|Words Left Unsaid|
|Summary:||Anais sneaks to the Nayland camp to see Riordan off. No, not like that!|
|Related Logs:||Seagard dance. Takes place immediately prior to Conversations with a Frog.|
|Riordan's Tent — Nayland Camp — Seagard|
|A tent, yo.|
|June 25, 289|
It's the small hours of the morning, the wee hours of the night, hours before sunrise, hours past even when those staying up late have gone to bed. Even servants sleep at this hour, but not Anais. With a quiet excuse that nerves and a tender stomach were keeping her awake, she donned a plain, dark cloak and crept out of the Terrick camp for some fresh air, only to slip through the shadows of tents to the Nayland camp. Once there, she's careful to avoid the people moving through the camp, trying to look as though she has business there. She lingers at the back of Riordan's tent, listening to make sure there's no one inside, before she pulls back a corner, calling in softly. "Riordan?"
Riordan, for now, is all alone. He needed a moment to himself. He'll be back among the activity soon enough, and soon after that be leaving for Stonebridge, but for right now… he needs to ready himself. Be alone with his thoughts. The startlement on his features, at that voice, might actually indicate that some of those thoughts may well have revolved around her. "Anais," he whispers. He is on his feet in an instant, tying the front flap of his tent closed, and then moving towards the back once more, lifting it up to help her through. And then he is pulling her roughly into his arms, holding her against him. "I couldn't send for you, I thought…" he murmurs into her hair, but then simply stops talking, and just holds her.
Anais waits until the front flap is closed before she slips inside, her hood up even as she presses her cheek to his chest. "I wasn't sure I'd be able to make it," she murmurs, keeping her voice low. "I knew you'd have to leave soon." She falls silent, just holding him for a long moment before she draws back just enough to look up at him. "I don't have much time. I just wanted- Be careful, all right?" she whispers, reaching up to cup a hand to his cheek. "Wear your armor, make sure Hugh has it on properly. Don't be a hero. Don't give them a chance to stab you in the back. If it's war, be vicious. Dead men can't hurt you."
Riordan leans his face into her touch, gazing in to her eyes. A smile comes to his lips, as he breaths, "You are the fiercest woman I know, Annie," he tells her softly. The first time he has used the pet name. "Seven, but I think I might love you," he then breaths. Another first, for them, said with a smile that is now a strange mixture of softness, and wryness.
"I certainly hope so, with what we're risking," Anais murmurs, lips twisting in a faint, rueful smile of her own. She reaches up with her other hand as well, drawing him down to press a kiss to his brow, the bridge of his nose, each cheek, and finally his lips, letting the last linger in benediction. "I mean it, though. Stonebridge isn't worth your life. I'd burn the whole town if it would stop this stupid feud, but someone would only rebuild. Stay safe. Let the Warrior guide your arm, and the Stranger ride in your shadow."
Riordan returns that kiss, drawing it out as long as he can. Savoring her taste. And when it ends, though regret lingers in his eyes that it did, he can't help but smile once more, at her half-admonishion, half-prayer. "My family is worth my life, though, Annie," he tells her quietly. "If all goes well, there won't be any fighting, though." He seems about to say more, but then falls silent. Best not to ruin what small time they have together right now. So, instead, after a moment, he says, "Whatever happens, I've told Rutger that Stonebridge is his, after this. I'm done with it. And whatever might be left of my good name after it is said and done, will be yours. I will go to my father, and I will convince him." He is not letting this get in the way of their plans, if he has any say in the matter. "Will you still have me, even if the rest of the Riverlands uses my name as a curse?" he asks, after a moment, oddly hesitent. For now, his arms are still around her, not willing to let Anais go just yet.
"The Riverlands can go to hell," Anais murmurs fiercely, tipping her chin up to claim another kiss. She's more than happy to let it linger, hand slipping to his nape to draw herself closer and press the length of her body against him. She only surrenders his lips when it seems the heat that grows between them might burn, and even then still with a soft sound of dismay, her breath hot and fast against his skin as she presses her cheek to his. There are no words for a moment, only a desperate attempt to regain control.
Though his pleasure at hearing those words is so obviously immense, such is overshadowed by the kiss, the closeness. Riordan conforms his body against Anais', pressing her to him tightly. It doesn't take long for that heat to boil up between them, and he seems very, very reluctant to even put a single inch between them. Still, he doesn't press for another kiss, just yet, instead contenting himself to run his fingers through Annie's hair, and drink in the warmth of her cheek against hers. Like her, he is not about to break the silence just yet.
Yet there are people moving outside the tent, and every minute presses closer to dawn. Quiet, Anais buries her face against the curve of his neck, before she slowly, reluctantly, starts to draw back. She reaches into a pocket of her cloak, drawing out a small, cool piece of stone carved in the shape of a frog to press it into his hand. "Here," she says softly, summoning up a faint smile. "Take care of him, and bring him back to me when this is over."
Riordan's eyes dance in the candlelight as his hand closes around the cold stone frog. He doesn't make any promises, but the smile he gives Anais his heartfelt, and expressing all he feels better then words ever could. Before she can leave, however, he murmurs, "Wait." He reaches for her hand, and pulls her back towards him. He searches her eyes, seeming to want to say something, or perhaps do something… or maybe he simply wants to savour the sight of her for one last moment. Finally, he breaks the silence saying, "I do love you, Anais." There are still other considerations for them both, before they can say it openly and clearly and without anything else, and they both know it. If it ever even comes to that. But for now, in the dark of night, in this tent, it needs to be said, against the uncertainty of tomorrow. "If I had something to give to you to prove it, to have you remember it, that would not risk you… anything. Ask for anything, and it's yours."
Anais shakes her head, wrapping her hands around his where it holds the frog and placing a kiss on the back of his hand. "The only thing I want is your safety. Come home safe. If you don't…" Her hands tighten around his as she catches her lower lip between her teeth. "If you don't I'll remember this only as a dream. I won't want anything more concrete than that." Reluctantly, she releases his hand, reaching back to pull her hood up once more to shadow her features.
Riordan never removes his eyes from her, and after a moment, he simply nods. He seems to be understanding of her words… even of the fact that she doesn't return his. "Dream of me well," he murmurs, his boyish, lopsided smile finding purchase on his lips despite everything else. Drawing the last strength he has in him right now to ease the tension with that gesture, and give them both a fond memory to hold on to for the next while. And he'll watch her go, because it is all he can do now not to try and draw her back to him.
There are words it would be too easy to say, with the specter of war looming over them. And saying them now, she would ever wonder if she meant them. And so Anais takes another step back, though her fingers twitch against the fabric of her cloak, drawn to him. "Every night," she murmurs as she backs toward the back wall of the tent. "Come back safe, Riordan." There's a twitch of a smile from the shadowed depths of her hood as she reaches the fabric wall. "Danny." And with those words, she slips back into the darkness, just one more shadow.