"We still need to name them, do you have any ideas?" Kaz asks Inej. The couple is sitting in bed at their farmhouse, each cradling a newborn in their arms.
Inej, exhausted from the labor but unwilling to close her eyes or give up the bundle in her arms, looks over at him. "Well, I have names I like, but I never brought it up before because I didn't know if you'd want to name either of them after someone…?"
Kaz meets her gaze, he knows she means his brother or, maybe, even his father. He'd be lying if he said he'd never thought about it, but he doesn't need his children to remind him of his dead family.
"You can name them whatever you want, Inej, that's the very minimum you deserve. The only request I have is: can they have my last name?"
"Which one?" Inej laughs.
He smiles slightly, "Reitveld. It should be safer and I'd like for that to continue passing on." Inej runs her fingers down his cheek; Kaz catches her hand and holds on. "You could have my last name too, if you want it."
Surprised, Inej looks into his eyes, she almost thinks he's joking. He just stares back. "That might be the worst proposal I've ever heard. Why are you even asking now?"
"Believe it or not, I've been meaning to ask for a while, now just seemed right. Besides, I assumed your saints would disapprove of our situation."
Inej snorts at that. "I've never once cared that we live together without being married. And, before I answer, how long have you been planning to ask?" She brought two children into the world not two hours ago and she's feeling a bit exasperated with this conversation.
Kaz's brows lift, as if he's being challenged. He gets up from the bed, their daughter still in his arms, and leaves the room.
Inej looks down at her newborn son. "Your papa is infuriating, but I love him anyway, just as I love you, moy jaun." She presses a feather soft kiss to the baby's tiny nose.
A moment later, Kaz saunters back into the room, a small bag in his hand. He sits back down on the bed, their sides right against each other, and hands her the bag. "I wasn't planning on letting you see how much I paid for this but the date is on the receipt, so please, take a look."
Inej lays the baby on her legs and opens the bag. A small jeweler's box and a slip of paper come out. She wants to open the box first but picks up the receipt instead. Her eyes scan the words there, once, twice, three times before her jaw drops. She looks back at Kaz.
"You've had a ring for nine years and the right time to ask has never come up?" She's incredulous.
Before he can even reply, she barges ahead.
"What about that time you joined me at sea and we were both almost killed by Titan Zanthos? Or the time we were in Ravka and Nikolai set up that picnic for the two of us in that secret garden at the Little Palace? Or that time we spent the night on top of the Church of Barter and the sky was clear enough to see all the stars and the harvest moon, that would have been a perfect time?!" She's whisper shouting, which is almost scarier than her actual shouting.
` Kaz is as unruffled as usual when he responds, "I almost did ask on the roof. I've actually had the ring with me for all of those events but it never seemed right. Today seemed right."
Inej just stares at him. "I want to strangle you Kaz Brekker but I don't want our children to grow up without a father so you're safe for now." She shakes her head and reaches for the ring box she has yet to look into. Her jaw drops again when she does open it.
Instead of a solitary gem in the center, the ring is studded with different colored gems all the way around, easy to put your hand in a pocket or in gloves and not likely to get snagged on anything.
"I had a Suli grisha make it – she was harder to find than a time to propose. It's as close to unbreakable as a ring can be and untarnishable. She told me the gems she used have meaning to your Suli saints, I hope she wasn't lying." He grabs her left hand.
"She wasn't lying. Emeralds for harmony and love, yellow sapphires for knowledge and help with conceiving – we didn't need that one I suppose – diamonds to overcome obstacles, rubies for strength, hessonites for luck, this is beautiful, Kaz." Inej leans toward him to plant a soft kiss to his lips.
Kaz looks a bit sheepish as he asks, "Is that a yes?"
She squeezes her hand in his, "Yes." And Kaz smiles a smile only she ever gets to see and he slides the ring onto her finger before he kisses her knuckles.
Her fingers brush is cheek again. "I do have a stipulation though." His brows rise. "You have to wear a ring too. I know it's not the custom in Kerch, my people don't wear rings either, actually, but both people in a marriage get a matching tattoo. I thought we could mix our traditions together."
Kaz smirks and reaches into a pocket. "Funny, I knew you would say something like that, so I planned ahead." He shows her a plain ring, of the same metal as her own, before he slips it onto his own finger.
Inej grins at him and then looks down to the infant in his lap. "I like the name Violet and maybe, Riya, as a middle name, for my mother."
"I like that, and maybe, Finn, for the little kicker on your lap?"
"I thought you didn't have a preference?" Inej nudges Kaz. "I like it. What if we made Helvar his middle name? None of the rest of us has any children named for Matthias, without him and everyone else who knows if we would be where we are today. I'll have to ask Nina if she'd be okay with that.
"This one's hair is even light like his was; I wonder where that comes from?" Inej caresses Finn's feather soft hair.
"My parents had light hair. I was, quite literally, the black sheep of the family." Kaz says.
"They did? I wish I could have met them, I wish they could meet these two." Inej looks are her children. "It's not fair my parents are on their way here and yours aren't."
Kaz looks over at Inej. "Those motherly emotions are in full swing aren't they?" She looks incredulous for one second before he continues speaking. "Life isn't fair, Inej, and we probably would have never met if my parents were still alive. So we should just be grateful for the life we've been given because it's turned out quite well so far."
Inej shakes her head. "When you say things like that…" she doesn't finish her sentence and instead leans forward to kiss him. Her hand comes up to cup his chin but before the kiss can deepen, Finn lets out a fierce wail.
The new parents look down at their outspoken son and smile. "Do you think he's hungry, tired, or in need of a change?" Inej asks.
Kaz's nose crinkles, "I'd say a change. Here, switch with me and I'll do it." Kaz lays Violet in Inej's arms and picks up Finn from her lap. "You lay here and relax and I'll bring up some dinner when I'm done," he says to Inej as he gets up and walks to the bedroom door.
Inej again looks down at the child in her arms, her head shaking slightly. "Violet, your life will never not be an adventure. Papa surprises me daily and I have a feeling that's only just beginning." The infant yawns up at her mother before closing her tiny eyes. Inej takes the hint and nestles down onto the pillows. She moves Violet onto her chest and closes her own eyes, the exhaustion of the last ten hours finally catching up to her.
Kaz walks back into the bedroom and finds his daughter and his fiancé sleeping. He lays Finn down in one of the cradles at the foot of the bed and then does the same with Violet before laying the blankets over Inej. He removes his shoes before joining her under the covers, wondering, not for the first time, how he ended up with everything he'd ever wanted.