Up to the Mountain

The trek to Vampire Mountain was exhausting. Larten Crepsley was attending his second trial and Arra Sails was traveling with him. She, being competitive as usual, brought up the idea of a race. She wanted to race so bad that she completely ignored his refusal and began running up the trail, laughing loudly as she did so. When she noticed he was not running with her, but merely walking with a calm look on his face, she growled, and ran back to him. Taking his hand, she complained at how boring he was.
"Come on, Larten!" She cried. "First one up there is crowned the winner, and the loser has to drink two gallons of bat broth!" Crepsley felt his stomach churn; he hated bat broth and the mere mention of it made him feel queasy, but he was going to stick by his decision of not racing.

"Arra, I have no need to play around," he told her in a collected voice. "I do not want to be twice as tired when we do get up there. So, please…." He wrenched his hand out of her grasp, blushing slightly at their skin contact, though he made sure she could not see the pink on his cheeks, and walked farther in front of her. She crossed her arms, and walked slower behind him, feeling no need to run anymore. "So, you are not going to run?" He asked.

"No," she muttered. "It's no fun if it's just me. It's not a race anymore; it's just a run."

"I bet you cannot wait to get up to the bars, huh?" She smiled at the thought of beating everyone who faced her on the bars once again.
"It's been twelve years. I can't wait to beat Kurda!"
"You have deep hatred for him, do you not?" Crepsley chuckled.

"It's not that I hate him, he's just too annoying, and I don't respect him. He doesn't deserve my handshake." Crepsley smiled at the thought of the time he was thrown off the bars against her; she ended up shaking his hand anyway. He could never forget the day they spoke first to each other. True, it was not a peaceful or pleasant memory as she snapped at him over his gentlemanly persona by offering her an umbrella, but sooner or later, he began to fall for her. He blushed at the memory of their first kiss underneath the rain. "Are you okay?" Arra asked, pushing him out his thoughts. "You're turning red."

"I am fine!" He said quickly. "Just fine."
"Good. You dumbass," she said, smiling.
"What the hell? Why am I the dumbass?"
"You just are," she giggled, kissing his cheek, causing his blush to deepen.

As they reached higher up the mountain, they came across a cave where many coffins were set up; however, only one was useable. The rest were destroyed. The snow fell from the skies up above as they made their way to the cave. Arra reached out, grabbing a snowflake in her hand. The snow caressed her cheeks, and she let out a sigh of ecstasy; she danced elegantly in the snow falling around her, feeling completely at ease. Crepsley noticed that as she danced around the snow, it made her that much more beautiful. She caught him staring at her, and stopped dead in her tracks.

"What?" She asked, turning a bit red.

"Nothing." He laughed. "You just look so cute."

"Shut up," she spat.

"It's a compliment." She scoffed, walking past him into the cave, and realizing that only one coffin could work.
"There's only one," she said. He ran up to her, blushing.

"W-what? One?"

"Can't you count, stupid?" She asked, pointing to the coffin. "There is only one!" Crepsley tried to speak, but no words came out of his mouth. "That means we have to share one."

"No," he said almost immediately. "There is no way we are sharing a coffin. It was fine when it was with Gavner, but…" He stopped.

"What, are you gay?" She asked, with a smirk.

"NO!" He yelled. "What the hell is wrong with you?"
"Nothing; you're the one with something wrong. Get some help, Larten."

"…. Shut up." He growled, stomping into the cave, and sitting on the cold ground, crossing his arms.

"You're not getting in?" Arra asked, getting into the coffin as the sun began to rise. Crepsley shook his head, keeping his eyes on the rising sun. "You're going to burn."
"There are worse things," he told her. After the sun began to rise, and his eyes started to hurt, he decided that there wasn't anything worse than getting burned to a crisp, so he got into the coffin next to her, trembling as he did so. She felt him as he shakily put his arm around her waist to make room. Blushing, he closed his eyes and sighed, realizing that she was just as warm as he thought she would be. "I love you," he whispered so softly that only he heard it. Though, after he said it, he kept telling himself that it wasn't true.

There were times in the day when Arra would begin shaking violently. She whimpered and whispered, "Please, don't get me." He tightened his grip on her and held her close until her shaking subsided. Even then, he didn't stop holding her. After a while of crying, she relaxed and slept silently through the day without any more nightmares.

Though she did not know he was the one who saved her from the demons, he knew; and he was happy he was able to help.

Crepsley kept himself distanced from Arra as they walked higher. He was nervous for no reason at all, or so he thought. The thought that was going through his head was that she was well built and how easily his arm was able to wrap around her waist. A chill ran down his spine as he thought of it.

"You alright, there?" Arra asked, closing the distance between them. "You seem a little distracted." His eyes glanced down at her hips, where her hands were. He gulped, blushed, and turned his head away.

"Everything is fine," he told her, keeping his eyes on an English Rose that was growing healthily despite the snow falling around it. His fingers twitched. Crepsley waited until Arra was no longer interested in his wellbeing and continued walking forward before he took the flower by the stem and picked it. Its orange color was radiant, and he quickly hid it underneath its cloak so it will not freeze and die.

"Hurry up, you snail!" She yelled, causing him to run a bit faster to reach her.

"Shut up, idiot," he said, making sure the rose was securely in place.