Author's note: This is for Erin Hunters 4 Ever. Because she is awesome. I hope this doesn't suck too bad because I have never even read this pairing before.

In the Firelight

The Hunters of Artemis are at camp again. Artemis left them here while she's off at Olympus or something, but they're all on edge because of what happened when she left them before. Thalia has tried to keep them from worrying, but she hasn't been very successful.

Thalia.

I've been losing my focus around her lately. And it worries me. No one has ever affected me that way. I won't admit anything, at least not out loud. I know nothing could ever happen between us, she took an oath that I don't think she is prepared to break. Especially not for me.

"Hello. Anyone there?" Someone is waving their hand in front of my face. I looked up. It was her.

"Yea-" I had to clear my throat. Why is she making me so nervous? "Yeah, I'm here."

She laughed. "Do all children of Athena do that? Space out when they're thinking, I mean."

It was my turn to laugh. "I think so. Most of us, at least." I paused for a moment. "I think that's why we even get in trouble at school, because the teachers think we never pay attention."

She seemed to consider that. "Yeah. Me too, and, well, fighting."

"Really? You got into fights? Never would have guessed."

"Yeah, they almost didn't believe it when I beat up a guy like three grades ahead of me." She smiled.

It was silent for a bit. I guess she was thinking about when she was in school. But, after a few minutes, I had to break the silence. Even us Athena kids are impatient.

"Thalia?"

"Hm?" She snapped out of her thoughts. "Yeah?"

"Why did you join the hunt?" I didn't mean to be so blunt, but it had been on my mind since she had come to camp a few days ago.

"I had to." She paused, then went on to explain. "I wasn't meant to be the child of the prophecy, it was always Percy. We weren't ready for a war. It was the only way for me to stop aging, so I wouldn't be the first of us to turn sixteen."

"Oh. Do you ever regret it? I mean, have you ever thought about leaving the hunt, growing up.. falling in love?" I was cautious about that last question. If she said yes, I might have a chance. Not much of one, but a chance. But, what would I do if she said no? I couldn't live the rest of my life like that, always wishing she had said yes, that we could have been together, or at least had a chance. I would always wonder what could have been.

"Yes, and no." Well, that's better than I flat out no, I think. "I love the hunt, but I do want to grow up. I've been thinking about leaving. I think, when Artemis comes to get us, I will." I kept my composure, but, on the inside, I was the happiest I can remember being in a long, long time. "But, falling in love?" and, with a few words, that happiness had ended. "I don't see that happening. Really, who could ever fall in love, with me?"

"I could." I froze. That had slipped out before I had time to stop myself from saying what I was thinking, how I felt. Her expression was confused, then, it changed, to something I couldn't quite read.

"Thalia, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say-" she placed a finger over my lips.

"Malcolm," She smiled, making my heart skip a beat. "It's okay."

"No, you're a hunter, and you just said that you didn't think you'd ever fall in love."

"No." her hands moved to my shoulders. "I'm a soon-to-be ex-hunter. And I said that I didn't think someone would fall in love with me." There were tears in her eyes. "A demigod's life is hard. We never expect good things to happen to us. You know that as well as I do. Hardly any of us have happy endings. I never expected to be one of those few, especially not with someone like you."

She pulled me into a hug, but I had seen a few stray tears making their way down her cheeks.

Her head buried into the crook of my neck. "Thalia," I whispered to her "I love you."

"And I love you." She sat back up, smiling. "I would kiss you, but, as you have reminded me, I'm still a hunter, and that kind of thing would get me in big trouble."

I pouted at this, and she laughed.

It was a conversation that I would never forget. But, it was also a conversation that no one had heard. That much was surprising. But no one had noticed us, not in the back of the crowd, barely visible in the firelight.

Author's note: so, that was, interesting. Not one of my best works, but it will have to do. I'm actually happy with the length of it. My one-shots are normally quite short. Oh, and an important note. One of my other one-shots, 'Crazy in Love', is up for a Verita ward in the Best One-shot category. The awards are at fanmortals(dot)webs for those of you who are not familiar with them. Please, VOTE. Love ya!