Day 044: Unpleasant But Necessary
Summary: While Arlin tends to Britt's bum knee, they discuss the Skaikru, the Maunon, and other related topics.
Date: 2016 July 12
Related: This log follows Sparring Lessons
Arlin Britt 

Trikru Camp - Lake Audo (or Arkadia)
Corner of the Trikru camp where the Polis contigent has settled in.
Day 44

In some corner of the Trikru camp lie the remains of a campfire that has burned for many nights now that Arlin and Britt have been camped outside Jaha. On either side are their tents - well, in Britt's case it's more of a lean-to extending out from a tree; she prefers to travel light.

It's still the early part of morning, and if Arlin had been at the campsite about fifteen minutes ago he might have seen a very pissed-off Erson coming back to the campsite to collect the bow and quiver he'd left there after arriving at Jaha the night before. Arlin might even have heard the archer mutter something about the (mumble) (grumble) Skaikru as he headed off into the woods to take his aggression out on some hapless little animal that will serve as their lunch. At any rate, he's not here now.

Nor is Britt, but she's working on it. She's coming from the same direction Erson had before, also wearing an annoyed expression. And she's limping a little, wincing and favoring her bad knee. Her armor is still at the lean-to, and her top is the homespun sleeveless camisole thing she often wears underneath it. Both it and her hair are damp with sweat from the workout with Erson (no, not THAT kind of workout) and then Cassandra.

If it /were/ THAT kind of workout with Erson, the limping redhead would be given the most delighted hi5-of-a-grin. Some things are worth injury. Arlin has before told Britt that sexytimes with Erson qualifies for that exemption status.

As for the medic, he's been at the camp yet not much around. (Figure that one out.) Perhaps strange to most others, Arlin's actually far more calm and composed than he has been since he set-off for Coesbur a little over 45 days ago. Being in Tondc was equally souring and stressful for his disposition for reasons anyone who knows him well enough can easily deduce. Out here, though, away from sources of childhood horrors — even in light of being in less-than-wanted proximity to Skaikru — the man is quite serene. Relatively speaking, that is. Because it very well is impossible for him to not be a heartbeat away from sarcastic or sardonic or snarky or expecting the need to throw down pretty much all of the time.

As chance would have it, though, he's emerging from his tent, looking pissed off. This, however, is just how his face tends to settle when left to its own devices. Seeing Britt, however, prompts an acute sharpening of his gaze. He knows that limp, subtle as it may be, but he permits the archer her dignity and lets her advance at her own pace, even as he leisurely makes his way closer, having the forethought (and thoughtfulness) to snag some cloth suitable for wiping off sweat. "I'd ask for details," he impishly quips, "but I suspect what I'm imagining is a lot more entertaining." And although there is no way what Arlin means could be misconstrued, he waggles his brows once in an 'oh, baby' manner. Even as he offers the towel, knowing full well he might be smacked with it, that smug smile isn't going anywhere.

Well, at least no injuries were sustained in the lean-to last night. One might presume because being discrete is the thing to do when you're in a communal camp. One might also presume because Britt is just a little too reserved for such extreme shenanigans. She'll have to use her free exemption some other time.

She takes the towel, and with that trademarked eyeroll of hers, does indeed whip it playfully at his arm. "We were sparring." Then, because she knows Arlin, she immediately regrets her words, realizing that he'll turn that into some kind of double-entendre, she clarifies. "With staffs." Because that makes it so much better. Giving up, she towels off her face. "But anyway, it wasn't him." She takes a moment to look past Arlin to see if the other archer is about. Failing to find him, she returns her gaze to the medic. "I tried to give Kas-Andra a lesson."

Britt whips his arm with the towel and Arlin looks as though he's been rewarded, not punished, for his obnoxious behavior. Such is the nature of their relationship. "I'm sure he could really hurt someone with his staff." The medic's rough baritone pitches a little lower and more than a little huskier with appreciative innuendo. He has a type, and Erson pretty much fits the bill. Which, surely much to her dismay, Britt is aware.

When she mentions she was teaching Cassandra a lesson, though, that impudent mirth of Arlin's morphs into an ORLY look. "And here I pegged her more willing to swing that way than you." Because, yes, his sense of humor really is that lewd. This time, however, he ups the ante by sidestepping outside of smacking reach.

It must be some kind of special reward for Arlin when he progresses past the eyeroll stage into an actual I give up sort of groan. But he has reached that. "You're lucky my knee hurts or I'd chase after you and smack you some more with this thing," she warns. But she's smirking, so there is that. In lieu of more towel warfare, she wipes around her neck with it and begins walking again towards their camp. Once there, she settles down gingerly in her usual spot near the fire, smothering a wince. "I don't know what to make of that one. She seemed sincere about learning, and Pontus said as much too before. But I called 'hold' and she swept my leg when my back was turned." Her brows knit in annoyance. At herself, for letting her guard down and trusting a Skaikru. At Cassandra for playing dirty pool. At a great number of things unrelated to quarterstaff bouts, actually.

That prompts a scoff and eye roll of Arlin's own. "If I were lucky, you would be smacking me more with it. But nope." He pops the 'p'. "You're a tease." Why, to his credit, the deadpan delivery is flawless. (Or maybe he means what he says. Odds are he'll never divulge which it is.) Whatever the case may be, the archer plops down and the medic ribs, "Not even dropping trou for me." Although, in all fairness, that probably isn't a proposition for sexy times. (Probably.) What is for certain is that he can't really work on her knee as long as it's covered.

In the meanwhile, though, Arlin offers the redhead the by now familiar bitter root and hard candy combo that is the prelude for what else is to come. And while she sorts out the logistics of her semi-undressing — he has no preference if it's outdoors or in his tent — the medic goes about the task of preparing a tea with anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties.

Britt sighs, realizing that now she has to move again. Poor planning on her part. "Yes. A tease. That is sooo me." She snorts at that. At his ribbing observation, she kicks off her boots and wriggles out of her trousers, trying to do so without bending her knee. Apparently she doesn't mind doing so outdoors. The familiar, ugly groove of scar tissue across the outside of the knee is revealed, along with a few other minor ones here and there on her legs. "There - happy now?" It's a mildly put-upon challenge. But sitting there in just undies and the camisole, she might not really want to know the answer to that one. Erson certainly wouldn't be complaining. "What've you been up to? Meet with the Skaikru doctor yet?"

For the record: Arlin doesn't ogle Britt in the slightest. Let others interpret that as they will. When she snorts about being called a tease, the medic does, however, tease her in his own way. "Hey, you're the one who keeps 'threatening'," sweet Murgatroyd, he's pausing the tea preparation so he can make finger quotations, "me with a whipping." Isn't a smacking with a towel the same thing or near enough?

As for being happy, Arlin quips, "I'm not drunk enough, stoned enough, or laid enough to be happy. You finally admitting that you have the hots for me would be a step in the right direction." The smug smile really suits his face. So much so that some people who find it insufferable have taken action to violently wipe it away. It's probably made even worse because he's so confident that the most Britt will do is roll her eyes, groan in exasperation, or snort.

The tea set to brew, he rises and brushes his hands together a few times before he ducks into his tent to retrieve the tools of his trade. By the time he emerges, Arlin is wryly smirking. "I met one of 'em." His tone conveys that he's not the slightest impressed nor the slightest bit surprised. "Doctor Anna Li." Drily, he explains, "But I can call her Anna." Which prompts a sort and eye roll combo that rivals the best of Britt's. "It's no wonder why those Skaibrats are so full of themselves. She had the audacity to say we were their guests, acting all superior, like they were doing us a favor merely by existing. She'd never even seen a lake before." As he sits down and settles in, he shoots the archer a lofted-brow, conspiratorial look: You understand the astounding level of asinine here, don't you?

'The Wheel of Arlin Responses' has apparently come up on 'snort' again. Britt is nothing if not predictable in some ways. "I can get you drunk at least? I'm sure somebody has some booze around here somewhere?" Isn't she so helpful? Nevermind that it's breakfast time.

The news about the healer gets an arched eyebrow. "Aren't we? Here, I mean - it's their camp, their Sky Ark. And of course they've never seen a lake before." It puzzles her why he would mention that, since y'know… space station. She shakes her head, then, irritated. "But seriously, what is it with them? They come down here, start a war, flatten two of our villages, try to cure the fucking Reapers -" Oh yes, Arlin would've gotten an earful about that at some point. "- try to start another war to rescue their people, and the whole time act like we should be falling over ourselves with gratitude." She sighs, then frowns and shakes her head. "I still can't believe the scouts made it all the way to the Mountain and back. With Skaikru along, no less."

Arlin is usually one of those somebodies. That might account for why he just levels a look at Britt. Really? Seriously? As for the lake, he readily snarks, "They've been on the ground how long?" For the sake of fairness, it is to be noted that Li said: // 'This is actually the first lake I have seen.'// The medic simply interpreted that as her seeing it for the first time. It certainly keeps with his purview that the people of the sky of both ignorant and arrogant.

As for the rest, let's just say that Arlin's increasingly pissed off expression isn't Resting Jerk Face. Some of that anger definitely gets channelled into the deep tissue massage he commences, but it doesn't interfere with his work. It's never a pleasant experience when he really gets in there — even with the heat activated balm he uses — but the end result feels pretty damn good. There simply might be more bruising than usual from where his strong, calloused thumbs dig and rub.

Eventually, he points out flatly, "They should just drop the pretense that they're helping and give a damn about our people. I don't expect them to care. They're not required to. They have every right to defend themselves as much as we have to defend ourselves. I wouldn't hesitate to kill any of them that was a risk to one of our own." That's simply how the world works as far as Arlin's concerned. "But they show no regard for their supposed allies. Oxfor risked his life for theirs, but they didn't seek him for counsel or advocacy. They lied about guns and took actions they knew would jeopardize Coesbur. That's not caring about the well-being of others. That's using others as it suits them, which, again, fair enough. That is not an attitude of cooperation, though. And they seem willfully oblivious of the fact that their vanguard would've died early on if not for Oxfor's foolishness."

By now, the balm is pleasantly warming Britt's flesh, and Arlin continues to massage with a notable amount of skill. "They only attack the Mountain because their people were taken. Their concern about the Reapers is tactical, either to defuse the enemy or, if we're being really cynical here — and they've yet to give us adequate reasons to not be — to create Reapers of their own. If the Mountain had left them alone, there are many among them who would seek to ally themselves with the Maunon against us. They have no honor. That they claim they want peace but then disregard the kruheda's will only demonstrates a lack of disrespect and an abundance of arrogance to go with their superiority complex. Besides, how do we not know that they succeeded because the Mountain permitted it? How do we know that skaiboy they found wasn't intentionally released, or that those inside the Mountain haven't struck an alliance with the Maunon? For all we know, any joint strike could be nothing more than to serve up the Trikru."

And if someone as full of hatred toward the Mountain as Arlin is, someone who has spent his entire life groomed and indoctrinated into destroying the cursed place and all within it, someone who has so much trauma regarding the Trikru's lack of offensive action, someone with so much rage kept stoked for the day vengeance will come… if such a person, known for having more heart than sense, isn't charging up there, perhaps the rest of the clan will pause and more greatly assess the supposed worth of would-be supposed allies that fell from the sky.

Cynic that he is, Arlin suspects not.

Britt offers Arlin a helpless shrug. Hey, she tried. "You mean never before today? That is a little strange." Britt doesn't seem troubled by it though. On the scale of f-ing weird things the Skaikru have said or done, it barely even registers. Britt leans back on her hands, her face settling into a grimace when he begins working on the old scar tissue. Every once in a while, a soft grunt escapes her lips. It's not pleasant, no, but necessary. Seems to be a recurring theme lately.

Britt listens to him, keeping quiet until he's finished. Then she nods gravely. "I know. I have had many of the same thoughts. I do not like them, but I cannot dismiss them. And the kruheda can't either. She is as suspicious of the Skaikru still as you are. But she must bow to the heda's wishes. The heda seems to be setting us up to be allies with them, even though they do not act as such. On their Sky Ark, they execute their own for the smallest infraction, sometimes just for being born. But one of them tries to kill me with a knife? Three lashes."

Another grunt gives way to a frustrated sigh. "That healer boy - Morgan - I had to stop Erson from beating him. He honestly believes that they won skaigeda. That they held us off. He accused us of being the uncooperative ones." And then even the usually calm-headed archer admits, chagrined. "I wanted to clobber him myself."

At mention of Indra, the medic's lips press into a tight, sour line. So much so that there is a flicker of tension in clenched jaw. Those hazel eyes are severe, his brows weighted, and it's a heaviness that evidently stills his tongue — at least insofar as the kruheda goes. The rest is fair game.

With a snort and a smirk, Arlin opines, "Nothing surprising. Nothing we didn't already know about them. They're hypocrites. Arrogant, condescending," in all fairness, he also can be condescending, "delusional. Flame help us if ever they meet the Azgeda. If they don't kill each other, they'll interbreed abominations."

As for Morgan, "As I hear it, that one believes Trikru don't know how to suture." Arlin smiles a smile of sardonic humor, but he needn't say anymore on that topic to someone who knows what he's capable of as a healer — including performing surgery.

What else can he do? Hella awesome massage. Alas, all good things must come to an end. And, like always, he asks, "How's it feel?"

Britt snorts when he talks of Skai-Azgaeda abominations, and again to Morgan's opinions about suturing. "I can show him my scar if you like." As it was Arlin's sutures that saved her leg when most other Trikru healers would not have bothered trying. When he finishes, like always, Britt answers, "Better, thanks." It's always a relief once the kneading stops and the warmth of the oil sets in. He can see some of the tension leave her face. She leans her head back against the tree that acts as a sort of chair back. "Do you think we can take the Mountain? Their defenses must not be as they were, if that band could get there and back unmolested."

After a rub down, Arlin, without fail, has always flirtatiously (perhaps seriously, perhaps not) asked if Britt wanted him to rub her anywhere else. (She might eventually say yes. The lady doth protest too much about having zero interest in younger men. Besides, there are always exceptions to the rule, are there not?) Speaking of exceptions to the rule, today proves that there is a first time for everything, because the medic doesn't ask. He simply returns the balm to his kit and then sees about the tea.

For a long while, he remains silent. Long enough that, in light of his lack of typical post-massage innuendo, it would be understandable to conclude he is somehow offended or his stone cold murder rage has been switched or something else ominous. Only when Arlin finally returns with a cup of the brew for Britt does deign to speak. "Perhaps." For him, that can't be a good sign. "Perhaps they have been weak for a long time." It's the kind of lull and quiet that heralds the oncoming of the most devastating of storms. "Perhaps it's a ploy." No. This is not a good sign at all.

Then, without any fanfare, he simply shoulders his medical satchel and too calmly relays, "I'm gonna go scrounge up some more herbs," before turning to depart.

He doesn't ask, and while Britt certainly notices the break from their routine, she doesn't comment upon it. Some things the lady does not protest. She murmurs her quiet thanks when the tea is handed over. She stares at it gravely before nodding. "The Skaikru have much in common with the Mountain." She can't dismiss the idea that it's a ploy either. Much as she desperately wishes it is not. "Thanks, Arlin. I'll be here."

The medic has enough presence to bend his right arm enough that a single sideways flick of his wrist offers a wave as the sounds of grass and twigs crunch beneath his heavy, increasingly distant footsteps.

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