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A Bird in Hand

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Alma and Cabanela moved together in simple exercises and stretches. Jowd sat at the side of the room on the floor, content to merely watch. Even now they moved well together, though Jowd could sense the pent-up tension in Cabanela to do more. Alma wasn’t having it. The poison had wreaked havoc on him and she had agreed to help him rebuild at a sensible and safe pace. It had been a while since Jowd heard her quite so adamant.

Still, this was them and so there was a certain dance-like quality between them that made Jowd’s hands itch for the pencil and paper he hadn’t brought. To capture the elegance and lines of their movement and preserve these moments.

Jowd caught the tremor possibly even before Cabanela realized, and started to rise. Needlessly, of course. As Cabanela stumbled Alma was there and caught him in a steady hold. Poised as they were Jowd might have thought it a part of a dance and that she’d dipped him, if he hadn’t seen the wince before Cabanela went down. She helped him straighten, hand still against the small of his back supporting him.

“A small break, I think.”

“I can gooo…”

“Come on.” Alma took his hand and, brooking no protest nor resistance, pulled him along back to Jowd.

No words were needed for this exchange. Alma released Cabanela and Jowd reached out to pull him into his lap while Alma settled beside them.

“You could have joiiined us,” Cabanela said while shifting until he settled more comfortably against Jowd’s shoulder.

“I rather think he has,” Alma said.

Jowd let his hand settle against Cabanela’s hip. “I was watching. You’re stiffer on your right side.”

“That iiis what we’re tryin’ to fii-iix-oh.”

Jowd smirked at the hitch in Cabanela’s voice as he moved his hand to massage the muscle in his thigh.

“See?” Alma said as her fingers walked down Cabanela’s arm until she found his hand and rubbed small circles into his palm. “A break.”

“When you’re riiight…” Cabanela’s breath slowed as he relaxed under their ministrations.

Thoughts of pencil and paper escaped. What need was there when Jowd had this moment to hold onto?