|What Might Have Been (and What Might Yet Be)|
|Summary:||Kit and Day discuss their love lives — such as they are — and the one they never quite got to have with each other.|
|Related Logs:||A lot of unposted Kit & Day (LOOKING AT YOU, KIT)|
|The Groves Campsite, Seagard Tourney Grounds|
|25th Sixthmonth, 289 AL|
Kittridge is slow to rise this morning, lazing about in his tent well past breakfast. He's still there when Day arrives, sprawled on his cot with a book propped on his bruise-spattered chest. The tent's front-flap is tied half-open to let in air and sunlight and announce that he's at home to visitors without exactly inviting people to wander in on their way past.
Day doesn't need an invitation to enter Kit's tent, any more than he needs an invitation to get all naked in front of her without a hello. It's just that kind of relationship. So in she comes, sitting on the edge of his cot and setting her basket on the ground. "How are you feeling?" she asks, gentle and warm.
Kittridge looks up as Day enters, and smiles hello, marking his page in the book and closing it. "Morning," he says, and shrugs, "Alright. Still stiff, but not as sore today. Fingers are still throbbing, though," he says, holding up the two she splinted and bandaged for him after the melee, "I'm trying to ignore it. How are you?"
"Mm," Day says, a non-committal sound as she probes his bruises, gently to make sure there's no pockets of blood collecting beneath. She makes sure he's not running a fever — though he looks fine, she has a process… and it's possible she just likes the excuse to put her hands on his forehead and cheek. "Shall I make you some willow-bark tea for your fingers? I know there's not a tremendous amount of difference between 'persistent throb' and 'dull ache', but…" She shrugs.
Kittridge winces at a couple of the bruises, and makes like he's thwap her hand away as she pokes, but doesn't. He doesn't feel feverish, either, but submits to the process, well familiar with it by now. He considers the tea offer, eyeing the fingers in question and scratching his cheek before shrugging a little, "Sure, can't hurt? Might help with the others a bit, too. They don't hurt, exactly, it's just sort of a general… eugh." He makes a slumping sort of gesture.
Day wrinkles her nose in sympathy. "It should take the edge off, at least. You'll get better rest, and feel less eugh sooner." She goes to fetch and fill a kettle, putting it on to boil outside before returning. She sits on the edge of the cot once more, rummaging through her basket. "So. Lady Roslyn's handmaid, hmm?"
"That'd be good," Kit agrees. He reads another page or two idly while Day goes about finding the kettle and things, and then lifts a brow over it at the question. "Not true, actually," he tells her, before asking, "Does it bother you?"
She raises an eyebrow. "Well someone has been visiting your tent, my lord, and it's not your squire," she notes, teasing. "If it's not the Nayland handmaid, then who is it?" His question — returns her gaze to her basket. Fairly quickly. "Of course not. But we're friends. Friends are affectionately nosy about one another's lives, aren't they?"
"Sure," Kittridge agrees of friends, easily, "And I'll tell you, I just… that seemed like kind of a lie," he says, "You looked away so fast when I asked. Do you? Mind?"
"Oh, Kittridge, don't be difficult," murmurs Day, still not looking at him. "Of course I — I'll always be a little jealous. That goes without saying. But it doesn't mean I mind. I've no right to mind." She rolls her eyes and meets his gaze stubbornly, like it's a dare. See? She can look him in the eye ANY TIME SHE WANTS. "So who is it, then?"
"I'm not trying to be difficult," Kittridge replies, "I'd just like to know, if you do mind. Since we're friends and being nosy about one another's lives," he says with a quirk of a smile. He meets her gaze right back, and says, "You don't. Have any right to mind. But I mind that you mind. I mean…" he shrugs, "I don't want us messed up. More messed up," he says, smiling crookedly.
"If you knew anything about my sex life, you'd mind, too," Day says. "Can we just… accept that we mind and pretend it doesn't matter?"
"Well, now I have to know," Kittridge replies, "I mean. I'm not telling unless you do." So there. He scratches at his jaw and asks, "Will that work, you think? I mean, I guess we could try it. Either we try that or we just try sleeping together. Not sure which is more likely to end poorly."
Day half-hides her face in her hand and giggles. "How many times are we going to try that before we figure out it doesn't work?" she wonders, glancing at him, all mirth and dimples and… perhaps a touch of desire. "Anyways, I asked you first."
Kittridge shrugs, another little quirk of a smile in return, "I dunno. Til it works? It should work. I wish it worked. Why can't you just be in love with meeeee," he groans plaintively, smile lopsided and teasing. He just looks at her for a long moment, and sighs. "Me first? You're not going to like it."
"Because it's so attractive when you whine about it," Day says, laughing — and very obviously teasing. "Besides, I could sing the same lament. You should be in love with me." She raises her eyebrows, concerned at the long look. "Oh, dear." She frowns. "Best just spit it out, then."
"Be in love with meeeeeeeeee," Kittridge whines more, since it makes her laugh. He even reaches over and takes one of her hands, waving it around in tantrum-flailing fashion. "And hey, I was in love with you already! You missed it. Not my fault." He pauses, "Maybe my fault. I don't know. Was it my fault?"
It does make her laugh, giggling until she's quite rosy cheeked. She smiles at him, all wide and warm and fond. The question, though, sobers her. "I don't know," she says, honestly. "You never told me."
"Oh. Is that all?" Kittridge asks, and he laughs, "Huh. I just didn't get my nerve up fast enough, I guess. I was trying to figure out whether you'd be offended and angry at me for trying, and then Nic swooped in first." He shrugs, stilling playing with her hand, moving it around absently.
She looks at their hands, swallowing unhappily at how — easy and right it feels. "I've been with Nic. Recently."
Kittridge looks surprised, but only for a second. Then he smiles crookedly, and replies, "Course you have. Only a matter of time, wasn't it?" He sets her hand down, and after another moment or two, lets go, his own retreating to scratch at his chest. "I've been sleeping with Lady Roslyn," he replies.
Day stares at him. A good, long moment. "Maiden, Mother, and Crone… I didn't know this conversation was going to require alcohol." She shuts her eyes, breathes, and holds up a finger. Starts to say something, then stops. Opens her eyes again. "Oh, Kit, really?"
"Yes, really," Kittridge replies, gaze narrowing, "Are you really about to give me a hard time about this?"
Day blinks a few times. "It… just seems like… an extremely bad idea," she says, at a loss.
"And sleeping with Nic isn't," Kittridge returns flatly, and shrugs, "It's not that bad an idea. I mean. Right, it probably is. But I don't think she has any… illusions about it. Until yesterday she was set on making this match they're proposing with Justin Terrick work."
"Sleeping with Nic was a terrible idea — and it wasn't even an idea it just happened. However," Day says, her voice soft but simmering with temper, "sleeping with a virgin spinster is a far worse one." She sighs. "What happened yesterday?"
"She was only a virgin the first time," says Kittridge, unable to resist the quip, "And besides," he goes on more seriously, "If even you were fooled and thought it was the maid, clearly we're doing fine with the discretion part." As for yesterday… "Yesterday… Lord Rutger decided we all might be happier if instead of he and Rosanna, the match were Roslyn and me."
Day lifts her eyebrows. "You like her well enough to deflower her and tryst with her — repeatedly… but not enough to marry her?"
Kittridge just sort of looks at her, "Yes? I mean… I like her enough that I think it's probably about as lucky with a match as I'm likely to get. I'm not in love with her, but who marries for love anyway? I don't know why you're acting like it's such a strange concept, to sleep with someone you don't intend to marry."
She looks fairly impatient with that. "It's differnent when it's a lady — and you know it." She shakes her head. "Never mind that — if you like her and it's a good match and her family approves… what exactly is the problem?"
Kittridge rolls his eyes, "Day, she's hardly the first lady I've slept with. They're not really more virtuous than other girls, you just have to be quieter about it." He rakes a hand through his hair, and shrugs again. "Well, I don't know if Lord Rickart will approve. I'm a little skeptical, if they were really set on this Terrick thing. We'll see. I don't know. I just… I've never really thought seriously about it. Marrying. I'm not Stafford, I can afford to put it off. And now all of a sudden in a day it might be real. I don't know."
"House Terrick," opines Day, reasonably, "is in decline. Why on earth they'd want to throw their only marriageable daughter away on a match like that, I've no idea. It only makes sense they'd look to a more advantageous match — especially if the two of you get on. A marriage of friendship, respect, affection — Goddess, even attraction… Kit, consider for a moment what you might be passing up. You can afford to put it off, but why would you?"
"I don't know," Kittridge replies, shoulders rising and falling, "I mean, I shouldn't. Won't, I guess. It gives us a tie to them, which would be good if they keep Stonebridge, but takes giving them Rosanna off the table, and makes it their idea. We'll get at least some of the surplus back, to re-sell. It's… I mean, it's good for us. There's no reason to say no. I just… I don't know. I'm being stupid. She's in love with me. And I feel bad that I'm not."
Day reaches for Kit's hand. "Some things take time to grow," she says, gently. "You may come to love her, yet. But even if it's only friendship and affection — that's a good thing." She pauses, then curves a wry smile. "Look at you and me, for example."
Kittridge nods, "Possible," he agrees, "And yeah, I know. At worst, I think it would probably not be bad. I do like her. I just… marriage, Day. Me. Marrying someone."
"I… understand that the lack of reciprocation — that she's in love, and you're not — makes things… awkward. But…" She smiles faintly, taking his hand in both of hers. "It was always going to happen. Eventually. And I don't think anyone's every ready even if they have the luxury to wait. I think… the lucky ones sieze good opportunities, when they appear. And this… this is a good opportunity, Kit."
"I mean, I wish I were," Kittridge says, and then smiles crookedly, self-deprecating, "That's becoming a theme, huh? But yeah."
"I wish I were," says Day, in sympathy, then looks as though she immediately regrets it. She sighs. "Love is stupid," she concludes. "This is why I thought we should just fuck."
Kittridge sighs. "Yeah," Kittridge agrees. "Not that… I mean, things wouldn't actually be easier, if we were, would they? I'd still have to marry someone else, someday."
Day shakes her head. "No. I meant — " she stops. Sighs. "I suppose you're right." She fills a silver infuser with willowbark tea, eyes on her work as she does. "You and your brother are a lot alike, in some ways."
"What'd you mean?" Kittridge asks, brows pushed upwards. "I'm not trying to be difficult," he tells her, before frowning faintly. "Not in the important ways."
"I'm not sure what the important ways are," says Day, setting the infuser in a mug and brushing her hands off on her smock. "But you're both… exceedingly cautious." She glances back at him. "You won't love me unless I love you first. He won't — try to make things right between us without an engraved invitation. Haven't you ever just — wanted something? Enough to risk your heart? And damn the consequences?" She looks away. "I did, once. I may again? I — don't know how to do it any other way."
"Day," Kittridge replies, gently chiding, "I did love you, when you didn't love me first. When, as it turned out, you didn't love me at all. I've tried that. And now, I just… I don't trust that you won't go back to him anyway. Even if I tried. Even if I succeeded. I think you'd pick him again, given half a chance. It hurt the first time; I think it would hurt a lot worse the second. I think I've had enough of trusting my heart to people who will choose other things over me."
"You loved me, once, in silence," Day agrees. "That wasn't much of a risk, was it? You said nothing, so I couldn't accept you, reject you, consider you — anything. Your brother does the same thing. He comes home and he says… nothing. Waiting. Waiting for me to — to show some sign I want him to." She shakes her head. "Never mind. I don't even know what my point was. The kettle should be boiling." She stands to go get it.
"I never got a chance!" Kittridge laughs, "I wouldn't have been silent forever, but he had eight months head start. I was still getting my head around it, and then found out it was too late, and you two were…happy. I don't blame you," he says, "It was just… bad timing, I guess. But don't— don't say I wasn't willing to risk anything. You don't know that."
"You're not willing to risk it now," says Day, matter of factly. And goes out to get the kettle.
Kittridge says nothing, and waits for her to come back with the kettle. "If I'm going to be getting married, Day, I should be trying to love her, not you. And I don't see you willing to go out on a limb here either, you know. This stuff works both ways."
"I don't want anyone trying to love me. That's the point. Or waiting for me to love them. Men are such cowards." Day pours steaming water from the kettle into the mug she prepared. "You're right on one point, though. If you think you can love her — you both deserve that. You should give it a chance."
"Where does being a coward come into it?" Kittridge asks, starting to get a little bit exasperated, "I'm not in love with you anymore. You're not in love with me. We've been over this, haven't we? Maybe if I tried, maybe if we did it anyway and went through the motions, we'd find it. But it'd be trying, and if I'm going to be trying… well now's not really the time, is it?"
"No," says Day. "Now's really not the time. Drink your tea," she says, bending to kiss his temple. "And go ask Lady Roslyn to marry you. She deserves to be asked, at least."
Kittridge sighs. "Thank you for the tea," he says, "I'll see you later for the feast?"
"Where Rosanna goes, I follow," says Day, gathering up her basket. She looks at him — it's a long look, one full of sweetness and rue, longing and regret… but overall, the deepest kind of affection. The kind that weathers lifetimes. "I think this sounds good for you, Kit," she says. "I really do. Good luck with it." And so she goes.
"You makee that sound so final," Kittridge complains, "Like I'm not seeing you in a couple hours." He gives her a look for a long moment, and then turns away and sighs, picking up his book again.