When I Grow Up

Author’s Note: Season two does not seamlessly match up with Season one. To spare a long winded “why” assume as we go into S2 that about six weeks has passed and both Peyton/Ren and Victoria/Camden have gotten married. Also the town may look a little different.

“Ah, my first guest!” Sawyer said from the porch of his, his! new house. Never in all of his years of basically being a street rat did he think that at seventeen he would have a house of his very own. Or mostly, he’d be spending the next year at least taking over some of the most distasteful jobs for Fox, Ren, and Blake in trade for the materials to furnish the house, but more than likely he’d have been doing that anyway. It was his and that meant no more stepping to someone else’s rules or having to act like servant to a stuck-up brat of a nobleman while he sneered down his long pale nose.

He could get up when he wanted–or mostly, he still had to be up in time to meet Jarrett and Nessa at the barn or the pasture for feeding, milking, and tending the animals. And he could eat meals when he wanted to–or mostly, he still had to report to Master Fox’s by midmorn for chores there, and just after noon, he had to report to Master Ren’s, then mid afternoon, he had to go over to Master Blake’s, then he’d have to run to the pasture to bring in animals and help with evening feed–well, damn. It looked like he was still going to be running to someone else’s schedule.

“I–am?” Tate looked around himself surprised.

“Aye, I don’t think Master Blake and Master Ren helping carry in the furniture really counts as a guest, an’ nor does Mistress Raquel, as she came to help me with hanging stuff and arranging stuff.” Sawyer said. “You’re the first one who’s just come by for a gab not to work.”

“Oh! So this is it, aye?” Tate asked. Sawyer flushed a little as his chest puffed out like a little robin’s.

“Aye.” Sawyer said then the two of them stared at each other for a moment as if silently asking the other “now what?”.

“So what were your plans for this afternoon?” Tate asked. He had the afternoon off to “get settled” no chores or tasks or anything he had to do not even feeding this evening.

“I was gonna get the back garden planted.” Tate laughed wryly as Sawyer admitted it. Even when he had time off he was still doing chores. Well, that was the way it went, or at least that was the way it went when a lad wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Or as Mistress Peyton liked to say laughingly to Lady Victoria about Alistair “shoved up his ass”.

“Well, lemme help you.” The other lad smiled.

“You’re a guest, an’ this is your afternoon off, aye?” Sawyer said.

“An’ what’ll I do if I don’t? Sit in your new living room and admire your new floorboards if you keep to your plans, an’ if you don’t? I’ll be keeping you from getting your work done an’ then you’ll scramble to get it done after I leave or in between your other chores.” Tate pointed out ruthlessly. Sawyer nodded in goodnatured defeat and jerked his chin at the fenced off plot that contained the kitchen garden.

“So how’s it feel to own your own cottage?” Tate asked.

“I don’t even know. It hasn’t settled in about me yet. All I can think of is how many years it’d have taken me to scrape together the glim for some small rat invested hovel.”

“Isn’t that rat infested?” Tate interrupted.

“Oh, aye, whatever.” Sawyer laughed and waved, careful not to spill one drop of the manure he was pouring. “If I were still back playing in taprooms for glim, crusts, an’ floor space. I’da been gray in the beard long before I had something like that.” Sawyer looked at the house, the glass–glass, his house had glass windows, could you even believe such a thing?–glittering in the early summer light. Tate paused in the process of stabbing a training stake down into a patch of beans and looked first at Sawyer then at the cottage. “An’ likely years in the grave.”

“Aye that.” Tate said.

“Did you think you would?” The king had, when he moved from his cottage into the castle, gifted Tate with his former home.

“Well, aye, eventually I suppose, but it hasn’t really sunk in that it’s mine. I keep walking the rooms expecting to hear–the king or Sir Wesley. An’ half the time I’m not even there.” Tate admitted. Tate, after all, was still King Lachlan’s only servant and most of them weren’t ready for invisible people answering doors or meals made by magic.

“Aye.” Sawyer nodded. “Still, you’ve got some place to take the girls. If it were good enough for a marquis’ son…” Sawyer trailed off.

“If there were a girl.” Tate sighed.

“I thought you an’ Zahrah were getting on.” Sawyer glanced over his shoulder as Tate shoved the next training stake into the ground with the force of someone impaling something. “Well, there’s other girls, y’know. What about Lady Olivia, she’s real nice, an’ a really good cook.”

“An’ didn’t you say she’d been married once–an’ she’s gotta be near as old as the king.” Tate said.

“So? That don’t mean she ain’t a girl. She’s real pretty besides.” Sawyer pointed out. Tate shook his sunbleached head and sprinkled a few seeds into the ground. They fell into silence after that, with nothing more said until they were seated across the table from each other, a bowl of Lady Olivia’s soup in front of them both.

“So, what do you think?”

“It’s, er, nice.” Tate said.

“Out with it.” Sawyer said. Maybe he’d been spending too much time with Mistress Peyton. “I’d rather have the truth.”

“I thought your stuff was supposed to be new.” Tate said.”This all looks kinda–old.”

“It’s a style, Mistress Raquel tells me. Shabby Chic. J–” Sawyer stumbled to a stop, looking across the table toward Tate.

“You decorated the house for Lady Jolene, didn’t you?” Tate said. Sawyer said nothing. “All of it? Upstairs? Bed, even?”

“…Aye.” Sawyer admitted.

“But you don’t even know that Lady Jolene will marry you yet.” Sawyer raised his chin defiantly. “Wasn’t that risky?”


“An’ weren’t you tellin’ me there are other girls, what about Lady Olivia? You like her.” Tate said.

“You don’t understand, Tate.” Sawyer shook his head. “I like Lady Olivia an’ Lady Nessa an’ Lady Tiffany, but… the thought of trying to live without Jolene is like the thought of living underwater. I can’t breathe, I can’t think, she’s there in every daydream, in every plan. I can’t get her out of my head. An’–and maybe the house will help convince her of that.”

Tate shook his head, the stands falling in his eyes. “I don’t think it works like that, Sawyer.”

“It did for Sir Camden.” The words fell out of Sawyer’s mouth before he could stop them, painted with an unmistakable green. Was it just that Sir Camden had so much more to offer Lady Victoria? The fact that he was a knight and one of the King’s advisers and she’d never go hungry married to him? And that he couldn’t offer that to Jolene? He had no guarantees to her besides the fact that he loved her and wanted to do his best for her?

“Sawyer, don’t.” Tate said, a plea clear in his voice. “Jealousy don’t do nobody any good.” Sawyer looked hard at the other boy, something in his eyes, the way they closed tiredly, in the defeated slump of his shoulders.

“Is he still at it?”

“Sir Camden?” Tate asked, his face shocked.

“Nah, M’lord.” The scornful sneer would tell anyone who Sawyer referred to.

“It’s nothing, Sawyer.” Tate lied. Sawyer knew it was a lie in the way his shoulders slumped down more and he turned his attention toward his bowl.

“You are worth twenty of M’lord’s pretty face an’ charming manner, Tate.” Sawyer said. “All he’s got is some fine words and a silver spoon stuck up his arse. You are so much more than that.”

“You can’t tangle with him, Sawyer. Dispossessed noble or not, he’d turn you into a flapjack. Gray, he told me about Alistair, he knew him afore his da cut him off. He’s a dirty fighter–an’ mean.” Tate said.

“So why not give Lady Zahrah up, Tate?”

“I’m not like you, Sawyer. She–she… notices me.” Tate said before dropping his attention to his bowl again. Sawyer sighed and looked at his friend then turned his attention back to his own bowl of soup.

It felt kinda odd, to put his bowls into his washbowl and then adjourn to his parlor. But that oddness came secondary to trying to figure out how to help Tate, especially when as far as Sawyer could see, Tate didn’t even want help.

“Have you tried talking to the King?” Sawyer finally asked.

“The king has enough worries, he doesn’t need a grubby little peasant boy whining about getting a girl to him.” Tate shook his head.

“But you’re more than that, Tate, and the king, he likes you. I’m sure he’s got time to listen to you.” Sawyer said. “If not the king, then how bout Sir Wesley, or Lord Gray, he’s acting as priest right now, you could talk with him.”

“You can’t talk about girl stuff with Lord Gray, Sawyer, priest or no, he’s just not somebody you can talk with about that.” Well maybe Tate had a point. that statue in the church garden probably had more warmth and feeling than Lord Gray. “An’ Sir Wesley, he might understand, but he’s a knight. If M’lord pushed him, Sir Wesley’d beat him with the flat of his sword.” Right, Sir Wesley probably did lack a bit of–perspective.

Tate might have been short, but he was stocky and strong in his own right. Still, that didn’t mean that Tate knew how to fight. Other than the occasional one with his sibs, Sawyer doubted Tate had ever been in a fight.

“Well, I want you to know if you ever need a second for a fight with M’lord, I got you.” Sawyer said finally. “An’ if M’lord ever agreed to fight us both, Jarrett’d tear his hide off him, so y’got nothing to worry about.”

Tate finally smiled and as sundown fell, Sawyer saw him off, quite forgetting there was one more thing…

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6 Responses to When I Grow Up

  1. Ann says:

    Wow! You’ve been busy!
    I love the new layout! It’s beautiful and looks as soft as a pile of featherbeds you just have to sink into because they’re so inviting!

    I’m so glad those two got each other to talk to! Poor boys! ~~
    I hope Jolene likes the house and finally puts Sawyer out of his misery!
    Come on, who can resist such devotion? Any lady would be lucky to have a man like Sawyer, even if he’s young. He’s a hundred times the man Alistair is! And so is Tate!

    Alistair…. *grrrr* if I ever get my hands on you you’d wish you’d been born a serf and never come to my notice!! *cracks knouckles*

    From what Tate says though it seems Zahrah did not have the wisdom to see through the giant bag of gas that is Alistair. That worries me a bit, though I keep out hope that she’s playing a deeper game. She looked like a sly one to me. There is still a possibility that she’s taken on giving the ass a sound lesson. I wouldn’t put it past her!
    Maybe it’s even a group effort of some/all of the ladies! Now THAT would be awesome! XD

    In any case you did a grand job, andavri!! And I’m glad you’re back so soon!

    • Andavri says:

      I think if Sawyer were a bit older or a bit less capricious, Jolene would have counted her blessings and snagged him up a long time ago. But she’s got this idea that he is like Romeo (if you actually read the play, Romeo is something of a player, the whole reason they crash the Capulets’ party in the beginning is because he’s heartbroken over some other girl…) and she doesn’t want to get her heart broken when he decides there is some other girl.

      Plus you add in the fact that he’s jailbait, although not exactly a child and it’s been messing with Jolene’s head. I promise, with-in the first five episodes of this season there will be resolution to this will-she-won’t-she with Sawyer and Jolene.

      Tate is indeed about a hundred times the man Alistair is. I think what we’ve missed a little, (from my poor story planning. Sorry.) is that Alistair can, when he wants to be, be very charming. He’s gotten though life being charming to the right people at the right time. He’s got a very good eye at who to manipulate.

      Plus, nobody likes him. Sure, we on the outside watching his actions know that’s cause he sneers down his nose at everyone, treats people like his personal servants like he ranks somewhere around where Lock does and is just generally unpleasant. He’s consistently these things in all of the posts we read about him.

      But from the inside, it could look like he’s the kid on the playground chosen last, and given that he’s not adverse to manipulation, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the side he’s showing Zahrah.

      We shall see here soon what Zahrah thinks and feels about the whole thing.

      Thanks, Ann! I’m glad you like the layout. It’s a bit different for me. I’m seriously not usually this soft and romantic in web layouts, I guess it just suits the telenovella-ness of Shadowcrest.

      • Ann says:

        Ah, now that whole Romeo thing puts a different complexion on Jolene’s hesistancy, you’re right. And I wonder why I didn’t see that. In this case Jolene is definitely right to be hesistant until she knows what he’s made of! (I must say I never liked Romeo much precisely for those reasons.)

        If Alistair was not living on charm I would be wondering what he was living on instead, because in my limited experience people like him often have nothing else but charm. Except maybe cash, but that’s almost a kind of charm in itself.

        About the layout: I’m not usually one for this soft and romantic style either, even though I’m SUCH a romantic. XD It’s too easy to overdo a layout like this and I’ve seen too many cases of that happening.Especially layouts made by anime-fangirls…. Those are frequently enough to give me sugar-sickness! XD
        But yours… Well, it works!

        • Andavri says:

          I always love it when someone else doesn’t just disregard the first bit of the play for what Romeo does later and proclaim him the most romantic guy ever. I sort of want to beat most of the Shakespearean tragedy heroes, mostly for being idiots.

          As for Jolene and Sawyer and the whole Romeo thing, I’m not going to say she’s right, after all he’s had plenty of opportunity to chase someone else, but even that is maybe the lure of the unattainable. He’s caught up in the chase… I think having seen Sawyer’s thoughts it’s more than that, but she’s never gotten Sawyer’s thoughts like we have.

          Meh, Alistair probably ended up with the short end of the stick, he in a lot of ways reminds me of José and that’s a bad thing to do when I’m writing or reading.

          But he does know that most of Shadowcrest is just too soft-hearted to do anything about him. The sense of community and support that grew up out of being survivors together has left a little exploitable niche for Alistair. But he’ll find a way, somehow someway, guys like him always do.

          *laughs* I’ve seen a few of those sugary sweet ones myself. Well, I always strive for a balance because I’m not usually the most soft sugary sweet romantic in the world and the person who will spend the most time on my blog is me after all. Thanks, again, Ann!

  2. Morgaine2005 says:

    One more thing, eh? I wonder what that one more thing might be …

    And Sawyer is so cute, being so pleased with his house and his parlor and his walls decorated to Jolene’s taste … *giggle* The bit about him puffing out his chest like a robin’s was genius, I must say. If Sawyer could be a bird, he probably would be a robin. Cheeky and friendly and cute, with a pretty song. :)

    Tate, though … poor Tate. :( He’s probably the worst one to go toe-to-toe with Alistair. Nobody else would put up with his crap. Well, maybe Blake would have. Good thing neither Alistair nor Raquel ever felt the slightest bit of interest in each other.

    As for Zahrah — we’ve not seen the inside of her head yet, so, I’ll reserve judgement until we do. :)

    • Andavri says:

      If I had wanted you to know I wouldn’t have left it hanging…

      Sawyer is indeed rather like a robin and for all those reasons. He certainly doesn’t do things halfway. Hopefully his devotion will be rewarded.

      Yes, poor Tate. I think the saddest part is I can’t even convince myself that he wouldn’t take the bullying and cruelty to heart. He’s a very sensitive soul. The others have a lot thicker skin and a lot more stand up for themselves than Tate does. He’s trapped, really, between his own shyness and his lack of self-esteem. Sawyer’s right that if Tate went to somebody that they would be glad to help him, but Tate doesn’t think he’s “worth” that. And it worries me. Because there are some really horrible things that Alistair could do and I’m not sure Tate would see it coming and get blindsided.

      But Sawyer’s got his eye out and so do some of the others, hopefully they can step in if need be.

      I think even Blake would have been slightly better equipped to deal with Alistair, if nothing else he’s bigger and older than Tate, has a bit more experience with bullies, and he has Ren for a best friend, and Ren could wring Alistair out like a sheet in ten seconds flat. Ren wouldn’t take Alistair’s shit at all. (I know without using height cheats (which were driving me nuts) and custom bodyshapes (which also drive me nuts) it’s hard to tell what people really “look like” but Alistair is tall and lean. Ren’s only maybe an inch shorter, and at least least half again as broad in the shoulders. And in Ren’s case it’s all muscle. Tate and Sawyer–it’d more or less take the two of them put together to make the first bit of threat.)

      Anyway, thanks, Morgaine!

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