Chapter 1, They Dance.
They dance at the wedding.
How it happens, is that there is a little portion during the celebration in which the King insists that the newly husband and wife dance together. As is tradition, the King happily announces, the Prince and his bride are to have a dance alone together, and afterwards, the beloved guests may join in the second dance. Diaval gets the wickedest of ideas then, knowing that she'll positively hate it, but he is Diaval; bringing up uncomfortable topics to his Mistress is part of all that he does where it concerns her.
His voice is tentative, testing, but most of all, cautious. He knows his Mistress. He knows his Mistress quite well, and when approaching a fairly alien, and promising to be received badly, concept, he knows better than to do it with anything less than caution.
She can never just say a simple, 'Yes?' can she? She always has to be hostile with her attention; unwilling and yet interested to know.
'It's Aurora's wedding,' he tells her, standing just the right amount of step behind her and speaking over her shoulder.
'Hmm,' she non-committedly agrees.
A sound made in that manner, he already knows that her reply is not an agreement more than it is another question of why that particularly obvious matter is being repeated to her as though she was blind and not aware of what is happening around them.
'We should celebrate,' he responds to her unasked question.
Her head begins to turn his way, and if he were a stranger to her, he would have promptly stepped back from her, to allow her the room to give him the proper visual attention. As it is, he is Diaval and she is his Mistress; there is no need for such unacquainted behaviour between them.
'Should we?' she dryly poses to him.
But his Mistress can be difficult when she wants to be; which is always - with him. She spares him no pleasantry, ever. Although he would not refer to her as sarcastic, because she is too transcendent above such a thing, she does have a sour tinge of dry humour to her that's conspicuously rattling.
For instance, her question.
To her, that she is present at the wedding, is enough of a celebration. He imagines that she can't imagine how much more she can celebrate the union, than being present to witness all of its components. Would he rather have that she keeps a smile as big as the King's on her face all the while?
'We should,' he quietly replies, even leaning closer to her ear for the precise reception that he wants from her.
The small teasing smile which he adds to his reply, is a little humour of his own, constructed only to amuse himself before what is coming ahead arrives.
'Hgm,' comes her dull reply right before she returns her eyes to the dancing couple.
She does not agree with him, neither will she say more on the subject. He knows this, because he knows his Mistress, he has spent many years by her side, serving her. Being that as it is, he is completely the only person in the world who can attempt to push a subject further than she is willing to let it go. If any other, human or creature, came from behind her, boldly took their place in front of her, deliberately getting in the her line of her preferred view -despite her being significantly taller-, and then offers his hand to her, well, they would be dealt with. That is, after that incorrectly tickled look of hers does its part first.
'We should dance,' he politely invites.
As he expected, she does not respond right away, but she does not do anything else of what he expected from her, for a reaction. She keeps her eyes steadily on him, yes, searching him, yes, but that is all, nothing else.
Should he have posed it as a question then?
'Mistress?' he calls, slightly moving his hand for her to pay attention to.
Her eyes do flicker to it, if only for a pinch, and she does respond to him then, even if she does it in a fashion only particular to her; with a fully formed frown of offence and yet, displaying a glow of incomprehension.
Could she have sounded more endearing, perhaps? He wonders... But never mind that now, he should rather give her an answer.
'Yes,' he carefully nods, 'dance, Mistress.'
His hand, she looks at his offered hand, and then she looks into his eyes, and after that, her eyes shift to somewhere above his right shoulder, in the near distance.
'Like Aurora?' she wonders, her tone just as wondrous.
Even having seen the properly appropriate embrace in which Aurora and Phillip held each other for the dance, her tone alone makes him take another look at them, only to assure himself that they are not at this very moment doing something as unfitting as kissing – as Mistress is colouring it to be. One look at them, confirmed by his very own eyes, assures him that they aren't kissing, and so he faces his Mistress again, at perfect peace with himself for not actually suggesting anything lewd.
'Like Aurora,' he confirms, that way bringing her attention back to him.
'No,' she simply tells him.
He knew as much about her answer, so he is not surprised by it in the least. His interest lies now in transforming her negative answer to a positive one, and he knows just which path to take there.
'It's Aurora's wedding, she'll want you to dance.'
Before replying, she seems to consider it for a while, but she strongly says, 'I will not dance,' and he is left not certain of what to do next.
Should he drop his hand altogether? Should he continue to insist and risk being turned into his true form? Just what should he do now? Watching her for an amount of time, lost on what to do now that his wicked idea has not manifested as he saw it do in his head, he stands before her completely stationary.
After another moment, shifting her eyes back above his shoulder, she menially calls for him, 'Diaval?'
Wonderful. He looks forward to that sort of summons from her, mostly always he does. It is usually his call to servitude; the call to collect himself up to full height, position his shoulders correctly and respond as a servant to their master.
'Move,' she states.
But of course she wants her view back. And yes, she is very much finished with dance talk. Why it had seemed like she would ask him to take her to the dance floor, he cannot make himself remember anymore. With immaculate clarity, he can only remember that it had seemed a fetchingly amusing idea to get her to dance.
Move, he will. Drop his hand, he also will. But should he accept her dismissal just like that?
'Are you quite certain that you do not want to dance, Mistress?' he asks, deciding then that he should attempt to persuade her one last time.
After all, when he started to present dancing to her, he knew that it would be no less harder than him in his raven form, trying to swallow a chick.
'Quite,' is her tight 'hear me, obey me' reply.
He'd like it known, that as a servant, he is obedient, but when he occupies the role of the persistent servant, he tends to put off obedience for a little bit. With the latter, at most, it results in an outcome that he is pleased with.
'How can you be sure, when you've never even tried dancing?' he intentionally provokes. 'Do you recall how terribly you hated getting your wings sprinkled with water?'
Hearing his second question, she sharply turns to him. He imagines that it's because she just as sharply remembers how much she detested that very thing, but now every so often, likes to indulge in it as one of the more simple and yet luxurious things in her life.
Emitting a little curious laugh, she wants if, 'Dancing is like sprinkles water on my feathers?'
'I don't believe so,' he answers honestly, shaking his head to as he wonders about it, 'but we could try it.'
He said try, and he very heedfully said the word, as caution is not yet a forgotten requisite in conversing with his Mistress about dancing. As such, with new strength, he reaches his hand out to her again.
'What?' she asks concerning his hand.
She looks at his hand, visually measuring if she should take it or not, probably considering that should she take his hand, the feeling that comes from having a measured amount of water sprinkled on her feathers, is quite exhilarating, and she would do well to keep that in mind.
'Take my hand, Mistress,' he politely urges.
Once again, she looks at his hand, and then moves to his face, and then his hand again. At last, following a silent stretch, she takes his hand. Gently grasping her hand within his, as a lowly and humbled servant would bestow upon a regal, he bows his head low, to make as though he is going to kiss her hand. He won't kiss her hand, of course, it's only to make her smile once he places his forehead on the back of her hand.
Homage, that is.
That is to say that although he would challenge her when he finds it necessary to do so, he would never forget his place, and never her position. In part because of that, he takes cares to lead her to the couple, not wanting to make it seem that he is pulling her along with him; the difference has to be present.
It appears that the difference is present and very evident, for everyone within their way of walking starts making room for them. It's at times like these that he revels in being the hand to serve his Mistress. Not for the respect that is afforded him along with her, but for the pride of sheer respect that she takes with her wherever she goes.
Reaching the married pair, he quietly nods to them as a way of acknowledging their proximity. Aurora unsurprisingly gives him a questioning look after stealing a quick look at her godmother, which he silently shuts down with a discreet head shake.
'Are you enjoying the celebration, Diaval?' Aurora asks, fortunately understanding that she is to make no comment.
'Yes,' he answers her as he takes to standing on the spot. 'Mistress and I are going to be dancing.'
Not in the least disturbing her soft dance with her husband, Aurora looks at Mistress with a welcoming smile on her face, but she knows better than to say anything that is not a polite smile. While Mistress does have a caving ability when properly motivated, they know very well never to say anything of encouragement or surprise when she is trying something new.
She has made quite the slew of allowances since the engagement, and she has done, well, passable so far, however, she should not be tested than where she is willing to be tested. He doubts very much that she'd even like it to be commented that in her first dress, when she arose from the ashes, she'd looked differently nice, because that would be a push too far along.
'Enjoy the dance then,' Aurora wishes them. 'Both of you.'
When the last of her words leaves her mouth, she focuses back on her husband, dedicating herself only to her husband, her happy smile and glow to accompany it.
He is tremendously happy for her, he thinks as he returns his attention back to his silent Mistress. She is never not silent in some manner or another, except this afternoon, she is a different sort of silent. Something like of an obedient silent; simply waiting to be shown, perhaps even led.
His Mistress. He will, just this once, lead her. With caution, of course.
'Place your hands on my shoulders, Mistress,' he warmly instructs.
Her eyebrows raised, sceptically curious actually, she heeds his instructions and puts either hand on his shoulders. The pressure from the contact is a soft thing, testing in its essence, but he does not mind it at all.
'I will now place my hands on your waist,' he tells her, doing so to-
'Don't touch my wings!' she hurriedly warns him, interrupting even his thoughts.
He would never! And;
'I need no reminder, Mistress,' he assures her, his hands firmly grasping her sides, to secure her position in the pending dance.
He really does not need a reminder about her wings. Not even when they fly together, high above in the sky, diving here and winding around there, he knows explicitly to never, ever, ever touch her wings. Besides, touching her wings is the least of his concern now that they are here about to dance. At the moment, his worry is getting her to move, and then keep on moving at what she will obviously consider a stagnant pace.
Compared to how big her steps tend to be when she walks, and how speedy her flying is, dancing is really the wickedest thing that he could have presented to her.
Chapter 2, They Toast.