The first time I saw her smile was perhaps a few weeks after we began traveling together.

The day was a pleasant one without much in the way of world-saving happening. I still wore my village girl dress, and plodded along after her; talking to much and too fast trying to earn her approval and respect. She only looked forward, however, that warrior mask firmly in place. Most of the time I think she was only listening to the dangers up ahead, as well as the always omnipresent silent sounds of her guilt. But perhaps that was the bard in me filling her silence.

I felt foolish next to her back in the early days, unimpressive and childish. One look from her ice cold gaze could leave me mute for hours. I didn't sleep much at night, because I feared she would leave me, and I would be alone. I looked at the stars, and felt comforted by their presence, the stories from my parents about my ancestors watching over me in the stars resonated through me. Beyond that, though, was the knowledge that they'd always be there, no matter how lost I was. I was so afraid of her leaving me alone back then. That all this effort to prove myself to her and to the world would be for nothing.

And still….

And still….

For all her intimidating looks, and her towering strength, and reputation..I felt safe with her. I have no idea why I did. I knew she wouldn't hurt me, somehow. Perhaps the first night or so, I did. But then she stared into the flames, barely noticing her own hands sharpening her sword, her blue eyes so reflective and full of sorrow….her face just barely dropping the mask, and the fire creating sunset streaks in her hair….and I saw part of her humanity. I saw what no one else saw, and I think she knew that. She knew I could see that.

I wondered if the path with her I took was the right one, but I stayed with it, because by the gods, it felt right. Traveling with her, saving people, writing my stories, it was exactly like I wanted my life to be like, and I didn't even know it. However there was some things missing in our early life together, and it wasn't until that pleasant, calm day, that I knew what one of them was.

She rode on Argo, and I walked as fast as I could on the ground. She had offered to let me ride Argo with her, but Argo and I had a mutual understanding. I gave her sugar cubes, and she bucked me off every time I tried to get on her back. So I walked, and she rolled her eyes saying that I'd have to keep up.

I must have been panting a bit, because the next thing I knew she is quirking an eyebrow at me.

"You don't have to walk that fast, Gabrielle."

I huffed a bit.

"You told me to walk fast."

She had sighed in that very irritated way whenever I did something she found ridiculous.

"Come on, Gabrielle, I don't want you getting heatstroke and having to have me carry you all the way to Athens."

I was so stubborn.

"No, you know what happened the last time I decided to try that again. Your horse hates me, so just leave it alone." I crossed my arms, then uncrossed them, not really knowing what to do with them.

Her eyebrow was still raised.

"And why, pray-tell, would my horse hate you?"

"I don't know! Maybe it's because I gave her that wormy apple accidentally once?"

"You know, horses consider that the worst kind of dishonor." A smirk rose on her face. I had started, thinking the joke I heard in her voice was being imagined.

"Or maybe she's angry that I'm here, and stealing some of your attention away. Maybe she's jealous." I muttered, half-joking myself.

The sound of the hooves stopped.

"Really, Gabrielle, really?"

I glanced at her once more because of the new tones in her voice, and my breath was immediately gone from my body. She was smiling. Perhaps more amused at my childish words than true happiness, but her smile immediately took the harshness off her face. It filled her eyes and cheeks with mirth, and I did not think I had ever seen anything so beautiful. I had never called her that before in my mind, even though I was aware that she really was. Warm blush filled my cheeks, and I glanced away.

Then she laughed, and her voice was filled with the same kind of mirth, and I decided then that I wanted to keep her laughing and smiling forever.

I felt whatever connection I had with her grow stronger that day, another missing link joined, never to be broken.

A/N: Please review if you've got the time, I'd love to get some feedback on this piece to help with future writing.