|Kicking the Dead|
|Summary:||Dominick discovers that a nagging feeling about Benedict is true. Life was way easier before.|
|Related Logs:||Iron Eagle, Waterfront|
|Seagard - Market District|
|Some nasty street after the recent fighting.|
|Jan 29, 289|
The sun is setting in Seagard, casting the last fingers of shadowy light through the war-torn city. On a muddy and beaten road in the market district, Dominick is leaving slow footsteps through the dirty muck, wandering with what at first glance might look like no purpose at all. Soldiers bearing all manner of Riverland colors trudge past this way and that, shreds of news of the earlier battles filtered down and passed along, but for the most part this is a quieter area of the broken and battered district. A few bodies still lie in the streets, waiting to be collected or burnt.
Or, you know, looted. At least one fellow has stooped to such action, crouching down by one of the dead ironmen and removing whatever weapons or pouches or bits of metal he can find. Benedict has pushed his coif back to hang like a metal hood down his neck, though his face is still spattered in blood. The black courser from before is tethered loosely nearby.
Rather than down at the street, it's the structures Dominick seems to be focused on. The doors of each building, some more ruined than others, his eyes narrowing at each charred sign that indicates what business or trade house operated there not long ago. The mud mutes his footsteps but not the sounds of metal coming from the street nearby and he slows to a complete and very still stop, just mildly watching the odd figure from earlier. He shoots a glance down a narrow alley by his shoulder and, quite slowly, inches into the shadows there.
The strange figure scowls as little of any worth is found on the body, and he exhales softly in mild frustration. His hands still, however, his head tilting a little though it doesn't lift. "You may as well come out," he says flatly. "I know you're there."
"What, people can't wander 'round as they please?" Dominick's voice comes out from the alley without the rest of him. "Honestly. What do you think this is, a warzone or something."
"A graveyard, currently," Benedict says, tugging his hood back up. In case the voice in the shadows plans to bludgeon his head. Or something. "You can wander as you like. I just don't advise skulking in shadows when soldiers are still looking for stray ironmen."
Dominick is still hidden, or at least his face is. Unable to see Benedict either it's just the timbre and pitch of the man's voice that carries, and for a moment he just closes his eyes. "This is insane." Talking to himself, the words not even loud enough to carry six inches away. "This is completely insane and I'm going to prove it." He pushes off the wall and steps back around the edge of the alley, his shadow casting long down the ruined road. "No Ironborn," he declares. "Just looking for something I thought used to be here."
"You're a resident of Seagard?" Benedict queries, still keeping his head determinedly down. "I don't think much is left down this street. Just ruins of what was."
"I noticed," Dominick replies, mildly. "And no I'm not, I just…saw something, once. Probably just my imagination." The engineer's green eyes are right on the hooded figure. "Memory's funny like that, plays little tricks on you sometimes."
"If you say so," Benedict replies, giving the corpse a final poke for good measure. "Took that may cuts to die, the least you could have done was keep something of value on your person."
"If I were that inclined I'd take his boots," Dominick says, glancing over the body without the slightest move to touch it. "Lot you can do with those, you know. Once I tried to make a quick-reload latch for a crossbow using a couple clasps from a boot." His half smile is wry. "Never worked, but whatever." His eyes stay down on the body. "You remind me of that, actually."
"I remind you of a boot clasp?" Benedict asks, his voice skeptical. "That's a strange sort of thought. Do people remind you of objects frequently?"
"Is it strange?" Dominick asks, as though that had never occurred to him before. "They do, all the time. Why, what do people remind you of?"
"Other people, if anything," Benedict says. He can only stare down at a corpse for so long, and the hedge-knight huffs a sharp sigh. "I should go. Bad luck to hold conversations over corpses with odd people."
"I don't believe in luck," Dominick says. "Or men who won't look me in the eye." The words aren't harsh at all but they are pointed, gliding on the crest of realization that just a few minutes ago he was hoping he wouldn't have to make. "You know who I am."
"Don't have to believe in something for it to be real. Just have to be wrong," Benedict answers, peering up at Dominick, finally, with a faint scowl on his familiar face. "What now, then?"
And there it is. Dominick's own expression is tough to read, just a subtle untensing and then re-tightening of his dark blond brows. His body is totally still. "Well for a start," he begins, after forgetting to pair voice with air in the very beginning. "Quit looking at me like I just killed your dog. And I'm not odd. Asshole."
"You are," Benedict murmurs around a small smirk, "the oddest. Still. Years later. If you ever become a fine and respected warrior, they will whisper your name with reverence. Dominick the Odd."
"Well thank God we don't have to worry about that ever happening," Dominick replies mildly. "And fuck you, just in case I didn't make that clear." If there is one thing that certainly hasn't changed, it's his ability to make that sound endearing even with a SERIOUS FACE. "How are you…where did you…? What the hell?"
Benedict shrugs a little for that. "Fuck you, too, then," he answers, scratching at a spot of blood on his cheek. "I'm not here for long. When I heard… I guess I just wanted to do my part, despite everything."
"You've got some on your nose, too," Dominick mutters, helpfully. The rest of it takes longer for him to process, a long exhale helping draw out the seconds. The half-smile that twitches afterwards is quite wry. "Did you really think I wouldn't know your voice? It is the first thing I ever knew of you, you know."
Benedict distractedly licks his finger and rubs the damp digit over his nose. "I rather thought you might be distracted by, you know, all the ironborn trying to kill you."
"You thought I might be distracted." Dominick smirks a little. "I see all the time away's rotted your memory." The almost-smile's faded by the time he finishes talking. "Six years. We haven't even known if you were dead or…hell. Lord Kitt's here, you know."
"I know," Benedict agrees with a small sigh, pushing into a stand. "He's got a squire. My memory's just fine. I don't recall you on the front lines so much as arranging for them to explode, somehow."
"I suspect half the Terricks would be weeping into their wine if this place exploded. Hacking through warehouses was the best I could do." Dominick doesn't move backwards as Benedict stands. The height gives him an even better look at the man's face, which he gathers without the slightest pretense that he isn't. "He'd want to see you," he goes on at a volume that carries much less. "At least know you're alive."
"I don't know that it would be kind," Benedict murmurs, pushing a hand through his hair. "I'll only leave again. Maybe it's better if he just thinks me still gone or dead or whatever he imagines. How has… how is everyone? Rosanna must be near a woman grown, now."
"She is, and lovely, and wild in her way. Impetuous as ever." Dominick replies as if this were a compliment, lifting one brow a hint. "She doesn't talk about you anymore. She used to, right after you left, though I suspect if upset could be turned into blades you'd be about as dead as that and possibly castrated and she might still have cried while it was done." He nudges the body with his boot and then looks back up. "But anyway. She is very sharp and is keen on getting name Groves shining again. She might do it yet."
"As eloquent with metaphors as ever, I see," Benedict points out wryly. "You always did have a way with words, Dom. Still, I'm sure if Rosebud has a mind to do something, she will. Never was a thing to be done to sway her, once she set her mind to a thing. And Kit? The rest of the family? Everyone is well?"
"If I really must condense six years into a few minutes, I do want to be sure you understand," is Dominick's deadpan reply. "As for Lord Kitt…nothing terribly out of the ordinary lately. He's well. I don't think he likes all this violence but one does what one must even if it involves another's innards."
"One does, indeed," Benedict agrees with a soft sigh. "Will you tell them, then? That you saw me?"
Dominick raises an eyebrow. "Is that a real question? Or a request?"
"It's a question," Benedict answers, arms crossing over his chest. "One to which I'd appreciate an honest answer."
Dominick's brow quirks up just a little higher. "It may have been a long time, but I assure you I haven't picked up the habit of lying to your face." The slight bristle's still in place when he goes on. "I think Lord Kitt deserves to know you're alive. If you don't then say so, and I'll honor it."
Dominick gets a long, flat study from green-blue eyes that have gone rather cold. "Do what you will, then," he says coolly. "I'll leave you to it."
Dominick rolls his own deep green eyes. "If you want to part spitting, fine. I have always done what you asked me to. You'll have it this time too." He turns his shoulder, starting away.
Benedict is quiet as Dominick turns to go, but he exhales softly. "I ran out of the mixture you gave me after the first year. But it worked damn well. A burning sword does send one's foes running."
Dramatic exit, TOTALLY ruined. Dominick stops with his back fully to Benedict, his face squinching up to one side. "I have more of that, you know." His voice carries over his shoulder, and he sniffs. "Developed it for years. It works very nicely, if I may say so myself."
"Then I'll trade you," Benedict offers with a wry smile. "A confession to Kit for a jar of… did you ever name it?"
"No, I'm no good with that stuff." Dominick hesitates a moment before he turns back around, most of the way. "So I guess you'll get to do it." Which seems to suggest he's accepted said trade. "I don't know how long we're staying in Seagard. You'll figure it out." His casual tone is perhaps too casual, neatly covering over any awkward emotion out on this public street.
"Suppose I will," Benedict says. It's far from a promise, but it's not a refusal, either. "Be well, Dominick. Perhaps we'll speak again."
"Perhaps," Dominick replies, mildly. The thought occurs to him as he starts away, and he glances back over his shoulder. "What name are you feeding people round here, then?"
"Benedict," the other man says, regarding Dominick with blue-green eyes. "Lawson."
Dominick nods stiffly. Without another word he continues off down the street in the way he was originally headed, and doesn't look back.