Aether Sick - Part 1

Date Posted: December 7, 2019

This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.

Scylla pushed open the door to the small company infirmary, all the time looking to make sure that Ben’s trailing figure was still following. Even when the white mage stepped into the room, she stared at the lines in the scraped wooden floor.

She wasn’t sure what to feel, whether it be the subsiding anger of the scuffle that had happened shortly in the past, or whether to feel pity for Amon’s impending doom. In any case, she stopped in the middle of the room, short of the ailing Elezen’s bed while remaining silent. 

Amon flipped through the books left for him, browsing the stories with a Bard’s eye. Distantly, he heard the door to the infirmary open once more. 

He figured it was likely one of his caretakers coming back to check on him. They’d been quite diligent in seeing that he was comfortable, fed and entertained, which was all more than he really deserved.

“I’m doing fine,” he grinned and called past the curtains that obscured his view. “You don’t have to check on me every hour, you know. Why don’t you get some rest, yourself?”

Scylla slid open the little curtain with a dour face, crumpling the parchment note in her right fist.

“Oh…” Amon closed the book slowly, an expression of surprise on his face. “Scylla? I did not expect you to…”

The Elezen quickly tried to put some of his frumpy hair into place, not wanting to look as out-of-sorts as he actually was before the likely-still-annoyed-with-him Allagan Princess.

“What brings you to my humble sickbed?”

The sick-bed may be humble… but the patient in it is hardly that.

The white mage sighed, but her shoulders were still tense and rigid. Everything about her stance nervous, as if preparing to continue the foray postponed only hours before. 

I can’t fight with him… not here… I can’t let my fear take over. No matter what he says.

“I am here to examine your injuries, and talk about your condition.”

She bit her lip, slipping into the healer mentality. She started with a physical examination, bending his elbows and fingers, looking over the bruising she had given him.

“Nothing seems… broken…” She pulled out a small notebook from her belt and began to write with her stylus, looking up at Amon as she finished scribbling. “Anything out of sorts?”

Amon’s gold eyes widened as his rival (who only a short time before was trying to drown and strangle the life out of him) was now back into healer-mode, inspecting the damage done and asking how he felt.

“Out of sorts?” the Elezen echoed mischievously. “Well for starters: my eyes are a bit crossed, my nose a bit sore, and my teeth and tongue are turning purple. ‘Tis normal?”

He unceremoniously stuck his tongue out at her, displaying a slightly darkened palette left from where he’d consumed some violet-colored sweet ice that Koh had brought from somewhere in Kugane. He had no idea what the treat was called, but was amused at the color transition his mouth had undergone while eating it. 

Scylla had seen every bodily fluid ten times over in her training, so she simply grabbed at his tongue without any thought of germs, carefully examining it for disease. She pulled at his tongue to the limits, before simply letting go and washing her hands in the cleaning basin.

“Your tongue wags well enough as usual.” The white mage wiped her hands on the hanging towel.

He gagged and spluttered at the handling of his tongue, making a long “blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” sound and wanting for something to cleanse it before returning it to his mouth. With no such tools at hand, he had no choice but to reap what he sewed. But not without complaint.

“Augh! ‘Tis nasty!” Amon wiped his mouth on the back of his hand if that would help the situation. It didn’t. “I should inform the Conjury Guild of healer misconduct!”

Then he huffed, knowing they were both skirting… something… Scylla wouldn’t be there if there wasn’t a reason for it. He just couldn’t quite make out what it was she was trying to do.

Was she not mad? Was she not traumatized as Koh had told him earlier?

She didn’t look it. Nor did she act it.

“What’s this all about?” Amon finally just asked.

“I shouldn’t have said that.” Scylla muttered, as she gripped the side of the basin-table, looking at Amon through the mirror. “Every time we get comfortable with each other, well… someone gets hurt.” 

She turned around and shook her head as she walked and sat beside him. She took two fingers and closed her eyes, looking for Amon’s aetherpoints. She spoke quietly tracing her fingers around his forehead.

“We shouldn’t try to pretend that it is safe for us to talk about these things… Allag… and the past… Bad things always seem to happen.”

Amon lifted his eyebrows, only his surprise keeping him from pulling away from whatever it was Scylla was doing. He didn’t like the looks of this… it was more than just a standard health check.

“Is this… an apology… I’m detecting?” the Elezen asked with a hint of disbelief in his voice.