We stood at the entrance to the cave for a long, silent moment. I watched Luke's tired eyes as he stared at their former prison. "Let's put this back," he said suddenly, crossly, gesturing to the boulder. "Leave this place so no one else gets stuck here."
We rolled the boulder back, and it slammed against the stone mouth of the cave with a deep, ringing *thud*, a sound that held a great deal of ominous finality.
But then Luke walked over and took my hand, squeezing it gently.
And I didn't care at that moment for anything else than the fact that he was back at my side.
I was helping Luke pack. His belonging were strewn about his room at the inn, mostly due to his hasty packing when Dworkin had come for him, but his current and almost frantic searching was only making it worse.
Finally, after he had rummaged through the pile of clothes I had just neatly folded, I said, with the slightest edge of exasperation in my voice. "Luke, what is wrong?"
He looked up from an already packed bag he was busly emptying again, and sighed deeply when he saw my expression. The bag dropped from his hands, and he sat on the floor heavily. "I... I can't find the polaroid."
He looked so forlorn and unhappy over the loss of a simple picture. I walked over, and dropped to my knees beside him. Wrapping my arms about his shoulders, I kissed his forehead. "You can always take another."
He smiled wanly. "I guess I'm getting sentimental in my old age."
I just held him close for a long moment.
"I don't even have anywhere to go," he added forlornly.
I pulled away so I could look at him. "Of course you do."
He blinked, confused and I sighed. "You can stay with me, silly."
I tucked Luke into my bed, and sat watching him until he fell off to sleep. His face slowly relaxed, most of the lines and stress that had accumulated over the last few days fading slowly.
But I was still too keyed up and restless to sleep, my mind running with everything that had happened. Maybe a walk...
My hand was on the knob when someone knocked. I pulled the door open and found myself face to face with Darien. With his sly grin, he held out to me a cloth-wrapped bundle. "Happy Birthday," he said as he stepped past me into the room.
I peeked into the bundle. It was the jewelry Darien had taken to cover his tracks in stealing the jeweler's rouge. I gave him a droll look, and he shrugged. "I figure," he stated as he reclined on the couch, "That you could say you found them somewhere and return them. They'd believe that coming from you."
I just shook my head and tucked the bundle away in a desk drawer until I had time to deal with the situation. "You think of everything."
He laughed, and I winced slightly as the sound echoed about the room. "Sh," I admonished without thinking.
"Why?" He suddenly sat up, looking quite curious.
I grimaced. If I didn't tell him, he'd continue to make noise to spite me, and he'd wake Luke. If I did tell him, I'd never hear the end of it. Either way, he was going to find out. So I took option two, figuring at least Luke would be able to sleep that way.
Pointing back in the direction of my bedroom, I quietly said, "Luke's asleep."
His eyes widened just a bit, and for the barest moment I saw something akin to annoyance flash there. "Doesn't he have his own room?"
"In fact," I replied tartly, "no he doesn't. So he's staying here until he can find a house."
Darien's eyes narrowed now. "And why does he want to find a house?"
I gritted my teeth. I was tired, I was worried, and I was, for once, in no mood for my brother's bullshit rivalry with Luke. "I don't know Darien, but it's none of your business."
Startlement flashed across his face for a moment when I snapped at him. "Ah, well..." He stood. "I think I've taken enough of your time for one evening, sister dear."
Sighing, I walked him to the door. It was impossible to stay mad at the man, no matter how much he irritated me. Though, when he slammed my door on his way out, face shining with that insufferably smug grin of his...
I heard a rustle and mutter from the bedroom, but when I looked in, Luke was still asleep.
My walk did little to clear my head, and my exhaustion was catching up with me, so I returned to my rooms. Slipping into my pajamas, I started to crawl into bed, only to find Luke sprawled right in the middle. Chuckling, I shoved him over as bet I could without waking him, and curled up against him. Warm, and content, I finally started to relax, and drifted off.
I awoke to a sharp pain in my side. Reflex kicked through my sleepy brain and I started groping off the side of the bed for my sword, which of course, was not there. But that woke me up enough to realize the whack to my ribs had been from something fairly mundane.
I grabbed Luke's offending elbow and tried to shift it, almost falling out of bed in the process, since during the night he had not only taken most the covers, but crowded me right to one edge.
Grumbling, I sat up and shook him awake, ready to make any number of snide comments about his inconsiderate sleeping habits. But when those those brilliant green eyes sleepily blinked open to meet mine, it just didn't matter anymore.
I guess that's love.