The Next Day...
Wintermute glides down to land on the cot next to his humanpet, who is fast asleep. He cuddles up next to him and starts crooning deep from his throat.
Linora half hears a low crooning, almost familiar, and opens her eyes. For a moment she looks blankly at the ceiling, then the events of the previous evening flood back into her memory and she sits bolt upright with a little gasp. Which sets her coughing. One hand still over her mouth, she darts nervous eyes around the infirmary, first making sure that she's /alone/ in her cot.
Cress' eyes slowly opens, as he comes awake, as much because of 'Mute's crooning as Lin's coughing. He doesn't actually remember that he fell asleep with her still in his arms, so he just gives a deep sigh, and opens his eyes completely.
At Cress's sigh, Linora swings her head around to look at him, chewing her lip nervously. She draws her knees to her chest and hugs them close.
Cress slowly sits up in his cot, as not to jolt his aching head. Still his doesn't see Lin, but pick 'Mute up and places the brown in his lap. "Morning, 'Mute," he croaks, his voice still hoarse and ragged.
Well, he might have noticed Lin if she hadn't moved herself to the cot furthest away from his, on the far side of the infirmary. She watches him holding 'Mute... he's so gentle with those flits of his... then she just can't look anymore, shrinking down into the cot and shutting her eyes tightly.
Cress suddenly gets a dizzyspell, groans and lies back down, 'Mute still in his arm. "Maybe, Lin's right eh, 'Mute?" he whispers to the lizard. Maybe he really /was/ sick.
He sounds awful. Linora opens her eyes again to look. Just look. Don't get up... Oh, he looks awful too. Whimper.
He is awful, although he would never admit it, if he'd know she was awake and observing him. His hand slowly strokes the lizards back, while he wants to fall asleep again, but is unable to do so.
Linora can't help herself. She quietly slips out of the cot, hardly noticing that it's easier to breathe and her head is clearer. Too much on her mind. Another glance around the infirmary, and she moves to the empty cot beside his and sits down, worried eyes fixed on him even though she can see he's not looking her way.
Cress' eyes opens again, as he hears shuffling on the floor. His eyes round, he turns his head and sees Lin sitting there on the next cot. "Lin? You're still here," he says, /very/ surprised to sees her. And wondering if she'd heard his private conversation with 'Mute.
Linora nods. "I prolly shoulda left, though," she whispers. Spotting the little bag under the edge of Cress's cot, she leans forward to pick it up, and holds it out to him. "Hyzen came t'see us, after you fell asleep and stuff. She an' Imbriath were feeling kinda bad that we got sick." She still doesn't think it's the green's fault, or her rider's.
"Oh," Cress says, looking for all a question mark as he scoots back to a seated position, although his head's still throbbing. "A 'rider came to see us? When?" He didn't recall any 'rider coming, nor could he come up with a reason why she would.
Linora looks at the floor. "Last night. 'Member, they took us t'Reaches? Hyzen thinks it's kinda their fault and stuff. That we got sick. So anyhow, I guess Imbriath picked out some pretty shells and stuff," here she smiles a bit, and tosses the little bag onto his cot. Staying right where she is, yup. Her eyes search his, though, looking for some clue that he remembers anything at all about the night before... he must be really out of it.
Cress does wonder why she's keeping her distance to him, but looks into the bag. "A dragon's giving us presents?" he says, quite surprised at the concept and not quite beliving it either.
Linora nods. Then her eyes go to the floor again. "Then Tie came by, 'fore Hyzen left and stuff." He has no clue. She swallows hard and looks back at him, not quite meeting his eyes. It would be easier to say this if he remembered. "I think we maybe oughtta spend a little less time together and stuff." And drops her head again, her hands on her lap clasping and unclasping nervously.
Cress head comes up and around to look at her. Too fast it seems because his vision is swimming and he can't focus on her. "Less time..." he whispers, not sure if he'd heard her right.
Linora nods, the tears returning, although she won't lift her head for him to see. "I don't wanna... " She breaks off uncertainly, and swallows, and when she speaks again her voice is just a ragged little whisper. "I'm so sorry..." Can't he see it's the right thing to do, even though it's killing her inside to say it?
"Sorry? 'Bout what?" Cress repeats. So his brain's not working right now, but he can definately see that there's something wrong. And then it dawns on him, as memory returns. "They came in here while...." is all he can say, not wanting to finish the sentence.
Linora nods miserably, still looking at her hands. "Hyzen didn't care... " Well, why should a rider care? Rules are different at Weyrs, aren't they? "But Tie..." She swallows again, then looks up at him, not caring anymore if he sees her crying. "She's right. I coulda got us both tossed out." Of course it's all her fault. She could've walked away. Should've walked away. Didn't.
Cress sighs, or attemps to because he launches into a coughing fit. "It's not your fault," he croaks as he finishes, and tears come to his eyes as well, although they might be from the coughing. He doesn't know what else to say, and turns his gaze to 'Mute in his lap.
Linora gets to her feet, one hand impatiently scrubbing the tears from her cheeks. "Doesn't matter," she whispers. And it doesn't. "I'll still be sorry." Sorry if she stays, sorry if she goes... so she'd better leave. Before she really ruins things for Cress. "They'll take good care of ya here and stuff... " Not even sure she should promise to visit, not trusting herself even that far. She backs toward the door.
Cress looks up and follows her retreat with his eyes, not sure he should ask her to stay, but decides against it, since someone had already seen them together. But there's a pain in his eyes telling that he doesn't /want/ her to go. He doesn't say anything, but just gives a slight wave as she goes.
Linora catches the look and dies inside... unable to pull herself together to even return the wave, she slips out the door and closes it quietly behind her.
The Next Day...