The morning arrives without incident, Jon having actually slept more than he expected. He nods to the servant bringing him food, waves him off, and eats in silence, studying the patterns on the wall, the intricate designs carved into the stone. The images, inlaid tiles in mosaic swirls, are of familiar objects, the landscape of Jon's home. It's not a guest's room; that much is obvious. It appears to have been prepared as his room.
Jon lets the thought settle into his brain as he dresses, again without help, in silence, and makes his way outside to the keep's main bailey, climbing the stairs to the galleries, walking the length as the morning mist lifts from the moat.
Gerry'd been told when Jon had left his room and he walks slowly through the castle, thinking about how he should approach Jon. He had promised Jon last night that he would show him around the grounds and that might be a way to get Jon to lower his guard. And Gerry doesn't want to have to tie Jon down the first time he fucks him. He doesn't expect reciprocity, but he doesn't want violence. Well, not the first time. He finally spots Jonny in the gallery and he comes up from behind him. "Good morning."
Jon curses himself silently for flinching, not wanting to give away any emotion to the man who's now his captor -- Gerry would prefer guardian, he's sure, or lover -- and he takes a few deep breaths before turning his head, looking over his shoulder.
"Morning, General," he murmurs, just as quickly turning his gaze out the open window, choosing the comfort of staring at the mist rather than the man.
Gerry stares out into the mist as well, wondering what Jon is seeing it in. "Did you sleep well?"
"Yes. The bed's quite comfortable," Jon murmurs, "not being my own. You?"
"I had good dreams." Gerry smiles slightly. "They were of you."
"How nice. I did not dream of you." Jon moves away, walking down the gallery. "I doubt I shall ever dream of you," he mutters.
Gerry follows him, his hands clasped behind his back. "You might, one day."
"My dreams are of home, my brothers." Jon pauses, looks out into the distance. "That hill, there is a ruin, I can see it through the mist. What is it?"
"The gate to an old cemetery." Gerry's smile turns wistful. "I played there as a child."
That earns a smile in turn. "I can't imagine you a child. I'd think you sprung full-form general."
Gerry chuckles. "No, I was born, I grew up." He points with his chin. "Beyond the gate is a meadow. In the spring, the flowers grow so tall that until I was ten, I could sit beneath their shade."
"There is a similar place near where we'd summer, a meadow filled with heather and tall grasses. Jude and I would lose ourselves until mother sent the royal guard out to retrieve us," Jon says, rambling, lost for the moment in the memory, letting himself feel at ease when he shouldn't. "Perhaps we could ride out to your meadow."
Jon's letting his guard down. Excellent. "Perhaps we could," Gerry says. "I'd like to show it to you, I think you'd find it very peaceful."
"I would welcome peace. It is not something I've had lately, father's illness setting everyone on edge and Jude--" Jon stops. There's no reason to explain what has happened with Jude, how their relationship had changed enough his brother would be at ease with giving him over to Gerry. "You have had breakfast?" Changing the subject is more comfortable.
The change of subject is awkward, but Gerry does not question it. There's time enough to manuever conversations to Jude's weaknesses. "No," he replies. "Would you like to join me?"
"I have eaten. A servant brought a bit of food early, and that suffices." Jon turns, smiles. It will not kill him to be genial. "But if you like, I could join you. Perhaps discuss more what I am to do with myself all day."
"I would like that." Gerry offers Jon his hand. It's a risk, but Jon is obviously warming to him. This could be the next step.
It would be rude to not take his hand. The thoughts race through Jon's brain. I don't want to touch him. That would be too much. "I am not a demure bride, General," he says after weighing the varied responses. "I would prefer to make my own way."
"I am aware of what you are and what you are not," Gerry says. But he doesn't draw his hand back. "Allow me to show you my affection, your highness."
"I do not want your affection, General. Have I not made that clear?" Jon manages to keep his voice calm, maintain the genial demeanor while making his point. "I am here because my brother wishes it, and I will be civil, polite even, but do not push me for affection I will not give."
Gerry sighs. First the lad complains when he thinks that Gerry is going to make a slave of him and now he complains because he thinks Gerry is going to make a lover out of him. What on earth does Jon want? "I do not ask for your affection, just that you allow me to show you mine. Surely that is not a fate worse than death."
Jon waits another few minutes before reluctantly, hesitantly moving his hand to touch Gerry's. "Worse than death? I'm not sure of that, General. Not yet."
Gerry slowly clasps Jon's hand. It's progress, at least. "Good. I would hope I'm not that repulsive to you."
There's no answer, Jon opting for silent acquiescence rather than admit to any feelings he's suppressing.
There's a remarkable silence as they walk back into the castle, Jon letting Gerry hold his hand. It's not like a lover, he tells himself, even when Gerry escorts him to a seat and pulls out the chair.
Before he can complain, there's a plate in front of him, bread and sausage. Jon laughs, a memory coming unbidden of thinking sausage had been heavenly until he'd seen his first slaughter.
It's the first time Gerry's heard Jon's laugh and he can't help but stare at him across the table. "Pleasant thoughts?" The lad hadn't been inclined to discuss his dreams, but perhaps Gerry can convince him to discuss something lighter.
Jon looks up, momentarily angry with himself for being caught in the happy moment. "Just a childhood memory," he says, picking up the bread and biting off a small bit. "Thoughts of my brother. That's all."
Gerry nods. "The king can be very amusing when he wishes to be." Gerry's always found Jude to be very dull, but it's the polite thing to laugh when the crown prince makes a joke, especially when you're trying to curry favor.
"Jude? He has no sense of humour," Jon says, smiling wistfully. "But once upon a time, he was the most wicked purveyor of practical jokes. He lost it when our mother died, then Father remarried and Sean was born, and there was no time for humour."
"I understand." Gerry takes a sip from his goblet. "What kinds of jokes were they?"
"Boyish things, like putting snakes and salamanders into nurse's laundry," Jon murmurs. "As we got older, they got worse. I don't think the guard captain ever forgave us putting bootblack inside his armor."
Gerry laughs. "I wouldn't blame him." So the lad has a mischievous side. Excellent. "And when did you stop? Or haven't you?"
Jon straightens. "Not as much," he says, going back to eating small bites. "As I said, Mother died and things changed."
"It was a tragedy. She was a lovely woman." Gerry gives Jon a sympathetic smile. "But I'm sure Sean must be a blessing."
"Sean's precious. He's more us than his mother now, since she caught the fever going 'round a few years back." Jon stuffs a piece of sausage into his mouth. "No loss," he mutters. "None of us liked Father's choice."
"She was a good match politically," Gerry says carefully. It's one thing to win Jon over, it's another to say anything bad about the queen.
Jon has no such tact. "Good she died before Father. Sean will be raised properly, and there's no one in back rooms conspiring to take the crown."
Gerry's glad of his military training that his face doesn't show any emotion. "Yes, I'm sure that's a relief. I'm sure Jude sleeps better at night, knowing that his brothers are safe."
"I'm sure he does." Or at least one of them is safe. Jon looks down. "You mentioned seeing the grounds, General. I wondered if that was something you wished to do today. Or perhaps just the castle grounds."
"The weather may not last, so if you're amenable, I suggest we do it today."
"I'm amenable. I'd like to know more about my --" Jon pauses, looks up and backs off his initial thought of prison. "I need to understand my new home, its lands."
Gerry smiles. He knows what Jon meant to say and the fact that he didn't makes Gerry hope that Jon will change his mind about other things. "Then let me show you around. I'm sure you'll grow to love it here."