"Life, you're right," I admitted. I was curled up on the window seat in the library alcove. "I don't want to tell them right off that I've stopped being your enemy, and now I'm your…" I blushed- the words were still new on my tongue.
"Love?" Vidanric finished, eyes crinkling in amusement.
"Yes," I conceded. "But what are we going to do? We can't tell them straight off as soon as they awake, yet how can we keep it a secret?"
"I've been thinking," Danric drawled.
"A relatively new pastime?" I asked, laughing good-naturedly. He grinned back. Just because we loved each other didn't mean in any way I was going to stop the word duels.
"Of course," he said back. "Would you like another courtship?"
"Huh?" I asked, confused. "Oh. Oh!" Enlightment finally dawned.
"I trust you like this?" Danric said, smiling.
"Of course!" I exclaimed. "One by paper, one by…well, normally!"
"So," Danric continued, silver eyes on me, making me shiver happily, "When the others wake, we'll tell them the whole story, minus us. Of course, you and I have learned how to tentatively trust each other, as a result of the uprising. Bran and Nimiar are delighted, as is the rest of the Court."
"Most," I muttered. He arched one brow delicately.
"I think Tamara can be the exception."
"Of course," I said sweetly.
"So I, eager to continue this shaky bridge, become slow friends with you," he continued. "Then, as the Court watches with bated breath, I slowly start to dance more with you at balls. And then start to slowly court you. By Bran and Nee's wedding, we are plainly in love."
I clapped my hands in glee. "I can't wait until the Court wakes!"
Danric stood and came to where I sat, drawing me up, his arms around my waist drawing me close. He kissed me softly, a slight smile on his face. "I could," he murmured.
"Then again," I said, tilting my face upward. "So could I."
When the whole Court awoke, they were mostly groggy, with no recollection of what had happened. Danric summoned everyone to the hall held for Petitioners, and explained the rebellion of the Marquise, and Lord Flauvic's deception. I stood by him, adding comments here and there. When we finished, the crowd dispersed, talking over the exciting events that had been-well, frozen- for. I found Bran and Nee.
"Bran!" I exclaimed, hugging him tightly. "Nee!" I did the same.
"What happened," Nee said, "Is it true?"
"What? The Hill Folk saved us, and Flauvic is- well, you can go look for yourself," I said.
"No," Bran interjected. "You and Danric are actually on speaking terms?" The astounded look on their faces made me laugh.
"Well, yes," I admitted. "I mean-well, I was a fool. So I apoligized. And now we're all right with each other."
I thought of how much farther than 'all right' we were, and blushed. Bran and Nee took it as a good sign, though.
"That's great!" Bran said enthusiastically. "Now, the cooks are preparing a feast, to celebrate your victory! Did you really fight those twenty wagoneers?"
They took me off to explain in further detail, and soon I had a crowd. The rebellion, it appeared, had only increased my reputation. I was admired for the Hill Folk's faith and rescue, and for my 'smarts'. I personally considered it a combination of dumb luck and ignorance, but chose to say nothing. Why? No one hates admiration. Including me.
The next morning, I awoke to a letter on my desk. Just like the old days, I thought, and pounced on it. In the handwriting of Vidanric, there was a brief note.
An unexpected meeting at second blue-change, perhaps at the fishpond?
I grinned, and called for Mora.