Page 207: Life's a Beach
Life's a Beach
Summary: For a couple of days, at least. The Terrick bastard and crossdressing Nayland spend a stolen weekend on the shore.
Date: 09/02/2012
Related Logs: The Jarod/Rowan stuff in general, none specifically.
Jarod Rowan 
Seashore — Cape of Eagles

It's into the afternoon before Ser Jarod Rivers manages to escape Four Eagles Tower. While technically at 'liberty,' there seem to be dozens of duties large and small that find his attention back at the Roost. He's finally fled, however, for a couple days of proper liberty on the coast, she who calls herself Rowan Nayland with him. He rides at a brisk canter down one of the paths toward the shoreline now, slowing his horse some once they're in sight of the seaside. It's a view he always enjoys. The sky, despite the still-early hour, is gray and cloudy. It's been rainy since their return from Seagard, and it's threatening to do so again today, though it's not actually started yet. Ser Rivers occasionally glares at the sky, as if mentally ordering the weather to stay vaguely pleasant.

Not even the threat of impending (continued) rain can dampen Rowan's spirits, her smile broad as she breathes deeply of the breeze off the sea. Rebekkah the hound ranges ahead of them then doubles back, barking excitedly. Though hunting's in the bitch's blood, there seems to be a certain, infectious excitement that's caught her up as well. She's been set on no scent, ordered after no prey — she, too, is at liberty. She drops into a play crouch and wags her docked backside in the air.

"You now," says Rowan, walking Dragon up alongside Symeon. "I almost hope it does rain." She slides a sly smile at Jarod. "Being stuck in a tent together for two days could get pretty cozy." How about that, Mr. Brightside?

"Doesn't sound too poor a way to pass the time, come to it," Jarod says with a grin. Symeon takes to walking beside Dragon tolerably. He's become accustomed to the haughty creature, of different temperaments though they are. "Though I don't fancy so up putting a tent together in the rain. So if it could hold off for awhile yet, I'd be appreciative. I was figuring we could ride a little southwest. That part of our land should be pretty clear. The north coast…I don't know. That's up toward Tall Oaks, and I've not gotten any reports on how well we've done on dislodging the Ironmen from that area." But he shrugs quickly enough. "It'll get dealt with. Might be getting dealt with already. I hate to admit it, but I almost feel like I'm…escaping somehow." He laughs as he watches the hound range excitedly in front of the horses. "Not the only one, looks like."

"Southwest it is, then." She laughs, shaking her head. "And what if we have to set up in the rain? We'll be wet. Just means clothes'll have to come off while we huddle together for warmth." Another bright grin. "I'm not sure there's any scenario you can devise for this trip that I won't somehow enjoy." She nods at the excited hound. "My Bekks is a savvy bitch — she knows the value of a good escape. Come on, then! Let's ride!" She whistles sharply to the hound, then digs her knees into Dragon, urging the stallion down to the shore and southwest along the water.

Jarod laughs at that, his grin crooking slightly. "Could go for a bit of rain, when it's put like that." Symeon tosses his head as they start riding on the shore proper, seeming to sense his rider's enthusiasm. "Let's race!" Jarod corrects, as he's off like a shot, galloping now along the shore. "See if you can make the next watchtower before me! Bet you can't!" The tide's low at present, so it's miles upon miles and sand to run on. The watchtowers that dot the Cape of Eagles from the Roost to Seagard - one every mile - are visible only a little up the shore from them, though even now they aren't all manned. They're less sentinels than alarms, with gongs at the top of them to be run to and sounded if raiders are spotted off the sea. None have rung today.

Oh, she's game enough to race — scrappy squires are always up for a challenge — and she laughs, leaning up, forward and low as she gives Dragon his head. The scarlet-hued beast surges into a flat-out run. "Stakes!" she shouts, demanding to know before he gets too far ahead.

"Loser puts up the tent! Seems fair to me!" Jarod calls without turning his head. He's a more experienced rider but she's on the stronger mount, so it's pretty even money, if one were to be putting money on it. It's unclear how much he's playing to win, though. He throws back his head and laughs as he rides, turning his head briefly to grin at her, then tilting it up toward the cloudy sky. Inhaling the salty air deep. A few sprinkles are beginning to fall, if one is paying attention to such things.

Rowan, on the other hand? In it to win it. And so's Dragon, whose dickish nature simply won't allow any other steed to have a moment in the sun. Not gladly, at any rate. She knows full-well that her Ser's the better horseman, which makes winning a truly worthy pursuit, if she can manage it. More focused than her knight, his laughter never the less makes her smile, and calls her back from the narrow focus of competition just enough so that she can appreciate the moment — the wind, the sea, the glory of speed and motion. The freedom.

Jarod is outpaced by Rowan and her horse's dickish nature, and he doesn't ride too hard to attempt to overtake her. He just gets caught up in watching her gallop for a moment, which is distracting enough for her to clench the win to the tower. He finishes the length to it at an easier canter, that's no less joyous for not being full-bore ahead. "Gods, this is beautiful…" he breathes, green eyes wide to take it all in. The sea, the distant cliffs of the coastside, Rowan on her dragon. All of it. *re*

Rowan guides her mount closer, still catching her breath, eyes and smile alight. And when Dragon and Symeon have drawn even, heads to hindquarters, she leans over and kisses Jarod, cupping his face in her hands. A joy and contentment that beggar words are in that kiss, given to him by her lips rather than diluted across a space of air.

Jarod leans in a way that might be annoying for his horse, though Symeon bears it patiently. As he generally does his rider's antics. His palm finds the back of her neck, fingers reaching up to tighten a little through her dark curls as he kisses her in return. Long and deep, yet there is a contented quality about it. He's no longer kissing her as if it were possibly for the last time ever, which is how he'd been since they took up in…whatever this was again. It's only as the rain starts to fall more steadily - though it's still not really pouring - that he breaks. "Well. You got your wish about the weather, looks like," he says with a smirk.

"What weather?" Rowan murmurs, lashes low, still basking in the kiss. She eventually glances up at the sky. "Oh, hey," she comments, as though she were first to note it. "Weather." She grins, steals another quick kiss, and brings restless Dragon 'round. "Let's find a spot where you can set up the tent, then."

"I figure the horses can be settled in the watchtower. The room at the bottom should be big enough, and fairly empty," Jarod says, dismounting and leading his brown courser by the reins toward the structure. "Maybe set up outside it. This one shouldn't have anyone manning it. We can sleep inside if it gets real bad but…" He grin quirks again. "…I don't terribly want to share your company with a pair of chargers, you don't mind my saying." Whatever wariness he might had about the rain, it's light now, and he seems to revel in it as much as any other part of this. Raising his face to feel the drops on it. "I used to climb them sometimes with my brothers when I was younger. There was hardly ever anybody who bothered to keep a watch in those days. We'd tell ghost stories, pretend we were looking out for reavers…it all seemed like a game back then…"

Rowan dismounts, gazing up at the tower where the young lords Terrick and their half-eaglet brother once played. "It was a game, back then," says Rowan, her emphasis gentle, reaching to give his hand a squeeze. "And innocent. As it should have been. Don't reality spoil those memories."

"We were just boys. It was a good time, though," Jarod says, clasping her hand warmly in return, then getting to unpacking Symeon once they've neared the tower proper. The thick, oiled canvas of his tent is a smaller version of that used among the army, and shouldn't do badly with keeping the rain off. "Could you get the horses seen to? I'll manage…this." He shakes his head a little, as it's rained on. For some reason, this makes him chuckle. "You know, I've never brought a girl here before. To the towers, I mean. Or gone camping with one, for that matter. Huh…"

"Iiiii imagine mucking in the rain, or — you know — general mucking isn't most girls' idea of a romantic time," Rowan theorizes with a smirk. "I'm surprised you ever got any action in the make-out cave, really. Even that's a little rough." She takes charge of the horses without comment or complaint, content to do her share. Rebekkah ambles into the tower at her heels, giving a powerful shake that sends drops of water flying in every direction.

Jarod flushes some at mention of the make-out cave. She wasn't the first girl there, one can be certain. "It's still on the romantic side of rustic. Even normal girls find that sort of thing exciting now and then. Though Lyla Carrity refused to come back after she wrecked her lace skirt on the rocks climbing up. Always was a bit dainty, that one." He generally knows what he's about when it comes to tent setting-up, so he doesn't fumble too much with it.

Rowan laughs, shaking her head. "Ah, Seven smite me, Lyla. I hated that girl so very, VERY much." She is, years of squiring and what all, equally adroit at seeing to the horses. She has them stripped, dried, fed and watered in fairly short order. "Honestly. If ill intentions had any real power, I can't tell you how many horrible and extremely creative ways she would have died. All of them in the act of doing something you'd find reprehensible, of course, so you wouldn't mourn her." That's thoughtful, innit? The girl squire's tone is warm and entirely absent of malice, however, when she asks, "How's she doing, these days?"

"You hated Lyla Carrity!?" Jarod gets a laugh out of that himself. "I mean, she's a bit irritating at times, don't get me wrong, but she means well. Usually. What sort've things did you picture her doing while dying?" He snorts as he works with the tent. "Ugh, could you hold this up?" He gestures the bit of it he's trying to 'pitch.' "Bet or not, this isn't actually a very easy one-man job." As for Lyla, "She was…all right, last time I saw her. She's moved to Stonebridge, and she's working at Crane's Crossing now. I should probably go apologize to her at…some point. Our parting wasn't exactly…err…I said some stuff. It's been awhile. Maybe she's not mad anymore."

"Oh, you know. Trying to poison someone in your family. Abusing an animal. Fucking a Nayland — " she chokes on laughter even as she says it, making sure Bekkah is dry and fed, as well. "And no. The irony of that actually didn't occur to me at the time." She watches his tent troubles, grinning. "Should I be offended that you're having difficulty pitching a tent around me?" She smirks, but comes out to help all the same. The news about Lyla makes her blink. "Moved. To Stonebridge?" She wrinkles her nose. "She and Tym serious, then?"

"Terrible sin, the Nayland-fucking," Jarod chortles, snorting at Rowan. "And I've got the pole up just fine, I just need a hand getting the canvas in the right place. Aye, yeah. She moved. To be with Tym Rivers, in part, though I don't think that's all it was about. She kept going on about her 'dream.'" He smirks back at her. "Then I called her a slut. Several times. Loudly. I don't have too coherent a memory of the other stuff I said. I was on a bit of roll. Then she slapped me. More spirited girl than she's given credit for, that one."

"There are three things a girl can do when you call her a slut, Rivers," says Rowan, propping poles and pulling canvas as directed. "Burst into tears, hit you, or tell you to fuck her harder. It actually doesn't surprise me that Lyla's a hitter. Sounds like you richly deserved it." She raises an eyebrow, glancing over at him. "So what is her dream? Other than, apparently, having really lousy sex for the rest of her life?"

Jarod shrugs, abashed, but only a little. The idea of Tym Rivers supplying lousy sex cheers him, apparently. He gets the pole settled easily enough with Rowan holding the top of the tent, pounding it into the ground. The spiking of the corners is easier after that. Good thing, as the rain is picking up. He idly shakes his head as he nails down one corner of the thing, to dislodge the beads of moisture settling on his hair. There's a beat of hesitation before he answers Rowan. He finally shrugs and supplies a literal sort of answer, "Owning an inn of her own someday, where she can employee more whores while not being one. She's talked about it before. Didn't figure she was that serious about it. Guess it makes sense. She can make more coin at Crane's Crossing, and if she does get enough for her own place there's more traveling traffic to stay at it. Last I heard she's doing well. Don't know how her at the Other Other Rivers are getting on but…" He shrugs. "…guess she's willing to try that for real as well."

"Huh," Rowan says, then laughs ruefully. "Odd. Now I'm a little jealous for a completely different reason: It must be nice to have such a simple dream." She shrugs. "I hope it makes her happy."

"I hope so, too," Jarod says simply, standing and giving the tent a shake. Then nodding in satisfaction. It's sturdy enough, apparently. "That'll do, I think. C'mon. Let's see if it keeps the water off." And he ducks in, on that note, dragging the rest of his baggage with him. Several blankets are among it. Sand is not, after all, terribly comfortable. "Sorry about the weather. I was hoping this'd be…I don't know. Perfect-er."

Rowan hurries into the tent along with him, more than ready to get out of the increasingly steady rain. She pulls off her boots just inside, tsking at his apology. "Really. When I took up with you, I had it on excellent authority that you could control the weather. I feel quite cheated." She shakes a fist to express her wrath, but her heart's clearly not in it. Breaking into a grin, she scrubs her hands vigorously through her hair. "This is fantastic. Look at us! Alone — for two whole days! I don't think I've gone without binding my chest that long since I was twelve. My tits won't know what to do with themselves!"

Jarod flops some blankets down in something that's more a haphazard pile than a proper pallet, then flops down on them with another laugh. He regards her, almost curiously. "You know, I don't think I've ever seen you without them bound up unless we were…well, fucking." His grin crooks. "I'm not at all sure what to expect when you've got clothes on them. Should be kind of novel." More seriously, he sighs in a contented sort of way, nodding. "I know what you mean, though. I love being back the Roost for a bit, don't get me wrong, but I feel like this is a chance to just…be, y'know? No duties or anything someone can make you do on for a couple of days. Feels like it's been forever since I've done something like this proper."

Rowan eyeshifts. "I might have brought a dress," she notes, casting an innocent look up at some corner of the canvas ceiling. She places a hand on her hip and considers him. "I'm not sure if I should make you be a gentleman and avert your eyes while I change or what. We're not precisely chaste, but we're not fucking — " she weighs their ambiguous romantic status between between her hands. "Meh," she says, and spins a finger in the air. "Turn around."

"We're unnecessarily complicated is what we are," Jarod snorts. "That's nothing new. I'm not sure we'd function any other way." He does turn around though, rolling into a comfortably sprawled position on his side. After taking off his shirt. He's rather rained on. Shirtless is a comfortable state for him, and something pretty much anyone who's lived for any length of time at the Roost has seen before at some point. He chuckles as he stares into the canvas. "If the weather clears, do you maybe want to go swimming when it's darker? I mean, not the dress, of course. Doesn't seem a practical garment for that. Maybe diving, there're some cliffs in this spot where you can do it when the tide's high. And if it does stop raining tomorrow we could go fishing. And…I don't know. Everything."

"Everything," Rowan says, shimmying out of her damp squire garb, "sounds fantastic. All of the above, please." Soon enough, she flops down beside him, both girlified and still quite Rowan: the dress is simple, pretty, a very light blue that flatters her slender build and modest curves without a flounce or froof in sight. Certainly no lace; her feet are bare, her hair even more fey and cowlicky than usual in the damp. And lo! Behold! Breastages. She haz them. And while he's familiar enough with the feel of them against his chest and in his hands, they do shape a bodice rather fetchingly, and even cast a faint shadow of cleavage along the square neckline. "I don't think we're as complicated as I think you think."

"Maybe not…" Jarod rolls back around, laying next to her on his stomach, head tilted to look at her properly. And, for a long moment, he does just look at her. Green eyes thoughtful. It certainly is different, seeing her as a girl, instead of just undressing her quickly so they can fool around. He spends a particularly long time eyeing her neckline. Grown as a person or no, he's still the Sword of the Tower. Though he does eventually tick up to her eyes again. "You're a rather pretty girl, you know."

Rowan grins, laughing abashedly. "I'll do," she allows, still smiling, cheeks and ears a little pink. "At least I do manage to look a girl, instead of a boy in a dress. Thank the gods for small favors." She tucks an arm up beneath her head, reaching down with her free hand to thread her fingers through his. "I'm glad we did this."

Jarod takes her hand, his own fingers feeling along the little callouses on it, the mark of daily swordwork. It's very much like his own hand, writ smaller. "Do you miss it? Being a girl, I mean, day-to-day. You seemed rather eager to put a dress on."

"Not so much," Rowan says, shrugging, lashes lowering to consider their entwined hands. "I mean, I was really still a child when I came here. I've never had the experience of living as a woman. And from what I've seen… it's nice to visit. But I wouldn't want to live there."

"Do you want to live as a boy for always then?" Jarod asks, more curious than anything else, eyes also on his hand clasped in hers. "I mean…you could, so far as the world's concerned. Though…I don't know. Seems to me that if that's all you wanted to be you wouldn't have told me who you really were at all. And you'd not bother owning a dress like that."

Rowan nods. "It's occurred to me, once or twice, that it'd be easier in a lot of ways. I could wed Igara and save the poor girl from the very thing she most fears — marriage to someone with a cock. There'd be no damage to your reputation for knighting me. And since Seven only know what my father and family will do — avoid that, altogether." She looks up at him, apology and melancholy in her expression, though they do nothing to dull her resolve. "But I can't. I'm not… this isn't just for me."

"Good," Jarod says soft, scooting to lay a little closer to her. "I mean, it'd be easier. On you moreso than me or Lady Igara or anyone else, more than you maybe think. But I…that's not how I want you, Rowenna Rose Nayland. Or…whatever you end up calling yourself. I thought, when I took you back to squire, it could just be like it was before. Except it's not." He grins a little as he says that.

"Whatever I call myself, you have a lifetime pass to call me Rowenna," Rowan says, curving a warm smile. "It's sort of grown on me, you doing that." She scoots a little closer, as well, gazing at him across the few inches between them. "So what's it like, then?"

"It's your name," Jarod says, like it were just that simple. "It's…you. And it's lovely. It's like Rowan, only with more syllables, and a little girly. But not too much. As for what it's like it's…I don't know. It's not quite what I want. Can't be while we're still knight and squire, I don't think. But…it feels…more, somehow. Than it was when I thought you were a boy. Or when we were fucking, even. It's…better than I figured I could feel with someone before. What's it been like for you?"

"I have my best friend back," says Rowan simply, her voice low and raspy, emotional. "And everything we do, from the battlefield to here, now, and everything in between… feels right. I love you," she says, smiling beautifully, her eyes a bit wet and swimmy. "I think the difference is… I feel like you really love me."

"I didn't for a long time," Jarod admits, not that it's anything he made any particular secret of. "When you first told me you were in love with me, I figured you were just…wrong. Because I didn't see how that was possible. Figured you were just…I don't know, infatuated? That's how I was with Lady Isolde, though it was tied up with more than that. But I…nobody'd ever said the things you were saying to me before, and it was nice. And the fucking was nice. So I figured I'd give it a go, see how long it took before it fell apart. I was getting plenty out of it. Don't figure you were getting much, though. I wasn't…very honest. With you, or with myself. I think I'm like that a lot. That's part of what I realized, Rowenna. I'm a big fake, too, the way I act with people a lot of the time. Maybe everyone is."

"Maybe everyone is," she agrees, smiling at that. "I certainly am. I mean, I don't feel fake, out in the world as Rowan Nayland… I'd act and react the same, say the same things, do the same things, in a dress. But you'd be hard pressed to find anyone, I think, who'd say letting everyone believe I'm sporting a cock isn't fakery." She uncurls the arm beneath her head to reach over and play with his hair. "I guess, though — before I told you, you were… real, with me. And that's who I loved. And then, when I became a girl, you felt you had to be — someone else. We have been really, fucktastically complicated, haven't we?" she says, laughing. Then, more seriously with a smile just as sweet, "But it's not, now. I mean… we make sense, like this. This… this is what I always wanted. Not just you. Us."

"This is almost what I want," Jarod says. Though he can't help but hedge a little. "For now, it's very good. But…part of me does rather look forward to when you're a girl." He admits it ruefully. "As much a disaster as it'll probably be, in the short, at least. I look at you in that dress and I think…it'd be really wonderful, just to go dancing one night. And not worry about someone who knew you as Rowan Nayland spotting us. That was part of what made me a…jerk, I think. One part. I didn't like having to pretend. Though I do wonder what we'll be. When we're not knight and squire anymore."

"Together," says Rowan, drawing their twined hands up so she can kiss the back of his. "We'll be together. And we'll figure out the rest."

"Aye. We'll figure it out…" Jarod seems to mull that in the crevices of his brain in which he sends things to be mulled. But he leaves it at that for now. Suddenly, he grins. "You know what we should do one of these days? We should go to the Wall!" Entirely randomly. And with far more enthusiasm than the idea at face value seems to warrant.

Rowan blinks, looking perplexed. "Uhm," she says, then laughs, shrugging. "Sure! Why not?"

Jarod laughs. "I don't mean to stay, of course. Strikes me as only a little less boring than the Kingsguard. I'm serious, though. We could, someday. You could dress as a boy, and I figure they'd let you in. I do want to see it, and to visit Jaremy. I think we'll like each other more now that we can be a bit more…honest with one another, him and me. And I do want him to meet you as…you. Maybe you'll even like each other, removed from all the Terrick and Nayland nonsense, and him not playing at being the fair young lord all the time."

"Mayyyyyybe," says Rowan, smirking skeptically. "I will meet Jaremy of the Black with a open mind, I promise." She leans in and nuzzles, brushing the side of her nose against his.

"Maybe he'll still be ass, but he's a fun sort of ass," Jarod says. He catches a quick kiss when she brushes against his nose. "We shouldn't just go North, though. I'd like to go to King's Landing, too. Meet the real Rowan Nayland. See one of his plays. Drink a toast to Good King Robert in his own city. And I'd like to joust in a tourney in the Reach, ride in the rain in the Stormlands…" The drops of rain outside tap against the canvas 'ceiling' of their tent. "…there's a good deal in this world I don't want to miss out on seeing, Rowenna. It's not my dream, but I would like to see it."

"Hah! Rowan would be beside himself to meet you," says the girl also-known-as, beaming. She listens to the travelogue of his dreams with a wistful smile. "Sounds like a good time, Rivers," she approves. Another nuzzle; another kiss. "And your dream… still to do the tourney circuit?"

Jarod shakes his head. "No. That was never my dream. I mean, it's a dream. It'd be a grand thing to do one day, and I think I'd be good at it, but it's more like…it's an ambition. Never really was more than that. It just seemed like a way I could…run for a bit to maybe find what I wanted. My dream…" Jarod takes a breath. Not like he's searching for what he wants, so much, as trying to put it into words. "You know, of all people, I think Lyla Carrity put it best. The inn…that's not her dream, really. It's a thing she wants, and she left the Roost in part to work toward it, but that's not what she's really after. Tym Rivers isn't either, I guess, though I think she hopes she can get her dream from him. Before she left - before she slapped me - she said what she was looking for was…to be somebody's one and only." He shrugs. "I guess that's what I want. I want to be…first for someone. And I'd like to be able to put them first for me. To have something that is my own. That's what I want, Rowenna. That's all I want. And it's not actually such a simple thing."

She listens, intently and in silence, though her brows do furrow a little at the idea of wisdom dispensed by Lyla Carrity. When the point becomes clear, however, she swallows, dark eyes soft. A tear slips from her lashes and across the bridge of her nose. She hastily wipes her eyes. "No. I don't suppose it is," she says of the simplicity, smiling faintly. She brushes his cheek with the backs of her fingers. "It's more than a feeling, isn't it? It takes mindfulness — paying attention to what's really important. Patience. Forgiveness. Trust. All kinds of crazy shit."

"Aye, it does. We'll see how it plays. I think, at least, however this ends, I'm the sort've man who might be able to take it if I find it now. If I'm lucky enough to find someone who'll give it back to me. I think I've figured out I'm worth that now." Jarod reaches up to brush her cheek in return. And whatever errant tears might've fallen there. "Stop crying. This trip is about having actual fun. And…I do love you, my Mire rose." He leans in to kiss her, not attempting to make it more complicated than that.

Rowan sniffles and laughs. "I am having fun! I can cry and have fun, too," she protests. She melts for the endearment and meets his lips. She tastes sweet and salty and… complicated. But deliciously so. "I love you, too," she whispers against his lips. "You're a little bit thick, but I do love you."

"Well, you're a little impossible, but I try not to hold it against you," Jarod says with a laugh, between kissing her. "We're none of us ideal."

She twines herself around him, melting into a delicious fizz of laughter and kisses, smiling against his mouth. "I'm a lot impossible. And Jarod…" She places her fingertips against his lips, just for a moment, so she can look in his eyes. "You are first in my heart… and you've always been worth it."

"Huh…" Jarod Rivers does not easily hear things that upset the many firmly-entrenched ideas he's established in his head. Particularly when he's being told things he wants to hear. It's unclear how deeply he absorbs that, or allows himself to believe it. It does make him smile, though, and at least now he doesn't argue. "You're worth it, too, you know."

Which may very well be what she meant by 'thick' — and it makes her smile. And kiss him again.

Sometime the next day…

Once the rain finally clears, the sun comes out in force, drying the tent and the sand and making for a scorcher of a day. The horses and hound linger in the watchtower, grateful for the coolness of stone and shade, while Jarod and Rowan spend the afternoon frolicking between the waves and the shore, bathing in the sun and the waves. As the shadows lengthen, happily sunburned pair turn their thoughts toward dinner, making a plentiful catch of fish that are summarily strung up, cleaned, and cooked on the fire. They feast like lordlings as sun sinks in toward the sea, passing back and forth a bottle of good, dark rum. The word contentment barely touches the mood. It's very close to bliss.

Licking her fingers clean of fish bits and taking a pull from the bottle, Rowan (who's thrown on just her shirt in a nod to civility at mealtime, though the hem just brushes the tops of her thighs) says, "We should play a game."

Jarod Rivers laughs. He's stretched out on his back on the sand by the fire, bare foot and bare-chested, but his trousers are on, watching the sun go down. "What sort've game?" The wariness in his tone is mostly teasing. Mostly. He props himself up on his elbows, inhaling deep. "This was the absolute best idea."

Rowan offers him the bottle, smile lazy and eyes mischievous. "A drinking game. Obviously." What other games are there? Her eyes drift over him in open admiration. "Absolute best idea ever," she agrees.

"You don't actually need a game to drink, you know. They're just excuses to do it more," Jarod says, though he doesn't take a pull right away as he takes the bottle. "Which game in particular did you have in mind?"

"Well," Rowan stretches out on her side and props up on her elbow, considering. "I think 'Strip Insert-Game-Here' and its variants are pretty pointless, considering how much naked time we've logged today and that we're only wearing one item of clothing a piece, at present." She smirks. "So… how about something like 'Never Have I Ever'?"

"If not quite in the way saying it like that makes it sound. Swimming with your clothes on is impractical," Jarod replies with a smirk. He turns his head a little at her. Green eyes going to her…arm, of all places. Considering. But all he says is, "Ah. That's where you…say something you've never done and the other person has to drink if they've done it instead, aye? I always did pretty well at that. Of course, I played against Jaremy a lot, so…" He shrugs. Finding things Jaremy hasn't done was easy.

Rowan laughs, shaking her head. "That's sort of fish in a barrel, Rivers. I hope you held his hair when he had to vomit, later."

"I generally did, aye," Jarod says wryly, as to vomiting Jaremy. He snorts. "I wonder if his Black Brothers'll be so kind?" The image makes him laugh. "Anyhow, since this is your bright idea, you can start. What do you figure I never did?"

Rowan flashes a grin. "This should be easy. Never have I ever paid for sex." She snerks. "In coin, anyway."

Jarod snorts. And drinks, of course. "Not for a lack of effort on my part. When I think of all the coin I wasted giving you in the hopes you'd give it to a whore…" He sighs, mock-forlorn. "Robbing me blind, you were, M'ladyling Nayland. All right…" He clears his throat, considering this. He picks the glib and easy, "I've never worn a dress. Ha! There."

"Cheap," coughs Rowan, though she takes the bottle and her drink amiably. "Never have I ever… had more than one person in bed, at a time."

"Cheap shots still count," Jarod says with a big grin. Though it falters some at her next never. "What the fuck do you think of me, woman!?" He manages to look abashed for about half a minute. Then he reaches for the bottle and drinks.

"Hah!" Rowan points at him, vindicated, when he drinks, giggling herself silly. "I knew it." She smirks and reaches for the bottle in anticipation of being nailed on the next question. "Seven, what lad wouldn't, given the chance, aye?"

Jarod flushes some, shrugging. "Very few. All right…" He gives his next question some more thought. "I've never…" He chuckles. "…won a tourney joust."

She laughs with delight at that one, shaking her head. "Such dumb luck that," she sighs. And drinks. "But such a fine day." She leans over and kisses him for the mention, taking her time, thorough and proper.

Jarod laughs with no small amount of joy before kissing her back, long and lingering. He chuckles again as they break. "I will say, I think Ser Andrey Charlton was a rather tougher challenge than that blotchy Frey you laid out. But, cheap shot. It still counts." He sighs. "That seemed a good day, didn't it? Was for me, at least." He passes the bottle back to her. "Your turn."

Rowan takes the bottle but remains close to him, tangling her feet with his. "Mmm. Never have I everrrr…" she laughs, then finishes, "had a secret admirer."

"I wouldn't be so sure on that. Some the girls at the Rockcliff thought Rowan Nayland rather pretty," Jarod says. "And it's not a secret anymore, so I'd debate the legitimacy of that." Still, he sips. "I've never…" This next question doesn't make him laugh. "…I've never run away from anything."

She smirks faintly, taking a long and rueful swallow for that one. "If I had to drink for everything I'd run away from, I'd be done," she notes. She considers the sand a moment, lashes shadowing her cheeks. "Never have I ever… believed that I couldn't change the world." She passes him the bottle.

Jarod snorts, and drinks, of course. "I still don't. Not the whole of it. I do figure shaping your own little piece of it is…occasionally manageable." He eyes the bottle, thoughtfully. "I've never…tried to change my name, though I would, if I could be something other than Rivers." He extends the bottle back to her.

Rowan snorts in turn, taking the bottle and drinking. "I would also be done if I had to drink for every permutation of my name." She chews her bottom lip. "Never have I ever… truly intended to make the eight."

"What name do you figure you'll end up with, when all's said and done?" Jarod asks. He keeps the question light, or tries to, though there's an underlying quality to his curiosity that's especially thoughtful. Perhaps it's the liquor. Which he sips. Three small ones. "You're sort of cheating again, since I've not made it. But fine." He grins. "I've never…worn a dress? Oh. We've done that one." He pauses a beat. "I've never…truly intended to go to Braavos?"

"Dunno. Nayland, I guess, if they've no objection to me keeping it." She shrugs, brows furrowed a bit in thought. "It's taken me a bit, but I think… the old man isn't all things Nayland. Likes to think he is, likes to act it… but… there's me. And Raff. Grandmother Rebekkah — who's terrifying, but a little fascinating, I think. Even my cousin — he's… honorable. He's got courage and conviction. It's not all bad to be a Nayland. Even the swamp's beautiful, if you look at it with the right eyes." She rakes a hand back through her hair. "Otherwise, I guess I'll just make up a new name, wholecloth. I never had a right to Rivers. Sorry it took me so long to get that." She arches an eyebrow at his 'never'. "You haven't?"

"You could still take your mother's, you know, if your lord father gets his smallclothes twisted over the issue. But…aye. Nayland's more complicated than my lord father would like to think it is, I figure." Jarod smiles some at that, nodding to himself. "Perhaps we'll go to the Mire together one day. I've been through it just once, when I was looking for Jaremy when he first ran off, but I didn't linger." He shrugs at the Rivers bit. "I hate it and I love it, all at the same time. Still…not something I want to be forever." As for Braavos, he shakes his head. "Never truly. The North and the Reach and Dorne? Aye. But I don't think I'd like Braavos, and the world's got too many beautiful things in it to spend time going to something you won't care for." He tilts his head at her. "You haven't? I figured…" He trails off, not voicing aloud what he figured.

"No," says Rowan, softly. She shakes her head. "We talked about it. You know — if it all fell apart… but I think we both knew that wouldn't happen. And I'm not — the difference between a free lance and a mercenary is… probably academic? But not to me. Knighthood is not… a vocation for me. If the blade ever becomes… nothing more than a way to put money in my purse? That's the day I put it down."

"I never thought of it was academic," Jarod says, watching her in that same thoughtful sort of way. "I mean…it's not only those who're called knights who use their swords for honest work and honest service. Don't take me wrong. But…aye. I know what you mean. I've thought…well, day may come when I do have to earn money with my sword away from the Roost. I think I could do it. But I…I've been spoiled in Lord Jerold's house, in terms of the kind of man I've served. How he's used me. I know not all lords are that…good. Nor would I expect them to be. But I do figure whoever I fought for…well, I'd hope it would always serve my conscience. Even if what I was asked to do was ugly work, it'd not be unjust."

Rowan nods. "I don't get the impression there are a lot of options that serve a good man's conscience, in Braavos." She looks down at the bottle, smirking. "Or a good woman's." She chuckles, struck with inspiration, and says, handing the bottle over, "I've never had a song written about me."

"It's not just about me," Jarod says with a wink, drinking long. "Though my part of it's the best, if I do say so myself." He clears his throat and sings, randomly, "//The boys of House Terrick are wanton and reckless, oh what's a poor father to doooooo…" He's not entirely sober, so his baritone is losing its quality. It's not too warbly yet, though. "Let's see…I've never…defied my father." He snorts. "Well, not yet."

Rowan giggles for that one, taking a nice, long swallow. "Oh, Seven," she sighs, chortling. "I can say I've never openly defied my father — but Mother's mercy, have I defied him." She sighs, contentedly drunken — then giggles again. "I've never been too drunk to fuck."

Jarod clears his throat. And drinks. "Once - just once! - and I'm probably better off for it," he mutters. Though he can't help but smile as he watches Rowan. "You're beautiful when you laugh."

She blushes, both pleased and abashed, her smile radiant. "So's your face," she retorts.

"So's your face," Jarod retorts, leaning over to kiss her again. Long and deep, one hand reaching up to run through her short dark curls as he does so.

Rowan purrs, melting into the kiss, twining her arms around his neck and drawing him down to the sand with her. "Best. Idea. Ever," she murmurs in the space between kisses. "Thank you, Jarod…"

Jarod nips her ear after he breaks from the kiss. That's his thing. He can't help himself. He chuckles some as he lays down next to her, rolling so he's looking up at the stars that're now in the sky. "Don't thank me. I'm…Rowenna…this is the happiest I've been in…since I can remember. Whatever happens…this the best."

She chases as he rolls onto his back, nipping his ear in return, then sprawls beside him, eyes also on the stars. "Seven, that's beautiful," she whispers in awe. She takes his hand, fingers threading through his. "I am, too. So happy," she murmurs, languidly enjoying the world's pleasant spin. "This is so easy."

Jarod snorts. "It's not precisely easy," he says, taking her hand in his, shifting to lay closer to her. "It's…better, though. My life is…better with you in it than not."

"I'm not saying the situation's easy," Rowan chuffs, elbowing him gently. "Or… normal. But… this. You and me. Being who we are. Being who we are together — we made if pretty impossible. And now it's not, and…" She turns her head to look at him. "I love you, you know?"

Jarod elbows her back, playfully, though a motion later he reaches the same arm down to try and slip around her shoulders. "I wish we could be like this all the time. But…aye. Everything's complicated, except that. I love you, too. And it makes things…easier, somehow."

Rowan rests her head on his shoulder, fitting herself to his side. "Maybe… if we start from there. And work our way out. Instead of — the other way." She chews over her philosophy a moment, then smirks. "I drink I'm a little thunk."

Jarod tries to answer that, but he just starts laughing. He finally just ends up burying his head in the crook of her neck, to chuckle. He'll happily stay on the beach like that with her throughout the night, laughing and watching the stars until he passes out.