A little change of pace from my usual epics :)  I wrote this as part of a challenge on another fic list.

Okay, this is totally un-betaed except for a quick paste for some friends in IRC. Can't tell you how long it's been since I wrote a *short* story -- and in one sitting!

Frog Song
by Ithildin
c. 1998

Triona stroked her fingertip along the frog's smooth skin, listening to its croak blend with the songs of its relatives in the chill night air. "What are you doing in my pool, little prince?" she asked, smiling to herself. The frog looked up at the sound of her voice, its long tongue darting in and out.

"He's waiting for your kiss to transform him, of course," LaCroix's voice said in the dark.

"Then he'll be waiting a long time -- I'm not a princess. Poor frog princeling, showing up in the wrong pond."

He sat on a rock next to where she sat at the edge of the spring-fed pool. "I disagree, my dear. You live in a castle high in the mountains -- queen of all you survey." He leaned over, kissing her on the cheek. "And most importantly -- you have always been a princess to me."

She didn't answer, just smiled as she continued to pet the frog she held in the palm of her hand.

"Who would he be?"

"Who?" she asked, perplexed.

"Your prince. When you were a child, who would your frog prince have been had you kissed him?"

Bemused by LaCroix's question, she considered for a moment. "I never went for the prince. I was more of a wizard kind of girl. So, if I kissed the frog, I'd want him to be Merlin; not Lancelot -- far too boring."

"And now? Who would he be?" he asked, his voice the dark velvet of the night sky.

"I guess there's one way to find out." Closing her eyes she raised the frog to her lips and kissed it. The frog gave a 'ribbit',  jumping off her hand and into the water, the moonlight sparkling along the droplets that splashed into the air. Triona opened her eyes. "Just as I thought," she said, standing and leaning against LaCroix. "My dark prince. Who else would he ever be?" she finished huskily.

"Would you choose me -- if you had it to do over again?" He looked at her intently, running a hand through her long hair.

"You mean if I had a choice this time?" she asked wryly. Sighing, she said, "I don't understand, Lucien. It isn't like you to question the past."

"Perhaps it is the shadow of war that once more enfolds the world that makes me contemplative. The darkness that will soon hold us all in its grip."

"We will survive this -- humanity will survive this." Her kiss silenced any response he might have made. "And I would choose you. I will always choose you. How could you not know?"

"Sometimes, even I need to hear the words, my love."

"Hear my words," she murmured, undoing the collar of her blouse. "Know them from my blood. Taste them in my soul." She leaned against his shoulder, her throat bared to him. "I chose you in the light. I choose you in the darkness that comes."

Running his fingers across her lips, LaCroix nodded, lowering his head to her throat. He drew his fangs down the soft skin, leaving droplets of blood in their wake. She moaned as he licked them away, his tongue moving back and forth across the wounds before they healed.

"Please," she gasped.

Needing no further urging, his fangs pierced her throat. He drew her blood slowly, savoring each drop -- tasting her soul. Finally, he pulled away, kissing her gently as she slipped into unconsciousness. "My golden princess, whose realm is the twilight. Eternal; to walk in the darkness beside me," he whispered.

And in the moonlit night, the frogs sang their ancient songs….


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