FOUR

Stop this train, I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in, I know I can't
But honestly won't someone stop this train?

"Stop This Train" – John Mayer

"Raoul, why don't you fence Alan today?" Jon suggested the next morning, an impish gleam in his sapphire eyes.

Raoul opened his mouth to protest, but Gary cut him off. "That sounds amusing. It's been awhile since I had a good laugh."

"So I'll come tickle you," Raoul said. "That sounds less damaging to my pride."

"I've fenced against Raoul before," Alanna reminded them, silently swearing to put something nasty in Jonathan's bed that evening.

"And won," Raoul added. "There's no need for a repeat performance."

"You need all the practice against bigger knights you can get, squire," Jonathan told her. "Since you probably won't find any smaller." Alanna swatted his thigh with her practice sword, not quite hard enough to bruise. "Ow! That hurt!"

"Baby," she retorted.

"That's mature," drawled Jon, rolling his eyes.

"And insulting my height isn't? That joke's getting stale."

Gary straightened up and looked down at her. He relaxed again, grinning. "Nope. Still seems pretty fresh to me."

"How about I fence you?" Alanna asked. "And, if I win, you stop teasing me about being short."

"But then I would have to find something else," Gary whined. "And it's been too long for that."

"All in favor of Alan and Raoul fencing say 'aye'," Jonathan interrupted.

"Aye!" Gary and Jonathan chorused.

"All opposed?" Alanna and Raoul's hands went up.

"Squires?" Gary looked at Douglass and Sacherell. "Do you have a view?"

"No," Douglass replied frankly.

"Either answer will annoy someone," Sacherell added.

"Ha!" Alanna grinned ferociously at her knight-master. "They don't want to anger me just as much as they don't want to anger you!"

Jonathan shook his head. "You are easily amused."

"Not really." She bounced the blade on her hand, still smiling. "I'm going to savor this moment."

"Savor it as long as you want, small fry." Alanna growled and lunged at a laughing Jonathan, much to everyone's amusement.


Alanna and Raoul hung behind the rest as they went to lunch. "What does Jon know?" Raoul asked quietly.

"Only that you know," she whispered, glancing around to be sure they were alone. "Nothing else." There was no need to scare him. Besides, she didn't want him to think she went around thinking about his kissing her! Because she didn't think about it. (The fact that she didn't think about his kiss because she was too busy thinking about Jonathan's notwithstanding.)

He nodded. "All right. He wasn't mad?"

"Of course not! George knew before he did."

"He didn't wonder why you told me?"

Damn. Sober, well-rested Raoul was a lot smarter than drunken or hungover Raoul. "No." Luckily, her lying skills were well honed. He seemed to believe her, but she wasn't sure how good he was at bluffing, or at ignoring things he didn't wish to think about.

"We should go before they get suspicious," Raoul remarked.

"We should," Alanna murmured, following behind quietly. She didn't need another jealous earful from Jonathan that night. Things were complicated enough with him as it was!


I'm really enjoying everyone's feedback. I'm glad so many people are enjoying this! I noticed it's been added to a few alert lists. Thank you so much! It means a lot that you actually care to see what happens. I'm going to try to get you as many updates as I can before I leave for college in two weeks, but no promises. Hope you enjoyed this chapter. How do y'all feel about the lyrics at the beginning?