Response to Tammy Drabbles #61: Two characters meet again after some time apart. One is feeling some sort of strong emotion, and the other is thoroughly oblivious of it. Word Count 363

Disclaimer: I am not now, nor shall I ever be Tamora Pierce. More's the pity. If I were, these marvelous characters would be mine.

Sarralyn watched the black spider crawl over and over her hand with fascination, studying it as any other girl might an orchid. It was a graceful creature, she thought -- blessed with inherent knowledge of weaving and with many legs which allowed it to move swiftly. Its skills were that which years of technological leaps had only begun to allow humans – they must find ways to preserve their food by trial and error, while the creature traveling over her hand could store its prey when there was an abundance, without worry of food poisoning. It also had no need for bows, arrows, swords, or spears, for it carried with it a weapon that brought fear to creatures forty times larger.

"Isn't she beautiful," Sarralyn remarked to the young woman who had been seated beside her. Gwynn was her one friend and had grown used to Sarralyn's unusual cast of "pets". The easy-going blond usually accepted the young wildmage in whatever animal form she took. These were facts that Sarralyn took for granted, and she was so wrapped up in her observations, that she didn't seem to notice that Gwynn sat pale and petrified, watching the poisonous creature speed across Sarralyn's palm, only to be tricked into fleeing to the other hand by well-placed fingertips.

"She's so shiny and lovely," Sarralyn admired as she allowed the spider to drop to the table. Gwynn emerged from her state enough to squawk and slam a book into the arachnid. She lifted the tome and shook it frantically, until the expired spider dropped with an almost-imperceptible plop onto the table. It landed on its back, its legs folded unnaturally against the brilliant red hourglass that adorned its belly.

"What did you do that for?" Sarralyn cried, reaching her hand to heal the thing.

Gwynn grabbed her hand and fixed fierce blue eyes on her dark brown ones. "So help me, Sarra, if you bring that thing back to life I shall never, ever speak to you again!" Gwynn admonished hoarsely. It was only then that she realized she was shaking and had an incredible urge to vomit.

Sarralyn looked at her like she'd never seen her before.