" Other than combing my hair, only resource that I have that doesn't look that awful? " creature sighed tiredly. " Well, no, not really... I am already quite aware that I won't get much positive attention looking like this, so.."
Ben sighed. " I would have normally said clean clothes too, of course.. " he murmured. " But Owl already brought them, so I have nothing else that falls on my mind.. " he took a deep breath, before he at last slowly dived in, breathing deeply within the water, as if trying to find some calmness after lot of turmoil at last and try to enjoy the bath, even if it was hard right now with all the matters and soon meeting pressing on him.
" I think that qualifying this as disaster would be overdoing it, but it's not exactly an overjoy either... Mix is too strong... It's too intimate." Ben connected thoughtfully." It's hard to get used to it, but even not enjoying it too much is better than feeling dirty, that's for sure."
" Normally I would say it's not a bad idea... " creature whispered shyly. " But sincerely, I don't have strength to do it right now... Not physical, more like mental... It feels like too much effort... " creature dived out and sighed quietly. " I think it will be fine this time.. Just tell White it really needs to be more diluted next time.. Now, we will fare with it as it is... Could you play me some song, please? Not the water one, though, if it's not too much of a bother... I already know the old one by heart... I would like to hear something new... "
"I will soon," Svarik nodded. "I just wanted to ask one more thing - how do you feel about the idea of sleeping in the water? Not this one though, in a bath with just a bit of White's water, or none. Wouldn't that be less painful than having to apply the balm so often?"
Despite his tries to be mature about this, Svarik could see Ben tensing, and his face turning to some sickly greenish color, as if he swallowed something bitter, grimacing. Still, he gulped, trying to compose himself and consider it.
" Sleeping in water, like.. Being in it all the time? " he asked, bewildered. " I don't know... Even this is a stretch, I wouldn't be able to do this without you, and I am awake now... I mean... I can't just sleep in water.And.. unclothed all the time, it's emotionally exhausting... And I really do like to wrap myself in warm blankets after everything is done, after my wounds are wrapped and I can smell the fresh clothes and flower candles... That's like one thing I can look forward to in all those... long boring days... Do I really have to give that up...? " he pouted vulnerably. " I don't want it.. Besides.. It's not natural, don't you think...? It's... dehumanizing... I don't want to be in water all the time... I want to be out, I want to breathe clear air and lie on the firm ground... wrap myself in a soft blanket... while clothed... "
"Alright, I was just asking..." Svarik said reassuringly. "I was just wondering about it, because you are also a water spirit, so I thought it might feel comfortable. And if it's not White's water, there would be no difference in you being clothed in it or not. But I don't want to take away something you are looking forward to, don't worry. But we can talk about such things later, now I will play you the song, alright?"
" You don't understand... I know I am all about water... But... I haven't been all about water for two decades... I.. I know it didn't seem like it, but it wasn't all that bad, being human... Last few years, before... Vampires.. " he closed his eyes with pain. " They were happy. I enjoyed them... I enjoyed being with Edward, Jim, and uncle Dem... I know I am not normal... But I... I have right to enjoy being... Human. Not some alien strange creature... Human. " he empathized the word defensively and a bit harshly, as if repeating it would make it more true. " I like to inhale air, I like to wear clothes and I like to lie in bed and eat food and, and walk and... And nothing's going to change that, do you understand? I will.. adapt... I just want to remain the way that I feel comfortable and I will... "
"I understand, I was just asking about what you prefer..." Svarik said. "Your body has the needs of a water spirit now, so we will have to adjust to it somehow, but staying in the water is only one way. The other is just to have baths, and drink a lot, and put balms on your skin."
Ben grimaced, knowing he can't fight against logic in that. He thought about it intently for a moment, before he gave up, and sighed with frustration.
"We... Will talk about it later.. " he promised quietly. " Play me a song now, please... I don't want to think about this right now.. I don't want to think about my sister, or the burns, or Owl or Jake, or water or anything.. Just a song... "
"Just a song," Svarik nodded reassuringly, and started to play a song that just came to his mind, although he wasn't sure where he has heard it, half remembering it and half composing anew as he played.
Ben listened quietly for a long while, trying to focus as good as he could. Slowly then, he dived in within healing waters, and he remained within them for a long while, until water started to grow cold and he seemed to have enough. He quietly and embarrassingly said that he would like to finish with the bath then.
Svarik felt bad for not letting the man rest, but he decided to not spoil the moment Ben was looking forward to with discussions about that. He dried and dressed him carefully, and tucked him into the blankets.
Ben wasn't stupid, he noticed Valiant's tiredness, but didn't comment on it. It seemed to make him feel bad about making him do this, so despite all enjoyment of feeling clean and safe, he curled closely beside Svarik with teary eyes, sniffing to suppress tears - it seemed as if it felt like a new low for him and he sought some support in Svarik's presence.
"I- I know... " creature whispered, swallowing a teary sob. " I just don't know how... How to feel about it... In some way, I feel that he owes me that much, that he owes to make this up to me... He keeps saying that I entered this life willingly, that it was my choice, but if you sow someone you loved make terrible mistake, would you not save him? My choice, they said... I agreed, they said, but they never told me what I had to go through... They say it was so we could have best possible future... But I fail to see how can this be best future, I just can't..." He sobbed, hiding face underneath the blankets vulnerably.