In so many stories, the boy sees the girl in a dress and his whole opinion of her changes. Well, Kaddar and Kalasin were never that typical. I started out with that idea, and it turned into this (which may or may not be a good thing). My second Kallydar.

It takes place after they're married, but before the whole love concept.


The Attraction of Grain

"Grain imports….grain imports…Yes? No! Honestly, who cares about corn? It doesn't need its own chart!"

Kaddar Iliniat shuffled through the papers on his desk with growing fervor, growling much like a frustrated old man. His council was waiting for him to return with all the information on grain imports that their agriculture loving hearts could desire. Unfortunately, since he had taken the report to his room the previous day for reading, he couldn't seem to find it.

"What are you yelling about? Corn?" Kally's voice floated in from the dressing room attached to their bedroom. "I never knew you had such a passion for vegetables."

Kaddar glanced up and leveled the door separating them with a glare. "It's an unrequited love of mine," he muttered, with a bit too much sarcasm to be polite, underneath his breath.

"What was that?" Kally asked as she opened the door and stepped into the room.

Unbeknownst to Kaddar, his jaw dropped in a most unsightly fashion. He did know, however, that all thoughts of his advisors and his desperate search for papers were driven completely out of his mind.

Usually dressed in gowns or simple shifts, today Kalasin wore a pair of brown breeches tucked into black riding boots that showed off the length and shape of her legs, and a blue shirt that was unlaced at the top, showing a hint of skin that somehow seemed more captivating than the low necklines of the most beautiful Carthaki noblewomen.

He licked his lips, his mind grasping for words. "What are you wearing?"

In Carthak, women didn't wear men's clothes. Then again, Kalasin seemed to take joy out of evading the rules (a fact he had learned quickly within the first month of meeting her).

"My mother wears breeches when she fights," Kally told him defensively, crossing her arms over her chest and raising her chin. "It's easier to ride this way."

This, this exactly, was what Kaddar loved about her. She was spirited and fierce, and just a tad temperamental (a quality that was only endearing on her). He was about to tell her so, but he stopped himself just in time. What he loved about her? When had the feeling of love entered? His relationship with Kalasin was a mutual resentment, a battle of words that never ended or reached a truce.

"You look nice," he said gruffly instead, avoiding her by looking down at the mess of papers littering his desk.

"Are these what you're looking for? I found them near the sink." She held up a few sheets of paper covered with his trade advisor's scrawl.

"Thank you." He hurried over to take the papers before he had another embarrassing urge to spout off something romantic. Besides, his advisors would begin to wonder if he was alright or if he had been assassinated (not a far reach with the state of the country). Leaning in, he couldn't help himself- while one hand closed on the report, he pressed a soft kiss to her cheek.

"I'm off to discuss my love affair with grains," he attempted false cheerfulness as he rushed from the room, like a soldier fleeing the battlefield. It wasn't a battlefield he understood any longer.


A/N: All thoughts appreciated.