There had been no shouting, no raised voices, nothing that would cause alarm outside the office. Nevertheless when Garatt appeared at the door to his dorm just before curfew - the new lowered curfew - he was moving stiffly and with a care that suggested quite a lot of him hurt just now and his eyes were again red-rimmed.
He made it to his cot and just about collapsed on it, flopping down and pressing his face into the pillow. Clearly detention had not gone well.
Lerian’d been waiting for when Garatt got back. He knew enough about M’ayen to know that the other boy was gonna be hurting. He’d planned ahead for that. On the table next to Garatt’s bed was a cup of hot tea with mint in it to help clear his head from crying, and as he flopped down. Lerian picked up a basket he’d had waiting, in it were several socks filled with grains that were surrounded by warm rocks. May not be healer grade heater, but it would do in a pinch.
He pulled the first one out, and laid it over Garatt’s leg while telling him, “You should drink the tea, it will help unclog your nose. Also I made a copy of all my notes for you. They’re in your bag.”
Garatt sniffed and pushed himself carefully back into a sitting position. “Four more detention marks left from this morning,” he said miserably. “Two for uniform violations. One because my hair was a mess. And another five because I couldn’t stand to attention properly. That’s another two hours already, and it’s not even tomorrow yet. I’m going to have to go to detention my whole entire life!”
“Nah we’ll get his attention off of you somehow.” Lerian wasn’t quite sure how that was going to work but he’d be thinking about it, maybe Asheran would have an idea. He started handing the warm socks to Garatt to put where the pain was worst.
“Well he won’t be able to ding you for a messy cot, I cleaned up in here earlier so we’re all set. Sandy told me you didn’t get much dinner. If you’re hungry, I brought a basket of stuff that wouldn’t go bad fast back with me from dinner. I’ll get it for you.”
“I’m not hungry. Thank you.” Garatt was polite, still slightly stiffly so when he remembered he was meant to have good manners, but his stomach was still twisted into knots after an hour with M’ayen. He took the socks and tried to move to put them on but.. Everything just hurt. Arms hurt. Bending legs hurt. Moving hurt. Getting his feet to the right place felt impossible.
“He’s not going to stop unless I quit,” he muttered thickly, and there were tears behind that again.
“Bah that’s just what he does. He bullies the ones that are scared of him. Someone else will mess up next time, you watch.” He grabbed one of the pillows and sat it up on the headboard. “Here, just lay back on that, the heat will help your muscles not cramp up so bad. You should eat a little, even if you don’t think you can. But drink the tea first. No one else is gonna treat you like him. The others are good around here. Sometimes...M’ayen forgets this isn’t Fort. But..he won’t get away with it for long. He never does here.” With that, Lerian got up and went over to his side of the room, grabbing a basket with lid. He sat it on the table, it was filled with stable things, some bread, cheese, a couple dried sausages. Nothing fancy but enough to let him sleep with a full tummy. Plus one special addition, a small cake, just big enough for two boys.
“I didn’t know you knew Healer stuff.” Garatt looked at the food warily. None of it looked like it would feel good if it came back up, but maybe the bread might stay down. He reached for it and started to pick at it cautiously. “How come you know so much about M’ayen?” Maybe he’d gone for Lerian first. If he had and Lerian had survived that could only be a good sign.
“I got a friend, see’s healers lots cause she was sick all the time. Things they told her, she told me. So I know a lil. Just enough not to have to go unless I really get sick or something.” He paused, and couldn’t help a little smile thinking about his big ‘sister’. Then after a moment’s pause.
“Well...ya know M’ayen’s from Fort right?” Lerian hoped so, that was common enough knowledge. “Well..Fort was real Bad about some things. That’s what drove it down in the end. But...well I was there too. I was born in Fort, when it fell I came here. I was..uhm..4-5? I think? But it’s better here. I promise. Do what you can, get past M’ayen’s attitude and he’ll let you be. He’s a bully, it’s only fun for him when you get upset.”
It sounded simple. Just ignore him, let it go, and it would go away, and maybe if it was just name-calling or something he could have done that. But the pain in his legs -- and arms -- and the rest of him -- wasn’t imaginary. It was there, it was real and it was..apparently going to continue until M’ayen got bored of him. Garatt picked at the breadroll half-heartedly but swallowing made it feel like it had to make its way past a giant lump in his throat and he couldn’t seem to get it down.
“So that’s it? Just.. don’t get upset?”
“Pretty much. When you show him you’re ‘strong’ enough to not get upset at what he does. Well seems like he gets bored and decides you’re worth teaching. He doesn’t like whiners, or quitters. He want’s boys to be ‘strong and manly’ whatever he thinks that means. If you want, I can help you with some conditioning stuff, so when he Does go for you, you’re stronger and it won’t hurt so bad. That’ll really annoy him.” Lerian couldn’t help but grin at that idea. Everyone liked to see M’ayen flumoxed, especailly since it didn’t happen often.
“But man, did you see the Look on his face when Ash started breaking his desk? He looked so confused! Gave you enough cover time to get up again too.”
“I don’t have ti-- shards, I need to do that assignment!” Garatt looked panicked at that, forcing himself to sitting up again and reaching for his bag. “He’ll kill me if I haven’t done it.” Probably not literally but then again maybe.
Lerian grabbed the bag for him and set it on the bed, pulling out a stack of neat notes on everything that had been covered in class.
“Here these are for you, I made copies of mine. You can use them to do it. Then we can have some cake before bed. Always makes me sleep better.” Lerian knew that sweets before bed wasn’t ideal for health, but it always made a bad day seem better when there was cake at the end of it.
“Thank you.” Right now Garatt was thanking Faranth for the practice copying from the Harpers, it made trying to hastily reword and copy out that much quicker, and at least his handwriting would be neat. He started work quickly, pen practically flying over the paper.
“No problem. Figured you’d need notes from someone, cause you didn’t get to take any. M’ayen, I guess likes to do that so you get into more trouble when you don’t have the work.” Noticing that the glow basket was getting a little dim, Lerian stood up on his cot, and pulled the basket down, putting it next to the work. “There that should help.” That done, he pulled out the small cake, and carefully cut it in half, a red layer between two white layers. He’d filled it with berries.
“Thank you,” Garatt said again And he went quiet, frowning, trying his hardest to rush through and finish before the shout came for sleep.
Blackadder: I mean, what about the people that do all the work?
Baldrick: The servants.
Blackadder: No, me; *I'm* the people who do all the work.