Disclaimer: I'm just playing in Tamora Pierce's sandbox.

A Delicate Matter

Jonathan sat in his conference room shuffling papers distractedly. Soon the Lord Provost would walk though the door and the young king-to-be would have to explain why he wanted Rogue King George Cooper, of all people, pardoned.

The sound of voices outside the door woke Jonathan from his stupor. The door opened. "My Lord Provost, please sit." The Provost bowed and took his seat, looking quizzically at Jonathan. "I'm sorry to call you away from your duties before our usual meeting time, but I've a rather- delicate matter to discuss with you." The Provost simply quirked an eyebrow and said, "Carry on then, Sire."

Jonathan took a breath and mentally prepared himself one last time. "I request your signature in the pardon of one George Cooper. I do not mean to offend you, for I know you've waited years to get your hands on him, but I really must in..." Jonathan trailed off of his prepared speech when he noticed the Lord Provost smiling.

"I've been wondering when this would happen. I've known of your strange friendship with Cooper for some time now. That Cooper's a good man, why, he's the first Rogue King who I felt I would be sad to see hang. I'll be glad to not have to chase him any longer, though it will be trouble to deal with a new man. Alas- but have you plans for him?" He interrupted his own ramblings, "And hand over that pardon, I'll sign it gladly!"

Jonathan blinked and started. "Uh, here. I, yes, I have plans." Jonathan regained his composure as he passed all the Provost would need across the table. "Cooper will be given a title and lands. He will be a, well, confidential agent. That is, if he doesn't throw the scrolls back in my face," Jonathan finished dryly.
The Provost laughed. "Good, good. Thank you majesty, I look forward meeting Cooper on level ground. I'll take my leave."

It wasn't until several minutes later that Jonathan realized that was the first time he had ever seen the Provost truly smile.


A/N: I was rereading Lioness Rampant the other day and realized that the Provost is a character that we never really get to know. I really wanted to read this scene and as I couldn't find it anywhere, I decided to try my hand at writing fanfiction! This one-shot spawned a companion piece called "A Strange Kinship" that highlights some moments between the Provost and George throughout their rivalry.