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"Thayet?" Buri's sleepy voice was sudden in the still darkness of the room they shared at the orphanage.

"Yes, love?"

"Do you ever wonder what--" Buri stopped for a moment, then said, so quietly Thayet could barely hear her, "what would have happened?"

"Oh, Buri." Thayet put her arms around Buri and pulled Buri's head to her shoulder. Buri's cheek was damp, and Thayet realized that her voice had been husky with more than sleep. "I know what would have happened."

Buri stiffened in Thayet's arms. "What?" The word sounded like ashes in her mouth.

"I would have been a queen, trapped in the life I came here to escape. I would have been forever watched for a wrong word, a misstep, the Saren Queen. I would have watched my husband become more of a king every day." Thayet paused, and added thoughtfully, "Kings may be necessary, but they are difficult people to love and live with."

She kissed Buri's forehead and added, "Besides, I would not have you, or the children. And that would be the worst thing of all."

Buri's arms tightened around her, and Buri finally muttered, "Good. I may not deserve you, but he doesn't either."