A wolf with thick black fur and tired blue eyes (Tempest) follows two soldiers closely as they help her wounded packmate into the area. A healer sees to the wound in his side and gives him a sleeping draft. She lays down beside him, still panting a little from the battle. She lays her head between her paws and huffs out a huge breath. Her fur is dirty and matted, sticky in spots.
Lanisen sleeps fitfully on one of the cots about halfway down the room, heavily bandaged around the leg and shoulder, and heavily drugged. He seems to be trying to wake up, low noises of pain escaping him.
Tempest lifts her head when one of the wounded sons of adam starts fussing. She drags herself to her paws once more and pads over to him, peering at him anxiously. She sniffs him carefully. Not smelling death, she places her cold nose in his hand, trying to help him.
Lanisen, oddly enough, seems to settle at this. His eyes move beneath his eyelids, and he murmurs groggily, “Hey, Nia…”
Tempest’s ears flick up and she nuzzles him again. “Who’s Nia?” She asks softly, like a mother of sorts would.
Lanisen’s hand shifts weakly to smooth over the canine head and scritch behind one ear. “This’s Nia,” he slurs, not opening his eyes.
Lanisen mumbles “I missed you, girl.”, to Lanisen.
Lanisen mumbles “I missed … …”, to Lanisen.
Tempest tilts her head to the side oddly at the feeling of the scritching, deciding she likes it. “Well…you can call me Nia if you wish.” She sniffs him again. “Can I bring you help?”
Lanisen’s forehead furrows as he processes that the texture of the wolf’s fur is rather different than that of a deerhound’s. With a great effort, he opens his eyes. He frowns at the wolf for a long moment, blinking, and slowly draws back his hand.
Tempest lifts her head, tilting it as he pulls away. “Hello… you were in pain..can I help you?” she asks, her blue eyes looking at him unblinkingly from her black face.
Lanisen has begun to breathe quickly, not looking away from the wolf. Very slowly, he begins to push himself up, gasping and faltering when his shoulder twinges cruelly.
Tempest’s head jerks up with alarm. “It’s all right!” She says soothingly. She takes several steps back so he doesn’t feel threatened, and she slowly lowers her stiff body, pressing her upper half to the floorboards as her thick tail slowly wags. “I won’t hurt you.”
Lanisen doesn’t move, staring at her in frightened incomprehension. “…Are you real?”
Tempest’s head cants to the side and her blue eyes blink. Her tail speeds up as she smiles toothily. “The last time I checked, yes… My name is Tempest. I am the acting alpha of Winterden. Of Narnia.”
Lanisen is hardly less confused. “N-Narnia?” he repeats.
Tempest nods her head. “Yes, Narnia. Our army came to help…we battled only this day. Calormen was defeated. Do you remember?” she asks, a bit anxious.
Lanisen squeezes his eyes shut and screws up his face, trying to make everything come together in his foggy foggy head. “You– an army?”
Tempest nods her head eagerly, remaining where she is in her bow. “King Edmund and Queen Lucy led the Narnian army to Archenland’s aid. We were victorious.” She smiles, tail moving all the while.
Lanisen stares at her a moment longer. Moving gingerly, he swings his legs over the side of the cot. He carefully, carefully stands, keeping all his weight on his good leg and making a series of grimaces as he moves.
Tempest watches him, lifting her head. “Don’t…you’re wounded.” She reminds him, sniffing the air.
Lanisen remembers this a half-instant later, when his balance fails him and his injured leg gives out beneath him. He lands hard on the cot, face drained of color, and has to sit gasping for a second. “I want to see,” he says after it’s subsided, looking at one of the slit-windows that open over the gates. “I have to see–”
Tempest stands up and places her front paws on the cot. “Steady there, Son of Adam. What do you need to see?”
Lanisen responds, as if it’s obvious, “Outside.”
Tempest tilts her head. “Why do you need to see outside? Outside’s fine…it’ll probably take some time to clean up but all is well.”
Lanisen makes another effort to get up. “I need to see–” He wavers, listing unsteadily to the side.
Tempest gently places a paw on his uninjured leg. “Stay, Son of Adam. I can help, tell me what you wish to see and I can tell you what you need to hear.”
Lanisen’s precarious balance fails him and he topples to the floor. He manages to catch the cot enough to save him from a hard fall, but he lands with a gasp anyway. “Colin, is Colin–”
Tempest removes her front paws from the cot, peering at the Son of Adam anxiously. “Are you hurt?” she asks with concern. “And…Colin…hm I don’t know who that is but I can certainly find out for you.”
Colin opens the door from the stairwell and enters the room with Arael in tow. He takes in the scene, an eyebrow going up slightly as he heads for Lanisen where he is on the floor. “Colin’s right here….Lanny what are you doing on the floor? You all right?” He asks, trying to make light as he scruntinizes and looks for further injuries. He nods to the black Wolf, bit curious about it but low on the list of priorities.
Lanisen says to the wolf, “No I’m fine I’m fine– Colin– tall fellow with yellowish hair, gets awfully stupid about dangerous things–” Here the door opens, and his eyes widen. He slumps back against his cot, profoundly relieved.
Tempest sniffs the air when the new arrivals…arrive. She dips her head in greeting and backs up, looking curiously at them. “You’re Colin then…the one who’s stupidly dangerous? He’s been asking for you.” She informs him, moving to where her wounded packmate rests to get out of his way.
Arael follows Colin in through the door. The scene inside is initially obscured from her view by Colin’s tallness, but when he moves off toward Lanisen, she frowns, looking both confused and concerned, and moves quickly toward Lanisen’s other side.
Colin nods his thanks to the wolf and crouches down beside Lanisen, raising both eyebrows at him and pointing at the cot. “Need some help?” He offers his hands.
Lanisen says, “I think I’d like to stay here for a minute.” His eyes shift past Colin to Arael, and his face lights up through the cast of pain. “Hey, Ara.”
Arael kneels on the floor beside Lanisen while Colin assesses him. She casts a few very curious glances over her shoulder at the very large, very /talking/ wolf in the room, but when Lanisen says her name, she turns fully toward him and grins fondly in reply. “‘Lo, Lanny. What’ve you been /doing/ with yourself?” she teases.
Colin makes himself comfortable beside Lanisen since he insists on remaining upon the floor. “You sure you didn’t hit your head when you fell? ‘Cause I think you’re addled if you think I’m blond,” he says with a teasing grin.
Lanisen shoves weakly at Colin. “Well, you’re not /now/,” he says, and grins up at Arael.
Arael giggles, and her posture relaxes in relief. “So long as you don’t start calling me crow-head next.”
Colin laughs at the two of them, looking quite at ease. He finally starts peeling off some of the armor still remaining from the battle, chucking it into the corner of the barracks. “And that’s enough of /that/.” he declares. He then looks to the wolf and nods graciously. “Thanks for helping out Lanisen here.”
Lanisen glances at the wolf, then down at his hands, rather more shy and embarrassed now that he’s awake enough to be so.
Tempest’s muzzle reveals a toothy grin. “Very glad to be of service.” She replies as she bows her head to the two Sons of Adam and Daughter of Eve.
Arael turns and looks at the Wolf in earnest when Colin begins speaking with her. She moves so that she’s sitting right next to Lanisen, with her back up against the cot and her knees drawn up in front of her. Her grin upon being acknowledged is broad and eager, and not noticeably shy at all.
A wolf with scars over both of his eyes (Drune) begins to stir, letting out a soft groan.
Lanisen draws up his good knee and hugs it with his good arm. He seems content to stay quiet, tucked between his two best friends.
Tempest sits beside her sleeping packmate, chatting a little with the humans. One of them is laying on the floor while the other two sit beside him. When Drune stirs, her ears shoot up straight and she pushes him with her nose, checking on him. “Drune?”
Drune’s ears perk up slowly at his name as he begins waking. Though this slow awakening rapidly changes as his eyes shoot open, his whole body tenses instinctually and he attempts to fully stand upright. This is quickly cut short but the gash in his side, taking him /swiftly/ back to the ground. “GAH!”
Colin looks at the two people beside him and relaxes with his back against the cot, perfectly content to warm the floor with his two people and chat with a talking wolf. Or two, apparently. He watches, ready to move to offer help should the she-wolf need it.
Tempest plants a paw on Drune’s uninjured shoulder to hold him down. “Hey whoa, it’s all right, don’t move too much. You’re hurt.” She reminds him.
Lanisen takes a quick breath, reacting to the wolf’s pain automatically after so many years in the castle kennels. He makes a small movement as if he’s about to try to get up again, then stills.
Colin’s hand automatically travels to Lanisen when he tries to move, as if to say “Nope.”
Arael starts noticeably and leans forward as if to get to her feet when the Wolf cries out, but when a glance around the room reveals that no one but Lanisen has the same idea, she relaxes back into her place on the floor. Her eyes, however, remain wide and wondering as she watches the two beasts.
Drune groans once more, shifting carefully into a more upright position. “So I have gathered… ” he grunts, craning his neck to get a better view of the wound. “Blasted Calormene…” he sucks in a deep breath before looking around those gathered. “I take it the battle is over…?”
Lanisen asks tentatively, “What happened to you? Do you need…?”
Tempest inspects her packmate’s wound and the healer’s work before responding with a nod, looking at the knight they fought with.
Colin nods his own confirmation. “Aye, the battle is over, and won. We were victorious.” He says, still unable to do away with his grin. “Can we help either of you get anything? Is there something you need?” He repeats Lanisen’s request.
Drune looks between the two sons of Adam, eyeing them both for a moment before shaking his head. “No… no… ” he takes a careful breath. “I will be fine. ” Looking to answer Lanisen’s question though, he adds. “Last thing I remember was taking down another Calormen and then… ” he winces. “A /burning/ pain in my side. ”
Lanisen shifts, trying to get a better look at the scarred wolf’s side.
Arael grimaces in sympathy and closes one eye a little, but doesn’t shift her gaze away from the two Wolves. This time she is the one to place a hand gingerly on Lanisen’s side in an attempt to keep him from moving from his spot beside her.
Lanisen subsides guiltily.
Colin’s mouth makes a grim line for a minute as the wounded wolf explains his battle story. “Those scimitars of theirs were brutal…I’m sorry you were injured fighting for us but–” he pauses, looking to his wounded friend and the girl beside him before finishing what he has to say, “I cannot express my gratitude to Narnia and all who fought with her for coming to our aid.”
A wolf with piercing and untrusting eyes (Aliyah) slowly pads into the room, limping a bit now that the adrenaline has worn off. Noticing the others, she nods a greeting before sitting. Her gaze flicks to the two wolves present, who surprisingly, had not been seen by her in the battle.
Lanisen glances between Colin and the wolves and asks tentatively, “What happened? With the battle? I didn’t know it happened until after.”
A son of adam with a stern face (Haft) enters quietly, seeing the barracks being used, not unexpectedly, as a sickroom. He takes a seat quietly on a bunk at the far end and watches in silence.
Tempest chuckles a little. “I’m sorry for frightening you with that news, Son of Adam.” Her nose twitches when she scents another wolf in the room and her eyes rest upon Aliyah of all wolves. She blinks about six times.
Drune smiles softly at the Knight’s words. “It was an honor to fight beside you… Only glad it is over now. ”
Arael bites her lip at Colin’s words, but nods in agreement with Lanisen’s query. She seems about to speak, but then quiets as the others become distracted.
Colin runs a hand through his disheveled hair, rubbing the back of his neck as he looks to the Wolves. “Ah…the battle. Well. The short version is, the Calormenes made a battle ram overnight and advanced to take the gates down. King Lune ordered us to our mounts and commanded the gates open and we rode out to meet them. Then all of a sudden, there were talking wolves and great Cats and many other Narnians riding over the hill to our aid.” He says with a slight grin.
Lanisen asks, looking at the wolves, “But how did you know to come?”
Aliyah meets Tempest’s gaze. “I did not realize you were here,” she says simply, no hint of bitterness in her tone for once.
Arael presses the fingertips of one hand to her lips as Colin describes these events. She looks just a shade paler, and doesn’t immediately look away from him as the others speak in their turn.
Drune looks between the two once more, allowing Tempest to explain as he looks over to the daughter of eve, offering her a brief nod before noticing Aliyah. “Aliyah. ” he greets. “I take it you were a part of the battle?”
Tempest looks at Aliyah for a moment before turning back to answer the Daughter of Eve. “My packmate, Drune here, and I were in Sted Cair hunting for our pack when King Edmund began gathering his army. I’m the acting Alpha of Winterden, and we both agreed the right course was to come here.
Lanisen asks, “But how did /he/ know?”
Arael eventually turns back to the rest of the group as the Wolf finishes speaking. “Aye! We’d only just time to get into the castle ourselves–didn’t we?” She looks back at Colin and Lanisen with a furrowed brow, seeking confirmation.
Arael eventually turns back to the rest of the group as the Wolf finishes speaking. “Aye! ‘Twasn’t even a day, and we’d only just time to get into the castle ourselves–didn’t we?” She looks back at Colin and Lanisen with a furrowed brow, seeking confirmation.
Colin frowns thoughtfully. He sticks his arm behind Lanisen for him to use as a headrest, letting himself relax back, hand resting lightly on Arael’s shoulder. “This is true…we didn’t have time to dispatch a warning. We got everyone inside, closed the gates and there they were. When we counciled with the king that night, after the army had pulled back, we were trying to think of a way to get someone out to send word…but there wasn’t one.”
Aliyah flicks an ear as she glances down at her shoulder before responding to Drune. “I was. I fought alongside Nimera for a while actually… The leopard from the Waste who has family in the city.”
Lanisen nods, agreeing with Arael. “We were on the hunt and that boy found us, and that was the first warning anybody had.”
Haft raises his eyes, listening intently.
Drune offers the other wolf a small smile. “Glad to see you are alright… ” he pauses, looking between each in turn. “What of the others?”
Arael frowns up at Lanisen, looking puzzled. “What boy?”
Colin taps Lanisen. “Oh, get this. That boy who warned us on the hunt? …Goodness that feels like years ago, anyway. He’s King Lune’s missing son…the one taken all those years ago. He’s Prince Cor.”
Arael sits up straighter at once, all astonishment. “The /Prince/ warned you?”
Lanisen stares at Colin, his mouth falling open. “The missing prince?” he repeats, then sits back. “Well. How about /that/.”
Tempest nods to Drune, speaking quietly. “All are well, I’ve heard of nothing but injuries on our side.” She then answers the younger man’s question with a simple shake of her head to indicate she has no idea how King Edmund knew.
Aliyah frowns, thinking back. “I’m not sure of her sister, but the last time I saw Nimera, she was fine. She had a wound on her side from a sword, but she seemed well enough. She ran after those trying to flee upon the king’s orders.”
Colin nods, grinning at both of their reactions. “How about that, huh? He didn’t know he was the Prince and he found us.”
Haft coughs quietly. “None of you were at the feast, I take it?”
Lanisen shakes his head, amazed. “How about that,” he marvels again.
Colin answers the man, “I was, her too–” here he points at Arael, “But things were a bit…well, chaotic.” He admits. “I got the gist that I had gained a cousin back and that was about it.”
Arael seems about to say something more to Lanisen when the man calls out to them from across the room. She turns to him, frowning as if she doesn’t quite understand. After a moment, she answers. “Well. Not him.” She nods to the much-bandaged young man beside her.
Lanisen glances at Colin. “That’s right–he’s your cousin. I didn’t think of that.”
Haft says, “Then you didn’t listen to what King Edmund said. He had word from a Stag.”
Lanisen says, persistent, “Well, how’d the /stag/ know?”
Tempest ahs at this. “Likely Chervy. He lives in our woods.”
Arael frowns harder at the man. “Maybe /you/ were close enough to hear every word he said.”
Aliyah glances at the man across the room. “I was there briefly… Had one man scared out of his wits when he saw me. So yes, I heard Edmund and met the prince.” She smiles. “A nice boy.”
Haft says, “The king said the stag had it from an illustrious messenger. In context, I believe he referred to the crown prince.”
Haft scowls. “Maybe I bothered to listen rather than spend my time in frivolity.”
Lanisen blinks at the bad-tempered man. “Wow, all right,” he says under his breath.
Drune returns to silence, his attention turning to the interaction between the stern-faced man and the scarred one, expression neutral.
Arael stares at the man for several beats, looking more bemused than put-out this time. Eventually, her eyes drift over to Colin, to whom she raises her eyebrows with a helplessly puzzled expression.
Colin’s shoulders begin to shake a bit with quiet laughter at Arael’s indignation. He watches her with a pleased grin, which fades a bit when the man’s harsh words are spoken. He looks at him, not bothering to move. “Well, sir whoever you are, perhaps you’d have been engaged in a bit of frivolity when your best friend almost died but didn’t, and you thought you were going to die but you didn’t, and your goodbyes that you’d said the night before were for naught. Before Narnia came to our aid, things were quite grim. Right now, after everything we have been through, the terror and the uncertainty, you’ll pardon me if I could care less about some of the finer details this evening. They’ll keep for tomorrow.”
Haft looks at the man (Colin?) hard for a moment, then he throws his head back and starts to laugh.
Lanisen goes rather red and self-conscious. He looks startled when the stranger starts to laugh.
Haft says, “Your words are true enough sir, and I withdraw my criticism of the lady.”
Arael’s bewildered expression fades into a near face-splitting smile as Colin goes on, and soon she is giggling in relief and merriment.
Haft says, “But this day has seen the changing of our world, and all my hopes restored. And if I attended to the words of the kings, it was because they concerned me closely.”
Lanisen glances between his friends and relaxes, leaning back comfortably. He fidgets idly with the sling his wounded arm has been bundled into.
Colin keeps his head back against the cot, gaze drifting to the ceiling. He swallows several times, just nodding at the stranger’s words, allowing him to continue if he wishes.
Tempest’s nose twitches as she quietly listens to the exchange, watching the Archenland knight.
Arael lifts her head a little from its place against the cot, peering down at Lanisen’s arm and then back up at his face before murmuring a question.
Arael mumbles “Is it hurting you very much?”, to Lanisen.
Arael mumbles “Is … hurting … very much?”, to Lanisen.
Drune flinches as he adjusts once again, letting out a soft grunt and rubbing his muzzle with a forepaw.
Lanisen makes a face and leaves off his fussing with the sling.
Lanisen mumbles “A little. It’s not so bad right now. I don’t like the sling, though, it’s made my hand go to sleep.”, to Arael.
Lanisen mumbles “… little. … not … bad … … … don’t like the … though, it’s … … … … to sleep.”, to Arael.
Aliyah glances Drune’s direction, ear flicking as she frowns, noticing his discomfort.
Tempest touches her nose to her packmates. “Can I get you anything?” She asks quietly.
Drune sighs softly. “Whatever that healer gave me… ” he snorts, shaking his head. “continues to leave me tired apparently. A place to rest for the night. ” He glances between the other humans. “Don’t want to make a scene about it though. Here is just as fine as any place. ” he adds quietly.
Arael bites her lip and surveys the sling with a thoughtful expression. “Think ’tis too tight?” she asks, just a little louder this time.
Lanisen shrugs his good shoulder. “Dunno. I’m a little scared to mess with it.”
Haft rises. “May I take a look?”
Colin continues to stare at the ceiling, closing his eyes to simply listen to what is going on around him.
Tempest nods to Drune and keeps her voice low. “Won’t let you leave anyway, wounded are to remain here.”
Arael sits forward in a protective posture–though perhaps her small stature keeps her from being very intimidating–and eyes the man with a rather dubious look on her face. “Are you a healer, then?”
Lanisen looks up at the stranger, a little startled. “Uhhh…” He relaxes gratefully when Arael takes the lead.
Haft shakes his head. “An old soldier. But a good soldier knows his business with bandages.”
Arael swivels her head around to look at Colin. “You’ve got healers here, haven’t you? Didn’t you tell me ’twas a healer that took the arrows out?”
Colin’s eyes snap open and he straightens, swallowing again as he nods. “Aye, Adrian. What’s bothering it, Lanisen? The sling or the actual bandage? It might be time for Adrian to change them anyway, and he’s got stuff to put on.” He explains, a bit garbled.
Drune’s eyelids begin to droop as a new bout of sleepiness assaults him. “I think… ” he pauses, blinking a few times. “I will get some rest… wake me up before long… ”
Lanisen mumbles, “How should I know?” He looks unhappy to have somehow turned into the center of the conversation.
Tempest nods her agreement, nudging him gently one more time before he drifts off. She scootches more under the cot where the healer stuck him and dozes off while the humans keep up their jabbering.
Drune himself is sleeping silently moments later.
Aliyah winces as she stands and pads quietly to a corner away from the talking. She curls onto her side and begins to nose her shoulder, licking at the matted and bloody fur.
Arael frowns intently at Lanisen’s arm, as if it’s likely to tell her.
Colin finds himself snorting a bit at Arael’s expression and he slowly removes his arm from her shoulder/behind Lanisen’s head. “I’ll go send someone to find Adrian and ask…no offense to you sir…I don’t know much about medicine but I have been yelled at by Adrian enough to know he’s smarter than me.” He slowly and stiffly gets to his feet, groaning like an old man.
Haft waves his hand dismissively. “No matter.” He returns to the bunk.
Lanisen says quickly, “No, that’s fine, it’s not that big a deal.”
Colin gives Lanisen his sternface.
Lanisen quails a little at Colin’s look.
Haft stands up, nods curtly to the room, and finds a room to sleep in.
Colin looks at Lanisen like, “Really?” as he reaches a hand out to Arael, making a sweeping exaggerated bow, a clear indicator that his exhaustion is making him a little nutty. “May I escort you safely back to the great hall, ma’dame?”
Arael snorts and rolls her eyes good-naturedly at him, but takes the hand and pulls herself to her feet, maybe a little less nimbly than is her wont. Once she is standing, she turns to look down at Lanisen, then up at the cot behind him, and then back again. “Shouldn’t we…?” she asks, gesturing between the two.
Lanisen, since everybody else is getting up, also gets up. He grabs the side of the cot with his good hand and boosts himself to a one-legged standing position. He accidentally knocks his injured leg against the side of the cot and lets out a strangled grunt.
Colin gets hold of Lanisen’s good arm, helping him balance as he makes it back onto the cot. “So, trying to stay in the cot tonight, yes?”
Arael winces and reaches out toward him in an instinctive sort of motion, but then drops her hands again with a little giggle as Colin moves to help him.
Lanisen breathes quickly and shallowly, trying to find his balance. He hops awkwardly in place to turn around, hanging on to Colin for support, then sits down with a relieved sigh, pale and tired-looking.
Lanisen mumbles “I hate this I hate this I hate this.”, to Lanisen.
Lanisen mumbles “… … … … … … I hate this.”, to Lanisen.
Colin’s mirth fades a bit as he squeezes Lanisen’s shoulder. “All in good time, mate.” He says, his voice doing the hoarse thing again. “Look…I’m gonna take Ara back…I’ll be back, sleep here tonight, keep an eye on Adrian. Hang in for a bit?”
Lanisen nods. “I’m not going anywhere,” he says wryly.
Colin grins. “Oh good…it’s hard to keep up with you.” He reaches for Arael’s hand once more, then allows his crazy humor to take over for a moment as he slides to her side, takes hold of her by the waist with his other hand and spins her several times in a weird crazy dance that almost causes them to crash into Lanisen’s cot. Almost.
Arael bites her lip as she watches the exchange, face scrunched up in sympathy and hands held out a little at her sides. As a result, she’s preoccupied enough not to see Colin coming, and she lets out a strangled sort of yelp and holds onto him for dear life as she finds herself flying off the ground.
Lanisen’s eyes go wide, and he grins as he watches, delighted.
Colin grins like a fool, looking quite pleased with himself as he sets her back on the ground and spins her to the door and out into the hallway.
Arael throws her head back and begins giggling as they continue to spin. She manages to lean around him for a glimpse of Lanisen before they’re quite out the door, and calls–hopefully not loudly enough to wake the whole room–“G’night, Lanny!”
Colin re-enters the barracks, rubbing the back of his neck. He picks up some of his cast off armor and piles it up more neatly to deal with later.
Lanisen has laid back on his cot, staring at the ceiling with a distant, puzzled frown. He is playing idly with the hand of his wounded arm, scraping gently at the skin of the fingers with his fingernail. When he hears Colin, he raises his head.
Colin waves his hand a little at him and approaches. He finishes taking off the last of his armor and adds it to the pile before he sits on an empty cot next to Lanisen’s. “What’s on your mind?”
Lanisen asks, “Huh? Nothin’.” He flexes his right hand, wincing. “Hand’s numb, it’s weird. Get Ara back all right?”
Colin looks at Lanisen’s hand, frowning. “I sent someone for Adrian…he look at it? Is that normal?” He nods tiredly, though a smile plays at the corners of his mouth. “Yeah. Got her back all right.”
Lanisen looks at him from the corner of his eye, then lets out a tired snort of laughter. “You’re ridiculous. You both are.”
Colin grins sheepishly. “It feels good to be able to /be/ ridiculous….”
Lanisen props up his head on his good arm. “Yeah? Did you finally talk to someone, then?”
Colin hehs, shaking his head. “No…no, we haven’t exactly had the time. But…soon. Like, now. It’s time. After this–” he waves his hand to indicate the barracks. “This…I just–” his voice trails off.
Lanisen watches him, then turns his head to look at the ceiling instead. “Yeah,” he says. “Yeah. I know what you mean.” He pauses. “Makes one think a bit, don’t it.”
Colin rests his forearms on his knees, letting his head tiredly droop. “Yes…yes quite a bit.” He draws a deep breath and lets it out, a bit shakily.
Lanisen glances at him again. “Hey,” he says. “Hey. You all right?”
Colin likes his head to look at him, offering a wobbly smile. “Yes, and no. I mean…the past two days–there’s a lot to process.”
Lanisen’s expression twists a little. He pushes himself up into a sitting position, wincing. “It’s all right,” he says earnestly. “It’s okay. You’re fine, and Ara’s fine, and I’m fine, and everybody’s okay and we won.”
Colin nods rapidly, the emotions still showing on his face. “Yeah..we’re okay. We’re all okay.” He pauses, rubbing his eyes for a bit while he fights choking up. “Wow…we’re all okay.” He thinks about that for a minute or two before speaking again, slowly as he processes. “Wow…I thought today was it. I was on Coalblack’s back and I thought that was it, and I’d never see you, or Ara or the boys or Cole or…anyone again. And it was…and that once that’d happened, that I wouldn’t be around, when they got in–when they…” he finds himself unable to continue, the lump in his throat cutting him off.
Lanisen listens silently, pain and compassion for his friend written on his face. He moistens his lips, then stands with an effort. Leaning on the wall for support, he shuffle-hops the short distance between his cot and Colin’s, then sits heavily next to him, out of breath from that small exertion. He reaches out and puts a hand on Colin’s shoulder.
Colin protests when his friend gets off the cot, but begrudgingly shuts up since Lanisen never listens to him anyway. Grateful for the company, he just sits there, quiet for a while.
Lanisen says after a time, “I’m glad you’re all right.” He pauses, then shakes his head. “I had–those herbs, they’ll give you such dreams–and then I woke up, and that wolf was there, and she said there’d been another battle, and I thought–I mean I wasn’t quite awake yet but I really thought–”
Colin nods. “Good thing I came up when I did, huh?” He says with a hoarse chuckle. “And Arael..whew…” He runs both hands through his hair. “Was all I could muster to keep from scooping her up and outright kissing her when we all arrived back in the great hall. But–that’s something old, impatient Colin would do. Got in trouble for that with Avery, even. I want to do this right…protect her. She’s–heh, who am I kidding, you both are my family.”
Lanisen glances at him, then back down at the floor in front of them, smiling a small, pleased smile. “As you are both mine,” he answers quietly. “I’m glad for you, sir.”
Colin grins. “Don’t uncross your fingers yet.” He half-jokes tiredly. Rubbing his eyes again, he groans. “I feel too wired to sleep but I think almost everything has stopped functioning.”
Lanisen leans back, trying to stretch, and sighs. “And I slept all day.” He flexes the fingers of his right hand again and rotates the wrist, frowning in annoyance.
Colin chuckles a bit, though he’s watching Lanisen play with the numb hand. “Adrian can probably help…sleep’s the best thing for you. How’s everything feeling? How are /you/ doing with all this?”
Lanisen says, “Oh.” He leaves off with his right hand and gestures vaguely with the left. “Everything hurts. Sittin’ hurts, layin’ hurts, movin’ really really hurts.” This is all said matter-of-factly, with a bit of a lopsided smile to try to convince Colin it’s not so bad as all that. “But hey. I’m still here.”
Colin’s responding smile is quick and his arm goes around Lanny, squeezing his shoulder on the uninjured side. “Yeah, you are. And I’m never going to let you forget it.”
Lanisen goes tense and surprised at the hug. But the startled reaction only lasts a second, and he leans briefly against Colin, grumbling, “Yeah, I don’t doubt that.”
Colin releases a sigh and looks down at his grubby hands. “I think…I should clean up a bit before sleepin’…”
Lanisen wrinkles his nose. “You think?”
Colin pretends to swing at him, going clear over his head. “And you smell like a bouquet of roses? Please.”
Lanisen laughs under his breath, raising his left arm to ward off the fake-blow. “Friends gotta be honest bout these things, is all.”
Colin groans as he heaves to his feet. “I….am not going to complain at all.” He says decisively. “I’ll be back. Try to get some sleep.”
Lanisen says, “Hang on. Can you help me back over?”
Colin squints at him. “You could just stay in that one…” he offers with a helpful grin.
Lanisen says petulantly, “But I’ve got the other one all smooshed the way I like it. Besides, the good blanket’s over there.”
Colin rolls his eyes and holds out both his hands to help him up. “Can’t have you without all the right smooshes, you delicate petunia.”
Lanisen takes Colin’s hand and carefully hauls himself up. “Now you’re gettin’ it,” he pants, maneuvering himself back to his properly-smooshed bed. “There. Thank you.”
Colin grins and ruffles Lanisen’s already gorgeous looking hair. “Get some sleep.”
Lanisen swats at his hand. “Get off,” he grumbles. “Hey, do you think you could find me a stick or something?”
Colin eyes him skeptically. “What kind of stick?”
Lanisen says, “A good stick to poke people with when they ask silly questions.”
Lanisen says, “To walk with, genius.”
Colin holds up a hand. “Hey…to be fair, my first assumption was that you wanted it to poke me with, so ‘scuse me for asking.” he says with a laugh. “Sure, Lan…I’ll make sure you get a good walking stick.”
Lanisen says, settling back into his cot, “Thanks.” He fingers the bandage on his shoulder, looking anything but able to sleep.
Colin heads for the door, pausing to catch one of the healer assistance to mention something about sleeping herbs for Lanisen before he steps out into the hallway.