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The nights are always cold around the end of the year in La Riiz. Tonight is no exception. A particularly insistent gust of wind squeezes its way through the windowsill, and Melia can’t help but shiver where she lies.

Fen reaches out for the blanket, but Melia shakes her head. It’ll get too warm.

She pulls his hand towards her face instead. Fen complies, gently taking a hold and leaning in. Soft lips press against hers, then trails along her jawline to her neck. Melia closes her eyes. She feels Fen pulling back, then run a hand over her curves. She hums in approval.

Movements still.

Melia opens her eyes, and follows Fen’s gaze. His eyes linger on the scar running from her right breast to her left rib. The two of them are no strangers in the bedroom, but like a stutter, his hands hesitate over the scar each time.


Fen doesn’t meet her eyes. His lips, pressed together into a thin line, betrays no words. But the silence is just as telling.

“You know it doesn’t hurt.”

Fen says nothing. He brings up his hand and slowly traces the scar, from the top to the bottom. A feather would have felt rougher. Melia brushes her fingers against Fen’s cheek, hoping to brush away the pained expression. Fen leans into her hand, and Melia smiles.

“My cold, calculating tactician is sentimental tonight.”


Fen protests against the teasing, finally breaking his silence. He slowly meets her eyes, and Melia’s known him long enough to see the guilt in his.

“Not your fault.”

Fen’s brows draw closer together. He opens his mouth, then closes it. He leans in and presses his lips against where her scar starts. A silent apology, neither needed nor wanted.

So she answers him with a kiss, long and deep.

“…I won’t let it happen again.”

“I know you won’t.”




Later, Melia remembers something, and she laughs.

“There, now you have a New Year’s resolution. So much for ‘not needing one’, mister.”

“What, to keep you safe?”

“No, to keep yourself safe. Don’t let me save you again, now.”