Neve, V'dean


V'dean: Not a Healer Hall candidate.


It is afternoon of the twenty-fifth day of the first month of the third turn of the 12th pass. It is the eighty-fifth day of Summer and 32 degrees. It's really damn cold out.


Hold Infirmary, Southern Barrier Hold

OOC Date


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Hold Infirmary

It is a hardy space for a hardy hold, settled off the crafters nook and the Miner's hub: a good spot for certain, for the plethora of minor and major injuries that steadily flow out of the depths of the mineshafts deeper within. Not as large as an infirmary that one would find in, say, a weyr, it is nonetheless serviceable, with a single appropriated slab and several curtained, individual examination stations. A simple warming tissane is always to be found at the large hearth burning cheerfully next to the small waiting room, soothing to the throat and nerves.

The infirmary has become the safest place in the Hold, with Healers sent from the Weyr to serve as constant presence and the guards that are posted 'round the clock outside the door. No one gets in without declaring themselves, no one gets in without being approached by a smiling but firmly toned Healer asking why they are here. V'dean will find his reception warm, however- it seems someone has told the attending staff that he is responsible for saving a certain journeyman's life. He might even find himself the awkward subject of handclasps, of patted shoulders, of thanks from members of the Craft shared by Neve, if he stands still long enough. And there are no objections to him going on through to the far end of the infirmary, which has been transformed into curtained nooks each with its own cot.

It's in one of these that Neve has been installed. Days and days she's spent in a fellis fog, her peers deeming it better to keep her under rather than cope with the pain both physical and emotional that's sure to come not only from the attack, but from being facially scarred. But she's finally thrown off the shackles of drugging and just in time for the bandages to come off, to give her wounds time to breathe in order to speed knitting. Weak as a kitten, and unaware of any impending visitors, she has thrown off the sheet covering her and is trying to get her feet to connect with floor. It isn't going well, off balance and hurting pretty much everywhere. It means she clings to cot's edge and hangs her head, breathing hard, a hand lifted to hover fingertips over the black stitches knotted in a winding line across cheek and the bridge of her nose.

There is something a little awkward about the bluerider's passage through the receptive infirmary. While his social acumen is quite well developed, perhaps he is not so used to being of particular focus. Perhaps, it has something to do with the particular awkward fit of this role of savior. In any case, V'dean has had days defined more by sun than snow to get most of his cavalier ease knit back into place. He has a different coat, left hanging outside, and a different scarf that hangs unwound over shirt and vest. After returned smiles and pats of hand, his features quiet as he's left alone to approach Neve's curtain with a softening step and a neatening drift of fingers through his forelock. Cool green eyes expect to find her on her pillow as they lean around the gauzy edge of hanging fabric. "You're up." Not just awake. He sounds surprised, though at least not too loudly. The drop of a fist to bunch in the fabric helps him step inside of it instead of just catching it like a cape around his shoulders. He should probably ask something. He just says: "Hi."

Did he just tidy his hair for her? How sweet of him. That makes it a shame that Neve doesn't look up, not at the shiver of curtain being drawn aside, nor the voice she surely recognizes- though it's much calmer on this hearing than her last. Not that she isn't all too aware of there being a visitor present. Why else try to turn her face away, though it causes a sort of…bobblehead effect, the culmination of too many days spent in fellis'd slumber. Her voice shows that same furriness, hoarse and thin when she rasps a whisper of, "Too long abed." At least the cheek presented to view shows no poor effect beyond being a little pale. An attempt is made to clear her throat- a horrible sound, choppy and full of unspeakable fluidy sounds- before she attempts speaking again. "Could you. Help me pour a water? Please." But only help, V'dean! There's a table beside the cot, a pitcher, a cup, and she fully intends to fumble across her body to secure the latter in her own hand, unsteady though it is.

The curtain settles out of its ripples behind him as he releases it. "Time for a towel on a warm beach, is it?" V'dean may not be paying close attention to his answer, given the way he tilts a cautiously curious look after her avoidant turning. But his dimple is tucking into place. Wryly. "I can do that." He mostly avoids leaning on that last word. His left arm smoothes the dangling tails of his scarf against his torso as he crosses in front of Neve to get to the table. They're not really in danger of brushing into her glass, but he holds the pose anyway as he lifts the pitcher to pour. It gives him excuse to face her, hovering close by her knees, though the bluerider will have to be satisfied with quick-flicked glances towards her stitched features since the unsteadiness of her hands recommends he watch the held glass.

The healers will say that laceration is healing well but the old adage holds true- it always looks worse before it looks better. Her face is swollen and raised around the full length of the wound, the color is vivid and there is a crust of damp scabbing between each stitch. Lovely! And Neve is well aware of it, opting to lower her chin when his shadow falls over. That, at least, is no challenge to her balance. She curls her hand beneath the glass she's raised to help its steadiness. "Beach…not likely. For some time yet," is her all too serious reply, delivered from the corner of her mouth. His boots are studied with floating eyes, the tails of that scarf, but as she's yet to look the bluerider full in the face there's a possibility, however slight, she's still not entirely sure of who's come visiting. At least until confirmation is given with a quiet addendum. "They haven't kept you? That must mean…you're healing well. I'm glad of it. You…" She pauses for a beat, brow crumpling beneath the untidy fall of her own forelock. "Ekerth?"

V'dean will give a dry chuckle over the beach, despite her sounding so serious. "What do you have against sand and sunburn," he replies with absent sarcasm. Her glass is quickly filled, but he doesn't move away after replacing the pitcher to the table. "No," they didn't keep him. "I only stayed the one night here," is quieted by a transient tense of his jaw. He bunches his fist about the scarf, hanging his elbow out so the his other hand can fit back to graze light along his side. "This one's still closing up. My arm… can hardly tell that apart from the scratches your bronze has been putting on my shoulder." His humor is rather bleached out. "Ekerth was about ready to between into that room."

Supporting the cup can only be a temporary endeavor, ache and pull enough to see her arm down to her side soon enough. The twinge that comes is in sympathy with his own in spite of the haleness he's claiming. "Rabbit?" Because maybe she acquired another bronze while she was out. Neve sighs for that, the sound rough but apologetic. He's saved the actual words though because water, and once lifted, a sip becomes a swallow becomes several in quick succession. There's nothing quite like fellis to give dry mouth and a furry tongue, but that danger goes once she's finished and recovered from chugging with a gasp or a hiccup. That done, near empty cup shifted from right to left, she reaches up and across to hover palm over scored cheek. So shielded, the healer finally lifts an unsteady look to seek out a scruffy face. Somberly, of course. All of his jests, they're sliding like oil on glass. "I'm sorry. For that. Him. And…you. Being there."

"Mm." Rabbit, yes, he presumes. V'dean is waiting for the rise of her eyes — his chin tucked, a vague knit between his brows, his arms still safely occupied by their loose wrap-and-hang. "Neve." Her name is a low, full murmur. The frown deepens about his eyes and he shakes his head, taking a breath and flicking a look towards the curtain. No one's coming, but still he sways a scuffing few inches closer. "You did nothing wrong." And yet she's the one hiding that nasty cut beneath the float of her palm. "I'm…" The clouding green of his gaze drifts towards her collar. "I'm glad your fingers are working." He still holds his scarf, but his other hand lifts its own hover of fingers towards that spot so near her pulse. "That you can talk." His smile is a wan, sickly thing. "I'm glad I didn't break you worse."

It's not a gaze destined to linger! Swaying breaks that look between them, and her name, and everything he says after. What doesn't cause her eyes to drop just ensures they remain down. Neve swallows past a lump in her newly rewetted throat. "I thought…mm." She thought bad things of him, so bad that even fellis-fogged and racked with guilt she can't speak them. Fortunate that he's presented a more palatable option. "I told you," she begins again, "you wouldn't. I'd have died. If you hadn't been there. So." So. His fingers are allowed to hover as they like, though she returns her concealing hand to curling over the cot's lip, holding fast. Still, she doesn't stiffen, or look to push V'dean away. That might be more a thank you than any she speaks aloud- and she does, after a moment. "Thank you. For that. And…and…to Ekerth. For not Betweening into the room. I hope he forgets soon."

"Maybe," is about all V'dean is comfortable allowing in regards to his actions. Maybe he expects… something, to come between his reach towards her collar and the touch it seeks. Even in absence of her reaction, he seems to find inhibition — or, at least, deflection. "Yeah," he answers absently. His fingertips ghost up along the line of her throat. There, a memory of airborne toes. "Dragons are lucky, in that." The curve of knuckles brushes gently to the edge of her jaw, thumb shifting in lightest skim over the lowest curve beneath the inflamed ruin of her cheek. He wants to see her eyes. "Neve…" He hasn't Fellis to blame, but still his tongue must pause to find moisture in his mouth and his swallow comes thickly. "Are you going to be all right?" It's the lamest of questions.

The marks there on her throat are already fading into patterns of green and yellow. Dull shades, to match the drab and shapeless infirmary gown. But that is one skim too close for comfort, for its encroachment- even unintended- towards ruin. For that, yes, Neve will lift her chin, head unsteady on the stem of her neck again but eyes willing to meet. She has Fellis to blame. Why else would she say what first springs to mind for that poor question. "It isn't the first time. I've gone on. After doing something stupid I'm sorry." All in one breath, that. She knows as soon as it's said the sin in airing that. It leads to listing, sound shoulder pitched back to send her against the support of cot and pillow again. Her good hand folds over the revealed lump of bandaging that's lent a new swell between collarbone and armpit, hiss unfeigned. That, for speaking too quickly. That'll teach her. "Dragons are lucky," she says, morose from more than just her catalogue of hurts. "But. I'll be fine. When they get me back to the Weyr. I hate this place."

V'dean is frozen. Jaw tight. Both consumed by and hidden from the honey brown gaze that's been Fellis-freed. Lost in abstraction, he just stares a moment more while Neve lists away. A blink finally brushes his lashes down, his gaze down and aside in the direction of the bed's foot. Their privacy, a curtain. His fingers have fallen down to a pressed perch on the mattress edge. Now his scarf is let go so he can roll his knuckles into the persisting creases of his forehead. "That's good," is rather hollow. The slant of his gaze drifts back towards the lumpy bandage. "At least that will mend." A wan curl takes up at one edge of his mouth as a breath laughs silent from his nose. Anyway, more easily, "this infirmary is crawling with guards. With the Weyrwoman here, too. You should at least get to go back when she does." No, he doesn't sound entirely confident of even this barely-medical opinion, either. His shoes sound against stone as he shifts, reaching back towards the pitcher. "More water?" It's a parting sort of offer.

Such a lapse. It's self-indulgence at its worst, to judge the way Neve shifts uneasy against the pillow. When he calls to attention the others here, the other whose weight has pulled many of those guards, her brow knits with dull shame. The knot of it pulls her fingers' press, a touch that shifts next to her cheek before lowering to take the cup from left hand. This time, it finds steadier support with her forearm braced against her middle. "Yes. Please. I'm…I apologize. V'dean. It's…there's no excuse. To talk that way. After…after all you've done." And she means it, she must, or there'd be no concern laced through those eyes when they lift to him again. It's focus reversed, spun from inside to look out and some effort made to clear the fog of everything to study him. To see. "How are you? Really?"

The ready hover becomes a clasp of the pitcher's handle. There's no peeking deviation this time as he steadies it over Neve's outheld glass. Cool and icemelt pure, that pour of liquid. The tug of frown that laces over his features is subtly changed. More impatient. "Stop," is low, quiet insistence. The pitcher is lighter when he sets it back, but makes just as much of a thump as before. "I don't need you to be polite to me." Weariness just unmasks skepticism in the gaze that slants back to meet Neve's concerned study. "Journeyman," he makes answer to those questions with coy accusation. It leads him across some threshold, the further skew of his mouth twisting into his dimple. They are too poorly and too much acquainted; now the canny twitch of his eyebrow has had done with manners. "After all I've done." V'dean will wear it as a mockery.

Requesting that she not be polite is to ensure Neve not speak at all- now that we are pretending that lapse didn't happen, of course. And she most definitely is pretending that, gaze flickering downwards and hand lifting up to coordinate the rise of glass to lips. Drinking is a more measured process, and more difficult what with having chosen to go prone again. After, her head drops back to the pillow as if fashioned of lead. The subsequent sigh is purely physical to mark an exertion made and succeeded. The glass' base rests on the soft cushion of her belly, to rise and fall with each breath. Maybe she's fallen asleep on him. Maybe this is a more insidious sort of manners. But no…he's not let off the hook that easy, though she accords him the dignity of keeping her eyes closed when she speaks again. Polite. It's bred in the bone, in this one. "You got me away from him. You…did what I told you. When you were hurt. And…afraid. That's what you've done. I'm sorry. If that's as…as hard to live with."

To be so warily suspicious of so polite a little healer, so collapsed and pale upon her cot — the close of her eyes does spare him the indignity of a witness to that. Tension makes fine lace of his jaw as she steps through his feats of cowardice. The exhale of his breath is a little short and heavy. "Well let's not make a ballad of it," he replies in parched disgruntle. The bed shifts beneath the lean of his weight. That his breath hitches wince is further sign that he leans, his elbow folding alongside Neve's recline. "It doesn't matter," is here a heavy point instead of listless apathy, murmured in close. "I…" He's reaching for the glass balanced on her belly. Plucking it into the surer curl of his palm. "I'm glad I could help," is something he says stiffly instead. Crawling back towards polite is as slowly labored as the push back towards a balance on his feet. "I'm sorry you were hurt," is told to the glass he'll put on the table.

Both cot and Neve suffer the lean without apparent complaint. No groaning, no flinching, no shifting away. Maybe she is drifting towards sleep though the tension that wreaths the set of her lips belies that. It is discomfort and whether that has to do with V'dean himself, the labor of this conversation or the complaints of the body is impossible to say. It wouldn't be polite to say, after all. "No," she sighs. "No. Nothing about that is…is worth any music. This is a horrible place." A lament she's made before. There'd be more oomph to it now if she weren't collapsed and pale, as he's noted. With the glass gone, its rise marks the lift of lashes to train a look towards the bluerider again. Silence, for a time, before he wins another sigh. "I'm sorry too. You're going back? To the Weyr."

"Yes." It is a place of hard stone and hard ice, deathly and cold. "I am." V'dean is going back to the Weyr. Soon, anyway. Now he is arranging glass and pitcher on her table. Arranging his hair with a comb of fingers that's more about dragging fingertips up from his temples. He'll echo her sigh with a quiet inflation of his lungs. It fits his shoulders back to a straight line beneath the crisp tailoring of shirt and vest. "You don't have to worry about us. Me." He hangs his fists loosely from his slung scarf and cants a look back across Neve. It's just convenient that he has injuries she won't have to look after. Maybe here is where he ought to say good bye, or wish her well. But he just quirks an offset little smile and drops his gaze and moves to turn from her bedside table.

Neve won't bid him stay. She's tired, but more importantly, she hurts and that veneer of civility is wearing thin. Soon the other healers will be back with another cup of fellis-laced tea and she'll have to push it away, no simple task. V'dean has the advantage here, the simple grooming set that lets him adjust into a mask that she- soft, giving Neve!- will accept as truth. But the color is going from her lips as she presses them thin together and her right hand has dropped to linens to pluck fitfully at their crumpled folds. "I have enough worry," she tells him. Something like a smile, in general shape at least, settles on her mouth. A poor effort, compared to his. "Worry enough for everyone. Clear skies. My…my best to Ekerth."

"He thanks you." V'dean takes great liberty with his less-chopped advantage. "We hope you are soon well, and well away." As she wishes. Green eyes don't quite make it back, but perhaps the plucking fingertips might be caught in the edge of his gaze as he gives a bow of his head. And then he's gone, the curtain rippling faintly as he passes and the relatively cozy cheer of the (relatively?) safe-haven infirmary filling in again in his wake.

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