"End of a Rough Day" is a Season 4 thread from February 21-22, 2015. It takes place after "The Thief Meets the King."
Full Text Edit
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: It was night time again. The discord in the rebellion had faded, the audiences were finally finished…and Haddock was tired. As he sat in one of the living room arm chairs he hears the sound of pouring tea and the smell of hot water and herbs. Stonegit walked over to him, carefully holding out a tray with a cup of tea on it. “Here,” he said. “This should help you relax.”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock looked up at Stonegit, surprised. His eyes were reddened from fatigue. He reached up, took the tea, checked its temperature, and then sipped. “Thank you,” he said, voice soft.
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: Stonegit sighed, walking over to the fire place, using a poker to pulled over a large kettle. Grabbing it with a thick glove, he walked over to a basin of lukewarm water, pouring the boiling contents of the kettle into it, and easing the basin over so it was next to Haddock. Stonegit sat on the floor beside it, beginning to undo the laces of Haddock’s boots, which had grown tight and uncomfortable as the day progressed. “I’m sorry that archer requested such private information…she didn’t need to know.” he mumbled quietly.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "You don’t need to do that," Haddock said, glancing down at Stonegit’s feet and clearly avoiding the other started conversation.
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "Yeah I know but…" Stonegit said. "My duties go beyond just guarding now a days. If my eyes ever take another bad shot I’m going to want to be able to handle other services to you…so." He pulled the second boot off, patting the sides of the basin. "Here, go ahead and loosen those feet up."
His lead lowered slightly, rolling his eyes with resignation. “She’s alive just so you know. I got a report from a guard. She was gone no more than a few hours.” he shook his head. “He had made her bite into a glass goblet…thankfully she got patched up.”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock finally acquiesced to Stonegit’s servitude. As soon as he heard the news of Asuka’s injury, he covered his face in his palm, murmuring, “Not another one. I should have ordered her restrained to camp…”
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "She wasn’t within your duty…you did the best you could." Stonegit said gently. He walked a few paces and then dragged over another basin, setting up some hot soaking water for himself and sitting in the couch across from Haddock’s arm chair, leaning back with a sigh.
They sat in silence, and Stonegit licked his lips. “I didn’t know it was that bad…” he said finally, and for some reason Haddock knew exactly what he was referring to. “I can’t imagine what it must have been like, to have her trapped in your mind and…” he rubbed his face. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have brought that up. I guess I’m just… pissed… disappointed… at her. Either way I… I just wish I could have found a way to save you without having to put you through that.”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "There’s a markedly good reason I don’t like talking about it," Haddock answered, though it was not meant to cut Stonegit off from his remark. The king might have tensed slightly; nevertheless, he seemed to accept that this conversation was happening. "Although…" he raised his eyebrows pointedly "…I think you need to take your own words about ‘you did the best you could’."
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: Stonegit met his eyes, and then nodded. “Ok…I’ll try that.” he said quietly. “I just didn’t know the extent of what had happened until you and Grey spoke…I guess an overly optimistic part of me was just wishing that it wasn’t as bad as all that. Like… if I didn’t see it, or hear about it in detail then it wouldn’t be as terrible…” he shrugged. “So much for that idea.”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "Well it was terrible," the king said. "As much as would be instinct to try to deny it… no. There’s no getting around the fact it happened. But there’s also the fact it’s over." The way he spoke almost seemed to be questioning that last comment.
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "Yeah…" Stonegit said, his tone of voice suggesting that the conversation could end now, but he would still be open to discuss the topic if Haddock ever felt ready to do so. He shifted, getting more comfortable. "Oh," he said, pulling out the two small silk bags. "Blunt gave me this stuff along with a pipe, told me not to use it on the job, I don’t suppose you know anything about herbs and plants do you?"
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "I don’t know much about…" the king paused. His eyes narrowed; he clearly recognized the gifts Blunt had given Stonegit. Haddock’s lips then pursed in disapproval.
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "Oh boy I know that look," Stonegit said with a grin. "Don’t worry I’m not going to become some sort of addict or anything, I like my job and health to much for that. Hel, if I get through even one of these bags over the course of my life I’ll consider myself overdoing it." he put the bags away. "He also got me those," he said, pointing to the pillow and comforter on the other couch. "Gotta admit, I like those better."
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock looked touched despite himself. “That was incredibly thoughtful,” he said. “My apologies,” he sipped his tea, “for not acting so thoughtfully in return.”
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "You did though," Stonegit said gently, smiling as he glanced down at his soaking feet. "More than you probably realize. I treasure what you gave me that day as much as the gestures." he shrugged, letting his arms flop on the couch. "What can I say? I’m a lucky guy."
Mera Violet Haddock: Before the king could respond, Mera waltzed into the room confidently. She glanced at the two men and Haddock’s boots on the floor beside him. “You’re undressing him?” Mera asked, raising her eyebrow tauntingly at her husband. “I’m pretty sure that’s my job. And if you wouldn’t mind, I think I shall go about it now.”
”Mera,” Haddock said warningly, looking more than a little embarrassed. He tried to turn the conversation, though it was clear he was interested in her proposal. “I’m a little tired and…”
"And I-I-I-I know you’re not that tired, Sire Proper Pants. He gave you some comforting tea? Great. My turn to cheer you up.” She bustled straight toward Haddock as though intent to begin now.
"Uh, Stonegit?" That question was clearly meant to be permission of dismissal. "Thank you very much - ah - for the tea, now…" He gestured somehow simultaneously politely and urgently toward the door.
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: Stonegit bolted to his feet, stumbling over the basin with a crash, his face more than a little red. He staggered forward, grabbed his box and bedding and then turned, rushing out the door. “Good night!” He called, kicking it shut behind him.
He pressed his back to the door that lead to the King’s quarters, making sure that there was a safe two rooms between him and the…action. Heaving a weary sigh and spread his comforter and pillow out on the small mat placed outside the door, sitting down on it.
Blunt came around the hallway corner, tilting his head. “Yo,” he said.
"Oh…hey Blunt," Stonegit said tiredly, and then tried to perk up. "Oh, um…thank you, by the way, these are great." he said, motioning to the bed.
"Glad you approve…" Blunt said, sitting on the floor next to him.
"Although I am curious about the contents of the bags…" Stonegit added.
"Oho yeah," Blunt said with a laugh. "One of them holds cannabis, the other poppies."
"I’m not good with plants," Stonegit said, but Blunt waved a hand.
"Nah, one is mild the other potent. You wouldn’t want to use it now anyway."
Stonegit twisted his mouth to one side, his mind flash back to those terrible minutes he spent in that room, fighting for himself against those guards. He suppressed a shutter. “Well it is a special occasion. And Haddock is going to be well protected tonight trust me.” He said. “And I had an…awful week…and…hmm”
Blunt watched him, and then carefully reached over, Setting up the pipe. “Just one round on the light stuff. Remember some of this stuff is expensive and is for those, every few days a year sort of deal.”
"Got it," Stonegit said.
"Here," Stonegit took the pipe between his lips, frowning slightly as he breathed it in slowly. Blunt studied him, and then looked down at his hands. "Hey…is…it is ok if I loosen up your shoulders? They’re probably as stiff as a board."
Stonegit glanced at him, and then nodded a little, his eyes only slightly concerned. Blunt very cautiously reached over, placing his hands on Stonegit’s back first, pausing, and then carefully began working out the knots. “Thank…” he muttered around the pipe.
"Hey, you had a rough day," Blunt said. "You deserve it. And I swear on my honor I will destroy over knot in your back and then leave you in peace."
Stonegit would have appreciated Blunt comment, if he had been paying attention. But at that point he just wanted to be rid of that past nights memories that he had allowed himself to just get totally absorbed in what the pipe had to offer, and the calming sensation of Blunt’s strong hands working out his shoulders.
The two easily sat there for half an hour, and then Blunt, seeing Stonegit’s eyes drooping from the lake nights effect, gently eased him down, took the pipe, and tucked him in. Then, after taking a few drags himself, Blunt put out the embers, backed it up, and left the bodyguard to his bed.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock watched Stonegit completely bowl out of the room. He was not sure if his face or the boy’s was more red. As soon as the door slammed behind them, Haddock turned to his wife and said in a rather monotone but somehow terse voice, “Mera, that was a little unnecessary.”
"Was it?" she feigned innocence. There was more than a bit of amusement behind the high-pitched intonation anyway.
"If you are one step short traumatizing my bodyguard, then yes, very unnecessary," the king insisted.
Mera’s face twitched into a smirk. “It was worth it, though, wasn’t it? I found it highly entertaining.”
The king grumbled under his breath about “indecency” until Mera put her finger to his lips. Kissing him lightly on the ear and leaning in to embrace him from behind, she said, “Garthy, relax. It’s all fine. You can loosen up.”
He was silent for a moment, looking away, before he said one word. “Angel?”
"Yes honey?" She began fiddling with the collar of his shirt, loosening it at the neck.
"You haven’t been like this since…"
"Since I found out about you and Stonegit." Mera wasted no breath speaking straight to the point.
Haddock grabbed her hand and held it lightly, mulling the recent past over, and remarked, “You were rather angry at me. And with right. Yet you’re suddenly not upset anymore.”
"There are more important things going on now," she said in response. She noticed Haddock continuing to stare away and grabbed his chin, slowly turning his neck so he could look her in the eye again. Her green eyes were brimming with concern and sympathy. "Gareth, dear, I can tell how stressed you are… so much has happened… and I just want you to know…" she leaned in to whisper meaningfully "…there’s some good going on right now, okay? You’ve got Stonegit. You do have faithful supporters. And you’ve got this family.
"Gareth, I know I worried you when I got angry. But.." she brushed his hair over his left side then placed her hand on his chest. "You’ve got me. Right here. Right now. And you always will."
"And it means the world to me." He finally looked up at her and leaned forward for a kiss. "As does your suggestion before… ah… Stonegit left."
"Good!" She immediately attacked one of her husband’s shirt buttons and undid it quickly. Her eyes glittered. "It’s more than a little overdue. Now come on, Sire Slow Poke. I can’t get those pants off you while you’re sitting down."