written for fiefgoldenlake dot proboards dot net's Fanfiction Decathlon, the 400 word dash. Title yanked from the xx song 'Islands', and the poem Roald refers to is of course Shakespeare's sonnet 116 - "let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments" and so forth.

She finds him, perched on a windowsill in a rare moment of solitude, dark head bent over a small, leather-bound book. Shinko takes a moment to observe, resisting the urge to smooth out the crease between his eyebrows with a touch of her hand. It wouldn't yet be appropriate.

It takes Roald a moment to sense her presence, but when he does he turns his head and makes room for her on the window seat. "Come sit," he says, smiling. She gathered up her skirts to perch beside him, itching to lean on his shoulder.

Roald notes the respectable inches between them but makes no comment on it.

"What are you reading?" she asks, peering interestedly over his shoulder. "Not another book about tactics, is it?"

He closes it and shows her the cover. "Not exactly, no." It's a book of love poems from lost ages. Shinko knows the surprise won't show on her face, but Roald still must catch something, because the corner of his mouth tilts up.

"This volume has my favorite," he says. "The language is somewhat archaic, but it's still lovely. They called the poet the Bard, back in his day- I used to have it memorized-" he flips through dog-eared pages. "Here it is."

Shinko takes the book and reads the poem, fourteen lines. Some of the sentence structure is strange; ancient Tortallan poems are even father away from the Yamani she is used to, but she can see why he likes it, unexpected as that is.

"What does it mean?" The words slip out lightly. "Can you explain?"

He takes her hand and squeezes it. "Love is constant. Love will survive. It will guide us." And Shinko knows, knows what he's trying to say in his own subdued way. She allows herself in those last few inches and kisses his cheek, feather-light and fancy-free. She draws back and the sheer tenderness in his eyes surprises her. Roald carefully puts the book down beside him, cups her face in his hands.

"Shinko," he breathes out in happy disbelief. "I-"

"We don't need words," she says, a quiet reminder that urges him on. He kisses her full on the lips. She feels her spine relax, feels blood rush to her cheeks.

"You're wonderful," he murmurs, brushing her face softly with his hand. "And I would very much like to do that again."

She responds in actions.