She was dazzling, lithe and smooth as she ducked and rolled and stabbed and slashed, her sword whipping about her small frame as her opponents held their wounds to stop the bleeding. None of them would die, of course. It wasn't in her nature to kill. Vyse couldn't recall if she had ever actually dealt a death blow - not that he had a problem with her not having killed anyone. It was, in fact, this hesitance to do harm that drew him to her in the first place. This quiet, gentle innocence with green eyes that sparkled with a mixture of apprehension and delight at a world where everything was new. It was she who fed the flames of his explorer's spirit, she who still had so much to see...

At last she stopped, pointing her blade at the throat of the Yafutoman captain who had beset their ship, an act of arrogance he surely now regretted. The captain jerked backward, landing on his back, hands held in the air.

"Wh... Who are you?" he managed to stammer. Vyse could feel her smile even before she lifted off the oversized helmet common to Valuan soldiers, a helmet to match the bulky armor she currently wore.

The helmet hit the steel decking of the Valuan Cruiser with a resounding clang, causing the defeated Captain to twitch yet again as the wind caught her pale blonde hair, whipping it about her victorious expression.

"I'm Fina," she said simply, "and I think I just passed my final exam."

Vyse lifted off his own helmet and tucked it under the crook of his right arm. "Not your final. Not yet."

With those words, Vyse dropped the helmet, pulled his cutlasses and rushed headlong at his friend, the innocent, the damsel in distress whose eyes were even now starting to sparkle with the thrill of the challenge.

It was then that they danced. To all other eyes they appeared to be locked in a fierce struggle, but to them the clash of moonstone on the hardened skin of Cupil was the staccato beat of a drum keeping time for a band only they could hear. It was strength and years of honed finess against easy, lightfooted grace and versatility.

How long this lasted, only the moons know. The Yafutoman pirates slunk back to their ship, bleeding and humiliated, but neither combatant seemed to notice or care about their escape. eventually the light of a red moon reflected dully off the surface of the brushed metal decking, casting its glow upon the two who met for one final clash, holding their blades locked against one another until together they melted into a laughing, smiling heap, both of them far too weary to even think about moving.

They didn't say a word, merely watched the stars as a warm breeze blew over them from the south, bringing with it echos of grit and exotic spices.

"When the Little Jack went down... when we lost you... I looked up at this moon and wondered if you were looking at it too." Fina pulled the gauntlets off of her hands and folded them on her stomach, her head contentedly resting on an uncomfortable chest plate. Vyse fumbled above his head, finally ridding his own hands of the armored gloves. Carefully, almost tentatively, he lowered his left hand to hers, lacing nervous fingers together with a shivering charge of electricity.

"I'm glad we're not as far apart as we were then," Vyse said, his voice carrying lightly to her ears, bringing heat to her face as a heart that had just started to rest jumped within her. She sighed and squeezed his hand, closing her eyes with a smile that she would wear for days.

Time ceased to be. It didn't stop or slow, it simply wasn't relevant to the two that lay there under the stars, their breathing shallow despite the tightness each felt in their chests. Neither slept. These frozen moments were beyond value and to be savored, minds both fuzzy and alert with the excitement of possibility and yearning.

It was Fina who shifted first, her hand breaking away from Vyse's, allowing him a brief moment of disappointment before her hand found his cheek and her lips found his lips and then not only time is gone but everything everywhere. It is only them.

An unspoken promise is made.

These are yours.

Only yours.

Forever.