"—and tomorrow, he has a scouting mission with one of the masters—Altair."

A grunt. "Yes?"

"St-Stop—get your hands off of me!" Maria agitatedly exclaimed, tightening her hold on a hand that toyed with the hem of her chemise. "Off!"

Saying nothing, the languid man did not withdraw his hand's presence, but simply slid it over to rest on his wife's thigh, ignoring the seething glare that threatened to burn holes into the shadows on his chest—the expectant arch of his brow voiced his inquiry louder than the silence that lingered within the few seconds of restlessness. If her womb was not occupied by a very hyper babe at the moment, she swore to God her sword would be embedded right next to the complacent male's face without a single glimmer of thought: Lord knew how she wished for this painful period of pregnancy to be over.

Especially when this idiot was the father of her children. "You are not listening: I am managing your son's welfare in his first mission, and all you are doing is being a bloody, perverted dolt."

"Maria."

"It's his first time! He's going to … God, I do not know! Break his legs or … or, or, or … come home crying with cuts all over his face."

"Maria."

Continuing sans any other thought, "Have you ever wondered if he would get lost in Mecca? Or … hell." Accusations all around. "And here you are, acting as if you were taking our son's place."

"Maria."

"Do not tell me 'Maria, Maria, Maria', you cursed fool! I have had enough!"

Awkward pause. " … Maria."

"Silence! I know! I am being the typical overemotional pregnant woman! Do not rub it in my face—"

"Maria."

"What?"

Altair gingerly cupped Maria's face and pressed his lips against her flushed temple, drawing his spouse closer to his body as he raised the blankets higher over their shoulders: Settling one hand on her belly, he tucked her head under his chin and smothered her heated protest by massaging her stomach, his laugher diminutive, the amusement that radiated from the quirk of his lips great. The small fit soon morphed into the occasional insult, and before Maria could say much else to put her through malstress once more, said being kissed the sensitive spot right under her jaw and left her to merely shoot the weakest daggers into laughing brown eyes..

The Grand Master smiled.

"So this is what a wife really is."

And, of course: "So this is what a husband really is."

Quite extraordinary: Now, all they needed was a dog and a cast iron fence.