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Humidity made her skin feel dewy, and this summer was far warmer than the last. Her dark curls were pulled up off her neck into a high tail, but even in her thinnest linens she was too bloody hot. Tyelko should have been here by now, but no doubt the big oaf lost track of time. Hunting had been a bust. Írissë hadn’t so much as seen a fox, let alone any decent game, and she was too damn warm to keep scouting her way through the woods. Instead, she sat at the edge of one of the natural springs they had found a few years earlier, her bare feet in the water.

Behind her, she heard a slight rustling, pointed ears twitching to the tune. Yet as she turned to see what had made the sound, her suspicions were confirmed by the feel of an acorn hitting her in the back of the head. “Damn you, Tyelko,” she sighed, glancing back to see her cousin looking arrogant as ever, arm up with a rabbit strung for her to see.

“Got us dinner,” he grinned, all toothy and bright. “And where’s yours?”

“Didn’t get as lucky. I’m miserable with this heat. Thought we could swim for a bit?”

“Sure thing, Princess,” Tyelko teased. “Too hot for your delicate little self.”

“Shut it, you arse,” she snapped back, shooting him a glare before turning back to the water.

Tyelko tied the rabbit up on a tree branch and began to strip off his bloody hunting clothes, secretly grateful that he wasn’t the only one overheating today. His silvery blonde hair was disgusting with sweat, but pulled back in braids to keep it out of his face while he hunted it didn’t look nearly as bad at it felt.

As Írissë went to turn back to him, all she saw was a streak of his body before he jumped right into the spring, the splash of the water soaking her thoroughly. She immediately began to shout, pushing up to her feet as she peeled her wet clothes off and threw herself right for him in the water. With an equally big splash, her limbs wrapped around him and dragged him under the water with her as punishment.

It took a few moments of pushing at each other before they both came up for air, laughing and splashing at one another still. Tyelko reached for her, grinning as he caught her arm, and pulled her into a kiss with ease, his other arm looping around her soft waist.

The feel of her bare breast against his chest was something he was convinced he might not ever get over, though he would never admit such a thing. He kissed her four times before pressing their foreheads together. “Okay, you win. The water is great,” he shrugged, his hand wandering up and down her arm now. “This heat is awful.”

“Told you so,” Írissë quipped right back, secretly enjoying the closeness for even just a second longer than usual. After all, they weren’t exactly the most gentle of pairs. Her leg hooked around his as her hands came up to his shoulders, and in a flash she was pushing him back underwater and swimming away.

When Tyelko resurfaced, spitting out water, he leapt forward toward where she had started swimming off to, wildly reaching for her foot. “That’s cheating! Írissë! Get back here!” He shouted, but clearly he couldn’t stop laughing all the while.

Just out of reach, she kicked and splashed the water back at him, trying to get away. Yet somehow his hand wrapped around her ankle and he pulled her back to him, grinning as she struggled and laughed until her back was flush against his chest. Tyelko wrapped his arms around her waist, his lips at her neck, and held her until both of their laughter died down, content for just the moment to listen to the sounds of the forest together.