SqUiRe kElAdRy; MoThEr?

A/N: whoops, look what I found. blushes I was beating myself up for not haveing this done and i kept trying to write... who would've thought that i was a chapter ahead of myself the whole time? sorry. my bad. here ya'll go. Enjoy. And for you're future reference, now it's only a matter of how fast and energetically you review cuz i've gotten it all written and typed up to chapter thirty where it breaks off for a sequal. Aren't you proud of me? I had to have something to do on vacation. Good times. Good stuff. Go on, go read now.

Look Yoda! It's SHANE!!

DeDiCaTiOn: this chapter is dedicated to Kraft® Dinner for all it's cheeziness, I HAPPEN TO LIKE CHEESE thank you very much... and it's not so much cheese as it is sarcasm, that's just the way i am... live with it or don't. Peace, love, and chicken grease!

This is also for the tiny man who has my heart Aidan Robert, born November 18. I love my little baby boy.



Kel awoke to nothing short of agony; searing, mind-numbing pain, nothing short of misery and she had no clue as to the reason for her torment. She felt battered, crumpled, and... lost. Her vision was horribly blurred and unfocused. It seemed no matter how many times she blinked or how hard she tired, the world continued to shake and fall around her. There was only one word needed to explain what Kel felt and what she was experiencing: shattered. And to top all that off, some unknown and rather annoying stranger was hovering over her, and he wouldn't stop spinning. Kel felt ill and there was nothing she could do about it. Kel wanted to say something to the quirky man hanging over her but found she couldn't speak. On the other hand the young man didn't seem to be having the same struggle she was. His lips were moving rather rapidly, but for some unknown reason, Kel's ears were ringing so badly she couldn't catch a single word. His sandy hair hung down across his tanned forehead and dangled teasingly into his chill blue eyes. Finally his mouth stopped and his thin lips formed a smile then he nodded reassuringly as if he honestly thought Kel understood the words he had just spoken. Kel wasn't sure why, there was no levelheaded explanation for it, but she felt oddly comforted by the youthful newcomer. Then again Kel knew for a fact she was anything but levelheaded at the moment; her body was screaming in protest for something she couldn't remember doing to it, her head was about to split open any minute, her ears were still ringing, and none of her five senses were functioning properly. Still, Kel was in no way tense or panicked. Then the mans mouth started moving again, and Kel scowled in frustration as she tried without success to grasp even one distinguishable word from the jumble.

"Shane." He smiled again showing off perfectly straight, white teeth. Kel was startled when she clearly heard his strong voice. It was all too much to take. Kel drifted once again into peaceful oblivion, and she quite easily decided to remain there for a good long time. She loved the pacifist, uninterrupted environment she found waiting for her.

They had been attacked; brutally assaulted without reason or just cause. Dom's regiment had suffered several casualties. Most of the men suffered small scratches and scrapes, a handful of them came out the ordeal with some fairly serious injuries, one lone individual was in critical condition, and sadly enough, one was dead.

One thing was certain. Even if a man wasn't physically hurt, the whole group suffered greatly. Kel was the one in critical condition. She had a long cut along her jaw line and a deep gash on her right shoulder. She had taken a blunt blow to the head and had several, scattered bruises all over her body. Neal fluttered over her unmoving form like an over-protective mother. He wouldn't let any healer but himself touch or even come near Kel, for obvious reasons. Still this worried Dom, since he had no clue as to the extent of Kel's situation. Dom wasn't completely confident in his cousin abilities, but there weren't really any other options. Dom was also sure that if it had been any one but Kel hurt, he would have had unbounded trust in Neal's healing skills.

Everyone was deeply concerned about Kel, mostly because as they cleaned and bandaged her wounds and Neal did everything else he could for his friend, Kel remained comatose. It was as if she was in some engrossed, somber slumber; only she hadn't woken up yet; and the days kept passing. All of Neal's attempts to reach Kel in her subconscious state failed miserably.

These days were long, slow, and painful to endure for Dom. Kel wasn't slipping away from them as far as they could tell, but she also wasn't improving by any means. Dom pushed his men, making the return trip to Corus hard, forced, and seem to drag, but they made it home quicker than they had planned even with the attack. There was nothing Dom himself could do for Kel except talk to her un-responsive form and be there for her... constantly. And he was.

In two excruciatingly extended days of demanding travel, they made it home to the warm, safe confines of the Corus palace. Kel made the entire journey tied securely to her loyal gelding. Peachblossom seemed to sense the gravity and seriousness of the situation and calmly allowed Dom to secure and dismount Kel's lifeless body from him every morning, noon, and night.

It was just before noon on the third day when the beaten and travel worn crowd burst through the familiar, mighty iron gates. It was within minutes after their arrival that Kel was settled comfortable into her own bed and living quarters in the palace. In a jumbled rush , Duke Baird entered the room and sent the rest of its occupants out the door while he started his examination of Kel. Twenty agonizing minutes passed as Neal paced outside in the hall. Owen and Seaver watched the door nervously as if it might come alive and attack all of them. Cleon and Merric were with their knight masters and not at court at the present moment. Five of the men from the group went off right away to send letters out to Lord Raoul and Lady Alanna still in Scanra, to Kel's parents at home in Mindelan, and to her older brother Iness, Cleon's knight- master. The rest of the men were spread out taking care of various tasks or having their own wounds from the attack checked and taken care of; and a few of them were standing outside of Kel's bedroom door with her friends, patiently waiting. However much Dom wanted and felt like he need to stay by Kel's side, he knew he couldn't. Dom knew what duties he had to take care of. As Baird was in taking a look at Kel, Dom was in a hot and stuffy room immersed in the task of giving progress reports to King Jonathon. The Sargent was updating his king on the Scanra war situation, giving the details of their trip home, and of the Stormwing attack the group faced. Dom was anxious and impatient as he sat in the monarch's presence and answered his questions. All Dom wanted to was to be by Kel's side, holding her hand, and whispering soft, consoling words to her.

"All right. I can tell you're distracted and would much rather be somewhere else, Sargent. You're dismissed." The king smiled kind and knowingly. "Go ahead and check on Kel."

Dom could barely contain his gratitude. "Thank you, Sire." Dom didn't wait a second longer than was necessary. He felt no need to linger and a strong desire to run. With that Dom jumped up and raced down the long and winding corridors separating him from Kel. He arrived, not quite out of breath, to the three uneasy and still waiting faces of Neal, Owen, and Seaver. By this time the few others that had been waiting had left. They all looked at him but said nothing. Neal attempted a reassuring smile just as the brass knob turned. The door opened and the Duke stepped out. Dom tried to be calmed by the fact that as his uncle emerged he didn't look concerned. If anything, the aging healer looked puzzled. Dom and everyone waiting was one edge waiting for Baird to speak.

"Kel's fine." He started off. "Obviously you're all very worried about Kel, what with her situation and all. The attack didn't help considering she's pre-"

Neal coughed loudly and harshly at this point purposely cutting his father off. Four pairs of eyes turned his way. "Sorry." He mumbled. " I had a tickle." With that the attention was soon drawn back to Baird. There was little time for any of them to be suspicious of Neal's actions at a time like this. Still, the Duke knew his son. Baird questioned Neal with his eyes, unsure of how to continue. Neal sternly shook his head and while no one but his dad was looking, he mouthed the words: "Don't-Say-It."

This whole exchange only too a few short seconds and Baird neatly covered his tracks and continued. "The attack didn't help considering she's pretty stressed at the moment. But if you're Kel is there a moment when you're not stressed by something?" He questioned nonchalantly. "She brings it on herself. Worrying senselessly about Neal," Baird smiled and went on. "She worries about all her friends and her family. She feels like SHE has to take care of them or no one else will. But sometimes people don't need to be taken care of. She worries about her Ordeal next year, and that's understandable. She worries about all of it... she worries too much."

Dom felt his uncle was purposely being vague and evasive. "So...?" He pressed.

"So," Baird took the hint and went on. "When Kel took the blow to the head during the attack that knocked her out, she decided to go with it and it seems is using this time as a vacation." The others listened silently and Dom scowled. The Duke shrugged. "We'll keep a good watch on her, but there's really nothing to worry about. There's nothing we can do. While she's in bed, Kel's physical and mental wounds will have time to heal. Kel will come back to us when she's ready and not a moment sooner."

"So she's going to be okay?" Dom clarified. He needed to hear it again. Just to be sure.

"I certainly like to believe so. But they..." Baird slipped up again by referring to Kel and her baby, and not just Kel. "But there is still that gray area." He recovered. "Things are still touch and go since Kel's unconscious. Our Kel's been through a lot of trauma, and I'm afraid it won't be over for awhile." He concluded. Kel's friends nodded silently, none of them really liking what they were hearing, but there was nothing any of them could do but wait and pray. Nobody spoke. Nobody knew what to say.

"I'm assigning an apprentice of mine to stay and look after Kel as her own personal healer." The Duke stated.

Neal's jaw dropped. At this rate Kel's 'condition' was going to spread like wild fire. "You're not doing it yourself?" He demanded.

"No time." Baird said bluntly.

"Then let me do it." Neal offered desperately.

Baird shook his head. "You know that won't work."

"You don't think I'm good enough." Neal spat childishly.

"I didn't say that. But... you could use some work; you're no expert. But that isn't the issue. You're going for your knighthood. Kel's situation is distracting enough for you without being so caught up in it."

"But..." Neal pushed. "Well..." he stammered. "Then let Alanna do it."

The others had not clue as to why Neal was arguing so passionately.

Baird scowled at his son. "Nealan, be reasonable. You know as well as anyone how busy Alanna is and is most likely going to end up being."


"But what if something happened?" Baird continued to argue. "What if something goes wrong with Kel? I'm not saying anything will, but "what if"? What if it did and you failed?" The healer demanded completely serious.

Neal was silent. Briefly. "Yeah well, what if what's-his-name fails?"

Baird shook his head in frustration. "I'm sure you'll be after him enough checking in on Kel and helping out when you're not needed that things will be fine, Neal." Almost as a after thought the Duke added. "Oh, and his name is Shane."

A/N: wish me luck tomorrow! it's gonna be a big day :)

ThAnK yOuS: (this is gonna be short cuz i'm not sure how entertaining my previous format was)

Thanks to my loyal reviewers! Keep it up!

AJ 4EVA, Alcapacien, Aly of Pirate's Swoop, Ana Morales, Avery, Bella, chicken-puffs, Deadmen's Bells, Fate of Destiny, Im a poet but I dont know it, Lady Page, Mage Light, molly, Mythical Knight, Penelope Richmond, spifferoonigirl, Valese, PsychoLioness13

I couldn't resist a few...

!SmAsH!: yep. it's true. I blame you. you didn't keep after me enough to write and now... i can't, i just can't. I'm broken. Schools here... gah, it's scary, so much to do... I love it. YaY! it's a billion times better then hell.... i mean- arctic circle. We should do that ya know... bowl for soup i mean. I like soup. .

Gwen Lyon: WoW! 8:10... i wish! if that's true, than i'm really flattered and amazed cuz i had no clue... and i know it dances around, sometimes i have to take the time and write to entertain myself and others, i also wanted to take time, to build the story and the romance so it was believeable, instead of just bam there it is. I'll work on finding a good balance between the two

Lara Roberts: thanks for the hint hint looks sheepish for not writing and updating more quickly sorry about that... i figure kel is only about three to four months along at this point and (i know) a pregnancy is still pretty easy to hide at this point, but she'll be showing soon enough, no worries :)though. thank you!