Kel leaned against the door jam, watching Dom pack his bags. "And where are you going this time?" she asks, coming over to help.

Dom stops and looks at her, with almost wonder in his eyes. "What are you staring at? Is there something on my face?" she asks him, as she shoves more clothes in the bag. Dom looks away and smiles, shaking his head.

"I just never noticed before how long your hair has grown. It looks nice."

Kel blushes and hides her face behind her hair, as she continues packing.

"Thank you," she replies, "but you still haven't told me where you're going."

As Dom forces the last of the clothing into the bag, they both stand up.

"The third company is being dragged off to Corus; Raoul has been ordered by the King to attend an important ball for some visiting foreign diplomat, and he's bringing us along with him."

Kel smiled at the thought of her old Knight master trying to blend into the drapes.

They walked to the stables silently, both deep in thought. As they neared the stable gate, Kel asked, "How long will you be gone for? Will you come back up here, to Steadfast?"

Dom pauses, hesitating.

"I don't know. What with winter coming on soon, I suppose we'll stay in the capital to wait it out. Chances are, they'll bring everyone they can spare in too, for the prince's marriage."

Kel sighs; the topic of marriage always depresses her. After all, she thinks, who would want to marry a woman who looks like a cow, and can knock out a man with one punch?

"Do you ever think that you'll ever get married some day, Dom?"

He smiles and sighs. "I don't know. Maybe one day, but if I marry now, I'll have to quit the Own. I can't do that; I'd have nothing to do with my life and I'd be bored out of my brain sitting at home! What about you, O Protector?"

Kel smiles and chuckles. "No, I don't think I ever will. Who would want a woman that looks like a cow?"

Dom is quiet for a moment, then looks Kel straight in her eyes and kisses her softly.

"I do," he says, "I do."