Reaver was dozing pleasantly on the divan.
He was daydreaming about a pretty blonde maid whose hips he'd brushed not two hours ago. She had turned and given him a coy look and ooh, that was a spark.
So he didn't hear the pitter-patter of five-year-old feet, didn't see a little girl with big brown eyes and blonde hair creeping into the room.
But he most certainly felt the impact of a rather weighty book hitting his stomach. He sat up with an audible 'oof!' and glared angrily around the room until his gaze fell on a pair of rebellious eyes. The little princess Tallusa did NOT back down.
"Read to me!" she snapped.
Blood of Avo, Reaver cursed, does this child sense a strategic weakness? Has she realised that I would physically bend over backwards to make her happy? Of course I'll read the damn book! But I have to look annoyed SOMEHOW…
"What about your mother? Your father? Logan?" he suggested, feigning boredom.
"Mummy and daddy are in their bedroom. There are strange noises coming from there!" Reaver hid a chuckle. There was nothing quite like shagging in the middle of the day and having a small child listening outside.
"Loden's in the library. He's reading. He can't read to me, cos all the books are booooooooring!" she replied.
Stands to reason, Reaver's brain thought idly. A fifteen year-old-boy would have to be thoroughly persuaded to read to his five-year-old sister. Even one this cute.
"What about Walter?"
"He's on a 'route march'. What's a route march?"
"It's where they go on a very long walk to get to one place or another. And I suppose that rules out Major Swift too."
"Long walk? BORING! An' actually, Major Swift's at the pub."
"How do you…how do you know that?"
"He said he was going. There were loooooads of them. They were all laughing and joking. But they've still got their rifles." She looked up, her brown eyes huge and pleading. "Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease will you read to me, Reaver?"
Reaver gave a long sigh, as though he were thoroughly bored with the idea.
"Yes, alright, I'll read to you. But just one chapter, mind," he warned.
Let it be said that I cannot resist a pair of big brown eyes, he thought, amused, sitting up and helping her onto his lap. He picked up the book (which was about Heroes) and opened it.
"Look at that man!" she giggled, and pointed to a man with white hair and sun-tanned skin, wearing gold armour and a blue cloak.
"That's the first Archon. He was the first Hero," Reaver told her.
"Read it!" she begged him. Reaver's eyes rolled.
"Very well. The first recorded Hero was a man named William Black, son of a blacksmith…"
The book went on, documenting down to the most recent four Heroes, himself, Sparrow, Hammer and Garth. It included various Heroes between, especially the major ones at the Heroes' Guild during the Hero of Oakvale's time. It even documented the Hero of Southcliff, who appeared to be Sparrow's father, but Reaver had no solid evidence for that. Tallusa fell asleep after Reaver read about Briar Rose and Whisper, and continued to read it himself, genuinely curious.
Thus Logan, appearing in the room to see where Tallusa had gone, found his baby sister sleeping on Reaver's chest with his arm tucked around her, gripping that arm in her sleep, and with a big smile on her face. Reaver was stroking her hair, a blissed-out smile on his face, looking just about as paternal as he was ever going to get.
"Wha…what…is…" Logan was reduced to speechlessness.
Reaver looked up and fixed Logan with a pointed glare. "This never happened, okay, your highness?"
Logan nodded dumbly. Reaver held up the book to him so that he could see it.
"Heroes?" Logan asked, shocked.
"My guess? Your little sister's adventuring spirit is going to be hard to quell," Reaver informed him. Logan's nod of dumbness returned to the scene, as he took the book and shuffled back to the library.
Reaver's attention turned back to the little girl. He picked her up, and, standing on his feet, he settled her on the divan, snuggled beneath his coat.
Then he went off to find that maid.