Step, step, step…

"C'mooon, Bubbles… I really don't want to be in the dark about this anymore! Literally!"

Behind him, Robin sighed. "Just a few more turns, Gaius. We're almost there, anyhow."

The sorta-kinda-ex-thief groaned exaggeratedly. As much as he wanted to sneak just one peek out of the blindfold—if only to watch where the hell he was going—he decided to humor her a little longer. Hopefully, the wait would make it that much sweeter.

Step, step, step…

"Sometimes, I wonder why I keep going along with your crazy plans…" he grumbled.

"Well…have I ever purposefully steered you wrong?"


Well, darn.

"Point taken."

Step, step, step…

Sure, they had their disagreements, but the fact was, Gaius trusted his wife. In every battle since they met that fateful night, Robin did her damndest to ensure that all of her fellow Shepherds—all of them—came home alive. Her skill as their tactician, however, could only decide half the battle. She trusted in everyone to play to their strengths, cover each other's weaknesses, in order to survive and triumph.

And…hell, that included Gaius, the cutpurse with an unrivaled sweet tooth.

A few more turns, and Robin stopped, letting go of his shoulders. "Okay… So far so good."

Gaius sniffed the air. "…we outside a balcony?" That was almost certainly the free air he was catching.

"Sharp as ever, sweetie." A door swung outward, letting more of that scent in, and he felt her hands on his shoulders again. "Just a few more steps, okay?"

"Yeah, okay, Bubbles…"

Robin chuckled at his faux-defeated tone. "…aaaaand halt! Right, now then…"

Gaius was a little disappointed by Robin leaving him again in the short span of thirty seconds. That emotion was soon obliterated by a new scent. No—at least five different scents mingling together in harmony.

"Hold on…" he managed.

Robin returned immediately, and he swore he could hear her smiling. "Okay, Gaius, you can take it off now."

Didn't need to be told twice; his hands were already pulling the knot at his head loose. As soon as it was off, Gaius looked. Then he blinked. Then he looked again.

I don't believe it, said his brain. Look again.

We are, his eyes insisted. You're not hallucinating; it's really there.

"By the gods," he said. "Is this…a slice of paradise?"

Robin laughed. "No idea what this paradise you speak of is, but this is the best I could manage."

The table before him was dominated by a simple—and simply large—chocolate cake in white and blue icing. On either side of the cake were a selection of sweets he knew to be of great quality by scent alone. And this was all sandwiched between two chairs and place settings.

Dumbfounded, Gaius turned to his wife. "I—wha—did you bake this?" he asked, referring to the cake.

"Yeah, I did," Robin replied. "It just took, in no particular order—a few attempts, buying the harder-to-get ingredients from Anna, and the oft-forgotten adages of 'read the recipe' and 'taste before serving'—to finally get it right." Shaking her head, she turned to her husband. "I…still don't think I can grow out of the 'dishwater-flavor soup' phase, but the cake came out okay."

"Aw," Gaius mock-pouted. "You had some before me…"

The tactician held up her hands. "Well, better I risk getting poisoned than you finding out yourself, right?"

Even for an anniversary, she was putting his health before her own. "Dunno if you had to put it like that, but I get what you mean. And I appreciate your thoughtfulness, believe you me."

"I know you do," Robin smiled.

"So, before we dig in… Can you…close your eyes for a second, Bubbles? Pretty please?"

Raising an eyebrow, she thought about it. "Hmm…well, all right," she decided.

As soon as her eyelids shut, Gaius swooped forward, pressing his lips to hers. Immediately catching on, Robin wrapped one arm around his neck as she deepened the kiss with him. Then, with the same swiftness, the thief detached himself, leaving the unlikely couple gazing into each other's face.

"No matter what kind of candies and such I come across, Robin," Gaius said, "none of them will come close to being 'the sweetest' as you do."

Robin smiled at that. "Oh, Gaius…"

The still-sorta-kinda-ex-theif clapped his hands together. "Now then! Shall we help ourselves? I can always wait to save the best for last, Bubbles."

"Yes, let's."