Confrontation, by Polly Gator

Author's notes:

Rated T for the occasional nasty word, and some sweetness. But nothing too offensive. Nothing you don't see/hear on TV, anyway.

A considerably heavy ACC fic, because there is no good fic out there that explains to me why Seravi was such an insensitive a-hole to Dorothy throughout the entire series, and how his rather dismissive attitude affected her. (Believe me! I've looked. A lot.) And because if I were her, I'd be having a nervous breakdown, too. This is my take on the whole situation.

Lots of angst! These two should've been weeping into their cereal a long time ago. They aren't acting quite like themselves in this one, I realize, BUT IT HAD TO BE DONE. IT IS FOR THE GREATER GOOD. I tried to keep it as true to what I know of them as I could, though.

Not a very original title, but it's 1 in the morning and I am SLEEPY. We will just have to deal with it.

Timeline: Stick it anywhere before the final episode, and it should be fine.


In his dream, the forest was bright, but silent. It seemed to be a little into the afternoon, judging by the height of the sun, and this he recalled with startling clarity, for in dreams we have no control over what we retain. But, Seravi remembered vividly, that it was a little into the afternoon. With Elizabeth strapped to his back, he was collecting reagents. For a potion. Which he could not name now.

He found her sitting in the low branch of a tree trunk, its curve so close to the ground that her toes nearly touched the grass. Her back was turned to him, and she seemed to be studying the horizon intently. She probably did not even realize that she had company.

In his dream, he stood behind her silently, watching the minute rise and fall of her shoulders with her breath. The brightness of her hair in his conscious memory was negated by the dullness of her hair in his dream; although it was still a stunning pink it seemed to hold no color. It struck him to realize that he had never actually seen her sit this still.

Slowly, she turned to face him. In her eyes glimmered unshed tears.

"Dorothy…" he said. He was not calling out to her, saying her name like that. He seemed to only have said it to remind himself that this was her. This was Dorothy.

The Dorothy in his dream slowly rose from where she was perched on the tree, the action shaking a tear loose from her shining eyes. Turning, she faced him, that lone tear still on her cheek, and stood before him in all her miserable glory. Her face was painted with a deep sadness he had never even realized she was capable of exuding. She spoke only once:

"I'm so tired, Seravi."


And this is when he awoke. Suddenly, without warning, he was thrown from the quiet intensity of that afternoon in the forest and the despondent Dorothy to his warm bed, his cottage in the morning, his apprentice the next bed over.

Seravi looked around him. The dawn was chilly and still. Noting that it was only 7:00 – he had enough time to gather his thoughts before starting breakfast for Chacha and her friends – he sat up and buried his face in his hands.

The dream afternoon and dream Dorothy were still crystal clear in his mind.

Sometimes dreams meant nothing. A lot of the time dreams meant nothing. And he'd had dreams about Dorothy before. Plenty of dreams, some of them a little more risqué than he'd allow himself to consciously contemplate. So this dream could mean absolutely nothing, and the fact that Dorothy was in it, seemingly devastated, should have no bearing on how he conducted himself around her today, or in the future. Because why should it? It was only a dream – a completely harmless, albeit rather bewildering dream – and it wasn't even that interesting!

So why did he feel like something was reaching into his chest and twisting his insides like a launderer wringing out clothes?

Deciding that that particular question would be a little too risky to answer, and he wasn't ready for the answers anyway, he got up and out of bed. Elizabeth was sitting on his bedside table, so he picked her up and sat her in the crook of his arm. Slowly, as not to awaken the slumbering Chacha, he padded out of the bedroom, into the kitchen and began preparing their breakfast.


That morning, he could not stop staring at Dorothy.

From the moment she entered the cottage with young Shiine, Seravi was held transfixed. There was nothing extraordinary about her today. Her pink hair was still pulled back from her face, her dress was ordinary, her manner still brutal. Yet to take his eyes off of her required superhuman effort, and he could not understand why.

Maybe it's the dream, he thought to himself as he buttered his toast. Or maybe she's up to something again; some diabolical scheme.

The breakfast table was hurricane-like in its activity, as it usually was. Riiya was stuffing his face. Shiine was politely making conversation. Chacha was laughing at something one of the boys had said or done. Dorothy was sitting back with a small smile playing on her face, watching the children interact. Occasionally, she would comment with something like "Well of course Shiine would make a fantastic class president. He has excellent leadership skills! He learned from the best of course."

Seravi felt like an outsider. In his own cottage.

"Seravi, are you all right?" her voice floated towards him as if it were encased in a bubble. "You've been inscrutable all morning. Is something the matter?"

He realized that his hand was spreading butter on to already-buttered bread. He dropped the knife, and let Elizabeth do the talking for him. "Maybe you should mind your own business!" she said with a sarcastic cheerfulness that made his own head hurt as she said it.

Hurt flashed briefly on Dorothy's face when this response came back at her, but only for a split second. The children seemed to sense an altercation on its way to full-blown and stopped mid-sentence to observe the grown-ups. Seravi could not bring himself to raise his eyes from the incredibly buttered toast.

"I was just trying being nice you know!" Dorothy snapped at him. Her eyebrows knitted together.

"Keep trying," Elizabeth said patronizingly. "But not too much, you might end up pulling something. It might be difficult for you to snap back into evil hag once you're done."

The large wooden table came flying at him before the children could back away from it. Hurriedly, Chacha, Riiya and Shiine said their goodbyes and very quickly zoomed away to school as Dorothy proceeded to pummel his bubble shield with various household items. She was screaming and swearing and her entire face was red.

He realized a little belatedly that he was staring at her again, straight-faced not saying a word. He could not remember turning his face up and away from the piece of bread in his hand.

"I've had it with you, Seravi!" Her irritation was so thick it could be plucked from the air like cotton. "You're a no-good, filthy pervert! Why can't you just be civil with me for a change!" she hurled a rather heavy vacuum cleaner at his shield. Her physical strength often astounded him. "God, sometimes I really wish you were dead, you smug bastard. I hate you! I really, really hate you!"

These were not brand new epithets. She said these things – or at least variations of these things – at least once a week. She called him all sorts of names, pretty much whenever they had these fights, which seemed to be becoming more and more frequent. But he had never really been looking her in the eye when she had said them, never been able to gauge her sincerity in her face. It was just natural, he supposed, because how could you look someone screaming like that in the eye from inside a bubble shield, and not laugh? The situation itself was comic gold. But today, bound by whatever force held him riveted to her, he had watched her eyes as she had told him she hated his guts to the ends of the earth.

He expected to see a fiery rage in her eyes. Anger. Hatred. Passion. Something red hot and burning.

What he saw was exhaustion. A dreary exhaustion, dim and gray.

The intensity of it took him by surprise.

With one last "You've ruined my life!" she flung a toaster at him, and got on her broom. She left him sitting among the remains of his cottage (most of it exploded away with a fireball she had hurled at him) with a piece of toast in one hand and Elizabeth on his lap.

For one of the few times in his life, Seravi was at a loss for what to do. Did he get up and follow her, and apologize for his callousness? Or did he wait for her to show up tomorrow morning, as if nothing had happened, and let this argument go down in the books as another one of their usual post-breakfast fights?

Strangely, he noted, though they had had several altercations in the past, this was the only time he'd ever really considered going after her. He was not quite sure why. Maybe it was the dream.

But how long can you pin everything on a dream?

Oh, sure, he had felt the occasional niggle of guilt at having offended her at times. He was only human, and he was aware that she had feelings. This guilt, however, never really lasted for long because as soon as he felt bad enough to go up to her and apologize, she would show up at his cottage with a smile on her face as if nothing had ever happened. Back to normal, start from A. She would erase his slate for him, and this confused him to no end at first, until he finally decided that she saw these fights as nothing more than a ruthless teasing, like kids pulling each other's pigtails in the playground.

He wasn't certain that it was guilt now that was nudging him to go after her. At least, in his experience, it didn't really feel like guilt. Maybe the dream coupled with what fatigue he saw in her eyes today was making him want to go after her. After all, she could be sick. For all the times that he had "pulled her pigtails", and all the times that she seemed to try to kill him, she had never left him alone when he was in less than ship-shape condition, always nursing him back to health in that firm way of mothering she possessed. Drink your soup, lie still and keep warm. She had tucked him into bed a couple of times, too. She was actually a pretty good nurse, if you discounted the occasional faux pas in her bedside manner. One thing about Dorothy was that she never got sick, or at least if she did, he'd never heard a word about it, but there had to be a first time for everything. Who would nurse the nurse?

He squinted at her slowly diminishing form in the distance. The smashing sound the toaster had made as it collided with his shield rang in his ears still, and the soft chuffing of her broom as it carried her as far away from him as she desired was becoming less and less audible as the seconds ticked by.

A rather sarcastic puff of air escaped from his mouth. Who was he kidding? There was no way he could follow her, not like this. If he did manage to get up to her, what was he going to say? "I am heartily sorry for having offended you," did not sound like him at all, and chances were she would launch into another tirade and it would all become worse than it was right now. Letting her cool off was what seemed to work best, a tried and tested formula, so why should he disrupt that cycle?

Then, it hit him. Of course. I'm a magician for crying out loud.

Snapping his fingers quickly, the cottage rebuilt itself to its former homey state. The roof went back up, the walls resolidified and the furniture returned to their arrangements. Seravi walked to the hall closet and lifted out a large, crystal sphere, and set it on a plush stand in the middle of the dining table.

The indispensable tool for voyeurs everywhere, an industry standard for all clairvoyant magicians: the enchanted crystal ball. With the proper training you could get it to tell the future, but for everybody else there was the ability to spy on whoever you wanted. Of course, a good quality one like the one Seravi possessed usually cost an arm and a leg; but they usually had greater range too. He saved up for this ball for about two years, before an old witch he had done several favors for had given him this one as a thank you present. Dorothy had found it especially tacky for him to have accepted such an extravagant present from such a sad old woman, but Elizabeth had then told her that if this were the case Seravi should never accept anything from Dorothy, ever.

She had gotten angry and demolished his cottage. Par for the course.

Conjuring up her image in his mind, he commanded the ball to show him where she was.

The ball clouded up slowly for a few seconds, processing the request. When it cleared, there she was.

The scene was frighteningly familiar.

Dorothy sat in the low crook of a large-trunked tree. Her feet didn't quite touch the ground. The shade was especially heavy from the leaves, casting down on her occasional splashes of light from where they were parted. She no longer wore that tall, pointed hat she constantly had on (even indoors; he had given her hell for it several times) and her hair fell on her shoulders in soft waves. Her back was turned to him, and she was not moving.

Carefully, he reached out and made rotating movements with his hand. The image inside the ball rotated with them. He turned the scene around, and he found her face.

Her eyes were closed, though not tightly. Her lids were just shut, as if she were resting her eyes. She didn't seem to be sleeping, nor did she seem to be very peaceful. Her shoulders were tense, her fingers clenched. Her face betrayed no emotion, all though upon closer inspection, there were light tear tracks running from her eyes down to her chin.

Seravi was not sure why he was so surprised to find that she was crying.

He felt like a bully.

Picking up Elizabeth and strapping her to his back, he fled the cottage.


He found her in about ten minutes, a mile or two from her castle. She was in the same position that he had last scene her in the crystal ball. She was still not moving, her back was still to him, and she seemed not to notice is presence. His approach was slow and silent, as not to startle her. The area she had selected was a secluded one, a few hundred yards into the forest from the mountain path. The canopy of leaves above them filled in most of the hollows with deep shadow, but with the light filtering in through the cracks, small puddles of light were scattered here and there throughout the forest floor. She sat facing a narrow brook, which burbled as it rolled by.

He called her name, softly.

As if she had been struck from behind by a cattle prod, Dorothy twisted around to face him sharply. Her eyes were no longer wet, but the dried up trails from her tears were still visible on her cheeks. As soon as she recognized him, her brows knit together.

"Seravi," she said, gathering her skirts and rising to approach him. "What's wrong? What are you doing here?"

What indeed? a voice inside his head asked.

"I... came to see you," he said dumbly. That much was obvious.

"I can see that," she said. "And you found me. Is something the matter? Are the children in trouble? Do they need our assistance?" The worry in her voice was palpable, and he was tempted to make something up just so she would keep staring at him like it was a matter of life and death. That look was priceless.

Of course, he wasn't going to do that. At least not today. "The children are fine," Elizabeth told her from over his shoulder. "We came to see you."

The crease between her brows deepened. This explanation seemed to confuse her more. "You said that. Why did you come to see me if nothing's the matter?"

He looked her square in the eye. "Is nothing the matter, Dorothy? I saw you crying in my crystal ball."

Her face softened as his meaning became clear, and she took a step back in surprise. Her mouth opened and closed like a fish's a couple of times before she finally said "I don't see how it's any of your business."

"It's not," he agreed. "It's just…"

She eyed him warily. "Just what?"

And he met her gaze. "You just looked like you needed a friend, is all."

The look she gave him was pained. She looked as if someone had just told her that her dog had died. She began to chuckle mirthlessly, and her eyes welled up. Boy, he thought to himself. Dorothy sure is a crybaby when her guard is down. Immediately, he regretted making fun of her in his mind, but what was he going to do? It was in his nature. He gave her a burst of his own ironic laugh, as well. Their eyes met.

"I can't have this conversation with you," she told him anxiously, swallowing hard. She swiped at her eyes and face quickly, trying to eliminate the evidence of tears. "I just… I can't." She backed away from him, and sat back down on the tree branch. This time she was facing him.

"You can't or you won't?"

"I won't!" she said loudly, crossing her arms over her chest. She gave him a hard look. "What do you think is wrong, Seravi? Can you please tell me why you think I'm sitting here by myself in the middle of the day? Or have you been so completely emptied of all empathy for me that these things… these things no longer have any meaning for you? Pray tell, Seravi, I would love to hear what you think!"

"I think you're having a nervous breakdown," Elizabeth said.

"Shut up!" Dorothy snapped angrily. "It's not funny anymore! I can't remember the last time it was funny, Seravi. God…" Her hands clenched to fists, and she looked down at her lap. Her chest heaved and she choked out with a sob, "Just… stop it. Go way. Stop it."

Silent tears began to fall from her eyes and she swiped at them in frustration. "What do you want from me?" she asked in a wounded voice. "I know I'm not a good person. But I can't think of anything I've done to deserve this much contempt." She looked up at him. "Especially from you."

"You've tried to kill me," he said flatly. "Many, many, many times."

"I was trying to get your attention!" she spat at him indignantly. "Is that what this is about?"

Dumbstruck, all he could manage to say was "No."

She looked down at her hands. "If I had really wanted to kill you I would've done it already, Seravi," she told him evenly. "You know that."

It was true. He nodded at her in concession, and shifted his weight uneasily from the balls of his feet to the tips of them. This conversation was suddenly becoming very, very uncomfortable. Was there any way to back out of this right now? Before he made another stupid comment that made her start crying again? Please?

"I'm so tired, Seravi," she said, sniffling. She rubbed furiously at her nose. "God."

As he watched her try to control her body, get a grip of her feelings, he felt his chest clench with familiar affection. How stubborn she was, sitting there, tears falling from her eyes despite her constant swiping at them. Why couldn't she just let herself cry and be done with it? Stopping herself just made it worse, and drew her misery out longer. Dorothy, you're so bull-headed.

"What are you tired of?" he asked, tentatively taking a step towards her. They were about five feet apart now. "Are you tired of me?"

She sighed edgily, and looked him penetratingly, in the eye. "I'm tired of this, Seravi," she said with emphasis. Her voice was rising with emotion and she stood up to meet his gaze better. "I'm tired of arguing with you all the time, with no real reason. I'm tired of you picking on me for the most insignificant things. I'm tired of coming here," she motioned towards the tree. "every single time we have a screaming match to try to tamp down all this frustration. I'm tired of pretending it all didn't happen in the morning, and I'm tired of you making me feel like a second class citizen all the time! You don't have to love me, Seravi, but after all we've been through I at least expect you to respect me!"

"It's harmless teasing!" he said defensively. "Why do you have to get all bent out of shape about it?" He pouted at her, and added lamely, "I thought we were just expressing… affection."

"Harmless teasing," she repeated acerbically "is only funny for about a week. Then it becomes irritating, and then it becomes hateful. Whatever spite you carry for me because you're no longer attracted to me, I wish you'd let go of. It's been 18 years." She put her hands on her hips and looked down at the grass, unable to meet his eye. "I'm not a good person," she said again. "But I don't deserve this."

"You keep saying that," he commented softly. "That's not true."

She lifted her head to look him in the eye briefly, then shifted her head to focus her eyes on a point beyond his shoulder. She was no longer crying. "You… are the only friend I have left in the world," she said slowly, ignoring him. "I don't have other friends, not really. I don't have silly old ladies giving me expensive crystal balls, at least not anymore. You're all I have left. You've been with me since I left home all those years ago. I always thought that should count for something. But why…" she faltered slightly, hiccupped, and looked him sadly in the eye. "Why do you treat me with so much hate, Seravi? What have I done? Is it just because… because of the hair?"


"NO!" she barked at him firmly. "Listen to me. Every time you don't open your mouth and that doll speaks in your stead, I feel like you're telling me that I'm worth less to you than a rag doll just because I've changed my hair. I'm the same person! Nothing on the inside has changed, Seravi! I don't expect you to fawn over me night and day like you used to, but at least do me the courtesy of pretending that there's something – ANYTHING – about me that you still appreciate! I try to be a good person," her emphatic words shook tears loose from her eyes, again. "And all I've ever felt from you was… this horrid disappointment. Like you wish I was somebody else, as if a blonde Dorothy was a completely different person from this one, and that you've been left with a cheap imitation. But I'm still me, Seravi. I'm the same Dorothy. Why can't you see that?"

And with that, she broke down. Full blown sobs shook her entire body as she wept uncontrollably, her body bending in half at the waist. Afraid she was going to topple over, he wrapped one arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. It startled him that she did not pull away, and proceeded to weep into his neck. Her hands remained clenched against her chest, and she shook violently as her tears finally, finally came in a torrent of painful sobs and wet sniffles.

"I'm sorry," he whispered into her hair, stroking her back calmingly. "I'm so sorry."

They stayed like that for a long time, until her body calmed and her sobs ceased. He continued to stroke her hair, and her hands had somehow managed to find themselves pressed against his chest, along with her cheek. In all the years that they had been away from home, he could not remember ever having been this close to her, having her scent wafting up at him through the shampoo in her hair, having the entire length of her body pressed against his. It was surprisingly pleasant, considering how… angular her personality was. Then again, he spent a lot of his free time contemplating if the curve of her waist really was that smooth or if she had just enchanted it to appear that way. He now knew the answer, as he smoothed his fingers down her spine and held her hips loosely. She shivered in his arms.

"Feel better?" he murmured, dropping a soft kiss into her hair. She jerked away suddenly, however, and he suddenly found his arms empty and Dorothy once again fighting distance from him. What just happened? Weren't they just making progress here?

Dorothy took a step back and crossed her arms over her chest, sniffling slightly. She scrubbed her cheeks on to her shoulders, presumably to rid them of her tears, even though they had already dried up in their repose. She looked smaller and more defeated than he had ever seen her in his life. It was like he was watching her shrink.

He frowned at her, confused. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," she sniffed. Then, she said to him icily. "I'm fine now. Thank you for… comforting me."

"It's funny, I don't feel particularly well-thanked."

"What do you want from me?" she bit back.

His eyes narrowed. "Do you not want me touching you?"

To his surprise, she blushed furiously and glared at him. She said nothing.

"You sure think an awful lot about me, Dorothy," he said, advancing towards her as she retreated. They edged towards the branch of the tree that he found her sitting on. Courage bubbled up inside his belly. "You think I hate you. You think I don't know that you're the exact same Dorothy I ran away with 18 years ago. You think that the reason I tease you and call you names is because I mean it."

"Well, what am I supposed to think?" she said roughly, her voice suddenly dropping to a harsh whisper. "I only know what I see, darling."

Reaching out, he took hold of her shoulders and sat her down on the branch. She flopped down easily and looked up at him expectantly. He faced her square in the eye, hands still on her shoulders. "That's one of the things I love about you, Dorothy," he said playfully. "You're such a simple person."

She harrumphed at him, but kept silent, giving him way to continue.

He unhooked the sash that held Elizabeth in place, and pulled her from his shoulder. Affectionately, he fluffed her little blonde curls and smiled at her tenderly. "You're worth more to me than this little doll, Dorothy. But I made this at a strange time. When I made this…" it was his turn to falter slightly. But he barreled on, not just because she needed to hear it but because he needed to say this. "I made this to try to convince myself that I wanted the old Dorothy back. Back then, I must admit, it really was like having a stranger around me all the time because I realized that I'd never actually paid attention to your personality before. I was too blinded by your looks to care too much about how you acted." He sniggered at the memory. "I was surprised at how much of a brat you actually were. You were stubborn and violent and unladylike in all the wrong places. You still kind of are, sometimes." He looked up at her, expecting to see her frowning, but she was actually looking at him with nothing but a blank interest, and a somewhat intense curiosity, so he continued.

"It surprised me to learn that my feelings for you were just as strong without the curls," he said casually. "And it bothered me a lot, too. Why did this impatient, headstrong, unladylike bully who didn't even have nice hair haunt my thoughts more aggressively than the blonde beautiful daughter of the rich lord did? Soon, I no longer associated Dorothy with blonde hair and pretty curls. Dorothy… Dorothy was – is – you. And back then, I couldn't stand that. It stood in the way of all my plans. I was going to marry that girl that I had fantasized about marrying my entire childhood. I couldn't let this weird mutation of her stand in the way of that.

"So, I created Elizabeth to remind me of what I thought I wanted. That no matter how much this tyrant with the pink hair invaded my thoughts, she was not the one I was after. The lady I was after was blonde, had gorgeous curls, and wore a really brassy bow in her hair. No one else would do.

"But Dorothy," he slowly sank to a squat in front of her, and gently placed the doll in her lap. He took her hands in his, and placed them over the doll's torso. "I'm sure you know as well as I do that it just doesn't work that way. Right?"

She was staring at him with a look of the utmost bewilderment. Evidently, this was not a possibility that had ever crossed her mind. He grinned inwardly at having been able to stymie her into an open-mouthed silence. She nodded her head ever so slowly.

He smiled at her. "Right. Over the years what Elizabeth represented has changed drastically. She used to symbolize the future I thought I wanted. Now she represents only the past, and serves to remind me of a more innocent time; when we were unaware of all the evils that roam about this earth. She makes me think of Chacha, and what I'd give to preserve her innocence as long as I can manage. But if she bothers you that much, I would gladly hand her over. Here," he nudged her hands with the doll slightly. "Take her home."

Dorothy's face was a mixture of awe, confusion and panic. Seravi did not think it was possible for all those three emotions to co-exist in one facial expression, but it looked rather good on her. He smirked at her obvious consternation. "Seravi…" she began, but he shushed her.

"No, listen to me," he said, mimicking her earlier admonishment. Slowly, he stroked the back of her hand with his thumb and he gazed into her wide eyes. As gently as he could manage, he said it. "I love you, Dorothy. You. Not your hair. I should think that you would know that by now. Anything else that I say to you is meant to be harmless teasing. You're a very passionate woman, Dorothy, and I get a rather perverse satisfaction from knowing that that passion is directed at me, even in that form. I guess it's because that's the only kind of passion I can get you to send my way, and it's so easy to get it out of you too. I'm afraid it seems it wasn't as harmless as I thought it would be. For that, I am sorry. Please don't cry, Dorothy," he softly chided her, as another tear slipped from her eyes and fell on their clasped hands. "Don't you think you've cried enough for today?"

She sniffed at him and gave him a hesitant smile. "I'm so embarrassed now," she said timidly. "All the things I said-"

"-were results of my failure to explain certain facets of our relationship. I understand. It's okay."

"I'm sorry, too."

His smile widened. "What for?" he asked rhetorically.

Her fingers tightened around his, and for the first time that entire morning, he saw her smile. A genuinely pleased smile, which was what he had been after the entire time. And for quite some time, they stayed there, fingers entwined, smiling at each other. It was a ridiculously tender moment.

At last, he spoke. "So I suppose I will leave you with that, Dorothy," he rose, and she followed him with her eyes. "I've got to get back, because there's a potion I've wanted to get started on, and I think that I should. It's for Chacha, you see, she's been talking about magic carpets lately and her birthday is coming up, so I'm going to make a treatment for the threads." He turned to go, and had taken three or four steps forward when he heard her call out, "Wait!"

He turned to face her, and saw that she had risen from the branch and was clasping Elizabeth to her chest. Her cheeks were a soft pink, and she approached him with a decisive spring in her step and a determined look in her eye. Before he could say anything, she swiftly took hold of his shoulders, pulled him down, and kissed firmly him on the mouth. This startled him at first, because he did not think she would act on it so soon. But he was pleasantly surprised at this development, and as soon as he recovered his composure, his eyes slipped shut and his hands slid immediately to that sweet spot on her waist. He held her there, reveling in the curve of her soft body as it pressed gently against his, and the feel of her mouth pushing gently on his own.

Finally, he thought with relief, trying to pull her closer but somehow failing to because they were already pressed together. Finally.

Seravi felt like it was his turn to cry, from his sheer bliss and the purity of this… just this. Her mouth was soft, and she tasted like butter. Her hands had moved from his shoulders and were stroking his neck in a lazy cadence that drove him a little crazy, because it tickled and he wanted nothing more than to do this all day.

After a good long while and with great deal of reluctance, he lifted his lips off of hers. Foreheads and noses rubbed together as their breaths mingled in the morning air, and she continued to caress his neck through their stillness. His hands remained steady on her hips, keeping her there and keeping him tethered to the ground. It might have just been in his mind, or perhaps he was dizzy from finally kissing the woman he had wanted to kiss for as long as he had consciousness, but there was a slight sensation of swaying. He felt like he could fall over at any moment.

It was her that broke the silence, albeit rather nonsensically. "I, um…" she muttered, before trailing off. She tried again, clearing her throat. "I… um…"

"Yeah," he said, understanding completely. He drew back so he could look her in the eye. "Yeah I know."

This seemed to satisfy her, and she closed her eyes in what appeared to be contentment. "Oh," she said suddenly, bending down to the ground and picking up Elizabeth from where she had been dropped in their fervor. "Here," she said, passing the doll to him. "This belongs to you."

The doll looked up at him, her little face still smiling, and Seravi couldn't help smiling down at it. He took the doll and gave her a grateful look. "Thank you, Dorothy."

She gave him a small smile in response.

"It's so rare to see you this generous," Elizabeth suddenly spoke up.

Dorothy's eyes rolled rather childishly. "You can stop that now, Seravi," she said patiently, taking his hand and leading him away. "There are now other passions to be explored."



WOOHOO. Man, I needed that. Closure is where the money is, people!