I don't own any of the Tamora Pierce characters

Now He Just Wants To Wake Up

Yeah Just To Prove It's A Dream

Cause She's An Angel For Sure

But That Remains To Be Seen

Coming Out - The Killers

Apologies if you don't like the pairing, but I had the urge to write Taybur/Aly as I am halfway through Tricksters Queen (for the FIRST TIME - apalling I know) and they keep 'being polite'. God damn it. Not that I don't like Aly/Nawat... but there's no harm in fictional fun now is there?

And theres no harm in alternate endings either if you dont mind me saying so.

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Aly watched as Nawat transformed into a crow for the last time and lightly pecked at her hair before flying away. She had known deep down that it was coming. Nawat was and always would be a crow inside. He belonged up in the sky with the wind under his wings, while she belonged on the ground, with two feet and no wings. He would find a life-mate among the crows, he would have nestlings and feed them worms when they were hungry. Perhaps he'd tell them about her someday, though he doubted it. Crows belonged with crows. The wager was over, and they had no business with the people anymore. And besides, she had other men to think about, one of whom was being rather persistent in their polite 'I'm-not-threatening-your-virtue' way. And where was the harm in experimenting. She had no spy work to complete now, not for a while at least, and a certain man who held her interest was on his way from Rajmuat on the next full moon, wanting to find out for himself about Tortall and it's spymasters. He had long since figured Aly herself out, in fact she thought he might have sussed her almost as soon as they met. Recent events were only to have added to and confirmed his suspicions. She no more belonged in Rajmuat and would most likely never see Queen Dovasary Balitang again, and so where was the harm in the half-raka queen and her followers knowing that Aly Homewood was no more a made than she were a man? She turned around to look back at the castle at Pirates Swoop, the place in which she had been raised from childhood and taught all she knew about spying, lying and thieving. It was her home once more, but something was missing from her home. Her family was around her once more, a family which she loved dearly and who she had easily settled back into being with again. She no longer had a mission to risk many peoples death's in an attempt to put a half-blooded raka on the throne, for as far as she knew the Tortallan King and Queen were still well-respected. No. It was not the lack of friends or of family. It was not the loss of Nawats constant preening, for she had long since grown out of the faint simplicity she had once felt in his presence. No, it was the loss of a man who was, as far as she knew, currently boarding a boat to come to Tortall. The man she knew as Taybur Sibijat. The man who she couldn't get out of her head, and not for lack of trying...

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Taybur Sibijat jumped onto the sandy beach of the Tortallan coast for the first time, looking up and sniffing the air with respect. It was not the same tang on the wind that he had long since come to live with. It was not the whiff of blood and death that swirled up his nose, but the smell of fresh air and salt. It was nature as he had not felt in a long while, and the feeling made his head go light. He didn't watch as the ship which had delivered him to the coast pulled away from him. He would not miss it, and felt no need to wave goodbye to the shipmates who sailed it as enthusiastically as if it were a rotting corpse. He was, as he liked to believe, making a fresh start. There would be no more guarding of monarchs, no more spying and snatching of information for countries regents whom he could not stand the sight of. He was here to begin again, to find at last a peaceful home. Perhaps someday he would spy again. Perhaps he would marry the Spymasters daughter and become the next. The Spymasters daughter was another reason for his coming to Tortall. He had never been fully certain of the apparent maid Aly Homewood, who had served Lady Dovasary Balitang with an eye that only a trained spy could have possessed. He had had his suspicions from the second he had noticed her looking into the rafters where he had hidden archers, a place nobody else in the room would have thought to look. They had intensified over months of watching her, watching her rebellion as it overthrew the regents Rubinyan and Imajane, and as she placed Lady Dovasary on the throne. His suspicions of her story had grown, as had his feelings for her. Now that he knew Aly Homewood was merely a fictional character, and that the girl whom he felt strongly for was actually the daughter of the Spymaster of Tortall and the Kings Champion, he could note the more realistic ideas of crafting a relationship with her. He had abused his looks and charms before, many a time he had girls in his room who he had never intended anything other than physical for, but Alliane of Pirates Swoop was a different matter, and he intended to see the matter through to the end.

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Aly was not at all surprised to see the single lone rider approaching Pirates Swoop. She had never imagined that Taybur would bring anything to Tortall that would possibly remind him of the life he had left behind in Rajmuat. She considered riding out to meet him, but she decided not to. Betraying her feelings so soon would make her seem like a woozy teenage girl sighing over an older man who was most likely not even remotely interested in her. She looked at her father stood next to her on the castle battlements.

"Lass, you could never hide a thing from your old Da... he a special lad?"

Aly looked up at her father with a blank expression. Of all the people in the world, her father was the one person who could instantly tell a lie from the lines on her face. But, she reasoned, there was no harm in trying to outwit him. "Who?"

George smiled crookedly, then took his daughters arm and, standing behind her, directed it in the direction of Taybur, his fingers on her wrist. "That laddy down there..."

Aly shook her head. "No. I don't even know him..."

George nodded on his daughters head. "That's funny. Because ye pulse is thundering in ye wee veins." He let go, kissed her cheek, and ruffled her hair. "Go meet the lucky bugger you nincompoop."

Aly blushed. "Yes Da."

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Taybur recognised Aly's hair as easily as if she were stood in front of him. He didn't recognise the man stood behind her, his head on hers and his hand holding hers. She had never mentioned a man back home in all of their talks in Rajmuat, and they had talked alot of late of her home life. He kept one eye on the two of them as he rode through the gate, then narrowed his eyes as the stranger kissed her cheek, ruffled her hair, then watched as she left him on the battlement alone. He stopped and told the man at the stables his name. The hostler gave a small smile, then took the reins of Tayburs mount as he jumped off.

"The lass be coming soon no doubt..."

Taybur frowned in response, then shrugged. "Is Aly here?"

"Course, she be the lass." He nodded over his shoulder. "She be coming through that door in about five seconds I'd wager..."

Taybur looked at the door and raised an eyebrow. "You seem extremely confident about that... would you care..." he stopped as the door opened and Aly walked out, smiling at him. Taybur smiled back, then waved. Aly walked over and smiled at the hostler, who grinned and walked away.

"Your folk know you too well. I'm glad I didn't put any money on that mans word. I'd be a poor man by now."

Aly smiled nervously. "How... how was the journey?"

Taybur smirked, then nodded. "Not too bad... it was a boat trip... it's hard to appreciate them any more..."

Aly nodded, then fell silent.

Taybur bit his lip, then shrugged. "So where will I be sleeping?"

"Wherever there's room. We're almost full... you'll have to forgive the servants lack of chit-chat. The Royals are here for a week."

Taybur nodded slowly. "So, I suppose I won't be able to get drunk and have a jolly hour running naked along the battlements."

"You could. If you wished to draw attention to our humble home."

Taybur shrugged. "Is there someone I can bathe?"

Aly's eyes widened. "Someone?"

Taybur opened his mouth then closed it. "I feel I let the tongue slip... let me rephrase it... could a smelly, dirty traveller, have an innocent bath. Alone."

Aly smiled. "You might be in luck. Come on. My maid will sort you out."

Taybur frowned. "What a rise. From maid to lady. That's impressive."

Aly nodded, a small smile on her face. "I do try."

"And you seem to constantly succeed..." he said. He paused then said. "If there is any young maiden who wishes to... I don't know... keep me company... I'd be happy to oblige..."

Aly raised an eyebrow. "I'm not sure I'd like my maids to become attached to you. I've heard you're quite the player when it suits you..."

Taybur smiled flirtatiously at her. "I'm merely a poor man searching for love and not finding it... no harm experimenting to find a spark though, is there?"

Aly smiled. "It all depends on who you're experimenting with..."

"That's my point..." Taybur said softly. "I'm trying to find the person who produces a positive result... I tried spying for them, only it seems that if you have a woman stalked and watched at all possible moments of the day, they don't take kindly to it..."

Aly smiled. "Come on. My rooms are this way."

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Taybur lay in the bath in silence, listening to the laughter of children in the castles grounds. He was quite aware that the water was slowly getting colder and that the bubbles were diminishing rapidly. In his mind he replayed his conversation with Aly. She had never once even hinted an interest in him. Perhaps he should go back to Rajmuat and the Isles... maybe he could marry Dove? Aly might even give her blessing... not that it would be ethically possible, but it was a worthy diversion from the constant bobbing of Aly's golden hair up and down in his hair. He sighed and heaved himself from the bath, wrapping a towel around him just as the door opened. He looked around, shocked, as Aly hid a smile behind her hand.

"Sorry," she said, blushing. "I just thought I'd come and make sure you hadn't drowned, seeing as it's been an hour since you hopped in..."

Taybur shook his head. "Not drowned... just... naked... bar the towel, obviously... I'll be out soon..."

Aly nodded, then left the room, smiling quietly to herself. A muscled chest like that should not be allowed in public places... she blushed, realizing quite suddenly that it had not been a public sighting...

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Taybur sat on a rock as the water lapped at the sandy beach of the cove. He threw stones idly into the water, watching them as they plopped one by one under the surface and the crest of the waves. He didn't hear the light footsteps behind him, or notice anyone was there at all until he felt a light hand on his shoulder. He grabbed it instinctively and pulled the person over his shoulder, into his lap. He opened his mouth to growl, then stopped.

"Aly?" Taybur asked, letting go of her wrist.

"Nice to see you too Taybur..." she muttered. "I'm afraid I frightened you?"

Taybur shook his head slowly. "Not frightened... slightly unnerved, but by no means frightened..."

Aly smiled up at him from his lap. Taybur was highly conscious of the fact that her hand rested on his leg. "I'm glad..." she murmured. "I wouldn't like to frighten you..."

Taybur nodded, not moving. "I'm sure it would take more than a tap on the shoulder to frighten me Aly..."

Aly nodded, then sat up, tilting her head slightly to meet his eyes. "And what does frighten you?" She asked softly.

Taybur shrugged. "Not much... but... sometimes... girls... one girl in particular..."

"Oh?" Aly said softly, "And who might that be?"

Taybur looked away momentarily, then sighed. "You." He said honestly. "You scare me because you know too much. Because you have highly terrifying parents, aunts, uncles and cousins, and because you are far too good at what you do..."

"And what exactly is it I do?" She asked quietly, her hand lifting to stroke the old Kings Guards cheek.

"You," he murmured, "take far too much time debating with yourself whether or not you should kiss a man, during which time he's decided a million times himself that you have no emotional - or physical - interest in him at all."

Aly frowned. "I do?"

"Yes." Taybur said, then added. "The crow said so."

Aly smiled. "Nawat?"

Taybur nodded. "He's the only crow I talk to... or have done... I heard he turned back into a crow..."

Aly nodded her head slightly. "Yes... it was for the best."

Taybur frowned. "I heard rumours about the two of you and... certain bedroom antics..."

Aly smiled slightly. "Not rumours Taybur. They were true enough at the time of their placing. But that's long since passed. He's a crow. I'm a human. We have different interests."

Taybur raised an eyebrow. "Oh really..." he hesitated, then stroked her hair. "So... if I were to... make a move... I wouldn't be threatening your ladies virtue?"

"What virtue?" Aly asked innocently.

Taybur smiled. "It's amazing what a few months have done to you Aly Homewood."

"My names not Aly Homewood." She corrected him softly.

Taybur smiled. "But you are, and you always will be... to me at least... the little maid who thought she wasn't being spotted at her own game..." He winked. "I had my eye on you from that pleasant little conversation of ours onwards."

"I suspected you might," Aly admitted, "but why waste time talking. I thought you were going to 'make a move' on me..."

Taybur chuckled. "You only make a move when the moment is right Aly... and at this precise moment, it is not right..." he looked in her eyes for several seconds, then leant forwards, his eyes half closed. "Now..." he murmured. "Now the moment is right..."

He met her lips softly with his own, running his tongue over them lightly before easing her mouth open, forcefully, but gently so. His hand ran through her hair, the other moving slowly up her shirt to feel the soft skin of her lower back. His fingers traced a light pattern, then he sighed into her mouth, settling into the kiss comfortably and enjoying the touch of her hands on his own skin. Aly edged closer to him, seating herself firmly in his lap and kissing him as hard as she dared without risking the possibility of ruining the moment. He gathered her in muscled arms, then lifted her, standing and carrying her carefully down onto the sandy beach, never removing his lips from her own as he lay her onto the sand, warm from the glow of the setting sun.

Aly put her arms around his neck as he held himself over her, a hand on either side of her body. She pulled him down to her, her mind for once emptied of spying and wariness. She ran her hands through his dark curls, her eyes closed as their tongues played in each others mouths.

"Aly..." Taybur said quietly, a hand moving to touch her thigh lightly. "This is the most... horribly conspicuous area..."

Aly smiled up at him through half-closed eyes, her lips wet and parted. "Nobody's going to see..." she murmured.

"You'd be surprised." Taybur said softly. "It's not uncommon to have a coupling interrupted... especially not on a beach at sunset..." he ignored his own warning and leant to kiss her again, moving his hands to her breeches and loosening them. Aly wriggled slightly, then let him ease down first her breeches and then her loincloth, without so much as a seconds hesitation. Taybur risked a small glance between her legs as he pulled his mouth away, then bit back a wave of desire and began to kiss her once more. She said nothing, proceeding only to undo Tayburs breeches and half un-button his shirt, revealing a muscled and tanned chest. Taybur smiled at her as he pulled back briefly. "This is highly improper for a young maid of your standing to advance on me so..."

"And it's highly improper for a Captain such as yourself to allow it..." Aly whispered. "But who's complaining?" She put her legs around him. "

Taybur smirked. "You best hope that your father isn't spying on you right at this second."

Aly raised an eyebrow. "He couldn't. Believe me, I've tried..." She looked up at him through green eyes.

"I knew you were different Aly..." he pushed into her easily, almost gasping at the wet, warming clinch which gripped him. Gently he began to move within her, taking his time to learn what she wanted. It didn't take long. She was bucking against him within minutes, gasping and sweating as her shirt clung to her back. Taybur stopped and looked at her carefully. "Someone's bound to notice that your shirt is sweaty... perhaps we should remove the load?"

Aly nodded breathlessly and let him discard it without a word.

"Now," Taybur said quietly. "I think you'll remember how I said I didn't want to threaten your virtue?"

Aly nodded.

"Well," he said quietly. "It would appear that your virtue - that is the small amount that you have left - is begging to be threatened... and in fact, it seems that you want to be... wild..."

She met his eyes and pushed her hips up at him eagerly. Taybur leant forwards to whisper in her ear.

"I hope that crow of yours realized what a lucky thing he was... to feel this for the first time..." he kissed her ear softly.

Aly bit his neck gently, leaving the lightest of bruises, enough to show him exactly what she wanted. He moved deeper and faster inside her, delighting in her bucking hips and soft, teasing lips. Soon, far too soon for his own liking, she came again, sending Tayburs own pleasures soaring high. He groaned as her legs tightened around his back, kissing her jawline with a burning ferocity. He rolled so that he was on the bottom, pulling Aly on top of him and breathing heavily in her ear.

"That," he murmured. "Was amazing.."

Aly smiled and rolled off him, grinning to herself.

"Where are you going?" He asked quickly, reaching out an arm to grab her, but she rolled away.

"For a bath." She said. "I smell of you now."

"No," Taybur corrected her, "you smell of my come, my sweat, your come and your sweat..." he smiled up at her as she stood. "It's much more than me."

Aly smiled, breathing deeply, then walking down to the water, swaying her hips tauntingly. Taybur groaned and stood up, following her at speed and grabbing her by the waist as she dipped her toes into the water. He scooped her up and ran into the deeper water, laughing as she squealed girlishly in his arms. He dumped her in the water when they were chest high, only then realizing that his shirt clung to him, heavy with water. He sighed, then stumbled as Aly jumped up, wrapping herself around him. They splashed into the water, then broke the surface, gasping and clinging to each other. She smiled at him and kissed him softly, grinning as he dug his hands in her hair.

"Was there a reason for dumping me in the water?" She asked quietly.

"You needed a bath..." Taybur muttered, biting and licking her neck alternatively, then sucking on the skin for long moments. "You said so yourself. But it doesn't explain why you jumped on me."

"No..." she said, rubbing her nose against his cheek. "But you deserved it."

"You deserve lots of things..." Taybur murmured. "I don't oblige you with all of those little things... just the arousing ones..."

Aly found his lips and kissed him fiercely. "What kind of arousing things..."

Taybur smiled. "You'll find out. Your pretty little girls ears shall not be polluted by such things... for now you can keep a small amount of innocence, until I find the necessary ropes and riding whips..."

Aly pulled back to see the wicked smile on Tayburs face. "Excuse me..."

Taybur covered her ears with his hands. "Don't pollute the mind with these dirty things..." he kissed her, then said, "because I think you'll find dogs have a highly satisfying way of doing things..." He pushed himself inside her again, smiling.

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There. Needed entertainment.

Finished Tricksters Queen. Disappointed. There was not a single Aly-wants-Taybur scene! Or even vice-versa! i mean argh! stupidity if you ask me. I'm not evil. I just wanted a teeny weeny bit of... spice?

pfft. good book though it must be said.

Review this please.

Needed a fluffy time filler. Will continue Winter Rose soon, just in one of those Fluffics as I call them :P

Mage of the Heart