Title: Fate Awaits

Author: Blue Roses

Summary: They fought side by side. They laughed together. What happens when they take a chance at love?

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters/places mentioned in Tamora Pierce's books. But, to keep my dignity, I do own the plot.

~*~

Chapter 1

~Reliable~

To Keladry of Mindelan the road to Steadfast seemed impossibly long. With Neal sighing and complaining at their slow speed under his breath the whole way, it seemed longer. Her sparrows that were with her, chattered amongst themselves, landing either on her shoulders or on Hoshi's mane. Four were flying ahead of them as voluntary scouts. The calm mare just walked on, undisturbed by their presence. Tobe, who rode on her left, hummed under his breath.

They were close to Steadfast when they heard the sound of horse's footsteps. Two of her sparrows flew back to her, flying in small tight circles, the sign for "friends". She was about to ask Neal who it might be when suddenly-

"Sir Meathead! Your beloved is waiting for you." Domitan of Masbolle grinned at them, his eyes full of amusement. "Very impatient she is, and stubborn. I can see why both of you suit each other." A group of men waited behind Dom, Kel smiled when she recognized their faces. Corporal Wolset nodded at her in greeting. She grinned back.

Neal glared at Dom. With the wait of seeing Yuki and Dom's teasing on top of it, he was becoming irritable. "And I can see why you are still single, and not betrothed."

Dom winced jokingly, "That was low." Turning he smiled at Kel. "And Lady Knight, how goes the new duties?"

"The same as the old," she smiled. "But troublesome none the less." She had an unanswered question. What was Dom doing out here? Surely he wasn't going to miss the celebrations as Steadfast.

Dom nodded, grinning still. "We're to welcome you. Lord Raoul sent us here 'to make sure she arrives in one piece'. He said that he didn't want to go through the trouble of teaching you to have you fall apart for nothing."

Kel raised an eyebrow. Tobe, who was still situated on her left, was nodding solemnly. "He's right, she needs lookin' after."

Dom laughed, "That she does. Follow us, and don't worry Sir Stubborn, the ride's not that long."

As they rode on, Neal in the lead, with Dom's men behind him, Tobe behind them, and Kel and Dom riding together at the end, they set a leisurely pace towards Steadfast.

"So Kel, how are you doing, really." He smiled encouragingly. Despite herself, Kel's stomach fluttered. Why did he have to be so handsome?

"Really? I'm fine. I mean there is always some aggravating task to do, or some problem to work out. But I think it's going okay. And you?" Kel smiled back.

"Well, my dear friend, I am just fine. Everyone is animated about the upcoming events, especially Lord Raoul." He grinned, "He's acting like a little boy."

"I'm going to welcome the relaxation. No disruptions, just peace and quiet."

"Oh, I doubt that Lady Kel, I doubt that."

~*~

Quiet was the last word on Kel's mind as they rode in to Steadfast. There were people everywhere. Men running around on foot, women calling for children to follow them, soldiers walking around to change shifts, and a bunch of animals adding to the clutter. Kel followed Dom's lead, astounded by the amount of noise.

Arriving at what seemed to be the Headquarters, Kel wasn't too sure due to the size of the fort, Dom dismounted and led his horse to the stables. Everyone else, including Tobe and Kel, followed his lead. After caring for Hoshi, and making sure that Tobe was all right with Peachblossom, told him where she would be if he needed her, and followed Dom and Neal out of the stables.

Walking in the front hall of the Headquarters, Kel was swept up in a hug by first, Raoul, and second, Buri. Both were grinning ecstatically.

"Kel! I'm glad you could make it." Buri said, a permanent smile plastered on her face.

"And I'm glad to see that you're in one piece. How are the new-old duties?" Raoul asked, grinning down at her.

"They are-" Kel paused, "never-ending sir. Oh, congratulations to you both." Kel replied, linking her arms across her chest. She smiled happily, no one deserved to be happy more then her old knight-master.

Raoul grinned boyishly. "Thank-you. And trust me Kel, if anyone can control a bunch of rowdy civilians, it's you-"

Neal interrupted briefly, drawling, "Just look at the wonders you've worked with Dom here."

Lord Raoul of Goldenlake and Malorie's Peak chuckled, "I was just stating that Kel is reliable enough to maintain such a duty."

Reliable? Kel wondered. Is that a good thing? It seemed so bland. Many things were reliable, horses, dogs, and weapons. Objects. Was she being referred to something like that? Knowing that Raoul would never place her in a negative light, she sighed, shook her head and followed Dom, who was showing her where her room would be.

To Be Continued…

Author's Note: Okay, Chapter one is completed. This is just setting the bases of the story. It is going to be a Keladry/Domitan pairing (Because any other kind would be going against nature). All chapters will be longer, but as I said, this is a base. Anyways, please review and tell me what you think. That's all I ask.