written for Kat (treanz-alyce) because she is fabulous!

Roger is a sweet child. That is the first thing Lianne always thinks when she sees him, whether informally or in the midst of Court functions. He is a sweet child and he looks like a Conte.

She is a Naxen to her bone, has the cheekbones and eyes and her jaw marks her as Gareth's sister. She's grateful for the dark hair, at least, but she's definitely hoping that those blue eyes run as strong as they seem.

Strange, to think that in a week's time she'll be as good as a mother to this lonely little boy.

"In a week I can call you aunt," Roger says, Conte eyes staring at her. Lianne is on the floor with him (and it's sending a chill up through her bones), toy soldiers scattered about. Roald is somewhere with an adviser or two; he'd ducked his head in and smiled at them half an hour earlier. She'll see him tonight, gods willing.

"I'm not that much older than you are," she says. She picks up a knight off the floor. He's holding a flag with her fief's colors. It's newer than the others, so it must have been specially made around the time that the engagement was announced. "But yes, you may."

"It's a good Midwinter present," he says.

Lianne smiles. "Better than being one of Roald's attendants in the ceremony?"

Roger shrugs. "I don't like standing up in front of people."

She glances at him. "I wouldn't have expected that of you, my duck."

"Well I won't have to do it for much longer, so it's fine." Roger picks up the knight in Conte blue and discards it. "Next year you'll have a baby and I'm to go to the City of the Gods. All they do there is study, but at least it's not hitting each other with sticks." Another pause, and then, "you should have a girl."

"We don't have much of a choice there," Lianne responds delicately. She wishes they had told her about this sort of thing at the convent, but the sisters never instructed them so. "Your uncle and I will just be hoping for a healthy baby." With blue eyes, she adds to herself, blue like his father and grandfather before him.

"A healthy heir, right." Roger's looking down at the flagstones. "This is boring."

"I can read to you?" Lianne suggests. "Would that hold your attention?"

"Maybe." He glances at the bookshelf. "All my books are tiresome. They're history and poetry. There's nothing interesting."

"I'm sure we can rustle something up." Lianne stands, brushes dust off her skirt. She should speak to the chambermaids about that. It can't be healthy for the boy.

He shrugs again. "There's nothing there."

"Perhaps there's something in the library." She holds out a hand. "Come along, now."

Roger takes her hand, almost shyly. "Lady Lianne?"

She opens the door for him. "Yes, Roger?"

"May I call you aunt now? I know it's early but-"

They step out into the hallway.

"Yes," she says. "Yes, I think that would be quite alright."