There is some adult content in this one. If you shouldn't be reading this, don't.

"Ma..."It had been the only sound that had issued from Laurel's lips as she laid on a bed of hay in the stable, covered with blankets and hot pans. Mark was pacing right beside her one moment, then crouching awkwardly on his knees the next, monitoring the brighter flame of her necklace stone. For all he knew, she could have been calling for her mother, and if she called for him, it would be in hatred, most likely. He bit his lip, which was bleeding now after the chafing of the wind and snow. He decided that she was better off without him- that he was a low down... NOTE: this is the only time I will not use long lengthy explanations of what he is calling himself! Take advantage of this and use your imagination! Charcoal eyed him warily, perhaps with a bit of horse insanity in her eyes, and trotted to the far end of the empty stable. He kept on imagining the wrong things...he unintentionally bit his lip every time he did, but he couldn't help it. He didn't deserve anything from her. Not even hearing her call his name. He began to imagine that now actually was talking.

"Mark..." He reddened at how she looked. He had done such a bad job of things, and she would be disgraced when...hold it. This is Laurel he was talking about. He still felt bad about her being in her previous cold and wet clothes- he had not been sure it would be permissible to change them, and her lips were just as cracked as his, but she was tough! Wasn't she? She tried to punch him in the arm, and he swung back to reality. Her voice was a croak, so he brought her a mug of water with a little punch of horse malt. She let it flow freely over her lips and into her mouth, and then began to cough and rasp from the malt. After a few seconds, she sat up- still feebly, but much better, and he felt a harder punch catch him in the jaw. Her robe was partially open from sitting up, so he looked away.

"Hey." Her tone was soft yet brittle- quiet yet angry, he could tell she was hurt inside.

"Hey." He replied blankly, feeling undeserving of emotion.

"Where's she?" Laurel asked plainly.

"I don't know or care."

"Don't lie." Feeble fists started pummeling him, beating at his chest. He gently but firmly pushed her hands against her side and became serious.

"I wouldn't lie." Mark felt something piling, building up inside of him. He had not intended to tell her anything, but maybe he...He shut off that line of thought and became the servant.

"Are you all right? Do you need anything?"

"Of course I'm not all right, you twit. I would've thought you had more sense than that. It's cold. I feel like all I've ever been is cold."

Mark turned around to unfasten his riding jacket, being put to good use at last. He was in the process when he felt fingers trail down his spine. He stiffened, burning with sensation and desire, and cheeks as red as the jacket. Please don't tempt me, he thought. She was playing games with him, ever the wily tricky one of the two. He ignored her touch, and settled the crimson jacket over her body gently, not daring to look into her eyes, knowing that if he did, he would dissolve in the hurt that must lay there.

Suddenly, Laurel grabbed his hand, still on the jacket. She pointed to her shoulder, which was not blanketed by the coat. "I'm cold here."

He reluctantly moved the coat over her shoulder, only for her to grab his other hand, and point to the other shoulder with it.

"I'm cold here, too." There was a strange quality to her voice, akin to the sound a willow tree makes when wind is whistling throughout it's leaves. He saw in shock what she was trying to do.

"Don't." He croaked, instead of she.

"You dislike me this much? You could just tell me, and go back to your precious green eyed beauty. We're just chums, after all." She practically spat this at him, desperate and angry.

"I'm sorry...I thought I liked her, but I realized when I visited the farrier's shop..."He froze and began to stand up.

"Please Mark, as a friend to a friend, a brother to a sister, anything but what you hate me as, could you just kiss me, please? I haven't felt anything but numbness and cold for...a while." She stood up, on his level, if a bit shaky on her feet.

"Only for you alone, and not for me." he whispered wide-eyed back at her. If it was all she wanted, then regardless of playing the servant, he had ended up doing the opposite. Well, a tender brother's kiss could cause no harm. He bent over her hung down head, and placed his lips on hers, gingerly.

She first felt it was as mild as morning dew, the few whiskers above his lip barely touching hers. Then, it changed, and she was shocked into feeling something, something she thought he didn't feel. She was against him now, pressing her face on his, fire coursing between them, and she couldn't tell who was ripping off eachother's clothes anymore. She was on the blanket in the hay. He was too. His lips were on her neck now, trailing further and further all the time, and felt blinding light, and undescribable pleasure as she gave way to him, utterly and fully- joyfully.