|Summary:||Rose and Gedeon kiss and make up. Then talk politics.|
|Related Logs:||Tits and Consequences, Dipping Wicks|
|A Room at an Inn that is not the Rockcliff|
|A room with less class and tidiness than those at the Rockcliff, but with a perfectly serviceable bed.|
|25 and 26 August 288|
It could mean a lot of things, a messenger with a request that he meet an unknown lady in an unfamiliar place. Perhaps Gedeon would have been a bit less concerned if the last unnamed lady had not tried to kill him. So, his Terrick guard comes along, and if he waits outside of the room instead of following the Oldstones knight in, the guard doesn't head down to fetch a drink just yet. For his part, Gedeon slips into the assigned room, hand on his dagger, sword at his hip.
It's certainly not as nice as the Rockcliff, but it's a serviceable little room, comfortable even, with a big, sturdy bed. And in it, there is a lady — well, a girl — who might have recently entertained killing him… but has apparently gotten past the notion. Rose sits on the bed, hands folded in her lap, wearing the same blue silk gown she wore to her dedication. A fine silver chain glistens around her neck, the stylized wave pendant resting against her breastbone. She looks up at him, hesitant. "Hi," she says softly.
Gedeon blinks in confusion to find someone more familiar than expected waiting for him. He nudges the door shut and lets his hand come away from the dagger. "Hi," he answers a little warily.
Rose stands, fingers laced together. She might be trembling, ever so slightly. "Just tell me one thing," she whispers, searching his face. "Did you want her?"
He stares right back, brows drawing down a little. "No, you ridiculous girl, I want you. She was a twittering idiot. I nearly shoved a sock into her mouth just so she could be quiet long enough for me to get it over with."
Rose exhales the breath she's been holding, closing her eyes and nodding. "Alright," she says. She turns and paces a few steps away from him, then back. "Alright. Then… I think…" She looks incredibly vulnerable, no anger or pride to mask her pain. "I think… I can get past it."
"Rose…" Gedeon frowns a little as his gaze slides away from the girl and over to one of the candles, "it wasn't for fun or for sport or because I thought little of what we share. I just… I was drunk, and it seemed the best way out of an awkward situation. And I'm sorry."
"Don't?" Rose asks softly. "If… if you're going to have to do it again, don't say you're sorry. Or… say you're sorry that you have to, but don't…" She shakes her head, dropping to sit on the bed again, gaze on her hands in her lap. "It's so much easier to be angry. To be self-righteous. To — to entertain hurting you back. This… it's really hard."
He follows after to seat himself carefully beside Rose, studying her hands and reaching to curl one lightly over them. "I won't do it again," Gedeon offers quietly. "I'll figure out something else."
She doesn't thread her fingers with his, as she used to do so readily… but she doesn't shy away. It's something. "I don't want — I don't want to make things worse. If it's really — " She takes a breath. "You know better than I do, in this. If it's really the best way to handle things — I'm just going to have to learn to live with it."
"It would be the easiest way to handle things," Gedeon replies, rubbing his fingertips across her knuckles. "Clearly, it's not the best way. I'll think of something else."
Rose nods wordlessly and is silent for a time, then carefully places her other hand over his. "I'm sorry," she whispers. "For everything. What I said earlier. I — " She shakes her head. "I didn't mean it."
He lifts his brows a little, peering up at Rose from beneath his lashes. "So no smith boy, come your next free day?" he asks quietly. It's less a tease so much as an actually query.
She blinks, eyes meeting his, and breathes an incredulous laugh. "No," she says, shaking her head. "Gods, no."
Gedeon breathes out softly, eyes closing and shoulders lowering as tension begins to seep out of them. "Good," he murmurs, and then a bit more firmly, "Good."
Rose leans her forehead against his, closing her eyes as well. "I never meant that — not for a moment," she says softly. "I just — I wanted you to feel what I felt. I didn't know how else to — " She stops herself. "It was mean," she whispers. "And petty. I'm sorry."
"Shut up," Gedeon murmurs, pressing his forehead against Rose's before he leans back a little, but only so that he can press his mouth to her, hungry and demanding and very, very eager after days of going without.
It's still night when Rose stirs and wakes, tangled in the sheets and the arms and legs of her lover. After several visceral, primal, savage sessions of claiming and reclaiming each other but hours ago, the plummet into sleep was sudden and deep, emotionally and physically drained. Now she shifts slightly, blinks slowly, muddled for a moment until she recalls where she is and why. Then she smiles, sweet and sleepy and wide, tasting the pillow with her grin. She reaches a hand back to skim along Gedeon's side, over his hip and down his thigh; she snuggles back against him, closer, making sure their bodies touch at every possible point of contact.
Gedeon's sleeping just as deeply, though his brows lower and then his eyes open slowly as he registers fingers moving on his skin and a body pressing more firmly against his own. He drags in a deep breath, coming a little bit more awake as a hand roams slowly over Rose's back. "Awake already?" he murmurs.
"Mmm," replies Rose, wriggling in a way that thoroughly approves of his roaming hand. "Seems that way," she notes, stifling a yawn and stretching. She rolls over onto her back, staying close, so she can look at him. Her fingertips trace the lines of his features, from forehead to chin and ear to ear, tenderly committing them to the memory of touch.
"Mmm," Gedeon hums softly, his hand gently kneading the muscles of her lower back as he blinks up at her, content to be the object of her study. "We should fight more often, if this is how we get to make up."
Rose laughs, twining her arms around him and kissing the bridge of his nose, then burying her face in his hair. "Let's not and say we did," she whispers, sighing. "The fucking was — surely there's a way we can have it that good without two days of complete misery?" Because, y'know… it was awesome.
"I don't know, maybe I can come up with something," Gedeon muses, wrinkling his nose as it's kissed. "But let's keep 'two days of misery' in the back of our thoughts, just in case." He brushes his fingertips down Rose's cheek. "Jacsen asked me to swear fealty to Lord Jerold," he murmurs.
She leans her cheek into his touch, lidding her eyes — then blinking, brows drawing down. "Why would he do that?" she asks, looking baffled. "Surely he knows you're Lord Anton's man. What he should hope for is that Oldstones becomes a vassal of the Roost. It would be the same difference, wouldn't it?"
"Well, we were both fairly drunk at the point of the discussion, or I was, at least. But, I think he wanted me to stop being Lord Anton's man and start being Lord Jerold's. A sign of faith and apology for keeping my father's secret for so long," Gedeon replies. "I suppose he has a point, but… I am not sure it's truly the best course to take. Though I worry taking another might mean losing Jacsen's support in the matter of Stonebridge."
Still frowning, Rose looks rather piqued by the development. "That's seven hells of a sign to ask for," she says, her disapproval obvious. "How could Jack even think to ask you such a thing? Oaths to a lord aren't just something you… swap around as politically convenient. If Jack were to — how could he not support you? Supporting you is right! Jack should be courting Lord Anton's favor if he wants your loyalty, not trying to steal you out from under him. I'm shocked."
"It's quite a thing to ask them to back my claims, too," Gedeon murmurs, "True or not, they have to be proven so, for that to make any matter. And as things stand… I wish they would court Oldstones instead of making this mess with Anneke Steward. Ser Rygar Nayland has already presented a perfectly reasonable offer and backed it with a few gifts as well as the subtle reminder that Oldstones is very close to a border of their lands. The Terricks barely seem to believe Lord Valentin is himself, let alone shown any interest in Oldstones or offered any help defending it, were Lord Valentin to pledge himself to the Terricks and incite the Naylands' anger. It puts Lord Anton in an unenviable position."
"Well, I wouldn't blame Lord Anton if he told the Terricks to sod the hells off, considering," Rose sighs, a line of worry forming between her brows. "This is awful. We have to do something. They can't… the Terricks can't just let my family nibble away at all the surrounding lands like this. There'll be nothing left. The Roost will fall by sheer weight of land and numbers."
"The Terricks do seem to be gifted at losing allies as of late," Gedeon agrees with a faint frown. "I could give them back Stonebridge, but that's hardly a sure thing, just now. Maybe, if you had a word with Jacsen, you might convince him to speak to his father and brother about the matter. Lord Valentin is still very taken with the Lady Lucienne. I imagine he'd prefer not to lose that connection, if possible."
Rose blinks, then laughs and kisses him. "Sorry, I was just shocked for a moment that someone was telling me to do precisely that I had in mind and not telling me I'm a child and an imbecile and to keep out of it." She kisses him again, settling in on her side so she can give him her full attention. "Right, then. Tell me about Oldstones. What can they offer, other than simply not being another Nayland conquest. Rumor is it's… a little rustic? If half of what I've heard is true, it's not going to be the kind of place Lucienne will want to go without a very compelling reason."
"You are neither a child nor an imbecile, Rose," Gedeon replies, rolling on his side and resting his cheek on his palm. "Oldstones is rustic. It was a ruins in disrepair and five years of attention have begun to rebuild the walls and started to see trades begin to grow again, but we have no Four Towers to offer. We haven't the money or the men to build faster than we have, and in that respect the support and oversight of a more powerful Lord would be much desired. There is a hall, if one wants to graciously call it that, and the lands are full of good hunting. There's tanning and furs to sell, but in no great numbers, yet. The value of Oldstones is in its potential, what it will become. A place of trade and tanning. A defensible fortress."
"Well, I know that," says Rose, smirking wryly. "And apparently you know that — for which I adore you — but not everyone does." She listens to the description of Oldstones, breathing a sigh. "I think I could learn to love that potential — but I'm a swamp-bred girl. The Terricks…" she sighs. "I love them. They're the family of my heart. But they're bloody snobs." She chews her bottom lip softly. "And I fear it will cost them very dearly. I don't want that." She nods. "I'll talk to Jack. Gods only know why he might listen to me, but… maybe he, like you, has better respect for my opinion than most people."
"I think he must. He's keeping your secret. He came to your ceremony and asked a question worthy of any fine mind choosing to pledge themselves to The Mother. He would not take such care unless he saw your value. He may listen." Gedeon leans over to press a soft kiss to her lips. "There is great potential there, and if Lucienne would not have every comfort of home, she would have greater freedom and a chance to truly shape a holding. Perhaps those things might hold some value for her. They do for me. I'm needed at Oldstones more than I'll ever be needed at The Roost, save as their vassal and the Lord of Stonebridge. I wish Jacsen had not asked this of me."
Rose nods, looking sad. "I wish he hadn't, too. It… makes me think a little less of him, to be honest. But…" She sighs again. "We all say things unthinking. And you were drinking together and — I'm sure he was thinking more how he'd like to have his childhood friend back in the fold than committed to Oldstones, a place and enterprise he's less than certain of." She shrugs. "I'll talk to him. And we'll see. But you should remain with Lord Anton, Gedeon," she says, combing tender fingers through his hair. "Holding true to such loyalties is what honor's all about, isn't it? Don't let politics sway what you know to be right."
"And if it's to be my honor or my father's wishes?" Gedeon asks, his smile a little wry, "which does the better man choose?" He tilts his head into her touch, closing his eyes for a moment. "It's still very early. Let's talk of sweeter things." Or, his slow smile suggests, not talk at all.
"The Seven first, family second, liege third," Rose says softly, gently kissing his lips. "Lord Anton will understand that. Besides which, it will be considerably more advantageous to him to have his friend and comrade in the seat of Stonebridge than simply a knight in his service." She answers that slow smile with one of her own, lowering her lashes and drawing a leg up along his side. "There are so many sweet things to talk about," she murmurs, nuzzling his jaw. "Where to begin?"