It was freezing outside, the high winds combined with cold made the night potentially lethal. Despite the danger of frostbite and hypothermia a figure was crouched motionless in a tree. A tightly wrapped cloak provided minimal coverage despite that the hunched shape didn't shiver. Tiny puffs of steam appeared periodically as the figure breathed. There was a slight shuffle below, and the steam stopped appearing. If it were possible the figure appeared to become even more tense. A branch snapped and a second black shape appeared on the path below the tree.

Though no one could see, the figure on the tree smiled in anticipation. The walking figure traveled up the path swiftly, the moment the shape passed under the branch the first figure lept onto the back of the second. The walker grunted in surprise, then froze when an ice-cold blade touched his neck. The two men were frozen on the ground; one threatening the other threatened. The man holding the knife felt his blood pounding, roaring through his ear, warming him. His eyes focussed and unfocussesd on the exposed patch of skin pulled taunt under his knife. He felt the urge to push, to pull ruby liquid from under the skin. But before he moved to the final step he was jerked into realization of what he was doing.

Loud laughter broke the tense silence suddenly, the man with the knife forcebly pulling himself away. The man on the ground went rigid in anger, pushing himself up in the blink of an eye. He turned to the first shape one hand closed tightly into a white fist. "Lucas," his voice was deadly quiet, and calm, "Lucas, you have gone too far. I am a member of the guard now. You can't just assault me!" By the last sentance he was yelling.

Lucas laughed wildly, still trying to conceal his hesitation from pulling back. "Now, now X, take a joke." He sheathed his knife quickly. X brushed himself off, knocking dirt, ice, and snow onto the cold ground. "You have no concept of restraint do you?" Lucas snorted before falling silent and walking away. Hands on his hips X watched him walk away until the cold forced him to follow.

Ahead Lucas paced out measured steps, always a practical joker he knew jumping X was not out of charecter, but pulling the knife. He had not intended to threaten with the blade. He shuddered recalling those moments before he released X, he had felt the blood pounding in his skull, he had wanted to press the blade in, deeper, releasing X's life blood. Lucas had barely managed to stop and pull away.

Checking swiftly over his shoulder Lucas saw X jogging to catch up. Blinking rapidly Lucas looked down at the knife point, trying to remember when he had pulled it out. X was getting closer so he sheathed it again and looked to see the speeding elf only a few steps behind him.

When X finally walked along side him Lucas looked up to meet X's gaze. "You aren't mad are you?" X sighed, "No, but was the knife really necessary?" Lucas looked down swiftly, "Sorry, I guess I got a little carried away." He tried to flash a grin, but it faltered, Lucas knew just how close he had come to going too far. Luckily X wasn't watching, so the two walked on in silence hurrying to get out of the cold.

Twenty minutes or so later a light appeared up the path, when the two men saw the flickering yellow flame they grinned and sped up. Soon a few more lights appeared, and next to them small cottages. Once they entered the village Lucas clapped X on the shoulder one more time then turned off down a side path. His home was small, on the outside edge of the village. The lamp next to the door was not lit, Lucas ignored the uninviting front of the hut and slipped inside.

It was cold in the small front room, so Lucas refrained from removing his cloak moving instead to light a fire in the small stone hearth. Due to his experience living in the woods the fire took only a couple minutes before it was glowing dim and warm. Soon the heat spread to the air, increasing the temperature inside the enclosed space. Lucas removed his cloak and instead donned a simple tunic and breeches after the cold was chased away. Comfortable Lucas settled his long, lean frame onto the ground, stretching out before the fire. The orange light flickered over his black hair, and stormy gray eyes reflected the leaping flames.

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