Written for Goldenlake's Peculiar Pairings Ficathon. Also featuring a somewhat liberal viewpoint and started off as an all-dialogue, except words can be so damn descriptive sometimes, you know? And Kel/Wyldon. I like Kel/Wyldon, for some reason. Cause I used to hate it, and now... I don't know.

She stands outside the room for almost five minutes, debating on whether or not to knock on the closed door, figuring out what to say if she does go in. She hears the scraping noise of a chair inside the room, and the door is yanked open. Its occupant gestures for her to come in, telling her to stop dithering.

Kel stands on one side of the desk, the barrier between them very apparent.

"Sit," he finally says, apparently having tired of her standing there worrying her lower lip between her teeth. Kel nods and perches on the hard chair directly in front of him. She looks down and her feet, spaced a shoulders-width apart on the floor, parallel to each other.

"I'm sorry for meeting so early, sir. I know this is your first weekend off in months, because of the war, and I didn't mean to interrupt you, I hope you aren't bothered by it, but-"

Wyldon sighs and massages his temples. She marvels for a moment at her ability to constantly give him headaches. "You're not a babbler, girl. Say what you've come to say."

She nods, dropping her shoulders in an attempt to relax. "Oh- yes. You do recall what happened between us six weeks ago, do you not? I know we agreed to not speak of it and I'm sorry for bringing it up, but-"

He interrupts. "I remember, why?"

For all of her mental planning and rehearsing, Kel isn't entirely sure how to proceed. She gives it her best attempt, but she is still grasping for the proper words. "Well- it's just- something happened, to, to me, and-"

"This isn't like you. For Mithros' sake, tell me what you've come here to say." He is becoming exasperated at her stumbling. He had taught her to report better than her current efforts, and she knows it.

"I'm trying, sir, I am. Do you remember how I didn't have on my anti-pregnancy charm?"

Wyldon shakes his head. "You had one on, I'm sure of it."

Kel starts chewing on her lip again, sensing the level of tension in the small office increasing. "I thought so too, but it must have fallen off sometime, maybe during a battle? Or-"

His gaze is truly unnerving, hard and dark and aimed directly at her. "Mindelan, I do not like the direction that this is heading in."

"I don't like it either, milord, but I went to a healer-"

"-not Queenscove, I would hope!"

"-of course not, I couldn't trust him with this. You know Neal as well as I do, sir. I'm pregnant." For all of the tripping over words that she had just done, for all of the paths her mental rehearsal of the conversations they could have had, for all of the euphemisms available- it doesn't matter. She just says it, the two words that can ruin them both.

"You're absolutely sure." He doesn't doubt her, as much as he wishes he could. Keladry is no fool, and she wouldn't come to him unless she had no remaining doubts.

"I'm positive. It was a very good healer that I went too, one of the better midwives here. I swore her to secrecy. She won't tell." He nods. If the healer will not say anything, hopefully his name, and his reputation, will be able to remain untainted.

"I cannot offer you anything, Keladry, except perhaps financial support if you wish and even that only subtly. If this got out-"

Somewhere deep down, buried in a small part of her under ribs, Kel is disappointed and a little offended. "No! I don't need-"

"You intend to raise the child completely on your own? I know that you have some money, from the purse you received recently for your actions against Blayce, but you have yourself to outfit and horses and a servant to maintain-"

She shakes her head, and Wyldon has a suspicion that he will like what she says next even less than her original proclamation. "I don't need money because I have no intent to give birth to a child, sir," Kel says smoothly.

"For gods sake Mindelan, you cannot be thinking of aborting the fetus."

"I am. I have to. If it's done safely it won't be dangerous. I won't be on sick leave for more than two weeks, which is much less than eight months, so you don't need to worry about the command of New Hope."

He shakes his head. He knows that what she is planning to do is perhaps the only viable course of action, the only one that can save her and him both, but most of his brain is fundamentally rejecting the idea. "I cannot believe that you are even considering this. That is a child-"

"I know, sir. It's also a bastard child, and I want any children that I have to be wanted and planned. This is an inconvenience as much as it is a child. And the earlier I- terminate the pregnancy- the easier the healer says it will be on my body, and the faster recovery. It's something to do with the herb potion that I have to take." She uses the most impersonal terms that she can, so she can distance herself from the sick, heavy sadness in her gut and the child growing beside it.

"I will give you adequate leave and financial support, Mindelan, if that will convince you to change your mind-"

"It won't, sir, I've made my choice already." She swallows and looks back at him as adamantly as she can manage.

"Gods be damned Mindelan, stop being so- so polite and Yamani foreign and unemotional about this."

"I have to be, don't you understand? Otherwise I'm not going to be able to do it." She breathes deeply through her nose.

"I should go."

Kel stands up. The noise that her chair makes as she gets up seems alien, inhumanly loud in the stifling, tense quiet of his office. She bows her head to him, an acknowledgment to her commander as she turns around and leaves. "Thank you for seeing me."

"Wait." His voice, as it always does, stops her in her tracks. "Keladry."

The use of her given name next makes her turn around and give him her attention again.

"Yes milord?" She asks neutrally.

He looks calmly and curiously at her. "Why did you tell me?"

This is not the question that she had been expecting. "I don't know. I just- thought that you had the right, seeing as you-"

"Don't say it."

"I won't." She begins to leave again.

"Mindelan?"

"Yes?"

"I'm sorry."

"Me too," Kel whispers. As soon as she gets out the door she hurries to her room as fast as she can. When she gets there she curls up on the bed, not even bothering to remove her boots, and cries. She has never felt so alone in her life.

The next day, Wyldon sends a messenger to tell her that she has three months of time off. It is much more than she asked for, and much more than she would have expected, but Kel doesn't give him her thanks in person.

It is nearly impossible for her to face him now.