Page 316: Feline Bribery
Feline Bribery
Summary: Nicodemus tries to make nice with his sister via her cat.
Date: May 31, 2012
Related Logs: All the Nico stuff, mostly recently An Imperfect Reunion and Awkward Turtle Soup
Rosanna Nicodemus Barristan 
The Lakeside — Kingsgrove
Pretty and green with a lake.
May 31, 289

Rosanna is refusing to have her visit entirely ruined by her brother. She is at the lakeside, absent Day if not without a handmaiden in view, because who else would have laid out that blanket for her? She has a polished wooden writing board in her lap, and she's partway through composing a letter on the parchment upon it. She tickles the feather of her quill occasionally under her nose in an idle manner. Barristan is curled up on the blanket next to her, looking imperious as he suns himself.

That Nicodemus spoils everything. Even the lakeside isn't a safe place to go when quasi-exiled brothers are loose and roaming the grounds. The sounds of footsteps from the grove to trees announces him before his appears, and it seems he'd had a similar thought to Rosanna on how to spend a few quiet hours. Or, at any rate, he's got a book under one arm and a small basket and he's walking towards the lake

The approaching footsteps draw her attention, and Rosanna glances over her shoulder to identify their owner. Her lips immediately thin upon recognizing him, and she lifts her chin and looks away again. It makes it a bit hard to look down and write a letter when your chin is lifted.

Nicodemus's step slows at that imperious dismissal from his sister. But, hey, in for a copper, in for a stag, right? Clearing his throat a little, he walks over to Rosanna and her blanket, lowering himself to sit on the grass nearby. He places the basket down in the space between himself and Rosanna. "There's pastries in there."

Rosanna's gaze flickers to that basket, although she attempts rather consciously to keep from looking at her brother. Barristan proves a more immediately interested party: he leans his head towards the basket, sniffing carefully at the air. Pastries, you say? (Or pastries, he smells.)

Nicodemus watches as the cat inspects his peace offering before he lifts his book and opens it. See? He can read things and not speak, too.

After a moment of sniffing, Barristan deigns to draw up to his feet and sidle closer to the basket. Sniff sniff. Sniff sniff. Rosanna looks vaguely annoyed at her cat's interest. Stop that, cat.

As he reads, Nicodemus idly rests one hand atop the basket. So the cat might sniff him, too. If he's so inclined.

Well, if you're going to get in the way of him sniffing the basket. Barristan twitches his nose carefully about Nicodemus's hand.

After he's been sufficiently inspected, Nicodemus nudges the basket open just enough to slip that hand inside. All the while, his gaze is calmly on his book rather than over at cat or sibling. And then, why look, that hand reappears again, this time with a little, dainty, cat-sized bite of pastry pinched between thumb and forefinger. How about that!

What, a cat-sized bite of pastry? For Barristan? He licks at it at first, testingly, and then nibbles it up with his sharp little kitty teeth. He might nibble at Nicodemus's fingers a bit, too, but no harm, right? Rosanna finally frowns over at her brother. "Stop that."

No, no harm. At least none that Nicodemus sees fit to mention as he reaches in for another bit of pastry to offer up to Rosanna's cat. He blinks over, blue eyes big and innocent, as Rosie chastens him. "Mmm? Stop what?"

"Trying to be nice to my cat," Rosanna says all irritable-like. "I know what you're doing." Barristan waits with an attentive gaze for that second bit of pastry, which he nibbles up just like the first.

"Would you prefer I was mean to your cat? That doesn't seem very brotherly," Nicodemus points point. After Barristan as pilfered the second little bite, Nico reaches unapologetically for a third.

"You are just trying to get him to like you so that I will like you," Rosanna claims, frowning brow-knit at him. Barristan is happy to continually eat pilfered pastry.

"Oh, come now," Nico scoffs as he sets down his book and fetches out the rest of the pastry to hold in his other hand. Much easier to tear off kitty bites that way. Here, Barristan, have another. "I know you're far too clever a woman to be swayed by your cats opinion if you really hate somebody."

Barristan starts to offer an occasional marking nuzzle of Nicodemus's hand in between nibbles. Good human. Your behavior is acceptable. Rosanna says, "I don't think you're clever enough to know that."

"But I just said it," Nicodemus points out reasonably. He's even so daring as to attempt a tiny tickle beneath Barristan's chin between one tidbit and the next. "So I must be clever enough."

"Well you're not," Rosanna insists illogically. "Stop that." Barristan purrs quietly at Nicodeus's tickle.

"Sorry, I'm clearly too dumb to stop that," Nicodemus answers blithely, fingers creeping up to scritch around Barristan's ear. Oh, and of course, then offer another wee bite of pastry.

"Go away," Rosanna insists next. "You're ruining everything. I am trying to write." Barristan rubs up against Nicodemus's hand, purring louder.

"Sorry, I'll be quiet," Nicodemus murmurs, his voice dropping to a murmur. "Here, pusspuss. You're interrupting Rosanna and she's trying to write." He pats a spot near his lap and holds out the remaining pastry, wiggling it enticingly.

"Barristan," Rosanna whines as the cat is soon won over. She reaches to scoop him up into her arms and set him on her other side, much to the feline's disgruntlement. And to the smearing of her letter. "Now you've ruined it," she accuses Nicodemus.

"I ruined it?" Nicodemus asks, brows lifted and a hand pressed to his chest. "I think you ruined it all on your own. And got ink all over poor Barristan's tail, too. How thoughtless."

"But it's your fault I had to pick him up," Rosanna sniffs, looking not at all amused. "Go away." Barristan is all fluffed and indignant to be so handled.

"You mean it was my fault you picked him up because I was nice to him and he liked me and you decided you'd rather deprive Barristan of pastry than let me be friends with you cat?" Nicodemus clarifies while still not going away.

Rosanna flushes a bit to hear him so plainly put it into words, but she sticks to her guns: "Yes."

"That's not very fair to Barristan, you know," Nicodemus points out with a faint smile, "and he's just in it for the pastry." He considers the cat a moment before he asks, "Tell me about Lord Rutger."

Rosanna flushes a bit redder and draws her gaze away from him. "No," she says. "You'll just say the same things as everyone else. You already were at dinner." Barristan, meanwhile, begins sneaking around her back towards Nicodemus. Or, more accurately, pastry.

"I was at dinner," Nicodemus agrees as Barristan begins his sneaky sneak towards more food, "and I noticed that you seem very set on this match, despite all of the obvious reasons why you should be spurning it. And, I know you're a clever young woman, so there must be some reason why you've decided this man is the one you'd take you be your husband. The one to whom you'd give sons and daughters and share your life with henceforth. I wanted to know what it was."

"Go ask Kittridge," Rosanna says with another sniff. "And Day. I've already told them, and they just come up with reasons why I'm wrong. You will, too."

"I'm asking you," Nicodemus answers. "Not Kittridge. Not Day. Come now, Queen of the Apple Grove, you've a chance to gain an ally, here. Will you squander it?"

Rosanna narrows her gaze on him with a sort of fierce suspicion. "He will make me his partner," she finally says. "He will secure his place as heir to the Mire if he wishes any chance of wedding me, as he will secure other positions for his sons. He is fierce and clever and I — like him." She glares at him as if daring him to judge.

"How will he secure his place as heir?" Nicodemus asks, not dismissive, so much as curious. Interested. "What will he do with his sons to insure yours will be the one to inherit?" And then, lastly and with a soft smile, "What do you like about him? More than his maybe-castle in a mire, I think."

Rosanna looks a bit impatient, even at that curiosity. "By convincing his father," she says. She is less impatient about the second, possibly because the answer is far more awful. "The Sept and the Citadel," she says. Her suspicion is present but wavering, particularly at his final question. "He is bold," she says. "And witty. But not blind to propriety." Too much. "And he likes me. Not just to own and command, but to partner with him."

"Hmm," Nicodemus considers. "Then tell your Lord Rutger to have his father convinced before we will consent to any betrothal, if he is so certain he can do such with ease." His brows lift a little for the second, but there, at least, is one advantage of having lived on the Stepstones for six years. One has been privy to fates far worse than the Citadel or the Sept. For the rest, Rosanna's brother nods thoughtfully. "How can you tell he means it? That he's not just offering words he thinks you should like to hear?"

"Well obviously I told him to," Rosanna says, once more slipping into impatience. "I am not throwing myself at anyone on the strength of his words. Anything he has told me he is willing to do, he will accomplish in a binding manner before he can hope to wed me. I'm not stupid."

"You are sixteen," Nicodemus points out with a faint smile, "Of course you are, Rosebud. Nobody is anything but stupid at sixteen. And boys stay stupid for far longer, even after the girls have outgrown it."

"I'm seventeen," Rosanna says in a very quiet voice, looking away from him once more with a hint of hurt. "I'm not stupid. I am not trying to give myself away for nothing. I will not wed him without assurances that I would be Lady of the Mire and that my sons would inherit." After a beat she adds, "I probably won't wed him at all. No one wants me to."

"And do you want so very greatly to be Lady of the Mire? To rule there, more than anywhere else, with Lord Rutger by your side?" Nicodemus asks.

"Well I should like to visit there," Rosanna says in a tone of complaint. "Lady Roslyn has invited me, but Kittridge won't let me." Clearly he is MANIPULATING HER LOVING FATHER into ruining her life.

"I'm sure you'll get a chance to visit the mire," Nicodemus assures, "perhaps once you return from Lannisport which, honestly, strikes me as the tiniest bit more exciting."

Rosanna can't help the curve of a smile that graces her lips. "It is exciting," she agrees. And then, catching herself being happy with her brother, she immediately frowns again and looks away.

"It's an impressive city, Lannisport," Nicodemus agrees with a nod, ignoring the Return Of The Frown. "At least, so I've heard. I've never actually seen it, myself." He peers down into the basket. "These really are an awful lot of pastries. I don't think I should manage them all, alone, even with Barristan's help."

"So go find someone else to eat them," Rosanna says firmly, drawing a fresh piece of parchment onto her writing board to start anew on the smeared letter.

"Oh. Well," Nicodemus murmurs a bit sadly, "and I asked them to be filled with apple preserves because I thought that was the sort you liked best. Perhaps I'll just leave them, then, if you really mean to send me away."

"I am not so stupid that I am going to forgive you for apple preserves," Rosanna sniffs in a dignified fashion. "I am not mean for not wishing to be with you."

"I can't change what I've done, Rosanna," Nicodemus says softly. "I can only regret it and do my best to seek your forgiveness. I should like to properly be your brother again, someday."

Rosanna is quiet for a long moment, her pen poised over paper. "Would you take my part," she finally asks, "in Lord Rutger's courtship?"

Nicodemus cants his head to the side, considering his sister. "Is that all it would take to win you back?" he asks. "My agreement to help you get what you want?"

"It wouldn't hurt," is all Rosanna promises.

"Then I'll think about it," Nicodemus agrees. "For now, I'll leave you to your letters." He begins to push to his feet, collecting his book, but leaving the basket (and Barristan's half-eaten pastry) behind.

Rosanna pretends to not pay ANY ATTENTION TO HIM as he stands to go. Or to his pastries. He will be long out of sight before she finally allows herself one of those.