He looked almost childish the way he denied assistance. It made her want to laugh but Hood did not dare with the mood he was in. All she did was sigh at his question. “Unfortunately yes.” It wasn’t as though she cared to admit it but this amount of drink at this strength ought to be enough. But it wasn’t anymore. “Lately I’ve needed to drink in the morning just to feel……normal.” Even now she could smell his blood and hear the animals outside, gods she hated it.
"A cursed bounty hunter suffering alcoholism." Huntsman said without a hint of remorse for her situation, as usual, it was as if he didn’t care. Which was the way he preferred it lately. "It’s a wonder you get any business."
She glared him down at his response. “It’s hardly mothering.” Hood scoffed finishing off the bottle herself though it still did not do enough. “It’s payback. You helped with that wolf problem its the least I can offer in return, but if you don’t want it fine by me.” At the moment the empty bottle was more interesting to her than him, wondering if she ought to grab another.
"I don’t need your help." He argued back stubbornly, grabbing a dry piece of cloth now to pad at the claw cuts. It drew back blood, but not a lot. He would suffer and do so silently.
He picked up the bowl and walked to the window, unlatching the wood shutter and opening it to toss the water out into the forest. His eyes prickled at the darkness, searching for any movement before he closed the shutter again.
"Not doing the job?" He asked, glancing to the bottle Hood inspected. "
She stayed quiet and waited to see if he would really answering, smirking slightly to herself when he did. “Rarely is a good word for it.” She replied agreeing at least a little bit with him. “but I’d say its about the same amount for me.” Yes, and always around the same times through the year. The thought was always the same and one might think her dull for not being more creative or ambitious, but she didnt care. Living in her home town by the forest, married to the boy who she would always get into fights with chiren of her own passing down all her parents had taught her, a very simple life indeed. A life she did not wish to think of and so she sienced it with another swig of rum.
"You sure you got that?" Hood asked raisng a brow seeing his visable pain at applying the ointment. He’d gotten it worse than herself, only light scractes and brused bones that would be felt tomorrow, and honestly she felt a tad guilty over it. Not that she would say she had been wrong to drag him away, for she wasn’t, but there was no doubt in her mind he would have left that bar without a scratch.
Huntsman dabbed material back into the water, fingers staining pink from the blood as he did best to clean his own wound. It wasn’t so deep it needed stitches, that much he was glad for, but he’d have to cover it. He hated bandaging wounds; wraps were constricting. But he knew leaving it open wouldn’t last all night with Hood around; she would have something to say about it sooner or later.
"How must I cope when you are not here to mother me." It was posed like a question, but it wasn’t. It came out like acid, while he threw the damp cloth down onto the table.
"That is something I suppose." Was all she could say on the matter. It was strange sometimes after all she had done in this life there were still things that bothered her, that she was not numb to everything yet. Silently she undid her torn bodice, feeling less upset with its loss than the boots. Someday’s she wished to just do away with them altogether, even as loosely as she worse them their was still a sense of relief when taking them off.
As he worked to cleanse his, Hood only continued to stare off and drink. This wasn’t a bad place, she noted the finishing simple and wood. She played with the rim of the bottle wiping off where her mouth had been. “Do you ever wonder who you’d be if this….shit never happened?” Hood doubted very much he’d give her answer and honestly she wasn’t even sure why she’d asked. Maybe the drink was making her stupid, her head did feel lighter.
The silence between him and an old friend was something the Huntsman valued highly. He winced visibly yet soundlessly, as he pressed the warm linen to his cuts. They weren’t deep, but they weren’t shallow either. It might take two weeks for a completely healed shoulder; if he didn’t acquire himself some ointment with magical properties. Most magic folk he hated, but not everything they created was useless.
As he wiped more of the old blood away, Hood finally spoke and it wasn’t a question he was prepared for.
Yet it was a question he had asked himself before, and even as he arguably said, “No.” He had a feeling she knew his true answer. Who, in their right mind, survived as they did and did not ask the Gods to undo what they had once done?
"Rarely." He finally corrected in a grumble, leaning forward to dunk the linen back into the water, turning it cloudy with blood. "Less often than I used to."
She could not say she was surprised at the job. Hood had the luxury of choice at times Huntsman did not. “Were you able to give him a quick death at least?” Was all she asked before drinking again. That is what a child deserved, quick and painless. Though she did hate herself for it that was what she gave ever wolf child she came across. Quick, painless, so they did not have to see their parents. It was kinder than the treatment she herself recieved. There corpses, or what was left, still haunt her thoughts.
While he couldn’t possibly imagine how Hood felt about killing a child, there were things few and far between that the Huntsman was okay with. Putting a child to rest, was not one of them, but never had he given anyone the idea he thought so. As far as anyone was concerned, to him, death was death. Everyone deserved it sooner or later.
"Faster than falling asleep." He grit it out between his teeth, staring down at the flames as if he could feed them himself with the glare. He had stopped at the river to wash his hands of the child’s blood; but even an hour later, the water did not run clean. He scrubbed until his skin was raw, and still he felt it.
He allowed himself to admit it once a year. Once only. He fucking hated himself for what he did, for what he had become, for what he had allowed himself to turn into. Death was better than this. But heartless, death wasn’t an option. It never had been for Jace Bigge it seemed. He survived his family, he survived the fire, he survived the Queen’s torments and treatments.
Some people were simply made to survive. While others were born to perish.
Pushing the thoughts from his mind he sat forward, grabbing an iron rod that helped assist him with pulling the pot from the fire. The water wasn’t scorching, but it was warm enough. He was impatient, so he laid it heavily on the table before him and began to undo his leather jerkin. He dumped it to the side, pulling the thing cotton of his under layer off as well. It stuck to his wound, peeling off the wet scratches.
"Suit yourself." She remarked dully taking another drink, it burned her throat wonderfully and all she could smell was the spiced rum. "Just saying my hands would feel better than your stubby hands." She laughed knowing he wouldn’t. The one thing she simply could not stand from Huntsman was his inability to say more than one sentence at a time. If he had it his way neither of them would say a word. "So have any interesting jobs lately? I’m sure that cunt is keeping you busy." Since the ever so kind Queen Raveanna decided to curse her Hood could not help but call her what she was a cunt.
After the comment about her hands, Huntsman paused at collecting the rags, material laying in his hand as he looked over at her with raised eyebrows. She was laughing; but he didn’t understand the joke. Her hands were calloused too, just in different places. Perhaps she forgot that he had felt them before on his skin.
His shoulders tensed as she disregarded the Queen so easily, though it was mostly out of habit. His jobs were fewer these days, which unnerved him. It made him wonder what his Queen was so busy with. Once, he had not left her side. Now he struggled to return to it.
"I put down a ten year old boy last week." He said without a waver to his tone, because of course, it was a job. Huntsman went back to gathering rags, bringing them over to the fire and placing them on the low table. He leaned back and sat in the pathetic excuse for a lounge, Hood on one side, him on the other. "His father disrespected his royal highness. For that, he has paid the dearest price." His jaw was tight, and his eyes stared straight to the fire. He saw his home in the flames, burning to the ground with black smoke clouding his lungs and enveloping his family. Still to this day, he wasn’t sure how his sister had survived. Never had he had the pleasure of asking.
Hood sauntered past him to the cabinet as best she could, the pain was starting to settle in. The alcohol would help her to stop thinking of it. Huntsman had more variety than she would have guessed, though she hardly cared. It was not as though she drank for the taste. She pulled a full one at random and moved to the fire taking a long swig before sitting. Looking down she noticed a gash in her boot. “Shit and I liked them too.” It bothered her more however that she had not noticed the injury. Working at the ties she grew more concerned as the blood looked worse than the injury. She did not want to think of it and merely pushed the boots out of sight. Truly her attention to Huntsman. “Need some help there or do you think you can reach?” She asked with a smile before taking another drink and offering him the bottel.
After the flames were lit and licking at the wood, Huntsman shoved a metal pot onto the stove. With a small satchel made of goat’s spleen, he filled the pot with water from the pouch. He’d have to wait for it to warm and cool, so in the mean time he sought out a rag or two to use.
"I can reach." He said back, with no doubt in his mind that he could. The scratches curled over the front of his shoulder, barely on the back. Besides, after the last time Hood had had to patch him up, he barely wanted to relive it.
"Different indeed." She scoffed following him in, had she met him as a girl she’d have laughed at him with her father making jabs about a boy wearing more lace than herself. "Where I grew up there was little need for horses, a donkey did the work just as well for a cheaper price." She rolled her eyes as he said it was only to save him blisters, just a tool. But Hood saw how he was with it, he never treated it like a tool. She dropped her bag at the ground and her axe as well, her already stiff back getting worse because of there weight. "So what sort of drink have you got?" She asked leaning on a nearby table hardly feeling like looking about his home, she wanted a drink to numb her senses.
Huntsman had no choice but to listen to Hood’s story, and he did so with gritted teeth while his scarred fingers unlaced the buckles. He gave somewhat of a snort to her comment about a donkey being used in her home. Not because it was ridiculous or amusing to him, but because he couldn’t relate. In fact, he felt the words on the end of his tongue begin to form. While you had a donkey, I had fifty or so servants. But he swallowed the words and continued as he was, dumping his sheaths and belts to a chair by a table littered with maps and letters.
She reminded him of the drinks, and Huntsman rolled up his sleeves, peeling off any last of the unnecessary garments he wouldn’t need in his own home. In fact, he felt the lightest he had been in a week, shedding everything onto the table.
He turned and walked to a cabinet hutch, opening it and gesturing with a flick of his wrist that read help yourself. There was literally three or so shelves lined with all sorts of bottles, some taken to and others untouched.
He moved to start a fire, wanting warmed water for the claw marks across his shoulder.