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once upon a time

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Kade did not know if he loved Nancy. He had loved a green-haired girl back in Prism, one who kissed him and taught him things about life and himself, and he had kissed her back and told her stories of what he had done, the good and the bad.

This was unlike that in so many ways. There were less rules in this world around them, and Kade was in a very different position than he had been. So was Nancy. She was so still, but now just a little more willing to engage in the world around her than watch it as it went by.

He supposed he could try. He loved her in the moment when they were sitting outside and he was telling her about Eleanor's birthday gift he was making. She sat, still as stone, as a butterfly landed on her, resting gently on her hand. She had just stared at it, and Kade watched it with her until some move of his or the world scared it off.

He loved her in the moment that she joined him in the attic, telling him about the poets in the court of the Lord of the Dead, who would perform their works at those grand feasts of her home.

He loved her when she laughed. Especially when he had, at her insistence, tried a pomegranate for the first time and had apparently made a "weird face" at the unexpectedly sour flavor.

He loved her when she had tried to teach him stillness, and when she only smiled when he couldn't hold a pose for more than ten minutes.

He loved her in the quiet nights, as the stars twinkled down on them, talking for hours over hot chocolate, when she became as good as him at making it.

He loved her when she shyly came over to sit with him at dinner not long after Jack and Jill, her last table mates, had left.

He loved her when never saw her again, because he knew, he just knew, that she had found her way happily home. He knew that was all she truly wanted.

Kade thought he could have loved Nancy, once. If they had not been separated by the worlds that brought them together.