Disclaimer: All characters belong to Tamora Pierce

This is a response to Tammy Drabbles Prompt #40 – Ideals

Word Count: 518

Characters: Jon & Thayet

The Fight

Sometimes a blanket apology worked, but not this time. Jon grumbled internally. He had tried simply saying he was sorry, but then she'd asked him why. Therein was the problem. He began to review everything that had happened that day, trying to figure out what it could have been. He'd mostly been dealing with one noble or another, and hadn't seen Thayet since just before dawn. He hated to admit it, but thought he better. "I have no idea. I just hoped you'd accept my apology," he confessed through his teeth.

Thayet glared. He wasn't sure she'd ever been this angry with him before.

Jon forced his most charming smile. "Can't we just discuss whatever I've done?" he asked in his most sultry voice. It had no effect. He could see her jaw twitch with anger and her nostrils flare, leaving her normally breathtaking features looking sharp and angular. He was unable to pull his gaze from the three creases that had appeared between her eyebrows.

"If you'll excuse me," she said in an icy voice, "I have duties to attend."

Shit! He had used the word "duty" over and over when he'd spoken to Kalasin a week ago. Kalasin must have cried to her mother, just when he thought Kalasin had come around. Perhaps arranged marriages were not the most ideal, but then a King had to serve his country first and his family second. He wanted his children to have love, and he hoped that their marriages would bring that after a time. But Tortall needed solid alliances. Royal marriages sealed treaties better than any other offering.

"Ours is a royal tie," he stated quietly. "We were lucky to have chosen it for ourselves, though it could not have been better designed with regard to the needs of our country."

"I'm glad you find me so convenient," Thayet snapped.

That hurt. "Kally may not like it, but even she could see the point, and you will too when you're not so angry."

"As if it wasn't bad enough that you plan to deny her love," Thayet growled ferociously, "you plan to send my daughter to another country – wherever her royal match might be. Don't you think for one minute that I will get over it easily."

So that was it. He reached to pull her against him, and thankfully, she didn't fight. The pair stood that way for a moment before he whispered, "They were never meant to stay home forever. Children grow and find their own way, despite how much we might wish they'd stay small.

Thayet was crying and he tried to comfort her. In the process, Jon took for granted that the fight was over, right up until Thayet pushed herself from his grip. "You have deprived her of her own way." She inhaled loudly. "I need some time. I'll take a spare room in the next wing." Aghast, Jon didn't know what to say. Thayet opened their suite door and walked out, leaving him alone with his thoughts. The decision had not been easy, but living with its consequences was much harder.