I saw Corin start and then he turned towards the trees with a smile on his face. He had gotten near the woods in his practice after Griever had left him. I'd been watching him train, but he'd been too far away for me to hear anything. Now he searched for me and I allowed myself a smile at his cheeky eyes before dropping from the tree I was in and rolling out of the landing.
"Ta dah," he murmured, grinning and sheathing his sword, coming to me. I stepped back a bit and disappeared behind the tree and heard him chuckle lightly before following me. I led him on a bit of a dance, through the trees until we were deeper in the forest than anyone had been since the fae attack. It was then that I let him outwit me, catching me as I paused behind a tree. He grabbed me and I fell in to his chest, laughing. He kissed me and I wrapped my arms around his neck. He was strong and his lips crushed mine, taking my breath from me until, when I was light-headed, he released me. "I love you." He murmured against the edge of my lips.
I snapped out of it, staring down at him training. I'd let my guard down, stuck in a stupid daydream of things that couldn't happen. I grabbed a couple of acorns and began to throw them at him. The first bounced off his shoulder, and before he had chance to look around the second clipped his ear. I giggled slightly and saw him turn, sword in hand, a smirk on his face.
"Kate?" He called. Another acorn hit his chest in reply. "I'll take that as an invitation in to the forest then." He said, and sheathed his sword, coming towards me. He passed my tree and I dropped to the ground behind him. He turned, ready, and I smirked.
"You'd be dead by now anyway." I put away my dagger. "But nice attempt."
"Well I could hardly complain, if you were the one to kill me." He grinned, grasping my hand and pulling me towards him. I placed my hands on his chest and stopped him.
"Don't go back. Stay." I asked, peering up at him through the green light the dense tree tops allowed. His face was sad, and he took my face in his hands, stroking one cheek with his rough thumb.
"I was going to ask you to come with me again." He said and I looked down, upset. "You know I can't stay Kate. The Sheriff would make me number one priority, all the things I know... it'd put you in more danger. Besides I have a job to do."
"But is it right? Being here you could do so much. Accomplish so much..."
"I could do the same in the castle. I can watch out for you, warn you if anything happens..."
"And if you were caught? The Sheriff will suspect if we always know what is going to happen. And your time with us will make you the first under suspicion."
"Well he wouldn't be wrong there." Corin smiled, stroking the edge of my lip. "You have compromised me." I snorted and pulled away from him. His mind was made up then. "Why won't you come with me?" He asked from behind me. "I could give you dresses, jewels... you could live a comfortable life."
"I don't want those things." I span round, annoyed. "What part of me do you not understand? I don't want to be covered in jewels, I don't care about riches."
"That's not what I-"
"Forget it Corin. Go back to your castle. I was just a bit of fun, a distraction while you fought the fae."
"That's not what you are."
"Sure." I felt used; I had let my guard down around him, forgotten everything he had done to me, to us.
"Kate..." He murmured, coming up behind me and putting his hands on my shoulders. I whipped around, my dagger to his throat.
"Touch me again Marshall..." I dared him and he raised his hands. "I don't take kindly to being used. I want you and your men out of here before nightfall. I don't care where you find them, just as long as they are away from my Hawks and back in their comfort." I spat the last word. I could tell he was angry; god I could use a fight right now. He actually tried, grabbing the wrist holding my knife and trying to hold me still.
"Kate you're wrong I-"
"Oh I'd worked out I was wrong for you, thank you very much." I responded, pushing at him. He was very strong and I couldn't quite get free. It happened in the moment, I was angry, and I grabbed the small knife from the back of my belt and swung it upwards. He released me, cursing. I'd sliced his cheek, a shallow wound that would not scar, but enough for him to release me. "Leave." I ordered as he cursed and held his cheek, then I turned and hurried back towards the village. I would move them as soon as the guards were all gone. We would return to our home in the forest and repair it if it had been broken. Then we would go back to how we had been before any of this had happened.
"Kate! I was looking for you." Griever called, and he was beside me, Jem next to him. She was smiling and for a moment I realised I was right, there was something between them. And then I realised how that made me feel considering what had just happened and I felt a sudden jealousy and annoyance towards the pair.
"What is it?" I continued marching, and saw them exchange looks between them.
"Are you alright?" Jem asked. I stopped and turned towards them, hands on hips.
"What is it?" I repeated.
"I was wondering, in the spirit of things, and because you don't have enough handsome, strong men around, whether I could join your merry band! You know, prevent the women from going stir crazy once they've not got all these soldiers around to entertain them."
I glared at him and he seemed to realise he'd hit a sore spot. Before he could comment again though I raised my hand.
"You're a good swordsman, you know battle plans and you have a way of making everyone smile."
"Not everyone apparently." He muttered under his breath.
"What was that?" I snapped.
"Nothing. You were saying?" Jem said as she elbowed him. He grunted and waited for my answer.
"You may join us Griever. But I don't want broken hearted women wandering around. Or a lot of babies for that matter. Keep it to yourself." I warned him, then turned on my heel and marched off to begin removing the soldiers from wherever they might be. I checked the hall first, where breakfast was being served, and saw that there were not many people there. They were more than likely still in bed from the celebration last night. Or other such activities.
The bath house was another story. I marched in and found several of the soldiers with my Hawks, swimming naked around the big pool. They grinned up at me until they saw my expression.
"The soldiers leave before night fall. I advise that you say your goodbyes."
"But-" One of the young girls said, her arm wrapped around one of the young soldiers.
"No excuses." I snapped and marched out of the building.