|Whatever I Must Do|
|Summary:||Lucienne pays Withdrawal!Jacsen a visit, offering drugs for the Seal.|
|Related Logs:||Continuation of Give Me More and I Need You.|
|Lord Jacsen's Chambers - Four Eagles Tower|
|I have many leatherbound books and my chambers smell of rich mahogany.|
|Fri Jun 08, 289|
Jacsen has spent over a day bedridden now, symptoms gradually worsening hour by hour. Anais has been his faithful companion all the while, though now she rests outside ensuring no visitors bring the Young Lord the drug he craves. The Maester has been by to bring him something to help, and it seems to have improved his condition some - the cramps have dulled, though the pain persists, and the various fluids leaking (or spewing) out of him have been stopped. He is still unable to sleep except in fits, though, and he wakes from his nap with a start, looking wild-eyed about the candlelit room, hair and shirt plastered to him with copious amounts of sweat.
There might be some sort of fuss at the door, when Lucienne arrives at the door with a small bottle that could be full of anything. She will hear nothing of being barred from entering though, tasting the liquid within to confirm it is nothing untoward before pushing her way past to open the heavy door, and closing it behind her. It must be the noise that wakes Jacsen, for none of it is hushed. Her first glance around the room is to note certain changes that mark it now as spousal chambers, and then Luci's gaze lands on Jacsen. Oh, dear. She crosses the room slowly, clutching her little bottle to her chest as she makes a silent study of her brother.
"Luci?" Jacsen asks drowsily, shielding his eyes with his arm and squinting at the door as it opens to a familiar silhouette. "You can't be in here," he says, voice slurred with sleep and medication. "Anais will see you." He scoots back laboriously, pulling himself up to sit with his back against the wall, grabbing the sheets to cover him up to his shoulders. They don't help him much; he's still shivering underneath. "Did you - is that - " he asks, dilated pupils fixed upon the bottle she holds. He anxiously licks his lips.
"Shhhh," urges Lucienne, her brows knitting as her brother mentions his wife. "She was at the door. Speak softly." The bottle is small, definitely, but if it were to hold the poppy it would certainly be a lethal dose; Luci shakes her head apologetically. She comes to rest on the edge of the bed next to Jacsen, careful as ever with her skirts and unstoppering the bottle. "It's only some exotic spirit or another, I use it sometimes in my tea, dear heart. But it should give you rest, for a time." She doesn't yet hand it over.
Jacsen looks crestfallen when she shakes her head, slumping and sinking into the bed and sheets, rubbing his arms for warmth. "You're not with them, are you?" he asks, looking up at her with a trusting, almost childlike look. "They did this to me. They'll kill me." Blowing a shivering breath, he looks either way beside him, seeking something. "They won't bring me more. All he gives me is… is bitter tea brewed with falsehoods, and now I see that's gone as well."
Lucienne tilts her head, regarding her brother sympathetically. "Of course I'm not," she assures him, clutching her little uncapped bottle in one hand and reaching to rub at his further arm with the other. "How could you even think it, Jacsen? I simply haven't had a moment. I brought you this," she gestures with the bottle. "I could… maybe. Listen, I have some news, and it isn't good."
Jacsen shakes his head weakly. "I knew you weren't," he breathes, voice thick with relief. "I knew you'd never forsake me." He reaches for the bottle with his free arm, though his hand is shaking so much that he's liable to spill it everywhere should he take it. "It won't help, the, the pain," he says ungraciously. "Nothing else helps." Except Milk of the Poppy. "You could…?" he echoes, pausing the shaky reach, anticipating the rest of that sentence. The news of news is ignored, maybe not heard at all, as he pushes himself forward. "You could maybe get some?"
Of course she'd never forsake you, Jacsen! Lucienne smiles, gentle and warm, lifting the bottle to her brother's lips to save wasting its precious contents at the mercy of his shaky hands. "Nothing else," she agrees, though whether she believes it or not is a different matter. "Maybe. Are you listening to me? Stop, drink, and listen, Jacsen."
Jacsen drinks carefully, making a face at the taste of it but continuing to gulp it down. "I drank, I'm listening," he says, smacking his lips and licking them with an odd expression on his face. "What is that?" he asks in the same tone of voice he'd use if he were pointing at a corpse that had been taken apart and sewn back together by a disturbed mind. Afraid he might be offered another sample of the drink, he shifts back to his previous position against the wall.
The brew tastes somewhat… green? Perhaps faintly sweet and watery, if it were not for the overwhelming raw ethanol quality. Lucienne is only slightly apologetic - after all, she laces her tea with this, so she says. "Just a little something I found," she says dismissively, curling her hand back to her lap with the bottle but not re-stoppering it. "The Groves sent word. They've accepted the Nayland offer," she practically spits, unimpressed.
Jacsen is still trying to get that taste out of his mouth. "Groves, Nayland?" he asks, not particularly coherently, but it's clear he's confused. Surely, someone must have caught him up to speed when he came to, but he hasn't exactly been at his best lately either. Still, those words sound to taste just as bad as Luci's drink in his mouth the way he says them. At least his shivering slows a little. "What's this? What have they done?"
"The Groves," Lucienne seeks to clarify, leaning closer to Jacsen to study his face again. Is he even processing this? She reaches up to clasp his shoulder. "They had surplus harvest to sell, but have accepted some Nayland offer of coin over our… perhaps late, offer of land. It is dire, my love, but we should have forseen this, do you think?"
"It was always a possibility," Jacsen answers with a frown, but it's one of confusion, not one of disappointment or concern. Even though she comes closer and clasps his shoulder, he looks away and down, his head moving in a disoriented way. "Coin over land, Nayland over Terrick. And food, food over all of it." He shakes his head. "There are other ways, we'll find - a solution."
This is not the brother Lucienne remembers - but then, this is barely the home she remembers either. Confused herself, she ducks her head to try and catch her brother's blue eyes with her own deep brown. "Jacsen," she repeats, shifting her hand down from his shoulder to the hand that bears their father's seal, not particularly subtle. "There are other ways. I was speaking with Justin, and Dmitry just now - I will speak with Lady Danae, if I can. Do you forsee another solution?"
Jacsen's piercing blue eyes are dulled, not shining forth with piercing intelligence and cunning but dilated and staring blankly back. Like a brain-damaged deer in headlights. "Luci," he whispers urgently, his eyes looking through her and into some otherworldly plane. "I had a dream before I woke up, before I came to." His hand closes around hers. "I dreamt I was walking on a glittering golden bridge, and a red-beaked raven landed beside me with a message. When I looked at it, it - I - " The shivering returns with a vengeance alongside the pain, doubling him over still clutching her hand.
Lucienne frowns, staring into those blank blue eyes disappointedly. She hesitates, unsure if she wants to know, but prompting anyway as she draws Jacsen's hand into her lap: "What did you see?"
"It spoke," Jacsen says between breaths, each wave of pain measurable by the duration and intensity of his hand squeezing hers. "Then the bridge… crumbled… and I began to… run." A moment of clarity returns to his eyes as he repeats that last point. "I ran. On my feet." And that's what he seems to care about more at the moment than the very real problems facing the Roost - a wild and fever-driven dream. But it's not going to help his pain, which is steadily mounting again. "Don't let him kill me," he pleads. "Don't let them…"
Jacsen is clearly in pain, and Lucienne is… for those of sound mind, it would appear she is practically excited by such. "You ran," she repeats, her smile shining in her eyes. "How painful," she says softly. "I won't let him. I won't let anyone. Jacsen, my love, here - drink some more." She offers up the bottle to his lips again.
Jacsen drinks again, but this time, he's interrupted by a wave of pain which makes him choke and cough, spraying the concoction everywhere. With an apologetic look, he uses the sheets to wipe up what he can, not that it's much help. "That's why I love you," he murmurs, falling back and clutching the blanket to him as he stares up at the ceiling. "Anais thinks I'm crazy, that I think Milk of the Poppy will make me walk again. She doesn't understand, she just doesn't…" He closes his eyes with a sigh. "What did she say about me?" he asks casually, face neutral.
Luci winces, her pleasure interrupted by a spray of harsh liquor in her face. She reaches for the nearest slack of the sheet to help mop her eyes and cheeks, saying all the while, "She doesn't understand." Her mouth opens, but the dark-haired Terrick girl clamps it back shut before she can speak further ill of her goodsister. "You don't want to know," she murmurs, looking down at the remnants of liquid in the bottle. Given a moment to contemplate, she drinks deeply, coughing and spluttering in a similar fashion to Jacsen but seeing the bottle empty at the end of her effort.
There's a long pause, punctuated by heavy breathing and the occasional grunt as the abdominal cramps run their course before dulling down again. "I don't," he agrees weakly. "But I need to." He opens his eyes and tilts his head toward her. "She cares for me, in her own way, I think. She stayed with me through the worst of it." It being this most recent bout of sickness and pain. "But what she said about me to you, to the other ladies, I must know. Before it reaches my ears through other circles."
Luci hold tight to Jacsen's hand as his muscles take over, squeezing tighter than ever could have been thought possible. "Of course she stayed by you," she agrees, still unwilling to reveal anything further even after the pain has settled. "You should ask your wife," is the most she is willing to divulge, looking mildly ashamed for it. "Jacsen — if I… if I found you some poppy, would you grant me the seal, for a time?"
Jacsen's face, usually so readable especially to Lucienne, goes through too many changes too quickly to be able to read all the emotions and reactions. But at the end of it all, his eyes are distant again, buried back into a memory or a dream, as he speaks a single word, sounding hurt and confused and hopeful all in one syllable. "You?" The seal comes up to his lips absent-mindedly, nervously rubbed back and forth.
Oh, gods. There's but one thing his sister can do here, isn't there? Lucienne bends, letting the small glass bottle clink to the floor as she cups her brother's cheeks with both hands, sweeping aside his own. To his lips, she delivers a sweet kiss, such as has swayed him before. And when she feels she had made her point, she asks softly, "Can you think of anyone better, my love?"
Jacsen is silent as the kiss is delivered. And savored. Yet there's something… off. It's not the usual look of contentment or lust that looks upon Lucienne but a questioning, uncertain one. Taking in a shaky breath, he tilts his head curiously and is about to say something when more commotion arises from outside the doorway. Someone else has come and brought him something, it seems. Wordlessly, he pulls back from Luci's touch, averting his eyes downward, his other hand fidgeting with the seal. Uncertain. Unsure. Of this, of her.
This will not do. Lucienne pulls back, scowling down at this hollow, different person calling himself her brother… and she stands. "Do you want the milk?" She asks, unable to meet his eyes for the searching of that little bottle she brought with her.
Jacsen shrinks back when Lucienne stands, the change in her demeanor catching him off-guard. "You," he says again, simply, an accusative whisper. The seal is jealously guarded against his chest, covered by his other hand, skeptically watching his sister as she searches. The commotion at the door escalates, adding tension to the harsh silence of the room.
Lucienne finds her bottle, only after patting down the ground near her feet for a good few moments. She reclaims it, and settles on her knees by Jacsen's bed, this time looking up at him instead of down. "I love you, brother," she murmurs, eyes wide and appealing. "Let me help you?"
Whereas the kiss failed to break through, those words have an immediate effect on Jacsen. His face scrunches up, his head hanging down with his chin against his hands, tears threatening to burst forth through his squeezed-shut eyes. "I love you," he half-sobs, caught between desperation and despair. "I need you, I need your help, I need Milk of the Poppy, but the Seal - " He breaks down into tears.
Maybe she is touched by that desperation, by the wetness in the creases of her brother's tightly-shut eyes. Lucienne reaches out a hand, setting it delicately on that old injury of Jacsen's, adding a soothing pressure as she used to during their days at Seagard. "I'll get your poppy," she promises gently. "And you - will speak with me, on the morrow, when you've had some and you're feeling better. We're going to carefully consider this match with the Naylands, we're going to discuss the Lady Danae, and the Groves, and we're going to find some gods-damned relief for this House. And you are going to stamp our every decision, aren't you, my love?"
Jacsen is a pitiful, sweaty, sobbing mess, and his words are unintelligible until he gets a hold of himself. "Whatever you think is best," he says weakly, this emotional outburst clearly having taken its toll on his strength. "You always think of what's best." Sniffling and wiping away the tears and snot with the sheets (eww), he looks up at her with mournful, weary eyes. "Whatever I must do…" he mumbles, fatigue taking him over. Whatever he must do to win her approval, to keep her love, to save the House, to get his drug, to keep people fed - maybe all those and more.
Lucienne smiles, a closed, satisfied little expression. She is probably thankful it is Anais who will share those snotty sheets. Nevertheless, she rises to her feet in a fluid motion and bends to plant a sweet little kiss to Jacsen's clammy brow. "I'll bring you comfort," she promises again, "In the morn. Try to sleep, in the meantime, hmm? I love you, Jacsen." And with those parting words, she takes her leave in a swish of black silk and a click of the door. AS IF SHE WAS NEVER THERE TO BEGIN WITH.
WHAT SRSLY MINDFUCK
IS THIS THE REAL LIFE IS THIS JUST FANTASY