Disclaimer: The world and characters created by Mercedes Lackey belongs to her, not me.

Chapter One

Gadriel turned and watched sadly as Laurie walked through the gardens outside. He always knew when she was nearby, which was to be expected of a bonded pair. What was unexpected was the fading of her feelings for him and this was the cause of his sadness. He knew she felt guilty, so he could never find it in him to blame her himself, but it still hurt. Over the years her love had slowly started to fade, slowly enough that it took him years to realize what was happening. They'd been married for 16 years and he first realized something had changed about 6 years ago. To add to the pain, Laurie had started to fall in love with another man about 2 and a half years ago. Oh, she denied it of course, even to herself, but he saw the way her eyes softened as she looked at him and the way her eyes would trail him when he was in the room. To be honest he knew it couldn't continue, he'd even looked into ways to break the bond, but had found excuses to put it off for 3 months. He'd run out of excuses today. He sighed, it was time to let her go.

Gadriel sat on the edge of the bed, his hands loosely clasped between his knees. His head was bowed as he thought about how to best do what was probably going to be the hardest thing he'd ever done. To let her go. His mind quelled at the very notion. He looked up as he heard the bedroom door open. Laurie paused, her pale hand on the door her strawberry blonde hair tumbling in waves to her waist. Her eyes that were that unusual shade of turquoise looked at him without surprise. She slowly closed the door behind her and took a step into the room. She was the light to his dark. Where she was pale and fair of hair and eyes, his skin was a deep chestnut brown, his hair was a deep blue-black that flowed straight half way down his back, and his eyes though blue were a deep sapphire. He swore to himself, romanticizing about her wasn't helping. He took a deep breath. "I'm letting you go."

She stared at him for a moment unable to understand what he said, "Wha..."

He cut her off, "I'm breaking the bond."

She took a step forward in shock, "But that's not possible!"

"It is. I found a way." He rubbed his forehead then looked up at her and said sadly, "You and I both know this can't continue."

She looked torn between arguing with him and accepting his offer, until finally she said, "But what about you?"

Yes, what about him? He'd been avoiding thinking about the end of their marriage he knew was coming. He hadn't thought about what he'd do after they split up. "I don't know." he said simply, looking back at his hands clasped between his knees. He took another deep breath and looked up again, "I know you're in love with another man." When she looked like she was about to protest he raised a hand to forestall her, "I've seen the way you look at him and frankly it hurts, but you obviously love him very much. Who am I to get in the way?" the last was said with a self-depreciating laugh.

Laurie came over to him and wrapped her arms around his shoulders comfortingly, her cheek resting on the top of his head.. "I'm sorry." she whispered and held him as tears silently slid down his cheeks.

Author's Note: It's much shorter then I intended it to be, but it just seemed like the end. (shrug) I'd meant to work some other things into this chapter, but I guess it will just have to wait.