I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Rubicon River Hold – Infirmary

This is the hold and hall's infirmary, along the back wall is a row of cots, used when ever needed. On the right wall is a large cabinet that contains the medical supplies used by the holds healer.

It's late in the evening in Rubicon's infirmary, and the room is all but empty. A patient sleeps on a half-curtained bed, heavily dosed with some kind of sedative, but the room is otherwise empty, save for the On Duty. Their braid identifies them as a very newly minted Jr. Journeyman from Xanadu. The healer sits at the desk, diligently filling out paperwork but frequently referencing a manual next to her for assistance.

Thea enters the Infirmary with a small cask under each arm. It's late, so she's quiet as she strides towards the desk. Her voice is hushed in consideration of those sleeping in the place, "Xanadu's greetings. Fresh numbweed from the first of our harvest with more to come tomorrow." She gives the On Duty a brief, cool smile. As she waits for her to respond, she glances around idly. "Tenebrous around?" Her voice doesn't sound all that hopeful given the hour.

The fresh Healer blinks a little and stands when Thea enters, smiling. "It's good to see someone from home, Weyrwoman," she calls quietly. "And good to see the Numbweed. They're down to using Runner Bags in some of the camps near the shoreline. This will help a great deal." She frowns a little when you ask about Tenebrous. "I'm afraid I don't know who you're talking about. There's an apprentice named Thakus that came up with us, but…" She spreads her hands.

Thea blows out the long breath she was holding, shaking her head in disappointment. This could be either good or bad news. The healer is given another look, with one spared for the woman's shoulder knot this time, "Ah, thanks. This should help until tomorrow's shipment?" She peers about, absently, "Where would you like these?" It occurs to her to add, "Young man, close to my age, might have been with Master Fraille?" Sea green eyes swing back towards the On Duty hopefully.

The young healer makes a gesture towards a rack of shelves in the back. "You can put them there for now, Rider. I'll dispense them with the evening's kits when I'm finished with the paperwork here." When Thea mentions Fraille, she oOoohhhs. "The errand boy. The Fetch? He went out on his evening hike a few hours ago. If you stick around, you might actually run into him. He comes here when he's done to swap out the bandage on his arm."

Thea's lips quirk at the use of the title Rider in regards to her but she says nothing. The rest of the Healer's words reach her as she is stepping towards those shelves. She frowns over her shoulder, "Tenebrous." It's a quietly growled correction, "Everyone has a name." Those casks are thunked down as gently as she can in her current mood and in consideration for both their contents and the sleeping patients. She's back by that desk and on her way out as she continues in a voice not made any less intense for its low-pitched tone, "Don't care if either one of them introduced him as the Fetch or not. He's a Journeyman. Show him some respect." Her lips are pressed thinly in a rare show if ire as she waves the woman's advice off. She's hastening on her way towards that door, "I'll wait for awhile in the courtyard. See if he shows up." And she's stepping out that door, irregardless of any calls to retain her.

Rubicon River Hold – Courtyard

Behind the imposing ivory limestone pillars of the great gates, beyond the red wall with its ivory towers, the courtyard of Rubicon River hold has been laid out on a grand scale. Unavoidably the first thing to come into the eyes is the imposing structure that has been carved out of the ivory limestone bluff. Perfectly plumb for a length of no less than one hundred weaverlengths, stone has been removed and recycled into nearly hundred foot high fluted ionic columns that hold up a wide roof, topped in waves of terra cotta roofing tiles. Above this, bronze shutters cover latticed windows in case of poor weather or attack. Below your feet, the expertly set red stone of the sweeping expanse this area is comprised of has been bordered in a simple geometric path pattern in the ivory stone as an accent. The stones are worn smooth with use and age, giving rise to the notion that this is indeed a bustling place. To the north and south of this, similarly laid paths lead away from the striking facade, to the west and up the stairs, lay the great bronze doors of the of the Hold Proper.

The Hold's close proximity to the shoreline, the breeze that blows in the summer evening is surprisingly brisk, refreshing on the brow of anyone that sweats or otherwise. Moonlight bathes the courtyard, and other than the Gold and her rider, the only sounds are the trees. That changes around ten minutes later when a quiet voice murmurs, "For a moment, I thought I was hallucinating…"

Thea jumps, her irate muttering stops abruptly and she lifts her forehead from the queen's cheek, her arms drop as she turns, sliding the queen a -look-, "Thanks for the head's up." Seryth's smug croon changes to a sweet trill of welcome to Tenebrous. The weyrwoman's smile is strained as she tilts her head to see him better in the semi-darkness, the moonshadow shading her eyes into pools of opaque moss, "Better not be. Don't need you to be doing that." Her short laugh is hollow, "You… getting on all right here Tenebrous?"

With Tenebrous' hood pulled, his face is invisible in the night, but there is a quiet smile in his voice when he speaks. "Hello, Seryth," he calls softly, raising a hand to her in salute. Then, to Thea, "Well enough. I serve much the same purpose here as I did in Xanadu. I'm good at it. It's what I do." He paces forward and out of the shadows. "Feet still hurt a bit though," he laments.

Thea stands where she is, leaning back against Seryth's head behind her. Her face may not be able to be seen, but her voice carries the emotions she's feeling clearly. Puzzlement is predominant, along with - something else, for her voice is rough a she asks, "Hurt? Why hurt? If they're-" She steps forward a few paces, "Are they letting you rest?" The moonlight illumines her right cheek making her slight frown visible.

Tenebrous smiles a little. "I ran here, Thea. That night, I started. It's a little more than two days. A bit longer than I'm used to, but I had … a lot on my mind." He pulls his hood away from his face, revealing weary features. "And *I* don't let me rest. Master Fraille has gone back to Xanadu. At my request."

Thea's face is a mix of emotions at all this news, although likely little can be seen of it unless one were used to working in the dark. Her chin jerks up slightly, "Left… that night? But, but… you didn't wait for Seryth to-" She cuts that off abruptly. Instead of pressing about what he's had on his mind, she jumps to his last, "At your request? Mind sharing why? I thought the two of you were inseparable?" She takes in his fatigue, but remains silent on that.

Tenebrous sighs. "Because there's too much to think about now, Thea. Too much in my head. Where medicine and craft are concerned, as much as I may deny it later, Fraille is running short on materials. Technically, I'm in charge of everyone but the seniors, at her order…" He rubs the side of his face. "It leaves…less time for more difficult things."

"More difficult things? " Thea echoes with incomprehension in her voice before she thinks she knows, "Ahh, so the run gave you some time to think?" She is nodding about Master Fraille, "They're always running short of something." But then he is rubbing his face and she steps forward peering at him with a sudden intent gaze, "What's wrong with that side of your face? You're always rubbing it."

Tenebrous stops in mid-rub, one eyebrow slowly raising. "I need to shave," he says slowly. "It itches." he slowly removes his hand, revealing several days' growth on his face. "I don't like…sharp things. Especially when they're…near my…" He waves his hand towards his throat a little anxiously. "You know." His voice is a little strained. He shifts on his feet, suddenly nervous. "It…itches…"

Thea laughs suddenly, "You know… that wasn't really very sensitive of me to ask you such a thing. I'm… sorry." Her tone is light, but sincere. In the moonlight her cheeks darken a bit. "I… think I worry about people too much sometimes." She catches the nervousness and blurts suddenly, "Would you like a ride on Seryth? Just a short one?"

Tenebrous laughs a little. "Since I met her, it's one of the only things I think about." He takes almost an involuntary step towards Thea. "But…" His eyes travel down to Thea's hands. "It's not you…"

Seryth's head snakes past Thea. In the semi-darkness her eyes whirl a slow green as her muzzle stops near enough for the young man to touch if he wants. She utters a low, questioning croon. Thea doesn't hasten to reassure, doesn't press. She simply nods, her voice serene, "I know." She tilts her head with a question of her own, "I think…if you'll trust me you won't have to need a way out for this ride." Her voice is light, diffident. His choice either way.

Tenebrous laughs again, a bit higher pitched. "That's what they keep telling me…trust people…" He rubs his hands together. "Trust the people, but they all have…two…" He links his fingers together and weaves them. "And the worst part is the fact that I want to…" His eyes flicker over to Seryth, and then the skyline…

"Shhh… shhhh, I know, I know, but look…" Thea's crooning merges with Seryth's. She steps forward and offers both hands to him palm up. "Take them." They are nowhere near him, not raised, just there. She doesn't watch his face, instead keeps her head tilted down watching her own hands, the palms dimly lit in contrast against the stark courtyard stones below by the moon overhead.

Tenebrous raises his own slowly, before placing them on top of hers, palm down. His skin is a little softer than last time, if only because of the work he's been doing with certain special persons. "They're…warm," he mumbles, and then looks up at Thea's face. "What do I do with them," he whispers.

Thea's hands are smooth rather than soft from her work in the office, strong from her work with Seryth. She holds them carefully relaxed rather than limp, "Just hold them." Thea waits, watching him through eyes veiled by lashes rather than looking directly at him. "How do you feel?" She's watching his breathing, "Do they make you as nervous when you have control of them."

Tenebrous shakes his head a little. "I … don't know," he murmurs. "I've never…held anyone's hands like this." He looks between the two of them again. "One … one at a time, during clinicals, but…" He glances over at the dragon.

"All right, that's fine." Thea keeps her voice light, "I'm going to try and lift them. I want you to try and keep them right where they are. Okay?" She waits for beat, then her arm muscles tighten, her hand grip just a little tighter and she attempts to raise them. Seryth, for her part simply continues crooning low, musically, her eyes serene.

Tenebrous' trembling gets more and more pronounced the more Thea moves his hands. "W-Why…" He swallows, and then falls silent, devoting his will to remaining calm.

The words are slowly spoken, "Keep my hands down, Tenebrous!" Thea's voice is firm now, although still low-pitched. She makes no sudden movements, but continues to push up. "Come on, you are stronger than I am." Her hands are moving up towards him although they are palm up, "You're doing fine. Fine. Tell yourself that, too. You're fine."

Between one breath and the next, his fingers snap closed around Thea's hands, and his face goes stone cold. Perhaps alarmingly…he's quite strong. "Not you," he rasps. "Not you…not your hands." And those hands do start moving down, fingers tightening, moving them towards Thea's sides. As that motion happens, the two of them draw close, moonlight shining off of wide, hard eyes. Then, after a sharply drawn breath, he hisses, "Fine…"

Yes he is quite strong. Thea winces, then cries out as his hands tighten. She bites her lip and continues to push up with them, keeping her eyes on his. "That's right, not my hands. Not anyone's. You could stop anyone. You're not a child anymore." It's a rather breathless assurance, "See you are fine." She finally allows her hands and arms to go limp. "Tenebrous… Ten- No Seryth!" She's trembling with the effort to hold the queen back. "You're hurting me…"

"Yeah," he growls. Barely two inches from Thea's face, his eyes narrow, another man's eyes. A man named Lekhin. “No…one…crosses…me," he whispers harshly. Then he blinks, and his eyes unfocus. "It was my fault…" Slowly, his hands relax, and he looks down. "This was my fault." His hands cradling hers, he raises his eyes. "This isn't what I wanted."

Thea blinks at the sudden change in the narrowed eyes. She sucks a breath in and in that moment her concentration upon Seryth is broken. The queen's muzzle begins to swing towards the young man - her attempt to knock him aside, but Thea's "No!" halts that. She doesn't move her hands as her breathing slows, "How-" She swallows, "How was it your fault?" She's nodding, "I know you didn't want this. Who would? It's all right. You're all right. You're fine, see?"

Tenebrous shakes his head slowly, gently uncoiling his hands from yours. "I hurt you…that's my fault." He looks over to Seryth, stammering, "You have to stop me if I do that…I can't do that to her…" he clenches his fists and takes a step away. "Thea, I'm…"

Thea shakes her head quickly, "No, no not badly. I knew what I was doing. Just think for a moment." She lifts her hands once more, "Look at them." She's watching him this time, "You can stop them." She shakes her head at his comment to the gold, "Seryth understood." His distress elicits a sigh, "One step at a time. Look, I meant to tell you. You can ride with me because you can hold your hands over mine on Seryth's harness bar." She gestures up at the queen's back. "You won't need a way out if you do that."

Tenebrous seems almost on the verge of tears. "You don't understand…I don't want to have to be in a position to hurt you to feel safe…I just…" He gestures limply, searching for words. "I don't know how else to do it…" He looks over at Seryth pleadingly. "It's all glass and mirrors, and it's all broken! Can't you help me put it back together again?"

Thea lifts a hand, rubbing at her face, "It's alright Tenebrous. Was just a squeeze." She shakes her head at him with a sigh, "I don't think she can do that. She couldn't do it for me. No one can do it for you. I had to take it one step at a time from the darkness." Seryth merely whuffs at him, continuing her crooning, comforting as best she knows how, nudging him gently. "She doesn't know what you're asking her, Tenebrous, but she thinks riding would at least help you tonight."

Tenebrous sighs shakily, looking between Thea and Seryth once again. "Is…that why you're here?" He rubs both hands over his face then, turning away. "The numbweed harvest," he mumbles, his voice thick. "Maybe if I start tonight, I can get back and help them with it before the week is out…" He shakes his head, laughing a bit weakly. "I wouldn't be able to walk."

Thea watches him with concern, "Actually, bringing the numbweed was an excuse to head over. Their shipment comes tomorrow. Wanted to see if you were doing alright. She remains where she is, silent for the time he's talking. "They probably need you more here." She hesitates then adds quietly to his back, "Maybe it wasn't so wise to try that with you, but if it helps, I… trust you."

Tenebrous shakes his head again. "Master Fraille thought that I might be able to concentrate more, with new things…" He turns to face Thea again. "But all I can think about are the old ones." He sits down on a corner of the gate wall and leans back against a support, closing his eyes. "There was this …woman. She arrived by dragon a few days ago and offered to take me back to Xanadu when the time was right. As soon as I agreed, I regretted it, and I couldn't figure out why…"

Thea shifts uneasily as he speaks of Master Fraille. Seryth's almost inaudible growl cuts off almost immediately as her Rider shoots a glance at her. "Maybe that's because those old ones cannot be ignored any longer?" She steps over and lowers herself easily to sit beside him on that low wall, resting her hands in her lap. "Oh yeah?" She tilts a look at him asking casually, "Have you figured it out then?"

Tenebrous laughs a bit nervously. "I figured it out the moment I saw you two standing here." He rubs that side of his face again, murmuring, "I really thought I was seeing things…I haven't slept very well since I came here. I keep odd hours, and…" He opens his eyes. "There's a place…back home, at Xanadu. In the deep woods. I usually sleep there, and I miss it…"

Thea smiles, "I see." It really comes out more like a question than anything else since hers wasn't answered in so many words. She takes in his fatigue, "Easy enough to pop back and forth a’dragonback each day. No need to sleep here, you know." She lowers her head, watches her fingers crease the wherhide on her trous, "Can give you a lift back, but how will Master Fraille take that?"

Tenebrous sighs. "I have absolutely no idea." He smiles a little tiredly. "You know, when we got here, she said very nice things about me to the Lord and Lady." Then he turns and glances at Thea. "Can I just…hold one of your hands? I want to try something…"

Thea listens, with a slight shake of her head, "I think you're over tired. My brother Tharen gets like that sometimes." His question has her lifting her head peering at his face in the dim light. "Of course!" Her fingers release the wherhide crease on her thigh, her hand lifts palm up. There's no tension in her at all although Seryth is several paces away.

Tenebrous starts out gently laying his hand upon hers, frowning in concentration. "Something's…not right." He shakes his head again, squinting in concentration. Then, like a lock turning in his head, he blurts, "Oh." Gingerly, his fingers twine together with Thea's, and he closes his eyes again. Face drained, he leans back against that support, lightly holding her hand, his other gripping the side of the terrace. But in time, it relaxes, and he exhales, tension easing from him shoulders. "Oh," he mumbles again, in response to something, and then goes still.

Thea remains unmoving, nothing more than a bit of a surprised glance down at their hands as he twines his finger with hers but that is all. Her eyes lift to watch him curiously as he relaxes, the pale light washes his face, illuminating the expression thereon but she doesn't speak. The silence lengthens; she is content to let it. The wind stirs the leaves of the nearby trees, the faint sound of night insects chirp, a nightbird calls. Seryth watches too, unmoving and silent.

Tenebrous opens his eyes after a long moment, and though he looks more tired than ever, a great deal of tension has eased from his features. "How strange that it should be so simple…" He looks down at the hand that holds his, and a little smile touches his lips. "I haven't been very good to you, Thea, and I'm sorry…"

Thea's eyes follow his down to their hands, one brow raises as she looks back at him asking quietly, "What's so simple?" His next statement has her blinking confusion, "Huh?" She remains as relaxed as ever, but allows her total puzzlement over that statement to show in her voice, on her mouth a baffled smile, "What that's supposed to mean?" She shakes her head, "You're just you, but if it helps I forgive you, even if I don't know what ever for."

Tenebrous mms. "It'll matter someday." He glances down at the two joined hands. "You have little hands, Thea." He raises his free hand quickly. "Don't get me wrong, I like them, but…they're little, and…" He smiles a little. "It takes two hands."

Thea shakes her head with a slow smile, "Well shards but you're a bundle of mysteries you are. Every time I think I have you figured out…" She actually chuckles over the next statement, "Yeah, I know it does." See? Not offended. She flickers another curious glance at him before asking carefully, "Do you, ah… know why two hands is on your mind so much?"

Tenebrous' hand goes slack in Thea's when she asks that question. "Yeah…Yeah, I do." His face screws up a little, and he turns to look at her. "Can we…not do this right now? I just…" He looks down at their hands again. "Can we not do this?"

Thea nods, "Of course?" She's not hurt in the slightest, puzzled maybe. "You… don't have to ever if you don't want. Was just wondering." There's a shrewd look at him, "You're…" She doesn't finish the thought. Instead she asks, "What do you want to do?" She tilts her head, waiting rather than pepper him with more questions or choices.

"I'd like you to finish your thought, for one, and second…I really was kind of just enjoying holding your hand without …" He makes an erratic gesture. "It's the little things," he mutters.

"More together." Thea obediently finishes with a shrug. Holding her hand. That sinks in, she frowns slightly, but she doesn't say anything about it. Instead she asks, "So… you said you'd been thinking about stuff. Anything you want to share?"

Tenebrous jerks a thumb at Seryth. "'s her fault, for the most part, though Master Fraille played a part as well…" He glances up at the moon for a moment. "All it takes is a word from someone with…power. One word, to give someone else that power. It makes it easier…it's one more piece of armor…" He turns to look at Seryth. "When she's in my head, things line up…she thinks things, and thoughts just…line up." He looks back over at Thea, gripping her hand a little more comfortably. "We talked…the night I left. There were things available in my head afterwards…to think about. While I ran…"

Thea hmms at this, "Seryth huh? What'd she say that helped things line of for you? Do you mind me asking? All she told me was that you're too worried about what the mindhealers think and that there's a dark someplace you need to believe you can walk out of." She shrugs, "She didn't include me in that conversation until the last bit."

Tenebrous slowly turns to face the dragon, raising an eyebrow. "It's not what she said…" He turns to look back at Thea. "It's how she said it. I can't really describe it…when she said things, I thought about responses in a perfectly …clear way. Clarity. Great clarity of thought…"

Thea nods at that, her eyes drift over to Seryth, "She's got a peaceful way about her. Tranquil. She infuses me with it when I don't fight her. She sustained me though… a very bad time." Her eyes remain on the queen, "I'm so glad you talked with her then. Can keep doing that if it's helping." She leans her head back against whatever is back there, bars, support. "Did you ever figure our what a friend is, Tenebrous?"

Tenebrous offers up a brief bit of laughter. "Funny you should mention that. That's actually what I was on my way to talk to you about the night I left…" He leans back again. "Listen…They set up rooms for everyone that came up from Xanadu and the hall." He removes his hand from yours long enough to wrap his fingers back around it. "I normally sleep elsewhere at night, and…you could stay here. Tonight, stay in my room."

Thea lifts her head from where she's leaning it to blink back at him from where she's gazing at Seryth, "Stay where? Here? But, but…why?" She shakes her head, "Do I dare ask where you're sleeping if not in your own room? And I can be back at my on place in less than two minutes *Betweening*" Her eyes drop to her hand, "You're tired. I'm tired. I can… pop over tomorrow and give you a ride back if you still want it. Wouldn't take you *Between* your first ride."

Tenebrous ahhs. "I forget about that sometimes…I get used to moving around on the ground." He gently extracts his hand from hers a moment later and just looks at it for another few heartbeats. Then he twists his head at an odd angle until his neck pops loudly and he sighs. "Been trying to do that all day…" He stands slowly, grimacing a little when his weight hits his feet and then turns to Seryth. "You should take her home and put her to bed…"

Thea stands, her movements stiff, awkward. "Numbweed making. Unaccustomed to that sort of labor," she explains briefly. "Trying to sleep all day, huh?" She smirks just a bit at that, "Try your room and not in a tree somewhere?" She backs towards Seryth, not wanting to be rude by turning her back to him, "Do you want me to come for you in the morning then?"

Tenebrous watches you for a moment. He opens his mouth to say something, but then thinks better of it, and simply adjusts the satchel that hands under his coat. "Yeah," he offers after a moment. "Yeah…if it's not too much trouble." One hand casually reaches back to raise his hood against the wind that has begun to pick up.

Thea nods, then shakes her head, reassuring him, "No trouble at all. I want to. Seryth wants to." She smiles uncertainly for some reason, then turns and scrambles up Seryth's side. As she's buckling herself in, she calls down, "I think you would have liked a moonlight ride, but you'll see the land better tomorrow." Seryth crouches, her wings lift and she launches, wings churning the air on the courtyard. Tenebrous will be lucky if her keeps his hood on. From above Thea's voice floats down along with the moonlight, "Get some sleep….."

Tenebrous watches her go, the breeze from the dragon's wings pushing his hood away from his face. "I lied," he says to the wind. "I don't want you to come for me tomorrow," he calls quietly. "I don't want you to have to come for me…I want you to stay, and hold my hand, and let me hold yours…" He blinks away a bit of moisture in his eyes. "And I have no idea why…" He looks away from her skyward departure then, jerking his hood back into place. "There was just…no way you could have said that while she was within earshot, was there…" He starts towards the Hold, towards his bed, and then stops. Then, just as abruptly, he starts in the other direction, towards the forest, and work.

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