Title: A Reward

By: Polgara (melindoranightsilverhotmail.com)

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy, Dawn, or Willow. They belong to the mad genius Joss Whedon. I also don't own Aragorn and Gandalf, they belong to whoever holds Tolkien's estate, most likely his son.

Spoilers: Through season seven of Buffy and minor LOTR spoilers, mostly for before the series.

Summary: A seemingly random portal takes Buffy into another world. But was it random or does it have more serious implications. Mid-year Fic-a-thon for Amanda. Not insertion fic!

A/N: This takes place one year after season seven of Buffy and 62 years before Fellowship of the Ring. For those who don't know, Aragorn is actually 88 in the series (it's even mentioned in the extended edition of Two Towers, very funny scene). In this story Aragorn is 26 and has only known about his heritage for six years. When you read the Appendix of Return of the King you find out that Aragorn served in Rohan and Gondor in his youth as Thorongil. He goes by that name in this fic just so you won't get confused. Oh, and yes, I know that Aragorn smokes, but let's just say that it's a habit that he picked up later in life.

A/N2: For some reason ff.net is not registering the asteriks I use for scene breaks, so they will be indicated like this: {scene break}

Name: Amanda Cunningham

Author's Request:

Genre: Harry Potter, LOTR, X-men

Max Rating: R

Characters: Harry, Dawn, Buffy, Legolas, Willow, Snape, Aragorn

Type: Romance, Drama, Action

Want to see: relationships

Not want to see: the same story that's been done 100 times before

Amanda, sorry this has taken me so long to get out. I was busy at work when I first received the assignment and then my muse decided that it didn't want to come out and play. I hope you enjoy!

A Reward

Buffy hummed absently to herself as she walked through the cemetery. She loosely carried a sword by her side while she kept an eye out for the demons that had recently been causing trouble.

After spending the better part of the past year in meetings, searching for slayers, and training said slayers; it felt good to be patrolling alone again. She had willingly volunteered for the night's assignment and turned down any offers of assistance. Buffy was a little worried that spending so little time patrolling was causing her to lose some of her edge. She made a personal vow to make sure she patrolled at least three times a week to keep her senses sharp.

A rustle in a nearby bush caught her attention and she turned to investigate. Just before she reached it, three bulky demons leapt out at her, knocking her to the ground. A grunt escaped her lips as the air was knocked out of her lungs.

The three demons tried to pin her to the ground, but she wiggled out of their clutches and out from under them. Once she was standing on her feet again, she was finally able to get a good look at her opponents.

She quickly noted the strange armor and swords they carried. It wasn't too often that she saw demons with either. Their skin was dark and ears were pointed. That was all she was able to see because they rushed her again, only this time she was ready for them.

Buffy dropped, letting the first one's momentum to fly over her. While she was still low to the ground, she kicked one leg out causing another one's knee to bend in the opposite direction. As she stood she ran her sword through the third one.

Sensing the demon approaching behind her, she pulled her sword out of the demon in front of her and then swung it in an arc. She turned to see the decapitated demon fall to the ground. Satisfied that those two were dead, she went to finish the last one that was still writhing in pain, but her feet wouldn't move.

The slayer looked down to see that her feet had sunk into the earth. As she tried to pull a foot out, she realized that she was still sinking at an increasing pace. Buffy looked around for something to hold on to, but there was nothing handy. She sent out one last mental call for help to Willow before she sank completely into the earth.

{scene break}

Aragorn shook his head as he watched Gandalf light his pipe. The young man didn't understand his friend's fascination with pulling acrid smoke into his lungs. He figured it was just one of the wizards many idiosyncrasies to be tolerated.

He had spent the past week in the forest on the outskirts of Dunland with Gandalf in order to work on his wood lore. He wanted to learn everything he could so he would be prepared for any emergency. Aragorn know that his future would be rough. Ever since Lord Elrond had told him six years before about his destiny to become king of Gondor, he wanted to make sure that he would be able to rule his people to the best of his ability.

The young man had only know Gandalf for a few short years, but he had already become a close, trusted friend. He was about to start the fire for dinner when his ears picked up a distant noise. He paused and concentrated, then quickly recognized the sound of ringing metal. Aragorn stood and grasped the hilt of his sword. As he turned to the direction of the noise, he saw that Gandalf had already risen from his seat on the ground. The two wordlessly headed towards the sound of battle.

When they arrived, Aragorn was surprised to see a young blonde girl fighting off twenty orcs. As he looked around, he noticed that there were another ten lying dead around her. He quickly cut a path to her, and before long they were fighting back to back.

"Thanks for the help," she said as she ran her sword through another one.

"It is my pleasure, my lady," he said.

As they fought, Aragorn wondered if they were really needed. She seemed to be quite capable of dispatching the loathsome creatures on her own. In no time at all, the few they hadn't killed ran off into the forest.

"Whew," she said as she turned to look at him. "That one could have been a little close."
Aragorn caught the sight of blood running down her arm. "My lady, you are hurt."

"I'm fine," she said with a shrug, just before her eyes rolled back and she collapsed.

The future king caught her as she fell and turned to Gandalf.

"The blade was probably poisoned. We must get her back to camp to tend the injury," the wizard said.

Once they got back, Aragorn gently laid her on the ground and began cleaning her wound while Gandalf quickly made a tea that would counteract the poison. Aragorn was slightly surprised that the cut did not seem to be as bad as the amount of blood present seemed to indicate. When he was sure that it was clear of dirt and debris, he bound the wound.

Gandalf walked over with the tea and the two sat the girl up. The carefully fed her the tea and then laid her back down. They had done all they could for her; all that was left was the waiting.

It didn't take Aragorn long to notice that a cheerful fire was burning. "How did you get the fire started so quickly?"
"I used magic," Gandalf answered around his pipe.

Aragorn frowned. "You can start a fire with magic?"
"Why, yes. I thought you knew."
"You mean that in all the years that we have been traveling together and you have had me start the fire every night, when you could have started it with the wave of your hand?"
"I believe so, yes."
"Then why did you not?" Aragorn sputtered.

"I will not always be there to start the fire for you. How else would you have learned?" Gandalf asked seriously.

Aragorn sighed in defeat. He knew that Gandalf was in his "riddle" mood and there would be no arguing with him.

{scene break}

Later that night, Aragorn studied the girl in the faint firelight while Gandalf slept. In all of his twenty-six years, he had never seen a human female possessing so much power and grace. Although he had lived among the elves for the first twenty of those years, it was, nonetheless, an uncommon occurrence in the women of Middle Earth.

If he had not gotten a good look at her ears, he would have sworn she was one of the Eldar, by with the ease and grace she had moved. What shocked him even more was that all of that power was compacted into such a small frame.

Her clothes confused him even more. He had never seen the cut nor the material before. They made it impossible for him to determine where she was from or why she was there. She didn't even have a travel bag for being as deep into the forest as she was.

In spite of all the peculiarities, or perhaps even because of them, he found her to be quite beautiful. A thought flickered across his mind that the girl could be even more beautiful than Arwen Undomiel. He winced slightly at the memory of the elf maiden who had rejected his advances years before.

Aragorn reached out to brush away a strand of hair that had fallen across her face. He sighed as he caught sight of his calloused hand next to her flawless face. Quickly he sat back away from her and turned his thoughts to a less dangerous topic. For surely, she would reject him as Arwen had.

{scene break}

Buffy awoke slowly with the knowledge that she was not in her bed at home in London. Not sure if she was in friendly territory of not, she tried to lie still as she opened her eyes to reveal the world around her. She was greeted with a soft light that she recognized all too well as dawn. The light was partially obscured by the canopy of leaves over her head.

She listened carefully and all she heard were the soft sounds of a waking forest. Doing a sensory test over her body, she found her left arm was sore, but other than that she was fine. Even better, she wasn't tied up.

Deciding to chance it, she slowly turned her head to look around. As she saw two men sleeping near her, she remembered the fight and how they had helped her. Buffy observed the older of the two first.

His hair was long and grey, as was his beard. She fought the urge to roll her eyes. What was with old men trying to recapture their youth by growing out their hair? Her thoughts broke off from that train as she realized what he was wearing.

He wore a grey robe and she swore she saw a pointed hat lying next to him. She hoped to god that he wasn't a crazed geriatric obsessed with Harry Potter. That was the last thing she needed to deal with at the moment. The only bright light about him seemed to be the fact that he was able to take care of himself in a fight, as he had proven the night before. At least, she hoped the fight was the night before.

Buffy let her eyes drift over to the hunk of salty goodness that had fought by her side. His dark hair was long too, although it only hung to just past his chin, but it seemed to suit him. Her eyes drifted down his body and she frowned slightly when she saw his clothing. They seemed to be straight out of a medieval movie. Maybe he was into those Renaissance Fair things. But even if he was, why didn't they take her to a hospital instead of staying out in the middle of nowhere?
A horrible feeling began to settle in her stomach. First, there had been that fight with those strange demons and then that sinking into the ground thing. Only to reemerge and fight even more of the strange demons. Add men in strange clothing sleeping in the middle of the woods and that meant only one thing. Another dimension.

She sat up with a groan. "I thought I was safe from these things once I moved off the hellmouth, but I guess not." Raising her face to the sky she began yelling, "You couldn't leave well enough alone could you? Nooo, you just had to stick your noses back into my business!"

Aragorn woke with a start as he heard a female shouting. He saw the woman they had helped the night before yelling at the sky. Risking a glance at Gandalf, he saw that the wizard was just as confused as he was. The poison should have knocked out the girl for at least two more days. He turned his eyes back to the woman who was now shaking a fist at the sky.

"I'm not putting up with this anymore, you hear me? I'm no longer the only Chosen One. Why didn't you choose one of the others? You could've taken Kennedy, I wouldn't miss her! Take me back! Take me back, you bastards!"

He didn't know who she thought she was talking to, nor did he understand what it was about. It was apparent, however, that she was irritated over something. He decided that, for the moment, it was best to wait until she calmed down some.

"I refuse to move from here! I am not going to do whatever it is you want me to do here! So you might as well send me back right now, otherwise I'll just site here and wait for my friends to come get me." She adopted Willow's resolve face as she lowered her head and muttered darkly, "Stupid Powers."
Taking advantage of the lull in her rant, Aragorn asked, "My lady, is there something we could help you with?"

The blonde looked up at his, startled. A smirk appeared on her lips. "Umm, no. There's nothing you can do." She tilted her face back up. "They can fix it, though!" She dropped her gaze and muttered, "Stupid Powers and their stupid meddling. I'm so not cooperating anymore."
"Then may I look at your arm, my lady?"

"Your injury. I would like to examine it," he said, indicating the bandage wrapped around her left arm.

"It's fine," she said quickly. She moved her arm. "See, all healed."
"Still, my lady, the blade was poisoned. May I, please?"

She narrowed her eyes. "You're not going to back down on this are you?"
"I am afraid not, my lady."

"Fine. My name is Buffy."
Aragorn hesitated. He was unsure of her loyalties and Sauron's spies could be anywhere. So he decided to tell her the name he planned on using in Rohan. "Thorongil."
"My name is Thorongil."

"Okay, and what's the wizard wannabe's name?" Buffy asked, looking over at Gandalf, who had been quietly watching.

The old man's eyes widened slightly before saying, "I assure you, Lady Buffy, that I am a wizard. My name is Gandalf the Grey."

Her features brightened. "A wizard? Really?"

"Yes, Lady Buffy."
"Just Buffy, I'm no lady. Do you know anything about dimension travel?"
"Yes, I do. But I am afraid that is it beyond my abilities."
"Know of anyone who can?"

"No, my dear."

Buffy's shoulders sagged slightly. "Oh well, Willow will find me. You gonna look at this arm or what, Thumbelina?"

"Thorongil," he corrected.

"Thorongil," she said, rolling the strange word around her mouth.

Aragorn crossed over to her and with skillful, gentle hands, he removed the bandage. He stared for a full minute at a cut that looked a week old. Something like that should be impossible.

"So doc, will I live?" She asked cheerily.

He stood and took a step back. "Who are you?"

"Buffy. I told you that."
"I've never seen a human heal that quickly before."

She sighed. It was going to be one of those conversations. "I'm completely human. I just heal quickly. It's a thing."

"Who are you in league with?"
"No one," she insisted.

"Thorongil, I believe she is telling the truth," Gandalf said, interrupting them.

"You do?" They asked simultaneously.

Gandalf chuckled and turned to regard Aragorn. "She is not from this dimension, which would mean different rules would apply to her."
"How do you know that?" Aragorn asked, keeping one eye on Buffy.

"She is dressed in materials that I have never seen before, her speech patterns are unfamiliar, and she has abilities beyond normal humans. But what really tipped me off was," he paused for a moment with an amused expression, "the fact that she asked about dimensional travel."
"The mojo man got it. I'm just going to hang out here until they send me back home."
"Who?" Gandalf asked.

"The Powers That Be. They're always screwing up my life. This is just one more incident in a long chain of interferences. But I'm finished. I'm staying right here until they send me back or my friends figure out how to rescue me."
"How long do you think that will take?" Aragorn asked.

"Not sure, why? Am I interrupting something?"

"No. I thought you might want to clean up if the wait was going to be long."
Buffy looked down at her clothes and noticed how they were covered in gore. Her shirt had so many rips and holes that she was amazed it was staying on. "This was my favorite shirt! Damn it!" She took a sniff and realized that she reeked. Looking at the two men she asked, "Is there something nearby that I can clean up in?"

"There is a good sized stream nearby," Gandalf informed her.

"What about soap?"
"I have some, my lady," Aragorn said, walking over to his pack.

"My name is Buffy, remember? Do you have shirt I could wear? I don't think I can salvage mine."
"I also have an extra tunic, but I fear it will be too big for you," Aragorn said, pulling said clothing out.

"Anything could be better than this," she said, indicating her ruined shirt. Aragorn handed her the asked for objects. "Now where is this stream?"

"I will show you, Lady Buffy," Aragorn said as he offered her a hand to help her up.

She sighed. "It's just Buffy, Thumbelina," she corrected as she followed him.


They quickly arrived at the stream and Buffy paused for a moment to study the idyllic scene. There was a small waterfall into what looked like a fairly deep pool. The morning sun reflected off the surface giving the entire area a bright clean look.

"Please yell if you need something, Lady Buffy."
"Ok," she said distractedly as she took off her tennis shoes. She never even noticed him slipping back into the forest she was so focused on getting clean.

She stripped down and experimentally dipped a toe in the water. It was cool without being too chilly. Taking a deep breath to brace herself, she waded into the water. She quickly discovered that while the spot looked heavenly, the water temperature easily brought her back to reality.

Buffy washed up as swiftly as she could and went back to shore. As she stood there dripping, she noticed Thorongil had left something with his tunic - a blanket. She smiled softly at his thoughtfulness as she used it to dry off.

She put her panties and bra back on and then picked up Thorongil's tunic. The hem hung down to her knees, but it was soft and warm. She rolled the sleeves up and began washing the blood and gore out of her jeans so she could wear them later.

As she scrubbed, Buffy couldn't help but curse her situation. She was in some strange medieval world with no abilities to contact her friends and family. There were even strange demons here to fight. The only good thing out of the whole mess was Thorongil. He was handsome and could fight. It was just a shame that he existed in this world instead of her own since she was sure she would be leaving soon.

Her nose picked up the scent of cooking food as she wrung her jeans out one last time. Her stomach growled, letting her know that it had been too long since her last meal. She slipped her shoes back on and headed back to camp to eat.

{scene break}

Aragorn hesitated at the edge of the forest to watch Buffy sitting in the moonlight next to the stream. He needed to talk to her about something fairly important and had put off discussing it for over a week, but time was becoming an issue. It would just be easier if he knew how she was going to take it.

Buffy had been with them for just over a month and continually insisted that she was staying in that area until she was sent back or found. She had never expressed any inclination to explore more of Middle Earth, although she paid close attention whenever he and Gandalf discussed events and places.

He wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find out that she had unconsciously remembered all of the information she had heard. Despite her somewhat flighty personality, she seemed to have an astonishingly deep and witty intellect. But he couldn't figure out why she was continually disguising it, though.

It was that hidden mind that attracted him to her the most. True, the blonde was physically beautiful, but it was her spirit that made her luminescent. He knew that his heart would be heavier when they parted ways.

Knowing he had to tell her now, he silently stepped towards her.

"Nice night, isn't it?" She asked softly as she stared up at the stars.

"It is," he replied as he sat next to her on the rock.

"In my line of work I spent most of my time outside at night, but I never took the time to examine the beauty of it. I mean, you can't see most of the colors and there are shadows everywhere, but the light from the moon and stars create a secret fairy world that's almost peaceful." She turned to look at him. "What do you think, Thorongil? Is the night beautiful?"

He studied the way the moonlight cast a silver outline of her slight form. She looked to be one of the fairies in the world she had just described. There was only one answer he could truthfully give her, "Yes. Most beautiful."

She smiled. "What did you need to talk to me about?"
"How did you know?"
"You've been brooding all week."
An indignant look crossed his face. "Lady Buffy, I have not been brooding."
"You have too, Ronnie."

"I wish you would not call me that," he said with a frown.

"I'll stop as soon as you stop calling me Lady Buffy. Now what's up?"

Aragorn sighed. There was so much he wanted to tell her that he didn't know where to start. He switched his gaze from her face to the dark waters in front of them. How was he to tell her that she had stolen his heart, his name was really Aragorn and he was destined to be king, and that he had to leave her in the morning?"

"Why don't you start with why you're leaving in the morning," she suggested, breaking into his thoughts.

He turned sharply to look at her. "How did you know?"
She rolled her eyes. "Like it's hard for me to miss you and Gandalf packing things up, even if you were trying to hide it. What's going on?"
"I need to go to Rohan and help King Thengel."

"Oh yeah. I heard you guys talking about that one night didn't I?"

"Yes, we have discussed it," he answered, looking deep into her eyes.

"So, I guess we'll be saying goodbye in the morning," she said softly.

"Only if you do not leave with us," he said, unconsciously leaning close.

"You know I can't. I have to wait for my friends," she said, also leaning in.

"Is there no way to convince you to go with us?"
Her lips were just inches from his as she said, "I really wish there was, but I belong in my own world."
He pulled back and nodded in understanding. "There's something I wanted to tell you before we left."

"My name is not Thorongil, it's Aragorn." He felt her bristle next to him. "My family has been in hiding for several generations. I did not know if you could be trusted with the truth."
"Why is your family in hiding?"

"We are the heirs to the throne of Gondor, destined to lead the race of men against Sauron. If the enemy found us and ended our line, then Middle Earth would be doomed."
She surprised him by smiling. "I can relate to the whole secret identity thing. I know I let you guys believe that everyone on my world was super strong and healed fast, but they don't. Only the Chosen One is like that."
"And you are the Chosen One," he stated, remembering her rant from the first day.

"Yup, the vampire slayer. The one girl in all the world chosen to fight the evil nasties, to hold back the darkness, the girl for which prophecies are written, she with the short life span. Except, not so much the only one anymore."

"Why not?"
"My friend Willow cast a spell a little over a year ago that activated all of the potential slayers. Now there are hundreds of them."
"How long have you been the slayer?"

"Almost nine years. I was called when I was fifteen."

Aragorn gasped. "That's a heavy burden to carry at such a young age."
"It wasn't easy, but I had my friends to help me."
He could only stare at her in wonder. That she could fight for her life everyday for nine years and not succumb to the darkness was just another testament to the strength of her spirit.

"I miss them," she said in a choked voice.

"Must be hard to be separated from them," he said as he reached out to wipe away the lone tear that traveled down her cheek.

Buffy's eyes fluttered shut as she leaned slightly into his hand. "You've made it bearable."

"Have I?"
She opened her eyes to see that once again his face was inches from her own. Her cheek tingled underneath his hand she could feel her body yearning for him. "Most definitely."

He leaned in to close the distance but was stopped by an unfamiliar voice.

"Buffy! Buffy are you here?"
The blonde's eyes lit up. "It's Willow." She jumped to her feet and ran in the direction of the voice.

Aragorn praised and cursed the arrival of Buffy's friend. Praise because he no longer had to worry about leaving her on her own, and cursed the timing. He got up to follow her and found her hugging a redhead in front of a glowing circle that he assumed was a portal.

"We've got to go," the redhead said.

"Let me say goodbye to Ronnie and Gandalf first," Buffy said.

"I don't think I can hold the portal open long enough."
Buffy wavered slightly then said, "It won't take long." She ran over to Aragorn and pulled him into a bone crushing hug. "Thank you, for everything. Tell Gandy that and bye for me."
"Will do, Lady Buffy."

"I'll miss you."
"Same here. Now go," he said, pulling back and pushing her towards the portal.

She ran back to Willow and he watched the redhead disappear into the silver light. Buffy paused long enough to turn and wave, then she, too, was gone. The portal winked out of existence leaving Aragorn alone in the dark.

{scene break}

Buffy stared wistfully up at the moon remembering that last time she had enjoyed a nice evening. It had been a month since Willow had rescue her, and Buffy couldn't shake the feeling that she should have stayed in Middle Earth. She had missed her friends and family while she had been there, but it seemed she missed Ronnie more.

Despite her best efforts to remain aloof, he had managed to worm his way into her heart. It had happened so subtly that it wasn't until she was home that she had discovered it.

"We need to talk," Dawn said as she sat next to her sister.

"About what?"
"About how you've been moping for the past month," Willow said as she sat on the other side.

"Have not," Buffy protested.

"You have to."

"Do you love him?" Dawn bluntly asked.

The blonde tensed. "Love who?"

"The hottie Willow said you were with. The one who gave you the shirt you sleep in every night."
"I don't sleep in it every night," Buffy grumbled.

"Fine, most nights," Dawn amended.

"It doesn't matter now if I do or not. He's in his world and I'm back in mine where I belong."

"I'm not so sure you belong here anymore," Willow said a little hesitantly and then cringed as she waited for Buffy's outburst.

"Run that one by me again."
"I did some research to find out why that portal appeared. I think it was supposed to be a reward."
"A reward?"
"Yeah," Dawn said. "Apparently there's an old clause about a final reward for a slayer who has served her time and done all that she was destined to do. She receives what her heart wants the most. At least, it says something like that, the wording is a little strange."
"My greatest desire was to be dropped into another dimension where there are no malls or plumbing?" Buffy asked incredulously.

"No, it's love from a man who won't leave you," Dawn said. "Think about it. He wasn't formally evil, a secret military guy, or a prick. Just a normal guy helping out a seemingly helpless girl and staying with her until she was rescued by her friends. Granted, he's going to be king someday, but that's just a bonus. You'll be a queen."

"Then how was it possible to bring me back here. There's no way he could come here, his world needs him."
"Because you weren't moving on there. You said it yourself, that you refused to leave that spot so we could find you. The Powers must have realized this and let us find you," Willow said.

"And then for us to find out about your reward to let you know what was going on," Dawn concluded.

"But I'm needed here. I'm the slayer."
"You're no longer the only one," Willow reminded her.

"Don't you guys need me?" Buffy asked in a small voice.

"We'll always need you. I'll always need you," Dawn assured her. "But perhaps he needs you more."

{scene break}

Aragorn sighed as he beheld the moon. It was not often that he found himself regretting actions or inactions of the past but he felt his heart was troubled. He wished that he had told Lady Buffy of his feelings towards her even if it would not have changed her decision to leave. For now he was forced to endure a lifetime of wondering what if.

A nearby commotion brought him back into the present and he headed in the direction of the disturbance. He hoped it was merely another bar fight to break up. But what he saw made him stop in his tracks.

He prayed to the Valar that his eyes were not deceiving him. "Lady Buffy?'

She turned to see him and a smile broke out on her face. He smiled in return as he realized she was still wearing the tunic he had given her.

"Ronnie!" She squealed as she ran to him and threw her arms around him. "I missed you."
"What are you doing here?" He asked as he hugged her back.

"Thought you might want your shirt back," she said lightly as she stepped back. "Did you know that these people don't speak English? It's really inconvenient when you're looking for someone."
"The Rohirrim have their own language. How and why are you here?"
"Turns out I was sent here as a reward for my years of service. Isn't that crazy?" She continued on without waiting for an answer. "So Willow sent me back after figuring out how we can still talk to each other across dimensions."

Aragorn's thoughts whirled. "A reward? Here?"
"Yup. Turns out Middle Earth holds my heart's greatest wish."

"What's that?"
Buffy suddenly turned shy. "You."


"I understand if you don't like me. I mean, I thought you did, but I could have been mistaken. Wouldn't be the first time I thought a guy I liked who I thought liked me too, but really didn't. It's possible for me to go back, but not for another month. So you're kinda stuck with me either way until at least then."
He smiled and pulled her close. "Do I understand correctly from that rush of information that you care for me?"
She nodded. "What do you think?"
"I think that you should know that I care for you, too."
A smile broke out on her face. "You do?"
"Will this prove it?" He asked before dipping his head down to kiss her softly on the lips.

When he pulled back a mischievous glint was in her eyes. "I'm not sure. Maybe you should try that again."

He laughed and kissed her again.