Disclaimer: I do not own Wheel of Time, neither the characters. Sue me, but you won't gain anything. I do not make money out of this.

Summary: It's time to tell him her secret...

Rating: G

Author's Note: Amidst all my school work and Christmas preparations, a plot bunny suddenly hopped onto my desk. And I just had to go through with it! Be warned though! This story is a little bit more reading between the lines... :)

So here it is, my little pre-Christmas gift story to all you readers. Let me present.... /drum roll/


Blossom of Life
by neela


She sat on the stone bench beneath the cool shadows of a willow; its branches were swaying lightly in the gentle wind. The grass was soft against the soles of her bare feet, and she smiled as her toes played with the blades of grass. It was such a relief to be out here, alone and allowed to do anything. Like picking the rainbow-coloured bouquet of flowers just down the steep slope,or wading in the shallow end of the lake, or eating the sweet berries growing on the bushes just beside the willow.

It was a beautiful day -the perfect example of a day in the newborn spring. The sun was high on the sky telling her she ought to be back for lunch. But the view before her eyes, and the items in her hand held her back.

As the minutes passed, memories swam towards the front of her mind.

She saw a little girl, laughing and dancing on her way back from the forest where she'd played; the same little girl standing behind a pair of long, sturdy legs, small hands grasping the rough material of wool as frightened eyes followed the spade when it filled the grave.

Then there was a young girl being picked at by those she once considered friends because she was different; an older woman and the young girl walking through the forest -the mentor and the pupil. The girl turned to the woman, sitting in darkness beside her mentor's bed as the moon rose.

"I thought I'd find you here." A rough man's voice sounded, softened by the gentleness he'd taken on during the years. She turned her head, finding him by the edge of the willow, standing with one foot in shadows, one in the sunlight. He still held a warrior's stance; though he needn't anymore -the times had changed. But some things were hard to change, she thought wryly.

It was during the night they'd come. Violent and brutal, searching for he who would change the world. Amongst the defenders, two strangers held the key to drive the enemy off. And they did. They also drove away a group of young village people, off to the outside world where dangers lurked behind each corner. She'd been scared, but determined. She had a duty to fulfil.

She gave him a stunning smile, and saw his lips twitch into one too, albeit the question lingered in his eyes. Her hand reached out to him where he stood by the edge, his cloak barely drifting in the breeze. He took it caringly as he sat beside her, dark eyes looking her up and down until they fell on the hand that covered the items in her lap.

"Then if my Lord knows me so well, he'd know what has caused me to come here today," she said with a smile on her lips. He arched an eyebrow at the use of his title. She used it rarely. Last time had been during the calm before the storm.

"You have always loved the spring. Its warmth replacing the cold winter," he replied calmly. The deeper meaning behind his words sent exciting shivers down her spine. He remembered.

It happened the night before the battle. The events during the Council had worn her out, and she had wanted nothing more than to go to bed. But he had followed her early departure, worried, and confronted her. And it all spilled out. How the coldness in him threatened to suffocate her, how she longed to hear him laugh and treat her gently and caringly, how she so desperately wanted to have the bond, so he would no longer be a dog on a leash. Tears had run down her cheeks, and she'd turned in shame.

Then what had seemed impossible happened. A hand on the shoulder turned her around, a pair of swift thumbs wiped away her tears, and two softly lips came down on hers in a blissful kiss. She stood there afterwards, shivering, as he spoke of how he would make his mistress turn over the bond. She almost could not believe it.

Later in the night, though, reality slammed into her as the bundle of emotions gave away his most secret and inner feelings. It was a night she could hardly forget. Not even as bodies of friends fell to the ground around her, wounded or hurt. Not even as she saw the hidden enemy aiming at her Liege.

And it was just the beginning of a blooming relationship.

"I have," she admitted, twinkles in her eyes. "Spring is the start of everything." At this, she withdrew her other hand, showing him her secret. She'd discovered it this very morning. The items lay exposed in her lap.

He sat there for what seemed like minutes, while she held her breath, until he suddenly stood up and kneeled before her. Grasping her little hands in his big and rough, he spoke softly.

"You have just made me more happy than I can ever say with words."

And she smiled at him.

They lay nestled in each other's arms, her long dark hair flowing across their bare bodies. The chill of night was creeping through the thin tent walls, yet neither of them thought of wrapping the blankets around them. She listened to his breathing as he gradually came down from paradise, finally content with her life.

"I never thought I would live long enough to spend a night of uniting with you, my Mashiara." His voice broke the silence. It surprised her as to how gentle it had become in the past few hours. "Life is welcoming me again, blossoming where I once cultivated dust and stone."

She simply kissed him.

It was a perfect day in early spring. The sky was free of clouds, the sun stood high, the birds sang, the grass was turning green and flowers grew. Just what she wanted when her beloved husband was to know of the two rosebuds now lying forgotten on the stone bench behind them and how they would grow to be opposites, looking slightly alike as it were for a boy and girl.


The End

Author's Note: Figured out what her secret was? ) Let me know what you think! Place a review and I'll love you forever!

By the way, for those waiting for other story updates, I plan to have chapter 4 (I Will Find You) betaread and updated by the 9th December.

Meanwhile, just make my day and REVIEW!