Bad Habits

Who: Jet and M’tan
Where: Court of Shadows, Honshu Territory
What: Jet deals with her perceived failures in unhealthy ways.

Between Joy’s early arrival, having to give Safiye into Fort’s care and Arlet’s departure from the Court, it cannot be said that Jet has been feeling like the best of mothers, despite the continued presence of sons who seem only to adore both their parents. When she finally lets herself leave the Court – leave Joy – for a whole day, she leaves no indication of where she’s going, only that she ‘has work to do’. That she leaves with her sword is nothing out of the ordinary. But when the hours tick by, darkness falls and Kyramith returns, what she brings back is a bruised and bloody rider who ignores the stares of the staff starting the night shift and starts shedding her coat and blades only when she reaches the quarters belonging to her and M’tan.

M’tan has never been Jet’s keeper and whether or not she has a young daughter to breastfeed. They have a decent nursery staff at the Court now, as M’tan and Jet’s are not the only young children to grace the stone hallways with laughter. He has no word of Jet’s bloodied arrival, having already settled all their children, even Aadi, to sleep on his own. He’s sipping at a glass of whiskey and reading a pile of papers when Jet’s entrance has him lifting his gaze to check the entrance. “Who?” he asks aloud, tilting his head at her as he remains seated and considers her bloodied state. “I hadn’t any indication that anyone deserved offing.” He doesn’t ask her if she is well, the fact that she is walking seems to give him solace enough.

“I overheard one of the new girls in the kitchen saying that she was worried for her cousins as their small caravan was being harassed by a group of thugs,” Jet replies, peeling off her shirt over her heat to investigate the slice of a blade just at the base of her ribcage, blood smeared but clotted over already. “I asked her why she hadn’t told us and she got upset, suggesting she’d been enough trouble herself already, so, rather than argue with her, I got the information and went to deal with it.” She shrugs. “No-one is dead, but I can promise you that no-one involved will be fathering any children on anyone’s cousins – or anyone else.” Her lips curl into a feral snarl at some memory of it and she crosses the room to pour her own whiskey not into a glass, but onto the tail of her shirt, which she presses to the wound with a hushed hiss. “Kyramith dumped them in the north for good measure.”

“Let me call the healer,” M”tan says as he watches Jet administer whiskey to her wound. “We don’t need to hide our injuries from anyone any longer. It’s best if they tend to it before the infection starts.” He downs the last of his own whiskey and rises, moving to cross the distance so he can hug Jet carefully and kiss her cheek. “Soon the rumors will start that a greenrider vigilante is out there slicing off dicks for punishment for wrongdoing to women. I rather like that,” he adds with his crooked grin. “Take a bath. I’ll return with someone discreet.” He doesn’t allow her to protest as he turns and leaves their chambers. He takes long enough to return with one of their journeywomen healers and some food that it would give Jet time to bathe. He sets the food down on their dining room table while he watches as the woman goes to tend to Jet’s wounds.

Jet mutters a few token curses for the idea of a Healer, yet she doesn’t argue and offers only a feigned growl of irritation as M’tan kisses her and heads off. She’s dressed in a robe by the time he returns with the Journeywoman, her hair beginning to curl every which way from the bath, and she reluctantly heads through to the bedroom, where she can lie down and let the Healer do what they must to tend to her injuries. It’s said Healer who emerges from the room first, telling M’tan, “Stitches,” and, “Possible fracture of the third rib on the left side.” From the bedroom, Jet shouts an indignant, “What happened to patient confidentiality!?” only for the Journeywoman to shout back a completely unrepentant and unfazed, “Stubborn Ladies aren’t afforded some luxuries!” before turning her attention back to M’tan. “Your daughter needs her mother to be able to hold her. You have my permission to break your Lady’s legs if necessary.” Still tugging her robe back into place, Jet sticks her head round the doorframe and mutters, “I heard that.” The Healer smirks and chirps, “Good!” as she takes her leave, closing the door firmly behind her.

“I like Yzette’s spunk,” M’tan says with a smile as he watches the journeywoman leave. He closes the distance between Jet and himself with a few quick strides. He gingerly draws her into a hug and presses his forehead against hers. “She has a point, you realize,” he tells her, voice gentle as he pulls back to look at her. “Though I promsie I won’t break your legs to force you to remain home and safe. I’m not a good person but I’m not //that// evil,” he drawls, his smile coming out as he moves to place his arm about her waist and draw her towards their couch. He settles her down and then gathers up some of their throw blankets to tuck about her lap. “The children are all asleep. If you want, I can tend to Joy tonight so you can get some sleep.” He settles on the couch beside her, offering his arm out to have her tuck in against his side.

“You would,” Jet murmurs dryly, settling her arms around M’tan’s middle. “I think you find it terribly amusing when you find other people who can sass me and live.” She relaxes against him and nudges her nose against his, eyes closing for the span of a few moments while she silently concedes defeat in the face of information that cannot be new to her. She offers not the least bit of resistance to being settled on the couch and blankets drawn around her, careful in how she tucks herself against her husband so as not to aggravate her injuries. “It’s okay,” she says quietly, reaching to twine her fingers with his. “I did this to myself. I’m not sure it’s entirely ethical to expect to rest, and I left her all day, besides.” Her hold tightens for an instant. “I had to… do something. I couldn’t stop thinking about Safiye… and Arlet and Joy… and whether they’re going to spend the rest of their lives struggling to undo what I did to them.”

“What have you done to them?” M’tan’s voice is a demand as all other parts of the conversation are lost on him. “You’ve given them a better life. Do we remember what Safiye faced before we decided to take her ahead with us? Now she’s got her own life partner. Vesoviath may be strange and Safiye too young. That’s out of our control. We both know how much having our dragons have shaped us for the better. I would never have gotten away from Hassoun without Sirhyth.” He sighs and shakes his head as he squeezes her against him. “We’ve given them a better life. They’ve opportunities now that they wouldn’t have had. Arlet…,” he lets his voice wander on her name and then he pauses. “Arlet has found happiness with J’kson. For however long that lasts. That it took the love of a drunkard to draw her back to herself,” his shoulders move in a shrug. “Who is to say what love can do?” He kisses Jet’s temple. “If anyone’s going to owe our children an apology, my track record would serve to say that it will be //me// who fucks them up.”

“Safiye faced that in the first place because I couldn’t cope with the idea of her and left her there without even looking at her,” Jet counters with a bitterness aimed solely at herself, for all that there’s little heat to her argument. “Arlet would never have ended up in the state that led to her choosing a drunkard if not for me. She would have been safe and sound with her other family. And what if Joy is always more little than her peers and more fragile than she might have been because of me?” She ducks her head in against M’tan’s shoulder and sighs. “…I’m sorry. I suppose it’s… at lot at once. Safiye leaving. Arlet leaving. Worrying about Joy. And I don’t know what you mean about you fucking them up: Khyrisan and Sihrajet adore you, and I swear Safiye loved you before she felt anything for me. Arlet… is an isolated incident.” Pressing her lips to the curve of his shoulder, she looks up at him over it. “You’re the best husband. And I’m a cranky and hormonal wife.”

M’tan does not chase after each of Jet’s statements with a counterargument. He looks resigned to listen to her self-deprecation and self-criminalization as he listens while sipping his whiskey. He keeps his arm about her and offers her the warmth of his side and a firm hug when she apologizes. “I was the reason why Hassoun took you from Kyramith. I was the reason why things happened to //you//. Would it make you feel better if I brought that up all the time?” he wonders, not looking at her but at his glass of whiskey. “I don’t do that. Because it’s not fair to you and to be honest, it’s not fair to me. Things happen out of our control. Sometimes our choices lead us to them… sometimes they don’t. I hurt Arlet far more than you ever did,” he sounds tired and a little bitter as he adds, “because I’m not always thinking of the bigger picture.” He grows quiet as he listens once more to Jet. He downs the last of his whiskey and then leans forward to set the glass down. He settles back against the couch and tugs at a stray curl of Jet’s playfully. “You’re an injured wife. Cranky? No, I think you’d have knifed me if you were.”

“That’s… different,” is all Jet manages to initially summon, brow furrowing. “They’re our children; it’s different. I remember being adamantly against having children and now I wouldn’t be without them to the extent that I want to rip out the beating heart of anyone who so much as looks at one of them the wrong way.” She clenches her jaw as she shifts to lie down and drop her head into M’tan’s lap, unable to tolerate much pressure at all at either side of her. “I know that it’s stupid to quite literally beat myself up about most of it, but at least this instance hopefully saved some lives. And I know Yzette isn’t going to let me go Between any time soon now, so you’ll have to go visit Safiye. Try to snarl a bit at C’aol, would you? I don’t want that man thinking for a second that we don’t have a blade with his name on it if he does anything that makes her suffer.”

M’tan’s arm shifts to allow Jet to lie down. He lets his fingers idly play in her hair, curling it about his fingers and brushing it lightly as he looks thoughtfully down at her. “We’ve walked away from a horrible, constricting, past and have found a new way of living in the future. Quite literally,” his grin surfaces quickly, his brow lifting up on the same side as his smile as he appraises her. “I would reexperience every moment of it if it guarantees we could live the way we are now with happy and healthy children in our care.” He taps the tip of her nose as he adds, “I’ve yet to see Yzette so aggravated before. I wouldn’t want to push her on her restrictions. She might, as she said, lame you to keep you in place.” He shrugs his shoulders and settles his head back against the couch. “Snarl at C’aol? That’s not my style. Be absolutely bored in his pompous presence? I find that far more interesting. He about snarls at me for not feeling the weight of his importance.” He brushes his fingers along Jet’s cheek. “I have been assured that all of our riders, not only Safiye, are being treated with care and respect. I will visit tomorrow to confirm it.”

“If you find me taking increasingly random naps about the place, then you know she thought to spare me my legs and decided to start sedating me instead,” Jet drawls, unable to resist rolling her eyes. “…Every time I think about what it’s come to, with our people, our family, in his care, I’m half-sure I should have ended him when I had the chance. I’m quite certain that he hasn’t figured out that I didn’t simply decide to go after him on my own – though I would have, if I’d known more of him at the time – and only loathe him because I can. Which, to be fair, is partly true. Given the rumoured father of Lady Silverfield’s second child, I’m surprised at her wife’s control. I would have thought //that// would sting worse than seeing her Lady saddled with that man’s child.” She shakes her head a little and eases an arm up to plant a hand over M’tan’s heart. “I’ll go check on Joy. I don’t want her thinking I’ve forgotten who she is.” That much is a wry thing that she cannot believe, and, no matter the pain, she makes herself get to her feet and head off to the nursery, even if the journey is made wearing only a robe.

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