The low, soft voice comes from behind him where he's working on the phase generator. It startles him. He hasn't heard footsteps.
"I need to go somewhere," she says. "Will you come with me?"
He doesn't turn around, doesn't put the tac wrench down, and he starts to say, "I don't think so, Aeryn," but something in her voice piques his interest, or maybe -- He's trying not to take the drug any more -- maybe whatever it is just cuts through the haze of pain. And so his rejection comes out, "Go where?" instead.
"To the planet. Pilot says they have a good medical clinic."
Clinic. He closes his eyes and wishes he had the bulb of lakka. But that yearning is exactly why it now resides in his quarters, not in his pocket. He opens his eyes, takes a deep breath, and turns around, looks in her eyes for the first time since they nearly killed each other three days ago. She's chewing on her lower lip, trying to keep her face neutral. No words come to mind, but he doesn't turn away.
"Um," she says, ducking her chin and swallowing. "You don't have to come. It's a simple exam...." She takes a deep breath and says, "I'd like the company. Your company. But I can ask Chiana."
"Well," he says, hedging, "maybe Chiana should see a doctor too. About her time warp thing."
She nods, says, "Fine. That's a good idea."
But she doesn't leave, and he really wishes he had the lakka, and he hears himself say, "I'll go." Chiana can find her own way.
Her expression doesn't change, but she....sags.
Sags in relief, he realizes. She hadn't expected him to agree. He starts to warn her. "This doesn't mean I--" He stops. He’s not even sure what he’s trying to say. It doesn't mean he loves her? It doesn't mean he forgives her? It doesn't mean he *can* forgive her? He shakes his head.
His hesitation seems to make more sense to her. She says, "No. It only means, what I know about the child, you know."
He nods. "That's good," he says quietly through a throat suddenly tight.
She takes a breath and looks away, then looks back and says, "We should leave within the arn."
He blinks. "Uh, yeah.” He looks down at the wrench in his hand. “Just give me a little while to finish this test, okay?"
"Okay. That's fine. I'll prep a transport pod." She hesitates. "Or we can take my prowler if you'd like."
"Ummmm," he stalls for time again. Pod means talk, prowler means...looking at the back of her head. Where's the damn lakka when he needs it? "Pod's good," he hears himself say.
"Right," she says, blinking rapidly. "Pod it is." And she turns and flees, before....before he can change his mind, probably.
She knows him better than he thought, he realizes -- He can feel himself teetering. "Aeryn!" he calls, before she gets too far away.
She stops and slowly turns to face him.
He puts down the tool he's been holding all this time, flexes his hand, and says, "Let's go now."