A Life Extraordinary:

A second post-ICBW short by yours truly,

Sulia Serafine.

Auhor's Note: Contrary to popular opinion, I am not returning to write another series for the ICBW universe. Alas, this piece (this one RIGHT here that you're reading RIGHT NOW) is probably one of the last little things that I do with fanfiction. That's not to say I don't miss you guys. I miss you very much and appreciate all the attention you've paid to my fics. I hate to say that I'm over the Joren thing, just as many people get over the Draco thing, and the love of bad boys in general. I suppose this is because my recent ex-boyfriend was one of these said "bad boys" and we parted ways very… badly (that jerk).

So! Real life lesson, my dears! It's fun to flirt with those bad boys, but don't dare to try to keep them for the long haul!

And now, back to the world of fiction, where bad boys can be reformed and actually made quite adorable and doting.

With a resolve as strong as his wife's, Joren assumed it wouldn't be long before she was back in prime condition. Conal's birth had been unexpectedly taxing on Keladry's body and she had needed more time to recover than predicted. However, once the doctor had put her in the clear, every day was spent with increasingly challenging training. Joren found himself unable to use his own punching bag for all the hours she was beating away at it.

Keladry quickly learned that she could not count on Joren to spar with her. He would, if asked, but he did not initiate attacks as much as he knocked aside her advances like they were nothing. When he did deign to go on the offensive, he used short, painless moves that demobilized her rather than defeated her the way that she wished to be defeated.

Before her pregnancy, he at least put up a good fight. Joren had always been better than her in unarmed combat. That had not stopped him from sparring on a lesser difficulty level that was closer to hers. Though it was incredibly patronizing, Keladry worked with it and improved.

But now? Now she could only rely on herself to build up her skill level again.

In the meantime, it was Joren who was rocking Conal to sleep in the nursery. This very nursery had been decorated by Lalasa Jasson as a baby shower present. The shades of blue were done to match Keladry's uniform, but the color was nothing compared to the eyes of the Stone men. For the most part, Joren ignored the stuffed animals and the cartoon dragons on the wallpaper. He focused his gaze through the window, to the expanse of grass and trees that the backyard consisted of. In some ways, Irontown was very much like the Gala of his boyhood. Though their home was not isolated, it was surrounded on enough sides by wooded areas to give the illusion of privacy.

When Keladry finished her afternoon workout, she decided to enter the nursery, which was on the way to the master bedroom. She wiped the trickle of yellow energy drink on her chin, an energy drink that she was chugging back because it was the only one that Neal's father, the honorable Dr. Baird, did not frown upon. In any case, she stopped drinking and took a deep breath as she stepped into the nursery. Her son was asleep and his father, who held Conal as delicately and protectively as a desperate man in the desert holds a thimble full of water, was in a rare state of undisturbed tranquility.

She could see his face in the reflection of the window. She almost hated herself for speaking up.

"What are you thinking about?"

He didn't turn to look at her, but the reflection of his eyes met hers. "Nothing much. The trees, I suppose."

Keladry moved forward and rested a hand on the back of the wooden rocking chair. Joren Stone in a rocking chair! She wouldn't have believed it if she weren't standing there touching the chair herself.

"What about the trees?"

"I climbed a tree in Gala and I fell. There used to be a scar on the back of my leg from that."

There was no need for them to talk about "there used to be" instead of "there is." Keladry still remembered the night he returned, his body washed clean of scars. She never asked about it, but she was pretty sure that Joren's "father" had something to do with it. She moved her hand from the rocking chair to the back of Joren's head, playing with the ends of his hair. If her husband had not been holding their slumbering son, he would have caught her wrist and prevented her. Keladry took full advantage of that fact and began massaging his neck.

"If you think being hot and sweaty is attractive right now, you must not be aware of how you smell like shit—and don't give me lip about cursing around him. He's asleep."

"You're lucky you're holding Conal. Otherwise, I'd trounce you one good," Keladry muttered, pinching Joren's neck.

"You couldn't trounce me anything… unless, of course, you're referring to making another baby with that ridiculous vocabulary. In which case, I don't think I'm ready to deal with another round of mood swings."

Keladry rolled her eyes and turned to leave the nursery. Before she could take a step, his hand shot out and caught her wrist. She looked back, her thoughts strangely jumping to the worry that Conal would be jarred awake by the movement rather than to the grip of her husband's hand on her arm.

Conal was asleep, his tiny little mouth open and the most unnoticeable little breaths that barely moved his body. Joren insistently held his wife back. After a moment, he let her go.

"What?" she asked.

"We can, if you want."

She shook her head. "Can what?"

He shrugged slightly. "Have another one."

At first, Keladry had no idea of what he was talking about. She studied him and realized he wasn't looking at her, but at Conal. The tiny tufts of blond hair hung around like golden threads around his small head. Keladry touched her stomach again. It was still too soon for her, but what about later? Did she want another one? More importantly, did he really want another one?

"Nothing is going to happen to him," she whispered. She reached out to touch their baby's hair. Keladry could barely feel it. "Nothing would happen to either of them. I promise."

He didn't respond to the last remark, but waved her off. "Go and shower unless you want Conal to form subconscious memories of his mother smelling like a sweaty gym locker."

"I could trounce you."

Joren couldn't respond with his normal witticism because Conal distracted both his parents with a yawn. Instead, he looked up at her with unreadable eyes.

"We can, if you want."

She nodded and couldn't resist kissing Conal on the head before Joren complained about her sweaty smell again. Keladry teasingly pinched Joren's nose before leaving the room. She would have to think about it in the shower.

They certainly could, if they wanted. Things would not get worse. Not if they could help it.

Author's note: Ha-cha-cha. That's it, folks. It's back to the real world for me.