|Summary:||Anais confronts Jacsen about Maester Gwyllam's theories.|
|Related Logs:||Continued from Hedging Bets|
|Kitchens — Four Eagles Tower|
|January 13, 289|
Anais tilts her head, looking around the hall in search of an appropriate place and coming up rather short. "Have you eaten yet?" she asks after a moment, starting to steer their steps toward the kitchens. "I haven't. It's been a busy day, and I just seem to have forgotten."
"I'd a few bites earlier, but you know my appetite Anais…" Jacsen seems willing enough to follow, though the pace is dictated more by his cane-assisted gait than anything else. "You really ought not to forget eating, though. Imagine you were to faint in the middle of the courtyard out of your forgotten hunger?"
"I've never fainted in my life," Anais assures with a low laugh, slipping into the kitchen. "But I will do my best to remember. It was just that every time I thought about it, something else came up. And by the time I thought about it again, there was something new to worry about." Thankfully, the kitchen staff is quick to set the pair up at a small table in the corner, placing bowls of the egg, potato, and hard sausage mixture that's the main meal for the day in front of them. Anais sets to it with gusto, though she watches him as she eats.
It's been some time since Jacsen needed tell anyone to mind his portions, and that's probably served him well now that everyone is put to rations. He takes the seat across from his wife and eats with a methodical pace, knowing he requires the food even if he does not particularly feel all that much like eating just now. He does glance up every now and then, to catch his wife's watching eyes.
Anais is less measured in her consumption of the meal, even if she manages to be polite about it. Once she's about three-quarters of the way through - and Jacsen is at least mostly finished - she checks to see that none of the servants are lingering. "So," she says softly. "Has your leg been troubling you more than usual?"
Jacsen's brow quirks a fraction at the question from his wife, not looking back down at his bowl when she asks it. "Without the usual access to materials to replenish what creams and ointments I use, it was rather inevitable," he remarks, rather than deny it. His gaze narrows a fraction. "Why do you ask?"
Anais takes another bite of her food, looking up to meet his gaze. "I was wondering why you needed multiple doses worth of sweetsleep," she answers him honestly, watching him closely for his response. "I don't remember you using it before."
His spoon is gently set down on the rim of his bowl. "And you've yet to see me use it, hmm?" Jacsen reminds her, his tone somewhat flat.
"That's right," Anais agrees. She seems unusually agreeable, in fact, eating as though this were an ordinary conversation.
"Then I would not concern myself," Jacsen remarks, picking up his spoon again and continuing to work at his meal.
"If my concern was that you might hurt yourself with it, you would have addressed it." Anais takes a sip of water, still watching him. "But I'm more concerned that there might be something you're not telling me."
He says nothing at that, as good as confirming her suspicions, instead working at finishing his bowl. "You know, there are other ways you could go about asking," Jacsen points out, as he works over the last few morsels. "You know how I'd wish you'd have asked?" He doesn't wait for an answer. "Jacsen, our new Maester is overly interested and concerned about your demanding sweetsleep," he begins, in his own voice, not meaning it to be mocking, "And I cannot help protect you from unwanted inquiries if I do not know what I am protecting." He sets his spoon down in the finished bowl, pushing it aside. "I'll not keep it from you anyways, but feeling as if you asked out of some desire to help me, rather than because you simply should know…" He reaches for his own water, seeking to clear his throat before going on.
Anais considers his choice of words for a moment, a forkful of eggs and potatoes hanging over her bowl. "Jacsen," she says, using much the same tone as he did, "I'm worried because the new maester mentioned to me that you had requested an unusual amount of sweetsleep from him when Mistress Avinashi was unable to acquire it. He seems to be worried that you might be addicted to it, but since I've never seen you take it and I know how rarely you sleep, that didn't seem likely to me. But then, Mistress Avinashi usually sees to those needs for you, so maybe I wouldn't have seen it. I'm not sure what use you would have for gratuitous amounts of sweetsleep, and all I can think is that you're trying to help someone who doesn't have access to it, or there is someone here who /is/ addicted to it that you're, once again, trying to help. Or maybe I'm wrong, and you /are/ using it, and you've been using it for so long that it /isn't/ making you sleep and that's why I haven't noticed and why you need so much. And I /would/ like to help, whatever the case." She sets the fork down, food uneaten as she presses her lips together. "And it's stupid, because I know she's been with you longer than I have, but I wish you'd trust me, too," she admits in a lower tone.
He draws a slow breath through his nose before he sets the cup of water down, a glance about ensuring that there is no one that can overhear them. "The sweetsleep is not for administering to anyone I've a care for," Jacsen tells his wife, his tone rather level as he explains it, "Avinashi came to me, quite committed to a course of action that required a significant dose." He pauses, and Anais can surely see the worry in his eyes, not at his wife, but for what he says next. "She is already gone, let out the sully port under cover of darkness, with the intention of being captured by the Ironmen. She's a convincing Riverlander when she wants to be, and quite fetching besides. She will use that fact to earn the gaze of Maron Greyjoy, in hopes that she might be taken as his latest conquest." He pauses a moment to let that sink in before he concludes, "If her plan goes right, the sweetsleep will be used in a concoction to kill his black fucking heart."
Anais presses her lips together at his answer, though her concern is clear in her eyes. Whatever she has to say, she holds it back in favor of reaching for his hand, the grip tight.
He needn't say what might happen should she fail. Jacsen's eyes, perhaps wanting to hide the concern in his own, fall to look at where she covers his hand with hers.
Anais opens her mouth a few times, closing it each time without saying whatever she was going to say. Finally, she sighs, slipping from her stool to wrap an arm around his shoulder and press a kiss to his temple. "I'll tell him it was for me, in case the Ironborn take the castle," she finally murmurs into his hair.
Jacsen's quiet for a few moments, sitting up straight but accepting the closeness of his wife, the kiss to his temple and the soft words in his hair. "Thank you," he says eventually, reaching up to cover one of her hands, and squeeze it.
Anais is quiet a bit longer, offering the simple, steady support of contact before she manages to find words she apparently thinks might help. "Can I yell at her for being reckless when she gets back?" she asks softly, injecting a note of hope into her voice. "I've collected all the hilights from a thousand lectures on the subject. Academically only, of course. Never from experience."
"If she returns to us safe… you can yell about whatever you like, Anais," Jacsen says, letting show the concern he's not dared show anyone else, perhaps not even the woman in question before she departed the Roost. "Thank you," he adds, again. "I suppose it isn't… altogether easy for you."
Anais considers that, wrapping both arms around him and setting her chin on his shoulder. "Maybe," she allows. "I'll have to think about it. I have…a lot of feelings right now, and it's probably best that I let them stay where they are for the moment." She sighs, brushing a kiss against his cheek and moving to straighten. "It's a moot point now, though. She's beyond our control."
Jacsen signals his agreement with that with a nod, reaching for his water and draining it before he says, "When you don't think it's best to keep them so, anymore…" He leaves the rest of it unsaid, as it hardly requires speaking just now. And then he exhales, and tells her, "I think I'm tired, Anais."
"You see? I told him you weren't using sweetsleep." Anais is a little louder at that, just enough to be overheard by curious servants. Flashing a small, private smile to him, she offers a hand to help him up. "Let's go to bed, then, love. If you'll show me how, I'll see if I can't help a bit with your leg first."