Other Peoples Children

K. Ryan

"Never have descendants!"

"My lady?"

"It's simple. No matter how your body insists that its own babies are just sweeter than kittens, with their little squished-in faces and general likeness to newly baked bread, stay away from them. And positions that get you them! Love, laughter, wine and whatnot."

"My lady, I'm afraid—"

"—you're too sensible not to take my—oh, what is it, Kel."

"I'm afraid," said Keladry, "that you're sounding an awful lot like Neal."

"That long streak of—ah." Alanna coughed, nudging her horse away from Kel's. January air bit into them, sharp and full of flurries. Kel waited.

"She wanted me to fight with her, this time." Now, Alanna just sounded tired, rather than furious. "She wanted me to find out, and be incensed, so I would be the irrational mother, and she would be Alianne, the gallant and forward-thinking girl who was more than happy to—"

"Spend a good deal of time with other gallant, forward-thinking girls?" Kel managed not to smile.

"Look, if my daughter found the perfect woman, or even just a nice, sane, not silly person who just happened to be a—if she was with you, even…"

The words died. They didn't even twitch a little.

"I don't think, somehow—"

"No, no. Not at all."

"As you say."

"Oh, and Lady Knight?"

"Yes, Alanna?"

"If you and my daughter try a thing I'll see you both set on fire."

Note: Written for the first round of Goldenlake's SMACKDOWN: A fanfiction fight for Kel's non-canonical hand. Competitor: Alanna of Pirate's Swoop and Olau. Characters are in no way mine. The competition is the brainchild of Goldenlake message boards. They, likewise, neither own nor profit from these characters and/or their geographies.