a rediculous degree.


But the whole story made her frown deeply. Although Cairma had learned how things always happen for a reason and how balance was required for both bad and good, she could not help but worry on the reprocussions of this event. She hated the idea of forcing him change roomates, but allowing them to stay may cause more harm than good. Especially to Sana, whom she was taking a quick liking to.


"I don't think that It's your feelings for her that you should be worried about, Fior." Her arms were crossed and she did not betray her actual thoughts on the matter. Him and Sahra can wait for now. "You were outside of the Trainee restricted area after cerfew. At what point were you both going to come back? Before or after she fell into this pond? Did you think of bringing her back to the Tower? There is a full Tower filled with Aes Sedai that could have done her better good than you frolicking in the snow."


"Circumstances, Fior. There is a great picture and not everything is a last resort. There are near by Inns, friends, people in Tar Valon that will very quickly grant you aid if you ever feel the need to stop being the hero and ask for help."


"A Tower Guard holds little regard for discomfort. Wet, soiled.. These are hinderences that are easily ignored. You could have dressed, returned intime well before curfew and warmed by the fire in the common room after a short visit to the Infirmary and a short scolding for leaving the grounds."


She left it at that, she could only berate ever so poorly, but the boy needed to get his priorities in order before he started to chase down a far lonelier path.





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Fior felt a cold feeling settle into his core as her words broke roughly over him. He began to shake as he slowly grasped the sheer magnitude of the trouble he was in. Not only had he been outside of the Yard without permission; Light, outside of Tar Valon! They hadn't returned until nearly six hours after curfew. He'd be lucky to get off with a year of mucking the stables for this.


As he stared at the ceiling, the combined stresses of the night threatened to overwhelm him, and his body began to shake. Dropping his hands, he struggled to find control in the void. Several minutes later, the shaking stopped and he sat up slowly, turning to face his mentor. Thrusting thoughts of Sahra from his mind, he forced himself to focus on the issue at hand. He could be thrown out of the tower for this. Light, he honestly couldn't blame Ginae if she did.


Looking Cairma in the eye he began simply, "You're right. I.. I can't... no." Shaking his head he tried again, "What I need to worry about now is how much trouble I'm in. I imagine that the Mistress of Trainees isn't going to be very happy to hear about this...."


Fior stood as he let his voice trail off. Walking to the center of the room, he looked down at Fang sitting on the dresser. Picking it up carefully with both hands, he examined the finely crafted pommel and simple leather sheath for several moments until, finally, he turned slightly towards his mentor and asked, "What do you think she'll do? Do you think I'll be allowed to stay?"


Fior Canain


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Guest Arie Ronshor

She watched his eyes change as the realization of what he had done settled on his shoulders. This would get him thrown out, very easily thrown out. If Ginae found out.


"I supect that she will kick you out, no questions asked. No excuses, nothing." She narrowed her eys levelly at him, catching his eyes in hers. She wanted him to understand exacly how much trouble he was in. "Do you understand this?"


Meeting his mentor's gaze, he swallowed dryly and nodded. Taking a long look around the room that he had shared with Sahra for the last two years. Bringing his eyes back to Cairma he said. "That's what I feared."


Looking over at the belongings near his bed he shrugged and released a short, self deprecating laugh. "I guess I should start packing."


She regarded him carefully as she spoke her next words. How much would he learn from this would be an entirely new matter. No amount of punishment for his actions would need to come into play but how he changed in the short time to come will show how much he learned more than any punishment will ever do to him. "I suspect you would if Ginae were to find out."


Cairma's words carried with them no promise, but the suggestion that Ginae might not find our tore Fior's eyes from his belongings and returned it to her. He tried to weigh how serious she was, but her stance told him nothing. Surely she wouldn't be so cruel as to joke about something this serious. But this was more than he had dared to hope for... more than he did hope for. Their gaze remained locked for several moments as Fior considered what she had said.


"And why might she not find out?" He knew the words carried with them the implication of idiocy if she meant what he thought she meant; but he had to know.


"What else did you do tonight?"


Her question confused Fior further and he wracked his brains in search of the answer she wanted. "I have told you everything that occured tonight..." Pausing he looked at her questioningly. "I'm not certain I understand what you're asking."


She shifted her weight for a moment as her arms unfolded and fell to her hips in a more lazy stance. Regarding him in a more thougthful manner Cairma's gaze softened. Moving to the side of his bed she took a seat bside him and looked up at him. Physically she was her superior and even though he looked down on her she still felt that she was the one looking down at him. "Your quick thinking and actions saved Sahra's life. And curfew or not, I won't disregard what you did in that moment and make you pay for your actions that followed." Her eyes narrowed him searchingly in an almost a sad voice. "Your actions that follow now may have the oppertunity to change the damage that occured today."


Her words wrapped around him, lifting a great weight from his shoulders. For a moment he wondered, as he often had before, how a woman so much smaller than him could make him feel so tiny. But then her eyes narrowed and her voice deepened with sadness. "Your actions that follow now may have to oppertunity to change the damage that occured today."


As his thoughts jumped back to Sahra and Sana, he considered this slowly. He didn't really know how extensive the damage was. All he knew was that he couldn't bear to lose Sahra's friendship and, while he wanted so much more, would be happy if that stayed safe.


"I'm not entirely certain what to do. I know now that she has feelings for Sana. I'm not certain how things would have been different if I had known that before, or that they would have." He said breaking his mentor's gaze and staring at the door. Taking a deep breath he continued.


"I can't really help what I feel, but I won't let it control me. You've taught me better than that."


Cairma smiled at that. "I've only taught you a way to fight and a way to control. You have taught yourself the rest. However I think that this can wait until morning light." Cairma's gaze darkened. "I still have to speak with Sana and Sahra." She left many things unsaid as the weight of that fell on her shoulders. Sahra was a spirit of fire and Sana was far too trusting still. Whether Sana could continue training Sahra would be up to him but she had to be clear of his intentions, and remind him of her own, before the night moved into the day. Cairma had never been so relieved that she had gotten so much sleep during the day than she did in that moment.


She patted his leg and than stood. "Take rest tonight, you will need your strength tomorrow. Forms at the earliest hour." She didn't smile. "And do not let me catch Sahra in here tonight. You two are barred from eachother until I say otherwise. Understood?" Recieving a nod, she turned and walked out with the same demeanor as she had walked in, leaving Fior to his thoughts.




Cairma & Fior

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  • 2 weeks later...

After Cairma left, he stood and moved to the door, locking it. Turning his back to the door, he sagged against it and let out a heavy sigh. He was incredibly relieved that he wouldn't be thrown out, Light! That was the last thing he wanted. but he still had no idea what to do about Sahra and Sana.


He tilted his head back until it hit the door with a soft thud and his gaze settled once more on the ceiling. Running a hand through his hair, he struggled to come to some sort of conclusion. He wanted to be with her so much, but it was clear that, despite what had occured tonight, she had feelings for Sana.


Gripping his hair in his hand he proceeded to bang the back of his head against the door softly several times. In truth, he knew what he was going to do. There was really only one option open to him. He wanted Sahra to be happy, and would do just about whatever it took to make that happen. Even if it meant bowing out and letting her be with Ursana, if that's what she wanted. He wasn't sure how he would go back to just being her friend, but he would just have to find a way. If she had taught him nothing else, Cairma had taught him that there was always a way... You just have to be willing to make the occasional sacrifice.


Closing his eyes, Fior took comfort from his resolve. As he let his head settle softly against the door once more, he pushed down the thoughts raging inside his head and struggled to calm his racing heart. In the end, the decision was hers. No one could make it for her, and neither he, nor Ursana, had any right to expect anything of her. Cursing the honor that was his borderland heritage, he sighed again.


I really should get some sleep.


Fior Canain


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Sahra and Sana parted without a word. They would see in the morning and continue training and see how things stood with them then. That was after her chat with Cairma if the woman would not go to Ginae. She fervently hoped that she wouldn't. From what Fior had told of her, she had gathered that the woman was fair but she could also be compassionate. If she managed to convince her that this would not interfere with her training, she wouldn't tell Ginae. And she would not let this or anything to distract her from the course of becoming a Tower Guard. Only she was now doubting that reaching her dream might not make her happy if she didn't have Fior and Sana to share it with. She was afraid of how things would turn out.


She was also starting to feel the strain of the day and she still had a discussion to be had with Fior. Even if Cairma was still in the room, she would enter now and get her things for the night. It would be horrible to sleep alone and not have Fior's comforting presence close by but she was tired enough that she would fall asleep soon. She listened briefly behind the door and could not hear no voices from inside. Cairma had left then. She turned the door knob and froze in shock when she found it locked. Fior had locked her out.


It hurt badly and she turned away almost resigned to loneliness that would span even longer than just tonight. But she would have to at least try. She couldn't leave him to think that their love making hadn't meant anything to her. She had deep feelings for him and she cared about him very much. She had just raised her hand to knock when the door opened and she faced her rather ragged looking room mate and now lover. Fior was still in the same clothes he had been wearing all day and he looked exhausted enough to have rings under his eyes. He had obviously also resorted to his mannerism of running his hands through his hair which he did when he was distressed. She wanted to brush and smooth his unkempt red hair so alike her own.


But she wouldn't touch him until he showed that he wanted her hands on him. Which he likely never would again, a depressing thought. She would be immensely sad if they would loose the easy companionship that involved alot of physical heckling. "Why did you lock the door?", she asked trying to sound even but she couldn't hide entirely the upset undercurrent.


He felt the doorknob turn at his back, and he wondered briefly who could be trying to get into the room. Then he realized that only one person would expect the door to be unlocked and enter without knocking... Sahra.


Turning, he unlocked the door and pulled it open. She stood before him, her hand poised to knock, and a look of sadness in her eyes that sent a pang through his chest. Even bedraggled and exhausted, she still managed to appear beautiful to him.


Instead of answering her question, he stepped back from the doorway and gestured for her to come inside.


Sahra gave Fior a questioning look when he didn't reply her right away. But him moving aside and calling her to enter was inviting enough that she entered the room and sat on her bed a bit heavily without her usual grace. She sighed tiredly but then visibly gathered herself and faced him.


"Fior, I'm so sorry for not telling you any of this before now. I really thought that it wouldn't be topical until I was a Tower Guard too... I know what you must be thinking but... I care about you. I really do or this wouldn't have happened." She smiled at him warmly. He might turn her down and be like Sana had been but she owed him that much despite the risk of rejection. She would be honest with him. "I was surprised to want you so much and to discover I had such feelings for you but I am not the least regretful." At least not for the love making itself as it had been wonderful. No, it was more for the consequences and the complications afterwards. "I hope that you don't regret either." She opened her mouth again but faltered with what to say next. Instead she shut up and gave him the chance to speak.


Fior shook his head slowly. "The only thing that I regret is that you almost died today because of my stupidity." As he processed the rest of what she said, a sigh of relief escaped his lips. She did have feelings for him... "But what about Ursana?"


Fior's words made her frown with disapproval and she much rather dealt with this first instead of his question about Sana. It fired her up nicely and brightened her face. "How is it your stupidity that I failed to see the weak ice in front of me? This whole thing was my idea and it was my plan. So don't you try to take the responsibility and blame for something that is not your fault." She did grow somber when she got to the Sana part. "Sana is angry with me even if he tries not to be. And even if he kind of doesn't have the right to with all the women he has had", she added irritably. "But then he does because we both expected that I would wait for him loyally and not be spreading my legs like a..." She snapped her mouth shut doubting that Fior would allow her to name herself what he had been thinking.


"I'm sorry. It's just... I don't regret that we made love, Fior. I wanted it, I really did. I just hope that I would have sorted things out first with him so there wouldn't be any guilt or anything between you and me. I don't know what I want to happen next but I don't want to loose either of you as friends. But I can't have him, not in few more years. And I could be happy with you right now." She shrugged helpessly.


He felt a flash of anger as she started to call herself a slut. But it was quickly followed by a pang of longing as she finished talking. Moving close to her, he took her hands and pulled her up to stand before him. Tucking a loose strand of hair behind her head followed the curve of her neck with his finger and cupped her neck in his hand gently but firmly. Angling her head up so that their eyes met, he held her emerald gaze and said seriously. "You. Are. Not. A. Slut. No matter what anyone else says. No matter what anyone, including you, thinks. What happened tonight was amazing, and I wouldn't give it away for anything in the world."


Releasing her neck, he softly traced her jawline with the back of his hand as she turned her eyes down and away. Pinching her chin softly, the way he had the first day they met, he turned her eyes back to his again.


"That said, I also won't take second place. And neither should you. I won't let you settle. If you want Sana, go get Sana. I want you to be happy, and if that means losing you, then so be it. We'll still have our friendship. We just might have to work hard at it for awhile." He let his hand fall away from her chin as he took a step back and turned away.


"If you want me, I don't want it to be because you can have me now and you can't have Sana. If that's the case, I'd rather wait two years and have you chose then. If you are going to chose me, let it be because I am who you truly want." Crossing his arms over his chest, he waited for her response with his back turned.


She had to resist the temptation to close her eyes and revel when he touched her caressingly. She forced herself to met his gaze evenly when he stressed that she was not a slut. It warmed her even more than she had thought that he would defend her honour even from herself. Sana hadn't done anything of the kind and obviously he agreed with the assesment despite all his claims of not being a hypocrite. Or then he was just being an angry jilted lover who did not want to make her feel any better. She had to look down as Fior ran his finger down her jaw like he had so many times since they had first met.


She sighed with frustration when he stepped away and turned his back on her and blubbered about being the second choice. She reached for his shoulder and turned him around planting her lips on his as she pressed her body against him.


He felt himself being pulled back around, and the next thing he knew, her lips were on his and his resolve came crashing down around his feet. Placing one hand behind her head and the other beneath her shoulders, as her body pressed into his. He held her lips to his for what seemed like an eternity, and when he finally broke the kiss, he pulled her tightly to his chest, refusing to let her go.


Sahra felt like the kiss melted her tired brain and she leaned on Fior bonelessly as his arms wound snugly around her. "Don't you dare to belittle yourself like that, Fior", she admonished him breathlessly. "There are so many good reasons why a woman would prefer you over any man. And Light, there is so much passion between us and it is not just chemistry. I would not have kissed you if you were just a replacement. Don't you understand what an edge you have now over him? I am so confused and I can't help but want to get even more confused with you."


Sahra & Fior

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As she snuggled tightly against his chest, Fior allowed himself a small smile. Running a hand absentmindedly through her hair, he let out a sigh of contentment. I could stay like this forever. What he said, however, was, “You have to leave.” Silencing her protests with a finger, he continued. “Cairma forbid me to see you until she said otherwise. I know it’s harsh, but it shows her trust in me.”


He shook his head as she started to speak again. “If Ginae were to find out what happened today, we’d have little hope of staying in the Yards. In all likelihood, we’d be thrown out on our tails. I don’t want that, and I doubt you do either.” She shook her head vigorously at that and he smiled. “But Cairma isn’t going to tell Ginae. She said it was because she wasn’t going to disregard the fact that I saved you and punish us for what happened afterwards.”


Sahra’s eyes brightened, and he laughed softly. “That doesn’t mean we won’t be punished. I’m certain that she’s got something in mind. She’s very fair. Painfully so sometimes. But we won’t be kicked out.” Kissing her on the forehead, he added. “But that’s why you can’t stay. I’ve already broken my promise to her by opening the door. Not that I regret it.” Smiling down at her, he tapped her nose playfully. “I think we both needed this. But I don’t want to jeopardize the generosity she’s showing, and so I can’t let you stay. No matter how badly I want you to.”


Pulling her to him one last time, he stepped back and kissed her lightly on the cheek. “Sleep well Sahra, and try to take care of yourself.” Walking to the door, he steeled himself as he opened it. Turning back to her he smiled and hoped that it didn’t seem too cold of him.


Fior Canain


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Her heart went cold when Fior reminded her of Ginae. She hadn't actually realised the risk that they would be sent away. It had seemed like a small thing but she had jepardised not only her own life but also Fior's life today and showed very reckless disregard for two rules tonight. Aran and Sana surely had not been the best example in following the rules since for the most part they didn't mind what she did as long as she didn't get caught. But Ginae would care. She went almost limp with relief when Fior said that Cairma wasn't going to go to the formidable Mistress of the Trainees. Still it wasn't much more delightful prospect that Cairma would be dealing the punishment. Based on tonight, she would likely separate them as room mates and she might actually be cruel enough to not let them meet each others at all. Sahra didn't know her that well except from what Fior had told her and he said even now that she was fair. But still she was afraid.


She wasn't going to stay here for the night even if she would have given alot to be able to sleep in the comfortable ring of his arms or at least know that he was in the same room even if he was in the other bed. Still she wasn't going to let him kick her out but she would wash here and change into her night gown and take her things. She closed her eyes and savored the peck on the cheek and his closeness for one last time. As he moved to open the door, she turned her back on him and began to pull off her clothes.


She was extremely satisfied by the almost whimpering sound of surprise he made and the startled question what she was doing. She grinned at him over her shoulder albeit tiredly. "I am getting washed before donning my night gown, you silly. There is no light nor water in the empty room so I have to do this here. Do watch carefully now since Light knows when you can next admire the sights." Despite the playful words, she didn't feel at all light since they really might be banned from each others' company for a long time. At first she basked unabashed under his admiring stare, but as she foamed the lemon smelling soap on her skin starting from her arms and legs, she began to feel very self conscious. She turned her back on him as she washed her breasts and downwards to her belly and between her thighs. That vision was too intimate now and she wanted to hide her grimace of pain from him. She was truly sore from her first time. And the second and the third, she remembered with a stab of desire.


Splashing the soap away she toweled herself briskly and pulled the warm night gown over her head. A pair of happily red woollen stockings crowned her white garment and she was almost done for the night. The mess of her flame red hair still needed sorting out and she knew just how she wanted it done. She tapped the back of the brush to her palm as she turned to Fior. The look on his face made butterflies flutter in her belly but it changed into an astonished one when she raised her hand to his chest and shoved him to sit on the bed side. Unceremoniously she handed him the brush and sat between his legs on the floor resting her head on his... Oh! She could feel the heat creeping to her cheeks and she had to clear her throat a few times before she was able to ask him to comb her hair.


It felt incredibly sensuous when he lifted the mass of her locks and ran his fingers through it massaging her scalp and caressing her ears. After a moment she dared to actually lean back and lay her cheek on his thigh. It was a great temptation to just close her eyes and rest for a brief moment before she would have to leave. His hands kept diving into her hair and he entangled gently the knots and snarls there. He was tugging a bit now and then but it was still ten kinds of wonderful and her eyelids and head were so heavy. Just a short while, she thought drowsily right before she fell asleep with a content sigh.

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Fior brushed her hair for a long time, enjoying the feeling of it running through his fingers, before his conscience pulled at him again and he said softly. "You really must go Sahra." To which he recieved no reply.


Setting the brush down, he leaned forward and said it again close to her head. In response, she mumbled something and snuggled her head into his thigh. Sighing, he carefully extricated himself, and smiled down at her. She is so beautiful. He hadn't the heart to wake her, and so he lifted her gently and carried her to her bed on the other side of the room. Returning to his he pulled the blanket off and brought it to her, tucking her in snugly against the cold of the night.


At long last, he shed the clothes that he had worn throughout the harrowing day and tossed them in the pile formed by her clothes and the blankets. Pulling on some fresh small clothes and a pair of breeches, he grabbed an extra shirt for the next day and began looking around for a scrap of parchment. Finding one, and a piece of charcoal, he scrawled a message for Cairma.


Sahra came to get some things, I let her in, and she fell asleep. I am in the room you assigned to her.




Hoping that she wouldn't be too mad at that, he grabbed a dagger and left the room. Pulling it shut quietly he pressed the point of the dagger through the parchment and into the soft wood of the door. With shirt in hand, he headed down the hall to the vacant room, wishing the entire way that he could be in there with Sahra.


Fior Canain

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