August 3, 2013

In Which Jadin Is Still Where He Started

May 2, 1182

As a rule, Sparron did not care for 'talk'. He never had, not once in all the time Jadin had known him--which was, barring perhaps up to the first week, Jadin's entire life. That had always suited Jadin just fine, as Jadin was not one to 'talk' either, not in that sense of the term; he'd always preferred doing things, and when they'd been children, Sparron had been content to follow along.

Now that they were men, the odd uncomfortable conversation besides, their companionship was generally of the quieter variety, the occasional murmur of "Good shot" on the archery range, a joke or two over drinks at the inn. Not that they avoided noise altogether, but any volume they caused would have been the typical rowdiness of men their age--if there was no need, no, they did not 'talk'.

Today, though... Jadin needed to talk to someone, and for whatever bizarre reason, Sparron had seemed the right choice of listener, and though it may have been killing him, Sparron didn't protest. "What's wrong?"

"I need advice." Non-specific, Jadin realized, but he wanted to state his intentions first. Sparron usually assumed himself to be the subject of serious talks, so framing the situation as someone else's problem was always the ideal first step.

"All right. Yes--I think you should shave your mustache."

"Funny." Jadin sat down, not laughing. "It's Xeta. She hasn't really been herself since Celina was born. Or after any of our kids were born, for that matter. It's like... I don't know. Like she's trying to fill a void and none of them were enough for her." Though for the love of all that was good in the world, he hoped he was wrong there. His own mother had gone through a similar anguish and it was that gnawing gap known only to her that had led to her death. "After Prior was born, did Camaline--?"

"No." Jadin flinched. Sparron's answer was a little quick for comfort, but it didn't take long for him to realize just what he'd implied. It never did. "I mean... no, Camaline never went through anything like that, but I don't think it's abnormal? Holladrin wasn't at her best after Thallie was born, and I think Renata said Searle and the triplets were difficult for her. Not that it's not a problem, but it's nothing Xeta ought to be ashamed of. I imagine pregnancy is damn stressful."

"Yes, Arydath said that too." After she'd scolded him for coming on another's behalf, that was. But how was he supposed to help if he didn't even know what was going on? "But she said that Xeta needed to see the problem first, before she or anyone else could do anything. And I think Xeta does see the problem, but she's too proud to admit to it--she's sort of like you that way."

"Sort of like me." Mouth a straight segment of dissent, Sparron blew any logic from those words upon the repition. It was little things like this, why Jadin had been both shocked and unsurprised to think Sparron was the best choice for this conversation. "Jadin, I have it easy. My problems are my own business, as Xeta's are hers, but I'm lucky in the sense that mine can stay my business. Women generally don't have that luxury."

...huh? "What do you mean?"

"I mean that men can really be almost anything, at least as people. And if you're a man, and you don't like your lot in life, you don't have to be shy about it. Women, though..." He sighed, right hand flying to his left to twist his wedding band. Sparron did not love Camaline, not in that way, and Jadin didn't doubt that the non-romance was mutual, but a lack of love did not mean a lack of care. "Well, women are supposed to be good little wives, or good little virgins, or good little nuns--and they're supposed to be happy about that, because not being happy means you're having contrary thoughts, and apparently women aren't supposed to have those."

"But women do have thoughts!" Women like Xeta especially! "Xeta's ten times as clever as I am, easily!"

"We both know that, and everyone else who knows Xeta knows that. I should hope that Xeta knows it too, and I doubt she was raised to believe such stupidity, but that doesn't mean that attitudes like that can't hold her back. She still has to put up with idiots who believe that, and idiots like that hold more sway than they should. If she can't feel that she can be open about her condition, then she'll be coping however she can on her own."

"Like by trying to conceive again so soon?" He'd scarcely had a chance to hold his new daughter when his wife had started making suggestions. It may have been the first time in Jadin's life that he'd ever turned down sex. "I mean, she's clearly miserable, but..."

"But that's it. Good little wives aren't supposed to feel miserable after doing their 'duty', so she can pretend to be a good little wife by so eagerly doing that duty again, consciously or otherwise." Duty. What a stupid concept, in that regard. Wasn't any person's duty to his or her own self first? How could they do any duties to others if they couldn't take care of themselves? "I know that you don't think that, but some part of her might fear that you do. This sort of thing causes more problems than most want to admit."

"So what do you think I should do?"

His friend only shook his head. "Just... be there for her, I guess. But I don't know how else you can help her right now."

So he was still where he'd started--not knowing. Or not knowing, but with a newfound knowledge of why he didn't know. He couldn't decide whether or not that made it better. Or if maybe there was anyone else who could help make sense of it all.



Van said...

Aaaaand extras can wait until tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Do I know that feeling.

Poor Jadin. :( I can't imagine how painful it must be watching Xeta go through the same thing Alina went through. And poor Xeta, too. At least Jadin went to somebody for advice (and that was some good advice, Sparron). I'm also glad Jadin went to Arydath.

But I do have to ask -- what about Severin? I know this would be a painful subject for him, but he's been exactly in Jadin's shoes, and if anybody might have some ideas, it'd be him.

However, I do have high hopes for what appears to be Camaline's intervention. Go Camaline! If this works out, can you stage an intervention with Jeda next?

Ann said...

Poor Xeta! But it seems like Jadin has indeed come to the right place!
Go Team Sparraline!

Silly thing: I like to think that Sparron was well aware that Camaline was listening in. ^^ That, in fact, he summoned her with the twisting of his wedding band so she could hear this, both for herself and Xeta. Like they're some kind of agents. XD

Van said...

Morgaine: We both seem to like posting at obscure hours, don't we? XD

Seeing his mother go through this (though I think Alina was better at hiding the worst of it), and now his wife has got to be tough for Jadin. And of course, tougher still for Xeta.

Jadin needed to talk to someone. Xeta does too (and that preview picture does look hopeful in that regard), but I think she'd be less inclined to seek help at an earlier point.

As to why Jadin hasn't gone to Severin (so far as we've seen)... I suspect it's the "painful subject" reasoning. That and Severin was not consciously aware of Alina's problem until she told him (again, Alina was the better actress), and he did not handle it well at all. Now that several years have passed, I'm sure that there's some valuable insight he could offer, but I guess Jadin didn't want to go there.

It also might be worth noting that of all Alina's kids, Jadin was the hardest on Severin in the post-Alina pre-Nora shitfest period, and Jadin might still feel kind of awkward about the whole thing just because of that.

I do have a Jeda post coming up--not with Camaline, but with Sparron. I guess we'll see how this duo works on the problem-solving front.

Ann: Sparron, aware that Camaline was listening? I suppose it wasn't directly stated that he wasn't, and it was Jadin's POV besides. I do like the idea of them putting aside their problems for a while to help with other people's. Even better if they do it together.

Winter said...

Sparron gives pretty good advice. (Especially about that mustache, Jadin.) Being married to Camaline probably gives a unique perspective to him, even for Naroni. I don't think she's ever been a "good little" anything but she still manages to be about as good a wife as anyone could be to Sparron. There's not a lot of female mystique going on there to cloud the idea that she's a person first. They would make fabulous secret agents, too.

The Camaline/Xeta conversation could be awesome or awful, but I'm going to guess awesome. If there was a "you are not your womb" poster for the kingdom, Camaline would be on it.

Van said...

Jadin does have to do something about that moustache. Or not, because comic potential.

Sparron and Camaline's marriage does make for a lot of interesting insights for both of them. Camaline in particular has never met the "norm" and doesn't generally pretend, especially with Sparron. Her infertility as well (she has the same problem as Delyth from Albion, actually; in my defence, I'd settled on that well before the revelation in Albion, though I don't think it ever came up in a post) has really given him an appreciation for Camaline as a person, and he seems to have extended his understanding to other women. Not exactly feeling comfortable in society himself helps too.

Camaline is absolutely the Naroni poster child for "You are not your womb". She may get to demonstrate that firsthand in the next post.

Anonymous said...

Pffft, if anything, I copied Delyth's problem from Camaline, since I knew that was Camaline's diagnosis before I dropped the revelation on Delyth. But Delyth was always going to have that problem, so ... Great minds think alike?

Van said...

That they do, it seems! I just hope that things go as mostly-well for Delyth as they have so far for Camaline.