He woke from a haze early in the morning, dawn beginning to slip through the forest canopy and casting a cool grey light across the small clearing. He felt sluggish and foggy, pain sharp on his right and pressure on his left. Checking his right side he found blood-stained bandages wrapped tightly around his ribs. Breathing hurt and he spent several moments calming himself until he breathed slow enough that it was manageable.

Daine was curled up next to him, tucked into his bedroll with one hand clutching his bare chest as if she had fallen asleep monitoring his breathing. Their camp was in shambles, items pulled from their packs hastily and not returned to their proper place. Memories of the day before began to fall into place. His arm around her tensed, remembering a blow he had seen her suffer before everything went black.

She moaned, stirring at the increased pressure. He sighed in relief-pain was a good sign. Pain meant she was alive. She moved her head, curls tickling his arm as she looked at him.

"You're alive." Her voice was hoarse, and too thick with exhaustion to state it as anything but a fact.

"I am," he murmured. The words were heavy in his throat and took a great deal of effort to produce. He brought his free hand to stroke her face, pushing through the searing pain in his side. He drew his hand down her cheek, along her neck, and through her curls. Hers ran over his chest. They checked one another for signs of additional injury, and to affirm that they were not in a dream that would lead to a waking nightmare.

Content that they were okay, for the moment, he pulled her closer against him and buried his face in her thick curls. She sighed, falling into the embrace. Before long, they fell back into another long sleep.