Alanna stood in the courtyard, thoughtfully surveying the reconstruction efforts on her home. Luckily the siege was stopped before the real damage had occurred, but there was certainly no shortage of work needing to be done to repair Pirate's Swoop. She sighed heavily. She still couldn't think about the events of the past few days without her mind conjuring up horrifically detailed images of what could have happened to her family.
A soft cough from behind her interrupted her morbid fixation. She started, then relaxed once she saw it was only Numair.
"Sorry to intrude, I just need to head back to my tower to get some things, and I didn't want to leave without returning this." Numair held a familiar battered brown bundle in his arms.
Alanna grinned as she reached out to take it from him, "Sir Bear-Bear! I didn't realize Thom had lost him! He'll be so relieved." She immediately began to fussily dust the toy off. Numair strongly suspected she had spent so much time pretending the bear was real in front of her son that Alanna had herself forgotten it was just a toy.
He watched her for a moment without replying, enjoying the image of a hardened knight very seriously adjusting a stuffed bear's bow until it looked just so. Finally he said, "No, he didn't lose it, Thom gave it to me at some point during the siege. No idea when, I just suddenly looked down and there it was in my hands. I think he overheard me telling Daine I was worried." Numair's voice had turned much more serious than he had intended, so he tried to inject some levity into his tone as he said, "That's a very sweet boy you have. But I'm sure you already know that."
He had been hoping for a smile, but instead Alanna's eyes went wide with shock and she replied, "He gave it to you?"
Numair frowned, "Yes. Why, is that bad? Is it an heirloom or something?"
Alanna gently ran her hand over the bear's button eyes and sighed, "Oh Numair, you blink and you miss everything." She shook her head slowly, her eyes still on the bear and said, "No, it's not an heirloom, just a ragged old bear. It's just, I swear, the last time I was home he wouldn't part from this bear for anything." She gave Numair a tiny smile and said, "I had to spell it to repel germs because Thom refused to let someone else have it long enough to wash it." Numair chuckled, although in his head he made a mental note to thoroughly wash his hands at the first available opportunity.
Alanna shook her head and said, "Forgive me, I'm being silly. It's wonderful that he gave it to you, I just can't believe how fast my children grow. I sometimes feel like I leave Thom as a baby, and when I return he's practically a grown man." She attempted to smile reassuringly, but Numair could see it didn't quite meet her eyes.
Numair wasn't sure how to respond, but just then a commotion across the courtyard caught his eye. "Well Thom may be maturing fast, but I think you'll be able to depend on Aly and Alan to stay childish for quite some time." He gestured at the uproar, and Alanna turned to see two tiny blond figures being chased by a burly man-at-arms. Even yards away Numair could distinctly hear their little evil cackles at they dodged another man-at-arms, come to help. Without saying goodbye Alanna immediately began to jog over to the scene of the crime. Numair mounted his horse, and carefully rode for the gate. On his way he passed Alanna, who was now scolding the twins, Sir Bear-Bear still gently cradled in her arms.