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Returning Favors

Lirriel's picture

((Related to recent RP, logs can be found here (warning for some language, and some drugging and short torment). Mik comes from a writing prompt about “Rhiswyn’s greatest triumph.”))

She had been careless and stupid. Gone soft, they would say.

Only one set of wards had pinged, but she still should not have let her guard down when she finally returned home. She could have checked more thoroughly, should have noticed Terrence hiding in the shadows and torn his mind to shreds before he could pull the trigger.

Should have, could have, what if.

Jormund was out getting food again, and Mason was sawing logs in one of the armchairs. Rhiswyn sighed and stood up. From his own chair by the window, her father looked up. “Need anything, Princess?”

“Just want some air, Daddy. There’s nothing wrong with my legs.” Not anymore. The paralysis poison Terrence had used had quickly worn off, but the terror of her body not responding stayed with her. At least it had been temporary; her empathy for her dear Anwyna had increased tenfold, as well as Rhiswyn’s desire to help repair her friend’s spine.

Jerren stayed inside, at the window where he could respond if needed while giving Rhiswyn space and privacy as she sat on a wooden bench in the gardens. Jerren’s cottage was at the edge of Cathedral property, giving a view of the grand building and clear sound to all the different kinds of bells and prayers. Acolytes, altar kids, and priests moved along the paths, up and down the streets beyond, and to and from other outbuildings. A few youths came by each day on a rotating schedule to check on Jerren, making sure the ailing elder took his medication, helped with his housework and self-care, and simply kept him company. Some even listened to his medical knowledge and healing advice.

Rhis leaned against the gently curved back of the bench, letting the sun warm her as she listened to bird song, the bells, and the dull rush of the city. Footsteps on the path made her open eyes she hadn’t realized she closed, and she smelled freshly baked cinnamon rolls. She smiled at the man who sat next to her, carefully setting his box aside. “Mik. It’s been too long, dear.”

“It has,” he said. “I heard what happened.”

“I bet. I’m fine.” She forced a smile.

He shook his head. “Liar. Nice bunnies.”

She waved her wrapped hands. “The pink bunny bandages have powerful healing magic of their own. Daddy’s told me so since I was at least three years old. Don’t mess with the bunnies.”

“Don’t intend to,” he chuckled. “Speaking of your Pop, I brought him some cinnamon rolls. I hear he’s a fan.”

“I bet I know where you heard that, and where those come from.”

“He’s just concerned, Rhis. Surprised he sought me out, though; he’s no Crusader.”

“It…came up, once,” she admitted. Then she sighed. “I had Winter Veil presents for your children in my place—for everyone. I really set up a life here, and now…”

“You still have that,” Mik said. He reached one dark arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer. She leaned her head on her sweet boy’s shoulder as he hugged her. “Someone once told me that the Light only gives us what we can carry, we just need help sometimes. And that it’s OK to cry.”

Rhiswyn squinched her eyes shut. “I don’t need to cry.”

“That’s what I thought, when I got cut up. Then this annoyingly persistent priest kept coming around while I just laid there like a lump, and she read me my letters, and some stories, and talked about her obnoxiously active sex life until I just couldn’t take it anymore. Until everything I’d been trying to not feel came out in a flood. Never forget that.”

“Me neither, dear.”

“So let me return the favor. I’ll spare you the details of my sex life though; the wife’d finish what that death knight started.”

Rhiswyn laughed. Her shoulders shook and her wrapped hands clumsily gripped his shirt as the giggles became sobs. She pressed her face against his chest, vaguely aware of him gently stroking her hair and rocking her gently, as if she were one of his small children. As she had once done for him, in that healing tent in Northrend.

Eventually the shaking stopped, and he gave her his handkerchief as she sniffled and wiped her still leaky eyes. “Perhaps…I did need that.”

Mik chuckled and squeezed her gently. “You always fight so hard for others who’re hurt, and you fight the ones who do the hurting. Believe me; we love you for it, Rhis. Just let others take care of you now—and keep in mind all those things you tell your patients.”

She tried to say a few different things; in the end, she simply settled for “Thank you.”

“Any time. Now, I’m being side-eyed from the window while these cinnamon buns are getting cool. We might be in real trouble if we keep these from your Pop much longer.”

Rhiswyn laughed, genuinely this time. “True, dear.  You can meet my current boyfriends, too, while you’re here. They’re wonderful.”

“Well, they’d better be, or I’ll take your Pop’s side.” He grinned and stood, offering her a hand up.

Rhiswyn rested her healing hands carefully in his and stood, getting on tiptoes to kiss his cheek. “My sweet boy,” she said.

It was harder to see the blush on his dark cheeks, but his sheepish grin and ducked head made her smile. “Aw, shucks. Just doing what little I can for a friend. I know you’re probably hearing it lots, but if you need anything—“

“I know,” Rhiswyn answered. She did, too; Terrence may have destroyed her home, her creations, and collections, but she’d lived, and she’d fought back, in the end—she hoped he was having a worse time than she was. She had friends and family to help her. He had destroyed his.

She almost felt sorry for Terrence, but then pushed the thoughts aside. He didn’t deserve her consideration, not when there were warm cinnamon buns to take to Daddy, and Mik was here with her arm in his to meet her darling Jormund and dearest Mason, while the Cathedral bells rang overhead.

It would take time, she knew; this would be a good day, and tomorrow might be a bad one. But Rhiswyn Linder was certain now, that in the end, she was going to be all right.