The World's More Full of Weeping

Title: The World's More Full of Weeping
Time Period: February 12, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: An unexpected truce is made in an unexpected way when the only two awake in the Inn come across one another.

White haze still blankets most of the town, the grey pre-dawn sky nearly invisible because of it. Inside, the hallways of the inn are warm because as impractical as it is, Isibeal likes to make her guests feel comfortable and at home. Even if theirs are lacking the pleasantness that the Albatross has. Near the end of the corridor a woman slips out of a room that only one person has gone in and out of for months. Back turned to the rest of the world, she tries in vain to straighten her clothing and hair, pushing some of the wilder curls behind her ears and pinning the others to her crown.

The poppy colored dress is the same as the night before, to those who had seen her, a bit rumpled but no worse for the wear. It'll iron itself out soon enough, if it doesn't a change is in order anyway. A shawl wrapped around her shoulders is a silent giveaway that she's planning her flight from this place. As a final farewell, she presses a kiss to her fingertips and then touches the door of Algernon Fogg.

Then she turns, a pleasant expression of serenity on her face. Calm and peaceful despite her dishevelled appearance.

A few doors down the hallway in the smallest room closest to the stairs, the door is slightly ajar — the lights within glow and a shadow can be seen before it disappears to appear again — the inhabitant of that room pacing back and forth, the shadow accompanied by the sound of foot falls across the hard wood floor.

A closer view reveals Beisdean, shaking his head and muttering, clearly so distracted by whomever it is he's arguing with he doesn't realize he's left the private space open for spectators. His hair is touseled and damp with the sweat of his exertion and a slight fever; pajama top hangs open and unbuttoned. "Please quit asking," he says more sharply, moving to sink onto his bed, pressing his palms into his eyes.

The promise was made the night before but Luna still holds herself to it. At the first utterance she stills and with the rhythm of his own step, tiptoes silently toward the stairs. A quick glance through the door reveals his appearance, much worse by far than her own and she stops.

She should keep going, Beisdean doesn't want to see her. But the ache in her chest at his pitiful makeup keeps her feet from moving.

The innkeeper's daughter knows every creak of every door and floorboard in the entire house. She's as quiet as the fog itself when she slips into the room and closes the door behind her. Not even a click of the lock. The mattress sinks a little beside him and her hands find his shoulders, squeezing them gently as a supportive gesture. When she looks up at him, she doesn't smile, she just shakes her head lightly and presses her lips together.

"Don't listen to'em, Baizey, you're better'n they are."

He doesn't notice until the mattress shifts beneath him, and he jumps, his head coming up with a jerk.

"You shouldn't be here, Luna," he says though not unkindly, and he moves off the bed, backing up toward the window to look at her, as one hand lifts toward his side as if he could block out whatever long speech his invisible guest has launched into.

"I don't want to hurt you, and I'm getting too tired to keep them all away," he says, voice husky with a cold that reddens his eyes and nose. The bed is still made yet — he hasn't slept tonight.

Hands falling at the sudden lack of thing to hold onto, she folds them on her lap as she stares down at the floor. "Of course," Luna murmurs, lips curving downward, ugly, in response to the reaction to her trying to be nice. "I'm not the one you want in here."

Standing, she brushes some of the wrinkles from her long gown and straightens the shawl on her shoulders. Preparing for a huffy exit, most likely. Her blue eyes fall on him again and the stern facade melts in favor of one that seems more her mother than Luna herself. Motherly. "But I'm the one who is here. Get into bed, I'll find a way to drive 'em out."

Taking Beisdean by the arm, she guides him gently to the bed and pushes him as his knee touches the mattress. "I'll make some tea, aye? And sit with you, you can't harm me Baizey, I'm as sober as the rain in springtime and twice as stubborn." A quirk of her lips at the corner, upward, gives the pleasant countenance back to her face. "So you can do as I say or I can make a cacophony that'll embarrass you quite a bit."

Her words bring a shake of his head. "I don't want anyone in here when I'm like this… I usually do better at keepin' them out, but maybe they're stronger here, and I'm sick, but I'm still strong enough to hurt you if one of them comes over me again." Still he sits when she guides him, looking wearily up at her with tired blue eyes.

He reaches for her hand, but stops himself, remembering she doesn't like to be touched without warning, and instead holds out his hand, palm up. "You look like an angel amongst demons," he whispers, closing his eyes and leaning away from something she can't see. "Not all of them are bad, not of late — I've tried to help some of them but I think it makes the others more needy. More impatient."

Without a thought, Luna's fingertips tickle against Beisdean's palm as she allows him her hand and then sits on the edge of the mattress beside him. "If you're ill, then you're in need of someone a bit right in the head to take care of you." After a pause, she smiles a little wider, her eyes crinkling a little at the corners. "Perhaps I should fetch ma', if that's the case. She don't know I'm here so it'll be a lovely surprise to be woken, aye?"

Her free hand moves to his forehead and she feels his brow before combing her fingers through his damp hair. "You rest Baizey, think of me as you always do and close your eyes. Or we can talk until you fall asleep, I have nowhere to be that's pressing."

He leans against the headboard but doesn't lie on the pillow just yet. The corner of his mouth tics in the slightest of smiles at her words. "You're not wrong in the head, Loon. Your mum's no more right in the head than you are, anyway. Don't be so hard on yourself."

Beisdean swings his legs up onto the bed. "We can do… just be on your toes, aye? There's a bottle of whiskey in the drawer there, so you can bean me in the head again if need me, aye?" He smiles again, then closes his eyes, reaching to touch the edge of her shawl. "I'd tell you a bit of verse but their words tangle in the poems," he says, a gesture of his hand to the space around him.

Leaning over him, the blonde presses a kiss to his forehead and slowly pulls back to right herself. "Tell me anyway, it'll be a nice distraction, then perhaps I can recite something. We'll barter back and forth using poetry, it'll be a game. The one still awake at the end wins." The shawl is pulled from around her shoulders with one hand and laid across his body as a light blanket. She doesn't let go of his hand as she tucks it neatly around his body, covering his chest.

"There, now you can't distract me, so it'll be a bit fair." Once finished, her hand returns to his forehead and she continues to run her fingers through his bangs, trying to sooth him as her mother once did her. "I'll not need the whiskey, Baizey, except to drink if I find myself bored by your snores."

He watches her, crooking one brow as she covers his chest, then pulling the blankets up over himself. "It's so tiring… I don't realize it until I get run down, how much energy it takes," he says, his eyes intent on her face; it's easy to see when something gets too close, too intense — his jaw tenses or his brows dip, his shoulders pull away from whatever looms too close.

"Let me see…" he thinks for a moment, then begins to recite, eyes closing:

"Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand…"

The recitation is full of pauses and stops-and-starts, and then he shakes his head. "I don't recall the next bit."

"Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim grey sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances,
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight.."

Luna continues for him and lets her voice die on the last line, her smile waning as she studies him as she would a painting or a bit of lace. "For the longest time I thought that poem was about Bridget Ross and her clan. Then I learned how old it was and that Furthest Rosses was a place and kicked myself for my foolery."

Inching down, she settles next to him and lays her head on his shoulder. His hand still clasped fast in hers, she brings it up between them and lets loose a long sigh. Her perfume is mingled with the scent of a man, perhaps familiar as another one of the long term boarders. "It's supposed to be a tragic poem but when I learned what it was about it became a wish of mine. What better way to disappear from Dornie than to be stolen away by fae, aye?"

He brushes his thumb over her small hand, breathing deeply with near-sleep, though now and then he flinches, and that aura of sleepiness slips away again, leaving only frustrated fatigue behind. There's a light laugh at the mention of Bridget. "Not a silly mistake, given the importance of the Rosses here. You were too hard on yourself." Some things don't change.

He picks up where she left off.

"To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand…"

Beisdean sighs, tipping his head to rest on top of hers. "I don't know. They say the fae cannot be trusted, and of course it's a siren song, to lure the child away and into the realm of Faerie, but is that so bad? The refrain is certainly true. I wouldn't have minded someone taking me away from all this weeping, when I was a boy."

She lifts her eyes, unable to see his face but knowing it's there above her, she wrinkles her nose at him. "I'm glad they didn't, I would have missed you. It's selfish, I know, but you stole yourself in time anyway. I'm just glad I was able to know you longer than if the fairies took you." Luna's other hand finds the pattern of the shawl and she picks at it in the middle of his chest. A bit of fuzz is pilled and then peeled away, flicked behind her and onto the floor. Again her fingers go to his chest.

"Yeats must be a favorite of yours just as Barrett Browning is mine, aye?" Her tone drops to a soft murmur, unable to be heard from outside the door. Something that she's well practiced at, knowing what volume to keep at rather than letting eavesdroppers hear. Another long pause is suffered through before she reverts back to the subject of the poem. "I still dream of it but my dreams have changed, I wish for the selkies to take me… not the fae."

"He's a favorite. I've one of his books if you'd like to borrow it," he murmurs, turning his face to dip into her curls as his eyes close again. "Maybe one day you will swim with them. It's not an impossibility." He doesn't think Isibeal's dream is silly, nor her daughter's.

"Would you visit us, now and then? Or just swim away and never look back, I wonder?" He lifts his head to peer down at her. "You would be missed."

There's a small laugh in response to the offer and Luna shakes her head lightly in refusal. "Don't trust the likes of me with a book, Baizey, I'm more apt to trade it away for a lovely dress or a piece of exotic silk than read it. But if it pleases you, you can read it to me someday before I swim away." She shifts to look up at him when he looks down, her lips twitching at the corner as she tries to keep them in check, as solemn as the occasion requires.

"I don't think I would. No one but ma' would miss me anyway and we've lived enough years apart that the sting would turn to happiness for my fate." As long as she knew the young woman didn't just throw herself off a cliff.

Beisdean chuckles and shakes his head at the honest disregard for the possible loan of a book, then the smile slips away at her words.

"You'd be missed," he repeats, "but you'd make a lovely seal, I'm sure, all fat and silvery and sleek. Not," he says before she can be offended, lifting a finger to ward off an argument, "that you're fat now. You would be in your fur skin, though, to stay warm in the water, aye? The loveliest of seals are plump ones, after all, and you'd be the loveliest of them all, aye?"

"With little black spots because those are the loveliest, the dappled ones. I don't much like the ones that are plain; they don't have any decoration, so they make me somewhat sad." Squinting a little, Luna studies Beisdean's face before delving any further into that particular bit of conversation. Who would miss a prostitute besides her mother. "I don't think Florentine would miss me at all, she might shed a tear at the vacancy of my room but that aside, she'd be overjoyed. My list of clients is rather small and even most of them would find someone new. My list of friends is even smaller than that, you don't need to pretend Baizey, I know what I am."

Her free hand smooths against her hip, perhaps self-conscious at the thought of being perceived as plump rather than svelte. Shifting again, she lies flat on her back to study the ceiling rather than on her side to face him. Also to hide her behind. "And it's not self-pity either, so don't you go saying that too. It's not."

He slides down to rest his head on the pillow proper rather than the headboard, and lies flat to study the ceiling as well. "The number of those who'd miss you is not always the most important of matters, Luna; I think perhaps the strength of the heart of the one missing you. I'd dare say only two people missed me for all those years I was gone. But I'd not blink that away as nothing, not for the world."

Long lashes blink as his gray eyes stare upward. "You would be missed." Third time's a charm, right? "But I think those who know you would be happy you found your way to what makes you happy, and they would wish you all the joy in the sea."

There's a long pause. "More'n just two, I missed you dearly." Luna clearly didn't include herself in his count. "Even though my heart isn't one of the stronger ones. It slips and falls, for nothing but a look or a warm word of kindness. Then smashes to bits on the next breath." She stops and slides her eyes to the corner he's nearest to look at him. "Don't worry, I'm not speaking of you. It's others."

She curls onto her side, facing away from him. His arm is carried along by the hand she holds, now underneath her side at the curve of her waist. It's a trick that's been done to her a number of times already. She can stay awake and he'd never know. "If I am missed, then perhaps I would visit but I would demand a poem as the price of my time."

He lets her draw his arm with her, fingers curling around her hand there. "I know you did," he says softly, voice dropping in volume from its already quiet tones.

"A recited poem, or one written for the pretty silver dappled selkie of the sea?" Beisdean asks, stifling a yawn as his knees tuck behind hers. "I'm not sure I can rhyme selkie very well in any becoming ways, but I can try."

"Either one," she whispers, the yawn catching as much as he tried to hide it. Hers finishes with a sigh. "Something written will garner an hour or two extra, I suppose. Until I become bored and dive back to the water, Dornie's always been a dull little place. I can't be expected to find it exciting as a seal, no matter how good the poem."

The shawl is pulled just enough to cover her exposed shoulder and what chest her dress doesn't. Enough to keep her warm but not steal away from the sick man. "Do you think there's male selkies? I've only ever heard of females and my great gran died long before I was born, I never had a chance to ask. Perhaps my match will be found there, someone who'll understand my thoughts and wishes and won't dash them against the wall as foolish or childish."

Beisdean nods, though she can't see it. "The stories of the seal wives are more common, I think, because it is the fishermen who catch them rather than women out at sea. I've heard stories of the males; they take advantage of the human women instead of the other way around. Women whose husbands are gone at sea or war. They say that a woman who wants to meet one should go to a beach and shed seven tears into the sea, but I doubt that would work any more than putting bay leaves in your pillow on St. Valentine's Day to dream of your husband. There's probably some spell to bring them in to us, but I don't know that I'd want to invoke it… we envy them their freedom, we should not enforce our will upon them, aye?"

His voice grows lower, slower with each word; perhaps it is the nearing of the sun that pushes back the ghosts, or her presence, but he seems at peace enough to start the descent into sleep, for all he's still speaking to her.

"I would… I would invoke it and beg them to take me back with them.." She silences then, perhaps feeling the pressure of his chest against her back as he breathes deeply. Nestling further against him, she stares across the room, into the shadows that seem to hold so many of the creatures that Beisdean is afraid of. At least in her imagination.

Another yawn, this time one deeper and almost sung out as her lids fall heavy. "Maybe Fletcher will find a way… make me a charm."

The words fall on seemingly deaf ears — Beisdean's breathing from behind her grows deeper and more regular, though congested. He feels warm against her where his chin finds a resting spot on her shoulder. His fingers around her smaller hand uncurl, his hand falling slack upon the mattress, though still grazing her hip. Outside, the sun rises, the gray light growing brighter as it breaks through the curtains.