12.09.3013: A Crusade Begins
Summary: Ellinor visits Nikomachos in the hospital, and a crusade begins.
Date: 27 October 2013
Related: The Boys Are Alright
Nikomachos Ellinor 

Willowtree Hospital
The walls of the top hospital in Haven are painted in bright, pastel colors, presenting a calm, cool facade. Cleaning and nursing drones bustle down the hallways around human nurses and doctors, staying out of the way of their living counterparts. There are triage rooms meant to hold dozens of patients, two-person rooms for those with severe wounds or illnesses, and operating theaters filled with scanners, laser scalpels, and every sort of medical technology available to the people of Haven.
09 December, 3013

Hospital rooms. Nikomachos hates them, and he hates them all the more when his torso is bound up in a gard cast, keeping him from moving much at all. It doesn't help that his left hand and right upper arm are splinted as well. When he awoke to find himself moved into one of the semi-private rooms but his brother not yet settled in the other bed, he checked his comm — very carefully — to find that the message he wrote for his wife was never actually sent. It only took him moments to write one that isn't totally incoherent, letting Ellinor know that he's alive, wounded, in hospital, but that he'll recover fine. And then he's back to sleep. Painkillers are nasty that way.

When Nikomachos comes to once more, his wife is seated in the chair just to his left. Ellinor Sauveur is tapping away at her tablet, which displays a simple jousting game that is meant for far younger games where you slide your finger across the screen to angle your lance and then tap rapidly to make your horse charge. She has just managed to unhorse her virtual opponent, and she makes a triumpant clasp with her fist. "Eat dirt, Sir Sissypants." The woman is dressed in what might be described as lounge wear — loose, soft pants paired with a simple hooded jacket and soft shoes. Her hair is up in a loose, dark red ponytail.

Nikomachos blinks slowly as he wakes up, looking confused for a moment at the triumphant statement, "There's no dirt in space. But I ate… deck plates?" His voice is a little weak, since he can't draw in a full breath. "I'd much rather eat dirt." He shifts a little in his half-reclined hospital bed, "Looks like your patrol went a little better than my stupid ramship experience."

Ellinor looks away from her tablet with a sharp arch of brazen brows. Her expression is open and concerned as she sets aside her device, neverminding that she has just been unhorsed. It is her husband that has the full brunt of her attention now. She offers him a slight smile that is full of sympathy as she reaches for his left hand. "Hey," she offers quietly. "I hear that deck plates just don't offer the same nutritional value as dirt…" Ellinor just can't help teasing her husband, though she at least does so gently. "You know… I told you that you wouldn't like space."

Nikomachos nods his head slowly, the fingers reaching out of his splinted hand wrap vaguely around her fingers in return, "No nutritional value at all. They don't taste good, either. Coppery." He laughs softly at her teasing, although by the flash of pain across his face, he probably shouldn't have, "Ow. No, I hate space. It is terrible. There's no room to maneuver, and the Knight Lieutenants are idiots." He pauses a moment then, thinking of some factor that's escaping him. And then it comes to him, and he adds, "The Captains are fine, of course."

"Isn't it weird that all metal tastes coppery?" Ellinor asks with a tilt of her head. "Shouldn't steel and copper taste different?" Then she draws his splintered hand up gently to press a kiss against it. Her smile is soft as she looks up into the battered features of her husband. "I'll let Ric know that you said that," she offers with a bit of a smirk. Then she rises from her seat, moving to take refuge on the edge of his hospital bed. She glances over him, though she had already fully examined him while he was out. "We really need to stop meeting like this," she says, though her voice chokes a little as concern filters across her eyes.

Nikomachos shakes his head, "I think it had more to do with the blood in my mouth, Ellie." He smiles gently at the kiss, doing his best to shift painfully over to give her a little more room on the bed. His hand drops down to her knee, fingers squeezing just a little, "I'll be alright. Die already has me on antibiotics, she's sure," pretty sure, actually, but no reason to add worry, "there won't be any infection. Then it's just healing." His eyes drift closed as he labors for a breath a moment before filling his wounded lungs, "As long as there are Hostiles attacking us, I'm afraid we're going to keep meeting like this, Ellie." His pale grey eyes open slowly, seeking out hers, "This time was bad, Love. Really quite bad."

Ellinor shakes her head as he starts to shift around. "No, no… it is okay. Don't…" Then she frowns a bit before she inhales a sharp breath through her nose. Her shoulders roll back and her spine straightens as she offers him another small smile. "You are going to live, Nikomachos… you don't want to know what will happen if you don't." Then she meets his eyes, and it is hard to hide the worry in her gaze. "I don't want to think about that, Niko… please… I always want to know that you will come home."

Nikomachos nods his head, "Sorry. I don't know that I had anything profound to say I learned from it anyway. But that might just be the drugs talking. They've got me on something really good." He looks over to the pillow beside his head, then grimaces a little, looking back to her, "I'd ask you to come lay beside me, but I can't actually move my upper body." His voice drops a little, his usually-clear tenor a touch whispery, "Whatever happens, Ellie, i'll be here to make sure that you and our children survive this war. I promise."

Ellinor offers him a soft smile at his words of her lying down beside him. "Once you're clear to go home, I will make sure you are comfortable in our bed… where there's lots of room." Then she breathes out a sigh as she squeezes his fingers gently. She drops her chin a bit, though not a strand from that ponytail falls out of place. "I want all of us to make it through, Nikomachos…" She offers him a slight smile. "Just another thirty nine years to go…"

Nikomachos extricates his fingers gently to brush them along the line of her cheek, "I know we could have cut that shorter, with Father in the Citadel." He sighs, a shallow sound with his chest bound by the hard cast, "But that's not going to happen now, is it? Do you think we can get out of our way, Ellie? Humanity, I mean. If we were truly working together, we could see to the Hostiles in just a few years. But we backstab one another, we put cowards and incompetents in charge… are we our own worst enemy?"

Ellinor flutters her eyes closed at the gentle touch of his knuckles against her cheek. Her shoulders fall under the deep sigh that escapes her lips. "I don't know, Love…" She offers him a slight smile that does not touch her eyes. "Perhaps… we are." She offers him what can only be described as a bit of a heartaching look. "But what can we do about it? It is the nature of our world… isn't it?"

Nikomachos brushes his fingers against the softness of her cheek in a beckoning gesture, trying to draw her to lean forward so that he can give her a soft, gentle kiss. Sighing again, he closes his eyes, "Not during the First System War." Likely, that's just a naive view of history. "Nor the Second either." He's able to tilt his head forward enough to touch brows, brushing his nose against hers, "What do you think, Ellie. Can we bring Haven together?"

Ellinor obeys at his beckoning, leaning down toward him to press a kiss against his lips as softly as she can to avoid hurting her husband further. Then she leans away once more, ensuring that he always has enough space to breathe. She does not release his hand now that she has captured it once more. She offers him a rather forlorn smile. "You're asking me to go on a crusade with you, aren't you?" She sighs a bit, though it isn't done wearily. "Valens…" Then she offers him another soft smile.

Nikomachos brushes his splinted fingers over her blazing red hair when she leans close, lacing the fingers of his other hand into hers, "What's the matter… is the half-Khourni afraid to go where the Valen dares? Or the Sauveur too interested in hitting things to see to the political welfare of Haven?" For all the pain underlying the drug-hazed voice, there's still a light layer of teasing layered on top. "I'm saying that we need to be united if we're going to win this war in less than forty years. That if we want our children to not have to train their whole lives to kill, we have to heal our people, so that we fight together. Valen and Khourni, Arborenin and Orelle, Sauveur and Citizen."

Ellinor snorts with a toss of her fiery red hair. "Now you're just egging me on," she says plainly. Though she does offer him a lighter smile as she cups his cheek softly in her small palm. "Then you need to get your voice heard, Niko… you are the son of the former Knight Commander, husband to a Sauveur… I'm sure that I could ask if Emund would take a meeting with you. If you can get the backing of the Council…" Then she bites slightly at her lower lip. "The idea of our child not having to make a decision on whether or not to train to fight this war is… motivating."

Nikomachos shakes his head slowly, "I'm not my father, Ellie. I'm a lancer. I'm no commander. I'm no one despite my relations through birth and marriage." Every Citizen and most nobles would beg to differ the veracity of that statement, but he speaks it with utter conviction, "We need the Crown Council together, we need every support for His Majesty, but we need intelligent, brave men and women leading our forces, the best people we have available. And more than that, we need everyone pulling together. We can't keep sniping at one another because we're Valen or Khourni. We all need to recognize that we are one people with one cause."

"You are a commander," Ellinor says without hesitation. "I've seen you on the battlefield. Don't become self-depricating now. It is very unattractive in a Valen." Then she sobers a bit with a bit of a faint smile. "You need to tell this to others, Niko… if you want us to come together, you must find others who are willing to join you to be the force that causes that to happen." She shakes her head. "I'm not the leading sort, but you are… so… get off your ass and lead." She smirks then. "Once you're healed enough to do so, that is."

Nikomachos smiles a little helplessly, looking down and away a moment. He tries to shrug, but ends up unable to actually move his shoulders and hissing in pain instead. "I don't know, Love. I would follow you most anywhere, so long as you aren't wearing that stupid coat." You know, the coat style that he's picked up from you, "It hides your ass, and that's what I want to follow." He's silent a moment, thinking despite the crooked little grin on his lips, "I wonder if the problem is those older than the Generation of the Vengeance? I might start right here from this bed, writing to other people our age, calling on them to abandon the politics of yesterday, to band together for the tomorrow we all want."

"I like my coat, thank you very much," Ellinor says indignantly as she lifts her chin, though she does cast him a knowing smile. Then she releases a soft sigh, shoulders falling once more. She considers his words as she reaches up to rub at the back of her neck idly. "Perhaps," she says softly. "Though, Emund's Council is full of those older than the Generation of Vengeance… you would be suggesting that they are causing the issues rather than best serving the King." She arches her brows. "Are you ready to say those things outside of these walls?"

Nikomachos shakes his head slowly, "They aren't all the problem, I don't think. But they're too slow, too set in the old ways, the ways from before the War." You know, six months ago. "People like my Father, like the Master of Coin, like the Crown Princess, they have the drive needed to push His Majesty forward. The new Hand of the King, the Master of Ships, the Chancellor? They're slowing this war down. We should be fighting the Hostiles like white blood cells, swarming around each landing in our tens of thousands and crushing them before they can settle in."

Ellinor listens to her husband with a slight tilt of her head. She frowns a bit at his assessment, reaching up to scratch at her elbow wearily. "This is not something that will happen overnight, Niko… Ilo Orelle has sat on the Crown Council since before Emund was even born. And Godfrey is a proud Khourni." She frowns. "The Chancellor has an opportunity to be selected, but that is up to the Citizens." She chews a bit at her inner cheek. "I'm not… suggesting that you don't… but you will need allies."

Nikomachos smiles just a little, "My Crusade…" his smile quirks as he uses her word, "isn't against anyone, Love. Not anyone but the Hostiles." His fingers squeeze hers lightly, "those names, they're just examples. What I think we need though, is a united front, dedicated to action, all taken together, all with the same goal of winning this war and driving our society safely beyond that victory." The words coming out of his mouth finally pierce his brain, and he laughs a little, letting his head rest back against the pillow, "Alternatively, I may not know what I'm saying. I'm on so many painkillers right now that I can't even follow my own train of thought. So what am I missing?"

"Sleep," Ellinor pipes up helpfully with a gentle smile. Then she sighs and shakes her head again, drawing her knee up to her chest as she remains poised on the edge of her husband's hospital bed. "I suppose you need more Crusaders… perhaps see what the actual Generation of Vengeance thinks about your observations… you might not be alone." She offers him a slight smile. "But you should also get some rest before you start…"

Nikomachos nods slowly at Ellinor's words, settling back against the raised angle of his hospital bed, "You're probably right." He must be really tired if he's settling down without complaint. "I know those chairs aren't very comfortable, Ellie, but will you sit with me while I fall asleep? I'd like to hold your hand for a while." His smile spreads a touch further, "And I'd like a goodnight kiss before that… I know, I'm quite demanding."

"You are," Ellinor says with a laugh before she slips off the side of the bed so she can turn toward him. She leans down, pressing a slow kiss onto her husband's lips. There is just a faint hint of passion in the depths of that kiss — a gentle heat that would burn brighter if not for the state he is in. Then she straightens up enough to touch his cheek. "I love you, Nikomachos… I'll be here when you wake up." She draws her chair up closer so that she can easily hold his hand.

Nikomachos leans up into the kiss as best as he can, his own well-hidden fear burning sharply beneath the press, lending it just a touch of desperation. Relaxing into the pillows around him once more, he smiles, "I love you too, Ellinor, more than I'd ever suspected possible." His good hand curls around hers, lacing their fingers together lightly as his eyes begin to drift closed, "I'm glad you're safe."

Ellinor smiles gently toward him in return before she leans down to press her lips to his knuckles. "I'll always be safe," she promises him before she rests her cheek against the back of his hand even while her fingers curl with his. She is quiet as his eyes drift close as she merely listens to his breathing. She looks up toward his face now and then, as if to make sure he is still there.

Nikomachos's lips barely move as he murmurs, "…I swear it'll be so." The words may not even become audible, but their statement, at least in his own mind, is important nonetheless. And then the darkness takes him, dragging him down into a shallow slumber. His fingers stay twined with hers for a good long while before they finally loosen of their own accord, merely resting with her hand.

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