Just a hug

Amalia made fun of me for hugging Pinpin when he returned to his body. She keeps making comments about how I should have 'gone for more' and makes little kissy noises and when she's feeling especially lewd, grabbing motions. Every time Pinpin gets up to go to the bushes or do a quick sweep of the area before we break camp she gives me this little waggling eyebrow look and tries to jerk her head at him like, "go on, follow him, you know you want to." As if I don't know she'd try to spy on us. As if I really want to run into Pinpin when he's trying to relieve himself in the woods, gross!

But what Amalia doesn't understand is how intimate a hug can really be...

I remember when he fell against me, and I allowed myself to finally hope, finally dare to believe I'd gotten him back...ALL of him. His smell, his smile, the way his ears twitch.

At that moment, I could feel Pinpin's chest pressing into mine, I could feel his body heat radiate against me, feel his heart beating strong and fast under my hands. I could smell his sweat, the smoke from countless campfires, plus that scent I can't quite describe but can always remember as totally, uniquely Pinpin.

Sure, I guess a fairy tale princess would have kissed him, or maybe demurely taken his hand and fluttered her eyelashes at him so he could kiss her. But I'm not a princess. I'm the girl who, a few hours before, thought my love life was going to consist of a can of sword polish and some awkward hilt-holding. To have the man I have reluctantly, kicking and screaming, joyfully, desperately fallen in love with not only alive, but in the flesh, falling into my arms? Forgive me if I don't demure enough for the bards' tales. Forgive me if I skipped eyelash fluttering class.

Cra help me, I missed him so. So much that, rather than settle for a quick smooch before continuing the battle, I went for a long embrace that let me gather as much of him against me as I could. Let me test the realness of that moment for the sake of my inner cynic. To silently crow to the universe that *this iop* is mine, and he, all of him, is my prize. And not have to ruin the moment with wondering where my nose should go or what to do with my tongue or when to breathe. A hug is simple enough not to worry endlessly over...but lets me draw in close enough to feel him warm and alive and let him know how incredibly happy I was to be holding him.

Besides, I think if I'd have kissed him then he might have exploded from happiness.

And besides that, if I'd have done it then, I wouldn't have had that nice first moonlit kiss when we snuck away from camp after Amalia had gone to sleep.

And I can't lie; it feels pretty nice to have cheated Amalia out of spying on my personal life. For once.