We continue in silence until we come to another barbed-wire fence, and he moves to help me over again. I still grip his shoulders tightly, though I know I'm perfectly safe in his hands.

He glances down at my hands as he sets me back on my feet, a small smile on his lips.

"You don't seem to trust me," He says, a slight mocking tone to his words.

"I'm just not used to being picked up like that," I say, taking a step away and turning my back. After a moment I glance over my shoulder and tease, "Besides, maybe I just like holding onto you."

Without waiting for a response I turn away, looking deeper into the forest. I hear him chuckle behind me, and his footsteps pad across the soft ground as he moves closer.

"Oh really?" He asks, and from the corner of my eye I can see he's smiling. I step closer to the nearest tree and grab a low branch, using it to swing myself into the tree to get a better look around. I look down at Ray with a grin, knowing he can't see me from where he's standing.

He sighs as he sits on another low branch, and I shift to see him a little better. He's still smiling, so the sigh doesn't worry me so much.

"You're making me anxious," He says, and I drop down to the ground once more.

"Am I? I don't mean to make you uncomfortable."

"Well, you're certainly confusing me."

"Confusing?" I echo. Did he think I was teasing? Okay, maybe I was, but that didn't mean I was insincere.

"Well, its like this, Ray - I don't believe in wasting words. So, everything I say is sincere. I mean every word."

Of course, that wasn't exactly clear and direct either. But if he thought about it, he should realize just what I meant with everything I'd said since we met.

"Okay, well that helps so much." He mutters.

"You're right," I sigh, "That wasn't very helpful." I look away and kick at the dirt lightly. "I'm just... not very good at being direct about things like this."

This seems to get his attention, and he looks up again, smiling as though my words gave him hope.

"Things like what, exactly?"

I scowl at him, giving him a playful shove. He knows very well what I mean. He's the one doing the teasing now.

"Maybe I should ask where you stand on all this," I say, "You're not being very forthcoming about yourself either, you know."

"Words aren't exactly my strong suit."

"Well we're both doing great then, aren't we? I've never been one for a lot of unnecessary words either. I'm more about action."

"I didn't talk for almost five years."

"Five years?" I repeat, "How did you not talk for five years?"

"I lived alone in a forest." He shrugs, "The only thing I could talk to was the animals I hunted, and they weren't exactly up for chatting."

"Oh... well, I suppose that makes sense then. Didn't you ever get lonely? I don't think I could do that." I can't even imagine doing that. I think I would go mad if I didn't have someone to talk to. And he did that for five years?

"It wasn't that hard, really," He says, "I'd never lived with many others, so making the transition wasn't that hard."

"Well, still. I couldn't do that. It's remarkable that you did and still turned out so normal."

Ray laughs at that, and I look up again. What did I say that was so funny?

"Normal?" He echoes, "I would never use that word to describe myself!"

"Well, okay, maybe you're not one hundred percent normal," I shrug, "But really, who cares? Normal is overrated anyway. I'd rather have someone who was more interesting."

I don't think about the impact of my words until they're out of my mouth, but then I wish I could take them back. Had I really just said, "I'd rather have"? Geez, if that isn't a declaration, I don't know what is! I really need to be more careful...

As I pray to whatever deity might take pity on me that Ray didn't hear that, he steps up beside me and gently nudges me with his shoulder.

"Am I yours, now?"

His words are so soft I have to strain to hear them, and somehow they make me shiver. Before I have a chance to respond, he quickens his step and I'm left behind. I hurry to catch up, shaking my head as a blush creeps across my cheeks.

"I didn't mean it like that," I say, "I'm not possessive, really."

My step slows so that I'm still slightly behind him, and I look away, murmuring, "Of course, if you wanted to be..."