"Shameful." Stannis muttered next to him as he eyed the spinning figures on the floor.
Davos leaned back slightly and took a sip of his wine as he followed his gaze- he might as well, everyone was looking at her, even if they pretended they weren't.
She was beautiful, there was absolutely no denying that, spinning in those orange and red silks that clung and fell from her body in a very sensual and undeinably intention manner. She stood out against them all, not only for the way her tawny skin glowed against the brightness of her dress, but her smile shone like nothing else in that room. White and dazzling and always there as she laughed and grinned with her dark lips and darker eyes. Silver jewelry swung around her neck in a way that Davos knew well enough was not accidentally placed to draw eyes down the lowest cut gown he'd seen outside of the Free Cities.
But she didn't care, and as she laughed and danced in a way that let her hips carry her, not seeming to notice, or perhaps even relishing that it was standing out sorely against the demur dancing of the other guests. Davos couldn't help smiling as he watched her.
Stannis was staring at him sharply.
"Yes, my Lord," He said, still smiling, "Shameful."
The poor boy she had wrapped around her looked as if he might faint. He had that dour face that most Starks had but it had gone red as her own sigil's sun and he kept glancing desperately towards the table where his brother had his head in his hands and his Tully wife stared in dumb shock.
The dark haired lad tried to put his hands on her shoulders but she spun gracefully and they slinked down to her hips.
Stannis made a disgusted sound next to him and Davos glanced over to the high table. The king sat with a seemingly blithe expression on his face, his silver hair gently reflecting the gold of his crown. He seemed to be interested in a conversation he was having with a grey-haired lord beside him (Davos didn't know which one, Gods knew if he ever would get them straight). On his other side, a seat or two down, Davos couldn't help notice a bitter ginger haired lord who he guessed easily enough by the badge on his tunic to be the hand on the king. A servant wandered past and the man grabbed his arm sharply and thrust his empty chalice towards him. The poor lad started to pour and the man stared at him as if he might break his arm all the while and finally nodded only when the cup was about to overflow. He drank deeply and darkly and seemed to be ready to stare at anything but his king or the spinning queen.
But it seemed no matter, Rhaegar's attention was on his guests and occasionally on the latest plate spread before him, but every once in a while- and indeed in this very moment- his deep purple eyes would dart quickly towards the spinning shapes on the floor, towards his wife who seemed a fire made of silk and skin running her elegant hand over the young Stark's bearded jaw and laughing with those pearly teeth and gleaming eyes. Davos saw the king swallow.
"He's set to pledge to the Night's Watch," Stannis muttered, "Has the man no pride?"
Perhaps the wall will seem a tad too cold now. Davos thought to himself, but he said nothing.
The music swelled, obviously reaching a conclusion.
Off to the side of the king, at the table opposite where he and his Lord sat, there came a bold "whoop" as the woman on the floor kicked her leg out, sending her silks riding higher than they should.
One of the Dornish had stood at the table with his leg thrown up on his chair in a vagrant way. He threw his head back and laughed and Davos saw such pure love and joy in his eyes that he liked the man despite himself. He was young and all together too handsome and all together too aware of it. He caught Davos' eye and winked at him thickly before turning back and calling out enthusiastically again to his sister.
A man who must have been the rouge's brother sat beside him. He seemed to have some malady that prevented him from joining the dance as Davos remembered seeing him politely refuse earlier offers. His eyes were kind and deep and the same love was in his stare as his brothers beside him as they watched the girl dance.
"Martells," Stannis swore, "They should keep their debauchery in that desert of theirs."
Davos himself was glad at least some said debauchery had made it as far as King's Landing. The wine was some of the best he'd ever tasted.
The music sped, faster and faster and then with a tumult of sound and motion Elia Martell threw her leg around Benjen Stark's and arched her back to finish with a flourish as the final notes sounded, breasts heaving after the exertion under his helpless stare.
Davos couldn't help laughing into his cup and several seats down his Lord's younger brother whistled through his teeth.
Ned Stark's stare could have sliced glass. And as soon as the poor lad met it he almost dropped the girl onto the floor and she let out a little cry of surprise.
There was a choking sound and Davos turned to see her rakish brother barely stop himself from spewing his wine across the table. His nearest sibling chided him but there so no masking the mirth in his own eyes.
Benjen Stark apologized awkwardly as he stepped back from her, but she only laughed, ran a hand lightly over his hair and kissed his cheek.
Davos didn't dare look at the king now.
"I've had enough of this display." Stannis growled next to him as he put his glass of water down onto the table with a dull thunk, "Stay if you wish."
"I'll attend you, my lord." Davos said without hesitation, even though truth be told he would have enjoyed another cup of the heady red before retiring.
"You'll finish your drink." Stannis said as he noticed he wasn't done.
"Thank you, my lord." Davos said with a smile, trying not to drink too quickly under Stannis' obvious discomfort.
The girl was wandering the floor with a predatory look in her eyes. Davos wasn't sure if he pitied or envied the next man she pulled after her into the next dance.
She smiled and laughed with several women as she passed but her eyes never stopped their carefully raking across the faces lining the long tables of the hall.
She started walking towards them.
"My lord…" Davos began.
Stannis turned quickly as she approached, her eyes were tight on Renly and he was smiling right back and her with blithe drunken glee.
"Seven hells," He swore roughly under his breath.
"She's looking towards your brother, my lord." Davos said as he took another swig of the red.
"I can see that well enough," Stannis gritted, "Perhaps it's for the best, at least he'll enjoy it less thoroughly then the others. His outfit might even quiet hers." He snorted.
Elia Martell stopped in front of Renly Baratheon and the young man who sat beside him.
"You look quite beautiful tonight, Your Grace," Renly beamed, oozing charm, "Am I mistaken or is that Tyroshi silk?"
"You have a keen eye," The Queen smiled back. Her eyes were sharp, dark and direct, "But I fear my finery is put to shame by your own."
Renly was dressed in layer upon layer of blue and green silk, embroidered into swirls and spirals in silver thread all down the shirt. Stannis had complained earlier that if he'd wanted to sit beside peacocks he'd be happy enough in the garden.
"I could never outshine a sun as bright as yourself Your Grace," Renly cooed.
"A sun is only bright when compared to the darkness it banishes," She said.
"Then I am sure if you were to leave us the room would plummet into shadows."
Davos saw Stannis roll his eyes.
"Shadows have their own advantages." She grinned, with a glance to the pretty boy sitting beside Renly.
"That they do, Your Grace." Renly answered with his most disarming smile.
She leaned forward and put her hands brazenly on the table before them.
"Shall I tell you a secret, Lord Renly?"
"If you shall trust me with your confidence I swear I shall treasure it dearer than my own." Renly said leaning forward as eager as a gossiping fish-wife.
She leaned in closer and Davos saw her dark lips part, "I have always truly loved men with blue eyes."
Renly grinned, "And I have always counted myself quite fortunate on that score, my Queen."
She leaned even further over the table and Davos could smell the dark lavender scent of her as a breeze pushed past the open doors of the hall.
"I have become most determined," She continued, "To dance with the most alluring blue eyes in this room tonight."
Renly opened his mouth.
"Lord Stannis-" She said suddenly, voice low and almost rough, "I would greatly enjoy the honor of your arm." And as she said the words she lay a tawny hand over his wrist.
Stannis spun around as if her hand was made of scalding iron.
Davos could only stare, horrified and feeling slightly ill, but the look on Renly's face was so gloriously confused, injured, and furious that he almost felt himself start to smile.
Stannis seemed as if he had turned into stone and was about to vomit all at once. Maybe, Davos thought in slightly drunken horror, he'll do both at once, like the gargoyles sitting on the walls.
Elia stood silently, leaning over the table in a very unladylike manner with her thumb running slowly and subtly over the side of his arm.
That was what finally brought him to.
He snapped his arm away from her.
"I--" He began turning his eyes away.
"You would't disappoint your Queen?" She said, her face mocking hurt but her eyes full of mirth, "Would you, Lord Stannis?"
Stannis stared at her at if she had thrown his soup on his lap.
His brows narrowed and he seemed about to say something but he caught Renly's horrified. He stared at it for a moment.
He looked at Davos once, quickly out of the side of his eyes, gritted his jaw hard, and stood. He straightened his tunic and cleared his throat as he rounded the table and took her outstretched hand as hesitantly if it were a lunging viper.
Davos watched for a moment as he led her, or rather she led him out onto the floor amongst the other lords and ladies. The drink was flowing freely enough in the hall now that several of the lord could not contain a sharp laugh at the sight of Stannis Baratheon standing stoically with a hand on the shoulder of a particularly slutry Elia Martell.
Davos saw him wince at those laughs and looked away, contenting himself to stare into Renly's shaken face for a few moments more.
The music began again and Elia started to twirl. Stannis indulged her but only so far. He couldn't do much about the way she was moving her hips and twirled her around several times as he kept pace with her steps, but when she put a hand on his shoulder so her fingers could lay on his neck, the tips catching in his short black hair, he gave her such a vicious look that she pushed her hand back to a more acceptable location.
"You're that 'Onion Knight' aren't you?" The deep drunken voice suddenly sounded behind Davos.
Davos spun to see the ginger haired Hand he'd noticed earlier- his dark look sunk even deeper into shadows by the obvious weight of alcohol slunk over his as heavy as mail.
"Lord Connington," Davos said, clumsily moving to stand and bow at the same time.
But the Lord made a slurred almost "shushing" sound and motioned at him idly to keep his seat. He grabbed that back of the chair Stannis had been occupying, pushed it back clumsily and sat beside him.
"I don't know your true name, Ser." He managed.
"Seaworth, Ser Davos Seaworth," He said as the man drunkenly nodded, "But truth be told I don't mind 'Onion Knight' as much as they might say."
"You are what you are, what else can we be?" Connington said, staring off idly into the air in front of him.
Davos sat uncomfortable. He knew he should say something but he'd never spoken to a Hand of a King before, much less a viciously drunk one.
"What's that?" His new companion finally said.
Davos turned to see him gesturing at his glass, "Wine, my Lord."
"I know it's wine." Connington answered, staring at him almost pityingly, "It's not their swill is it?" He asked, throwing a vague angry hand towards the Martells across the way.
"I'm afraid it is, my lord." Davos answered.
Connington's hand slapped lazily out and sent it spilling over the table. Most of the room was too drunk to notice but Davos saw Stannis' head spin in concern and saw the Queen in his arms roll her eyes at the sight.
The Hand of the King leaned in closer and put a hand on Davos' arm, "You're his man, aren't you?" He asked.
Davos wasn't quite sure how to answer him, "I serve Lord Stannis, yes."
"Serve," Connington said, leaning back in his seat roughly, "Defend, council, honor, love."
He almost spat the last word.
"It means all the same to them in the end." He said.
Davos tried to casually pull his arm out from under the larger man's heavy hand but he couldn't seem to. His eyes scanned the room looking for any possible source of aid.
Stannis was still dancing, although he looked like all he wanted to do was crawl away under the nearest table and lay down quietly to die.
Benjen Stark was staring at his lap while Ned muttered what he was sure must be an endless stream of quietly controlled rebukes.
Renly still looked like he might cry. He was muttering something along the lines of, "I- I just don't understand!" His young man put a hand on his lap but Renly shrugged away like a sulky child.
Finally his gaze and fell on the high table and Davos almost started out of his seat when he met Rhaegar's eyes. The king was staring directly at him with what Davos might have mistaken for anger, but then he had turned away, smile firmly back on his lips, but it somehow seemed more strained than before.
What could possibly make him look his way while his wife was dancing all too closely with Stannis Baratheon only several steps from him? Was he angry with Lord Connington? Davos supposed anyone drunk enough to make this much of a fool of themselves deserved perhaps some anger… but not anger like that.
"You're just another servant in the end," Lord Connington continued beside him, obviously oblivious to the world or how almost painfully tight his hand had gotten on his arm.
For a moment Davos considered stabbing him with his fork and claiming it was an accident.
"Just someone to do what needs to be done." The drunken lord continued to him or just the air in general, "Just- just there to tell them things that make them feel like they've done everything right, everything jus perfect."
Suddenly he jolted forward again and planted his other hand roughly on Davos'.
"He'll never give you what you want." He said with vicious rage in his drunken stare, "Never."
Davos glanced desperately towards Stannis hoping against hope that he could come and rescue him from this situation but Stannis was staring at him with the same helpless look as Elia swirled her hips under his hands and brushed her hair across his chest.
"Get out." Connington said, the wine in his breath spilling into Davos' face, "Just get out… before it's too late."
"Jon!" Came a musical voice behind them.
Connington looked up sharply and Davos gratefully took the moment the tug his arm free and stow it safely under the table.
"I have nothing to say to you, viper." 'Jon' muttered into his cup.
"Ah good, I'm glad you remembered my pet name, it's so much more fun that way, don't you think?"
Davos turned to his savior to see the tan face and waving black hair of Elia's gleeful brother.
"I hope Jon hasn't been giving you too much trouble, Ser Davos." He said, his tone was playful but there was a seriousness to his eyes.
Davos shook his head, still half in shock that the man knew his name, "Of course not, it's an honor."
"Yes- count yourself the 'honor' didn't extend as far as his sick all over your tunic." Oberyn sighed.
The song seemed to be coming to a close. Davos hardly dared look to see if the Queen intend to make the same spectacle of herself and Stannis as she had with poor Benjen Stark.
"Your Lord knows his steps," Oberyn Martell observed from behind Davos' shoulder, "I'm surprised, Robert was such an oaf… everywhere but the battlefield that is. There is a grace to the Baratheon's somehow I suppose, even if it is a stony one."
The music swelled and Elia pushed her body against Stannis' as the song concluded, simply staring up at him with the huge eyes and her skin close enough to burn.
Stannis swallowed and dropped her just before the last note played. He bowed curtly and stomped back towards his seat, the anger positively crashing off of him in waves.
Davos couldn't help but notice Elia smile at her brother with a shrug of her shoulder and he smiled back broad and open.
"Looks like the stag wants his seat back, my lord hand." Oberyn muttered.
Jon snorted, his eyes foggy.
The Dornish Lord put his hand on the griffin's shoulder. Jon shrugged him away but not nearly with as much strength as he could have.
He almost allowed Oberyn to lift him out of his chair and turn him towards the corridor, and when he was on his feet he stumbled into him but the 'viper' caught him easily and the man didn't protest.
"We are leaving. Now." Stannis' voice came, barely audible teeth clenched hard enough to crack.
Davos bowed his head and stood, following a few steps behind his Lord as his angrily strode towards safety and anyone in the way scrambled to get out of his seething path.
As the music grew fainter and the door to the hall closer, Davos found himself glancing back at the king one last time. He looked tired, glancing all too quickly between Oberyn Martell half supporting Lord Connington as his led him from the room and his Queen laughing loud and free as she ran a hand down a young noble's arm.
Poor man, he almost thought, but then again if a man takes what he wants, he can't expect other not to do the same.