Living in Darkness

Xanadu Weyr - Craft Complex

The large area has been separated into a variety of smaller sitting areas, couches and chairs organized into rings and squares, tables set where they can be used easily. A few desks for studying are pushed against one wall, while another has a variety of doors spaced along side it, opening into private quarters for the ranking crafters posted at the weyr. A set of double doors opens to the general apprentice dorms, and a long hallway stretches outwards, providing access to the various workshops.

Time flies when you're having fun. Or when you're so caught up with your craft that one day just starts bleeding into the next. Either way it's been roughly a month and a half since Phylicia originally left for the Healer Hall, which makes it just shy of two months since Phylicia and M'nol had their little talk. Yet it's only been about a week since it was rumored the Senior Apprentice was wandering the Weyr's forests again, not always in company of her former mentor, and sometimes the Weyr proper. In the tail end of winter, it seems like the thaw is starting to come, with the temperature slowly rising and melting the blanket of snow on the ground.

This day is clear yet not sunny, and Phylicia can be found in the Crafter's complex this mid-afternoon. She's laying on her back on one of the couches, a mug of mildly warm "hot" cider on the table next to the couch. The book she was apparently reading is still open, but it lays text down on her chest, one hand still gripping the bottom of the spine as she takes a brief nap. She can't have been out long, due to the temperature of her drink, but nonetheless she's currently out, and her neck is in such a position where if she stays this way for too long, she'll wake up with an awful ache.

The door to the crafters complex swings open slowly, as if on a breeze, then M'nol is shoved through the door by a angular brown muzzle, the door slamming shut eerily behind him. So there he's left, looking a little frazzled and out of place. A cloth bag is clutched to his chest as he glances over the room, pretending not to notice Phy on the first pass. Of course the rumors of her return had reached him, but the fact that she was seen just as often in Tenebrous company as not made him nervous. When he finally can't pretend to have not seen her any longer, he moves towards the couch she's sprawled out on. Setting the closed bag to one side, he carefully slips the book from her hand, marking the page and setting it on the table before sliding a blanket over her and trying to slide a pillow under her head. Ever the caretake despite their talk and how hard it had been on him.

It takes a bit of a tug to get the book out of Phylicia's hands, though that doesn't wake her, nor does the placing of a blanket over her. It's when he tries to put a pillow behind her head that her eyes shoot open at the contact with a sharp inhalation of breath. A moment later, her chocolate eyes manage to focus on the person trying to be considerate. "What?" She asks, almost in alarm. She remembers where she is, she just didn't think she had fallen asleep, but when she looks for her book, she notices her hands are empty and there's a blanket on her that wasn't there before. "Did I fall asleep?" She asks, shifting herself up into a sitting position that doesn't hog nearly as much of the couch. The question comes almost automatically before she has a good chance to look at him. "M'nol…" If there was something that she was going to tack onto his name, she's forgotten it as she looks him over, to see how he looks.

M'nol looks haggard, drawn, and even a little tired, but the stench of booze dissipated several sevendays ago now and his smile is warm enough when he confirms, "You were sleeping… I didn't mean to wake you, just trying to make you more comfortable." Since she makes it so easy, he slides down on the couch next to her, "Phy…" Well, no this isn't easy for him and his smile does droop some as he reaches for the bag he'd brought with him, "I was… cleaning the weyr and found some of your things… I'd heard you were back, so I thought I'd bring them back to you."

Phylicia isn't so cruel where she can look at M'nol's appearance and not at least partially regret her part in it. "I shouldn't have been napping, anyways." She says softly, dismissing the fact she was woken up. Contrary to how he looks, she seems as healthy as she normally is, if a little tired for the moment. It's just as well that he doesn't smell like booze, because that would really prompt her to go into a hissy fit instead of taking a slightly less rude route. "You … haven't been taking care of yourself, have you, M'nol?" She asks softly as she tucks up her feet a little better under her. She looks at the bag he brought with him, and offers a bit of a tentative smile. "Thanks. I thought… I thought I had everything." But things always seem to get missed.

M'nol shrugs, shaking his head a little, "Been doin' my best… 'snot easy, though… drank for a while… got better… been sleepin' and doin' what I have to… but 'snot easy." He passes the bag slowly, as if slightly unwilling to part with it, "Just a few little things… a shirt, some toiletries and a few of those books… the little ones…." He sighs, glancing down at the ground, then back up at her, "I'm doing okay… but I do miss you… even as a friend."

Phylicia sighs softly as she looks over at M'nol, her eyes slightly pained especially since it wasn't like this for her. "So you were drinking." She says, her flat tone a bit at odds with her concerned expression. As he passes the bag, she takes it, only to deposit it on the floor by a different bag she uses to tote books in. His sigh is almost echoed by one of her own, but she stops it short. "I never said we couldn't be friends. In fact, I said that we could be." She looks at him carefully and then does sigh. "But I have a requirement of you first, before that…"

M'nol's face darkens some, "What'd ya expect, Phy? That ye'd tear my whole world apart 'n' I'd jus' go on like nothin' happened? Course I drank for a while… it /helped/. Didn't get drunk… Farry wouldn' let me… just drank some… made it easier to do what I had to do." He sighs again, spotting the dumping of the bag, then nods, "I know… I waited fer my own reasons… I needed to…" He looks up at her, his eyes a tad damp, then turns back to his hands, "What requirement?"

"That you try harder." Phylicia says firmly. "M'nol, you look like you got ran over by a runner at the very best." Her own eyes are dry, even if they are showing some of the pain of seeing him in this condition. "I'm… I'm sorry that its hit you this hard… but until you're functioning like your normal self I … shouldn't be friends with you again." She presses her lips together as she tries to make it sound less heartless. "If you start leaning on me again… even as a friend… I don't think it'll help you move on at all." She sighs then, putting a hand to her forehead and rubbing. "Faraeth hates me, doesn't he?"

M'nol's mouth hangs slack a little, anger welling up in his gut, "Try harder? What d'you think I'm doin'?" He's not yelling, but she's definitely hit a nerve, "It's all I can do to get up in the mornings. To look at my weyr and know you're not there. Faranth, Phy. You couldn't've picked a worse time to decide you made the wrong decision with me. You had to wait until I'd run myself ragged saving lives and worrying about you and feeling guilty that I wasn't there to save you and next thing I know you're telling me that you want to be with the person who was. How d'you think that makes me feel?" His body is surprisingly still for this mild tantrum, "Y' left me with nothing. /Nothing/. Nothing but pain. Over the months before that it seemed like I'd grown apart from everyone… like none of my other friends were there and then you left too." There's a long intake of breath while he tries to calm himself and wipe the tears that had welled up in his eyes. He lets the breath out slowly, then takes another. This wasn't what he'd come here for. It takes several more breaths before he feels he can speak evenly again, "I can't just go back to being the carefree weyrling I was when we met. I've changed and grown, and so have you. I've seen things no kid should have to see. I can't just go back to being happy-go-lucky Morl. Fareth doesn't hate you and neither do I… he's furious with you, but he doesn't hate you. I came here to apologize for some of what I said last time we talked and now I feel like I want to say even worse things." He sighs, taking another deep breath, and letting it out, waiting to see what his outburst had cost him.

Phylicia pauses completely in the action of rubbing her face. He may not actually be yelling, but for all intents and purposes he might as well be. But instead of looking shocked that he's actually scolding her, she seems to wilt slightly. "Did you want me to keep leading you on?" She asks quietly after he finishes. "Did you want me to keep lying to you and myself?" She's not crying, but there's a heavy tinge of guilt to her frame and voice. She also seems like she's having trouble finding appropriate things to say, so she instead settles for ducking her head and looking at her lap. "I thought I'd be sparing you more pain by doing it this way." She makes no move to bolt from the craft complex, instead sitting there passively. She's silent for a few long minutes before she lets out a breath. "Well?" She presses, not quite sounding angry but close to. "Go ahead. I apparently deserve worse than what you've said so far. Say what you have to say." It's like his tirade has pushed her to the point of not responding, like she doesn't know quite how to respond what he threw at her besides to sit and take whatever blame he cares to place on her shoulders.

M'nol shakes his head slowly, "About sharing… I don't… didn't… wouldnt'… have wanted you to wait any longer… it's just… like everything hit at once…" The energy that powered the outburst seems to be all he had left and he sort of slumps, his voice coming quieter now, "I'm not going to lie… I want you, Phy… like I've wanted you since our first time… I guess Faraeth's changed me some in that I don't really care if there's someone else… but what I /need/ isn't sex… it isn't a lover or a girlfriend or whatever… it's a friend… more than one would be best… there's nothing to do when you're alone but think about what you've lost. Do you know what that's like? To be left with nothing but the darkness?"

"You may not care if there's someone else, but /I/ do." Phylicia says pointedly, that emotion oh-so close to anger still bubbling under the main neutral tone of her voice. "And there's never a 'good time' to break news like that. I'd be gone and the Hall and near him. Or it's after the fire. Or it's now, when I see him when I go out into the forest. Would it ever have been a 'better' time, M'nol?" She lifts her head to look at him slumping and shakes her head, finally moving to stow her book in her bag as she shifts in her seat, like she's preparing to stand up. "You're only in the darkness if you let yourself be. One friend, ten friends. If you can't find a piece of light by yourself M'nol, it won't matter how many friends you have unless you want to become dependent on them. They won't find your light for you." With her book in her bag she thinks about standing up. "I don't want you to be in the dark, but I won't - I can't - find that light for you." And it's amazing after how he flew off the handle she hasn't walked out just yet.

M'nol nods slowly, still staring down at his hands, "I know that, Phy… that's why I feel so bad for saying it that day… I don't feel bad for admitting how I feel to you now… you deserve to know…" Her next words draw out a long sigh and he starts to stand as she does, "I was right… you don't understand…" His fists clench a little and his tear stained face comes up to look into her eyes with his. Though it's painfully obvious he has been crying his face is hard now. "If you can't understand why I might need someone to do things with… simple things… swim… talk… eat… then maybe you were never really my friend in the first place. I need people back in my life… but certainly not people who won't even help me try to find myself again…." his hand makes a decisive cutting motion, "No. I don't need that at all. I certainly don't need someone trying to make me feel guilty for feeling hurt. Of course I'm sharding hurt! If you can't understand that grief takes time and people to heal, then you're not much of a healer at all." The last few words are nearly shouted and he looks immediately guilty afterwards, but he can't take them back.

Phylicia is taken aback once more, before her patience finally seems to snap. "No. I don't understand." Picking up her original bag, she slings it over her shoulder, letting it rest against a hip before she picks up her newer bag of things that M'nol dropped off for her. "I understand why people need friends. I can understand the need to do things with other people." She looks at his hard, yet tear streaked face and frowns. "If helping you find yourself wouldn't make things even more confusing, I'd try. But don't ask me to be your guiding light this time, M'nol. Not when I won't give more than simple friendship. I'm the wrong person to help in this situation." She responds before her expression goes a bit distant. That last remark hurt, almost more than some of the others. "Is that it, rider?" She asks, her tone absolutely flat as she moves to rest her hand on the doorknob to the complex. "Have you said all that you would like now?"

M'nol takes another deep breath, then swallows, his eyes till hard on her, "What this time? Faranth, I don't even care anymore!" He is shouting now, not so much at her as at the world and he throws his hands up in defeat. His next words are quiet, "If loving someone else makes you this uncaring, I feel for my replacement when you move on again. All I /want/ is simple friendship! But you've taken that from me too. Who'm I suppposed to go to? Your best friend? Your new lover? Yeah, right. It's not just you you're depriving me of, Phy. And waiting for me to be what I was? That'll never happen. I'm not 13 anymore." He moves to the door, which is, as luck would have it, right where she's standing. He glares up at her, "You stay. This is your space. I shouldn't have bothered." His hand reaches for the doorknob assuming she doesn't stop him from going.

Phylicia's hand flinches away from the doorknob at the anger he's displaying. His anger cracks through her icy distance and she steps away from the door completely, not letting herself obstruct his path any longer as she averts her gaze in complete silence, first taking a few steps backwards, then turning and retreating slowly to a back doorway, usually only used in emergencies when something goes wrong within the complex. Here is still not where she would like to be for the moment.

"Let me know when you've decided I'm good enough to be your friend again!" Is his parting shot, tearing the door open and walking straight into Faraeth's snout. It seems the brown hasn't moved since pushing Morl through the door in the first place and he now rumbles deeply, sending a gusty breath through the room his nose is pointing at before Morl pushes past him, slamming the door behind him. It's not long after that the sounds of a dragon taking off can be heard, most likely the dragonpair making a quick exit.

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