AWD #044: Sharing Burdens
Sharing Burdens
Summary: Iphigenia Arden takes some of the burdens from the shoulders of Aristides Cole.
Date: 19/02/2013
Related Logs: Visiting Hours Are 9 to 5
Cole Iphigenia 
Recovery Ward
About half the size of the Medical Center, the Recovery Ward has fewer beds to allow space for those who are going through recovery. Rather than the drab gray of most of the center, the walls in here have been done in a neutral creme color. The beds are a little thicker and the blankets are actually present. There are a few clocks and the only other decoration are a couple of flatscreens that show muted movies from the ship's library. A couple stacks of old magazines are available near the door for nurses to pass around, too.
AWD #44

In the time Iphigenia's been absent, Cole hasn't been the most model patient. He's swung wildly between throwing his gelatin at the nurse one moment, to curling in a fetal position and staring off into space the next. There have been murmurs of sedation and possibly even restraining the pilot, if only for his own good. His visitors have been warned by the nursing staff as they come and go, but Ari's been cordial if distant to those that come calling.

Prior to entering the ward, one of the nurses has given Gen a heads up; the advisement that they're considering sedation and/or restraints alarms her, but she simply nods and murmurs something about seeing what she can do. That's when she goes into the recovery ward. Her eyes are on him the moment she steps through his curtain, though upon arrival, all she does is take the seat near his bed.

And when she sits down, she finds a lump underneath her rump. "You forgot to take that back." Ari says to the ceiling regarding the shell pendant she just seated herself on. He's in a low of his mood cycle, looking melancholy as he stares off at nothing in particular. He hasn't deigned to shave yet, but at least today he's well enough to be dressed in one of those paper thin gowns that ties awkwardly at the side. Physically, anyways.

Iphigenia rises as soon as she feels it and takes it out, letting it lay in her hand. "Thank you." she murmurs, even if the way it has been tossed aside leaves her cold. She looks over at him, and even though she's worried, her expression suggests a certain…ferocity. "They're talking about sedating you. Or restraining you. Or both. It will only delay your return to flight status. Is that what you want?" She keeps her tone calm, but a bit of frustration slips into it.

A second ticks by, and then five and ten before Cole finally drags his gaze away from counting the countersunk rivets in the ceiling panels or figuring out the pattern in the flickering of the overhead lighting. "What do you see when you look at me?" Comes the question that is not an answer.

"At the moment?" she queries, her tone softer. Iphigenia Arden is seated in the seat next to the bed - she's been in and out today, and right now she's perched there with an iridescent shell made into a pendant on a slim pendant on a black cord. "A man in a great deal of pain, who doesn't know what to do with it. And who needs a shave quite badly."

She closes her eyes. It just needs to place to go. That's all this is. She has to keep telling herself that. She keeps her eyes closed. "I know that you live with it. That you live in it. That you've lost a great deal. That death - " she stops abruptly, and then says, "I don't know what happened to you on Aerilon. But I know it involved a great deal of blood."

"Say it Geni." Ari's fist suddenly strikes his swivel tray, causing the metal spoon from the soup he hasn't touched to rattle in the saucer. "Say it. Finish that sentence, Iphigenia. Finish it. My wife is dead. My children are dead. And I'm not. Though I sure in Hades deserve to be. SAY IT." He hisses, throwing back his blanket to sling his legs over the side of the bed.

She opens her eyes, studying him levelly. "Your wife and your children are dead." she says with deep regret in her tone. "When you board the ferry it will take you to the banks of the Fields of Elysium, and they will be waiting for you. And since I have known you, I have never seen you live for any other moment."

"We made love, the night before she died. We hadn't been able to more than touch each other during the time she was committed after Ivy's stillbirth. I could comfort her. Sit vigil as you are now, but little more. Half the time she didn't even know I was there. But that night, we made love." The words come out bitterly, but unhindered, as if he'd been holding them in for far too long. "The next morning, I had to report back to base, so I got up early. The bed beside me was cold, but I heard the water running from the bathroom. We had this old claw foot tub…"

She can't, or won't let her sympathy transform her expression, but she cannot control her eyes, which after having heard him declared missing in action, and then saved, and then returned but so broken, after all of this, him telling her how he found his Maggie is what brings a shine to her eyes.

"At first, I thought she was just taking one of her baths. She'd soak so long she'd fall asleep, her long body stretched out with her ankles propped on the edge of the tub and her head tilted back. I reached out to drag a wet lock of it from her forehead…the hot water made her skin feel falsely warm. It took me a minute to register that the bubbles were pink. She slashed her belly, so recently swollen with our daughter. Her legs. Her wrists." Ari's starring at his hands, his fingers knotting together. There is no more to the story. It's just over.

"You carry so much guilt." she whispers. "Like stones, crushing you down." She looks up and over at him, rising, stepping closer. Her hands place gently over his knotted ones. "She was in so much pain. And you have been in so much pain."

Ari turns his hands over, trapping hers with some well hitched thumbs. "I told her I'd stay. And I didn't. I chose duty of my colonies over duty to my wife. I thought I was providing for her when all I was doing was actually giving her was empty and despair. I couldn't even give her a child that the gods would allow to walk the mortal realm." He spreads her fingers out with a smooth of his thumbs like he's done half a dozen times or more before.

"She was ill, Ari." Gen bends over him, and now at last it's her turn to press her lips to his forehead. "And that's what made her kill herself." She studies his face intently. "I will only ever know her through your eyes." Her hand touches his chin, gently lifts. "Do you think that someone who loved you so much would want this for you? All this pain? All this guilt? I do not believe it."

"She was touched. Dionysus had a strangle hold on her and wouldn't let go. And when I wasn't worthy enough he plucked her from me…" There is a hitch in his throat as his eyes are finally lifted to hers by that lift of his chin. Ari's lashes are wet with tears that don't dare to fall and raise his ire.

"No. No." she tells him fiercely. And that's when her tears start to spill, when she moves to kiss over his eyelids. "That was between her and Dionysus. She was touched, and he always had his hand on her. To fight that madness takes incredible strength and no one can fault her for being mortal. And no one can fault you for her mortality, or your own."

Ari is so very still when she presses a kiss to his eyelids, closing them obligingly which forces his unshed tears to the corner of his eyes where they well. "I fault myself. To frak with everyone else." But in case Geni takes that to mean that she is everyone else, his hand reaches for her hip. "I dreamt of you." His fingers curl into her soft flesh. "Sunlight and napping beneath trees, and your fingernails sharp as nettles in my hair."

"You said you hated me for that." she says softly, "But I'm glad. I'm glad for anything that kept you alive, and brought you home." Her forehead is pressed to his. "I don't know what you saw there, but whatever happened…you don't have to carry it alone if you don't want to."

"Still do." Hate her, presumably, but it's something Cole is less focused on at the moment than the way the rough of his palm feels on her cheek, or that perfect fit for his paw on the curve of her side. With forehead to forehead, it's easy to tease his nose against hers, and warm breath gets exhaled in a warning she didn't get yesterday. "It was the end of humanity." And with that, he steals a kiss.

This time she does not pull away. This time she kisses him back, her hands moving to his jaw while she presses close, at least for a few long moments. But then she finally tilts her mouth a way and murmurs, "This is going to get worse before it gets better, you know that, don't you." It's not a question.

As she pulls away, he tries to follow, if only by the tilt of his head. He's tethered, still, by a myriad of wires and IV's and leads and monitors that keep him shackled to the hospital bed. "I know." Seeming how he's kissed her as many times as he's declared his hatred for her, things aren't exactly black and white.

Iphigenia takes a breath, and wipes at her eyes. "I have to tell you, before it becomes impossible - I've been put on a mission bound for Picon in forty-eight hours. I'm due to speak to command there about ex-fil for the local children. But I don't want you to worry." This is insisted in firm earnest. "I want you to focus on getting well, and getting your flight status back."

And just like that, his features harden. Where Ari's hands had been soft and tender a split second before, an iron grip now finds her arm. "I could snap your wrist. Like a twig. I know I don't have much strength, but it wouldn't take much effort. One little *pop* and then you'd be forced to stay."

Iphigenia looks down at that grip around her wrist, and then back to him. She does not seem in the least bit afraid. "You could." she says. "But I don't think you'd keep me from doing something that means so much to me, that could save so any children. Regardless of what happened to you after you snapped it. I'll come back, you know."

Ari's nostrils flare from a few labored breaths, looking like an angry bull who is doing everything but scratch his hoof on the deck plating. Finally he seems to relent the point as well as her arm, leaving her skin reddened with his previous grip. Wherever that shell had gone to on her person, it is unceremoniously ripped away. "You're not getting this back until you do."

"Fair." she agrees mildly. "Keep it with you. The weight on your chest will help you remember to breathe. And I don't leave for two days. I'll be here between appointments unless you say otherwise." One of those elegant brows lifts. Go ahead. Tell her she can't.

Ari is tucking his legs back under the sheet with impatient jabs of his feet. The shell is fisted to his chest and soon he's settling in with his back to the priestess again. "I have to take a piss. And seeming how I do that out of a tube, at the moment, you might want to go see one of those appointments."

"I think I may. I'll see you tomorrow." Rising, she wipes at her eyes, and asks just as she reaches the curtain, "Is there anything I can bring you?"

"Just you, when you return from Picon. Or so help me Gods, I'll tear apart the one that lost you. And more Morpha. And some more cookies." Ari says to the mattress like a petulant child.

She can't help it, she laughs. "I'll see what I can do." And with that, she slips out.

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