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Fic: Whenever the gods close a door, somewhere they open a window

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Fic for Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief Books
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Fic: Whenever the gods close a door, somewhere they open a window

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Title:Whenever the gods close a door, somewhere they open a window
Author: an_english_girl
Genre: Romance
Word count: 500
Characters: Eugenides, Irene
Notes: Title borrowed from ... you can guess. Terrible FLUFF.
Summary: A brief conversation on a balcony...

“Tis a common tale. A man returning from a night at the tavern his wife doesn’t approve of finds all the doors bolted and has to climb in at the window.”

“I doubt the most harassed okloi fishwife in Seperchia has ever had half the trouble I have with you.”

Perched on the rail of the balcony in the Royal Apartments, Eugenides, king of Attolia, raised one eyebrow. “I could bring you a pair of earrings, like the hen-pecked okloi would. As a peace offering.”

His wife looked back at him. “You already did that.” Her voice changed, deepening to the note of gentle amusement only he heard. “What sort of man brings his wife another woman’s earrings?”

“The gods are happy with such,” said Gen solemnly.

“So I should be too?” Irene flung up her hands in a gesture of resignation. She had built the temple of Hephaista on the highest point of the city; she had accompanied the king there on state occasions; she had had Hephaista’s high priestess to bless Sounis’ various departures; but Gen’s casual speaking-terms relationship with the gods left her feeling – unsettled. As if on the very edge of something much vaster than she could comprehend.

Very edge... Irene looked back at her husband. “Are you going to obey the last injunction from the gods, or spend the whole night perched there?”

He slipped into the darkened room behind her without a sound. She didn’t feel the hairpin pulled out: only the soft mass of her hair sagging suddenly onto her neck. “You knew I was coming,” said Gen, right behind her.

“Oh?” The whole weight of her hair slid from her head and fell about her like a cloak. “I did?”

“You left your hair up.” There was a metallic clatter of hairpins falling into the dish on the other side of the room. “Unless you were going to sharpen your wits in your sleep – with the points?”

“Sometimes,” said the Queen with dignity, “I wonder why your cousin didn’t strangle you long ago. Other times, I wonder why she didn’t marry you long ago.”

“The gods had other ideas – for her, Sophos, you, me...”

Four monarchs, named off so simply compared to the complexities of the past months. Irene turned her head to look back at him. “You still blame the gods for all this?” she queried drily.

“Blame?” She felt rather than saw him shake his head. “Humble gratitude, perhaps.”

She could not see his expression, but his tone gave away the gently mocking smile that must be there. “Humble?!” she mocked back. “You?! King of Attolia, Annexus of Sounis and Eddis, Thief of Eddis – humble!?!”

“All that,” said the king dismissively. “Courts, audiences, responsibilities, dragging guards and attendants across the palace like a ball and chain – they’re a very small thank-offering, really.”

“Thank offering?”

Gen’s arms stole through her long curtain of hair and folded about her. “For a treasure beyond any price, my Queen.”

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