The Untitled Kel Fic

Chapter 1

As they rode into Steadfast late that night, Sir Keladry of Mindelan, Lady Knight, yawned. She wanted to get in and settled, so she could go to bed. They'd been riding since dawn, and even though she was on the placid Hoshi, she still felt the road's wear on her. Her friend and year-mate, Sir Nealen of Queenscove, was eager to see his betrothed, Yukimi. Neal threw himself from his saddle, but after riding so long, his legs gave out. A pair of hands gripped his shoulders and held him steady. Neal looked at his savior, and grinned into the face of his cousin, Domitan of Masbolle.

"Been standing long, Sir Meathead?"

Dom gave Neal a hug, slapped him on the back, then teased,

"I keep thinking some lovely lady said to have you meet her in the meeting room at headquarters. But then, she was probably meant a different Sir Neal. Only Lady Kel would want to spend more time in your company than she must."

Dom's twinkling gaze met Kel's own sleepy one. She shrugged.

"With the way he's been acting all day, not even I can stomach his antics."

Neal punched Dom lightly, and then turned to Kel, suddenly serious, and worried.

"Can you take it from here, Kel? I know you're tired. If you want me to stay and help…"

Kel smiled.

"Neal, I could do this in my sleep. I don't want you around to watch me actually do it that way."

"Are you sure?"

"The lady knight will be fine with me, get on up to your little lovely." Dom gave Neal a gentle shove in the direction of the headquarters building, "I'll make sure Kel gets to bed."

He smiled up at her, and she felt that same tug on her heart as always.

Neal looked between Kel and Dom one last time, before turning and dashing to his Yuki.

Kel smiled at Tobe, as he took the reins of her mount, Hoshi, as well as the small, sprightly piebald he rode. She shifted to dismount, yet, like Neal, had been in the saddle too long, and missed her footing.

Bracing her self for the impact of ground, she was surprised to find that Dom had caught her. His hands were warm, even through the chain mail shirt she wore. His arms were strong and muscled with hard work. His eyes took on a darker sparkle as he set her carefully on her feet. It was a dangerous spark that made Kel feel hot and shivery.

As Tobe led her mount away, Dom took her by the arm and led her in the same direction Neal had traveled. Tobe called after her,

"Get to bed soon, milady. You look as if you need a bit of a lie down."

Dom grinned at Kel when she yawned. He strategically maneuvered her towards to bedrooms, as opposed to the meeting rooms.

"My lord Raoul will understand why you delayed your greetings. Young Tobe is right. You need a bed, and soon. You're dead on your feet. How long were you riding? A day's journey doesn't usually tire you out so quickly." Concern tinted his voice as Dom took Keladry up a flight of stairs.

"I was up late last night. I wanted to get my reports-" she yawned, and turned a corner, "-finished before I went to sleep. Got up before dawn to practice before we left. Didn't realize how hard I've been pushing myself."

Dom took her down a hallway and opened a door to a suite of rooms. The front was a large sitting/office area, the back a sleeping chamber with two beds. One for herself, the other for Tobe. Dom ushered her into the sleeping quarters, there was a dressing room and privy behind a door on one side. Kel went into the dressing room, and started to undress, then realized that Tobe had taken her packs with Hoshi.

Kel called out to Dom, who had been starting a fire in the cozy hearth.

"Kel, is something wrong?"

He stopped in the doorway when he saw that all she had on was a breast band and loincloth. He blushed and turned away. She blinked sleepily, and then dragged her tunic back on over her head.

"I'm decent, but I let Tobe take my packs with Hoshi to the stables. I know he won't think to come up here until after he's seen to our mounts, and checked the conference rooms."

Dom turned back around, but wouldn't look directly at her. He mumbled something under his breath.

"What? Dom, I'm so blasted tired, if you can't speak up, and speak to me, not the doorway, then you'll have to leave. You're no help to me if you've suddenly gone shy."

"I said I'll go get you one of my nightshirts, if you want it. My rooms are just at the other end of this hall. My lord thought you might be more comfortable here than any where else."

She smiled drowsily, slow to follow the flow of conversation.

"I do feel comfortable here. You always set me at ease."

Dom turned slightly pink, then muttered something about shirts and too much comfort, and left to fetch Kel a nightshirt. Kel shook her head at Dom's silliness.

It wasn't like he had never seen a woman in a state of undress before. It must be the late night and her lack of sleep playing tricks on her mind. It seemed almost as if he liked as more than a friend.

Men are silly, Kel mused, and who knows what goes on in their heads?

She yawned again, gave up waiting, stripped off her sweaty tunic again, then went and climbed into bed.

A few minutes later when Dom let himself back into the room, he found Keladry asleep in her bed. He watched her breathe slowly for a minute before he heard a noise from the other room. Tobe was watching Dom watch Kel.

Suspicion blossomed in the boy's face when he saw his mistress asleep in her underclothes only, and this soldier standing over her with a nightshirt gripped in his hands. Dom nodded solemnly to the boy, then laid out his shirt over the foot her bed. Turning to the boy he said quietly,

"I promised Sir Nealen that I would make sure she got to bed. She didn't have her packs, so I fetched one of my shirts for her."

"My lady has good friends. I hope that you would remain so."

Never before had Dom had such an interesting discussion with an eleven year old boy, especially not one in which the boy was warning him to stay away from his mistress.

Dom bowed to Tobe, and said,

"I wish it to be true as well. Lady Kel is a dear friend, and one best held close to the heart." He glanced at her sleeping form, outlined in shadows from the hearth. "Please tell her I said goodnight, and that I will see her at lunch, I've patrol duty in the morning."

Tobe nodded, and watched Dom start to leave, then called softly,

"Your shirt, Master Dom?"

Dom shook his head, and told the boy,

"Let her keep it, tell her to try and use it."

The door shut softly behind him, and Tobe went to bank the fire.

With his back turned away from her, Tobe didn't see Kel smile in her sleep, and curl into a more comfortable position.