Avery says, “Um.” She looks at Peridan and then back to Colin. “I might have one.”
Colin replies, “I’m willing to listen to other ideas. I’ve run out of them.”
Avery hesitates for a moment, lowering her voice.
Avery mumbles “What if … … … …”, to Colin.
Lanisen slips into the infirmary, carefully carrying a plate and a mug of tea. There are two slices of buttered toast on it, the soft white kind that is easy to digest. One slice seems to have had a piece cut off. He pauses at the door, looking at Peridan and Avery, and then makes his way over to Colin, bowing to all three of them.
Peridan eyes the others, his face blank. As Lanisen enters, he moves off the bed next to Colin so Lanisen can sit down.
Colin lifts his head and peers in Avery’s general fuzzy direction, surprise clear on his face. When he hears the door he refrains from saying anything, trying to make out who it is.
Lanisen murmurs, dipping his head to her again, “Lady Avery.” He sets the tea down on the table by Colin’s bed, and offers him the plate. “It’s toast, sir. Adrian said if you think you can eat you ought to try.”
Peridan moves to stand at the foot of the bed. He just continues to watch.
Colin relaxes once more. “Hey, Lanny.” He grimaces slightly at the thought of eating but he nods a little. “I’ll try…”
Lanisen says, “There’s ginger tea if you get to feelin’ queasy.”
Colin nods, wincing as he goes to sit up a little. “I’ll try the tea first…see if it helps. Thank you for bringing it.”
Lanisen nods. His eyes flicker back to Peridan and Avery, and he hesitates. “Should I go?”
Avery looks at Lanisen, smiling gently. “No, you should stay.” She lightly touches Colin’s arm before standing. “Consider what I said.”
Peridan’s eyes narrow slightly in thought, “We can take our leave if you want less of a crowd.”
Colin snorts fainting, glancing in the lady’s direction. “Avery….it’s not as simple as that. I suggested it too.”
Peridan’s eyes widen a hair. All he does is nod though, “I hope you rest well.”
Avery glances at Peridan and moves toward the door.
Lanisen takes a step back, standing quietly away from the conversation, though he seems attentive and his eyes shift between the speakers.
Colin thanks them both, leaning his back against the wall. He’s still slouched somewhat but he’s at least sitting up.
Peridan is suddenly a bit stiff as he offers his arm towards her.
Reina rolls over in her bed, coughing into her pillow before going still, back to the crowd.
Lanisen watches them go, a little worried frown wrinkling his forehead.
Colin listens to the door swing shut, watching the blurry figures depart. He sighs and rubs his head.
Lanisen glances back at him, shifting. He hesitates, then sits down on the chair Avery vacated.
Colin asks him, “You doin’ okay today?”
Lanisen says, “Uh, yeah, yessir. I’m fine. Are– are you…?”
Colin nods a little. “No worse for wear…everything just hurts.”
Lanisen looks at him, scanning his face with one eye slightly narrowed. “How’re the eyes?”
Colin makes a face, leaning his head back against the wall as if his energy is already spent just from sitting up. “Everything’s still blurry.”
Lanisen asks, “Better’n yesterday, or?”
Colin shakes his head. “I think it’s about the same? Well…People are a little better to see but maybe cause it’s daytime and lighter. I think.”
Lanisen hesitates, then says bracingly, “That’ll wear off, I bet. It ain’t even been a day yet.”
Colin nods. “I think you’re right.” He says quietly. “I’m not getting any worse, at least.”
Lanisen says, “Good sign.”
Colin nods and closes his eyes a little, looking a bit dizzy. After a minute he asks quietly, “Are you still mad at me?”
Lanisen doesn’t answer right away. “Yes,” he finally says frankly.
Colin says nothing for a moment. “You called me a–” He stops himself, closing his eyes and trying again. “Are you ever going to forgive me? Or..or’s it going to be like this forever?”
Lanisen is quiet. “Can we not… talk about it right now, please.”
Colin’s face grows resigned. “We ever going to?” He asks him frankly.
Lanisen repeats, “I don’t want to talk about it right now. Please.”
Colin lets his face slide into an expression of utter blankness and he completely shuts down, just giving a short nod and not saying anything further.
Lanisen glances sidelong at Colin, and looks quickly away, rubbing his wrists.
Colin says, “Why don’t you go back to work. Thank you for your help. You are free to go do as you wish now.”
Lanisen goes perfectly still. He swallows a couple times, then nods.
Colin rubs at his eyes and slowly slides back down onto the cot, not touching the tea or toast.
Lanisen hesitates a moment, waiting to see if Colin will change his mind or say anything else.
Colin turns his head and looks over at his blurry shape. “What are you waiting on? If you don’t want to be here then I will not make you stay.”
Lanisen crosses his arms over his stomach and says, his tone carefully neutral, “I didn’t say that, my lord.”
Colin closes his eyes. “I can’t…what am I supposed to think? You’re angry with me and don’t want to talk about it and I feel like we’ll never have our friendship back. Are you here out of guilt, or obligation? If that is the case I hold you to no obligation. I’ve tried giving you space so you’d come to me when you were ready but you came when I was ill…out of guilt I assume now. I’m sorry. Just…I can’t anymore. I can’t try anymore.”
Lanisen’s face flickers with bewildered, angry hurt. His eyes roam over the floor a few feet away, unfocused, and he closes his mouth.
Colin lets his head fall back onto the cot, utterly spent.
Lanisen doesn’t seem to know what to do. His fingers fuss and pick at the rope-marks on his right wrist that still have not managed to heal over completely, probably due to this very habit.
Colin starts to say something, then stops himself. He does this several times. Finally he groans and says, “Lanisen. What do you want from me? I can’t figure this out on my own.”
Lanisen says, “Nothing.”
Colin lifts his hands in a helpless, frustrated gesture and lets them flop back on the cot, saying nothing further.
Lanisen stays silent.
Colin does too.
Lanisen stays still and quiet for some time, staring at nothing in particular and thinking, his jaw tight. Finally, he draws a long, slow breath, and gets to his feet. He turns toward Colin, bows a deep, formal bow, and walks away.
Colin, his face growing resigned, lifts a hand and covers his eyes.
Lanisen turns aside to speak quietly to Adrian before he leaves.
Lanisen mumbles “If it, if he gets any sicker, will you send for me, please?”
Lanisen mumbles “… … if … gets … … … … … … me, …”
Colin turns on his side, hunching a little and wrapping an arm around his stomach again. He looks quite miserable and likely the poison in his system is not the only cause.
Lanisen gets an answer in the affirmative from Adrian, and turns toward the door. He leaves the infirmary quietly, and doesn’t look back.
Lanisen comes walking through the open doors from the inner ward. Despite the cool afternoon air and clear sunlight, he looks exhausted and heartsick, and doesn’t seem to take much notice of his surroundings.
Dalia opens the door to her room, stepping out quietly. She takes a glance around, spying Lanisen. She frowns concernedly. “Lanisen?” she offers softly, but hopefuly loud enough to be heard and not startle him
Lanisen looks up, but the reaction is sluggish. He finds a smile for her, though it doesn’t reach his eyes. “Dalia, hey.”
Dalia returns the smile, trying not to look concerned. “Hello, Lanisen. Are you well?”
Lanisen says, “Yeah, I’m– yeah, thanks.” He rubs his forehead and pushes his hair out of his eyes. “How’re you?”
Dalia nods slowly, “I’m well…How…how…are the dogs well the kennel?”
Lanisen says, “Um.” He shakes his head a little. “They’re– far as I know they’re fine, I ain’t been in yet today.”
Dalia nods. She picks at a thread on her sleeve.
Lanisen seems to realize he is not carrying the conversation as he should. He shifts his weight and shakes his head again, apologetic. “Sorry, I’m– you prob’ly heard, my lord’s… um, he’s, ill.”
Dalia shakes her head. “No I hadn’t. I knew Reina had a bit of a cold, but I was unaware. Has Kairyn seen to him?” She seems genuinely concerned.
Lanisen says, “Yeah, um. No, sorry. Adrian, Master Adrian’s got his case. It’s, he’s fine, he’ll be fine, give it a day or two.”
Dalia nods. “That is good, Thank the Lion.” She looks to lanisen as if she want to say more but isn’t sure.
Lanisen says, “Yeah.”
Dalia plays with the edge of her sleeve. “Would you like some more cobbler sometime?”
Lanisen says, “Oh, er.” He rubs his elbow. “You make real good cobbler.”
Dalia smiles. “Thank you.”
Lanisen hesitates. “You don’t gotta, though… if–” He makes a wincing face, as if he’s not really sure how to say it.
Dalia nods. She shakes her head, “It’s no trouble.”
Lanisen lowers his head and gives her a small, genuine smile. “Well, it’s– they’re real good, your cobblers.”
Dalia grins widely. “I’m glad.”
Lanisen’s smile widens a little in response to hers, but it slips after a moment, and he looks tired and sad again. He ducks his head to her and takes a step back.
Dalia looks concerned, “Um…Take care of yourself, okay?” She offers tentatively.
Lanisen nods, not looking at her. “Thanks,” he adds after a pause.
Dalia offers a small smile and steps away to let Lanisen pass, “I’ll let you go then?”
Lanisen says, “Yeah– er.” He rubs his elbow again. “Um, I’ll see you around, I s’pose.”
Dalia nods. “See you around.”
Lanisen backs another step away, and ducks into his room.
Dalia turns to head out only looking back and frowning after he entered the room and the door is shut.