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Bedside Manners (Closed with ComicallyMacabre)

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1 Bedside Manners (Closed with ComicallyMacabre) on Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:17 pm

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Super Duper Angst Meme (Injury Edition)
Send me a ➴  and I will generate a number between 1 and 100 for what my muse will say to yours.
10. "Don't--You'll only hurt yourself more."

The good doctor wiped his brow with the back of his hand, felt the coolness of his sweat collect there. The night had been a long one, but as the dark ended with the coming dawn, so did his work. He glanced down at the woman lying upon the bed, his eyes tracing the severe lines that marred her face, then to the bandages that he'd carefully wrapped around her torso a few hours prior. She'd have a few more scars to add to her collection, it would seem. 

As the soft morning light reached out with gentle fingers to touch the slumbering figure, she had begun to stir. He watched her open her eyes and look around, like most previously unconscious patients had done in the past, and when she began to sit up, he reached out to stop her. His touch was gentle, but firm. "Don't--You'll only hurt yourself more."


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Lyra nodded, her breath wheezing as she attempted to catch it once more. "I-- I don't think so." She said, her fingers gingerly touching the stitches to confirm. Thankfully, she'd been correct; everything was in its rightful place. She brought her arm up, shakily wiping her face clean of the sweat that had accumulated there with a grubby sleeve before looking over at Xiro, appreciation showing through the pained expression she wore. "Seems you did good work sewing me back up again."

Her eye caught sight of his own injuries as he inspected himself. Curiously, she noted that his bruises resembled burns more than anything, but perhaps that was merely her eyesight playing tricks again. Her head injury was, after all, still very much a reality, even if her senses had mostly returned to her by now.

"What about you? How are you faring?"

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We'll, that was good, at least. The last thing either of them needed was for one of them to bleed out before they made it back to camp. Gods knew they'd been through quite enough already...

"Nn... I've had worse," he replied, leaning back against the wall. It was the truth, and yet, as always, it did not answer her question. "How's your head?" As though such a question needed emphasis, he tapped his temple with a couple of fingers.


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The redhead chuckled a bit at that, wincing as her ribs gave a twinge. Oh, what a question.

"Feels like a stampede of Hobbes is running through it." Lyra looked up at the man with a wry smile and gave a shrug. "But at least I can think clearly again. Relatively." She sighed and rested her head against cool stone. After this little escapade, the woman found herself appreciating ruins even more than she had before. She'd certainly found enough comfort in them today.

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"Right. Stupid question."

He shifted, trying to get comfortable. What he would give to be back in that hospital bed again! He silently cursed the fact that he had to leave it in the first place. At least he'd be there again by this time tomorrow, assuming all went well. For now, though, he had to keep them both awake.

"They say these ruins are haunted. The guild, too, of course." He glanced over at her to gauge her reaction. "Some say that the spirits relive the battle every night, while others say that they simply mill about, wallowing in their regrets. Some even say that they don't know that they are dead and that they go about their business as if nothing had happened."


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"Only slightly," Lyra teased as she looked up at her tall friend. She could resist the urge to give him a bit of sass after he'd laughed at her little tangle with the butterflies earlier. May as well try to lighten the atmosphere if they were to be here all night with no sleep.

"They say these ruins are haunted."

"Indeed?" The brown-eyed woman quirked a brow at him, her expression growing more amused as he went on. She was reminded of the stories her brother used to tell her when she was a young girl, a wistful smile showing itself across her battered face as she recalled happier times. "I must say," she replied after a moment, trying to keep in her chuckles for the time being, "I hadn't pegged you as a fan of ghost stories."

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He shrugged and offered her a small smile. "The dead have interesting stories to tell, especially when their consciousnesses still linger in this world. We'll never know what life was truly like before us, no matter how many books we read or artifacts we find... There will always be a degree of mystery. You can learn about it, but you cannot live it." He shrugged again, concealing a wince. "As far as these ghost stories go, I'm merely wondering if there's any truth to them. I suppose we'll find out soon enough. If nothing else, they're a good way to pass the time."

He looked up, watching the sunlight die through a hole in the ceiling. Soon, they would be swallowed by darkness once again, the moon and stars offering the only light to see by. He silently steeled himself. Gods... Scared of the dark, jumping at shadows... How far he had fallen to come to fear so much...

"I'm sorry for earlier," he said suddenly, after a long bout of silence. "In the guild..."


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Lyra nodded, her smile remaining  despite the pounding in her skull. There was great wisdom in the man's words; wisdom beyond his years, perhaps. Though she was hardly one to judge age by appearance, being one of those few who seemed to age more slowly than most. It was likely he was "blessed" the same way, especially considering the feats she'd witnessed him perform. She was becoming fond of this man very quickly despite the veil of mystery about him, and it was an absolute shame to know he intended to leave so soon.

"I'm sorry for earlier. In the guild..."

The redhead's smile became a wry one. "Which part? The argument or the whole 'getting captured and beaten by bandits' bit?"

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"Well, both, but I was actually referring to when I, ah, grabbed you in the dark." There was a slight blush to his cheeks, and he was thankful for the relative cover of night. "The dark and I... don't agree, to put it extremely lightly." He didn't want to go into detail about all he'd been through. He wasn't ready yet, even if it did explain much of his behavior. Too many horrors had happened in the shroud of Darkness for him to voice. But he could at least manage an apology and a bit of an explanation. "I don't make a habit of grabbing hold of women in the dark, I promise."


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"When. . ? Oh!"

Lyra's face quickly turned from confusion to sheepish amusement as she recalled the way they'd clung to each other in the dark before speaking to the demon door. She brought a hand to the non-bruised side of her face, which was currently following Xiro's example and becoming flushed with colour of its own. She couldn't help but let out a flustered laugh in her embarrassment, though it was strained and brief, bringing a sharp pain to her chest.

"Ohh-- goodness, I'd forgotten about that entirely-- forgive me, I-- I shouldn't laugh, it's just. ." She shot him an apologetic look, wincing as she brought a hand to her aching ribs. "I don't exactly find myself pressing my face into the shoulders of strange men often; it would seem the both of us share a dislike for the dark."

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He blinked. "To be honest, I don't remember you doing that..." He'd been so consumed by his own fear that he'd hardly noticed anything outside of it and the all encompassing darkness. "Ah well... What has you so afraid of the dark, if you don't mind my asking?" 

His reasoning was fairly obvious. He'd been tormented day and night by beings forged in that hellish black for years on end. But what did one so young and bright and full of life have to fear from the night? His eyes traveled to her scar. It was a terrible, gnarled thing, and was likely gained in some sort of traumatic event. Perhaps it had something to do with her fear. Maybe like him, she too had been left scarred by the Darkness.


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"Ah--" Her smile faded and she reflexively traced fingers over her scar. She could feel his eyes on it even in the darkness of their surroundings, and she bit her lip softly. Of course, it had only been a matter of time before it came up. It always did. Still, she was grateful that he'd been respectful enough to not point it out outright like others did, and he hadn't even paid it any mind until just now.

"I suppose I should just tell you outright," she sighed-- he could use Will, after all, and had many secrets of his own. Surely he wouldn't be too shocked to hear the truth of things. "I. . fought against the Darkness when The Crawler came to Albion so many years ago. What I saw that day. ." She shuddered, trying not to let her mind wander to the awful things she'd seen and heard. "I was young and foolish and. . that Darkness left me scarred. In more ways than one, you might say." She cast her eyes downward, awaiting the questions that would surely follow.

She was thankful to be getting this all over more quickly than she normally would dancing around the issue as she did with most people; there were few things that she disliked talking about more than that awful day.

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"..."

His hand found hers, and he gave it a squeeze. While he was shocked to discover that she was not the twenty-something she appeared to be, he was also relieved in a strange, selfish way. She understood his fear, his pain, just as he understood hers on a level no one else really could. There was a kinship hidden for them within their mutual suffering, which was perhaps the only good thing to come from it.

"I'm sorry," he said again. No one should ever have to go through the horrors the Darkness and Corruption sewed. "I know what it's like."

A moment more, and he removed his hand, though a part of him, strangely, missed the warmth of hers. He cleared his throat. "On a lighter note, I wouldn't have known you were pushing sixty if you hadn't told me." He chuckled lightly to himself. He'd known she was a Hero from the start, even if she didn't, so this shouldn't have come as a surprise to him. And yet she looked much younger than most Heroes her age. Her bloodline must have been purer than most, he guessed. "It's not often one happens upon someone who is half a century old and still looks like they've just barely passed the age of twenty. If I didn't know any better, I'd say your tale was hard to believe. But I know better."


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Lyra felt as Xiro's much larger hand wrapped itself around hers. It was his only reply for several long moments, and she found herself speechless as well as she looked up to the amber-eyed man questioningly, brows raised. She hadn't expected that reaction from him; he didn't seem the sentimental type, and he'd only just been apologising for unexpectedly holding onto her, at that. And yet, she didn't pull away. There was comfort in the gesture-- an understanding that she'd never had with anyone else but her own kin. She shuddered again, feeling a tingle in her fingers just before he released her.

"It's not often one happens upon someone who is half a century old and still looks like they've just barely passed the age of twenty. If I didn't know any better, I'd say your tale was hard to believe. But I know better."

The smile returned to the nightingale's face then, slowly but surely. She was grateful for the turn this conversation had taken, and couldn't help but feel relieved that he'd been so understanding. "Well, I must say that's a welcome response. Most people who ask me to tell my story are rather unwilling to believe it, to put it mildly. Not that I blame them," she went on, gesturing to herself. "I realise that sixty-six-year-olds don't typically look this, er. . Youthful." She sniffed, her thoughts drawn to the likes of the country's Parliament. Reaver was a Hero, of course, but Lady Page and Commander Benjamin Finn looked almost as she remembered them as a child; she had their wanted posters stowed away somewhere still. "Though I suppose it's not entirely unheard of, either."

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"Those of Heroic bloodlines tend to remain younger for longer, and they live for much longer than normal human beings," he said knowledgeably. "I don't find it so surprising that you are one such individual. You are hardier than most people, valiant (though that's not strictly a requirement), and you are strong. You've survived wounds that would have claimed the lives of most people. It's really not such a jump to come to such a conclusion."


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The redhead's brows practically jumped right off of her face then and her expression was, quite frankly, ridiculous. She could only stare at Xiro for several seconds as if not truly able to process the words coming out of his mouth before finally letting out a snort of amusement. Just how hard had she been hit on the head, exactly?

"Wh-- Me?! Oh, no. Nononono, I'm not a Hero. I. . I admit the evidence is stacked against me, but trust me, I'm--" She sighed, rubbing the back of her neck, her eye not meeting his as she felt heat rising in her cheeks once again. "I'm just. ."

Avo, what were the words she was looking for? It was so hard to concentrate with her head throbbing the way it was.

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He couldn't suppress his laughter. Her expression--no, her entire reaction was priceless. It mirrored his own reaction whenever someone made the assumption that he was a Hero, and it was too much for him not to find the hilarity within the irony of it all. 

"You're just, what? Normal?" he finished for her, smirking, one eyebrow quirked upwards. "Lyra, I've only known you for a day and I can confidently say that you are about as far from normal as they come, and in the best way. But believe what you like. You'll find soon enough that what I say is true." If she continued down the path she was on, she would no doubt end up unlocking her powers eventually. He was sure of it. All it would take was a small dose of magic. Hell, he could unlock her powers for her right here and now, if he thought it wise. But no, she needed to come to find it within herself, by herself.


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"I can confidently say that you are about as far from normal as they come, and in the best way."

The woman's hands wrung themselves together. Avo, she could hardly believe what he was saying. Her? A Hero?! In her younger years she would have jumped at the opportunity to be referred to as such. But now. . ?

She sighed and shifted herself, wincing at a stab of pain in her chest. She wasn't fit to be a Hero, even if there was indeed such blood running through her veins-- and she had to admit that there was a staggering amount of proof pointing to that being the case. Lyra had indeed wondered at times, but always found something to explain her inklings away, to tell herself that she was no better than any other human being. Not today; too much had happened that she was unable to simply ignore. Still, she was reluctant to believe what Xiro was telling her; if she was a Hero, then why did it seem that she had so little to offer? Why was the thought of such a great responsibility so damned intimidating?

She lifted her eyes to him after several moments, a wry, strained smile on her lips as she pulled herself out of her self pity. There was little point in dwelling on her poor opinions of herself; there'd be plenty of time for that later. "Do you find delight in turning humble librarians' lives upside-down, or am I just a special case?"

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He laughed at that, rolling his head against the stone wall to look up at the night sky again. "I have that effect on people, it would seem," he chuckled, but his heart wasn't in it. Even in just the small section of sky visible to him, there were countless stars, beautiful and colorful and twinkling. He watched them for a moment, taking in the turning of the earth. There had been a time, not too long ago, when he thought he'd never get to see the stars again, and yet here he was, sitting here, battered and broken, but staring at the majesty of the night.

"Maybe," he whispered, and then paused again in thought before continuing, "Maybe there is hope." Maybe he could find a way to defeat his worst enemy and save himself, and the world as well. Maybe he didn't have to be alone in this.


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The nightingale's eye followed Xiro's golden ones and she blinked as her vision focused on the shining stars above; she hadn't really noticed that it had gotten so dark already. Her expression softened. She did love to watch the stars when the skies were clear like this, and having such a lovely sight to focus on after the beating they'd gone through earlier was more than welcome. The redhead simply watched in silence along with her companion, enjoying the spectacle before them.

"Maybe there is hope."

Lyra's gaze returned to the brown-haired man beside her as his voice gently broke the quiet that had fallen over them. Her eye lingered on him, taking in the small gleam of faith in his own. "Well, of course. There's always hope." She replied matter-of-factly.

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He chuckled again, but it was mirthless. "Sometimes it's hard to see it," he replied. Sometimes the light that hope cast was blocked out by other forces, and it was nigh impossible to reach. "For a long while, I didn't have hope. I thought I was alone, that I'd... that I'd never escape. I tried. I tried so many times..." His voice broke and he looked away as the memories flooded him again, making his chest squeeze. It felt impossible to breathe, even though air flowed freely to and from his lungs. "I couldn't do it on my own. It wasn't until I had help that I could get away, and more and more I'm realizing that I can't do this on my own--any of it."

His hands balled into his fists and he rolled his lips inward. He was saying too much. Why had he felt the need to open up to a complete stranger like this? He gave himself a mental kick. He should have known better than to be so trusting, after all he'd been through. After all the lies...


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"You're not on your own, Xiro."

Lyra's fingers reached out tentatively toward his once more, unsure of whether or not she was overstepping her bounds by reaching out to him again. Much as she tried, she couldn't help but feel her heart bleed for this man, and it was all she could do to try to offer comfort to someone whose suffering likely went beyond anything she could understand. She bit her lip softly. It seemed as if she had no choice but to embrace the notion that she was a Hero, much as she was reluctant to.

"I. . I know that you have no reason to believe me when I say this, but--" she looked up into his eyes, her expression earnest. "I want to help you fight this evil, if you would consider me for an ally."

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He flinched slightly at her touch, but did not pull away, allowing her to lace her fingers with his. Her hand was warm, comforting. It calmed the demons in his mind. How strange that a simple touch could ease so many anxieties.

"You're not on your own, Xiro... I... I know that you have no reason to believe me when I say this, but--I want to help you fight this evil, if you would consider me for an ally."

And why shouldn't he? They'd already been through hell and back together. But the fear still nagged at the back of his mind, the paranoia demanding that he pull away from her, that he tell her no, that he did not need help, that he could do this on his own... But he knew that he could not. He would have to trust someone eventually, and even if he could not give his trust to her completely, he needed her. He needed someone. Facing this alone was far too much, and more frightening than all the horrors in the world combined.

"I... Thank you." They were the only words he could muster at this point. All others faded, muddled by the war going on within his mind and the battle in his chest. "Thank you..."


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"I. . . Thank you."

The auburn-haired scholar simply smiled in response, happy to see even that small show of trust, and loosened her hold on him. She didn't pull away from him entirely, however; she figured Xiro would let go when he wanted to, but he seemed to need the support at least for now. She could practically feel his heart hammering away as he sorted through what were most certainly painful thoughts.

She turned her attention back to the small patch of sky above them, hoping to change the subject to something more pleasant. "You know, it's been a long time since I sat down and just appreciated the stars. We're lucky the weather is so clear, hm?"

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Thankful for the change of subject, he cast his eyes upwards again. "Yes... Very lucky." Even as he spoke, a shooting star flung itself in a graceful, brief line of white across the sea of black and starlight, bringing a soft smile to his lips. "I'd forgotten how beautiful they are. I wonder how many worlds are out there, how many people are looking up at their piece of sky and wondering about us the same way we are about them."

His finger traced a pattern in the stars, one familiar to him and to many others: The Great Beast, the Balvorn from legends of old. "It's funny to think that the ancients told stories using the stars to paint shapes and pictures in their minds, don't you think? And those stories lived on for centuries, never getting written down, being told only by word of mouth... And some have even survived until today; changed, perhaps, but preserved. Stories from even before the Old Kingdom, when beasts the size of fortresses roamed the earth."


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Lyra was quiet a while, simply listening to Xiro's musings as they looked up at the night sky, moonlight filtering in through the small opening above them. He sounded so much like Aidan had when they'd watched the stars as children. She remembered all his wild stories, the way he'd so passionately confessed his hopes and dreams to the young girl. It was a comforting thought, if sad, and she couldn't help but continue to feel a strange affinity with this man as he went on.

She tilted her head and squinted, just barely able to make out the constellation he was fixated upon; it was still a little difficult to get her vision to focus on anything far away. Ahh, the Balvorn-- a fearsome beast of legend, to be sure!

"Oh dear, am I in for a history lesson?" She joked, her attention returning to her companion. There was a grin on her bruised face, and her eyes twinkled. "I'm afraid I find myself lacking anything to take notes with."

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