09.12.3013: The Table Read
Summary: While Jane is vacationing at the Roar, Garus checks in on her to talk about scripts, the past, and — a tour?
Date: 14 September 2013
Related: I Need A Vacation(Memoir)
Garus Jane 

Guest Rooms - Castle Leonnida
Room description included in scene
September 12, 3013

There are few things in life that can intimidate Jane. Most of the time she has "been there, done that" with a few exceptions. At the moment, she is indulging in one of those nerve-wracking firsts by exploring her room - her room - at Castle Leonnida. It's a guest room, so the quarters are obviously temporary, but the view is delightful and the service top-notch.

Jane is alone at the moment, leaning her hip against the sill to her window and admiring the landscape stretching out behind the castle. She toys idly with the lace overlay to her dress, rolling a black flower between thumb and forefinger. The actress hasn't quite made the room "home" yet as she'll only be visiting for a few more days, but a heap of her gowns are draped over the back of a chair anyway. A girl can never have a big enough wardrobe.

It's been a few hours since Garus has left Jane's company, off to follow over the business of the castle while giving her some time to get settled over the view that isn't far from the overlook where they'd shared a bottle of wine not too long ago. The room is stone, with a low ceiling and plush carpets, like a castle of old with thick furniture, the smell of burning wood from the fireplace, and the occasional electronic devices wirelessly powered against the stone for more modern comforts. Most importantly, however, even as a temporary room the room itself feels like a home, as if it could be placed in any small bungalow in its coziness and luxury.

Outside of the door, the sound of spurs scratching against stone approach as the heavy footfalls come to a stop in front of her door. She doesn't see it, but Garus stops to look himself over and adjust the lay of his shirt over the hilt of his swordbelt before he reaches to rap his knuckles against her door in a backhanded way. He clears his throat softly and speaks to the door. "Jane?" He introduces himself. "It's Garus."

Is she humming? Jane does not hum. With a sigh of contentment, she turns back to face the room and allow her gaze to wander from object to object. She coils a lock of hair around an index finger and waltzes over to her pile of clothes which she really should hang up before they wrinkle and look a disaster — or before someone comes in to see it and judge her slovenly. The sound of spurs echoes in the corridor as Jane is about halfway to her goal, and she pauses to listen intently.

When the sound grows louder and then ceases altogether outside of her door, Jane is already smiling and making her way over to it. She pauses there, waiting for him to knock while she tidies her hair and smooths her hands over the front of her gown. "I hope you're not interrupting your busy schedule just to see me," she greets, pulling the door open and gesturing him to enter. "I haven't even put away my things."

Breathing in new life at the sight of her, the look in Garus light, blue eyes speaks volumes. It's the same light that's burned there since their day at the beach, and at the corners of his eyes lies that boyish excitement at slipping away to see the girl. Careful so that the hallway doesn't catch his surprise, he directs the look only to her as he steps through the door and looks to the corners of the room. Always careful. "No, no my business for the day is done, Jane. Unless something else comes up, we've got the majority of the evening to ourselves." He says quietly, as he enters and steps to the center of the room. Turning, he looks to her, then the door, and his eyes harden to a look of longing. It's been hours. It's good to see her again.

"I see you're settling in nicely for the next few days." He comments, looking to the line of dresses on her bed as he arches his shoulders, straining the muscles of his chest against the front of his shirt, an unintended draw. His eyes turn to the room, scanning it over before looking to her dresses, the way she wears her dress, the lay of her hair. He's inspecting, taking in the vision of her in this room. "Is the room to your liking, Jane? I tried to make sure you got one of the more comfortable ones, not far from my wing, where the view would suit you."

Jane is silent for several moments as she steps back, allowing Garus room to enter and close the door. Her cheeks dimple as she smiles widely at him, pleased to the utmost that her evening shan't go to waste sitting idle in a strange room. "To my liking?" she inquires, allowing her gaze to drift down to admire the man from head to toe in a leisurely manner. "It's absolutely delightful. I feel — well, nevermind that, but I think it is quite comfortable, and your taste impeccable. And the view! It's absolutely stunning." Dark blue eyes dart upward to focus on his face, and she bites her lower lip for a moment.

"Oh, but do sit down and relax a little," Jane continues, backing away a few more steps before gesturing Garus to a chair. She does not sit, however, but instead moves toward the bed to begin picking up her gowns one at a time to carry over to the closet for hanging. "I hope you have not had any exceedingly stressful news. I haven't had time to scan the headlines, as I spent most of the afternoon on call with Willow setting up next week's appointments."

Taking off his swordbelt, Garus sets it to rest across a table as he slides down into a chair. Resting forward on his knees, he watches her work as she passes back and forth, carrying her gowns away. He reaches for the top of his head to scritch quietly as he gets comfortable. It is their family's castle, every room is familiar to the man. "Thank you, I've been on my feet all day, getting off of the floor is going to do me a world of good." He muses, leaning back to stretch his legs out before him, crossing his arms over his chest. "I haven't had any bad news, no, which is good because I was hoping we'd get more time together before you go back to work at Phylon. It wouldn't be very restful for your vacation to see me rushing into armor and riding off as fast as I could towards a WayGate, and Six willing that won't happen this week at all."

He turns his head slightly, his gaze falling over to the bed to watch each dress as the next is revealed, counting them. She's got a lot of dresses, his eyes seem to say, curling into a little smile. "…all of them do." He murmurs to himself, a thought slipping out using his outside voice. Blinking, he realizes he's done this and speaks up again. "So how is Willow faring without you? Is she trying to be polite about it even though she's swarmed, or did all of this turn out to not be so much trouble as expected and we'll get another vacation out of you yet?"

Jane is, more or less, a fashionista in the sense that she collects gowns - scads and scads of them. She stops to finger the beadwork on gown number seven, frowning as she sees a thread threatening to unfurl and disrupt the entire mood of the garment. "Mother needs to fix that," she mutters to herself, listening to Garus with one ear as she arranges the dresses carefully in the closet. They're ordered following the traditional color scheme of the rainbow from the lightest pink to the darkest purple. "Six willing you would never have to strap into armor and run off into the sunset, but I realize it's unrealistic to hope for that."

When she is finished, Jane turns back around to face the room. Her heels click with each step that carry her toward the bed, and she perches on the edge of it. "Hmm, what? They all do what?" Did she miss something? Her nose wrinkles as she offers a half-grin of amusement. "Willow is fine. I don't think she is trying to be polite at all, which is fine with me. I need an assistant with some backbone, which she's beginning to realize she possesses. So no, it hasn't been as troublesome as I thought. So what did 'they all do'?"

"They all do, they all have lots of dresses." Garus replies, clearing his throat as he's shaken out of his stare to her bed as the sight of her knee replaces it. Looking up, he reaches for the laces on his tunic to brush one of the strands out of the way, hanging at an odd angle. "I was just thinking of my sisters, all of the girls I've known they've all got so many dresses, which is a good thing. Leave the utility to the soldiers in the field. We don't need a change of clothes every day but the variety…I appreciate." He replies, rising from his chair with a wince at his feet. He has been on his feet all day, but it doesn't stop him from closing the distance to reach out for her chin in an attempt to steal a kiss from her.

The touch of his lips is soft, chaste in its moment as he says a less-than-proper hello while managing a proper one all in the same. Smelling of an incense that realms in the mien of sandalwood and dried leaves, he does what he can to remind her of his presence and the fact that she was missed. He breaks the kiss and takes a step back, looking down to her seated perch on the corner of the bed, content to look at her in his typical setting for a change. "Well, I'm truly, truly glad that Willow is going to survive for the next few days. What do you have waiting for you when you return? Have you picked out a new project yet? You mentioned being in sort of a transition."

"Of course we have lots of dresses. Beautiful girls need beautiful things." Jane's grin is a cocky one, and she leans back to rest on her hands. Her eyebrows arch upward as Garus stands, but the little sway to his step as he approaches is enough forewarning that he intends on — ah, yes, there it is. She tips her head back willingly, pressing her lips to his for a small but exceptionally tender kiss. "I am going to have to get used to that, aren't I?" She doesn't sound particularly distressed about that.

Reaching up, Jane slips her hand into his even as he steps back, curling her fingers about his palm. "Willow will survive for now, but I will have to show my face eventually - as much as I loathe the prospect of work. Well, of most work." She pauses, and her expression shifts to one of delight. "Oh! I nearly forgot. I found a script, and I think I want to take it. Here, sit, let me get it." She pats the bed beside her before jumping up to pull open a nightstand drawer. Miscellaneous 'girl clutter' rattles around a bit before she pulls out a scratched but expensive tablet and tosses it on the bed beside him. "It's about a Hostile who changes sides."

Smiling broadly at her excitement, Garus reaches down to pull off his boots so that his spurs don't scar up the blankets on the bed. Freeing them, he slides up onto the center of the bed and crosses his legs. As the tablet thuds down on the blue and gold comforter, he reaches out to press it forward on the bed to make room for Jane. "A Hostile that changes sides? Wouldn't that be bloody brilliant. If we could get one we could get more." Garus murmurs, a droll silent wish uttered at the end of his tongue. He leans back to rest on his hands while he waits for her to join him. "So what role would you have in this? Would you be playing the Hostile? If so I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to leave your costume at the film site before coming back to join me here. If you were worried about the press for my own drama alone, that would cause an uproar." He smiles softly. "Garus Leonnida and Hostile girl…"

Carefully tucking her skirts beneath her, Jane slides onto the bed to perch on the side with her still-booted feet dangling over the edge. She leans forward to rest her weight on one hand while using the other to wake the tablet and thumb through what looks to be a script. "If you're going to ruin all of my fun like this, Garus, then I just don't know what I'll do with you. Yes, I would be the Hostile. She is sent with a squad to scout ahead and target potential landing sites for larger ships. She is caught by a knight, and they fight for a while I think — yeah, here's the fight scene — and for whatever reason he lets her go."

Jane pauses, frowning, and glances up to Garus from beneath her lashes. "A bit more than far-fetched, but at this point I think we're grasping for straws. Anyway, she goes her own way, but it starts to bother her that the human didn't kill her…and that she didn't kill him. She seeks him out after that to try and talk about what happened, and at some point in these secret meetings she realizes she much prefers the humans with their passion and et cetera, et cetera. She switches sides, there's a sex scene, build up to a climactic battle — and I haven't read past that part. What do you think?" She doesn't look up with her question, but instead flips forward to skim the yet unread portion of the script.

"Oh I don't mean to mess with your fun, if you could smuggle the costume in I'm sure we could figure something out," Gars replies to her distantly as he slips a leg behind her to frame her body. Leaning in on one are, his eyes lower to the tablet as she sifts through the pages, catching what he can of the dialogue. His brows lower, a near silent hrm murmurs up from the back of his throat as he presses his finger to the screen, stopping it at one particular conversation.

"I like that, that's a smart reply there, that would be from you, yes?" He asks her, turning his eyes to catch the profile of her face. He bats her finger away from the screen playfully and continues to scroll down, wanting to finish the rest of the conversation. "I think that you could do this, it has a rather tragic quality to it; I'm predicting a double-death scene for the misunderstood lovers." His hand lifts from the screen to brush a lock of her red hair behind her ear affectionately. "How comfortable are you with it, though? The topic is controversial. Have you ever done combat like this in a movie or a sex scene? Where are your contention points?"

“Yes, that’s my line,” Jane replies, scrunching up her nose and retaliating by slapping Garus’ hand away from the tablet - but only once he has finished skimming the script. “I don’t know if I have any contentions, per se, and I wish I did. I feel like I’m missing something if I’m happy with the script as is…aren’t I?” A lock of hair slips over Jane’s shoulder as she leans over, scrolling back to some point in the middle of the script. “Well, I have never been in a full-on sex scene like this one. Some kissing and touching and then it cuts. I wonder who they will cast for the hero? I guess the only thing I really need to know about myself is if I have qualms with this less-than-veneful take on a Hostile. The ‘vids have never humanized them before this. This writer is either brilliant or insane.”

Frowning, Jane peeks up at Garus with her eyebrows raised. “I have done combat plenty of times, and I’ve had my fair share of on-screen makeouts. Have you really even seen my movies?” She could have almost pulled off the ‘totally serious and unhappy with you’ look if it weren’t for the faint tug of a smile at the corners of her mouth.

Flashing his own breed of mock disapproval to her pouty moue, Garus shifts forward until the back of his leg presses supportively against Jane's hips. "Don't give me that look, yes I have seen your movies Jane. Some of them. Not all of them. Three." He whittles down to an admission. "I've seen you at the theatre before and I wanted to watch more of your movies after we became —friends." Garus loses a word in there, stumbling over the definition of what they are. "I just thought it would be strange to drown myself in research on you before our first date. It would be weird to watch them together, right?"

"I think if you're happy with it and the full on sex scene doesn't bother you, then you should do it." Garus adds, reaching out to brush a hand under the center of her back. Fingertips rolling over the ridge of her spine, his head lulls back to the tablet. "It may seem a little far-fetched, and you may have to deal with upset politicals over the portrayal. It would likely get a lot of attention towards your career, and with those interviews you'd have the chance to speak, to try out this greater work of yours." The scar on his neck, bared to her shifts as he looks back to her soft, green eyes. "Is it really so simply as signing a contract to do it?"

Jane’s smile grows ever wider as she watches Garus squirm a little, enjoying the sight of him struggling to finally admit that he has, in fact, not been a major a fanboy. The admission does not seem to disturb her, but instead she shakes back her hair with a hearty laugh. “Only three? I can hardly blame you. I cannot even count three of them that I consider to be worth watching more than once.” She pauses, reaching out to tap Garus on the nose and shake her head. “It would not only be weird, but it would be violating my personal rule of never watching my own ‘vids. It’s — I don’t like doing it. I spend the entire time being harshly critical of my own performance, which while some people might admire, I always find room for improvement.”

Sighing, she looks back to the tablet, leaning into Garus’ hand as his fingers skim along her lower back. “I think this script is beyond far-fetched at this point, but I also think I would enjoy the change of pace immensely. To be a villain and yet not quite a villain would be to break out of my usual roles.” She skims the tablet once more before tapping the screen blank. Rather than answer Garus’ question immediately, she leans away from him to put the tablet back in her nightstand drawer. “Mmm, yes and no. This is an easy contract to to review, although that will be my agent’s job. They’re a H.A.G. affiliate, so the contract is pretty much the acceptable standard. Why do you ask?”

"Because I have no idea how these contracts work at all." Garus replies as she leans away, letting his hand fall to the empty space behind her. In a move of outright exhaustion, at least in spirit, he rubs the heel of his hand into his eye socket to relieve some of his stress. "Morbid fascination, I suppose? I've been meeting with Senators, aides, sergeants, and staff all month and if it isn't contracts I have to review and warnings about things like the need for increased security around the Waygates, riders to keep an eye on the lands, its other heavy details that need to be red-lined and discussed. Everything leading up to warfare is a bureaucratic process, Jane. It might bore you less than the actual fighting."

He turns so that his body is parallel to hers, falling back to rest on his elbows as she tidies up. His eyes turn from her back to the table in the distance where his sword lays. "But, if you do take this role you'll need a date for the premiere, and I promise not to tell them that the real Jane Wyre, as convincing as the roles she plays, is far more inventive and surprising in person. If you need an arm to dig your nails into while critiquing yourself during that first showing, I'd be more than honored."

Settling onto the bed once more, Jane listens attentively as Garus runs through the myriad duties that nobles in positions of authority must face. Her frown is gentle but understanding, and she reaches out to place a hand on his shoulder to massage it gently. “I have a feeling that writing up an actor’s contract is a slice of cake compared to what you are doing. The production details, perhaps, are much more involved, but I needn’t worry about those. I merely go where they tell me and try to fit into my role as best as my skills will allow.”

"It's like production, Jane, probably more than anything. Six weeks of building and then, like you, I get brought in on the right day and am told to use it how I've been trained." Garus replies, turning his shoulder towards her hand to accept the tension-relieving nurture of her fingers. "Maybe we're not so different, then."

Her expression softens a degree at the compliment, and she uses the hand on his shoulder nudge him in a playful manner. “Inventive and surprising? Surprising I could understand, as I was once the queen of bitches - and I am trying very hard to change that - but…inventive? I’m not sure if I want to know what you mean by that.” Jane laughs lightly, reaching up to run her fingers through her hair. “If you are truly interested in being my date to the premiere - although that is far into the future - then I accept. Just please tell me you will keep compliments to the minimum, because I will be handling far more of them than I care to when the movie is released. Granted, I will also be dealing with a great deal of criticism - a ton, even - but that I can accept pretty gracefully. I am used to that… Anyway, are you feeling alright? You look downright exhausted.”

"Aye, inventive. Don't think that I can't tell you taking that every attention to detail, and don't think that I don't appreciate the attention you give me. You're creative and you're still working on your future." Garus laughs as he's shoved, burrowing his eyes together in a show of defiance as he refuses to budge. Garus is strong Garus. A new smile form as he reaches out, giving her a shove in return, just a soft one. "As your date I'd understand it is more work than anything, but how could I pass up an opportunity for you to make me look so good. A Lord of the Roar walking down a red carpet movie premiere? I'll have to have the finest suit." He huffs. "They'll be less likely you criticize you with a lion on your arm."

"Me?" Garus sits up before her, crossing his lets in a near lotus position atop her bed as he reaches to his calf, massaging softly. "I'm feeling fine, just glad the day is over with. I wish we could head back to the beach but I've been helping father while Godric is…being Godric. I don't know what my brother is up to right now, but I hope my working with the Senator and my father doesn't upset him, there's just so much to do lately."

Laughingly, Jane flops sideways in an overdramatic motion in response to Garus’ shove. “Are you typically a violent man like this? I won’t stand for it if you are!” But the words are spoken with a cheeky grin, and she reaches out to tug on his earlobe playfully. “A Lord of the Roar at a movie premiere would be something of an amusement, although plenty of nobles are celebrities, you know. I think, though, they might be less likely to criticize me to my face all around; it won’t stop them from writing horrible things about the movie, about my performance, et cetera. I’m really okay with that, though, so you had better promise not to get all scary vengeful if people have negative things to say. They’re entitled to their opinions, and I am happy to let them keep those opinions.”

After falling silent, Jane considers this shift in conversation while studying Garus’ face, and something in his expression strikes a chord in her. With a smile, she flops backward onto the bed and folds her arms beneath her head while gazing down the bridge of her nose at the still-seated Leonnidan. “You know, now that I am here, why don’t you tell me more about — you? Tell me about your childhood, what it was like growing up here, what your family is like. I’m very curious to know where you come from.”

The question itself brings a wealth of movement to the man's face that - if he were an actor - might see like a perfect award ceremony reel performance. So much joy crosses over with so much darkness as he absent-mindedly reaches to the scar on his neck. His eyes kid closed and he turns from his seated position to spread out across the blankets to lay beside her, his chest beneath him. Arms folded beneath his chin, he stares at the headboard before his expressive, blue eyes find hers and holds them.

"Growing up was…amazing." He starts, though his lips don't smile with the word. "I had plenty of brothers and sisters and from early on I was told I was going to be a knight. It was an exciting thing. I wanted to be my uncle, he was the quiet one. Something about being quiet, like me, seemed to…have that textbook jaw to it. I was obsessed with growing a beard." He smiles faintly, eyes crinkling with unspent laughter. "I was shy and Godric was loud, strong, everything I feared I would never be."

He looks away, straightening a little as he grows uncomfortable, coming to some kind of prescipice in his story. It's the kind of discomfort he wouldn't dare have shown at the Gala. "My father, he taught us that only the strongest should lead, and the weakest should be kept from leading the charge at any cost. I agreed." He looks back to her, calming at the sight of her. "You know the rumors about Leonnida, yes?"

Jane watches silently as Garus considers his childhood, recalling the memories with a mixture of fondness and — is it regret? She squints, considering, and then rolls slowly onto her side as he lies down beside her. She props her elbow against the mattress and rests her cheek against her palm, smiling faintly as he makes eye contact. While he speaks, relating his life, she reaches out to toy with a stray thread on his shirt sleeve, rolling it between her fingertips. “I hear that it is normal for siblings to be different like that,” she murmurs, but does not quite interject into his recollections.

His last question pries out of her a quiet laugh, and she has the decency to stifle it by raising her hand to her lips. “I was raised around here, Garus. I know what happens, or, no, I know what we are told happens. They are different stories, I imagine. But yes, I am well aware of the rumors that are not nearly so rumor-esque as people may pretend them to be. Why? Have you slaughtered all your siblings in a scrabble for control of the House? I don’t remember hearing about anything like that.” Her grin is crooked, amused, unaware yet of his true feelings.

Garus' eyes harden around the edges at the grin she flashes down to him and the tension lines hard into his shoulders. He falls into a long, silent stare that can only mean one thing. Setting his lips with his tongue, and nearly a dozen heartbeats, he averts his gaze one more to push up from the bed. Instead of retreating from her, however, he sits up straight and runs a hand through his lengthy brown hair. Discomfort becomes a tangible blanket that settles in the air around them, lining it with ice.

"Jane…I don't know why or if it was my father's intention to set us against each other, but when we started to bully each other, he praised the strong. Some of us pooled together out of love. Dorinne, she was my favorite, just a little older but she was jealous that father always favored his sons just a little more." His hand falls to his scar and he briefly looks to her eyes before lowering them to the blanket between their bodies. "Godric slew our eldest. One day that I was weak…Dorinne showed me that she wasn't the loving sister she wanted me to think she was. She wanted to climb."

Oops. Jane's smile disappears ever so slowly as Garus' expression changes from amused to not. Her heart flutters with nervousness and a twinge of fear, and she sits up quickly. Her hand snakes out to touch him on the shoulder, a silent apology for her obvious transgression. She should have known to be a little more compassionate, stupid Jane. Before he can stop her, or before he can shrug her away, she pulls her hand back and clasps them both together tightly in her lap.

The sight of his anger is almost too much to handle, and Jane looks away to stare across the room rather than meet his heated gaze. She shifts uncomfortably and swallows around a lump in her throat, but even while doing so she is paying careful attention to his words. No interruptions, no platitudes, just silent attentiveness until he finally ceases to speak. All she can say is: "That must have been unimaginably awful, and I am so very sorry. Is that —" she gestures to the scar, "- from her?"

"I was reading, if it weren't for a glint off of the wall shed have succeeded." Garus explains, his eyes traveling her discomfort from his stone-like state. Swallowing a lump of his own, the statue finally breaks and his fingers flex, suddenly realizing that he has been digging his knuckles into his knee, and reach out for her. Tracing over the silk arm of her dress, his traces his fingers down to her hand and scoots closer, to show her it's okay. "I tried to talk her down, we stumbled down the stairs. I survived in the end."

Nervous now, bringing Jane into the darkest secrets of Castle Leonnida and proof that the rumors are far worse than joked about, Garus frowns and lets his fingers fall from her wrist to the blanket, drawing away. "I apologize, Jane, I know these are hardly the things you probably wish to hear about me. There are grisly details, hard lessons learned, and I wish to have no part in that sort of brutality, which is why I hope to one day break this cycle." His eyes lift from the profile of his hand, gazing up from the knee of her dress and over her jaw to find her eyes again. His lips flatten into a line and his brows raise, curious as if fearing he's said too much. "I find your company, your friendship to be wonderful, exciting, exhilarating, but as much time as we've spent together, you've a right to know why I always keep a dagger near."

Jane exhales softly only after realizing she had been holding her breath for the last thirty seconds or so. Perhaps it is Garus’ movements that break the spell, or perhaps she has sensed the close of the story — for now. “Then it was an accident?” She tries to keep her tone carefully neutral, but her gaze darts to his face to examine his expression, and the downward turn of her lips and wrinkle in her brow show she is clearly concerned about the answer. Reaching up, Jane touches the scar gently, studying the puckered, slightly raised skin with her fingertips. “I understand if it wasn’t. It doesn’t change anything.” Her voice is a mere whisper now as if fearing to disturb the dead by speaking of the incident.

At the change in tone of the conversation, Jane relaxes visibly and offers Garus a warm smile. Her hand slides up to cup his face, pulling it near so she can press a gentle, affectionate kiss to his cheek. “I find your company and friendship just as exhilarating - enough that I am willing to share scripts with you, which is something I never do with anyone except maybe Willow. And even then, it isn’t very often. You may keep a dagger near whenever you like, even at my apartment. I’m no stranger to weapons.”

Clamping his hands down softly over hers, vice-gripping the sides of his face, Garus closes his eyes and breathes a soft sigh of relief into the kiss to his cheek. Wanting to hold her to him, his fingers slide down to her wrists to wrap around them, giving his body leverage as he scoots closer to her enough to wrap a knee behind her back in an octopus-like tangle of limbs. "I swear she was my favorite sister, Jane and I loved her. No, it was entirely an accident that she died but, if that accident had not happened she would have killed me. My father was proud that I survived," His lip curls into a frown at the thought and a shudder runs up his shoulders, his grave being walked all over. "I have never been proud that it happened. We are strongest together, not alone, and I pray Godric agrees."

"But you…" He starts to lighten up a bit as he reaches to the side of her face, brushing a lock of her bangs away from her eyes so that he can see her better. "You I am proud of. I really did enjoy going over the script and - if it isn't too forward - I know it's far from now but I want to be on your arm at the premiere. You move me, Jane. I think that I told you this tonight because if you stay with me, stay close like we have, I would keep you. There is danger but I would fight to see you once more, always."

Jane’s smile lingers, softening a degree, and she brushes the tips of her thumbs over Garus’ cheeks. Her lips move up toward his forehead, pressing a kiss between his eyebrows. When he moves, she leans into him happily, and exhales a sigh that echoes his own. “I know, I know, and you did what anyone would have done - survived. I am not proud of it like your father may be, but I am grateful for it.” She pauses for a moment, tilting her head back to squint at Garus’ face as if considering something rather intently. Her train of thought is disrupted by his change of manner, and she blinks in startlement before offering him a warm smile.

“Oh, be proud of me when I do something more than read a script, please, or my modesty will drown me.” She lets out a quiet laugh and tilts her head forward to rest her forehead against Garus’. “Perhaps it is because I have never truly been in danger, but I do not feel as if anything bad could happen with you around. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, hmm?”

Garus’ laugh in return is a light one, a happy one as he’s made it up and over the hurdle of drudging up the memory of his dead sister, the one killed at his hand. Forehead to forehead, he rests his nose against the side of hers to breathe in the scent of her perfume and feel the wave of her lips send her breath down over his chin. His hands reach out, brushing through the hair at the back of her neck to lightly clamp around her spine, hanging this fingers from her the same way many range-riders hang from a post while letting the day waste away.

“I think, for us, it will be a good thing,” Garus replies, his fingertips kneading softly against her skin in a mimic of something he learned not long ago at their massage. “I think, with you around, you’ll keep your eyes on me, and I get this feeling that this isn’t some superficial thing. I don’t think that we’re doomed, not at the least.” He leans forward to brush his lips softly over hers, a quick, stolen kiss to kill the need for her for just a while longer. “Just a moment ago…you looked like you wanted to say something.” Garus pauses, leaning away from her lips with his forehead to hers. “What was it?”

A flutter of relief passes from Jane’s heart downward to settle in her stomach. It is like a warm, soothing balm that pushes an echoing burble of laughter from between her lips. With one hand, she curls her fingers into Garus’ hair for a moment to revel in the sensation of a growing closeness, intimacy on a level unmatched by any other relationship. “I’m relieved you didn’t call me a senseless harpy and cast me out immediately. You’ve a little less of the merciless in you than most will ever realize, but — that’s alright. Better to keep them guessing.”

Jane’s fingers continue to play through Garus’ hair as she settles into a more comfortable position with her other hand resting lightly against his chest. “Of course we are not doomed. That is a perk to being a lowly Citizen, my dear - my freedom gives you quite a bit of wiggle room where your family might be concerned.” She laughs quietly and leans back from Garus, reaching up to brush her hair back from her face. “I was going to say something? I’m not sure. I don’t remember, anyway. You know what I want? A tour. Give me a tour of this grand castle, hmm? Come on.” Already she is sliding off the bed to actually - gasp! - leave the room.

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