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Our Path

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Shirayuki stood on the balcony of her chambers, staring at the night sky above. As the moon was only a sliver, the stars were more visible than usual. A smile tugged at her lips; although the stars in the Lilias had been the same as the ones here in Clarines, she found she had missed this view more than she had expected.

Zen came beside Shirayuki and put his arm around her waist. "Couldn't sleep either, huh?" he said, his smile familiar, and even against the night his silver hair seemed to shine.

"Maybe I'm still restless." Shirayuki leaned into Zen's embrace, thankful for his warmth against the chill night air. "I was in Lilias for so long, and finally being here again feels like a dream."

"I'm glad you and Obi are back, I really am." Zen's voice was a whisper as he took Shirayuki's hand into his, their fingers lacing. "I missed the both of you."

"We missed you too," Shirayuki replied, her voice also a whisper.

Zen's smile softened, and he knelt before Shirayuki and brushed his lips against the back of her hand, and in the starlight he appeared every inch the regal prince she loved so much. He stared up at her through half-lidded eyes, and her heart began to race.

For a while the two of them stood together on the balcony, where only the stars could see them. Moments between the two of them were rare, and moments they could share together with Obi were rarer still. Shirayuki's days as an herbalist were busier than ever, to say nothing of Zen's duties as a prince. But she couldn't complain, not when this path had brought her to the two men she loved most.

"If you're feeling restless, how about a dance?" Zen said with a grin. "I think there's enough space."

Although her cheeks also flushed, Shirayuki couldn't help but return Zen's smile. "Yes, I'd love that!"

As Shirayuki put her hand on Zen's shoulder, he took her other hand into his and put his free arm around her back. She still wasn't very good at dancing, but his movements were gentle as he guided her through the steps. She almost hear music as they moved, and Zen's smile was so very beautiful.

That she had fallen in love with both a thoughtful prince and a gentle rogue - she could not imagine any greater happiness.

Against the chill of the night, the fire Shirayuki and Obi had created was pleasantly warm. They were only two days' journey from the castle, and rare herbs that Shirayuki needed were only found in this forest. That was the main reason she had undertaken this brief journey, but privately, she was also grateful for these quiet moments with Obi.

Obi rested his head in Shirayuki's lap, staring up at her with those cat-like eyes of his. "It's been a while since we've camped out like this, hasn't it?" he said.

"Not since we returned from Lilias." Shirayuki laid her hand on Obi's hair, which was surprisingly soft to the touch. "Zen's been keeping you busy too, right?"

"Oh, no doubt about that," Obi chuckled. "Still, I wish he could've joined us. We haven't had been much time together, the three of us."

"Maybe soon, I hope." Shirayuki leaned her head back, although the stars were obscured by the trees. In this forest, hidden away from society, she and Obi were probably the only human beings here. As an herbalist, she was no stranger to braving dark forests for the necessary herbs, but it truly was much preferred with Obi by her side.

Obi shifted, and his warmth was comforting. "Could you tell me more about the herbs we're looking for?"

Shirayuki tapped her chin thoughtfully. "It's a colorful herb, red and violet, with long petals. It blooms best in shade, and while it's tricky to use in a tonic, if distilled properly, it can be useful in easing the symptoms of food poisoning."

"Tricky, hm? Well, I know I can believe in you, my lady."

"Thank you, Obi. That means a lot to me."

Eventually silence fell over the two of them, and Shirayuki was simply content having Obi so near to her. Her first impression of him had been that he was a strange one, but now, even though she still couldn't predict what he was thinking, she trusted him above all else. They were an odd match and he so different from Zen, but she loved them both all the same.

"My lady, I will do whatever I can for you," Obi said, taking Shirayuki's hand into his and brushing his lips against the back of it.

Again Shirayuki smiled. A rogue with a heart of gold and a kindhearted prince - she truly was fortunate to have met them both and fallen in love.

Shirayuki still wasn't used to the size of her new quarters. Certainly she had enough space for books and research materials, but when she remembered the small apothecary shop she had left in Tanbarun, she found herself marveling at how much her life had changed since then.

Within the canopy of her spacious bed, she lay with Zen on one side and Obi on her other side. Zen was fast asleep, his breathing slow and regular, while Obi likely only pretended to be asleep as he waited for Shirayuki to fall asleep first. Nights the three of them could share together were rare, so even one night like this was something to be treasured.

First she had fallen in love with Zen, and while in Lilias she had fallen in love with Obi too. She had worried much about being selfish, not able to choose between them, but both Zen and Obi accepted her feelings and each other's feelings too.

Zen stirred, throwing his arm over Shirayuki's waist while still asleep. In response, Obi chuckled quietly as he opened his eyes, and he whispered into Shirayuki's ear, "Even in his sleep he can't bear to be away from you again, can he?"

"Shirayuki…" the sleeping Zen murmured, his breath warm against Shirayuki's ear.

"I can understand that all too well," Shirayuki replied, her voice also quiet. She kissed Zen's cheek and then Obi's. "I want the three of us to always be together like this."

That familiar smile came upon Obi's lips as he laid his hand over Zen's. "Whatever my lady and my prince wish for, I will grant."

Shirayuki also smiled, and surrounded by the warmth of the two men she loved most, she soon fell into a restful sleep. That she had fallen in love with both Zen and Obi - no dream could be greater.