I came back to my senses in Romulus' cave. He was resting on his side, stroking my hair.
I gazed up into dark blue eyes and didn't know what to say.
Romulus broke the silence. "I think we should tie our souls together," he told me; in his intense and love-filled voice rather than his cocky one. "And I don't think you should surrender to the dark."
"Why not?" I somehow managed to say through the blankness in my mind.
Romulus shrugged. "I like you how you are."
"And you feel confident enough to commit to a long-term relationship?"
Pain flashed in Romulus' eyes. He stood up, looking furious. "What d'you mean?"
I sat up, rolling my eyes at his misinterpretation and his quick temper. "Do you want to do something that will have a major impact on your whole life?"
Romulus calmed down but was still a little hurt. "Of course I do, Tilly. I thought I'd made that clear."
"Well, you have to be certain about this kind of thing, Romulus. You can't just do this with any old girl, regardless of how much you love them. You have to know that you're totally willing to tie yourself to her and live the rest of your life without paying even half the same attention to another woman."
Romulus looked offended. "Are you saying I'd cheat on you?"
I shook my head. "I'm merely ensuring you know what you'd be doing if we went down this path."
"I do, Tilly. And if you want, we can wait a month or two to check we really feel this way about each other, but I'm certain that my feelings won't change."
My mind was slowly regaining its ability to hold a thought and the first thing that came to it made me wince.
I looked away. "I don't think we should just yet," I murmured.
"Well, that's why I was saying we could wait a couple of months," Romulus said sounding confused.
"It may have to be longer than that."
Romulus dropped to his knees and looked searchingly into my eyes. "What's wrong, Tilly?"
"The dream I had in Peter's cave. It was ... pretty significant."
"What did it tell you?" Romulus asked in hushed tones.
I looked up at him. "I think it was saying I could go either way."
"But you chose me," Romulus whispered.
"I know," I murmured back. "But I dreamt of sharing beautiful moments with Peter." I hesitated. "And I think there was the implication I would undergo great changes whichever brother I decided on."
Romulus looked confused again. "I thought you knew you would change around me, Tilly. You've already been changing."
I shook my head. "That's not what I mean. I think my whole personality hangs in the balance." I averted my eyes. I remembered what had happened between Peter and me in my bedroom earlier on. I whispered "I don't think it's going to be an easy choice."
Before I could blink, Romulus had pinned me down by the shoulders on top of the rug. He was kneeling with his legs on my right, looking down at me from a slight angle. In his eyes was implore.
"Tilly, how can you say that? After the things you've told me, after the love you've shown me?! How can you possibly expect me to be able to let you go?! How could you even think of asking for the chance to envisage a future where we're not together?! Don't you understand what you've done to me?!"
"What have I done to you?" I asked quietly, unable to look up into those desperate blue eyes.
"You've killed the parts of me which wouldn't die without you! I am totally at your mercy. If you asked me to beg and forget my pride, I would not only want to: I would be forced to. You tell me I'm a big bad wolf with a reputation for being alluring but you're a wicked witch who has poisoned me so that I need your love. Did you never guess that you've been changing me twice as much as I've been changing you?"
"I knew you loved me," I mumbled.
"Tilly, I completely opened myself up to you! I let you take everything you wanted from me. Don't you dare try and tell me I would survive if you left me."
"I have to finish my soul-searching," I begged him, as his words ordered me to back down. "And if it ends badly, I can only apologise."
"Apologise?! Tilly, you'll have my death on your conscience - and if I don't die instantly, I'll take my own life."
"Romulus, you mustn't! You will always have the knowledge that I love you."
"Which will make the fact I can't have you unbearable! Snap out of it, Tilly. You're hurting me unnecessarily. You know you want me as badly as I want you. So forget about Peter."
"I can't," I said, beginning to cry.
Romulus stood up and the distance was agonising.
"I'll force you to suffer my absence when you know I didn't want it," he said, not looking at me.
"No!" I cried. "I need you to let me find things out. And I don't want you to go away."
"You're being stupid," Romulus was continuing relentlessly. "You'll come round soon enough."
Again, he ignored me. "You can go on your silly little quest and then when you come back, we can forget this ever happened."
"Don't! I still love you."
Romulus looked at me sharply, anger flashing in his eyes. "I never said I didn't love you. Don't you dare assume everything will be all right while you're gone."
"I wouldn't! I just don't want you to do this."
"Tilly, if you didn't want me to do this, you would let me have you unquestionably. You would tie your soul to mine and we would live happily ever after. No, you've brought this on yourself, darling."
"I need your understanding," I sobbed.
"And I need your love. Life isn't very fair, sometimes, is it?"
I shook my head. "No, and I'm sorry. But I still want to share my heart with you while I work out who I am."
"I don't want to feel that doubt arising in you. Now, off you go."
He leant down, picked me up and, ignoring my struggling which turned out to be useless, carried me out of the cave. He dropped me outside Peter's cave and dematerialised. Defiantly, I stood up and walked back to his. I sat down stubbornly on his rug and waited for his return.
When he did return, he regarded me coolly and picked me up again, preventing me from fighting by cruelly kissing me. Despite the lack of emotion, I lost myself and only came back to reality when I was put on the floor again. This time I was inside Peter's cave.
Peter looked at Romulus sadly. "Don't do this to her."
Romulus said nothing, grabbed Peter's hand and my shoulder and transported us to my bedroom. There was the sound of an invisible door banging as he disappeared again.
"Oh dear," Peter said. "He's locked me out of Asteria."