(This is a bit harder than it may seem. For the life of me, I can't remember a single part in ANY of the nine WOT books that was in Lan's view. [If I'm just being an air head and there is a scene in Lan's view, I'm sure that you'll all forgive my mistake. ^_~] Nyneave has a sort of sarcastic, I-know-best attitude in her scenes. Elayne has a bit of a motherly attitude, except she gets frustrated easily. Rand has a serious, arrogant, I'm-not-insane-yet-but-getting-there thing going. Lan, though. . . you never really get to see inside his head. I know he's serious, mature, and a lot more perceptive then he seems at first. And he's in love. So I hope this doesn't turn out to be too big of a mess.

Disclaimer: Nope, I still don't own The Wheel of Time series or the characters. Darn it all . . .What, does someone think I've suddenly gotten rich and bought out all the rights? Suuuure . . . so that's where all that money went to . . . ^_^;; No way. One can wish, though. Again, I don't own this scene, I'm just doing it in Lan's view for the reader's pleasure. (Why couldn't Robert Jordan have made a scene in Lan's view to make this easier for me?)

~~~ The Wheel of Time ~~~


A Crown

Of Swords

Book seven, pages (roughly) 624-635 (*The writer groans, thinking that this will take forever to write*)

Love scene, Lan's view

He had seen the boat sink. He had seen what had to of been balefire. But he couldn't have stopped it.

At first, he had been calm, the boat he had hired following hers, a safe distance away. Then there had been that flash of brightness, a glowing white streak that hit the boat ahead of them. . .

And suddenly, what remained of that boat was fifty paces behind them.

Lan hadn't even stopped to think. Rushing to the railing, he had quickly shed his boots and sword-- at the last minute throwing off his coat, as well-- And dived into the murky water, oblivious to the shouts and warnings of the deckhands.

The cold water was a shock at first, but he gritted his teeth and forced his arms to move. Lan had been through much, much worse, and the sole thing that made his arms and legs move faster was the fact that he might be her only hope. He had to get to that wreckage, to see if . . . if . . .

Light, let her not be dead. He himself would die if she did. Nyneave was his only anchor, the only thing that gave him a spark of hope to keep living. He would not let her die before him.

There was no light, that deep under. The blackness was absolute, and his lungs were beginning to scream for a breath of air. Telling himself that he could not help her if he drowned, he swam as hard as he could for the surface, broke through to air, filled his lungs, then dived down again. He thought he swam even harder, now.

He needed a sign. Something, anything to tell him where to look. Burn you, woman! He thought, angry. Not at her, at himself. Channel! Save your own life! You can NOT be dead!

As if in answer to his frantic prayer, a burst of bubbles and wood suddenly swam up from beneath him. He moved, diving strait down, searching with only his hands. He hit wood, and other debris, but no sign of a body. She had to be alive, else all this would not be floating around.

He estimated, his heart very cold suddenly, that her air must be almost gone.

He grimly kept going. He had to. There was nothing else to do. Then. . . Yes! His hand hit a softer object. Praying for it to be her, he swam closer, grabbing blindly. He seized a handful of dress, and then she-- It was her!-- seemed to wake up, kicking and punching, frantic. Lan didn't even wince when one fist connected solidly with his cheek. He simply grabbed again, catching her braid this time, and began to tow her to surface. She had gone limp. Kicking and swimming with only one arm now, muscles not relaxing for even a brief moment, Lan thought he could see the surface just above them. He refused to even think that he might be too late. She had moved, if only briefly, and she must have inhaled water.

Black spots drifted across his own vision from lack of air, but Lan ignored them, continuing. His legs seemed to be slowing, though.

With one last, desperate kick, his head broke surface. He dragged his love up, and then gasped in air himself.. Her eyes her closed and her head slumped forward on her chest. She didn't move. Lan wrapped his arms around her ribs and squeezed, careful not to use his full strength. She came to very suddenly, jerking and coughing up water, then coughing even more, and she drew in shuddering breaths. Nyneave went limp again, but at least now she was breathing. Now, at least, Lan breathed in relief.

He began towing her again, this time towards the ship. Lan reached it quickly. All that mattered was keeping her safe. He pushed her up quickly, letting the two men above help haul her on board. They came back in a moment, grabbing his own hands and helping him up. He watched her as soon as his head was above the side; she was on her hands and knees, apparently exhausted and dripping wet, but otherwise fine.

As he was helped up, he gave them directions to row back to shore for all they were worth. One of the sailors nodded and moved away, but the other stayed anxiously by his side, asking if he was alright.

Lan shook his head irritably. "Forget me, man," he said, "Get something to wrap around the Lady." She was more important then he was, oh, so much more important.

He stepped forward in time to see Nyneave spring up at the sound of his voice, and. . . something. . . pushed away the water that soaked her clothes. Channeling? The water-- And her breakfast, as well-- She pushed away, shoving it through a scupper hole. Moving faster then he had thought possible, she hurriedly fixed her clothes around her small frame and tried to straiten her hair. It made him want to smile. He didn't care about how she looked, physically. She was beautiful no matter what happened. Once, she had told him that some woman cared not for money, just the man. He felt the same way about her. He didn't care about her dress, or even that she was Aes Sedai, for that matter; only for her.

Before he could even take another step she had spun around to face him, face cool and serene.

For a split second, her calm, serene eyes met his. Eyes that proved that she could walk through a tornado and come out again without losing a hair of calm.

Then she clamped a hand to her mouth, shattering all efforts of serenity. She was before him very suddenly; she hadn't even seemed to move at all, she had just been there, and she was reaching up with one hand to touch his bruise. Something he hadn't even known was there until her gentle fingers touched the sore skin.

"Oh, no! Oh, Lan, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to!"

He felt that bone-coldness that came with Healing, but didn't show it. It wasn't that bad, anyway, because his injury was so minor. Then water splashed around his feet as she dried him as she had apparently done to herself. She looked anxiously at his face, wincing at something, though he wasn't sure what. She couldn't seem to keep her hands still. They ran over his cheeks, his eyes, his nose . . . She even combed back his hair and adjusted the cord that held it, in almost a motherly manner. He let her. Actually, Lan didn't really mind it at all.

"Oh, Lan," she murmured, elation in her eyes. "You really are here." She actually giggled! He had never thought he'd hear her giggle. Not like . . . that. "It isn't a dream. Oh, Light, you're here. How?"

Well, she did deserve an explanation. "A Servant at the Tarasin Palace," He said gently in his usual tone, "told me you'd gone to the river, and a fellow at the landing said what boat you had taken. If Mandarb hadn't lost a shoe, I would have been here yesterday."

"I don't care." She had such a look in her eyes. "You're here now. You're here." She giggled again!

Then, "Maybe she is Aes Sedai," from one of the boatmen, "but I still say she's one duckling who means to stuff herself in that wolf's jaws."

Nynaeve's face flashed into a very reddish color, and her hands flew back to her sides. He thought that she would have given the fellow a tongue-lashing, certainly, and she looked about to . . . But then she grabbed his arm.

"We can talk more privately in the cabin." She informed him, eyes demanding no argument, though he wouldn't have said anything. One of the oarsmen snickered and Lan ignored it, but Nynaeve's eyes narrowed at the sound.

"My sword and--"

"I'll bring it!" She snapped, and his things very quickly flew up from the deck. The door then opened, and she nearly threw him and his things inside. The door slammed shut after her.

She calmed slightly after that, moving towards him again. Her hands came up, and Lan almost sighed, forcing himself to catch those delicate wrists in his own, battle-worn palms. He had to tell her, and now. Before this went too far. Then again, he was beginning to doubt that he could stop Nynaeve from getting something she wanted badly enough.

"Myrelle," He said gently and quietly, knowing that this would set off Nynaeve's temper, "holds my bond now. She is lending me to you until you find a Warder of your own."

He was only mildly puzzled when she very deliberately pulled her hands free. Then she drew back and slapped him. He held back a slight wince, and his head hardly moved-- the meaning of the action hurt more then the action itself.

Apparently not satisfied, she drew back her other hand and slapped him even harder. "How could you?" She asked, and slapped him once more. "You knew I was waiting!" And her hand swung again.

He didn't bother to defend himself. Lan knew what little good that would do when dealing with this Aes Sedai. And perhaps he deserved it . . . despite the fact that he could never let her bond him, let alone marry her, he did owe her something.

Temper pushed to it's limit, Nynaeve continued in her tirade, her hand flashing quicker then a pouncing cat. Then, most probably because she was not satisfied at his response, she grimly drew back a fist and punched him in the belly. Lan's eyes closed briefly and he released a sigh that came out as more of a grunt. Light.

Finally she stepped back and eyed him over, eyes still burning fire. "We'll talk this over rationally. As adults." That was what she said, head held high as if she had done so all along! Women. Who was to ever understand them?

Still, he only nodded in reply and began to work on getting his boots back on. "You should thank her, Nynaeve." He said calmly, trying to sound almost absent--Making it sound like advice would seem to be too much of an order to her, and then she'd never listen-- "You wouldn't want me bonded to you." He couldn't look her in the eyes. That was a lie--She did want him as her Warder, and probably even knowing the truth, she still would.

Suddenly his head was jerked up by his hair, and invisible force holding him up. He gave her a wary glance--Not three sentences had come out of his mouth before her temper was pricked again. Of course, he figured that no matter what he said, she would become angry. He didn't like it himself, really. But what had to be, had to be.

"If you dare . . " She breathed furiously, "if you even dare to spout that drivel about not wanting to give me a widow's weeds, Lan Mandragoran, I'll . . . I'll . . ." She trailed off while her eyes continue to flash. But really, what threat could she offer?

So . . . he would tell her. He had meant to, really, but this now left him no choice. He brought his forearms to his knees and began in a simple tone. "I thought about not telling you, but you have a right to know." He paused for a moment, looking at her again. Should he really tell her? Yes, perhaps this would show her why he could not be near her.

He felt a pang of sadness at that last thought.

"When Moiraine died--" No, start a different way. "When a Warder's bond to his Aes Sedai is snapped . . ."

He continued, going on even as she took a step away from him and the invisible bond disappeared. He only straitened, still watching her eyes as he told her. Her arms snaked around herself, as if in protection--from him?-- but that only made his words stronger, more sure. He could not dare to be close to her--It would end up in her hurting more then if he simply went away.

"So you see . . . When it's done she will have a year or more of pain, and I will still be dead. My last gift to you, mashiara." Lost love. She was lost to him.

"You are to be my Warder until I find one?" That was it. Her eyes were serene, if still studying him, her voice very level. She suddenly reminded him very much of Moiraine, covering her own uneasiness with strength. She was very good at it.

Still, he was cautious. "Yes . . ." She couldn't possibly . . . not after . . .

"Good." A small touch of her hands to her skirts. She still regarded him levelly. "Because I have found him. You. I waited and wished with Moiraine; I won't with Myrelle. She is going to give me your bond."

A slight flicker in his eyes. Light! Even after he had explained, once again, why their love could never be, she simply stepped over it as if it were of no importance! The woman was stubborn to no end.

Strangely, the thought held no real heat.

Still, he opened his mouth--to remind her, that was all--but she cut him off with sharp words of her own.

"Don't say anything." Her fingers trailed to a pouch on her side, and Lan wondered at the small contact. She went on as if uninterrupted, in a gentler tone.

"In the Two Rivers, Lan, when somebody gives another a ring, they are betrothed."

Lan blinked warily. They were? He had heard of no such thing in his short stay at her homeland, but then again, he did not know much of Two Rivers customs, at that. Not to mention that he wouldn't put it past her to make up such a thing.

"We have been betrothed long enough. We are going to be married today."

He wondered faintly if she was serious. "I used to pray for that." The admission came softly, followed by a shake of the head. "You know why it can't be, Nynaeve. And even if it could, Myrelle--"

His words were cut off abruptly as he found he could not move his jaws. She had used the Power on him once again! He glared at her, gentleness be Burned--Would the woman not even listen to reason?

Her braid came to her hand and disappeared almost immediately; instead of tugging at it like she usually did, she lightly brushed his hair back again. Her eyes held no room for argument.

"A small lesson for you in the difference between wives and other women. I would appreciate it very much if you did not mention Myrelle's name again in my presence. Do you understand?" Her tone was forcibly light, and her eyes told her true emotions anyway.

He nodded--what else was there to do?-- and suddenly he could move his jaw again. He worked it a moment, before saying carefully and deliberately, "Naming no names, Nynaeve, you know she's aware of everything I feel, through the bond. If we were man wife . . ." There was no real need to finish the sentence.

Her cheeks reddened immediately, and she became hesitant. Then, in a smaller tone, "Is there any way to make sure she knew it is me?" Her cheeks really did flash fiery red as he fell back against the wall, laughing--laughing!-- in astonishment. He could not help it, the way she was determined to go through with this, no matter what the obstacle . . .

"Light, Nynaeve, you are a hawk!" Lan finally managed. "Light! I haven't laughed since . . ." he trailed of, the laughter dimming away. Seriousness returned quickly. "I do wish it could be, Nynaeve," He did, truly. More than anything. "but--"

"It can and will," She broke in, once again not letting him finish. Then, without warning, she very calmly sat in his lap and locked her gaze with his. She shifted, then went on. "You might as well reconcile yourself, Lan Mandragoran. My heart belongs to me, and you've admitted yours belongs to me. You belong to me, and I will not let you go. You will be my Warder, and my husband, and for a very long time. I will not let you die. Do you understand that? I can be as stubborn as I have to be."

"I hadn't noticed." Her eyes narrowed at his words. Really, did she think he did not realize that?

"As long as you do now." She twisted her neck and peered somewhere behind him, frowned, then craned her neck to look through a carving at the front of the cabin. "Where are we going?" She muttered, still looking out the window.

"I told them to put us ashore as soon as I had you aboard. It seemed best to get off the river as fast as possible." Lan explained calmly, if a bit puzzled himself.

"You . . .?" She began, but stopped herself and resisted the anger visibly. Lan became even more puzzled. What had she wanted?

"I can't go back to the city yet, Lan." She winced and cleared her throat; her tone became firmer. "I have to go to the Sea Folk ships, to Windrunner."

"Nynaeve," He began cautiously, "I was right behind your boat. I saw what happened. You were fifty paces ahead of me, then fifty paces behind, sinking. It had to be balefire." Balefire as Moiraine had explained it, in any case.

Her eyes became distant and troubled. "Moghedien," She breathed. Lan blinked at the mention of the Forsaken, but stilled that curiousity at the look on her face.

Gently, he touched her cheek. "Don't be afraid." He knew the look of fear in her eyes. "Don't ever be afraid while I'm near. If you have to face Moghedien, I'll make sure that you are angry enough to channel. I seem to have some talent in that direction." The events today should have been proof enough of that.

Her eyes caught his once more. "You'll never make me angry again . . ." Suddenly she trailed off, eyes widening. "I'm not angry." This was said slowly, as if a revelation.

"Not now," Lan began, just as slowly, "but when you need to be--"

"I'm not angry," She laughed, in pure delight. He blinked as he felt light touches on his cheeks; her hands were on his chest. The Power? "I'm not angry, Lan."

"You're block is gone." He grinned, sharing in her happiness.

Her look changed slowly, perhaps seeing something in his face. Her eyes became serious, if a touch determined--he could almost see thoughts moving behind her eyes.

They were very close, Lan realized suddenly. She was leaning in very close.

But before anything could happen--or his thoughts make it past that-- she pulled back, her eyes widening again, this time in worry.

"The boatmen? My bodyguards?" She said it quietly.

He could only shake his head in response, knowing now what had changed the atmosphere so suddenly.

The look he knew all-to-well came back into her eyes, and she stood up, dusting herself off. She suddenly seemed business-like.

"Lan, will you turn the boatmen around? Tell them to row for all they have." Her head shook in slight exasperation, looking over her clothes. "And find out if one of them has such a thing as a comb."

A small twitch of his lips that she did not see, and he was standing up and grabbing his coat and sword. He bowed to her, murmuring, "As you command, Aes Sedai."

And then he was out the door, absently wondering if she would actually find someone to perform a marriage while they were still out on the water. Then again, he wouldn't be surpised.





(A.N.: Hey everyone. *grin* Hah, I live. No! Really! See, I'm talking and-- eh, never mind.

Thanks to everyone who reviewed the last one. You guys kept supporting me and that really helped me get this one out. I hope you enjoy it as much as the last one; it certainly took me long enough to write. *Mutters something about one of the pages in her book falling out in mid-type.*

So! Er, yeah, reviews greatly appreciated on this one, too. So, see? You all still can make a difference! I might even do something different next time . . . any requests?

Behold the power of reviewing, mwa-ha.

-S.S. )