The little hand he held within his own almost frightened him, not because of who it belonged to, but because of whatit belonged to. Tormod was still just a baby by even beorc standards, and his chubby hands had soft, brittle bones. If he squeezed too hard… Muarim gently held the child's hand, just barely grasping it in his own.
Tormod pulled ahead determinedly, trying to set their pace.
"Slow down, Little One," he tried, chuckling as he hastened forward a step to stand beside him.
"You're too slow," he pouted.
Muarim smiled and ruffled the child's bright hair. "I have an idea."
From his new perch on Muarim's shoulders, Tormod grinned and held his arms in the air. Though he couldn't see the child's face, Muarim knew he was grinning. He walked briskly, but didn't run. Running might jostle Tormod...and what if the jostling hurt him? He'd rather not risk it. He was having fun from his new height advantage anyway.
"Someday I'll be big like this!" little Tormod declared. He then wrapped his arms around Muarim's neck, urging him to try to walk faster by impatiently kicking with the heels of his feet. Had the child known of horses and their writers, Muarim thought with some amusement, he imagined the child would be holding onto his hair as if it were a mane while he shouted odd phrases like "giddy up".
"Someday, Little One," he said, smiling a little. But the thought of Tormod not being little was almost sad to him. Beorc grew so fast- already, he had been shocked at how much his little beorc friend had grown!
"And then you can call me Big Powerful Amazing Awesome One!"
Muarim couldn't hide his grin. Tormod's personality was so very...him, already. He wondered what he'd been like himself at Tormod's age, but quickly dismissed the thought. "I will call you No-So-Little One, then," he agreed, and held onto Tormod tight as he looked ahead. Perhaps he could do a short little run. Surely Tormod would be able to hold on for that long. "Have you ever heard of a horse?" he found himself asking, and when Tormod shook his head, he smiled. "They were born to run, and sometimes beorc ride them, because they cannot run so very fast themselves."
"Run?" Tormod asked. "How fast do they run?"
"Like this," Muarim said before sprinting toward their home, and though he could not match the speed of a galloping horse, he knew Tormod would not know the difference. He was rewarded with a happy shriek of delight from his young charge for his effort.
For the "Write My Character" meme that cruised around Livejournal. Muarim was "nico_chan's" character.