Title: Hope

Pairing: George x Alanna

Rating: G

Setting: Sometime around when Daine arrives in court.

Summary: George gets Alanna a Midwinter gift.

Alanna the Lioness, formerly known as Alanna of Trebond and Olau, leveled a deadly stare at her husband. It did not matter that they were deeply in love, or that he was gorgeous, or even that he was wonderful in bed. He was intruding on her personal feelings, and he knew he wasn't supposed to do that.

She crossed her arms. It was Midwinter eve. George had taken sick and returned to their rooms in the castle earlier. As the king's champion, she'd stayed, dancing with the men who would dance with her, glaring at those who wouldn't, and even sipping a bit of bubbly stuff that tasted good. She couldn't tell anyone what she'd had to drink, but she knew it wasn't near enough to prepare her for her husband's antics.

The thief was lounging in front of the fireplace, a glass in his hand as he swirled the dark red liquid gently. Alanna frowned at the wine. She had long ago decided her husband had the crappiest taste in wine in the world. It was cheap, strong, and put you to sleep faster than anything she knew of.

She tapped her foot at him, still glaring. He pushed his dark hair from his eyes as his hazel depths appraised her.

"You were sick, huh?" Her voice was firm, stable. It did not waver or shake. George raised an eyebrow at her.

"Well, dear, d'you want to see what I got'cha for Midwinter before you skin me? It'd be such a waste, ye know." He sipped at his wine as he stood gracefully. He easily towered over her as he moved through their rooms to the back area. He came forward with a box, delicately wrapped. "If you don't hurry and open it, Daine'll skin me, too."

Alanna continued to glare at George as she opened her gift, pulling the frail tissue paper back to reveal her gift. She almost dropped it in shock when the lid was pushed off by a kitten's head. The little creature was pure white, the exact opposite of Faithful. Her eyes were a true green, deep little agates that shone at her. A sort of intelligence shone in them that was characteristic of cats.

George took the box from her softly as Alanna cradled the kitten. It'd been years since Faithful's death. She'd never found another companion. George had watched her feed the strays for years, had seen her do double-takes at any black cat that was about Faithful's size. He'd also seen the tears that filled her eyes as each cat turned to stare at her with grey, blue, green eyes. Never purple.

"Now, I know she's not… Faithful. But Daine found her, and she was the sweetest little kitten I'd ever laid eyes on. She had a firm talkin' to her before I got to take her, too." His voice was gruff, covering his feelings for the woman who was stroking the cat in silence, tears trailing down her cheekbones. She was a hard woman in so many ways, he knew. Kittens was not one of them. "Here lass," he said quietly, passing her a handkerchief. Alanna took it, still staring at the green eyes who watched her quietly.

"What – what's her name?" Alanna asked hoarsely.

George stroked the cat's ear with one fingertip. The little cat climbed up Alanna's shoulder to butt her head at her cheek before curling around her neck. Alanna was in full unashamed tears now, leaning her head against George's chest.

"Hope. Her name is Hope, Alanna."

A/N: Random drabble today because I miss Faithful. :( Perhaps in further stories Hope will play a part in. So if you see her, this is who she's referring to. :) Enjoy. (Yes, I'm feeling productive today... crazy, huh?)