Protector of the Small
Machiavella of Kingsport

Title: They Danced Anyway
Summary: Keladry of Mindelan and Joren of Stone Mountain-it took them long enough, but now they're in love. R&R, kindly? Oh-BTW, they're squires on a break.
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimers: Well-if you even try to tell me that the plot isn't mine, as well as the characters, I will severely hurt you. I mean, old Tammy wouldn't have EVER let Joren and Kel fall in love. Seriously...

Chapter 1: Trouble In the Practice Courts
Kel rubbed her shoulder, and then shook it out, glaring at her opponent. If this was Raoul's idea of a month off from squire duty, then Mithros be damned! All this week, in the cold windy pre-snow weather, her knight-master had had her out there facing various other squires on the jousting field. Today, her opponent was a tall, fine-muscled, blond-haired, ice-cold Joren. He glared back at her, his full mouth in a grim line.
"Ready for second round," she heard him say to the monitor, who gave him his second coromanel-tipped lance. The remnants of his first lay scattered on the ground ahead of him. Kel leveled her own lance between Peachblossom's flat ears, and as the monitor signaled for the start, she urged her gelding forward to a full gallop. Joren did the same to his mount, and when the two squires met, Kel put her full force behind her thrust. What could be better for her ego than to beat Joren, her old foe? Of course, there was that twinge of regret to see his beautiful self mussed up as she watched him fly, enraged and humiliated, out of his high backed saddle. But she dropped her Yamani mask and grinned jovially at him as he staggered to his feet.
"How was your flight?"
"Shut it, Lump," he muttered, and stalked off towards the stables with his horse.
"Horrible comeback," she whispered, trying hard not to giggle as she watched him disappear behind the large red stable doors, his long blond ponytail swinging. She was a tiny bit sorry she had to mess up his handsome face and body. Sighing and shaking her head with a smile, she dismounted and followed after him. After, Peachblossom would need to be unsaddled and brushed.
Joren was just exiting the building as she led Peachblossom to his stall. He spat nastily at her feet as he swaggered past.
"Girl," he whispered harshly. "You have no idea what that just got you into. Indoor practice courts in an hour."
Kel frowned, her eyebrows furrowed in concernedness. If he was looking for a fight, that was what he was going to get-but wasn't he a bit old for such nonsense? Again, she shook her head, and began to brush Peachblossom as he snorted in annoyance at having been ignored.
"Peachblossom, he has no idea what he's getting into. Nor do I-do I tell Raoul I fell down?" she chuckled, and the strawberry roan gelding shook his head from side to side. "We'll see," she told herself, "We'll see."

She looked up from the book she had brought to the practice court, and turned to the door. Joren stood in the doorframe, leaning casually against it, a handsome smirk wide across his face. His fists were balled up at his lean thighs.
"So, Lump, are you ready to be pounded?"
"In case you didn't remember, I'm better at wrestling and hand forms than you. Let's turn the question around-are YOU ready to be pounded?"
The smirk wiped itself quickly off Joren's face, turning into a sneer. "Let's cut to the fight, huh? I don't need to put up with this-nor the little practice joust. You just...caught me off guard. Put down your little book. Let's go."
"Okay. So what do you do if I win?"
"You won't. And if you lose-we'll see what I do to you at the squire ball in a week." He snickered evilly. The smirk had returned, but as usual-his eyes stayed clear, icy blue. Kel had always silently wondered whether or not he was always so cold. She sometimes even wondered if he was ever kind, and had friends, if that was possible. She shook these old thoughts out of her brunette head, and met Joren in the middle of the hard floor.
"Kel-I mean, Lump. What?"
"Since you challenged, I set the conditions. No blows to the nether regions-for you-and no weapons. I see you carry a knife. Drop it."
Joren's expression never wavered, and he took the knife from his belt and flung it to the corner of the room. Kel also started to wonder about Joren's recent slip of tongue. He did not seem as cold as usual-maybe a couple degrees warmer. Again, she shook the thoughts out as they began to circle each other, staring into one another's eyes. Joren made the first-and careless-blow.
His large fist missed her stomach as she slid to the side and grabbed from behind. Joren cut back a yelp as his elbow bent backward, and he struck out back with his foot. He hit Keladry square in the abdomen; she stumbled back, gasping for breath, and before she had regained it, she used her right hand to give a blow to the low spine. It did not faze the tall blond; he whipped around, and grabbed the tender muscle in the hollow behind the collarbone. Now Kel bit back a scream, and bit her lip as well.
She ducked, trying to hook behind Joren's knee to trip him, but she just missed falling herself. She flipped up and made a hard uppercut to his jaw. His head flew back, but it snapped back, and he gave a hard round house to her side. Kel caught her self in time, stumbling slightly to the side, and made a fast back fist to Joren's temple. He staggered, and his vision went slightly blurry. But he made a good comeback. He hooked an arm underneath Kel's armpit, and using his knee to the small of her back, he flipped her.
"And who's a better wrestler now, Yamani Lump?" Joren stood over a red and embarrassed Kel, and gave her cheek a pinch. "I'll see you at the ball."
When he had left the room, Kel slowly brought herself to a standing position, albeit a bit shaky, and stared after him. He beat me with a wrestling move? She thought incredulously, scratching her head in confusion. He must have an excellent knight master. She picked up her book, and made for her and Raoul's quarters. And I wonder what he's planning for the dance. Probably something not too bad-after all...he's been a LOT more mild lately...what's gotten into him? The cutie, she thought with a grin. Whoa...she shook herself out once more, wondering how that bit of mind had slipped in there...