Page 183: Small Comforts
Small Comforts
Summary: Jarod and Rowan take some and talk on a few things, and don't talk on a few more.
Date: 16/01/2012
Related Logs: Together Again and the 'Back at the Roost' logs in general
Jarod Rowan 
Rowan's Room, Stables — Four Eagles Tower
Mon Jan 16, 289

Day breaks quietly on Terrick's Roost for the first time in what seems like ages. More quietly, even, than usual. There are less people to create the typical morning clamor; for those that remain, normalcy has yet to return. Rowan lays awake in her narrow bed, twined around Jarod, watching the grey pre-dawn turn slowly blue and gold, and the shadows of the window panes creep across the floor.

The night previous was one of simple comfort and tender sympathy — Jarod Rivers needed to be held, and after watching his heart break over and over that day, Rowan needed just as much to hold him. Other than a few whispered words and sweet kisses, that was all that transpired. Then sleep — like time, the great healer. She's loath to wake him.

Jarod sleeps deeper than he has in some weeks, the hustle and constant need to be at the ready of the army camp gone for the moment. Not that his homecoming was all he'd been hoping for. The day before brought the sight of the destruction of the Roost and, as it went on, word of so many fallen during the Greyjoy occupation. Including his uncle, Ser Revyn Terrick. And after all that, spending the night alone in his chambers had seemed unbearable. So he'd come late to Rowan's door and what comfort she could offer. And, after weeping more than he'll probably admit to later over the ravaging of his home and loss of those he loved, he did finally find sleep next to her. The coming light doesn't wake him immediately. For a little longer he just dozes in her arms. It was a long march home. *RE*

There's a soft kiss on his brow and fingers combing through his hair, the lithe body twined with his moving only as she breathes. The day can wait and duties be buggered. It has indeed been a long march home, and if Jarod finds any sanctuary in sleep, she wants him to have it as long as he can.

The kiss makes Jarod stir some, smile coming to his lips as he awakens slow. Green eyes blinking awake. It takes him a moment to seem truly conscious again, like he's clearing whatever's between dreaming and waking from his mind. "Hullo there…" he mutters to Rowan with a thick yawn, keeping his arms laced comfortably around her.

Rowan smiles softly, more with her eyes and nose than her mouth. "Good morning," she murmurs, tracing fingers down his spine. "How did you sleep?"

"Good," Jarod murmurs. "Really, really…good." He takes a long beat just to look at her, and feel her strong, lithe arms around him. "I'm…uh…sorry if I was kind of a mess last night. Shouldn't have put that on you, really."

"Oh, shut up," says Rowan softly, leaning down to kiss him. "Of course you should have. You would have done it for me."

"Well, aye, of course I would have but…" Jarod doesn't have any sort of idea of how that'd be different, however. So he just chuckles soft, and kisses her back. "…aye. Of course I would've. I…I talked to Jace a bit last night. He said they've not buried Uncle Revyn yet. Hoping I can help with that. My father said he died trying to hold the line in town, so the smallfolk could flee into the keep."

Rowan nods, smoothing his hair. "He died a hero," she says. "They were talking about it in the stables, last night after supper. It was a good death." She hugs him tight, burying her face in his hair and breathing deep. "I'm so sorry. Your uncle was always good to me — hard, but fair. I was very fond of him."

"He was a…" There's a pause, where Jarod seems to change his mind about precisely he wants to say. "…he was a worthy man." He makes a low "Mmm" sound when he's hugged. That hits the spot. "Wanted to be just like him when I was younger. Men like him and Ser Blayne. At least with his body reclaimed, he can be done proper honors." He lets out a long, sighing breath. "There's so much gone, Rowenna. I never even imagined…I thought there might be fighting in the town after we routed them, that it might get ugly in that fashion but this…they just smashed it and killed and burned everything they could. For no reason. Just to break and destroy what they weren't strong enough to hold."

Rowan nods, giving another squeeze, wrapping him up tighter. "It's hard to… fathom the mindset of people who would do that — kill and destroy just… because. When we're taught about battle, it always has… context, doesn't it? Each side is fighting for something. The ideologies are different, but they're… at least they're human." She kisses the top of his head. "What was done here doesn't seem human."

Jarod bows his head a little so it's resting against her chin as she kisses him. "I want to hang Maron Greyjoy's skin from the battlements of Four Eagles," he says fervently, the grim promise at odds with his tender closeness with her. "This shall not go unpunished, Rowenna, I swear to Seven it will not…maybe your cousin, Ser Rygar, was right. All that's left of this world is a place where men take whatever in seven hells they want. Well. We shall be strong, and we shall it back and then some." *re*

She sighs, resting her cheek atop his head and listening. Silent for a moment after, she finally says, "Whatever you need to find peace with what's happened, that's what you should do. And I'll be with you."

Jarod kisses her neck, just staying tucked into her like that for awhile. Anger's easier than sadness, but harder to hold onto when warm and enveloped in her as he is. Finally he eases up into a sitting position, moving with some reluctance, and he still doesn't quite let her go. "And I'll be with you. That's half the reason I took you back as a squire, you know. I just figured…I can't stop you from doing this. Been over that. And I started thinking in my head about you out there by yourself, or with some stranger who probably wasn't any sort of knight of good repute, being hurt or afraid or sick and…I couldn't abide that. Because however hard it is to see you in danger, thinking of it happening and not being there to help you…I just couldn't."

Rowan slouches down to rest against his shoulder as he sits up, trading the position of holder for that of holdee. She shuts her eyes, basking in the warmth of him, lulled by his heartbeat. "S'a strange feeling," she says, curling a smile against his neck. "Being… I don't know. Coddled isn't the right word. But… you know? Protected. I mean, it's not completely realistic," How romantic, no? "but… it's… it means something to me that you want to."

"You care about somebody, Rowenna, you should want to look out for them," Jarod says. As if it were as simple as that. "However you can manage it." He squeezes her a little closer to him, chin resting atop her head now, so he can nuzzle her dark curls. "How're you doing with it all? Alderbrook, and what we faced of the Ironborn in Stonebridge and on the march to it. It's…it's never like anybody imagines it'll be. If you want to talk about it, you can. I won't think…it's hard for anybody who sees such like that."

"None of it seems real yet," Rowan confesses softly, fingers idly fidgeting with the fabric of Jarod's shirt. "Stonebridge was chaos and — I still get moments where I flash back to that. Being in the thick of it. That… raider with just… this huge, black and bloody, leering grin — such fucking delight in his eyes when he was over top of me, about to end me…" she shudders. "No one should love to kill like that. I don't care who you're putting down or what you think they've done to you. That was madness. There was something broken in him and anyone like him. Rotten."

Jarod kisses the top of her head, then nudges down to do the same to her cheek and neck, as she talks. As if he could kiss the memory of that away for her. He can't, of course, but he gives it a go. "They are men who take what they want with no regard for it, and see those who have what they want as weak sheep to be conquered. There's something of that in all men, but on the Iron Islands it seems to be a religion for them. I remember talking with the Lady Harlaw on it some, when she was staying like a spider in the castle. The iron price, they call it. You buy with your iron edge and other men pay with their blood."

Rowan nods vaguely, shutting her eyes and breathing out. "Alderbrook seemed almost surgical by comparison," she murmurs. "Very nearly clean. I knew what I had to to, where I had to be, all the drills and drills and drills — kicked in. I'm not sure I was very effective, but… I wasn't afraid."

"You bore up well," Jarod says. It's sincere, perhaps all the more clearly so because it's touched with a trace of surprise he can't quite hide. "You've done well as any could throughout all of it. Even Stonebridge, though I know you don't believe it. You're green but, everybody is to start. Bore up as well as most on the field, Rowenna. You're good enough to make money with your sword now, however you want to go about doing that." Not that he sounds particularly happy about it. "After the melee at the Roost…" He shrugs. "…I think I was less sure after that than I was even when you told me you had tits." He snorts, squeezing her again as if to try and take some of the sting out of it. "I don't mean to make you mad I'm just asking…what was different through all this? It wasn't so long ago, after all."

"The melee was a clusterfuck," snorts Rowan, softly. "It just… was. Nothing about it was right. I wasn't ready, and I had a man of much greater skill out to beat me, specifically, into the ground. Ser Alek wanted to prove to me and everyone else that I wasn't ready, and make sure I never forgot it." She sighs. "I was right about one thing, though," she notes with a touch of grim satisfaction. "In real battle, there's no yielding. I think the moment you let giving up, or giving in, so much as enter your mind… that's when you're done for."

As for what's changed… Rowan, herself, may not be so sure. "Time and training, I suppose. I'm better with blade and horse and lance, all. And I'm not…" She chews the inside of her cheek, considering. "I didn't come back here expecting you to take me on, you know? I really… thought it possible I was done. The road to knighthood was a dead end, for me. I — " she pauses again, frowning. "I could have stayed. With Oldstones. They'd have made me Ser Rowan. Ser Rose…" she sighs, shaking her head. "And it would have meant nothing. Nothing at all. Because not a single one of those men knows what it means, or cares if they do. Honor, sacrifice, protecting the small — that's what knighthood means. It's a code. It's a principle. It's a way of life that's worth living even if — especially if — everyone around you is forsaking it. And I guess…" she shrugs. "I guess once I realized that worthless men could hand out titles like it's a commodity, and the worthiest men die never… elevated or recognized… it didn't matter as much, anymore. It's a beautiful thing when a man worth the title of Ser is knighted, but… it doesn't always work that way. And if it never happens to me — that has nothing to do with my worth."

Jarod listens to all that silently, turning so he can look her in the eyes while she talks. It takes him awhile to work up a response to it. He can't even manage anything verbal. He just beams, and then leans forward to kiss her again, on the lips, full and long and with that almost sad intensity the Terrick Rivers may not have even been capable of two months past.

She blinks once, twice at his beaming, on the verge of asking — all edgy and leery — "What?" But she doesn't get the whole word out before she's being kissed. Deeply and passionately. She melts and replies in kind, twining her arms around his neck — fingers in his hair, shifting to straddle his lap. When their lips finally part, she blinks (again), blank and stupid, trying to make sense of that kiss as a rejoinder to her little speech. "I… said a lot of words," she murmurs, a little breathy for the thorough kissing. "I guess some of them were good ones?"

"It was just beautiful is all," Jarod says, shrugging, like he's half-embarrassed. He regards her like he's considering kissing her again, or doing some other things to her, but in the end he eases away from her a little. Not quite letting go, fingertips trailing down her shoulders and arms, to clasp her hand in his. "Should probably go get cleaned up, get some breakfast. Plenty to go be done. I want to go out and have a look at the town. See where the rebuilding might start. Though I doubt I'll have much time to really see it begun. The Freys'll like as be marching to Seagard next. My father'll rally what men of his he can to join them, I figure. I'll be among them. Or we will, I suppose."

Still baffled, Rowan shakes her head, smiling and flushed. "I'm glad?" she ventures, and laughs, shrugging. "I should say beautiful things more often, I guess." She looks regretful as he begins to plan the day, but all idylls must end, and she squeezes his hands, kneeling up and leaning in to kiss him again, all heady, thorough slowness, gently suckling his bottom lip as she pulls back. "We will," she agrees. Then, smiling against his lips, "I'll ready Symeon for your ride."

Jarod kisses her back in kind. There's still, as he does it, the impression that he feels like she might disappear from his arms after he's done. So he'd better enjoy it while it lasts. "Aye, I'll ride out in a half hour or so," he says as he breaks from her, standing. "We should still talk later. I guess. Before we leave for Seagard, at least. About the…complicated stuff." Not a conversation he's looking forward to, by the look of him. "Later, though. Rowenna…thanks again. For last night. That was…made things easier. You don't even know."

Complicated stuff. She lofts an eyebrow at him and sighs. "Alright," she agrees, easily enough. She shakes her head at his thanks. "Jarod… however complicated we are or aren't or… whatever — " she shrugs. "I'll always love you. More than you can possibly know. So… you're welcome." She nods. "Any time."

Jarod once again looks tempted to correct her, somehow, when she says she loves him. But, again, he doesn't. He lets himself smile, just a little. "Love you, too. Figure I always will." That's the note he departs her room on.