There was nothing extraordinary about the color on its surface. But then, one sometimes had to look deeper to find true beauty. There were shades of amber, mahogany, sometimes the smallest touch of honey that shone through when the light hit her eyes in a certain way, especially when she was smiling.

He wasn't supposed to notice these things. Was, in fact, supposed to be one of her surrogate family. Sometimes he did feel that. A brotherly protective instinct. Annoyance with her nagging. The kind of silent communication that came from years of learning about the world together. Then there was something else. Something deeper. Something he didn't want to name, though he suspected he knew the strange feeling differed from what he'd felt before in a way that truly mattered.

He wouldn't think about that now. He would just focus on her eyes. And the warmth that spread through his chest the last time he'd looked into them.