Not Fully in Mind

Xanadu Weyr - Infirmary

The infirmary here is intended for human care. It is spotless and smells of disinfectant, cots are lined up against one wall, a curtain can be pulled to give some privacy to the occupants of the cots if they so desire. A cabinet stands off against another wall, instruments and medications stored against when they will be needed. A couple of curtained off beds are used for examinations of patients and the treatment of minor injuries which won't require long term care. A desk with chair is just off of the doorway for the healer to sit and catch up on record keeping after a long days work.

The post-race celebrations have wound down to quiet (mostly) drunk, tenacious souls finishing that last drop of liquor in either the caverns or the Wandering Wherry and being shooed off so the light can be dimmed, or in the case of the tavern, doused and closed for the night. The Weyrwoman has had plenty to do with guests packing Xanadu, but she had reluctantly seen the official start of the race before slipping back to the caverns to do the social thing with people there amidst handling problems as they arose. And arise they did with the infirmary humming with the results of that idiotic race! Bruises, scrapes, broken bones, lacerations, over excitement, you name it, they filled the cots and kept the healers working. She wasn't there when Darsce had been brought in, being off on some matter or other, but she heard. So there's been seeing the assistant headwomen are assigned to whichever junior - or pair of juniors are available as well as pitching in and settling guests for the night. The hour is now somewhere between midnight and dawn, somewhere after the conversation between brothers-in-law has ebbed into silence and Thea finally is able to get down here to peek in.

D'had had no interest in the races. Did he even know Darsce was riding in it? Uh, most likely not and his reaction to the crowds was to remain in his weyrbarn nursing his hangover from the previous night, then to seek to fill the silence with more whiskey, that warm haze taking him back… Until the pounding on the door and the arrival of Mur'dah, the urgency somehow murkily penetrating the fog and getting him up off the couch…then falling back to it with a slurred promise to 'come along in a minute'. That minute has stretched into two (or was it three?) hours that really seems like just five minutes ago. He enters now also, but from the clearing entrance, not the cavern one that Thea took. He advances unsteadily towards that back alcove owlishly peering at cots as he passes.

Mur'dah had dozed off against the edge of the cot, Darsce's hand held limply in his. Maybe it's the sounds of others approaching, or perhaps something in his dreams has stirred him, but he awakens with a small start, squinting his eyes in the the dimness of the room, first to Darsce, then looking around for Jethaniel. Shifting on his chair, it squeaks and he winces, as both the chair and his body protest the treatment.

There are those who claim Darsce's behavior is intended to draw attention. Her current action - or, more precisely, lack thereof - certainly seems positioned to have that effect. For the moment, things are yet quiet. Darsce's breathing is steady. Jethaniel's is as well, slightly quicker than hers. He's awake. His hand rests over Darsce's, and his gaze is vaguely lifted to the ceiling. He is not particularly alert, despite being technically awake, the footsteps go unnoticed - or perhaps he assumes it's the healers again. His grasp on time - and more specifically, the duration since their last visit - is somewhat less coherent than the one he has for Darsce. The squeak from Mur'dah's chair begins the process of Jethaniel's gaze lowering; it is a slow one.

Thea stops by the on-duty's desk where there's a low-voiced conversation; it's brief. The Weyrwoman nods understanding and by the expression on her face, the healer journeywoman has given her no false assurances before pointing out which alcove holds Darsce's cot. That's where Thea's focus is and so D'had goes unseen at the moment as she slips inside that curtain and takes in the scene - first Darsce, then Mur'dah and then Jethaniel. It's the steward who gets the longer appraisal, even as she is nudged silently by the healer with a chair for her. With a murmur of thanks, she gestures for it to be set beside the husband of Darsce, then lowers herself into it. She's silent for a few beats, her hand reaching towards his forearm as though she might brush it with light fingers, the gesture unhurried, and uncompleted. Rather than give falsely cheerful platitudes or ask busy questions about how his wife is, she asks him calmly, quietly, "How are you holding up?" A breath is taken, "And…what do you need?" She sees you, Mur'dah, you're next.

D'had is at least silent as he wanders the infirmary peering at sleeping forms in the half-light. The on-duty will notice him eventually and point him to the correct cot. He… never had much use for them but tonight? He'll likely at least accept the direction of one.

Mur'dah sits up a bit straighter when his mother arrives, nodding his head in a silent greeting. Next? Why would he be next? He's fiiiine. Promise.

Footsteps outside the curtain turn to footsteps by and inside it, and Jethaniel's fingers curl more firmly around Darsce's, even if the difference may only be perceptible to Jethaniel himself. From the ceiling, his gaze brushes Mur'dah in passing, then settle down on Darsce, regarding her to ascertain that she is, in fact… his eyes close briefly, his throat twitching in a swallow before they open again. When they do, they linger on Darsce instead of looking to Thea, though he's surely aware of the Weyrwoman in his peripheral vision. He's preparing the answers to those questions, the acknowledgements to those platitudes, and so when her actual question is none of those things… he has no answer to it. Not immediately; he exhales slowly, his thumb trailing over Darsce's hand. "I… have no idea." His lips twitch, ever so faintly, toward a smile… but it slips away before ever arriving. "There is… little I can do."

Thea's hand hovers… then is retracted back to her own space and placed in her lap. She's silent for several beats, then nods quietly to herself. Her gaze drops to their joined hands. She might not be aware of Jethaniel's possessive hold on Darsce's hand, but perhaps the young woman is, and the Weyrwoman's next words offer what little reassurance she can, "You're doing it, though. You're here and… if she's able to be, she'll be aware of that." Her throat moves as she swallows and there's…no. No words help, really. This nighttime vigil is similar, but… that was turns ago and she forces her thoughts to the present. Though her volume is low, so as not to disturb the sleeping, she says firmly, "I know one thing you need and that's time. You're on leave." She looks to her son. "And you should be in bed." She rises, an unhurried move and steps around the cot to offer him a hug. "The Weyrlings need you." And though she's said her motherly piece, she doesn't press him to go. "If you think of anything, Jethaniel, anything at all, consider it done." So saying, she slips out.

D'had is… not having any luck. At least he's not stumbling into cots, but he is beginning to draw the attention of the on-duty, who moves to him, speaks and then takes an arm, steering him to the alcove moments after the Weyrwoman has left. It's a good thing the two have passed without seeing one another for D'had would be glaring at her. But instead, he's here, unshaven and unkempt weaving on his feet while staring at Darsce. "Oh, Baby," he mutters drawing the back of his hand across his eyes. "Who…" He hasn't even noticed the other two there.

Mur'dah rubs Darsce's hand gently between his own, silent and unobtrusive as his mother speaks. When she comes over to offer him a hug, he takes it with one arm, squeezing her tightly. "Yes, mom," he murmurs. He knows. Watching her go, he rubs his hand over his face and looks back at Darsce. Bed? No, not unless Jethaniel told him to go. Then he would. Then his father is there and Mur'dah rises to his feet. Not sure why. Respect? Probably not. Ready to move to catch him should he stumble? That's probably it, though he keeps hold on Darsce's hand. "Dad," he says quietly, glancing at Jethaniel and then back to his father. Drunk. His heart hammers in his chest. Dammit, Dad.

Perhaps Darsce is aware of Jethaniel's hold on her hand; perhaps not. The uncertainty of it is difficult - as is the entire situation. If she is able to be aware of it. Jethaniel tenses, not quite a wince but not entirely not one, and inclines his head in a partial nod that leaves it lowered. "I am here." He will continue to be so, but Thea's already had that thought, already come to her conclusion regarding it. He needs time? True, but he looks to her with a slight frown as she speaks of putting him on leave. "The duration is unknown." It's almost an argument, but not quite. It's said looking at Thea, with a downward curve of his lips before he lowers his head the rest of the way, looking down as he says, "Thank you." Jethaniel turns back to Darsce, regarding her comatose body once more. It remains unchanged, as it has for hours, as it will for… an uncertain duration. "I will… be here." If Jethaniel thinks of something, but his thoughts reach no further than his presence here. If there is a necessity for that, certainly, but his construal of what is necessary for himself may be limited. His consideration of what is beyond that curtain… is also limited, except when it intrudes into this space. Jethaniel does not observe Thea's departure, though he's aware of her retreating footsteps. He's aware of Darsce, and then he's aware of more footsteps, these ones approaching unsteadily. They're accompanied by a voice, and he lifts his head slowly, turns it to see D'had. He inclines it slightly, but does not rise. His thumb trails along Darsce's fingers, but he does not otherwise move his hand. "A runner." His tone is flat.

Voices. One calling him dad and the other calling him… a runner? D'had blinks blearily up from his daughter's form to see… Mur'dah and Jethaniel respectively. The culprits! He glares. His next words are unintelligible, roughly-spoken and with a growl, "…puttin' 'er up t' tricks….get out!" He weaves unsteadly as he waves his hand in a violent motion to shoo them away.

Mur'dah stiffens, breath catching as he looks at Jethaniel and then back to his father. Shit. "Dad, stop," he says, starting out firm but then wavering to more pleading. He's still the son. Will always be the son. "He's her husband, he's every right to be here." And him…well. He doesn't know where he's going yet.

Jethaniel's intent may have been to answer D'had's mostly-unspoken question, not identify him. The intent is irrelevant; what matters is the events as they occur. The ones that have occured… have spent enough time on Jethaniel's mind that the answer came easily. It is dismissed by D'had; events… proceed. Jethaniel retains his seat and gains a frown. "No." His back straightens, sitting more upright but still sitting. His gaze flicks to Mur'dah for the defense, returns to D'had to meet that glare. "I will not leave her." He still has her hand, held with light fingers. He still sits beside her. His next words are meant to be entirely inside his head. They almost are, but his fatigue, his stress, the lateness of the hour mean a few of them escape, half-voiced. "…not…" something; a preposition "…you."

Thanks to the whiskey, D'had's doesn't recognize either one of them. In his fifty turns, he's been called worse things than a runner. Twice in fact, being unexpectedly called 'dad' from nearly adult offspring resulted in… trouble, lots of trouble for him (Asher and later Thea just had to deal. Oh well?) It sinks into his booze-muddled brain that here's yet another one claiming relation to him and he blinks owlishly at Mur'dah. He frowns, rocking on his feet in the wake of that arm-wave, "Can ya prove it?" It's a brush-off, really. He's not the slightest bit curious, because at his age, he's so over being found by long-lost, unknown flightbabies. He returns his attention to the guy holding Darsce's hand, his baby! "She don't need a flock of boys sniffin' around 'er!" Or sniffing the reeking fumes he's breathing in the alcove either, for that matter. And yes, he's including poor Mur'dah in the suitors flocking his daughter because he's already forgotten Mur'dah just called him 'dad'. He leans over to speak to Darsce, reaching a hand for hers. Perhaps his intent is to knock Jethaniel's hand away from Darsce's, perhaps he's just clumsy in an attempt to fumble for her hand but it certainly could be read as an attempt to come between the two. "Baby, Papa's…" he chokes, then uses her petname for him, "Daddy Darlin's here." Jethaniel's refusal sinks into his awareness slowly. No? Did the upstart just say no? He wobbles - and it's apparent to everyone but himself that he can't make them leave. They'll all be lucky if he doesn't pass out and fall onto that cot. D'had cuts Mur'dah and then Jethaniel another glare and growls, "Git ta gettin' already!"

Ouch. The pain flickers in Mur'dah's eyes as D'had's words cut him deep, but this isn't about him. Ignore it. Put the walls up. Accept - again - that Dad is gone. Detting Darsce's hand go, Mur'dah moves around to the other side of the bed. Great, now there are three crowded there, but he doesn't know what else to do. "D'had, here, this side. Sit over here, you can sit." And he reaches up, his hand /almost/ touching D'had's shoulder. He doesn't actually touch him, but he's attempting to guide him with proximity.

Jethaniel's hand, pushed away from Darsce's, curls into a fist, and he watches. He watches every moment of D'had's interaction with Darsce, the placement of his hands, the extent of his lean. The man is her father. If Jethaniel has a right to be here, so does D'had. Jethaniel is aware of this fact, but he will not leave Darsce. Not with D'had. Jethaniel's breathing is quicker now, and he smells the whiskey fumes on every one of those breaths. Darsce's Darling Daddy is here, in body if not fully in mind, but Mur'dah's dad… Jethaniel spares a glance in that direction as Mur'dah comes around. "He is not staying." His voice is low, the words relatively quiet. Jethaniel looks back to D'had's glare, and his jaw sets. He rises from his seat, fingers still curled on themselves, and directs gaze and words both at D'had. "I won't leave her. Not like you."

It's… that part of D'had comes and goes. He'd recognized Mur'dah three hours ago. But that extra few (or was it several?) gulps (or was it the rest of the bottle?) of whiskey to take the edge off the shock when his son had notified him about Darsce haven't helped his clarity when he was already drunk to begin with. "Ain't wanna sit!" he mutters to Mur'dah, his hand batting away any attempt to guide him to a chair without taking his eyes off Darsce, and he tucks his chin in a gesture reminiscent of hers. His calloused hand has hers - the unresponsiveness makes him frown in confusion. "I didn't see the wave, Ta…" he begins in a whisper only to see movement from the corner of his eye. Ah good they're both up now! He straightens, weaves and his protest is garbled, "Ain't left 'er." Or was that supposed to be 'ain't leaving'? His head jerks to indicate the curtain and he growls, "Beat it fellas." Why are they still here? He's confused. They've always run before.

Mur'dah dips his head at Jethaniel. Right. Not staying. Okay. He'll just…stay right here then, looking at both other men and then down at his sister, and then back at the other men. Quiet. He'll just be quiet. Here. In this horribly uncomfortable situation. Ain't leavin' neither.

But Jethaniel isn't one of 'them'. Neither is Mur'dah. D'had… may not recognize it, at the moment. He may not want to recognize it, or he may simply have drowned himself in enough whiskey that he doesn't, wanting made irrelevant. He doesn't want to sit? Good. Jethaniel doesn't want him to. He doesn't want him to stay, either. …and D'had doesn't want him. The feeling's mutual and opposite. "No," Jethaniel says to the repeated instruction. He reaches out, putting his arm between D'had and his daughter. "Go home." Or elsewhere, Jethaniel doesn't entirely care. Not here, and he moves his arm to slowly push D'had back. Unlike Mur'dah, he's not going to stop the motion before he encounters the other man. This situation seems… unlikely to end well.

There are things D'had wants to forget - having children are not among them. He's got enough whiskey soaking his brain to render him in a state similar to Darsce's. Really, it's amazing he's walking (if you could call it that) and talking. Whoever's in that cot, he knows he needs to be there for her, thinks she needs him. He's not one to argue overlong, so he'll just… ignore the command from Jethaniel and focus on… The push, though slow, triggers an instant, if sluggish response. He's seen plenty of brawls at the docks around Pern in his day and thus the automatic reaction is to swing a fist and ask questions later. He's clumsy, he may well miss and the movement turns him almost all the way around. He staggers, off balance, grabs at whatever's handy to keep himself upright. That'd be Mur'dah. Hello son! Hug!

Mur'dah starts to move when D'had throws…tosses? Gestures? that punch, and then he's catching him. Shifting his weight to support D'had's sudden heaviness, he takes a step back. "C'mon," he murmurs, wrapping an arm firmly around D'had's shoulders. "Here, this way…" Trying to steer him back out.

Jethaniel likely should have been expecting that response from D'had. He wasn't. His circumstances have been different ones, and while D'had's reflexes are slowed be the drink, they're still reflex, actions that have reached the level of instinct. Jethaniel actually has to think about what he's doing. Thought is a slow process, and so while the realization occurs that he should dodge, he does not entirely succeed in doing so. The punch lands on Jethaniel's jaw. It's lacking in force, because with the difficulty D'had has merely keeping his feet, he's certainly not managing to put his weight properly behind his fist, but there's still contact, obvious from the sound and the slight turn of Jethaniel's head. D'had turns further, and Jethaniel is left looking at his back. D'had's back, and Mur'dah past him. He's… left without words, and so he says nothing.

D'had sags against Mur'dah, his hands gripping the young man's shoulders, rocking on his feet. It's amazing they didn't both topple and go crashing through that curtain. He doesn't see Jethaniel anymore. He snorts, "Got ridda that one!" So he thinks in his muddled state. Mur'dah's arm goes around his shoulders and he blinks down at the hand, smiles crookedly and slings an arm about his son in response. "Lemme buy ya a drink," he says. Because he's a gracious winner of a brawl, yeah? Nevermind the brawlee is behind him. And that the tavern is closed. And that he should be home, in bed. "C'mon." He doesn't use Mur'dah's name. Does he remember it? He will tomorrow! He might not remember the news about Darsce and definitely won't recall being in the infirmary. Or punching his son-in-law.

Mur'dah grits his teeth and gives Jethaniel a swift 'are you okay?' once over. Then, deciding that getting D'had out is more important than sticking around, he glances once more at Jethaniel and then nods at D'had. "Yeah, let's go," he murmurs, giving his shoulders a squeeze and moving slowly through the infirmary. He has no plans to go get a drink, either. His plan right now is to take D'had back to his weyrbarn.

Object (or person) persistence is an advanced concept - too advanced to persist in certain states of consciousness. In D'had's awareness, Jethaniel is no longer extant. (Is he in Darsce's? Is she aware of any part of what's just happened?) According to the consensus reality, he's still present. He's not particularly harmed; there's no external signs of damage to Mur'dah's glance, just a set jaw and hardened eyes. He does not return himself to D'had's attention, but as Mur'dah starts to guide his father away, Jethaniel murmurs a quiet, "Thank you." Hopefully it's soft-spoken and innocuous enough to not draw D'had's attention. When Mur'dah returns - whether that's later tonight or not until tomorrow - Jethaniel will raise no objections to his presence. If D'had does… his reception may well depend on his degree of intoxication. For now, as the two riders depart, Jethaniel sinks back into the chair he vacated, reaching for Darsce's hand with both his own. He lifts it, brushes his lips to the back. "I'm sorry," he tells her, his voice soft and catching in his throat, and lowers his head further to rest it against her hand, eyes closed.

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