As Certain as the Sun.
Dickon was sleeping, his head resting against Mary's lap, hands crossed over his stomach. She softly wove her hand through the wild strands of his hair while she read a book and, for a moment, Colin just looked at them and the easiness they had with each other, almost afraid of disrupting something, painfully aware of the jealousy and loneliness that stirred deep inside him.
He couldn't decide if he was jealous of Dickon, resting so close of his cousin, or if Mary was the one he was jealous of, for the way she could sooth Dickon's waryness in a way he would never be able to copy.
"Do you love him more than me?" He asked finally, sitting besides Mary. The young lady didn't even look away from her book, and only stopped the sweet caress over Dickon's head to change the page.
"You," she said in a soft voice, probably to avoid Dickon suddenly waking up from his peaceful slumber. "Are being silly."
"I'm not." Colin defended himself, trying not to huff and to keep his temper in check: the fights with his cousin always left them both feeling miserable, and, with Dickon right there, Colin was almost certain that the other boy would take Mary's side: he had never doubted Dickon's love for Mary, just like you don't doubt the existance of the sun.
"Of course you are." Mary said, a mildlt annoyed tone breaking through her attempts to be quiet; she struggled much more with her temper than he did. She put her book down carefully, turning to fix him with a focused stare. "If not, why would you be asking such an obvious question?"
Colin's already fragile mood crumbled and he turned to look to the green covered land of Mary's garden. One of Dickon's new creatures, a gray baby bunny, was nibbling over a flower.
"So you do love him best."
Mary sighed and shook her head, locks of auburn hair spilling over her shoulders before she leaned towards him, taking his face; kissing both his cheeks softly, and then glared at him, even though the only thing he could do was blush.
"There!" Mary retorted, the annoyed tone of her voice much clearer now. "If it's not obvious enough, you silly goose, I love you both just the same!"
And if there was another thing he never doubted was Mary's words. A faint warmth spread through him (and it wasn't just his blush) but he couldn't help but smile.
"'s the matter?" Dickon yawned, stirring over Mary's skirt before softly opening his eyes, looking at them. Mary smiled at him tenderly before she shook her head again.
"Colin is being silly again."
"I am not." Colin replied immediately, although the warmness on his chest had spread now that Dickon's ever so sweet smile had focused on him.
"Is too." Mary said. "He's asking if I love you better than I love him."
"Really?" Dickon looked towards Mary then; Colin could feel himself blushing, and he was just mildly afronted that neither his cousin nor his best friend were doing the same. "And what did you answer?"
"That I love you both, of course." Mary huffed, tossing a strand of hair over her shoulder.
Dickon's smile, if possible, turned even sweeter. "Good answer." He said before moving from Mary's lap. However, he didn't sit down, just changed his head to Colin's lap and yawned again, shifting a bit to get comfortable and again crossing his hands over his stomach. The weight of his head was comfortable and somehow familiar; almost without a thought, Colin started stroking long fingers through Dickon's hair, feeling a soft flutter inside his chest when that won him a soft content sound from the other boy.
"Can you read for us, Mary?" Dickon asked gently.
"Oh, I'm not sure." Mary said. She did always have problems to let go of the matters that had annoyed her. "Maybe Colin will think that I'm only reading for you."
"Oh, alright." Colin conceded. "I was being silly. Can you read for us now, please?"
Mary smiled, smug for a second, before she nodded, huddling closer to him, close enough to lean her head against his shoulder and open her book. Colin smiled, now afraid of nothing, and leaned his head against hers, fingers still moving softly through Dickon's hair, and heard his cousin read.