|Summary:||Anais and Jacsen speak of the future.|
|Related Logs:||Lots and bunches. Read them all!|
|Coastline - Terrick's Roost|
|Ocean! Waves! Sand! Rocks!|
|October 16, 288|
The clear sky overhead that sheds warm sunlight across the stone-strewn beach seems near its final throes, a dark collection of storm clouds weighing heavily on the distant horizon, swollen and ominous. Yet there is time still for the early afternoon to be appreciated, and Jacsen has determined to do just that. Seated atop a rather large rock, with some attendant guards close but removed from his immediate person, he's unbuttoned his tunic to accept the brush of a cooler breeze that comes in off the sea, filled with the scent of the storm that threatens. He's got his good knee drawn up to him, his arms wrapped about it that he might perch his chin upon his knee and watch the surf.
It isn't unusual to find Anais at the beach, particularly when the winds blow and a storm threatens. It is, after all, her favorite type of weather. And with the wedding looming ever closer, she tries to take more time to slip away from the insanity of preparations. Trailed by a pair of Banefort guards and a handmaid, she makes her way toward the beach, the wind tugging at the light linen of her skirts. At the sight of the Terrick lord, she starts toward him clambering up onto his rock with graceful certainty. Once she's up, she busies herself with arranging her skirts just so before she speaks, eyes still on the fabric. "Rain coming."
"That is my hope," Jacsen voices back to her, half-turning his head in her direction, his profile made stark by the sunlight that still manages to favor the coastline, at least for a little while longer. "Some cool rain would do much to soothe the pounding in my skull," he remarks, grimacing slightly before he straightens, looking out again at the sea and its slowly approaching storm.
Anais looks up at the mention of his headache, brows rising slightly. "I'm sorry to hear that," she murmurs, lifting a hand toward his temple without any apparent conscious thought. Her fingertips are cool, the brush light as a feather before she catches herself and starts to draw her hand back. "I could go, if you'd like," she offers quietly after a moment's hesitation.
Perhaps the action possesses as little thought, how he turns his temple into her touch. Jacsen's head is warm, not with fever, but with the heat that a headache brings. He says nothing else just then, clear enough indication he does not, in regard to her offer, indeed like.
Taking the silence for consent to remain, Anais shifts on the rock to sit cross-legged, reaching a hand for his arm. "Here," she invites softly, brushing a hand over her lap. "Lie back a bit." She glances around herself, then back with a small smile. "No one here but guards and Nina to take offense."
Jacsen looks over at her a moment before he silently acquiesces, laying back so that he can rest as she suggests. "Unless you see the Lords Terrick or Banefort about," he remarks with dry humor, "Whomever it is can take their offense and stuff it." He smirks at that last.
Anais laughs, a surprised note to the sound. "You probably wouldn't want to try that with Quenten," she murmurs, amused. "But then, I doubt he'd be terribly offended, either." As he lies back, she reaches up to place her fingers at his temples, stroking slow circles over the warm skin. There's nothing particularly skilled about the motions. It's only the gentle sort of soothing touch that any person can provide. "Father said he wanted to come too, though."
He snorts, lightly, at that. "Think you so little of your husband to be that he should fear your brother?" Jacsen wonders, his smirk still there even as his eyes drift closed at that soft touch to his temples. "I might not have the sword arm I once did, but…" He pauses a moment, and adds, softer, "Thank you, Anais."
"And how many reaver attacks do you throw back each year?" Anais teases with a low laugh, subsiding at his last words. Her thumb brushes over his brow, pushing back the hair in a gentle motion. "You're welcome," she murmurs in return, a curve of her finger tucking some hair behind his ear as well. "And…I'm sorry. If I'm making this more difficult than it has to be in any way."
That prickles him somewhat, her question, evident in the subtle tension it evokes. "None, myself," Jacsen admits easily, "Though I wonder if the matter of facing down a few Targaryen armies… not to mention riding and fighting in the center column that carved a path through the field so that our Good King Robert could lay Prince Rhaegar Targaryen low… counts for so little in your estimation?" His tone is not quite argumentative, and one might rightly say he sounds as if he truly wonders if she counts it for much. Perhaps the man wishes not to seem so diminished in his own wife's eyes, when the day comes.
"It counts for a good deal of courage and resolve, and your time in Seagard counts for even more in terms of cunning, intelligence, and wisdom," Anais answers without hesitation, a faint line drawing between her brows even as she runs a thumb down the skin between his. "On the practical end of things, though, Quenten is twice your size and used to handling weapons in battle, repeatedly. And carries them. So if he were to come upon us on the beach and take offense, I think the odds would not be in your favor in an unplanned brawl." She settles her elbows at her knees on either side of his shoulders, leaning down to catch his gaze. "But I don't think you'd get into a brawl with Quenten, because you're smarter than that." The last rays of sunlight shine through the fall of her hair, turning the fair strands to a golden halo for just a moment. "We're not really talking about you getting into a brawl with Quenten, though, are we?"
He opens his mouth to say something, but closes it again instead simply looking up at those eyes, and the golden halo that surrounds her face. "No, suppose we're not," Jacsen remarks simply, and lets out a small breath before his lashes descend and settle upon his cheeks. "If I have to fight your kin, I suspect that would be a very bad sign."
"It would," Anais agrees, shifting once more so that her fingers can slowly circle his temples. "Jacsen…" She trails off, choosing her words carefully. "You know- You know you don't have anything to prove to me, don't you? You already have my respect. It isn't something you have to fight for." A faint smile touches one corner of her lips, rueful. "I'm a little more concerned that you might not care much for me."
His eyes remain closed as her delicate fingertips work at his temples, the subtle tension in his form beginning to ease beneath her ministrations and softly carefully chosen words. When Jacsen does answer, it is with a thoughtful note. "It was easier when you were to be my brother's wife," he tells her, "I found you beautiful to look at, and clever, and I thought we might be friends."
"I know. I felt- I felt much the same," Anais says softly. "I thought how lucky, that Jaremy had a brother who was so clever, and so capable at everything that Jaremy wasn't. That even if Jaremy were to fall short in some areas, that you and I might be able to help him. To support him. And how lucky for me, that if there were things I couldn't speak with my husband about, elements of politics, or trouble, that he had a brother I could go to with my concerns." She's quiet for another moment, and when she speaks again, her voice is even softer. "And maybe, just once or twice, what a pity that the brother who was clearly more suited to the practical aspects of being lord hadn't been born first."
Jacsen frowns ever so faintly, a slight crease working across his forehead. "I know I'm supposed to see that, you know? Everyone says it, save father, whom I don't believe can bring himself to say the words. I should have been born first, or we're all better off now that I am to be Lord instead of Jaremy…" He lets out a breath. "Jaremy's responsibility, Jaremy's place, Jaremy's girl… and now I'm just supposed to… what? Pretend I haven't worked so hard these last years to make something for myself? It'd be different if it weren't-" he bites his tongue, and lets out a breath, eyes slowly opening. "You know it's not your fault, Anais. Any of this. And I'm sorry that you're caught up in it, but… I also know how much you desire to be Lady Terrick. So, you must endure."
"Lady Terrick," Anais repeats, worrying her lower lip between her teeth. "I…can only imagine how you feel. I've only worked for this for the last few months, and still the thought of everything falling apart makes me feel as though I'm going to be sick. And you've spent the last several years building your own life, with your own plans. I can't imagine what it feels like to be giving those up." She pauses the circling of her fingers, running them through his hair instead. "It would be different if it weren't what?" she probes gently.
"It's nothing," he insists, lightly, and shakes his head. Jacsen closes his eyes again and tries to settle back into her touch, letting out a breath as another of the cooler wet breezes wash in off the coast, presaging the storm that draws ever closer.
Anais' eyes drift closed at the feel of the breeze, her face turning up to its caress. "It's something, or you wouldn't feel it," she disagrees, resuming the slow circling at his temples. "I- I'd like you to be able to trust me. As I'd like to be able to trust you as well."
"And you think what, that I do not?" Jacsen asks, gently enough as she says that. "I do not wish for mistrust betwixt myself and my Lady, Anais. Down that road is simply pain and disappointment for more than just myself." He frowns, eyes still closed. "It's that… most think I should be pleased. Being Lord at the Roost is better than a man of Lord Mallister's, after all. But how many of them have had to struggle for what they were? I already knew who I was, once, Anais. And then, in a moment… it was all gone. So I had to figure out who I was… had to make myself that person, all over again. I fought hard for what I have, and even if it is not so grand as what Jaremy seems to have so little regard for, it still means much to me."
Anais sighs softly at his first words, reaching up to tweak lightly at his nose. "I'd like you not to take offense at everything I say, for one," she chides, teasing, before falling silent for his explanation. "I understand what you're saying," she murmurs then. "And for what it's worth, I don't think anyone really expects you to be /happy/. Especially given that Jaremy is your brother, and you love him. I think…I think they just expect that you might be less /unhappy/. I mean. Well. My /mind/ understands where you are right now. My heart still hurts a little at the thought that I am not what you wanted. Whether it's rational or not."
Jacsen looks up at the woman and lets out a small breath. "It's not that you are not what I wanted, Anais. It's that I don't even know what I wanted, hadn't decided what I wanted, and now have little choice in whether I find it or not." His hands unfold from one another, and he lifts his right hand up to touch the side of her face. "Rational or not."
Anais turns her head to brush a feather-light kiss against the inside of his wrist, a soft sigh washing the skin. "At least we both recognize both sides," she murmurs, a faint smile touching one corner of her lips. "For what it's worth, Jacsen…" She hesitates, the circle of her fingers faltering for a moment before it resumes. "My father hasn't always been faithful to my mother. Obviously. But they- They've managed to make it work."
"Nor mine," he remarks, perhaps needlessly. "I admit, I've never thought much of what sort of husband I would be, or the sort I might make. But I do think…" Jacsen's thumb trails lightly across her cheek. "Faithfulness of the marriage bed can be important, but even more so is the fidelity of our place with one another. While I cannot promise some things," he tells her, his tone sincere, "I can promise that you will ever be my Lady of the Roost, and in that never diminished by my action, or that of another. This will be your home, and the seat of your child in time. And you shall be respected for such."
"That is all I could ask," Anais smiles softly, tipping her cheek to his touch even as a wicked, teasing grin starts to curve. "Well. That, and perhaps for the occasional bit of jewelery, or new dress, or barring those, a smile, or a kiss. I'm a demanding git, aren't I?" she asks lightly.
His hand is warm upon her face, and perhaps even tender, though he does grin at her words. "Perhaps if you might model some new jewelry for me, and forsake the dress… you could earn both the smile and a kiss," Jacsen advises. "Mayhap even more…" His laugh, when it comes, originates somewhere in his throat and is less humored than it is appreciative.
"Ah, I see," Anais laughs low, though her cheeks flush slightly as she leans down toward him. "That could potentially be arranged," she murmurs, then with a cautious breath, leans down just enough for the barest touch of lips, even as the ominous roll of thunder washes over the beach.
Jacsen watches her features as she lowers her mouth to his, returning the gesture with a certain confidence despite the interruption of a thunderclap to the midst of that slight brush of her mouth and his. "Potentially," he repeats, in the small space left between their lips.
Anais haf-jumps at the sound of thunder, but at least it covers the throat-clearing from her guard, Kincaid. "I want…" she starts to whisper, then leans down for a bolder kiss, though it doesn't last much longer than the first, and when she's finished, she's quickly straightening. Yet there's a generous measure of relief in her sigh, tension leaving her shoulders. "I was afraid you didn't want me," she admits.
"I am not the… prodigious pursuer of women that my brother Jarod is, Anais, but I still enjoy their company," Jacsen drawls, in the aftermath of that second kiss, an errant look shot towards Kincaid. He chuckles faintly as he adds, "And a woman that looks as you do does not fail to catch the attention of most anything with a pulse."
Anais' lips curve, rueful, as she resumes her gentle circling at his temples as though Kincaid were not there. "I was under the impression that you were less concerned with looks and more concerned with other things," she admits. "Men who are only interested in looks are easy to deal with. You know what they want, and what it means to them. Jaremy…Jaremy was in love with love. It made things easy, in one sense. You, I think, are wiser."
Jacsen smirks lightly at that. "Doubtless I am. And I suspect you will learn as we go on, the sort of things that inspire my desire, Anais," he insists with a soft, though serious tone. "And, I am certain, there will be times when we clash. But time will bring us familiarity… And I hope that at there shall be times when it is I that inspires the desire in you, and not always the other way round."
"I have no doubts about that," Anais murmurs, smile slipping crooked even as that flush colors her cheeks once more. She turns her face to the sky then, taking a deep breath. "It's likely to rain shortly," she notes, reluctant. "I wouldn't say anything for myself, but I know you said that rain isn't always kind to you."
"Walking out this far is not kind to me, fool that I am," Jacsen admits with a small laugh, "I'd like at least a touch of the rain before I head back to the Tower." He smiles a small, but earnest smile for Anais' sake. "Your touch has helped, but my head could still use the kiss of cool raindrops to soothe. So let us sit here a while longer, and welcome the storm?"
Anais's smile is likewise small, but far more genuine and open than any previous. "Let's," she agrees, turning her face to the sky as the clouds start to roll in along the coast. After a moment, she trails her fingertips along the line of his jaw. "Can you feel it?" she asks. "The air. When it gets ready to storm, it's like…like it's alive. Like tiny shocks prickling up and down your arms."