Disclaimer: Wow I'm tired. Jeez it's not even 11 yet. Oh well. I don't own them you half brained freaks. Get over it.

A/N: this is a K/N story everyone. It starts out sorta K/C, but friendly K/C. Anyway, I'm tired, so I'm going to post this now. Bye then.

Underneath the Surface - Prologue

"Hey, Cleon! Cleon, over here!" Kel called excitedly as she read the letter over again. She ran over to where her friend was kneeling over a group of baby sparrows. "Cleon!"

Cleon looked up at her strangely, eyebrows raised in a half-smirk. "You called?"

Kel scowled at him, then thrust the letter over to him. He took it half-heartedly, only briefly averting his eyes from the newborn birds. Stuffing it in his pocket, he cooed to them, "aren't you just the prettiest little birdies I've ever seen?"

Kel hit Cleon over the head with the flat of her hand, annoyance showing through her usually carefully blank face. "Cleon! Read the letter! It's from Neal! He and Yuki are finally getting married!"

It had been almost a year since Kel had defeated the Nothing Man, Blayce. In that time, very little had changed, with the exception of a certain lack of metal monsters gallivanting around Tortall. Kel had been posted at the Scanran border for border patrol, since the war, in essence, was still going on. Cleon had joined her somewhere along the line of the past 3 months or so. Raoul and Buri had been happily married for eleven months, and were expecting their first child within a couple of weeks.

Things for Neal, and Yuki, however, had seemed to have started off roughly after the war ended. Yuki had been called back to the Yamani isles because of her father falling mysteriously and fatally ill. Their planned engagement of two months had spanned to six, then eight, and finally, now to a year. Kel hadn't seen either one of them since she had been sent up to the Scanran border. She couldn't help but grin when she thought of being able to see them for the wedding.

She watched Cleon read the letter closely. A wide grin broke out onto his face when he had finished as he gave the parchment back to Kel. "I'm going to be an usher," he said as he smiled cheekily at the younger knight.

"And I'm maid of honor," Kel responded, her grin just as wide. Cleon got up from his spot on the ground and slung an arm around her shoulders, taking wide, broad steps toward the mess hall.

"Do you know what this means, Kel? It means that we can finally leave this mud hole and go back to a place where they have clean linens and hot baths and all those nice things we intended to get but didn't when we became knights." Kel laughed. Cleon certainly had kept his sense of humor.

"And I can see Ermelian again! Kel, do you think she'll be invited to the wedding?" Kel looked at him happily. He had been married to his heiress for over a year and couldn't be more in love with her. It was good that he had found someone he could relate to if he was going to be forced into marriage, and not some stuffy old crone.

Kel shrugged. "Even if she's not, I'm sure you can get her to come and visit you at the palace. That is, after all, where the wedding is taking place."

"Right," Cleon responded. He led her toward the mess where they shared a bite before walking back to their post. They had sentry shift that night and it was going to be a while before any of them got any real sleep. Kel yawned widely.

'This certainly isn't good if I'm yawning already,' she thought sleepily.

"Tired?" Cleon asked.

"A little," she admitted.

"Both of us don't need to stay awake, you know. You can rest a bit while I keep watch," he said, his voice revealing his concern.

Kel brushed his suggestion off. "No. I wouldn't feel right doing that."

Cleon shrugged. "Just remember, Kel. If you need to, you can sleep. These late hours of sentry duty have kept us all up, you the most. You've been working too hard. Slow down."

Kel glared at Cleon. "Be quiet. I don't need any more rest than the rest of you," she grunted as they neared their post. "Now let's just get this over with."

"Anything you say Kel," Cleon answered her, albeit reluctantly. He sat down on a large rock that jutted off of the edge of the cliff they were supposed to be scouting from. Kel sat down across from him, her mouth formed in a slight pout. She crossed her arms over her chest and stared at the ground. It was getting a bit fuzy...

"Kel? Are you all right?" Cleon asked her worriedly. Kel snapped out of her faze.

"Yeah. Just zoned out for a minute, you know?" she told him. Cleon nodded.

"Yeah. Listen, are you sure you don't want any sleep? Because, I mean, it's no problem-"

"Cleon, no. I'm fine. Trust me," she snapped as she cut him off abruptly. Cleon pulled back a bit, but let her have her way. She sighed. The past couple of days had been very long. The Scanrans had been sighted more frequently each and every day.

'And we thought it would be the end when Blayce died,' Kel thought bitterly. 'But no. They had to keep bombarding us with soldier after soldier. It makes you wonder if they have anything better to do.'

"So, Kel. Have you heard from Dom lately?" Cleon asked suggestively. Kel growled at him. She was way too tired for this.

"No," she snapped at him curtly. "And I don't expect to hear from him any time soon, so stop asking me. Please don't get involved with my love life, or it shall be certain doom for us all."

She turned the other way. Dom and her had had an on-off relationship for the past couple of months, but nothing had really accumulated to anything. A sneaked kiss or two in a dark corner, a casual touch... that was all they were. And frankly, that was how Kel liked it. She wasn't fixated on the idea that a woman's worth was judged by her husband, after all. She didn't have near enough time for some lovesick boy courting her anyway...

"Kel. You do need someone in your life. And since it's not me, and it's not Owen, or Neal even, Dom's you're best choice," Cleon told her frankly. Kel glared at him. Again, she was way too tired for this.

"You know that he's going to be bet man?" Kel asked him, trying to avoid the subject of her and Dom's relationship.

"Yeah. It was in the letter. Ah..." he sighed forlornly. "It's all because they're family. If that father of his hadn't butted in, I would have probably been best man..."

Kel snorted. "Get over it Cleon."

Cleon's lips curved up into a smile. From then on, they made small talk, both Cleon and Kel carefully avoiding the subjects that were delicate for them. Kel's love life, to be specific. Whenever Cleon brushed over it, she would swiftly change the subject.

They found themselves in silence after a while, just staring up at the stars. Kel found herself lying down on the cool rock and closing her eyes. She didn't see Cleon's smirk as she drifted off to sleep...

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

"Kel? Kel, are you there?" a voice called to her in the white void of her dream. Kel strained to hear the voice. It was distant, but yet eerily familiar...

"Kel? Kel, can you hear me? If you can hear me, tell me so I can find you!" the voice said again.

"I'm here!" Kel told the voice.

"I see you!" It called back. "I'm coming to you!"

All of a sudden, Kel found herself lying on a bed of grass in the midst of a field of wildflowers. She almost gasped at the beauty that lay around her. Kel propped herself up on one elbow to study her surroundings. It seemed to be an endless expanse of beauty and life. She sat up and shook her head. Where was she?

"Kel," a voice said from behind her. Kel turned to see who it was.

He grinned cheekily at her. Kneeling down, he pulled her close to him into a swift embrace. "I missed you Kel." Kel sighed deeply, savoring the very smell of him. He always did smell nice...

"Kel," he said, withdrawing from her hold. "Did you miss me?"

Kel grinned at him. "Well, of course I did Meathead. I haven't seen you in too long."

Neal smiled back at her and raised a hand to touch her cheek. He fondled it affectionately. "How much did you miss me?" he asked.

Kel snorted. "If I told you that I pined for you, would you leave me alone?"

Neal pulled back and clutched his chest in a look of mock despair. "My dear Keladry, how could you say something like that? Do you not love me, as I love you?" Kel silenced him with a finger to his lips.

"Of course I love you, Meathead. Now come here," she said as she slid her mouth over his.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Kel awoke, feeling quite perturbed.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

A/N: Heheheheheheh... I was just having one of those random moments. Ya know, where you get a strange impulse to write something? Well, I had one of those. Anyway, it's 12:16 at night and I don't have school tomorrow so I really don't care. Anyways, there was nothing good on ff.net at the time, so I decided to write something of my own. You can only re-read Fallen Idols and Search for the Six so many times. ^_^ Anyway, this is going to be K/N. If you haven't gotten that by now. I'm thinking of putting Rebound on hold for now, until I figure out what to do with Yuki. So... I'll see ya all later!

Much love,