Nynaeve and Lan (This doesn't actually fit in with any of the books so just bear with me a minute - Nyn and Lan are living in the White Tower, her block has broken and she is full Aes Sedai. It is about a year since Moiraine died, and Nyn has cured her husband of the affect her death had on him. Enjoy!)

Diclaimer: I acknowledge that I own none of these characters or place names etc.

"Al'Lan Mandragoran, come here right this minute," Nynaeve yelled. She was gripping her braid and it hurt, but she ignored the pain. She could not spare a shred of herself if she was to face Lan on her feet and win, which was of course what she intended. "What is the meaning of this?"

"Of what, my dear?" he replied mildly, as ever his expression unreadable.

"Of what? Of what? Of this, you wool-headed mule! Of this!" She thrust the piece of paper she was holding at him. As he reached out to take it she slapped him as hard as she could. It did not seem to affect him, which only made her angrier, if that was possible. His ice blue eyes might well have been observing someone who was making a pot of tea. But she met him stare for stare.

"Nynaeve Sedai, may I ask what is wrong?" She was so intent on staring at her husband that she thought it was he who had spoken, and replied in fierce, low tones.

"No you may bloody not -" It was only then that she realised that he never addressed her by that title. In a rush of utter fury, she broke off the stare and whirled to face whoever had spoken, intending to give them a piece of her mind. She was startled to see a Grey sister - Lilir was her name - staring at her, open mouthed in shock. Nynaeve thought of apologising, but before she could get a word in, the woman had walked off and out of sight around a corner. Bloody woman, thought Nynaeve. Well, she had better not expect an apology after behaving like that. Not that she would have got one in the first place anyway.

When she remembered that she was in the middle of a staring contest with Lan, she turned back to find he had disappeared. Burn him! Burn the bloody man! How dare he walk away when she was in the middle of talking to him? How dare he? If she had been angry before, it was nothing to what she was now. She embraced the sweet flow of saidar without thought. She channelled as much as she could, until she thought the blood would boil in her veins, but she was too mad to care.

Leaving? He was leaving was he? Off to fight his endless war against The Blight, he had written, though not in those exact words. He had also said something about how she should forget him. He had addressed it to Mashiara, his lost love. Well she was tired of being his lost love. She wanted to be his true love. She wanted him to love her now and forever. And he had hoped to sneak away without me noticing had he? She thought bitterly. Well, no such luck for him there.

Holding up her skirts, she ran in the direction he had disappeared, startling the odd servant or novice that was hurrying about her duties. When she reached their bedroom in the Aes Sedai quarters of the White Tower, she found the door was locked. She presumed it was a padlock so she tried to channel earth, like Egwene did, but she could not find how it was constructed. Why has the fool man locked me out of my own room? She hammered on the wooden door until her knuckles bled, but she would not give up that easily. She thought of trying to burn the door down but that would not be taken kindly to if she managed to burn down the whole Tower.

"Al'Lan Mandragoran, let me in this instant! As your wife I demand it of you! And you should obey me, as you are my Warder, or had you forgotten that? I think maybe you need reminding, as you seemed to think that you could just leave whenever it pleased -" She was flung forward as the door opened inwards, but Lan caught her in his strong arms and she was forced to take a deep breath as she looked around their once plain bed chamber.

Candles covered the table and dressing table and hung in brackets along the walls, giving off faint flowery aromas. The curtains were closed and so the room was bathed only in flickering candle light. The carpet and bed were covered in red flower petals, though where he had got those from at this time of year she didn't want to ask.

For a moment she was too stunned to speak. She realised Lan was still holding her and quickly brushed him off, but it was an effort - though she didn't let it show of course; she had suddenly gone very weak at the knees. She forced herself to look into his beautiful stony face. He was just staring intently at her, expression unreadable.

And looking into those sun-freezing eyes, those heart-freezing eyes, her grasp on the True Source slipped. She wanted to show defiance, show him she was not at all amused with his idea of a joke, but she found she could not. She realised she could not have moved a muscle even if Moghedien decided to walk in at that very moment and kill her. Well, maybe Nynaeve could have moved then, but nothing short of that Forsaken witch could have budged her an inch.

His voice snatched her out of her thoughts. "My heart, is it not your nameday today?" It took a moment for the words to register. The amount of emotion in his voice startled her. He sounded... Happy about something. And there was also tenderness. So much love. So much, she actually forgot to be angry. All that filled her thoughts was Lan, his voice, his touch, his face, his body, his smell.

"I..." She considered the date. Her brain did not seem to be working properly, but she got there in the end. "Yes... I think it is. How -" She took a few deep breaths, pushing the fog in the shape of her husband to the back of her mind. Well, she tried. "How do you know?" She managed eventually.

"How I know is not important. What is important is that we celebrate. Thom!" From behind the curtains stepped Thom Merrilin, two cups of wine in one hand and his harp in the other. He flourished his gleeman's cloak, coloured patches fluttering, as he handed them their wine. "Thom has agreed to play us a little music." And with that the old musician went and sat down in a padded chair outside their room. A slow, pretty tune began to play.

"I..." Nynaeve was about to say that it was a little unfair to make Thom sit out in the corridor all night, but then she realised what kind of "celebrating" Lan meant. She covered her stumble by hiding her face in her wine cup. She hoped her husband would just think she had forgotten what she was going to say.

When she had had a few sips of wine, she remembered she was supposed to be shouting now, accusing him of leaving, of fighting his death battle, of forgetting her. But somehow she could not bring herself to be angry. Light, this fool man has scrambled my brains! She thought. I am el'Nynaeve Mandragoran, not some calf-eyed, love sick girl who is not even old enough to braid her hair! What has got into me?

Instead she said "Why did you leave that note? Are you planning this to be our last night together?" Even if she could not be angry, she could still make her voice hard and cold.

In reply he laughed. He actually laughed at her! "My dear, I am not leaving. I would never leave you, even if the Dark One himself tried to draw me away. That note was a . diversion, shall we say. I knew it would keep you out of the way while I had things prepared. I think I underestimated your determination." He knew better than to say her anger. "I did not plan on your coming up here so fast. No matter. You're here now." He set his wine cup down, then took hers and put that aside as well. Then her took her hands in his and gently led her towards the bed. She followed without thinking; her mind was somewhere else.

When she had regained her sense of self, she stopped dead and pulled her hands from his. He had certainly begun to cover his emotions up again - rebuilding his fortress walls was a better way to describe it, the same fortress walls that Nynaeve had grown her creepers into; he didn't look at all surprised. "Let me get this straight. You frighten me half to death with a note saying you're leaving," she swallowed hard and felt her cheeks colouring slightly; she did not like admitting her feelings - saying she was scared of his leaving was the simple truth. It showed how much he had changed in her. She carried on regardless, though. "You walk out on me in the middle of an argument, embarrassing me in front of others." There had only been the one woman, but it was only a slight exaggeration. "You lock me out of my room, and let me hammer with my hands until they bleed. " Saying that reminded her of how much her knuckles were hurting, but she ignored it. "And now you tell me that it was all a joke, and that -"

Suddenly she felt Lan's lips on hers, his hands all over her body, her feet dangling a foot off the ground. And that was the end of her anger. It was the end of all thought.

Some considerable time later - Lan's kisses were thorough enough to make you lose all track of time - she found she was sitting on the bed, her head against his chest, breathing heavily. She realised she was not surprised to find he was breathing normally. She didn't think anything could surprise her about Al'Lan Mandragoran anymore. He seemed almost not human. Well, he is not, she thought, laughing silently to herself. He cannot possibly be. He is far too different from anyone I've ever met before to even be considered human.

"What were you saying?" he asked her.

"You know, I can't seem to remember!" she replied, smiling up at him. He smiled back. She thought some of the angles and planes of his face were softening. At least they did when he smiled. "I think it was something about how much you infuriate me and how I would like to wring your neck for being so gorgeous -" She blushed. She had not been meaning to say that at all.

He only laughed softly though and started fiddling with her braid. "You know," he said quietly, "you should wear your hair down more often. I know you like your braid so you can try and tug it out at the roots when you're angry." Her half-hearted glare did not affect him and he continued as if she was not trying to look daggers at him. ". But it is so long, and dark, and it smells so gorgeous that it would be like wearing a silk shawl on your back."

She twisted 'round so she was facing him, though still sat on his lap, and considered him. "Yes, you're right, I do like my braid," was all she said, after a moment. But she was not against the idea at all. All his compliments were truly flattering but she would have loved him to actually ask if he could take it out. The thought of his strong fingers running through her hair made her heart flutter.

Suddenly he reached out towards her and touched a ring that hung around her neck. It was the ring of Malkieri kings, and as the last surviving Lord of the Seven Towers, it was his. Well, it was hers now. He had given it to her as a gift in Shienar, before they went their separate ways, well over two years ago now. Sometimes, that ring had been all that kept her going. She wore it on a fine gold chain now, nestled between her breasts, next to her heart. Her low-necked dress of fine green satin displayed it hanging there. The fact that Lan's hand was touching her where the ring hung did nothing to quiet the butterflies in her stomach.

On a sudden impulse, she reached out and traced all the planes of his face. His nose, his eyes, his cheekbones, his ears, until finally letting her fingers rest on his lips. She realised his hands were doing some tracing of their own, and she found she was not at all embarrassed by it.

Keeping her fingers on his lips, she put her thumb under his chin and pulled his head forward, so she was staring him straight in the eye. With her other hand, she stroked back the strands of hair that had fallen over his face. His wandering hands stopped on her slim waist. He did not move a muscle, but being a Warder, the finest Warder there was of course, it was easy for him to remain like that for hours at a time. She stopped stroking his face and they were still. For how long, Nynaeve couldn't tell. They just sat, eyes drinking each other's souls, whilst the sweet harp music played, and all else was forgotten.

Then, ever so slowly, Lan moved his hands up, over her slim hips and waist, outlining her breasts, tracing her figure. Then his hands disappeared behind her back and she felt a slight pull of her hair. In a matter of seconds, it was spilling down her back in dark waves, over her shoulders, covering Lan's arms as he pulled them from behind her.

"How -" she breathed, astonished. "How did you do that so quickly? It takes me much longer than that."

"I don't practice on anyone, if that's what you mean," he replied, smiling. For some reason that smile made her suspicious. She took her hands from his face and the front of her dress came down! How in the light did he do that? As she fumbled to get it back up, flushing crimson, he took her delicate hands in his strong ones, and said "There is no need to do that." He brushed her lips with his, then smiled a small smile. "Happy Nameday," he whispered.

As if his words were a signal, Nynaeve threw herself at him, so overwhelmed by him, by the love he showed for her, by the love she had for him. The force was enough, unexpected as it was, to knock him backwards. They collapsed onto the bed, she lying on top of him and sobbing uncontrollably with happiness, he laughing with her, though part of his amusement came from how his wife - tough as she liked to think she was - was now crying hysterically into his chest.

Light, but he was the most beautiful man she had ever seen! And so strong, so loving, so sensitive. Funny that. A few months ago she would have said he was the least sensitive man in the world. It amazed her how her opinion had changed by a few kisses and a couple of heart melting words. Well, there was a lot more to it than that. Marriage, for one. Then him being her Warder, for another. The list went on.

Lost in her reverie, she did not realise her husband was talking to her, until he touched her shoulder.

"Wh... What?" she asked, startled.

"What were you thinking about just then?" he answered. She hated it when one of her questions was answered by another.

"What were you saying before?" she demanded, more strongly.

"I was wondering whether you were ever going to let me undress you and get you into bed," he said, smiling.

For some reason, she did not think that was it, but she did not really want him to bring up the fact that she had cried to him. Even tears of joy, were they heard about throughout the Tower, could ruin her reputation. el'Nynaeve Mandragoran never cried. Never! "Let you undress me? I do not think so. I have never let a man undress me in my life and I am not about to start now. I am more than capable thank you very much!" The irony of it was that she had never had a man offer to undress her before, and so she did it herself because she had to. That remark was purely to make Lan want to do it himself. She had no objection whatsoever to the notion.

"Well then, I think now is a perfect time to start," he said, and with that he grabbed the front of her dress and pulled it all the way down.

Shocked, she stared at him. Then a grin began spreading over her face. "It is, is it? You think so?" She reached for Saidar and wove flows of Air to strip his shirt off. She channeled again and took off the leather cord that held his long dark hair, graying slightly at the temples, so it fell forward over his face. Then she wove thin flows, like fingers, to brush through it. He tried to speak, but she gagged him with more Air. He tried to move and she bound him to the bed. When she was happy that all he could do was sit and look at her, she wriggled out of her dress. She smoothed her shift, and brushed her hair. When she was sure she looked presentable - well, as presentable as she could clad only in her shift - she unwound the flows binding her husband to the bed.

He stood up straight away, as though he had been straining to do so while he was bound. He was so handsome, so strong, yet also graceful. Graceful as a lion is graceful. He reached her in a few quick strides and immediately they were lost together in that never-ending, always-so-special kiss.

She felt his fingers running through her hair and it was every bit as heart fluttering as she had thought it would be. She heard every single note of Thom's harp, and the music seemed to enrich her soul. She tasted Lan's mouth and that sweetness made her tongue seem on fire. She breathed in his smell, and it made her head spin even more.

"You," Lan said in a pause "are the most beautiful, intelligent, creative, sweet, loving woman I have ever come across. You kiss like the very earth depended on it. After seeing the way your clothes cling to every curve of your dazzling figure, I would like to know how those Domani women got their reputation. They have not the slightest patch on you. You are - " The easiest way to shut him up was for Nynaeve to put a hand over his mouth.

"I love you." It was all she could say. "I love you. I love you." she trailed off. Her mind had suddenly gone completely blank, and with it her control over her body. She felt her knees give way, and Lan's arms lifting her onto the bed. The rest of the night was a blur.