Okay, I'm trying my hand at a less fluffy-tastic NeimixColm. I reiterate: WE NEED MORE NEIMI AND COLM STORIES!!! If you like this story, please, write one of your own! Anyway, this story is mostly just a collection of memories of Colm's. Drop a review on your way out!

Disclaimer: If I owned Fire Emblem, it would not be "E" rated.

Colm watched Neimi sleep with a knit brow. Her forehead was coated in cold sweat, and she kept twitching and rolling over. It was obvious that she was having a nightmare.

Colm sighed quietly. He hadn't been in Neimi's room the entire time--he'd only just come in when he heard her mumbling in her sleep from his room with Ross and Franz. He hadn't been able to sleep anyway. Colm was just that way; he'd sleep like a rock some nights, and other nights he wouldn't be able to stomach his thoughts.

He had been sitting there for about an hour. He couldn't decide whether he wanted to wake Neimi or let her rest. However, her fitful tossing could hardly be called "rest." It had been a hard day for everyone in the camp--they'd made it to Rausten and lost those Grado assassins who'd been tailing them...but at the price of losing Gilliam.

He knew it would be tough for Neimi. She'd been friends with Gilliam. What surprised Colm is that she didn't turn to him for comfort at all. He'd spotted her weeping into Amelia's shoulder earlier that evening, but he hadn't said anything. He'd also noticed that whenever she saw him, Neimi swallowed her sobs and wiped her face of tears. He should have been understanding that Gilliam's death was just making her behave differently, but, immature and with poor choice of priorities as always, Colm was more bothered by the fact that she wasn't looking for solace in him.

But his irritation, his sarcasm, his brashness... it crumbled when faced with his concern for her. It had always been that way. He'd tried his best to train her out of her clinginess and hyper sensitivity by being rude and blunt to her, but he could never keep up the facade very long. In the end, she always won him out. Always.

Then

"Neimi?" Colm called out. His voice made a rabbit bolt into a bush. "Neimi? Where are you?" he asked again, growing more and more perturbed.

"I'm over here!" came a faint and distinctly feminine voice. Colm was surprised by how distant the voice was. How had Neimi strayed so far in such a short time? He'd only left her alone for two minutes--three minutes tops--while he went to get the coin purse he'd dropped earlier in their hike. He was mildly annoyed with her.

Nevertheless, he rushed through the winding forest at top speed. He could hear the far-off rustling that told him Neimi was coming to him, too. When her bright hair came into view, however, his spirits lifted--

...but they were shot down when Neimi was startled by him and tripped over a root, falling face-down on the forest floor.

For a thirteen-year-old archery prodigy, she was ridiculously clumsy.

Neimi tried to pull herself to her feet, but she winced tightly and her knees buckled just as she was about to stand up. Colm's eyes went wide with panic as she slumped to the ground, and he started to inspect her for wounds. He then spotted her tattered knee, shedding more blood than a simple scrape would.

For a brief moment he wondered why she wasn't crying. He saw her shocked expression, her wide eyes locked on her knee.

"You're such a clumsy idiot!" Colm said a little more loudly than necessary. "You need to watch where you're going or you'll end up killing yourself!"

That did it. She blinked a few times, and the tears started to run from her wide eyes, staining the apples of her cheeks. Colm reeled back, cursing quietly, as Neimi's lip trembled. Then, in an ear-piercing, heart-ripping wail, She began to sob into her ruined knee.

"Ah! Q-Quit it!" Colm tried to sound commanding, but it came out sounding more like begging. Neimi didn't even look up.

He tore off part of his shirt and dressed her knee with it. He also wiped the dirt and blood from the tiny scrapes on her forehead and her shoulders. She wouldn't lift the rest of her face from her knees.

"Aw, come on, Neimi. I didn't mean it, okay? Just...just stop crying. I have to get you back to your house and clean up your knee. You don't want it to get infected, do you? And what if something's broken?" he asked. Neimi was a smart kid, and something of a hypochondriac. She couldn't argue with his logic. Neimi raised her face from her folded arms. Her face was wearing an expression of both emotional hurt and physical pain that made Colm's heart throb painfully--especially knowing he'd caused half of the problem.

"O-Okay," she blubbered. Neimi was such an obedient pushover; she'd never challenged Colm about anything. He could've told her to dive into a river and she'd do it. He never would, though--what if she hit her head and drowned? Colm shuddered at the thought.

He offered her his hand and hoisted her up. She still couldn't support her weight on her injured leg, so he draped her arm across his shoulders and put one hand on each of her hips. She winced and began to tear up again at the pain the movement brought her leg. Colm froze, nervous. Her eyes were so full of tears that Colm wondered how she could see through them.

"I-I'm fine," she insisted, forcing a pained smile. Colm frowned fiercely. "No, you're not. Don't be foolish." Colm yanked her to him by her wrist and lifted her into both his arms, bridal-style. Neimi blinked, wide-eyed.

"Y-You can't c-carry me all the way home," she argued pathetically. She was too absorbed with her fear of further hurting herself to even struggle. Colm rolled his eyes. "Really, Neimi. You oughta have more faith in me."

Neimi opened her mouth to protest more, but closed it quickly. Then she buried her face in his chest, which made a rare blush creep onto Colm's face.

"Okay, Colm," she said through the muffled fabric. He chuckled and started in the direction where they'd come.

Now

It was so simple then. Two completely mismatched friends--the sensitive shy girl and the bullheaded, arrogant trouble-maker--who were exactly that. Just two friends who were not at all meant for each other...and at the same time, they fit together perfectly.

Neither of them was exactly social. Neimi was frightened of most people and Colm usually got on everyone's bad side within a minute of meeting them; though that may or may not have something to do with the fact that Colm had stolen from almost everyone he'd ever met.

Now that he thought about it, Neimi was the only exception to his theft habit. Oh, and little old ladies. Because who could steal from them? That'd just be wrong. Well, he might, if it was a crabby old lady. So, yeah, Neimi was pretty much the only exception.

Ironic that the whole reason they ever met was because he'd taken to stealing from her family's garden. He remembered it vividly.

Then

Colm poked his head out from the old blind, just on the edge of the woods. He'd been smart about picking a location--firstly, no one ever messed around with the spooky old shack by the forest, which meant solitude was a given. And secondly, it was real close to the house of that crotchety guy, Zethla, and Zethla had a huge garden. So huge, in fact, that Colm would probably be able to snag a few pieces of fruit every day and no one would notice; which was exactly what he planned to do.

He crept into the thin forestation between his shack and the garden.

The windows of Zethla's house were lit. Colm scowled. Why would anyone be up this late?! It had to be at least midnight...

However, Colm saw no movement inside the house. Mildly reassured, he inhaled deeply and darted through the bushes, into the twisting foliage of the garden. Colm plucked a ripe-looking peach and stowed it in his pocket. He spied a plump, ruby-red apple dangling from a tall tree and licked his lips in anticipation.

Colm began to scale the tree, which was fairly easy to do, thanks to the branches that shot out in just the right places. He was in arm's length of the apple when he heard the whine of an opening door.

"Hello?" called a soft, tinny voice. Colm's eyes widened and he scrambled up the tree, hiding in the leaves.

From his vantage point, he saw a girl with bright hair walk a circle around the tree, dragging her fingers around the trunk as she did. She sighed wearily, shoulders slumping. Colm couldn't see her face--or anything but her hair, really--from the branch, but he could tell she wasn't as dangerous as Zethla. He eased onto the branch, steadying himself, when the apple he'd had his eyes on snapped from its stem and dropped out of the tree--right onto the girl's head.

She yelped when it hit her, and then she looked up instinctively. Her eyes connected with Colm's, and widened.

"Eep!" she cried, jumping backwards. Colm heard her fumble for something and he started to scrambled down the other side of the tree.

"Wh-Who are you?" the girl demanded. Her voice carried in odd places--she was looking around, then. Colm risked a peek at her from behind the tree. Her eyes were still fixed upwards, in the leaves. She had a cute face--dimples and all that. But he was too terrified that she'd wake Zethla to admire her. So Colm ran into the woods.

The girl threw the apple after him, hitting him between his shoulders, but he didn't stop running.

Now

Colm grinned at the memory. He'd been nine at the time, and she'd been eight. After that night, stealing from Neimi and Zethla had become increasingly hard. He kept getting shot at--and with arrows, not apples, either. Though, after the first few months, when he and Neimi had really become friends, Neimi had started to leave a basket of food out for him and told her grandpa to leave Colm alone.

...When had it gotten so complicated? Colm didn't know. It wasn't that they weren't friends anymore...it was just that he didn't want to be friends anymore.

He envied the couples in their army--like Amelia and Franz, or Artur and Lute, or Seth and the Princess. But no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't bring himself to make the change. Neimi wasn't exactly worldly--she was still just as naive as ever, except now she was a naive soldier. She'd never understand his reasons for being the way he was--because he'd always be only one thing to Neimi.

Then

Neimi rocked on her heels, the image of childlike innocence. He certainly didn't know any other sixteen-year-olds who still did that. "You'll hurry, right?" she asked Colm, pouting. He sighed. "Yeah, I'll just take a second. I promised to show you the cave I found yesterday, didn't I?" he said in an almost offended way. "I don't break promises."

"But you do lie and steal and say mean things"-- Colm silenced her with his hand. He cocked an eyebrow. "You're annoying sometimes, y'know? I'll be right back. Just gotta get my knife." he turned away from her and hurried to his shack. Colm threw the door open and started to fumble around for his little silver knife. It was late at night, so it was difficult. The only light he had to go on was filtering through the lone window that had two out of four broken panes.

Something shiny caught his eye. He crawled towards the gleam and reached out for it cautiously. He managed to grab his knife by the hilt, avoiding another cut, and he stowed it in his belt. Colm rushed back outside to where he left Neimi.

Neimi was where she'd been before--with two boys. Colm narrowed his eyes. He could recognize them, even in this dark. The taller one was Tripp, who was a tanned, well-built boy from Lark. The other boy was only a few inches shorter, with cropped black hair. He was Harry. Tripp and Harry had chosen Neimi as a prime target for their teasing when they were younger. Of course, once Neimi stepped gracefully out of her awkward phase, they'd become suspiciously friendly towards her.

"...I-I'm waiting for Colm," Neimi sputtered. It sounded like she was answering a question.

"Why?" Harry asked incredulously. Colm couldn't help but be irritated by the obvious disbelief in Harry's voice.

"We're going for a walk in the woods," Neimi squeaked. Harry and Tripp snickered. "A walk in the woods at night? Sounds so romantic," Tripp teased. Neimi backed herself into a tree. "N-No, it's not like that," she insisted.

"Oh come on, Neimi. Grow up. For starters, Colm's a thief and a loser. You're too nice to be hangin' out with him," Tripp said. Colm didn't miss when Tripp brushed a hair out of her face. It made him see red a little.

"And secondly, isn't it obvious? He's obsessed with you!" Harry added.

Sick of the indignation, Colm cleared his throat loudly. Harry and Tripp jumped a little when he did. Neimi breathed his name with immense relief.

"Get the hell out of here," Colm snarled. Tripp and Harry raised their eyebrows when Colm drew the knife.

"Relax, loser. We were only talking to her," Harry said, rolling his eyes. "Yeah," Tripp agreed. Harry started to leave, but Tripp lingered for a second.

"And by the way, loser--you've got a cute girlfriend," Tripp said, stroking Neimi's cheek.

Colm lunged.

Tripp's nose made a satisfying crack when Colm's fist connected with it. Colm jumped backwards, fists still clenched. Tripp put a hand to his nose, then stared at the scarlet blood with shock. He cursed loudly and ran after Harry.

"Jerks," Colm grumbled.

"You shouldn't've hit him," Neimi said in a tiny voice. Colm glanced over at her--she was wearing an expression of disappointment and fear. Colm rushed to her side.

"...Sorry," he muttered. He didn't entirely mean it. He was sorry for scaring Neimi, but not for punching Tripp, anyway. Colm hesitantly put a hand on her shoulder. "Do you...still wanna go?" he asked anxiously.

Neimi looked at him with half-lidded eyes. "Fine. Just don't punch me," she teased, turning and prancing into the woods. He ran to her side, smirking.

They walked mostly in silence. Neimi followed him, eyes glued to the sky. Mildly curious, Colm looked up to see what had her so mesmerized.

A vein of stars glowed in the sky, illuminating the entire forest. Colm paused to look at it.

"...Isn't it pretty?" Neimi said quietly. "I've never seen something like that before. Like a river of stars, almost," she mused, tilting her head to the side.

Colm looked at her furtively. When had she become...pretty? That was a disturbing notion. And more importantly, when had her skirt become much too short for Colm's liking? Perhaps she'd just gotten taller.

"Y'know, maybe those creeps'd leave you alone if you dressed half-decent," he grumbled. Neimi turned to stare at him, blinking confusedly. "What...do you mean?"

"First thing tomorrow, we're finding you some pants and you're never taking them off," he said, leaving no room for compromise. Neimi scowled adorably.

"A skirt is so much easier to move in," she reminded him. "I'm an archer, and I'm not very...coordinated...so pants would only have me falling all over myself...I mean, c'mon Colm, I've tripped over a ladybug before."

"True," he gave her that one. "But the skirt has guys falling all over you. And I'm going to nip the greater of two evils." He started walking again.

"Since when do you care about boys?" Neimi said, sounding annoyed. "You're a boy, too..."

"So I know what they're thinking when they see you in that." Colm glanced at her outfit over his shoulder and pretended to wrinkle his nose in distaste.

"I'm...ugly?" Neimi squeaked.

Oh cripes. He might have just dug his own grave.

"N-No!" he said quickly. "You're definitely not ugly--and that's the problem...don't you get it?" Ah, yes--making it look like she's the one who's confused. Classic Colm strategy.

"I..." Neimi started. She was struggling to keep up with him as his pace quickened. "...no," she admitted.

Colm sighed heavily. Of course she didn't get it. That would be too easy. She could never take a hint, even after he'd done everything but damned near thrown her over his shoulder and said gruffly, I like you, dummy.

Not wanting to spell it out for her, Colm replied, "Just trust me, okay? I've never steered you wrong, have I? So just trust me."

Neimi couldn't argue with that.

When they made it to the cave, Neimi latched herself to his arm so she wouldn't get lost in the dark hole. Colm could feel her trembling ever so slightly against him. Neimi didn't like the dark very much. Even Colm was a little creeped out.

But Colm dismissed his fear as soon as it came. Neimi's closeness made her quakes swell into him in a way that made Colm feel as though he was trembling, too.

"I can't see anything," Neimi whispered. She tugged on his arm.

"A little farther," Colm muttered back. He groped around in the dark until he felt the cold, slippery stone wall of the cave. He felt around some more until he found the curve of the rock. He rolled it aside revealing, to Neimi's awe, a small glade behind the cave, completely secluded.

"Wow," she breathed, letting go of Colm to explore the area. She pointed her dainty finger overhead. "Look! There's a perfect view of the stars!" she said excitedly. She dropped to the ground and lay on her back, staring straight ahead, mesmerized. Colm watched her, smiling slightly.

Neimi turned her head and noticed Colm looking at her. "What is it?" she asked, confused again.

"Nothing," he sighed. Neimi sat up and furrowed her brow. "You're clenching your fists again. Siddown," she said, patting the grass beside her. Colm obeyed, though not unclenching his fists. If he did, his hands might stray where they shouldn't.

Neimi grabbed him by his wrist and began peeling back his fingers. She frowned when she saw the little crescent-shaped marks his fingernails had made in his palm.

"You were...holding your fists pretty tight," she said quietly. Colm just nodded. "Yeah, guess so. It's alright, though. Doesn't hurt or anything."

Neimi glanced up at him, her face still concerned. "What's wrong, Colm? You're acting so weird tonight."

Colm frowned, too, furrowing his brow. "It's just that..."

I'm probably in love with you, and that's the only reason I brought you out to a secluded part of the forest in the middle of the night. Oh, and Tripp is a boy-kissing dandy.

"...I have a headache," he answered. Neimi's face grew even more concerned. She pressed the back of her hand to his forehead. "Oh...Colm, you're hot," she said, worried.

"Not surprising," Colm mumbled.

"Maybe we should go home," she suggested. Colm shook his head. "Nah, I'm fine--really, Neimi."

Her face became serene again. "Well, okay...if you say so." she began to wring her hands nervously. "Oh, and, um...do you really not like my clothes?" she asked, sounding a little hurt.

Great. Back to this again.

"Neimi, it's...it's not that, exactly," he said, hedging. "It's just, well, short skirts and tight shirts aren't very...appropriate."

"But I'm an archer!" she protested. "I have to wear lightweight clothes. I'm trying to be better...for Grandpa." her eyes became glassy when she mentioned him.

"Aw, don't...don't cry, Neimi, please," he begged, cupping her cheeks with his hands. "Take my word for it--if Zethla saw you in that, he'd have shot me dead for not setting you straight."

Neimi's lip still quivered, but she nodded. "Al...right." She turned her attention back to the sky and sniffled. Colm sighed with relief, glad he'd dodged that arrow.

"I wonder," Neimi whispered, "what'll happen when I grow up. I mean, now that I've got no family left..."

Colm furrowed his brow. "I guess...that'd be up to you, Neimi. I mean, you're an archer, so you can be...hell, I dunno...a hunter...or a mercenary, I s'pose. Whatever you want." Neimi looked presently at Colm. "But what about you?" she asked pointedly.

Colm shrugged, arms folded behind his head. "That doesn't matter. I don't need much to get by, so I'll just stay how I am. You're the one who's got big hopes and dreams." He said it in a firm way that left no room for compromise.

Neimi frowned. "I wouldn't leave you alone like that, though, Colm...I mean...what if you got into trouble...?"

Colm raised his eyebrows. "Since when are you the one who has to help me? I'm the one who's always swooping in and saving you all the time..." he grumbled, scratching the back of his head ungracefully. Neimi pouted.

"That's not what I meant...it's just...won't you get lonely, Colm? You don't have any family, either. I know I'd be very sad if...you know...you weren't here and I was all alone..." she played with her fingers while she spoke, like she always did when she was nervous. Which was most of the time.

Colm sighed, mildly annoyed that he was now obligated to return the statement. "Yeah, me too, I guess. But I don't want to hold you down, okay? You're...a good kid. Really; you shouldn't hang out with people like me. I'm a bad influence," he said, using the exact words Zethla had always used on him.

"Nuh-uh," Neimi disagreed, tossing her head. "No, you're not. I mean, sure you steal and stuff...but if anything...you've made me never want to follow your example. I mean, look at how much you get caught"--

"Hey! I only got caught by Zethla that one time. That doesn't count," he interjected, indignant.

"Still," Neimi continued, this time fighting a smile. "I'm discouraged. Also, you're really nice on the inside. I mean, deep, deep down, you're nice, anyway. If you weren't, you wouldn't always be helping me and saving me all the time." She'd started drawing things in a patch of dirt that was barren of vegetation.

Colm shrugged again. "Yeah, I guess." He offered her no more encouragement. Selfishly, he was pleased with her words. But he couldn't afford to monopolize her forever. He wasn't that selfish.

"Colm," she said, her voice quiet again. She sucked in a nervous breath, sitting up straight. He watched her suspiciously, but at the same time curiously. She twirled with a strand of her short hair and gnawed her lip. "Thanks for taking me out here. I really like it...it's...very pretty," she managed.

Colm blinked twice. No longer was she using her I'm completely innocent and oblivious voice. Her current tone reminded him of the voice she'd used that one time on that tanned, over-muscled mercenary who'd stayed in Lark three weeks ago. Colm had to fight a scowl just thinking about it.

What he couldn't piece together was why, oh why, was she using it on him? Colm. Colmy. Her bestie biffle for life. That guy who followed her around, permanently trapped in the dreaded friend zone.

"No problem," he grumbled, still bewildered. She half-smiled in a shy way, turning her gaze to the pattern she'd drawn in the dirt.

"C-Colm," she said, her voice suddenly hoarse in a way that almost alarmed him. "Um...h-here's the thing..." she was chewing her lower lip again, squeezing her eyes shut tight in a blatant effort to organize her thoughts.

He waited, puzzled as ever, as she exhaled slowly.

"Well, I was wondering if--if y-you did it because you like me?" Her voice had become a squeak by the end of her sentence.

Colm pursed his lips in an almost comical expression and furrowed his brow.

The way he saw it, he had a few options. The first was to assume she meant the kind of like that he liked her sans friendliness. The kind of make-out-in-the-bushes-until-one-of-your-relatives-catches-us "like." The second was to take her meaning to be the kind of like he'd thought she'd liked him. Friendly and absolutely safe. He also had T-minus four seconds to respond before her hopes were crushed and she became discouraged by his silence.

Ah, what the hell. Might as well take a nose dive.

"Well, I think you're hot and all," he said casually. Silence stiffened between them as Colm lay there, hands folded behind his head like the unsuspecting moron he was. Neimi's eyes bugged and she began to sputter softly. Her face turned so red it was almost purple.

Huh. Perhaps he could've handled that better. Oh, that's right--he'd forgotten. I think you're hot and you're an amazing person aren't interchangeable.

Neimi opened her mouth to speak again, but her words were lost behind the faint sound of distant screaming. Neimi blinked quizzically in a way that was almost sinfully cute.

"What...was that?" she asked in a frightened whisper.

"Who knows? Probably old Mrs. Carmichael found a spider on her porch again. Or something else like that. Don't sweat it." He waved a hand dismissively.

A second scream, this time higher and more childlike, ripped through their peaceful night.

"Colm," Neimi whispered urgently. Colm, who's expression was now disturbed, raised a finger to silence her. He motioned for Neimi to stay where she was sitting and got to his feet. Colm brushed aside the thick leaves of one of the trees surrounding the glade and tried to peer through. It was to no avail, because he still couldn't make anything out beyond the mile of foliage.

Four more screams made Neimi audibly yelp. Colm silenced her with a serious look. She put a fist to her mouth and hugged her knees with her free arm.

"I'll go around. Stay here," Colm bid her in a low voice. She nodded once.

Colm hurried back through the cave and to the forest edge, the way they'd come. When he finally got to a point where he could see the village, his legs stopped working. And he stared.

He must've been standing and staring a long while, because after--it could have been minutes, or hours, he wasn't sure--Neimi came up behind him.

"Colm? Is everything okay? You were gone a long time so..."

Her hand dropped from his shoulder and she made a strange sound that was somewhere between a sob and a scream.

He would've moved to catch her when she collapsed beside him if only his limbs weren't so numb. She spent the night sobbing, and him staring, as they watched their home and their neighbors curl into ash beneath a wave of fire.

Now

It was the faces. Colm wished sincerely that they had stayed in the forest that night. Then they both would've been spared the torture of watching the faces as they burned.

He couldn't remember what he'd been thinking that night. Relief, that Neimi was safe? Horror for staring death in the face? The desire to both run and help, but also to stay and protect Neimi? The knowledge that there was nothing he could do either way?

He couldn't remember which one he'd been thinking at the time; or, all of them at once. He tried never to think of that night. So did she. The price, however, was that it was like the moment in the glade never happened.

She gasped loudly, making him jump. Her eyes tore open, wide and dilated. She started to sob quietly. Clearly, her dream had ended badly. She sprang up into a sitting position when she saw him, startled.

"Neimi," he breathed. "Ssh--it's just me. Hey," he said, moving towards her. She reeled away, bidding him to leave in a low whisper that was choked by sobs.

"...Neimi...please, tell me what's wrong," he pleaded. She had her arms folded over her chest, her nails raking at her shoulders. Neimi wept as she clawed at the skin. Colm seized hold of her wrists and pulled them from her arms, turning her around.

"Stop that! Listen to me!" He hissed as she turned her face away from his. "Please, Neimi. Why won't you talk to me?"

"I won't cry around you," she whispered in a voice so quiet he could've mistaken it for a breeze. "You don't like it."

"Gilliam was your friend...it's okay," he assured her. "It's natural."

Neimi looked up, her cheeks soaked with tears. Her eyes were pink and swollen, as were her lips. So beautiful.

So tempting.

He wiped a fresh tear from her face and his brow knit together. "I miss him," she mumbled into his chest. "I keep b-being reminded of...of Grandpa, and Lark," she blubbered. Colm stroked her hair gently. "Yeah, me too," he said, and for once, he was being absolutely truthful.

She lifted her face from his shirt and stared at him intently. Her crying had ceased, replaced with something akin to amazement or curiosity.

He held her face and her gaze while his expression became bewildered and disturbed. He understood she was grieving and probably seriously unhinged at the moment, but that was no excuse for torturing him like this. Staring at him much too intensely for friendly conversation while he is painfully aware of her state of undress and the fact that they were very much alone in a bedroom was just cruel.

"Neimi?" he asked, ripping through the quiet. "What is it?"

She gazed at him for a moment longer before slowly, unsurely, leaning into his face. Their noses bumped, and she exhaled onto his lips. His own mouth was sewn shut in his funny pursed-lips expression, complete with wide eyes and furrowed brow.

And then, without explanation or fair warning, she slid back into bed, leaning against the headboard and staring at the wall.

"Oh, come on," Colm growled. Neimi blinked. "...C-Colm?"

"You can't almost kiss me and then back out. It's a cheap shot," he said with a half-smile on his face. Even in the dark, he could tell she was blushing. The heat radiated off of her in waves. She yanked the covers up to her chest, remembering her shyness.

"I'm sorry...it was...mean of me," she squeaked. Colm brushed hair out of her eyes and grinned. "I was only kiddin', Neimi. I wouldn't take advantage of you that way."

"But you wouldn't be taking advantage of me. I want to kiss you," She argued. Neimi's face became painfully shy again, and she pulled the sheets over her face in mortification.

Colm might've widened his eyes if he'd remembered himself. But at the moment, it didn't come as a surprise to him, for some reason, that she wanted to kiss him.

"Well why don't you?" he asked. She pulled the sheets down enough to peek at him.

"Because...I'm...scared. I-I don't know how to kiss, and you might not like it, and what about after? I-I just"--

Colm decided to silence her admittedly cute rants with his hungry mouth. She responded with a muffled squeal that excited him in a strange way. She grabbed fistfuls of his hair and mewled into his mouth. Something about her, or perhaps everything about her, elicited a ravenous desire in him to touch her, taste her, take her. The knowledge that she was pure and untouched only excited him further. No way was any other guy gonna be her first. She was his.

Neimi had to break the kiss to breath. Her heaving chest not only made a fire rip through his chest, but also made him again aware that she was in a tiny nightdress that clung to her young breasts and soft curves so deliciously. He could've torn the garment apart with no effort at all. The thought made the fire in his chest burn brighter.

"Colm," she sighed, her eyes all aflutter, "I...um..." she shrugged her shoulder and let a strap of her tiny nightdress slide down.

Colm chuckled. "Yeah, I know. You sure?"

She nodded firmly. "Mm-hm. I-I am. I want...I w-want you to be my first, Colm." He nuzzled his face into her neck and smiled. "Alright. I'll try not to hurt you, but...I can't promise you won't be sore later on..."

Neimi laughed. It was a soft, musical sound; to hear it meant the world to him. "Worry about yourself," she teased. Colm cocked an eyebrow and grinned wolfishly.

YES. I am ending it here. No smut for you today. Don't I absolutely suck? ;P Review though, because they make me smiiiiiiile :D