A/N: Ok, now everyone else finds out, with Gary and Alanna present. I have to admit that I took some liberties with who else might be present at the final battle but I know that Duke Gareth and Buri were back in Corus, so I have unfortunately had to leave them out of it. Nevertheless - enjoy!
Jonathan may have been perceived as being a very kind king for putting off the meetings that were inevitable in the aftermath of war for a few days, but the truth of the matter was that he was simply tired. Knowing no-one would make any fuss, he avoided mentioning it and forgot about being a king for two days. If anyone noticed the real reasoning behind his reluctance, they didn't mention it. They were all too tired. The only action put into place was that of retrieving the bodies of their soldiers from the battlefield and sending them back to loved ones. The morning after Thayet's commemorative feast, however, the king ashamedly conceded with himself that clean-up must begin now – indeed, that it should have already. He started with a meeting with his closest advisors that were present at Port Legann. This meeting included himself and his wife, the Lioness, Lord Raoul, Sir Myles, Gareth the Younger, Lord Imrah, Daine the Wildmage and Numair Samalin. He sent them all messengers telling them to meet in the fort's largest library at noon. Now they had to get down to the serious matters.
Numair and Daine were in Daine's rooms when the messenger came to relay the king's request. Numair got up from the room's small desk and sighed.
"C'mon, Magelet," he held out a hand to Daine, who was sprawled on the bed, "it's almost noon and there's something I want to look for in the library before the meeting starts." Daine took his hand and allowed him to pull her up to stand beside him. She ended up quite close to him and despite their best intentions to leave immediately, they couldn't help but kiss and hold one another for a while. Daine broke away first, smiling.
"As much as I'd like to stay here like this all day, I believe there was a meeting we were called to?" she reprimanded.
"Mm?" replied Numair, leaning back down to her lips again, "meeting...? what meeting?" This time when Daine pulled away, she skipped out of Numair's reach to the door.
"Yes, Numair. Important meeting, remember?"
Numair growled slightly, making Daine shiver, even from across the room. She kept her face as innocent as daises, however, as Numair demanded she come back to him, right now.
"No," she declared, and raced out the door. The library was not far from her rooms, which was lucky; she and Numair had spent more time than they had thought at their antics and would have consequently been running late if they were any father away. For the sake of getting to the meeting on time, Daine hoped Numair had followed her as she jogged down the hall. It turned out he was closer than she thought because just before she reached the door, he grabbed her around the waist and spun her to face him.
"Hey," he said in a low voice that nearly made her knees give way, "I haven't finished with you yet."
Daine fought to keep her face straight as she continued her teasing. "Well I'm finished with you, so go away." This was all it took for Numair. He pushed her up against the library door noisily and began his passionate attentions to her, neither of them heeding the open corridor they stood in. That is, until a sound somewhere between a cough and a laugh sounded behind them. Startled, the couple broke apart and turned to look for the source of the noise.
Standing there was the entire meeting party and several servants holding platters of food and trays of pitchers and cups. The servants were fighting hard to keep their faces straight while Thayet rolled her eyes at the pair and gave Numair a pointed look that quite clearly said Really? Here? The king seemed to be having quite as hard a time controlling his face as the servants; the emotions displayed across his face ranged from surprise to amusement and back again. Lord Imrah, Lord Raoul and Sir Myles were smiling broadly.
And in front of them all stood Gary and Alanna. The king's champion had a hand over her mouth, try to suppress the laughter that caused her shoulders to shake and the corners of her eyes to crinkle. Gary had his lips clamped shut and was obviously trying just as hard not to laugh as the Lioness. Daine and Numair looked around them all and then at each other. Daine gave Numair a slight smile then turned back to their audience.
"Erm...surprise!" she said in a slightly unsure tone.
That was it for Alanna and Gary. They burst into fits of unconstrained laughter, crying and clutching their bellies with the effort. Everyone looked at them for a moment, confused as to the magnitude of their reaction. Then Gary gained control of himself just enough to say to Alanna, "you, Sir Knight, owe me ten gold nobles!"
Numair clicked first. "You- you knew?"
"We guessed," Alanna replied, wiping her eyes, "a long time ago – before you even knew, I reckon."
"Yes," Gary added, "and then we made bets. C'mon, pay up!"
"Well they didn't technically tell us..." the memory of what they had encountered only moments ago sent them into fresh fits of laughter. Raoul was now struggling with his own laughter.
It was the king's turn to cough now. "Yes, well, this is all very...enlightening" this brought on new laughter, including a snigger from Raoul, "but may I suggest we move it inside, before the entire of Tortall finds out?"
Daine made a face as they moved into the library. "Fat chance of avoiding that now," she said looking at the servants then she looked pointedly at Numair. He put on a mock-offended look.
"Are you suggesting this is my fault?"
"Yes, Numair, you were the one who chased me down the hall." This earned fresh bouts of laughter from all three knights now.
"And you are completely blameless for that, are you?" Numair retorted in a low, teasing voice. Daine's lack of response and sheepish look stunned the laughter into silence as the whole room, servants included, turned to look at the previously assumed innocent Daine. She looked around at them all indignantly.
"Well, we were going to be late."
It took a while for the laughter to subside for the meeting to begin.