|A Pleasant Fiction|
|Summary:||Rose and Jack pen the final chapter in a very short — but very poignant — story.|
|Related Logs:||The Replacements|
|Jacsen's Room, Four Eagles Tower, Terrick's Roost|
|Jacsen is smart and classy. So there's smart, classy stuff here.|
|4th of Ninthmonth, 288 AL|
That evening, some time in the quiet hours between supper and bed, there's a knock at Jacsen's chamber door.
There is the faint noise of quill to parchment, scratching away behind the door. It stops a moment, and Jacsen can be heard to call for whomever knocks to show themselves in. One must understand, though he does not say it, that he'll not get up.
The door opens a tiny bit, just enough for Rose to poke her head in. She clears her throat and raises her eyebrows slightly. "Hi." She hesitates a fraction. "Bad time?"
Jacsen sets the quill back into its inkwell, and shakes his head slightly. "Just… working at something that can keep itself," he mentions, waving a hand. A hand that is, obviously enough, weighted with the seal more properly found on the hand of Jerold Terrick. "Come on in."
She enters, shoving her hands into her pockets and nudging the door shut behind her. She stands just inside a moment, then takes a breath and a step forward. "Jack…"
His eyes betray that he knows well why she's come, though Jacsen seems to not wish to be the one to first say it. In sight of the bed they shared, however innocently at first, and later kissed. He watches Rose, with only a small smile to shape his mouth.
She looks plaintive and sad, her heart breaking a little, visibly. "You already know what I'm going to say, don't you?" she whispers. She takes another breath and swallows. So she puts that part off, saying rather, "I told Jarod. He was…" She shakes her head. "I hurt him. Again. And…" she bites her lips and looks up at the ceiling, suddenly on the verge of tears again. "FUCK. You know what? I can't stop crying. I totally blame you." There's a faint, painful smile that comes with the blame, though, clearly marking it as not in earnest.
What is it about this tomboyish girl that makes him get up and out of his seat, even without the aid of his cane, when she glances up at the ceiling and swears at him so? "I do," Jacsen admits, his tone not altogether pleased with that knowledge, but resigned to it. He seems set to reach out for her, to draw her close as he has many times before, but he hesitates, now. "It's for the best anyways," he tells her. "I'm not him."
Rose swallows hard, clenching her fists at her sides. The desire to go to him is as plainly present as his to reach for her. She jiggles a knee and fidgets, full of frenetic energy and frustration that would probably be better spent — any number of ways. "No. You're not. You, at least, know how you feel about me. You see what I'm worth. And — thank you. For that. So much, Jack. I can't tell you what a gift it is to see myself with your eyes." She looks away. "He's — he's never going to — but that doesn't matter. Because in the end, we both love him. And — this hurts him. More than I knew anything could. And… it's not fair that he doesn't want me, but you can't have me — but that's the way it is. It just… it is. And I'm sorry."
He draws a slow breath at that, his smile a touch sad. "My brother needs time to sort himself out, though perhaps less than he did before," Jacsen says. He stands there, foolishly a moment as if he's unsure what to do, and then limps back to his table, slumping down into his chair. "Soon enough he'll see his mistake, though I know not what that will mean for you both. I hope it means something good." His shoulders square and he looks back to the parchment, where Rose cannot see his face. "It was a pleasant fiction, I think, even if we only admitted to it for a brief moment."
"It doesn't feel fictional," says Rose, fingers flexing out and curling into fists again. She stares sullenly at her boots. "It just feels impossible. I'm bad for you, Jack. Jarod or no Jarod — this is the right thing to do. You're a lord. I'll never be a lady again. And the life I mean to lead would only shame you."
"You tell yourself that, but I know better," Jacsen remarks, settling a hand upon the table, near his sheaf of parchment. "But it doesn't matter. You'd have him, and he'd have you, I love one of you and care too deeply for the other to ruin that." His voice tightens, quiets. "You should go, Rose. There is nothing here for either of us. And I should like to think I could look at you again before long and remember how fond I found you as my friend, and not think of you betwixt my sheets."
"Jack," Rose whispers, her voice aching. But she says nothing after. There's nothing she can say that won't make things worse. "Okay," she finally says, barely audibly. "I'm…" And shakes her head. "Goodnight, Jack." She turns to go.
When she leaves, and draws the door closed behind her with a soft thud, perhaps she waits a moment. Hesitates, stops to think… She can doubtless hear the shatter of some pottery or glass when it meets the wall. And if she lingers not at all? She will hear nothing.