Sadly I do not own Braveheart or anything connected with it. Alaine Campbell is of my own creation and the so-called plot to this story is the product of my wildest fantasies.

Hey, sorry about the delay in posting but its crunch time at school and things have been hectic. I have decided that I need a beta reader. If you are interested in working with me, feel free to send me a private message on here with a little bit about yourself and a short sample of your work

Thanks to everyone who leaves reviews and to everyone who is reading this. Special shout outs go to:

Gaia'schild: First off, I love your name. Second, I am in total agreement with you about Stephen.

Ginger Locks: Yay another ginger in the crowd! And thanks so much, I'm really glad you're enjoying Alaine and her story.

Twilitefan: Thanks so much

Also I cannot believe I'm almost up to twenty chapters with this….

Part XIX

Alaine groaned softly and rolled onto her side. Her entire body ached. Her feet were sore. The muscles in her legs tingled after griping the sides of her horse for so long. Rocks kept digging into her back making it impossible to sleep.

It was not any more comfortable on her side. Instead of her back, now the rocks dug into her hip. With a frustrated sigh Alaine flipped back her blankets and sat up. Around her William's men slept. It had been tough the last few weeks. William had the idea of striking back at the English on their own land and so the Scots had marched south towards York.

The battle at York had been long, messy and ultimately successful for the Scots. Once again Alaine whispered prayers to whoever was listening for bringing those near and dear to her through the battle. The sights and sounds of the battle filled Alaine's head whenever she closed her eyes. Just another reason to add to the list as to why she could not sleep.

Alaine rose slowly, careful not to make any noise. She grabbed the top most blanket and wrapped it around her shoulders as protection from the chill of the night. With slow, soft steps she made her way past sleeping forms and towards the dying embers of that night's fire.

She settled herself near the fire, her fingers grasping an errant stick with which to prod the fire back into life.

"Cannae sleep?"

The voice startled Alaine, coming from the shadows on the other side of the fire.

Alaine looked up, the sudden spark of flame blinding her for a moment. Finally she could make out the soft smile on Stephen's face as he leaned into the light.

"Trouble sleeping?" he asked softly.

Alaine nodded. "My body is too tired to sleep and…" she trailed off.

Stephen flashed her a questioning look. "And?"

"And nothing." She would not admit to having nightmares.

Stephen nodded knowingly and thankfully fell silent.

They sat there companionably quiet, starring into the fire. Alaine watched the play of light across his face when she thought he was not looking.

"Tell me about your home," she said suddenly, breaking the silence. "Tell me about Ireland." Alaine moved closer to the fire, moving to hear him better.

Stephen glanced up at her, surprised by her sudden interest. A grin split his face and a twinkle filled her eye.

"Well it is just like Scotland, but better of course," he teased.

Alaine chuckled and rolled her eyes a bit. "Seriously, what is it like?"

Stephen's voice grew softer, his eyes distant. "Rolling green hills as far as the eyes can see. There are more sheep than men it seems like. They feed on huge fields of clover. That is what I miss the most, the smell of fresh clover. There is nothing quite like it. So rich and earthy, fresh, clean." He paused for a moment. "Pure."

"There are huge crags, older than man. Some say they were once giants who fell asleep for so long that they turned to stone. Lakes and streams are filled with the purest water. If you were to look you could see all the way to the bottom with no trouble at all. The mists creep in every night. They swallow the land whole. Waking every morning to find the world wrapped in gray…." Stephen trailed off.

They were silent for a moment, Stephen lost in his memories and Alaine studying his face intently. This was a whole new side of the Mad Irishman. A side that she was coming to tolerate, even like.

"Tell me about your family. Do you have brothers and sisters?"

"Aye. There are enough of us to be considered our own tribe," Stephen said with pride and a smile. "My dear sweet mother Deirdre raised all us with a quick hand and a long spoon. Seven boys and three girls there are. I am the third eldest. Padrick, the eldest, is following Da and taking over the croft. Marie is married with her own brood. After me are the twins Cormand and Dermont. Then Adara and Keira. Connor, Declan and Baby Liam follow."

"That is quite the family you have there Irishman. You must miss them." Alaine meant it as a question more than a simple comment.

"Ach, they are all as mad as me, if not madder and there is not room enough for all of us on my island. It is mah turn to venture and see what awaits me. My brothers are keeping my island for me while I am gone."

Just as she thought he was capable of being serious, Stephen reminded her why they called him the Mad Irishman. Alaine shook her head and stood up. "Thank you for answering my questions Irishman. You have bored me more than enough to send me to sleep." She tried to keep her voice flat but a teasing tone snuck in at the end.

Stephen threw back his head and gawffed. There was some humour in her yet.

Stung by his laughter, Alaine turned and stalked off to her bed roll. She flopped down and pulled the blankets up to her chin.

Thoughts of misty mornings and green hills filled her thoughts as she drifted off to sleep…

Well there ya go! I hope you all enjoyed it.

Leave me some love ; )

Love, Ginger