So Close, And Yet So Far

Okay, this is a short, oneshot sequel to Out of Reach, but I don't know how good it's gonna be, so just bare with me.

Jon's thoughts when Alanna is so close to him, and yet separate at the same time during one of the most important moments of her life. Sequel to Out of Reach. ONESHOT. R&R.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything by Tamora Pierce. Obviously she does.



Happy lives. That's one of the most prayed for aspects in life that one asks for, even from the earliest of ages. You pray for a beautiful, smart, strong spouse, gorgeous children, wealth and simplicity. Well, I have three of the four categories crossed off. I have two beautiful children, mothered by the most beautiful woman in the world, and I am king. Who wouldn't pray for that? Me. That's who. Don't get me wrong, I love my children and my wife, but I'd rather have simplicity than a throne, or true and real love instead of wealth.


I watch a woman waddling down the hall, hand on her oversize stomach and scowl on her face. I just love knowing how this is annoying her. I think she underestimated the problems of pre-motherhood, and it makes me laugh. She notices this and turns in my direction and her scowl deepens.

"And what's so funny this time, sire?" she snaps. Yup. These are the hormones talking. That just makes my laugh all the harder.

"I just never pictured you fat, that's all. Now your proportions are all wrong. Now you really are wider than you are tall!"

"Are you calling me short?"

"Yes, I think I am."

"You know that even in my… rather obese state I can still kick your sorry butt in a duel?"

That thought sobers me a little. George would kill me after his first child, so far over eight months in the making, was killed. "I don't think that would be wise, dear Alanna."

"Neither is testing my slightly lowered tolerance for teasing."

She stares me down for a moment. I am fully aware of how I'm cowering under her stare. Only she can control me like this.

I blink as this last thought seems slightly familiar. I can't place where I thought it last, but I do remember the feeling of confusion that is tied to it.

"Thinking Jon?" she asks jokingly, though her temper rising a bit again, only recognizable by the slight edge to her voice. "Your face goes all lost like that whenever you're thinking."I must have had an odd expression on my face. I shake my head to clear it, but it doesn't work. This sudden lack of memory is bothering me to the point where I'm unable to think anything else.

"Sorry," I mutter distractedly, not rising to her jibe. "Something just surfaced in my mind, then went away again, and I'm trying to remember what it was."

"Oh I hate it when that happens," she comments, voice softening a little as her face contorts with consideration. Wait. This isn't consideration. This is pain.

"Alanna?" I ask with concern. "Alanna, are you alright?"

"I'm fine," she forces out. "Nothing I can't handle. It's been happening all day."

Suddenly, a thought hits me. "All day?" I ask petrified. "Why didn't you mention it earlier?"

"It's probably nothing Jon. You worry too much." But then she winces again.

"Yeah, and I think I have reason to. I'm taking you to Duke Baird."

"No Jon. It's alright."

"No. It's not." And I scoop her up before she can protest or do anything to prevent it. Even with about ten extra pounds of baby boy inside her, she's still very light. I clutch her to me as I race as fast as I can without dropping her until she finally lets out a cry of pain. It must have hurt too, because this girl never screams, pain or otherwise. Well, unless it's a spider. Then she screams, but that's another story.

"Duke Baird, I think she's going into labor," I pant to the good Duke as soon as we reach the hospital wing.

He checks her over thoroughly and scowls, at her giving her a run for her money in that department. "Alanna, I thought I told you to come here as soon as you felt any recurrent pain."

"You know how I—love to—follow orders, Your Grace," she gasps out between shots of pain.

"We have to deliver now. There's no choice."

"No!" she screams. "He's early!"

"He'll be just fine and as will you, unless we don't deliver now. Now I'm ordering you: push," Duke Baird says in his strongest, most ordering voice. It seems that Alanna is in no position or mood to argue further.

We spend nearly eight hours trying to get the little pest out and in the meantime, Thayet is summoned to assist. George is on a mission for me. I feel guilty. I thought he would be back before his son was born. In just a week he is due home. I shut my conscience down, telling myself that there was no way I could have known at the time.

She's awake again, and instantly begins to push, cutting off all circulation to my hand. I can picture my face as my hand begins to throb. I look up at Thayet on the other side of the bed. Her face holds a similar look of discomfort as she returns my gaze. It could be almost humorous if not for my fingers turning a ghostly white. I look down in horror as the tips of my fingers are nearly as white as the sheets. This is not over exaggeration either.

The three of us hear an angry cry and blood suddenly rushes back into my fingers. Alanna's sweaty head has fallen back onto the pillows in exhaustion. For a second, I worry because her breaths are coming out in rattling, deathlike gasps, until I hear a muttered, "Never again," issue quietly from her mouth.

At this precise second, George barges into the ward, and I give up my spot at his wife's side so he can be with her. I watch as he wipes her forehead with a cool, damp cloth. Her eyelids flutter, and she smiles tiredly, all thoughts on him. I can't help but feel momentarily jealous at the way she gazes at him. It's cruel of me, I know.

"How did you get here so fast?" she asked him.

"I'm special," was his simple response.

"How did they let you get away? Weren't you doing something important?"

"Wild horses couldn't keep me away," he smiled before planting a small kiss on her lips.

It is then that Duke Baird comes out with her child, dry, clean and wrapped in a soft blue blanket. He's a beautiful boy. A tiny tuft of dark red hair is visible from beneath a tiny blue hat that wouldn't even fit over my fist. Thayet comes over to my side and slips her arm around my waist and hugs me proudly as if this was also our child.

"Name, Alanna?" she asks, broad grin on her face.

Looking at George in a silent conversation, she whispered, "Thom. My Thom."

"Good choice, love," George choked out between tears of happiness. She beamed at him, and all of a sudden, I remember. The last time she had that look on her face was when she was a newly wed and trying to tuck me in to sleep. Gods! I allowed this! She's always had more control over me than most people, excluding my late parents, Black God rest their souls. And then I remember why I was confused at the time. It was because I loved her.

I remember now, and I'm starting to wish that I didn't. There was a reason that was blocked from my mind, and it has something to do with the woman at my side, the man at Alanna's, and now the boy between his parents. It's now that I realize what a fool I've been, thinking I can just bury my feelings and expect them not to return at some point down the road. Mithros grant me mercy. She looks at me and smiles that smile that used to be able to make my heart shrivel up and melt, and I feel it happening. My heart speeds up, trying to compensate for the pain and love tearing at it simultaneously. I can't bring these thoughts up to her again like I did before. I can't to that to her, so I try to put up a wall in the five feet separating us. Five feet. Never before has she felt so close, yet so far away.


Okay, was that better, worse, equal? Please review and tell me. I know I've been away for a while. I think I got a little rusty. D