The Defiant

Xanadu Weyr - Infirmary
The infirmary here is intended for human care. It is regularly scrubbed spotless and smells of disinfectant, redwort and other herbs that are - if sometimes strong - preferable to the scents of sickness. Cots are lined up against one wall, with a set of curtains that can be pulled to give some privacy to the occupants of the cots if they so desire. They're mostly used for examinations of patients and the treatment of mild injuries that won't require long term care; near the back are some more private areas with folding dividers.

There's a number of cabinets that stand off against another wall, instruments and medications stored against when they will be needed, and a back room holds those supplies seldom required.

A desk with chair is set just off of the doorway to the caverns, meant for the healer to sit and catch up on record keeping after a long day's work or await patients. If things get too busy, the patients can do the waiting on a set of uncomfortable chairs set nearby. The other doorway comes directly from the clearing, wide enough for a team to carry a stretcher through.

Timing: some hours after the explosion in the Council Chambers.

IT HAS BEEN A TIME, a time of healers, a time of inexplicable explosions, a time of confusion and panic, A TIME OF CONTEMPT. COME JOIN THE WITCHER (by which we clearly mean Ila) ON HIS NEW ADVENTURES OF GETTING HURT, TAKING EXACTLY NOBODY'S ADVICE, DOING WHATEVER IN THE HECK HE WANTS, AND ALL WHILE DROPPING EXACTLY ONE LINE — MOSTLY OF THE FOUR LETTERED VARIETY. "Fuck." BECAUSE ILA-BADGER DON'T GIVE A SHIT. ILA-BADGER DON'T GIVE A — "Fuck." What time is it? To be honest, Ila'den gave up keeping track. Somewhere between hands being wrapped, 'expert' (THAT'S A RELATIVE TERM) fingers prodding tender bits of flesh, bandages being slapped at random intervals across his torso, his arms, his legs, and the healer-centric reality of getting poked a hundred different times by a hundred different sharp things, he lost his sense of it altogether. Time, that is. Time became the sheer act of surviving one moment until the next, each hard-won breath marking it's passing, each act of carefully restrained tolerance getting him through every painful ministration just long enough to find him at this point: standing (swaying and unsteady though he is), shirtless but for the painful draw of a stolen bedsheet around his shoulders, shouldering off yet more concern and ripping needles from his arm in a spectacularly irreverent display of disregard for his own well being. "I said that's enough," it's a gutteral snarl, low pitched and dangerous, baring hints of canine as he takes one ill-advised step, and then another. "Where the fuck is my husband?" And amid a rush of hushed words — words meant to soothe, to scold, does it really matter? — Ila'den finds him, finds R'hyn waiting out in the open of the infirmary on his own bed as if he SOMEHOW KNEW Ila'den would eventually give up any crumbling veneers of civility and raise hell to find him. And for just a moment Ila'den stands there, listing sideways in a posture clearly favoring one side, yielding to the persistent, throbbing ache of a broken rib, hurting but needing to be right. here. Ila'den stands there, pulling in shallow breaths that hurt, dripping blood from where he pulled IVs, mused and half-dressed, sporting a plethora of healer-grade patches to stare at R'hyn. Don't worry. He just needs a moment to absorb the reality of everything being okay, to let that grey eye devour the sight of him, wounded but alive, to let relief stagger his ability to take another step forward. QUICK, F'YR. COME SAVE THE DAY. SURELY ILA IS NOT THE ONLY HUMAN IN THIS INFIRMARY SPORTING AND IMPROMPTU CAPE.

SOME PEOPLE WEAR INVISIBLE CAPES, ILA. LIKE EVERY ONE OF THESE DAMNED HEALERS. All F'yr has to his credit is a big dumb face with a body of big dumb muscles to support it. Oh, and Ila'den. To support Ila'den, too. It so happens that this capeless, maskless still occasionally coughing BIG DAMN HERO is only that because he's WILLING TO CHANCE GETTING PUNCHED BY ILA'DEN when he ducks right under the arm on the favored side to become his moral support crutch. Don't mind F'yr if his big dumb eyes also do a little drinking in of R'hyn being alive. It's surely nothing compared to the ETERNAL BLAZE of Ila'den, but R'hyn continues, even slightly damaged, to be one of F'yr's Cardinal directions for his life and he got hurt today. So, he's entitled to a moment, a minute, and then he will help Ila to get to his husband at whatever pace suits Ila best, not even saying a word (but with the way his throat works, maybe he can't. Maybe he just breathed in too much dust? The one thing he does that's smart in this moment is to not ask if Ila'den is supposed to be in his own infirmary bed. Maybe the explosions addled the brains of the healing staff to not put them in a GROUP BED (or at least adjoining ones) to begin with. That guy who was directing people is probably new here; he didn't know they couldn't be kept apart. It's fiiiine.

R'hyn knows how many hours it's been; he knows because he's been counting them off, marking their passing, waiting them out with thinly veiled patience and a whole lot of hurt. Though not hooked to any machines - and thus allowed his perch out in the open - there is a healer at his side when Ila'den emerges from the depths of the infirmary, a young woman whose cool hands are pushing eyelids up so she can observe them, offering absent apology when her handling disturbs a cut near the corner of his eye, causing a wince. There are many such abrasions covering his body, some patched, some cleaned and left to heal on their own, but the majority - the wealth of bruises mottling his side, the surface scrapes where weaponized glass raked across his flesh - are hidden beneath clothing that is fresh, fitted, familiar. Someone has been by to see to him, to patiently endure his slow, stiff climb into a soft shirt and casual pants, and to perhaps leave similar wear for Ila'den behind, judging by the small pile of dark fabric at the foot of the cot. "Hmm?," is the sound of R'hyn tuning back in to whatever the healer was saying, eyes coming back from a long way away, a dragonrider phenomenon the woman is only too familiar with, given her patience in explaining the update on concussion and trauma again. "Thanks, yeah," is just as distant, a touch dismissive as blue-greys move, drifting over her shoulder towards the familiar figure that dominates the space without trying at all, brows tugging, lips twitching, shoulders dropping, every little, telling gesture that speaks to utter relief to see Ila'den stand there, on his own, whole if not a little broken. It lasts only a second, just long enough for that grateful emotive swoop of eyes to catch and seize on the leaking of blood at Ila's elbow, thundercloud eyes full of chiding as they flick up to meet grey, to utter a grated but carrying, "Can't we have one trip to the healers that doesn't end with them filing a report?" KETTLE SAYS WHAT??? But listen. You're right. They should have learned not to separate them by now, or at least kept some kind of record, but if you were to ask R'hyn THESE PEOPLE LOVE MISERY. But that's not important. What is is his expression, which doesn't so much ease as it shifts for the appearance of SUPERSTEFYR in their midsts, a flicker of surprise immediately squelched by something that would read as amusement in any other time, any other place, any other situation. Here, now, it's unspoken gratitude for the assist that he can't give himself, judging by how stiff and painful enough his motions are as he moves to make space on his bed, wincing even for the action of extending one contusion-riddled arm to pat the crisp linen surface. "Faranth, but if you two aren't a sight for sore eyes," comes rough from an abused throat as he slowly eases himself upright again. "Everything alright?" THIS FOR THEM BOTH, judging by his worried sweep, having lost track of F'yr in the chaos, and more than a little concerned for what the healers might have done to his Ila, half-hidden beneath that white-sheet cape of his.

INVISIBLE CAPES COUNT!!! And suddenly, F'yr. It must be a testament to Ila'den's current state that F'yr is able to get close enough to tuck his big dumb muscles under the bulk of Ila's. One moment, the former renegade is taking in the sight of his weyrhusband like a deliverance, as if Pern held one single religion beneath her countless stars and R'hyn, R'hyn with his mottled bruises and dragon-clouded eyes, R'hyn who is also broken, but likewise whole, were its sole deity; a benediction; an answered prayer; salvation. The next, reality crashes in with the same vicious appeal of dark matter combusting to make stardust. There's a flicker of consternation to mitigate the pull of pain starting in Ila's lips, that weighted, heavy gaze falling to take in F'yr as every single muscle in the older bronzerider's form goes taut, as a sudden violence finds root somewhere in his chest and yields a low, unspoken warning: a growl. It takes herculean effort to curb the vicious respite of any natural reaction, becomes an exercise in self-control for Ila'den to hold steady, to accept the help offered him, to remain where usually he might partake of a scathing retreat. "Thank you," comes pitched low instead, a grit-ravaged rasp contradicting the sincerity behind those proffered words, but does not negate the fact that Ila'den stays. It is important to understand that this, in and of itself, speaks volumes. But there is no ounce of Ila'den that takes to ease, no flicker of reprieve even when his attention is drawn back to his weyrhusband, to the words he speaks around chiding regard. "That depends, baby," is pressed through pain, through the effort it takes to continue one step, and then another despite F'yr's support. "On whether or not F'yr brought alcohol with him." Did Ila'den HUMOROUSLY LEAN DOWN TO SNIFF AT F'YR, AS IF HE MIGHT SMELL THE BOOZE ON HIM? Yes. Yes he did, and suddenly the ferality in his smile is more rakishly wolfish than threatening. "Did you, F'yr?" But suddenly he's breaking away, rolling shoulders to readjust the cover of stolen sheets and shake the tension of being touched, so that he can find the closest chair with hunched difficulty and drag it toward R'hyn's bed. There he sets it, there he sits, easing himself with a hiss as one arm comes back around his ribs, adjusting sheets to better hide beneath them. He gestures toward R'hyn's bed then, making his deference clear. "That also depends," Ila'den rasps, humor ruined by the persistence of pain in his tone, "did you bring booze, baby?" BECAUSE THEN, AND ONLY THEN, will everything be alright. "How about you?" comes softer, perhaps intended for both bronzers as well despite the fact that his attention is currently on R'hyn.

L I S T E N. Something a lot of people forget is that… when Stefyr left everything he knew behind, Ila'den was here. When Stefyr got lost in the deep dark woods, Ila'den was here. When Stefyr couldn't find himself, was groping for some kind of guidance and direction and wisdom. ILA'DEN WAS HERE. … When Glorioth found him and changed everything, Ila'den taught him. Ila'den helped him stay alive. Ila'den tethered him to the earth when he was unmade by grief and loss and pain. I L A ' D E N W A S H E R E. The very least F'yr owes to this man is to bear in silence, in humor, in respect the brief burden of giving the once-renegade the help he prickles to receive… because SORRYNOTSORRY, Ila'den, he's become yet another touchstone for the young bronzerider still in the tumult of becoming. You're stuck with him now. kekekekekeke hfhfhfhfhfhf F'yr has, by this point, however, been in relative proximity to Ila'den for long enough, been through enough self-defense training with him that he knows a few truths, which include (1) if Ila is really unhappy about this, F'yr will know. Oh, look, dat growl. It's probably a lot gentler than the young man was expecting. And (2) that he should let Ila go when he shifts away. The 'thank you' might have been a surprise, but somehow it fits so well with what he knows that it's a natural thing after all, to which he returns a quiet, "Of course," from the younger man. In the grand scheme, for F'yr, it's nothing to offer this service. It does not mean, however, that he does not recognize the significant something that it was for Ila'den to accept it. "They took my bag at the door." F'yr has no booze, because they took his bag. Does he get bonus points for having once had it? Even if maybe it wasn't going to be for them? It's while he's saying this that he gets treated to WATCHING ILA'S BIG DUMB SHOW OF SELF-SUFFICINCY. His jaw might snap shut and get tight because damnit, Ila, F'yr could have, would have gotten the damned chair for him, but it does perhaps demonstrate yet more that the younger man has learned a thing or two about the Weyrleader's husband from the observation from a semi-safe (inasmuch as any distance can be safe) distance he's maintained with Ila until now (or recently, anyway; that's over now, Ila, RIP EVERYONE). He drags his eyes away from the one-eyed man and to R'hyn to stare at him another long moment, his hands closing into tight fists that aren't rage, but just unconscious tension. "It's all being handled." Which probably means Risa's working much too hard, but everyone is doubtlessly helping her, pulling together, Galaxy working their protocols and so on. "I'm fine." He adds, in case that was the question. It also happens to be a lie, but nothing is wrong with him physically except oh, listen, he's got a cough that probably matches theirs (which he covers in his elbow). Stupid dust. That's probably also why he's tearing up a little. IT'S FINE. Dust. There's been a lot of dust today.

Ah, there it is, the reason that humor that never quite hits its mark: Ila'den's form stiffens for touch as unwelcome as it is unexpected, and though he bears it with ample grace, there's still muted apologies in R'hyn's gaze, a flickertouch of regret that he couldn't be the one to be at his side. Still. If anyone is capable of operating in his stead, it's F'yr. That mingled appreciation and relief lingers as tangled bronzeriders move closer to him, lips moving to form a 'thank you,' of his own, lingering on F'yr's features before narrowing in on Ila when the big man pulls away. He watches his weyrmate's every action, rapt, attentive, entire body insinctively on guard as though ready to drown out every wildfire red-alert to ensure what is left of Ila'den's safety. Luckily for everyone involved (read: F'yr's teeth, already in danger of grind-damage, no doubt), R'hyn possesses just enough faith to stay in his seat, taut muscles easing with a low noise for their release, eyes cutting from the swatch of bandaged skin up to Ila'den's face when questions are asked and he has just enough humor left in him to grate out low laughter. "No. I'm lucky I got you clothes," he says with a nod of acknowledgment for F'yr's bag being confiscated, lips quirking with a wry, "but it's the thought that counts." A thought that remains with him, the implication that perhaps he had liquor, perhaps not for them, clearly riding high on his mind as well. Half-greys lift to meet blues, fixing him with a long, steady regard that drifts downwards, taking in clothing, clenched hands, tension in his form, initial misunderstanding of his question recitified with a lie, and, "Sit down, Stefyr," is no longer an offer. He's being told to take the spot cleared on the bed, a spot whose space widens as he carefully, painfully turns his body until long legs can slide to the floor. He steadies himself before standing, listening - for once - to what his body is telling him before he travels the narrow distance between Ila and himself, ignoring potential protest - from either of them - in favor of brushing both hands over Ila's hair before they drop down to his arms, disrespectful as hell in the way he shifts and moves them until Ila's thumb is pressing against the slow leak of blood, and R'hyn is free to lick his own to clear as much away as possible. Very, very hygienically. Somewhere in the weyr, Citayla is screeching. At least he rubs the mess off on the lining of Ila's sheet instead of his own clothes, a wan smile on his lips as he resumes his seat on the bed, using this now-your-hands-are-busy trap to deposit his feet into Ila's lap as he GOES FIRST AFTER ALL and says, "Concussion. Again. They're increasing the therapy to watch for moodswings, personality shifts, memory lapses. Said I was lucky that my arm caught the wall as it came down," he says in a way that implies he doesn't think the truly impressive amount of bruising that's swelling against the confines of his skin is all that lucky, "but they think nothing's broken." Implied, but unsaid: it could have been much, much worse. Go on then, that look reads as he casts it between them. FESS UP. It's sharing-is-caring hour.

Perhaps there is an audacious kind of temerity behind Ila'den registering the unspoken implication F'yr makes when he is not as succinct in the younger bronzerider's language as another, better versed human might be. But Ila'den catches it all the same. A better man — R'hyn, for example — might do as R'hyn does now: offer an iota of comfort, provide a safe harbor, acknowledge the subtle nuances found in spoken word and take incremental steps to support if not correct it. A better man might at least offer up an abject, bromidic apology, a gesture well-meant, but no less trite. But Ila'den is not a better man; Ila'den is the man who endures the tightening of F'yr's jaw, the hyperattentive regard of his weyrmate, and still does nothing to ease the tension in either. He's the man that keeps R'hyn's eyes until R'hyn looks away, the one who drops his own gaze only then to take in the aforementioned clothes delivered and yet unpursued. He is not the man who reaches out in quiet solidarity to soothe away demons lurking, quiet and angry and ravenous, underneath the vague subtleties of language and the shock of expressive eyes. He is just Ila'den, alright at best. "Ah," comes hushed — an acknowledgement in and of itself, despite the fact that he allows R'hyn to handle the more important part: telling F'yr to sit. And here his weyrmate comes, Ila'den's tension multiplying with each moment on his feet, the bronzerider already reaching out hands to steady R'hyn by the hips while lips and brows pull in a consternation that turns to quiet, patient enduring the moment the Weyrleader is redirecting his hands and wiping away blood and making Citayla weep. WHERE ARE HIS HEALERS ANYWAY? They ran away, probably. To rally reinforcements. Perhaps tiny, angry stompy ones that will take a while yet to get here by virtue of having itty bitty legs to work with. But still, Ila'den keeps his eye on R'hyn's face the entire time, keeps the contact of skin if by dint of fingers alone until R'hyn is moving away and Ila'den is forced to let him go, is left to watching the feet that come into his lap while tilting a look to F'yr, EXPRESSLY DISOBEYING R'HYN'S UNSPOKEN DIRECTIVES. Indeed, Ila'den stops staunching the blood flow to utilize thumbs in a rolling press against the arch of R'hyn's feet instead. If it hurts, Ila'den doesn't breathe a word. Though to be fair, he isn't doing much breathing at all. "Mm," comes a low pitched, soft rumble of sound, a quiet acknowledgement of R'hyn's sharing that, from Ila'den, is not met with reciprocation. Instead, he rasps, "For how long?" How long will the therapy increase? How long will this be a concern? How long? And then he's looking at F'yr. Because L I S T E N. Maybe you could also take one for the team and answer R'hyn so that the Weyrleader is DISTRACTED from Ila'den's GROWING SHEET OF TRANSGRESSIONS. YOU GOT THIS.

WOWOWOWOWWOW. FIRST, he's growled at for touching and now he's looked to for assistance? Ila'den makes nothing easy. (This surely comes as no surprise to the designated distraction, even if everyone already knows that he's DOOMED TO FAILURE because of the gravitational force exuded between the two. It's fine, impossible is Glorioth's middle name. Surely his rider can manage some if not fully successfully against such odds. Yet, despite all that, the youngest bronzerider hesitates (something he'll lose points for when the judges get their scorecards out), before conceding to move over to where R'hyn indicated. If anyone thought F'yr's teeth were going to survive the night and still be useful for the carnivorous side of his diet, they clearly did not anticipate the additional heap of damage piled on by watching R'hyn get up and go to his Weyrmate and — // It's not like no one //didn't know this was coming. If Cita's screaming somewhere in the Weyr (AND F'YR COULD NOT BLAME HER ONE BIT), F'yr MIGHT be screaming RIGHT HERE. INTERNALLY. But he manages only to look tense as he waits to see if he needs to catch anyone. Really, it's probably Ila he should be catching, but if Ila'den's going to ignore the seeping blood in favor of a foot massage, F'yr probably assumes (RIGHTLY) that these little things like DRIPPING OOZING BLOOD would not stop him from PUNCHING F'YR for trying to alter the course of the iceberg instead of navigating around it. Ain't nobody need a reenactment of Titanic up in here, despite all the googoo eyes and willing-to-sacrifice-yourself-for-the-other epic loves going all around. So he sits. So he watches. So his blood pressure hikes up. So he waits. If this were anyone other than F'yr, there might be a flicker of envy for what's shared between the two men, especially given how he feels on a regular old everyday in regard to at least one of them, but this is F'yr, and there's no sign of anything but the utmost respect for what's shared there and complete (if unnecessary) support of it. "They just don't want me breathing more of that air. I've been helping," all of Quasar really, "from outside." MOSTLY. If anyone has met F'yr for more than three seconds, they KNOW he didn't completely obey the orders given him; he helped where he was most needed, even if that meant in the dust or near it. BUT LISTEN, his confession was easy. And he didn't even have to touch on the myriad of ways he's very NOT OKAY, but maybe those can just go unsaid given the way that his heart is a little in his throat with feels uncomfortably strong as blue gaze goes from R'hyn to Ila'den and back, and back. (YES, F'YR, THEY'RE STILL ALIVE. AIN'T NO BIDDY BIG BOOM GONNA TAKE THEM FROM YOU. IT'S FIIINE, BB.)

R'hyn remains unconvinced. He's one-too-many faux surgeries deep, one-too-many hushed confession in to not seek to fix things where he can. It's why he's no sooner settled back on the cot than he's looping one arm around broad shoulders, body swaying to offer F'yr a gentle back-and-forth shake, eyes intent on his blues, waiting for them to come up if he has to before he says, "Stop it with that face. I'm not going to break right in front of your eyes, and neither is he." Called. Out. It'd be straight rude if he didn't release the youngest of the bronzeriders from his gaze with a quickness, arm lingering but blue-grey eyes slipping sideways to focus on his husband because R'HYN SEES YOU, ILA. YOU AND YOUR VILLAIN MOUSTACHE. He doesn't seem terribly amused that Ila'den has abandoned his one job in favor of digging thumbs into the arch of his socked foot, dark eyes narrowing as they fixate on the former weyrleader with a press of his lips and a cavalcade of words he leaves unsaid. One beat. Two. Three. And then he releases them on a long breath, recognizing a fight he will not win, a need he can't deprive, would seek for himself if their roles were reversed. Eyes soften, tension in legs easing with the smallest, most fractional of smiles, shifting to push other toes under one thigh, seeking the pressure and warmth of Ila'den's body before he answers. "A couple sevens, to start. Lu said she'll reevaluate then, see if we need to continue," news serious enough that he feels the need to joke, need to quirk lips in a hard, ugly smile made uglier by the split in his lip, need to aim a look in F'yr's direction as he says, "I'm going to need you to move some things around on my calendar." And the understatement of the turn award goes toooo— "Okay, a lot. A lot of things. In fact, maybe toss the calendar and start over," he says, huffed laughter becoming a cough that wracks him far too long, emphasizes just why F'yr shouldn't be breathing forbidden air, as pain doubles him over, arm dropping to press against his sides, feet withdrawn to pull knees towards his chest. "Ow," he gasps as he finally catches air up into his lungs, "okay. That was a mistake. No more jokes. Not from me, or you, or anyone," accompanies a wooshed exhale as he tenuously extends his legs again, a blind shift of them in Ila's general direction, trusting him to catch and keep them as he seeks to ease his back onto the mattress and stare up at the ceiling, regrets written all over his features before they very carefully blank out. "Did you happen to notice if K'vir was still there?," is back to business, eyes containing little else but shuttered calm as they flick towards F'yr from his supine position.

LOOK. LISTEN. SEE ALL THAT IN THE PREVIOUS POSE ABOUT ILA NOT BEING A GOOD GUY? RINSE AND REPEAT THAT ISH HERE. The fact that Ila'den makes nothing easy does, in fact, include liking him. AND MAYBE HE LIKES IT THAT WAY. The point is that F'yr's teeth seem to be DOING PRETTY ALRIGHT despite it (and R'hyn, being just as willfully stubborn as the man he weyrmarried), because he does, eventually, manage to unlock his jaw long enough to speak. And Ila'den? Ila'den listens. He's as attentive to each word as he is the the press, roll, drag of battered thumbs against the soles of R'hyn's feet, the heels of his palms, the weight of his attention. But that grey eye lifts to take in F'yr, his hands pausing only long enough for the man to study his expression and then look to his weyrmate. IS HE RAISING HIS BROWS? ARE HIS LIPS PULLING OUTWARD IN THE BEGINNINGS OF SOMETHING FERAL AND APPRECIATIVE AND CHALLENGING. Yes, yes they are. But despite the fact that his ribs are in questionable order, beside the fact that the other two bronzeriders are treating this entire affair with an air of somber reverence that Ila'den should adhear to, the truth of the matter is that that just wouldn't be Ila'den. So R'hyn scolds and offers up reassurances on the same breath: R'hyn won't break, and neither will he. Cue Ila'den. Cue the oldest bronzerider of the trio suddenly pitching himself to the side and immediately regretting his choice. Cue the sharp, rattling inhale of breath, the sharp expel of one, two, five coughs, one hand catching at R'hyn to keep him steady and ease some of the burden on his already battered body as he hunches forward in reaction to sharp, white-hot pain and — "That was supposed to be funny," comes on a rasp, one that still, somehow, manages to lilt with amusement, "but now I'm pretty sure you actually need to call the healers." A wheeze (that's probably laughter) that is only exacerbated when R'HYN'S GOT JOKES. Listen. He's actually fine. In pain? Absolutely. But the man is going to make it, and eventually he rights himself just enough to nurse his own wounds with a tentative press of his hands to his side and another pull to realign those SLIPPING SHEETS over his body. LISTEN. MODESTY IS VERY IMPORTANT TO SOME OF THE HUMANS IN THIS ROOM. WE CAN'T ALL BE BRONZE-SCULPTED DAVIDS IN OUR PARTY SUITS. By which we mean — look. This isn't important. Important is the fact that Ila'den presses to his feet and reaches out for R'hyn when pain doubles him over, hands reaching for his shoulders except that he's in a lot of pain himself and doesn't quite make it in time. Honestly, that jarring movement exacerbates protesting muscle, angry fractures, and so it's for just a moment that he lingers, that he hunches over just enough to press his hands onto the mattress of R'hyn's bed, and attempt to catch his breath. This means he turns his attention onto F'yr as well, then drops it to R'hyn before his brows lift again — a subtle, unspoken question, despite the fact that R'hyn's clearly SOMEWHERE ELSE. LIKE XERMI'S HEAD, MAYBE. WE DON'T KNOW. "I can step away for a few moments if you need." This is for both of them — not so much a dismissal, but a genuine offer to give them space if F'yr needs to talk and Ila's presence is making it hard. "I can see if the healers left your alcohol in tact." And if he can't smuggle it in for the three of them.

F'yr gives it to him. He gives it to him. He asked for it, before he changed his mind. Long after R'hyn's arm has rocked his big frame, long after eyes have met and every secret fear is stripped bare of shrouding cover, if only the older man can decipher them all. He gets the big ones, surely. But the rest? Harder to say. Long after Ila'den makes his ill-advised bad joke that actually does have F'yr half rising and half reaching despite the invisible cactus barbs doubtlessly still IMBEDDED IN HIM from daring to touch the Man, the Myth, the Ila'den. Long after the coughs steal R'hyn's air and spasm his lungs and F'yr's arm reaches to touch the man's arm while he gets his air back. Long after all of that F'yr gives R'hyn just what he needs, what he can give, as everyone knew he would, right? It's all there in his faux baffled expression, the one that intensifies with every small hitch down of his brows, the furrows running lines across his forehead, all emotive in their complete, false floundering for a full beat, two, three, before he looks up at R'hyn and asks in the most painfully vulnerable (ENTIRELY FAKE) tone, "What calendar?" If the filing system is fake, isn't the calendar also pretend? It's not, but LISTEN, R'hyn needs humor right now. So F'yr gives it to him in the best way he can. No one mind that very slight lip-wibble. Please, let's remember, there was that time, when F'yr had busted ribs and R'hyn and Xermiltoth almost drowned him because he was laughing too hard. Payback, bitch. BUT SERIOUSLY, PLEASE NO ONE DIE. Because then F'yr couldn't say, "I should go. There's nothing to be said that won't keep, since no one is dying." Did you hear the hard edge to that? No. One. Is. Dying. COMPLETELY F'YRBIDDEN. "K'vir's still at it. So's Risa. I should go help more." Read: try to make sure neither of those two work themselves into the ground (alone). "I'll see if I can bribe an aide." To bring them the alcohol. "On my way out." Then he is moving to rise and he will at least try to make good on that promise, if no one makes him stay instead.

WHAT DID R'HYN JUST SAY, YOU TWO? WHAT DID HE JUST SAY. No. More. Jokes! And yet here he is, stuck between a funnyman and a comedian, and it's wreaking exactly as much havoc as one might expect. "Ow, fuck," marks air being gasped into abused lungs, his best, most functional arm drawn across his mouth as sharp, edged hacking subsides, "I'm so lucky it's not me with the broken ribs." Honestly, who authorized any of this. YOU SHOULD BOTH KNOW BETTER. HECKIN' RUDE. "Can hardly breathe as it is. Damn." Give him a minute and he'll be pushing hands at faces (or shoulders, or sides), Ila'den's first, then Stefyr's, the gentle playfulness behind each motion smacking so much of R'hyn's usual attitude that it even takes him by surprise. Perhaps that's why he sobers so fast, why business-like precision takes over his tones, why gravitas falls slowly over his facade, wiping it clean as a slate; he's guilty for eliciting playful banter at a time like this, apologetic for taking serious concern and turning into something to inspire laughter, chopped and broken as it is. "No, that's alright," is intended for either of them, or maybe both as he pushes himself upright again, awkwardness of attempting it with one arm and a head at risk finding him seeking both of their shoulders, steadying himself through a brief dizzy spell before sliding to his feet once again. "Nobody's dying," is firm agreement, the briefest of smiles flirting with the edges of his lips, "but I know a few people who probably need reminded to take a break." F'yr included, judging by the cut of R'hyn's eyes. "Walk with me to the exit? Xermiltoth needs attention," and has probably been drowning every passersby with his dragonly woes since R'hyn's attention was drug from his mind, not that any of them - dead to it by now, surely - would notice. "As for you," Ila'den, that half-beat of silence as full of recrimination as it is adoration as R'hyn leans to press a kiss to his brow, "back to your curtain. I'll be back very soon to help you change. We're going to have company." And reports. Lots and lots of reports. But for now it's a whole different set of needs he must see to, ones that glitter and shine, hot and sparking, in the backs of all of their minds, sunshine radiance beating down as R'hyn makes slow, sore progress towards the exit with F'YRCE ASSISTANCE

LISTEN, F'YR. THE TOUCHING THING ISN'T PERSONAL. And it's only made that much worse because Ila'den has on exactly zero (0 — oo that's dirty) layers to separate the contact with. THE BEDSHEET DOESN'T COUNT. See, the bandages depict a terrible enough picture (hidden though they are), but Ila'den keeps ALL HIS CLOTHES ON, ALL THE TIME, FOR ALL THE REASONS. Maybe the cactus barbs are half intended to prevent too damn many people from finding out just why — or getting close enough to be curious about it. Irrelevant. The important part is that Ila'den rumbles husky laughter in tandem with F'yr's question, a brief pull of his lips that is perhaps less pronounced if only because he is watching R'hyn a little too closely for it to be amusement alone darkening grey. "Nobody is dying," Ila'den rasps, as if adding his voice to those simple words might somehow bolster the truth behind them. And they are true. R'hyn rises, F'yr raises, and Ila'den shifts to stand as well, calloused hands gentle where they fall on R'hyn's body to keep him steady, attention pulling back to the Weyrleader when he speaks. And it's there. It's there for the fraction of a second it takes to draw in a painful breath, manifesting in the sudden tension of his body, in the way Ila'den cuts his gaze away too quickly even as R'hyn leans in to press a kiss to his brow. "Be safe," is what he says instead, gruff and low pitched. He will wait until both bronzeriders have vacated the space to DEFY EVEN MORE EXECUTIVE ORDERS AND DRESS HIMSELF, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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