Such Friends

Title: Such Friends
Time Period: May 20, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary:A friendship is tested when its foundation is questioned.

A delivery from the Fairbairn farm brings Beisdean to the Dovetail's doors for the last errand of the day; the sun is setting, and when the girls inside try to engage him in chatter and gossip, he pleads being tired from his journeying the day before and in need of a hot meal at the inn and a long night's sleep.

It's mostly true.

He steps back outside to where Iago's been left tied to the hitching post, putting a parcel in the saddlebag before he moves to untie the gelding. Iago knickers at him and noses at his coat, making Beisdean laugh and pull an apple out of an internal pocket to offer to the beast. "No fooling you, mate. Almost as clever as Darklight when it comes to scenting fruit."

Mariah's been away from the house herself, judging by the fact that she can be spotted walking along the path toward the building. She's tucked into a light coat, with lace gloves over her hands, and neither too strong against any chill. But it was much warmer when she set out.

It's obvious when she sees Beisdean there, because she stops. There's even a glance around like she might be debating turning back around, but it's only pondered for a moment before she straightens up and comes over his way. Having the conviction to come over is one thing, knowing how to start the conversation is another.

So there's a bit of a delay.

"I wanted to say thank you."

Blue eyes glance up at her approach, then move back to watch the horse nibbling at the apple until it's gone. He pats Iago's nose, not looking at Mariah.

"You've nothing to thank me for," he says, wiping his hand on his coat and then moving around to put his foot in one stirrup and swing the other over the saddle. "Cas is my friend, too."

Mounted, he finally glances over at her, and there's no hint of smile in the lines of his face. "At least I think he is. Y'never know, I guess." The horse is nudged into moving forward.

"Oh, we're doing it this way, are we?" Mariah folds her arms as she leans against the post herself, letting out a heavy exhale as she looks over at him. "You're angry, I even understand why, but you can just say so, you know."

If she had plans of apologizing, it's difficult to tell. But then, she's always been good at tucking emotion behind a mild mask. "But that's all beside the point. I appreciate what you did for him. That's all." She steps away from the post then, not turning away yet, but seeing as he's ready to take off and all. "I guess I didn't expect that you wouldn't be able to endure my presence anymore."

"Do you?" Beisdean snaps. "Understand? Do you really?"

He shakes his head and swings off the horse again to step closer to her as the horse moves slowly toward the road. He ignores Iago, and points at Mariah.

"You came to say 'thank you,' and you say you understand why I'm angry, but you've no 'sorry' to offer? No apology for the reason I'm angry? So you 'understand' why, but what, do you not think you have anything to apologize for? Did you think I'd just go rescue your boy and forget about it, and we'd go back to normal?" His words are low, so as not to draw the attention of those within the brothel, but heated and sharp. "My memory's not that short."

Mariah puts her hands on her hips as he steps her way, stubbornly fighting off an urge to back away. "I said I understand, not that I agree," she says, matching his volume. She doesn't want to be part of the gossip, either, if she can help it.

She furrows her brow, looking him over for a moment before she looks back to his face. "I didn't think it would be so easy to throw us off 'normal'," she replies, disbelief mixing with her own growing ire. "I thought we could talk it out, but if you think you're entitled to know— " She stops there, pressing her lips together as her arms fold across her torso. Better to hide shaking hands.

"Why, because we're such good friends?" Beisdean says, a derisive scoff following the words. "I wouldn't have thought it'd be that easy either, but then I didn't realize I didn't know something so fundamental about you, did I?"

He shakes his head, a long lock falling into his eyes. That he doesn't try to smooth it back into place might be an indication at just how angry he is. "What is it you can do, then, Larkie? Something so horrible and treacherous you had to hide it, is it? Because obviously, it must be something so bad, so heinous that even the creepy lad who's surrounded by the dead twenty-four hours a day would be aghast at, would shun you for." He shakes his head again to punctuate the sarcastic words.

"Oh yes, because he's being so very understanding and welcoming? All I did was not volunteer every piece of information about myself to him and that alone is enough to earn his disdain." Mariah steps closer to him this time, close enough to have to tilt her head to see his face. "What else about me am I supposed to have told you in order to be granted the rights to a friendship, hmm? Is there a list?

"And I take it back. I don't understand. I don't understand how you could brush off years of my being purposefully antagonistic to you, but keeping one secret and suddenly I'm cast off." She has to look away there, though, as actual hurt peeks through, but she seems determined to show it only to their shoes .

A brow tics up and Beisdean stares for a minute before another indignant snort breaks his silence. "It's not a little detail you've left out, Mariah. There's no bloody list, but that's a pretty big one, yeah. When I tell you that this is the first time I've had friends who know what I am and accept me…"

He wheels away, words cut off as he strides the length of the porch and then back. "We were kids. And I know it amazes you and Luna both that I didn't care what little girls had to say about me when I was struggling just to survive. Kids are stupid and can be cruel, but they grow out of it. We weren't friends then."

A heavy sigh raises and then drops his shoulders. "A lie by omission is still a lie, Mariah. I'd not judge you for whatever magic you can do, even if it's something most would do."

"I know it amazes you," Mariah says, taking her turn with a more biting tone, "but I don't fear judgment. That's what you fear."

She leans a hip back against the post, watching him and his strides, his sighs and stares. "I understand you feeling like it should be this big part of me. But mine doesn't define who I am anymore than having brown hair instead of red does. Being taller or shorter. It's a detail, not the sum of my being. It's not important. It's just… there. If you think I should be feeling guilty for not ever telling you, I'm sorry, but I can't oblige."

"One you go to lengths to hide, apparently, so apparently it is a rather important thing. You don't hide your hair or your height, after all. Faulty analogy, lass," he says coolly, and whistles for Iago, the horse having meandered off to nibble at a patch of grass.

"Well, you can say the words, it seems. You just keep saying them for the wrong things." He strides for the horse and swings himself into the saddle in one fast move.

"'Think where man's glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends,'" he says, and tips his hat. "Goodnight."

At first, Mariah steps forward to take hold of the reins herself, in an attempt to keep him there in the conversation. But something in his words seems to change her mind. She looks at her hand against the leather, and then to a point somewhere around his knee. "I thought you would like me for who I am, not what I am."

Her hand loosens then and she steps back at the goodbye, shaking her head and squeezing her eyes closed, just for a moment. "You are determined to be angry," she says, in lieu of a goodbye of her own, and she turns to head into the house instead of watching him leave.

The horse is stalled with a pull on the reins; Beisdean turns to look at her retreating back. "It's part of who you are, and you're lying to yourself — not just me — if you think it's not."

Iago is nudged once more into motion. "I'm heading back to Clovelly now that it's warm enough and I'm not likely to be eaten by a dragon on the outskirts of town. Have a nice life, Larkie." The last is not so much angry as resigned, and then Iago's hooves pick up speed, carrying Beisdean down the road.

While she doesn't seem to be paying attention, those last words get her to swing around, even with her hand on the door. Surprise delays her response enough that it becomes a little pointless to come back off the porch, but she does anyway. Her feet take her just a few lengths past the hitching post before she stops. It's only the space of a breath or two before she turns again and in the interest of not crying in front of the other girls, lets anger drive her entrance; slammed doors and cutting looks marking her path.