Disclaimer: I own nothing that Tamora Pierce owns.
Author's note: this is the first fic I have actually finished in about 8 months sheepish!!! It is different to what I normally write...
Thanks to: Kirsty (my alpha-beta), Sellie (my beta-beta), Miri (my theta-beta, who happens to be responsible for suggesting the ending) and Isha (who is just special).
Warning: Contains implied slash (adult themes) – if you don't like it, don't read it: simple enough.
Summary: King Jonathan stumbles upon his Prime Minister and Training Master in a rather compromising position. One shot, humour with implied slash and a SFF pairing (or two – hint). Rated PG-13 for implied sexual themes
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King Jonathan was in a relatively good mood. He reflected on this as he strolled down the corridors of the palace, nodding to his subjects as they bowed or curtsied as he passed. His queen, Thayet, had returned from her latest Rider excursion the night before, much to his delight. Then there had been the news of an unexpected windfall. A precious stone mine had been found at a fief owned by the Crown. To top it all off, what he had thought was a cunningly hidden grey hair had in actual fact just been a bit of dandruff.
He arrived at the door that led to the suite of rooms occupied by his Prime Minister, Sir Gareth of Naxen the Younger. Jonathan hoped to discuss the matter of a tax dispute between two fiefs, in order to free up his afternoon - for the pursuit of more interesting activities.
Blocking his way to Gary's rooms were two Palace Guards. They bowed and murmured greetings, but did not move to allow the King entrance. After a moment, he motioned for them to move out of the way.
"Er, your Majesty..." the first guard began, glancing at the second as he trailed off.
"His lordship requested that he not be disturbed," the second supplied.
Jonathan's brows knitted together in momentary puzzlement. "Nonsense. I'm sure that Sir Gareth did not extend that to include his King."
The second guard steeled himself. "He did, actually, Your Majesty. He specifically ordered us to not let you through."
Their lack of compliance irked Jonathan. "Open the doors. I need to see my Prime Minister." Jonathan ordered, secretly wondering what would prompt his cousin to attempt to bar him from his office suite.
The two men hesitated only momentarily, before slowly easing the large oak doors open to admit him. Jonathan nodded to them as he strode past, noting the looks of mild amusement they exchanged.
A quick glance around the orderly sitting room revealed that Gary was not there. Jonathan turned around and walked over to the closed door of his Prime Minister's office. This in itself was strange. Gary rarely kept this door closed, unless he was meeting with someone.
Jonathan paused briefly, debating on whether to knock or not. The part of him resisting the urge to knock won, so with a shrug, he pushed the door to Gary's office open.
Reclining back in his chair, the Prime Minister was smiling contentedly with his eyes closed. Understandably, Gary was taken aback when the King entered unannounced. "Jon, er, what are you doing here?" He asked rather bluntly. "I thought I told my guards to, uh, ... never mind," he attempted a smile, which turned out to be more of a bright grimace.
Without standing, he inched higher in his chair and extended his hand to shake. While Jon did not expect his cousin to bow when he entered, Gary usually stood and nodded respectfully as they shook hands. Taking a closer look at him, Jonathan noticed that he was sweating slightly and looked rather flushed, despite the mild spring air. He shifted rather uncomfortably under the King's piercing blue gaze, and cleared his throat.
Jonathan took a seat silently, his eyes sweeping the interior of the room for anything out of place. Despite its size, the office was as cluttered as ever. Detailed maps lined areas of the walls that weren't covered with large bookcases containing thick bound volumes and high stacks of parchment. Occasionally an ornament was crammed randomly into a small space, in an attempt to give the illusion of organisation.
Glancing back to Gary, Jonathan saw he was pouring a cup of wine. "Here Jon," Gary pushed the goblet across to his cousin, "Now what brings you so persistently here?" He shifted in his seat slightly, trying to look at ease.
Jonathan opened his mouth to speak when he suddenly heard a bump from under the large wooden desk. Gary cleared his throat, reaching under the table at his legs and grimaced. "Just my knee," He waited for Jonathan to continue.
"I needed to speak to you about the situation between fiefs Tameran and Alcove," the King began.
Gary nodded, and reached for several sheafs of parchment on the top right hand corner of his desk. "I had some men look through the records of Count Vandir of Alcove's coffers, and they brought back some interesting findings. It seems that the taxes-" the Prime Minister cursed.
Upon seeing that Gary was having difficulties reaching the parchment, Jonathan had made to pass them to him. Unfortunately, Gary's reaching arm had made contact with the King's wine glass and knocked it over. Red wine was seeping across the assorted papers, which Gary snatched up in a vain attempt to save.
The initial surprise of the accidental spillage rapidly turned into shock as Jonathon noticed that below his tunic, Sir Gareth was missing his hose. Mercifully, Gary was saved some embarrassment due to his longer tunic, but nevertheless Jonathan raised his eyebrows.
"Maybe I should come back later today?" Recalling a time he had almost been caught with another lady under his desk, Jonathan turned a subtle shade of red and nodded in Gary's direction, averting his eyes.
"Yes, Majesty, that would be... best. As Jonathan turned to leave; Gary dropped the ruined papers back on his desk, and looked down to where his hose sat bunched at his feet, unseen by the King. As the papers settled back down on his desk however, Gary bumped the tray bearing the pitcher of wine, of which had already wobbling precariously close to the edge. With a clatter, it fell to the floor.
Jonathan was already halfway to the door when he heard the pitcher and tray fall. He made to call a servant to clean the mess, but froze when he heard a muffled male voice curse. This led him to conclude one important thing.
The person under his Prime Minister's desk was clearly not a lady.
The second realisation was that he knew the voice, quite well actually, but could not place it at the present moment.
"Who's there?!" Not able to keep himself from asking, Jonathan's deep voice was a rumble in his throat.
Gary, whose mortification was painfully obvious, glanced down, protesting loudly. "What do you mean, Jonathon? There is no one-" He broke off as his companion crawled out from under the desk hollow.
Standing, he brushed off his tunic, attempting to smooth out the crumpled look it had attained whilst he was crouched under the Prime Minister's desk. Jonathan could see a red mark on the top of his balding head, of which was sure to transform into a bump.
"Majesty," Wyldon, Lord of Cavall and Royal Training master of Tortall, bowed stiffly to the King, attempting to cling to a shred of dignity, a feat which was hindered somewhat by his beet red face. Gary briefly admired the way the (currently) scarlet, shiny head of Lord Wyldon caught and reflected the light, before returning his attention to the situation at hand.
For a moment, Jonathan simply gaped at the other two men, too stunned to begin to voice any of his thoughts. Gary covered his face with his hands briefly, exhaling loudly, while Wyldon stood awkwardly to one side, glancing only briefly at Gary.
Jonathan was not swift enough to close the open door as footsteps were heard. Sir Raoul of Goldenlake and Malorie's Peak entered the room, instantly feeling the tension between the three men.
Pausing only briefly to take in the unusual scene, Raoul cracked a grin in an attempt to lighten the mood. "Gary, you are popular today! The Training Master, the King, and now the King's Own Commander, all in one go!"
The room was suddenly silent as each man contemplated the implications of Raoul's attempt at humour. Jonathan ducked his head slightly, hiding a grin.
Wyldon cleared his throat, making a swift decision to salvage the situation and what was left of his pride. "Majesty, if you'd be so kind to allow me leave of your presence?" Without waiting for a reply, he bowed jerkily and made towards the door.
"Not so fast Wyldon," Raoul raised his dark eyebrows at the shorter man, blocking his way. "You cannot be in that much of a hurry. What is a drink between friends?"
Wyldon glanced up at the Knight Commander, wary. Although he had been called many names by Lord Raoul, he was fairly certain that 'friend' had never been one of them. Not to mention that Raoul never drank alcohol; neither did he for that matter.
The King broke in before Wyldon could refuse the invitation, knowing full well what Raoul's intentions were, even if the Training Master remained utterly oblivious to them. "Gary, do you have the rest of the Alcove papers? I would like to peruse them – could you have one of the scribes make copies of them for me, after our... meeting?"
Blinking stupidly, the Prime Minister nodded. The sodden papers on Gareth's desk reminded him that he knew, from experience, once this started, it would be a considerable time before he was able to return to the case.
Raoul grinned wolfishly, reaching over to close and bolt the door. Wyldon watched him apprehensively. Seeing him, Raoul laughed heartily. "Relax, Cavall – we're not here to play with lances again."