If last year someone would've told Callum that he'll spend his fifteen birthday at Xadia, teaching an elf how to dance, he'd probably recommend them to go clean their head because they had too much wine. Yet, here he was, and here was Rayla.
And he wasn't even sure how it all started.
They were traveling in Xadia for some weeks now, and Callum started thinking about his mother. She was always so drawn to the nature and the beauty in the world - he knew she would've loved it.
"We shall mount it all together, reach up to the stars, for you are mine and I am yours, and this magic time is ours."
"What did you say?" Rayla asked, shaking him back to the present.
"Oh- nothing. It's just... A song my mother used to sing to me when I was little." he looked away, scratching his neck.
"It was nice. Go on." she smiled. She was carrying Zym in her hands- the little dragon was sleeping.
"I-" he started, then gave up. "Um, okay. Er... Look up at the sky, feel the heat of the sun, the air that surround us, and earth and sea as one, feel the light of moonbeam, hear the stars' old song, that's our magic time, son, and that's where we belong." he blushed. "It- she used to sing it to me at my birthdays. Every year. We'd dance too." they had a dance every year at the palace the day of his birthday, and he'd always dance with his mother, and after her passing, with aunt Amaya, who knew the song too, and used to sing it- well, not sing, but rather sign it in lovely, dance-like movements.
Rayla looked at him, and he was sure she was going to tease him somehow. He prepared to hear her calling him dummy, or laughing at this- did elves even had dances? What she said catch him off guard-
"What?" he wasn't sure he heard her right.
"It's your birthday today, isn't it? Teach me to dance." she put Zym on the dirt gently, careful not to wake him. "Well?" she stood up, looking at Callum.
"Ahhh, I don't know." he looked at the dirt, not wanting to catch her eyes. It was kind of his mother's thing- a thing that still belonged to her. He'd dance at other occasions, but at his birthdays, he never danced with anyone else. Not even Claudia. It- it was part of his mother, and he didn't want it to disappear.
"Oh. Okay then." she seem to understand.
"Thanks." he said awkwardly, sitting down at the dirt. It was a disaster. He didn't want her to be offended - it just was something he wasn't ready to share yet. Yet he felt like a jerk.
"You know, in Xadia, fifteen is the age you start becoming mature. You get your first marks, and you can start doing jobs, if you want. It's a big deal." Rayla brushed the sand with her hand, drawing spirals and waves in the dirt.
"I see." he looked at her, her purple eyes glittering in the setting sun. She was beautiful. Magical.
"Did your mother wrote that poem?" she asked, smiling. "It's about the six primlal sources."
"I know." he laughed awkwardly. "My mom- she liked magic like me, maybe even more. She used to think every creature has the right to live- and everyone loved her. She was kind, strong, and determinate..." he looked up, his voice fading. "You met Amaya. Mother was like her- but also so different. She was nice to everyone and yet fought like a demon- and she used to make fun of everyone. Anytime. She used to tease my father even more than you tease me." he stopped as he realized what he just said. Did he really just tell her that? He hadn't even noticed how much Rayla reminded him of Sarai until now.
He's gonna be so sorry about it.
He stood up and offered her his hand. "Okay."
"Um, what?" she looked at him, amusement and confusion battling each other in her gaze.
"I'll teach you to dance." he said, his ears burning.
"Oh. You will?" she looked so happy. It surprised him. She stood up, too, and took his hand. Her palm was soft and gentle, and fitted perfectly into his, her four fingers naturally slipping into the spaces between his, his skin reflects her own purplish shade.
"Okay, just..." he hesitated, not wanting to startle her or make her uncomfortable. He gently placed his other hand on her hip.
"Hey." She smiled, touching his shoulder, "I'm not gonna kill you, okay?"
"Okay. Yeah." he laughed awkwardly. "Okay, you put your hand- oh, never mind, just leave it there." he blushed.
"Okay, now we just -" he started moving, counting like his mother taught him. "One, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three, it's all about timing." he explained, as they spin slowly. "You're a natural."
"Thanks." she followed his steps, her movements smooth and elegant, and reminding him of old lost times and she laughed and her laugh was high and kind and full of joy and she took control of the dance and suddenly they were dancing something that isn't human dance and isn't elfish and it was both and yet non and it was beautiful and full of life and he was exhausted but he didn't want to stop and her eyes met his and they laughed so much and she was beautiful and it was magical and they were flying-
And she stopped, breathing hard, looking into his eyes. Callum started to panic - why did she-Did he do something wrong? Did he screw up again? Of course he did, he always did, and he should have known that he'll only make it worse and-
Her lips touched his.