She dozed in the starlight with his head on her shoulder and his soft hair on her neck and breast; the scintillating sky stretched overhead and the year to come lay open at this hinge of the year, a book with empty pages illuminated in silver. The Milky Way arched above them, just at the edge of seeing, not as brilliant as at midwinter, and they argued about whether the colors they might be seeing were in fact the northern lights. Kirsten and Petra lay next to them, Petra’s long legs crooked at the knee and Kirsten lying in the curve of her body like a child, her head on Petra’s belly and the dark foam of her hair silvered in starlight.
It was the shortest night of the year, and they slept but briefly, taking turns at the watch because the world was never as safe as it had been. At midnight, they leapt the bonfires.
At dawn, they woke singing, and as the light grew, they gathered their things to make their way back to the city and the return of ordinary life.
From The Necromancer and the Barbarian: A Love Story (NaNo 2011): the summer-solstice idyll right before things get really hairy.