To Laugh Again - Part 2 (Verbena Day 1 - Afternoon)

OOC: Part 2 of a Joint Post from Largehobbit, Wandering Wolf, and Sail.

Gill had been laughing along until mention of Haddie’s outburst of laughter and then he grew quiet, glancing nervously between the nun and doctor. “Where is she I need to find her?” He tried to rise forgetting his injury and was sent back into the seat with a gasp of pain.

“We’ll send her your way when she decides tah show up,” Adler chose next to emphasize Lyen’s question as he sat down before the boy. “Listen, Mistah Gil, two very important things happened last night. Haddie played with both Marisol and Lyen. That alone is a step forward. But fah her tah laugh...tah make her first sound in Ah don’t know how long…”

“You don’t understand. She needs me. She hasn’t spoken since.. since.” Tears welled up in his eyes and he rubbed them away angrily. “She hasn’t spoken since our parents died. Since they were killed.”

A silence fell over the room. Dorian nodded his cognizance. “We each lost our parents. Ah won’t say Ah know how yah feel, because that’s personal...your grief...mah grief...they’re unique. So is yah sistah’s. Ah’m not gonna pressure yah, Gill...but Ah will ask yah...fah Haddie’s sake. She made a big step last night. If there’s a chance she could heal? It’s worth takin’. Would yah tell us...about that time?”

Gill grew quiet, his head sinking to his chest. His eyes closed as he remembered those events. The end of their life together with their parents, the end of their innocence. At last he spoke and when he did his voice was flat. Void of emotion. “The Reavers took our ship. We hid in the vents where Pa taught us to. I heard them screaming, begging. I can still hear them.” he tapped his head lightly before looking Adler in the eye. The fumbling boy was gone and only a hollow empty shell stared up at the doctor as the long buried memories rose to the surface.

“The Alliance troops that found us said that we were lucky. That not many people survived a pirate attack like that. They wouldn't call them Reavers, but they knew. They knew what they were and what we’d been through. I can still hear everything like its happening right now, but Haddie saw it. Before I could pull her away she sat there watching through the vents. When I got to her she was screaming… screaming with everything she had in her, but there was no sound. Then the Reavers got into the vents and things went real bad… they… I tried to fight them off. I don't know when the Alliance came but we’d been dragged out by then and they’d taken Haddies eye. I saw the bodies and there was so much blood. They just… just….” Gill ran out of words as the memories overwhelmed him. He covered his face in his hands.

Doc listened as Gill laid out the horrors children suffered at the hands of men become demons. There was no comfort he could offer; any such reassurance would be a vapid waste of breath, and Gill’s precious patience. “They’d taken Haddie’s eye.” The words haunted him. Try as he might, he couldn’t shake their dark hold upon his consciousness. He’d witnessed his share of horror and gore, but to see the cruelty of men at war was an entirely different tier when compared to a child, forced to witness mindless depravity carried out on their loving parents.

He cursed his arrogance. How do I help?{/i] he pondered. [i]This is far, far beyond my qualifications. They sat together in a silence both earned and deserved by Gill. The boy’s tears flowed bitter and hot. Sister Lyen and he could but offer the space to express that pain. What else can I give him?” the medic considered in the lengthening silence.

Control…give him control. The answer came simply, The thought about the number of times that he and all the well meaning adults of Lunar Veil had made decisions for these kids now rankled him. Dorian took a slow breath. “Gill,” he said quietly, “you’re Haddie’s oldah brothah. Nobody’s looked out fah her like you have. With your permission,” he continued, “Ah’d like tah talk tah some folk...see if there’s anythin’ we can do tah help Haddie laugh again.” He shared a glance with Lyen. “You’re in charge. Ah don’t make a move without yah say-so. Would that be alright, Gill?”

Gill tried to reply but his words were swallowed by a ragged sob of grief long buried. He breathed deep to calm himself as the Alliance doctors had taught him shortly after their rescue. He forced calming images into his mind, green fields and the sound of laughter. Gods his sister had laughed. It was both wonderful and terrifying. At last he had regained enough composure to meet Adlers eye once more. The boy had returned and he nodded his ascent.

“Yes.” He wiped fresh hot tears away with the back of his sleeve, “Yes please help her.”

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