Lanisen has built up the haybale wall a little again, about halfway, as the day has gone drizzle-damp and chilly. He is curled up in front of the hearth in a heaping nest of blankets and hounds, drinking tea that smells of echinacea and mint, red-nosed and red-eyed and thoroughly miserable.
Megren peeks inside and, seeing the wall rebuilt, circles around it in search of the kennel keeper.
Lanisen calls, before she is in sight, “Meg?” When she comes around the wall he makes flappy banishing arms at her and shakes his head urgently. “Dod cub id! Dod cub id here, you’ll getch it doo!”
Megrens brows lift at the sight of him. “Look at you, getting all the dogs sick,” she chastises, ignoring his warnings in favor of seeking out the kettle.
Lanisen says dismissively, “They’re fine, they wod get it. You’ll get it!”
Megren says, “Well, then, I’m doomed because I already sat with you last night.”
Lanisen says, “Maybe nod!”
Megren sets the kettle on.
Lanisen subsides into worried grumbling.
Megren asks, “Have you eaten?”
Lanisen says, “I’m not really hungry…” He lifts his mug. “I got tea.”
Megren says, “All right; I’ll be right back, then.”
Lanisen makes a face at her. He sniffs unhappily.
Megren disappears accordingly. She returns after some while with a tray.
Lanisen calls hopefully as she returns, “Maybe if you stay back you won’t get sick.”
Megren says, “Then you’d better have taught Nia how to carry soup.”
Lanisen says, “You set it down and then go by the door and I’ll come get it!”
Megren warns, “I’m coming in!” and then does.
Lanisen mourns, “Noo,” and then just covers his whole face with his handkerchief so he doesn’t breathe on her.
Megren sets down a bowl of the soup behind him and goes to take the whistling kettle off. “Have you been sleeping at least?
Lanisen says, muffled, “Last night I did.”
Megren pulls a face at him. “What have you been /doing/ all day?”
Lanisen says, “Mostly drinkin’ tea.”
Megren commands, “Eat your soup.”
Lanisen sets down his tea and picks up his soup meekly.
Megren says, “The whole bowl.”‘
Lanisen mumbles, “Yeah, all right.”
Megren goes bustling about, tidying up, fixing up his wall, seeing that the dogs have been tended to (as best she can which is not especially).
Lanisen makes worried protesting noises. “You don’t, you don’t have to, it’s all right. They got their food earlier, their water’s fresh. It’s, it’s really all right, you don’t– you’re busy, you don’t gotta…”
Megren chastens, “Eat.”
Lanisen says, “I will I promise only you don’t gotta do the cleanin’!”
Megren says, “I’ll stop cleaning when you’ve eaten.”
Lanisen says, “I’m, I’m eatin’, I’m eatin’ right /now/!”
Megren says, “Yeah, and when your bowl’s clean I’ll stop cleaning the rest of the place.”
Lanisen says, “There’s a /lot/ of soup, though!”
Megren says, “Better get to it.”
Lanisen sniffs again and ducks his head over his soup. He winces every time he swallows.
Megren watches him out of the corner of her eye.
Lanisen dabs at his nose occasionally with his handkerchief as he eats.
Megren says, “There’s bread, too.”
Lanisen says, “This is so much food.”
Megren says, “It’s a normal amount of food.”
Lanisen says, “For a knight!”
Megren says, “For a human person.”
Lanisen hedges, “I’ll eat the soup now and save the bread for later?”
Megren says, “That’s fine.”
Lanisen looks relieved.
Megren sets to stabilizing and rebuilding the wall.
Lanisen leans his head against the stone wall and lowers his soup to his lap.
Megren says, “Count to one hundred, then you’ve got to finish eating.”
Lanisen swallows painfully and begins again without counting.
Megren watches him with concern.
Lanisen keeps eating, resolutely working his way through the soup.
Megren sets about preparing some tea with honey.
Lanisen finishes the soup and sets the bowl aside, pulling a blanket up around his shoulders and curling up against the wall. He covers his mouth and nose with the handkerchief again when Megren comes nearer.
Megren sets the cup down beside him, not too near. “This might help with your throat.”
Lanisen says gratefully, “Thanks.” He sets aside his mostly-empty mug from earlier and picks up the new, breathing in the steam.
Megren nods, backing off. “Are you going to sleep down here tonight?”
Lanisen says, “May as well. ‘S cold enough today I’ll be glad of the fire.”
Megren says, “What do you need for sleeping?”
Lanisen says, with a tiny ironic smile, “A flat surface?”
Megren pulls a face at him.
Lanisen lifts his shoulders. “I’m all right, I got blankets.”
Megren says, “Well, you could do with a change of clothes and a washbowl.”
Lanisen says, “Washbowl’s on the table, clothes I got upstairs.”
Megren goes upstairs.
Lanisen says, “I didn’t– I didn’t mean… okay.”
Megren comes back down with some clean clothing and extra warm things. She lays them folded on the table near the wash basin and checks his pitcher for water.
Lanisen calls, “Thank you.”
Megren picks up the pitcher, pours what’s left in it into the washbasin, and heads toward the door. “Wash your face. I’m bringing more water.”
Lanisen gets up obediently and shuffles toward the table, moving a little stiffly.
Megren returns after not too long, the pitcher looking much heavier now. “What else do you need?” she asks as she sets it down.
Lanisen shakes his head, drying his face and giving her a grateful, slightly anxious smile. “Nothin’. For you to not get sick.”
Megren boasts, “I’ve got the constitution of a centaur.”
Lanisen says, “I bet centaurs get sniffles.”
Megren says, “Maybe not!”
Lanisen says, “Why would so many of ’em be healers if they never got sniffles?”
Megren says, “Because they know healing won’t get them sick!”
Lanisen pushes his mouth to the side.
Megren says, “Seriously, what else can I do? Then I’ll go. I won’t even TRY to cheer you with chatter or games or talk you to sleep.”
Lanisen rubs his elbow, his bare toes curling on the floor. “I don’t know of anything.”
Megren goes back upstairs.
Lanisen turns to watch her go, past protesting. He sinks down into one of the chairs at the table.
Megren brings down a pair of socks and his willow bark.
Lanisen manages another small, tired smile. “Thanks.”
Megren says, “Promise you’ll sleep after you finish your tea?”
Lanisen says, “I’ll try.”
Megren says, “I’m gonna check on you and if you’re not at least pretending good then I’m staying.”
Lanisen says, “You’ll get sick and then the rest of the knights and the whole guard will get sick and then somebody’ll come to conquer us and we’ll only be able to sneeze at ’em.”
Megren says, “Well, then, you’d better pretend good.”
Lanisen rubs the side of his face and half-smiles. “All right.”
Megren moves toward the door. “I–” she stops herself and says instead, “Feel better.”
Lanisen hesitates slightly, waiting for her to finish the first thought, then assures her, “I will.”
Megren disappears through the door.