Promises

Who: Jet and J’kson
Where: Arlet and J’kson’s cothold, Bitra Territory
What: Jet tells J’kson some of what Arlet has shared with her.


Jet doesn’t make a habit of having much to do with J’kson at all, so when Kyramith lands outside the home in which he and Arlet reside on a morning that she well knows that her daughter is occupied elsewhere, it’s more than a little out of the ordinary. Once Jet has dropped down to the ground, the petite green launches herself back into the skies to enjoy the colder clime of the north, though she spares a brush of freezing atmosphere for Malynth before she vanishes out of sight. Taking a deep breath, Jet knocks on the door to the cothold and folds her arms, waiting to see if her quarry is present.

Malynth acknowledges Kymraith without more than a touch of his mind to hers. He has never pushed for more than that with the green whose temper he does not wish to be on the receiving end of. J’kson’s had enough warning to pull on a jacket and boots before he answers the door to Jet. “Is Arlet okay?” he asks immediately, assuming without evidence, that the only reason Jet would come when Arlet is out is due to something happening to his wife. He steps away from the threshold to allow Jet inside, where the warmth of the hearth is battling against the cold of Bitra’s climate.

Jet pauses before offering, “Well, yes and no,” as the only response she can immediately think of. She steps through into the cothold, adding, “Calm yourself. Nothing has happened to her, but you and I need to have a talk about what //is// happening to her.” She closes the door behind her and looks J’kson up and down with a half-appraising gaze. “I visited the other day to ask her what her intentions were regarding Aadi, since she’s not laid eyes on him for months. He’s not a baby anymore and he needs to know who his family is – whether she wants that to be her or not.” Though she unbuttons her coat, she doesn’t remove it. “That much has little enough to do with you. I know you’d welcome the boy if she wanted him here. But whether or not you want children with her… there are some things I don’t think she’s ever going to manage to talk to you about.”

J’kson freezes as Jet looks him over, his color paling slightly as he prepares himself for what the Lady of the Court might do to him if //he// is the cause of Arlet’s problems. He gets control of himself with a sharp sound before he moves to indicate she could sit on the nearest couch. He places his hand on the back of a chair to steady himself as he listens intently to Jet. “I have no intention of asking her for children,” he tells Jet with a frown and furrowed brow. “I recognize she has some trauma,” he can think of no other word to describe it, “around Aadi. I would not add to that by pressuring her to relive it in some way.” He waits a moment and then asks, “What is it you would talk to me regarding that?”

Jet does as suggested and takes a seat on the indicated couch, crossing one leg over the other as she leans back. “Honestly? I can’t tell you if she truly wants children, but she feels that she’s going to lose you, both in the eventuality that she decides that she wants a baby with you or it turns out that she can’t ever cope with the idea.” She presses the backs of her fingers to her lips for a moment before stating, “She’s frightened, J’kson. She thinks she’s a failure either way and is convinced you’ve judged her a poor mother and so wouldn’t want to father children with her even if she wanted it.” Her words are punctuated with a somewhat helpless shrug. “Aadi’s birth was… less than ideal a situation, triggered as it was by Between, but it seems her feelings about him and her worries about you are a lot less to do with that than I thought and much more to do with the months before.”

“I had thought it would be me fearing the loss of her the rest of my life,” J’kson confessed as he slides into a chair. “Malynth… the alcohol… my ties to the Court. Fort. Of the two of us, it is so clearly //me// who has it all to lose,” J’kson shakes his head and leans back in the chair to consider the ceiling. “I don’t think I can simply promise her I won’t go. She won’t believe it,” he looks back to Jet. “I made a clear promise to her through our marriage. I moved us here. Gave us both a new life we both needed.” Pain flashed across his face. “I feel helpless. What can I do?”

Jet stares down at her knees, unable to supply any immediate answer as to what might be done. That she has to admit, “I don’t know,” clearly frustrates her, her jaw tightening. “Maybe she feels she isn’t worth what you’ve done for her. I can’t tell you with any certainty, J’kson; all I can say is that our conversation ended with her in tears and without a clear answer about Aadi. If she learns that I’ve told you this, I imagine she won’t want anything to do with me and she’ll consign me to whatever level of association she’s already reserved for M’tan.” She laces her fingers together and gives them needless study. “I don’t know that there’s anything any of us can do. I know she feels like a failure and she seems to have got very good at masking it. The goldrider she was with at Honshu moved on to another woman when Arlet got stuck at Fort, then…” Jet takes a breath and attempts rather unsuccessfully to keep the anger from her voice, “Aadi’s father and his partner made her feel that her pregnancy made her revolting, then abandoned her. She said… that she thinks you’ll get bored of her and leave her, in the case that she can’t ever face having children or that she gets pregnant and you feel about her as they did.”

“I understand that she has trauma and people have abused her in the past. I didn’t find my way into a bottle because it was fun. I wanted to mask as much hurt as I could by being drunk,” J’kson tells Jet, taking a cue from her to consider his hands rather than look her in the eyes. “I can’t take away her concerns or her fears. Only she can overcome them,” he shakes his head and flexes his fingers. “Time will heal her. Time has already started to heal her.” He lifts his gaze to look at Jet then. “Don’t ask her again about Aadi. Please. She doesn’t want her son to hate her and I think she keeps her distance from him to protect him. If he is truly happy and safe with you and M’tan, raise him as grandparents. Don’t have him call you mother. When Arlet is truly healed, she’ll have space for Aadi in her heart. He’s already there. She’s scared of damaging him. My father and brother damaged me,” he shakes his head again and leans back in his chair. “I won’t leave her,” he tells Jet simply, “and all I can do is promise to love her no matter what.”

Jet blinks her gaze to J’kson and away again, unable to maintain much of what practicality Kyramith must lend her without directing her focus elsewhere. “If it’s what you think is best, I won’t ask her again,” she answers with a measure of uncertainty. “But I doubt there won’t come a day when he asks about her, if only to ask why he has no mother and father, and if it’s before she’s ready… I don’t think it’ll go well for either of them, because someone is going to have to give him an answer. He might be six; he might be sixteen. But that day will come.” Abruptly, she gets back to her feet and straightens her coat. “I’m not suggesting that what either one of you has been through is less or worse than the other… I don’t know if there ever was a time when she was the stronger of the two of you, but I feel she isn’t now. I know it puts a lot on you. I’ve only told you this for Aadi’s sake and so that you might understand any… odd… behaviour from her.” She starts for the door, only to pause before it. “If you think any of this changes anything between us, just remember: you hurt her; I end you.” That door, she doesn’t slam, but nor does she look back.

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