Hey! So, this is my first fanfic ever... I'm absolutely in love with Valek and Yelena, so I thought I'd give it a try. Any spelling or grammar mistakes are my own. Please let me know what you think!

I do not own Study Series. Unfortunately.


"I really do need to go, Valek."

"Mmm, you can spare five more minutes, love." He continued to kiss my neck while I closed my eyes and tried to summon the willpower to push him away. I failed.

"You said the same thing half an hour ago."

He sighed and lifted his head to gaze into my eyes. "Is there absolutely no way I can convince you to stay?"

Now it was my turn to sigh. "You know I want nothing more than to stay here, but my presence is requested at the Citadel."

I had spent the entire hot season in Ixia, since the Council had disbanded during the hot months and there really wasn't anything to do for me at the Keep. It was the first time Valek and I had gotten to spend so much time together, without one of us having to run off on a mission. We had taken advantage of the lapse in spy activity to indulge in other activities. After all, assassins had to stay in shape one way or another. But now that the cooling season had begun, the Council was gathering again and Irys had requested my presence for the first meeting of the year.

After a last, drawn-out kiss, he got off the bed so we could get dressed. He handed me my pack.

"Everything you might need is in there. I'll go saddle Kiki while you say goodbye to the Commander."

"Aren't you coming with me to the Commander? I thought you were supposed to report to him every morning?"

He shot me a pained look. "Ambrose is going to be livid with me. I hardly got any work done lately. I rather not face his wrath so early in the morning."

I chuckled. Only the Commander possessed the ability to make Valek squirm like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Shaking my head, I went to say my goodbyes.


The trip to the Citadel took five days. The weather was great for travelling, so I made good progress. The landscape was a lush green, but soon the leaves of the trees would turn yellow and red and brown, painting a colorful picture.

I camped on the edge of the Snake Forest. While I cooked dinner, I let my thoughts linger on Valek. A smile danced on my lips when I remembered his goodbye kiss in the stables. We'd given the stable lad quite the show. Kiki snorted and turned away to graze.

Lavender Lady like young mare. Stallions not that interesting.

Moonlight is pretty handsome. Or Topaz?, I teased.

She snorted again and I felt a flicker of annoyance.

When time for foaling comes, perhaps. Then she wandered off to find grass.

I stared into the flames, lost in my thoughts. When my eyelids started to droop, I unrolled my sleeping mat and lay down. I trusted Kiki to warn me of possible danger. Soon, I drifted off to sleep.

X

I awoke at dawn. Energized I packed up, but when I took out some jerky to munch for breakfast, I had to scramble for the bushes. I threw up until my stomach was empty. When I was done, I wiped my mouth with some leaves, while trying to figure out where this sudden illness was coming from. My cooking skills weren't that bad, and I had tasted for poisons before eating, as always. Unable to come up with a reason, I blamed a stomach bug. Now that my stomach was empty, I felt a lot better. Shrugging it off, I whistled Kiki. Soon, we were on our way again.

I reached the border in the afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised to see Maren. She was just returning from an undercover mission in Sitia, and had decided to stay and rest for the day at the border watchpost. Even though I wasn't very happy to hear my darling heart mate still sent people to spy on Sitia without my knowledge, I let it go for now. Next time I saw Valek, I'd give him a piece of my mind about proper neighbourly behavior.

Maren invited me to spar with her, and under the rapt attention of the residing soldiers, we engaged in a friendly bow match. After I kicked her butt – and she mine, I must admit – for a number of times, we decided to call it even, so we washed the sweat of our bodies in the local bathhouse and caught up on gossip till late into the night. The captain had graciously offered his own room to us – not that he would dare let Valek's heart mate and one of his seconds sleep in the soldier's barracks.

X

The next morning, I was sick again. I rummaged through my pack, searching for one of Leif's concoctions, when I came across something else that Valek had packed for me. I sat back on the ground and stared at the strips of linen cloth. Frantically, I counted back the days. The last time I had bled was when I arrived in Ixia, at the end of the warming season. It was now an entire season later. While my cycle wasn't always regular – courtesy of the malnutrition I suffered during my time in the dungeons – this was extreme.

"Holy snow cats", I whispered.

Panic surged through me. This could not be happening. I felt sick again. That's how Maren found me, huddled on the floor with tears streaming down my face.

"Yelena, what's wrong?"

She knelt down next to me. I wiped my eyes.

"Nothing. I'm fine."

She just looked at me. I looked down at the floor.

"Yelena, talk to me. You can trust me." She paused. "Is… Is Valek alright?"

I shook my head. "He's fine."

"Then what's wrong?"

I studied her for a moment. I could trust her. She worked for Valek, but she could keep a secret if I asked her to. I took a deep breath.

"I think… I think I'm with child."

Surprise flitted across her face, but she recovered quickly. She pulled me into a hug.

"Does he know?"

No question as to who the 'he' was. I shook my head. "I only just found out". I began to cry again.

"What am I going to do? What if he doesn't want me anymore? He's not exactly the fatherly type. And we both have duties. Half of the time we're not even together! I can't raise a child, Maren! I just can't!"

She shushed me. "Valek loves you unconditionally, and you know it. He won't leave you, not in a million years. But I do think you should tell him, as soon as possible. So I suggest you turn back around to the Castle. I'll go with you."

"I can't. I'm needed at the Citadel!", I protested.

"Send Irys a message. This is more important than politics."

Grudgingly, I agreed. I pulled one of Opal's glass messengers out of my pack and contacted Irys. I let her know I was delayed, but would head for the Citadel as soon as I could. She wasn't happy, but didn't protest, either.

Within the hour, Maren and I were on our way. She set a quick pace, and a day later we arrived at the Commander's Castle. Before we rode through the gate, I stopped and dismounted. Maren sent a curious glance in my direction.

"If I ride through that gate, everybody will know something's up. I'd rather not have the gossip network buzzing with speculation before I've spoken to him."

She nodded in understanding. "I'll take Kiki to a stable in Castletown. I trust you know a way to get into the Castle unseen?"

"I do. Thanks, Maren. For everything."

"No problem. And don't worry, Yelena. Everything will be fine." She turned the horses and waved as she rode away.

Don't worry. Easier said than done.


I waited on the couch in our suite. I had lit a few lanterns and had started a fire in the hearth. I didn't hear him come up behind me, which wasn't really a surprise. The knife he pressed to my throat wasn't a surprise, either. I kept my body relaxed, trusting him.

"Yelena? What are you doing here?"

He removed his knife and came around the couch to face me. I smiled and stood. Immediately, he wrapped his arms around me.

"What's wrong, love? Why are you here?", he murmured with his face buried in my hair.

"I have something to tell you." I pulled back and led him to the couch. "You might want to sit down."

He followed me, a wary expression on his face.

"Love, what's going on?" He cupped my chin. "Tell me."

I took a deep breath. And another.

"Promise you won't freak out."

He nodded, impatient.

"I… I'm pregnant."

Shock was etched into his features as the meaning of my words sunk in. He dropped his hand. Then he got up to pace. I drew my knees up, hugging them to my chest.

"Are you sure?"

"Positive."

He knelt in front of me and took my hands.

"You took Moon Potion. Didn't you? So… how…" He trailed off.

"Moon Potion isn't 100% effective. Accidents happen." I laced my fingers through his. "I didn't plan for this to happen."

He tugged me down to the floor with him and tucked me under his chin. "I know, love, I know."

"You're not… mad?", I asked.

"Mad? Why would I be mad at you? This is just as much my fault."

I stiffened. "Fault? Are you saying this baby is a mistake?"

Surprised, he drew back. "Of course not, love. I just meant that I will take my responsibility as the child's father." He paused. "I am the father, right?"

Relieved, I punched him. "Of course." I snuggled back into his embrace. "I love you", I whispered.

"I love you, too."

With a kiss to my forehead, he picked me up and carried me to the bedroom. That night, wrapped in Valek's arms, I let go of my worries. With my heart mate by my side, I could handle this. I covered his hand, which rested on my stomach, with mine and smiled.