Tiamat's Child

"Mary" Colin asks from his spot on the garden grass. "Which one of us are you going to marry?"

Mary and Dickon sit up and stare at him. "Marry?" Mary says. "We're a bit young to be planning weddings."

"She can't marry me, anyway." Says Dickon. "I'm just the gardener's boy. She'll have to marry you."

Mary glares at Dickon. "I'll marry you if I want! Don't you want me to?"

Dickon turns red and stammers, "Well…I…If you want to…"

"Good." Mary says, and flops back down on the grass. Colin sits up and leans over her.

"What about me?" He demands. "You wouldn't go away and leave me alone again, would you?" Mary sighs.

"Of course I won't, Colin. You should know that by now! And I won't leave Dickon either."

"Well, who'll you marry then?" Colin persists. Mary can't help but wonder if he's ever gone more than a week without taking it into his head to be difficult. At least this time he isn't insisting he's going to die.

"I'll marry you both." She tells him firmly. "And we can all live together and be happy."

Dickon blinks, and stares at Colin, who shrugs and stares back. Marry them both? What an odd idea. And yet, it makes good sense, and it would be quite nice.

Both boys drop back onto the grass. "All right," says Colin, "That sounds good to me."

"And me." Dickon adds.

"That's lovely." Mary murmurs, and starts to drop back into her doze.


"Yes, Colin?"

"Will you let Dickon cook for us when we're married? You make everything too spicy."

"Why you…" Mary pounces, tickling every ticklish spot of Colins that she can reach, and he's tickling her back, and Dickon's tickling them both, and everything's mixed up sunshine and laughter.

It's just perfect.