|What Boys Are Good For|
|Summary:||Saffron and Anais discuss what boys are good for.|
|Date:||13 June 2012|
|Docks, The Banefort|
The sun is shining on the sea, shining with all its might. It causes everything around the Banefort to glitter like faceted glass, and shimmers of reflected light brighten the hulls of the ships. A fourteen-year-old Saffron Banefort sits on the edge of a lower dock, her skirts bustled up to her knees and her feet dangling in the cool waters. Her knees are scraped up, her shins looking as if she took a spill across unkind rocks. There is dirt under her fingernails and her hair has been twisted up in a pair of braids that are painfully too young for a maiden of her age. She has gathered a collection of rocks in the pouch of her skirts, carefully picking through them for the smooth and flat-faced stones that serve as skippers. She waits for her cousin to arrive so they can go together to the Sept — and hopefully no one will give the Septa a head's up that she's showing off her knees.
Anais spends a good portion of every day at the docks, visiting the shipwright. Or rather, his apprentice. The young man isn't necessarily the sharpest knife in the Banefort, but he's a handsome lad with broad shoulders and fine hands. And the sense to keep certain things to himself. So Anais gets to help him with his studies - studies she'd be unlikely to get a chance to enjoy on her own - and he gets to play kissing games when they're finished. She does too. It's a win all around, really. But her laughter proceeds her, and she waves to everyone as she makes her way down the docks to where Saffron waits. By the time she manages to meet her cousin, she even has a couple of fish pastries donated by one of the merchants. All round cheeks and sunny hair, she drops down next to Saffron, passing over one of the pastries. "From Mistress Grendel," she declares. "Who says you'd be best careful with your sparring matches if you don't want your Da to catch you. Who'd you beat today?" Even now, Kincaid trails after her, though he's decidedly more puppy like, all arms and legs and oversized hands, and in desperate need of a haircut. And some dignity.
At the sound of her cousin's laughter, Saffron brightens considerably. Those twin ropes of bright red hair whip around her head as she turns to find Anais as she approaches, and her blue eyes shine with matched laughter. "I will thank her," Saffron says in a bright voice as she takes the offered snack. Kincaid is greeted by the dough-faced Punbah who is due for another growth spurt as he stands shorter than his charge. He smiles sheepishly as if he knows he's been caught letting Bernard's daughter run about wild. Saffron takes a hearty bite into the flaky crust, tipping her chin back automatically as a bit of the warm interior threatens to drip down her chin. She chews demonstratively in the wake of the question, proving that her Lady mother has at least taught the girl some manners. "Master Brinton's son," she answered. "You know… the one who works in the bakery. He's very strong." And exceptionally handsome, but where Anais has completely discovered the signifigance of boys, Saffron still sees each and every one of them by the merits of their battle skills. Boys are not things to play kissing games with, boys are things to hit with swords. Or so she continues to claim.
"Oh, /him/," Anais muses, then leans over to bump her shoulder against Saffron's with a grin. "You should let me know next time. I wouldn't mind watching." There's a giggle, and she picks a few bites from her own pie, nibbling around the crust as she goes. "So where do you want to go today?" she asks. "Mychal," the shipwright's apprentice, "Says there's supposed to be a ship in from Lannisport this afternoon. And Papa said something about more things from the sack of King's Landing coming in. There should be some interesting things, don't you think? I mean, if you sacked a city, you wouldn't take boring things like pots, would you? You'd bring back /statues/, or jewels, or…" She pauses. "It's Papa, though, so maybe it /is/ pots."
Saffron accepts the bump with ease, rocking a bit away from Anais before it is rightfully returned. She takes another bite of the hand-pie, chewing thoughtfully. Her eyes turn out toward the glittering sea, and she kicks her feet idly in the cool waters. "Oh, and if Mychal says it, it must be true," she teases good-naturedly. "It's probably carrying more gifts from Magnola's betrothed… Ser Golden Hair With Perfect Teeth." Also known as Ser Tysin Lannister of Lannisport, but Saffron is more keen on her own byname. She gives her cousin a rather bemused look. "Frankly, I'm surprised you and Mychal talk about anything… or have you learned to kiss and talk at the same time?" She smiles as she takes another bite.
Anais sticks her tongue out at Saffron, reaching out to tug a braid. "If Mychal says it, he heard it from someone who knows what happens around here, since he doesn't have to spend time locked up in towers," she wrinkles her nose. "And he talks while I do the navigational calculations. /Then/ we don't talk when they're done." She flashes a grin, looking over her shoulder before leaning closer. "Besides, you don't always have to kiss mouth to mouth." Giggling, she turns bright red, then tosses a piece of her pie to a nearby flock of gulls, watching them scramble for it. "S'not fair, Magnola and Ser Tysin," she adds. "Shayla and Elinor aren't married, either. And I'll never get married if Elinor at least doesn't find a husband. I mean, Shayla got married once, so she can wait her turn, but Elinor just…Well she won't /do/ anything, she won't press for anything, and instead Magnola gets to marry a Lannister."
Whatever shade of red Anais has turned, Saffron has gone one shade darker. "Anais!" She says in an excited whisper. "Where else did you kiss him!" She looks wide-eyed at her cousin, and there is a glimmer of something imploring for details while simultaneously denying that desire. Then she looks back out at the waters with a shake of her head, nibbling now on a bit of crust. The blush has not subsided even as Anais begins to talk of husbands, though she shakes her head with a waggle of her braids. "Don't you want to marry Mychal?" There is painful innocence in her voice. "I mean… you sit about kissing him every day…"
"Not /there/!" Anais exclaims, and it's clear her mind went further into the gutters than her cousin's did. Either that or the topic's…come up. "I mean, you know. The neck is nice. And shoulders. Mychal has very nice shoulders…" She trails off a moment, thumb resting on her lips, before she shakes herself out of it, blinking a few times and refocusing. "Marry Mychal? Of course not. I mean, it's not that I don't like him. He's fun. And he's handsome. And I like kissing him. But you don't marry the shipwright's apprentice, Saf." She shrugs one shoulder, finishing off the pie and licking her fingers clean. "He's going to be a journeyman soon anyhow, and then it'll be off to Lannisport for him. And I'll still be here, because Elinor wants to sit and wait for someone else to make her decisions for her. Did you know that out on the open water, you can steer by the stars?" she asks. "There's a good deal of math involved. Though I don't think Mother would think it a proper application of her lessons."
"You let him kiss your neck?" Saffron says in a hushed voice, almost afraid someone will hear them. "I thought you meant like… your cheek… or your forehead… or his forehead." She bites her lower lip, looking aside at the sheer boldness of her cousin. It takes her a few moments to recover from the bit of shock before she glances back at Anais. "Well, then forget Elinor," she says offhandedly. "If she's not going to go get what she wants, you should instead. Find yourself a husband and take him for yourself." Nevermind the fact that marriages and betrothals are arrangement by lords. Saffron is quite skilled in foregoing the important things. She flings her bit of crust out to the water, one of the still-hungry gulls swooping in for it. "I don't want to get married," she adds in offhandedly.
"Oh my goodness, Saffron, it's just- I mean- Well, it's very nice," Anais stammers a bit. "I think he likes it too, though. I had to tell him to watch where he put his hands, though." Her snack finished, she sets an elbow to her knee, propping her chin up in one hand as she looks to her cousin. "Not get married? What are you going to do, then? Go to a sister house? Become a wrinkled old Septa or a governess and take care of someone else's children?" She makes a face. "No thank you. I'm going to get married. To someone who's smart, and rich, and brave. And a good kisser. And run my own household, so no one can tell me what I can and can't do."
Saffron offers her cousin a small smile as she nudges at her shoulder a bit. "I'm sure he did watch where he put his hands," she points out and immediately blushes in the wake. She turns her head a bit as she offers her friend and cousin a warming smile. "If I was to get married… I would want a knight. And not one of those silly Summer Knight… I want a soldier." She shrugs her shoulders then. "But… I'd rather stay here, help Papa with the knights and sell-swords." She returns her eyes back over the sea. "I can't imagine leaving the Banefort. I don't even know why you would want to leave… you won't be able to climb trees nor go swimming buck naked in the sea if you're some proper lady of a proper house."
"I will too!" Anais protests. "It'll be my house, I'll make the rules. That's what Papa says, isn't it? His house, his rules." She draws both knees up to her chest, smile flashing briefly as she waves to a ship coming into port. "It's not that I won't miss the Banefort," she admits. "And I don't even want to /think/ about what I'd do without you. It's just…there's a whole, wide world out there, Saf. I want to see more of it." She nudges her cousin, smile creeping mischievously across her features. "Maybe I'll marry a swarthy Dornishman, and go to live with him in the warm seas to the south. I've heard the Dornish don't mind if their women can shoot bows and swim buck naked. And you can come with me, and we'll find you a Dornish knight, too. Like Ser Dayne."
"Yes, but what does your Mother say?" Saffron retorts, though she hastily looks around to make sure her aunt doesn't magic her way out of the shadows and demand to know exactly what she does indeed say. The redheaded Banefort snorts then, snapping her gaze back to her cousin. "As if your father would send you off to Dorn… he'd hardly go further than the Reach. You should aim closer. What about the Haighs or the Mallisters? You'd still be close to the sea." But you wouldn't be so far away, her tone seems to suggest.
"Patrek Mallister's just a baby still," Anais wrinkles her nose to Saffron's suggestion. "Mother says Tyrion Lannister might not look like much, but he'll be his father's heir whether Lord Tywin likes it or not. Papa says she's mad." She pauses. "I don't think he could dance very well, though. Caper, maybe." She waves a hand then, straightening a bit. "Anyhow, at the rate Elinor's going, it'll be forever before I'm married, so there's no sense in worrying about it. What about you?" she asks, grinning over at her cousin. "What've you been doing lately?"
"The Imp?" Saffron asks with a wrinkle of her nose. "He definitely isn't a soldier." That counts him out. Then she pulls a foot out of the water, her skin wrinkled and pale from the soak. She wriggles her toes a bit as water drips back toward the sea. "Not a damn thing," she expresses in a bored voice. "We're suppose to be at the Sept, you know," she says offhandedly. "We have lessons and prayers, and we're suppose to be there already." Saffron slides her arm around her cousin's shoulder, and she grips a bit firmly on Anais's upper arm. "I have a better idea…"
"Anything is a better idea than sitting around praying," Anais rolls her eyes. "Even marrying the Imp." But as they're not sitting around praying, she looks over to her cousin with a slow grin. "What's your better idea?"
"This!" And Saffron grabs her cousin completely around and she falls forward to drag Anais with her toward the dock waters. There is a loud splash on impact, and Saffron is twisting to ensure she can kick out her feet with ease and pull to the surface.
Anais shrieks a laugh, though she's ready to fall into the water, laughing and pushing her hair away from her face. "Saffron!" she protests, splashing at the other girl. "Now Mother's /sure/ to know we missed prayers." She treads water, peering around the docks. "So I guess we might as well get a good swim out of it."