|Summary:||Gedeon helps Rose decide what she'll do now that she's been dismissed.|
|Related Logs:||Suicide by Love Letter, I'm Just A Girl, Goodbye|
|Guest Room — Rockcliff Inn|
|The Guest Rooms at the Rockcliff are slightly more than modest. Each has a spacious bed with clean sheets and some generic artwork hung above the bed. Each room has a vase of fresh flowers replaced daily as well as a water basin and mirror. Trunk space is provided for those staying more than a night or two and wooden pull-tab by the door operates a pully system of bells that will summon one of the women of the house to take food orders or resolve anything required. A large window overlooks to surrounding town though shutters stand ready to block out the sunlight as required.|
|10 and 11 August 288|
Officially dismissed from the service of Ser Jarod Rivers that morning, Rose comes to the Rockcliff Inn with all she owns in the world — and that, alas, fits neatly in a footlocker. It's no secret back at the Towers that the young squire — weird, yes; Nayland, sure, but a good lad — has departed, the room above the stables cleared of all personal belongings. And it doesn't take a maester from there to figure where she might be staying.
The Oldstones knight doesn't exactly follow her down the road, but it only takes until that evening for him to find a little time to slip away and head towards the Rockcliff Inn in the hopes of seeing if a particular 'squire with benefits' might now be in residence. So it is that a couple hours after dinner, Gedeon knocks lightly on the door of one of the rooms.
"Come in!" That's her. And she sounds nothing so much as… exhausted. That can be confirmed by her state when he enters the room — sprawled on her back across the still-made bed in only a shirt and breeches, boots kicked off onto the floor. She heaves a great sigh when the door shuts again, propping up on her elbows. "Still a boy," she reports. "Fuck all."
The door opens and Gedeon slips in before it closes again. "Oh," he murmurs, "Well. Good." He walks over to settle on the bed, near Rose's feet. "What happened?"
"Yes," says Rose softly, flopping back once more. "It is, I suppose, better than the alternative. For me, anyhow." She shrugs. "Jarod dismissed me. Promised not to tell anyone for the love he 'bore' Rowan, who I've apparently slain. It was painful as nothing else I've ever experienced, but it's done. We're done." She stares at the ceiling with the kind of intense focus that should — were the Gods just — light the wood on fire. She breathes deeply and swallows. "So I'm free. For a year. In which time… anything could happen." She shrugs again, lolling her head to the side to bring Gedeon in view. "I don't even know what to hope for, any longer. Just… anything."
"I know that feeling," Gedeon agrees quietly, reaching for Rose's feet so he can set them in his lap and give them a soft squeeze. "Give Jarod time, he'll see a bit more sense. You love him because he leads with his heart, do you not? And when a man who leads with his heart has been cut there, he's no fit company."
This wisdom gives Rose a moment's pause. She props up on her elbows again, squinting at the young knight. "You… are very smart," she says. "Very, very smart. Glad-you're-on-my-side smart." She smirks faintly. "And once again, the absolute opposite of Jarod Rivers in nearly every way."
"Shh," Gedeon murmurs, ducking his head, "I'm only smart when not dealing with poisoned wine or valuable and irreplaceable letters. And, any rote, I prefer not to spread it around." For being different from Jarod, the blond knight breathes out softly. "I suppose that is true enough."
One of the feet in his lap draws back a little to nudge his hip, gentle rebuke for the sighing. "It's a good thing," Rose says softly. "Jarod… isn't everything that's good in the world."
"Yes, well, neither am I," Gedeon says with a soft huff of a laugh. That nudging foot gets caught again, the bottom of it rather viciously tickled. "Good or bad, I am certainly no Jarod Rivers."
Rose squeaks in surprise and alarm as she's tickled — THAT certainly never happened to her when she was a boy — kicking and twisting to free her foot. "Stop that!" she gasps, laughing and yelping. "Cad!"
"Now that sounds a bit more correct," Gedeon agrees, still laughing and still tickling. "Come on, then, little squire. Use those gifts of yours. Get yourself free."
Squirming like mad, the girl manages to scissor her legs around him, and toppling them over. Now on top, straddling him and grinning a feline grin, she dips her head to brush his nose with hers. "Any other instructions, Ser?" she purrs.
He laughs as he finds himself flipped… by legs no less, and Gedeon holds still for that brush of noses. He grins. "Never take a victory for granted." He doesn't so much roll as simply sit up and lean forward. With Rose's legs wrapped around Gedeon's hips, she's dumped onto her back to find the knight suddenly leaning over her. "You still have a bit to learn before knighthood."
There's another yelp at the reversal and a bright burst of laughter. Flushed and disheveled, she gazes up at him through her lashes, her smirk dimpling her cheek on one side. "Do I?" she asks archly, thighs squeezing as she lifts her hips to his. "It's not as though you've got me pinned. I'm not sure I'd count this a victory so much as… an armistice."
"Truce, then, lady squire," Gedeon murmurs, his triumphant smile shifting to something softer. "Truce. You can slay me tomorrow." He leans just a little bit further to see, if he cannot call himself a victor, if he might, at least, claim a kiss.
She leans up to grant that boon with willing delight, one hand sliding to the nape of his neck as her lips part for him. A heady sigh escapes her, and her lips curve into a smile against his — breaking the kiss for a moment. But it might even be worth it, for such a smile. "I am… deeply fond of you, Gedeon Rivers," she whispers, fingers caressing the hair at the base of his skull. "Very, very… smitten, I think might be the word."
"Smitten," Gedeon replies thoughtfully, still smiling and breathing a little faster for those kisses. "It will have to do. I am very fond of you as well, Rose Rivers." Then he returns to her mouth with a bit more hunger, lips and tongue more demand as his hands begin to gather up her shirt.
The blond knight of Oldstones is an early riser, even after such a rigorous night. The sky has only barely begun to lighten before he stirs, lifting his head and blinking slowly as he struggles to recall where he is and why. The fact that he's still wrapped aroudnd another person brings recollection to him with a soft huff of breath, and he studies the sleeping girl in the wan near-morning light.
Her face is lovely and untroubled in repose, long, thick lashes shadowing her cheekbones, lips suggesting a smile with their slight, natural curve. Her wild, dark curls surround her head in a riotous halo, hopelessly mussed with sleep. She lies on her side, one arm crooked beneath the pillow, the other hand resting gently atop. The sheets are bunched around the gentle curve of her hip, one leg drawn up slightly, the other stretched luxurious and long.
It's quiet and peaceful and there is still time before his duties will demand he rise and dress, so Gedeon looks his fill and then gently smoothes that mussed nimbus of brown curls, tucking a few carefully behind her ear.
She wakes at that, slowly, with a sweet, wordless murmur and languid blinking. She breathes in deep, frowning slightly as she knits the waking world together in a sleep-muddled brain. "Hello," she whispers — though there's no one to wake, it seems a shame to disturb the stillness.
Gedeon offers a faint smile, his hand stroking over her hair a final time before it retreats. "Good morning," he murmurs, sleep having rubbed sandpaper through his voice. "How are you?"
She rolls over and stretches, groaning softly as she does, reaching to brace her palms against the headboard. After a moment of self-evaluation, she reports, smiling, "Sore. Deliciously, delightfully sore." She relaxes and sighs, turning her head to study him in the gray light of morning. "I could learn to like waking like this, I think."
"Rather different sort of sore than training tends to cause," Gedeon agrees. His soft smile fades a little. "I think, perhaps, we should talk."
Rose nods, watching his smile fade with visible regret. She sits up, drawing up her knees and wrapping her arms loosely about them. "We can't do this anymore if I'm your squire, can we?" she asks wistfully.
"Well, we shouldn't," Gedeon agrees, "it would be seven different sorts of bad ideas if we did, but…" He moves away a little to sit up a bit more properly and push a hand through blond hair that's poking up every which way. "squiring with me is what I think we should speak about. Is that… still something you'd wish to do?"
Rose grins despite herself at the mess of his hair (if she only had a looking glass), reaching over more to play with it, really, than smooth it. Though she makes a few futile attempts. "Yes," she says, nodding. "If — I'd want to speak to your Lord, first. And feel assured that he won't obligate you into — doing something I can't follow. But. Yes." She nods. "I've spoken with Ser Kevan, and was going to — " she sighs, shaking her head. "But I he's in the service of the Baneforts. And… I can't stay here. I thought I could, but… No."
Gedeon nods slowly. Slow enough that her fingers aren't much shaken free. "That would be important," he agrees softly, "as if you did pledge yourself to me, I would expect you to follow me. I would ask that you be able to place your loyalty with me, even if your heart is still here in the Roost."
Rose listens, eyes and expression sober. "I will serve no man blindly," She says, after a moment of digesting his words. "I am not a hound. If I pledge myself to you, you will find me loyal to the end of the world — but bear in mind that the world does end, somewhere. And even the most devoted hound will bite at some point, if ill-used." She smiles, however, and it's clear the words are — something of a formality. "But I trust you, Gedeon Tordane. I wouldn't be here, otherwise."
There is a small nod for these conditions. "The other thing, and I am sorry for this, but beyond Lord Valentin and myself, you would have to keep the secret of your gender. Oldstones, as it is now, is too young and too small to afford to be so openly…unusual as to have a woman squire pledged to one of her knights."
"I know," says Rose, her smile a sad little quirk. "There are more reasons to do so than that. I was a lunatic to think I could — " she sighs. "If I were discovered by my family, I would be finished. My father is the kind of man to drag me home by force. No matter how ruined I am, he would marry me off for spite." Rue tugs one corner of her mouth up higher, a wry smirk. "I don't know what I was thinking. I must have been out of my mind."
"You were being honorable and honest," Gedeon replies, offering Rose's shoulder a fond little nudge. "And sometimes, the world is too complex for such simple goodness."
"Emphasis on the simple," mutters Rose, ducking her head to hide her smile. But only for a moment. In the next, she scoots closer and leans her head on his shoulder, turning to place a tender kiss there. "So… will you have me?" she asks again, after a time, tilting her head back and raising her eyebrows at him.
"If you speak to Lord Valentin and would still have me," Gedeon ducks his head down to softly kiss her lips, "yes, my lady squire. I would."
Rose smiles, shutting her eyes for that kiss. "I will, and I will," she whispers in reply. She turns to face him, one hand on the other side of his lap, propping her up. Her head dips, lips touching the hollow of his throat. "Now let's talk about the seven sorts of bad idea…"