Disclaimer: They're Ursula K. LeGuin's. I just think they're cute together. ^^;

I Knew Thee First

"He stopped, but in his eyes as he looked at Arren and the sunlit hills there was a great, wordless, grieving love. And Arren saw that, and seeing it saw him, saw him for the first time whole, as he was.

'I cannot say what I mean,' Ged said unhappily."
- Ursula K. Leguin, The Farthest Shore

But Arren knew what it was that Ged meant to say, knew what it was that he felt, because the look in Ged's eyes spoke to him in deeper and truer tones than his words. And as Arren saw the whole man, he saw the things that he loved about that man, and saw that he was not alone in his love. And he despaired yet again, but this time it was not for the land, or for their fates, but for he had realized that yet again he had doubted his leader and his lord, and that he should have learned better than to doubt the archmage long, long ago.

"But you do not need to say any more, my lord" Arren replied softly, the wind playing through his hair and turning it golden like a crown in the flames of the sun as it rose ever higher in the sky. "For I know in my heart what you mean, and I am sorry to have angered you yet again with the weight of despair."

And Ged looked upon the boy's face, and saw the pure love that he had always seen there, but now it was different, changed, as Arren had changed during their journey. As Arren had become a man, so too had his love matured; it was changed now from the simple worship it had been on that first day, when they'd met and talked beside the fountain far away on Roke, changed now into a respectful and ready love that Ged found all too easy to return.

"When we first met on Roke, I saw in your eyes what you thought of me, plain as day," Ged said to the boy, watching the skin of his cheeks flush hot in the cool breeze of Selidor even as the sun now began to climb ever higher in the sky.

"I still believe there are none who walk this earth, nor sail these seas, nor come from beyond them that could hide anything from you, lord," Arren replied, eyes downcast to the short, coarse grass and voice coming to Ged as a leaf floats upon the wind.

And Ged smiled, gently, though the boy could not see it, and reached out with one hand, white beneath the singed skin that had suffered the presence of Orm Embar, and touched it to Arren's chin. He lifted the flushed face away from the grass, forcing their eyes to meet and watching the emotions play like shadows and light chasing across his companion's face.

"You do not need to call me 'lord', Lebannen, for I am no one's lord, least of all the descendant of Morred, the one whom I have come to love for who he is, for he has given me all his love and his life and his loyalty from the day he first laid eyes upon me, and if you are to call me your lord than so too must I call you my own."

The joy came slowly, but fully, to Arren's face there in the grasses of Selidor, and all thoughts of their journey were cast aside, at least for a time, before the delight of the two companions who shared too few, too-brief moments all but alone at the edge of the world. And when night came, and Arren woke to gather wood for a fire, he felt that he saw the world anew, and did not fear for the lack of stars in the dark vault of the sky above them.

Ged awoke to the soft, warm light of the fire Arren had built and looked upon the man who sat beside him, the dancing flames reflected in dark eyes nearly devoid of iris in the night air, and for the first time felt as though he had come home. Here, in the man beside him, were the mountains of Gont, wreathed in cloud and skirted by fog and forests. Here were the small towns of goatherds who lived simple lives, here was the end to his journey and the warmth in his heart that told him that after all his years of searching, of conquering, of spells and runes and greatness, here, here, he was finally home.