Katarina and Paule: First Kiss

First Kiss
Summary: A few days after their sudden marriage, Katarina and Paule try to come to terms with each other.
Date: 29 May 2013
Related: Bonds of Westmark
Paule Katarina 

Spring 1308 — Resistance Encampment, woods of Westmark

After yet another argument that places Katarina's subtleness in direct contrast the the fires that rage inside of Paule, the two of them have taken to different sides of the tent they share together as part of their marriage, though they have yet to share the same bed.

Paule just shakes his head and goes over to the maps to look them over, and starts to write some missives.

Kat reads silence as victory and drops her pack on the only open bit of floor space and peels out of her armor.

Paule just doesn't talk. Once he's done writing his missives, he glances at you as you undress and pulls on the heath leather armor he calls his own and pulls his hood in place to shadow himself. "Don't bother waiting up." he says as he starts to step out of their tent.

"Don't think I won't slit you from nose to nethers if you shame me in front of my men," comes Kat's reply as she shakes out her bedroll and seats hetself upon it.

"I have missions to handle, Kat." Paule says as he turns to look at you in your night clothes. "I saw the glances you and your second share. Let him continue to gird your loins. Once he has you fat with child, you can claim it's mine. I married you as a condition of your support. Nothing in that missive says I must suffer your nights."

"Blind, presumptive and ignorant," Kat replies as she untangles her blonde hair. "Duncan is my cousin. But then, maybe in this part of the kingdom its not just the sheep that you barbarians screw. "

Another eyeroll. "How endearing, Kitten." Paule says quietly. "Since you are done, and if you're not, I don't give a good Guardians damned. I'll be heading south this evening. There's a Corsair encampment near a Taniford village. We're going to raid the village and leave the markings of a Corsair attack. I have grown weary of their continued neutrality and it is time to introduce them to our war."

Kat moves one shoulder as she peels up a dark strip of cloth, a bloody bandage dark with use. "Enjoy," is her only tersely worded reply as she peels the bandage up and pours a measure of watered wine over her skin. Her jaw sets, making no sound as she turns her back and works on the next.

Paule watches you for a moment and finally frowns. Coming over to you, he kneels down on the bedroll. "Guardians, you're such a bitch." he rumbles as he removes the bandage from your back. "Hand me the wine." he says as he cleans off his hands to check your wound closer.

Kat's spine stiffens at your approach, fighting the edges of the bandage off of her shoulder to peel it back. "As necessary," she mutters in return before hissing out a breath as the front edge peels up when you peel the rest of it off her back. Twin spots of color rise to her face, pain making her skin pale, but she says nothing as she hands the skin over.

"You should have let me stitch it." Paule says firmly, as he takes the wineskin and moves to grab his pack. Opening it, he starts to take out several herbs to set inside a mortar and adds some wine before he begins to grind it into a paste. "This will numb the area and fight off the infection that's trying to form. I will need to go heat my blade over the flame to get it hot enough to cauterize the wound and kill the infection. It's going to hurt."

"No time to see our healer before we set out," is Kat's grudging rebuttal. "I told you that we received our orders and departed same eve. No time for minor delays," and from the fit of her armor - which, while certainly superior quality than normal gear - doesn't quite fit right. As result it abrades the wounds. "I'm no stranger to pain," added in a low voice, shoulders squaring. Jaw set.

"It's a good thing you married someone that has had plenty of practice in patching wounds, then." Paule says, clearly not a hands-off or throne bound leader. As he rises, he removes his armor and steps outside to start to heat the blade.

Kat busies herself cleaning the rest of the smaller cuts and scrapes. The one that starts just below her collarbone and slices over the curve of her shoulder is the worst of the lot. Her lips move in a silent chant while the alcohol burns raw skin, her nerve ends twitching, forcing her hands calm as she dresses the wounds she can reach.

"You are just as stubborn as you can be, Katarina." Paule lets out a breath as he comes in, and sees you without your top on. Yes, his eyes do linger on her chest for a moment before he moves in behind her and settles down again. "Look. I never thanked you for your help. So. Thank you." And he presses a quick kiss to your cheek, just before he draws that hot blade across the infected wound to draw out the infection and burn it off.

"Of necessity," comes Kat's words before the startling press of your lips to her cheek is followed by the searing pain of the hot blade across her raw skin. Kat's breath catches, her chest actually rises, her back arching fractionally - not a lot, just enough to make it clear she's fighting the instinct to try to arch or jerk away from the pain. Her hands curl into fists at her sides, nails digging into the palms of her hand, no sound other than that hiss of breath escaping her. She'd be damned, after all, before she showed any sign of weakness. Her brain is briefly full of fire and when she can suck in another breath she is grimly proud to have not cried out or wrenched herself away. She is shaking, but it's a fine tremor, her skin now damp with sweat as well, but she sat still for it, gods be damned she sat still for it.

It's clear for a moment that he's impressed with her resilience to pain. Now with the wound opened and the pus drained, he starts to clean it with a fresh cloth and then begins to pack in the smell mixture of herbs and alcohol he made. At first it burns brighter than any fire but after a few moments, the area starts to cool and numb considerably as the Baron works to patch up his Baroness' wound, and packs the herb mixture in firmly before he goes to take a fresh bandage to seal over it.

By the time that he is done working to deal with the wound, Kat's skin runs from white to vivid red to white again with red blotches of high color. Her eyes closed at some point, her nails digging into the heels of her palms so intently that she draws crescent shaped cuts into her own skin from the effort to remain quiet and still. When he dresses the wound with the mixture he's prepared she makes a low sound that is muted before it really gets breath to work it's way free. She bends forward when he moves away, not entirely caring WHY he's moved away for the moment, only taking the time to force air down her throat into her lungs and fight the noises down so that nothing escapes. Her hands curl on her knees, her knees tucked against her chest at this point as she rocks forward, letting her nerves jump and twitch, because she can't stop the twitching, only do so in silence.

The gentle press of the bandage comes to your back, as Paule finishes treating the wound. His hand moves quietly, slipping around your waist, pulling you closer to him as he presses another gentle kiss to your shoulder. "I know you want to prove that you're strong and stuff, Katarina. But I don't give a damn. You're here. And you helped. And I suppose.. maybe.. I should give a little. If you're willing to meet somewhere in the middle of all this insanity."

"It's not you I have to prove myself too," comes Kat's words, shallow breath making her words more breath than not, "it's myself. Have to be able to fight side by side with you and not be the weak shield in the wall." She gives a small twitch at the feel of your arm slipping around her waist, the touch of your lips to her other shoulder. She hasn't pried her eyes open yet and if that's as bad as it is, she can hack it, by the gods. "I don't know how to bend, how to meet in the middle," is admitted in a low voice as her shoulders move, drawing a longer breath. "That doesn't mean I can't learn," she mutters, trying at least, in the absence of experience, to find her way to the middle ground.

"I have been alone for a while, Kat." Paule admits quietly. "Even before my parents perished, I was already seperate from them so we would not get caught together." He just needs to feel the contact with you for the moment as he holds you to him as you continue to ride out the pain. "We have to learn. The barony is only going to be as strong as we are. And if we cannot unite and be a front for the people, they will fracture as easily as our army will."

Kat is tense at first, shoulder stiff, body holding very still as Paule speaks, holding to her silence in fact as his arm keeps her tucked back against his chest. Her heart is beating unevenly as the spasms of pain are flaring through her body still, his words reaching her the way that no amount of fighting, spitting or snarking would have. "I'm sorry for your loss," she says quietly. "I meant to say that. My father gave me what little he knew about you and your people before we departed. And I meant to say that, but I was so .. mad," was/is, is admitted, "at being sent out without so much as a day of down time between engagements. I took it out on you. That wasn't fair of me, and I have better manners than that."

Kat drops one hand to rest on Paule's wrist, not holding him in place but simply resting one hand on his arm, a voluntary touch from her to him, which - if it isn't the first, it's probably near to it. "You should have expected assistance," she says in a quiet voice. "The King should have sent someone long before now. He shouldn't have waited. I can't apologize enough, but i have no right to speak for the King, but if I could.." her lips press in a straight line for a moment. "Nothing for the pain, nothing that'll make my mind murky. I," she exhales, "we can't afford that. If we have to move you can't be hauling me out and tying me to my saddle."

"I do not wish to see you in pain, Katarina." Paule says, glancing to the hand on his wrist and lifts his eyes back to yours, studying your face for a moment. "It is not your fault. It never was." he says with a small breath as he considers you for a moment. "You should be allowed to rest, Katarina. You have had a rough last few days."

Kat makes a quiet chuckle of sound, "I've long known that when a marriage was made that it would benefit my house or, in lieu of, benefit the crown and my house, one - the other - or both. I didn't picture someone, only hoped that it wouldn't be some horrid old limp wristed lecher," she says in a low voice. "At least, with you, you aren't going to try to lock me in a tower, take away my sword and send my men off to be killed in the first convenient border dispute you can send them off to," note the word 'try'. "Surprised is a good word, yes. And am I?" she asks, turning to glance over her shoulder, eyes lifting to meet yours, one slender eyebrow arching slightly upward.

"Your cousin knows I didn't need a wife that stays at home and bakes bread. I needed someone that could be strong and resolute with me. And remind everyone that the crown still supports us. I'm not dumb, I know there's a reason why he sent a Rhaedan to be my wife. But I will not complain about such." Paule says and quiets for a moment, as he moves back. "Turn around and face me, Katarina. If we are to act as a proper married couple, I want to look into your eyes when we talk."

"I know, I mean," Kat exhales through her nose, mouth pressed again in a thin line, "I know that you're trying. Not that you're /trying/ that is," and she sets her hand in his, hand tightening as she exhales - again - untangling her own bloody words. "You're trying to say something nice and I'm being obnoxious about it. This is me saying that I'm sorry for being obnoxious about it and saying thank you for the compliment. If it's any help, you're pleasing to the eye as well, at least my eyes. And I'm glad that you aren't having some old fashioned fit and thinking that I ought to stay home and bake bread or something. Not that I know how to do that, but that's not the point."

"You are always bitter and cynical. We cannot be that in public, Katarina." Paule says, a slight pauses as he hears that first use of his name, and the smile he allows is genuine, a hint of affection at the way you say it. Setting aside his leather armor, he keeps his eyes on yours, and reaches up to touch your cheek, caressing the curve of your face for a moment. "Anger burns out and leaves a husk. I know that better than anyone. Our people do not want for two angry husks. They want for life. To know that we are still defiant, in the face of the overwhelming odds we have taken. That we continue to attack, despite the losses we have…" he trails off for a moment, for the first time lowering his gaze from yours, "…the losses we have all endured. My father always said that we could always persevere and do what is right and honorable. And it was that honor that got him killed. I had to change. I had to sacrifice that part of myself. The Corsairs have called me an honorless cur. The dog that attacks in the night. The Baron of Shadows. It is a title I have had to come to accept."

"Well not /always/," Kat argues, that's right, immediately rising to the bait, eyes narrowing subtly until she realizes that she did precisely that - rise to the bait. Her eyes studying you as you remove your armor, "You haven't sacrificed your honor, Paule, you've done what you have to do. That isn't honorless, it's the better part of valor. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one." She rises to her feet as she speaks, one hand holding her shift against her chest, keeping it from falling off of her shoulders, the thigh length fall of the material - usually long enough to be tucked down into her leather trousers. "As your wife, I'll hold your honor for you, and next time one of those dogs call you a honorless cur, it'll be my pleasure to cut their tongue out and serve it to you on a platter."

"You're improving." Paule says, a little smile as he dresses down into his own shirt, moving to sit with you on the bedroll as well. His hands settle into yours again and he smiles. "As your husband, I will promise to make sure to allow you to cut the tongues out of as many Corsairs that you wish. But you may have a hard time doing such when they are choking on the damn things when I have poisoned their supplies and made sure their food is rotted to uselessness." he says as he holds your hand for a moment and then reaches, his hand settling over the one on your shift and meets your eyes again. "We have to take that first step at some point, Kat." he says quietly.

"You say the nicest things," Kat replies, amusement coloring her tone of voice as she turns so that her knees are resting against yours, face to face. "you poison their supplies, I'll slice and dice the ones that try to run away. It's a good exchange," she agrees, silent again, eyes searching yours before she gives a measured nod. "I know," she says with a sigh of sound and relaxes her hold on the material so that it falls against her shoulders again and leans forward to set her lips against his.

Paule blinks in surprise as the young man starts to offer a few words when Katarina suddenly claims his mouth in a kiss. An unexpected sensation suddenly surges through the eighteen year old Baron as he claims her mouth in return, slanting against her and starts to push her back so that they can finally handle the part of the marriage that seals them in deed as well as in word.

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