Declarations of love are a staple in fiction and they vary enormously according to author, audience, characters and situation. We mostly think of such effusions as romantic. We hope they're truthful, and we hope (usually) that they'll be made and received in a positive manner. Love's not always romantic though, so not all the declarations in this sub-set will be between romantic partners. This one is a young woman's love for a horse.
Tansy Thrift was a hob maid. When she was fourteen, she was present when the hill mare, Southernwood, gave birth to twin foals. Southernwood rejected the first foal, and Tansy pointed out something strange about it. Her father identified it as a potential cloud-stepper. Tansy offered to care for it, though her father warned it would break her heart. The foal, which she named Artemisia, grew into a dependent but affectionate horse that demanded Tansy's presence. She put her life on hold for him, knowing his real life's companion would come for him within seven years. In the scene below, that time is fast approaching.
She approached him slowly, and rubbed his neck. He stretched his head over her shoulder and relaxed, so the long ridges of his jawbones dug into her flesh. She remembered her plan to sew padding into her smock. She’d do it in the morning.
“We’ll need to lay in some more hay for thee this year. Luckily Finn’s a grand hand with the scythe,” she murmured.
She stood in the dusk, making plans for a future they weren’t going to share and then she ducked from under her jaw, kissed his soft muzzle and conducted him to his chosen stall in the stable.