|Till Your Last Breath|
|Summary:||Come what may. Gedeon and Danae's first and last night together.|
|Related Logs:||A Lady of Standards|
|Tordane Pavilion — Stonebridge|
|A tent with a cot.|
|April 28, 289|
The ceremony, or such as it was, has drawn to a quiet close with their friends, benefactors and witnesses withdrawing into the black of night silently as shadows. Their silent wedding leaves little room for the loud customs and the more dramatic gestures that traditionally accompany such an event. The new bride is quiet as well, pale eyes downcast as she surveys the tent through a curtain of pale lashes; uncertain as a girl at her first blush. Danae's cloak has been long since shed for the ceremony and though lacking in finery, she wears sprigs of white blooms in her fair hair.
Gedeon has not much finery, but he's put on his least-worn clothes, washed and shaved and generally made himself presentable. Now that the ceremony is concluded and they are alone, he looks over at his new bride, seeming, for a moment, as much at a loss as she. "Glass of wine?" he suggests with a lift of his pale brows.
Fidgeting slightly with a tendril of hair that has escaped its bounds, Danae looks up at Gedeon with sea blue eyes from beneath that fringe of lash. Exhaling a soft breath, she attempts a smile and says, "Yes. That would be…yes."
Gedeon nods, fetching up a pair of simple goblets and filling each. He takes a small sip as he offers the other glass to Danae. "I was half afraid you'd come to your senses between morning and evening. Not that I could have blamed you."
Danae accepts the goblet, taking a fortifying sip before she lets out a soft laugh. "I was half-wishing and wondered that I might, Ser. That some aspects of reason would prevail, but —" She lifts her shoulders in a small shrug, looking down into her glass with a crooked smile. "My senses seem to have remained at a loss."
"I'm glad," Gedeon confesses softly. "You look beautiful, you know. I'm sorry this isn't the wedding you deserve."
"You don't have to say that?" Danae chides, tucking a lock of blonde hair back behind her ear with a half smile. She takes another sip of her wine and swallows thickly. "I know this is likely not what you would have wished for either."
"I should have liked to be wed openly and properly," Gedeon agrees, watching Danae's fingers and lifting his own as the golden curl works free once more. "And why shouldn't I call my bride beautiful when she is?" Delicately, his fingers tuck the curl of hair behind her ear again.
At the touch of his fingers against her skin, brushing against her ear, Danae flushes warmly with pink spreading over her skin. "A poor excuse for a bride that she is," she teases softly, trying to collect her composure, "Your bride does appreciate the compliment…husband." The word is new, untested on her lips.
It's a word Gedeon likes, judging from the way his smile warms and softens. "A poor wedding, yes," he murmurs, "but never a poor bride." His fingertips linger against her skin, brushing down that flush-pink cheek before they retreat entirely. "Danae," he says, testing out her name without any of the titles that ought to surround them. "My wife."
A smile touches Danae's mouth in mimicked response to his own, observing the shift in expression almost with caution. Husband. The word is repeated silently as if she is trying to let the shape of the words of the concept settle. She bows her head a little at the mention of her name, affirming. "Gedeon," she murmurs in response. That flush that had just cooled returns to her cheeks as he names her with her new title.
He so named laughs. "That's a little heady, isn't it?" he murmurs. "Or maybe it's just the wine. I can't tell."
"Just a touch," Danae agrees with a quirk of her mouth, flush holding on as she takes another sip of the wine. "Are you trying to ply me with wicked wine, Ser? I would have thought that might have come before the proposal, you do not need it now. My senses are well and truly lost."
"Perhaps I just want you to feel as dizzy as I do," Gedeon suggests, He sets his own wine cup down and, waiting until Danae has finished sipping from hers, leans in, to claim from his bride, a soft, wine-sweet kiss.
Danae lowers her glass, shaking her head slightly as she smiles and says, "I cannot imagine that—" Any further words are interrupted by Gedeon's claim; her lips press against his, brushing hesitantly with an unsure motion. Her breath catching in a short hitch.
He ends the kiss gently, leaning back to meet Danae's blue gaze with his own and to study what he might, there. Gedeon's hand settles against her cheek, fingertips settling against the gold of her hair.
Blue meets blue and blonde lashes flutter uneasily; Danae exhaling the breath that was caught in the press of his kiss. For all her ordinary poise, her gaze is uncommonly candid with a medley of unease, rising from the butterflies in the pit of her stomach, and warring emotions that sharpen and soften in turn. Biting her lower lip, she attempts a small smile and smooths a hand across his forearm.
Gedeon returns that small smile, asking softly, as his thumb strokes across her cheek, "Am I frightening you?"
"No," Danae breathes, the rumble of a uncertain laugh causing the word to crack a little. "I am…uncertain what to do."
"Whatever you wish to do," Gedeon suggests. "Touch, if you like, or kiss me back or simply… let yourself be kissed."
For a long moment, Danae does nothing but continue to hold Gedeon's gaze and while that unease dims, it does not dissipate entirely. She takes a small step forward, setting aside her goblet in the process, and places her hands against his shoulders. The small lady rises up on her toes, their difference in dramatic height enough that she can just graze a kiss above the line of his clean shaven jaw. "I don't think I can on my own," she admits, settling back onto the flats of her feet with a crooked smile.
There is a soft, warm laugh for that attempted kiss, and Gedeon obligingly ducks his head down. "Then let me help you."
Danae places a light peck against her obliging husband's lips, flushing furiously as she does. There.
Gedeon's soft smile grows for that little peck, and he leans in to offer, in return, a kiss that's firmer and with a bit more fire behind it. He presses his mouth to hers, breathing in softly and letting the tip of his tongue tease across her bottom lip.
This kiss, fire banking even the lukewarm embers of inexperience, Danae does better to return. Her lips brush against his, fingers curling against the shoulders of his doublet as she leans into the touch. Exhaling softly, she catches his upper lip in a butterfly light peck as his tongue skates across her lower lip.
Gedeon hums his approval for his new wife's daring, and for a little time, these soft, teasing, eager kisses are all he offers. There's no push for more, not while her response, if bold by her measure, is yet so tentative by his.
Over that little time, Gedeon can feel some of the stress drifting out of Danae's small form, the tight curl of her fingers becoming looser as she smooths them along the broad lines of his shoulders. His kisses are returned with slowly banked pleasure, intuition and practice slowly guiding them towards a greater intimacy. Tongue and and teeth, noses and cheek, all meeting as they learn the angles and edges of one another's features.
Gently he draws her closer and, as Danae begins to relax, begins to respond, he tips his chin so that he might have his mouth to kiss softly across her jaw and down her throat. his arms are hers to explore as she might wish. All of him, really, there, steady, waiting to become familiar to her fingertips.
A soft gasp shudders up from her breast as Ged's lips drift from her mouth to trail along her jaw, lashes fluttering against the skin of her cheeks. The high collar of her gown causes an obstruction to the kisses meant to be placed, held with a button at its front. Danae closes her eyes fully, dragging a hand that rests along his shoulder up and along the arc of his throat.
Gedeon tilts his chin, offering Danae's fingers greater access, even as his mouth brushes up against cool lace instead of warm skin. He's encouraged enough that he dares undo that single button, nudging the cloth aside so that he can know the play of muscle and taste of skin across her throat.
The muscles of Danae's throat skip under the damp presses of his mouth, physically recording her every twitch and every gasp. Any slight stiffening that marked the bold slip of a button is quickly torn away by a soft breath at the sensation. Her hand creeps up along his neck, smoothing along the underside of Gedeon's jaw before creeping into his hair.
Gedeon closes his eyes for a moment, simply nuzzling against Danae's throat and enjoying that feeling of soft fingers against his scalp. His own hands settle at her hips, resting there until his mouth finds hers again. Then they glide higher, to tease along the sides of her ribs.
Lips lock, soft to begin but growing bolder as Danae leans into the touch. There is a moment of uncertainty as Gedeon's hands slide along her ribs — unsure what to do with her own, she half-way breaks the kiss. Then struck by inspiration, she places one against his cheek and holds it as her own was head, thumb brushing against the angle of the bone.
"That's good," Gedeon whispers against Danae's mouth, "That's very good." His fingers spread wide, palms squeezing against her sides as he lets his kisses grow bolder, yet, his tongue daring to slip past lips and teeth to taste the wine on her breath.
The fingers along his skin cast a line along and over his cheek bone, brushing at Gedeon's ear with their tips. Her opposite lingers in familiar locations, in his hair, at his neck, slipping down to his shoulder. A sound that is somewhere between a squeak and a murmur escapes Danae's throat at her new husband's daring, the flavor of wine still sharp in her mouth. Her own tongue picking up that from his own at a tentative meeting of tongues.
There's another soft, low sound from Gedeon's throat as Danae proves herself brave enough to explore, and he reins his urges in more tightly so that he can teach her the way of stroking tongues together, of learning the heat and shape of each other's mouths without causing too much alarm.
However inexperienced, Danae proves a capable enough student and unflinchingly delves into Gedeon's slow instruction. Tender to technique. No one can kiss forever, though, and finally she has to pull away. Breath hot against his skin, she takes a gasping swallow of air and pulls back slightly to look at him properly. Delicate as one might stroke a petal, she draws her fingers along his face, tracing its geometry with a keen gaze.
He's breathless when the kiss ends, his mouth a little swollen and his eyes, so often a pale, hazy blue, have gone dark as storm clouds. He holds still and relaxed for her inspection, his own finger now and again smoothing over her hair or across her cheeks.
Her fingers press a delicate heat against his skin, light as the brush of a feather, but a thorough one. They mark the shape of Gedeon's features as keenly as Danae's sea struck gaze seeks to each the look of them into her mind, thorough as an architect who seeks to map every element of a structure. It begins at his cheeks and ends at his lips, a single finger placed against their bow like marking a sentence with a period. Finally, she withdraws her touch, mouth curving into a small, genuine smile.
Gedeon laughs softly for that smile, the corners of his eyes crinkling in bemusement. "Have you unraveled me, my lady wife?" he queries, "or should you wish to see more?"
"No, husband," Danae replies softly, shaking her head to the detriment of the flowers that still cling to her hair. Several fall, cast from her shoulders and onto the floor. "I wish to remake you with my brush, should memory fail. I cannot catch it all with a glimpse."
He collects one of her hands, lifting and turning it so he might press a kiss to the pulse point below her wrist. "Come," he murmurs softly, stepping backwards and leading her towards the bed. "Let us make new memories that won't fade so easily."
So led, Danae follows his lead in this as in the rest of their dance this evening. Her skirts whisper against the floor of the tent. She looks towards the bed with a touch of renewed shyness, angling her chin downward as she nods.
When they reach the bed, only a few steps away in a tent, he offers Danae another soft smile. Then his fingers lift to his own buttons and laces and he slides easily out of his shirt, setting it aside. His torso and arms are all covered in scars, some still healing pink, others faded into the silvery white of an injury long-repaired. There are various bruises as well, one blossoming across his chest, a couple on his arms. And across his belly, still puckered and pink, the thick scar from the infected wound that came close to claiming his life.
If Gedeon will let her, she will help him ease the cloth away from his skin. Danae does not gasp at the sight of his scars, familiar with their presence if less intimately. Blue eyes dance upward to catch his, seeking permission before she reaches out to touch his puckered skin. Her movements more that of a healers than a brides, assessing and cataloging the many many marks that marr the man. "Gods, so many," she murmurs, gently prodding at some of the more recent bruises. "You are very clumsy, husband," she informs him dryly, palm balanced at the most recent blossom on his chest. "I would greatly appreciate if you could avoid this habit in the future."
"Six years of tripping over swords and axes," Gedeon agrees, and with a nod he grants her permission to touch his skin as she wishes. "I cannot promise no more, but I deeply hope it can be 'far less', now." He lets his fingers play with the pins in her hair as she studies the marks on his flesh.
"Lads and Lords never learn to put away their things," Danae chides, sliding her hands along the wealth of scars that score his figure. Chest to shoulders, arms to stomach, each in turn and lingering upon the one she is most familiar with last. The pins in her hair give way easily if he chooses to pick at them, blonde locks eagerly slipping free and the remaining petals scattering against the floor.
As the pins are slid away and her golden hair spills down, Gedeon sighs softly for the sight, stroking his fingers through those summer-sun curls. Gaze holding hers, his hands move to the front of her dress, to gently begin opening the row of buttons that keeps her gown closed. "We're a messy lot," he agrees gently. "Good thing we've ladies and girls to keep us in line."
Lifting a hand, Danae brushes his sort blonde locks out of his eyes and back from his forehead with an almost tender touch. Her gaze flits downwards to the buttons on her dress then dances back to Gedeon with a gentle half-smile. The pearly buttons give way under his fingers, a mere hook and eye to be slid free and slowly revealing a creamy line of skin that is less freckled than that which often sees the sun. "It is. Else everyone should be tripping on swords more often," she notes.
"That would never do. Stairs would be deathly threats. A stubbed toe could mean an amputation. All of Westeros would soon crumble." Gedeon's gaze lowers to watch his fingers, or, more properly, watch what they reveal. "Beautiful," he whispers, soft and reverent, as he eases the cloth from her shoulders.
"The Maesters and the Septons would work day and night, then leave their own tools out causing more strife. It would be an unseemly disaster." The petite Westerling quiets as Gedeon's gaze drops to her skin, cheeks flushing with heat as she remains the full focus of his attention. Danae shifts as he seeks to draw the fabric from her shoulders, lifting a hand to slide her golden hair out from being caught up with the tug of the gown. It still leaves her dressed in a number of layers, shifts and stays and delicate underskirts, more lovely than her gown had been — easy to hide from note beneath her clothes. She drops her eyes at his reverent observation, colour spreading over the curve of her breast as she flushes.
"Are you not used to being complimented?" Gedeaon asks, his fingers tucking under Danae's lowered chin to lift her head back up, "That seems a terrible shame."
"Never so much as until when I came here," Danae pauses, lifting hey eyes shyly and licking her lips, "I find that it makes me feel graceless." Her soft words are artless, honest.
"Not pleased?" Gedeon asks, stroking a hand down Danae's bare arm, soft and unmarked and smooth. "I thought that was most of the point of them. That the other might know your pleasure and feel some in return."
"My cousin was the pretty one, those compliments tended to be coaxed in her direction," Danae notes with a slight quirk of her lips. Her words are fond, no jealousy in them. The skin of her arm holds varied degrees of freckles, exploding into peppered starbursts in such places as have seen light. Placing a hand against his chest, palm to heart, she offers him a low, warm smile and offers, "Then…would it please you to know, my husband, that you are most striking man with one of the more excellent wits I have encountered?"
"I hardly see how that could be possible," Gedeon murmurs of Danae's cousin being the pretty one. His thumb rubs over one of those clusters of freckles, smiling softly at the endearing 'imperfection'. For her words, he curls his hand over hers, the skin of his chest warm against her palm, his heartbeat drumming against her lifeline. "'Striking' is definitely the word," he agrees ruefully, "but thank you, sweet wife. Vain peacock that I am, I'd like to know that I please you. I should like, very much, to be able to make you happy."
It has taken many proud hours in the sun to draw them up from her skin. "I think the word might be 'striken' or 'stuck' in another circumstance, husband…but not this night," Danae teases softly, leaning in a hair's breath with a slip of a laugh on her tongue and in her eyes. It lasts for a moment. The hand not caught upon the beat of his heart rises up to cup his cheek, almost solemnly. "Then have a strong arm and sharp sword tomorrow, Gedeon. Our marriage is not ideal, but I would very much like the lifetime to know you, if the gods would grant it. I would have called you friend before and name you husband now, silly man. Neither would have come to call if you did not make me happy."
"I will, my lady," Gedeon whispers, "For Stonebridge, for you and for myself, I will do my utmost to win." The hand at her arm curls around it, and for Daae's words, he tugs her close, unable to resist claiming another kiss, this one less tamed, more hungry. Another way to offer his delight in her when words alone will not suit.
"My thanks," Danae whispers, words half-swallowed by the kiss as Gedeon pulls her close. Lashes slipping closed, she slides her hand over his cheek and wraps an arm around his neck. There is less hesitance in her kiss, returning his hunger with a little of her own so fueled by hope.
His hands slide with more confidence over the shape of her body, yet cloaked in layers more delicate and fine than her outer gown. He kisses her throat, her collar bone and, with a playful flash of a grin, her visible clusters of freckles. Lacy underthings are a bit more of a mystery to Gedeon's fingers, but he manages to locate ties and buttons as he works to unwrap the next layer of modesty.
Danae laughs softly as Gedeon's mouth catches a her sprays of freckles, brushing her thumb over his ear. Her hands soon slip from his skin to guide his clumsy fingers through the loops and intricacies of a lady's small clothes, ties slipping and lacy unwrapping at a quicker pace with her aide. Together they shed their public skins, hands and mouths darting and brushing.
Cloth falls away, whispers against the floor, until the both of them stand in no more than the skins with which they began. Gedeon has a few more thin scars on his upper legs and there's another spattering of bruises that cause him no outward distress. He's far more interested in Danae, now that he can see all of her and look his fill. Which he does, as she did, with eyes and hands, soft touches meant to learn the shape and cut of her as much as to learn what caresses might cause her breath to catch. Her eyes to close. And then, with another of those quick, mischief smiles, he scoops the slight lady up in his arms, to settle her on the cot that will serve as their wedding bed.
Obligingly and artlessly, those secrets of the skin are given up to Gedeon's hands with soft sighs and flickering lashes. A little attempt is made to return the favor, marking some of his scars with kisses instead of blades as Danae grows bolder beneath his hands. The sudden sweep into his arms leads her voice a small squeak. An almost laughing, "Gedeon," quick to follow at its heels for the childish move. There is nothing childish about their marriage bed, bare body splayed against the sheets, blonde hair caught around her head like a halo and candlelight flickering on her skin. Licking her lips, another shy smile graces her lips.
That smile is returned and Gedeon settles beside Danae, long and lean body stretched out along hers. "Danae," he murmurs for her squeak-scold-laugh of his name. He encourages her tentative explorations, her kisses and touches of his skin. And, of course, he returns them, more confident than she and more experienced. He licks and nibbles the places his fingers have brushed, aiming to guide her to a point where he might settle himself over her and between her legs without causing anxiety or fear. When his body claims his bride's for the first time, he means to offer only delight.
Some time after, Gedeon lies on his back, still breathing deeply, his arms curled around Danae to keep her close. Fingertips card through her long, golden hair, unable to resist the soft texture sliding over his rougher skin.
Danae's head is laid against his chest in the slow cool of the aftermath, lashes fluttering against skin while her breath shudders, an hand lightly splayed at his waist. He can feel the hammer of her heart, just beginning to cease its rapid dance in her breast, pressed so close as they are. She hums a soft, hazy note of pleasure at the slip of his fingers through her hair.
He hums faintly in return, pressing a soft, possessive little kiss to her forehead before he asks, softly, "No regrets?"
"Ask me after the duel tomorrow," Danae murmurs wryly, smile curving into Gedeon's skin.
With a soft laugh, Gedeon nods. "I will," he responds, which is as much of a promise of survival as he dares offer. Lying so, his arm shifting a little as he plays with her hair, one more scar is visible on the underside of his upper left arm: a strange swirl that looks like some sort of well-healed brand.
"Mhm." Pale eyes watch the play of muscle under taught skin, fingers picking up the vibrations as they lay across it like the thrum of sound from an instrument. That curious scar catches her eye and Danae's fingers move to chase it, to examine it. "What's this?"
Gedeon lifts his head a little to peer at the spot Danae touches. "Oh, that," he murmurs, head thumping back against the pillow. "A pledge made between dear friends, shortly before I left Braavos."
"Uncommon a friend to ask you to swear a pledge with the mark of a brand," Danae says quietly, without judgement. Her thumb brushes the edge of the mark before she lays it back against his skin.
"We were uncommon friends," Gedeon agrees with a wry smile. "Like blood brothers do, but something more unique, more us than that. So…" he shrugs, offering Danae another soft kiss. "It's well-healed, now."
"Brothers in fire more than blood, mhm? That is a curious oath to take," Danae whispers softly, leaning her head againts his chest. She lets silence settle between them for a spell. Then asks, "Thinking on oaths, husband. What would you see come to Stonebridge, should I be able to claim her in the event that you cannot." She will not name his death in their marriage bed, not tonight.
"Fire suited us better," Gedeon agrees with a soft, sad chuckle. "I would see her safe and prosperous," Gedeon replies for Stonebridge. "My father wished Stonebridge allied to the Terricks, and I will swear that oath if I win," and so, if he lives, "If it is possible for you to do the same, good. If you think Stonebridge will not survive it for some reason, seek another path."
Catching the sadness in his tone, Danae soothes his skin with a lazy brush of her fingers. "I watched you state it to writ, if you recall…and good. While I do not wish to turn you into an oathbreaker, the Terricks may not be the greatest benefactor for the town. If if would please you, I shall try to see that it stands — but I like that you would not begrudge me turning her to stronger ties."
"Preferably not the Naylands, not after all this," Gedeon murmurs. "You were there, weren't you. You've been present at so many strange points since I came back to the Riverlands, it makes a certain sense that I should now find you my wife."
"Husband, the Naylands are the furthest from my mind in all of this," Danae replies quietly, a bow's taut edge in her voice indicating is more that she will not speak. A coil of tension slips from her back as she exhales a warm breath across his skin. "I should like to see your half-sister seen to if it is in my power, given a choice. I know that there was a love of sorts that she felt for her husband, but she was kind to me. I cannot begrudge a woman her marriage." She smoothes her fingers over the length of his abdomen and chuckles. "We do seem to find ourselves in curious times, do we not?"
Gedeon's quiet a moment, lifting his head again to peer over at his new wife. "That sounded more personal than political. Have the Naylands slighted you in some way?" For the rest there is a small nod. "I wish no ill on Isolde or her child. If the Naylands will not claim her for Ryker's child's sake, yes. Care for her as you may."
"In no way that is cause for you to trouble your mind this night," Danae offers lowly, pressing her face against his skin. "Faith was once held, but…let us not speak of it. They have no place in our marriage bed." She smiles slightly at Gedeon's allowance, shifting slightly so she may meet his gaze with it.
He peers back down at Danae, smiling a little, brows lifted in curiosity. "What?" he asks her of her regard.
"You are kind," she says simply.
"When I can be," Gedeon replies with a laugh. "As are you. And very clever. We will be strong, together. Capable."
Danae smiles at his laughter, fair locks hanging across the bare expanse of her back like a cloak. His words cause it to widen warmly. "Together, we will be. I think we are a find match, Gedeon Tordane."
"Better than fine," Gedeon replies, stroking his fingers along her side. "An excellent match… Danae Tordane."