<Henry> unlocked the door to his office and slipped inside from the quiet corridor. It was this time of night that he enjoyed most for his work when most people had gone home for the day. Without thought he plugged in his electric kettle to start the water to boiling for tea and hummed cheerfully to himself. He was already pondering what he’d work on tonight and settled on some digital scans of a manuscript that had caught his interest
<Henry> gently carried his cup of freshly brewed tea to his desk and settled down into the chair before booting up his computer and opening the high quality image files associated with the manuscript. It was degraded, but not so much so that a skilled and trained eye couldn’t pick out enough of the lettering to make it legible. The difficulty was usually context. Typical to him, Henry began to sing as he worked, his voice carrying down the hallway.
<Kegarri> had wandered himself into the museum, and if he was supposed to pay to get in well, somehow he was likely over looked. Short, grubby clothes that looked like they were from a donation bin, and of course darker skin made a lot of people look the other way afraid he might ask for hand outs. Of course, he was supernaturally stealthy too, and had a way of just blending in with his surroundings and moving as silently as a summer
breeze. The objects on display were interesting, but then, so was the sound he heard. Quietly he crept from shadow to shadow purely by the instinct of a natural born predator, until he found himself walking down the hallway with a hurried jog to peer around the door and into Henry’s office. “Oh! This is you! It is good to see you not laying on the ground and cooked like the sky has touched you with the finger of destruction.”
<Henry> peered up from his computer and winced at being recognized since he should still be injured from the experience and scarred without a full head of hair, “Ah… yes… it wasn’t as bad as it looked, luckily. It is good to see my rescuer again, please come inside.” His expression was friendly and welcoming as he nodded to a chair, “may I offer you some tea?”
<Kegarri> glances about the office as if wary what might be in hiding. But then with a beaming wide smile he pops out from the hallway into the room. “Yes,” he says with a nod and stands behind the chair, looking at Henry expectantly.
<Henry> chuckles softly and rises to prepare a second cup of tea, not seeming to mind Kegarri’s appearance at all, “It was very kind of you to help me. Not many people would have bothered. Especially with danger nearby.” Without bothering to ask, Henry opened a tin with some of his treasured gingersnaps from Durmah and placed s handful on a plate for his guest and set it on the desk with the prepared tea, “I should like to thank you properly,
young man, but perhaps introductions first? My name is Henry Haines, I work here.”
<Kegarri> still stared at Henry with expectations, but whatever he was waiting for didn’t seem to be coming. Finally he leans forward a little and asks innocently, “what about this offering that was promised?” He eyes those cookies especially and sniffs the air with his lips parted just slightly in expectation. “When-the-Rains. Ah! This is why there is much less burning than when the tongues of red and orange lick the trees.” He grins
wide as if proud he figured this out. “This is Garri,” he pronounces as he places a hand to his chest. Soon though, his eyes trail back to the cookies and tea.
<Henry> tilted his head in confusion and looked at the tea and cookies and then at Garri, “Well, these are for you, Garri. For a larger reward for helping me, well, I’d like to know what you are interested in.” Henry leans back blinking slightly as Garri sniffs the air, “I… think I am confused… You are wondering why I’m not burned still?”
<Kegarri> scooted forward to grab at the tea, but the moment he realized it was hot he pulled his hand back and reached for the cookies instead. The first one disappeared into his mouth without a second thought, but at least he chewed, swallowed, and answered Henry before answering. “The Rains came to heal the burn, yes? This is why you are When the Rains? These are a very good offering,” he declares showing off a cookie a half second
before it disappeared into his mouth.
<Henry> nods, suddenly understanding and smiles, “Let the tea cool first. It needs to be a bit cooler to enjoy it.” He seems delighted that Garri is enjoying the cookies, “Actually, my friend, Cassian, helped me. He is a doctor, a healer.” He clarified as he studied Garri, “I was very injured and it would have been worse if you hadn’t helped me. You may have saved my life.”
<Kegarri> “Ah,” he nods as if suddenly understanding. “This friend is knowing how to lick the wounds to speed the healing. This is good. This is not something that Garri can be doing,” he admitted with a serious nod. “But for the helping, this is nothing. Garri was hearing the calls of distress, and he came closer to see what was for doing. Others had rushed away, and there was more conflict, but Garri saw this one in much need. The
others, this was their time to prove such honour and ferocity. And,” he gave a small shrug. “It is not cunning to fight to defend one who is not known against another who is not known. But it is honour to help one who is hurting, yes? This is what Garri was hoping for doing.”
<Henry> adjusts his glasses with a curious expression, “Ah, I see… yes, you could say he licked my wounds.” Henry looked a little embarrassed by that implication, but Garri was a little odd so he was sure he meant nothing by it, “Yes, the other’s rushed off because I am no one of importance compared to the other people involved. Expendable, you see. I didn’t expect anyone to come back for me. I am not sure about honour or cunning, but I was
grateful all the same.”
<Kegarri> It was with much reluctance that he actually held out the last cookie to Henry, almost a sad expression on his face and he waited for Henry to accept the offering.
<Henry> glanced at the cookie and accepted it, but instead of eating it, he snapped it in half and offered the other half back to Garri with a smile, “My friend, there is more than enough for both of us and it is… my honour to share.” He picked the word from what Garri had said earlier, “You have done a lot for me, it makes me happy to share what I have with you.”
<Kegarri> considered the offered half, but nodded and accepted with a wide grin. “This expending to the waist is not too much to be worry for. With or without the large belly, -the-Rains is of much meaning. There is a place for all in this world. That night was not the night for you to stay laying and stop the moving. So, Garri was there to see it was not how things would be. This is simple, yes? But. Garri has wondered. What is it that
called such fires to leave such burning?”
<Henry’s> brow knit as he considered what Garri was saying and took his time to decipher it as he nibbled his cookie, “No, I wasn’t keen to die. I honestly didn’t think she’d shoot me. I knew the woman that injured me, she was about to make a bad decision and try to kill someone. I tried to stop her. In the end, I bought enough time for her target to be saved. She… was being controlled by someone else.”
<Kegarri> “Ah,” he said as if that all made total sense. But then he grabbed for the tea and leaned his arms on the desk as he eyed Henry closer. “How was this woman being controlled?”
<Henry> pursed his lips and then opened his mouth before closing it, and considering, “I… don’t think I can explain it, Sir. I’m sorry. I am very grateful for your aid, but there are some things I can not say.”
<Kegarri> looked concerned, and with wide eyes leaned even closer. “Is it a problem with the mouth or the tongue? Garri would offer to lick, but he has said this is not a thing he is good at doing and is not to help he is thinking.”
<Henry> opened his mouth and gaped, turning a vibrant embarrassed shade of red, caught completely off guard. Was this man hitting on him for information? “Y-you w-would… lick my mouth?” Was it getting warm in here? “No, no… my mouth is fine it’s… It is personal. Private. That is all.”
<Kegarri> “-the-Rains is getting red. Is the burning back? Tell Garri where to find the Case-in so that he might do the licking, yes?”
<Henry> facepalms and groans as he turns even brighter, “Please… no licking. I’m fine. I don’t need to be licked.” Well, he might want to be, but damn it. “I… like licking, Garri. It’s embarrassing to hear you keep saying that.”
<Garri> doesnt seem to have that respect for personal space. At this point he had crawled up on to the desk and his face was right in front of Henry’s. “Garri is concerned. First the mouth is not working. Then the burning is back. Now the sense has left the words. -the-Rains is saying one thing and then the other. Let Garri be taking this one some place safe.”
<Henry> was trying so very hard not to die of embarrassment and at this point he’d take any distraction, “Safe? This is safe… Safe is here.” Oh God Garri was so close and Jacob’s eyes were as wide as saucers as his brain just cracked to a halt.
<Kegarri> climbed off the desk practically into Henry’s lap, and then off to the side on his right. “Yes. Let Garri be taking you to the safe place.” He would drag Henry out back to the place he took the injured Henry last time.
<Henry> nearly hyperventilated when Garri looked like he was going to crawl onto his lap and could only mumble in disheartened relief when the man slid to the side and dragged him out. Bright Lady, he was never going to forget this night, for good or ill. At least it ended peacefully with him at home and not… licked.