|Summary:||Jacsen and Anais come to terms.|
|Related Logs:||None (Because I'm too lazy to find titles and link.)|
|Jacsen and Anais' Quarters|
|Tastefully decorated quarters for the Young Lord and Lady.|
|January 8, 289|
Since the last argument ended in silence, Anais has been…if not a model wife, then at least a quiet and unobtrusive one. She's been inside the keep, speaking with the smallfolk sheltering there, and in the cellars, keeping a careful inventory of the keep's supplies. Even the evenings have been silent. If she was in bed at all, she was already asleep, or doing her best to pretend to be so. Now, she's digging through the wardrobe, trying to find something that is both clean and relatively formal, all the better to appear a proper lady of the Roost.
Her husband has been little present himself. Despite the reduced breadth upon which his responsibilities range, the depth of them has more than made up for it. Jacsen is more likely to be found speaking with his father, or the men under their command, even amongst the smallfolk exchanging words or bent on his good knee to tell tales to children, then he is resting in their suite. Though she's done well at appearing asleep when he comes to rest in the late evenings, tonight finds her still awake and searching for clothes for the morrow. It would seem he will not be so easily avoided tonight.
Anais looks over her shoulder at the sound of his arrival, stilling. For a moment, it looks as though she might say something…and then she remains silent instead, turning back to the wardrobe and carefully setting one old and faded gown aside. There's a faint tension in her shoulders, much as she tries to seem calm.
"I did not expect you to still be awake," Jacsen offers, by way of breaking the silence if not the tension, which he seems at least passingly aware of, as he steps into the suite.
"It seems silly to waste water on laundry when I have other things to wear," Anais answers him softly without looking out of the wardrobe. "Father was kind enough to provide me with some new gowns after the wedding, to start my life as Lady Terrick, but I've been…I don't know. Reluctant to wear them. I didn't want your mother to think I was trying to outshine her or anything like that. But it seems important now to look like Lady Terrick." She pulls out a gown in heavy, pale-gold silk, emroidered in deep purple along the neckline and hems, brushing a thumb over the thread.
He is closer to her then, a touch quieter in step than usual, his fingers at the end of an arm reaching over her shoulder to touch the same fabric. "Had I known, I would have done what I could to dissuade you from forgoing them," Jacsen says to his wife, his voice softer for the faint distance between them. "This is your right, Anais. You are one of us. My lady, and my wife."
"Elinor did the embroidery on this one," Anais says softly, still looking down at the fabric. "Even though I shoved my way in front of her to be here, so still helped with this, and with the wedding dress, and…" She looks up, eyes watery, only to quickly wipe away the tears. "I'm sorry, Jacsen. I'm trying. I'm really, really trying. I don't want you to think I'm not, or I'm not here for you, or that I don't want to help you, because I do."
Of course the fabric holds only the cursory of interests for Jacsen Terrick, his eyes favoring her features as she turns them to him. His arm is strong, too, when it winds about her waist and draws her against him. "Shh, I know you are, Anais. I know," he assures her, pressing a kiss to her forehead. "I'm sorry too," he murmurs against Anais' head.
Anais turns to wrap both arms around him, crushing the dress between them. "I want so much to do the right thing, Jacsen," she says against his shoulder, voice thick with unshed tears. "My mother- my mother never seemed to have any trouble, but- but I just don't know how to be what you need and what the Roost needs and I don't know when I should concede and when I'm supposed to fight and right now it just feels like everything is- is-" She goes silent, arms tightening around him even more. "I don't want to make it harder for you. I just want to help."
He turns his face enough to the side that he can reach her mouth, pressing a firm kiss upon her lips. "Who are we to always know the right steps, when neither of us have danced this tune before?" Jacsen asks her, his cane thumping lightly as it hits the floor and his other arm succeeds in wrapping even tighter about his wife's slender frame. "It's hard, Anais, when I want nothing more than to be right, and wise, before my own wife. Whether I am right or wrong, I want you to see me as… as a great man. And when I feel like I'm less than that…" If she lets him, he'll kiss her again. "I never meant to make you feel less than what you are, love," he murmurs, softer there, uttering a word he's never used before to describe her, "You're brave, and brilliant, and strong, and I do need all those things. I do."
Anais turns up to his kiss, letting the dress fall as she reaches up to wrap an arm around his neck. "Jacsen, you are a great man," she assures him. "I…Gods, I just never know what to say, because I know you want to be respected. And I'm just afraid I'll say the wrong thing, and you'll think I don't respect you. But I do. You are- You are so much braver than Jaremy ever could have been, Jacsen." She reaches up to cup his cheek in one hand, trying to hold his gaze. "And seven know, you're smarter," she adds, voice dry despite her faint smile. "I don't want you to be afraid for me, Jacsen. I don't want you to think you have to protect me. You have so many things that are so much more important to worry about right now."
"I could not be unconcerned, could not be worried about you, or wanting to protect you, Anais…" Jacsen's lips find hers again, pressing firmly, insistently. "I don't know how we navigate everything else… but I don't care right now." He takes a careful step back and says, "I want you, Anais. I need you."
Anais blinks back at him, her cheeks flushing slightly. "You…do?" She hesitates, setting a hand on her hip. "Did Aubra talk to you? Because I told her not to…" Her free hand presses to his chest as she searches his features, lips parting slightly.
His brow knits slightly. "Aubra? What does she have to do with anything…"
"I- Well I-" Anais squints, looking sheepish. "She might have caught me having a bit of a cry in the cellars," she admits. "And offered to have a word with you. And I told her that wasn't really necessary, of course, but you know she's not so much for /listening/, really." Her lips quirk, reluctant laughter starting to bubble up. "Gods, we're hopeless, aren't we?"
He reaches down to find one of her hands, and squeezes it gently. "We're hopeless, that I do not doubt," Jacsen murmurs, shaking his head a bit as he listens to his wife's confession.
Anais reaches up to push a hand through his hair, cupping his neck when she's finished. "Can we just promise to be honest with each other?" she asks with a small smile. "Whatever is happening. Whatever we're feeling. So we can stop second-guessing each other?"
He smiles down at his wife, shaking his head a fraction. "I don't think I was very dishonest before, just… having a harder time expressing how I feel, I think?" Jacsen tells her, his fingers threading into hers. "But I'll try, for my part."
"I was less than honest," Anais confesses. "I've said things because I thought it was what you've wanted to hear. I've hidden what I was feeling and what I was thinking. I've spent nights wracking my mind trying to understand what I should be for you, who I should appear to be in your eyes." She meets his gaze, smile softening. "And I am exhausted from it."
Jacsen shakes his head a touch, his smile a touch sad. "Anais, you needn't be anyone but who you are," he insists, "Even when you're trying to be something else. Whether it's someone who lets their stubborn husband rant, or their mother-in-law prattle on about needlework… you still must be Anais. Maybe you let me rant because you know I need it, and put down what you want to say, but do it because you think it is worth it, not because you want to change who I think you are." His brow knits a touch, and he asks, "Does that make sense? I think it does, but…"
"Almost." Anais' smile quirks as she steps closer once more, pressing her cheek to his chest. "I'm allowed to be myself so long as it doesn't interfere with what you want." There is, however, a teasing note to her voice, and her lips curve against his throat. "Do you know," she murmurs, "Those fools outside the gates are under the impression that I don't know how to use my tongue."
"No, I don't mean it to sound like that, Anais, what I mean is…" But then she is still talking, and the protest goes out of his voice easier than most ever before. "They are great fools," Jacsen acknowledges, arm still cinched about his wife's waist, holding her near. "Are they… fools for thinking that, too?" His voice, much like hers, seems to draw down to a murmur.
"They are," Anais assures, tongue flicking against his throat as she shifts against him. "Although, to be fair, Shayla always said that it was the man's tongue that was of more use." She draws back just enough to look up at him, smile faint. "Let's go to bed, hmm?"
She can doubtless feel the goosebumps raised across her husband's flesh when she flicks her tongue just so, the insinuations of such a motion all pleasant. "Well. I might know a thing or two of what Shayla is talking about…" Jacsen allows, though he's much more interested in navigating towards their bed with Anais in hand.
Anais laughs softly, slipping an arm around his waist and moving toward the bed with him. "Stupid squids. Taking on as many wives as they can pretend to hold and probably failing to satisfy any of them." When they reach the bed, she stills, looking up at him and pushing up on her toes to claim a slow kiss. "They'll never have the Roost, Jacsen. And they'll never have me."