Ivy came awake instantly the next morning when Legolas lightly shook her shoulder. Peering up at his silhouette framed against the light of the still-glowing fire, she muttered, "What time is it?"

"Six thirty. I let you sleep as long as I could, but sunrise is at eight-thirty, and we've to move quickly if we're to be in position before the deer are on the move."

"Okay." No warm shower this morning, she mourned. Certainly no time to subdue the hair. I'll just have to go as I am and hope I don't scare off the deer.

The Elf patted a lump of something at the foot of her bed. "I've loaned you my warmest clothes. Put them on over your own and meet me in my room when you're ready."

Her feet hit the cold floor before Legolas had exited the room.

"Oh, cold. Cold floor on the toes," she hissed, hopping as she dove for the closet to do as Legolas had suggested. Hastily yanking on the warmest clothes she owned, she turned back toward those Legolas had brought for her.

He's letting me wear his clothes? Snatching up a heavy wool sweater, she breathed deeply before pulling it on. Oh, but it does smell like him!

Butterflies fluttered in her belly as she realized not only would Legolas' clothes be keeping her warm, but she'd be spending the next few hours - perhaps even the whole day - with him.

Me! With the real Legolas! Alone! she squeaked to herself while grabbing two pairs of wool socks and digging beneath the bed for her boots. Just the two of us! This dream wasn't even on the radar last week, and just look where I am now.

Not wanting to keep the Elf waiting, she settled for only skimming a brush through her hair and staunchly ignored the fact that painful sleep tangles would be waiting when she finally got round to doing a thorough job of it. She briefly thought about braiding it back, but discarded that idea as taking too long.

Not only that, she thought, hurrying into the bathroom, but maybe leaving it down will help keep my ears from aching with the cold. Declaring herself done after brushing her teeth, she stepped out into Legolas' room to find it as dark and gloomy as her own. Standing before the fireplace with its guttering fire, Legolas appeared to be finger-combing his hair. At least, I think that's what he's doing. He could be ripping through it like I saw him do in New York. Was that morning really only a couple of days ago?

"Is the electricity still out?" she asked.

"It is. There is no telling when it might be restored."

"Are you talking days or weeks?" She moved further into the room. "Don't tell me you have to wait for the spring thaw to get help up here."

Legolas smiled and shook his head. "It will not be so long as that, nor is it unexpected. We will manage. We did for years before the concept of electric wiring found its way to the Highlands."

Ivy very nearly gasped aloud as she ventured closer and saw that, far from ripping through his hair, the Elf was actually finished off the second of two braids that began at his temples and ran behind his ears to disappear into the length of his hair.

I can't believe he has braids like Legolas did in the movies. And he's wearing a brown tunic and tights, and knee-high leather boots? Oh, he has the most beautiful conformation, so clean and tight. I know he's a great mover, too, but I guess most elves are. She was stared openly at him, and he arched a quizzical eyebrow.


"Are your braids important?" she dared to ask.

"Very important. I would not want to use my bow without them."

"Ooh," she breathed, awed. "Are they some sort of ceremonial ornamentation worn only by Elven warriors?"

"Are they what?" He looked startled. "Alas, no. They are but a practical necessity for long-haired Elven archers to prevent them from being snatched bald when they release their bowstrings."

"Oh." She battled the urge to discard the practicality of his reply and keep the more romantic, if fictional, explanations she'd imagined. "That makes sense."

Legolas crossed to the bed after finishing off the braid with what looked like a stray thread from some shabby blanket. Raking back the curtains, he revealed his long, recurved bow and quiver laying across the mattress, complete with the set of long white knives and their well-worn knife harness.

"Oh, wow." Ivy crept up beside him.

Legolas turned to look at her, his expression confused. "It is just a bow, Ivy. You saw it before. On the plane," he prompted as she continued to stare at it.

She shook her head in adamant dismissal. "Didn't register then. Now, I can see the whole Elven hunting kit and know what it is. And it's yours. It's almost exactly like it was in the movies." Her hand hovered over the faded peacock tooling gracing the quiver. Her fingers twitched. "Do you mind if I touch this?"

"Not at all."

He seemed more than a little amused and definitely in the mood to humor her, and she needed no further permission. Daring to run a finger over the faded peacock, she memorized the simple lines forming the arrogant creature.

"This tooling is beautiful. Who did it?"

"Haldir. He fashioned the quiver as well and has made each of my bows over the years, beginning with the one given me in Lothlorien."

Haldir? She hadn't expected that. Huh, who'd have thought it?

"This movie you mention. It seems to be rather important to you," Legolas ventured as she continued caressing the leather of the quiver. "Why is that? And what movie was it?"

"It's three, actually. A trilogy based on your books."

"My books?"

"Julien's books. You know - The Lord of the Rings? Surely you heard KiKi going on about it earlier."

He nodded in understanding. "And you seem to know it quite well."

"Hey, until last week it was the closest I'd ever get to Elves, and yes, I loved seeing all of you, even if you were played by Mortals. But this is so much better." She turned from her inspection of the quiver to look up at him. "Could I maybe see your knives, too?"

"Of course." Reaching down, he pulled one of the long white weapons and handed it to her. "The blade is deadly, so please take care."

The knife was heavier than it looked and perfectly balanced. It also bore intricate embellishments that flowed unbroken from its handle to the tip of its blade, and Ivy brought the weapon closer to her face, moving it in the dim firelight in an attempt to read the stylized gold lettering entwined with the graceful ornamentation.

"Mind your nose," Legolas warned.

She squinted as she angled the blade toward the light once again. "Is this Sindarin?"

"Gondolic. An inscription my father included when he made the knives. He gifted them to me a few days before I began traveling with Mithrandir."

"Gondolic..." she pondered. "No wonder it looks different. What does it say?"

"Something very personal." His fingers closed over hers to neatly pluck the knife from her grasp and return it to its sheath.

"You won't tell me what it says?"

"My knives will speak to you as they spoke to me, when you are ready," came the calm answer.

"When I can speak Gondolic, you mean?"

"Yes, if my father will teach you. And if he deigns to spend thirty years training you as a warrior."

She sighed. "Like that would ever happen."

"It is hard to foresee what will come to pass."

He replied so casually that Ivy actually had to wonder if it was a possibility. But that could be thought about later. For now she needed to focus on the Elf.

Beside his quiver lay two cloaks, almost lost in the deep shadows of the bedclothes. Picking up the first cloak, Legolas swung it about Ivy's shoulders. "This will keep you warm."

The material flowed soft and light between her fingers. Watching it settle about her ankles, just shy of her toes, she was startled when Legolas lifted her chin to set about fastening a green-leaf broach at her throat. Once done, the Elf turned away to give the fletching on his arrows a final inspection.

Lifting the hood of her cloak experimentally, Ivy basked in the warmth of her own private bubble. "This is different. Where did it come from?"

"Lothlorien." Legolas was busy looking over the fletching standing up from the quiver and did not spare Ivy's continued curiosity so much as a glance. Picking up the second cloak, he settled into it before setting the quiver across his back and buckling himself into its harness.

"Is it like the ones Galadriel gave the Fellowship?"

"Exactly like, as it is the original cloak she gave to Aragorn. I hope you can forgive the travel wear it shows, but it was hard used that year. Shall we go?" Slinging his bow over his shoulder, Legolas headed for the door.

Ivy froze in place. "This is Aragorn's very own cloak? The real one? I can't wear this, it's a Fellowship relic!"

"It is but a cloak, and cloaks can be replaced," came the patient reply. "The sun, however, will not wait this day. We need to be away."

"This cloak can't be replaced, it's special! What if I tear it?"

"Then it will have one more tear in it," he said reasonably. "It won't be the first. That cloak has been torn and repaired many times. One more is of no consequence, and if we wish to make an entirely new cloak, we can do that as well. Our weavers still produce the same cloth in Warra. Either way, it does not matter."


Legolas' expression was fast shifting into exasperation. "Ivy, you must either wear the cloak or remain here because I have nothing else that will ensure your warmth on this hunt."

"I could wear Haldir's stuff," she offered. "The same stuff I wore out to the barn."

"Wrapped up like an Egyptian mummy in its sarcophagus, unable to move or to see and still feeling the cold? I think not. You would never make it to the hunt site, nor survive the chill."

"But Legolas-" she protested once more, her hand clenched in the fabric and its unnerving history.

"I see that your choice is to remain behind. I am sorry, for I would have enjoyed your company." Giving a slight bow, Legolas closed the bedroom door behind him and was gone.

"Hey!" Running to the door, she flung it open. There was no sign of the Elf in the cold, dark hallway, but a door to her right was cracked open and pale light flickered beyond it. Darting the distance to peer inside the stairwell, she spied Legolas looking up at her from the steps below. He held a burning torch in one hand and gave a soft laugh.

"So you have decided to wear Aragorn's cloak after all?"

"Yes, you wretch!" she whispered, not wanting to wake the rest of the house. Carefully pulling the door closed behind her, she stomped as loudly as she dared down the worn wooden stairs. "But it'll be your fault if I rip it on some nasty bramble-bush or get it muddy."

"I shall take total responsibility for its well-being if it will make you feel better. But I have also accepted responsibility for putting meat on the table, and we must go. Now," he stated firmly and continued down the stairs, taking the light source with him and leaving Ivy to follow or stay as she would.

Sighing, she began feeling her way down the dark steps.

"First you hand Anduril to me, and now you stick me in Aragorn's cloak," she muttered. "Legolas, you have got to stop doing stuff like this."

"Why?" His voice floated up to her.

"Because Aragorn was a king, and the belongings of a king belong in a museum or something. Behind glass, not being dragged around in the snow. Besides which, he was your friend, and the things he left behind belong to you. With you."

Finally reaching the narrow door at the foot of the stairway, she discovered they were now in the workroom behind the kitchen. "Oh, that's neat. Do you have many other secret passages in this place?"

"A few," he answered shortly before opening a door to the right of the one they had just exited. "This is the back door into the kitchen."

Legolas headed across the dark expanse. "Aragorn is your ancestor. As such, he belongs to you more than to me. Beyond the question of ownership, the things he left behind are things meant to be used. I see nothing wrong with your using them. In fact, I think it quite appropriate, even if they are a bit big for you."

"The hell!"

"Perhaps we can agree to disagree?" the Elf offered, turning beside the stove and holding the torch aloft to look into her face.

"Sure we can. As long as you get your way, and I keep using his things or you'll ditch me." she said sweetly. "I've got your number, mister."

Giving a soft laugh, Legolas opened the refrigerator and retrieved a small satchel. "This is yours to carry."

Taking it, she peered inside, but the all-encompassing darkness prevented her from seeing anything. "What is it?"

"Our breakfast." With that, Legolas led the way to the back door once more and out into the dark, frozen morning. Thrusting the lighted torch into the snow, he waited until it had stopped sizzling before heading down the path toward the barn.

"It's a good thing you glow in the dark." Ivy hurried to keep up with his long strides in the deep snow.

"The storm has moved on, and the moon is nearly full," the Elf observed. "Does it offer enough light for you to see by, or should I guide you?"

Glancing up, she saw that he was right. The moon was bright and the stars seemed clearer than she remembered them being in Montana. "I'm okay, but am half-tempted to say I need your guidance."

He gave her a sideways glance, and even in the pale moonlight she could see his puzzlement. "Why?"

Because I'd love having you touch me again, but I can't tell you that, she thought.

"Um...nothing," she said as he veered away from the paddocks to venture into the thick forest beyond. "Just my wonky sense of humor. But it would be easier if you left footprints or something. And hey, didn't Glorfindel say something about your feeding the horses this morning?" She pointed toward the snow-shrouded stable.

"I have already given them hay. I didn't think you needed to join me for that. We can feed them properly on the way back. And their stalls still need cleaning."

He wants me to feed horses with him? How neat is that? "Do you want me to hush now and walk behind you?"

"You needn't be silent quite yet, but it will be easier if you follow me. The game trail we are picking up is narrow." He continued on, only to halt a few minutes later as Ivy found herself struggling in the deep, pristine snow as they left the castle behind and entered the forest. "Do you need me to slow down?"

"What I need," she puffed, pausing to shake out the snow that had collected in the dragging edge of her cloak, "is to be able to walk on top of the snow the way you do." She gasped for breath. "Look, there's no way I can keep up, so maybe I should give up. I can find my way back to the castle. I've left a big enough trail for me to follow," she added, pointing with disgust at the disturbed snow behind her.

"Why don't you try walking on top before giving up?" he suggested, looking down at her from his two-foot height advantage atop the deep snow.

Oh yeah, right. You think I don't want to walk on the snow like you do? she thought. Like it's so much fun staggering through drifts up to my knees?

Taking a deep breath, she opted for a less antagonistic reply. "I don't walk on top of the snow because I can't." still colored her tone as she kicked at the snow atop a fallen log. She then flopped down on it and fought to catch her breath. "Don't you think I would if I could?"

"Have you tried?" Legolas demanded.

She looked up at him with some exasperation. "I step on snow, and I go down. It happens every time. Always has."

The Elf's arrows rustled in their quiver as he left the path to sling a leg over her log and sit before her. "Close your eyes."

"Close my-"

"Just do it, Ivy. Please?" The exasperation was now his.

She instantly did as he demanded.

"Thank you. Now envision the intricate latticework of snowflakes beneath your feet. How beautiful they are. How they will sparkle when the sun comes up. How they overlap, their fragile crystals interweaving to form this icy quilt upon the earth. Tell them you are an Elf and would be most grateful for their help. Ask them to support you on your journey, so that you walk atop their beauty instead of breaking through and destroying their beauty as would a Mortal."

"How do I tell them?"

"Simply ask. Whisper it aloud if you must. Have faith, the snow will hear you."

She did as she was told and added one more thing: I want to be with him, not back at the castle waiting. So please don't let me fail? She didn't open her eyes until she was finished.

"Now, stand up." Getting to his feet, Legolas stepped up onto the log. "Give me your hands, and come up here."

She did and found herself standing nose to chest with him. Not a bad place to be at all, she decided.

"We will step off of this log," he said, still holding her hands, "and you are going to walk on top of the snow. Come."

Obedient and trusting, she stared up at him and followed as if in a dance. Legolas smiled down at her. "You're doing very well."

She wrinkled her nose and held on. "Now what?"

"Look around and keep walking." Releasing one of her hands, Legolas guided her carefully around the fallen log and back to the path.

Looking down, Ivy saw that the snow was no longer collapsing beneath her feet. Glancing behind, she could see the awkward, broken trail she'd forged reaching to the long, but there was none leading away. She and Legolas traveled together on a lake of snow that was untouched by their passing.

"It worked!" She gasped. "I'm actually staying on top!"

"Of course it worked." He sounded amused. "You had only to ask."

Blinking back tears, she squeezed his hand and gave a watery smile. "So I really am an Elf?"

"I have told you so, and so has your father. You found yourself glowing ever so faintly last night, and now the snow agrees with our telling." He cocked his head at her. "The snow is quite honest, I think, so don't you think it must be true?"

"I guess..."

"You can keep up with me now." Legolas offered a dimpled smile before pacing ahead of her and reclaiming the trail.

I can talk to the snow and it will listen, and I belong among the Elves, she thought. The snow says so.

Following at Legolas' back, Ivy looked through new eyes at the frozen, absolutely silent trees engulfing them both. I'm following an ancient woodland Elf through an ancient Ithilien forest that's a frozen, beautiful other-world. It doesn't even look real out here. It doesn't even feel real because I'm not cold any more. Of course that could be the magic elven cloak here, but it feels real enough though, and nothing like the trees and swallow-you-up snowdrifts in Montana. Does Legolas talk to the trees as well as to the snow? Could he teach me how to do that, too? Oh, that would be too wicked cool.

Feeling bold, she reached out to feel Legolas' cloak flowing beneath her hand as it swung before her. She ran her other hand over his quiver and shivered before ghosting her touch over the hilts of the deadly knives above. I can see why he'd be more at home out here with his bow and his trees than inside that old castle Lee Greenwood calls home.

It was somehow a comfort to reach up and curl her fingers around the top of the graceful wooden bow laying across his back. Of course he felt it and glanced back.

"Am I going too fast for you?"

"No, I'm just making sure you're real," she whispered.

"Again?" The amusement in his voice was all too clear.

"I keep thinking I'm going to wake up in San Francisco, and you'll have been nothing but a dream. Where are we?"

"On the game trail that passes the Falls of Eowen."

"Eowen? The White Lady of Rohan?" she ventured. "Why did you name them that?"

"I didn't, Faramir did. He said they roared as fiercely as his wife did when he had infuriated her. He then added, under her angry glare, that the pool of water beneath them offered solace and comfort as she did to those needing it. The White Lady could be quite fierce," he added with a grin tossed back over his shoulder. "His jest fell flat, but Eowen was so amused by Faramir's efforts to take his foot out of his mouth that she let the name stand." He moved a few paces on before adding "Aragorn and I hunted this same trail."

"It's been here that long?"

"As long as the food and water remain, the animals will also," he explained. "Deer aren't very imaginative."

They walked on in silence for some time, Ivy taking in the crystalline stillness of the snow-clad forest glowing in the moonlight. The trail curved gently toward the base of a mountain ridge, eventually revealing a half-frozen waterfall flowing in glowing-white, moonlit beauty over a jagged black cliff.

Moving closer in her eagerness to see the falls, Ivy heard the sound of water falling into the frozen pool below. Trotting ahead, she stood on tiptoe at what she judged to be the edge of the pool. "Why can't I see where the water's falling?"

She took a couple more steps closer to peer into the eerie silvered darkness, only to yelp in surprise Legolas lunged forward without ceremony. Catching her shoulders, he roughly yanked back a few feet.


"You must not ever trust the ice, above or beneath the snow, at the edge of any river or pool," he warned, standing with his arm tight around her waist. "If it breaks, you will fall into the frigid water. The current will carry you beneath the ice shelf where not even I can reach you before hypothermia claims both our lives."

The terse delivery, along with an increase in the strength of his accent, told her he was serious about this, and that his fear for her was quite genuine.

"Oops," she whispered, clutching his hand. "I didn't know I was on the ice already. It just looked like more snow." She shivered and added softly, "Thank you."

"I thank you for not falling in. As for where the water is falling, it is just over there." He pointed into the shadows where the ice had formed a strange, jagged vertical sculpture. "The water still falls within the ice, for all waterfalls freeze from the outside in. There is considerable flow within the ice flume to feed the pool beneath, which is too deep and wide to ever freeze solid."

Ivy stood silent and stared in amazement.

"Did you not have such waterfalls in Montana?"

"Yeah, but I never got this close to them." She looked from the pool up at him. "Do the deer ever fall in?"

"Not often." He was still hovering close to her. "Deer cannot easily reach the water, but they have no need to venture over the ice as they've learned to lick the snow for moisture. The deer are not clever, but their collective memory is long."

Ivy stared intently at the black swirling water that could have claimed both their lives if Legolas hadn't been so vigilant. "It's so beautiful. And scary."

"Some have said the same about the Highlands in general. And we Elves. Myself especially, at least according to your mother's estimation."

Ivy wrinkled her nose at that, which earned her another smile, and then Legolas held out his hand. "Deer first, sights later. Come."

She took his hand and he tightened his grip, the better, she assumed, to ensure she followed when he left the edge of the pool. Crossing the game trail, he led her far away from the waterfall and much deeper into the woods. He seemed to consider each tree they passed until, nodding in seeming satisfaction, he stopped at the base of a very large oak whose branches disappeared into still-darkened sky above.

"My last hunting tree seems to have fallen since I've been away," he observed, "but this one will do."

"Will do what?" Ivy asked, craning her neck to look up into it.

Not answering, Legolas leaped to grasp the nearest branch that was growing at least three feet over his head. Swinging up onto it, he stepped a few feet away from the trunk before bouncing hard a couple of times and showering Ivy with snow.


"Sorry." He took great care to miss her as he scraped the remaining snow and ice off with his boot. Crouching on the branch, he gestured shortly down to her. "Throw me your satchel."

Oh please let me remember grandfather's lessons and don't let me throw like a girl, she prayed before launching the satchel upward.

Miraculously, it seemed to know it was to land in Legolas' hands. Catching the satchel with ease, he hung the strap safely on a nearby branch. The next moment, he jumped lightly down from the branch and was beside her once again. Bending slightly, he laced his fingers together. "Up you go."

She looked from his hands and up at the branch, which had to be close to four feet over her head. "Up? Me, up there? You're joking."

"No. It is quite easy. You have but to put your foot in my hands and let me lift you into the tree."

"It's too high," she protested, her gaze fixed on Legolas' chosen branch which seemed to have moved even higher up the tree.

"Perhaps you're right." He considered for a moment. "No matter. I will lift you high enough for you to grasp the branch. You can wait there until I am back in the tree and can pull you up."

"Wait? You mean hang there? By my hands?"


He looked serious. Ivy knew he was serious. She also knew that she had to do this, and the thought was terrifying. "What if I fall?"

"I will not let you fall. And the snow is deep," he added as an afterthought. He was still standing and waiting, half hunched over and with his fingers laced just for her.

"I, er...I'm not sure I can do this."

"Ivy..." That tone again. The one that said he was fast losing patience with her inability to comply with the simplest of requests. "It is as simple as mounting a horse. You have but to give me your foot."

"A ten-foot tall horse, yeah. This is easy for you because this is what Elves do. Elves wait in the big, tall oak trees for the deer to walk by and don't notice that their Elven hinnies are twenty feet off of the ground."

Legolas did not deign to reply, and he did not shift his stance. In short, he simply, silently refused to exchange his choice of tree for one that was a little lower to the ground. One that would be a little more reassuring for her.

Really, Ivy, what did you expect? she thought. That he'd have a nice, comfy blind built back here in the woods with a ladder for your short legs? Oh, and there would be Darjeeling tea brewing in front of the fire, and you'd lay there whispering secrets and eating scones until a deer got lured in by the Buck Bomb that Legolas doesn't have and doesn't need, and then he could take his masterful shot?

"I think I'm getting some sudden insight as to why Elrond chooses to stay behind in his comfy chair and lets someone else do the hunting," she muttered.

"You asked to come with me."

The Elf's voice was soft, his tone deadly. Ivy sensed that in the next moment he would unlace his fingers and take her straight back to the castle. He wouldn't say another word, but everyone would be eating ghastly lumpy oatmeal and turnip juice for lunch, and it would be all her fault. She cringed at the thought of telling Wendy and KiKi that porridge was all that was on the menu, and eyed the tree again. Elrond knew what I'd be doing out here, even if I didn't, and he thought it was okay, so it's okay, right?

"Oh, bloody hell." If it's a good enough word for Lord Elrond to use under pressure, it's good enough for me. Grabbing Legolas' shoulder, Ivy set her booted foot into his hands and tried to swallow the lump in her throat. "Just hold still, okay?"

"Of course." He then heaved her abruptly up into the air with what felt like the driving speed and force of NASA blasting its shuttle into space.

Don't you dare ask him to do this a second time! some wise part of her warned. She made a desperate grab with both arms at the branch that suddenly appeared in front of her nose and hung, swinging, for what felt like an eternity before Legolas swung up lightly beside her.

Grasping her arm, he murmured, "You have to let go if I'm to pull you up."

"Can't!" she hissed between clenched teeth. Her fear of falling had inspired her fingers to lock fiercely onto that branch, and they ignored her request to loosen.

"It's a simple thing to ask, and it's me asking."


"Ivy." Straddling her arms, he bent down and ran his hands down her arms which were desperately clutching the branch. His voice was soothing, his impatience tethered for the moment. "It's me. Legolas of the Fellowship, one of the Nine Walkers. Your protector, remember?"

"Name dropper." My voice is quivering like some scared kid on the high dive for the first time, and so are the muscles in my arms. I've got to let go, and this is so embarrassing.

His voice was so close. She wanted desperately to listen to him, to trust and obey him, but her traitorous arms would not. Whimpering softly, she closed her eyes and held on even more tightly.

"I will not let you fall." His breath warmed her ear, and his cold nose pushed aside her hair. "Trust me. Please."

His warm lips pressed against her temple and stayed there for the longest moment. "Please."

When those lips moved away, Ivy's eyes flew open.

"Did you just kiss me?" she asked, incredulous.


He kissed me. He admitted he did. Legolas. Kissed me. Why did he kiss me? Oh, I don't care why. He did! Her mind was suddenly awash with surprise and confusion and a warm, pleased feeling seemed to overlie it all. She forgot her paralyzed fingers, and the distraction was all Legolas needed to tighten his grip beneath her arms and lift her easily, safely and securely beside him on the branch.

Wrapping her arms around his neck, he smiled into her dazed eyes. "You and I are going to sit down now, across this great branch that is happy to protect and support us."

"Okay." Ivy's thoughts were so far away, she heard but didn't understand him. Did he kiss me because he wanted to, or because he wanted me to let go?

Without any argument at all, she sank down beside him, scarcely noticing where they were or how he was nestling her between himself and the very solid trunk. His hard-muscled thigh was against hers, and she sensed that if she so much as shifted one inch, he would be there to reposition her. She would not fall.

That's great, she thought, still in a daze as he unwound her arms from around his neck and carefully returned them to her. But I think I may already be falling.

# # #

A/N: My co-writer Silverbirch (formerly known as Greenwood) and I no longer enjoy posting our writing efforts on fanfiction dot net. So this is the last chapter of our work that we will upload here.

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UPDATE 4 SEPTEMBER 2010: We are up to Chapter 59 on our website at:

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