2019 is the year I write more overly-indulgent fanfiction of my favorite ships, baby.
Primrose clung tightly to the red furs she found herself layered in, attempting to trap every bit of heat she could in S’warkii’s frigid forest temperatures. The sun was shining through the forest trees, but it wasn’t enough to completely empty the place of snow, with melted water and slicked ice surrounding her. Primrose was more used to Sunshade’s deserts, and wasn’t happy with how different she looked in the change of clothes – like a lightly toasted marshmallow.
“As I said already, it will not reveal itself for a few more hours. We will have to wait.” H’aanit was too busy taking care of her bow on a nearby log to take notice of Primrose’s discomfort. She adjusted the strength of the bow’s string, carefully pulling it to check its weight against her hands without damaging the weapon. Primrose watched her, leaning against their tent. She loved seeing the woman work, fully absorbed in her task. It seemed like this was when H’aanit was most at peace, and it pleased Primrose to see her so.
“When I said ‘take me on a date,’ I didn’t exactly mean a hunting trip,” Primrose teased. H’aanit looked up, shaking her blonde braid out of the way.
“I have been to your home, but you have never been to mine. This is what we do. What I was raised to do.” It was true, of course — Primrose was the last to join the merry band of eight. She had warmed up to each of them individually — even Olberic, with all his stoicism. But Primrose was immediately smitten with H’aanit the minute she saw her, quietly sipping at her ale in the Sunshade tavern while the rest of the party…well, partied, her beautiful snow leopard curled up at her feet. Primrose always had trouble opening up to others, considering her past. Despite that, people were always so nosy.
But H’aanit…here was a woman who knew not to pry. She never pressed Primrose on anything, preferring to let her speak when she was ready. Her silence wasn’t that of contempt or disinterest, but a companionable warmth. It made Primrose feel safe to share her heart.
Prim lightly shook herself out of her reminiscing. “You’re right. And even if S’warkii is freezing, it’s still beautiful. How often did you come to these woods?”
“Nearly every morning, with my master.” H’aanit placed her bow in the snow next to her. With a deft hand she unsheathed a pocket knife, sharpening her arrows one after the other. “This place is beautiful in the spring. I didn’t take much notice of it at first, but Z’aanta encouraged me to find the beauty in it all: the dew on the grass, the way the sunlight comes in softer than it does in the summer. How pools of water disturb the forest’s silence just so…” H’aanit laughed.
“That old man is a fool, but I’ve come to realize that he is the only reason I am with you now.”
Primrose’s eyes widened. “Really?”
“Really. I always felt that I needed to be…serious. Responsible. Perhaps it was due to never knowing my mother and father. Regardless, I always chose to ignore anything that wasn’t important to my role as village guardian. But I’ve come to realize that I don’t need to be like that all the time — that it was fine for me to enjoy myself, to open myself up to what I want, instead of what I needed to do. And if I hadn’t, I would not have been able to meet a girl as lovely as you.”
If Prim wasn’t wasn’t red from the cold, she was certainly scarlet now. The girl coughed into her mitted hands.
“That’s quite enough of that,” she muttered, her eyes shifting nervously. H’aanit tilted her head, a small smile on her lips.
“Are you embarrassed, perhaps?”
“I will walk all the way back to Sunshade by myself if you do not stop!”
“Were it not to disturb our prey, my laugh would be heard from here all the way to town,” H’aanit said. Her fist was clenched, as if she had captured the laughter like one of her many beast. Primrose stomped a foot.
“It’s so frustrating! I’m so used to being in control, but around you…well I am a mess, to put it simply.”
“It is very well not good!”
“It is.” H’aanit rose from the log and walked past Primrose to pull out her traps from her bag, making sure they were maintained as well. The scent of pine-needle and sandalwood floated past Prim, causing her pulse to quicken.
“I am glad that you loosen your walls around me, Primrose. To keep them up at all times must be exhausting.”
The dancer shrugged her shoulders. “You get used to it, to be honest. I learned when to put on the mask of a smile when I was on stage, and after a while, I carried it wherever I went. I had to.”
H’aanit placed the traps back in the bag, turning to face Primrose, her jaw taunt.
“When the time comes that you must finish your journey, Linde and I will be by your side, ready to face what comes. I trust you know this?” Now it was Primrose’s turn to smile.
“Of course I do, H’aanit. Oh, that reminds me!” Prim snapped her fingers, before rummaging through her bag.
“What is it?”
“One second…” Eventually, the woman pulled two emerald green ribbons.
“A match! For you and Linde. I wasn’t sure what your favorite color was, so I just used my own judgment. If you don’t like them, the shopkeep promised that we could swap them out, but I wanted it to be a surprise.”
“They’re perfect,” H’aanit said. She took one of the ribbons from Primrose’s hands, lifting it up to the sun so the light could bounce off of it. Without warning, she leaned down, pressing her lips against Prim’s. The girl was startled for a moment, before she closed her eyes, kissing H’aanit back. The forest, if not the world, was silent, but for the two of them.
Finally Primrose drew back, taking a few sharp breathes.
“Okay, we must stop there, or I will melt through these furs. Now turn around for me.”
Primrose sat on the log, while H’aanit leaned up against the girl’s knees in the snow, letting the dancer do her hair for her and tying the ribbon along with it.
“Hm?” Primrose hummed as she worked.
“After this, I would show you how to use a bow.”
Prim looked up into the trees. The sun would be setting soon, and after that, the hunt would begin in earnest. There was still so much to do. A promise that Primrose had yet to fulfill. But for now, she was content.
“Of course,” Primrose replied, stroking H’aanit’s hair.
Mint is a writer and designer living in Denver(ish) Colorado. He likes Philly Cheesesteaks, eclectic music genres, awful Horror Movies, and sleeping because he is always tired. He doesn’t know why this is in 3rd person, but he’s heard it makes you sound more sophisticated, so he’s sticking with it.
He is currently writing “The Freelancers,” a novel about gay kids with psychic powers.