Summary: Beka and Rosto have a slight disagreement. Takes place after Bloodhound.

Rating: PG

Pairings/Characters: slight Tepper(Terrier/Piper), Kora

While walking out of my lodgings this morning I pressed a handful of coins into Rosto's hand. "Are the Dog's paying me to act as Rogue now?" he grabbed my arm and yanked me back. "I know you need me, but-"

"Don't need you for anything!" I replied, only half teasing. I'd turn myself into the Cage Dogs 'fore admitting it, but having Rosto 'bout isn't too bad. We get along well enough and having him for a Birdie has it's benefits. As the Rogue, he has to know what's going on in the Lower City. He does genuinely care about this place and the people. We have that in common at least. "It's rent".

"Rent?" Rosto looks rather amused by this statement. "Why on earth are you paying me rent?"

"Didn't you finally get Mistress Trout to sell?

"Well, yes, but-"

"Then, rent goes to you now doesn't it?" I teased patting his head. "Honestly Rosto, I'm beginning to understand what Aniki meant when she told me that she was worried people'd think you a soft Rogue".

His dark eyes look shocked for a moment. "When'd she tell you that? She can't joke about that kind of thing. Doesn't she realize that could get me killed? She's one of my chiefs-"

"Grow up, Rosto. You're joking about it right now".

Rosto rolled his eyes. "I know. Once again, I tease and you and your Dogstincts take me too seriously." Off topic, he added: "I'm not going to make you pay rent, Beka. The others are staying here for free."

"Kora and Aniki are members of the Court of the Rogue. No one is demanding that you kick them out" I reminded him. Rosto's eyes flared up momentarily.

"Who wants you kicked out?" he asked casually. I almost snorted. Rosto knows that I'm a Dog. That I know he'll kill whichever name I give him. I'm not going to let him terrorize citizens of the Lower City for something so trivial.

"Most people. They feel uncomfortable about a Dog living over the Court". Rosto snorted.

"That's ridiculous! You might hand a tid-bit to Tunstall or Goodwin, but we're all trying to help the same people. In most cases, I'd actually value your help. You've lived here for years". Rolling his eyes, he added: "You're not going to snoop around so that you can find information that'll let you hobble me." His warm eyes suddenly became saddened. "You wouldn't do that to me, would you? Purposely hobble me?"

He won't ask if I would ever attempt to hobble him. Someday I may have too, but purposely look for information to get him sent to the Cage Dogs? "Have you ever had any sanity?" I demanded of him. "Of course I wouldn't purposely hobble you. You make a good Rat King, Rosto the Piper. Don't forget that the Lower City needs you".

Rosto gazed sadly at me for a moment. "Yes, I suppose it does, doesn't it? If I can't count on you, I can count on that". He turned back to me from his spot at the window. "You don't pay rent here, Beka". He pressed the coins back into my hand. "I need you here. It's important in ways that you have no idea about for me to have you here".

And then that bastard ambled off humming.

I did NOT like Mastiff. The Tunstall arc was interesting, but asides from that I knew everything that would happen within about 20 pages. I felt as if it was for a much younger audience than the previous two sets. Beka basically got a "fairy tale" ending and I didn't feel as if the story fit the character.

Terrier opened up a whole new world and the next two volumes did not help it along. So, I'm pretending that Bloodhound was The End of the books and Beka went on to have many more adventures.

I'd be interested in doing some work in the Beka-verse, so please review!