Title: Martyrs & Saints

Author: Lokaia

Disclaimer: If they were mine, the show would still be on and the movie would already be out.

Notes: Sixth in a series of thirty for the LJ community, 30Kisses.

"Today is Valentine's Day."

He doesn't look up at her, but he does jump slightly. Hadn't known she was there, she'd snuck up on him. She's doing that a lot.

"So?" The bear isn't tame, but he's less likely to eat her face. The growl is soft, barely there at all even if he tries to make his tone harsh.

"There are three St. Valentines in the Catholic religion. They're all martyrs: a priest, and a bishop."

There's a long thick pause. He's trying to ignore her, to continue whittling with a very large, very sharp knife against a block of wood. But curiosity gets the better of him, even as he curls the knife in an arc, wood shaving falling to his feet. "...That's only two."

"The other one was tortured in Africa with a lot of other people, but nothing else is known about him."


Silent then, he carves the wood and she watches the shavings fall to the ground. Pretty. Falling, twirling like leaves in fall without the colors of orange, red, and green. It's all dead-wood-brown, but it's pretty. She was standing in his doorway but now she steps forward to kneel in front of the pile of shavings. The knife stills and he watches her, curious.

Not afraid. Curious, a little worried, a little awkward. Not afraid.

That stops her for a moment - surprises her. But soon enough she's back to her original purpose, sliding her fingers through the shavings. They're soft the way no tree would be, thin and smooth and perfect. They smell good, too. Pine? No, oak. Oak wood.

She waits, playing with the shavings, drawing her fingers through them until the knife begins to move again. That's when she looks up. Not at him, but at the carving. "What are you making?"

He glances at her, a quick flicker of dark eyes on hers and then back on the wood as he arcs the knife again. Then he mumbles.

She doesn't catch much of what he says, but she hears it anyway and smiles. He isn't blushing, which is a pity, but maybe he will soon. She waits until he finishes, still kneeling in front of the shavings, and holds out her hand, palm up. "May I see it?" she asks politely, small smile still on her face.

He looks up at her, eyes narrowed for a moment, distrustful. But it's a different sort of distrust, the one where he isn't sure if she'll be careful enough with his carving, not the one where he thinks she'll beat him over the head with it. Eventually, though, he hands it to her, fingers never quite touching hers.

She looks at it, happy to smile and inspect and when she gives it back, she still looks very pleased. "I like it," she announces.

He nods once, accepting her compliment, and looks surprised when she stands to leave. "Can I have these?" she asks, pointing to the wood shavings.

He's long given up trying to understand her motivations.

Halfway to the door, practically skipping with the bag of wood curls, she stops when he calls to her. Not her name, but 'hey' and at least that's a little better than 'girl'. She meets his eyes, dark on dark, and smiles, waiting, patient.

He doesn't actually know what to say, so he speaks first and listens after. "You're in a good mood today."

Her smile only broadens as she lifts her free hand to tap the side of her head with a finger. "Quiet up here today," she says happily. "Taking a holiday, too." And then she's gone, flitting down the hallway like a hummingbird.

a hummingbird on drugshe thinks, but doesn't necessarily mean it. His eyes find the carving in his hand again and though he'd told her he was done, he adds something extra.

'MA' the carved wooden heart says in large, uppercase letters. At the bottom, he carefully adds, 'XOXO JAYNE' in smaller ones before tucking it away in the mail-safe box to wait until they get to a post.