A/N I'm sorry! I should have updated this ages ago. I do have an excuse, actually. I had written half of this trouble, but we had computer problems and it accidentally got deleted. And then I forgot about it for a while, and then I had exams. My exams are pretty much over now, so I have time to write this, and I'll say again that I'm sorry. I shouldn't have let two months pass between updates! Anyway, for all my loyal fans (I have fans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), I'm sorry to say that this will very probably be my penultimate (vocab word!!!) chapter. Yes, I know, it's sad. :( But maybe I will have a sequel eventually. You see, here's the situation. I'm moving houses soon, and don't know when I'll get access to a computer for quite a while. I want all of my fics finished before then, just in case I don't or can't update for a long time (yes, it could be up to six months). I hate it when authors leave their stories hanging, and I can promise I will do my best not to do that. Anyway, I hope you all like it, and (as ever) please review!!! Oh, I don't own anything. Got it? Good. Well, start reading!
When Kel awoke, there was little light coming in through the tent flap. She stared up at the roof drowsily. She was warm, and her foot didn't hurt as long as she kept it still. For now, she was content But soon Kel became restless. What was she supposed to do for the next two months? She couldn't exercise, practice her glaive, staff or sword, and neither could she read; she couldn't move to get a book. Besides which, she had brought only one book with her, which happened to be in her pack, in a different tent. She lay, staring up at the ceiling. As long as one had an imagination, one could never be bored. It was true. Kel let her thoughts drift… Joren.
Why had he kissed her? Possibly it was another way to make her feel uncomfortable and inferior… she was female and subject to male harassment. On the other hand, Joren had been so nice on the trip up here! In fact, he had been nice for quite a while. So what was the other option? Maybe he liked her. Was that even possible? Kel didn't consider herself attractive, and Neal certainly didn't. She felt a pang of regret there, but it wasn't a very big one. What reasons would Joren have to be attracted to her? She had determination, and stubbornness against all odds. She had won Lord Wyldon's respect, however grudgingly, was it possible that she had won Joren's too? Kel thought back to her conversation with him, when he had been talking about Sir Alanna. His words had rung true.
So Joren did like her! Kel felt a thrill inside her at this point. Was it possible that she returned his feelings? Well, he was certainly attractive enough! He had amended his ways since he had become a squire, and his attitude had to all appearances changed. He had resolution, that was evident in how he had dogged her in her first years. And then, he knew when to back down. He had tried to befriend her, and had even apologised to her, after he saw that women knights really could fight. So the question was, did she like him back? Yes. Kel thought his name, and felt a jump of excitement somewhere inside her chest.
Kel thought on Joren a little more, until the squire himself entered the tent. Outside, the sun was setting.
"How are you feeling, Kel?" His voice was calm, his face straight, but his hands betrayed him. They were twisting and wringing.
"I'm okay. Just berating myself for being such an idiot." It was true… how could she have dropped the weapon?
"It happens to the best of us," Joren said reassuringly. He indicated the chair next to Kel's bed, "Mind if I sit down?"
"No, go ahead." Kel's heart fluttered, and she told herself off sternly. She was behaving like the love-sick court ladies!
"Um, about, you know…"
"Yes." Kel did know.
"Did you… do you mind? I mean…" the sun had practically set now, which Kel was grateful for because it hid her blush. Joren stopped, and shook his head. Then he continued, "Kel, I really like you. In the beginning, I refused to admit it, and made a show of open hostility. Then I came to understand the ways of a lady knight, and realise your ambition was as valid as my own. When I came to understand you, the attraction just took hold. I do like you. If you don't feel the same, I can understand. That's find, what with the torture I've put you through for such a long time, but…" At this point, Kel cut him off.
"Yes, Joren, I understand. I like you too." Joren's face broke into a smile.
Finally, Kel's sarcastic side got the better of her. "No, I hate you! I was just pretending!" She felt abashed immediately, but Joren was still smiling.
He kissed her. It was somewhat awkward (what with Kel's leg), but Kel enjoyed the moment nonetheless. Joren broke it off, looking unhappy.
"Kel, I'm leaving tomorrow. With Sir Paxton. I'm not going to see you for two months."
"I'll miss you."
There wasn't much else to be said, so Joren and Kel didn't waste the time in speaking. An action was worth a thousand words, and there was one action in particular that they both considered appropriate. (No! This is rated PG-13, I'll have you know! Think cleanly!) They only stopped kissing when they heard footsteps outside. It was the cook, and he had come to say his own good-bye. He did so, and a few of the men did so too. Finally, Joren was again left alone with Kel. He gave her one last kiss, and then rose and left.
"I'll miss you." Kel whispered, as the tent flaps closed. She would. More than she could believe possible.
A/N I think it's finished! I had loads of plans for this chapter, but this is really finished. If I get enough pleas (hint) I might post a sequel once I get to my new house (give me four months). If there aren't any difficulties. Kel/Joren fics rule!!! If you have a Kel/Joren you'd like me to review, please tell me! In the books, I'm all for Kel/Cleon, but you have to admit, Kel/Joren is sweet. Right, sorry, I'm getting carried away. Review! And… the bit you've all been waiting for… here's my long list of thank-you's to all of you deserving reviewers!
Words of Wonder: What can I say? Thanks for everything! You've been so nice and kind and encouraging and helpful and generally wonderful, even though you don't like Kel/Joren!!! Thanks sooo much for being one of the best friends I can have! And for bitching at Maya… what more can I ask for?
Squire Kali: Thank-you for being so nice! I'm really glad someone likes my fics! I agree with you about computers, but if I had the choice, I think I would choose Joren (at least, the Joren in my fic. : ) But what I'm trying to say is thanks for reviewing all of my chapters and being so encouraging. Thank-you!
Flying Fire: Yes, thanks to you, too! I don't really care about Neal/Orie, it's just a convenient way to get rid of Neal. Yes, I know I've said this before, but I just thought I'd clear it up.
//me//: Thank-you!!! I love positive reviews!!!DaniSue: Thanks for reviewing! Sorry I took so long to update!
IceWind: I do try to keep my spelling and grammar accurate, but occasionally a few typos do creep in. Thank-you for giving me a positive review in both aspects (plot and grammar). I appreciate it!
ThePenMage: Thanks for your reviews on all of my fics! I'm glad you liked it despite the pairing, it's nice to have an objective opinion!
midnight blues: How dare you say Joren is a creep? No, JK! Seriously, though, my Joren isn't a creep! Thanks for your positive review!
Hshuler888: Don't we all love Joren? (lol) Thank-you for your review!!!
Marie: Thanks! I'm glad! (People like my fic! *dances around skipping* (And no, that isn't sarcasm. I can be nice… despite what some ppl will tell you))
pass: Sorry for being so naïve. I need a good whack on the head, I'm sure. Anyway, all sorted now! I'll e-mail you with the chapter update!
hannah: Thank-you! Reviews make it all worth it! I hope you liked this chapter!
arukara: I tried to keep it as close to the books as possible (at least up until Page. Squire messed up all my plans! *grins*) Thanks for your positive review!
miss julep: Thanks!!! I'm glad you liked it. I hope the ending didn't disappoint you? *grins*
anne: Thanks! I did my best!
003: Personally, I think that my characterisation is the worst part of my writing, so I'm really happy that you think the characters are accurate! I appreciate it a lot. Thanks!
Mandarin Huntress: Thank-you ever so much! Thanks for the compliment, although you are definitely a good writer yourself. I have one complaint… update more often! However, considering I haven't updated this is about two months, I really shouldn't be talking. Thank-you!
Maya: How many people think I should bother writing this? None, including me. But I do want to say you have the honour of being my first (and so far only) flamer. I have one other thing to say… : P !!!!!!!!!!
Rachel: Thanks for reassuring me that my writing is worthwhile!
Larzdinn: Thanks for pointing out my meeting inaccuracy… I sometimes get so carried away in the plot that I ignore little details. *blushes* Thank-you for your continuing support, and I hope you like the ending!
Sabriel: Thank-you!!! Reviews make me so happy!
Angelina Weasley: Thank-you! Sorry I didn't update for a while!
anonymous (mandykat): One question… how are you anonymous if you leave your e-mail address? Sorry about the typos… I know I should re-read my chapters, and I will try in future. I got a friend to read over this one, so there shouldn't be anything major in it. Thanks for your review… constructive criticism is always the best!
Theo: Thank-you! Yeah, I should've updated ages ago *cringe* I'm sorry. Still, I hope the ending makes up for the wait? If it doesn't, I give you permission to flame me, and I won't even insult you back! *grin* Thanks.
princess of tortall: Thanks very much. I don't know if it's the best… but I'm flattered! Thanks for reviewing!