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"There now," I said, "that doesn't look half bad."

"It makes me feel cold," she said.

"Cold? I didn't crop you that short." I tucked my razor back into its kit, along with a sizeable lock of Amina's hair. In case I lose her. I then gently brushed the loose bits of hair from her back and shoulders with my hands. More gingerly, I brushed the hair from her neck, but she flinched away from my touch, regardless of my caution. I smiled, faintly, as the moonlight revealed a touch of colour rising in her skin.

"I'm sorry," I lied. I wasn't sorry at all.

She stood up abruptly, and stalked away, towards the water. I observed quietly, as I stowed my shaving kit, and mixed her hair with the dirt. The moon was behind her now. She would not be able to see her reflection. Her silhouette would be enough to reveal her transformation, however. She stared at the water for quite some time before I noticed the trembling and heaving in her shoulders. She was weeping. I pondered whether there was any comfort I could provide her, or if my mere presence would cause her further distress.

In the end, I foolishly opted to approach her. Down by the water's edge, I reached out to pull her close, but she rebuffed me. "No!" she cried. Then a quieter, "No." Then, she pounded her fists against my chest in anger and frustration. I stood my ground. Calm. Patient. I imagined that she could hit a good bit harder than that, really. She wasn't actually trying to hurt me. Eventually, I ran out of patience, and I forcefully pulled her towards me. She struggled for a moment, and then went limp, her face pressed against my chest. This was the part where she was supposed to start weeping again, but she didn't. She wouldn't. Not now, while I was close enough to see her, and hear her--to feel the shudder of her shoulders. Damn her.

I released her, and returned to our "camp," such as it was. I was getting very hungry, and I really didn't think a little stale bread and some apples, was going to cut it. I foolishly left my hunting bow behind. Grumpily, I grabbed one of my apples, buffed it off on my shirt as I sat down, and bit into it. I sat there, with my back to the tree for probably over an hour, watching the moon-tipped water, with Amina's figure silhouetted against it. I would not go to her again.

As the night grew colder, Amina found her way back up the bank. I silently watched her appropriate my blanket and some rolled up clothes, to make a place to sleep. I had wanted it that way, so I did not move to stop her. I would sit watch for a time--back against the tree--because I did not trust what the night might bring to us.

Amina fell asleep quickly. I imagined that she must have been exhausted. I couldn't really puzzle her out. She may have saved my life, but in spite of our current predicament, she didn't seem to take much interest in getting along with me. Perhaps she resented the fact that she might need help from anyone. Then again, perhaps she was angry that I saved her. That was a thought that chilled me to the bone, but it was a very real possibility. She certainly didn't seem grateful, in the least.

Before I knew it, I dozed off. I must have been exhausted, too. Not much time must have passed, when I opened my eyes again, because the moon was still high in the sky above us, bathing everything in cold, white light. I could see him there--the prodigious fox, sniffing at Amina's vulnerable head. My hand moved towards my blade, but nothing was lost on the fox, whose attention immediately darted to me. The hair stood on the back of my neck as I saw the intelligence in the creature's eyes. Though I did not hear its voice upon the air, I could feel it in my mind, as though it were merely my own fancy:

"You are the ones that killed Brother Bear."

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