It had begun simply, as such things do. A (not-so)-chance meeting along the great divide between the old magic and the new world, they had found each other again. Across the Wall, everything changed.
Shy, he held his hand awkwardly against him as they walked along the Great North road, taking a short stroll before rising up into the sky in the Paperwing. The limb bounced against his side, too nervous to reach out and grab its' counterpart beside him.
"How is Ancelstierre?" she asked tentatively, and if it weren't for the explosive beating of his heart, he would have heard the nervous tension in her voice.
"Oh, fine," he began, stuffing his hands into his pockets, an improper reaction for a Sayre, he noted to himself even as he continued to speak. "Father is… well, he's Father. To tell you the truth, I'm not even really interested in what happens in Ancelstierre anymore."
"Oh," she echoed, and he realized his mistake immediately.
"No!" he started, startling her with his exclamation. He willed himself to calm down. "No," he repeated, "It was a good question. I just… I don't feel as if I belong there anymore." There was another, unspoken thought behind his words; a sentiment that he could not keep buried. I want to belong with you, and it was a fervent and all-consuming desire.
"I see," she answered vaguely, and he knew that he had ruined it all.
"Lirael-" he began, just as she opened her mouth to speak.
A silence followed, lost in the tense confusion between them. Suddenly, without any warning, the young woman moved towards him hastily and kissed his immobile lips, frozen in shocked delight.
A look of horror overcame her delicate features, and she seemed surprised at her own actions. "Nick, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-"
However, whatever apology that may have followed was silenced by the passionate answer of her companion, drawing her into an unexpectedly strong embrace. They stood there like that for forever or for a second, lost in each other's arms beneath the tall reaches of an ancient tree.
"I love you," he whispered to her, and it gave her shivers to feel him so close.
"I love you too," she sighed, "Forever."
She craned her neck up to him once more, and saw eternity reflected in his eyes, laughing and singing and dancing. He took her hand as they broke their embrace, starting back along the road that would take them to the Paperwing and to the Wall. They grinned stupidly to themselves, lost in the simple joy of love.
And somewhere, along another border, hidden between the lands of death and life, a creature once known as the Disreputable Dog grinned in delight, her tail wagging happily behind her.