|Bros Before Hoes|
|Summary:||In which Jacsen and Jarod have it out about 'Rowan,' and their various other deep-seated half-Terrick issues.|
|Related Logs:||The Replacements; A Pleasant Fiction|
|Roof Terrace — Four Eagles Tower|
|A high roof with parapets.|
|3rd of Ninthmonth, 288 AL|
OOC Note: This scene opens in media res, as the first bit contained some unrelated stuff that's not ready for the light of the wiki. For a set, Jarod and Jacsen are on the parapet, talking about girls.
"I live to entertain you lot," Jarod says with an easy laugh, though he's plainly relieved. "All right. So…" A pause. "…you're not holding out any other interesting tales from Seagard from me, are you, my wise lord brother? I'm still half-convinced you're closer to making the eight than me." It's unclear if he's joking or not. "I've got three. At least tell me if you've more or less than three."
He gives his brother a look, one that does some decent interpretation of the one their father is famous for. "Less, though damn you for asking," Jacsen says with a bit of a laugh. "I don't think much about it, or care, until you come around to make it some sort of point of bloody honor, you know."
"I'd not call it honor," Jarod says, laughing, seemingly triumphant for getting an answer as much as anything else. "But it's a matter of how…well-traveled a man is. How experienced he is in the geography and ways of all the peoples of Westeros. Besides, the Pyke girl barely counts." He smirks. "Not that I didn't finish the job, mind you, I closed the deal before she…anyway. I'm not drunk enough to tell you that story, but I'll owe it to you if you like. Believe me, I come off less well than you would in any of yours. It's funny, though."
Jacsen lets out a slow huff of breath and looks back out over the evening that begins to blanket the world beyond their father's tower, and lets out a breath. "Speaking of stories…" he says in a voice that doesn't sound altogether like he wants to do any of that, "I… I might have fucked something up, Jar. Nothing that's going to blow back on us, nothing like that, just… stupid personal decisions." He shakes his head quietly. "And at least the one followed from another, and I just.." He sighs, looking for something in the inky darkness.
Jarod is more curious than anything else. "This more about the Non-Maiden of the Mire?" He leans on his elbow on the parapet, tilting himself so he can look at Jacsen's face properly. "C'mon, Jace, it can't be so bad. I make stupid personal decisions every day, so it's likely nowhere near as bad as I've managed in the last week or so. What happened?"
"No, I wish it were," Jacsen says, glancing back at Jarod with a mostly unreadable expression, a small feat between two men who know each other so well. "So when I came and spoke to you last night, after I'd spoken to the spy, well, the night had been an eventful one already," he shares with his brother. "Earlier, I'd made good on a promise and accompanied Ros- Rowenna down to see Amelia. She couldn't do it on her own, and I thought… well, if I were in her shoes, I'd want to say goodbye."
Jarod nods a little, grateful, when Jacsen uses the name 'Rowenna.' "Thanks for that. I know she doesn't like me much for it, Jace, but…well. Call me small, if you like. But I can't help but think it rather unfair that some people in this world get to style themselves however they fancy - or keep being called noble by the world when they might well be not - or…I don't know. Meanwhile I'm a Rivers every morning, and I don't complain or try and change it. I don't know. Maybe it's stupid but it seems…Avinashi Ruhi making herself a new life under a new name doesn't bother me. Even Rowan Nayland doesn't bother me, as that's her brother, and he gave her the right to wear that name. But this Rose Rivers thing…" He lets out a long breath. "Sorry. You probably think it's stupid. But…thanks for the consideration. Anyhow. I don't mean to carp about her now, it's an old argument, like all the others. This must be an awful time for her. She's been willing to take Amelia Millen into her heart as a sister, whatever the truth of the woman's birth is. How's she holding up?"
"You know, I think you're harsher about that than you ought to be," Jacsen tells him, "Though I think… Shit. I think you're harder on her all around than you ought to be." He lets out a slow breath. "But that's between you both I guess, not any business of mine, Jar. Only, I need to finish explaining." He looks like he wants to say more on that last bit, as Jacsen is wont to do, but he swallows it so that he can finish getting through what he needs to say. "She needed someplace to go and cry afterwards, so I took her to my chambers. Seven, Jarod, I wasn't sure what to do with her, I've never seen… anyways. She was quiet for a long while, and then she fell asleep. So I put her in my bed and left her to sleep it off," he shares, "She was there still when I came to the roof and Senna showed up. Was still there when I came to speak with you… though I'd figured she would've snuck off by then. And she was still there when I dragged myself home in the middle of the night."
"You don't really…you don't know the whole of the Rose Rivers tale. Unless she's told you her side of it, which I've got some points of disagreement with. I'll…I'll show the letters, maybe then you'll see why I'm not keen to let it pass. And I don't think she's all of fairness with me, either. Do you?" But Jarod doesn't wait for an answer. Listening to the rest of that. The bit about Rowenna crying makes him sigh, and a flash of worry passes across his face. Though the direction this seems to be heading makes him look less concerned and more…well. His expression gets a little blank, honestly. Save that there's the impression he's bracing himself. "All right…" It serves as a 'continue.'
Jacsen closes his eyes a moment to better steel himself. "It wasn't… /that/, Jarod. It was…" He turns to face his brother, leaning against the parapet, his arms folding across his middle. He looks somewhat stricken, truth be told. "I thought it would be kinder not to wake her, I left her dressed, and so was I, so what was the harm? She's a good friend, and I know well where her heart lies," he says, his gaze pointed at Jarod. "When I woke up, she was… close. And we talked, Jarod, that was all, just… it was the sleepiness of the morn, when you're not quite thinking just yet. After the mess with Amelia and the cell, I guess I should have known to keep my distance…" He wants to say more, clearly, but he finally just outs with it. "We kissed. Nothing more than you would see by children at play, and we both said it for a shit idea, and then suddenly she was up and running off…" He can't quite meet his brother's gaze just then, and shakes his head. "And I didn't mean it and I wish I could take it back and I feel sick to my stomach because I damn well know you must love her even if you swear up and down every which way you don't… ah, fuck, Jarod, I'm sorry."
"Huh…" That's all Jarod says immediately. He looks away from Jacsen, over the parapet, shoulders sort of deflating. Almost like he's trying to make himself smaller. "All right…" Just that again, before he lapses into silence. Taking in and letting out a deep breath.
He's almost in disbelief. "Wait… what? No, Jarod, fuck that," Jacsen swears, hobbling from the parapet and crossing towards his brother without the benefit of his cane, wincing with the effort. "No, you fucking call me a right prick for doing it," he tells Jarod, "Or you tell me that she really doesn't mean shit to you and laugh at me for being so worried over nothing, or… fucking deck me, but you don't say all right."
"No. No. Stop it. It's all right." It's plainly not, and Jarod still doesn't look at Jacsen. "I mean…should've figured it would happen sooner or later, I guess, after you two met as…well. Men and women. I mean…you'll be good to her. You can protect her in ways I…can't. You can give her…things. Things to make a life on. I can't. So…so, aye. I think you should…I mean…you're a good man. You're brave. You're decent. You're good-looking. You're my wise lord brother. Of course she'd fall for you. You don't got to…it's fine. I'm not mad at you. It's…" He trails off before he says it's all right again.
Jacsen slugs his brother in the arm, and swears. "Oh, that's it? That's how it's going to be? Poor Jarod Rivers, he's just a bastard you know," he says, he himself getting angrier as the knight deflates so, "What could he offer a woman? He's only the honor of his father, a right few by-blows know, a respectable position in a noble house and, oh, his spurs! What could he offer a woman who wants nothing more than to live a life of rough and tumble at his side? Curse you for a fool." He hits at Jarod's arm again, demanding his attention. "/You're/ the bloody good man, brave, and decent too. Whenever I get called handsome, it's quickly followed by some invoking of your damn name, or maybe Jaremy's. And I'm a fucking cripple, Jar, I can't ride in the saddle with her, go ranging about or off on some bloody adventure. She didn't fall for me, she's just getting tired of waiting for you to figure out what everyone else that knows the truth of things should damn well already have figured out."
"Fuck you!" Jarod does get angry at that, though more at the words than being hit. The being hit actually seems to revive him a bit. Physical violence somehow makes things easier to deal with. He does bring up a hand to clasp Jacsen's arm, and his grip is firm, but it's as much steadying as anything else. "Fine. You're a prick. You satisfied? And you're a fucking cripple. Poor Jacsen Terrick, while we're at it. I've been told, by a fair few ladies in this house since you came back from Seagard, that you're the fairer of the three of us. And aye, I'm a good sword, but that's my worth to this house in service, and father can find a dozen better ones. You bear his seal. He trusts you, he relies on you, more than Jaremy and in ways he'll never rely on me. You're the best of us. I told Rowenna that myself. And you'd have been a better knight than me. Do I even need to say it? Of course you would've been. And I wish it'd gone different at the Trident, Jace, I wish it had, because you know I'd trade places with you in a minute, swear to Seven I would, and I wish I could've done something to stop it other than flailing about on the field like a stupid, useless boy while my brother got his leg crushed and better men than me died and I did precisely shit deserving of a knighthood and I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry…" He trails off again, voice getting rather choked, and he looks down at his feet rather than at Jacsen.
There's honest to the Seven tears in his eyes when he throws himself at his brother, though it's not a violent thing this, instead tossing his arms about Jarod in a firm hug. "Fuck you for ever saying you're worth less than anyone, damn you, you're my brother and a better soul than anyone has question to doubt," he says, not willing to let his brother look down at the ground, or apologize again. "We can't fix what we are, neither of us, no matter what we'd beg the Seven to do different. But don't stand here and tell me you're somehow less than any of us, Jarod. You /earned/ your place here, with hard work and skill and talent that father saw in you, else he'd have replaced you with a dozen better sword arms. You're trusted in his council, and trusted in his heart, and he is not the only one for whom you play so important a part. Poor Jarod Rivers, and poor Jacsen Terrick, but fuck it that's what we are. You're worth no less because of it, Jar, and if anything it only makes me love you better."
Jarod is snuffling as well, and is probably looking at the ground because it'd highly unmanly to let his 'little' brother see him getting teary. The hug is returned. Rib-bendingly. It takes him a minute to actually say anything in reply to that. Or to stop snuffling, probably more accurately. "You're worth no less because you did your duty for Good King Robert, either. Not in this house. And never to me. So fuck you, too. Stop it or I will hit you next time. If you think hitting a cripple's beneath me, you don't know me too well." He does engage in some firm shoulder-clapping on that note, but it's all the bro-y sort. "We're…umm…we're all right." It's a more genuine 'all right' than the ones he was employing a minute ago. "You could never do anything I'd not forgive you for, Jace, and what you did wasn't terrible at all. Can't say I've never…" He laughs. "…anyway, we're always all right, you and me."
"Don't say that, Jarod," Jacsen laughs, though it's a weak and weary sound, worn out from their shouting and eventual bro-hugging, "I've got my own secrets and shit we're both young yet…" He returns his brother's claps and pulls back, and says to his kin, "You know that this whole conversation…" He smiles weakly, "It means you can't rightly go about saying you don't love her back anymore. And you'd better damn well go tell her so, if you've got half a brain in there at all."
"It's not that I don't…" Jarod returns to leaning on the parapet once he's released, looking out into the dark sky again. "…Jace, I don't know what in Seven hells I feel for her. I loved Rowan Nayland like a brother. And then she did this whole Rose Rivers…escapade…and I thought…and then I realized neither one was real, and I was angry. And it was all a mess. And she never just let it sink in. She doesn't *do* that. She's always pushing at me, and I hurt her, and I'm sorry for that but you know what? She hurt me, too. And now everything's an argument and I don't know how I feel. It's been barely a month, and most of that's been dealing with the logistics of this to keep it from being a disaster. And what? If I don't say it's all suddenly fine and normal and that she's not setting herself up for a world of pain then she kisses my brother? These are my choices?" He sighs. "You know, I figured she was fucking Gedeon Rivers and I didn't…well, I cared. Idiot that I am. But I knew I had no real right to. It's not like I don't…I mean, I've no say over who she tucks in with. But I never thought…I figured, knowing me as she did…I never figured she'd…not with my brother."
Jacsen glances out in the same direction as his brother, leaving a hand on the bigger man's shoulder so that he can stand upright. "Now that's not quite fair either, both of you have done plenty to hurt the other," he tells Jarod. "She thinks you just… think she is a fool, Jar, and you can imagine I think how much that burns. Look at what it's made our own Jaremy do, now put it to someone in her shoes? The world is already against her madcap plans, and to have the one man she'd want to support her most of all agree with her worst fears? You might not mean it, but that lances deep." He sighs. "Not saying she did right here, or before either, Jarod. She didn't, that's clear enough. And I don't know about Ged, shit on him for taking her to bed though, but I think it wasn't so much your brother she kissed. It was just a man that saw her for who she wanted to be seen… rough around the edges, free spirited, but beautiful for it. She saw that in me and for a moment, just a moment, she reached out to take it. I don't think either of us could have lied to ourselves long enough for it to be anything more."
"What in seven hells am I supposed to do?" Jarod asks, turning his head to look at Jacsen, and the question is honest in its clueless frustration. "I don't think she's a fool, but I think she's naive, and that she'll bring herself a lot of hurt that I wish I could keep her from. She won't accept anything less than me saying this is a brilliant idea and that the knighthood will open its arms to accept her, and that isn't true. She claims she's prepared, but she's not, and if she thinks the way *I've* reacted is the worse she'll get…fuck it, Jace. It'll break her heart, what comes after the world knows what she's done. She's on after something she can't have, and people who do that just end up hurting themselves. We both know that. I've not said she can't build a life she wants, within what the world'll allow. She could go to Dorne, or across the Narrow Sea, or North with the bear-women, or try her hand as a sell sword, though I think we both know that's an uglier life than she imagines it to be. Or she could be a squire until she's fifty. Some men are. But it's like she hates me for saying that. She wants the knighthood, and that'll likely never happen in any way the world'll respect. There are some things a person can't have, and that's the world, and rather than fighting that I figure one should take what they have and build it into something that does make them happy. Why is that so awful? Should I lie to her?"
He shakes his head slightly, his expression a sad one. "No, Jar, you shouldn't lie. Shouldn't tell her the world is other than it is, but…" Jacsen smiles a touch. "There is something to be said for one who doesn't accept the world as it is, you know? Something fierce and strong and noble in it, and if you can't look her in the eyes and say that Good King Robert will dub her himself then at least say that. She's not stupid, and not so naive as you think, just… she's not willing to settle. Not willing to give up." His eyes drift back to the inky darkness and he sighs. "You don't need to lie to her, or say it'll all be just fine. But don't tell her that to be with you she has to give up who she is, either. She doesn't want you to love the proper woman that is Rowenna Nayland, she wants you to love the fierce, bold creature that she is now, call her Rowan, Rose, or Rowenna. She wants to know you'll be there to cheer her on, and to hold her tight when the world shits on her, as you're so sure it will." He shakes his head again, and swears. "Sounds so damn sweet and romantic, Jar, I'm going to go love her myself if you don't smarten the fuck up and do it. Stop being such a girl about it. That's her job. And for once, she doesn't seem to mind being the woman."
"It's not that I don't admire her for saying fuck you to her family and living her life on her own terms," Jarod says. And he plainly does. "I told her - I told her! - that whenever Rowan talked about 'Rowenna' I wanted to meet his sister with the balls to be her own self in a world, even if it meant they wouldn't call her 'my lady.' I told her this!" Jarod lets out a long breath. "I didn't tell her any of that. I'm not *asking* for anything, save for her to listen when I talk rather than acting like everything I say is some sort of oppression of her spirit of some bosh. But I do want to know Rowenna Nayland, not Rose Rivers or some other idea she's made up that she imagines I want, a bastard name so I wouldn't feel guilty about thinking of her as a girl. That's not real. That's not anything. What's wrong with saying I'd like to know the one name she wears that I actually *do* thinks done something real fucking admirable? And I'm not a girl! You're a fucking girl. Shut up."
"You're a fucking girl," Jacsen mutters warmly, shaking his head. "You're so wrapped up in semantics and what fucking name she calls herself… she'd let you call her whatever the hell you want if you'd just take her down to the pond and treat her like a woman," he supposes with a faint bit of humor, slowly making his way back towards the parapet and his forgotten cane. "You're putting your own worries and insecurities on her, thinking too much like you're still her knight, and she your squire, and not just another soul wandering and looking for its pair. You need to stop sweating the things you don't see eye to eye, and get lost in the things you do. How many people get to say they've someone to truly love them, or that they truly get to know the hearts desire of another?" He waves a hand back at his brother, all heavy with the signet of their father's. "Go on, and let that niggle in your brain until you can't help but take my advice. Lest I reveal her for a Nayland daughter and make father see the wisdom in a match with /someone/ of Terrick blood."
"Fuck you, Lady *Jacsina*," Jarod says, leaning into his brother's hand, which is quite happy to let rest on his shoulder. "I just…fuck." He sighs again. "She's so…serious. About me." Which plainly kind of terrifies him. "It'd be lovely if I could say 'I love you' honestly to her, Jace. Like it'd be lovely for her, I'm sure, if I could tell her I agreed with every fucking thing she was doing. But I can't. I don't know how I feel. I mean…I feel…something." He sounds morose about admitting it. "But I feel like it's not enough for her if I don't react precisely like she wants me to to everything she does. I can't say I love you now, it means I hate her. I say the knighthood won't accept her, I want her to marry a Frey and start having a dozen babies. I can't *be* what she's asking me to be, and if I try I'll just fuck it up, and believe it or not I actually don't want to hurt her. I would like us to be…something when all this is said and done, so she won't have to face what the world's going to throw at her by herself."
Jacsen considers his brother for a long moment, his hand heavy on Jarod's shoulder. "You think she expects you to have it all worked out, or for you to be some perfect and shimmering knight for her? You're you, my dear brother, and she's spent long enough at your side to not only /know/ your foibles, but come to love them too. And even so… life is pain, Jar. Look around us, remember the Trident. That's our world, my brother, and if you have a chance to really feel such love, to really feel it…" His jaw sets. "There's a part of me that'd hate you for wasting that, something I so wish for myself. Stop telling me how wise I am, and fucking listen to me for once. Okay?"
"Okay. Seven hells. I'll think on it." Jarod sighs. "I *do* need some time to think on it. She's not allowed me a minute to figure this out without throwing something else at me to force me to deal with her and keep being mad at her so I guess I'd show her *something* and I just…I can't get my thoughts straight. You know me. I don't stay angry at people for an hour if they're my friends. And Rowan *is* my friend, or I'd not have kept my mouth shut in the first place. I *get* angry easy enough if they keep poking me, though. It's not hard to get a rise out of me, as she knows. I just…I'm just going to keep going around in circles with her and pissing her off over and over if she keeps pulling me that way. Please, tell her this. I'll talk to her when I'm ready to talk to her, and maybe then I won't make such an ass of myself."
He nods once. "Fine," Jacsen decides, leaning forward on the parapets with his elbows to the stone. "For now…" The youngest of the three Terrick brothers lets out a long breath, fogging lightly in the cooling evening air. "Go find someplace else to sort out your thoughts. I need some peace, and my leg hurts too much to take the stairs just now." He seems pleased with his brother's answer, his concession to think on things, no matter that the whole of this conversation had not been what he might have wanted to hear.
"I can help you down if you want," Jarod offers simply. "I mean…you've got on just fine without me for five years, so I don't figure you need me to do for you. But…I mean, if you ever do want anything of me…" He shrugs. He would pretty much do - or attempt to do - whatever Jacsen asked, though he just trails off rather than saying that aloud. He likely assumes it's a generally known fact. "And don't feel badly about kissing her. Can't blame you. She's a pretty one. Not like I haven't done worse. Forget the Pyke girl, story. Remind me to tell you sometime about that stupid time I spent fooling around with Isolde Tordane." He sounds entirely self-deprecating, and ashamed probably more than he'd like to show, of himself as he admits that.
"Will," Jacsen says to his brother, and simply that, his gaze well and set across the dark realm that stretches out beyond. "Good eve, Jar."
"Good eve. Sleep safe, when you do. I'll leave the letters of Rose Rivers in your chamber so you…know what foolery you're getting into." Jarod leaves Jacsen the parapet, on that note.