Complications of Convalescence

Xanadu Weyr – Archives

The walls and ceiling of this large, windowless room have been fitted with wooden paneling and flooring. Kept polished, the dark finish gleams, covering cold stone, the thick tapestry on the floor muffles footsteps and further insulates from unwanted noise. Set with tall shelves that contain ledgers and tomes, maps and diagrams from the first founding of Xanadu to the present, arranged by topic, one can find records of domestic Weyr management, wing statistics, weyrling management, diplomatic efforts, weather reports, events and vital statistics all dating back over one hundred and fifty turns.

Though kept scrupulously clean and in glass-fronted cabinets, it's impossible for the older tomes not to have gathered some dust and mold over time, so the scent upon entering is of antiquity, musty, earthy and rich. Electricity provides ample lighting with which to see. A large wooden table sits in the center of the room with several seats arranged around it. Placed on the polished top is a stack of paper, a container of writing instruments, a large magnifying glass and basket of emergency glows.

On one shadowy corner, almost invisible behind the panel that forms the door, is a service access, given away by the brass key hole set at waist high in the wood. As it is kept locked, one would need a very good reason for wanting admittance and seek the appropriate person having the key to unlock it - the steward, the headwoman or one of the weyrleaders.

Alone once again in the archive, Jethaniel regards the project he has been handed. It can go with an assortment of others in his office - which he has not yet spent much time in. He is not certain how capable he will be of sitting in his usual seat; getting in and out of couches and armchairs is difficult enough, and there is the matter of elevating his leg while there… as well as the stack in his inbox that reminds him of how much of his usual work will go undone while he is re-prioritizing to include the urgent task of 'heal from injuries'. It was not on his schedule. Jethaniel frowns at the page, then sets it on his lap as he reaches for his clipboard and begins the slow process of adding it to the back of the stack with one functional hand and the other one used primarily as a weight at the wrist (the brace increases the heft significantly) or as a touch of fingertips while avoiding the application of nontrivial pressure. He has been attempting to increase the efficiency of this procedure. He is not yet satisfied with the results. Doubtless a scribe will be able to assist him with this, but for now, Jethaniel does it himself.

Nearly half of dinnertime has passed by the time the door to the archives opens again without a knock beforehand. The hand that opens it is a rough, gnarled and aged one, the arm, with the hand still holding the knob, used to push the door open covered in coarsely-knit grey sweater with a few spots where something caught and unraveled a bit of the stitching. Darsce, when she enters is wearing nothing close to that ragged sweater, even though it is, in fact a sweater. The rose-hued dress is finely-knit and brushed, form-fitting, long sleeved but off the shoulders (how was she supposed to remain warm in that again? Probably she'll say it reaches to her knees, that's how). She sends a, "Please close that for me? And thank you," over her shoulder. She turns back towards the room before the door is pulled shut by whomever it was who she'd snagged to help. The scent of dinner wafts through the room before her, carried by the steam escaping the covered plates. "I'm sorry I'm late," offers Darsce apologetically, more quietly than her norm but there's a smile for him. The tray is heavy and yet she's making the effort to carry it herself stepping toward the end of the table where Jethaniel's chair is closest. It's set down with a rattle of crockery. "Want some help with that?" His clipboard.

Jethaniel is expecting company, given Thea's comments around her departure. As such, he is somewhat more expectant of an arrival, even without a knock. In the interim, he has continued to work. The clipboard - or, more specifically, the documents on it, once he manages to get it sufficiently in order - is studied. He would ideally like to make some notes. Circumstances are far from ideal, and so he attempts to merely think about the desiderata. He will make notes later. The door's opening is visible, and so he glances up to assess it for further information. This reveals to him a few facts about the one who has opened it, which cause his gaze to lower to the page once more. The usage schedules are… somewhat complicated, and as such, the expectation mismatch between glimpsed hand and tone of voice does not immediately draw his attention. It is not until Darsce's apology that Jethaniel looks up, with widened eyes of surprise that resolve as his slight frown (of concentration, were he to be asked, though it is not his usual expression when studying) shifts toward a smile in return. "I have nowhere else to be," Jethaniel replies quietly. It's meant as a joke, but it falls flat in the delivery. A failure of tone, and he lowers his head slightly, looking to his clipboard. The pages are placed on it. They are not particularly neat. Jethaniel frowns slightly, then closes his eyes for a moment before extending that clipboard wordlessly to Darsce.

Darsce takes the clipboard. She does not look at it, instead she's looking at Jethaniel. Her smile for him faded somewhat at his joke, even though, yeah, she got it. And she's eyeing his ankle now, with a small frown of her own. With a mutter, she places the clipboard on the table, snags a chair from the table and pulls it over to where he is, kneels and gently lifts his leg to elevate it on the chair seat. The table is too far away to be of use and it's too heavy to pull over. So Darsce makes a decision and takes the few strides to take the folded wheelchair, opens it, draws it over beside Jethaniel where she parks it, locking the wheels. She's going to use it as a tray stand but before re gathering the tray, she sits in the wheelchair and offers both hands to him. "Do you want to talk about it while you eat?" Because just talking and not eating will make for a cold dinner and she saw that frown as she came in.

Jethaniel lowers his head slightly. He does not protest as Darsce elevates his leg. She is, after all, proceeding according to healer instructions. He is supposed to have it elevated whenever possible. Ideally, above the level of his heart… but the healers do make accomodations for the fact that people are not willing to lie in bed all day. It should nevertheless be elevated. Once it is placed there, he shifts slightly to adjust to the new position. The wince is a transient one. It might have been absent entirely, had he been elevating his foot properly and thereby decreased the swelling - or if he had been taking more fellis. As it is, the expression is, at least, brief - though his frown remains. "I am sorry," he says softly as Darsce adjusts the wheelchair, then lifts his gaze to her, letting out a sigh as he extends his hand - the one not in a brace - to one of hers. The injured one he leaves where it is. He does not wish to deal with it. His mouth twitches, an attempt not to frown. "There is… not much to talk about."

Darsce just stares. Her lips part and then… they close. "Okay," she says quietly, finally, hurt. She drops her eyes to their hands, gently withdraws hers and rises to get that tray, she returns with it and it is placed across the wheelchair handles, the chair situated closer to him and relocked. Covered plates - there are two - one is uncovered, the other removed and placed over on the table. There's a glass of ale - she knows he's taking less fellis and thought maybe… the day might be the sort that a glass of that would be welcome. He'll note that the meat and vegetables have been cut to bite-sized already and his rolls have been buttered. "Would you rather be alone then?"

Jethaniel lowers his head, drawing his hand back to his lap. The fingers of it curl in on each other, and while he does not look up to see what Darsce is doing, neither does he particularly observe the hand's motion. His lips part, then close again as he swallows - not that the motion will be easily observed, given the position of his head and how his hair falls in front of his face. His eyes, while not clearly focusing, remain open - until Darsce speaks. That is when they close. "I do not like needing help." It's quiet; near-toneless. He neither looks up nor opens his eyes. "I do not like people seeing me hurt." He's here, instead of out in the caverns. He's in the back hallways. He's… going to have an entire cadre of people dedicated to helping him and seeing to it that he works precisely to and not past the point where it becomes too painful, which means they will be seeing him at that point. He's prepared himself for having people see him, for a tray to be brought and someone… his head lowers further, but the level of his voice remains constant. "I would like you to stay."

Darsce can understand, if not from personal experience, from the eloquent non-verbal message Jethaniel is giving her with his posture. He looks broken, totally and utterly dejected. It hurts to see him like this and yet… he's allowing her to see it, she knows that. She steps around behind his chair and leans forward, both arms around him, her head lowered to press her cheek to his. Now her hair is helping to cover his face, which she still cannot see. "You don't have to like it!" she says lowly, emphatic. She can guess he's going to have some assigned help and that's part of it. "I will resign," she says, almost fiercely, "I can help you do whatever you need." He won't need a cadre. He'll have her!

The supposition which led Darsce to provide that glass of ale seems likely, not that Jethaniel has paid much attention to it. He breathes in as Darsce touches him, then lets it out slowly. His fingers uncurl - it requires a conscious effort - and he lifts his hand to her forearm. The touch is light, almost hesitant. She might feel the twitch of his cheek for her words, a wry flick that isn't a smile and quickly subsides. "I need a great deal." There's motion of his cheek again, but this time, it's a downward drift. "I am to have a scribe, an attendant, and an assistant." And a healer, but Jethaniel is at least willing to presume that person will be limited to designated appointments instead of following him around. Thea did specify 'non-irritating'. Darsce, however, suggests that he could have her instead. She's already demonstrated her ability to see to it that he follows medical advice and bring him food. "You could. It… would not be as effective." She is only one person. He leans his head closer to hers, the angle becoming slightly less downturned in the process.

He's not paying any attention to his food either, Darsce has noticed. For time being she makes no comments about the tray, however. When he breathes in, he'll be getting a combination of her perfume, faint because she applied it this morning, and the faint musty scent of books. She nods, he is a busy man, he will understandably need a lot of helpers. "I can be your scribe and attendant." And his healer, if he mentions he's supposed to have one. She's proven that already! "I don't care about the headwoman knot."

Jethaniel is, in fact, letting his food get cold as he talks about 'not much'. The smell of it accompanies the ones more closely linked to Darsce - though the must of old books is not one usually found in her vicinity. He, for the moment, makes no comments on either. He swallows at her renewed offer, then nods. "I know." He is aware of the circumstances around her appointment sufficiently for that. It is, in fact, an entirely reasonable supposition that she is here at Xanadu because of him. As such, it would be reasonably logical for her to place her focus on assisting him - but Jethaniel hesitates. "I am likely to be demanding," he says, followed by a further downward tilt of his head. "And thoughtless." He has already provided himself with evidence of that fact, after a day of carefully watching what he said in an attempt to not admit the extent of his weakness - though the presence thereof is somewhat undeniable.

Darsce may share what she's been doing around old books but right now…no. There are other, more important concerns. When his head angles towards hers, she moves her head in such a way that her cheek rubs in a gentle caress against his. The arms she has draped over him apply slight downward pressure, an almost-hug given their awkward position. By no means is she trying to 'cheer him up' or suggest that he just be fine. No, it's nothing like that. She's there, with as she told him she would be. It's true she's at Xanadu because of Jethaniel. If she were not, she would have thrown the knot back at Thea while laughing in her face. While it's true she cares nothing for the rank or status that headwoman's knot gives her, she does care about doing well while being headwoman. That is mostly because she doesn't want to disappoint Jethaniel. Okay, maybe there's a wee bit of pride that speaks of not wanting to be a total failure but she's ah, got some growing to do yet with applying some of the things she's learned being with him and the other areas of her life. "I don't care!" Said passionately and with all the intention of not caring even while, yes, she was hurt by it just a few minutes ago. "Less people will see you hurt." Oh. Oh then it occurs to her to ask. Her arms slide away from him, the one he's so lightly touching from under his hand as she straightens. She doesn't go far. She moves around his chair, kneels on the carpet by the foot not on the chair, leans her forearms on his knees - carefully so! - to seek his eyes with earnest appeal, "Me too?" Seeing him this way. He doesn't like it? Is that what the hesitation is all about?

Jethaniel does not smile for the press of Darsce's cheek and arms, but he does lean into it slightly. She is there. He wants that, even if his touch to her arm is still an uncertain one. He can, at least, demonstrate his reciprocation for the contact she provides. His cheek is relatively smooth; he shaved this morning, despite the slowness of the process. It provided a measure of control over his appearance, though hardly sufficient to counteract those things he can not, at present, control. Darsce does not care. "I do." It's barely whispered. He cares about hurting her. If his caretaker is motivated by profit, Jethaniel's demands may be compensated by an increase in that profit. In the case of more emotional motivations… Jethaniel's self-consideration in that regard does not speak well to his current ability. Her arm slips away, and for a moment, his hand remains raised, touching only air before slowly lowering once more. He does not look up to track Darsce's progress; merely waits, until she enters his field of vision of her own accord. Had she not, he might have continued to wait - but she does. Her eyes seek his, and find the grey ones dark and troubled. Jethaniel meets her gaze, now that she has arranged for such, and at her question he frowns slightly, then swallows. "I would like to be strong for you. I do not… I have already asked a great deal of you." His eyes remain on hers. "I do not want to worry you." By seeing him this way.

Darsce cannot see the not-smile. But… a woman attuned to someone she loves can sense many things - mood, withdawal, tension. Troubled is the glance awarded to the slumped figure in the chair as she moves around to his feet. "I know, but Jethaniel…" She stops. If he didn't care, he would be selfish and that wouldn't be the Jethaniel that she knows. Before she moved to get in his face, so to speak, she knew. Oh, she knew he wanted to avoid what she's doing right now - forcing the eye contact. He's not looking away, but… The emotion in her eyes mirrors his as he speaks and afterwards she's at a loss for words. What… changed after the three days of that ice storm? "Why are you-" No. Carefully, "Do you want-" No, she can't ask this while meeting his eyes. So she drops hers. In a monotone, "I'll worry anyway, but if you wish I'll stay away." She gets that out before having to swallow hard. Someone else will attend him. And she will back off. She stirs, the movement meant to bring her to her feet, her forearms leave his knees, her hands drop to the carpet in preparation to assist her push up.

Jethaniel's frown deepens as Darsce looks away from him, and he reaches out, his hand going for her - not her hand. He's missed that opportunity, with his hesitation. Her shoulder, then, a touch that - while gentle - is not so light as his one on her forearm before. "I'm sorry." He's gone back to that again, though there's a twist of his lips as if he wants to apologize for the apology itself. What changed? He emerged into the outer world once again. He saw people looking at him, with gazes unlike that of Darsce. He was reminded of how much he has to do and how little he can, according to his own assessment, provide. The tasks of stewardship are not the same, and yet Jethaniel has drawn a false comparison. "I want you here." Now it is his eyes that look for hers. "It… is selfish of me." According to his own assessment, influenced by his recent review of business procedures. Darsce would be better served to act as headwoman… according to one assessment of the facts. Jethaniel looks away, because he still continues. "Nevertheless. If you wish to stay, I would like that." A hypothetical. He cannot phrase it as more than that. He hurt her. Twice - for he saw how she looked away.

Darsce doesn't follow through with the press of fingers to the carpet that would send her to her feet. The hand on her shoulder gives her pause. Her lashes remain lowered but there's a murmur for his apology - acceptance? protest? Her face twitches, into confusion. He just said without so many words that he did not, if fact, want her with him to see him like this. But she gives answer to the words he speaks, "It's normal. I…" She's still keeping her eyes down while she takes a quick breath then says in a rush, "I guess you could call me selfish too. I want to be with you too. I want to meet your needs. I can anticipate them so you don't have to ask! I can be strong for you… sometimes. And who says there has to a limit to what you can ask of me, anyway, huh? If you're there for me, why can't I be for you?" She has to breathe - the ones taken are rough, uneven. He didn't want meek; she's struggling not to bulldoze him into… being protected. By her. Because she could do it! She's make a terrible assistant though. Because she wouldn't be able to keep her mouth shut if someone was rude to him or didn't listen to him. They both know it. "But you wouldn't," she mutters, miserable. They make great company, don't they?

Jethaniel is capable of feeling a contradiction. He wants Darsce. He does not want to hurt her. He is afraid he will, if he has her. He… frowns at the assessment of normalcy to his response. "That…" The word is uncertain, easily swept aside by Darsce's rush of them. Her desire to be with him makes him swallow, and as she talks of meeting his needs, his fingers loosen against her shoulder - though they still rest there. The 'sometimes' makes them squeeze gently. "You can." Darsce is eminently capable of… many things, though not all of them. Not even in Jethaniel's assessment, which may be inaccurate in some regards. Jethaniel closes his eyes briefly, then opens them again at Darsce's denial. "I would," he says. His voice is less uncertain than it has been, and his gaze more concerned for her sake than his own. "I…" He trails off, and swallows. "Will you come sit with me?" There is not room for a second person on the chair. "I would like to hold you." If there is a limit imposed on what he can ask, it is by Jethaniel, not Darsce. As such, Jethaniel is making an effort to permit Darsce the opportunity to provide for his needs - or, in this case, his wants. He does not actually require this; as necessities go, food (still untouched) is more important. Nevertheless.

Better is not always best. But in this case, Darsce is focused upon Jethaniel's needs, not the needs of the Weyr. Is it selfish to want, but do otherwise? She's slow to sort out what he's meant, jumping to defend him from.. himself! Under his hand, Jethaniel will feel the tension in Darsce's normally soft shoulder when his fingers press it gently. The question brings a swift, confused look up at him but a sharp nod of assent. "I would like that," she admits, followed by her pushing up to ease into place on his lap, mindful of both the wrist and the propped leg. She's in a dress. A dress that is soft and stretchable and could conceivably allow her to sit on him as she did the second day of the ice storm. But they're in an unlocked room where anyone could walk in and so she… doesn't. But she wants to! Her head is bent and she's looking at her hands, both curled in her own lap. "I'm sorry. This is so hard. Because I told you I wouldn't leave you, but I did and I…” He wasn't pushing her away. He was being conscientious, she sees that now. "I… really can't always be there when you need me to, can I?"

Jethaniel's expression is quite honest about his desire. He asks because he wants it; because Darsce has made it clear to him that he should ask, and so he does. There's a softening of relief around his eyes as she agrees, and his hand lifts from her shoulder as his arms open to her. He lets her choose her own placement, and it is likely fortunate she makes the decision she does. Anyone could walk in on them, and while it is arguable whether this is - in any form - appropriate, there are degrees thereof, much as there are degrees of better. Her caution is suitable; he makes no sounds of pain as she seats hers. Once Darsce has done so, Jethaniel puts his arms around her - both of them. The one in the brace he rests against her leg, a little down from where her hands are but still clearly in view. He is not hiding it; not from her. The other one goes more fully around her, drawing her gently in against him as he lets out a slow breath. "Thank you," he says, soft and earnest. Her apology brings a slight lowering of his head, but it very brief, for it lifts again as she continues, grey eyes watching her face as she speaks. The lowering might almost be considered but the first part of his nod of assent to the difficulty, were it not for when it was initiated. Timing issues aside, it is most certainly hard - for both of them. Darsce's presence does not necessarily make it easier for Jethaniel, but it makes him happier. There's a momentary frown as she talks about leaving him, but the only answer he provides is those arms around her. As for her question… he exhales slowly, then speaks with his voice quiet but his gaze on her. "I need a great deal." Not an easy admission for Jethaniel to make, but he's already said it once. This time, his tone is less frustrated - perhaps because he is saying it as a prelude to something else. "Some of it, only you can provide." Prioritization.

Degrees of impropriety. Darsce never ever thought she'd learn at// that// being headwoman of Xanadu! Those responsibilities (the proper ones) had her away from him most of the afternoon. It is hard for both of them but as Jethaniel's arms wrap around her, she slowly relaxes against his chest. "You're welcome," she says after a short hesitation and when she lifts her chin to meet his eyes, hers are grave. "I know, I just. You asked me to stay." She's got to re-prioritize now? "Will it be easier for you if I don't help-" Ohh. She has assigned priorities. Duh. She smiles faintly. Then, a touch cheekily, "Like… what?"

"I want you to stay," Jethaniel says quietly, and despite the serious look in Darsce's eyes, he smiles slightly. "It is not feasible for me to remain in your bed for the next month." This, quite intentionally, says nothing to what he might desire in that regard. His smile mostly fades, but there is a trace of it lingering in the softness of his eyes as he looks at her. "I want you to stay, even when I hurt. I… would rather have you then." Though others could provide for him as well, and as such, that is not something only Darsce could provide. Perhaps Jethaniel is answering her previous question first. He tilts his head down slightly, though his eyes remain lifted to hers, and the smile returns. "Your touch. Your strength." He hides that smile as he lowers his head to kiss her shoulder. "Your love."

Darsce watches Jethaniel's face somberly at first. She smiles about his comment about her bed. “Not during the day, anyway,” she almost purrs. Because she won’t be there then. She’s a touch more serous, dipping her chin fractionally to eye him for his assurance that she should remain even when he is hurting. “You… didn’t seem to when I first came in.” There’s no sulk or pout to her tone; it is intended as an interrogative sentence. She takes a breath and hastens to assure him, “You don’t have to put on a happy face for me. Or chatter with me. If you want I’ll just sit with you.” Well, she will also do what she can to, as evidenced by the fact she put his leg up, help make him as comfortable as possible. “Okay,” she says agreeably to the last three. “You have them.” And she tosses her head imperiously with a sniff to add, “And I will try not to hate your attendants.” For taking her job.

Halimeda might have preferences as to whether Jethaniel does so at night, but he simply ducks his head slightly to Darsce, smiling as he acknowledges her correction. "True. Not continuously, then." He'll merely do so at all reasonable opportunities, wherein an opportunity is defined as a time when she is there. His expression grows more serious with hers, and he exhales as she inhales. "I was tired." Presumably, he still is, but Jethaniel uses the past tense. "I…" He frowns. "I had been reminded of how much I cannot do. I thought… you would not want… that." He thought, in short, that he should put on a happy face. It is notable that, now that he is no longer making the attempt, he appears more relaxed. As for his attendants… "You may send them away, when you are with me." It will not be possible for her to always be with him, particularly when Jethaniel is working. There may also be times when she is present, but does not - for whatever reason - wish to take on the responsibilities of helping him. (Or recognizes it will be more efficient for him to retain them.) This, he will leave to her choice - but he has made the offer, and means it. If she chooses to take on responsibility for him, she may… but not all the time.

Halimeda who? Oh! Her. Heh. She's been using one of those emptied rooms. She might be pleased to have Jethaniel sleep somewhere else, but she also knows Darsce is caring for the injured steward (Don't snicker, she really does!) She gets his ice packs and helps him settle his leg and stuff. The stuff is important. However, if he wants to go sleep alone Darsce won't stop him. She'll feel bad, but she'll deal. "I was… being a smart ass," Darsce replies to that. He… needs somewhere safe to rest during the day? She shuts up to listen to his explanation, her nod of understanding (she does understand discouragement) turns into a longsuffering headshake. She drawls, "After the times I've cried on you? I think payback is due." She leans her head back against his shoulder angled where she can still see his face. "I don't want to avoid you when you're tired and I don't want you wasting energy to faking a good mood. Just… don't shut me out entirely?" He's going to want solitude, especially when he gets his… er team! (that's putting it in a positive light?), she understands that. And she nods gratefully about being able to send them away. "I can work on something quietly to be near at hand if you need something but want…be quiet." She will learn not to get hurt like she did. Looking at his face, though, she's glad she didn't just leave him before. All this… and her evening has been difficult even before she got here suddenly clicks and she says, as if out of the blue, "We should just… elope."

Jethaniel does not want to sleep alone. If his own bed were an option, he might be inclined to it - though Darsce's company is still compelling, even if he is… not currently capable of enjoying it in all the ways he would like. Attractive as it might be to sleep under his stars, he does not, at present, have the opportunity to make that decision; crossing the clearing to the craft complex is sufficiently out of scope that, in the near term, Halimeda will have to continue using that spare room. Jethaniel continues to smile at Darsce's clarification of her intentionality, and gives a slight nod. He is more likely to question his welcome in her bed when she is there than when she is not. Fortunately, when she is present, she can make her intentions clear - as she is doing now, concerning such concepts as payback. "I suppose." Then again, when has he bandaged her injuries? He is thoughtful, but the predominant expression is an affection shown in the softness of his eyes as they watch her and a slight curve of his lips, not quite pronounced enough to be classified as a smile but certainly tending in that direction. "I will try." To not shut her out. His fingers trail softly down along her arm, and he nods to her offer to be quiet. There may be times he asks for that. If he can convince himself to do so, there may be more when he asks for it in combination with her touch - as now. His fingertips trail away, and while he keeps the one arm around her, his good hand reaches over toward his plate, set on the tray. He is hungry, as well as tired - but her words make his hand stop, and he regards her for a moment before simply asking, "Why?"

Someday maybe he will be sure of his welcome in her- their bed? Quiet with touch soothes Darsce as much as it soothes him - she can gladly do that. They have a lifetime to look forward to surely he'll get his chance to bandage her wounds? It's hard to forward think though and Darsce doesn't require it. This is a high wire trek that Darsce is on. She will learn to balance or tumble to a spectacular end. "Because," she begins, eyeing that stopped hand. She could go into all the logistics and problems, but she doesn't. "It would be simpler." For who, she doesn't say. There's no eagerness in her voice to change the plans they've made, just the quietly-stated fact. He did mention he preferred simple. "You should eat," she says evasively after a moment. She's keeping him up - he should have his fellis and sleep.

There are a great many somedays yet to come, and for all Jethaniel does prospective planning, he does not find it necessary in this case. He observes Darsce as she answers his question, then nods. His hand remains where it is - perhaps he is waiting for more? Darsce instead chooses to raise another salient point, and Jethaniel nods. "Yes. I will do so." Darsce is correct. His hand moves once again, picking up that buttered roll. "If you wish to tell me about it, I will also listen." Jethaniel can do that while he eats. Given his current capabilities, his dinner will present plenty of time for whatever Darsce wishes to tell him.

Darsce remains silent. Her head remains on Jethaniel's shoulder. It's likely she's having an internal debate with herself because he needs to eat. He needs some quiet. The other dinner she'd brought remains covered over on the table. She makes no move to go get it. Jethaniel's dinner is at least pre-cut and easily handled with a fork so she won't need to move to help him with it. Somewhere along halfway through, she remarks, "I went to the harper's archive tonight to look at the legal and ceremonial procedure for marriage." Her face will reflect her thoughts on that time whether she wishes to hide it from him or not; it was unpleasant. "The procedures can be complex."

Jethaniel does not make a further request for Darsce to speak. He has made the offer; he also needs to eat. If she does not choose to explain, he will nevertheless enjoy the fact that she is leaning against him, his injured arm draped around her and her head on his shoulder. During her silence, he eats with slow, careful motions, maneuvering those pre-cut bites onto his fork for mastication and subsequent digestion with mechanical and chemical processes as implemented in a biological framework. He perhaps should be advising her to eat her own dinner - as a logical assessment of the one remaining on the table would indicate it to be - but he is, for the moment, selfish. If she does not choose to leave… he will not encourage her to do so. Her mention of the harpers' archive draws a nod, and while he does not cease eating, his injured arm makes a motion of shoulder and elbow that approximates a hug without involving the wrist. It is not entirely effectual, but he is not willing to let her facial expression pass without some form of comment, though a nonverbal one will suffice. He gives the complexity of those procedures another nod, then pauses between bites. "Perhaps the barrier to entry is meant as an incentive to continuation." Jethaniel's tone for that observation is merely a considering one. Darsce mentioned something of the sort herself, when she expressed her desire for such an attachment. He keeps his eyes on her for a moment before looking away to observe his plate and obtain another piece of food. "Elopement would… omit the ceremonial aspects, while retaining the legal." That is, at least, Jethaniel's understanding of the situation. He may be wrong. "A partial simplification." But is it sufficient, in either the avoidance of complexity or the perception of achieved matrimony? Jethaniel does not attempt to answer that question. He does, however, resume eating. The unhurried nature of that action may be attributed, in part, to fatigue.

Darsce has, apparently, no appetite for her dinner. She was originally going to try, or maybe simply push food around on her plate while he ate, but she prefers remaining curled up on Jethaniel's lap to making a pretense at eating. She doesn't comment to the press of his arm, but the stressed expression on her face eases somewhat. "Perhaps," Darsce murmurs with a slight shrug. Many people would be put off by that and thus opt for casual liaisons; that isn't a consideration for her. "Elopement would create problems of its own. But opting for the ceremony requires preparation that will complicate your life while you're recovering from your injury." She wants the ceremony but not at his expense! She has another concern, something that was brutally brought to mind while in the archives. A pained look crosses her face as she inhales, then tilts her head down and mutters, "I don't have any friends to… to… invite." Or do bride's things with but that's a given. She doesn't deserve a wedding.

Does the possibility of Jethaniel's mother never speaking to them again count as a problem or the opposite thereof? Jethaniel does not ask that question, though he nods that elopement would, in fact, cause problems. He merely leaves them unspecified, for the moment. The first problem specified for a ceremony makes him frown, then nod. He has already had to recognize the difficulty he will have in achieving all his tasks. Furthermore… calling it mere difficulty is disingenuous. He will not be capable of achieving all his tasks. "We could postpone," he suggests. Such an action would provide them with more time prior to the deadline and make it more logistically feasible. If that were the primary issue, it might even provide resolution. Darsce, however, continues, and expresses a further concern. Jethaniel stops, his fork partway along in conveying food from his plate. The utensil's course is reversed, and the fork is set down against the plate's edge. At least he's eaten most of his dinner? The meal is no longer Jethaniel's concern, and his arm goes back around Darsce. "Ah." He holds her in against him with a gentle squeeze as he searches for a suitable response. The attempt is somewhat prolonged, as Jethaniel does not know what to say.

If Darsce were to be totally honest - and selfish - she would say having Jessa never speaking to them again works for her! There are ways to be heard without using the spoken word and Jessa demonstrated her ability to do so during their visit to Cove Hold. "We probably shouldn't elope," she says upon reflection. Of postponement, she nods thoughtfully. They have nothing planned that would be ruined by waiting. "If we need to," she says. Not thrilled with the idea, but willing for his sake. Hers is an awkward admission regarding her lack of friends and there's no elaboration to go with it; it is a statement of fact. His embrace is enough, no words are needed and Darsce accepts the comfort given. Silent for a time, enough for him to resume his meal and possibly finish it, a thought occurs to her. "Have you sent word to anyone in your family about your accident?"

"I will marry you however you wish," Jethaniel says to Darsce's decision regarding elopement. His tone is matter of fact; this statement includes everything from waving down a passing harper and obtaining a signed document to festivities grand enough to be counted as a Gather with half of Pern invited. (Perhaps, under such circumstances, a lack of friends could be concealed by presenting strangers with food in exchange for a pretense of warmth and sociability? If wine is also provided, the desired demeanor might be easier to obtain.) The part which is not negotiable is that he will marry her - or, rather, it has already been negotiated, between the two of them, and Jethaniel is determined to see it achieved. He has preferences regarding the manifestation thereof, such as the one for simplicity he has already mentioned, but those are less important - except insofar as Darsce wishes for the wedding to also be what Jethaniel wants. Her comment regarding the postponement, he merely nods to. He does not prefer postponement. He is, however, uncertain as to what his capabilities will be. The scheduled date for the wedding itself is less concerning; the healers have him projected to be significantly improved by that time. The logistical work leading up to the wedding, however… may prove a challenge, and many of Jethaniel's usual techniques for dealing with challenges are not available to him. They are as absent as appropriate words to respond to Darsce's admission, and so he simply holds her. Given his own tendencies, it is unlikely Jethaniel will be able to produce a notable quantity of friends for the occasion, but this fact is less concerning to him; he does not intend to be spending much of his attention on the non-Darsce portions of his wedding. She will be his priority - as she is now, and as such, there is some delay before the continuation of his meal. Her question, after he has done so, makes him pause. "I have not." He does not yet have a scribe, and it was not… sufficiently urgent. Nevertheless, Jethaniel frowns slightly as his fork resumes motion.

Jethaniel's declaration brings a smile to Darsce's lips. Whereas she might have aforetime taken great pleasure in planning and hosting such an event - especially her own because lets face it, many holder girls dream of such a day - her desire has shifted to one of more concern for him than herself. She will keep his needs, wishes and abilities foremost in mind while planning. She says nothing further about her lack of friends. Sharing her thoughts have been enough. She remains there, leaning against him quietly after her question is answered, eyes thoughtfully upon that frown, considering things. In light of their visit to Cove Hold, it is perhaps not surprising to her that he hasn't, scribe or no. A verbal message could suffice and yet… he has not. After meeting his mother, she is not so surprised. Would the woman descend upon Xanadu to manage his convalescence? She does not ask. Her question is rather, "Would you like to dictate a note to me for Erijeane? She might want to know." She may not be a harper, but she can write!

A verbal message would also hold the potential for either lack of clarity or excessive disclosure, depending on the nature of the go-between. Furthermore… Jethaniel's frown lingers as Darsce begins her offer, but the way she concludes the question is not the one he expects, and after a moment of surprise, he smiles slightly. "She might," is his answer, and while the smile fades, it is replaced by a look of consideration. His fork is set down a final time, as his meal is concluded - though, while the action has a finality given the context of this event, that construal is an artifact of a anthropocentric perspective, and there will almost certainly be other occasions on which the fork, having been lifted, is lowered. It is, however, the last time which Jethaniel intends to do as part of the process of consuming this particular set of nutrients. His further processing of those nutrients is autonomic, and as such, he may provide his attention and consideration to other things, such as a discussion of contacting his sister. "I would need to check her itinerary; I do not recall her plans. She… does not often remain in residence at Cove Hold."

True, it would not remain concise or private. Darsce considers his empty plate and then his face. She has not been unaware of his fatigue and so she lifts her head, leans to kiss his cheek before shifting to rise, her intent to get the wheelchair and take him where he can lie down. He can protest, stall her or re-direct her if he does not wish to go back to her room. She does not intend to detain him here further, unless he wants to remain. The answer - if that's what it was - was that a yes? A no? She's unsure of his intentions but smiling fondly as she asks quietly, "Would you like to tell me where to look that information up for you?"

Jethaniel smiles at the kiss to his cheek, and as Darsce goes to get the wheelchair… he does not protest, stall, nor re-direct. Instead of these, he shifts his position slightly, bracing with his good hand against the arm of the chair to adjust to a posture better suited for rising (to one foot) and transferring to that chair. He is willing to go lie down. He hopes that the dinner crowds have resolved themselves and the wheelchair will not be required to navigate them, but if not, at least Darsce will be there to guide him through, back to her room. He nods to her question. "It would be in one of her letters." His eyes close for half a moment to provide for memory and improved visualization. "The desk in my room. Most likely the righthand drawer, but it might be with my notebooks." Jethaniel opens his eyes, and his smile is an apologetic one. "It may not be the most organized." Jethaniel was slightly behind on his personal correspondence, prior to the ice storm. He has not, in the intervening days, had the opportunity to catch up. If Darsce goes to look, she may well find things beyond the one for which she's searching.

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