This chamber is a little wedge-shaped room, completely unremarkable but very clean. It’s small, with room for a bed and a little table and a wardrobe, but not much else. There is a narrow window of thick, slightly warped glass in the curving outer wall with a pleasant view of the castle pastures: rolling green, with a glimpse of the lake and waterfall beyond.
Colin holds open the door for Lanisen, helping him hobble in. There’s a grin on his face but quite unlike any grin he’s ever had before, one of wonderment and awe.
Lanisen isn’t the steadiest on his feet at the moment. There’s a dazed, incomprehending look to his face, and he’s still trembling faintly. His leg gives out about three steps into the room and he slides down to sit on the floor.
Arael stays close at Lanisen’s side as they enter the room, with her arm lightly wrapped behind his back to support him. Her eyes are wide and shining, and her face is serene, with just the littlest smile. She tightens her hold when Lanisen’s leg gives out, and while she isn’t able to keep him on his feet, she slows him enough to keep him from falling outright.
Colin is too out of it to move quickly enough to catch Lanisen before he’s already halfway to the floor and only manages to catch his good arm. Fortunately he’s not too heavy so he doesn’t hit too hard. Colin runs a hand through his hair and just slides down to sit on the floor with Lanisen, looking in wonderment at his two friends’ faces.
Lanisen doesn’t land hard enough to hurt, thanks to his friends’ aid. He blinks at the floor, then shifts to a more comfortable position and stays there, good knee drawn up and shoulders hunched. He glances after a moment to Colin and Arael, silent.
Arael relaxes her hold once Lanisen is seated, then shifts so that she is sitting on the floor beside them, legs tucked off to one side. She gazes quietly up at them, biting her lip and blinking slowly.
Colin is the first to make an attempt to break the silence. “I want to see him again….”
Lanisen lets out a shaky, unvoiced laugh and rubs his hand over his mouth.
Arael manages a breathy laugh and nods as an awed smile breaks over her face. “/Aye/,” she whispers.
Colin slowly runs a hand back and forth through his hair, looking back and forth between them before his gaze rests on the floor and goes unfocused as he falls silent in thought.
Lanisen presses the knuckles of his good hand to his lips, hunches over his updrawn knee, and stares at the floor in front of him. He looks lost.
Arael, too, is quiet for a long time, gazing at nothing in particular, breathing slowly in and out. Eventually she murmers, “I never thought…” She lets her words trail off and re-focuses her eyes on her companions, asking some undefined question.
Colin’s own eyes eyes refocus. “I feel like..” he starts slowly, “That I knew it all along, but at the same time I had no idea. That he’s so…”
Lanisen avoids his friends’ eyes. He twists his fingers together, keeping quiet.
Arael finishes, “/Right/.”
Colin reaches out and puts a hand on Lanisen’s back, not saying anything else for the moment.
Lanisen starts at the contact, then straightens a little, pulling a shuddery breath. He swallows, glancing searchingly at both of them.
Arael looks back at him steadily, peacefully, smiling just a little.
Colin watches Arael for a bit, her serenity grounding him. Looking to Lanisen, he asks, “All right, mate?”
Lanisen says, as if trying to make it true, “Yeah. Yes. I’m–” He closes his eyes briefly and shakes his head. “I don’t, I don’t know.”
Colin nods to show that he understands. He looks to Arael, a smile growing on his face as he looks at her. “I don’t think I need to ask you…you certainly look fine.”
Arael reaches out and places a hand softly on Lanisen’s shoulder, then leans in a little closer and murmurs, “It’s all all right.” Her eyes lift toward Colin for a moment as she says this, as if to confirm his words.
Lanisen takes a deep breath. He shakes his head, mumbling, “Sorry, I’m sorry, I don’t–”
Colin says, “There’s no need to apologize.”
Arael says, “Aye. We none of us would’ve thought it.”
Colin nods his agreement.
Lanisen says finally, very quiet, “He’s–” He makes a helpless gesture, trying to encapsulate about a million things at once, then shakes his head again. He rubs his face with a shaking hand and says, “I think– I want to see him again too.”
Arael grins softly and squeezes his shoulder–the good one–gently. “Aye.”
Colin breaks into a grin and once more runs a hand through his hair as he lays back upon the floor, staring at the ceiling. “Aslan…” he breaths the name. “He was here. One minute he wasn’t…then he was. Then he wasn’t again. I…gosh, when I woke up this morning there is no way I would have thought…”
Lanisen’s lips silently form the name after Colin. He swallows and admits in a low murmur, “Don’t think I’ve ever been so…”
Arael rubs a hand absently over the side of her face. “I’d not have thought in a hundred mornings.”
Colin nods, falling silent once more.
Lanisen glances at her quickly, almost hopefully. “You were– were you scared too?”
Arael looks back him and tilts her head off to one side, considering. “Aye,” she says slowly and then takes a breath, glancing away and shaking her head. “I’ve never seen anything so horrid as Rabadash–” she looks back up at him– “at first, I mean. What he said. But then…”
Lanisen pulls back a little and looks down. “Oh. ‘Course, yeah.”
Arael watches him for a beat, then looks down as well. After a moment of quiet, she asks, “What were you scared of?”
Lanisen scrubs his hand over his face. “I–I don’t know, I didn’t really… think about it. Just there he was and–I’ve never been so scared, not even when–”
Lanisen drops his hand and looks at her helplessly. “You weren’t scared of him? Not even a little?”
Arael tilts her head a little once more. “I’d not have liked to be on the wrong side of him. But… he wasn’t there for us. Not like that, I mean. Just Rabadash.”
Lanisen looks at the floor. “I know that.”
Arael says quietly, “He wouldn’t hurt you, Lanny.”
Lanisen doesn’t answer for a minute, or look up. “I don’t think I was afraid of that,” he says finally.
Arael nods slowly, thinking.
Lanisen fidgets with his bad hand, flexing the fingers one by one. “Everyone else is so happy,” he says quietly, wistful.
Arael smiles crookedly, eyes soft and sympathetic. “I wish you could be, too.”
Lanisen asks, “Are you happy?”
Arael cracks a grin, and her eyes shine once more. “Aye.” She fidgets with her skirt a little. “I feel… different. But aye, I’m happy.”
Lanisen grins back, lopsided and weak but sincere. “I’m happy you’re happy.”
Arael grins again and nods a little in acknowledgement, glancing over at where Colin is lying before looking back down at her lap.
Lanisen follows her glance, then frowns and looks closer. “I think he fell asleep.”
Arael giggles and nods. “Seems he was more tired than he let on.”
Lanisen says, “Well. I can’t move him.”
Arael asks, “Think we ought to just let him go on sleeping there?”
Lanisen hesitates, rubbing the back of his neck. “Might as well do. Floor can’t be very comfortable but I don’t think he’ll care.”
Arael nods, then looks from Lanisen to the bed and back, considering. “Do you think we can get /you/ off the floor with him asleep?”
Lanisen says, “Um.” He reaches for his stick and tries to lever himself up that way, using one leg and one arm, and doesn’t have much success. He switches to using the bed to get himself up instead and has better luck. It’s a clumsy process, but once he’s upright he looks satisfied. “There.”
Arael gets to her feet as well, hovering at the ready nearby as he goes through this process. She brightens as he finishes, and says, “There now!” She glances around the room. “What can I get you, while you get into bed?”
Lanisen turns a little red. “Wh–I don’t need anything.” He squints at Colin on the floor, however, and reaches precariously over his bed for the extra blanket folded at the bottom. “Um– but could you…?” He extends the blanket to her.
Arael nods and takes the blanket quickly, before he tries any more balancing stunts. she steps toward Colin’s sleeping form and begins to unfold the blanket.
Lanisen loses his balance and sits on the edge of his bed. “I’m glad,” he says suddenly. “For you two. I’m really glad.”
Arael has begun to spread the blanket over Colin, feet first. She looks up quickly when Lanisen speaks, and she flushes. Dropping her eyes again, she pulls the blanket up toward his shoulders. “We’re not… I mean, it isn’t…” She breaks off and finishes arranging the blanket, but doesn’t immediately move away from her spot crouched beside him. She looks down at him, biting her lip.
Lanisen grins faintly. He looks away from them, suddenly very interested in a small hole in his pillow.
Arael looks away and straightens up, turning back toward Lanisen. “Well then, what now?”
Lanisen says, “Er–I don’t know?”
Arael giggles quietly and looks around the room. “Where’s that book he found you? I’d like to see if you can make any more sense out of the maps in it than I could.”
Lanisen’s face goes a little blank. “Ahh– it’s still in the barracks, I forgot to grab it when we left…”
Arael raises her eyebrows inquiringly and glances toward the door, then back at him. “Shall I run and get it, then?”
Lanisen winces a little. “If– I mean, if you want? Don’t run all over the place on my account.”
Arael rolls her eyes playfully. “Emperor forbid.”
Lanisen says, “Really though.”
Arael ignores him and moves toward the door. “I’ll not be half a moment.” She opens it and steps half outside before turning back around and glaring unthreateningly at him. “Don’t go anywhere while I’m gone.” She turns back and slips outside.