Thanks for the reviews, sorry it's taken a while to update, I needed a way to lighten this up a bit so it's been sitting in my computer for a while.

Mavi rolled over in her bed as she woke up. She leapt suddenly into a sitting position as she realised she'd rolled on an arm. In the dim light of her room she could see a figure and as she remembered the tree-planting she wondered if it was Dylan. As soon as she thought the name, she felts a sudden mental shock and tried to remember what it was she'd forgotten. She had remembered the slapping incident with Dylan and was beginning to wonder when she realised it was Theo.

He mumbled in his sleep as she yelled, "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING IN MY BED?"

Theo woke with a start and quickly jumped out of the bed as he replied, "I was sleeping against the wall but it was freezing and you hog the one side so I borrowed the other half of the bed."

"WHY WERE YOU SLEEPING AGAINST MY WALL?" Mavi yelled in reply, still desperately trying to remember what she'd forgotten about the night before.

"Alph thought you might need company when you woke up so I was trying to help you!" Theo replied anxiously.

"Alph…" Mavi replied distantly, remembering the awful way she'd treated him yesterday, "where is he?"

"He wanted to stay but he had to go to prepare for the wedding in Madrasta. He also was worried that you might need someone else to talk to for a while…" Theo explained.

"Why didn't they send Dyl-," Mavi stopped before she finished his name.

She crumpled to the ground as she remembered the night before. Several cruel images played through her mind: Dylan, dancing in a shower of roses, the beast's expression as its jaws ripped out of Dylan's shoulder and, finally, the white rose petal, stained red with blood.

She began to shake as Theo dashed forward to put his arm around her shoulders. "Calm down, take it easy, one breath at a time," he whispered softly as he began counting, "one…two…three," and he couldn't help but compare the broken figure in his arms to the stoic warrior he had known when they fought Zehaal only four years ago. "Nine… ten… eleven," it was as he continued counting that he realised, after the magical sleep inside Mother Lapis, she was only a year and a half older than he was. She acted old and he used to act young but really, there was little difference between the two of them and right now she was showing that fact in one big bundle.

He reached five hundred and thirty-two, lost in his own thoughts, when he realised Mavi had finally stopped the panting and sobbing and had begun sucking her thumb like a small child.

"You okay?" he asked gently.

Mavi nodded but she still seemed to be lost in her own mind. A single knock on the door caused her to jolt suddenly and grip the banister on the bed until her knuckles turned white.

Theo let go gently to stand up as carefully as he could to walk across to the door.

He opened it a fraction and recognised the Lady Claire standing in the now brightly lit doorway. "How's she taking it?" she asked quietly.

"You didn't bring Nikolai did you?" he hissed quietly, ignoring her question.

Claire shook her head and Theo opened her door to reveal the shivering Mavi. Claire made a simpering noise before quickly rushing to Mavi's side. She tried to hug Mavi and comfort her but was quickly pushed away in place of the foetal position.

Claire looked worried for a moment as Mavi began howling once more and Theo knelt down again and gestured for Claire to leave quietly.

Claire walked out nervously, instantly seeking out Nikolai for emotional support.

"Yes, my lovely lady Claire?" Nikolai asked, in his opinion suavely, as she found him a few metres away, along the path.

He was waiting for an answer when suddenly she burst into tears and fell onto his shoulder. Nikolai was used to having Claire coming to him when she was worried, but this was a first. On another day, he would have loved the opportunity to assist the two sobbing witches; but Claire and Mavi's howling had totally overwhelmed him.

"What is wrong, my lady?" Nikolai repeated.

"She… she pushed me away… did I do something wrong?" she asked quickly, looking directly into Nikolai's eyes.

"Perhaps she merely needs time, you could not have done anything more than what you did," Nikolai crooned, hugging the nervous Claire closely.

Gradually, Claire relaxed as she asked, "Are you sure…?"

"Certain, milady, you made the right choice, it simply didn't quite turn out," he replied instantly, "How about we get a drink to settle you down, yes?"

As the two walked off in each other's arms, Leon and Cecille slipped out from behind the trees guiltily, Leon gagging at Nikolai's over-zealous syrupy tone.

"Do you think she'll be alright?" Cecille asked, looking nervously at the ground.

"Of course, she's a strong person, you know she'll pull through," Leon replied confidently.

"Yeah…" Cecille drifted off, still worried as she looked at the sky blankly, lost in thought.

That's it for now. Next Instalment: THE WEDDING.

Hope you've enjoyed it.