A/N: Hey! I'm back again with another one-shot. I haven't been around lately cuz I'm currently working on a trilogy and I was updating my Harry Potter story. If any of you like James/Lily fics check out mine. It's called 'Who's That Girl?' and can be found on my profile page. On with the story! Enjoy.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of it.

BTW, this ficlet is based on the song, "The Lover After Me" by Savage Garden. Notice I said 'based' so, technically, it's not a songfic.

Oh! And the italics are George's thoughts. There are a few of them in this story.


The Lover After Me

George Cooper, King of the Thieves of Corus, sat sprawled in his 'throne' in the Dancing Dove tavern and inn. Even in his casual pose, he looked regal and slightly intimidating, although the faraway look in his eyes showed that he wasn't 'in the room' with everyone else.

The people who knew him well, Solom for example, knew that the look in his eyes was an indication that George was currently day-dreaming about his lady-love, Alanna the Lioness, who was journeying to the Roof of the World looking for the stuff of legend. Ever since her departure a few months before, George had been bordering on depression. He hadn't been sleeping well and wasn't eating right. He had even openly acknowledged that he had lost interest in the ways of the Rogue. This statement had caused many a young thief to contemplate trying his luck against the King of the Thieves. So far, none had.

George sighed quietly and took a sip of the ale that he had once favoured so highly. He drank it out of habit but every sip caused him to recall the first time Alanna, disguised as 'Alan', had followed him into the Dancing Dove with Gary for company.

Suddenly frustrated with himself, George violently slammed his tankard on the table and stood. Everyone in the room stared at him silently, wary of what he would do next. George, of late, had become unpredictable.

George watched them all with his hawk-like eyes and stormed from the inn out on to the streets of the city.

It's been such a long time since I've seen your face, heard your voice, kissed your lips, smoothed your hair. If only I could just jump all the way to your side. It's like torture here, without you. I could have gone with you. WHY didn't I go with you! I'm probably the last thing on your mind but you never leave mine. You probably don't even think about me any more.

George was brought up short by two small children running past. The brother, dressed in what must have been his father's cloak, was chased by his stick-wielding sister.

"Come back, Roger!" called the little girl, "I'm not done with you yet!"

The children's mother rushed past after them, throwing an apologetic smile George's way. He shook his head in amusement and moved on, ignoring familiar faces and voices who shouted out and waved to him.

Everyone here knows your name, knows of the things you've done. They're all like little pinpricks that torment me! Constant reminders…How am I supposed to let you go, if, everywhere I turn, someone says your name?

George walked on, not really knowing where he would end up. Lately, his feet seemed to know more about what he wanted than his head did. When he wanted company, his feet took him to Jon, Gary or Myles. When he yearned for solitude, he was taken to the quiet of the river. For comfort, he went to his mother.

As he walked slowly onward, George noticed the thieves around him, going about their business. They were undetectable, just as he himself had made them. Why had he wanted to be a thief anyway? What was in it really, other than jewels and gold that belonged to people who'd worked hard and long for them? Jewels and gold he had no right to take.

Was there any real love in the world? He used to think that there must be, but here he was, alone. He had chosen freely to return to the city knowing that he had to say goodbye to Alanna.

Ironic, isn't it, that you should choose the path which you thought best but ended up more miserable than before? George, lad, what has love done to you?

It occurred to him then, that, only at the beginning, had he been really happy in his chosen occupation. When he fell in love with Alanna, things had gone awry. He had found himself chained to the life he'd chosen for himself. The only times he could remember being free of those bonds, were when he and Alanna had journeyed to the City of the Gods during Alanna's years as a squire and then when he had those months with her in Port Caynn.

Why am I thinking like this? Nothing makes sense anymore! I was happy, I was!

The thought trailed away and George knew that he was lying to himself, something that he had been doing quite a bit lately. Looking up, George realised that he'd been brought to the palace, something he hadn't expected. For some reason, he'd been picturing a shady tree somewhere.

George shrugged and continued the steep climb, nodding his respect to the temples of the Gods as he went.

George looked to the sky and saw that the clouds hadn't blown away. It would be a warm evening, just as it had been a warm day.

Not that it makes any difference really.

This night would be no different to any other he'd experienced since he and Alanna had parted ways. The nights were all the same, cold and long and extremely lonely.

George shook his head sharply, pushing the depressing thoughts from his mind. Instead, he thought of Ralon and what he could possibly be doing at that moment.

What else would he be doing but planning your untimely demise?

That wasn't something to think of either. George knew there was nothing he could do other than watch and wait and prepare himself for the moment that grew ever closer when his fate would be decided.

George stopped outside a door in a long corridor. He knew exactly which one it was. This was the room given to Alanna by the Crown for those times she stayed at the palace. Jon, in his wisdom, had sent George a copy of the key that Alanna had in her possession so that he could visit her rooms at any time. There were no hard feelings between the two of them, and Jon was deeply concerned about the state of George's depression.

George sighed and reached into his pocket for the key. He knew this day would come. He wasn't quite sure how he would feel once he was in the room. None of her possessions were in there; the dresses that she'd left behind or bought in Port Caynn were at House Olau. Everything else, she carried with her.

"Ah, Alanna love, I wasn't supposed to think of you today," George said grimly to himself.

George slid the key into the hole and turned it. He wasn't used to opening the doors this way. He couldn't even hear the tumblers falling into place.

When he pushed the door open and entered the room, George's eyes were drawn immediately to the portrait that hung in pride of place on the wall. It depicted the three friends, Jon, Alanna and George himself.

Alanna stood in between the two men, her sword at her side. Jon was on her right and George was at her left, his arm around her waist.

George gave a bitter smile. And were, pray tell, is Liam Ironarm, the Great Shang Dragon? The lover after me?

He had known it would come to this. Liam Ironarm was always there now, in the back of his mind, waiting to be acknowledged.

It brought George no comfort to know that Alanna had companionship, wherever she was. He didn't want to think of her with him, calling his name, lying beside him at night. He didn't want to think of the Dragon in the place that George should be.

George walked through to the bedroom and sat down on the bed. He looked around and could picture her standing at the closet deciding on which gown to wear, moving back and forth, doing exercises. In his mind, he watched her smile and heard her laugh. He could have sworn he heard her call his name.

A tear pricked his eye and George stared down at his hands then at the pillows. Kicking off his boots, he pulled back the covers and crawled under the sheets. Laying his head on the pillow, George felt close to her, although she'd never been inside the room herself.

He could hear her slow breathing as she slept and felt her head on his chest and her arm around his waist.

It was there that he made the decision that he would wait patiently for her return and stop tormenting his friends and family with his behaviour. If, when she came back, she chose Liam, he would accept it but he knew that he wouldn't like it. Nothing meant more to him than Alanna's happiness.

The last thing George saw as he drifted off to what would be the most restful slumber for months, was the face of the woman he loved.


A/N: Well, that's it I guess. Sorry it's so short. Personally, I like it but George seems a little OOC.

This takes place sometime between his return to Corus and his moving Eleni to House Olau. But Alanna and Liam obviously have to be 'together' when this happens.

OK then. Please review!