Shellshocked

Half Moon Bay Weyr - Infirmary

This long, rectangular cavern smells faintly of antiseptic and strongly of pleasant medicinal herbs. The general atmosphere is one of bustling but orderly quiet and strict cleanliness. The back of the room is dominated by a small hearth for heat and medicinal preparations and by swinging double doors that lead to a small DragonHealing bay, an emergency surgery for human patients, the main storage, and the staff area where Healers can eat, shower, change, and the like during their longer shifts. The front of the room is a waiting and reception area where patients and staff can check in to receive treatment and begin work, respectively. The east wall of the room features examination, birthing, recovery and outpatient treatment rooms while the opposite wall is curtained off to provide privacy and bed-space for patients requiring overnight care.

Western can certainly handle most of the routine and sometimes urgent treatment needs of its residents here. It lacks some of the equipment available at the main Healer Hall. Once they are stabilized, patients requiring specialized or ongoing care are surely transferred there.


J’en was left on the floor, cradled in Taeski’s protective embrace. No one was able to get close considering all the hissing and spitting that the renegade did when they tried. It was very reminiscent of Leketh’s earlier behavior in fact, but now the bronze was curled up protectively beside the infirmary door. He wasn’t blocking the entrance but his message had gotten across, none other than those that needed to be in there actually entered. Hours passed since then, with the bronzerider unconscious until he simply wasn’t. A twitch of his face, brows, eyes, and then they open slowly looking upwards at the ceiling completely unseeing. There was little doubt that Tae wasn’t still there and so his gaze tracks to the younger boy’s face, not seeing, as the focus takes a while to hone in on that familiar face. Was it still covered in the blood of the lives that the renegade had taken that night? “Why’m I on the floor?” he asks, voice back and still icy cold; flat, logical, conversational. Everything ached, his whole body thanks to the combination of floor laying and previous activities before he’d ended up on the floor. His face felt tight and itchy, sticky, gross. Maybe best not to answer that question.

There wasn't much that Taeski could do other than hold onto Jae. His own exhaustion had kicked in as well soon enough, and getting up again, especially with the dead weight of the bronzerider, just seemed quite impossible. So he stayed there, near the wall and out of the way. The discarded wet cloth from before had been used to clean up where he could. It wasn’t a terribly good job but at least he made an effort before leaning his head against the wall to doze a bit. J’en waking has his own eyes opening a bit though, still reddened and tired. But he watches Jae quietly, fingers coming up to give a light touch along the older boy’s temple. “You passed out.”

“Great.” J’en says, without a lick of emotion to indicate whether or not he was in fact happy about the occurrence or just being sarcastic. He neither leans or recoils from the touch that his weyrmate applies to the side of his head, just looking at him for a long time in silence before he wills himself to get up, albeit slowly. It was more of an ease, every muscle movement carefully calculated in effort to minimize dizziness and further strain to his overclocked systems. His limbs felt heavy, his head swam, and he slips. He almost falls again, but catches himself with a palm slapped to the floor. People were still scurrying about in an effort to help those that were wounded and golden eyes fall upon where Ila’den lays. The hate pouring out of him in that moment was almost tangible, the fire of his rage burning behind the paleness of his attention on the immobile bronzerider. “I gutta get outta here.” he seethes with a throaty growl, “Or I'll kill 'im.” He might even mean that, already using whatever infirmary equipment nearby to aid him getting to his feet properly. Unsteadily, but still determined.

For a moment, Taeski just watches. Then he moves to get up as well. He is also slow about it, aching from being stitched up, among other things. He doesn't comment on the likelihood of Jae killing the immobile Ila. Taeski would put a stop to it before he got very far. As it is though, he tucks an arm around the bronzerider slightly to help him with the action of getting free of the infirmary, nodding faintly. “Need to get clean.” They were both sticky and caked in dried blood, certainly not at all appealing.
The bronzerider doesn’t fight off the smaller boy, but he does stiffen when suddenly Taeski is there and helping him; pausing and purposely looking downwards. “I need to get the fuck out of here. NOW.” Getting clean was the last thing on his mind, the only thought being to get away from Ila’den. Away from R’hyn. Away from Half Moon. Possibly forever. What better way than to hop on your dragon and go halfway around the world? J’en allows Taeski to support his weight, growling at anyone that might to try to help them or offer a bed. He had the right to decline care, and he takes it with both hands as he does the doors leading outwards thrusting them open. Leketh is there and he is waiting, offering a paw to carry both boys upwards so they can strap in. There is no convincing Jae otherwise, they were going. They were going now. One can only hope that he can manage between in his current condition, because Leketh is soon aloft. Once high above the bowl, they wink out of existence leaving Half Moon Bay Weyr behind in a blast of cold air. Perhaps even appropriately so, and perhaps forever.

While Taeski might prefer to be clean first, he can’t really argue. He didn't want to be there, anywhere near people. Even if they were his family, the loss of his brother burns much too harshly for him to want to remain crowded. So he follows along with Jae in climbing up on Leketh, arms curling around to hold on. He didn't care where they ended up. That part didn't matter. Being with Jae did, though. He could let his mother know what happened to him later. The teen simply rests his head against J’en and trusts him and Leketh to get them where they are going.

Leketh appears, high above perhaps an unfamiliar place. It’s Xanadu, home of his cousin Risali. It was considerably colder here than the tropical Half Moon Bay, but this was just another one of those things that J’en was ignoring. Backwinging into a landing upon the beach, there is no pause to contemplate what exactly it was that he had just done. None of the consequences mattered, because he was unbuckling them and there was a paw to carry them back down to the ground. “Mah father Impressed Malphath here.” Random chilly thought, tossed aside where Taeski may choose to pick it up or leave it. Xanadu was also close to Breakwater Hold, where his mother and uncle were born. It was comparatively safer for J’en than home right now. But he wasn’t thinking right now, even as his boots hit the sand and he’s stalking towards the weyr itself. Arrangements are made, and before Taeski can stop him…they’re walking into a weyr. Their weyr. In Xanadu. Impulsive and rash, yes. But it was now their reality and Jae was busy stripping off his clothing and headed towards the private hot spring screened off in the corner. It was a simple space. A large bed, two dressers for clothing, small kitchen with a bistro table and two chairs, small bathroom, and a hot spring. That was all. It was practically a guest weyr. It might even have been one at one point.

The Weyr might not be a familiar one, but it isn't hard to figure out where they were. Once down in the sand Taeski glances at Jae, lips pressed together for the mention of his father's dragon. What could he say to that? But he stays close, not exactly dressed for the sudden colder climate, and he still looks fairly exhausted by it all. At least the crying had stopped. He barely pays attention to the surroundings as he heads off with Jae though, simply looking to the comfort of a room to call their own for a while. Or permanently, depending on how things worked out. Clothing is shed however as quickly as he can manage it, hurrying to be rid of the stiff and ruined garments. Hopefully there would be something they could change into later. For now though, he moves around that screen and settles himself into the water with a tiny hiss, the heat stinging the recently stitched wound as well as plenty of other small scrapes.

There were bruises, blows that fell on him that he hadn’t noticed, but perhaps surprising not a single slice had befallen his skin. Maybe it was luck, maybe it was skill, but either way J’en wasn’t hurt other than in a way that people couldn’t see. Leketh has settled outside on the ledge, whirling red eyes flickering now between other colors with the shift in his lifemate’s emotional state. He’s first to enter the water, sinking beneath it and scrubbing vigorously at all of himself to get out all the nasty bits and clean off the blood. It was just some weyr to him now, and perhaps that would become the name of this place. Someweyr. Some weyr far away from everything that had turned him into a murderer at last. A monster. No. Jae gasps as he emerges, less interested in soaking than he was scrubbing himself raw. Soapsand acquired, it was something that Taeski had seen before, the need of the bronzerider to get clean. To erase his mistakes. No part of him is spared, vigorously rubbing at his skin no matter how abraded he might end up, and he ignores the sting. He had his next focus. Clean. He had to be clean.

For all that things might hurt, it is easily ignored once it fades into a dull ache. Taeski sighs, more than willing to let the water soak in and loosen up the dried blood clinging to him. This wasn’t a new thing for him, after all, though it had been a while. He watches as J’en starts to scrub at himself though, unable to really tell him to stop it. A breath is taken, shaky as his eyes start trying to well up again, but then the teen moves, settling over with J’en to still his hands if possible. “Let me do it.”

There wasn’t much blood actually on his skin, but this wasn’t stopping J’en from trying to peel it off. His head, his hands, his hair and none of it remained after the first couple of passes, leaking red down his chest which now mean his neck and that location needed to be clean too. His arms, his stomach, his…and then Taeski is there. His hands on his, trying to still them. Trying to make him stop from being clean. Every muscle now stiffens, and he draws in sharply through his nose as he stares down at his beautiful weyrmate. The renegade. “No.” he says quickly, now recoiling. “I dun want to hurt ya.” And now the bronzerider was afraid, soapy, bloody and afraid. He backs up as best he can, away from the boy he loves, because he is afraid of hurting him.

There is a little surprise that shows on Taeski’s face for Jae recoiling. Hurt him? The very idea seemed ludicrous, and the teen’s brows furrow, barely contained rage flickering up underneath the pressure of sorrow over his brother. “Hurt me with what? You just need to sit there.” He’s not exactly clean yet either, with blood beginning to loosen up and wash away. But there’s certainly nothing to fear from his lover, despite the bronzerider’s own uncertainty. He does however pause for a moment, taking in another steadying breath before he can focus on Jae. “Do you think /I/ am going to hurt you?”

While certainly not functioning on the highest levels of thought, J’en knew two things. He’d killed three renegades, and Taeski was a renegade. There was no gray area, it was very black and white. It didn’t seem to matter in this moment that he loved Taeski heart, mind, body and soul and would until he himself died. He just didn’t want to hurt this renegade. The wheels were turning though, as golden eyes come to rest upon the younger boy. Jae had killed three renegades, none of them were able to kill him, and this was a renegade. “No.” he replies after a pause, and that seems to be enough for him for now. Even if he was under some false impression that Taeski couldn't kill him even if he wanted to, didn’t matter. The soapsand is then offered to Tae right then and there, trust was absolutely not a factor here. Things were certainly not all right in bronzerider town, and despite the level of the seventeen turn old’s functioning right now, he was clearly not okay. He hadn’t noticed that his weyrmate was hurt, and he hadn’t paid any attention to the tears welling up in the younger boy’s eyes. It just wasn’t registering. J’en was broken and he drops his gaze down to the slightly pink tinged water with bits in it. Bits of people and he looks blankly at the screen surrounding the hot spring instead.

At least J’en relented. That was all Taeski could ask for at the moment. He gets to work silently, but carefully. The bronzerider might have wanted to take his skin off, but the former renegade has no such desire. It helps him to settle his own mind as well as bit, focusing on the task of purging the blood from his weyrmate. The constantly flowing water is something of a blessing as well. It prevents things from getting too dirty, and they aren't soaking in a murky pool of debris. Taeski's fingers are careful and deliberate though, working with any bits of dried blood until they come loose again and are able to be washed off. It's somewhat soothing, even, on his part, and he at least looks a little more steady and collected as he works at it.

And now J’en merely exists, letting Taeski carefully and soothingly remove all that remained of the men that the bronzerider had killed. For all that had happened to him and the bullies that he had roughed up, he’d never before taken a single life with his own hands. The fact he had finally done it to protect possibly the one person on Pern he actually truly hated had sent his mind elsewhere. He talked a good game about hating or disliking people, but deep down J’en had held true malice for no one until Ila’den. Thus he remains until the last of the evidence of his crime is washed away, leaving behind only bruises and self-inflicted scrapes as physical reminders of what he had done. Those too would fade in time, but the psychological scars would last him a lifetime. Only when Taeski is done, does he slide his eyes back to him, “Am… am I a monster?” he asks softly, without a trace of coldness, but it was as if he was whispering from somewhere very far away. He sounded very young, frightened, and alone.

Taeski pauses at the question, finally moving to finish cleaning himself up. He’s quiet though as he watches J’en, looking over the other boy very thoughtfully. His answer, when it comes, is given softly. “Monsters don't wonder if that's what they are. They don't care.” A clean hand is simply placed against Jae’s cheek then, peering up at him. “Protecting people…surviving…there isn't anything wrong in it.” Taeski, after all, had killed before. For fun. He shakes his head though, moving to rinse himself free of the remaining red.

J’en was listening, even if it seemed like he was staring through his weyrmate instead of looking at him. When the answer to his question comes, he simply nods, once. At this point he leaves the younger boy to finish cleaning himself up, placing hands on the edge of the small hot spring and hoists himself out of it. Towels are grabbed from a embedded shelf, undoubtedly placed there beforehand by some worker or another at Xanadu and he walks away dripping. Completely on autopilot, he almost robotically wipes himself down, with no intention to ever put those leathers on again. In fact, as golden eyes come to rest upon them, his jaw sets and he’s off. All of the blood soaked clothing, his and Taeski’s, are tossed purposefully into the fire of the tiny hearth; including their boots. Fabric and leather alike burn, and he doesn’t linger to watch it do so, no. He steps away and along the way drops the towel now that he was relatively dry. He sits then, on the edge of the bed, naked and staring at the plain stone wall across the way above one of those two boring wooden dressers.

Eventually, Taeski gets out of the water, having finished cleaning up. He had longer hair, after all, and it had gotten….in a state. He hardly notices that his clothes are gone, however. He hadn't expected to wear them again. He simply moves with a towel wrapped around himself to aid in drying. There's a quick look over to find J'en on the bed, and he spends a bit of time where he is rubbing as much water as he can out of his hair. Once finished, he moves over, fingers giving a brief touch along his weyrmate's shoulders. Then he sinks, settling onto the bed with a light tug to the older boy. "Lay down with me. You don't have to sleep, but we're both exhausted." Rest could only help.

At this point, Taeski could ask just about anything of J’en and he would probably do it. There was no judgements from the younger boy, even if he was hardly the one to be making them even if he had. Knowing that there was at least one person still breathing who didn’t think he was the monster he believed himself to be, was all that mattered. The simple touch to his shoulder is enough to snap him back into reality, without that startling reflex of his that had been standard up to this point. Jae merely looks over at the boy laying down on the bed just as naked as he was, and lays down as bidden. He doesn’t curl himself around Taeski though, choosing instead to lay flat on his back and stare up at the ceiling, just as plain and boring as the wall. Luckily the foul smelling hearth kept the space well warmed, so there was no need to get beneath the covers.

J'en might be willing to lay without touching, but Taeski isn't. He needs the contact, even if Jae is too far gone to really reciprocate it. He shifts himself right up against the bronzerider's side, one arm tossed over his chest to hold on. There's comfort in it, in another person's body heat. His brother was gone, but Jae was /there/, and that wasn't something he wanted to forget. The excessive tiredness was starting to win out, however. The soothing heat of the bath did nothing at all to prevent it. In no time at all the former renegade has started to doze off a bit, latched onto his weyrmate. Indeed, at least things were warm.

There is no reaction when something warm and familiar cuddles up against him, barely even noticing as the wheels continue to turn. J’en isn’t moving until long after Taeski has fallen asleep, slipping out from beneath him and he simply walks straight out of the newly required weyr, and is gone. Yes, and he’s still naked.

Taeski might sleep for a while after Jae disappears, but it isn't long before he jerks awake. Alone. There's a bit of a choked sound for the realization, curling in on himself before he manages to lurch up and off the bed. Any pain from his stitches are ignored in favor of a frantic search around, before he dashes to the entrance of the weyr as well. Cold? Definitely. But that fact pales in comparison to the need to find Jae, near to panic.

Leketh was still there for Taeski’s viewing pleasure, curled up and peering at him with whirling facets the color of the tropical waters of Ista. Clear and blue. That was a good sign right. The bronze rumbles in greeting, even as his folded wings twitch and he resettles. As he had promised, he keeps out of the renegade’s head, but in so doing he is unable to tell the boy exactly where it is that his lifemate has wandered of to. Naked. If he even had the intention of doing so. That gigantic maw opens as he yawns, exposing all those teeth that were almost the same size as the boy himself and then curls back up. If ever there was a chill dragon, it was Leketh. He was sleepy, maybe a little bit hungry? Meh.

It takes Taeski a minute to really compute Leketh’s presence and calmness. He gives a sigh though after a moment, shaking just a bit. Cold? Relief? Either way he moves right over, sidling himself into the dragon’s space to press his forehead against him. There's warmth there, and without Jae present, his dragon is the next best thing. After all, he isn't so much worried about what Jae might do to himself, but the sheer sudden terror of him not coming back. Like Vauril. His breathing at least starts to get under control there, slowing down from a near panic to something more manageable.

Taeski might be aware of just how exactly Impression worked, but when a hatchling burst from it’s shell it chooses only the best of options. Afterall, it already knew its own name and it got to sample the minds of all that may be present on the sands at that most momentous of times. When Leketh had chosen Jaelyn to be joined with him forever, he was well aware of what the boy could and couldn’t handle. What he could and could never be. Of course it was all based on what was known at the time, but he was well aware of what his J’en was made of. Recovery will take time of course, but all was not lost. This was evident considering the bronze was as relaxed and unconcerned as he was now. A soft whuff of breath, warm against pale naked skin is bestowed upon the tiny fleshy mate of his J’en. Leketh was gentle again, not resembling at all the frightening beast from yesterday. Facets close and he fully accepts whatever Taeski affection is given him, regardless if it was meant for J’en, because as far as he was concerned they were one in the same. He rumbles again softly, reassuringly, comfortingly…or that is meant to be the feeling, still not making mental contact.

Taeski might still be a little shaken, but he remains right there, huddled against Leketh for warmth. A faint, barely there smile is managed for the rumbling from the dragon, eyes briefly squeezing shut. “You can, if you want. I don’t mind anymore.” Softly, hoarsely, but permission is still given. He doesn't stay there much longer though, gathering himself to go back inside. There was a fire there, after all, and at least all the offensive clothing had burned away. The teen crawls back into the bed, under the covering this time, and pulls a pillow to himself. Comfort was what he needed. A comfort he didn't have access to. So instead he buries his face against the pillows, smothering out the sounds of renewed grief.

Leketh chuffs, remaining where he is as Taeski crawls off back to bed, after all he wouldn’t fit inside the weyr himself. He was larger than it was. There is nothing but silence for the renegade though, silence and solitude; perhaps the crackling of the fire within the hearth still working on breaking down clothing into ash. And then it comes, caressing at the back of Taeski’s mind at first, a dark blackened pulse of thought, « Are you sure? » It throbs and fades out, leaving behind only wispy silvery threads in its wake. It’s not overbearing or obtrusive, but gentle and meant to be soothing. Nothing like Teimyrth…not even close.

Taeski’s breath hitches at the soft touch of thought. No, he isn't used to it not hurting to have a dragon in his head. Teimyrth is far, far from gentle or kind, his mind a piercing, freezing blade. The teen relaxes a little though, despite clutching at the pillow a little tighter. He is less alone in the dark with it, able to slowly choke off the wave of tears. Hiccuped breaths are given in the dark, coming back down from it sluggishly. “Thank you.” Muttered to no one, the pillow, and maybe even the dragon outside.

The bronze’s mindvoice is certainly kind even if the image of black pudding pulsing behind silvery spinner silk might still be disturbing to some. It’s not entirely black though, there are swirls of red and blue nearly lost in the darkness, but light remains steadfast refusing to be snuffed out completely. « For what? » The young bronze asks, curiosity pulses yellow and pink flickering across the ebony of his thoughts to brush lightly at the back of Taeski’s mind before it extends across the expanse of it, wrapping it in comforting warm and reassurance. Leketh was literally, cuddling Taeski mentally.

The blackness isn't at all disturbing to Taeski. He wasn’t even checking to see how many he killed, after all. His mind doesn’t even consider it horrible the way he had stabbed viciously into the throat of one man, until there was little left attaching the head. It is a comforting dark, the way it curls around and cuddles his thoughts. “For him. For..this.” A comfort that Jae simply couldn't give him the way he is now. He is able to at least pull away from the pillow again, face a bit of a mess of tears. But he is more relaxed, still tired from all the strain.

« It doesn’t matter to me how many lives you take as long as one of them does not belong to my J’en, or any other innocent. » Leketh was in there all right, but he was only taking the surface thoughts and wasn’t rummaging around into places that he was not welcome. He was after all, a polite dragon. « You are J’en's choice. You should thank him for that, not me. » That warm darkness squeezes gently though, providing a deeper comfort that is only temporary. At some point it would be gone, because the bronze had not chosen Taeski to be with him forever. He had chosen J’en, his J’en. Forever. Yet, for now, if only because his lifemate was unable to give his mate the comfort he so desperately needed, his love would extend to the tiny renegade.

That comfort is taken and held onto, desperately clinging there. He would recover from Vauril’s loss, but the sheer feeling of being alone kept threatening to drown him in the meantime. It is eased by Leketh though, relief from it all being grasped at gratefully. He’s able to drift off with it again, finally, likely to sleep quite a while unless otherwise disturbed.


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