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Counting Moments

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The first time he had tried to teach her to juggle they had used apples. He decided that it had been a good thing that he hadn't given her anything breakable...or heavy.


Sometimes, when he couldn't sleep, he would sneak into her room just to hear her breathe and know that she was alright.


He had never been one for addictions; he had never felt the pull of alcohol or magic so strongly that he couldn't stop if he needed to. She, however, was altogether different. Once he was finally able to touch her in the ways he had been thinking of for so long, he couldn't get enough. Her lips, hair, skin; everything about her intoxicated him. He had begun to worry that he was too insistent and eager in his attentions but after a few months the thought occurred to him that he may not be the only one addicted. After all, she was the one who always crept into his study at lunch.


The real reason he always cooked for her or brought her out was because he simply didn't want to tell her that she couldn't cook worth a damn if it involved anything more than putting noodles in a pot.


He had seen the way that Ozorne had looked at her when the delegation greeted him. People could say that the emperor had wanted her for her magic all they wanted; he knew what that look had met. She had seen their conversation in the aviary but what she wasn't aware of was when Ozorne had approached him at one of the banquets and, under the pretense of an innocent conversation, told him exactly what he wanted to do to her. He had gone to the gardens to be sick.


The first time he opened his locket after the immortals war he found her portrait missing. In its place was an intricately rendered portrait of the two of them beneath blue skies.


The first time she cried because of him was just after he had handed her his midwinter gift. He had panicked before it occurred to him that it may just have been the first present she had ever received from someone other than her family. She had smiled up at him, face sheepish and red, eyes misty and sapphire earbobs glinting from behind her hair he had thought that he had never seen anything more beautiful in his life.


The tower was his house; she was his home.


He had never seen a better reaction than when the people of her hometown were greeted not with the town bastard, but with a demi-goddess. He may have added some magic tricks to her entrance for effect.


The last thing he ever wanted her to know was that he was jealous of every single animal that got to share her bed when he was away.


It was a hazy memory but he knew who her first kiss had been. He still remembered as she had drunkenly pointed him out in the crowd of rider festivities. For a moment he had panicked when he thought she was pointing at a pair of twins but quickly blamed that on his last ale, or four. He had for the first time seriously wondered what he could get away with due to his proximity to the king until Daine had, in a none too subtle whisper, confided in him that the boys skills left something to be desired and, half spilling her drink, proclaimed, as seriously as she could while staring in confusion at her empty glass, that kissing "wasn't worth the effort at all and that it would take someone of extreme talent to convince her otherwise." He knew who her second kiss was too.


After he met her he could never say 'I love you' to another woman.


Children of all ages made her nervous. She avoided babies and got fidgety when kids followed her around. She disappeared whenever someone mentioned that they needed someone to watch their kids and when she was around them she either tried her best to ignore them or let them play with something carnivorous. He thought that she would make a brilliant mother.


He had refused to call her magelet anymore unless she stopped calling him 'Numy'.


He hadn't known that she'd given up being a goddess for him until her father had told him. That midsummer's day, as he clutched her hand and she lay on the simple cot waiting for death, was the one time that he truly wished she had never loved him.


He would never tell her but he thought she looked adorable in the color pink; the Dunlath seamstress had had dresses in three other colors that he had paid her to hide.


She had saved him once from a sneak attack from behind. They had been helping to quell a minor rebellion in the streets and she has loosed an arrow and killed his assailant seconds before he would have been struck down. The attacker turned out to be a boy who couldn't have been more than eleven. They never spoke of it.


Nothing relaxed him more after a long day than sitting in front of the fire and finger combing her hair after she took her bath.


Their first time had been little more than a joke. Wounded and half dead they had held each other under their makeshift shelter and planted poorly aimed kissed on one another. As he undressed her he realized just how many scars she had and his heart broke when he grasped that he had never been able to protect her.


He had thought of leaving her exactly two times so that she could have a normal life. Both times she simply told him to stop being a dolt and to pay attention to what he was doing because she would be damned if he burned the soup again.


It broke his heart that she still believed that she was lucky for finding him.


Others knew of his feelings before he did, long before. Looking back he thought it must have been the unicorn fever that tipped them off. He had sat outside her door for days, waiting for her to recover; or not. He hadn't slept once and everyone said it showed how devoted he was to her. Again though, looking back, he wondered if it was about her at all or if it was about his selfishness in that if she were to have last moments they had to be his as well.


Possibly the most awkward moment of his life was when he, yes he, had to tell her that she was officially a woman. They had been travelling and Daine had exhausted herself healing a group of deer who had gotten into some moldy grain and they had been away from their camp. She had called Cloud and Spots to come pick them up before her knees gave out and he had caught her. While waiting for their mounts Numair had sat against a tree trunk and rested her in his lap. After a moment, beginning to feel a strange sensation in his lap, he had looked down, realized something was, er, amiss and after a few mumbled sentences on his part she had shot up and walked away through the woods as he mourned his favorite pair of travel breeches. She hadn't been able to look at him for a week.


He looked up the longest and most difficult to pronounce words so that he could use them in conversation with her because he found it adorable when she stuttered over them until she could repeat them.


He had never felt that he thought of himself as an old man. He always believed that being with her would make him feel the difference in their age everyday until it ate away at him. The truth was that he never felt so youthful, so alive, as he did when he was with her.


He had fought with her, feared her, been disappointed in her, furious with her but never once, for no instant, had he ever stopped loving her.