Katran leaned into him, drawing comfort from the relaxed rhythm of his heart and his breathing both in conjunction with her own. Even if Atrus’ attention wasn’t on her, she took comfort from his presence.
It was peaceful here. A garden land of flowering trees, their flowers black and white but their leaves a kaleidoscope of color. The traces of a civilization long faded to dust had captured his attention, and he spent ages poring over the ancient, fragmented texts he had found, trying to make sense of them... though she had managed to divert his attention long enough to eat. And now, while she sat beside him, he scribbled in his personal journal, rather than compiling notes on those who had come before in the larger journal he kept to record his findings specifically on this Age.
“Does it mean so much to you?” she wondered, quietly.
“What?” he asked.
“These people. Who they were.”
Atrus frowned. “They’re gone, but they once lived. Someone should understand them; who else is there?”
“Because someday, all that will be left of us will be your books?”
The movements of his pen stilled. Katran smiled at him, and ran a finger along his cheek. “They loved each other,” she said. “They loved their children. What more needs understanding?”
She lifted her head, pulling his hand far enough to eye the small page that was keeping him from her in full. Rather than the notations she expected, on syntax and composition; or the colors of the leaves and the sky, Atrus had sketched her; her, as she laid her head on his shoulder. Smiling, she laid her head back on his shoulder.
Chuckling, Atrus shook his head. “No.”
Like her, he understood what it was like to be alone. So long as they remained together, everything would be okay.