written for Goldenlake's (fiefgoldenlake dot proboards dot com) Peculiar Pairings Ficathon
A cat may look at a king, Keladry once heard someone in the Yamani Islands say. A cat may look at a king, but his warrior- that is a different story.
In Tortall the knight can look at the king too, look straight into his eyes and tell him his law is wrong.
His eyes are the blue color of the Conte gift, his inheritance from the Conte line, and she is looking into them, but all that she can thinking is a cat may look at a king.
"Lady Knight," the king says, and she blinks.
(a cat- a cat may- what a cat why a cat lucky cats are lucky but not here that's in the Islands this isn't the Islands cat king cat king look at the king)
"Look at me," Jonathan says.
"I am," Kel needs to push a lock of hair behind her ear before it falls into her face, but her hands are locked behind her back and she's holding on for dear life.
"Do I make you nervous?" the king asks. Long dark lashes touch against his cheek as he blinks. "Keladry?"
"I defer in respect to your station," she responds (you are not a cat you are a calm lake and the king can stare into water what is going on)
"That isn't an answer," and from the lift in his voice she can tell that he is amused, "but I appreciate your response nonetheless."
Her toes are pointing inwards and carefully Kel straightens her stance. "I beg your majesty's pardon, but why I am here?"
He comes closer to her, leans forward over the desk and examines her face, every freckle, every bump, every pore. "I wanted a good look at you," the king smiles, teeth like well-tended stones.
"I do not understand." Kel hesitates, and then adds: "sire."
"You don't like me," Jonathan's eyes slant over her. He is still looking.
"I have sworn loyalty to you and I respect the crown that you wear."
"Another very good non-answer. I might need to press you into diplomatic service."
Kel blinks again (when will he be done when will he be done I am tired of looking).
"Stop deferring," Jonathan continues. "You're better than that. Protocol isn't everything."
"It is for the Yamani," she says, a reflex, a crutch from years of answering questions.
"This isn't Yamani land," he tilts his head and twists his mouth, just slightly, waiting for her to return words.
"I know that, sire."
"Hmm." His eyes are drifting lower, speculatively, in a way that makes her glad she is not a mind-reader. They skim over her breasts, down her waist, to her hips. Kel finds the urge to fidget stronger than it has been in years.
"You're not going anywhere just yet," Jonathan says. "I'd like to have much more of a conversation with you, Keladry."
"Yes," he continues. "A stimulating conversation. That will be a most effective use of our time."
If a cat may look at a king and his warrior may not, she is currently very, very much in between.