Disclaimer: blah blah Michelle Paver etc

Summary: As Torak and Renn adjust to their relationship, Renn finds herself doubting Torak.


It had been two full moons since Torak and Renn's departure from the Raven Clan. Two full moons of exploring, discovering and remembering, and yet Torak hadn't nearly had enough.

He sat against a gnarled willow tree one evening, when he told Renn this. She sat a little way in front of him, awaking a fire. He idly noticed the way she pulled her lower lip through her teeth in concentration.

"Renn?" he said after a moment or two's silence.

She frowned. "Wait, I'm busy."

He knew better than to offer his help. He also knew that he'd said something that she didn't like, and he found himself wondering why it was sometimes so difficult and awkward with her.

He waited until the flames were dancing merrily before he opened his mouth to speak. Suddenly Renn turned to face him, and his breath caught at the way her face glowed in the light.

She broke his reverie by tossing a salmon cake at him.

"Renn, did I say something?"

She quirked an eyebrow and smiled slightly. "Yes, you did."

"No, I mean, did I – I mean, was there something I said that bothers you?" Sometimes Torak was at odds with the dynamic between them, now that they were living apart from everyone else. But together still. There was a sense of complete honesty, and, yet, not a sense of complete comfort.

Renn finished gnawing at her salmon cake – taken from Fin-Kedinn's private stores before their departure – before she answered.

"I also enjoy exploring the forest," she began cautiously. She averted her eyes.

Torak paused. "So you enjoy it, but you wouldn't want to keep doing it? Always?" His chest tightened at the prospect of Renn leaving him – of being alone in the forest once more. Like an outcast.

"Torak!" her voice was sharp, "Can't you see? I don't – I only... You should know that I would never have done this if I hadn't met you."

"So you blame me for taking you from the Raven Clan? I didn't force you, Renn, you asked me. Remember?" his voice was a little too loud, and the ravens cawed irritably from a nearby tree.

Renn frowned stormily at him and then turned her back.

"I don't blame you, Torak. All I'm saying is that, this whole time, you've been marvelling at the Forest, and saying that you could never stop exploring it, but you've forgotten why I left the Ravens." Her voice was more vulnerable than Torak expected, and he instinctively leaned forward to touch her, but, again, a sense of awkwardness overwhelmed him, and he shyly retreated.

"I left for the same reason you left. Only, it wasn't to marvel at the Forest."

As her words slowly sunk in, Torak felt heat pooling to both his cheeks and his lower abdomen. He wished he could see her face.

"Renn..." his voice was hoarse. She tilted her head hopefully. "Renn – don't think that it wouldn't have been the worst experience for me to leave you behind."

This time she turned around completely, her eyes big and searching. He stretched forward and grabbed her hand.

"I had to leave. You know that. But it would have been the most awful thing I've ever done if I'd had to leave without you."

She smiled tentatively, and he pulled her towards himself and settled her under his arm. They sat in a warm silence as Torak considered her words. He could hardly believe that she'd think that he had only wanted her there so as not to be alone. That may have been part of the reason, but it was nothing compared to simply wanting her. He felt some of the awkward tension that had existed between them disappear.

A wolf howled in the distance. Good kill, pack-brother. Torak grinned and howled back enthusiastically.

"Wolf will be back tomorrow, I think. He's only just finished hunting now," he said to Renn. She smiled fully, causing the heat in Torak's abdomen to double. He gazed down at her contentedly. He had claimed her in all ways but one, but he knew that that would come in good time.

Slowly, he lowered his face until his lips were a hair's breadth from hers.

"I don't think have had nearly enough of this, either," he whispered, and then he kissed her until his head was filled with stars.


The ending's pretty corny, I know. But I mean, they're inexperienced with this stuff. They probably are corny.

Also, a note for anyone considering alerting/favouriting this story:

a) It's a oneshot. So putting it on story alert may be a tad superfluous.

b) For those of you who believe that favouriting a story is either equivalent to or somehow more complimentary than reviewing it, you're wrong. Favouriting this story when you have 200 other favourite stories doesn't mean that you think it's good - it just means that you're a favourite-whore and you're too lazy to review. I'd rather you tell me "this story is average because blah blah", than stick it under your favourites and not tell me why it's not worth reviewing.

Cool beans :)