|Rainy Day Kittridge|
|Summary:||With the joust rained out, Nicodemus seeks out his brother for a heart-to-heart. Well, heart-to-scorn, really.|
|Related Logs:||Various Kitt/Nic logs|
|Kittridge's Tent, Groves Pavilion — Frey Tourney Field|
|Dryer inside than out!|
|18 May 289|
Rain kind of sucks. Especially when it ruins what was meant to be an exciting day of jousting. But, it is rather useful as far as excuses for cloaks and hoods go. Benedict is thus 'disguised' as he moves from his tent towards the Groves pavilion. He's been watching or he simply has very good luck, because it's Kittridge's tent flap that gets nudged open, a dripping and soggy Nicodemus poking his head inside. "Kitt?" he murmurs. "Can we talk?"
Kittridge sits up abruptly, looking over his book as a head pokes through the tent flap. He frowns at Nicodemus when he recognizes him, and shuts the notebook, saying, "What are you doing here? Fine, come in then before someone sees you."
"Asking you if we can talk," Nicodemus replies reasonably, swiping water from his eyes as he slips into the tent and shrugs out of his dripping cloak. He glances at his brother's notebook before he asks "Do you still write poetry?"
"No," Kittridge replies, glowering at his twin a little. He might be lying. Difficult to say for sure. "What do you want to talk about?"
"I…" Nicodemus clears his throat as he looks briefly down at his feet. But he lifts his gaze to meet Kitt's, to see the other man's response when he admits, softly, "Staying."
Kittridge keeps his expression neutral, jaw tight, lips pressed in a line. He is probably a lot better at cards than he was six years ago. "Oh?" he replies simply, lifting a brow.
Nicodemus nods once. Oh. "I think I should explain myself," he continues. "And after you've heard me out, if you'd be willing to have me, I'd like to come home. Or, well, to try."
Kittridge looks skeptical. He looks very skeptical, like he's doing his very best to make sure that he looks skeptical so that Nicodemus understands that he is SKEPTICAL, GOT IT? "Alright," he says, with a vague flick of his wrist. Go on.
Boy, that Kittridge. He is very skeptical. Nicodemus clears his throat again. "I wasn't exactly lying when I said I was leaving because I didn't believe in swearing fealty to Baratheon," he begins. "It was true, but that wasn't, that is, I had another reason to want to leave. To feel it was wrong of me to stay near my family. You remember, when I was little, how I used to have those, well, mother called them 'spells'? Sulks, I suppose. Sometimes for days. And how they got better, once we started squiring?"
Kittridge remains skeptical. But he listens, arms crossed around his notebook, against his chest. "Yeah, I guess," he replies, "So, what? You went away because you thought people in the Stepstones wouldn't mind you sulking so much?"
"Shut up, I'm not done," Nicodemus protests with a weak chuckle. "The point is, being a squire, fighting, it helped, somehow. Eased something in me, I can't exactly explain it any better." He pushes a hand through his wet hair. "I wasn't really sure what would happen when we had to fight for real, but I worried, um, it might be bad."
Kittridge rolls his eyes, but is quiet, at least until Nicodemus pauses again. "Are you done now?" he asks, "Or should I hold off on telling you that's stupid for another minute?"
"Look, I'm unburdening my soul, here. You want to hold off on mocking me at least until I finish?" Nicodemus asks, crossing his arms over his chest. "My point is that after the Trident, I didn't trust myself anymore. So, I left."
Kittridge snorts, unimpressed, it seems. He says nothing, just looking at Nicodemus, and waiting.
Nicodemus sighs softly, lifting a hand and gesturing towards Kittridge in silent permission for him to begin whatever bashing he'd like.
"Oh, are you done now?" Kittridge asks, "So, you ran away to the Stepstones for six years because being a knight and hitting things makes you sulk less. And now…what? You grew out of it? Hitting pirates and adopting stray children cured you?"
"No," Nico replies, "it hasn't. But I'd like to try coming home, anyhow. Six years of hitting pirates has at least helped me know my inner workings better. And taking on Locke helped me realize those I cared for, if they stayed near me, weren't automatically in danger."
"Why would any of us ever have been in danger?" Kittridge asks, sounding exasperated, "You're not making any sense, Nic. You've never hurt anybody before, what difference did running away for six years make? That was what hurt people."
"I'd never killed anyone before the rebellion," Nicodemus answers. "You don't know you're a drunkard until the first time you get drunk."
"What does that even mean?" Kittridge demands, "And besides, that's not true. Drunkards don't even know they are them, certainly not the first time they drink. What the fuck, Nic. This all sounds like bullshit excuses."
"They weren't bullshit to me," Nicodemus says. "I fought for real in the rebellion. I killed people. And I liked it, Kitt. I liked it better than anything else I'd ever done. And it scared the piss out of me."
Kittridge frowns. "I don't understand," he says finally, "What is there to like about it?"
"See?" Nicodemus says, gesturing towards Kittridge. "That, what you just said, that would be a healthy, normal response to enduring battle." He falls quiet a moment perhaps to find what words he might use to explain. "But I, it's like everything is brighter. And sharper. More. The whole of the world is focused on this one, singular point. Live or die. Kill or be killed. It's so simple and clear and, gods, so seven-damned sweet. That's what I like about it."
"So?" Kittridge shrugs, and shakes his head, "That's just what it's like, it's nerves and shit. Survival, and whatever. So go spend your time jumping off cliffs and chasing bandits or something, then. Why the fuck did you have to abandon your family for that?"
"It's not the same," Nicodemus replies with a small shake of his head. "I did my share of madness on the stepstones, and nothing's the same. I left because I was afraid if I stayed I'd do something to shame all of you or somehow bring you into danger. You can scoff at it, i understand how absurd t sounds. But, it didn't feel absurd at the time. It felt inevitable."
"It sounds completely absurd," Kittridge replies, "Like you left for an even stupider reason than I thought. You were always so fucking dramatic." He shakes his head, and makes a disgusted noise and rubs at his face, and then lifts a hand and lets it fall to slap his knee. "So, what? Now you're doing thinking you like killing people and you want to come home? Are you going to play nice and find a way to swear to the king so you can get unexiled?"
"Now, I'd like to come home," Nicodemus replies, keeping his voice carefully calm, "and, yes."
Kittridge frowns some more, and scrubs at his face again. Finally he waves a hand, and says, "Go ask Father, then, I don't know. I'm not deciding this," he says, "Alright? I'm tired of trying to decide for everyone. Go talk to Father and let him decide, that's his job. It's not my job."
"You're my twin, Kitt," Nicodemus replies, picking up his cloak and wringing it out. "If you didn't want me back, I wasn't going to ask anyone else."
"So now it matters what I want?" Kittridge snarks in reply, and shakes his head, "Well, I'm not deciding. That's what I want. I want this out of my hands."
"Yes," Nicodemus replies again, shrugging into his soggy cloak and pulling the hood back up over his head. "All right. Then I'll go see father after the tourney."
"After?" Kittridge says, "You're not planning to compete. What if someone— no, you know what?" he stops himself and spreads his hands, palms out, "Do it if you want, I don't care. This is Father's problem, not mine."
"No one will. No one has so far," Nicodemus replies with a sniff. "Besides, from what I hear, these people can't even tell a girl from a boy if she calls herself a squire. I doubt they'll see a Groves in a hedge-knight, either."
Kittridge snorts. "When you put it that way," he agrees, "But Rosanna will be watching and she's not as blind as most of these idiots. So keep your helm on."
Nicodemus ducks his head in an assenting nod. "Ser," he murmurs. "I'd best get back."
Kittridge nods, and lets him go without saying anything else.