The fingers tracing the bottom of her rib-cage paused, echoing the hesitancy of the speaker, then continued on skimming the curve of her hip as the courage was gathered to go on.
“What is...Recognition like?”
Nightstorm had to exert some willpower to not turn around and stare at Thornbow. It seemed such a cubbish question; certainly he had asked it before.
He seemed to guess her thoughts. “I’ve heard it before. I just want to hear it, from you.”
She relaxed again, mind sifting through memories to fix on long-forgotten yesterdays when he spoke again. “Does it complete you?”
A slight tightening of the hand resting on the dip of her waist spoke to the vulnerability behind the question. She did face him now. She brushed aside the sheaf of golden mane that hid his eyes. “Did we complete each other? Moss and I?”
She again had to stifle a giggle, but let the amusement shine through in her expression. “You make elves sound like bows and arrows, useless without each other.”
Thornbow bristled a bit. “Bows and arrows are not useless. Each can be a thing of beauty, in and of itself.”
Nightstorm nodded her agreement. “True. But would you hunt with just a bow? Or just an arrow?”
He gave a half-smile, granting her point.
“No, Moss and I were complete just as we were. We didn’t need each other to fill in something that was missing. It was more like —”
“A hunger.” He completed for her. It was what they all seemed to say and all seemed to hear from smallest cubhood.
“I know.” She sighed and shrugged apologetically, causing a cascade of black strands to fall, clothing her in darkness. “Best I can say, it’s like being on the trail and eating your fill of travel-cakes. You don’t think you’re hungry, but then you scent a big, fat boar and suddenly you’re ravenous! You feel as if you don’t go get him right now, you’ll die!”
He brushed back the fallen hair so that her skin glowed white again in the dim den, holding the last few inches so they stuck out stiff between his fingers like paintbrush bristles. With this he gently painted — arc of breast, dot of rosy nipple. “And how do you go back to travel-cakes after that?”
Nightstorm stretched luxuriously, feeling the bed furs downy soft between her spread toes. “Even the sweetest meat loses its flavor if it’s all you eat.” She smiled and pulled the archer’s head closer. “Then you get hungry for something else.”