14: Those Caught In Between

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Sophie quirked a smile, happy to see his change in spirit, "Are you sure there's no other reason? You seem to be in a better mood."

"Well... I came up with idea for how we can know if one of us is in danger, and I think it'll work," he announced proudly, pulling a narrow, long box out of his pocket.

"What is that?" she leaned forwards, trying to get a better look at the black box.

When he opened the lid, Sophie saw there were four wide rings inside, two bigger than the others, all made of a dark crystal that reflected soft rainbows when in direct light. "There are called cognate rings. They are a way to test if two people are cognates, but they are also indicators of your cognate being in danger. I requested for them to be made after we first suspected we were cognates just to be sure, and it was only when they were delivered last night that I learned that all four of them heat up when one of the two cognates is in danger," Fitz explained, looking up at her through his lashes hopefully.

Sophie couldn't help but smile, "How do they work?"

"First we have to see if they will work," Fitz said as he set the box down next to her, taking out the two bigger rings. "Both pairs of rings have one with your initials on the inside of the band, and one with my initials. In order to activate them we must prick our fingers and smear a little blood over our initials."

Sophie nodded, feeling a blush creep across her cheeks with the excitement of proving they were cognates. She was so caught up in the moment that not a sliver a doubt entered her mind and she pointed as she said, "Alright. I have my pin cushion on my desk over there."

He got up to grab it and came back with two little pins smaller than Sophie's pinky finger. He handed her one as well as the rings with her initials on the inside before taking the ones with his, fumbling slightly.

Grinning, Sophie set the rings on her lap and readied the pin, "Shall we do it on the count of three?"

Fitz nodded and took a deep breath, starting the count, "One..."

"Two..."

"Three!"

The two of them then proceeded to prick their finger and smeer the little droplet of blood rising to the surface on their initials. When they finished. Sophie pulled out her handkerchief to stop the bleeding and together they watched as the rings absorbed the blood, skewing the crystal to be a little more red.

"That has to be a good sign," Sophie remarked happily.

"I think so too, but if it doesn't work-"

"It will work," she corrected. "I believe in us."

Sophie watched as realization and wonder washed over Fitz's face with a visible shiver as he looked at her with wide eyes, "You remember I said that."

"Of course I do, it was a very moving speech."

"Really? Biana probably would have called me a cheesy bard," he laughed.

"Well then it's a good thing she's not your cognate, now isn't it?"

"Indeed, I am very lucky it is you," he said confidently as they traded wrong-size rings.

Blushing, Sophie slid the rings on her ring fingers, but frowned when she saw they were too big.

"They're thumb rings," Fitz explained. "They're designed that way so cognates can wear other rings as well, such as family and/or wedding rings."

Sophie nodded appreciatively, even though she didn't have either, she hoped that one day, in the future, she would. She slid the rings on to her thumbs and held her palms up for Fitz to see. He mirrored her gesture, and as she looked deeply into his teal eyes, she was about to ask what was supposed to happen when suddenly their hands came together in an inhumanly fast moment with a loud SNAP!

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