K. Ryan

"You should not have been in the saddle."

Alanna strode into the bathroom room of Kel's palace quarters, hands clenched at her side, shoulders taut. Keladry, wreathed in steam, closed her eyes.

"Listen to me, Kel, you're—"


Alanna stopped. She caught her breath, though it still felt frantic within her, sharp edged and uncomfortable, skittering in her lungs and throat. Kel shrugged, her broad shoulders gleaming, water falling in trails between her breasts. Her eyes remained closed, lashes long and soft on her cheek.


"Did you ever listen?"

Alanna swallowed.

"No," Kel smiled, slow and weary, strangely caught in dreams. "You rode off to see to giants, seven months along and almost as broad as you were tall—"


"Raoul told me," she said simply. "His words. And they're never going to apply to me—"

"—because you have sense—"

"—Because I'll never be as broad as I am tall, and I'd be tied to a chair before that point."

"You should be tied now," Alanna muttered. "And by whom? Did you nearly give away who the fa—"

Kel opened her eyes—wide and hazel and amused, now—and she grinned. "If I told you, I'm afraid you'd have to kill me."

"You're…you're joking."

"Yes, Alanna." Kel reached out with dripping arms, and took Alanna's two, small, fisted ones in hers. "But I'll also tell you what you've told everyone else on my behalf," she said. "Including Neal, and he's insisting he'll find a way to magic me to find out."

"He'd try," Alanna murmured, her hands slowly relaxing, though it was strangely difficult to look away from the swell of Kel's breasts now, newly heavy and flushed in the heat. Mad to notice, of course. Kel's movements, her unconcerned breathing, all spoke of viewing the body as a purely practical thing, the same shell on all persons, not to be stared at. She was beautiful, and so very long. Water-soft, muscle hard, skin and muscle and bone apparently at perfect peace despite the riot Alanna knew, was happening deep inside. The growth, the change, the danger. "There's no extant spell. And what was I telling everyone?"

"To mind their own business," Kel said, grinning broadly.

Alanna groaned. Still caught, she leant in and over, kissing the younger woman's cheek. Kel smiled into it, and she turned her head suddenly, so Alanna's lips found themselves at the edges of that smile.

"Oh! Goddess, clumsy fool—"

"No." The word stopped her mouth. Alanna peered into her face.

"No," said Kel, again. "That was me. I…" As Alanna watched, Kel's cheeks darkened and her eyes widened, just a faction. Through the water, and lemon verbena soap, Alanna caught her skin, tasting it at the back of her throat.

"I slipped it."

"Ah," said Alanna. "I remember that, too."


"For the few months before I was quite as broad as I was tall," Alanna smiled ruefully, tugging her hands free from Kel's and cupping her face to kiss her.

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.