Griever ran, in no small part because he was worried about Jem, away from the battle. She had a head wound and it looked to be bleeding profusely. That was never a good thing. Too much blood loss and she could be a goner. Ahead, Kiara and the others ran as well. The village they were staying in wasn't far and Norida was probably in bad shape from the look of those wounds.
In his arms, Jem squirmed weakly. "Put me down," she shouted, "I can walk!" Well, it was good to see her still kicking as always, but Griever couldn't put her down.
"And let you wear your pretty little self out?" he scolded in a joking manor, "You know Kate would never forgive me for that."
Jem looked up at him and forced Griever to look back. She had such a pretty face. It was a shame blood marred it. "Kate can deal with it!" she pouted, "I can take care of myself."
Griever laughed. He couldn't help himself. "Well," he said, partially still laughing, "with that cute pouting, I am almost tempted to listen to you. Almost." She grumbled something under her breath, but Griever never caught it. When had Kiara and the others left him behind. One minute, they were just ahead, now they were hitting the edge of the village, which lay in the distance.
Then it hit him. All those nights fighting that same monstrous Fae. All that lost sleep. His body, not yet fully healed. They all washed over him as he realized just how exhausted he was. Well, this was just dandy. Why couldn't he keep himself going at least until the village? Griever tried to speed up, but at this point, he was already pushing his limit.
And Jem noticed.
"Why are you slowing down?" she asked, for once sounding concerned.
Griever slowed to a stop. "Well, I guess holding a pretty lass in my arms and seeing Kate fighting again - and alongside the Marshall at that! - has left me a little tired." He smiled at her. "Just a little."
Jem squirmed and Griever was forced to drop her, then sit down himself. Boy, oh boy, this was not attractive. A man out of breath? Well..
Jem stood, if shakily. "Seeing others fight has made you tired?" she said, shaking her head and swaying slightly as she tested herself walking, "You must be out of shape if that's the case."
Griever shook his own head. He couldn't lie to Jem. Not a lot anyway. "I suppose I brought it on myself, actually." He managed to stand and breathed slowly to relax his body. He needed to make it back to the village before long or the others would talk. "How's your wound?"
"How do you think?" Jem snaps, then puts a hand to her head, letting herself feel the blood that caked her forehead. "Head wounds always bleed a lot, it looks worse than it is." She was lying. Griever knew head wounds. They always ended in the person dying from blood loss or a concussion if they weren't treated right away.
Griever sighed and ripped off a part of his shirt. It was a good shirt made of fine linen, but he could get another "Come here," he commanded, "If you bleed out, I'll never hear the end of it."
"Fine." Jem stepped closer, albeit grudgingly, and let Griever take care of her, surprisingly. "Don't expect me to fall for the out of shape line. What have you really been doing that's been making you slack in your duties to the Hawks?" And there it was. A question he didn't want to answer. Again.
Griever wrapped the linen strip around Jem's head tightly, getting a muffled curse and a grunt. "Well..." Griever starts. How should he put it? "Can you keep a secret?"
Jem checked the makeshift bandage and then stared at Griever suspiciously with her grey eyes. "Depends on the nature of the secret."
"Still upset about those letters, I see," Griever said slowly, rubbing the blood on his hands on the remainders of his shirt. He was surprised to see Jem still standing in all honesty. Most men... No, Jem was a woman. And women, Griever now realized, could take a lot more than men. "I have been learning how to fight the Fae every night."
"Learning to fight....?" Jem asks, looking thoughtful. It only took her moments, even with blood loss possibly slowing her thoughts, to add everything up. No doubt she heard of him randomly going for walks and of a scout being knocked out without taking any serious damage. "You idiot!" She screamed, "You could have gotten yourself killed! Or worse!"
Well, so much for that being excused like those letters to the Bird. Griever tried to defend himself, but Jem simply shut him up and started walking away. "And it's obviously doing you no good," she added as she walked, "How do you expect to fight them during the day if you expend your strength all night? Men!"
Griever sighed as he watched her go, her braid waving back and forth, realizing she was right. "Idiot? I suppose I am, but it works better than what everyone else has been doing." Taking a deep breath, he ran to catch up. "And besides," he shouted after her, "I can't go dying now that I live with so many pretty girls, right?"
"Maybe if you actually thought about some of those girls instead of yourself," Jem shouted over her shoulder, "You'd realize how true that statement might be!" Then, she picked up her pace.
Griever was left walking slowly. Had her voice cracked on that last word? Or was it his imagination? It made no sense, unless... Well, the important thing was that Jem was still alive and kicking. Now he had to make sure he stayed alive to kick as well. Griever removed his sling and stretched his arm. It was finally healed.
"Well, Jem," he said quietly as she disappeared into the village ahead, "I am able to fight with both arms again. That's something, right?"
With that, Griever marched back towards the village, hoping there was some pea soup somewhere being made.