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Marcello and Niabheara, Rose Strand, December 19 2007
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Marcello and Niabheara, Rose Strand, December 19 2007
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 15 2007, 05:58 PM
Niabheara was beginning to feel a bit like a puppy shut into a room to prevent it from wandering off. She had napped, had a bit of cold breakfast for dinner, and explored the room's limited possiblities for distraction. She didn't even have any needlework. The very fact that she was lonesome for needlework was indicative of how desperate she was.
Then, as things grew later and later, with still no sign of Marcello turning up, and especially after the first thunder began, the mood turned. It was not so much that she worried that something had happened to him as she was absolutely certain that it had. By the time he finally appeared Niabheara had stuffed her hair under a cap, pulled on a set of trousers, and was stuffing a pouch in preparation to go out hunting him.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 15 2007, 06:06 PM
And when he did appear, his face was pale and his breath was ragged, his hair falling into his face and the look in his eyes frantic.
He slammed the door behind him, and when he saw her, he shoved the latch into place before he dared stop, dropping back against the door, wheezing as he tried to catch his breath.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 15 2007, 06:13 PM
When the door slammed, Niabheara dropped the pouch and jumped to her feet, belt knife drawn, eyes blazing. Upon seeing who it was, she nearly let the knife drop as well. "Oh gods," she whispered, "I knew it."
She fumbled the knife back into its sheath and went to him, hands out. "Are you all right? What happened? Do we need to . . . " She couldn't think of a satisfactory way of ending that sentence. Turn and flee, stand and fight, nothing would do, not if it was Titania.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 15 2007, 06:18 PM
Marcello shut his eyes, leaning his head against the door, and did nothing but breathe for a moment. "Come here," he said weakly, opening his arms to get, forgetting for a moment that she had no choice. "I mean...if you...sorry. Demon," he managed eloquently.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 15 2007, 06:26 PM
On order, she approached him, with the slight sick chill that came from the command coupled with a moment's irritation at being told, even thought it was clearly a mistake, to do something she might have done anyway. She took his hand and rubbed them between her own, as if he was chilled--and then stopped when he spoke again. She could not have looked more bewildered and horrified had he suddenly slapped her. "No. No."
She would have backed away from him, had he given her the word to do so. As it was, she let go his hands. When she managed to form words, her voice was very small. "What has he done to you?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 15 2007, 06:36 PM
"He...I..." Marcello started, looking at her with a terribly strained expression. "I don't think...nothing. He didn't...I'm not sure," he said finally, reaching up to rub at his eyes. "I want to...he can find us again. I'm sorry," he said to her quietly, shaking his head as he looked at her again. "You don't need to do what I say."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 15 2007, 06:45 PM
"Please!" she snapped at him. It was over in a moment but raising her voice so suddenly shocked some sense into her. "Are you hurt? Why is he back again?." At the same time her lips drew back from her teeth in sick anger: not that the demon had gone back on his word, but that she had ever believed him.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 15 2007, 06:54 PM
Marcello winced when she shouted, and he shook his head, slowly peeling himself away from the door. He made his way to the bed, feeling at it a moment before he sat down. "I'm not hurt," he replied, slowly, as if he had to take stock, then realized he was cut and held up his forearm, which was no long bleeding, but swollen and tender and crusted with blood. "Just here. And anything he did to me was purely playing on my emotions. But I think I understand a little better. I...I think you're safe now."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 15 2007, 07:09 PM
Niabheara blinked at the long cut on his arm and shifted from Countess-mode to Morgana-mode: Morgana, whose immediate response was to set bones and stitch cuts first and ask questions later. She plucked up her abandoned underskirt, dipped the hem in the washing-up water, but hesitated before she tried to dab at him.
"This has nothing to do with my being safe," she said sharply. "It feeds off people. Off dealings and panderings. You're only one more. It's going to on and on. It will sell you to me and me to you and back again as many times as it cares to do so." The girl choked suddenly. It was going to be like Jochy again. It was going to start again. There was no place to run.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 15 2007, 07:19 PM
Marcello held his arm out to her, guiltily. "I thought...I thought he was trying to get me to say something he could use to manipulate you," he said, shutting his eyes as he tried to focus. "I didn't deal...I bound him. So he can't touch you. He can't even appear to you. But then he started...looking at me." He shuddered, putting a hand to his face. "And touching, and...I thought he wasn't going to let me leave."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 15 2007, 07:28 PM
An icy chill raised the down on the back of her neck. Niabheara clenched her jaw, took his offered hand and set about very, very lightly wiping the dried blood away. "That's what he does," she said quietly, tightly. "That's what he is. Don't look at him. Don't e'er look at him."
She had to stop speaking; she was afraid she would be sick. In silence she worked at the last of the blood until there was nothing left for her to do, then finally fell to stroking his hand as if it were a kitten.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 15 2007, 07:37 PM
Marcello reached for her waist with his free hand, pulling her into a weary hug. "I didn't know," he said softly. "I didn't know what he was at first, and then I didn't know what to do. I just knew I couldn't let him touch you, and if...I'm sorry," he said quietly. "I didn't want to upset you; I knew it would upset you to hear. But I couldn't very well lie to you about it."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 15 2007, 07:45 PM
"No, no, it's not . . . you had to tell me, there was no way against it, but there's . . . " She was a very short cry from despair. "There's no way to stop him. Jochy says he forgets if you fall from his regard. I had hoped he'd forgotten. At the very least I hoped he had forgotten you; I didn't know he had any care for you, save for as a way to me."
She cupped both damp hands at the back of his neck, drew him forward and kissed his hair.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 15 2007, 07:57 PM
Marcello pulled Niabheara into both his arms, burying his head against her shirt. "He told me," he said quietly. "He told me he threatened to harm me once. I don't know. I don't know if it's to do with me at all, or to...because he can't hurt you directly. I want to run away, but it's not possible."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 15 2007, 08:12 PM
"It's like as not both reasons," she said. "I know that's not very encouraging. So far as I can tell, the thing has no great plans, no ambitions, no preferences. It works on whims." Her voice was bitter. "It follows whate'er amuses it for the present, then toys with it until the amusement palls."
Niabheara cringed a little at another rattle of thunder, grateful at least that this room had no windows and she didn't have to see the storm as well as hear it.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 15 2007, 08:25 PM
Marcello felt the girl tense, and hugged her more tightly, though he tipped his head up to look at her. "It's going to be all right," he said softly. "At least there's no lightning to see. I..." He shook his head, his shoulders rising in anxiety. "I think I may have provided a little too much amusement. I just--"
And then his demeanor changed,and he swore, loudly and furiously. "Why can't the immortal beings just leave me the hell alone?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 15 2007, 08:40 PM
Niabheara cringed again and immediately lifted her hands off his shoulders, squirming to break away from him. "I don't--stop it! I don't know!"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 15 2007, 08:43 PM
And Marcello started at Niabheara's reaction, letting go of her immediately with a terribly chastened look on his face. "I'm sorry!" he exclaimed, trying to calm himself. "I wasn't-- I'm not yelling at you."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 15 2007, 08:53 PM
"I know you're not shouting at me. I just--" She ripped the cap off her head and dug her fingers against her temples. "I'm not losing anyone else to that thing and I can't make another bargain with it! I have only one thing left to bargain with and I won't do it."
With a quick, short rush, she bridged the distance between them and kissed him. Hard.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 15 2007, 09:12 PM
Marcello stiffened for a moment, startled by both the kiss itself and the suddenness of it, and then kissed her back, passionately and almost violently, his fingers plunging through her hair as he pulled her-- in a completely unusual turn, downward and nearer to him, his other hand moving to the small of her back, fingers clinging to the fabric of her shirt.
"I love you," he murmured, barely parting his lips from her. "I won't let that happen."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 15 2007, 09:34 PM
"You shouldn't have to be the one responsible for that," she murmured viciously against his ear. "It's not your duty." And then she realised that she was actively counteracting everything she told him earlier, and pushed herself away from him. Shaken.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 15 2007, 09:40 PM
"It's not a--" he started to whisper back, and then she left him, sitting breathless and flush, and he looked up at her helplessly, holding his hands out to her. "What's the matter?" he asked. "Did I do something wrong?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 15 2007, 09:53 PM
She shook her head, wide-eyed, and stamped her foot. "No, no, you didn't do anything wrong. I kissed you, remember? I'm scared. Of all the things that could have happened, the one thing, the one damn thing that . . . why did I believe him? I knew what he was. I'm just . . . scared." She jumped a bit at the next hit of thunder. "And this fucking storm isn't helping matters."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 15 2007, 10:03 PM
Marcello offered her his two index fingers, smiling wearily. "I'll plug your ears," he offered. "You'll never have to know." He shifted his feet against the floor uncertainly. "I'm scared, too," he assured her. "I'm terrified. I'm scared he's going to come back. I'm scared I made a mistake he can use to hurt you. I'm scared about the kind of use Titania could put a thing like that to if she thought of it. I'm scared of those women, of that thing, and they're making me scared of myself. But at least we're not scared and alone."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 15 2007, 10:25 PM
"I should hope not e'en Titania would stoop so low as to break Tiend." In all honesty, the thought had never occurred to her, and she shuddered at the prospect. "I'm afraid we're walking into something larger than what we left behind. That the demon's only . . . a signpost on the road." She bit her lip. "We will have to tell Jamilah. She's part of this now." And worse, in Niabheara's opinion, for being completely innocent in the proceedings.
Niabheara held out her hands to him. "I can't tell you not to be afraid. I can't e'en say we should not be afraid. I don't want to be alone in this either. It was why I told you the first time, when all of this began. I couldn't bear being alone in it."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 15 2007, 10:35 PM
"I bound him off Jamilah, too," Marcello said. "But he wouldn't...I could only choose two people; I couldn't bind myself, too."
"It worries me, too, between him and those women, what's coming. I think this has more to do with than just Titania." He took her hands, slipping his fingers through hers and pressing them tightly. "We do need to tell her. I just...I needed to tell you first. Because of that. I never minded, you know," he told her. "Listening. I just didn't know what to make of it all then. Knowing what he is, a lot of things make more sense."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 15 2007, 11:01 PM
"I didn't know how to explain it to you then, what he was." She squeezed the tips of his fingers without meeting his face, then let out a long, shaky sigh. "Then all's done that can be done against him, for now, save for warning off Jamilah. And one piece more."
She had to go back to her abandoned dress to feel through the seam-pocket for the small, hard knot hidden within. She pressed it out and into her palm, then held it toward him: a little green stone mottled red. "He gave it to me," she said, all but spitting it out. "To keep him off me, or to summon him--he was not clear on which. I didn't want to keep it, because nothing of his could be safe. But then he went away, and I thought perhaps he was speaking the truth."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 15 2007, 11:17 PM
Marcello swallowed and took the stone from her, turning it round in his hand. "What is it?" he asked hesitantly, before looking up at her. "Ah. That was a hypothetical question. I-- I'm sorry," he said. "I got back in the habit when you were sick. What-- so...there seemed something wrong with him. At least he seemed to think there was something wrong with him. He said his feet touched the ground? That when I bound him, I did something to him that hadn't happened before."
He looked at the stone for a long moment. "I don't know how to say anything about this without asking a question," he told her, holding it back out.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 15 2007, 11:30 PM
Even being told not to reply, it was hard to swallow back a response. "I don't know anything to say about it, questions or not," she said, looking uneasy. "He came to me last at Cnoch-na-Niall, just before we left for Oireachteigh. He said then that . . . that there was no word for what he was becoming. That he had changed. Only when I saw him he looked . . . glowing. Nothing base about him." Her lip curled in disgust. "Like a cat that had been into the cream."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 15 2007, 11:40 PM
"It feels warm," he told her, halting himself before he asked her if it was warm to her. Instead he patted the cot beside him. "You can sit if you like," he offered, feeling strangely uneasy as he made an effort to revert to no questions, no commands. "He wasn't like that to me. He coughed blood; I almost thought he had the plague. He seemed wild and unfocused, he had trouble piecing sentences together toward the end. I-- when I bound him, he said he didn't want to see you anymore, that that had never happened before."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 15 2007, 11:47 PM
She shook her head in mild contradiction before she sat down beside him. "It's cold to me. Cold as ice." Granted, that could also be because she felt frozen as well. "Ask me what you would ask, Marcello."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 15 2007, 11:58 PM
"I was going to ask if it felt warm to you," he answered. "It feels...nicely warm. Like a hot bath or a warm plate. That's all. It just-- it feels a bit strange right now," he said. "Not the rock. The questions. There were some other things I realized that I don't think he meant to-- I don't think they had very much to do with him."
He hesitated again, considering another question before he decided to forgo the question and simply put an arm around her shoulders.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 12:08 AM
Niabheara curled her arm under his and pressed against his side with her feet drawn beneath her. She barely restrained a roll of the eyes. "In this matter, I will not much object to questions. You need to know these things."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 12:19 AM
"I'm not even certain what to ask," Marcello answered, resting his cheek on the girl's head. "It's not just that; he had me...I don't know if he wanted to figure out what my name was, the real one, like your real one, and I didn't know. I don't know if I have one," he said quietly.
But then, he felt obliged to ask a question, and he pressed his lips together for a moment. "What happened then? When he gave you the stone? I think I know everything...or what you wanted to tell me...up to that moment."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 12:25 AM
Niabheara blinked in sudden surprise and sat up a little straighter. "I don't know. I must have woken then, but the stone was still in my hand." Her expression went quickly from worry to absolute horror. "I don't remember. Not a thing. Not after he put it in my hand."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 12:28 AM
"Shh," Marcello said soothingly. "If you woke up, you woke up. He didn't hurt you." But then he saw her expression, and gritted his teeth. "He didn't, did he?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 12:38 AM
Niabheara snorted lightly in disgust. "Just the usual insinuation. Fairly graphic details of what he would to me should I stick my nose out of line. I suspect he's impotent and gets all his arousal out of watching people squirm."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 12:45 AM
Marcello laughed aloud, and it was a bit nervous, but a real laugh, all the same. "I think he mentioned some of those to me," he answered, looking a bit relieved at her response, and he eyed her fondly. "And--"
He hesitated for a moment before going on, looking a bit regretful. "I half don't want to tell you this, because I personally would rather you not remember to think on it, but you've got a right to know if you didn't know already, if it's true, and God knows if it is true; for all I know, he just said it to me to get me to repeat it to you and do this very thing, but it'll eat at my conscience if I don't. He mentioned Jochy. He said the man sold himself to him to protect you."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 12:53 AM
Niabheara went very still under Marcello's arm, scarcely seeming to even breath. "I don't doubt that would do such a thing," she said stiffly. "I doubt still less that the demon would lie about it in hopes that you would share the word with me. At either hand, there is little that can be done about it."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 01:00 AM
Marcello gave Niabheara's shoulder a squeeze. "I am sorry," he said. "But I couldn't not tell you. I realized something else, though," he said, suddenly, sounding rather happier about it. "Something much better."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 01:02 AM
At the change in tone Niabheara cocked an eyebrow at him. "Oh?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 01:05 AM
He shot her a sidelong look, as if trying to gauge whether changing the subject abruptly had been wise. "I've never recited poetry for you. I've done it for practically everyone else. I've done it for Titania, and Jamilah, and now I've recited poetry for a demon, but never for you, and I think that might be rather ludicrous, considering."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 01:09 AM
Niabheara blinked. It wasn't the last thing she expected to hear, but it was somewhere in the bottommost twenty. "Marcello, I understand you're not feeling well. It's to be expected. He does tend to have that effect. Er."
Sucking in her bottom lip, she gave him a wide-eyed attentive look and folded her hands in her lap, looking like no more or less than a woman who expects to have poetry recited at her.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 01:18 AM
Marcello blinked, and then coughed into his hand. "What?" he asked, looking a little hurt. "I'm not-- I can't do it now! Not on demand! I mean, I could, but I...I could. I just; I was trying to give the conversation a little more levity, and I've been thinking about it, because when I was doing the binding, I realized I didn't have a name, and I recited a po--"
He cut himself off, realizing his cheeks had gone rather pink. "There is no way I'm going to get out of this, is the-- er. No way."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 01:19 AM
Niabheara smiled and shifted to a more comfortable position. "Don't worry," she assured him. "I'm told this happens to a lot of men."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 01:26 AM
"The not having a name or the reciting poetry?" Marcello asked, giving her a pained look.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 01:29 AM
"The poetry." She looked less comfortable on the subject of names. "No one I know has a name," she said, trying to sound reassuring. She patted his knee. "Not one they'll say to anyone. It's not important."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 01:55 AM
Marcello gave her a bit of a doubtful smile at this. "I don't do well when I'm being put on the spot," he informed her in a rather pained tone. "And now I'm going to make a fuss about it and you're not going to let me off the hook and I'm going to-- oh, God," he muttered, rubbing his hand over his brow. "I'll do this. Only don't laugh."
"And I will guarantee that you will never, ever in your life have a man recite poetry like this to you," he said, giving her a pointed look.
He didn't get up, nor did he attempt to make any big show of recitation, so much as he crossed his arms over his chest and licked his lips.
"Are not you moved, when all the sway of earth shakes like a thing unfirm? O Cicero, I have seen tempests, when the scolding winds have rived the knotty oaks, and I have seen the ambitious ocean swell and rage and foam, to be exalted with the threatening clouds: But never till to-night, never till now, did I go through a tempest dropping fire. Either there is a civil strife in heaven, or else the world, too saucy with the gods, incenses them to send destruction."
And he ended, giving her an expectant look. It was suprisingly passable for such a casual recital, mainly because, as he did with more or less almost everything else he said, he sounded completely and entirely sincere about every word.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 12:09 PM
At some point during the recitation, Niabheara had pulled her knees up to her chest and clasped her arms around them, and now sat in rapt if rather stunned attention. She didn't know what she had been expecting, but it hadn't been that.
"It's . . . eerie." She brushed her shins, as if chilled. "There's a threat behind it all, like war-drums. You can hear the beating in it." The girl gave him a long, earnest, if confused look. "Why that, of all things?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 12:57 PM
"It is war-drums," Marcello answered. "That's what it's about. It's about the forces of nature taking up arms because something terribly bad is about to happen among mortals."
He reached a hand to her, softly stroking her back. "It goes on, too."
And he recited the rest of the speech.
"A common slave--you know him well by sight-- held up his left hand, which did flame and burn like twenty torches join'd, and yet his hand, not sensible of fire, remain'd unscorch'd. Besides--I ha' not since put up my sword-- Against the Capitol I met a lion, who glared upon me, and went surly by, without annoying me: and there were drawn upon a heap a hundred ghastly women, transformed with their fear; who swore they saw men all in fire walk up and down the streets. And yesterday the bird of night did sit even at noon-day upon the market-place, hooting and shrieking. When these prodigies do so conjointly meet, let not men say 'These are their reasons; they are natural;' For, I believe, they are portentous things unto the climate that they point upon."
He took a breath. "I wasn't going to declaim you a love poem," he told her. "I could, but not this way. There's so much love poetry in the world that I could start now and never finish and you'd be bored to tears. And that fairly well sums up our own place in the world right now. Or mine; I expect more of this is stranger to me than to you."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 01:05 PM
When he finished reciting, Niabheara smiled weakly. "There. What the storm's begun and the demon continued, you have concluded very neatly. I may ne'er sleep again."
Shivering, she uncoiled herself. "But have the portents come to say these things will happen and cannot be altered, or have they come to warn us in time to change course?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 01:15 PM
"Maybe I don't want you to sleep," Marcello teased. "You've slept so much these last weeks I've missed your company terribly. Especially since Jamilah likes making a thorn of herself and won't play along with our disguises. Now I've got you, I'll not waste a minute of your company."
He shrugged. "Well, what he's saying there, the fellow speaking, he's warning that nature is angry with the way things are going, with the decisions being made. The Greeks would disagree. They'd say we're all on course for whatever doom we've been marked for and nothing we do can change it, no matter how much we fight. I don't believe that, not for a minute. I believe we can always change course. We always have control of our own destinies."
And with that, he pressed a kiss to her temple. "I could have left you. I could have gone on my merry way. You could have succumbed to the demon, given in to Titania. If you let things happen to you, then of course you let others choose your fate, but you're stronger and braver than you even give yourself credit for."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 01:23 PM
Niabheara bent her head to the kiss, smiling a bit and looking slightly embarrassed. She tugged insistently on his shirt. "So what happened next?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 01:40 PM
"In the play?" Marcello asked, smiling at her response and bowing to kiss her hair when she didn't pull away.
"The play's about a man whose friend is...well, his friend is essentially the king. And there is a group of men who want to assassinate the king, only he thinks they're doing it for the wrong reasons, doing it for selfish reasons, and after all, the King is his best friend. Only one of his other friends, the ones who want to kill the king, tricks him into believing that the people of the country are unhappy with the king's rule, and he decides, with a great deal of difficulty, that he has to kill his friend, for the good of the people of the country, and so he betrays his friend and stabs him. And then the one fellow who's remained true to the king gives one of the most gorgeous speeches ever written when he buries him, and the friend finds out about all the ill-dealing that went on behind his back, but he stays firmly on the side of the assassins anyhow. Then they fight a war, and the ghost of the king comes to the friend who killed him and tells him that he's going to die, and the war is terrible and tragic and the man the play's all about commits suicide rather than be captured by his enemies, and then the man who fought him gives another lovely speech about him, too. And then it's over, only the one who gives all the lovely speeches winds up falling in love with a foreign queen and dying for her love. She commits suicide by snake. All rather tragical stuff, but there's a gorgeous speech about her, too."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 01:51 PM
Niabheara looked uncomfortably resigned to this brand of politics, nodding in recognition at all the appropriate points. "Is this one of those plays-that-really-happened or one that someone made up?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 01:58 PM
"A little of both," Marcello answered. "The man who got murdered was really around, and there's histories written about him, but histories get muddled by whoever writes them. There's no way of knowing the truth. The poetry I was reciting comes from a play that was written, oh, god, seventeen hundred years later? It's all fancy but for some of the names and the fact of the murder. Most of it is really about the murderer, who was always shown as a terrible traitor to his friend, and the fellow writing the play thought it would be interesting to try to show that he was a good man put in a bad position, not a wholly bad man. Sort of to remind people that no one is really all good or all bad, except in stories."
He bit his lip then, shifting his weight to rest slightly against her. "Or here. This place is starting to make me wonder about that."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 02:14 PM
Niabheara looked up at him, a little irked. "You mortal men do talk of the faerie-lands as if they were a bit to the right of paradise. The reality involves more mud, I fear." She curled under his arm.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 02:24 PM
"I know this now," Marcello pointed out, pulling her closer. "We don't-- getting here isn't exactly easy. We've only got the word of a few mad storytellers to go on, and they never mention the mud."
He smiled down at her. "It still feels a little to the right of paradise to me sometimes," he told her softly.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 02:30 PM
And Niabheara gave him a baffled, completely adolescent I-cannot-believe-you-just-said-that look before she leaned up to kiss his cheek. "And that is for being bold enough to use such a terrible line," she teased.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 02:37 PM
Marcello grinned, looking rather pleased with himself, and kissed her cheek in return. "And that is for leaving yourself completely vulnerable to such a terrible line. Honestly, present company notwithstanding, Italy is far more like paradise than this place."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 02:46 PM
"You and your Italy." She wrinkled her nose, then leaned back against him. "You'll see this place as it should be seen. One day. And you'll lose your heart to it, I swear it."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 02:49 PM
Marcello grinned, then let out a laugh and squeezed Niabheara's waist. "Are you fishing for the most terrible lines you can get me to use now?" he asked her, mock-chidingly.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 02:54 PM
She gave him a brief, hurt look, then pulled her back up straight. "I have heard every terrible line going," she said loftily. "I should scribe them all down in a book and pass it out to gentlemen to warn them what not to say lest they be laughed out of their ladies' chambers. I could arrange it sequentially, working its way downward from the hair and fetching up at the feet, so that they need but thumb through it to see if it's been done before. Perhaps with a running tally of rarity in a bar to one side, to see how often it's been o'erused. You'll get the first copy, of course, signed and dated."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 02:57 PM
And Marcello returned the hurt look with an equally-hurt one. "And now I'm being challenged to come up with the most ridiculously rare bad lines I can think of, and those are going to be even more terrible, and we're going to both die of the laughing fits. How much of your brilliant book is going to be solely devoted to things I've said?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 03:09 PM
"Not much, actually," Niabheara answered automatically. "The Lord Chamberlain from Anvil Harbour will likely get his own chapter, considering what horrors he can forge with one simple attempt at poetic allusion. He's much worse than you are, or at least more active. To your favour, you rarely attempt anything far too terrible." She grinned back at him. "Don't worry. I'll grant you co-authorship."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 03:16 PM
"Co-authorship?" Marcello asked. "Does that mean I get to commentate on everyone else's terrible lines and what they ought to have said to win the maiden's heart? Not that I'm particularly an expert at that, either, but at least I can use some big words and sound eloquent." He grinned. "Or I can write all the filler for the sections that aren't long enough. Such as, 'my lady, your toenails are so exquisite that I should like to save all their clippings and arrange them in the heavens like unto stars, for they shall be more brilliant than the stars we know?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 03:26 PM
Some amounts of bullshit were so stunning as to render the most inured specimen speechless. "Right, so perhaps you will get your own chapter after all . . . "
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 03:28 PM
Marcello's grin broadened, and he leaned forward to plant a kiss on her nose. "My enduring love for you is as deep and hairless as your perfect navel," he informed her in a grandiose tone.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 03:36 PM
"And my regard for you is as deep as the field of horseshit through which I must wade to lie myself at your feet," she replied prettily. "You are forever a sublime cow-pat in the verdant pasture of my affection."
With a smaller smile, she patted his knee again. "You always do this."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 03:42 PM
"Your hair is the color of the manure I use to grow the flowers of my love," Marcello informed the girl, tugging at a lock of her hair. "Your eyebrows are as soft as the downy bottoms of baby geese; I would pluck them and wear a shirt of it to remind myself of you."
He tilted his head, regarding her questioningly. "Do what?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 16 2007, 03:47 PM
"You're distracting." Her head dipped, eyes that were apparently comparable to the bottoms of goslings sliding off in the other direction. "I suppose to keep with the same theme I should find some more decadent way of putting it, but you are. I've gone from being sick to my stomach to being . . . " The words 'exquisite toenails' drifted irresistably through her mind and she giggled. "I'm not sure that this is right, is all."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 16 2007, 03:59 PM
Marcello smiled, combing his fingers through her hair fondly. "But you can't think properly if you're upset," he pointed out. "I can't either. There's nothing wrong with being cheered; it doesn't mean you haven't put problems behind you. It just..."
And he trailed off, looking at her. "Bad things happening doesn't put the good at bay," he told her. "They come together, not alternatingly. It's easier to manage the bad if we remember the good. And it's easier for me if I see you smiling."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 17 2007, 01:06 AM
"There's not been much call for cheer these past months. Now this. Troubles ne'er line themselves up in a neat row so you can flicked them all down at once, do they? They scatter themselves out, like nine-pins. If you keep doing that to my hair, I will fall asleep. You stand warned. Or sit warned. One of the two." Her eyes began to drift closed--only to pop open again when thunder shivered the walls.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 17 2007, 01:12 AM
"There's always a call for cheer," Marcello insisted. "The worse things get, the more we need it. At the most dire, most dismal, when I standing on death's door, that will be the point when I am at my silliest," he told her, sounding dead serious about it.
He lowered his hand from her hair, hugging her shoulders as the thunder hit and he saw her start. "Do you want to sleep?" he asked. "I can leave you to rest if you need it."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 17 2007, 01:23 AM
"And you'll die laughing, I shouldn't wonder." Her head, which had almost tipped down on his shoulder, suddenly raised again. "Where is Jamilah? She needs to be told. She doesn't e'en know about him." Her voice hardened.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 17 2007, 01:26 AM
"Downstairs," Marcello answered. "She was there when I came in. I stopped long enough to warn her there was trouble but that I had to talk to you first. She-- do you want to tell her?" he asked. "Should I? What should we say? I bound him from her, too. He shouldn't be able to touch her."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 17 2007, 01:32 AM
"Start by congratulating her on once again inadvertently placing herself in the line of fire of one of the ex-countess's interesting enemies, I suppose," Niabheara said flatly. "He won't leave you alone, you know."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 17 2007, 01:38 AM
"Queen sounds much nicer than ex-Countess," Marcello told the girl softly, although it was more a means of prolonging his response to the second remark she made.
He rubbed Niabheara's arm, as if to warm her, his own hair standing on end. "I know," he answered, suddenly shivering. "I was trying to distract myself as much as you. He can't come to you or Jamilah, though. I was hoping that would...if I'm near you, I'll be a bit safer, won't I?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 17 2007, 01:48 AM
"I don't know," she replied. "I would that I could tell you something a bit more reassuring but . . . I don't know. This is what he fattens on: seeing how many times he can make one person sell him another, or put themselves in his way to assure someone else's safety, or live in dread waiting for him to take his price. To him the bargain's better than the blood. In bargaining the demonkind's not so far removed from my own, save that we bargain for the pure joy of it--to prove we're quicker or wittier or more clever than the tallfolk. What's to be gained is no matter to us, so long as we come out the better. But he bargains for pain." Her dark eyes seemed to sink into their hollows. "I could not see you harmed."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 17 2007, 01:54 AM
"I won't live in dread," Marcello said. He watched her, his own expression going tight at the change in hers, and he lowered his head, kissing her just below one of her eyes, as if it would bring the light back to them.
Then he pursed his lips. "Niabheara, if-- I know you can't see me harmed. If you think it's best for me to return your name, so that there's no binding, no way he can force your hand, just say the word."
|Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:52 pm
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Re: Marcello and Niabheara, Rose Strand, December 19 2007
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 17 2007, 02:06 AM
"It's your hand he would force." And again, Niabheara found herself literally unable to think of what Darren would do with such a power if he found out about it. At the same time, it was her name, and the temptation to leap on the offer of having it back again, and safe, welled up automatically. "I can't tell if I really think it would be for the best or if it's only that I so much want it back," she said, voice dropping to nearly a growl. "It isn't that you have it; I trust you. It's just that it isn't mine any longer."
She gave him such a long, frank, desperate look that even she felt slightly humiliated by it. No better than the demon when it came to being caught up by her true name. Not really. No better.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 17 2007, 02:16 AM
Marcello reached for the girl's hands. "I mean that you'd be forced to put yourself in danger to protect me," he said. "I've seen what it does to you when someone tries to hurt me."
He smiled, then, softly. "It was the one reason I was grateful you weren't conscious when I fought Titania. I want to give it back to you," he told her. "I want to be able to ask you questions. I want to know that you tell me the truth because you want me to know the truth and not because you're forced. I want to..."
He shrugged, trailing off, looking a bit sheepish. "But I don't want to just force it back on you, if you want me to keep it. There are times it's useful; there are times it's been a help, but there are too many things neither of us can say or do when we're trapped up like this."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 17 2007, 12:34 PM
"I do want it back." She played with his fingers, absently, and carried on speaking without looking at him. "Not the least reason is that it would likely make things less, er, strained."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 17 2007, 12:38 PM
"I know," he answered, squeezing at his fingers in return. "I don't want to have this power over you. I want us to be on equal ground. You-- If I do this, there's no asking me to make you... do anything, you realize?" he asked,not wanting to specify more closely. "We've got to do everything the normal way."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 17 2007, 02:14 PM
"I know this. We were doing things the normal way before, and it was . . . " She struggled for a polite synonym for 'preferable to tip-toeing around one another'. "It was better. The whole thing was a stupid mistake to begin with; a slip of the tongue. We could start o'er?" she suggested, finally raising her eyes.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 17 2007, 02:23 PM
"It helped for a while," Marcello said. "I'm glad I had it when you were sick. I'm glad I had it when Titania could have hurt you. Now..."
He clasped her hands tightly, pulling them to him. "We can start over. Niabheara ni Dowd, I return your name to you, hopefully in no worse condition than you gave it me. Do I have to--" he asked her. "Is there anything else that needs to be done?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 17 2007, 02:32 PM
"I don't think so," she began--then blinked in surprise. One hand moved to her breastbone, as if she had a frog in her throat. "Quickly: ask me something stupid and irrational."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 17 2007, 02:34 PM
"What's your favorite color?" Marcello asked, watching her questioningly.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 17 2007, 02:35 PM
"Blue, and that's hardly stupid or irrational because I would have told you that anyway but it works because it's really red. Ha!" She gave him a broad grin.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 17 2007, 02:38 PM
"It was the first question that popped into my head," Marcello apologized, then raised an eyebrow at her, his own face beaming. "What's your deepest, darkest, most terrible secret? How do you feel about nose-hair? Shall I give you an order?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 17 2007, 02:51 PM
Niabheara looked practically well to bursting with not-answering. She gave him a fleeting, mischievous scowl. "For pity's sake, I'm scarcely twenty, what manner of dark terrible secrets can I possibly have? Up until now, my life's been nothing much."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 17 2007, 02:57 PM
And Marcello laughed, brightly. "Well, then, my fair, sweet, innocent lady, I shall trust that you would hide no secrets from me, so much as you can trust that I am such an honest man I have never told a lie in all my life. And what do you think of that?" he asked, still snickering, as if they were in the midst of some mischievous plot.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 17 2007, 03:01 PM
Niabheara snickered into her hands. "I'd say you're full of shit."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 17 2007, 03:03 PM
"Oh, come, now! That's an honest answer!" Marcello objected chidingly. "You're not meant to be giving those! I'll have to start asking things you don't want to answer!"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 17 2007, 03:06 PM
"Some dishonesty is beneath e'en me!" she retorted, swatting at him. "Here now, it's worked, that's all that matters, and now you can't trust a word out of me, not e'er again. Surely that's some comfort!"
((THAT'S IT. THIS SCENE CONTINUES UNTIL MARCELLO HITS 2,000 POSTS, COME HELL OR HIGH WATER.))
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 17 2007, 03:10 PM
Marcello let her hand hit, and then reached for it, tugging her forward. "Terribly comforting," he informed her, still grinning. "Now, tell me how completely and utterly wonderful I am," he instructed. "And polish my boots, while you're at it."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 17 2007, 03:14 PM
Niabheara feigned a gasp as he caught her hand, but allowed herself to be pulled, her eyes widening. "Why, my lord Beal-Fierste, what a surprise! I would have ne'er guessed you in this seeming. How clever of you to think of it. But I fear that despite the look of me I am not some gormless serving wench, so best you learn to polish your own fecking boots." She butted her foot into his ankle.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 17 2007, 03:23 PM
Marcello hooked his ankle around her own to catch it, laughing rather uncontrollably by now. He shut his eyes, covering his face with his free hand as he literally shook with laughter. "If you ever call me Beal-Fierste again, I shall kick you and hard."
When he regained his composure, he gave her a more serious look. "Kiss me?" he tried hopefully.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 17 2007, 03:31 PM
"If you e'er act that much like Beal-Fierste again I shall kick you harder and considerably higher up." She swung a punch at his stomach, pulling it back at the last moment. And, after a thoughtful pause, kissed him. "There," she said. "I didn't have to do that."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 17 2007, 03:38 PM
"It was purely for scientific purposes!" Marcello objected, giving her a plaintive look, flinching as she faked the punch, his free hand going protectively over his stomach.
He smiled lightly at the kiss, then reached for her shoulder. "I know you didn't," he answered gratefully, and he gave her a curious look. "Don't stop. I can say that now."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 18 2007, 11:34 AM
Preferring to take his request as a continuation of the joke, Niabheara laughed--a bit nervously. "Come now, we still have to see to your arm."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 18 2007, 11:43 AM
Marcello's cheeks went red, and the flush moved back to his ears as he snatched his arm away. "My arm's fine," he answered numbly. "I thought the point was to be able to say what we wanted."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 18 2007, 12:19 PM
Niabheara flinched. "I ne'er objected to you saying what you wanted," she said softly, hurt. Her chest ached in a way that could not be blamed entirely on stitches. This should not have been this hard, now that she was not obligated. "I don't . . ." She shook her head, the barest tremble in her voice.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 18 2007, 12:29 PM
Marcello's heart flipped, and his expression turned into something rather terrified when he saw her reaction. "Oh, God, Niabheara..." he said softly. "I'm sorry. I'm--"
He reached back for her again, putting his hand to her back. "You don't what? It's all right."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 18 2007, 12:57 PM
"I don't . . . " she tried again, then bit her lip to shut herself up. Every moment she spent here was making a bigger mess of things, and the temptation to stand up and give a good old-fashioned noble show of storming out of the room was very strong. Except that this was not Cnoch-na-Niall; she no longer had any place to storm off to. There was nowhere else to go.
She hesitated, then leaned toward him, inclining her head. Her hand went up to his collar. "I don't have any excuses."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 18 2007, 01:29 PM
Marcello clenched his teeth for a moment, bowing his head to her, his hand still on her back. "This is me," he told her softly, leaning down to her, taking a deep breath, almost as if he were trying to calm her. "You don't need excuses."
And then he took another breath, and kissed her cheek, very softly and slowly. "I'm yours. No names, no bindings, no obligations, no debts. Do you want me?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 18 2007, 02:02 PM
"I . . . I do, it's just that--" She couldn't stop herself from shooting a brief, longing look at the door, although she wasn't sure if she wanted to escape through it or if she wanted someone else to come in and put an end to this. Quickly her eyes dropped back to meet his. "I do," she said quietly.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 18 2007, 02:19 PM
Marcello caught the hesitation and the glance at the door, and nodded to her. "I know," he assured her in a whisper, his mouth so close that he barely had to make a sound. His lips brushed her ear, and he reached for both of her shoulders. "It's all right. Just...be mine."
And with that he kissed her, terribly gently at first, but with increasing fervor, drawing her up in his arms as he pulled her close to him.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 18 2007, 03:05 PM
She was aware of being terribly shaken, terribly stiff. Outside of that, everything else was a blur. Her arm slipped around him and she turned her head to match him, kiss for kiss, but the sick little flutter would not melt away.
She had to wait until a decent pause presented itself for a breathing break. "Marcello? I'm not exactly sure how to go on, after this." That demanded clarification. Her face went rose. "And by 'after this' I do mean both in the immediate and in general."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 18 2007, 03:15 PM
Marcello gave her a questioning look, and caught up her hands in his, his own hands thrumming from the beat of his heart. His eyes were a bit wider, a bit less focused, and he had to pause to catch his own breath. "I meant it, when I said no obligations," he told her quietly. "Do you know what you want?"
He smiled slightly then, inclining his head to her. "In both the immediate and the general."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 18 2007, 03:29 PM
She took one of his hands, ran her finger up the palm as if reading it, but could not bring her gaze any higher. "It would be well enough with me to lie next to you until we both fell asleep. But I'm not sure that you would be so content."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 18 2007, 03:42 PM
Marcello smiled at her, flushing a little at her suggestion, and leaned forward to kiss her forehead, resting his own against hers when he finished. "Think you so little of me as to suggest that I am entirely propelled by desire?" he asked her, a teasing note to his voice.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 18 2007, 04:08 PM
"Think you that I am such a maiden that I would not consider the implications?" she retorted lightly. She gave him a small kiss in return and rested her forehead back against his. "You asked. What would you want?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 18 2007, 04:25 PM
"Think you I do not listen enough to know what heavy implications they are for you?" Marcello answered, and answered the kiss along with it. "I would be your lover if you asked it of me. I would be lying if I said I did not want it, but all the same, it is your choice to make, not mine, and I am perfectly content without."
He gave her a squeeze, then reached to brush her hair from her face, moving his head only enough that he could gaze at her. "I want to love you freely and openly, at least between the two of us. I want to be able to kiss you without worrying that I'm putting you in a difficult position, to hold you without wondering if and when you'll let me hold you again. To be able to know that we're equal enough to belong to each other and still be ourselves," he added. Then he shot her a rather shy smile. "I want to know you're able to tell me what you want and don't want."
He pressed another kiss to her head. "I slept with you in my arms twice when you were insensible and so sick I wasn't sure you'd live to see me wake. To have you asleep in my arms of your own choosing, knowing you're well-- that's as close to perfection as I can hope for."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 18 2007, 05:38 PM
Long before the end Niabheara was already shaking her head, slowly, with a hopeless little smile on her face and her throat locked so tight she could barely move her head at all. "Would you be terribly upset if I wondered how many woman have heard that speech before me?"
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 18 2007, 05:52 PM
Marcello blinked at the girl, then smiled a terribly sheepish smile, his face flooding with color. "First of all, I'd be a cad if I ever recycled a speech in my life, and sec--"
The trouble was that rather than being upset, the question had broken the intensity of his thought, and sent him off in such a different direction, that he laughed, loud and hard for a moment.
"Forgive me," he pleaded guiltily. offering his hand to her. "Second," he managed, catching his breath. "Second, the women I might have given a speech like that to never gave me the chance. Do you doubt me?" he asked her, sobering. "This isn't an act or a recital. I wouldn't play on your emotions like that."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 18 2007, 06:36 PM
At his laughter, Niabheara sped through a quick range of emotions from guilty to shocked to rueful and finally culminated in punching him in the upper arm. "Oh, hush, you." Likewise her face had, in the same space of time, gone from pink to red. "Look, the one person I was e'er interested in, I've known since I was six and that's only because he was sleeping with my father! I realise that's not a healthy place to start one's love-life, but it's the only thing I know. I just--I want someone I can be friends with, first. That's all I know. And I'm . . . " She gritted her teeth in discomfort. "I'm still not certain about men."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 18 2007, 06:45 PM
"Oof!" Now it was Marcello's turn to go-- or, rather, remain pink, and he swallowed. "You said something to me along those lines when you were delirious, only it was...ah. It was along with telling me I was a bastard and couldn't kiss worth a damn, so...I wasn't sure how much of it was delirium," he admitted, inclining his head toward her. "And I thought it wasn't really my business."
He put a finger to her chin, tapping it affectionately. "We are friends, aren't we?" he asked her. "We've been friends. I don't want or expect that to change, whatever else we become."
Then he shot her a bit of a crooked smile. "As long as you tell me what's wrong with us men, apart from our hands. Strictly so I can remedy it."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 18 2007, 07:45 PM
Niabheara looked ill. She folded both arms around her stomach. "Lugh'us Dannan, what did I say? Meg said I was out of my head that whole time; I don't e'en remember it. I didn't mean it," she assured him earnestly.
She leaned her head against the wall behind the bed, wondering if the course of true love always involved fits of guilt and nausea.
"We are friends. I don't want that to change either." She raised an eyebrow to him. "What about your hands?" She regard his with interest, as if wondering if she had somehow missed a sixth finger.
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 18 2007, 07:56 PM
Marcello looked concerned for a moment, and bent down to tug off his boots so he could pull his feet onto the bed and curl up beside the girl, not quite touching her, just close. "Are you feeling well?" he asked her, trying to not sound like too much of a nag. He spread his hands out in front of him. "You said you..." and he gave her a sheepish look before inspecting his fingers very seriously. "Found women to be much more gentle. That men are too rough, we're all hands. And that I was the worst kisser you'd ever known and even Dierdre was better?"
He took a deep breath. "I didn't repeat any of it to Morgana," he assured her, before giving her a sidelong look. "You also said you loved me but that your mother would hate me."
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 18 2007, 08:19 PM
Niabheara laughed tartly. "See, now I know I wasn't talking sense because Mother will adore you. I've thought that since I met you. Meg said the same after she met you. You've got the approval of the whole clan on that point, barring Bram, who'll like as not agree as soon as he stops trying to outtalk you."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 18 2007, 08:26 PM
"Mor-- Meg's boy?" Marcello checked, looking quite pleased. It was hard to call her Morgana when speaking to someone who only called her Meg. "I'll bet I can take him in a fair fight. I'm glad I at least meet the hypothetical approval of your family. She--you--you talked about me."
He grinned, flinging his feet out across the bed. "So it was nonsense?" he asked. "Because I'll be happy to accept it was nonsense. I don't want to have to battle men and women both for your affections. What did you mean just now, then?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 18 2007, 08:56 PM
"You lay a finger to him and I'll lay you out lengthwise in the dirt," she warned. "He's naught but fifteen winters and he's smaller than I am."
Niabheara lapsed into a soft, guilty silence. "It was nonsense," she said. "I wasn't thinking properly." As a side-thought, she added, "And you're not a bad kisser."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 18 2007, 09:07 PM
"I meant in a fair fight of who-can-go-on-gabbing the longest!" Marcello objected, mock-hurt. "I wouldn't beat on your little brother."
He reached for her hand, giving her a humoring look. "You can tell me," he told her. "Not when you were sick. Just a moment ago. You said you weren't certain. And I know I'm not a bad kisser, but I could use some more practice. So could you," he added cheerfully.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 19 2007, 12:39 AM
"What's to be certain? Must I tick off the points? You're only going to be insulted again." She gave him a rather roguish look and counted off on her fingers: "They ne'er let on whether they're pursuing one out of true interest or politeness or honest lust. I've ne'er minded any of the above, but I wish I could tell.. If it's interest, I could decide that quickly enough and be rid of them or else try to take some interest in turn; if it's politeness I could shake it off and be polite in turn and not take it all too seriously; if it was lust I well might not be yet a maiden, so long as I could know when to keep my heart and when to rein it back."
She glanced down. "Hm. I have run out of fingers already. I forget I'm one shy." She folded her hand against her lap. "They're . . . intimidating."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 19 2007, 12:54 AM
"You can still count on the spare finger," Marcello pointed out. "I think it's sweet, anyway. And I'm terribly insulted," he assured her airily. "I've been quite clear from the start that my interest in you only extends as far as I can pilfer your silverware, and now that you've got none, I'd as soon abandon you to the winds. You did forget silverware as a motive for seducing young ladies," he added knowledgeably. "And quite a well-known one, too. I'm interested. I honestly adore you," he assured her, prodding at her side. "Every bit. And there's a bit of lust thrown in, as well, but that's tangential."
Then he sobered a bit, raising an eyebrow at her. "I think some men can be a lot of...I don't know, bluster and braggadocio. Not that I'm above that, myself, but...I'm not Beal-Feirste, a fact for which I am truly grateful. Do I intimidate you?" he asked.
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 19 2007, 01:14 AM
Niabheara snorted. "If any thief has enough determination to pilfer the Niall family silver, he's earned his rights to it. The serving dish alone weighs nearly four stone." She tried to cover her embarrassment by prodding back at him. "You intimidate me only because you're so much bigger than I am." She reached out and laid a hand on his face, looking weary of this discussion. "Be patient with me, acuisle. I don't know what in Lugh's name I'm doing."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 19 2007, 01:22 AM
Marcello smiled at her, reaching over to touch her face in return. "I don't know what I'm doing, either," he answered, reassuringly. "We'll figure it out." He turned over onto his back and half-sat, half-lay, if only because there wasn't much space on the bed. "Here," he said, opening his arms to her. "What you wanted. No doubt Jamilah will throw a fit and cast me out of the bed, but you can always come share the floor with me later when she comes up."
Then, and only then did he give her a curious look. "Acuisle?"
Posted by: Ishabet Page Dec 19 2007, 01:44 AM
She gave him a look of trying to figure out what the hell he was offering, then blinked. "Oh."
Lowering herself to her side, she began the awkward and ultimately impossible process of trying to snuggle down while at the same time make certain that no two body-parts touched--which ended, much as she deserved, with her at the far edge of the narrow cot, with the side of her face cupped in Marcello's palm and one hand wrapped around the frame to keep from falling onto the floor. Even she recognised this as ridiculous and gave up. "The trouble here being," she said, curling into his side, "that I am a bit less concerned with Jamilah and more concerned with one of us stretching and knocking the other out of bed. Acuisle is . . . I think it comes out in Common as 'heartbeat'? 'Pulse'? Something like that. Like your cara."
Posted by: Benedict Page Dec 19 2007, 02:02 AM
Marcello shifted as best he could to accommodate her, putting one arm around her. "We'll manage," he assured her, shooting her a crooked smile. "You're little. I'll hold you in."
He half-sat back up again, only to pull the covers over them, and then bent down to kiss her forehead. "Acuisle," he repeated, reaching for her hand to press it to his heart. "I like that."
He snuggled down deeper. "This is everything I want," he informed her softly. "For real and true."
|Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:52 pm
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