|Scene Title||Rites of Respect|
|Synopsis||Snape returns from the meeting with the Dark Lord and must 'face the music' at home.|
|Location||Hogwarts - Snape's Quarters|
|Date||March 21, 1996|
|Watch For||Mental images no one wants to have.|
Leaving the Dark Lord's presence, Severus apparates to the school, landing in the exact circle from which he left. When he looks down, however, the ground appears somewhat different. He bends down to examine it, his cold fingers encountering ash. With a sharp inhale, he walks briskly toward the castle, his self-recrimination and apprehension growing. By the time he reaches his rooms, the small bit of ash in his fingers has been worried away by his thumb and fingers rubbing together in, what for Severus Snape, approximates a nervous gesture. He wonders if his bondmate is in their rooms. It takes but a simple check for the sunshine magic, and, indeed, she is home. He steels himself for a confrontation, knowing that, while he came out somewhat of a victor in the first meeting of the evening, in this one, he is a penitent. Perhaps not as much as he would be before the Dark Lord, but at least somewhat. This time, however, there is a marked difference: the contrite attitude goes straight to the core, instead of just floating on the waves. He pushes the door of his rooms open, then begins his normal 'home' routine, needing the few moments of normalcy before whatever happens next. This, too is new. And he is somewhat nervous.
His entrance is marked by a tidal wave of sunshine magic, hitting hard and washing through him from edge to core to edge again, seeking hurt or injury or ill - any sign of damage. Finding him whole - if not necessarily hale - those warm sunbeams retreat, the whole of the sun in the room locked away inside an iron box deep in his mate's mind. Physically, however, she is still present, sitting in his chair with the mahogany box for her own exquisitely expensive post-Cruciatus remedies clutched tightly in a white-knuckled grip. She holds it out toward him - on the off chance that her 'scan' is completely useless - but her eyes are on the twisting flames in the fireplace and she says not a single word. From the clench of her jaw and the slight twitch of the vein in her temple, it seems she might not be able to speak just yet.
Instead of merely unbuttoning his robe, he throws it off, exposing the dark pants and white shirt beneath. "I acted foolishly," he begins, knowing that his first words will be very important. "I acted out of fear, instead of respecting you." He sits down on the couch, though he angles his body toward her, giving her his full attention. "There is something I do not understand. For the first time since I have begun this task, I have felt out of place. Out of step." He sighs, tapping his fingers on the arm of the couch in a nervous movement. There isn't much sound, but it seems to help him keep control at the moment. "It was the strangest meeting I have attended."
When he does not take the box, Siobhan lowers it to rest on the arm of the chair. Her resolve to remain silent - to keep a lid on the white-hot fury that's been bubbling inside her core for hours - is wavering. "You took away my choice." Her voice is a low snarl, each word pronounced slowly and with absolute precision. There's a niggling sliver of her attention caught on his confusion - mostly because it's so rare a phenomenon - but the vast majority of her focus is on keeping her temper and magic under control. "Not only did you make the decision to go alone without me, but by doing so you ensured I could not follow." Obviously, she is under the impression that he took his actions under full knowledge of what they meant. Finally, she turns her head - the motion slow and measured - to stare at him with cinnamon eyes sparked with flecks of gold. "What gave you the right?"
"It was not my intention, nor was I aware of the implications of my actions. When I have been called, I have gone alone. For over fifteen years. If I had brought someone along, it was at the direct and specific order of one of my masters." Severus leans forward, the tension, stress and worry radiating from his posture. "I realized, roughly thirty seconds after I had left that I had done a most foolish thing, and angered the one person in my life that I would walk through hell for. I had no right, and I offer my apologies." He knows it will take more than simple words. He's done the mistake thing before. It's usually cost him extremely dearly. At this moment, he fears it may again. He cannot claim inexperience too much, or it loses its value. He is aware of this. However, just how inexperienced he is at this is becoming more obvious. He catches her eyes, and the inadvertent worry sloshes through like a roiling wave hitting a shore. donotleaveme-icannotloseyou-pleaseforgive Every other time in his adult life he has made a mistake this big, it has cost him the relationship or at least a good portion of the favor of the other person. This is more important than any of those.
Siobhan is angry. She has every right to be angry. She wants to be angry, but it's so hard to hold onto fury in the face of such genuine contrition. It only makes her angry with herself, as well as him. Opening her mouth to snap back, she is hit hard with that roiling wave and freezes. If she lets go of this fury, there will be nothing left to cover her fear - her sheer terror at watching the most important person in her life simply vanish beyond her reach; she could not even follow, which means she was helpless to protect. She shares that memory - his departure through her eyes - and all the soul-freezing fear, agony and fury it inspired as an accompaniment. "You're an idiot, Severus," she snaps, iron-clad control slipping through her fingers. She stands abruptly, padding over to the small cabinet and pouring herself a double shot of whiskey and downing it - then another. When she speaks again, it's with both hands braced against the wood and her head bowed between raised shoulders, voice ragged with suppressed emotion. "Don't you ever do that to me again."
Severus catches that memory, plays it inside his mind, and freezes. He closes his eyes as she stands to grab a drink. It is still very difficult to imagine someone other than Eileen feeling like this about him, and she was unable to express it as well as she could have. He sits extremely still, letting the fear for him, rather than fear of him sink deep into the waters. It makes him shake just a little bit — the love and terror she feels is nearly overwhelming in its intensity. "I am an idiot," he admits when the memory falls all the way to his core, being processed by mind and magic as it goes. "I cannot promise to completely stop being an idiot for my entire life, however, I will do my utmost to make my next idiocy fall along another line." He isn't meaning to belittle her words. There is a sincerity in his tone that no one hears, not even the Dark Lord when Severus is explaining things in his most obeisant tone. "At some point," he begins, changing the subject, though the other is still open should Siobhan need to say more, "I would like to show you the memory of the meeting and get your thoughts. I did as I said, and you are welcome at the next full gathering, two days hence. There shall need to be preparation made." He's made the first step of that preparation, but there's more to be done. "I am certain I am missing something in my assessment of the situation, but I cannot pinpoint what it is."
Two double-shots of whiskey go a long way toward helping Siobhan refrain from killing anyone. They also, however, weaken her self-control just that little bit more. Far and away beyond the point of caring about maternal sensibilities - though somewhere in the back of her mind finally beginning to understand the necessity of portrait rooms - she stalks back toward her mate, grabbing fistfuls of his hair and bending to kiss him more roughly than either of them are accustomed to. Nails and teeth and lips and tongue all seek his skin - to leave her mark in the wake of her fear. And if salt water rolls down her face while she claims his body as hers… Well, his magic is the sea, after all.
It's only an hour later, with both of them tangled in a heap of limbs and that cream-colored blanket on the rug in front of the fire, that Siobhan is in any state of mind to even consider another subject. Turning her head, she presses a soft kiss to the side of his neck, her feral side oddly smug about the fact that they look like they've been through a fight, not a shag. "What makes you think I'd see anything? If you missed it, it's probably over my head completely." Her voice is hoarse and rough, but from a different reason entirely, now.
"It was surreal," Severus responds, hands idly stroking her, the fear gone, at least for now. Her 'attack' surprised him, but he accepted it, welcomed it. His own voice is gravelly as well, and he sighs contentedly. Even as rough as they were, he is sated, and feels loved. "The Dark Lord and Lucius Malfoy were the only other attendants. Apparently, he wishes for me to ascend to Minerva's post, because I am his servant. That portion of the discussion I understood." The thought had crossed his mind as an outside possibility, but it makes sense. And he's willing to do it for the time being. "However, the second portion of the conversation included him wishing to present you in a 'public manner.' I …" His voice trails off, and his lips purse. "I realized that you would know what he meant better than I. The Dark Lord and I did not reveal your name, or even your gender, to Lucius. He seemed a little confused. I shall show you that portion of the meeting, if you wish. You may glean more from it than I can. I have picked up on much since I have joined the inner circle, but I have not understood all."
Siobhan considers all of this, fingertips tracing idle designs on his stomach while she thinks. "Did you know that my father was invited into the Order?" she ventures softly. "He declined." Obviously. "Tom sought to sway him with the other heads of the old families." She hesitates, then, chewing on her lower lip. These are quiet things, deep things, family things. It takes effort to speak of them with an outsider. It says much about her respect for him that she even tries. "All of my life, I never once heard Da say a bad word about Tom. He quietly disagreed with his methods, but never once said anything about the man himself. I remember thinking it was strange, when the done thing in polite society was to celebrate victory and smear the loser." She sighs then, lifting her hand to push her hair out of her face. "Neither Albus nor Tom ever managed to get any of my family in either camp until Jack joined the Order. Since neither his nor my involvement is well-known, I would imagine a good portion of it comes from his thinking he has succeeded where Albus failed - and wanting to display that to his following." But even that doesn't fit quite right, not for all of it. "Can you show me the memory?" Because that might fill in some of those pesky gaps.
"If you wish, I shall show you the whole thing," Severus replies, his own hands still making slow circles. "It was not a very long meeting. And you may see how the topic was broached." Of the family issues, Severus nods, knowing at least a little of this. It is rumored that the Nobles are untouchable. "Icarus joined the Order, but he was never given anything more than most. I imagine the rebuff affected Albus more than he would have liked to admit." He considers the little bits of what he knows, but it's still like watching a dance he can guess the steps of. Definitely not one he could dance well, let alone lead. "I shall show you the whole thing. If you wish, you may let me know to speed it up." He remembers her need for choices, so he offers her a more direct one. He shifts, maneuvering the two of them gently to where their eyes can meet without either one of them craning their necks. When they do, Severus lets the memory play, drawing her into it. He lets his own mental commentary play along with it, showing his confusion at points and annoyance at himself for not understanding — as well as the low hum of annoyance and guilt for the way he'd treated Siobhan before he left.
Sprawled across her husband's chest, Siobhan runs her thumb over the ridge of his collarbone, sharing in that memory and then resting her forehead against his chest while laughing quietly. "Obviously he thinks you're going to fail. For such a public failure, he could easily justify taking your life. But on the off chance that you don't…" Siobhan shakes her head, the ends of her hair trailing against his skin with every movement. "I would imagine he'd make a fair fuss if it was any of us. If the only staunchly neutral family left in Britain takes a side, it must be the winning one. However," she adds, hiding her smirk against his ribs. "You've managed to ensnare the only daughter." She says this like it explains everything - and to her it probably does - like it means something. "On the off chance that you succeed, doing it in such a public place means that he can justify setting you up as Headmaster. It would, in terms of our traditions, place you on equal footing with Lucius." 'Our' being the old British purebloods, of course.
If Severus were an anthropologist looking in at the 'old British pureblood' culture, he'd get some of the correct conclusions, but in this particular situation, he gathers the wrong one. It's only reasonable when his only samples other than Siobhan are the Black sisters and the Carrows. He isn't sure what to say, but his confusion is still clear. None of the other wives show up at meetings, though he knows most of them are strong supporters of the Dark Lord. To her first comment, Severus snorts. "That was the portion I understood. He does not believe you will appear with me. Neither of them did. Lucius doubts my ability to 'ensnare' anyone, as you saw." The rest of it, though, he still doesn't quite get it. "Does that display our connection more than we agreed?" And, the accompanying fear that goes with it: that she will be in danger because she is his wife. Whether the world knows it or not. "It is difficult for me to see you in danger." And as she did only an hour or so before, he gives her a clear picture of what it means for him to fear for her life. The heartrending terror, the frantic scrabble to do anything he can to keep her safe. "And when I do not understand something, I act with what information I know." He has two days to learn about this, at least enough to lead a dance without looking like an absolute fool. "I am still missing a large piece."
"It will display a piece of it, yes." But this doesn't seem to worry Siobhan all that much. "But I can promise you there is no safer place for me than in a room full of the old families. He said … if he is actually forming a full 'court', then he means to tap into a practice we haven't used in three hundred years." Muggle society wasn't the only one to evolve from monarchy to ministry. "And without Albus to stop him, he might actually pull it off." And the light bulb suddenly goes 'ping'. "I didn't think he had enough sanity left to coordinate something this complex." Because aside from their last meeting, most of her memories of the Dark Lord involve lots of maniacal laughter and wide-spread Cruciatus, not really the hallmarks of a forward-thinking leader. Realizing that she's probably creating more questions than she's answering, Siobhan groans and wracks her brain for an appropriate metaphor. "Have you ever noticed that the worst taboo among the old families is for one of their daughters to attach herself to a Muggle? They don't particularly want their sons doing it either, but for a daughter it's instant removal from the family lines. There's a reason for that." Struggling with abstract explanations, Siobhan eventually gives in and shifts her gaze to lock with his again, sharing memory after memory. The flip of pages as a young Siobhan poured through the Blood books, looking for some evidence that she wasn't broken for being the only snake. So very, very many of the names in those books were male. Only a select few were women and none of those listed ever died unwed. A shift of hazy golden smoke moves to the view of a room full of shouting, arguing men as seen through a small crack, watching the entire collection of males straighten up and part ways for a beautifully pregnant Narcissa Malfoy, who appears to the three-year old Siobhan as the most elegant lady who ever lived, even when she opens the cupboard doors and leads the child out by a hand. Another wash of smoke and the memory of her cousin's wedding lights her mind, the scene tainted by quiet wonder while the pretty blonde girl followed the ancient ritual that would align all she is and has behind her husband, who in return swore to guide and provide and protect. One final swirl and her grandmother - her father's mother who used to bring her all the way to China to watch the sky light on fire - quietly braids and twists her hair for her first ever dinner party, telling stories about Boudicca and Andraste, ancestors up the Noble line who served as some of native Britain's last and greatest generals and queens - their brilliant minds and wicked strategy and political prowess and powerful magic - and the legacy those women passed down to those who are born to the Noble line, like her and like her gran. "I didn't understand at the time," Siobhan murmurs quietly. "But there were reasons, sometimes, for cousins to marry. There's too much Roman in us now to ever have a world without men at the head, but the old ones never forget where the source of their power is."
"It is an unfamiliar mindset." Severus admits, attempting to parse through the ideas that are shown through her memories. "You carry a power because of who you are as a highborn woman." He struggles to internalize the idea. "I cannot immediately see all the ways that influences everything, but …" His assurances seem to need to come mentally rather than verbally. I trust you. I love you. You know. Now, he really feels sheepish. "So, even if it had been a full meeting, the men would have parted much like the men arguing in your memory. Your power is more close-held, but when wielded…" His fingers subconsciously rub together as though he's still got small bits of ash between them. "The world may burn." Then another thought strikes him, and he wonders aloud, "And I am your equal?" By that understanding, by that admission, it raises his self-awareness — and slowly, maybe his self-esteem — to a higher level. "I trust that you are correct…" It's just a very huge thing for him to understand. As to Tom's sanity, Severus shrugs his unoccupied shoulder. "I do not know what has affected the Dark Lord. However, it is clear that something has indeed affected him. Because it has led to a more sane man less focused on the inane machinations of an arrogant child and more upon the general state of the world." It may have lasting consequences for them in the long run, but it definitely gives him a hell of a lot more room to work.
Siobhan beams. "Yes, it's remarkably like our magic. I'm the raw power, but you're the control that guides it. It's not just a 'you and me' thing, though ours is the most … unique application of the theory I've ever heard of." Leaning up to kiss him softly, she nods. "I wasn't kidding when I said Shadow could have handed Albus his victory by taking me. There is nothing more sacred to the old families as a powerful, pure-blooded daughter. Next time you get a chance, watch how Lord Malfoy interacts with the Weasleys. He'll poke and push and prod and bait Arthur to no end, but he never actually says anything to Molly. He's not exactly friendly, but he is perfectly polite." A waste of a good woman, to some minds. Nuzzling into his neck with open affection, she makes a muffled sound of agreement. "Mmhmm, my equal. It means I saw something in you great enough for me to choose to give my power to you." Culturally speaking, anyway. "It's why I couldn't follow you tonight. If I had arrived on your arm, it would have secured us both. If I arrived alone, defying you, I would have secured only my own place, because then I obviously would have had no faith in your guidance and control." Culturally speaking. "If his entire following sees that you have the inherent greatness to conquer the only daughter of the last neutral house - that she willingly follows and supports you - no one would dare question his decision to appoint you Headmaster." Or, really, anything else he damn well decided to appoint him. "Maybe it has something to do with wherever Albus sent Harry." The whole 'saner lately' thing.
"We are a microcosm, a metaphor for the whole culture." Severus can see that. He hums happily at her nuzzles, turning his head to kiss her temple with simple affection. "I will attempt to live up to the high ideal." He sees her as a Grand Lady, someone who walks through these circles with an impervious on her skin. Not controlling the situation from on high, but making appropriate comments in the right ears, laughing and smiling at one person, frowning and walking away from another. He may be common-born and -raised, but he is still British, and the respect the nobility garners is still a part of his makeup. Now that she's cleared it up, he understands much more clearly. It's his elevation in the process that floors him now. Teasingly, he shifts them both, and kisses her tenderly, slowly, before smirking and speaking dryly. "Milady." He chuckles, and accepts her words for now. It's very difficult not to, when he has seen the truth of them in her mind. When she mentions his appointment to Headmaster, he expresses his frustration. "I am uncertain of the position. I will take it, because it is clearly a means by which I can be of more influence and affect more, however, I do not know how well I will do with the minutiae. I recall that I compelled your assistance in dealing with some of the more … difficult aspects of the role I currently have." These including such things as crying firsties, homesick lower forms, and the needs of the female Snake population. "I may require such assistance again, if you are willing." He has much more confidence that she may help with this situation, however, he has learned his lesson (at least for a while), and will be sure to ask for her input. "That is definitely one factor. Albus himself not being around to stir things up may be another. Another factor may be one that you have mentioned, though it may be more for future than past. Having a lady such as yourself nearby may curb his outer manner, even if he regains his more feral nature." Another slow kiss, this time, conveying a little more of the passion and pleasure he finds in her.
Siobhan couldn't define a 'microcosm' if someone held a wand to her head, but she is amused by his dry 'milady' and touched somewhere deep in her core by his simple and easy displays of affection. Even here in the privacy of their den, she is used to a certain reservedness from her mate. The change makes her heart leap in her chest - in a silly, completely girl-ish reaction. The leap is followed by an odd kind of burning, the physical manifestation of the strong emotions he stirs and wakens in her. The kisses give her an outlet for some of it, but she is still left with the novel sensation of heat that wasn't born from baser desires. "Don't be silly, Sev. You already live up to it. That's the whole point." His frustration she soothes with gentle fingers along his neck, shoulders and chest, but she does recognize the validity of the concern. "I think you'll be surprised how much of that ends up routed to Minerva, regardless. Most of the other Houses - at least the ones not related to me or in Moody's Army - don't very much like or trust you. It would take a lot for one of them to bring their concerns to you instead of to her. That being said," she adds, enjoying the interruption a slow and deeply passionate kiss can provide. "If there's anything you need from me, you know you only have to ask." It's a role she's played for years and - with the snakes at least - one she has no trouble continuing. "If Tom's serious about forming a full court, I won't be the only wife present. At the very least, Lady Narcissa will be there. An old court requires at least two - three if they're not particularly powerful."
Severus continues to kiss her off and on. The concept of how deep this relationship runs is finally circulating through down to the ocean floor, and he is glad of that. Partially because of who he now knows her to be, and partially because they've disagreed and come through as strong or stronger than they were before, he can let himself be a little more, relax a little more in her presence. He taps out a slow rhythm on her skin, thinking as she explains a little more of what is really going on. "Parallax alters one's perceptions." His point of view is changing rapidly, and he is glad that it's for the better. "I am glad. I shall work with Minerva to figure out a way in which she can have the influence she needs. I do not mind being a figurehead, in this instance." He snorts. "I can always pass it off as allowing those less than me to do all the work I consider beneath myself." That'll go over really well with some of the inner circle. It will depend on the Dark Lord's mood, though. "A full court?" Severus is intrigued, and runs through the memory of the meeting in his mind again. "As in a monarch's court?" That has a million connotations he cannot begin to parse at the moment. "You will be the most powerful and regal lady there." He's not biased, nope. Not a bit.
Mouthing 'parallax' to herself with an incredulous expression on her face, Siobhan shakes her head and makes a mental note to add that to her List of Things to Look Up Later. Like vespertillian. The slow rhythm tapped out on her skin is soothing, however, drawing her back to focus on her mate and the subject at hand. "Please," she begins dryly. "Please, for the love of little green dragons, let me be there when you explain that to Minerva." Because she'll have booze and popcorn all ready to go. "Mhmm, exactly like. You didn't think we'd had a Ministry forever, did you? Much as no one wants to admit it, we're not that far ahead of the Muggles. We can, in fact, be much slower to accept sweeping changes like that." Reaching down to tug the edge of the blanket up to cover her shoulder against the evening chill, Siobhan finds herself once again in the role of teacher. It's an odd feeling. "There are old laws - old magic - pertaining to the throne of Britain. Unlike the shifting Muggle reigns, these laws date back to the time of the Roman invasion. I'm sure Brennan's written a book somewhere about the anthropomorphic doozits and cultural implications of the rites and ceremony, but these laws have been passed down through generations of the old families." Pausing a moment, she hesitates, casting a wary look at her mate. "I told you once that even though Liam is the heir, we were all raised to rule." There's another pause as she watches his face for reaction. "I wasn't entirely honest about just how literally I meant it. All children from the old families are - from the time they reach school age. Every one of us has a responsibility to make sure that if the situation is ever dire enough to invoke the rite, that whoever takes the crown is fully prepared." They want no uneducated monarchs.
"Point of view." The definition of the word slips out of Severus' mouth as he sees her mouth the word. Perhaps that spoils her fun of looking it up, but he's relaxed enough that he's willing to give her this one. "You love little green dragons?" He chuckles and kisses her again, then smiles. "I am certain I would not phrase it like that, but I would explain that it might seem that I was disparaging her to protect us. I believe she would understand it. If not, we will come to a suitable compromise. However, if you wish to be a part of that conversation, I would not mind at all." The reverse is actually true. He wants her there. "I remember hearing the discussions of the same, however, I had not considered the Dark Lord setting himself up in such a manner. It would definitely be a draw for many." He sighs, the thoughts spinning out in his mind. "I do not know if he would be physically capable of bearing an heir since his resurrection, so he would have to name one." In the current circumstances, Severus can see Lucius taking that role. "If the man continues to remain calmer and more rational, I could see this happening. However, if he returns to his…" crazy-ass self "former state, he will never accomplish it." He would be too focused on getting Potter and 'defeating the light', instead of doing positive things that sway people to his way of thinking. "I may have to have a long talk with my mother's portrait…" For more than one reason now. "I believe she needs to have told me if the Princes had such traditions. I imagine they did." He is feeling the lack of education extremely strongly at the moment, and it bothers him, because if he knew, he could navigate these waters much more easily. He returns to kissing her, pushing aside the annoyance and frustration at just Not Knowing about this. It is enough that he has a resource who is excellent at this particular game. As he pulls back, he shifts to bury his head in her shoulder. There is a quiet comfort found there, and he avails himself of it.
Siobhan pulls a face, sticking her tongue out at Severus for the ease with which he just pulls these ideas out of his head and defines them like it's as easy as breathing. "I actually do quite like them, yes, but that's not the point." She laughs. "It's just a phrase my gran used to use with my mum - they butted heads a lot." Her elegant and reserved gran versus her brash and … modern mother often made for a war zone. "Then I'll be there." Partially because of the entertainment value, but also because she takes her role very seriously. She did not give her affections nor her allegiance lightly - she will support him in this as in all things. "Oh sweet Circe, Sev. Ew. Really?" She cringes, gagging just a little. "Whether the old viper can get his rocks off or not is so not a train of thought I want to follow." Cause, man, genius and powerful wizard he might be, but just … ew. The reality of naming an heir, however, makes her wicked 'general population should Fear about now' grin spread across her face. "Yes, he will have to name one." She lets that settle in the air between them for a moment, punctuated only by a raised brow. "Now you see why I couldn't follow." It's just one facet of a more complex issue, but it illustrates the point. Her husband is a smart man, he can figure out her implication - and all the rest of it. Her entire expression softens when he speaks of his mother. "I would imagine she was afraid you'd be in more danger if you knew, my love." Although, speaking of that portrait, there's a distinct paling of her face as she glances up toward that frame. Please be gone, please be gone, please be gone… Whether Eileen is there or not, Siobhan is distracted by her mate's kisses and when he buries his face in her neck, she rolls them to let her lay on her back, cradling his head and shoulders against her.
Though it's a bit of a role reversal for them, Severus is extremely comfortable here. He lays curled against her, chuckling quietly at the idea of two powerful women fussing mightily at each other. "Thank you," he replies to her assertion of presence in his meeting. Her comment on Tom reproducing gets a sharp bark of laughter, and a shuddering frame. He really doesn't want to think about that either. "I am beginning to understand, and again, I apologize for my stupidity." He smirks into her neck, kissing her gently there. The thought of Eileen protecting him makes him groan. "I apparently come by the failing honestly, then." Because they both know he does the same thing. "I am comfortable enough to rest here." Especially if she's right here with him. The rug gives enough 'cushion', whether naturally or magically, that he won't have any complaints come morning. He kisses her one last time on her collarbone, and shifts just enough to rest there, the two of them entangled together.
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