04.02.3014: Nothing Is Simple
Summary: Jane and Garus get into a heavy discussion over public image, family affairs, politics and the war.
Date: 16 Dec 2013
Related: None
Garus Jane 


Marketplace of Myron - Phylon, The Vale
This is one of the largest marketplaces in Phylon, hosting a wide variety of shops and restaurants. Some merchants and craftsmen have taken up one of the permanent buildings surrounding the center of the market such as the blacksmiths and grocers. The rest of the cobbled marketplace is filled with mobile kiosks and carts that can easily be packed up and wheeled out when the market closes in the late evening. There are street food vendors, textile and basket weavers, trinket and bauble sellers, and much more. At the center of the marketplace is a little grassy lawn with stone benches arranged on its exterior to provide places to eat and socialize, or just watch the madness of the marketplace during the busy hours. Streetlamps are erected all around the market so that it may continue after sunset, though most merchants are expected to close up shop before midnight.
2 April 3014

When Jane received the message from Garus to meet somewhere, she immediately responded with a waltz through the marketplace. At night, when the buildings are lit and the window displays are glowing with a multitude of colors to entice shoppers, it is a different world than during the daytime. She had agreed to meet near a street vendor selling flavored ices, and the tasty offering was enough to tempt her into an early purchase.

And so Jane is lingering outside gazing along the stretch of street that is still busy with shoppers getting in last-minute purchases before the shops close down in a few hours. Her attention is, of course, drawn to a seamstress' shop just across the way, and she gazes fondly at the elaborate gowns in the window while nibbling on her ice (strawberry).

Released (again) from the infirmary, Garus is simply happy to be on his feet and able to move about the world once more. With a pair of guards trailing at a distance, he's strapped his swordbelt on against the flat black of a button-down silk shirt. Hair brushes back and the sleeves rolled to just beneath his elbows, Garus turns the corner while his hand finishes the last of the roll to his forearm. Spurs ringing softly against the stone beneath his feet, he crosses past a refrigerated meat-market stall when he spots Jane from a distance.

Grinning softly to himself, he slows his walk for the last twenty feet and steps in behind Jane. Minding the fresh wraps to his abdomen, his arms extend to wrap around her shoulders from behind, pulling her into a gentle hug. "What's this?" Garus asks quietly. "Are we to buy a few things before heading back to the Roar, Jane?"

Jane is not aware of Garus' presence, because she is engaged in a mental debate over whether or not to buy a gown when she gets so many for free from her mother. Would it be an insult? Surely not. She can do as she pleases with her own money, right? Maybe she should go inside and try it on real quick, but then she might miss meeting up with Garus, and according to her timepiece it is just about the minute upon which they agreed. Still, it wouldn't hurt to at least touch the dress and size up the quality, but— "Aaagh!"

The shriek is more of a muffled gurgle, punctuated by a comical *splat!* as the flavored ice leaps from her hand almost of its own volition and falls dramatically to the pavement. Heart aflutter, Jane reaches up to touch Garus' arm as if to assure herself it is him, and she spins about to eye him. Her cheeks are flushed and she is panting a little from the shock. "Garus! I was just looking at the dresses but I've decided I don't need another. Mother would probably be snooty about it. I am so glad to see you! And to see you up and moving around. Please tell me you are not going to faint away and that you escape the hospital early against medical advice?" She squints and peers at him as if trying to see through his clothing to possible bandages beneath.

"Bloody mess I've killed your ice cr—What?" Garus blinks, looking up to Jane's face as she turns around to face him. Bright, blue eyes take her in and he gingerly lets his arms slack to avoid too much strain on his terrible tummy. Hands brushing over her arms, he does a quick inspection of her, lips curling into a smile. She's still red and attractive and bright and happy to see him, which is what counts.

"Oh, please you can't tell me every dress you own is your mother's making." Garus laughs gently, tucking a curl of her red hair behind her ear before hooking his thumbs in his swordbelt. "Even that black one?" He casts a wary brow. THE black one? "And yes, I've escaped. I took a speak out in the field but it was just a nick and I'm much better than I was before. A few days and I should be able to run an obstacle course." It's code.

Jane's gaze darts away to take in the melting puddle that is her ice and offers Garus a shrug. "I didn't really need it anyway." To avoid the puddle, she sidesteps it, looping her arm into Garus' and turning to stand by his side while staring at the storefront. "What? Oh, yes they are," she replies immediately, rising to the challenge with glee; it is too true that all of her gowns are designed by her mother. "Why would I go elsewhere when I can get designer free from the source? I have even collaborated with her on a line. Someday I will put out my own. Through her company, of course."

Flashing her pearly whites, Jane assumes her usual chipper air, although a flashing advertisement nearby announcing the results of the most recent senatorial election fight to impose upon her good mood. The edge of her smile hardens by a few degrees. "The Six knows it will take more than a mere 'nick' to bring down a lion. I am not sure how military wives do it; I had to rely on work to keep me from thinking too much about you. I went on a treasure hunt, but I haven't heard back from one of my sources yet." That is code too.

Arm muscular and tight against hers, Garus forms his side as a willing participant in an escort as he begins to walk with her down the row. Jaws tightening to display his pearly, white teeth in a meager grin, ticks his head gently to one side, understanding her quickly. Not so accustomed to speaking in code, his eyes tilt to the corners of their sockets for a brief moment of consideration. It ends quickly.

"Well, in the meantime I'm sure Solon would welcome you here at Phylon to stay with us. Godric has been invited here as well, I'm sure whatever treasure comes up would be of use to the House." Garus keeps his smile in place, as if talking about the weather. "But you should know, before I went into battle I thought about you very much, Jane. You've made me a very happy man, and if there's anything I could do to help ease the pain when I come home from the fighting, you know I'm willing and eager."

"I know you are. Perhaps almost too eager? Tongues might wag," Jane replies to Garus, reaching up to touch her nose briefly. Her gaze cuts away off to the right in the main square where at least one paparazzi is taking pictures of her. His movements are subdued, however, so as not to draw too much attention. It is a bit different than walking down a red carpet at an event, anyway. "I do not care, however, if you do not."

The actress falls silent for a few minutes, mulling over her own thoughts while allowing her gaze to drift over the displays. While she is often willing to peruse the windows, she is not as big a shopper as one would expect from a girl with money. "I think you might overestimate the importance of the treasure, Garus. You know better than to assume that your father would be even remotely impressed with the results of your sleuthing. It may, however, quell his enthusiasm a bit." She shudders, unable to repress the visions of bloody massacre that flicker quickly through her brain at the idea of Godric, the affects of which she voices aloud. "If the Young Lord were to an issue an invitation, I would not be so crass as to deny it, but I will admit openly I am less than amused by the idea of becoming acquainted with your brother. You will give me advice on handling it, won't you? I am not a lamb to be devoured, but I am no lion either."

"No, I do not care. My father has agreed, you're in line to become my Six-recognized Companion, and it wouldn't be the first time we've been seen together." Garus breathes out, his words a whisper as he carefully glances in the direction of the camera pointing their way. Choosing to ignore it, he takes in a gentle breath and continues their walk.

"My fear, Jane, is that if he cannot get to me through the field, he'll come at me in other ways." The bomb, dropped gently, is still a bomb nonetheless. As if in apology, his arm tightens around hers and he reaches to pat her knuckles that line his forearm. "But it's me he wants, nothing else. It's not much of a fear, but it's fear enough that I'm not entirely sure where to step at the moment. You can trust Senator Hartcliffe, Solon and Eirene, and Senator Leandra Ryder. All but Lady Eirene have approached me with their suspicions and words of caution." Garus quiets, turning his eyes to the stones that line the road ahead. "Do you feel that I should strike first, too? To give in to my lineage and be bold, save myself before tragedy?"

Jane's eyes widen at the list of friendlies, some heavy hitters and bigger names that leave even the famous actress momentarily breathless. The world of politics into which she ventures is new and unfamiliar. "I — I will, of course, look to them for guidance, as you say, and for safety if need be, although I have my own security in place." Frowning, and perhaps a touch puzzled, she tilts her head up to gaze at Garus. "I am familiar with Senator Ryder by name only, but I was not aware you two were acquainted. There is much in your history that I do not know, I think. It will give us many things to talk about over the years, at least."

Subdued, Jane is quiet once more as the two stroll arm-in-arm, watching now as shopkeepers shut down for the night. The hour is definitely growing late, and inevitably the air becomes chilled as an evening rain begins to fall softly. She frowns and tugs gently, pulling Garus in beneath the eaves of the buildings. "I think if you strike first, you will become what you fear the most. Tread lightly, indeed, and think long and hard on who you want to be. I will love you either way."

"Another time, but yes, I wasn't out on my horse disappearing among the men for so many years. I have friends and people I trust, implicity, and you're one of them." Garus replies, ignoring the small line of concern that dots his brow at her body language. There are things she doesn't know, and he's kept much with the exception of the scar at his neck a mystery to her. Unintentional as it may be, there's so much that they know, but still much to learn.

Slowing, Garus' eyes close and he breathes out a sigh that could only spell relief for the moment. Fingers wrapping around her knuckles, his head begins to nod. "And I will love you, always, Jane, and…" He pauses, turning to look to her face. "…it means very much to me that you said this. Where some of the others tell me to meet him, I don't want my brother any more dead than I wanted Dorinne. I don't want to become them. The man I am now, the one you see, is the one I am proud to be." He comes to a stop. "Damn the press. May I kiss you, Jane?"

Jane soaks in the unspoken overtures, contemplating the stretch of history of which she has barely scratched the surface. The look she turns upon Garus is a searching one, as if trying to read the details from his very face. Obviously his mask is as good as can be, however, because after a moment she abandons the attempt. Instead, she tightens her arm in his and tilts her head to rest her cheek against his bicep. "I hope to one day know each of these friends and count them among my own." There: she has taken a step out onto that lengthy bridge.

But with the turning of the conversational tide, Jane allows some of the sobriety to dissipate. When Garus stops, so does she; when he turns to her, she turns toward him. The request is given a moment's consideration, and she screws up her features into a pensive expression, albeit overdramatized and obviously playful. "You do not have to ask, ever."

The pressure of his bicep against her arm dissipates as Garus turns to face her. Eyes flitting away, the heavy brow he wears is dotted with the stoicism that has likely been beaten, literally, into his personality. With his turn, his back straightens and his toes come to stand at either side of hers, presenting himself to her proudly, though when his eyes flit back there is a closely guarded worry within. It's a worry that fades away with the humor she lances into their tense conversation.

"I'm going to be fine, Jane." Garus half-promises her with a tilt of his head. "You and I are going to be fine and by next year we'll be past this." Fingertips brushing over hers, he reaches to cup the side of her face and leans in to press a gentle kiss to her lips, out in the open, plain as day.

Jane's smile softens at the sight of the tension easing out of Garus' face. If there is one thing that warms a girl's heart, it's the idea of being someone else's solace; well, okay, maybe just her heart. She reaches up to press a fingertip against the crease that still mars the center of his brow, drawing it down the bridge of his nose before letting her hand drop to her side. "Yes, of course we will be fine by next year. I am not worried about next year, though; I am worried about now."

But that worry is effectively staunched by his gentle touch, and she rises onto the tips of her toes to meet him in said soft kiss. If there are pictures to splash the InfoSphere, the least they can do is make them good ones. She raises one hand to rest against the back of his neck, holding herself in place until they eventually part for air. "Not to kill the mood or anything, but you haven't mentioned the ridiculous 'leaked footage'. I'm not sure if I should be worried by your silence or not."

Kiss broken, the press, should they be at the right angle, will no doubt catch the relaxed look on Garus' face as he leans forehead to forehead to her, eyes closed in a classic sweetheart of a pose. Fingers still spread across her cheek, he wraps an arm around the small of her back and smiles awkwardly to her question. The footage. She's an excellent actress and Garus is not, and the twinge of concern at the corners of his eyes is something even she couldn't hide.

"When I first saw it, I sort-of hardened up inside," Garus admits, his lip curling over his teeth in a feral smirk. "But then I remembered the way you leaped at me when I came to your trailer, and how we discussed you taking on that role." His head shakes from side to side, his brow tugging at the skin of her forehead gently. "I know you are mine, Jane, and I still want to go to this premiere. You're an actress, and that footage isn't you, it's your character." He laughs weakly. "You said something about soldiers' wives, aye? I'm sure there's something similar about the husbands of beautiful actresses."

Jane hadn't even considered the content of the footage beyond the semi-political implications, so when Garus immediately goes off in another direction, she is taken completely by surprise. Her eyes widen a bit as her mind races to catch up to the topic, momentarily unable to school her expression. "What? Oh! OH! THAT." Cue the gentle forehead-thunk as she finally catches up to him. "Yes, well…" A gentle blush suffuses her cheeks, and she glances away while trying to beat back a flutter of modesty. It is obvious she is finding it hard to meet Garus' gaze at the moment.

"Part of that scene really isn't me. I used a body-double for the more, ah, sexual moments. I might have been courageous enough to splay out nude for the camera, but I just couldn't…" Her voice trails off, and although her thought is left unfinished, her meaning is, hopefully, loud and clear. "The movie is about much more than those three minutes. The leak was intentionally skewed, and I can assure you the media has it completely off the mark. I'm as about as sympathetic to the Hostiles as you are. You remember the script, don't you? We didn't go there, and I just hope the theatrical trailers will sort of clear up some of the confusion. I haven't opened my mail for weeks; I'm afraid to. I won't even let Willow clean out my inbox."

"Oh, wait. Wait." Garus tilts his head back, smiling to the sky as he laughs and turns a rare, dark shade of red. Palm to forehead, he grits his teeth and lowers his vision back to her, hand gesticulating as he explains. "We were kissing, I thought you meant the…yeah." Garus is undone, unable to maintain his composure, and to deflect it as much as he can, he leans out to press a loving kiss to her forehead. "It's a good movie, Jane, and you're going to be great in it. I know how you feel about them, and truth is I wish we didn't have to fight at all for the better of everyone, but we do. You know this, though." He frowns, pressing his lips again to her brow. "If there is something I can do to help for your hate-mail, please, let me know."

With a new line of tension, Garus slips his lips from her brow and guides her cheek to look up to him, meeting her gaze with his strong, light-colored eyes. Accompanied by the wolfish tone of his voice and his ever-present confidence, he changes gears. "My father…was not happy with the implications, Jane, and I will speak with him. Paired with Senator Hartcliffe, a dove, winning the election, I'm starting to wonder if he's making assumptions of my influence as I count you, the Senator, and Young Lord Solon as my friends. Lord Solon endorsed Hartcliffe." His head dips just a little, trying to fill her vision. "No worries. I assure you."

Jane laughs, and although the sound is somewhat nervous, the kisses seem to ease some of the strain in her shoulders. "Well, you do have to admit that the evidence is all there, even if it's entirely coincidental." She pauses, wrinkling up her nose and turning her head away to glance at a brightly-lit wall panel flashing various advertisements as well as the election results. "I did not have time to put out my endorsement, but it was not for Senator Hartcliffe. I admire his devotion to social programs, but I don't agree with the rest of his politics. I'm not sure how you can, either, considering that you have been at the forefront of countless battles. The same could be said of Lord Solon, although I wouldn't be so uncouth as to disparage his choices to his face."

Frowning, Jane steps back - not out of his reach, but just far enough back that her eyes don't grow crossed when she focuses on Garus' face. "I am hesitant to side with him, but he has a point. If you do not want to be seen in that light, you should choose your public friends a little wiser. In a few days' time is the press junket, and after that I think the media focus is going to be a little more accurate. The movie's intent is to portray the Hostiles as possibly redeemable through the traitor, my character, who realizes that they are wrong. It's.." She pauses, licking her lips, and drops her voice to a whisper. "In fact, it is a subtle jab at the leaked video of the captured Hostile who insists she is human and that we are wrongfully killing our own kind. I agree with the Council Elder. My question is—do you?"

"It is House Leonnida that bends the knee to the Cindravale, and if the Young Lord and one day High Lord of Cindravale puts his esteem behind one of our Senators, then there's no loss of face of being that man's friend." Garus retorts, head tilting in a slant to level her with a serious brow. "But Senator Hartcliffe asked for my endorsement and I declined, for I knew what it would mean. He's good for the people, but I am a soldier, and this is my war to fight. He doesn't understand what the field is like, yet."

Her question, and her intelligence on the matter, is no surprise to him, but Garus is struck with the deep wisdom behind her question. Leaving a hand upon her hip, Garus rests the other over the hilt of his sword in a weak hang while he listens to her. Her whispered question is left to hang in the air between them, leaving him gazing quietly to her in the relative silence they've earned in the emptying marketplace.

"I believe that they could be human, just like us, flesh and blood." Garus whispers to her. "I believe Godric has a chance to choose differently and they should have that same chance, but not at the risk of us laying down our arms. We must present a wall and hold them back, and if our politicians seek to stall this with words, then so be it. If this ends in a cease-fire, then so be it. If our only means to survival is to kill them all, then…I hope the Six judge us fair." Garus' lips flatten into a line. "But…I have seen their butchery; their rage. I've seen the bodies and Jane, there are so many atrocious stories of treatment of the Havenites they've captured." Garus shakes his head softly. "I am not made of hatred, but we are not wrongfully defending ourselves, and they've slaughtered innocents. If there's peace to be had, it will be a long, long way off."

"I did not mean to say you are wrong in supporting a liege lord," Jane replies, and there is an angry edge to her tone that she tries unsuccessfully to hold at bay. "I meant to say that it merely played out to look like you are casting in your lot with the Doves, who themselves may often border on traitorous with their views. I know it may sound like hypocrisy coming from me, one who the media paints as the worst of the lot, but that is a lie, so I will not be shy about what I really think." She sucks in her breath, curling her lower lip between her teeth to calm herself and prevent another outburst. It takes several deep breaths through her nose, but she carefully pushes the bubbling frustration down below the surface once more.

"This is, perhaps, not the best place to linger and discuss our feelings on the Hostiles. It relieves me to know that you of all people, one whom I would expect to harbor at least resentment if not outright hatred for the invaders, is, indeed, more human than automaton. Come on, my apartment is nearby and a far better place to talk." She slips her arm into Garus' once more, taking a step forward in the hope that he will acquiesce and follow.

"No, no it's not, and I did come dangerously close to being lopped in with that entire viewpoint. My father, he's a Hawk at heart." Garus turns to whisper with her, walking. "Myself, it's so much more complicated than a simple one syllable word. My men and my people, even Senator Hartcliffe, will know the difference." Quieting for the next few feet, Garus glances back over his shoulder to see if they've adopted a tail, casting his careful eyes over the path behind them for only a mere shadow of a moment. As he turns back, looking to the housing in the distance, his arm squeezes against hers.

"You know…" He starts quietly. "I'm not that badly wounded." Garus suggests, glancing sidelong to her. "It will be good to trade a hospital bed for yours again."

Inevitably, perhaps, the talk of politics moves elsewhere. For several paces Jane is silent, contemplating all that they have discussed and its implications for the future - heavy thoughts that are visible in her strained expression. When Garus interrupts them, however, she allows his voice to dispel the momentary gloom and offers him a faint smile. "You don't know the Hawks at all if you think their beliefs are any more simplistic than yours, my love." There is another pause in the conversation as they near the complex, and she scans her keycard to allow them entrance into the building. As Jane steps through the automatic door, she glances over to Garus to meet his gaze as he mentions the comfort of her bed, and her lips curve upward into a knowing, mischievous grin.

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