Disclaimer: The world and characters of Tortall belong to Tamora Pierce.

Author's Notes: More Lerant/Thayine fluff, to balance out all the angst I've been writing for my yet unpublished DtD chapter.

Sequel to Warmth.

Lerant wakes up to sunlight on his face and an empty bed.

His lingering contentment fades as he sits up and glances around his room. There's no trace of her, except a slight scent of lavender and a crumpled pillow.

Sinking back into his bed, he closes his eyes. So much for love. And she seemed so different from the others-

His door opens. "Lerant?"

His eyes snap open and he nearly falls off the bed. "Thayine? What are you doing here?"

"What do you mean?" she says, pushing through the door with her hip. He notices, belatedly, that she's carrying a tray of food, presumably from the mess hall.

"Um," he says. "Nothing. Why did you bring food?"

Thayine half-smiles at him, like he's a five-year-old who's said something very amusing. "Breakfast. I'm starting to think you'd starve to death if you weren't forced to eat each meal."

He snorts. "Very funny."

"I rather thought so," she says, still with that half-smile. "Now, eat."

They chat while he eats, both of them perched on his bed with one of his hands tangled in her hair- which makes eating very difficult, but he doesn't care- and the contentment in his chest swells again.

"Thanks, Thayine," Lerant says when he finishes, realizing that he hasn't yet thanked her.

"For what?" She smiles at him and it occurs to him that she might do things like this all the time, because she's sweet and lovely and much too nice for her own good- much too nice to end up with someone like him.

He still hasn't answered. "For-" She's too good for him, but she made her choice, didn't she? And if she loves him, well, he certainly isn't going to turn her away. Not on purpose, not when she's smiling like that.

"For being so sweet," he finishes.

"Aw, it's no trouble," she says, and hugs him like it's nothing.

(It's everything.)