NB: Lalala

NB: Lalala…what? Oh, sorry…I don't own anyone…please don't sue me, I'm a poor backpacker with a few dollars to my name…lalala…

This is a 'What If…?' scene – What if Maerad and Dharin had made it safely back to Murask to find Cadvan there? It was written on the spot, so it's pretty lousy…but y'know…

One-shot at the moment, might change if my imagination decides to co-operate…anywho…

The snow swept up in flurrying flakes as the dogs bounded home, intent on getting there as quickly as possible so that they could eat the feast that would surely be awaiting them. The sled shot behind, Dharin driving it, Maerad sitting behind, wrapped up in her furs. Her mind was faraway; she was considering what she knew now, what she would do now. She knew she had half of the Song, that it had been on her lyre all the time. So she had the Song...but what now...?

She needed to find Hem. That was the first thought that occupied her mind -Hem. But she did not know where he was, or how she could find him. She was being hunted both by the Dark and the Light...and by the Winterking. It would take some work and some cunning, but she was prepared to do anything to get her brother back.

The gates to Murask opened, but Maerad was unconcerned with it, wrapped up in her own thoughts, until Dharin turned around and shouted to her through the whistling wind,

"Mother is there!"

Maerad glanced up and nodded, feeling a deep weariness settling into her bones. She was glad they were safely back at Murask but it made her feel more lonely than ever, oddly - She would have to journey alone to find Hem, and rely on her own wits. She wished Cadvan was with her –

"Hang on," Dharin said suddenly. "Who's that?"

Maerad looked up at him inquiringly, unable to see the gates because of all the whirling snow and Dharin blocking her view.

"Someone's with mother," Dharin said. "It's - no."

He stared blankly down at Maerad.

"You said he was dead," he said.

It took perhaps half a second for Maerad to register who he was talking about, then her heart gave a sudden lurch and she scrambled to her feet, almost falling off the sled in her urge to see the figures at the gates.

She saw Sirkana, a tall lone figure beside the huge doors, and then standing next to her was...was...

She couldn't be sure, the details were blurred by the flurry of snow, but the stance, the height...it couldn't be...but it was...

"Stop the sled," she commanded Dharin calmly, and then, when her panic overrode her, she screamed again, "Stop the sled!"

The sled ground to a halt about twenty feet from the gates. Maerad scrambled off it, shoved back her fur-lined hood and squinted through the clear, crisp daylight to where the figures were standing.

It was.

It was. It was Cadvan, she didn't have a clue how he could be standing there, but he was, alive and well and safe.

She stared in utter disbelief at the tall, grim figure.

"But that's - " said Dharin, somehow sounding very faraway. "That's Cadvan of Lirigon!"

The something inside Maerad, which she hadn't been aware had been holding her together until now, suddenly snapped at Dharin's words.

"Cadvan," she muttered. And then, "Cadvan! Cadvan!!"

And then she was dashing across the snow towards the also running figure, and they collided halfway across the white expanse in a mixture of furs and skin and gasps, holding each other so tightly that neither could breathe.

"Cad - Cad - " She couldn't even say the name; it didn't seem at all real, she felt like she had made some fantastic mistake...

"Maerad the Unpredictable!" laughed that warm, hoarse, much loved and much missed voice in her ear. "How good it is to see you again!"

It was real, she thought, and then the tears of relief flowed and for a long while Maerad was aware of nothing but hot tears and clutching hands and laughter, while the snow began to flutter down around them once more.

Aww, it's quite cute really, isn't it? :) Reviews very welcome!