I lifted my face to meet the kiss, wanting the comfort of his touch as much as I was willing to provide the comfort of mine. The contact was sweet and soft, yet at the same time desperate. It was Zane who pulled away first. "Danica, I think..." He trailed off and kissed me again, this time briefly, just the barest touch of lips to lips. "I love you." From a man who frequently uttered eloquent speeches, the tentative declaration was not the most flattering of compliments-especially when every movement he made and look he cast my way had shown the long truth before now. But coming from the serpent who had once informed me that he did not love me and did not think he ever could, whose cool, polished words could cut to the bone and freeze the Earth's frozen molten blood — whose eyes right now were just a bid dazed, and whose expression was as open and startled as I had ever seen it — the words were more than enough. "I know," I answered. Then, soft but certain, I answered, "I love you too." His smile matched mine and said the same as mine: I know.