November 27, 2014

In Which Ashe Tries the Other Side

March 27, 1188

"How are you holding up?" Rona stepped back out of the hug, hand still on Lonriad's arm. She knew perfectly well how her brother-in-law fared. The truth was, Jadin likely didn't have more than a week. She'd spent much of the year so far comforting her sister--and today, when Xeta wanted time alone with Jadin and the children--her first instinct had been to check in on Jadin's brothers and sisters. They'd left Riona's castle only to head straight to Lonriad's.

Ashe was too well-acquainted with Rona to be oblivious to her faults. He knew she could be selfish and histrionic, and he knew there were those who found her tiresome for it. But unlike him, those people hadn't seen much of a her loving side. They didn't get to see her with Yvanette in her lap, stroking her tear-stained curls after one of her episodes. They didn't get to see her with Darry and a black eye, Aspen and a wounded bird, Dally and a torn stuffed toy.

Nor did they get to see her with Xeta and her family, being a rock for them all day, then coming home to Ashe and crying herself to sleep in his arms, making him promise to live forever even though he could never keep that vow.

"I'm all right, I guess. Jadin's still up to joking around, so it's still fun seeing him. Even though it's sad."

His mouth smiled, but it didn't reach his eyes. Ashe's gut knotted. Over the past decade, he'd grown far too used to Lonriad being the one comforting him. He didn't know how to proceed now, being on the other side.

"Jadin's a good man. And a fun man." For all Jadin was the one dying, he himself was the biggest comfort his loved ones could ask for. "Like his little brother."

"I guess he did teach me well." He gave up on the grin. Grief did add a certain heaviness to the lips. "You know, I never thought I'd feel nostalgic about all the times he put spiders in my bed. Maybe I'll put some in Donnie's as a tribute."

"I'm sure Jadin would love that," Rona agreed.

"And then I guess I'll take Donnie to a brothel."

"Jadin would love that even more." Jadin had taken all of his other brothers to brothels once they'd been old enough. Never mind everyone else he knew. "I guess that time he dragged me along is a better memory than I give it credit for. His heart was in the right place." And he'd been respectful enough to everyone there. Whatever else people said about Jadin, they couldn't deny that.

"It was." Lonriad's hands fell to his legs one at a time, drumming a mournful little beat. "Still is."



Van said...

Tomorrow will hopefully be the long-awaited Day of Sleep.


Penelope said...

Jadin has such a large presence, I don't know what half of these people will do with themselves once he's gone. It would seem to be particularly rough for Lonriad. First his wife, now his closest brother.

Van said...

Lonriad will have a tough time of it. Jadin is his closest brother, even if Searle is closer than age, and he's still recovering from Asalaye's death. :(