I would not change how we first met. I had heard many times of love at first sight, I had longed for that moment of eyes meeting across crowded rooms and recognizing the other as the only one there, the only one that could ever be there – and yet I would not change how we first met. You saw me before I saw you, and it warms my heart to think of you loving me before ever I knew you had walked all that way into my life.

I would not change that time when we grew to know each other. Looking back, I seem someone different then – still a girl, taking her first steps into a wider, darker world. I could not have had a gentler, better guide.

I would not change our first kiss. Granted in a dark hour, it gave me courage when my heart failed and I could not see the way ahead. I seem to recall one of us regretting it the morning after... Perhaps you, sir, would change that...?

And no, indeed, I would not change that hat. And nor, I suspect, despite the merriment of that foolish pair of brothers, would you. Your way was long and the Bastard's Teeth bite hard. It has followed you to Cardegoss, I note.

Because you have asked me, and for no other reason – no, I would not change the scars upon your back. Each stroke, you say, was a needful step to hearing the music of the Lady. And because I have seen your eyes fill at the merest echo of her soul-song – for that, and that alone, I would not change the scars upon your back. But I would have borne it all with you. Stroke for stroke.

And never shall I take back what I said once to you. That I would storm heaven for you. That promise stands, my love. It stands forever.

So I would change none of it – not the path that brought you to me, not the road we have taken since, not the way I see ahead for us together. Long life, my love, and more than blessed.

But the beard had to go.


Written for Nishatalitha, for the ficathon at the LJ community bujoldfic