"I love you"

Those were the words that fifteen year-old Meggie wanted to hear so desperately. Those three words from the person that could never be hers... One simple, meaningful phrase that could turn the tables in her and Dustfinger's relationship.

She sat alone on a bench at a park in the cold drizzle. The rain had soaked through her shirt, leaving her wet and freezing, but she didn't care. Nothing really mattered anymore, at least not in the way of personal comfort. Earlier that day she had caught Farid making out with Brianna in her room. HER ROOM. That breached all sorts of boundaries in the area of personal comfort.

Her walking in on Farid and Brianna brought around a full-scale family argument that ended with her storming out and walking across town to the park.

The worst part of the fight hadn't been Farid's betrayal, she had seen that coming. The worst part was that Dustfinger, who had always been her ally in the past, just sat back and watched the argument play out.

Truthfully, Dustfinger held a special place in her heart, especially after all that he had done for her family over the past few years. Meggie had a feeling that even without Farid's betrayal she would have inevitably felt differently towards the older man.

She wanted Dustfinger with all her heart, possibly loved him. But did he love her back? She didn't think so.

The cold rain continued to pour, mingling with the tears that fell down her face. She hunkered down even more, wrapping her thin excuse of a jacket tighter around her shoulder and staring at the ground.

A pair of boots hurried into view, and a set of hands roughly pulled her up.

"What the Hell were you thinking Meggie! Running off like that! Your Father's worried sick!"

Meggie could only let her head flop around as Dustfinger shook her shoulders.

"Answer me!"

He realized that he was hurting her and relaxed his grip on her shoulders a little.

"Meggie, answer me."

"I love you." Meggie whispered almost unintelligibly through the thunder.

Dustfinger looked shocked, and dropped her as if she had burned him. An odd thought, Meggie realized as Dustfinger turned hastily away and left her alone. He was used to playing with fire.

Apparently not her fire, though. Meggie felt herself collapse back on the bench. Who was she kidding? She didn't expect any sort of reaction from Dustfinger. He wasn't one for sweeping the enamored maiden off her feet and riding off into the sunset.

She felt numb... Not just from the cold, but inside too. Knowing Dustfinger didn't have any feelings for her and coming to terms with it were two entirely different things.

Meggie stood up. There was no point in sticking around waiting for someone to come find her now, the only person she wanted around wasn't exactly sharing the notion. She could sneak back into the house after nightfall and face the family later, but for now... Why not do something stupid? After all, wasn't that what girls always did when their fancies ditched out on them?

Meggie gave a choked laugh in spite of herself. This is what she was down to? What happened to the Meggie who had done all the daring deeds and fought monsters and all that?

Oh right... She remembered she was a hormonal teenage girl. That made every good story into a hormonal mess.

Someone grabbed her arm, and Meggie spun around to see Dustfinger, his face closed off and unemotional.

"Come on, Meggie. I'm taking you home."

Fire flared up inside her, and Meggie used all her strength to rip her arm away before taking off running. She didn't want to go back with him, he wasn't her babysitter.

"Meggie!" She could hear him yelling behind her.

She obviously couldn't outrun him for long, but maybe she could lose him in the woods outside the park. There was a fence she could jump some ways ahead, then she could hide in the trees and sneak back home.

Meggie reached the fence and leapt over, but at the last second her foot caught on the top slat and she fell face first into the mud below, wind whooshing out of her lungs.

As she lay there and sputtered, blinking mud out of her eyes, Dustfinger leapt gracefully over the fence and came to kneel next to her.

"Meggie, are you alright?!" He asked, shaking her frantically. Meggie could only wheeze in reply. Dustfinger pulled off his soaking wet coat and wrapped her in it, ignoring how her teeth began to chatter.

"I'm sorry I walked away. It was stupid of me. I just couldn't- Well, i'm back now." Dustfinger said, trying to keep a stony face but failing because his eyebrows kept contorting with worry.

"I'm fine..." Meggie said after she caught her breath. "I'll just go home now." She threw off the coat and spat out some mud.

"Meggie, I want to talk-"

"I don't want to talk about it, Dustfinger. Forget I said anything." She said coldly. She turned around and slid between the fence slats and began walking back through the park.

"Meggie, don't you walk away from me..." Dustfinger growled.

"Why not? You've walked away from me countless times." Meggie threw back over her shoulder.

"I'm an adult. I can walk away from anyone any time I please." Dustfinger replied.

"I'm not an adult, but i'm still walking away from you!" Meggie spat.

Then a hand hooked around her waist and spun her around, pressing a pair of warm, wet lips to hers.

"I'm not through with you." Dustfigner growled when they broke apart.

Meggie stared.

"I thought that if I kept my distance, you and Farid could be happy. But face it Meggie, it's only been a few hours since that fight, don't you think it might take me a bit to get my act together?" He continued.

"I guess I have the typical female impatience." Meggie replied.

"That you do. And a whole lot of other qualities that have made you the woman I've loved at first sight."

Meggie's breath caught, and if Dustfinger hadn't been holding her up, she would have collapsed to the ground.

"You honestly expect me to believe this?" Meggie whispered. A bolt of lightning flashed in the sky.

"Meggie. Would I be standing out here in a storm with you if I didn't have some degree of feeling for you? I love you too, dammit." Dustfinger said.

Meggie grabbed his face and kissed him hard, feeling the light stubble on his chin.

He loved her.

He really loved her.

She had just jumped the gun... After all, didn't all things come to those who wait a few hours after their last breakup?

Meggie smiled against Dustfinger's lips and held him close.

The rain continued to fall, and thunder rolled overhead. They broke apart again.

"Come on, Meggie. We best get back to the house before we catch our deaths and deny Silvertongue the chance to shoot us both." Dustfinger chuckled.

Meggie smiled, but didn't move.

"First, let me hear it again." She said.

"Hear what?" Dustfinger asked.

"That you love me?" She replied.

"I love you." He whispered before pulling her in tight for one more smoky wet kiss.

Meggie laughed in spite of herself.

Those three words. They had such a power over people. They changed everything for her.

"I love you too."