Timeline Spot: Pre-story; Lyn is 16-ish, Ceron is 18-ish
((Prompted/inspired by this.))
She turned. "Wh--? Oh... hi."
"Are you alright?"
A look passed over her face, and he was surprised to recognize frustration in it.
"Yes," she said, a bit testily. "I'm... I'm fine." She trailed off at the last, though, and turned back to staring down at the water. A chill breeze blew over the surface of the lake, ruffling the feathers on her jacket, but she hardly seemed to notice. Ceron shifted uneasily, pushing his hands into his pockets to keep himself from pulling her back from the edge of the dock. It scared him to see her there, even if his mom did think she was getting better. It was slow progress, but it was still progress; Desiree was sure of that.
But Lynnaea could still slip. Not literally; the snow covering the dock was powdery softness. But...
His worries were interrupted as she spoke.
"Mama liked lakes," she said softly, her breath puffing out in mist in front of her. "I don't... remember much about her, since I was only five when she died. But I've been trying really hard lately to remember when they were all alive. And I remember we went to a lake one summer, when Alida was just two and I was four, and afterwards Mama said it was the best day ever and she could spend her whole... her whole life there."
Tears had gathered in her eyes as she spoke, and she wiped them away now with fingers red and dry from the cold. Ceron wasn't sure what to say or do, so he stood quietly beside her and watched the water lap at the legs of the dock or ripple whenever a stray fish not lethargized by the creeping winter cold broke surface to snatch at some perceived food.
Finally, she turned to him. She was smiling, if a bit woodenly. But he took it as a good sign, and smiled back.
"Alright, my nose is cold enough," she said. "Let's go back home."
He nodded, and as they turned to go, she took his hand and squeezed it. Just once, and then she pulled her hand back, but it left a shock of warmth that spread through his entire body.
"Thanks," she said. Her smile reached her eyes now, making them sparkle in an entirely mesmerizing way. He tried not to stare, but he knew that had Tyrus or Virgil been there, there would have been a great amount of teasing later about 'puppy dog eyes' and 'blushing like a tomato aaaaawwwww'.
Thankfully neither Tyrus nor Virgil -were- there, so he just smiled back, and nodded again. "You're welcome," he managed to say.
And they headed home.