Megren sits at the short table under the window in her quarters. Despite a comfortable spring day, she has her wrap pulled around her. Her knees are pulled up to her chest with her feet on the seat of the chair, and she leans forward against them with her arms tucked between her body and her thighs, only reaching out to turn the pages of the sheafs of parchment that sit on the table.
Lanisen knocks three times on the door.
Megren drops her legs suddenly enough to make a small ‘thud’ and gets up to open it, sticking her face between door and frame. Tiny winds around her legs and whines, then slips out and bolts down the hall.
Lanisen steps back, startled, when Tiny makes her escape. He watches her streak for the stairs and looks back at Megren, wide-eyed and apologetic.
Megren squints an eye, “Should have let her out earlier,” she apologizes in a slightly lower register of voice from usual.
Lanisen’s mouth makes an ‘oh’ shape and he squints up one eye in rueful amusement. He lifts a bag and gestures with a covered pot in one hand. “Perth said you were sick,” he explains, only his voice comes out hoarse and cracking and sometimes not at all.
Megren accuses, “/You’re/ sick.”
Lanisen accuses BACK, “I /told/ you not to come near me!”
Megren is undeterred. “You were starving yourself.”
Lanisen says, “You’re s’posed to starve a cold anyway, ain’t you?”
Megren says, “No.”
Lanisen says, “Oh.” He swallows painfully and ducks his head to look at her from underneath his eyebrows. “Since you’re sick and I’m sick, can I come in?”
Megren says, “I’m barely sick, go sleep.”
Lanisen says, his voice cracking and straining, “But I brought /soup/.”
Darrin comes into the hall, balancing a tea tray.
Megren steps back with the door. “All right, come in, /then/ sleep.” She narrows her eyes down the hallway.
Lanisen glances over his shoulder at her look. He steps back from the door and bows.
Darrin says, “Hullo,” glancing between Megren and Lanisen as he approaches.
Megren points to Lanisen. “He’s sick,” she warns. The effect is somewhat ruined when she follows it up with a rather nasty cough into her shoulder.
Lanisen says, “/She’s/ sick.” His voice finally gives out altogether.
Darrin pauses several steps away, looking alarmed.
Megren screws up her face.
Lanisen looks guilty.
Darrin takes a tentative step forward. “You two both sound worse than I was led to believe,” he accuses.
Megren says, “I’m not that bad.”
Lanisen wheezes, “I’m gettin’ better.”
Megren accuses, “You sound like you already died.”
Lanisen croaks plaintively, “You’re mean when you’re sick.”
Megren returns, “I’m barely sick.” She looks at Darrin. “I’m barely sick.”
Darrin raises both eyebrows at them both. “Uh-huhh,” he says, skeptical, then hoists the tray in his hand slightly. “I brought tea?”
Megren asks, “You’ll come in?”
Darrin wrinkles his nose. “Is it safe?” he only half-jokes.
Lanisen looks slightly anxious.
Megren looks like she thinks she ought to tell him no but is feeling desperate for companionship and too tired not to prioritize herself.
Darrin squints and relents. “I’ll come in for a bit, sure.”
Lanisen looks slightly more anxious now, but he pulls out a handkerchief and uses it to cover his mouth and nose.
Megren holds out her hands for the tray. “You don’t have to.”
Darrin shrugs. “‘s all right. I’ll just, sit on the other side of the room, hmm?” He grins as he relinquishes the tray.
Megren nods quickly, then coughs into her shoulder again.
Lanisen asks, worried and raspy, “I’ll come back later?”
Darrin glances at Lanisen with a furrowed brow.
Megren says, “You don’t have to go.”
Lanisen says, “You got sick from me.”
Megren just goes and crawls into her bunk to sit curled in the corner of it.
Lanisen looks an anxious question at Darrin, half his face still covered.
Darrin shrugs at Lanisen. “I don’t think she can get much sicker, and I’ll take the risk.”
Megren says, “I’m not that sick.”
Lanisen hesitates, adjusting the strap of his bag where it sits on his shoulder, then steps inside. He glances around the room curiously.
Darrin says, “Are too,” as he follows Lanisen inside.
The room is pretty spare, with a chest, a small table and an empty top bunk. Besides the sheaves of paper, there are a few personal items on the table, including Megren’s amethyst cluster and a dried flower crown.
Megren says, “I can /talk/ at least.”
Lanisen makes a face at her, lowering his handkerchief so he has both hands. He takes the cover off the soup and sets his bag down.
Darrin says, “For now, anyways.”
Megren complains, “Don’t tell me that.”
Lanisen digs out bowls and spoons from his bag, and a packet of tea and something in a brown bottle from the infirmary.
Megren pulls a face and lolls her head against the wall.
Darrin smiles sweetly and goes about pouring tea.
Lanisen sets a bag of ginger candies on the table with the rest of his haul.
Megren makes a whiny but appreciative noise.
Lanisen covers his mouth and nose again, glancing at Darrin, and spoons soup into a bowl. It smells rich and brothy, and spicier than is usual for the Anvard kitchen.
Darrin adds a small amount of sugar to Megren’s tea and hands her the cup.
Megren thanks him unhappily.
Lanisen slides the soup to the corner of the table nearest to Megren and withdraws to the corner of the room farthest from Darrin, keeping his face covered.
Darrin suppresses a smile, though whether this is at Lanisen’s or Megren’s expense is uncertain.
Megren holds the tea close to her face. “Welcome to my quarters?” she says ruefully.
Lanisen rasps, “‘S nice!”
Megren says, “I never had my own room before.”
Darrin grins and nods at Lanisen’s assessment. “You want some tea, Lanisen?”
Lanisen says, “Sure.” He glances at the window, and at all four walls and the ceiling. “Are you sleepin’ all right here?”
Megren says, “It’s quiet.”
Lanisen says, “Yeah.”
Darrin fixes the second and only other cup on his tray for Lanisen. He leans against the desk once he’s handed the tea to Lanisen.
Megren says, “You can sit.”
Lanisen murmurs, “Thanks,” and offers, “You want some of the soup, sir?”
Darrin says, “Nah, thanks.” He pulls out the desk chair at Megren’s invitation and sits on it backwards.
Megren closes her eyes for a long moment.
Lanisen hovers uncertainly, then circles like a dog finding a comfortable place and sits down cross-legged on the floor.
Darrin frowns at Megren. “You look like you should be sleeping.”
Megren says, “I don’t want to; I’ve been shut in here all day.”
Lanisen asks, “Do you need anything?”
Megren says, “No, go to sleep.”
Lanisen says, “I don’t need to sleep, you need to sleep.”
Darrin says dryly, “It would probably do you both good to sleep.”
Megren pulls a face at the knight for betraying her cause.
Lanisen looks equally reproachful.
Darrin laughs to himself.
Megren says, “You have to stay until I sleep, then.”
Lanisen pulls up his knees and rests his head back against the wall behind him. He swallows again with a wince and lowers his head to sip cautiously at the tea.
Darrin purses his lips and gets a calculating look in his eyes, probably weighing the merits of making sure she does sleep to the likelihood that she’ll sleep sooner if he leaves.
Megren looks like she’s liable to pass out pretty quickly regardless. The undrunk tea in her hands lilts dangerously where it rests on her knee.
Lanisen looks rather pale and tired, but still better than Megren. His eyes drift aimlessly around the room, considering distantly.
Darrin comes to a decision and settles his chin on the chair back, observing the two of them.
Megren opens her eyes finally and musters up some energy to work on her tea.
Lanisen, reminded of his own when she drinks, does the same. He clears his throat occasionally, and covers a coughing fit with his elbow.
Darrin shakes his head back and forth without lifting it.
Megren reaches forward to set her half full cup on the table. She sits back and closes her eyes again. ‘Thank you for coming by,” she finally remembers to say.
Lanisen mourns, “You’re not eatin’ your soup.”
Darrin says, “‘Course.”
Megren opens her eyes and her gaze shifts to the soup like it’s a mountain that’s yet to be climbed after a long day of chucking alfalfa bales.
Lanisen waves his hands at her. “It’ll keep, it’ll, I’ll take it to Ren.”
Megren murmurs something about him getting Ren sick.
Darrin says, “This does seem to be very potent.”
Lanisen says, “I didn’t, I didn’t get Ren sick, Ren knows how to keep soup good.”
Megren makes a skeptical noise and sinks down a little.
Darrin gets up to put Megren’s cup on the tray and tidy things.
Megren’s eyes drift open to watch this procedure and then drift shut again. “I didn’t finish it.”
Darrin says, “Do you want me to leave it? It’ll probably be cold by the time you do.”
Lanisen watches Megren for a moment, then draws a deep breath and gets to his feet too.
Megren mumbles, “No, it’s fine.”
Darrin says, “All right.”
Megren says again, “Thank you for coming.”
Darrin glances at Lanisen. “I’ll probably be back later to see if you need anything else.”
Lanisen shuffles over to the table and pours Megren’s untouched bowl of soup back into the little pot and covers it. He rubs his eyes and across the bridge of his nose.
Megren makes an agreeable noise. “Go to sleep, Lanisen,” she says again without opening her eyes.
Darrin holds out a hand in offer to take Lanisen’s teacup back and snickers softly.
Lanisen takes a moment to realize Darrin’s intent. He quickly finishes off the tea and offers, “I can– I can take those to the kitchen, sir.”
Darrin says, “You’re already carrying the soup.”
Lanisen blinks a little blearily at the tea-tray and soup pot and makes a vague gesture of combining. “I can get ’em both.”
Megren says, “Go sleep, Lanisen.”
Darrin says, “Why don’t I do that, and you go lay down before we both get in trouble?”
Lanisen makes a face, like as if for some reason the idea of Darrin carting dirty dishes around doesn’t appeal to him.
Darrin heaves an extremely put upon sigh as a result of this face.
Megren is barely conscious enough to be aware of any of this.
Lanisen reaches tentatively for the tray?
Megren mumbles something that can pretty safely be assumed to mean ‘go to sleep Lanisen’.
Darrin uses his superior reflexes as a healthy person to snag the pot of soup from Lanisen instead while he’s focused on Darrin’s tray. He bustles out the door gleefully to avoid being caught.
Megren wilts unhappily.
Lanisen says, startled, “Oh–” and then, “Hey!”
Darrin’s laughter follows him down the hallway.
Megren murmurs for someone to find Tiny.
Lanisen shifts his weight in mild annoyance and looks at Megren. “Oh, hey,” he says again, croak-rasping, “You oughta, you should–” He reaches for her pillow and punches it into plumpness. “Here, lay down, Tiny’ll be back.”
Megren takes it and hugs it.
Lanisen says patiently, “That’s for your head, c’mon, lay down.” He tugs at her gently to get his intent across.
Megren shifts and and seems to lose what’s left of her consciousness.
Lanisen makes a small noise of surprise, but he eases her down and draws up the blanket to cover her. He straightens and stands back, frowning, then sniffs and slips out for a moment. When he returns, he’s got a second pillow that he carefully situates under the first, trying not to bother her.
Megren mumbles something incomprehensible but doesn’t fully awaken.
Lanisen fusses a little longer, making sure there’s water within reach, moving the brown bottle closer to the bed. Finally he stands in the middle of the room, looking a little unfocused and disoriented, and screws up his face to think.
Megren says something with his name in it which can probably safely be interpreted as ‘go sleep, Lanisen’.
Lanisen turns toward her attentively, then rubs the back of his neck. He shuffles to the door and steps out.