"I think we should have another one," Alanna said suddenly, her fingers tracing a lazy pattern on George's bare chest.

"Another what?" he asked drowsily. It was always this way after they made love. He was tired and she was energized. He was willing to agree to anything as long as it didn't require him to get out of bed.

"Another baby," she replied evenly, and his eyes snapped open. Well, almost anything.

"What's brought this on?" he asked carefully.

"Nothing, I just think it's time." She shrugged, then twisted out of his grip in order to face him. "Why? Don't you agree? I thought you wanted more."

"Yes, but-" George hesitated. He certainly did want more children, he would have been happy with a whole pack of them, but he worried about the practicality of adding to their brood. Pregnancy and knighthood did not easily go together. For one, every day that Alanna was unable to practice was at least three days to recover on the other end. George worried about her pushing herself too far too fast after Thom's birth, facing opponents when she wasn't yet ready. Furthermore, she was never home as much as they would all like. Thom already had to share his mother with an entire kingdom of people who needed her, did they really want to add another person to that tally? Although he was home it wasn't like George had copious amounts of free time to lavish on Thom either. His work may not have required the same travel as Alanna's, but it certainly needed his constant attention and vigilance. Both he and his wife had decided long before Thom was born that they never wanted their children to know the servants better than their own parents, a promise that was proving much harder to keep than either of them had anticipated.

Alanna stared seriously into his eyes. "But what? We should have another one. We agreed that Thom should have a sibling some day. He's just old enough now that he is more independent, it's a great time for him to become an older brother. Things have been calm in the kingdom, no wars or major crises on the horizon. Douglas did fine as King's Champion last time, he liked it well enough. We said we wanted more than one, and the timing is good now, let's do it."

She leaned down to kiss him, but George stopped her. "Those are terrible reasons to have a baby," he said. He returned her sober stare with one of his own. "We can't make a person just because the timing is decent and we once said it would be a good idea three years ago. And we certainly can't do it because it won't inconvenience our friends too much."

"That's not it," said Alanna, resting her chin on her hands. "I do think Thom having a sibling is important. Siblings are who you turn to when you can't turn to your parents. He'll need more than us, with us busy all the time. And if anything should happen to us."

George nodded. He had never wanted for a sibling with any serious desire, but he couldn't deny that on those cold nights he had awakened to see his mother hunched over their meager coffers, sobbing with her head in her hands, it would have been nice to have someone else to turn to in the dark for reassurance.

"And, well, I want another," Alanna continued thoughtfully. "I want to hold another little thing in my arms, and to care for it. I want to hear it laugh for the first time, and help it learn how to walk and talk. I want to watch it grow up, and become it's own person. I love Thom so much, I could love more. I want to make something good in the world, and I want to make it with you. Don't you want those things?"

George did want those things, he wanted them more than anything, but still, he hesitated. "What about the pain?" he asked quietly.

She knew what he was referring to, the pain it caused her to come into milk and to nurse.

She smiled sadly at him. "A lot of the things I treasure in life I have endured pain for. They're still worth it. We'll figure something out."

George nodded slowly, still pensive. Alanna drummed her fingers on his chest impatiently, and he caught them in his hand. A slow smile spread across his face, and he squeezed her gently.

"Well then my darling girl," he whispered, "Let's make a baby."