Techniques For Healing

Xanadu Weyr - Hali's and Darsce's Room

This is one of the many windowless, standard shared rooms hewn from the same rock edifice that also forms the living caverns. The walls have been painted a sheer olive green, the color so light it's barely discernible while white-painted ceiling, doors and trim brighten the small room, large enough to squeeze two single cots and a dresser in. It comes with a six-foot high niche carved in one wall that serves as a closet, hinged wooden double doors fold open to allow access to the clothing hanging within and shut to disguise the chaos that reigns after having been riffled through. In one corner there's an oval, antique-brass-framed, full-length mirror, while in the other an ivory-colored overstuffed easy-chair is situated. Serving to cushion bare feet from chill stone is a pretty tapestry rug that reaches nearly to the perimeters of the room, the floral and leaf motif mostly dark olive with touches of gold, fuchsia, peacock-blue and smoky-toned purple.

If kept neat, this would be a sophisticated and stylishly feminine-looking abode. Alas, while Hali's bed is made, teal and fuchsia pillows on her gold bedspread neatly arranged and her side of the room clutter-free, Darsce's side looks like a bomb went off in it. Coverlets are usually left rumpled and thrown back, pillows scattered anywhere BUT on the bed, piles of clothing discarded there instead as well as heaped on the chair and floor while searching for the perfect outfit for the day - the rug is usually but barely glimpsed underneath the carpet of cast-off clothing. The nearest half of the nightstand between the two beds is cluttered with hairbrush, nail polish, make up, jewelry, bottles of perfume, an empty klah mug or two and who knows what else. C'est la vie!

Afternoon has rolled around to [[player:Darsce]]]'s room. The blonde has slipped out of her bed quietly and left Jethaniel to sleep off his fellis. She's caught up on the sleep she lost last night while playing healer. She's also managed to tidy her clutter somewhere in there (don't look in the drawers - they're a mess now). Gone for almost an hour, she now returns, bracing heavy a tray against her hip with one hand while opening her door with the other. She leaves the light off upon entering, nudges that door quietly closed with her other shoulder. Across the semi-darkened room aided by a dim nightlight she heads with carefully-placed strides deadened by the lush carpet she goes to place the tray on the bedside table. There's a faint tinkle of ice on glass but no sound of the tray actually being set down. It's there, though. She just doesn't want to awaken the man who sleeps there.

It is typical, while convalescing from injuries, to spend a great deal of time in bed. Ordinarily, this is done either on a cot in the infirmary, or in one's own bed. Jethaniel is instead lying in Darsce's, as his attempt to spend time in an infirmary cot encountered complications and reaching his own bed would currently require navigation through the ice storm. His own restfulness is being significantly encouraged by that fellis, and so he's been in at least a half-doze ever since he encountered the horizontal surface. He didn't fall asleep so fast as to not put his arms around Darsce before he did - but neither did he wake when she disentangled herself, his murmur not even reaching the level at which it might be called semi-coherent. While she's been gone, he's continued to sleep. Stardust vanished for a while - perhaps foraging for her own breakfast? - but sometime while Darsce was gone she returned. She's here now, tucked away on the far corner of the bed with her eyes half-lidded and watching. Darsce is successful, for the soft sounds of her arrival fail to rouse Jethaniel. He's not quite in the same position as she left him, though his breathing remains slow and even.

The next thing to be shed is the shoulder strap to the heavy satchel bag Darsce has brought with her from one of her stops, those being the Weyrwoman's office, the infirmary and the kitchens. The bag is set down on the floor with care not to thump the bed. It's left on the side where Jethaniel lies so he can reach it later. Those things done, she remains beside the bed, bending to better see his sleeping face, looking for those telltale signs of pain - the twitch of brow, the lined wrinkle of lids, for it's past time for his next dose. She does this, for she wants to provide good care, yes, but also to just…see him. And so she does and as he sleeps on, her faint frown of concern fades to a soft smile. She remains thus, trying to deny the impulse to touch him, for that would wake him and he needs that rest. It's…too strong, the wish and so with a barely-there touch, she traces his brows with a fingertip that follows temple to skirt his hairline, the edge of an ear and along his jaw. Her back begins to complain about the bent position and so she straightens to ease it and crosses to the other side where that bedside table is, steps out of her shoes, careful to avoid disturbing either Stardust or Jethaniel, eases herself down beside him. She will lie here and think and listen to him breathe while the tightness of stress inside slowly ebbs.

Jethaniel's sleep is not entirely untroubled, but the signs of pain are sparse. There's a slight tension of his forehead, left behind from when one of his shifts of position involved an abortive attempt to move that leg, but the fellis blunted the pain and sent him back to his slumber. Now, it's tiredness that keeps him under, more than the drug - but it's a fragile doze. Jethaniel does not, ordinarily, sleep this late - regardless of how long he was awake the night before. Today, he slumbers until Darsce's touch begins the process of rousing him. It's a slow one - the first brush of her finger simply eases that subtle tension with its passage. His lips part, soundless, as her touch trails over his ear, and when it comes along his jaw, it brings those lips together again in a smile. Jethaniel is not what might be considered awake, yet - simply responsive to that touch. Wakefulness will come, but his mind drifts up slowly from where it's gone. The shift of the mattress as Darsce settles down on it may encourage that wakefulness - careful as she is, she can't entirely avoid it from transmitting the change in pressure - as may the sound of her breathing beside him. The character of Jethaniel's inhalations changes, as wakefulness comes, settling into a new pattern a moment before his eyes slowly open to regard the dim ceiling above, the indications of his surroundings arriving at the same time as the sensations of his body - and, given those sensations, Jethaniel does not attempt to move, but he holds that breath of his for a moment, listening for the sound of Darsce's.

It takes time for those thoughts to stop their pressing, for breaths taken to be less shallow. He's there beside her, and if bruised, at least he is safe; she soaks in the physical sensations of him - the warmth along the side nearest to him, the depression in her mattress where he lies, the faint scent of man that her perfumes and lotions cannot hide - not from her. At length the tension of her stomach relaxes enough that finally, with a sigh that allows for deep and even inhalation followed by exhale, Darsce breathes. The past hour has been fraught with…unpleasant things but they are past and she has planning to do. A faint smile curls her mouth and the bed quivers as she stifles a silent laugh. Jethaniel would call it logistical planning - and he would be right. She'll need Mur'dah for part of it, the other she can do, but later, when the crowds are sleeping. The urge to laugh departs, the smile lingers as she turns carefully on her side to face the (still?) sleeping man.

The signs of presence are subtle ones, but they are ones to which - within the vast number of sensations which may be perceived, and the vaster number yet for which human senses are not capable of direct awareness - a person may become attuned. The weight of bodies in Darsce's bed approximates a metaphor for gravity wells in space. The warmth is radiant energy, moving from air molecule to air molecule - those same molecules inhaled and (warmed within the lungs) exhaled once again. The scent is other molecules, tiny ones. Hydrocarbons, primarily, but in many variants… and among them, certainly, sweat from Jethaniel's exertions while wearing his coat. All this complexity, for a room with two humans and a firelizard. Jethaniel lies in Darsce's bed, eyes half-open, and watches the ceiling. It's an unfamiliar one. Not one he hasn't seen before - he's been in this room - but not the one he usually regards when in this position. The dim light comes from a different place. The texture is subtly different. He lets out a slow breath, and carefully turns his head - not that there has been any injury to it, and yet the sensation of his wrist and ankle encourages him to caution in all his movements - to face Darsce. In that dim light, the shapes seem to simplify, reduced to planes and perceptions of varying depth. Nevertheless, he finds a great deal for his gaze to consider, and he watches for a moment before he opens his mouth - but his attempt to speak finds it dry, and he closes it to move his tongue and regain enough moisture to swallow and leave the residual moisture necessary to speak effectively.

Ah yes, about those hydrocarbons. This is part of Darsce's logistical planning. Sweat - his - doesn't bother her, though the lingering medicinal scent clinging to both of them from their night spent in the Infirmary is cloying. But it is his comfort rather than hers Darsce considers; she vowed to care for him and she intends to be a good 'healer' in doing so. She lies awake, not sleepy in the least. Her sleep cycle for turns has been tuned to wakefulness during the afternoons, evenings and most of the nighttime as well. Part of that was her line of work; that's when the crowds came to fashion shows and wandered the shops to purchase the expensive jewelry she designed. Her more recent schedule of hours is not an ingrained habit as yet and the nap she took after arriving back here this morning has added to the wakefulness. She's watching Jethaniel's profile and knows when he turns his head. Her first action should be to get up and give him the chilled juice she's brought, add the fellis packet first, of course and speak to him about those logistics. Instead, she lies there, both hands balled up under her chin and regards him solemnly. The dim light does a curious thing to her eyes. They are not iceblue but shadowed bluegreen picking up the tints from her nightlight. As a child speaks from the shadows to reach for comfort when IT is still lurking amongst the indistinct shapes seen and will hear her from her hiding place she whispers, "I thought you were going to die."

The vast majority of the healing required will be done by Jethaniel's body without any intentionality at the level of a sentient human. The care required will be primarily to make him comfortable so that those autonomic processes may proceed without agitation from the pain response - and, perhaps, to keep him from overexerting himself, though at the moment he does not appear inclined to do so. He continues to lie there, but his eyes seek for Darsce's. His head shifts to assist this action, but the motion is a subtle one. Where her eyes catch the nightlight's glow, his are in shadow, the planes of his face making spots of concealing darkness in which the grey of his eyes is but a certain softness. Her words bring a tilt of his head, inclining it subtly downward. "I do not wish to." The words are soft, the lingering dryness of his throat adding a certain roughness to his voice to replace the blur that the fellis - having been metabolized - no longer creates.

Hopefully Darsce will assist in the effort to keep him from overdoing. That is her goal, anyway. "I didn't think you did," she answers and then closes her lips on the words that threaten to escape. If he did, he being efficient, would perhaps have taken care of that already. "I brought you a tray. You must be thirsty. And it is past time for your medicine; I've got that too." She pushes up to sit and reaches for the juice and one of the paper packets busying herself with the mixing thereof. It isn't but a few seconds until she turns back, glass in hand with an arm offered to help him rise enough to sip from the straw.

Jethaniel reaches his hand toward Darsce as she begins to sit up, extending partway across the distance before it stops. "I am sorry," he says - as he has many times over the past day - but this time he includes an explanation promptly. "For worrying you." It's the same explanation as he might have given the first time he said that apology. Perhaps the lingering effects of the fellis, mostly dissipated or not, are contributing to his loquaciousness… but efficiency is not the only thing Jethaniel considers a virtue. Perhaps he considers the explanation to be worthwhile for other purposes. He nods to her assessment of his thirst, but he's quiet as she turns away, settling for those seconds with his thoughts. When she turns back and offers her aid, his eyes close for a moment, pressing firmly shut on those considerations before he accepts the offered aid. Given his current state, overdoing it may be difficult - or else very easy, because it will not take much to be excessive to his capabilities. "You…" He pauses, reconsiders. Swallows, once again. "Thank you."

"Shhh, not your fault, it's-," Darsce starts and then with a shake of her head leaves it there while mixing the stuff. She keeps her head averted until it is finished turns back and positions that cup. She sees his eyes close and thinking he's steeling himself for the taste, says wheedlingly, "I got something sweeter this time. It's a mixed berry juice, the kids love it." She might've brought him a lollipop too? The faint smile fades quickly after the explanation, her face growing serious once more. "Unless you'd like me to have a healer visit with a syringe, then you won't taste it?" Not a tease; this is given as a serious option. He drinks though and she murmurs, "You're welcome." Silence while she watches him, her arm still under his head. Does he want to sit against the padded headboard or lie back down? "Are you hungry? There's food on the tray. Do you need to, hm, be wheeled down the hall to use the restroom?" Has she been hydrating him enough? Is she starving him? He won't ask her for things and while she could ask a barrage of questions, he just woke up so she will just poke them at him one by one instead, sprinkled amongst his apologies.

Once more, Darsce assures Jethaniel that something is not his fault, and he accepts this in silence. It's not a silence of disbelief, simply one of… thought, perhaps? An attempt for him to bring conflicting views into agreement. His eyes look up for hers, once they open again, and he nods. "I can drink it." Sweet or not. There's a slight smile as he adds, "I have tasted worse." That expression doesn't last for long as he tilts his head to take the straw between his lips. This time, there's no grimace - perhaps the berry juice is effective at masking the taste, or perhaps he's simply used to it enough that he is not impelled to make a facial commentary. He sips, swallows, sips again. "I… may eat." Jethaniel's tone is uncertain; his stomach is giving signals somewhere between hunger and nausea, as if the one has gone far enough to turn into the other - which the doses of sweet juice and bitter fellis have likely not been helping. Another sip, during which he considers, and then the mention of the restroom makes him lower his gaze. Considering, perhaps, but the results of his self-assessment make him conclude, "Not yet." Though he will not be able to avoid that necessity forever, even if he is running somewhat dehydrated - mostly from the time sleeping in the winter air. Another few sips, finishing the fellis-laced juice, and then he lifts his gaze to Darsce once more. For a moment, he regards her, hesitant. Perhaps if he levers himself with his good hand and kicks off with the leg - and waits five minutes to have the fellis is full effect before he does - he can… but, while efficiency is not the sole virtue Jethaniel espouses - or even his primary impetus under this circumstance - he nevertheless brings himself to ask. "Will you help me sit up?"

Darsce has something to say on the apology; she's waiting. It's not so much a conflict as properly assigned blame. She holds the cup steadily while he takes the juice. It's probably been mixed better than it was last night - the juice is thicker as well. There might be some sugar added? Not that… Darsce tell him that. She coughs back a laugh at his so brief answer regarding the restroom. "When it's time I can have my brother take you in." Will that be any less awkward? When he's finished with the juice, she holds the empty cup and patiently watches the outward signs of the thought process happening on the other side of her bed. "It would be my pleasure," she says not quite keeping the smile from her lips. The cup is placed on the table. Can't do this one-handed. She crawls back to his side, braces herself on her knees and positions her hands under his armpits. Briskly she says, "On three, push with your hand and leg (no qualifier there - she figures he knows which ones to use). Ready? One, two, three!" She lifts and haul-slides him upright and back in a swift motion. It's… more like a jerk, forgive her and she nearly lands in his lap doing it. She does manage to catch herself on the headboard with a hand on either side of his head. Hello! Yes, that probably hurt, but it's like having a tooth pulled? Over in a flash? Heh. Poor Jethaniel.

Having Darsce's brother help will, at least, be a different kind of awkward? Jethaniel does not appear entirely happy with the prospect, but he does nod to it. It may yet suffice to keep him from attempting to do it on his own. Surely if he hops carefully enough he can… perhaps not. He makes no comment on the thickness of the juice - at least the sugar will provide him some nutrients, even if he doesn't manage to eat? - but he does finish it. Soon the drugs will take effect, but first, it's time to cause himself pain - or, rather, sit up. Sitting up is the goal. The pain is the side effect, though Jethaniel is hoping to minimize that. It's why he asked for help. His arm and leg - yes, he is quite aware of which to use - tense in preparation, getting ready to brace and - "Ah!" It's a sharp sound, an exhalation of pain to go with the soft thump of his back against the padded headboard. He's sitting up now. He's also wincing. Fortunately, he has fellis entering his system that will soon be taking effect. Unfortunately, it has not yet done so, and while the sharp pain only lasts for a moment, it serves to initiate a dull throb that seems inclined to continue. Jethaniel's good hand tenses, curling in on itself against the sheet, and his eyes press tightly closed for a moment before slowly opening to see Darsce before him, holding herself just barely away… and he reaches up, putting his arm around her to pull her closer. This may be ill-advised, as her position is not necessarily a sufficiently stable one as to give her much control over her choice of landing spot. At the moment, he does not appear to care. He wishes to hold her and lower his head against her (and after all her efforts to get that head raised, too!)

Depending on which brother, the awkward-dial can go either up or down, too. Nothing like having the Weyrleader help you to the urinal, eh? Darsce could wheel him right on in and up to where he needs to be but… not going to do. For several reasons. The maneuver was probably not the best and the gasp-laughed, "Hey it worked!" from her is evidence that she's never done it before. Than she gets a peek at his face and gulps, "I'm sorry! Are you okay? I saw my mother do it more times than I can tell you." She stays right where she is, leaning to peer at his eyes, waiting for them to open. "We need a more effi- ah!" She wasn't expecting his arms to pull her in, but goes with it, hands withdrawing from the headboard to drape around his neck. He can rest his head on her shoulder or forehead or where ever it's at. "You're not going to pass out are you? Breeeeeeath, Jethaniel…" She's… a terrible care-giver. The healers will be demanding she give him back, she just knows it!

It could, in fact, be awkward, very awkward, or exceedingly awkward. Nowhere in this list is a non-awkward option - unless one includes Jethaniel doing it himself, in which case it's merely excessively painful. …he is not necessarily removing that from his list of possibilities. He is, however, not going to suggest that option to Darsce. In fact, at this precise moment, he's not going to suggest any of them to Darsce. This is only partially due to his change of focus to executing the change of position that results in his sitting up. It does indeed work! It is highly effective. The issue is merely the side effects. Jethaniel does breathe, though he does so with his head pressed against Darsce's shoulder. The breath is slightly ragged. The position of his head is partially an attempt to hide his weakness. If his face is pressed down against her, she cannot see the pain in his eyes. Of course… she can likely infer it from his actions, or perhaps from the tone of his voice as he murmurs an, "I'm sorry," to her shoulder.

Yeaaah. Like Darsce is going to send him on his own into a tiled room high on fellis. That's a recipe for a cracked skull. There's a third option? She… heh… requested one of those special plastic bottles from the infirmary (it's beside his side of the bed) and can just step out of her room for a few seconds? She's petting his hair while he breathes. She'll give him as long as he needs to… Waitwhut? He's sorry?! Darsce reaches to cup his face with both hands, easing back so she can look him in the eye. "Jethaniel. Why are you- " A sigh. "Stoppit, okay, just stoppit. You apologize for everything. It makes me feel like you think I'm going to erupt in displeasure for every little thing. Honestly, have I ever done that with you?" She's laugh-crying because yeah, she just hurt him and he's apologizing for feeling it! "Your apologies, do you know what they do? They distance you. Auuugh!" Her fingers curl (gently) into his hair and her forehead touches his. "I love you so much! You have nothing to be sorry about!"

Jethaniel would prefer to continue to not have a head injury. As such, he'll choose among the awkwards. Probably the one that only requires him to impose on Darsce. Possibly not entirely as a calculated decision, if his hesitance to do so means he waits until the coordinational effort of arranging for one of Darsce's brothers would be problematic. The stroking of her fingers against his hair corresponds to a slowing of his breathing, which is likely the desired effect. When Darsce lifts his face such that she can look him in the eye, she'll see some evidences of pain still there - though not nearly so much as in the moment immediately after the move. They're wide, in the dark, looking to hers, and he swallows as he prepares to give an explanation that… doesn't come. Darsce tells him to stop, and his gaze lowers, watching her lips as she speaks. His eyes lift again at her mention of displeasure, and as she asks him the question - rhetorical or not - he shakes his head. She has not. His arm loosens from around her, and his hand reaches up, fingers brushing gently against his shoulder before going still as she talks of distance. His eyes remain open, blurring as they try to continue to focus on hers despite the reduction in distance. Jethaniel is still at Darsce's expression of love, eyes staring into hers, and when he speaks, his words are soft. "I'm-" He stops, starts anew. "I don't think you'll be angry. I simply want to… do things right. I'm-" Another pause. "I love you. I want to do things right."

Darsce would prefer that Jethaniel is comfortable and safe. This is going to be more than a logistical challenge. She'll likely remind him many times that he's not an imposition and that she is happy to help him. Happy isn't the right word, but it will do. "I won't try that move again," Darsce promises contritely. "I guess it works for drunks, but the generalization was not… a great idea." She eases astride his lap - it's less awkward than kneeling beside him on that bed - and leans in as her arms gather him close. "You don't have to do everything right; I don't want perfection. I want you. Please. You're allowed to make mistakes. Besides, you know what? You're doing juuust fine so far as far as I'm concerned. I have no complaints." She should be feeding him. Instead she is… having guilty twinges for talking with him instead. So that's why she seeks his lips with hers, settles into him while her fingers slide further into his hair. Just… giving the fellis time to get into his bloodstream so he will be able to eat? Er… sure, go with that!

Jethaniel will likely require many such reminders. "It was effective," he offers of the way she conducted his relocation - but his attempt to smile with it is is not entirely successful. The pain's too recent for him to quite make a joke of it. His fingers shift against her back as she settles over his lap, and for a moment he leans forward in order to let her arms wrap around him. That draws a small smile from him, one that drifts into a serious look again as he listens to what she tells him. There's a slight nod for her mention of wanting him, delayed such that it comes with the please instead, and his arm slips further around her. "I am not perfect," he says, and while he might have had intents to continue, that's when Darsce's lips find his. Jethaniel's intention to speak provides the most likely explanation for why his lips are slightly part. It is, however, conducive to a kiss, and so Jethaniel closes his eyes as he presses his lips back to Darsce's, his arm squeezing her against him as she provides a distraction during the onset of the fellis. This may be construed as going above and beyond standard caretaker duties.

It might be? Darsce doesn't usually settle for standard when she does things, so. She draws back after a few moments because she also has things she must provide such as… caretaking. Her fingers play idly with the hair at the back of his head while she says, "I brought you some hot soup and fresh bread." No wine though. That with fellis would not be a good combination. "And a pitcher of iced water." She tries to smile, but there are things interfering with that, such as having just caused him pain and well, things. So she goes on, "I brought the contents of your inbox and a couple of pens." She'll let him decide in which order he wants those things. Depending on which, she'll have to move to get them. She'll have to move regardless unless he needs her to feed him or read his mail for him.

"Thank you," Jethaniel says to the food Darsce has brought him, and trails his fingers along her back, tracing away from the spine. The lack of smile concerns him, though overall there's a softening of his face. The pain is fading, and not entirely as a matter of temporal distance. For the mention of his paperwork, Jethaniel nods. There is nothing wrong with his eyes, so he likely won't need help with that part - except for turning up the lights, perhaps? - though the writing may present problems. So may the attempt to think critically about the documents, once he's read them. Decision-making will be… an interesting endeavor for Jethaniel at the moment. As supporting evidence for this, one may take his present actions; having been presented with a set of choices, Jethaniel leans in once again, as if he is about to touch his lips to Darsce's - but he stops, his hand also going still. "I'm afraid I'll hurt you," he says, his voice soft. As if her lips will hear him, instead of her ears. This would be one hypothesis for the blur of it. It is likely not the most true one. "I don't want distance. I want you close, but I don't know… I could hurt you." His eyelids flicker, as if caught between the urges to close and to remain open. There's no wine for Jethaniel, but truth - of a certain sort - can be found in fellis as well. The speed with which it's taking effect is likely a sign that he needs that food in him, but the result on his stomach - taken with the length of time since he's eaten - make him disinclined to actually reach for that food. Not when the effects on his mind are inclining it toward other things which seem - at the moment - more important.

As long as the fellis allows for focusing of the eyes, Darsce will not offer to read for him. Even then she might not unless he asks her to. There's help, which she is pleased to be able to do and then there's taking over completely - the latter is something she doesn't intend to do. Since Jethaniel, given his choices, does not indicate he wants to see his mail, she does not bend to reach for the handle of that satchel. He knows the food is there, can probably smell the savory leek and wherry dumpling soup and still-hot bread wrapped in the crisp white cloth. Even though it's been who-knows-how-long since he's eaten (did he ever get anything this morning when she wheeled him through the caverns?), she merely says, "You're welcome," in response to his thanks. Besides there's that lean in and… as concerned as Darsce is for his injury, the events of last night ensure that she wants this. And so she moves to meet him. The words widen eyes about to drift shut in anticipation of that kiss but she doesn't move away. She considers before speaking, her tone, when she speaks back to his lips softly, is an uncertain question, "How could you hurt me by being close?"

The navigational difficulties of getting a wheelchair through caverns crowded with people sheltering from the storm likely limited the possibilities for obtaining food - and Jethaniel was not inclined to linger. There may have been a breadroll or pastry of some sort? Jethaniel doesn't recall. Nor does he recall what portion of it he actually consumed. Not enough, certainly, and sleep claimed him and sent his stomach back into abeyance. When he actually starts eating, he'll discover he's hungry. Until then, he's not certain if his faint queasiness will be improved or worsened by food, and he has other thoughts taking precedence. "I want you. I know that." Is he answering, or going on a digression? His fingers move, just a little - a moment's caress, before they stop again as his voice keeps wandering. "If I touch you, you feel it. If I am close, I can touch you more. I want that. But where I touch you…" His head tilts, touching his forehead to hers. "I'm stronger than you." Never mind the fact he's currently sufficiently injured to require help with even the most basic of tasks. Jethaniel's thought process appears to find that fact irrelevant. He continues. "I don't want to hurt you, but I don't know why people do, so I don't know I won't."

Darsce can understand having pressing issues greater than food and work. Clearly Jethaniel has some. She's also aware that having some control when others must do for him what he normally does for himself is very important. She remains relaxed, giving no indication that she has anything better to do than to listen and understand him. Her arms remain around his neck, her fingers trace through his hair, along the nape of his neck in no particular patterns, just movements meant to soothe and say what she cannot while he is talking - that she loves him and wants him too. Her nod says it too, also that she understands - until his forehead rests against hers. Then she keeps it still, her eyes on his even though this close everything is fuzzy; doesn't matter, she's seeing him. There's a distance of another sort, hurt of the heart and so, trying to understand, "Physically… hurt? Like… with your fists?" Her brows knit, pulling the skin his forehead is touching. She's heard of much in Ierne, criminal acts that happen occasionally but are not oft spoken of. There are other ways to hurt, but she doesn't list them. "Or do you mean hurt my feelings?"

Jethaniel is, for the most part, still, though Darsce's presence is certainly felt. It provides an encouragement for him to continue, an assurance that she wishes to listen. That she does not mind his speaking, and while the fellis might make it difficult to guard his tongue, he would - under other circumstances - nevertheless make the attempt. For Darsce, he makes the opposite one, and attempts to explain. The fellis may also make this difficult, as it leaves his thoughts incoherent… but Jethaniel tries. His eyes are soft as well as blurred, the grey of them wide and the pupils small, making imperfect windows. Darsce's first suggestion is the one that makes him swallow, though he's quiet for long enough that the second is said as well - but that one doesn't draw a response from his, except insofar as his words follow it. "I know it happens. I knew -" and here he stops, because he has difficulty speaking further. His throat, despite the dryness of it - he really should have some of that ice water, even if he doesn't eat - wishes for him to swallow once again, and so he does. "I don't know why."

Okay so that clears up…nothing. Darsce tries not to flounder, makes a decision in her mind. She remains where she is, the muscles in her back, if his hands are still there, do not tense. From her there is calm acceptance; she is neither afraid of him not the topic at hand. "Some people like causing pain; others enjoy having someone hurt them." Her tone is devoid of emotion, factual. "Both seem to need to do… that. They usually make the choice mutually. Sometimes someone decides to hurt, to subjugate, to humiliate and terrorize someone else. It's wrong, it's sick and it's criminal." She takes a breath and adds, "I don't know why they do it in either scenario, but it has more to do with control and an abuse of power than love." Far more! And in case he meant feelings, she says, "Feelings get hurt in relationships, even with just friends. It's unavoidable." She shrugs slightly. "People either work through and forgive each other or they don't and they go their separate ways." They've spoken about that though, about how to handle differences; this is remembered as she speaks. And though her forehead remains pressed to his, she tilts her head slightly to better see his eyes in the semi-darkness. "What did you know about the hurting, Jethaniel?" she asks quietly.

Removing his hand would require moving it, and so in Jethaniel's stillness, his hand remains against Darsce. She could slip away from it easily enough, if she chose to create more physical distance between them - but she doesn't. She speaks, and he listens, silent except for the sound of his breathing - slow, but not entirely even. Jethaniel is not so calm as Darsce, though for the first of what she says, he merely listens, taking in the information without response. The word 'choice' draws a reaction; a brief close of his eyes, followed by their opening once again. Jethaniel draws in a breath - then holds it, unwilling even to exhale as Darsce continues. She may not be tense, but she can likely feel that reaction in him as she talks about the sometimes presented by context as an alternative to mutual choice. It's one that draws his shoulders in, one that makes the touch of his hand a lighter one while still not granting it sufficient motion to depart from her back. His eyes, for all they have difficulty in focusing sufficiently to see Darsce, make no attempt to look away. He watches, as he listens. It's when she states her own lack of knowledge that he finally begins to let out that breath, a slow exhalation that lasts through her words - and for just a moment afterward, enough to give him a fractional voice as his lips move. "I love you." It's barely a whisper, and he runs out of breath on the last word. He doesn't repeat the affirmation. Perhaps he didn't mean to say it out loud. Feelings, when Darsce mentions them, bring a slight easing of the muscles under her hand. Those are not his concern, and for them - in the pause between her explanation and question - he says, "I know." Of that, he finds himself - if not expert - sufficiently knowledgeable. It is the other question - the one Darsce asks - that makes him silent again. His eyes meet hers, and the grey ones are wide and blurred, but dry. The silence lasts for moments, as Jethaniel breathes. This provides him with oxygen. Perhaps it also provides him with the capability for speech; certainly, it is required for air to move past his vocal cords and create waveforms. It may also be necessary for him to gather the volition to speak, but when he does, his voice is quiet and nearly toneless. "Her name was Ishata. I don't-" He pauses, swallows. There's a slight lowering of his eyes. "His was Basker."

Darsce can certainly feel the tension of him, there are many indicators from the way he's breathing, to the small movements of his face, expressive even at this close range, and the tightness of muscles - both those upon which she sits and those at the back of his neck under her fingertips. She can feel the shift when his shoulders hunch, can surmise what she's said that brings the wince, but perhaps not why, exactly. Yet she manages to continue for his need to be understood outweighs her need to know. There's a slight dip of her chin to answer his 'I love you'; a barely-nod as her forehead still rests against his. She doesn't hasten to fill the silence once he's stopped, waiting perhaps, for him to go on. When he doesn't, she says, "So if you love and chose not to hurt, I know you won't. Because I don't wish it either." Her tone is gentle, yet it rings with confidence; she trusts him. "And so what of Ishata and…Basker?" Calmly asked with a lightness she doesn't feel, almost diffident despite her wish to know and that wish is solely concerned with the past and present effects on Jethaniel.

Even subtle motions are perceptible, given the physical proximity, and Darsce's acknowledgment of his love is in no small part responsible for the momentary easing of Jethaniel's tension. That tension returns as he brings himself ready to speak, but Darsce's stated knowledge brings a trace of surprise to his eyes. How can she know something about him he himself does not? Perhaps it's the fellis, perhaps it's his trust for her, but he accepts it without argument. His fingers slowly splay against her back, increasing the perceived surface area which he has in contact with her. He wants her, and… he won't hurt her. The renewed motion of his hand doesn't last for long, because there's another question, one about which Jethaniel does not wish to speak… and yet he will, because Darsce is the one asking. "He hurt her." A simple answer, and yet so hard to say. Jethaniel's eyes lift to Darsce's again. "I didn't know, at first. We were… apprentices, Ishata and I. He was a journeyman. He hurt her." A reiteration. It is, for Jethaniel, the key fact. It is, furthermore, a difficult one. It's more tonal, the second time. Not louder, but there's more feeling in his voice. A distant echo of anger. "I couldn't stop him. He just kept…" Jethaniel closes his eyes. Because it's easier. "And she wouldn't report it."

Darsce's eyes are upon Jethaniel's, out of focus in the dim light as they are, she cannot see the expression of surprise in them but the slight widening of his eyes, the intake of breath tells her he is. She doesn't know. But she will tell him later, after he speaks of Ishata and Basker. His voice is expressive enough even without the lights on that she can hear the anger and frustration. Her fingers stop playing with his hair, but she does not withdraw. Instead her arms slip down to enfold him, she leans in, hooks her chin over his shoulder and just holds him. Silence from her, meant to give comfort. After a time, she turns her head towards him and to do this she must rest it atop his shoulder. When she deems that her mouth is close enough to his ear for him to hear her murmur, she asks quietly, "And so you think that power of rank authority all Journeymen have might prompt you to act the same?"

As Darsce moves, Jethaniel does too. He does not, with his own actions, draw her closer, but he adjusts his posture slightly to make it easier for her to rest in against him, and his arm shifts to accomodate the new position. He welcomes her, even if he cannot ask. Even if it's hard enough to just answer, through fellis-daze and decade-old emotion. There's more to the story, of course. There always is. Jethaniel could play back scene after scene on the insides of his eyelids. Perhaps he does so, in the moments of silence. When Darsce speaks again, his eyes open, though he doesn't turn his head to look at her. "I wouldn't," he says softly - then, louder. "I will not." Anger, a tensing of his shoulders as he stares across the darkened room at something that isn't there. Defiance. Standing up to one of the many shadows, one that he himself didn't cast. One that he stood up to before, but… did he do enough? Could he have done more? Those shoulders collapse in on themselves, and his voice is soft again. His eyes close. "…and yet I'm afraid."

Darsce watches his profile and at the denial he'll feel her head nodding encouragement on his shoulder. She can feel the tension under her ear as he makes that declaration and then they sink in and his admission prompts her to lift her head and ease back to sitting up. She wants to find his eyes but they are closed. "Ishata… she made her choice too, probably out of fear. Sometimes those are not the best-made choices." Oh, there's always more to the story but she doesn't know what to ask. The only one she can think to ask him is, "What are you afraid of Jethaniel?"

His eyes closed, Jethaniel nods to Darsce's statement about Ishata. She made her choice. He did not agree, but… it was her choice, and he could not convince her otherwise. There's a frown on his face, an unhappy one, but he's silent until Darsce asks her question. That makes his eyes open, with a widening that is, for a moment, surprise. They seek back for Darsce's. "I'm afraid I'll hurt you. That I'll want something. That I won't think. That I will." Do what he's just said he won't do. Rational? No. Not if Jethaniel were to entirely trust himself - but he doesn't. He has been made aware of his social failures. He has been made aware that people do not always understand him, and he does not always understand them. It is a simple enough extension to assume, from his capability for making small errors, that he is capable of making larger ones. That he is capable of making ones whose import staggers him. He is afraid - and his voice grows quieter, though his eyes remain open - "That you will regret your choice." To be with him.

Darsce draws a breath and says very softly, "I am not afraid, Jethaniel. I know you won't hurt me. I believe you will not because I have faith in you. And I'm pretty sure I will not ever regret being with you." It's probably not going to answer his own fears about himself though, she knows this. But she can try to help lessen them, perhaps a little? And with that in mind she asks him, "What could you want that might hurt me? What could you do without thinking that might?" This might not work, but she tries anyway, "Go ahead, take something from me. Anything. Without asking." She has his key, still around her neck. She has a clip holding her hair loosely gathered at the back of her neck. Something in her shirt pocket along with the pens she'd mentioned, a bracelet on one hand, a ring on one finger and her clothes.

Jethaniel's eyes remain open, and he watches Darsce as she expresses her beliefs about him. He has no reason not to trust her. He has, in fact, multiple reasons to trust her. This does not make it easier to believe. It does mean he listens, and… will make the attempt. For her questions, Jethaniel gives a slow shake of his head. "I do not know." That is, in some regards, the problem. If he knew, he could prepare. He could guard against it. His fear is an unknown; a shadow cast against the wall by something he does not understand. Darsce presents him with a challenge, and for a moment, Jethaniel simply looks at her. He hesitates. There's the key around her neck - entrusted to him, certainly well within his rights to reclaim. There's adornments and attire, pens - as items of minimal import go, those certainly qualify. Jethaniel looks down over Darsce, slowly, then up once again. He hesitates once again, grey eyes on her blue ones, and then he leans in, his lips almost reaching hers before he averts them to touch her cheek instead. He closes his eyes as they do, and as his head draws back again, it tilts slightly downward.

Darsce senses that this fear is turns in the making and she's not going to sort it out in one night. She has her own perceptions about the thing Jethaniel doesn't know, but she doesn't name it. She simply sits there astride his lap and waits quietly. When he kisses her cheek she smiles and qualifies, "Something I haven't already given you permission to take." She's not playing, even if her voice is easy.

Jethaniel opens his eyes again, regarding Darsce. His gaze lifts to meet hers, though his head remains tilted slightly downward. He watches her, his own expression a serious one despite her smile - or perhaps because of it, for she won't permit him to use that escape. Darsce has given him an instruction, and Jethaniel - this time - hesitates long enough that his thoughts begin to drift with the fellis, his eyes unfocusing for a moment before he draws them back to Darsce. He breathes in, and lifts his head, still regarding her. "I do not want to." He'd rather tell her no.

The smile stays the same and there's a nod of understanding. "I know you don't," Darsce says. There's neither disapproval nor disappointment in her expression. "When faced with something you did not want to do, you made a choice," she says simply. "I'm going to tell you something." She's as serious as he will ever hear her. "If you ever hurt me like Basker hurt Ishata, you will have to kill me, because you may as well have." She drops her chin a fraction and levels her gaze directly into his eyes, her mouth is a flat line. Does he understand? It is the same thing as murder. Strong words, but she will not tolerate anyone doing that to her and she wants him to know that. Not because she thinks he would. But because she wants him to know, "I am not Ishata." But he won't hurt her, because she believes he will not make that choice. "Do you want to know how I know that you won't hurt me?"

Jethaniel keeps his gaze on Darsce's. The continued presence of the smile is something he is aware of in his peripheral vision, but his grey eyes are occupied with meeting hers, and his own expression is a serious one. She knows he doesn't. He nods. Will she ask again? …no, and Jethaniel is relieved. His head doesn't lower, but his shoulders do, just a little. A slight relaxation, and after a moment's hesitance, he nods again that he made a choice. Refusal can be a choice. Doing nothing… a choice, just like doing something. Jethaniel inclines his head, ready for what Darsce may tell him - but he isn't ready. Not in the slightest, and his eyes widen, though they don't look away from hers. There's a drawing back of his chin that flattens lips against his teeth, a shrinking revulsion for - not her - but the thought. Of someone - anyone - him - doing that to Darsce (to anyone, but she… she's Darsce). The reaction is for the first part, and he makes a wordless noise of protest at the idea of hurting her. The equivalence relationship she proposes draws less of a reaction. He still doesn't look away. He nods, ever so slightly, because even in the hypothetical, there are some things he does not wish to consider. That she is not Ishata, he finds it easier to nod to, but his eyes are still troubled. At her question, he swallows, then nods again. "If you want to tell me."

Seeing that relaxation, Darsce says sincerely, "You can say no to me. It's okay. And I will still love you." She isn't ready for the reaction of Jethaniel's to her next words and her expression betrays her surprise. Didn't he just tell her he was afraid he'd hurt her that way? But she will explain with a question, "Have you ever purposely hurt anyone or anything in your life Jethaniel and took pleasure in that? I don't mean by accident or in a dust-up with another boy when you were a kid." She'll wait for the answer, which, her eyes say he can deny her the answer if he wants to, but she hopes he doesn't. "If you don't have the inclination to be cruel and violent, I don't believe you will suddenly start out of the blue." Her eyes remain on his, if he doesn't turn them away and she allows him to see that her trust remains even in light of his voiced fears. "Do you know what it means to me when I say I want to marry you?" Her arms are loosely draped over his shoulders and now she withdraws them and holds them palm up between the two of them as though holding an intangible, invisible treasure. "It means I'm offering you everything I have and am. You may have all of me. There's nothing I will hold back from you. You don't have to keep asking for what is yours. You may want, you may take, you may ask anything of me." She smiles, "I might say no, because I have that choice but I probably won't do so very often."

He doesn't want to say no to Darsce, but there are some things Jethaniel wants less. So he will, sometimes, and Jethaniel nods to that assurance. As for his reaction - ah, that comes down to a matter of degree, because what he fears is the shadow of what is. He fears taking the first step, the one that may inevitably lead to… that. It's not rational. Jethaniel may be logical and reasonable and intellectual, but some things - even with him - are not rational. This is one that's had a decade to grow and sink tendrils into him, avoidances and worries and fears. He asks permission, because he's afraid of taking too much. He doesn't ask, because he's afraid what he wants is wrong. He wonders if his turns of age beyond Darsce give him undue influence. If his position does the same. If, if, so many ifs, and right now, the fellis magnifies them. It's less strong an influence than last night, when he was already tired and worn from the pain, but it's still there making his thoughts slow and his reactions less guarded. Darsce asks him a question, and he answers. Not without thought, but when the reply comes, there's no equivocation about it. "No." He never has. He has made people unhappy. He will do so again. He does not enjoy it. Perhaps - as Darsce says - there is an essential difference. He nods to her explanation, keeping his eyes on hers. He will consider it, but first, she presents him with another question. He tries to answer this one. "You wish us to remain together?" His voice is uncertain, and his gaze drops briefly to her hands, observing them and the invisible gift they offer before he lifts his eyes to hers once more. Jethaniel listens to what she says, giving it as much careful consideration as he, at the current moment and in his current state of mind, can. His hand slips from her back, but it's only to come around and brush his fingertips softly along her jaw, starting just beneath the ear and going to her chin. "I do want," he says softly. His hand reaches down, cupping under the back of one of hers to lift it upward - until he can lower his head, and touch his lips to the palm.

Some of this Darsce has heard Jethaniel voice to her. Not so succinctly and she doesn't fully understand it. She doesn't know the insidiousness of his fear, but she has a nebulous idea of them. It troubles her even while her own fears are pushed aside as less important than his. That's what love does. She can't imagine him ever, ever having harmed anyone, but all the same there's a soft breath out when Jethaniel says he never has. "I didn't think so," she whispers. As she listens without judgment there's a point where realization comes that he may always fear the shadows despite her love and trust. Sorrow for him darkens her eyes, even as his fingertips brush her jaw and her smile trembles bittersweet. As he kisses her offered palm, she bends to kiss the top of his head, her eyes close over the pain, and she locks it away. "I'm here with you," she murmurs into his hair.

Fear can be like that. It, like pain, has access to the unconscious mind in a way logic does not. It can be suppressed - held back by force of will - and sometimes, injuries can be healed. Sometimes, the healing leaves a scar or weakness that may last a long time - or even forever - but there is always the potential for healing, especially when there is love and caretaking to help through the difficult parts. Perhaps it's that sorrow, glimpsed in Darsce's eyes, that makes Jethaniel's head stay low over her palm. His fingertips trail over the back of her hand, a gentle caress, and he closes his eyes as she kisses his head. "You are." He smiles for that, and his lips again brush her palm. "I am glad." His head remains bowed to her for another moment, and then he slowly lifts it again. His fingers trail back along her arm, tracing it toward her shoulder as his eyes seek hers. "And I am yours."

When Darsce lifts her head, her eyes remain closed until she feels his fingers tracing along her arm. Lashes lift as though weighted, but her eyes meet his steadily. Mingled within the shadowed iceblue is a knowledge she did not have yesterday that speaks of things she cannot articulate, things she is learning go together like the poignancy of exquisite pain and joy, of longing and quiet hope. If she can find the strength to suppress it long enough, later may find her up by the radio tower where she can let loose the ache that demands release after the events of last night in a storm of tears that will distress no one. The earlier attempt at confession aborted prematurely has, now that she knows, been for the best. "I love you," she whispers and there's an attempt to smile for him as she says it. And so it begins, the caretaking.

Jethaniel's hand reaches Darsce's shoulder, but as he observes her expression, it pauses. There's concern in his gaze, and he nods his head slightly. "I love you." His words are an echo of hers, and his eyes trace the curve of her lips before rising again to her eyes, searching them. There is something there, but Jethaniel is uncertain as to what. He wants to ask, but… his emotions are tired and his body is making demands of its own, ones Jethaniel can only ignore for so long. He slips the hand a little further, seeking to draw Darsce against him for a hug, and as he offers her that affection, to bring himself to ask for what he needs. "Will you bring me the tray?" Jethaniel desires to eat, or at least to try. "And sit with me?" He desires that also, though it is not relevant to his body's care. So he'll ask, because that is what she has told him to do, and so delay Darsce's intended escape. Even if she manages to leave the room, she'll find the ice storm still raging outside for another two days, the access to the radio tower trod through by technicians seeking to keep things sufficiently de-iced to keep the radio functional. There's no escape to be had for days, in that direction, and most corners of the caverns will be likewise occupied by those taking shelter from that storm. Just how strong can Darsce be?

The line of Darsce's lip isn't her normal smile but there's no attempt to plaster on a bright plastic one for him, either. It's tender and sad and yet a still a smile. He draws her in and for one long, blissful minute she returns it. It hurts her to see him in pain; she needs, wants and appreciates the affection he offers. His needs have been delayed long enough. However - her mental list grows as she thinks of things: food and water, either a trip to the hot springs or a basin of water and a soapy sponge, more rest, pampering and careful twining… and…and… somewhere in there a trip to the healers when Cyrus is off-duty for that second opinon… "Yes," she says promptly of that tray and slips off of his lap to get it. She'll set him up with that covered pot of savory soup, still steaming though the bread has cooled and the iced water. She'll sit with him gladly. And oh that ice storm! She'd be a fool to go up where she was petrified he'd slipped and fallen from wouldn't she? How strong is she? That remains to be seen.

Food, rest, and bathing are all things that - if Jethaniel had remained in the infirmary - the healers could be the ones handling. They have developed logistical expertise for those purposes, and would likely be more skilled at it than Darsce. They might be more effective at minimizing the pain when he changed position, even if they did not possess any substantively better techniques. There are, however, aspects of comfort only Darsce can provide, and the hug is as much for Jethaniel's own benefit as hers. He wishes to hold her, to have her here, and - for the moment - he is following his desires. They are not always entirely compatible with each other - a tray of food is not nearly so pleasant on his lap as Darsce is, but her presence beside him will suffice. He smiles to her, and reaches out, once she's settled, to brush his fingers against hers briefly before reaching to uncover the tureen and take spoon in hand. He'll want a change of clothes at some point - add it to the list. He'll want to try to read those documents from his inbox, too. For now, he eats. His stomach, after the first few bites, confirms that he is, in fact, hungry, and so it becomes simply a matter of attempting to provide nutrition at the rate permitted by the complication that the hand he would, generally, prefer to use for that purpose is the one currently bandaged. Fortunately his technical work has given him some degree of dexterity in both? So he probably won't be needing those new clothes sooner rather than later, but he still ends up eating slowly and carefully, with most of his attention on that process and his looks over to Darsce - and the quiet smiles that come as a result - only occasional.

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