Maria scoffed in disbelief. "You mean, ready to go through another year of hell?"

Brushing her hair away from her nape, Altair breathlessly laughed as he rubbed his wife's arm, shaking his head at the dogged frown that began to manifest her face. "Perhaps in due time—which, I am hoping will come to a possibility."

A grunt. "Not happening."

The assassin, sans a change in his amused expression, maneuvered his hand from the light massage on her shoulder and started to trail it downwards, his mouth subtly ghosting along her jaw line in silent adoration—languidly, he toyed with the hem of her nightshirt before bunching it under her breasts, ignoring the stern protest, and settled his hand on her stomach, not too long for him to stroke the area in a circular motion as gently as he could. A kiss on the neck, the ginger caresses by his fingers, a sigh, and he reverently traced the stretch marks on the pale expanse of flesh that the other tried to cover unsuccessfully, finally silencing her rebuttal by molding his lips over her own.

"You will give me another child, Maria—I know you will."

Indignation. "Unless you plan to lug around another human being in the depths of your womb, do not expect me to be with child again; having one is quite enough."

"Oh? Are you not being selfish?"

It was without a doubt that Maria arched her brow. "What ever are you talking abo—Altair!" She wrenched her head to the side and hissed at the Grand Master, who was having a pleasing time snaking his hands lower and lower. "Do not even think about it."

"Come now," he complacently asserted, somehow turning his spouse over onto her back as he loomed over her. "Let us not be so self-centered—our son needs someone to play with." Smirks that were more smug than his never existed. "Preferably, a younger brother."

"That is the oldest excuse in mankind."

If only she knew.

"Well, too bad it is working."