Night Waking

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, fuschia, 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 fushia 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!


The effects of fellis are often conducive to somnolence, and so Jethaniel has spent much of the last day sleeping. He was not entirely so. He attended to other requirements of his body. He attempted to attend to the requirements of the Weyr, though his mental state - given the fellis - was not very conducive to such, and as such, his actions in that regard might be more accurately characterized as staring at a document for a prolonged period and failing to simultaneously obtain the visual and mental focus required to read it. The attempt - unsuccessful as it was - proved sufficiently exhausting to send him to sleep once more. It is, at present, approximately a full day since his injury, a time which might also be described as night. Jethaniel has been sleeping, but now he wakes. This is not an hour at which he usually does so, though it is sometimes one during which he does the opposite. His wakefulness is partially due to the amount which he has already slept; there is only so much slumber of which he is capable. It is also due to the fact that it has been some time since his last dose of fellis, and the drug has faded from his system with a corresponding increase in both pain and mental coherency. His eyes squeeze close for a moment in reaction to the pain, and then he draws his forehead upward, attempting - via reduction of the expression - to also reduce the sensation. It is only partially successful, but it results in an opening of his eyes to regard, once again, surroundings that are rapidly increasing in familiarity.

Darsce has sought and obtained permission from the Weyrwoman to delegate some of her work to the restless women cooped up in the caverns with nothing to do. And so she now has a crew that's burgeoned to almost unmanageability. She's managed to keep the majority out of the kitchens and out of the head cook's hair, but every other corner and crevice of the inner caverns is being cleaned and scrubbed, eyed and re-evaluated by the creativity (or is it tedium?) borne of boredom and the aversion to idleness. The nursery is getting minute attention, the pools in the hot springs have been drained and scrubbed one by one, the stone floors shine with polish (and the fact that there is little in and out traffic helps), the storerooms (oh, they've been told not to rearrange, but will they listen?) are almost gleaming. Other than act as a traffic controller for the enthusiasm, Darsce has had little to actually do but try to keep up with the flood of ideas filling up her inbox. She's been able to do that, for the most part, from her room, slipping out for short intervals while Jethaniel's been sleeping to deal with some of this and gather the accumulation of papers from her office. The need for Jethaniel's next dose of fellis having been anticipated, has been mixed and left in reach - he'll need to lean over her to get it - with a small covered cup and a straw beside it. It'll be warm, but Darsce is difficult to wake most nights and these past days, well… she's been keyed up, with the continuing storm but too busy to think much about it. She sleeps now, but it isn't with the deep, unmoving kind she normally enjoys. This is a restless, fretful sort with twitching.

Jethaniel regards his surroundings, and his gaze falls on the fellis. It mitigates the pain significantly. He is aware, from his level of pain, that he would be well advised to take it. Should he do so, he would likely fall asleep once again, despite the amount of rest he has already had. He will once more be dazed and incoherent, with vague positive feelings to smooth over the pain and distance himself from it. He regards the fellis - within his reach, even with the required lean - and frowns slightly. His gaze lowers from it, settling instead on Darsce. Jethaniel is in pain, yes - but he is also in control. He is capable of thinking without his thoughts drifting away from him. They are, on occasion, interrupted by pain, but is a different quality of interference. Jethaniel is not capable of an untroubled expression, at present, but the lines around his eyes alter somewhat when contrasted with the alteration of his lips into a smile. His gaze remains on her, and Jethaniel reaches out his hand, but only as far as Darsce. He brushes his fingers to her cheek, trailing down it with a soft touch that continues back along her jaw and then follows her neck lightly to her shoulder. He's not attempting to wake her. He's simply… touching her, with gentle affection, in this moment of lucidity.

On her side facing Jethaniel, Darsce has, in her sleep, curled up. The arm that had been across his chest when she fell asleep is now bent with the other, wrapped around herself in a self-protective posture while shapely hands occasionally twitch and flex into not-quite fists. If she knew of Jethaniel's reluctance to take that fellis, she might be dismayed and while the muted sounds that begin coming from her are of protest, they aren't for his choice; she's unaware of that just yet. While her cheek is smooth, cool and dry beneath Jethaniel's fingers, the hair on the back of her neck is damp by contrast and beginning to form those curls she takes such trouble to iron out. It's been hours since Darsce bathed and washed her hair and she'd dried it fully, using a handheld unit to achieve her usual silky-straight look. At the touch she seems to startle wake, unblinking to meet his gaze, while the terror in her eyes slowly fades. She doesn't move or speak but her eyes, remaining locked on his do that for her; she's glad to see him.

Darsce's posture could be a cause for concern in Jethaniel - perhaps the lines around his eyes can be ascribed to that concern as well as (or, depending on the knowledge of the one doing the attribution, instead of) his pain? He'll take the fellis. He's aware of the consequences if he does not, but for now, he keeps his attention on Darsce. As her eyes open, his hand stops moving, but he does not withdraw it. In fact, the touch against her shoulder strengthens slightly, his fingers settling in with a slight curve to match the contour of her body there. He did not intend to wake her, but neither does he object to it. His eyes meet hers, and the fear he sees there could also cause him concern - but it does not make him withdraw. The unconscious mind is capable of conjuring a great many things. These associations are something the fellis would cause him to assess with a more in-depth (but less cogent) analysis, but as Jethaniel has not taken that fellis, he is simply conscious of that tendency. His hand rests against Darsce, and his eyes rest on hers. His urge to draw her closer is limited in expression to a further bend of those fingers, pressing against her shoulder. Jethaniel, given current circumstances, does not have effective leverage nor the capability to maneuver himself easily. The awareness of his limitations is not a pleasant one. He could do more, but he does not know if the benefit would merit the costs and risks. He does not know what the situation requires, and so, amidst that mutual regard, he asks, quietly, "Is there anything I can do?"

Whether it is because of that touch or a coincidence, Darsce is awake. If she were more observant, she'd note the cup is still untouched on her bedside stand. It is behind her, however and she doesn't look over her shoulder to check. Nor does she, as yet, ask him if he's in pain as she stares rather numbly at him. It's the question and the press of fingers both that moves her forward, her answer acted out rather than voiced, although she does nod mutely. She not only slips closer to him, but creeps carefully to drape her petite self atop his, tucks her head under his chin and hooks her arms under his shoulders in the only non-awkward way to hug someone lying on his back. Yes, yes he can. He can hold her, thanks. And she wants both of his arms around her, please.

Jethaniel can, in fact, hold her. His fingers lift from Darsce's shoulder as she begins to move, though they don't go far. They hover as she comes toward him, leading her position as if they and her body are part of a compression wave being transmitted through the air, and as she settles atop him, they lower once again to touch the surface of her back. Both arms? Yes, Jethaniel can do that. He wraps them around her and squeezes her against him, though the two are applying somewhat different degrees of force. Excessive pressure applied via the injured wrist would likely be unpleasant for both of them, given the exterior texture of the brace. This does not, however, prevent him from placing that arm around her, low on her back as the other one settles higher up, just below her shoulders. The tuck of her head underneath his chin is met by a slight raise of it, followed by a lowering so his jaw rests in place against her. That part of the positioning will also serve to conceal from Darsce any expression of pain as he changes his position slightly to accomodate her presence atop him, a fact for which Jethaniel is grateful. He wishes to comfort her, not worry her, and so he holds her close to him without further question.

Felt will be the beat of Darsce's heart - it's too fast for that brief movement to get to him but her breathing is even and slow. She remains thus, wordless for some time while her heartrate slows and the tension of her arms fade to something less like the cling-to it was. She can think again and so begins an apology, a murmured, "I'm sorry. I woke you, didn't I?" while easing her head out from under his chin, lifting her head to see his face in the semi-darkness. Whether she glimpses any expression of discomfort or no, she begins the easing of hands from under his shoulders preparatory to sliding back off of him; this must be uncomfortable for him, or so she assumes. And now she remembers the pre-mixed medicine. "Do you want your cup or did you take it already?"

Jethaniel feels that rhythm of Darsce's heart, and he holds her close to him as it beats. His eyes remain open, but they drift from focus instead of observing the qualities of the ceiling. He keeps his arms around her, still but with the tension of his muscles creating a continuous pressure that clearly indicates a continued intentionality to their presence. His head tilts again as she begins to left hers, then moves in a slow shake. Not for the waking him - he is uncertain of the truth value of that statement - but for the apology. "I am glad I did." Had he not, Darsce might still have awoken, but it would have been without his presence to comfort her. His head tilts back down to regard her again, and what she'll see of his expression is the dim light is a solemn one. The signs of pain are there, but he has had time to breathe deeply as well, and so they are less pronounced than they might otherwise be. The medicine, mixed and ready, awaits him. "Not yet," Jethaniel says. It may be taken as the answer to multiple questions. Not yet; he has not already taken it. Not yet; he does not want to take it, because in addition to blurring the sensations of pain, it also blurs other sensations. Not yet; he does not wish Darsce to leave him, despite it being uncomfortable. That last is more clearly said by the way his arms press around her instead of loosening as she shifts.

Concern colors Darsce's query, "Did I scream? Hali says I do sometimes. Thank you for not poking me awake; it always freaks me out when she does that." Whatever held her in its grip is gone, leaving but a faint echo in her eyes which melds with the concern her face shows when she studies his, even after his answer. "But you're in pain," she says, a faint objection to all of his 'not yets'. It's not a displeased objection. It's less protest and more of a mild 'but I should move' offer, and it's a clearly guilty look that she gives him. She should have woken and offered it to him. She shouldn't stay, but those arms feel awfully good right now (when do they not?) So she remains where she is, bending an arm to prop her head with the heel of her hand shifting a little so she can angle her head on it and still see his face without breaking her neck doing so. "Thank you," she says simply, and her mouth looses the half-frown as her form finally relaxes fully against his.

Jethaniel shakes his head to the mention of a scream. "I did not mean to wake you," he says, though he does not - as such - apologize for doing so. Darsce may, however, detect something of that in his tone. He does not attempt to hide from her gaze, nor her conclusion. "Somewhat, yes." The pain is present, though not to such degree that he is not still capable of applying qualifiers to its presence. It will likely remain so until he moves his leg - or the passage of another hour further reduces the lingering fellis in his system, because drugs are processed by biological systems and, as such, have efficacy measured in smooth curves instead of sharp edges. "I will take it soon." His arms squeeze around her for that guilty look. This is Jethaniel's choice; he wishes to keep her here - or so his touch is intended to reiterate. He also does not wish to take his medicine (yet), but that part does not require further iteration. The arms loosen sufficiently to permit Darsce to change her position - if she actually wanted to move away, he'd let her, but he doesn't want to sufficiently that she'd have to give him a less ambiguous sign of her desire to do so, which has not been forthcoming and does not, in fact, appear to be present. His arms change where they're resting to account for her new position, and he smiles to her. "You are welcome," he says to her, then hesitates for a moment before he asks, "What was it?"

Oh yes, she caught that tone, says the smile that flickers on her mouth. She doesn't call him on it, however. Whether he woke her or not, Darsce assumes he did so says, "I'm glad you did." Because that's usually what happens, only it's Hali losing her beauty sleep. She nods in response to both answer and assurance; she won't nag him to take the fellis. It's very good to see his grey eyes brighter, the Jethaniel she knows more present rather than drug-dulled and she keeps hers on them almost hungrily. It's only been one day, but she's missed… She won't comment about it however, lest he refrain from taking it altogether. Another smile follows the first one, this for the tightening of his arms. Move away? Rather pleased to remain is she, settling with a breath out, her arm flops onto his pillow and her head angles to rest on her upper arm, tilted to watch him dreamily. Her lazy half-smile vanishes with his question and she shifts uneasily. She doesn't mind him asking, for her answer is prompt, "A dream." No, that's not right. She frowns, trying to regather the wisps still lingering. "A bad dream."

If Jethaniel had meant to, he would have likely phrased it as something around his uncertainty whether he should have done so. There are, after all, many shades of intentionality. He did not mean to wake her. He did hope to change the direction of her unconscious mind. Waking her was effective in creating that change. Jethaniel would be in favor of it simply for that aspect. That it has also resulted in her lying atop him simply makes him even less inclined to regret it - as does her approval, and he smiles as he nods to her, his eyes lingering on hers. They can focus clearly. This is notable because of the recent difficulty he has had with such things. His thoughts are not without distraction, as he regards Darsce, but the distraction is of a different character. There are, at present, two of them. One is the pain, a dull throb that he tracks the rhythm of in order to more effectively ignore. The other is Darsce herself, the warmth and touch of her against his body generating a distraction from his intended conversation with her. His upper arm begins to move, shifting to let his fingers trail across her shoulderblade and trace the top of it before caressing lightly up along the back of her neck and down again, graphing a gaussian function against her. They slow as they're about to enter the flat part along the other shoulder, and he nods. "Dreams are an aspect of the subconscious. They are… not true, but sometimes relevant."

The nuances of words are more easily caught when not dream-hungover, however preconditioned to a usual set of events, Darsce has assumed. Given the choice, she'd much rather be woken by Jethaniel than Hali. Being in Jethaniel's arms is much more helpful than a sharp poke from her irate sister to chase the dream away. A delicious sensation, those fingers tracing her shoulder blade, likely trip over the spaghetti strap of her nightie, but it doesn't lessen her enjoyment of the touch. She tips her head forward to lengthen the back of her neck and give him better access to it. Her shiver is partly the result of his touch, partly the comment about dreams. A tiny frown mars her mouth, "Relevant to what?" Does she want to know? Against him he will feel her breathing change - taken more shallowly and thus a little quicker. Topic or touch? Both!

The impediment presented to his fingers by that strap can be explained as an outlier to the dataset, if Jethaniel's touch is to be represented as a graphing of gathered information instead of the plot of a mathematical curve. Such statistics may still be said to approximate a mathematical form, and while his fingers do lift slightly in order to move over the strap, they continue to move along Darsce's form undeterred. The contact is motivated, at present, less by the desire to comfort her and more simply the desire to touch. It and the pain create a mutual interference of distraction, but Jethaniel's fingers continue, and his expression is a faint smile as his grey eyes watch Darsce. The interactions of the present moment are complex, but the smile may serve as an indication of his overall valence, despite the evidence of pain suppressed. "To one's thoughts," he answers her, and then his voice changes tone - slightly deeper, with the words slower and more measured. "Dreams are the thieves of mind, with careful creeping pace. Leave tumbled thoughts behind, yet otherwise, no trace."

Darsce will gladly serve as graph paper to Jethaniel's calculations - anytime! The terror of her dream has faded to that dim fog of remembered uneasiness and as long as she is awake, she is capable of keeping it safely at bay in the 'not-real' portion of her mind. Her thoughts? Her brows knit in puzzlement, "But… I try not to think of it." Is that… wrong? Maybe she should? "I can only remember parts but the dream is always the same." Her iceblue eyes crinkle at the corners as she smiles at him for that recitation. "Unless you flail and fall out of bed. Then they'll leave maybe a bruise or two." Her hand is conveniently near his head and so she finds the ends of his hair splayed on the pillow and begins playing with them idly. "Did you write that one too?"

Jethaniel's touch leaves only a trail of sensation, but for the diagrams he wishes to graph on Darsce, that will more than suffice. His fingers trace to the edge of her shoulder, then reverse the motion, this time tracing the negated curve - toward the center, then dipping down along her back, approaching the spine to cross it at approximately the intersection point between it and the nightie. Admittedly, the fact that he cannot see the precise locations involved may mean his fingers have to conduct some exploration and establish other points of contact not in the ideal data set. Jethaniel does not find this fact problematic. The diagrams he wishes to present to Darsce need not be perfect. "Ah, but… you are required to try." In order to not think of it. Jethaniel understands that feeling quite well, at the moment. He is currently trying to not think about his pain, with moderate success. There are occasional manifestations of his failure, such as the pause wherein his eyes half-close and his fingers briefly still, but he is nevertheless making the attempt, and so he draws his attention back from it in time to nod to her description of the repetitive nature of her dream. Her observation as to the potential consequences of such dreams helps banish the wince, replacing it with an answering smile. "True. The possibility space is incomplete." Her question causes him to tilt his head toward her. "No." He does, however, smile. "I found it in a book." And, evidently, chose to memorize it. "It is not entirely accurate, even so. Dreams create associations. Recurring ones… even more so."

Darsce thinks they're perfect! If she wasn't so worried about hurting him, she might gladly provide a better distraction than just draping herself on him. "You like to read poetry? Sometime… will you show me some of the ones you like?" Wistful. Why? "My grandfather used to read ballads to us when we were with him on his ship." She takes his comment about being required to try as a prompt and so draws a breath and tells him in a rush, "It gets dark, there's a pressure in the air. Something is coming. Giant black claws come from above and I know they are looking for me. There is howling and everything…" She swallows hard. "Everything turns into a black fog and I know the whole world is shattering because I can hear it splintering over the shrieking." Her body has tensed in the telling but she is not panicked. "Its… a creature I think because it has a name." And then she looks confused. "Associations?"

If Jethaniel did not hurt, he might already find himself so distracted. As it is, there are interference patterns created by the sensations he experiences. His pain is a steady throb - it has been gradually increasing in intensity, though he is not yet required to acknowledge it. It might be considered a sine curve transposed into entirely the negative, such that the peaks are expressed as only slightly below zero and the troughs are significantly less so. The graphs he demonstrates against Darsce do not directly correspond to any of the patterns he experiences. One might be expressed simply as a horizontal line, corresponding to her presence atop him. It is in the positive quadrants. His touch simply wanders, tracing a tangent line to the strap of Darsce's nightie. He nods to the first of her questions concerning poetry, then smiles. If she wishes to see them? "Certainly." He will show them to her. Perhaps he will even read them aloud to her - particularly if she wishes to drape herself against him while he does. He does not, however, have access to any of those books at present - there's a few in his room, and more to be had in the Harpers' library - and so any recitation would be limited to what is already located in his memory. This filtration function might serve to ensure that only those which he most favors emerge - were it not for the fact which Darsce demonstrates, that sometimes preference for memory is not the strongest indicator for the presence thereof. Whether Jethaniel intended his words as a prompt or not, he listens to Darsce with a serious expression, his hand shifting to settle more fully against her back with a posture of reassurance. He is here. The hand brushes against her slowly, no longer tracing lines but simply defining a space, a possibility-cloud expressing great uncertainty in motion. "Do you run?" he asks, and his tone expresses, more than anything, calm curiosity. He's not teasing, he's certainly not afraid, he's simply listening and considering. "A name is…" He smiles slightly. "An association. If you say my name, it brings thoughts to mind, does it not?" For example. "Even if I am not there." He pauses to let Darsce consider on that, his hand trailing up her spine. "If you see a dark fog…" Or hear the sound of something splintering, the crack of an ice-laden limb giving way… "You have associations. The thoughts connect, whether you wish them to or not."

On the scale of pain Darsce gets to be somewhere in the positives for him? He's the only one in the Weyr she affects so. Listening to poetry reading while being draped upon someone, yeah he's definitely the only one - it can be arranged. Though her preference would be for what he favors most, so recitation would work just fine in this case. From where her head is pillowed upon her arm, she watches his face as if…as if it's the place she runs to when she says, "Yes, I run and hide." Beneath his hand, her body loses some of the tension and her fingers resume their wandering through his hair. Her heartbeat, however, continues to be a touch too fast. "I guess so," she frowns while he smiles. Not because of the smile, for her gaze has drifted past his face into the semi-darkness while she mulls this over, eyes return to his face and a tiny smug grin forms on her lips. "Those thought associations are often not fit for public consumption." Dark fogs and splintering limbs - does she make associations? She just looks at Jethaniel in a perplexed way. Now would be the time to connect the dots regarding her panicked reaction of last night but she doesn't even mention it. The tension in her remains consistent with what it's become under his hand and she says with vague honesty, "I guess so." Oh she does - she just doesn't remember! "It's scary that there's no control over thoughts like that but you know, I never hear that name outside of the dream." She's thoughtful, as if this fact has just occurred to her.

The scale is one of sensation. The inclusion of pain on that scale is- a matter of some complexity. As are some of the poems Jethaniel prefers, but the opportunity for those will come later. He nods slightly to her answer, his gaze remaining steady on her. She hides? "Where?" It's still with that gentle curiosity. Perhaps he's wondering so he can find the place, next time she's dreaming. If so, it's unlikely to be effective. Jethaniel is not capable, through his own intentionality, of entering Darsce's dreams, though he is capable of rousing her from them. He may also have a presence in them, and that comment makes his own lips curve in a further smile as he tilts his head toward hers. "I would listen." If she wanted to tell them to him. He brushes his lips to hers softly, though he can't hide the wince as he settles back again. His skill at recognizing when his actions will put strain through his injuries is imperfect. Evidently, that kiss was - from the perspective of his body and certain sensations thereof - suboptimal, even if - from the perspective of certain other sensations - it was quite positive. He takes a moment to attempt to focus his mind and reactions on the positive sensations, a deep breath to convince his own heartrate not to rise with subconscious reaction to an increase in pain that informs his body to prepare for defensive action. The attempt is only partially successful, signs of an increased basal rate of pain lingering as he nods to Darsce's supposition, not pursuing it for the moment. The terror of a lack of control? That he most assuredly nods to, with a small frown and a troubled look that mingles with the pain around his eyes. "It is," he agrees softly. "Thoughts can be… terrifying." He closes his eyes, just for a moment, then opens them again as another part of what she says draws back that curiosity. "What is the name?"

Jethaniel is more in Darsce's conscious thoughts than in her dreams, though he is certainly a dream. Her smug smile becomes a touch secretive, "When you're feeling better, I'll share them with you." Most likely as those thoughts occur, be it during the working hours or not. He might be receiving some interesting little notes from her! Or impromptu visits when his office is not busy with a meeting. Distraction, thy name is Darsce? Her lips return that brushed kiss with a gentle cling-to and while brief, her response is a warmly welcoming one. Her eyes remain open during it and refocus as he draws back, noting the signs of physical discomfort and psychological both. Her opposite hand withdraws from under his shoulder where she'd wedged it to cup his cheek softly, her thumb stroking the tightness at the corner of his eye in mute concern for the pain she sees. She doesn't press the cup on him, however. She understands a little more about where his uneasiness stems from and so nods. Loss of thought-prompted control has never been an issue with her - maybe it should be? However, "I just don't like them…invading." The Thoughts. And indeed she doesn't, but avoidance hasn't been working so very well for her, has it? And so while her body tenses slowly over the course of the last few words she doesn't avoid answering the question. With a small shudder, she screws her eyes closed, the name she whispers rolling off her tongue with a cadence that sounds foreign to any Iernian inflection she normally might use, "Derecho." She seems braced for something.

Jethaniel is also quite tangible and present, and as Darsce presents him with yet another reason to look forward to a lack of being injured, he nods to her. That distraction - unlike that of pain or of the fellis he hasn't taken - he is likely to welcome. There do exist certain similarities between the words; not only do they share the same initial, nearly all of the letters within one are also within the other. The remaining six - if E is allowed to substitute for them as a group - may be anagrammed as, 'into it,' which Jethaniel - though he would likely not express it so - certainly is. The kiss is evidence of that, brief as it is, and as her hand touches his cheek, he attempts to smile despite the interference of pain with his desired response. "I am glad," he says softly, and it is true even if his tone cannot, at present, entirely convey the degree to which that is so. The pain interferes with a great many of his desired responses. So does the fellis, in a somewhat different manner. Jethaniel attempts, for a little longer, to avoid the one by exerting control on the other through mere force of will. His success is only partial, but sufficient. "Nor do I," he says of invading thoughts - but he nevertheless asks her that question. Is it an invasion, if the thoughts are invited? And, perhaps, in analysis of them here, something may come forth that will make them seem less perilous. Jethaniel's own perspective tends to be a thoughtful one; it is that mindset which he applies to this circumstance. He would not press, if Darsce avoided answering this question - any of these questions - but he does ask. His arms slip further around her as he feels the tension growing in her body, a warm embrace. Perhaps this will be the one she chooses not to answer, but… she does. Jethaniel's head tilts to the side, regarding her as his arms remain close around her. "That," he says, his voice holding both interest and concern, "-is a type of storm."

Yes, yes he is and this is Darsce‚Äôs preference over spending time in dreamy-thoughts about him. He is here and warm. While she's safe within his arms, she is neither in pain nor fellis-dosed, so mingled with the comfort she takes, is pleasure and desire, though that is over-shadowed by both concern for his discomfort and the looming topic of her nightmares. Their distraction could be akin to pain and the numbing affect of drugs, however this is Darsce we're talking about. So while not foremost in the mix of uneasiness, curiosity and comfort, still there. Invasion? Perhaps not, but Darsce is reluctant to invite those oppressive thoughts. Moreover, she is certain it is a malevolent 'presence'. He can be thoughtful, she cannot as the rate of her heatbeat, skipping along now that the name has been spoken aloud, awaits… what? "It comes to its name," she says still half-cringing in his arms. Any other feelings she might have enjoyed are washed by foreboding now. And though the storm still rages outside, any further crashes of trees succumbing to the ice cannot be heard because they are deep within the solid rock edifice that houses the caverns, yet the low pressure that causes unequal forces between outer and inner ear is still felt. That same rock ought to make Darsce feel secure but what does her subconscious know? Those claws might rend stone to get to her. Storm, Jethaniel says and she manages to ask, "Are you sure? I always see black claws above me. So I hide." What does he mean storm? Where, he'd asked a few minutes ago and she's been trying to remember. "I don't know where. In a hole, I think," she says in a small voice. "It isn't a safe place."

Emotional reactions are complex. Attempts to graph them discover that multiple axes are required, and the behaviors of the curves can change unexpectedly. Perhaps that's why Jethaniel's fingers have ceased their motion, though a more likely hypothesis would be that it is because he wishes his arms to remain close around her. "It may," he replies calmly. He considers it unlikely - the weather patterns, as of his last observation, did not seem conducive to that manifestation - but he will acknowledge the possibility. However, "It cannot reach you." He is aware of the stone between them and the weather, whatever form it may take. It would require a seismic event to have any significant effect on them down here. So long as there is not an electrical outage (or someone running screaming down the hall), the influence of the storm on them here is unlikely to even be perceptible. He does not expect this rational stance to be shared by Darsce at the present moment. The way his arms tighten around her in a squeeze that presses her in against the warmth of his body may, however, provide some form of reassurance, for all that the physical defense his arms provide is remarkably minimal in comparison, even were he not currently injured such that he has difficulties with tasks ranging from crossing a room to feeding and dressing himself. Nevertheless, the position of his arms may - to her subconscious - evoke protection as he holds her. "It is a convection-induced…" Jethaniel pauses, and tilts his head to kiss at Darsce's forehead. "A dark cloud, reaching out from a thunderstorm. It is characterized by strong wind and heavy rain. They can descend suddenly, without warning. They are… dangerous." His arms remain warm and close around her, holding her against him.

Safety is oft an intangible. A perception that may at times, be based upon false assumptions rather than true facts. In this case, it is the untrue facts, or more accurately the muddled facts with false assumptions that has fed the perception of danger. Moreover, being held closely in Jethaniel's arms carries with it several true facts: he loves her, he is here, he… he knows things. She trusts him and the knowledge he has. Enough that it has an effect on that intangible of safety she needs. The hand Darsce is cupped to Jethaniel's cheek slips behind his neck, her arm follows it and she shifts her head off of her other arm to tuck that hand back under his other shoulder. Thus, she holds him back, her rock in storm. Only… she's still not quite making the association. But oh, one day she will! Of storms, all she can say is a muttered from against his neck, "I never liked them." Is that true? His explanation is absorbed and another remembrance - surely of the dream? - emerges, "It doesn't ever speak in words. It shrieks and howls." A slight shiver runs through her frame, "Someone else calls it."

Truth can be difficult to determine. That is why science has established entire processes around the attempt. The knowledge derived from those processes - careful observation, extrapolation, hypothesis and test and consideration - is what Jethaniel uses for his explanations. They are rational. His physical presence (and his love) are less so. He nevertheless provides them gladly, shifting his position slightly to let Darsce's hands slide around his neck and shoulder and letting out a long exhalation of sighed breath for the embrace. "They will pass," he says of the storms Darsce dislikes. Even this one, lasting through night and day and night again, is just a transient manifestation of atmospheric conditions. It will pass, and the skies will be clear again - and cold, letting that ice linger and making it difficult for Jethaniel to traverse the clearing to return to his own room. His injury will also pass, but until it does, the assumption of safety he can provide to Darsce is… somewhat false. There is little he could actually do to defend her, despite how secure his arms may feel around her. The non-verbal nature of the dream-beast is sensible when viewed as a manifestation of a storm, so Jethaniel nods to it. His fingers splay against her at the shiver, then draw together again - a slow caress, and his head tilts to the side. "Why?" Not who, but why.

It can be! While the rationale surrounding Jethaniel's knowledge are concrete scientific facts that lend him credibility, it is more likely the calm assurance he has in them that Darsce senses and that, while perhaps an assumption on her part, is what enables her to trust him. Trust is part decision and part emotion, most often based on perceived truth. And so while scientific processes may not be able to test and delineate into a neat graph the rationale behind Darsce's perceived truths, they are assured to her nonetheless: she trusts him. Thus she feels, while not completely safe, safer. Nothing and nowhere is completely safe from Derecho. Of this storm - and the ones to come - passing, she nods; a simple acceptance. Nothing is happening after the name has been said aloud - though were there to be a temblor at this moment she would likely become totally unhinged - and so she slowly relaxes in Jethaniel's arms, able to tip her head back upon his shoulder to both see and answer him with a brow furrowed, "I don't know why."

Jethaniel trusts in science. Darsce trusts in Jethaniel. He can explain these meteorological processes to - if not his satisfaction - at least a reasonable degree. That knowledge is what contributes to the calm of his voice, the steadiness with which he can hold her. He knows the storms will pass. He knows that - while no place is truly safe - the risks to them at present are minimal. It is enough. The storm continues outside, but in here, probability continues to be in their favor, and the most likely set of circumstances - the one in which nothing bad happens - persists. Jethaniel's fingers, having once moved, do so again; his arms remain around her, but now his hand is in motion, slow motions of affection as she relaxes once more. His gaze meets hers, when she looks up, and he nods to her answer. It is, he assumes, an aspect of the dream. Sometimes, things are not known. Sometimes they are, even when there is no logical reason for them to be so. That is part of the nature of dreams. He asks no further questions. He is - the creases near his eyes may serve to indicate - having increasing difficulty denying his pain.

Sometime, if they ever cloud watch, he can explain about the derecho stormcloud more fully. She will listen. If there's anyone in this Weyr that she will listen to (perhaps heed is the better word here), it is Jethaniel. She has no more to offer on the dream. It is receding back to the subconscious from whence it came. She's familiar enough by now with the expression of pain etched on his features that she can see he's reached his tolerance for it, perhaps not aided by her body atop his. Her hands withdraw from behind him, they're used to brace herself on the mattress so she can ease off him while leaning close to murmur, "I love you," before applying her lips to his with gentle affection and leave-taking. She's not going far, but it's still a leave-taking of sorts. "Do you want your cup?" A gentle enquiry, rather than a nag; he will have to stretch to get it and that could hurt. So she offers. He can still say no.

Sometime, perhaps Jethaniel will. He can explain about pressure fronts and the carrying capacity for moisture of the air and the behavior of ideal gasses and the rotational effects of Pern. There is a great deal to explain, and if Darsce is interested in hearing it, Jethaniel will tell her. If she is more interested in pursuing other forms of interaction, given the two of them together, he is unlikely to object. He kisses her back, a soft press of his lips. "And I love you." He does not, however, object to her body lifting away from his. Not this time. He wants her against him, but he is aware that the weight and certain elements of positioning required by having her there are partially responsible for the level of his pain, which is currently making it somewhat difficult for him to follow a coherent progression of thought. As such, he is willing - though not desirous - to let his arms slide away and release her. Her question makes his eyes close for a moment. He could say no, and he would remain with the pain. His thoughts would not be coherent, and he would hurt. Jethaniel opens his eyes once again, and they rest on Darsce with a wistful desire for her. She is not going far, and yet he still wishes he could have more of her. He wishes he could think on her more, touch her without having to give thought to his pain. It has only been a day, and yet. "Yes." He would like his cup of fellis, to make the pain go away. Even though it will fill his head with blurred thoughts and a fog that makes his eyes dull.

Some of the things Jethaniel tries to explain - those on the more technical side - Darsce finds harder to grasp. On a side note making innuendo from electricity is quite enjoyable. Where he spoke of different types of clouds at the turnover party she found herself not only listening, but interested. Storms might be less scary to her if she understands them. It might be a sort of systematic desensitization for her? Perhaps she will suggest cloud-watching sometime because there was that discussion of his childhood research while visiting Cove Hold. Darsce watches Jethaniel's face while his internal debate is weighed. Once it has been made, she reaches for the cup without hesitation and will kneel on the mattress with an arm to help lift his shoulders so he may drink of it. His discomfort - of both kinds - is difficult to watch but she will support him in either case: to rest so his body can heal or to remain clear-headed and endure the pain. His leave-taking will be drug induced and she will miss the bright-eyed presence and keen mind but his warmth is there and hers will answer it when she curls close beside him.

Jethaniel accepts Darsce's assistance, leaning against her as he sips the warm juice and fellis. It does not have the most pleasant of tastes, but that taste is not why he is unwilling to take his medicine, and having made the decision, he is efficient in the application thereof. He could continue to endure the pain, but there are diminishing returns, and so, for the moment, he takes the fellis. There will be other times at which he avoids doing so. For now, he drinks the full cup which is presented him, and after he does, his head tilts to brush his lips to Darsce's fingers before she takes them away. Soon the fellis will take him away, to drift with clouded thoughts through a daze that wanders in and out of sleep, but he will be glad for Darsce's warmth, his hand brushing against her in a soft caress before fellis and pain-worn tiredness draw him into sleep. "I love you," he repeats. The repetition may be due to the drug beginning to take mind-blurring effect, or it may be simply due to the importance of that statement. "I'm glad you're here." Even in his pain and helplessness.

The kiss to her fingers draws a smile to Darsce's mouth as she places that empty cup back on her bedside table. Before she scoots back down beside him into a recumbent position, she'll check the pillow under his ankle, helping him adjust his leg to a more comfortable position if he'd like. The ice pack is probably warm by now and if so it will be useless weight. That'll be removed until she can go get him a fresh one first thing in the morning. She'll plump his pillow, smooth the covers and tuck him in, then settle in on her side and snuggle up to him with careful half-tangling, one arm across his chest, a leg (if his hurt one isn't on her side) draped over his and her head nestled on his shoulder. By tomorrow after lying for forty-eight hours on his back? He's most likely going to need the backrub she'll offer. "I'm glad to be," she says of being here. Her with him. Him with her. In pain and helplessness or terrified by bad dreams, it evens out. Are things fluffy? No, but that's beside the point. They are together.

Jethaniel does his best to help with Darsce's adjustments to make him comfortable, even if his best is mostly limited to uncertain comments about what comfortable is. Before the fellis takes effect, nothing is comfortable, only more and less uncomfortable. After it does - magnified by the exhaustion of pushing at limits that are far closer than he's used to - he's not aware enough of his own body to assess the situation accurately. Nevertheless, he makes the attempt. He is, at least, certain that he approves of her body against his, the careful drape of limbs. His head turns, kissing in dazed fashion at the top of hers as she settles it in against his shoulder. His smile is an earnest one, for all it's hazed with fellis, and it lingers as his eyes close. By the time his head rolls back to the pillow, he's already asleep. Tomorrow is scheduled to begin when his next dose of pain medicine comes due and brings him awake. Until then, he'll sleep, with fellis to take the pain away and Darsce to make him happy.


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