Disclaimer: I don't own them. Wish I did. Ha! This is the promised Yurice! Dedicating this one to the inspiration: PuffyTribulation. She made one hella cuta Avatar that I giggle over every time I see it.


The Anniversary

Alice was standing at the stove when Yuri entered the kitchen. She had one hand on her hip while the other stirred the big pot with a long handled wooden spoon. Looking at her, he could see she was not the same Alice who had traveled through Asia and Europe with him years ago. She was still long of leg, and her hair was still a bright silver white, it simply had a bit more white in it. Her eyes were still the same fiord blue, but now they sported laugh lines at the very tips - crows feet she called them, but Yuri still thought they were beautiful. Her hips were broader now, from giving birth, and her breasts, never large, were at least full and soft, the nipples now distended from the many sucklings shed given the children. Her waist wasn't as small as it had been either, but Yuri could still put his arms around her and hold her close and really, it was Alice he loved, not her twelve inch waist.

The bubble and pop of the pots contents caught his attention and he crossed the kitchen, ruffling the hair of their youngest, Benjamin, before reaching Alice, craning his neck over her shoulder to look into the pot.

"Spaghetti sauce," Alice answered the unasked question and from behind them Benjamin added, "'Sgetti for supper," his little voice sounding more like Alice than Yuri.

"Ah, s'getti for supper. That's good," he replied and slipped his arms around Alices waist, snuggling closer while she continued to stir the pot. "You're a good wife and mother," he said into her hair and he could feel her smiling even though her face was turned away from him.

Yuri is always so romantic when it gets close to supper time, she thought, knowing how heretical the thought was. She mentally laughed, recalling those days traveling the road where Yuri would capture, skin, cook and share whatever he caught with her. One time it had been tree frogs and Alice, never a lover of frogs - except when they called from a pond - had felt squeamish over the proffered food. But Yuri had laughed at her, teasing her with the 'attacking tree frog of doom' until she had finally snatched it from his had and, pulling the cooked meat from the wooden skewer, swallowed a mouthful without chewing. Of course, she'd nearly choked to death and Yuri had to thump her back with his big hands... which had led to warmer reactions for both of them...

Her smile grew broader as she thought of those early times with Yuri. He would purposely tease her, making her blush to the roots of her hair and the way he looked at her! He undressed her with his eyes, devouring her. At first, she thought he had to be the most perverted and sick young man she had ever met. But as they traveled she came to know him better; to know how lonely he was, how destitute for human feelings, and how little he knew of actual human interaction. He fought constantly with Zhuzhen, argued loudly with Margarete, and when young Halley joined them in England, hed taken especial joy in annoying him, causing Halley on more than one occasion to lose his temper with disastrous results. Yuri just couldn't let any opportunity lie for his own amusement. But in spite of all that, they had all developed a great liking for the big oaf, and Alice felt more than just companionable toward him. That was why she offered herself up to his tormentors - to give him the opportunity to find happiness, to live a good life. She took a chance, and he had not disappointed her.

She had been frightened, offering up her body and soul to those demons in his heart. And she could not find it in her to tell him of her sacrifice. How could she tell him? When? Over supper? With tea? Oh, by the way Yuri, I've sacrificed my very soul for you, so you'll have to find a way to save me now too, or it's bye bye Alice...

Behind them, Alice could hear the heavy thud of boots and voices from the entrance hallway. She turned to look up at Yuri, his long brown bangs falling over his eyes and she sighed. He needs a hair cut again... "Yuri, the kids are in. Why don't you go wash up and let them set the table? she asked. Yuri nuzzled her neck, nibbling her ear before moving back and she saw his dirty coveralls and sighed. He's always so messy. "Be a dear and ask Katie to come in too, please," she said and turned back to her pot stirring, missing the look he gave her.

Yuri would rather stay and hold Alice, but with the kids coming in, he'd have to get moving. Their household resembled a three-ring circus around suppertime, especially on weekends when the older kids were home. Katie and Junior were away at college... Yuri still shuddered when he thought of the cost of that... and Morrey was in the Royal Navy, serving somewhere at sea now. That left Benjamin and Allie at home with their parents and this weekend, the two elder kids came home as well. It was going to get noisy around that kitchen table tonight and Yuri smiled at the thought.

Yuri climbed the back stairs three at a time, his long legs giving him an edge on the narrow stairs and he made the upstairs bathroom before the voices downstairs had made it into the lower hallway. He turned the tap and let the hot water gurgle and bubble into the tub while he ran to the bedroom for his robe. Back in the bathroom, he locked the door behind him, stripped and stepped into the now steaming pool of water.

"Oh my god, that feels good," he groaned and, not for the first time today, felt the strain and tug of sore muscles. The tractor he'd bought just last spring was giving him problems, and he'd had to push and shove to get the blasted thing unstuck from its gears while trying not to fall into the freshly dug furrow. He had failed, coming up covered in dirt, cow manure and not a few ants. There were days he wondered why the hell he became a farmer; today was one of them. His father had been a farmer, not a great one to be sure, but he and his dad used to sow seeds and plant crops and harvest what they had grown. That is, until his old man was murdered, and his mother as well. He often thought about his old man, seeing him in his green army coat, going off to "work" and wondered, if he had stayed home, what kind of farmer he would have become. Yuri thought his dad would have done all right. Yuri thought he did all right too, enough all right to send two of his kids to college. Morris - Morrey, always had a mind of his own and preferred the military to being on the farm. He craved adventure, nagging his dad for stories of 'the good old days', like his mom and dad were ancient or something. Morrey took after his dad, in more ways than one, and Yuri thought being a fusionist in the Royal Navy would pose problems for the boy. But the last letter they received made no mention of such things, just told of his ports of call and whatever he was allowed to say, which, according to Alice, was never enough.

Yuri took up the soap and sponge and began to lather himself, even dunking down to run soap through his shaggy hair. Time was his hair was a rich brown, almost black, but now he could see, in the dim yellow light of the bathroom, that there was some slate grey mixed in with the darker color.

Yuri sighed. "I'm getting' old," he muttered.

He rinsed several times then climbed from the tub, rubbing himself briskly with the towel before donning the old brown robe. He'd had that robe since their tenth wedding anniversary and, threadbare as it was, he refused to give it up.

"It was a gift," he'd say to Alice, and she would roll her eyes in mock horror at the ratty thing, but he knew she was smiling behind her hands. It was a gift from Halley, sent all the way from America. It even had a coat of arms on the right breast above the pocket. Alice thought he might have stolen it - Yuri was sure of it. The day they'd said goodbye on the docks at Southampton, Yuri had shook the hand of the younger man and felt an unfamiliar tug at his heart. Halley had annoyed him, hit him, accused him and, in general, been a pain in Yuri's ass since day one. And Yuri loved him for it. He admitted it to no one but himself, but he was fond of Halley and thought of him more like a younger brother. With Halley, Koudelka and Chris leaving for America, Yuri felt a chapter in his life closing - maybe for good. With all that water in the Atlantic, Yuri didn't think he'd ever brave the passage, and so it was with letters that they kept in touch. Yuri slowly writing in his childish script, and Halley with his large, bold strokes.

Opening the bathroom door he took a quick peek down the hall before running to the master bedroom. In the room at the head of the stairs, he'd heard voices, female laughter, and the sounds from downstairs said more people were arriving. That meant double bunks for everyone, as Yuri had converted one bedroom into a sewing room for Alice. Not that there was only sewing in that room; for some reason that baffled Alice, Yuri had kept every pair of fighting weapons he'd obtained over the years and he'd hung them on display in the room, right along with a bag of stones. She had looked at him with puzzled eyes when he'd displayed the little leather pouch with its rocky contents - no doubt thinking Yuri mad, but Yuri explained as best he could what each stone represented to him, and Alice had demurred. After all, she kept that obscene mannequin in the sewing room - Yuri grinned as he pulled on clean jeans and a shirt, remembering when he'd first pulled it from the packing crate. He'd taken one look at the torso with breasts and made some wise crack about doing it with the dummy; his punishment was the couch for three nights until he'd come back begging her forgiveness for stupid jokes. He still thought the thing ridiculous, but had to admit, his joking about it was what embarrassed her more than his trying to squeeze the solid breasts of the thing.

Finally, clean and dressed, Yuri descended again to the kitchen. On the last step he paused, taking in the chaos that had been the kitchen and dinning room. When he had purchased the house, an old farm house with much need of love and attention, he had torn out one inner wall to combine the kitchen, already quite large, with a smaller dinning area, making for a family sized eating place. With five kids, a pair of rambunctious dogs, at the time, they had needed the extra space. Now that space was filled with bodies. He instantly spotted his two youngest, Benjamin and Alice both standing on their chairs... completely against house rules! Next to them, with their backs to the stairs he recognized Katie by her long silver braid and Junior. What made him stop and grin was the other set of kids, two middle sized youngsters, both toe-headed and green-eyed, standing next to his Alice, their angelic faces smudged and smeared with who-knew-what. Alice was washing them up as she cooed over them and then their father's voice caught his attention.

Standing in the kitchen like he owned the place, was Halley. Gone were the ratty clothes Yuri'd last seen him in. Now he stood, a few inches taller, his hair cut neat and trim, and with a characteristic mustache and five o'clock shadow. Halley was no longer a child, no longer his little brother, Yuri realized, seeing him for the first time in thirty years. He was now a grown man.

Yuri stepped down the last step and crossed the floor. He still towered over the younger man, and wrapped one arm around Halley's neck, threatened to pummel him with his free hand and Halley grappled back for a minute before they both broke apart and looked each other over.

"Yer still short, but I see you've grown into a fine man, Halley," Yuri said and Halley nodded, accepting the compliment.

"You may be getting grey, old man, but I see youre still spry. What's Alice feedin' ya to keep you so trim?"

"S'getti!" piped up Benjamin, and the two adults laughed. Halley strode to the end of the table where Ben and Alice waited and rubbed Bens head, making an infernal mess of his hair.

"You remind me of your Pop, Ben. Heck, you remind me of me," Halley said, and laughed.

Organized chaos formed around the table as places were set and bowls with pasta and salad were set on the board. Chris, now in a dress and with her long hair plaited with a bow, helped Alice with the rest of the food and the family sat down at the table. Yuri looked with pride at that family. His second children, his son Yuri and his daughter Katie sat at their usual places half way down the table on opposite sides. They had been the controllers, while growing up, of the two younger kids - when they came along. Yuri watched with fondness as Katie helped little Alice with her napkin and Ben squirmed with excitement next to Junior, demanding to know how school was treating his older brother. Junior grinned and told him little snippets of campus life, the schoolwork, the athletics, and the girls. Yuri's ears pricked at mention of the girls and he wondered just how much time his son spent chasing the skirts on campus. Junior didn't fall far from the tree, and Yuri knew his second son was just as girl crazy as he had been at that age. He turned amber eyes toward the stove and caught sight of Alice's profile as she spoke to Chris, Halleys wife.

Hell, I'm still girl crazy, he thought. But only over that one girl. Guess I've been domesticated. The thought amused him.

While Yuri and Halley caught up with the years, Chris helped Alice with the last of the supper preparations. Alice was delighted at the younger woman's assistance, and the two of them chattered while they worked, Alice asking after the children, Halley's work, and how life was in America. Chris, although older, more developed than she had been when they first met, had not grown out of her shyness and, even though Alice and she were friends, Chris was slow to tell her anything. It wasn't until the children came up in conversation that Chris blossomed and became animated.

"Bogdan is almost old enough for high school. And Tottie, Charlotte, will be in next year. I do so wish we hadn't waited to have children," she said, "but that's the way of it. With the war and all, it's been hard enough."

"Did it get bad over there? I had not heard that America suffered quite as much as England or Europe," Alice asked.

"No, it wasn't bad. But of course, with the war, and every able bodied man being called up, Halley had plenty of work. It's just the stress of him working, and me with the two kids and running a household. I used to do it here when we were kids ..." she paused, a rueful smile playing on her lips. "How simple things were back then. I knew I loved Halley - would follow him anywhere to keep him happy and safe. Little did I know it would be half way around the world."

Alice smiled as she put the salad into a big bowl, ready for the table.

"I know. Love makes you do strange and sometimes dangerous things." She looked back at the table and her husband, listening for once, as Halley regaled him with some story of his adventures in America. He looked so happy, if a little worn around the edges. I'm so glad I did travel half way around the world too. I never would have met him. We never would have traveled together, and I might never have known that the man I loved was Yuri.

Finally, the supper preparations were complete and Chris and Alice brought the food to the table. The men, being well trained, ooo'd and ahhh'd the fine display of culinary delights, while the kids, including the older ones, clapped and cheered. Chris put her hands on her hips, staring at her two and her equally guilty husband, while Alice blushed, catching her giggles behind the potholder she held in one hand.

"For such a fine dinner, you deserve a kiss," Yuri said to her, looking up from his place and was rewarded by Alice blushing even more fiercely and swatting him with the potholder. Yuri laughed softly and rose from his seat, escorting Alice to her place and pushing in her chair, catching sight of Halley suddenly recollecting himself and doing the same for Chris.

"I'm hungry. When can we eat?" Benjamin piped up and was immediately shushed by Katie.

"Not until after Grace, Ben."

"Alice, will you do the honors?" Yuri asked, returning to the head of the table.

Alice nodded and put her hands together, her eyes closed. She drew in a calming breath, concentrating on God and His Graces rather than the scuffling and twittering from the children. Finally, she spoke.

"Heavenly Father, we thank thee with all our hearts for the safe arrival of our good friends Halley, Chris and their children. We also thank thee for the visit of our own. We beseech thee to look after our beloved Morris who, even now, serves with our Armed Forces abroad. We ask for his health and his protection in his duties. We ask also for the safe return, now that the war has ceased, of all our soldiers. We send up our prayers to heaven for those souls who have gone on: my family, Morris and Catherine Elliot; Yuri's parents, Anne and Ben Hyuga. And also for Halley's beloved mother, Koudelka. And we thank thee for the work of our hands, the hands of my husband, and all the farmers who provided us with this fine food.

"Amen," Yuri said and the children all chimed in loudly. "Amen!"

"Lets eat!" Ben said and the table was suddenly filled with reaching arms, hands, bowls of salad, plates of pasta and bread and the small, cozy kitchen was filled with laughter and happy voices.


After supper, they cleaned up the kitchen, the younger kids sharing the chores. Dishes were washed and put away, and soon the troop was in the family room, while the adults sat at the kitchen table talking. Halley brought out a deck of cards but Yuri, well versed with Halleys cheating ways, shook his head.

"Not unless youre on my team," he said with a laugh and Chris looked up from her end of the table.

"That might almost make it fair. I'm a pretty good hand with cards, Uncle Yuri," she said.

Yuri and Halley exchanged glances, Halley looking innocent and Yuri nodded.

"All right, you got it," he said and Alice, looking from Chris to Halley and then to Yuri, wondered who was setting up whom.

"What should we use for counters?" Halley asked, and Yuri got up and left the kitchen, coming back a minute later with a jar of marbles.

"The kids play with these. Why don't we say red for a hundred, blue for 50, yellow for 10 and white for one?" he offered and, taking a bowl, poured the small glass beads into it. "So, what are we playing?"

Halley looked at Chris.

"Rummy?" Chris suggested.

Yuri frowned. "I think I know that one. But, why not Zheng Fen?"

Halley stopped from counting out his marbles and looked at Yuri as he sat down. "What the hell is Zheng Fen?"

Yuri smiled broadly. "Chinese Rummy."

"You must be kidding!" Halley exclaimed and shook his head. "Theres no way I'm playing something with you that you know all the rules."

Yuri smiled. "Ah, but yer my partner, yes?"

Halley looked to Alice and then Chris, but received no help from either.

"So how do we play this Zheng Fun?"

"Zheng Fen. It's a points game. Strictly tricks. Best points wins."

"And the pot?"

Yuri grinned toothily. "I'll think of something."

Oh God, Alice thought. It's going to be a long night.


"I put that hand down, thats my point," Halley said and showed the matching Jacks.

"It's not the Jacks that count, but the Jokers. I told you that."

"So what? I lose points now?" Halley raised his voice.

"No, you never had them," Yuri raised his voice back at him.

"I think you should just give it up, Hal," Chris said from her end of the table. She was sitting with her hands covering her cards and a small but patient smile was playing on her lips. Alice looked at the younger woman and laughed softly.

"Theyve forgotten theyre partners," she said to Chris.

Chris nodded, carefully shuffling her hand between her fingers.

"If no one is going to make a play, then may I do so?" she asked quietly, and the noise at the end of the table subsided.

"Sure, Chris," Yuri said and sat down, his amber eyes glaring at Halley while Halley gathered his cards, grumbling the whole while.

"Okay," she said and splayed out her cards in her hand, looking at them very carefully before selecting her cards. "Jacks, no points, threes, fives – that's ten points, and Red Joker, that's 100 points. She carefully laid out the cards on the table and tallied her points. "That's over 500 gentlemen. I win."

Yuri's mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water as he tried to fathom what had just happened. He looked down at his hand and then at the cards on the table and growled.

"Now Yuri," Alice said, "It was your idea to play this game, and it was you who selected Halley as your partner."

"Yes, and it was you who threw out Halleys winning hand with your arguing, so I win," Chris finished.

"Partner? ... Winning hand..." Yuri looked from Halley to Chris and blinked, remembering the pair of nines and tens that would have been the winning hand if he hadn't ... "Oh damn!"

Alice's laughter bubbled out from her end of the table.

"Told you he forgot," she said.

Yuri rose from his seat and stared down at Alice.

"Well then, we're changing this right now." He shook his shoulders, cracking his neck as if he were preparing for a fight. "Were changing partners. Alice, you're with me. And, if I catch you cheating Halley..." the threat remained unspoken but Halley, his own frown threatening everyone in the room, rose from his seat and took Alice's place by his wife. Alice came around behind Yuri, stopping for a moment to rub his shoulders. She noted how tense he was and shook her head.

To him, this card game is as important as a battle. I haven't seen him this way since we traveled together.


Much later.

"All right, it's Alice's shuffle, Yuri said, offering her the cards. Halley had protested loudly when Yuri insisted they use Chinese dealing, where each player selects their own cards, face down of course, but Alice and Chris had pushed him into his seat and shushed him up.

"It's only fair, that's the rules," Chris had said and Halley muttered, "Yeah but he knows the rules and can cheat."

Alice shuffled the deck carefully, then selected her cards, slipping them carefully onto the table before passing the deck to Halley. He and Chris each selected their cards and then passed the deck to Yuri who quickly threw down his choice and put the deck in front of Alice.

"Okay, this should be the last hand," he said softly to Alice. "Weve each got enough that if we can get 100 points we'll win."

"Yeah, like I'm gonna let you get the best hand," Halley said from across the table and Yuri looked up to scowl at the younger man who pointedly ignored him, arranging his cards in his hand.

Chris looked up from her cards and waited.

"Are we playing cards here?" she asked.

"Fine," Halley grumbled and put down three cards. "Fives, for five points each."

Chris discarded and Alice dealt her another card.

"Oh darn," she hissed and put down three Jacks. "No points."

Yuri, his cards held close in his hands, looked them over with a twinkle in his eyes.

"Too bad about that Chris. Now if someone where to have another Jack or even a Joker and say, accidentally lay it down..."

"Oh shut up!" Halley said from across the table.

Yuri swallowed his grin and lay down two tens. "That's twenty."

Alice played a no point card and discarded two more, drawing from the deck. Then Halley smiled, chewing on his lower lip, and picked up the discarded board from Alice. With a huff, he slapped down three cards.

"AFour, five and six of clubs," he crowed. "AThat's a straight and good enough to push us ahead of you two posers."

"Halley, sit down and shut up," Yuri said with a scowl, but when Alice looked over at her husband she saw a gleam in his eyes.

What's he up to? she wondered.

Play continued for a few minutes, cards discarded, others picked up. Finally, Halley put down his last hand of cards.

"Here it is folks, the winning hand. Pairs of nines, tens and Jacks. He laid the cards on the table and grinned. "Beat that, Yuri," he said.

Yuri looked at his hand and chewed his tongue quietly, a deep frown creasing his brow and Alice thought he might explode if he indeed lost this hand. Halley was sitting across from her, preening and grinning like a jack-o-lantern, and she wondered just how much of his success was due to his usual brand of cheating. He could sense the intense thoughts of the others in their party, knew their thoughts when danger was near. It helped him in their battle against the Metagod, and it also allowed him easy access to more susceptible minds, while they were thinking heavily over some problem. Halley had found both Margarete and Yuri easy picking on their travels, and Alice had quickly learned to not play with the young man... which left her free to control Yuri when he found out he'd been cheated and was leaping across tables, or campfires, to kill the young Londoner. His preening now did not bode well.

"Well damn," Yuri said finally and arranged his cards for placement. "That just leaves me with this measly hand." He very slowly set down his four cards. Two of Hearts. Two of Diamonds. Two of Clubs. Two of Spades. "Four deuces," he said and discarded the fifth card. "I win."

Halley leapt from his chair, knocking it back on the floor, his face suddenly scarlet.

"No way, no goddamned way!" he yelled. "You cheated. You didn't have any two's. I know. I know!" he yelled louder.

"That's cuz you were spookin' me with yer mind tricks, boy. But I'm smarter than that. You lose. I win. An' now I claim my prize," he said with a grin, rising from his seat.

Chris, one hand on Halley's elbow, was looking worried. She knew Halley cheated ‑ had in fact learned to deal with that a long time ago. Sometimes his cheating had put meat on the table when they most needed it. Moreover, she knew too that Yuri was as bad as her husband, and as Halley rose to his feet, she looked down at the tally tablet and quickly did the math.

"Wait," she said, then rose, tablet in hand. "How is it that I discarded the two of hearts and you have it, yet you never picked it up? I would have seen you," she asked pointedly.

Yuri had turned toward Alice and now, he cocked his head toward Chris, swallowing his smile before it could escape.

"An' yer point, Chris? I didn't need to take it cuz I took the smaller Joker two hands ago. You never had the two ‑ you just think you did. You been hanging around with Halley too long."

Alice looked up at Yuri and opened her mouth to protest but Halley cut her off.

"You snatched it! You sneaky S‑O‑B! You snatched it right off the table in plain sight!" Halley looked like he'd explode and Alice's eyes grew wider, not wanting her small and humble abode rendered to dust by one of Halley's temper tantrums. His fist struck the table hard, knocking cards every which‑way, and he started to laugh, a full belly laugh that had Chris sitting with a sigh, her head in her hands. "You bastard!" he laughed. "I'll let you go this time because it's your special day, but next time..." he threatened, but Alice knew now he wasn't truly angry, just teasing the man who was as much friend as brother.

"You two are going to give me grey hair," she said.

Yuri, his smile now broadly displayed, bent down and snatched her up, swinging her into his arms.

"I claim my prize. Let's go, wife."

"Yuri!" Alice exclaimed. "We've got guests!"

"Yeah, hey Hal, put the kids to bed will ya?" he called as he made for the stairway.

"Looks like the kids are already headed that way," he said and continued to laugh as his friends climbed upstairs.

"Hal, I'm getting to old for this," his wife said, and Halley bent down to put a kiss on her head.

"No worries. We both get away with murder as it is," he said.

You can say that again, Chris thought, but refrained from commenting further.

Yuri carried Alice up the stairs, pausing at the top, panting a little. He looked at his blue-eyed lady and laughed softly.

"I ain't the man I was."

Alice shook her head slightly, a tendril of silver white slipping down over her forehead and tickling her nose.

"You are still as strong as you have ever been, Yuri. But, if you're tired, you can set me down."

Yuri laughed and shook his head. "Nah. I worked hard today is all and I had a bit of trouble in the field, but it's okay. I've got you. I'll protect you, you know that."

Alice's smile warmed his heart and lightened the dim hallway.

AI know. But no where does it say I can't walk for myself."

"Heh-heh," he laughed but refused, taking careful steps down the hall toward the master bedroom.

"One of these days I should get a light put up here so we don't kill ourselves in the dark," he commented and Alice giggled.

"You could always fuse to Sandalphon and glow your way," she suggested.

They came to the bedroom door and Alice reached out, turning the knob so Yuri could toe the door open.

"Yeah, but you said no more fusions. And I promised."

"Well yes," Alice said, "but that was because of the tree stump."

"Damned stump," Yuri growled. "If I hadn't used the fusion, it would still be there, taking up space."

"Maybe. But it was using Seraphic Radiance to remove the stump that was the problem. You blew a hole in the barn... the neighbors barn!"

Yuri laughed, setting Alice on the thin carpet by their bed.

"Yeah, well, I taught that stump a lesson it would never forget."

Alice reached over to the bedside table and switched on the lamp, sending a soft yellow glow into their room.

"You taught the neighbor's cows a lesson too and we had to pay for it."

Yuri sighed. "Yeah, yeah. Okay, I got it. Ya know," he said as he removed his shirt and sat on the edge of the bed to pull off his shoes, "I kinda liked havin' Chris and Halley here. It's been a long time since I had so much fun."

Alice was standing at the closet door, her robe in her hand. "Do you miss the old life? I didn't think you minded being a farmer."

"Oh, I don't. I wanted to do this and it's been good. We've had five great kids and, if Morris ever get's off his lazy ass I'll be a grand daddy soon."

Alice laughed, her voice muffled as she pulled off her dress and hung it in the closet.

"He has to get married first," she said.

Yuri, sitting in his trousers, looked up at Alice with a lopsided grin.

"Who says? All he needs is a warm port of call."

"Yuri!"

"Heh-heh," he laughed and then stood to take off his pants, tossing them to the floor by the door. "Come on wife, it's our anniversary. Let's get to bed." He pulled the bedding back with one hand and snagged Alice around her waist, her nightgown not quite fully on.

"Yuri, my gown!" she exclaimed.

"Ah, you won't need that," he said with a grin and had her enveloped in his arms and into the bed before she could blink twice.

"You are so incorrigible," Alice said with a soft laugh, and Yuri bent down to nuzzle her breasts, the twin mounds rising softly beneath the gown and warm to his face. She put her arms around his neck and pulled him closer, pulling his weight down lightly to rest against her, his elbows to either side of her keeping him from crushing her.

"I love you, you big lunk," she said and kissed his head.

"And I love you, Allie," he said to her breasts before moving up to kiss her lips, trailing his tongue along her lips, his kisses a trail of fire along her chin. "Let's make babies," he said softly and Alices laugh was silent, her heart filling to near bursting.

"It's a little late for that," she finally said, but Yuri was busy running his tongue over her breasts, her gown pulled away and she could feel his interest and his need pushing against her legs. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the trying, she thought. "All right, my hero. Let's make babies."