George leaned back a little further in his large chair and put his feet up on the balcony. He dozed, lulled by the sound of the waves, the early morning sun on his face and the weight of his son laying on his bare chest. A breeze blew across them, and Thom stirred slightly and gave a soft coo. George reached a hand up and smoothed down the few tufts of red hair on Thom's head and the boy settled again.

"You're up early."

George leaned back a little further and smiled up at his wife. "I'm still dozing," he responded with a smile.

Alanna smiled. "I didn't know that when I had a baby it would mean you would leave me alone in bed at all hours of the night. I can't even imagine how much you would disappear if I had the baby girl you requested."

"He's perfect as he is," George responded. "You did good, lass."

Alanna leaned down and kissed him. "We did good."

George scooted over to the side of the chair, and Alanna grinned and slid in next to him, turning on her side to fit. She leaned her head on his chest and tossed her legs over his, reaching a hand up to rub Thom's back softly.

"It's nice out here," she said sleepily. "I thought you were insane for moving our favorite and upholstered chair onto the balcony and risking it getting rained out."

"I remember," George said ruefully.

"I suppose I got a little too upset about it," Alanna admitted.

"A little?"

"I was a week past due! I can't be expected to be rational in that situation, even when my husband is actually trying to be really sweet and put my favorite chair in the sun."

"Was that an apology, lass?" George teased.

Alanna stretched up to kiss him gently on the neck.

"No. It was your fault I was so irrational."

George laughed out right at that. "It was certainly worth it though," he said with a smile, looking down at Thom.

"I can't believe how perfect he is," Alanna said softly.

George reached an arm around her back and drew her closer, trailing his fingers slowly up and down her arm. "I told you so," he teased.

"Don't gloat. It's unbecoming."

"I need to remind you that I was right last time to help convince you I'll be right next time."

Alanna chuckled softly, but didn't respond.

George craned his neck to try and look her in the eyes. "I'm waiting for your loud objection."

"This is too nice for loud objections," Alanna murmured. "Though with another baby we may have trouble all fitting in this chair."

"We can buy a couch," George replied with a grin.

"So demanding."

"And yet you aren't insisting one is enough."

Alanna stayed silent. She reached out and cupped Thom's head with her hand. "One is lovely, but…"

She paused again, but George waited her out. "Thom was so important in my life. I can't imagine going through childhood without a sibling."

George kissed Alanna's forehead, gently wiping her tears away.

"I asked my mother for a little brother for Midwinter once."

Alanna chuckled again, her tears drying as the familiar ache faded, though didn't disappear. "What did she say?"

"She said there were enough thieves in the world. She wasn't producing anymore."

Alanna laughed outright at that, the sound rolling softly and pleasantly through his chest. "It never occurred to me, but I suppose she tried every trick in the book to keep you from thieving."

"If by that you mean she yelled, guilted and whipped me. Yes. Every trick in the book."

"Why did you do it?"

George looked down at her in wry bemusement. "I was hungry."

Alanna bit her lip. "Sorry."

"You're a noble," George replied with a shrug.

"That was mean," Alanna said quietly, the hurt evident in her voice.

George sighed. "I didn't mean it like that. I didn't mean you don't care. I just meant that you're…just different. Your life experience was different. What naturally occurs to me wouldn't naturally occur to you."

Alanna reached a hand up to stroke his face. "Was it really that bad?"

George shrugged again. "Compared to others in the Lower City, no. We always had a home to live in, though now I know that we got close to not having one. Ma never told me, but she wouldn't have let me go hungry unless she had to. And we didn't always have enough food, but I had a Ma who was always there, who wasn't a drunk, who loved me and showed it, who could read and write and taught me to read and write, and probably most importantly, who knew of a life beyond the Lower City. Ma knew what else there was in life, and she made sure I did too. That set me apart from most of the kids I ran around with. But it was hard. I was hungry, and there was food all around. So I took it. I hated upsetting her, but I hated being hungry more."

"Did you support her?" Alanna asked.

"No. She'd never take money that came from thieving. I'd send my boys over to get patched up by her, and she was paid for that, but that's it. She had enough money by the time I became Rogue anyways. She had established herself as a healer and was able to buy herbs and metal to make balms and charms and sell those. She bought the house you knew all on her own the first year I was Rogue."

"So if she had enough money, why'd you keep stealing? Why did you become the Rogue?"

"I'd spent my life not having any power. Stealing gave me power. And I was good at it. I didn't want to go get a job taking orders from someone who thought they were better than I was just because of where I'd been born and who I'd been born to. So I kept thieving. And the old Rogue saw me as a threat. I either had to bind myself to him, or take his throne. The choice wasn't that hard in the end. He wasn't a particularly good Rogue, and I certainly wasn't willing to bind myself to a man who wasn't as good a Rogue as I could be."

George paused. "And I didn't want any chil of mine to ever feel hungry," he finished quietly.

Alanna kissed his jaw. "I don't think you'll ever have to worry about that."

"One of the many good things about marrying a woman for her money," George teased.

Alanna squawked and pinched him along the ribs. George jerked in response, causing Thom to wake up and wail.

George sat up and bounced him gently. "Hush now, little man."

Thom quieted instantly, waving a little fist about and cooing softly.

Alanna pinched him again. "Look what you did, waking him up."

"Me? Is it my fault you don't like hearing the truth?"

Alanna pinched him yet again in response and scowled.

George laughed. "Alright, alright woman. You're going to bruise me. I admit it. I didn't marry you only for your money."

He hopped out of the chair and skittered away before she could pinch him again, raising Thom slightly to rest securely on his shoulder.

"I'm going to get you," Alanna said, circling the chair slowly.

George backed into the bedroom. "I'm holding the baby!"

"Coward. Using the baby as a shield."

She darted in and pinched him with both hands.

"Oh, that's it." George lowered Thom carefully into his bassinet before turning to face Alanna. "This is war."

Alanna squealed and headed for the exit, but George clambered over the bed and blocked the door. "Don't, please don't," she begged, backing away slowly with her hands raised.

"You should have thought of that before you provoked me." He leapt towards her, and she turned and tried to run. He snagged her around the waist easily and trapped her against his chest, tickling her mercilessly. "Please, please, please," she begged. "Please stop."

Desperately, she reached up and kissed him on the mouth. He relaxed his fingers instantly, responding eagerly to her harsh kiss, stroking gentle fingers along the ribs he'd just been tickling. He backed her towards the bed, drawing her nightshirt up and over her head.

"The baby," Alanna murmured.

"He won't mind," George replied, nuzzling her neck and letting his hands explore the newly heavy weight of her breast. He pulled back and looked at her. "Are you ready for this?" he asked softly.

Alanna smiled and reached for his laces. "Yes."

"Are you sure?"

Rather than respond, she pushed his breeches and loincloth down and wrapped her hand around him, squeezing gently. He hissed and slid his fingers under her loincloth, pulling it slowly off. He slid a gentle finger between her legs, caressing the warm flesh. His eyes rolled and he lost focus as she sped up her strokes. "Trickster's beard, I've missed this."

"Mm-hmm," she murmured, wrapping one leg around the small of his back and hitching herself closer. He kept teasing her, enjoying prolonging the expectation and her increasingly frustrated noises. Finally she bit him hard on the shoulder and snapped, "Stop messing around."

He laughed, "So demanding." Gently, he slid into her, hesitant despite her eagerness.

She bit her lip, and he froze. He pulled back slightly, and reached a hand up to stroke her hair out of her face. "It's only been four weeks, lass. We can wait."

Alanna grinned up at him before digging her heels into his behind and using them as leverage to thrust her hips upward. The air whooshed out of his lungs and he dropped his forehead to meet hers. "Give a man a warning before you do that," he said huskily, but he began to move his hips gently causing both of them to groan simultaneously when he finally sank completely into her.

He kissed her deeply and laughed softly. "It's nice to be able to reach your lips again while we do this," he teased lightly.

She smiled and wound her hand is his hair, using her other hand to pull her chest against his. She arched up, her breasts brushing against his chest and sighed. "Yes. Yes it is."

He slid his forearms under her back, pressing himself as close against her as possible and continuing the maddeningly slow movement of his hips. Determined to end his teasing and his worry, Alanna nipped at the cord in his neck that she knew was a sensitive spot of his and bucked up hard with her hips, the combined sensation causing him to lose any control he had. He drove hard into her and the mood shifted, their lovemaking moving in an instant from tender and teasing to nearly desperate as they both raced to the finish.

He rolled off of her when they'd finished, sweating and breathing hard. She curled into him and he moved a heavy arm to circle around her and bring her tight against his side. She kissed his chest and smiled.

"I really missed that."

"It's only been four weeks, lass. Mithros knows we've gone much longer than that."

"It's not the same," Alanna insisted. "And you know it."

George made a noncommittal noise and Alanna scowled, knowing he was irritating her on purpose. She propped her head up on one elbow and said, "Well, if you feel that way about it, I guess I won't propose a repeat round while I lay on my newly-flattened stomach."

She moved to hop out of bed, and he pulled her back, pressing her chest firmly into the mattress as he slid over her. He stroked her hair to the side and kissed her neck. "Let's not be too hasty," he husked, moving his lips in a caressing line of kisses down her spine as she arched back into him.

Thom screamed unexpectedly, causing them both to start. George laughed softly and rolled off her, pulling on breeches as he hopped out of bed and motioning to Alanna to stay. "Alright little man, alright. Hush now."

Alanna smiled as she watched George lean down and lift Thom out of the bassinet, bouncing him slightly and causing his wails to quiet to hiccupping sobs.

George handed him to her and climbed back into bed, encouraging her to lie back against his chest when she began to feed him. Alanna stroked a finger across his cheek as he suckled, feeling warmth flood her body.

"No," she said quietly. "No, I don't think one will be enough."

She grinned up at George cheekily. "Even if they spend many months preventing favorite activities from happening in favorite positions and many years preventing favorite activities from happening at all."

George grinned back and kissed the back of her neck. "Don't worry, lass. Even if we have twenty little 'un, we'll find time for all favored activities, and we'll rediscover all favored positions," he said, the purr in his voice causing her to shiver agreeably even as she refocused her attention to the perfect little boy in her arms.

Back at last! Hitting another serious exhaustion induced writer's block, but as always A/G helped kick me out of it at last. I'm struggling with Zenobia right now-she's very temperamental and refuses to cooperate in any of what she terms the boring part, and what I term the important plot development part of her story. Don't worry-I'll keep wrestling with her, but in the meantime I'll update this, the Buri/Raoul story and the Beka/Rosto in an attempt to get the creative juices flowing again. I'm so sorry to all those waiting on me, but I promise even if it takes me ten bloody years, I'll finish Z's story.

As always, please review and let me know what you think! If not for all my reviews, I would have given up a long time ago.