05.20.3014: The Sound of Silence
Summary: In the infirmary of a Valen Outpost, Nitrim and Cyrielle wake.
Date: Multiple days
Related: The Horses Are Coming, So You Better Run
Cyrielle Nitrim 

Infirmary, Valen Outpost, The Vale
See log.
May 20 3014

The earliest days of morning daylight filter through the downward-angled slatted windows of the Valen outpost's infirmary. A simple room; the infirmary is far more utilitarian in mind with mortar walls and hard floors lined with beds and simple medical equipment. A single sheet of white partially separates two of the beds and the sleeping figures that lie inside of them, their bodies lightly damp from the summer heat as they recover from their wounds.

One of the figures, however, is not as damaged as the other. Lord Nitrim Khournas lays on his back with his eyes closed and his swordbelt hanging from the corner of the bed. With bandages about his chest, the medics required a day's rest from the stab wound before he will be sent to return home. Somehow managing to sleep through the soft white noise rattle of the oscillating fans in the room, Nitrim has chosen a bed next to Lady Cyrielle Hollolas, once lover and friend, to keep a watchful eye until she can be collected by her family.

Pain, on such a level, is a new thing to Cyrielle. Once the initial shock had worn off, she needed to be heavily sedated. Especially to tend to the wound on her chest. A greatsword is no small weapon- especially borne by the strength behind a Hostile soldier. While her Awakened armor slowed much of the force behind it, without armor beneath… well, the woman will bear scars of her own.

She has slept. It has not been a particularly restful sleep, but it also hasn’t been restless. It’s the artificial sleep of sedation. Nor could she hide the AMP in her system, especially when the withdrawal began to kick in as she was being brought in, so drugs to tend to that have been added into the mix as well.

As those rays of sun start to cross the room, Cyrielle stirs. It’s just a shift against the thin blankets for now.

Perhaps the movement, or merely a trick of the light against his closed eyelids, brings Nitrim to stir as well. The majority of the night was silent, and now something as subtle as movement can change the room and push the body to investigate. The Khourni's chest rises and falls, letting out a deep, tired sigh as his muscles begin to contract, pulling in against themselves like a hunched-over cat for a stretch. Nitrim buries his face into his pillow and lets out a muffled series of unintelligible sounds; the nothing of early morning.

As eyelids slowly peel away to take in the room, Cyrielle is inundated with her surroundings. It’s not an overwhelming place, but the last thing she remembers is being handed off to the medics of the outpost from horseback. She held on for Nitrim through that tenuous connection, but the wash of pain had been too much once she was in the hands of experts.

With a faint groan, she begins to move, taking stock of herself first. It’s through the daze of pain, sleep, and medication that she works and the going is slow. A shift of the leg, a flex of fingers. The brunette is still half-asleep and not even aware of any other presence in the room yet.

The shifting of bedding is a sound that crosses past the tall, white linen that provides only a glimpse of the other. Creeping over Nitrim’s shoulder, the sound wiggles into his ears and up through to his brain, becoming the first, confused memory to crawl into his subconscious. Like all wakings, the initial questions are never asked but always come to mind: Where am I? Who am I? Could I have a few extra minutes?

Blinking the sleep from his eyes, Nitrim finally rolls over onto his back, causing the bed he’s in to creak with the effort. His long, tattooed arms stretch out before him to wring his muscles back to life, and then reach for his face to scrub away the sleep. The memories of the fight from the day before flood his mind; memories of the Cantosan priest, of flame, and of blood, and when the memories reach their peak he remembers that Cyrielle is in the bed across the sheet from him.

With a twist of his neck, Nitrim turns to cast his gaze over the mostly sleeping brunette from not so far away; staring in deep thought.

There is still machinery hooked up to Cyrielle. Electronics to keep track of her vitals and the progression of the basic surgery needed to tend to her wounds. An IV keeps her hydrated and replenishes what the body has lost. The soft whirrs and beeps fill her awareness beyond the initial flood of physical discomfort.

Propped up somewhat already, the youngest Hollolas is able to drive herself just a bit more upward with pressure from her elbows into the bed. There’s a faint grunt from the effort, but it becomes something that lies between cough and grunt. With eyes closed once again, Cyrielle lets the world stop spinning; sitting in silence.

It’s only once everything is back at a manageable level that she looks down. The blanket over her is allowed to drop away as she tugs faintly at the bandaging in place- trying to catch a glimpse of what lies beneath.

With no such restrictions, Nitrim moves silently as he slips from his bed. The floor is cold to the touch as his weight shifts to feet for the first time. Scowling, he leaves his bed behind to shift his weight from one foot to the other until his body gets used to the chill. Watching her in her waking moments, he takes the first step forward and brushes the curtain aside.

Closer now, his dark, green eyes tilt to her bed. Taking quick stock of her pain and her sensitive state, he frowns as the next step brings him to the edge of her bed. Swallowing, he reaches out to brush his fingertips against her shoulder; the best greeting he can muster in the quiet moment.

And there beneath the bandages lies the evidence of the battle. Cyrielle’s right arm is in a gel-cast. A temporary measure against the sonic damage from the Priest. She can still move and use the limb, but the cooled gelatinous liquid within and the form state of the cast help the healing process go by quicker. Her chest, however, is a different story. Nothing deadly, but she’ll certainly bear scars of her own going forward. The edges of the wound have been cleaned and are held together, covered with bandages that are stained red.

Swallowing back the discomfort, she lets the wrappings fall back in place and settles into the pillows. Eyes close and she’s drawing a breath when Nitrim touches her shoulder. Her initial reaction is to jerk her left hand up to grab at his arm, but even as her fingertips land and grasp at the Khourni lordling’s wrist… Cyrielle’s eyes open. Her expression shifts from one of surprise and being near battle-ready… to a blend of pain and gratitude.

Pain. The pain that has kept them apart for weeks washes over Nitrim's features as he recognizes the looks she gives him. It's the same look she gave him a few nights ago on a bitter wall-call in the wee hours of the morning. Still, she is alive, and the small smile that forms at the corner of his tired features is for that very fact.

Reaching out to her blankets, Nitrim pinches the fabric between his fingers and draws the blanket up Cyrielle's torso, leaving it to stop before the bandages of her wound. His eyes lower to his work, silently doing the nurse's duties in Cyrielle's waking moments. He fails to speak; there's so much to say, but it would break the silence, and in the silence there is peace.

Peace is such a tenuous thing and Cyrielle is unwilling to be the one to shatter it either. The pain is not quite the pain of her injury, though that is found in the edges of her mien. Rather than move, she observes Nitrim at his task. The pain of being so close. The pain of knowing what lies between them. The pain of knowing he and others were injured in aiding her.

With hand not hindered by tubes bearing fluids and drugs alike, the Hollolas reaches out fingertips to brush over what she can reach of the Khournas. His arm. His shirt. They aren’t needy, grabby motions, but gestures borne of a need to simply remain in contact. To know that he is real.

Settling everything into its proper place, Nitrim is left with the bone-chilling understanding that he has nothing left to fidget over, and that he has to look back to her face. One way or another, the truth that he is willing to forgive will come clean. Teeth flashing towards her blanket, the scar tissue that lines his neck pulls as his eyes swivel to find hers. Caught in the headlights, his lip twitches in a hopeful frown and he reaches for her hand.

Why he does it, he'll never know, but a lock of hair has fallen over her eyes, and the Khourni lordling reaches out to her face to hook the strand of hair under a fingernail and return it to its rightful place behind her ear. Lips flattening, as if to say there, he takes a deep breath and continues his stare.

Her hand, when taking, is shaking slightly. Caught in that dazed world between sleep and wake when drugged; where the dreams slip away ever slower and nothing is ever quite as it seems. Cyrielle’s fingers curl into his and though her grasp is tenuous, it is still firm in ways beyond mere physical grasp.

The brush of hair leads her eyes to flutter closed and the woman turns her head into Nitrim’s hand, breathing out a small sigh. In that sigh are so many things. Relief in confirmation of reality. A release of tension and worries. Of a gratitude- for him and for the love that still exists, even if it is mired in the murkiness of failings.

A reaction either borne through reflex, or a sign of something that lives beneath the surface of his palm, Nitrim brushes his fingers against her cheek as she nuzzles into his hand. What starts as a twitch turns into a tentative caress, and in seconds becomes an honest brush to her cheek. The tension in his fingers bleeds away into his forearm, up through the curve of his shoulder, and spider-walks down his spine. His muscles betray him, at least for the moment, as he finds himself either glad that she’s alive, or truly comforted by her affection.

Lips parting, Nitrim holds his breath to release the sigh slowly, far too slowly to be heard as he inches onto the edge of her bed, sitting down beside her. His eyes flit to the door, questioning the movements of his body, but he moves anyway, shuffling in to rest hip-to-hip with the Hollolas woman to maneuver his back to the angled mattress she lays against.

The sigh that escapes Cyrielle is one readily audible and nearly physical in its manifestation. It comes at the brush to her cheek and she finds her head turning, pressing lips briefly to the curve of Nitrim’s hand. She’s restraining herself only in reaching for what openings he seems to provide. Save for the sounds of the room at large and their breathing… she is quiet. Unwilling to break the spell.

When the lordling moves in to sit beside her, Cyrielle adjusts. She can’t move far, but there’s the slight wiggle that clears more space for him; both on bed and against pillows. Here she cannot help it; cannot hold back. The young woman leans in against Nitrim, turning her head into his shoulder to breathe deep of his scent.

With his own bandages to contend with, the movements are slow and careful things. Sharing a hospital bed is never a simple thing; the bed is always either too small or there are too many tubes and pieces of equipment in the way. When Nitrim finally settles in beside her, it’s not the pinnacle of comfort that one could ask for, but enough of his shoulder is there for her to turn in against. His arm wraps around her shoulders. His head turns into her, his lips pressed to her temple without a kiss.

Instead, he breathes out across her hair, brushing the somewhat tangled, day-unwashed mopped strands of hair floating in his breath as he tucks her in close. With muscles that are tense with the moment and the left-over pain that the anti-inflammatory medication just couldn’t kill, Nitrim slowly allows himself to come to a rested state, and his fingertips begin to pet her arm aimlessly, eyes closed to the world about them.

And there Cyrielle remains. The woman doesn’t make any attempts to speak nor further the quiet moment. When he stormed out of her hut that day, weeks ago, she feared it would be the last time they saw one another. He came to her aid when she needed him and here, thus far, Nitrim Khournas has remained.

Even as they rest together, Cyrielle’s breathing smoothes over. It’s a shallow breath, for there’s threads of pain across her features with each shift of her bandaged chest. Her free hand reaches over to rest against Nitrim’s leg; fingertips barely stroking. Primarily simply seeking the comfort and familiarity of contact.

In some ways, the moment the two share becomes a reacquainting with each other. Like two animals circling each other, nostrils flaring to scent and judge the creature before them. In other ways, they’re reconvening over old memories and familiar touch, playing against the picket fence of boundaries once again with fingertips and breath. Counting the seconds as they pass, Nitrim closes his eyes and listens to the helicopter whirring of the oscillating fan nearby and relents. He presses a kiss to her scalp and settles in.

He’s going to stay for the moment.

High above the crown of her head, his brows twitch at the thoughts that run through his mind; some are fair, others aren’t. The scrape of his fingernail against her shoulder is light, but a reminder of the hard edge that he’s fighting past to bring them their moment of comfort. Fingertips flexing, curling into a balled fist before resting atop her upper arm, his body turns and he draws his other arm around the back of her neck, drawing her close to his chest. Forgiveness or not, for the first time since their fight, he brings her closer to him in an outright personal manner, cradling her head against his body.

As she’s drawn in, Cyrielle lets out a broader sigh. In the wake of the exhalation, there’s a small sound from deep within. Perhaps from pain… but also perhaps a release of things tied up tight within. That pain that settles in the pit of one’s stomach. The hatred. The regret. The fear. The kiss to her brow is a key to unlocking much of it.

Held close, Cyrielle buries her head against Nitrim’s collarbone and after a moment, there’s a soft sob. It’s not a large cry or an intense one, but there are tears. Her shoulders shake faintly and her hand shifts to grasp at the fabric of his pants.

Nitrim becomes a comforting wall, her sobs against his bared chest and bandaging tenderizing his muscles into old, familiar comfortable movements. His fingers splay against her cheek, palming the side of her head and using his thumb to brush at the corner of her eye. The moisture of tears forming against his thumbnail, Nitrim’s eyes close tighter against her hair and his lips move without thinking. The press out in a kiss to her scalp, daring him to shift against her and draw her in. A warm blanket - a friend long past - he doesn’t reject her this time, his lack of moving away from her something of a breaking of his Khourni bull-headedness.

His mouth opens and a half-choked sound catches in his throat. The words don’t come, and instead his lips clasp shut against the side of her head. Tired in so many ways, all he can think to do is coil his arms around her body and thread his fingertips through her hair, wishing away the dark thoughts and the voice of conscience that begs him to not forgive. Reason overcomes and his thumb brushes again to find fresh tears.

The tears don’t fall quickly, but it’s more of a deep cry anyway. The sort that presses against the rib cage and gut. The kind that releases dark things sunk into the meat of one’s self. Cyrielle is mindless of the things hooked up to her and drags tube-laden arm across herself and the bed to latch onto the blonde man next to her. It’s a perilous, weakened state she’s in and one she normally wouldn’t want even he to be privy to.

The storm has broken and only the drake pays witness. Within her mind he has likely seen the font of pride and solidarity she bears herself with. The pains and psychological scars of her past hidden away within deep corners. Things never paid voice to, but always lingering beneath those surface in the times they tap into one another’s mind and soul. Here and now, they awaken and she cries.

The woman in his arms brings back the old impulses to hush and offer to solve things; to offer to fix things, but Nitrim hesitates to offer. It isn’t so simple of a situation. Wrong has been done, and the two have made amends in their own way, but to end the crying, to wish it all away, would be to negate the need for it. There is a need for the crying, for the absolution of sin and confession, and for the comfort that being in one another’s arms has. Still, Nitrim finds himself relieved, but there is a film over their reunion, still so much healing to be done, but with her alive it can be saved for another day.

Another sigh brushes through her hair; the breath meeting his fingertips as his lips press to her temple. With a tilt of his head, his forehead presses in against the side of her head, mixing his breath with hers as she cries. To say it’s okay would be a lie. Things are far from okay, but they can get better, and this Nitrim shows her as his hand brushes down the side of her face in an effort to soothe her. For now she can be soothed. This is her true apology to him.

Perhaps to Cyrielle, the first brush of knowing things might be alright was that Nitrim came when she called. Perhaps it was waking on the battlefield to his concerned face or the way he rushed her to the outpost. Perhaps it was the first brush of his fingertips to her shoulders. Or maybe, just maybe, they all had a piece in the puzzle with the final solution being the embrace. Either way, it has all melded together to create an environment where she has been able to let free.

Instead of burying things deep in the murkiness of self-loathing and drowning herself in drugs and alcohol, Cyrielle is now able to let go. In the wake of her time afield, reconnecting with her druidic roots and finding the beginnings of peace… It’s the willingness of the hermetic-inclined to have physical contact that fully opens the passageway. Cyrielle’s cries soon begin to slow, but every time her lips begin to form words — pleas, offerings, gratitude — the sobs come again. So she remains, long as he’ll hold her.

The slow brush of his hands steadies into a rhythm that matches the in-and-out of Nitrim’s breathing. Dozens of brush-strokes pass, perhaps hundreds, as time dilates for the young man. Her cry is a long episode of unspoken words and emotions that he doesn’t spoil with the emergence of his aura. No, the aura, their oft-telepathic communication, would be words that he doesn’t want, and it would be knowing in a way that spoils the need for the gestures, the closeness. He cannot bring himself to breach that seal; to begin the negotiations.

Reaching for the blanket, he draws it over his legs, trapping the lower half of his torso in a mix of the drawstring pants he wears and the never-thick-enough hospital blanket. Knees bending, they tangle with hers, leaving the naked arch of his foot to settle in against her real ankle. It’s another perch, another point of contact for the two to share as he settles back in against the half of her pillow available to him. He disengages, but keeps his arm wrapped around hers as he draws her down. He wants to rest.

As he shifts and settles in alongside her, Cyrielle begins to calm. She runs out of tears and the pain is fully unbound and released into the space between them; theoretically speaking. It’s something for the soul. To release and to share. To reveal what lies beneath in a way that even their telepathy could not scry. When his ankle touches to hers, it’s a final latch that lets the woman find a modicum of peace.

Her hand, with the intravenous tubes keeping her comfortable, is moved aside to keep from tangling. Cyrielle shifts around slightly until she finds a place partially upon her side; curled into Nitrim. She breathes a small sigh, resting her head in that space upon his shoulder, made by the arm around her. It’s not a sigh of pain, but one of beginning comfort.

Long minutes pass, the only sound truly reaching their ears the quiet rush of breath the comes and goes, but it’s breath that’s too quick in cadence to suggest that either have fallen asleep. It’s a consciously known thing that she’s awake, listening and waiting for the other shoe to drop in a deafening thunder, and he’s no different. Despite the comfort, that film of tension remains, and as the minutes tick by the film tightens into a physical barrier that lines his skin.

Brow-to-brow, Nitrim lifts his chin, pressing a kiss to her cheekbone, and then retreats to a tilt that rests his body comfortably against her pillow. His arms squeeze around her, this time in a hug, pressing her close to his body. She’s alive, and for the moment that is all that counts to the man. Disaster, and the closed door that lies in the way, have been averted. One day the words will come, perhaps in the form of another tense conversation, perhaps in heartfelt confessions, but that day is not this day.

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