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Fantasy I Was Fine Until You

As long as Gaheris asked nicely then no it probably wouldn’t hurt but Gaheris wasn’t exactly a fan of being shot down and least of all by Ruth again of all people. He’d faced enough rejection by her already. Gavin seemed eager for them to get on though so he nodded His head. “Alright” he conceded, he’d ask her later. It was a good thing that Gavin didn’t mention Gaheris’ blush, his recovering mood might’ve turned sour snd ruined him for the night. As it was he was starting to mellow back out, the glasses of wine had likely helped relax him a bit. Treat her well almost made him wince but he just nodded again.

Oh so Lance’s plan of no one knowing he was attending had worked then, just not obviously the second part where he’d hoped to stay anonymous. Ruth was soon bringing up Gavin, straight to the point as ever, Ruth never seemed to be a big fan of subtlety. Lance kept the panic off his face and made sure not to tense too much. Could he get away with pretending not to know that had been Gavin? “Gavin? I don’t know what you’re talking about…” Lance said, going for a frown that was mostly hidden by his mask. Except Gaheris had come storming up to them and he didn’t approach just anybody that way, plus Gavin had talked about being his big sister. He made a thoughtful hum as he decided yeah that was a bad move, made it look even more suspicious. “Hmm, that’s not going to work is it?” Lance murmured before signing because the jig was up. “Okay yes, me and Gavin were enjoying each other’s company” he admitted, crossing his arms over his chest a bit defensively. Except it looked like they’d been doing a bit more than that.

”what about it Ruth?” He questioned, he knew she was curious and it was out in the open but he was still being difficult. As much as he’d love to talk about it, he couldn’t help but feel defensive of his decisions, of how he was going to be judged for being with her in that way. Ruth was his friend, he didn’t want her thinking he’d gone crazy. “We’re both adults, we can do what we want” yeah that was the problem, it was more then meant to hate each other and Gavin wanting to kill him.
Ruth raised her eyebrow at Lance's words, Yep, She could tell he was lying. Even had he not seen Gaheris approaching. Ruth figured he'd know the person he was dancing so closely with. Lance was quickly giving up on the lie. Ruth hadn't even needed to say anything! He then was explaining things. Sorta. Though Ruth felt even more confused. They were both adults? Ruth then said. "Didn't she kidnap your dad? " She suddenly asked. What? She'd been living with Agravain and Caleb, Of course she'd eventually picked up on that little tidbit. It felt like a important thing to point out. Oh, Ruth was so judging Lance right now.

Ruth then looked towards the young woman, She was dancing with Gaheris. Smiling and Ruth would be the first to admit, Gavin was beautiful. But she was also kinda crazy. Did Lance not realize that? No, He had to. Maybe he was crazy too? That seemed likely enough. Ruth then said. "I'm not trying to judge you Lance. But..... Have you tried not thinking with your d*ck? " Her words were rather harsh. But she thought it needed to be said. Surely that was the only reason he was into Gavin.

It was a good thing no one seemed to be paying attention to them yet. They might ask questions about there conversation. But Ruth did not seem eager to go off and tell any one.. Yet. Who would she tell anyway? Gaheris and Agravain would probably try to strangle Lance. Caleb maybe? She might be able to talk some sense into Lance. But she wasn't here and Ruth wasn't going to leave the party to go seek her out. Maybe she'd talk to her later.
Ruth was judging him because of course she was, his decision was crazy and made no sense except for the fact that he was drawn to her like a magnet. There was so much chemistry there that felt impossible to explain but was irresistible. Oh so she knew about that? Lance paused for only a second before nodding his head. Yeah Gavin had kidnapped his father but to be fair she hadn’t killed! No, just other people and then eaten them. Yeah he wasn’t sure if Ruth knew about that although she’d probably heard whispered about it even if no one had said anything to her directly.

Again Ruth’s lack of subtlety was showing and her crude statement made him gape a little. He should’ve expected it though, Ruth had had a foul mouth before she’d even met the knights and she always Spoke her mind, it just felt weird to be talked to like that in such a setting. “Well that’s rude” he muttered, shifting his crossed arms a little. “It’s not like that anyway” he insisted. “We’re not sleeping together” He did not need her gossiping about this but at least if she did he wanted the Facts to be right. “It just happened” he said which wasn’t really an explanation but what else could describe it?

”I don’t know Ruth, we were just arguing one day and Then we were kissing, and then it happened again and then again and it didn’t stop happening” he said. “Look I know you think I’m being stupid and I’m not saying you‘re wrong but I do really care about her, however crazy that might be, I’m crazy about her.” He confessed, his arms loosening s little before dropping to his sides, being open with his friend. “You cannot repeat this“ he warned. “For obvious reasons we’re trying to keep it on the down low. I don’t want Agravain or Gaheris catching wind of this” They hated Lance, they didn’t need to turn on Gavin too. ”and no telling Caleb either” he added firmly with a pointed look, he figured if Ruth was going to talk to anyone that’d be her. “Not only would she give me an earful but she might let something slip to Agravain“ not necessarily on purpose but Agravain could read his wife and might question if she was acting weird around Gavin.
Lance seemed shocked by Ruth's language. One would think he'd be used to it by now. She tilted her head in confusion. So they hadn't been sleeping together? The man seemed honest on that and Ruth was willing to believe him. But it just made things more confusing to Ruth. It also seemed this had been going on for a while judging by Lance's explanation. He also did not want anyone to know, And Ruth was already opening her mouth to argue. But then he mentioned not wanting even Caleb to know and thus she closed it. Nose wrinkling in thought as she stared at Lance.

Finally Ruth sighed and said. "Fine, I won't tell anyone. Just know, I think your an idiot. " She informed. Because it felt like it needed to be said. This was such a bad idea. How did he expect no one to find out when they were in public? The thought almost made her roll her eyes. But she'd keep his secret for now. Lance might have been dumb, But he was also skilled. If Gavin tried anything he'd probable be able to handle himself. Ruth then said. "You know Gaheris isn't going to let you get near her again. " The man would likely be on alert now. Would probable keep a eye on Gavin.

Ruth then huffed. "I can keep him distracted. " In the end, Lance was her friend. If he needed her to keep Gaheris out of there way. She'd do it. It shouldn't be too hard. She could probably get him talking about himself and that would be enough. He'd also been drinking a bit tonight which could also help. Ruth then said. "Just promise me you'll be careful? " She didn't want Lance to get hurt!
“yeah yeah I know” Lance sighed, he was sure he’d be hearing more about how stupid he was from Ruth later. Maybe she was right but it wasn’t going to stop Him from seeing Gavin. Ruth was right though, Gaheris would be watching him now and not letting him get too near Gavin and he didn’t want to get into a fight with Gaheris tonight. He didn’t think Gavin would appreciate him punching her little brother And we’ll it would certainly make a scene which wasn’t really what they wanted.

Ruth was offering to help out though and he looked at her curiously to see if she was serious. She thought it was stupid and likely didn’t agree with the relationship but was willing to help out and let Lance see his lady love. He smiled at her in appreciation. “You’re a good friend“ he told her. “You be careful too” He didn’t want her putting herself in danger with Gaheris for his sake. “Thank you, but if You feel uncomfortable with him then don’t worry about him, just get out of there” he instructed seriously.

They had to put the plan in action but for that they had to get Gaheris away from Gavin and currently they were dancing. “I know you disagree with it” he started, “but you can’t say anything to me that I’ve not already thought myself. I thought She was going to stab me the first few times but ….she didn’t. There’s some trust there even if it seems unlikely” he didn’t want Ruth worrying about him too much. “She’s sweet really, but I’m sure you know that. I don’t reckon you went dress shopping by yourself” no he reckoned that Ruth had been exposed to the nicer side of Gavin already.
Lance was soon enough thanking her, Saying she was a good friend. Something that caused Ruth to wave her hand dismissively. Musing. "I know, I know. " But Lance was also a bit worried for her. Gaheris could be dangerous had proven that before. But Ruth then said softly. "Don't worry, I'll stay in public with him so nothing will happen. " Gaheris wouldn't be able to hurt her with a group of people around. Or well... It would be a lot more difficult for him to harm her. Besides, He seemed to be behaving well so far. Hopefully such would remain the same.

Ruth listened to Lance, It seemed he did realize how dumb he was being. So atleast he was self aware. He seemed to think Gavin sweet and Ruth would admit, When they'd gone dress shopping the woman had displayed genuine concern for her. Had been nice. So Ruth could relent a bit on that point. She then told Lance. "I... Suppose, But even if she's sweet. You know this probable aint going to go to far? Her brothers would kill you. " Ruth knew all the siblings seemed to hate Lance. Agravain was practically just looking for a excuse to strangle him! It wasn't as though Lance could one day get married to Gavin or something!

Ruth then noticed Gavin and Gaheris's dance was starting to slow. She'd need to step in to distract soon. But for now. Ruth lingered near Lance. Curiously asking. "So... How long has this been going on for?" It couldn't be that long! Gavin's husband had only recently passed. Though maybe they'd been seeing eachother longer. Ruth still found it odd how quickly Gavin had seemingly moved on. But she supposed maybe she was simply seeking comfort.
Gaheris should behave in public and he probably didn’t want to show his sister up, plus considering this was an event for the king? Gaheris would not want to be bringing down the family name. “Her brothers want to kill me anyway” Lance pointed out, what was one more reason to add to the pile but yes it was crossing a line and would renew their anger at him, plus it would change her relationship with her brothers even more. ”you worried I can’t defend myself?” Lance asked. Ruth had seen him spar, she’d seen how capable he was, except of course the other day when she’d punched him in the throat and Melodias had scolded him, she’d also never seen him fight Agravain so she may just be assuming that Lance would struggle as much as a regular person would against him. But her brothers didn’t know for now and they planned to keep it that way for at least a while.

”ah….” Lance and Gavin had gotten Together way sooner than Ruth was going To approve of, she already thought it was ill advised but she didn’t even know the timescale yet. Lance figured there was no point hiding it from her though, he was sort of glad he could talk to someone about it even if she was judging him. “You remember when she first came round after we got back? To check on Gareth?” He didn’t imagine Ruth had spoken much to Gavin at the time since she’d mainly been there to check on her brothers but she would’ve heard the ruckus and likely run into her at some point. “Yeah we’d already kissed by then. We went on a date the next day” so yeah not long after he’d gotten back really. Oh yeah he so did not want Caleb to find out because she would be doubting he had a brain in his head.

”Im sure you’ve heard people gossip about my love life” he murmured, the rumours of him and Caleb, the truth of him and other women, how he fell quickly and often not that she’d have witnessed it much on their journey. “I know I don’t exactly wait around but i can’t help it. My father probably wouldn’t speak to me if he found out, hell I moved to Caleb’s in order to be safer from her but this is real, I’m telling you. I don’t know where it might go, where it could go but I’m excited to find out” yeah he’d like to know what came next for them. In the immediate future hopefully it was another dance because Gavin and Gaheris were separating which meant Gaheris was looking for Ruth and there'd be a lot of questions about who Lance was if he saw them together.
Ruth raised her eyebrow at Lance's question. "Have you seen how huge Agravain is? " The man was massive, Lance might have been a good fighter. But Agravain was practically a giant. Surely he'd throw him around! It would at the very least be a tough fight. Lance then was explaining how long things had been going on. And oh. They were even going on dates! This so wasn't good. Lance seemed to be smitten and Ruth very much did not approve. Sighing though. She then said. "You're flirting with danger. " She warned. Before shaking her head, Sadly her time with Lance was running short. She could see Gaheris, He was searching for her. And thus she soon enough said. "I'm going to go see to Gaheris, Be safe Lance. " With that she set off.

Slipping along, It wasn't long before she was waving towards Gaheris as to get his attention. Hopping to his side, She wasted no time. Reaching forward to take his hand and saying excitably. "My turn next, Yes? You'll dance with me, Right? " A large smile on her face. Hopefully dragging him into a dance would be enough to separate him and Gavin. The woman stood near her brother. Amusement on her face at Ruth's words. No doubt finding such adorable. She thought the two were cute together after all!

Gavin then was encouraging. "You two go on, Have fun. I'm going to get a glass of wine. " She explained easily. already turning to leave the two behind. Gaheris might not like Gavin leaving. But Ruth didn't plan to let him wiggle away so easily. For she was soon saying. "I didn't realize you were so good at dancing. I haven't danced before- So I hope you won't get upset if I accidentally step on your toes. " Gaheris always seemed to like it when someone stroked his ego. Would probably like getting his dancing complimented she figured.
It was sort of impossible to miss how big Agravain was but Lance could handle himself and didn’t plan for Agravain to be his downfall. She was right about him flirting with danger and he bit back a comment saying thats what he liked to do. Gavin was not the only dangerous woman he’d dated and just by the nature of his job he flirted with danger, this wasn’t exactly unusual for him but it was more the personal nature of her crimes, the fact that they should hate each other.

Lance watched Ruth leave and approach Gaheris. She was quick to snap him up for a dance, the boy frowning at the eagerness she was showing. Why was she smiling so wide at him? That was unusual, maybe the night and the alcohol had gotten to her? And Gavin was pushing them to dance and he’d already promised her he’d ask Ruth so he guessed this counted. Ruth was complimenting him and maybe he did feel a bit of pride work it’s way in but he was still confused at her behaviour towards him. She could often be nice although that came out the most when he was upset and she tried to comfort him. “Are you feeling alright?” Gaheris asked with a frown.

Gaheris was ready to take her dancing around the floor but it seemed the king had an announcement first judging by the way the music lowered. The room fell into hushed silence as Alexander thanked people for coming, said a few pleased words about Malia and his new heir before he dropped the next bit of news: Caroline’s pregnancy. The party was almost instantly abuzz with chatter on the subject, the music started back up and Gaheris went to guide Ruth along in a dance. Lance on the other hand had been making his way towards Gavin, wanting to intercept her and get back to having some time together. As he neared however the announcement had dropped and As Alexander mentioned Caroline, so did his stomach. All the stress and fear and worry that he’d managed to stave off until this point came rushing back and he found himself freezing for s bit, muscles tensing before he forced them back into action. He refused to be immobilised by it, but it did also make him feel guilty, the reminder of Caroline when he was here with Gavin. He didn’t know if he felt guilty that he was still pining over Caroline as much as he tried otherwise or if he was guilty that he was trying to move on from Caroline. Gavin would likely notice his change his attitude but maybe she’d put it down as nerves after almost getting caught by Gaheris?
It seemed Gaheris was a bit smarter then Ruth gave him credit for. For he could tell something was off. But she soon was excusing. "I'm just excited! " She explained easily enough. But it seemed there dance would need to be put on hold. Ruth paused as the music died down. It seemed the king had a announcement. A heir, many would be pleased no doubt, Though no one was likely as effected as Lance.
By the time the announcement was over, Gavin had gotten herself a small glass of wine. Standing on the side lines and spending a moment observing Gaheris and Ruth as they began to dance. She wanted to make sure Gaheris played nice after all! But her thoughts were soon interrupted when she spotted Lance approaching.

It was hard not to feel her cheeks heat up at the sight of him. Lance was handsome, Well built. It was hard not to be charmed by him and Gavin feared she might be staring. So drew her gaze away as he approached. Smiling. "Im glad to see Gaheris didn't scare you off. " Except there was something a bit different now. A tension in his posture maybe? For the moment Gavin assumed he was simply worried of being caught. Who knows what Antonio would say to them if they were found out. Would Antonio ever speak to Lance again? She could understand Lance's worry. Her own brothers... Oh, What would they do?

Carefully Gavin reached forward to touch Lance's arm. Expression gentle. "Its okay if you want to draw the night to a close. One dance was nice enough. " She told. Though she didn't much like her own words. No... She wanted to be near him more. But there would be other nights they could slip away to see each other. This ball was a rather risky thing after all.
Out of all her brothers, Gaheris was not the one that people would expect to scare Lance off, except Gaheris did have some rather delicate information about him, about Caroline and at least for now he hadn’t made the connection between that and Caroline pregnancy. Given time though he might which would only spell more trouble for Lance. It was just another reason that Lance did not want Gavin’s brothers to know he was seeing her, as much as he’d love to hold her hand in public and kiss her for all to see.

They had tonight though, a public event with hidden faces. Gavin seemed to have sensed his anxiety though, reassuring him that they didn’t have to push their luck any more, but her worry was misplaced, the reason for his distress misdiagnosed. He shook his head, centred by her touch. “No…I…” he pushed a smile onto his face. “I’ll take as long as this night will give us. I’d love to dance with you some more“ He wasn’t sure how much of a chance they’d get though, Ruth might struggle to distract Gaheris the whole night.

”don’t say youre sick of me already” he murmured. “I got all nice and dressed up, even found a babysitter” he’d put a bit of preparation into the night although she had done the same. He wondered who was looking after Gabriel for her, he was guessing not Agravain likely just a servant then. It was killing Lance though to be this close to her without touching her too much, normally they were scrambling to kiss each other, always letting their hands linger a little longer than needed. So, Lance reached out an arm to put around her. “You know, I’d love to kiss you in front of all these people” he admitted, voice low, he wasn’t just going to go for it, he didn’t want to cause a scene without her permission. They might not even be noticed, too much chatter going on elsewhere about the new heir but let’s face it, at least one person would see and then there’d be gossip.
It seemed Lance was not so eager to leave. Something that brought a soft smile to Gavin's face. She didn't want him to go. Gavin then said softly. "I don't think I could become sick of you. " She expressed. Though then Lance was putting his arm around her. The action pulling her a bit closer. His words causing her face to once more turn red. Kissing was... Risky. If anyone recognized them it would be difficult to explain. People might ask questions over who Gavin was kissing. Rumors might spread. But... Maybe it was safe? Gavin did not see anyone looking in there direction. Most were lot in there own conversations or dances. Or if not they were more focused on the king. Maybe it was safe enough.

Gavin's face felt hot and she was a bit hesitant, Before murmuring quietly. "One kiss would not hurt I suppose... " And oh, The idea was a bit embarrassing. It wasn't just the idea of getting caught. But the idea of being so affectionate in public. Her and her husband had never behaved in such a way. It seemed a bit unlady like. But, still, After a moment Gavin began moving. Aiming to lead Lance towards a corner which seemed a bit quieter. Hopeful less eyes would be around to watch them.

Things would be fine, Gavin then murmured quietly. "Hopefully no one will look over here. If they do they probably won't recognize us. " She reasoned with herself. Her words were true enough. No one besides Ruth knew Lance was here. And many might not be able to recognize Gavin, Atleast not on first glance. As long as neither Gaheris or the king saw them. They would probable remain unidentified.
It was reassuring to hear those words, to know she wanted him around for the Foreseeable future and that she was not boring of him, her words made him feel warm and her blush made him suspect she felt the same. She was even agreeing to a kiss which was actually a surprise as much as he’d wanted kne he hadn’t fully expected her to agree, they were normally quite cautious but maybe it was killing her as much as it was him to be so close but not quite close enough.

He followed her to the corner, hopefully away from prying eyes although they weren’t completely hidden. Gaheris was being distracted so Lance figured his eyes wouldn’t stray to them but he hadn’t even considered the king. Alexander likely knew his niece was attending the party and may be able to pick her out. Would he care to see her canoodling with someone though? He wasn’t protective in the same way as Gaheris, he may care to Inquire the next day but it was possible he’d just be happy for her, to see her recovering from her husband’s death. Except, the king could very well identify Lance as well, a prominent knight that he saw often, was friends with his son? He could Probably spot him better than he could Gavin! Alexander wasn’t so much a gossiper but it would intrigue him to see the two together. A lot of people at the ball would not be frequent visitors to the palace or at least not acquaintances of the knights, some would have travelled here for the occasion, the birth of a new heir was almost as exciting as a royal marriage. Lance was not worried about an out of towner spotting him but maybe he should’ve given more thought to Alexander. Still, the king should be busy, a lot of people would want to talk to him and congratulate him.

Once they were in a more secluded area Lance moved closer to her, his hand slipping up her neck to cup her cheek, touch gentle as he looked at her in wonder. “I’m so lucky I get to be with you” he whispered. The odds they’d overcome to be together, the amount of men who would be jealous of Lance’s position with her if they knew, it was all so incredible. He leaned in slowly and went to kiss her sensually, a,ing sure to take his time so He could really savour it. If he was only allowed one kiss then he wanted it to last as long as possible. Lance had still been thinking of Caroline, his relationship with Gavin almost a stranger mirror of it, having to hide, stealing kisses when all he’d wanted is to show off his wonderful girl but as lips touched Gavin’s he found himself lost in the moment of now, she was his whole world whilst he was kissing her. Maybe Caroline would pop right back in as soon as it Stopped but whilst he was kissing her she was all he could think about.

(I feel like it’d be quite funny in the king noticed them and just brought it up to Gavin the next day or something that she’d seemed to be enjoying herself)
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(Lmao, Yes. I agree. Gavin's just gonna feel so awkward. I could imagine the king also just wanting to double check and make sure this aint some plan to eventually stab Lance. And quickly realizing its not when Gavin gets really flustered about it. )

Gavin found herself looking up towards Lance, The hand on her cheek was nice and she leaned into the touch. Though soon Lance was leaning in to properly kiss her. Something Gavin gently returned. It was strange, There relationship. Going from hatred to feeling lucky to have the other? No matter how much Gavin tried to regain that fire of anger towards Lance. She just couldn't. Maybe she wasn't ready to say she forgave him yet, That he was not at fault... But it was a thought hard to be rid of.

Lance always seemed to take things a bit slow with her. Had not asked questions, But seemed to understand somewhat, And for that Gavin was grateful. He was sweet. Thus Gavin enjoyed the kiss for a time. Eventually it had to be broken though. She pulled away slightly. The two had yet to be interrupted. Though Gavin knew they only had so much time together, She should probably go and socialize with the nobles. Greet the king. But the night was long. Surely she could get to such things later. Why did Lance have to be so pretty to look at? And was she staring, She was sure she was staring.

Suddenly she once more became aware of how hot her face felt. Soon pressing her forehead against Lance's shoulder as a small attempt to hide such. She then murmured. "You uh- You're uh... " She had had words she wanted to say. But her mind was drawing a blank. Curse that man for getting her tongue tied again. She then found herself fumbling. "You're very handsome. " And that felt even more awkward to say allowed.
(Aww, Gavin’s cute. I think Alexander will be a bit happy for them that she’s not so lonely after her husband’s death and that she Won’t be too much of threat to Lance’s family any more)

The kiss was warm and sweet, it felt extra special in a room buzzing with noise, the chatter fading away as he focused only on her. There was something different about kissing her alone in the dark and kissing her here with a crowd, both were wonderful experiences but there was something giddy about not having to hide. When he finally pulled away it was reluctant and lingering, eager to get as much out of it as he could. He wished he could’ve done that with Caroline. Oh….there she was again and he had to fight his body tensing, trying to stay in the moment with Gavin.

He laughed as she couldn’t find her words and ended up settling on what Lance doubted had been her original intentions. “I know” he said, like the pretentious git he was but his smile was endearing and he wrapped an arm around her waist to keep her close, relishing the way she buried her head against him. “You’re cute when you can’t find your words” he replied, grinning, not that she could see from her position but he was sure she could hear it in his voice. He pressed a kiss to her hair and rested his cheek against the top of her head, swaying her slightly to the music still drifting across the room, quieter now they were in a corner and not on the dance floor.

”you’re fun to get flustered” he admitted. ”you with your big brain and fancy Words, your complicated schemes and five-steps-ahead thinking” He murmured, she was so bright it was blinding, so much going on in her brain. “It Makes me feel special knowing I can disrupt the cogs in your mind” She was like a well oiled machine most times, did what needed to be done, ruthless in certain senses when required and bold with her suggestions, she wasn’t easily intimated either he would say but he could make her falter, make the ticking in her brain stop for a second and upset her rhythm like he was something she hadn’t accounted for and he guess that was true. He figured maybe it was a result of engaging her heart more than her brain and that made him feel all warm inside.

That was one way he’d say she was quite different from Caroline. There were quite a few comparisons to be made in their relationships, the sneaking around, the disapproval they’d get, the way he’d got wrapped up so quickly and the fact that in both the relationships he was definitely the most experienced compared to the two basically inexperienced women. His relationship with Caroline had been a lot more physical though and he would describe Caroline as being more in touch with her emotions, not to say she wasn’t a bright girl but she wasn’t in the same way as Gavin who was starkly more cold in every day life and the way she presented herself when not around her daughter. Lance could not trip Caroline up in quite the same way as Gavin, maybe he could make her flustered, make her blush but she was always quite quick to recover, eager to come across as bold and confident when in his presence, Caroline had very much used her heart over her brain whereas Gavin seemed almost the opposite, new to experiencing these sort of things. Funny how both girls had been led to Lance either way. But the comparison again had brought him back to Caroline and his egregious mistakes. He’d been shockingly stupid to ever think about hooking up with a princess, even more so to make it a repeated Experience. This time he couldn’t hide the tension suddenly in his muscles and The way his arm around her tightly stiffly. He caught a snippet of conversation, two women wondering about the pregnancy, one asking “do you think the baby’s have Arthur’s curls?” And Lance squeezed his eyes shut Which didn’t really work on drowning it out, just conjured up an image of a baby that looked too much like him to be passed off as Arthur’s. There was nothing he’d be able to do about that except hope it didn’t happen, hope that this child was Either Arthur’s or if not at least looked enough like Caroline that a comparison to A father could not be made. Babies all looked the same anyway right? He wouldn’t really know, he’d never seen Galahad as a baby and now, if This child was his it wouldn’t really count, he wouldn’t get to rock it to sleep or sing it lullabies, cradle it in his arms and promise to be there for it always, the child wouldn’t know it’s true heritage and the thought left his chest aching in the same way it did when he thought about how he’d missed the early years of Galahad’s life.
(Yeah, I could imagine him being happy that she's found someone. Alexander seems like he has a soft spot for her. )

Lance seemed to find her loss of words amusing, She nearly rolled her eyes when he spoke of knowing he was handsome. Of course he did, If Lance was anything, It was prideful. But he was also sweet. Being so close to him was nice, Just the simple swaying. Gavin found herself enjoying the closeness. This.. Intimacy. It wasn't something she was used to, Something she had always avoided. Sure, Her and her husband had danced. But never like this. Too many fears had lingered in her mind. But there was something comforting of being this close to Lance.

Lance seemed to find some amusement in making her flustered. He always seemed to be able to trip her up. Gavin was used to being well mannered. Knew how to speak to nobles. Tried to always be guarded. But that went out the window whenever Lance was around. Still, She huffed. "You don't disrupt me that much, I just- I... " And she was soon realizing she had no excuse for her behavior. Nothing she said could explain away the redness to her face. The way she stumbled over her words. She was like this with no one else. Though getting flirted with was hardly unusual. She'd had plenty of men try to talk sweetly to her. All had little effect.

Lance's behavior was changing though, He became more stiff and Gavin was quick to detect the change. Pausing, She looked up at him and well, His eyes were closed. Worry lined his features and it made Gavin pause. Though she supposed she could not blame him- This, Them being together in public. It was dangerous. Surely that was the reason? Though Lance certainly seemed the type to like to flaunt. So even if they were caught, He might not be that upset. But.. maybe that concern came from something else? Perhaps he feared Gavin turning on him. It was a valid concern. Gavin hated him, Or well... She was supposed to hate him. She'd kidnapped his father. Hurt other people. Carefully Gavin moved her hand to his cheek. Hoping to draw him out of his thoughts. Slowing there dance to a stop. She bit her lip for a moment before asking softly. "Lance, Whats wrong? " She questioned.
(Yeah, he’ll probably a bit amused, he did force them to go together to Agravain’s and Caleb’s, wanted them to at least stop squabbling like children)

Maybe Gavin hadn’t fully realised the effect that Lance had had on her. She was normally clean lines and guarded thinking but whenever Lance was around he could see the wobble, the way her emotions got the better of her and she couldn’t quite keep a hold on all the things going on inside. She was used to being one of the smartest in the room but with Lance she was playing a different game. Lance at least had more experience, he wasn’t unused to strong emotions or even to making women flustered, so he tripped up less himself, didn’t mean he wasn’t transparent at times with her but he’d never been as guarded as she was.

Even now, his emotions weren’t as hidden as he would’ve liked. He needed to get a grip on himself and he needed to stop reacting like this at every hint and every reminder of Caroline’s pregnancy. He should be here in the moment with Gavin, enjoying himself, not worrying about what he’d done. Her hand was warm against his cheek and succeeded in giving him a spike of guilt. He shouldn’t Be thinking about other women. He shouldn’t have been with Caroline in the first place! But he also shouldn’t have been so quick to move on from her! Not that he felt he was fully past her, it was sort of hard to get any sort of closure with the way they’d left things and now with the news.

Lance hesitated before letting his eyes flutter open and look down at her beautiful, worried face. Oh, he didn’t want to lie to her, but he couldn’t tell her the truth. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust her, although he definitely shouldn’t, no he put more faith in her than was clever but he couldn’t tell anyone. “I’m fine” he promised with a smile. It started out weak but soon grew stronger. “It’s just a lot, being here with you” he said which was true but not the cause of his consternation. He hooked a Finger in a stray strand Of her hair and pushed it back behind her ear. “I wish we didn’t have to hide” again the truth, a feeling he shared from his relationship with Caroline. “I understand why, I even like it sometimes, it’s hot” he admitted, stolen kisses and sneaking about did get his blood pumping. “But….it’d be nice to have no secrets” No worries about things getting out, his sins getting revealed. He leaned his head forward to rest their foreheads together. “I’m sorry for ruining the mood, I’m just getting in my head too much” that was true, he should distract himself, he couldn’t let thoughts of Caroline plague him forever, there was literally nothing he could do. Arthur and Caroline would keep this issue to themselves and once the baby was born then they’d reassess the situation. If the baby was so obviously his then well….he’d flee. He knew his life was here but he’d travelled before, he could do it again. He’d take Galahad with him and once he was settled he could send for Elaine and his Father, or they could come with him from the start. He didn’t know where Gavin fit into this but he’d make it work, he’d have to. “I imagine you know what that’s like” another small smile hit his lips. “You’ve a big brain, how do you get it to stop thinking?” Besides talking to him That was.
(Lmao, Everyone else is gonna find out and be horrified and arguing and angry, Meanwhile Alexander is just like. "Yeah, They're a cute couple. " )

Finally Lance was opening her eyes and looking at her. Claiming he was fine, But his words were not convincing and Gavin frowned. Studying his face with a look of uncertainty. He was giving his reason, That being there with her was a lot... Gavin half expected him to finish and say things had been a mistake. They shouldn't be here. But no. It seemed he was wishing for things to be more open, And Gavin averted her gaze. No. It couldn't be made open. She couldn't do that to her brothers. Gaheris trusted her, And while her relationship with Agravain was in ruins... She still couldn't hurt him like that. Guilt twisted in her chest. She shouldn't even be here. But despite all of that she couldn't bring herself to leave.

Lance seemed caught up in his own thoughts, Was asking her for a solution. But Gavin shook her head. Saying softly. "I Always used to throw myself into... work. It helps to have something to focus on. " Gavin was a bit careful with her phrasing. Best not to describe what all she had gotten into. But it was true. Hatred and fear often plagued her mind. It helped to have a task to keep herself focused on. A goal. Though maybe her own methods had been a bit extreme, So Lance might need to find more.. Milder work to keep his mind occupied.

Gavin bit her lip. Before saying softly. "Lance... I... I like this between us. But this can't get out. " The man seemed to have some wishes for things to be different. Maybe she did too. But that wasn't a future instore for either of them. Gavin tried not to think about whatever future they had. Because she knew very well they would not last. They'd both know doubt find other partners and go there separate ways. Huh, That was a grim thought. Gavin then shook her head. Soon murmuring. "Lets just enjoy the rest of this song, I'm sure once its over Gaheris is going to come and try and find me. " She was of course unaware of Ruth providing a distraction. But even with such, Ruth could likely only keep the young man distracted for so long.
(haha yeah, he’s gonna think it’s definitely the best option compared to them killing each other or something but literally everyone else is gonna be shaking their heads and thinking they’re crazy. Caleb especially is going To think he’s extra stupid since she’ll have found out about Caroline and realised that after dating a princess Lance has decided to make the next most stupid decision ever and date Gavin. Like Lance thought she was a bit foolish for being with Agravain in the first place, even that they were moving too fast, he really cannot judge!
I guess with Caleb finding out though, he will have one more person who knows actually how many children he has, so if and when he makes a comment about her having quite a lot of kids she can just give him a look like ‘really?’)

Her advice was not too dissimilar from what Lance had been trying to do. He’d hoped tonight would distract him and that training would occupy his mind but this was a big issue and it continued to work it’s way into his thoughts. Maybe it would help to get it off his chest but he most certainly couldn’t do that, although perhaps he should go to confession? That might help his conscience a little although he was sure to still be worrying. Her words were diplomatic but he knew by the word ‘work’ she was likely referring to her kidnapping, torturing and killing people. He wondered actually if her secret being out made her feel any freer. She didn’t exactly seem repentant, only about kidnapping his father, but did it make her feel better to not have to hide what she’d done and who she was? Except Lance didn’t have her luxury, Alexander would not have such a soft spot for him if he’d found out what he’d done. Maybe the king would give him a head start in running but only so he could enjoy the chase a little more. Shame Lance hadn’t committed something simple like a murder.

In comparison, his relationship with Gavin was not nearly as troublesome, however she was right that they couldn’t really let it get out. It’s not like Alexander would have him executed but Agravain would damn well try and his father would be very disappointed in him which was….maybe not unusual but certainly hurt. Antonio had been shocked at Galahad, although he loved the little boy, annoyed at Lance’s irresponsibility, this relationship would only confirm that to his father. Not to be selfish but if his father ever found out? He was so never getting a quest!

”you’re so eager for it to be over” Lance murmured although eager maybe wasn’t the right word, anticipating perhaps. She was always looking over her shoulder, cautious of when they might be spotted and it made perfect sense but it also made it hard to enjoy the moment. Caroline had been more full on, aware of their imminent end so trying To fill up what little time they had left, quick to forgive and forget when they’d been arguing. “When can we meet again?” Lance asked, setting them swaying again and keeping her close with his arms still around her. The idea of them not being able to spend much more time together had him focusing on her a bit more, he needed to appreciate it whilst it lasted, before they Went their separate ways and before Gavin decided it was too much hassle keeping it from her brothers. He wasnt sure how much longevity their relationship had, he really liked her but Gavin…..he wasn’t sure if she could really picture a future for them, she wasn’t used to relationships, he understood it might be hard for her to visualise but surely they couldn’t sneak around forever? Then again, that had sort of been the plan with Caroline, except at least Arthur had known! “I love your dress but maybe it should be a little less formal our next meet up” he suggested, he’d really enjoyed spending the night with her but it was also nice to be more relaxed, “how about we go swimming? There’s this beautiful lake in the forest…..” Although maybe Gavin wouldn’t be comfortable with that, he knew she could be quite reserved with her body, still….they could always just sit by it and chat?
(Lmao, I can imagine him making small comments about her being with Agravain. Or the amount of kids she has, And she just gestures over towards Gavin or one of his kids. Like Lance is gonna have no room to judge.
I imagine he won't be allowed near any of Agravain and Caleb's kids when Gaheris dies. But I like to imagine before that happens Lance is probably gonna be a really fun uncle to them. )

Gavin tilted her head at Lance's words. Murmuring softly. "Not eager. Just... Aware. " It was hard for her not to be worried. This place was filled with people after all. Lance was already asking to meet again, And well... It was always difficult to stay away from him for long. Though most times they had to wait until the hour was late, As the castle would not be as busy. Lance seemed to have some idea of where he wanted to go though. Swimming. The idea had Gavin tensing and looking away. Very much aware such would involve wearing far less clothing then she was comfortable with. They'd be out in the woods, And... Despite everything Gavin did trust Lance. But it still was difficult for her to agree to such.

Gavin then said. "Perhaps a picnic there would be a bit better? We could go in a few days. " She encouraged. She then thought for a moment. Musing after a moment. "I'll need to remember the location of it, So I can take Gabriel eventually. She always likes seeing the little minnows in ponds. " She was sure the girl would enjoy the trip. Gavin could likely get permission to leave and take her daughter there. The king was fond of family after all. Would understand her desire to spend time with Gavin and would likely give his consent and send her with a guard.

Though, That suddenly had the thought of her, Gabriel, Lance, And Galahad going together. Perhaps it was a silly idea. She shouldn't let Lance get near her daughter. But Galahad was close to Gabriel's age. Likely did not have other kids to play with. It might be nice for the two of them to properly meet. But Gabriel was a talkative little girl. She'd most certainly mention meeting Lance to someone. Though maybe Gavin could simply tell her that Lance was there to guard them. Gabriel wouldn't need to know anything else about him.
(Yeah, Lance definitely can’t judge but not everyone knows that so I can also see him teasing Caleb with it a little, saying things that he knows she can argue against but not really for his own sake.
aww, he’d be such a cute uncle but Agravain will not Want him round the kids at all. It might be difficult to keep him fully away though as Caleb’s still his friend and having a kid with Gavin, he’s bound to be around sometimes, just they’re not allowed to tell Agravain. Imagine them having a barbecue or something and they’re all one happy family on side and Lance is just at the other end of the garden being glared at. He will technically be part of the family I guess As much as they dislike it)

Lance had been right, swimming was a bit too forward and a bit too much, a picnic was more….clothed understood her reasons, respected them but that still didn’t stop him from wishing she’d let herself be a bit looser around him. At least she was agreeing them could meet soon and that had him smiling. Good, he would hate to wait too long to see her again, Caleb would no doubt notice him moping and being lovesick. Then again she probably wasn’t too used to him lovesick but Agravain had probably seen it before, and that was the last person he needed to know he was seeing someone.

It seemed Lance and Gavin had similar ideas: “why don’t you bring Gabriel” he suggested, the thought striking him and coming out of his mouth quicker than he could really assess it. Gavin was protective of her daughter, understandably so, hadn’t really liked him speaking to her in the past but surr,y things were a bit different now? Did she trust him? And did she trust him that much? This was her daughter! As a father, Lance now understood the faith you must have in someone to let them be around your child. “I can bring Galahad“ he added. “It’d be nice for him to play with another kid and I’m sure they’d love a picnic, and they could always go for a paddle, even if you don’t” He felt he was rambling a little but he wanted to make her see that it was probably a good idea. He wasn’t a threat to her or Gabriel and he believed she wasn’t a threat to Galahad. Maybe she was crazy, she was certainly damaged and he didn’t know if she had any lingering hate for him but he believed her when she’d promised she wouldn’t hurt Galahad or his father any more.

”you can say no, I understand if you don’t want me around her“ it was A massive leap of faith and Gavin did not seem to trust too easily. “I just….I thought it might be nice. Almost like a little family outing” Lance quirked his lips, yeah he was being silly, they weren’t a family, they weren’t even a couple, not really. Ut they were both single parents - essentially, Elaine was about but obviously not fully capable - couldn’t they go on a little day trip with their kids? But Gavin would not have long to think about it because Gaheris had spotted his sister and noticed she was with the same man again, a frown coming onto his face before it shifted into something a bit angrier. “Who does he think he is? I want to know who that man bothering Gavin is!” He practically snarled as he no longer was focused on Ruth and went to move towards his sister again. Well, it had been fun whilst it lasted, Lance was going to have to make a getaway though and maybe once Ruth got back home, she’d give Lance another scolding about his love life and flaunting it where Gaheris could see
(Caleb's going to have to keep a close eye on Agravain to make sure he doesn't strangle Lance! Lance is going to get plenty of death threats though. Also, I can totally imagine Lance ending up being a father figure to Gabriel eventually. And him very much considering her as his own daughter and it being very sweet. )

Lance luckily did not push the issue of swimming. Seemed happy to settle for a picnic. Something Gavin was glad for. But it seemed Lance's mind was going to similar places as Gavin's. Them all together. Lance was even suggesting bringing Galahad. Seemed to trust she herself would not harm him. And well... Gavin found herself sharing that trust. After a moment saying. "I... I like that idea. Yes. Its a date. " When was another matter. They couldn't go too late, Gavin didn't want to have Gabriel up in the middle of the night. But... They could probably manage to escape earlier in the day. Maybe somehow she could arrange for Lance to be her guard? It would be a bit difficult to do. But Gavin was sure she could think of something.

She was about to speak more, When she spotted something out the corner of her eye. A rather angry something. Gavin then said softly. "I think our time together has come to a end. It might be best if you hurry off. " She murmured quietly. Before carefully separating herself from Lance. Certainly wishing she could linger longer. But she needed to give Lance time to flee. So, She was soon moving to intercept Gaheris. Behind him she could see Ruth frantically scurrying after him. But Gavin was soon focusing on her brother.

Smiling in greeting, She then said. "Gaheris, Have you and Ruth finished your dance? I was hoping we could go and greet the king together, As I haven't done so yet. " She was beginning. Hopefully Lance would be able to slip away in the crowd. It might be difficult for Gaheris to follow him there.
(I think they’re going to be so cute, he’s going to end up with basically 5 kids with Gabriel being like a daughter to him. But it’ll be good for them all to have some more family although Galahad is going to have so many sisters!
Ooh with the king knowing he can so facilitate them sneaking off together, assigning Lance as her Guard)

Lance grinned as she agreed. Fantastic. He really appreciated her putting that trust in him and he wouldn’t let her down! Galahad was goijg to enjoy having a play mate and he’d be sure to bring some paper for him to communicate with Gabriel since she likely didn’t know his sign language. He was sure they could figure out a date, go for lunch and spend a lazy afternoon there althiugh he wasn’t sure how lazy it would be to babysit two children but Galahad was well behaved normally….he could say for Gabriel.

He wanted to kiss her, thank her for the trust but he didn’t even really get a chance to say goodbye because Gaheris was on the war path. “See you soon” Lance promised before going to disappear into the crowd. He honestly didn’t have much other reason to be at this ball. Normally he’d go to dance with pretty ladies but he had Gavin so didn’t much think he’d want to Chase anyone else and well, sticking around gave Gaheris a chance to bump into him so Lance decided it was probably best to call it a night and go pick up Galahad from his father and return to Caleb’s.

Gaheris missed the stranger hanging out with his sister and he crossed his arms, unimpressed as Gavin tried to deflect. “You must think I’m stupid” he muttered. ”who’s the guy? He’s the same one from earlier!” And earlier he’d thought Gavin had been being pestered but now he wasn’t so sure, she’d looked pretty cozy in his arms! But she could not be seeing anyone, she’d tell him! Right? Besides she was recently widowed, surely it was all a bit too soon. “I don’t know why you’re lying to me Gavin. Isn’t it bad enough that Agravain treats me like a little kid but you too?” Sure maybe he was a bit angry but couldn’t She just explain the situation? He didn’t like being left out of the loop, it was unfair!
(Oh, I imagine the king is so going to tease them whenever Gavin asks for permission to leave on a date with Lance. Atleast they won't have to do as much sneaking off! )

Lance was soon off, And Gavin was left alone to face her brother. Who it seemed had seen more then he should have. Gavin was tensing at Gaheris's words. Oh, This might be awkward to talk her way out of. Sure, She could dismiss it. Tell him it wasn't his business. But Gavin didn't want to hurt her brothers feelings. Maybe she could pretend the mystery man had pressured her to dance? But that would just make Gaheris angrier and more protective. Something that would surely come back to bite her. So she then looked towards Ruth. Saying softly. "Ruth dear, Could you give me and Gaheris a moment? " And it seemed like Ruth might want to argue. But in the end she nodded, Soon moving away from the two.

Gavin then glanced around before motioning for Gaheris to follow. The area was already a bit more private then most others. But Gavin still tried to make sure they were relatively out of earshot. So biting her lip, Gavin came up with a lie. Beginning quietly. "Alright, Fine, But this stays between us? Alright? Agravain doesn't get to know. Neither does Gawain. " She spoke firmly. Staring at him for a moment. Gavin had always found that lies were easiest to tell when mixed with a bit of a truth. So she shifted. Awkwardly saying. "The truth is, I... Have recently started seeing a man I shouldn't. " See, That part wasn't a lie. It made it easier to seem truthful, Because part of it was.

Gavin then said quietly. "He... Is far from nobility. It would be far from proper for us to court... " She explained. If she simply pretended the man was a servant or some peasant. It would explain Gavin's reason for keeping things hidden. She was a noble lady, Was expected to be with someone of her standing. Not to mention she was recently widowed. Gavin then pressed. Allowing her voice to sound a bit frantic. "This is between you and me, Okay? No one else gets to know about this. I... I just... I wanted the chance to dance with him. Properly. " Once more lies mixed with truths.
(At least Gavin will be getting on with some of her family though. The king is probably aware of the rift this will put between her and her brother so wants her to know she can come to him if she’s feeling isolated)

Funny how Gavin sent Ruth off when she was the one who actually knew the truth, then again Lance had failed to mention that to Gavin but he didn’t really want to stress her out anymore than he had to tonight. He would tell Gavin soon that Ruth had cottoned on but he did need to speak to Ruth more himself first. Most importantly he needed to make sure she stayed quiet, which she had promised to do but he got it might be tempting to complain to Caleb about him. What an odd parallel Lance made to Gaheris in trying to keep Ruth silent.

Gaheris frowned as he was pulled aside. What was going on? He felt his chest tighten a little as she said this stayed between them, that not even Agravain or Gawain could know. On the one hand he was pleased that he was being trusted over them but it also felt innately wrong, their whole childhoods it would be their older brothers that would be trusted with important secrets. He guessed times really had changed. Gavin was dropping the bombshell that she was seeing a man and his mouth gaped a little. Her husband had just died! What was she on about?

And this man wasn’t even noble? Oh his sister could do far better and he pressed his lips shut in slight protest. He did not really agree with this but Gavin…she sounded desperate to be with this man and enjoy her time with him and really he wanted his sister to be happy. “Fine” he grumbled. “But know that I don’t approve” he warned. ”you should be with someone noble, and you don’t deserve to have to sneak around” he’d rather his sister be able to enjoy her relationship without having to hide it. Oh Gaheris was going to be furious once he learned it was Lance although he would agree he wasn’t noble! “just….don’t lie to me next time” he added. “You know I’m only trying to look out for you” but he was the younger brother so he felt his attempts were always brushed off. The only one he could actually baby was Gareth, Gwen definitely wouldn’t have let him.

(shall we jump back to Arthur and Silas going out on the town or to someone else like Lance when Ruth comes back and scolds him? We also need to get Lance drinking snd letting slip to Caleb about Caroline)

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