Broken Ribs Debacle (Backlog)

Ierne Weyrhold - Infirmary
We're pretty sure they have one, but JOKE'S ON YOU IF YOU THINK WE FOUND IT. HA!

“I-It’s j-just for one night,” comes timid, an order from a healer that doesn’t really sound like an order at all. One might assume it’s because Ila’den is being Ila’den (all feral grace and wolfish smiles that denote dark humor and an even darker man beneath a veneer of crumbling civility), but you’d be wrong — for once. That’s just Fioreyla, being confronted with a man who seems to find her HUMOROUS instead of HEALERISH (this is a problem with her life as a whole, nobody takes her seriously) and instead of arguing like any politely off-put patient might, assaults her with a raspy burr and husky growls that formulate one sentence: “Are you going to keep me company, then?” There goes Fioreyla’s soul, departed from her body, from this life, from this here mortal realm of being in a way that has violet eyes looking curiously blank while the rest of her catches fire in honor of that nickname she holds. “I-I’m –“ WAHPOW! There’s a growl of pain, a hiss of air being sucked in between teeth as Fioreyla quite literally smacks a bandage with something to ease the pain onto bruising. “W-We no longer b-bind ribs, because it m-makes it harder to take deep b-breaths. That c-causes pneumonia. Y-you are f-free to do l-light activities, but d-do your best to k-keep your posture and n-nothing strenuous because you ca-can puncture your lung. It w-will t-take about t-three fortnights to h-heal, but please s-see a healer. And j-just for tonight, you have to s-stay. We’ve s-sent a note to your w-weyrmate.” Ila’den’s a mixture of DELIGHT, and POLITE RAGE, and DECADENT HUMOR as he watches the little healer who thinks she can keep him in an infirmary overnight, a healer who seems so meek and actually DOES have a little bit of sassy-sass even if it manifests as MORE PAIN. He’s rumbling low, husky laughter when she ducks her head and slips her way out from behind his privacy curtain, pulling it shut behind her so that she can PROBABLY GO HYPERVENTILATE INTO A BAG while Ila does his damndest to just breathe. Yeah, it’s coming in shallow swallows of air, uncomfortable in a way that ‘FUCKING OW’ can’t even touch as he wraps his arm around his chest, and presses a palm over the bandage of NUMBING THINGS. Now to wait for R’hyn to come and break him out, because that’s totally how this works, right? RIGHT.

WRONG. R'hyn's arrival is immediate enough to be suspicious, given the timing of Fioreyla's conversation. Perhaps the note was sent previous to bandages being WAHPOW'd onto Ila'den's person, or maybe a time is funny, fickle thing when it comes to waiting for one's weyrmate, because there doesn't seem to be enough of it between Fire's closing of the curtains and R'hyn's sharp tug to open them again. Barely-leashed temper defines the bronzerider's every angle, anxiety riding high in the lift of shoulders, in long, ground-eating strides that take him to Ila'den's side, in the set of features that would be somewhere dangerously neutral to anyone but Ila. For Ila, this is the height of worry, the harsh flicker of thundercloud eyes indicative of concern, the taciturn press of lips perhaps all that's keeping him together. Does Ila'den greet him? Probably. Does Heryn care? Zero likely. His big body crowds the head of the bed, expression still parked somewhere inscrutable as hands go to directly to Ila's face, gentle despite his mood. They track across cheekbones, jaw, neck, down, down, the brush of fingertips getting lighter as they go, looking for damage and, finding only bruising and bandages as promised, are allowed a series of shakes before they flatten to the bed on either side of Ila's form. His long, messy fringe drips because he's more than a little soaked, letter likely having interrupted a bath, judging from the faintly sweet scent that clings to him as damply as does shirt and pants, plastered to his skin in some places that would surely be fascinating if he didn't look, "Ridiculous." A slight frown, a clearing of his throat to rid it of betraying tightness. "You look ridiculous. What happened?"

Humor still lingers in subtle signs around Ila’den’s mouth, at the corners of his eyes, in the depths of stormy hues despite the darkening of an iris to denote lightning-hot pain lancing from ribs to the tips of his toes. Ila’den doesn’t even have the grace to look remotely repentant when R’hyn separates the privacy curtain, an amused drawl of, “Back so soon?” cut abruptly short when it’s Heryn and not Fire stepping into his space. And oh, but that face. Dark humor subsides, giving way to something almost gentle (though no less humored) as he endures hands on his face, along his jaw, down, down, down in a way that makes Ila’den’s breath hitch and immediately escape on an exhale of pain. “Dangerous game, weyrleader,” Ila’den manages to growl with grit. “Mostly for me. The little redhead only just told me that I’m not allowed to have sex, and you’re not giving me any reason to obey the rules.” HIS RIBS JUST MIGHT BE THOUGH. Either way, RUDE ILA’DEN. Here R’hyn is, all dripping wet and WORRIED, and there’s Ila’den, just… being Ila’den. You weyrmated this, R’hyn. This is your fault. Hands flatten and, instead of leaning back to give R’hyn space, Ila’den doesn’t submit an inch, reaching up to brush the backs of knuckles along R’hyn’s jaw, pausing at the curve of his cheek where a thumb escapes the curl of fingers and makes a gentle stroke across cheekbone. “I’m fine.” It’s the only acknowledgment of concern, the only real apology that R’hyn is going to get as grey jumps back to grey blue and holds, as fingers find their way into wet hair and smooth it back with a wince for the effort made because MOVING AND BREATHING HURT AND HE IS NOT IMMUNE TO PAIN OKAY. “Anyway, the healer looked at my scars funny and offered to teach how to stitch them up properly. She said I wouldn’t be her only student. I told her that I’d left that life far behind me and she just stared at my ribs like I was lying.” A beat. “My feelings are hurt, and now I want to go home.” MAKE IT HAPPEN WEYRLEADER. He’s joking, joking, evident, perhaps, when he escapes the cage of Heryn’s body with a growl to disguise just how much it hurts to move and shifts under the protest of springs to make room for Heryn on his left, where his ribs are decidedly not broken. “Come on then, baby. You know I hate it when you make that face.”

He's fine. He's fine. He's fine. R'hyn repeats that mantra in his head until it sticks, or at least until Ila'den's words manage to distract him from its reiteration, low growl of that 'dangerous game' earning the bronzerider a glance filled with reproof that can't quite stick. R'hyn is relieved, and ritualistic words are as much confirmation as physical proof. Attempted sternness cracks under a huff of laughter, shortlived but honest, immediately preceding a dry, "She dots the 'i' in her name with a heart. I think I can take her." But before Ila'den can take that as permission, "You aren't doing shit, though, to me or otherwise. Something about keeping you overnight and…" The smile that was starting to form goes somewhere hazy, eyes ticking with what might be a wince or the passing of a thought. "I don't remember the rest." Other pertinent information is lost, left behind in the frantic need to get here, to lay on hands and see for himself, not trusting in the words of others, not when it comes to his Ila. Hands pressing to his face draws him back from distant thought, obediently holding Ila's gaze, meeting the insistence that he's fine with a nod and a press of lips that's meant to repress whatever emotion cracks through his gaze, eyes finally falling shut on a sigh. Three, two, one, "Excellent. She's probably back there penning 'pathological liar' onto your permanent record as we speak. You didn't threaten her, I hope." Teasing disbelief is already trying to take hold, but it crumbles in the face of that pained growl, protest dying on his lips because he is making a face and he can't even deny it, nor that he wants the reassurance of proximity and so, "Don't get any ideas," the younger man cautions, fingers lifting between them as though to ward Ila off before that shirt comes off over his head, wrung out between hands and — splatter. That is the sound of water leaving fabric, dotting the floor, R'hyn sighing and deciding to leave the garment behind to dry (or at least, get less wet) as he crawls into the space Ila'den makes for him. It's awkward perhaps, all elbows into a mattress not built for two, carefully keeping weight from pressing to the skin of Ila's torso, but he manages, tucking head in up against his weyrmate's before he finally speaks, voice low and strained. "I was worried. I…" But whatever else he was, he either doesn't have the words or doesn't want to speak them, and so he changes tack. "Cita's going to have a field day when we get you home."

That grey eye fixates on R’hyn’s body as he disrobes, pain curbing heat and desire mere degrees because this is his R’hyn, his stolen weyrling, his forever, his basket case; this is the one person alive that Ila’den intends to stand by, to cherish, to give and share all those broken pieces of himself with, all those fragments of hurt and pain and joy ripped from him time and again that he never thought he would show anybody — because jagged edges sometimes cut too deep and ugly secrets are easier to keep than dealing with haunted eyes and horrifying judgement. Because fractured pieces of the man he was, and is, and will be will never be good enough and R’hyn still doesn’t see that. So he endures, he waits in patient silence, he smiles because it’s the only way he knows how to tell R’hyn that he’s fine, he’s fine, he’s fine until shirts are being WRINGED OUT and discarded water forms a deceptively innocuous puddle on the floor. Ila’den’s brow rises towards his hair line, humor threatens in the curve at one side of his lips, and the former renegade manages a husky, “Well, now when she slips and hits her head, we can just assure them that I was a model patient and she probably mistook me for the greenrider that came in with me.” Humor. It’s how Ila’den always has and always will deal with the darker things in life; it’s how he expresses emotion, because other expressions elude him much like any hope of normalcy fled at the age of twelve when he buried his father at his mother’s side and raised a six-month-old baby girl in the wilds of Pern. None of which matters, not when Heryn is shifting awkwardly to join him on beds that definitely are not wide enough to accommodate – even if the men manage it anyway. His good arm comes around R’hyn’s lower back, fingers curling at his hips where one snags through a loop and the other sinks beneath leathers but goes no further. And Ila’den listens in that way he always does: quietly, patiently, avidly, devoting every bit of his attention to words and lips and – “I love you too, Heryn,” comes as soft as Ila’den’s voice can manage, for once sincere instead of roguish, or teasing, or intended to make Heryn blush because Ila’den is in pain and he means it and he might have told R’hyn he’d never tell him those three painfully insignificant words again, but even Ila’den knows that sometimes people just need to hear them. But he doesn’t dwell on it, he simply tags on, “And Cita is probably going to bind my ribs just so that she can watch me catch pneumonia and die.” A sigh, humor attempted. “You should see the other guy. Or, well, woman. I broke hers too.” HA. Not funny, Ila.

It is a point of contention that will carry them through this forever, and the next, and maybe even the one after that - that Ila'den somehow isn't good enough and that somehow, R'hyn is blind to this fact. He is not. He sees the jagged edges of self-deprecation, he just doesn't believe it to be true, and, having tried to aggressively debride and dress a wound too far gone for one of his meager talent, has taken to attempting to simply wear at it quietly, day by day. It shows in a quick, flicked wink for the heat in his weyrmate's eyes as hands wring water from his shirt, in an indulgent little smile for bad jokes followed by a riposted, "Or they'll take one look at us, laugh because model patient yeah right, and toss us both in the clink. My record as weyrleader will be worse than yours." And it will be all Ila's fault, accused in a playful glance rendered less by a sort of brittle gentleness of his features. He's bantering because it's what they do, because it helps, because it lets them express much deeper things without needing to find the words for them. It lets him disguise relief in the form of chiding, purge worries in the form of blame, both of which he washes away with the gentle stroke of fingertips along Ila'den's thigh, hip, skipping chest entirely to smooth the pad of his thumb over Ila's forehead, temple, eyes chasing after features as he props himself to one elbow. Those fingers halt and stutter for words he did not expect to hear, not in this context, breath leaving him on a quiet exhale. Ryn's blue-grey gaze slides to meet Ila's in a mixture of emotion so complex he doesn't try to unravel it, doesn't try to respond except to curl fingers beneath Ila'den's chin to guide it towards waiting lips. The press of his mouth against Ila'den's is exceedingly soft, chaste to a fault, lingering if only because there is so much to fold into its singularity, and he manages via endurance rather than exploration. "Impossible man," he speaks at length, expelled on the edges of a tremulous laugh, one that's cut short under the weight of, "I don't know what I'd do without you." It might not be those three little words offered back, but it's an admittance of the same emotion, love lending words a kind edge as R'hyn presses his forehead to Ila's, lingering there only as long as it takes the older man to move on. Snort. "Great. Pathological liar and abusive bed partner. They're going to come knocking, asking me questions, and I'm going to have to defend your honor from your own dumb ass. Do you think they'll let Cita into jail to mangle you? Hmm." A small smirk plays around the corners of his mouth, a 'I bet you gave them hell, baby' expression if ever there was one, one that widens with a flash of teeth. "I'm going to go ahead and give you a pass on this one. No rebranding," no trying to outdo marks left by one's flight partner because, "One set of broken ribs is enough, I think." A beat, in which another notch of anxiety slips from his shoulders as eyes linger on him, trail downwards. "Do you need anything?"

“Impossible,” Ila’den breathes. “I’ll just have to let Teimyrth catch Ilyscaeth again, and usurp you, and show you what real terrible leadership looks like.” SO CATCH UP, R’HYN. ‘Cause you’ve got an awful long way to go~ Tension is quelled, and quashed, and squandered, extinguished from muscles with every stroke of fingers over his thigh, across his hip, along his forehead and temple. It manifests as a growl between breaths that are too shallow and too quick because breathing properly hurts, it eases as Ila’den leans in to find R’hyn’s mouth with his own, his own contact somehow bruisingly rough despite R’hyn’s abstract gentleness because this is how Ila’den expresses every wayward emotion that R’hyn inspires in him. And then it’s over, and Ila’den’s chasing away any signs of too much emotion with another one of those smiles that shows too many teeth. What would R’hyn do without him? “I suspect you’d be weyrmated to somebody else.” Because even in jest, Ila’den is aware that people would be fools not to want Heryn. The anxiety returns, and Ila’den’s shifting with another growl of pain, lifting his arm back to R’hyn’s hair so that fingers can smooth through it, following the curve of his crown and curling in to drag blunted nails down along the back of his ear. It’s his eye that says, ‘Just you,’ even as his mouth says, “No, husband. I’m fine.” A beat, and then, “Actually, there is one thing I need.” And yeah, Ila’den’s curling fingers into wet hair, all wolfish smiles as he shoves R’hyn’s face towards his lap and regrets it instantly because the sudden movement hurts and – SCRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEE (that would be the privacy curtain pulling back) — there’s Fioreyla, clipboard in hand, brows furrowed like she doesn’t understand what she’s reading because her eyes are on patient documents except not for long because she’s opening her mouth to ask a question, and those violet eyes are falling on Weyrleader and man who once was and — yeah. Fioreyla’s mouth hangs open for a second, two, her face catches fire, and it’s a soft strangled sound that escapes her when she jerks the privacy curtain closed again. Tippa-tap, pitta-pat, pitta-pat, pitta-pat. RETREAAAAAAAAAAT! Ila’den is laughing, letting go of R’hyn because it hurts so much and there are honest tears in his eyes because bodies tend to do that in response to pain, and he can’t get a good breath in his lungs and TRYING HURTS AND – IT JUST HURTS OKAY. IT HURTS SO GOSH DANG MUCH as he leans sideways, one hand coming up to cradle his ribs, head finding one of R’hyn’s shoulders as if this will help his body realize that laughing is not a good idea right now — or at least quiet him.

"Don't joke," R'hyn cautions with a flare of amusement behind his eyes, "I might hold Xermi back and let you, just to see the look on both of your faces the next day." Rude, Ryn. Straight disrespectful. He doesn't mean anything by it though, not in the slightest - if anything, he'd almost welcome his weyrmate's usurpation if only for the excuse to provoke him with as many terrible jokes about authority and its abuse as Ila surely does him. But alas, for now, it is R'hyn's cross to bear, as much is Ila'den's welcome sense of humor, which succeeds in driving the conversation off its serious track, inspiring a disgusted curl of lip and a playful roll of shoulders in imitation of a shudder. "Eugh, that sounds terrible. Who else would insult me until I got out of bed, and then proceed to keep me from getting my clothes on, and then make me the best cup of klah in the morning?" Eyes squint across at Ila'den for a very short assessment indeed before deciding, "Hm. No. It's no use. You're stuck with me so I never have to find out." Eyes slide shut for the threading of fingers through his hair, for the meaning in Ila's gaze that complements but doesn't quite match his words, but R'hyn's expression maintains its humored warmth, exhaling hard to shed the renewal of anxiety. There's a nod, and a quiet, "Okay," and then a laugh that is both terrible and necessary, one of those crooked grins that's all Ila'den's raking up one corner of his mouth even as the weight of his body shifts with that painful push. "Testing me, bronzerider?," he purrs as though that were a bad idea, sliding one foot to the floor for balance as hands find Ila's hips, head ducks in low, tongue sweeps a long line up the front rise of leathers and that's how Fire finds them and Ila'den isn't the only one laughing himself into mild hysterics when that curtain snaps open and shut again with a quickness. "Faranth, her face," R'hyn breathes as he lifts himself back up onto the bed, receiving Ila's head to his shoulder with a cupping of his hand against the back of his weyrmate's head, holding him there gently and using him as an excuse to tame himself even as he's used for the same purpose. "Fuck. Well. Better add 'sexual deviance' to the list, too. We're never going to be able to come to this infirmary again," R'hyn finally manages, aiming for deep breaths even as careful hands seek to press to Ila's shoulders, neck, the side of his head, aiming to calm the man for the good of his poor ribs, but also so he can press a second swift kiss to his lips. "This is why I love you." Kisses trail upwards, touching upon nose, brow, dissolving any attempts to revitalize seriousness or emotions by continuing with a drawled, "Now, if you can manage not to break anything else in the next five minutes - including that little girl - I'll see if they've a cot to spare, yeah?" Because if you think R'hyn is leaving Ila here by himself, you're damn wrong. His damp shirt is slogged back on, pulled into some semblance of order that isn't 'potentially salacious' and, sighing at himself and fixing Ila with a 'it'll have to do' sort of look, he steps out of the curtain to try to flag down a healer that won't combust at the mere sight of him.

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