It was a rare afternoon, in the quiet and solitude of the forest, water trickling softly somewhere nearby and a young elf sprawled lazily on a mossy rock, back against a tree. A moment later, at a small sound – the swish of a twig, perhaps – he jumped to his feet, half eager and half nervous.


His face broke into a wide smile. "Ireth," he said, with evident and obvious glee, and crossed the few steps to take the young elf woman emerging from the trees into his arms. "You came."

She laughed, a little silvery sound. "Of course I came, I told you I would. I did have a little trouble dodging Findékano, though…I think he might be suspicious. –don't make that face, he's not that bad," she added with a laugh as Tyelko screwed up his face in a grimace.

"I think he hates me a little."

"Don't be silly. He looks like that at everyone."

"I don't know," Tyelko said, dubiously, and the woman – Ireth – rested her head on his chest.

"I like it when we can meet like this."

"Just us?"

"Just us," Ireth agreed, and turned her head, chin resting on his breastbone so she could look up at him. "Here. It's beautiful." Tyelko pushed a couple strands of black hair back from her brow.

"Forgive me for saying it, but you're beautiful," he said, with a touch of rueful humor. Ireth laughed again, startled.

"Eru, Tyelko…such a flatterer." She stood up on tiptoes a moment before settling back. "You're too tall. I can't kiss you when you're standing up like that." He bent his head obligingly, tightening his arms a little around her waist.

"Is that better?"

She smiled on his lips. "Much." Twining her arms around his neck and standing on tiptoes, she can just reach, and kisses him, lightly.

"Mm," he said, a slightly beatific grin spreading over his face. "Don't do that, it makes me want more of those."

"More of these?" She giggled as she kissed him again, and this time they held it a few moments longer before pulling apart.

"More of those," he agreed, looking a little dazed. "Ireth, you do terrible things to my ability to think straight."

She looked up at him through her eyelashes. "And you don't think you do the same thing to mine?" There was a quiet between them, for a few moments; a peaceful quiet, nothing needing to be said. Ireth leaned her head against his chest again, looking thoughtful.

"Tyelko, you want to…when we're older, you want to be mated, right?"

"Mmhmm," Tyelko agreed, currently pressing his face into her hair and taking deep breaths of its smell.

"Would you promise me you won't – you won't choose anyone else?"

"Ireth," he said, lazily, "I'll promise you anything you want. You smell nice." He sat down on the rock again, pulling her down on his lap, leaning back against the tree. She blushed.

"Well – thank you, but – Tyelko!" She jumped, and blushed hot red, but didn't move away. Tyelko laughed at her a bit and she swatted at him. "What I mean is – promise you'll be mated to me. Promise you won't go wandering off and – I don't know, meet any beautiful Elven princesses to rescue and take them to wife instead of me."

"Ireth," he said, seriously, fingers combing through her hair, "What Elven princess could ever be more beautiful than you?" He pressed his lips gently to her temple. "But I promise. Of course I promise."

They sat like that for a long time, curled against each other in a quite place in the woods, water trickling nearby. Their eyes were closed, her head resting on his chest, his face nestled in her hair, basking in each other and unaware of anything else.