|Nothing More to Say|
|Summary:||Squire Rowan drinks. Ser Jarod writes and oafs. They end up on the same page - more or less - for once.|
|Related Logs:||Most of Jarod/Rowan logs, particularly the previous Nommy letters.|
|Tent — Army Camp|
|Of course the bar is open.|
|Fri Jan 13, 289|
It's the eve before the Frey army is, or was, due to march, and Rowan waits in the tent she, Caytiv, and Jarod have (awkwardly) shared. There's a bottle of whiskey on one of the tables, and as she paces, she keeps taking little nips of the amber liquor. By the time Jarod arrives, she's still capable of walking a straight line, but a little flushed and a little more courageous. Woe be to them both.
Jarod went to attend to some personal grooming after drills. There're a surprisingly amount of things a man can pay for in an army camp. A shave happens to be one of them. He went to get himself razored by a barber, to shed a few day's growth of stubble so he'd be reasonably clean in the morning. Then, for awhile, he just went and wandered around. To be alone with his thoughts. Such as they are. Or perhaps to find a place to write in more privacy than his tent afforded him, as he's carrying some folded bits of parchment in one hand as he makes his way back in. "Evening, Rowan," he says. He half-starts to greet Caytiv as well, but finds his Hill squire gone. He looks unsure whether to be nervous about that or not.
Rowan startles like a gazelle, leaping in the air and turning 180 degrees in the same motion. "Jarod! Hi!" she greets him, too loudly. She clears her throat, shakes is out, and tries that again. "I mean… Evening," she echoes him, all nonchalantly putting out a hand to lean on the table she's NOT quite close enough to, though she's quick to recover from the stumble. Ahem. Uh. "Whiskey?" she offers.
"Hi. Evening. Umm. Sure. Thanks." Jarod sticks to words with limited syllables and doesn't really look at her, pouring himself a bit. There are plenty of cups in Jarod Rivers' tent, of course. The bar never closes. He eyes her, seems to get the impression she's been drinking, nods some to himself. "Wouldn't advise too much more of that. A little drunk'll help you sleep. A lot'll mean you'll get woken up by an angry Nayland pike shoving you to march. If we march. Uh. Anyway. I wrote some…stuff." Drink, and he separates one of the parchments from his pack. "Just trying to get…stuff down I put off. Here's one for you." He puts it on the table. He then moves rapidly away from said table and takes his drink over to where his gear is packed. He kneels and rummages through it, with no apparently purpose but to make himself look busy.
My dear Lady Nommy,
I tried writing this at Riverrun, a dozen times, but none of the words I found seemed enough. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered then. I'm not sure it does now, it just needs to be put down, or whatever happens today I'll always regret not having done it.
I love you.
It's more complicated than that, and yet it's not, at least for me.
I don't expect it back, after everything, for a thousand reasons. Just know it's true.
Also know that I have but one regret with how I dealt with Ser Gedeon's Tordane letters. Had I to do it over again, I'd have told him I was too occupied to bother with his and Lady Isolde's affair - whatever in seven hells it is - the night he brought them to me in Stonebridge, after the Grand Melee. And I'd have gone and kissed my girl under the moonlight. It's easy to see the choices we've made wrong when we look back on our lives, but impossible to unmake them.
All the same, I love you, and there's nothing more to say.
"Uhm…" Rowan sort of catches half of that, try to gather herself up for — a letter. She looks down at it. Blinks. Looks at Busy Jarod. Blinks. And unfolds it, reading…
Jarod is so very interested in his gear. He makes sure it's well-packed. A good deal of it, particularly the armor, will have to be unpacked again tomorrow anyway. Still, he gets it good and settled for now. And he finishes his drink in one gulp. Making himself look busy, busy, busy.
She must read it a dozen times, standing there, hands shaking. She might look up once or twice to confirm that the man who handed it to her is, in fact, Jarod Rivers. And then she reads it again. Finally — when there is, indeed, nothing more to say — she walks over to where he's busy with his business and places her booted foot on his gear, effectively making further rummaging impossible. "Stop that."
Jarod stops rummaging, looking at Rowan's foot. Deep breath, then up at Rowan proper. His face is more resigned and sad than anything else. "You don't have to say anything," he assures her. "I think it'd probably be better if we just didn't talk about it at all. I know you don't…" Shrug. "…I know you'd rather…" More shrugging. "…and even if that went to shit it was naught to do with me and doesn't really change anything. I just…" He clears his throat, struggling to oaf his way through this. "Didn't want to not have it said if…you know. Stuff. Tomorrow, maybe if anything's done tomorrow. That's all."
Rowan kneels as he oafs, listening as he stops and starts and stops starting. And when it seems he's winding up, somewhere between 'stuff' and 'tomorrow' — she kisses him. On the mouth. One very sweet, lingering kiss that tastes his lips and drags the bottom one softly through her teeth. "Shut up."
"Oh seven hells…" Jarod sort've mutters it through the first bit of her kiss. Then he shuts up and kisses her back. It's not tentative, though it doesn't have that puppyish eagerness to please about it his kisses so, so often did. He kisses her long, and deep, and with a sense of such intense longing. This is a thing he's wanted to do for awhile now. Or perhaps never stopped wanting to do, and never thought he'd be able to do again.
She threads her fingers into his hair, pressing close, swooning a little for the intensity of that kiss. She draws a shuddering breath when their lips part for an instant — but not all breaths have to turn into words. Words are stupid and there's kissing to be done. More, more, more kissing. And when kissing while awkwardly kneeling becomes — well — awkward, she grabs fistfulls of his tunic and tumbles them backward onto his bedroll. But never once does she stop kissing him.
Jarod makes a soft "Oomph" noise as he's tumbled, pausing to take a breath, then he just gets to kissing her again. Hands moving down to caress the curve of her waist, and just pull her close and hold her. At times when he had his arms around her, there's the feeling that he could just stay like that, quite happily, forever. This is one of those times.
"You," Rowan mumbles between kisses, "are forbidden… to fucking die…" Just to be clear. She smiles against his lips — though trying to kiss while smiling is tricky. For a moment, she's content to breathe his breath, feeling his heart beat against her own.
"I'll give it a go for you if you do the same," Jarod murmurs. He finally stops kissing her, only to fold his arms more properly around her, like he's trying to envelope her in them, and pulling her close. He adds, "I do love you, you know. I never took it back and I never stopped."
She tucks herself beneath his chin as his arms enfold her, shutting her eyes and breathing him in. Her fingertips trail up and down his arm, lazy and loving. "Do you think we can try this again?" she asks, softly.
"I think…that's the part that's complicated, Rowenna, and I don't know," Jarod answers her back. Voice choking a little, like he'd very much like to just say 'Yes,' but can't quite. "I just didn't want…I spent a lot of time not saying things to you, or saying all the wrong ones. And I got to thinking about all the things I haven't done and I didn't want not saying that to be one of them. Let's just get back to the Roost." Presuming they ever get there and actually manage to free it from Ironborn and they both don't die. "Then we can talk about…what in seven hells we do with it."
"Fair enough," says Rowan, after a moment of processing the tumult of her own feelings. She props her chin in her hands to gaze down at him, trailing a fingertip down his smooth-shaven cheek. "Can we have tonight?"
"Oh fuck me to seven hells…" Jarod mutters to himself. It isn't a request, apparently, as he quickly adds, "Rowenna, I promised myself when I took you back on that I wouldn't bed you while we were knight and squire. Not that I figured you'd want to anyhow but…one just fucks up the other. That's another thing that's complicated. But I don't…I don't want to let you go, though."
Rowan ducks her head, laughing. "Well, you have to. If you're not going to fuck me, you're not allowed to touch me. Those are The Rules." She nips his chin playfully, The Rules obviously facetious. "You can just hold me?" she suggests. Then, unable to help herself, she kisses his ear and murmurs, "Even though I want to ride your cock until we're both too sore for the saddle, tomorrow." Mean.
"Oh gods…" Jarod has to stop holding her and roll over for a minute. He's a responsive guy and it takes so, so little. "Uh. Yeah. That sounds good. Just give me a moment." He closes his eyes, like he's thinking really, really, really hard about something. Then he makes a face, like whatever he was thinking about was decidedly unpleasant. He lets out a relieved breath. "All right. That sounds like something I could do."
Shaking with laughter, Rowan smiles at him adoringly. "I'm not going to make this easy for you," she tells him, almost apologetic. Almost. Far too much mirth and mischief in those eyes to actually be sorry. She props up on one elbow, grinning. "So what do you think about to make the soldier stand down like that?"
"Mistress Aubra Leetdan in pink underclothes. Chopping roast," Jarod replies, flushing red and laughing, bringing him a hand to sort've facepalm his forehead. "Seven hells. I am such a goddamn mess."
Rowan watches him blush and laugh, beaming, and leans over to kiss him again. Soundly and thoroughly. When their lips finally part, she says, "I love you, too."
Jarod kisses her back, soundly, breathing her in deep. Like she just might, for all this, evaporate away in his arms if he stops. As they part he half-opens his mouth like he's on point of arguing with that. Or correcting it, or picking at it in some way that makes it mean something else entirely. But at last he just lets out a "Huh" in a breath, and smiles. Some of the guarded quality that's come into his green eyes when talking with her since she's been back is gone. Some, if not all. But he just nods. "Nothing more to say for now, really."
She lies down beside him, gazing into his eyes, so close the tips of their noses almost touch. She takes his hands, threading her fingers with his and bringing them to her lips. "Let's say anything," she suggests. "And everything. And kiss in between."
"We've a way of ruining the stuff we feel if we talk too much, Rowenna," Jarod replies with a laugh, resting his forehead against hers. And not showing any particular want to pull back from the easy closeness this time. "That's why writing's easier, I think. Gives me time to kind of organize my thoughts and not make them…ruin things."
"I helped ruin things," Rowan owns. "But I don't think the answer is passing each other notes the rest of our lives — though once in a while, it's adorable. We'll get better at talking… We just need practice. And patience."
"It is real nice once in awhile," Jarod says soft. "You know, I never understood why it seemed like the things I said hurt you so easy. You don't seem to give a fuck what anybody else thinks." From his tone there's a good deal about that quality he admires. "And I never want to hurt you, Rowenna. You're the last person in this world I want to hurt." He doesn't have to lean forward so much as just nudge his chin down a little, to kiss the tip of her nose.
"It's easy not to care what people think when they don't really matter," Rowan says with a shrug. "You matter." She smiles as he kisses the tip of her nose, lifting her face to nuzzle him. "And… I was too quick to assume the worst, react like you meant worse than you did, or — I'm not even sure. I was always afraid I wasn't good enough — and then, when you… when I told you the truth, it was like — I'd been right all along. And…" she frowns, sighing. "I was hurt and angry and — I sort of hated myself. So… it was pretty easy to hurt me. I was kind of raw."
"I was hurt, and angry, and…an asshole for a long time," Jarod mutters with a rueful snort on that last. "And…lots of other bullshit we'll talk about back at the Roost. It wasn't so much about you as about me, Rowenna. And…other bullshit. Doesn't matter now." To emphasize the not-mattering, he kisses her properly on the lips again. "I hate that I made you feel like that. You never tried to make me feel anything but…better about who I was. Which I don't make easy on people, I don't think. And you should never feel like that. You're brave, and sweet, and funny, and you put your whole heart into things. Maybe too much but…least the things you regret are things you did, not things you were too much of a pussy to even try. Anyhow, I like you, Rowenna Rose Nayland. Believe that, if nothing else." He sounds even more emphatic about it than when he said he loves her.
And, strangely enough, that declaration moves her so deeply tears spring to her eyes. She throws her arms around him and clings, blinking rapidly and speaking in a choked voice against his shoulder. "I like you, too," she whispers, and laughs wetly. "You're my best friend, you silly ass. And oh, fuck, I've missed you."
"I've missed you, too," Jarod says, holding her tight. "I was…kind of a mess when you weren't around. Whatever happens…it's been really good having you back. Whatever happens." And from his tone he has no idea what'll happen. "I don't think I'd have been able to get through these last weeks if you hadn't been with me. I mean…you know that, right? I've rather needed you and it's been…good, when you've been here."
Rowan shakes her head, still blinking at tears. "I didn't know," she whispers. "I mean… I knew how it was for me. Ever since I came home to the Roost… it's the first time I've been at peace in so long."
"Well…" Jarod cranes his neck over to kiss the top of her head, nuzzling his nose into her curls. "Now you know. You've made things…" He oafs around for the right word, and finally just lands on, "…better. Sorry for not saying it. I sometimes…I'm not the greatest with words, Rowenna." As if she might not have gleaned this during their time together in whatever incarnation. "People say a lot of things they don't mean. So I try and show people things rather than just talking about them and I think sometimes I don't do that…well…either."
"Thank you," murmurs Rowan, sighing and lifting her head to kiss him. "I… need the words. I don't know why. It's stupid, but… I do. So…" she lowers her lashes a moment, then looks up at him again. "Thank you."
"I have trouble believing what people say to me," Jarod admits. "Seems like…you can tell and tell and tell a person something all day and it doesn't cost you anything, but then the way they treat you is…well, it says something else, more often than not." He lets his forehead ease down to rest against hers again. "I want to do better by you on both counts. I didn't for a long time."
She gazes up at him, eyes dark and sweet. "You already are," she says simply.
"You've such lovely eyes," Jarod murmurs, just taking a long moment to look at her. The silence is comfortable, but it does make his mind wander. And he finally asks, "What were you working on when I walked back in here, anyhow? You looked…I don't know. Like you were winding yourself up for something."
"Kissing you," Rowan answers, grinning. "I've been winding myself up for a couple of days now to throw myself at you shamelessly." She smirks. "The letter made a much better segue."
"You have?" Jarod is surprised by this. Of the timing of it she mentions, particularly. "Huh." He has that thoughtful look he often gets when he's running something through the pathways of his mind. Such as they are. It plainly just puzzles him more the more he spins it around, so he just shrugs. And grins. "Well…you can again if you want."
She can't help but laugh at his puzzlement, and pinches his nose, instead. "Did you really miss me offering to sleep with you in the sept?" She pauses. "I mean, when we were in the sept. Not in the sept. That's just wrong."
Jarod blinks. And furrows his brow, perhaps replaying that night in his head. "Huh…" His green eyes widen a touch. "Oh yeah…" He looks down at her. "I guess I did." He shrugs her closer to him. "I didn't even figure you looked at me in that fashion anymore. I thought I was your…best friend and boon companion and…your idea of good knighthood that didn't actually have any man-parts in your head. Even though we had been lovers."
"And then I sort of tried to bring it up again, and you ran like a scared haint…" Rowan says. As he continues, though, she looks completely baffled. "Can't you be all of that AND have a penis?"
"Well, yes, we've well established I have a penis," Jarod says with a snorted laugh. Though he's serious when he answers. "I…maybe? I never knew anybody who managed that sort of thing. But I just…figured I wasn't what you wanted, even if you did still care for me, after a fashion."
"I had a lot to learn about what I want," Rowan admits, with more than a touch of rue. "And who I am. And… what I was willing to pay or compromise for my dreams. What they really meant to me." She shakes her head slightly. "We both did, didn't we? And I don't think we could have done it, together."
"I had a lot to learn about what I want," Jarod echoes that, for his part. "And the sort of man I want to be to have a life I can feel whole in. I don't think I've figured it out yet, truth be told. As to that, I don't know. I think maybe we could've if we'd been a bit more honest with each other. Or…with ourselves. That was wrapped up in all of the shit I did, at least."
"I had to learn what love wasn't," Rowan says, after a moment's pause. "In order to understand what it was."
"Huh…" Jarod utters that soft, and it also goes into the twisty pathways of his mind. It, like the fact that she wanted to kiss him, plainly contradicts other things he'd so firmly fortified there, so he's quiet as it bounces around his head for awhile. It's unclear precisely where it goes, and he doesn't really respond to it direct. "This feels good…" he mutters simply.
Rowan nods, kissing him softly, fingertips resting on his cheekbone. "This feels right."