Lucas woke slowly in the pre-dawn light. He could feel the warmth of Trisha beside him. Stretching happily he rolled onto his side and looked at her lovely face framed with small tresses of hair. The grey light trickling in from the window illuminated her smooth face with a smooth glow. Contenment filled Lucas as he stroked her face, she smiled slightly and he knew she was awake as well. Even though they had lived as normal citizens for the past month Guardian habits died hard. 

"Hmmmm, awake already?" Her soft voice purred in Lucas's ear and he felt a smile creep over his face. "I guess Hoffman drilled early rising into me." She scooted closer to Lucas, her thin silk shift rubbing against his bare chest. "Well I guess it helps when you have to work early." Lucas sighed at the reminder, though many positions were open to him as a guard or security man for the powerful politicions he had chosen to labor in the field, hoping the honest work would pull him further from his murderous tendecies. 

As it was the season of the harvest he had to wake up early every morning and help harvest various crops. If he remebered correctly, and he always did, today it would be quinoa. He and the other farm hands were to cut the seed heads off of the plants and then hang them from wooden racks to dry.  Lucas nuzzled into Trisha's hair making her giggle, "I do have to work, but not yet." She swatted him gently, "If I'm not mistaken it takes nearly an hour to arrive at the quinoa field, and unless you plan on readying yourself in two minutes you'd best get going." 

Lucas sighed falling back onto the hard bed, "Well, you're not wrong." He sat up allowing the woolen blanket to fall from his chest, exposing it to the cold air. With a quick shiver he rolled out of bed and grabbed a simple shirt. Trisha pulled the blankets up around herself and smiled at him micheviously. Lucas frowned at her with mock severity then started laughing as she stuck her toungue out at him. 

Still chuckling he swept up his small leather knapsack and headed out the door, leaving his wife behind. 

As Lucas travled the path up the nearest mountain he encountered several others heading for the same destination.  He hailed them with a smile and wave many returned the greeting, joinging him on the path. There was some deferential treatment because of Lucas's past status as a guardian, but it had been greatly reduced since his first day. Mostly at the bequest of Lucas himself, he had chosen to leave the guardians and he wished to be treated no differently then the rest.

Now as he walked to the high elevation field with his fellow laborers Lucas found himself enjoying a fellowship that he had rarely felt before. In his home village he was the stranger, then later the executioner. And even training as a guardian he was older and from a 'backwards village' so he made few friends. But now with other workers in the diverse city Lucas finaly felt as though he belonged. 

Bawdy jokes were told at everyones expense as the group walked, Lucas reminding himself that they were harmless and meant well. Loud laughter echoed around the, sometimes narrow, path then faded as the group approached the farm. Their overseer was known for being strict and had little patience for inefficient individuals. Lucas was used to it as similar expectations were at the Academy, but his coworkers sometimes found it difficult to remain serious. 

They collected small knives, sharpened and ready to slice through stalks. Then they group was handed large baskets to set the seed heads in for transport. Lucas collected the harvesting paraphenilia and headed out to his row, around him other men and a few women also chose a row and began to work.

Lucas paced himself, slicing each stalk as carefully as he could while maintaining his rate of work. Head after head dropped into the wicker basket attacked to his back and soon its weight strained against him. Grunts and gasps surrounded him as other workers sliced their own heads or bent to pick up dropped pieces. The owner of the field hated waste, and if someone's row had too much fallen food they weren't asked to come back. Gleaners had long since given up on the fields of his supervisor, knowing none would be left.

With every completed row Lucas would go to exchange his basket for an empty one, they were paid by the amount harvested so he worked quickly. Without the fincial benefits of Guardianship Lucas and Trisha were forced to live on a tight income. 

*~*~*~*

Ignoring his aching muscles Lucas began his 18th row in the field. With slow steps he started down cutting the kernals from their stalk. Oblivious to the fact that Lucas had done twice the work than the others a supervisor yelled for him to hurry up. Lucas glared at the woman angrily and glanced down at his knife. But he remembered the happiness he had felt that morning and decided against ruining it to kill the woman. Oblivious to his thoughts she moved on, unaware that her life had just been in mortal peril.

When he dropped the last head in his basket Lucas turned to switch out again, however every row he could see was either completed or someone was working their way down it. So he set his final basket down with the others. The woman who had yelled earlier stared at him with wide eyes, "You're Lucas?" Her voice was much smoother than the earlier shout. Lucas looked up in surprise, "Yes, why do you ask?" She smiled with a sugary sweetness, "Well the owner, my father, constantly speaks of your work, and how you were once a guardian. And his desire for you to join the family."

Lucas watched her impassivly as she sidled closer to him, warm breath brushed against his ear. "Join the family?" He wasn't sure what she was getting at, it certinly couldn'tbe a promotion as supervisors weren't considered family. Her fingers trailed over his back causing him to step away. A small pout appeared on the tanned face at the small rejection but she wasn't dettered. "See it doesn't have to be official, mostly he simply wants a son. No one has to know that it's yours."

Comprehension flooded Lucas as the young woman finished speaking. "No." His reply was swift and final, or rather he thought it was. She followed him as he backed away, "Why not? Aren't I good enough for you?" Her voice was slightly whiny. Lucas tripped over a rock but managed to keep his feet, "I'm married." It quickly became obvious that his short responses weren't working as she gripped his arm. "Your wife doesn't need to know, and you will be paid very well." Lucas looked around wildly hoping for some witness, but he had been driven to a corner shaded by the oncoming darkness. 

He looked at the woman, she was very short with brown hair and tawny gold eyes. Lucas gripped her, one hand on each shoulder, and stared into the flecks of her irist. He saw the pleasure as he did so.  Slowly he leaned down and in a whispered something so quiet she could barely hear it into her ear. Then he took her hand and pulled her behind the shed.

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