"Adhemar!" The man in question turned his head to find one of the biggest torns in his side call his name.

"What do you want Thatcher?" He groused continuing with his stretches.

"You are planning to practice with the sword, are you not?"

"No I'm planning to cut daisies with it, of course I am planning to practice."

Swallowing back the angry retort on the tip of his tongue he tried to remember why he was doing this. 'Because Geoff said you couldn't take the man in a swordfight.' His mind supplied. "Why don't we fight each other, not to the death of course."

"Why would I do that Thatcher."

"I thought maybe you'd like a real opponent instead of cutting the air to pieces, but if you are afraid…" He trailed off. It was only now that he realized that Geoff had been baiting him to prove it. Why would he do that?

Adhemar fixated his green eyes on the blond man in front of him. He knew that William was a good swordfighter, but the boy had never been to war. He would like the challenge of teaching this hard headed pig exactly where he stood in the world. "Fine meet me out on the field in ten minutes." With those words he stalked away to stretch his muscles a bit more.

"Oh my!" Ally exclaimed looking out of Kate her window.

"What is it?" The injured blacksmith asked from the bed where she had been reading a book.

"It's Sir William and Count Adhemar, it looks like they will be fighting each other." Within a flash the Lady was out of the bed and next to the window. "It doesn't look more like a sparring match really. I don't think this is serious." Kate looked at the two men down below for a few more seconds before replying. "It might not be to the death, but with Will and Adhemar everything is serious."

They circled each other for a little while, trying to see what kind of move their opponent would start with. Finally Adhemar struck, the clanging of iron on iron made Kate cringe. She didn't want any of the two get hurt, but she knew it was unavoidable.

William felt his hands tingle from the hard blows Adhemar unleashed upon him. He was keeping up with the man at the moment, but he knew he would not last much longer. His hands were twitching, and his arms aching. He had not been able to lay a single blow on Adhemar, he was constantly parrying and deflecting. All of a sudden there was an opening Adhemar had raised his sword high to deliver the blow that surely would have meant the end for William, when William took a swipe at his lower legs. Unable to lower his sword fast enough Adhemar moved backwards, making the metal of Williams blade swipe his shin. The colourful curse that left Adhemars mouth would have made a sailor blush. The second that Adhemar was distracted William struck him on the shoulder. William was used to people dropping out right about now. Adhemar might have lain more blows on him, it took a lot of energy keeping up his pace. Expecting defeat from his opponent the blond man lowered his sword. The wrong move. One mighty blow against Will his arm had him falling backwards, without a sword. Adhemar placed the tip of his on the younger man his chest, his face was unreadable.

"I have to apologize for my behaviour at the tournament, you have proven to be quite a fighter." It was too much, William burst out laughing.

"You are apologizing to me while you have the tip of your sword on my heart, you haven't apologized much in your life haven't you?"

Adhemar was about to retract his apology, he did not need to be laughed at when William did something quite strange, he held out his hand. "Help me up Count of Lousy apologies, I accept. Now lets' get a bath because I don't think the ladies will like us smelling like this."

The two men walked back towards the castle and Kate stood up and walked to the door as fast as she could. When Adhemar and Will reached the second floor she just finished going down the stairs.

"Kate you should not be out of your room, and certainly not out of bed. What did I tell you about that you stubborn woman." Adhemar chastised her, she however ignored his words entirely. She walked up to him at quite a pace for someone so gravely injured and hugged him. "thank you." She whispered into his shoulder. Slowly, as if unsure to her reaction, Adhemar wrapped his arms around her. "It was nothing."

Will finally realized why Geoff and Germaine were so certain these two would work out together. He had never heard anyone tell off Kate like that, and he certainly had never seen Adhemar so caring about anyone. He seemed softened somehow. He walked away from the scene, he was off in search for Jocelyn. After witnessing something so sweet, all he wanted to do was go to his own wife and kiss her until there was no tomorrow.

"You should take a shower. You smell." Kate joked when she let go of him.

He raised his eyebrow. "Oh really? I think you quite like the smell of me, you couldn't keep your hands to yourself after all."

She had to repress the urge to blush. "Oh please, like I would ever like the smell of a dead rat." He just grinned and helped her back up the stairs to her room. She had to admit, the smell that came of him was so purely male that she had to supress a small shiver of pleasure. Beneath the sweat there was a hint of parchment, leather and fresh grass. He definitely smelled good. She almost wanted to ask him to stay when he left her in her room to go get a bath and work.

"Adhemar! Adhemar! Come quick!" Adhemar tried to keep from groaning as he heard the grating voice of his fiancé.

"What is it now Arianna?"

"It's Father he is dying!" She was entirely unbalanced he realized as he watched her hop from one foot to the other.

"What do you mean he is dying? Where is he now?"

"He is in his room, and he was in so much pain. Oh what will I do, I can't live on my own. I need my daddy." It seemed that the idea of losing her father had reduced her to a fat crying child. Knowing he wouldn't get a lot of clear information out of her, he ordered her to take him to her. The surgeon was just leaving the room, where a vile stench was coming from, making Adhemar keep his hand in front of his nose.

"What is the problem with him?"

The surgeon took one look at the quivering mess that was Arianna before he looked at him again. "He isn't gravely ill, he just had some food poisoning. It will give him some distress in the bowel region for a day or two, but it's nothing deadly." With a solemn nod of his head he left the two. In her happiness that her father wasn't gravely ill Arianna had thrown herself at Adhemar, who was now trying to get himself out of her vice-like arms.

The surgeon took one look back and shook his head. "Poor man." He muttered.

AN: Once again a dedication to the ever faithful Gothchiq80 :D