Half way through my sentance, Joanne's eyes drooped and she fell in to a deep slumber. I smiled and took her head in my hands, gently lowering her body to the floor. I checked her arm and did what I could to help it, then as I looked down to move her from my lap, I caught a glance of her face. She looked so content in her slumber. I smiled and stared at her face for what seemed an age. Then, the tent rustled again and Aldrest appeared. He glanced at me, then stared at Joanne in my lap.
"Well, this is certainly a strange day. First, you cry and now I see you holding a young girl as though she was your daughter." Aldrest looked amused, although I could sense the concern under his expression.
I laughed slightly, and lowered Joanne's head from my lap. I stroked a strand of hair from her face and went to stand in front of Aldrest.
"I am not one to show emotion, you know that well. But on the rare occassion I do, it tends not to be in front of others. So I'd appreciate it Aldrest, if you kept everything you've seen to yourself." I poked him playfully.
"I would never presume to tell anyone."
"As long as you tell me what that was all about."
"One day. But not now. Let us find out what is going on here, and let the girl sleep." I stared down at Joanne and found myself smiling again. I felt Aldrest slip his arm around my waist and I leant against his shoulder for a brief moment. Then I shook myself and released myself from his grasp.
"You're trying to turn me soft Aldrest, and I won't have it." He grinned and bowed his head slightly.
"Now that is something I'd love to see. I can't imagine you being soft, and I would have said I couldn't imagine you with a family if it hadn't have been for the way you were looking at Joanne."
"We all have our weaknesses Aldrest. Even me. And if you keep making fun of me you're going to find you have an extreme weakness between your legs." He pushed me gently, and then bowed me out of the tent.