|I Need You|
|Summary:||A tender, loving scene overflowing with spousal love and married bliss. Oh, and Milk of the Poppy withdrawal.|
|Related Logs:||Give Me More|
|Lord Jacsen's Chambers - Four Eagles Tower|
|Dem's mah digs.|
|Thu Jun 07, 289|
Jacsen is not well. His moaning can be heard just outside the doorway, a low and mournful sound. Inside, the candlelight does him no favors, glistening off his sweat-drenched brow as he shivers in the bed, fingers digging deep into the opposite forearm. The moaning grows into a tortured growl, then a wracking sob, culminating in yet another round of vomiting that doesn't all quite make it into the designated container. "He's trying to kill me," he pants, wiping weakly at his mouth.
Anais has been in and out of the room throughout the day, bringing in fresh water, adjusting the drapes, making whatever small adjustments she can to the room for his comfort. She's back now, sitting on a stool next to the bed and offering over a glass of water. "He's trying to make sure you /stay/ well," she says softly to his complaint, wringing a rag out over a bowl of cool water and reaching to wipe the sweat from his brow.
"Can't stay well… if I never got there," Jacsen grunts, another wave of pain rippling through his body. Centered mostly on his abdomen, it looks like, from the way he doubles over with his arms pressed down hard against it. "So you're on… his side," he says, somewhere halfway between a statement and a question. Even as he accuses her, he edges his head toward the cool towel, relishing in what small comfort it gives him.
"I'm on the side where you don't spend three months in bed raving out of your mind, Jacsen," Anais murmurs, pushing his hair away from his brow. "The side where your entire life doesn't depend on something that's both rare and expensive." She shifts to take his hand with the next spasm, offering what support she can.
Jacsen squeezes her hand firmly - not crushing, but hard - as the cramps continue. His hand is cold and clammy to the touch, and his face is no pretty sight either with his pupils dilated, tears running down from his eyes and mixing with snot. "Milk of the Poppy brought me out of that," he says, his hand shaking in hers. "It took away the pain. Anais, it took away the pain. I only need it until I get better…"
"It's not making you better, Jacsen, it's just making you feel better," Anais replies in a quiet voice, dampening the rag again for another pass across his brow. "Look at what's happening now that you don't have it. You already have one crutch. Do you really want to fix yourself with another?" It's more challenge than disdain, and she's watching him closely as she chooses her words, deliberate.
"No, no, no," Jacsen mutters, head erratically jerking from side to side. "This is the sickness still, this is the fever, I hadn't yet fully recovered." His voice sounds desperate. "A few more days, a few more doses, I would have been fine." His hand loosens its grip on hers, falling away onto his stomach again as the cramps subside. "I would have been fine," he repeats, eyelids starting to droop with exhaustion. But there's no rest for him, only another groan as nausea hits him, eyes bulging wide just before he pushes himself up for more vomiting.
Anais has been in and out enough to know what's coming, and is quick to get a bucket up for the vomit. "Jacsen…" She sighs, slipping an arm behind him to help him sit up, then draping the cool rag over the back of his neck. "Even I can tell you haven't quite been yourself the last few days. And if it's just the illness and the Milk of the Poppy isn't causing this, then this won't fade, will it? It will just go on for ages, and then the Maester will have to admit you were right." There's the bait. Who can resist the power of 'I told you so'?
There's a fit of coughing following the vomiting, sending small flecks of puke spraying all over. Jacsen stays up on his elbows, holding himself up over the side of the bed, head hanging limply over the putrid bucket. "No, he won't," Jacsen says in a hoarse whisper, strings of spit-mixed-with-puke stringing from his mouth down to the pail. "If he's right, I'll die, and if he's wrong, I'll kill him." He spits, wipes, and collapses back into the bed, breathing heavy. A slight respite from the pain. "You shouldn't see me like this," he says, tired eyes seeking his wife. "The Maester should attend to me, or one of the - " The pain returns before he can finish, another cramp folding him in half.
Anais has another rag for the detritus of illness, and offer it over for him to wipe his mouth and blow his nose. "I doubt the Citadel will send us another Maester if you kill the current one," she notes. "But I appreciate the sentiment. And you are my husband, Jacsen," she adds, though there's a certain weariness in the words. "Who else should help you when you're not well but your wife? Besides, I'm sure I'll want you next to me when I'm being terribly dreadful about something at some point in the future."
"I won't kill him, then," Jacsen amends through gritted teeth, curled up in a half-fetal position. "I'll see how many daggers I can put through him without ending his life." Another grunt, followed by a hissing exhalation. "Slowly. I'll peel off his eyes layer by layer." His voice is vicious, spitting threats as he works through the pain. It's… helping. "End this, Anais," he says, reaching out for her wrist blindly. "Send for Pyrs, for Milk of the Poppy. One dose. Half a dose. Don't let the sickness take me again."
Anais has the sense to set aside the bucket of vomit before she lets him take her wrist, and answers: "No." Taking the damp rag to his brow again, she tries to turn his head to make him meet her eyes. "Jacsen, your leg is not going to heal. You are not going to be a knight. There is nothing you can do about that, and so there is nothing wrong with it. It's an injury honorably earned in battle. But living your life craving the Milk of the Poppy, letting it drive your actions, determine your hours, rule you? I will not allow you that weakness."
Jacsen's eyes open fully when she turns his head her way, the motion catching him by surprise. "Heal?" he echoes, confusion crossing his face. "I'm - " He looks bewildered. "I know my leg can't heal," he says, looking down toward his old wound. He tries to push himself up into a semi-sitting position, another wave of pain past. "Anais, I'm not crazy," he says, though one might have cause to think otherwise with those dilated pupils, wild hair, and the various sweat-tear-snot-vomit mixtures gracing his sickly face.
Anais does not quite look convinced that her husband isn't crazy, but she doesn't give voice to her doubts. Instead, she turns to dip the rag into water again, wringing it out before reaching forward to make an effort at cleaning his face. "Jacsen," she sighs as she cleans. "What I'm saying is that your mind is your strength. And I don't want you to give it away to the Milk of the Poppy. It might make you feel strong, and warm, and happy with the whole world. But it's just another crutch. And it's one you /can/ put away, if you'll just endure a few days longer."
"I'm not giving it away, I'm not," Jacsen responds quickly, trying to duck around the rag so he can talk. This latest conversation is the longest he's gone without cramping or vomiting or running to the bathroom since he took to his bed. "It helped me think, drove away the noise in my head. It took away the pain. The pain. The pain got worse after I woke up, it feels like…" He makes a fist and mimes the motion as he speaks. "A dagger, driven in against the bone. And then twisted, constantly twisted, tearing me up."
"And now look at what it's doing to you, Jacsen," Anais points out, sitting back on the stool again and tossing the rag into a pile of similar ones, too dirty to be used again. "You're not going to convince me to have the maester give you more, and if I have to sit at the door for the next three weeks and check the pockets of every person coming into this room, no one else is going to get it for you, either. You're going to learn how to function without it, or so help me, Jacsen, the next time you fall into a fit I'll tell the maester you said you wanted it amputated if you couldn't deal with it. Because I need you." She leans closer, cupping a hand at his cheek, though her fingers stretch into his hair with almost a threat in them. "Do you hear me? I /need/ you. /You/. The clever, purposeful, sometimes ruthless man I married, not his shell full of Milk of the Poppy."
"That's not what's doing this," Jacsen continues to argue, a grunt constricting his throat as another spasm takes hold. But he continues, talking over her as she threatens to search everyone and amputate his leg. "It's the sickness, it's just like before, the fever, the sweating, the pain - " That last part stops him. Or perhaps it's the pain, or a combination of both. His breath held as he shakes, arms barely holding him up in his sitting position, his pain-filled eyes holding hers. "Need. Me." The breath is released in one big puff as he falls back on the bed, writhing.
"Yes, Jacsen. I need you. I need you with me. You." Anais leans forward to press her brow against his, holding him through the pain without looking away. The whispered words that follow may be too soft to hear, especially in the extremity of withdrawal. "All of you."
Maybe he hears it. Maybe he doesn't. There's no chance for a reaction from Jacsen as he continues to squirm in pain even with Anais pressed against him, so close and physical when most people wouldn't even want to be in the same room with him, especially not with the stench of cooling vomit and sweat filling the space. The spasms subside, as they usually do, but instead of leaving him with another brief rest period, the cramps come in slow, pulsing waves, mirrored in his labored breathing and muscle contractions. "I… need…" he breathes at last, hands coming up to cradle her face, an almost sweetly gentle gesture. "Milk of the Poppy." Cue spasm, stiffening his body, including his hands on her face which tighten against her skin.
The hope in Anais features when he starts to speak should be heartbreaking. And in the aftermath of what he says instead, the small pain of the pressure of his fingers into her skin is nothing. Closing her eyes, she turns away and tears herself free, stalking away from the bed. "No," she says again, her voice hoarse, her back turned to him. "You should rest." And with those words, she steps out into the hall, closing the door silently behind her with careful restraint.