|What You Can't Take Back|
|Summary:||Rosanna and Day struggle with the heartbreak of a lost family member.|
|Date:||May 6, 2012|
|Related Logs:||The Promise, Conviction|
|Braeburn House — Kingsgrove|
It all was so horribly — wrong. Word traveled ahead of the Groves men of the fall of the Targaryens and the surrender of their armies, but at least there was the return of family for the Groves to look forward to. Until that return came up one brother short, the first one she looked for, and not even from an honorable death on a battlefield. Abandonment. Exile.
Rosanna has been inconsolable. Only just past ten years old, she's a tiny slip of a thing in a rumpled gown on her bed, weeping loudly into her pillows in that truly heartbroken way that only children can.
Day hasn't slept since Kit returned, bearing the news of Nic's… non-return. Ever. She's held Rosanna when Rosanna will allow it, departed when the little girl insisted on being alone, mechanically ingested food and tried to encourage her charge to do the same. It's all done in numbness, the grief too immediate and heavy to process. Just filling her lungs with air is painful. Rosie's tears scrape that pain raw.
The door between the septa's chamber and the young lady's sounds, opening slightly to admit the tall and slender blonde woman, her hair in a long, thick plait. She uses the candle she carries to light the lamp beside the bed, then settles on the edge, reaching out to place a hand on Rosanna's hair, stroking softly.
Rosanna's body trembles underneath the stroke of Day's hand. Her breath hitches in another sob, and then she sneaks her hand between her face and the pillow to scrub fiercely at her face. "Go away," she orders in that tiny little voice of hers.
Day's numb expression softens a fraction, her own eyes (red-rimmed) glimmering afresh. She bends to kiss Rosanna's temple, still stroking her hair. "I will," she says softly. "If you truly want me to. But… I think we've both been alone with our pain for a while, now. Perhaps too long." She tucks a lock of auburn hair back behind the little lady's ear. "Won't you let me hold you?"
"No." Rosanna pulls away from her septa sharply, sliding off of her bed to put distance between them. "I'm not in pain," she declares emphatically, her eyes red and puffy in argument with her words. "I'm glad he's gone. I'm glad he didn't come back."
"I'm not," whispers the septa, tears glimmering on her lashes but not yet fallen. She threads her fingers together, pressing her hands against her lips until she's sure she can speak again. She breathes in deep. "I will miss him very much."
"Then you're stupid," Rosanna says in a half-hysterical manner. "You're stupid and you're wrong. He shouldn't ever come back because he's — he's false and dishonorable and and and—" She sucks in a quivering lip. "He's probably not even my brother. He's probably a bastard." It's said with the mindless daring of a child trying to find the worst things she can say.
"Stop it," Day whispers sharply. She stands and goes over to grip Rosanna's shoulders, her expression desperate. "Stop it right now. He is not — " her voice chokes. For a moment, she looks as lost and stricken as the little girl before her. "He is not false and he is not dishonorable. He's — " She drops to her knees, still gripping Rosie's shoulders. "I don't know why he left us… but he's still — he's still Nic."
"No he's not," Rosanna says, gathering steam as angry tears fill her eyes. "He's not my brother. He is false and dishonorable and left me." Then, with an awful, youthful viciousness, she says, "He didn't leave you. He doesn't care about you, you're just a stupid septa. He never loved you."
Out of the mouths of babes. Day stares at Rosanna, utterly stricken — breathtaken. Mute. And then there's a sharp, crack of a sound. Her palm tingles unpleasantly and a red mark blooms on Rosanna's already-red cheek. It takes her a moment — a horrified, wide-eyed moment — to realize that she just struck her charge… the little girl who, despite so much, she loves with every fiber of her being. She makes a soft sound, unable to find words, unable to express the stupefying flood of pain and remorse that seizes her brain. Her bows her face into her hands, trembling, and — broken — weeps.
Rosanna's immediate response is shock. Her eyes are wide and wet as they stare at Day, utterly taken aback and unable to process what has just happened. She lifts a hand to touch her fingertips delicately to her stinging cheek, as if to confirm the red tenderness of her skin. A breath hitches, high-pitched and tiny, and then she turns in a flurry of skirts to race out of the room.
"Rosie!" Day cries after her, wretchedly — perhaps to beg forgiveness, but it's far too late. There are some things that can never be taken back. She wraps her arms around herself and doubles over until her forehead touches the floor, heaving raw sobs as Rosanna's light, quick footsteps disappear down the hall.