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Love's Labor Won

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The rain that had been threatening all afternoon finally fell - Aidan woke to the sound of it, muffled, pleased to note the freshly thatched roof seemed to be free of any leaks.

Not that I should have expected any less, given we spent the better part of two weeks on it.

"And a fine spectacle you made," Maura said, her voice not nearly as sharp as her grin.

There had been many an appreciative glance during the past days, from women and men alike. A few envious ones as well, although (Aidan had noted) few if any directed at Maura, for having the power to compel a pair of princes to undertake so mundane a task.

"Fools, they are not," Gwydion had commented, wryly, and Maura had laughed, and Aidan had felt the way his heart came close to bursting with the joy of it.

"Och, I'd say the two of you are exactly as much trouble as you're worth."

It was a fair enough assessment, Aidan supposed. Trouble. Not on purpose, perhaps, but then, such was the fate of princes - at least in Rhiyana, where peace and prosperity had reigned for as long as anyone was able to remember.

"Lucky that the weather was obliging enough to wait to turn until we were done," he said, knowing better than to try and tease more flattery out of her. With his body still pleasantly sore from the labor, Aidan preferred to leave his vanity unbruised, at least for the moment.

"Was it truly?" Maura asked, her eyes sharper by far than her grin had been. "Luck?"

Not an entirely unfair question, considering. Aidan had wondered himself. The power required would have been considerable, but not impossibly so, provided the clouds and the winds had been amenable.

"My lady, were you to ask for the moon, I would gladly attempt to fetch it to lay it at your feet," he said, feeling Gwydion wake at last.

"I did not ask for dry weather," said Maura.

"Many others in the village did," said Gwydion, softly. "Occasionally, that is enough. Call it luck, if you wish; call it magic. All I can tell you that whatever was done, was not done deliberately. Will that content you?"

"It is an answer to my question, at least." Maura stretched. She was wearing little, but more than either of the two men. "As to contentment - well." She smiled, and this time, there was no sharpness to it whatsoever, only softness.

The ever-deceptive smiles of women.

Would you have them any other way? Gwydion asked. Or her?

Never, Aidan replied, meaning it, knowing Gwydion's answering smile was as soft as his own.