Gaile blissfully ignored the siren call, calling on all of her impressive willpower to remain absolutely motionless and still appear very much asleep.
A sleep that happened to be wonderful. Especially on a certain day. A certain day where a certain pirate was always delightfully impatient and the rogue could tease her for… Well, hours really.
And, oh, how she could fake it.
"Hawke…" a lovely purr accompanied by the gentlest nudge.
One she responded to by yawning and lazily turning on her side.
"Oh, stop." A hand turned her back. "I know you're awake."
Feeling soft, firm thighs straddle her hips, Gaile allowed a grin… Only to make an obnoxious, snoring sound.
Isabela swat her; she opened her eyes, laughing. "Oh good. You're up."
"Yes…" she drawled wryly, "thanks to a terribly abusive captain." The other woman looked down with a pleased smirk, making her own expression grow. "May I ask what you could possibly want so early in the morning?"
The pirate wiggled her hips, a gleeful gleam taking those amber eyes. "Present."
"And here I was hoping you'd say sex." A long-suffering sigh. "Now I'll have to come out and tell you I couldn't afford to get you anything—"
Another slap to her shoulder.
Gaile chuckled. "Would you really complain if I were your present?" Her hands wandered to her hips, inching down the bare skin of her thighs as she brought herself up to meet the other's face. "My body." A kiss. "All day." Another. "Nonstop…"
Isabela pulled back with a smirk. "Never, sweet thing. The only thing I'd complain about was how long you made me wait to unwrap you."
The rogue grinned, leaning up a second time to capture those delicious lips, the kiss slow and thorough; long and deep…only to gradually become more and more heated.
The pirate pulled back yet again, managing a pout. "Quit distracting me."
"I'm building anticipation." She went for another kiss, working her mouth against the other's in a practiced rhythm—until her lover began to whine; she chuckled. "Really, Isabela, why do you enjoy this holiday so much?"
"The presents, silly." And it was so fantastically candid, the rogue could not help but laugh. "It's like…free treasure. And, as you may know, pirates do love their treasure."
A sigh. "If only you knew how hard I'm trying not to make a 'booty' joke right now."
"I appreciate the effort." Isabela gave a quick kiss before looking around the room. "Now where is it?"
Gaile placed a hand on her chin, eyes rolling upwards in mock thought. "Well. It certainly couldn't be in a chest. Under our bed. With a lovingly rendered note saying 'Do not touch. Especially snoopy, gossipy pirate captains. That means you, Isabela.' could it?"
The other woman was a blur, swinging off her body to hurriedly retrieve her bulky gift before setting it, with a noticeable bounce, on the bed.
"Ooh — a chest! Certainly one I've never seen before!" The pirate's hands slid along its length, fingers bobbing up and down against its leather ridges. "And oh-so pretty…"
She nodded at the other's performance. "You couldn't pick the locks."
"I couldn't pick the locks." Isabela grinned guilty.
Gaile tsked. "That's because I had this chest specially made. Entirely rogue proof; only a set of very specific keys can open those three latches." She tugged at a simple string around her neck, revealing gold, silver, and bronze. "These keys, to be exact."
The pirate gasped. "You clever minx." One of her slender brows rose. "Where'd you get that necklace? With the way I ravish you, I'm sure I would have noticed it before."
"I've had it ever since the chest was made; I just didn't keep it on me until now." She grinned, proud of the accomplishment. "Do you know how difficult it was to hide this from you on your own ship? I had to get the entire crew in on it."
Isabela laughed, deep and rich in a way that made everything in her shiver. "I can't believe you turned my own crew against me. At the very least, you should be tied up." A wink. "And then I'll charge you for mutiny."
"You could…" the rogue trailed off enticingly, removing the necklace and dangling it in front of her, "but then, you'd never get this."
"Oh, you do know how to drive a hard bargain." The pirate quickly snatched the necklace away with a smirk, immediately trying to find which key opened which lock.
Gaile felt her stomach flip as she watched the other work—suddenly and inexplicably nervous.
Doubts came like daggers: what if the present wasn't good enough? What if the other absolutely hated it?
What if it didn't show how very much the pirate meant to her?
She couldn't use words — not for that — all she had was action. Actions that had to be good enough. Had to say what she couldn't… Like how she'd buy the pirate an entire fleet of ships if it made her smile. Or give her the ocean if she could only find a way to fit the damn thing in a box.
She wanted to give Isabela the world. But even she found that a tad dramatic.
Maybe just a nation or two…. Start small.
The last latch clicked open.
Gaile held her breath.
"Oh, Hawke…" the lid was pried all the way open and the pirate's features softened considerably, "This is…glorious."
The rogue exhaled on the word; breathed in pure relief.
She liked it.
Isabela's hand lovingly caressed the chest's contents: a lush, red wine from Orlais; a golden brandy the color of her eyes from Antiva; a spiced rum (that the pirate exclaimed, with glee, was only made every ten years) from Rivain; a dry, aged whiskey from Nevarra — and even a bottle of that horrible ale the Hanged Man served back in Kirkwall.
"I-It," Maker's breath; she cleared her throat, "took me a while, but I managed to find the finest from each country we've sailed to, so far."
"Nothing from Ferelden?" Gaile shot her a look and she smirked. "Oh. Right." The pirate closed the chest, climbing back on the bed and trailing up her body, mouth pressing so insistently against her own that she sighed. "Thank you."
Her heart beat wildly in her chest; the pirate's expression was…
And that...made her so happy.
"I'm glad you like it."
"I love it." Corrected.
Gaile smiled. "Good."
Gazing into her eyes, the need for words faded away, the rogue easily wrapping her arms around her lover's back and bringing her closer as their lips met. Tongue and teeth. Again. And again… Until they were both breathless….
Isabela pulled away, amber orbs shifting in question as she straddled her once more. "You're not going to ask what I got you?"
She smiled, already missing her warmth. "Is it a sandwich?"
Gaile laughed, opening her eyes. "I didn't ask because I thought I was already holding it." The pirate glanced away, brow wrinkling in that tell tale way that told her she'd said something impossibly charming.
"Your gift." Isabela continued on as if nothing were said—another sign she was embarrassed. "It's a new title aboard the ship."
"From this day onward, you'll no longer be my first mate. You'll be…" a beat — as if she were tasting the words before releasing them, "my lieutenant."
"A promotion?" Gaile grinned. "I knew swabbing your poop deck would pay off someday."
That earned her another swat, but it was one she didn't mind. The other seemed… off.
"It's more official than 'first mate'; it's a full acknowledgement that you're integral to this ship." Isabela chewed her lip. "To its captain. The crew would recognize you as second only to me." Their eyes connected. "And to me…you'd be an equal. If I somehow weren't able to perform…you would man this ship. She would be yours."
"Bela…" the way the other's orbs trembled; how each word carried weight. This was…She didn't know what this was. But it clipped her breaths—made it feel like her heart was lodged in her throat.
But Isabela only continued. As if stopping now would ruin it all.
"If you accept, it means you'll swear complete loyalty to this ship. That you'll die with it." Her words were softer now, a vulnerability in those amber eyes she'd rarely seen. "At my side."
Gaile parted her lips… only to have nothing come out, the sheer intensity of the moment, stealing her voice.
Maker — what was this?
"You have to swear it." The pirate's voice quivered, but it still came as a captain's order.
"I…swear my loyalty to this ship." The declaration was hoarse, her chest tightening almost painfully. "I swear I'll die with it." She felt a trickling warmth roll down her cheek, but no need to wipe it away. "And, when that happens: I swear it'll be at your side."
Isabela smiled, that expression like when she'd thanked her for her present—but somehow more. More beautiful. "I'm giving you the title because you earned it. I don't want you doubting that." She laughed shakily — defenselessly — rubbing at her eyes before lending her fingers to scoop the wetness away from her own. "I plan to announce it to the crew when they all wake up. And those men adore you, so I'm sure it won't come as a surprise. But it's still rare to see such a cutthroat, slippery bunch take so well to someone who isn't the captain or quartermaster." A scoff. "It's probably your ass."
"Probably." Gaile agreed — for once, not having anything witty to say. Still…
The rogue stared at the other woman — that constant desire — wanting, needing to give something that would say it all. An indescribable feeling, inside, whispering that maybe… Maybe she already did.
And perhaps 'simple' was best.
"Thank you." Gaile pushed off the bed again, capturing the pirate in a fierce embrace, holding what she still thought her very best present. "Captain."