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Thread: Returning to the Scene of the Crime - 11/10, Late Evening, Dawn Barracks - Percy/Pippa

  1. #81
    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    A part of Pippa wondered if it was true that she'd have to work harder to get him undressed. Was he the sort of man who would acquiesce, if she expressed interest? If she turned to him again, put a hand on his chest, and asked him directly to take her somewhere they could be alone? She wasn't going to find out tonight, but she was curious what he'd do. Had he run into a woman who could just ask for what they wanted? Or had they all been the sort she imagined most noble girls to be, reliant on hints and hopes? It wasn't for her to know.

    She gave a shrug with a look that said she couldn't be blamed for trying, and then nodded, glancing to her empty hand. "It's a special sort of feeling naked," she agreed, although it might've been a stronger feeling with him. Her weapon wasn't as convenient to bring everywhere as his was, and while she had shorter versions to take with her when space was an issue, it still wasn't as universal as carrying a blade. But the pressure of the dagger sheathed on the side of her leg lessened the bare feeling.

    "We're not," she confirmed without hiding her disappointment. "But maybe you'll have another free evening, in the next few days." It was true that they could have stopped now, stepped into some sheltered spot out of the wind, but it wouldn't have been right. Pippa wanted to hear the stories properly, and, more importantly, wanted to see Percy again, if she could. Who knows, she could go home and have Corran forbid her from seeing his son any more. Percival could easily not have another night off before she had to leave. Or he could go back to the barracks and decide this had all been a mistake and want not to see her again. But for now she would live in hope that none of that would be true.

    Looking to the window, Pippa squinted as she pictured the layout as it related to where she stood now. "Your dad's study," she said finally. "His desk is by the window, but I'd put money on him being in the chair in the corner that faces out into the room." It was a safe bet, as that chair was more comfortable than the one at the desk, and the man often spent his evenings sitting there reading.

    Acting on impulse, Pippa tightened her grip on Percy's hand and changed direction, pulling him into a side street out of the wind and out of sight from the window. She hadn't seen a shadow which would have indicated that Corran was at his desk, and the sheer curtain was pulled, diffusing the light and making it next to impossible to see out with any sort of detail. Coming to a stop, Pippa used her grip on the knight's hand to steady herself as she rose up, the fingertips of her free hand resting lightly on his collar, and pressed her lips to his. She lingered a little, memorizing how this felt - the warmth, the way he smelled, the electricity and sweetness and the thrill of the newness of it.

    When she pulled back, her hand fell from his collar, but she didn't release her grip on his other hand. "I...wanted to do that before we got too close to the house," she said, her voice sounding almost bashful to her own ears. "To thank you for tonight. For everything."

    ----
    @Percival Torgood

  2. #82
    House Torgood Percival Torgood's Avatar  

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    Percival was still recovering from the incident a few moments prior, and silently working through scenarios in which he could find more time to see Pippa. If he asked Vivienne for time to see his father before he departed, he was sure she would grant it. He was also sure that she would see through the ploy immediately. For all that Jesse and Xavier knew him better, there was no mistaking that Vivienne was by far the most intuitive person he had ever met. It would serve her well in her new position as Queen. If any of the high nobles thought that lip service or simple placation of the crown was going to serve them the way it had done so in the past, Percy thought they were soon to be severely mistaken.

    "It is," he agreed, because he knew well enough that he never kept his own blade more than an arm's length away. In fact, when they entered the tavern, his weapon in the hands of the guard at the door was the farthest that it had been from Percy in months. "I think sometimes being without them would be worse than being naked in a fight," he said with a shrug. He couldn't actually imagine having to fight naked, or even without boots, but he reckoned that given the choice between his boots or his bonded weapons, he would just as soon fight in sandals.

    There was a silent nod from the knight at the prospect of finding time to share some of his past with her. Even if that past involved Kivennah. After all, he had done the best he could, and it just hadn't worked. And he sensed that Pippa was enough of a kindred spirit to understand. "I think I'd like to make the time," he said sincerely. There was so much about this day that seemed unreal to him, and she had made being himself terribly easy. He wondered if she knew it. "You know, by now most women would suspect a con," he said with a small chuckle. "There's so much about my life that seems unreal, even to me," he admitted. "I feel like most people would be suspicious of my stories. It's nice to have someone interested in them, and to think that I'm a real person, and not this inflated personality that the fancy nickname makes me look like."

    Percy wasn't exactly sure that Pippa's confidence was well placed. Granted, he hadn't known his father very well growing up, but he couldn't help but sense that the woman was being waited for, and that his father wasn't right in suspecting that Percy would be along with her. "Maybe," he told her with a smile. But I bet that if I stand here long enough, I'll see him peek out the window and down this road," he said to her, curious how long it would take for him to be right.

    Pippa had other ideas though, and he felt himself being dragged out of the window's line of sight. He was about to ask if everything was alright, but when he felt her hand on his collar and saw her rise up on her tiptoes to press her lips to his. His hand fell to her hip and pulled her close, bending his head to meet her, making the most of the brief moment. The arm that was holding the torch moved around her shoulder, cradling her head softly sideways while he turned the firelight so that it cast a soft warm halo above them. Despite the cool night air, everything was afire in that moment. And the longer this went on, the more he wanted to still be with her when the sun rose. Even if nothing more happened before then, he simply wasn't ready to let her go. But he didn't have the words to tell her that. And he didn't even want to consider what she might think if he did.

    "I wanted to do that before you left the barracks this morning," he told her in response, knowing it was true, but knowing there was no way he could have possibly considered it. It would have been just what he needed to have Victoria report back to his father that Pippa had been kissing a knight in the castle, only to have him find out that the knight in question was his son. "And I'm the one who should be thanking you. I had forgotten what it was like to be a real boy," he told her with a small laugh.


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  3. #83
    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    The guard laughed and nodded, agreeing with the sentiment of Percy's observation. She couldn't help but think that if both of them found themselves in that situation - armed, but naked - she'd be better off. Perhaps it was just because it was what she was used to, but she'd much rather have seven feet of weapon between herself and any attacker if she were that vulnerable. It was true that Percy could probably get in and wound the assailant faster, but the close quarters meant his hide would be in serious peril. She might not have a problem with scars, but they were best to be avoided, all things considered.

    "Most women live an entirely typical life, with typical problems and typical goals," she said with a shrug. "Their worlds are small, and thus they have a hard time accepting that extraordinary things can happen to normal people." It wasn't a criticism; in many ways, Pippa felt sorry for most women. In the town she grew up in, even with the influence of the Costas bringing a little more equality, still the main objective for a girl was to make herself attractive in whatever way she could to get a good husband. Sometimes it was through looks, sometimes skills, but the goal was a husband, children, and a comfortable life. She couldn't imagine it was too much different for noble girls, even if they did have to deal with more complicated trappings around the whole deal. "Although I will say, it seems like you've had more than the usual share of extraordinary," she said, smiling up at him. "But it's not too hard to think you're a real person. Maybe if I hadn't seen you around your friends it'd be easier to mistake you for someone impossibly big and fancy." She squeezed his hand as she teased him, but it was true enough. Tonight she'd seen the knight who had been the most desired and eligible bachelor spit out his drink to keep it from coming out his nose and then sulk about it, had seen the woman who would tomorrow be Queen sitting in a tavern like she were common, and seen the Sword of Summer blush enough times that she'd lost count. How could she reasonably believe that anyone she's met tonight led an entirely normal life?

    Percival was right in that Corran was probably waiting for her to get back, and in the brief moment before she pulled him out of sight, she told him as much. "You're not wrong," she said lightly, even as she looked over her shoulder, almost worried she'd see the silhouette slide into view.

    "It was a good night for both of us, then." She didn't speak to the fact that he'd wanted to kiss her earlier; she hadn't shared the compulsion, and if she looked at this whole situation in comparison to how she usually behaved, she could hardly believe she'd had it now. Pippa was not usually one to warm this quickly to a man, no matter how persuasive he and his friends may be. She'd lived her adult life by the idea that she lock up her heart, but keep the key within reach. It was safer that way, that she not get overly involved, or let herself get carried away, although it was impossible for her to close herself off entirely. But this was...different, somehow, and that realization would hit her later to thrill and frighten her in almost equal measure.

    She knew they couldn't linger there. There were so many reasons why they shouldn't. But even as Pippa took a deep breath, hoping the night air would cool the glow she felt, she couldn't find the will to pull further away. "If you do wind up with some extra time, you know where to find me," she said. "And who knows, I might run into you during the week. Vicky's got a horse in the stables, so I'm sure we'll be down that way a few times."

    ----
    @Percival Torgood

  4. #84
    House Torgood Percival Torgood's Avatar  

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    Percival could only laugh at Pippa's explanation, and shook his head at her warmly. "Most women are smart enough to not trust my bullshit," he told her honestly. He didn't seem to mind the fact that they were, either. He had been terribly bad at impressing women, even with the truth. And even though Pippa seemed to take most of what had been told to her at face value, she had done a rather good job of not looking too impressed either. "Well, you didn't think I was impossibly big and fancy this afternoon at the barracks, so why would I believe your stories," he asked, clearly teasing her back. In fact, part of her charm was the fact that she made him feel average. Generally speaking, the consensus was that he was either just a blockhead who was good at wielding a sword, or a hero that people shouldn't even bother approaching. Outside of his group of friends, nobody ever seemed to just view him as Percival, regular guy with an irregular job.

    Percival suffered momentarily from the lack of foresight that said he should just confront his father about their meeting. But that was a product of the high he was still on over the kiss from a few moments ago. When he stopped to consider the matter more objectively, he knew that it could only cause problems for Pippa, and since she would have to ride all the way back to Eddleton with the man, and continue to report to him, it was a selfish thing to even consider it. He could tell that it made her nervous, just by the way she glanced back at the house.

    "It was a better night than I've had in a long time," he conceded. "Thank you for that," he said. It was clear now that goodbye was inevitable. Or at the very least, goodnight. But it was likely already morning now, and he knew all too well that they both needed their rest. He could possibly see her tomorrow, if he found a way off his post. And at the worst, he would make time before she left. But in the interim, there would be no limit to the drama that would encircle them. Sophia would ask her about tonight, and she would get an answer. Sophia would give that answer to Xavier, and Percy would ask Xavier what he had heard. It was all very juvenile in that way. Of course, it could only end badly. Even if Pippa had nothing but compliments for him, Fairfax wouldn't give him the truth of it anyway. Bastard.

    "I'm off after the archery contest," he told her hopefully. "I have about four hours that afternoon before I am back on for the first of many royal dinners this week. But if you don't have plans," he asked, letting the rest of it die away awkwardly. Maybe they could meet for a small dinner. If he got to tell her stories, it would be nice. Just to see her again before she left would be enough though.


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  5. #85
    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    Pippa did not entirely believe him, that most women weren't prone to falling for his stories. In her experience women - and possibly people in general - were gullible, and wanted to be impressed. She could think of plenty of women she'd met who wanted to swoon over a handsome knight and be wooed by tales of his bravery and heroism, even if those tales were largely exaggeration. She didn't say as much, though; she just wrinkled her nose at his teasing and smiled.

    Standing there, her hand in his, with goodbye looming over them, Pippa was struck with how little she wanted to part ways. She told herself it was because she wanted to put off the solitude that would be filled with her mind thundering through the events of the night, where she'd be forced to confront how she'd felt about certain things. And while that was true, it wasn't the truest motivation. It was him, and his company, and the thrill she felt just standing here with him. It was how he made her feel both invigorated and utterly comfortable. And it was how she wanted to feel the softness of his lips on hers, again and again.

    "I'm on that morning, but your dad is taking Victoria to the tournament and then riding afterwards I think, so I'm not on again until evening unless something happens." If she sounded unsure it was only because, with a girl like Vicky, sometimes plans changed pretty quickly. She definitely had her whims, and if she got bored during the archery, for example, then Corran might take her riding earlier, and when they returned Vicky would come under Pippa's watch while Corran got some work done. "We could meet somewhere, maybe? I'd been thinking about walking down by the river in the afternoon, but I'm happy to put that off."

    -----
    @Percival Torgood
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  6. #86
    House Torgood Percival Torgood's Avatar  

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    Percy was convinced that her smile was a trap. He wondered how many sets of fingers had been broken by her uncle, simply because they couldn't help themselves. After all, if mice could resist the taste of cheese, very few of them would find their necks snapped. But then again, as he so ineloquently discovered earlier, her uncle was no longer a threat. It was clear that their evening was winding down, and clear that neither of them was interested in being the party that suggested they just get it over with. And that was part of the trap as well. Winter was still more than a month off, but if neither of them came to their senses soon, they might freeze to death waiting for goodbye.

    The knight fell back against the flat wall of the building behind him and set the torch into the sconce above his head. His left hand deftly unfastened the buttons on his jacket, and Percival pulled on Pippa with his right hand, folding her into his chest and wrapping his arms around her. He wanted to tell her that he wasn't sure he could wait that long. He wanted to sound needy and desperate and obsessed, and to be completely irrational. But he didn't do those things. He simply held her close until she would eventually tell him that she had to leave.

    "I think the river sounds nice," he said, talking to the windy street above her head where his chin was resting. He could feel the chill touched tips of her ears on his neck, and smiled to himself in the comfort, the odd comfort he was feeling with her so close. He was perilously close to spending the rest of his night and most of tomorrow completely out of focus, and then suffering through the reality that he had invested so much so quickly into something so fragile. Something that could only end. "It's probably the last you'll see of the Trumpeter Swans before they migrate for the winter," he told her, wondering if that was the kind of thing she was interested in, or the kind of thing she might think it was silly for him to be interested in. He doubted that the birds ever got as far south as Eddleton, since it was so warm on the ocean there.

    His hands sunk under her cloak and rubbed her back on instinct, his fingertips working their way to her shoulder blades and kneading little circles into the pressure points. She had a long night, and if she was feeling a tenth of the stress that he was, it would probably help to relax her a little bit.


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  7. #87
    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    It was a little crazy how easily Pippa settled against Percival's chest, and how neatly she fit there. He was comfortable and warm, and she wasn't bothered at all when his arms wrapped around her, finding their way under her cloak. Any other person doing the same thing would have made her uncomfortable, as no matter how innocent the start she would just be waiting for the hands to start roaming. With Percy, she couldn't be sure if she just didn't expect him to get fresh, or if she simply wouldn't have minded if he had. Or maybe she felt safe enough to tell him if he went too far without having to fear repercussion. Whatever it was, she could not deny just how nice this felt.

    "Yeah? We don't get them much by the mouth of the river. I figured anything that went away for winter would have done it by now." She didn't sound disinterested at all, although she was a little surprised it was something Percy had noted. "I've lived pretty much my whole life by water of some kind, so it's always kind of comforting to spend time near," she heard herself telling him, her voice soft and quiet as she rested her cheek against the warmth of his chest. "And I thought it would be good to see this end of the river, since I've spent a lot of time by where it flows into the sea." Her affinity to water wasn't something she generally spoke of; not really for any profound reason, but it was the sort of personal thing she didn't feel the need to share. And yet she'd mentioned it to Percy as naturally a could be, without even thinking about it.

    When he'd pulled her to him, Pippa had folded her arms in front of her, warming her hands in the space between them without subjecting either to her cold fingers. Now, though, as his hands began to work at the whorls of stress that so often formed in her upper back, she let herself settle more fully against him. Her arms snaked around him, palms coming to rest against his back, and she took a deep, contented breath. "I could fall asleep like this," she said, drowsiness seeping into her voice, and in that moment she couldn't think of anything she wanted more.

    ----
    @Percival Torgood

  8. #88
    House Torgood Percival Torgood's Avatar  

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    It struck him as odd that she had commented about being able to sleep in his arms. Not because he thought it made her a particular way, or that it affected him in a way other than with a reassuring nod to how comfortable his chest might be. More because they had passed a half dozen suitable inns where they could have made that happen, and managed to bypass them all. No, Percy knew that he had to let Pippa go. As much as the presence of her flesh under his fingers was the kind of action that usually led to more adventurous forays, he simply couldn't bring himself to let this being a one night stand. Maybe if he hadn't met her with the kid. Maybe if she didn't work for his father. Then again, maybe not even then. Percy was already certain he liked her too much, and he would rather never have her than have her for a few hours and have to let her go.

    "Well, I like it here," he said, referring to the river. "The current is slow and the river is wide here. It's safe," he said with a laugh, remembering the lightning fast flood waters of the river that coursed beneath Taldorach. "The geese make walking the banks a little tricky," he said with a chuckle. "But the grounds crew do a great job keeping the area clean and clear. I'll sneak by the kitchens for a loaf of bread," he assured her, knowing that he was setting himself up to be surrounded by the birds, and likely followed if they moved too far from the banks.

    Pulling his hands back, he rested them on her shoulders and kissed her forehead. "Are you ready," he asked her, though it was clear that he was in no hurry for her to go. In fact, he didn't even bother to move her off of his chest. "Pippa?" His voice was soft and gentle, and the fingers of one hand pushed a lock of her hair behind her ear. "I wanted to tell you something," he said, taking a deep breath and steadying himself. "And I want you to know that I mean it, and I'm not trying to spoil this moment by saying it." He moved his lips to her temple and kissed her again, softly and with long pause. When he was sure that he had her attention, he bent his mouth towards her ear and exhaled heavily on it, before whispering softly, "I hate peas too."


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  9. #89
    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    The guard listened without lifting her head as Percy spoke of the river, and she smiled to herself as she felt his laughter rumble through his chest. "Much different than Eddleton, then," she said, recalling in her mind the angry swirls of fast water as it crashed into the ocean. "Sounds like it wouldn't be too bad for swimming, if it ever gets warm enough. And if the geese let you." With the water fresh from the cold reaches of the mountain, Pippa imagined it would have to be a hot day indeed to tempt people into the river, but perhaps Hebron was close enough to the warmth of the coast that it would get there in summer. If it happened that she ever returned to the capital in the right season, she'd have to find out.

    "Are you ready?"

    Pippa sighed, lingering a little longer. She had every intention of saying 'yes', of standing up and wrapping her cloak back around her, wishing Percival a good night, and turning toward the waiting Delarose manor. But her name on his lips stopped her, and she looked up at him, almost startled by the gentleness with which he spoke. He seemed to be gearing up to something, and she could feel herself bracing for it mentally, whatever it may be. She nodded, to accept his assurances that he meant what he was to say, and her eyes closed as he pressed his lips to her temple, savoring the sweetness while her mind raced. There were only a few things he could say to her that would spoil the night, and while she couldn't picture him saying any of them, she also couldn't have predicted how this night would go, either. Hebron had thus far been a city of surprises, and she hoped they would continue to be good.

    "I hate peas too."

    Momentarily thrown by the feeling of his breath heavy on her ear and the softness of his voice, Pippa's smile was slow to break but swiftly overcame her entire face. "I'm glad we're in agreement on such a fundamental thing," she said as she pushed back from him a bit so she could look him in the eye, and she couldn't stop the laughter from bubbling up and escaping. There was a flush in her cheeks, but it wasn't from the cold anymore. Before she pushed herself fully upright, she slid her arms from around his waist and threw them over his shoulders, hugging him and placing a kiss on his cheek. Then, finally, she disentangled herself from him, closing his jacket quickly once she was no longer leaning against him and fastening the buttons before her fingers got too cold again. Now without their shared warmth the night bit sharper on every bit of exposed skin, but she knew if she continued to linger or let herself be pulled back to him, she might lose the will to do as she must and return home.

    "So, after the archery, then? I can meet you somewhere, or I'll just meander down the riverbank in the direction of the barracks and you can head my way when you're free?" It might've just been easier for him to come collect her, or for her to meet him at the barracks, but while Pippa didn't feel the need to hide the fact that she'd be meeting with Percy, she also didn't know how Corran would react, especially given how late she was returning tonight.

    ----
    @Percival Torgood

  10. #90
    House Torgood Percival Torgood's Avatar  

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    "My my, you are brave, aren't you Avery?" Percy was shaking his head casually, and their was a soft chuckle on her cheek. "We don't swim in the river," he said as a matter of fact. "Not since we were younger and Jesse got bit by a snapper turtle," he said with an amused smile as he recalled the memory. "The tears that flowed that day was enough to flood the banks," he told her. "But there is a decent sized man made pond in the gardens that we have been known to cordon off if the heat gets oppressive. Or if the sun is down and some of us are feeling particularly adventurous." Percy would be willing to wager that Vivienne and Jesse at the least had been out there while most of the castle was asleep, and who knows what trouble Xavier might have gotten into there.

    Percival was so enamored at the moment with his date that he started to overthink all portions of their conversation. Including the parts about peas. Fundamental. Adjective. Principle on which something is based. Something. Pronoun. A thing that is unspecified or unknown. What was the unknown thing that they were basing on this principle of pea hatred? What might he have lost if he had actually liked peas? Glad. Adjective. Pleased or delighted. With him, over such a trifle. Something as trifling as peas. Yet still he was making so much more out of it in his mind. Just Stop!

    She kissed his cheek and Percy snapped back to reality. He almost looked surprised at the action, but quickly cleared his head. She was pulling away and he wondered if that groaning noise was in his head, or if she could hear it. He hoped it was in his head. Even now, Percy wasn't sure if letting on to Pippa that he wanted her to stay was a good thing, even if he wouldn't allow it for her sake. She had too much to lose, especially if his old man found out about it. Given the fact that the light was still on in his study, it was likely she was already expected.

    He watched as she buttoned his jacket, like he was a child who needed to be kept warm and was incapable of dressing himself. She might not be wrong in the end, though he had tried very hard to look as competent as he could in front of her. "At the bottom of the boulevard is the Temple of Swaren," he said, remembering it well. "It overlooks the river just south of the castle. I'll meet you there as soon as the tournament ends," he told her. But if he was worried about Corran, he didn't show it. He simply reached for her hand and began to lead her back in the direction of the Delarose Estate.


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  11. #91
    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    Pippa was tempted to ask why he'd described the river as 'safe' when it concealed snapping monsters in its muddy depths, but the girl just cringed and shook her head. "I hope he still has all his toes," she commented offhandedly. As the turtles didn't like fast water, they weren't really a consideration down at her end of the river; there were enough other dangers to keep people out. And since young Arturo's accident, not many people took to the ocean, either. Certainly nobody who worked for the family did, at least.

    The guard gave no indication as to whether she knew or suspected of the turmoil going on inside Percy's mind. Her own was more still, at least for the moment; when she lay down in bed and all was quiet, that was when her mind would start picking apart the evening. It was then that she'd have to confront the fact that the way she felt about Percy was different than how she'd felt about pretty much anyone, but it wouldn't be until morning that she'd start layering the rational over the emotional so as to bring herself back down to the ground again. Hopefully by the time she met with Sophia she'd be able to play her cards close to her chest; after all, she would be leaving, and she didn't need that to be the thing everyone remembered about her.

    "Temple of Swaren. Got it." She remembered passing it at one point, and if she thought about it she was sure she'd be able to get back there. It probably wouldn't have been a bad idea to stop in there on her own at some point before they left the capital. She wasn't as devout as perhaps she ought to have been, but her parents had raised her to be respectful, and an offering and prayer for their good health couldn't go amiss.

    Her hand once again in his, Pippa tried not to dread this last bit of their walk. The estate wasn't far at all, and she kept expecting to see Corran's shadow darken the window at any moment. And yet Pippa's mind kept searching for ways to delay them, no matter how long the hour. In the end, though, she could never shake the feeling that, if she didn't come home, there would be hell to pay, and she wasn't foolish enough to think that Corran would only punish her. "So I'll see you tomorrow, in all your fanciest finery," she said finally, looking up at him with a smile that was just on the edge of teasing. "We'll see how long it takes you to recognize me when I'm all made up." There was a not-insignificant part of her that hoped she saw him before he saw her, so she could see the moment of recognition on his face. It was unlikely, she knew, but she figured a girl could hope.

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    At the mention of Jesse's limbs being in tact, Percy could only chuckle. "You heard the man," he said to Pippa. "He's got nine lives. And he probably has gone through about eight of them." Not that losing a toe to a snapper would be life threatening, but it was the kind of thing that only happened to the bard. The fact that he hadn't amassed more scars or horror stories was almost surprising. But maybe he would have time to tell some of those stories to Pippa in the coming week as well. And hear a few of hers as well.

    The matter of their meeting settled, Percy considered whether or not he would meet her expectations when she saw him the following day. "I suppose you will," he said unremarkably. The knight was never sure that he cut as an impressive figure as the twins or Guy did, even if his attire was custom made to flatter him as much as possible. It was a very real concern that she might be disappointed with him, but there really wasn't anything he could do about it. The best he could hope for was to be posted close to Gavin, who was even shorter than he was. Though that thought made him feel slightly guilty at how childish he was being about the whole thing.

    "Should it be so different," he asked her. "Sophia would have to be a witch to make you more beautiful than you already are," he said, a slight blush forming on his cheeks again. "After all, with a bottom that you are so proud of, I find it hard to believe that any dress would compliment it as well as your leathers," he said with an awkward smile. In his mind, no matter how she was dressed, she would always be the well toned guardswoman who carried little girls on her back. "Just don't let her change you too much, okay? I desperately want to recognize you."

    Before he had even noticed, they were on the doorstep of the Delarose Estate, and Percy frowned at the site of it. There was no movement in the window above them, and he turned so that Pippa could get to the door. He stopped her before she reached for it, and gathered her close to kiss her again. He didn't want her to forget what it felt like. He didn't want to forget what it felt like. "It's just goodnight," he said when he pulled away from her lips. "I can live with goodnight." Goodbye would be harder, but he didn't mention it. He didn't even want to think about it.


    @Philippa Avery

  13. #93
    Member Philippa Avery's Avatar  
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    Pippa picked up on the indifference in Percy's tone, and she looked up at him, although she didn't question him. Plenty of men weren't keen on dressing formally, whether or not they had to be saddled with a heavy set of plate that picked up finger prints and smudges like nobody's business. Perhaps Percy was just one of them, uncomfortable with the pomp and bother of what formal military dress entailed. No matter what, Pippa was secretly quite looking forward to seeing him all polished. She already found him more attractive than perhaps she should, but she couldn't keep from picturing his frame accentuated by the custom armor and feeling a sense of anticipation.

    He wasn't the only one to blush as he complimented her. "Different enough when I get ready on my own. I can't imagine what the result is going to be after Sophia's ladies get done with me." She was most looking forward to someone doing her hair. It curled, and could be unruly, but she did little enough with it that it was soft and shiny and smooth. Her mother had been able to knot it into beautiful braids when she was young, but more often than not now it was pulled back from her face or just kept loose. If she was feeling ambitious, she'd try to braid it on her own, but it never worked out as well as she wanted it to, so often she just ended up giving up.

    "You might be surprised," the guard replied with a little sass in her smile. She hoped her answer to that particular question wouldn't come back to bite her in the ass, so to speak, in that she'd never live it down. It was true, though, so she couldn't regret being honest. "I've a pair of hose that're especially good for riding in that I think flatter it at least as much as the leathers." They were men's hose, of course, thick and woolen and, crucially, tight; they laced up the sides nearly to the hip, and she had to remember to wear a longer tunic with them, lest she be accused of being immodest. But oh, were they comfortable.

    There was no hesitation as Percival pulled her close again, and no resistance, either. One arm slipped around his waist, the other coming to rest on the breast of his jacket, and she pressed herself close to him, wanting to soak in every last moment of the night. She had no idea what waited for her behind that door, but it couldn't be nearly as enjoyable as this. At best, the solitude of her own bed. At worst, the anger of Corran.

    She lingered as he pulled away, her chin still upturned and her eyes closed, and a smile bloomed across her lips. Slowly she opened her eyes as he spoke, and she nodded, agreeing that goodnight was better than the alternative. Then, slowly, she withdrew from him. She didn't turn her back, but stepped toward the door, and she turned the handle without opening it just yet. "Goodnight, Percy." Her voice was tender and quiet, and she gave him one last smile before she slipped into the manor and closed the door behind her.

    -----
    @Percival Torgood

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