Disclaimer: I own nothing, I make no money.

Author's Note: Oh boy. It's a happening. We've made it everybody. We've made it. And it was a wonderful ride. Thank you for making it with me, friends. Please enjoy.


Chapter Forty Two: Interlocked

"This is the beginning. The start. This is how they fit." - Krem and Harding find each other in a world torn apart. A story told in brief glimpses.

Harding loves the feel of Krem's arms when they are wrapped around her. Firm. Steady. Reassuring.

She glances out through the window above their cot, the warm light of dawn streaming in above them. She burrows further into the furs.

Krem chuckles, a sound deep and resonant in his throat. He is half asleep. Only the anchoring pressure of Harding's body along his keeps him tethered to a world without dreams.

He doesn't think he needs dreams when he wakes to someone like Harding anyway.

Harding hums in soft contentment against him, lifting her head slightly to watch his heavy lids as they flutter open.

"Mm," he hums in response to her blinding smile, to the tread of her fingers reaching across his form beneath the furs. He wraps his arms tighter around her. He blinks to wakefulness.

Her hair is spread across her pillow, golden and brilliant in the slants of light through the window. Her eyes are bright and furtively blinking at him, her lashes dusting along her cheeks with every flutter.

He leans toward her instinctively, capturing her lips with his. She sighs into the kiss. It is short and chaste, but promising.

He chuckles against her lips. "I love your face every time I kiss you."

She nudges him playfully beneath the furs. "Don't tease."

"No, I'm serious." He rustles against her, moving to pull one arm out so that he can brace his elbow along his pillow and cradle his chin in his palm, looking down at her. "You get this contented little smile, and you sigh. All happy like. A lot. It's rather ego-boosting."

She giggles into his chest, shooting her glance up toward his. "I can't help it. Kissing is just so…intimate." A soft blush creeps across her cheeks.

Krem raises a brow at her reaction. "And sex isn't?" he whispers suggestively, his other hand moving along the smooth expanse of her thigh beneath their covers. He can see her soft intake of breath at the motion and feels the beginning of a smirk spread across his features.

Harding shifts in the blankets, moving her head back to look at him better, her smile tentative along her lips. "I can't deny the intimacy of sex but…I find kissing to be much more meaningful."

Krem lets his fingers dip along her hip and slink further down. "Why?"

Harding arches unconsciously into him, a low breath of contentment falling from her lips. "Well," she begins, only slightly fazed by his ministrations. "Kissing is the ultimate exchange between two bodies, two people. It's the sharing of breath, the sharing of life."

Krem's fingers halt in their caress of her skin as he watches her, something brewing hot and unnamable in his chest.

She graces him with a shy smile. "I mean, isn't that the point of love in the first place? To give of yourself? To share life?"

Krem can only look at her. Everything else falls away. Until it is only her eyes. Only her smile. Only her face that holds him to this world, constant and unyielding and absolute.

Until he cannot remember a time when he didn't love her.

He swallows his words, because they would fail him anyway. They wouldn't be enough. And he curls his shaking fingers around her hip, pulling her closer. Just the touch of her. The warmth. He is drowning in it.

The scent of her hair. Like wood and honey.

Her eyes, gleaming and unafraid.

Her touch.

No. Words would never be enough.

So he answers in the only way he knows. By showing her. He moves his mouth against hers. She is smiling into the kiss. Their fingers lace together.

This is the beginning. The start. The brilliant, promising horizon of sharing life.

This. This is how they fit.

Their mouths. Their breaths. Their bodies.

Their hearts.