He'll follow after her, not entirely steady, but mostly not looking in danger of falling over.
(They don't encounter anyone, and Erie is a steady stream of technical specs in Lee's ear.)
She hesitates outside the ship for a moment, before leading him in.
"...the other cabin, at least until that is out of your system," she concludes, as they make their way though the passages. (It's... dark. She hadn't really noticed before. She stays close to Star.) "Do you know what it is?"
She stands and steps over to that door -- doesn't need to pause for it to open -- picks up the bottle and thermoses, and carries them back over to Star. She places one thermos by her spot, and the other and the bottle by Star. "Instructions?" she asks (Erie, do you know? If not can you get someone who does?).
Lee doesn't say things she doesn't mean. And she won't hurt him. No matter what else happens, she won't hurt him. (Whatever she wanted would be fine. It would. It was Lee.)
Slowly, he stops feeling like he's looking at things through smoke, starts feeling like he can actually trust his eyes.
"--I'm pretty sure the only thing I'm on is the painkillers Pin stole me," she says. She seems confused, but holds still for him to examine her. (There are no obvious injection sites on her arm, although part of it is bandaged.)
And then: "--shit, that wasn't how I meant to tell you -- I -- Star, Erie's alive -- he's who I've been talking to -- I could back up or -- if I know him he's probably right outside?"
Lee freezes for a moment, and then squares her shoulders. "--Star needs to see you." I need to see you, she doesn't say.
As she speaks, she slides her necklace out from under her (Erie's) shirt, showing it to Star (and herself).
(It's the one he made for her, rather than the one he made for Erie.)
She...she hasn't worn that since. Since they lost Erie. He fumbles abruptly at his wrist because...
He makes a distressed, keening sound as he finds only bare skin, because he hadn't quite realised that the slavers had actually taken them. (Even if it would've made no sense for them not to.)
Lee goes still and tense in the doorway, and tries to focus on Erie. (ErieErieErie -- and he seems like he feels safe but -- and Star is right there -- but she's been there for a while and --)
(And she knows if she steps back the door will close and she and Star will be safe but Erie--)
"Too real," he mumbles, a little bitter. He half wants to pull away, but he's not going to rob Lee of this. He readjusts his hold slightly so he can offer one arm to Star, hand still carefully held so it can't be construed as a threat.
"See for yourself?" he offers. "Pretty sure you never had solid hallucinations?"
Lee adds "You don't have to do anything you don't want to," and "it's okay to prefer things, we're not going to hurt you, Star," to her stream of reassurances, her voice shaking a little.
She guides Star over to the edge of the nest (Erie expanded it, good, she's not sure how they'd manage this if he hadn't), "You can curl up here, there's enough room for us to not be touching you unless you want, it's okay, Star."
Erie hides his expression in Lee's hair. "Star, they-" He doesn't have the words to explain that Star should've not fought, that that obviously would've made them hurt him more, and Erie couldn't bear that thought-
(As much as he knew how much those bracelets meant, they were replaceable, Star wasn't, Lee wasn't.)
The faith she has in him is overwhelming.
(But nothing in that is new.)
"I- I love you too. And-" And of course they're safe, of course they are, he doesn't have the words, really, to explain why, or how, he just knows that they are.
(But safe or not, this still might not be the best place for Star and Lee, and he knows that, as much as it hurts.)
"...lead with reminding him that we are safe," Lee says, after a moment. "And then -- I don't know if it's better to go through the broadest strokes of how or -- just skip to the present, like you did with me. I don't think he'll -- react as strongly to what you've been up to as I did, but he will to what happened to you, and -- I expect he'll need the reassurance that we're safe, about the others. Not about you." Never about you.
"Erie. I want to stay with you, and Star does too, and -- I don't think all of -- this -- will outweigh that?"
She goes silent for a little, and then: "If it does -- which. I think is very unlikely but -- if it does -- we'd work out a way to communicate. I -- I'd talk to you every day. It's not the same, but -- "
"Okay. So -- they got away. Took that place down. But some of the implants -- were affecting them in ways they didn't realize? One of the things was it -- made it -- hard to see that people they weren't close to were people. And --"
She swallows, shakes her head. "We're safe, Star. But -- they killed a lot of people, and --" her throat closes. "They're -- we've heard of them -- "
-He knows that should terrify him. He knows, logically, that that is a horrifying, and terrifying thing. And yet...
Erie is still Erie. And Lee wouldn't have them here if she thought they were in danger.
(And no-one can touch them if the Sins have them, the Sins are strong, insanely so...)
And that's fine. He improves, doesn't need to be the on initiating the contact, can accept touch again. Stops being quite so unsure that things aren't real.
Until it kind of isn't fine.
Star is taking watch when he's suddenly, bitterly cold. It's not exactly a new feeling. It's hard for him to feel warm. (Except when there's flames wrapped around him.)
He's not even consciously aware of deciding to leave the nest (he'd have woken Lee or Erie if he was), but there's- something. Warm. Nearby. And all he can think about it getting to it.
"oh," Lee says, softly. No wonder Star went here, really.
Her hand tightens further around Erie's, as she looks around what she can see from the door for Star. (Erie wouldn't have brought her here if he thought she would be unsafe, she knows, he would have asked her to stay -- but, but -- )
Lee asks Star's opinions of various arrangements, as well as giving suggestions for what he could do, although she doesn't seem to require answers she takes his reactions into account.
She keeps half an eye on Erie, and tries to draw him in as well when he's done with the hot water bottles.
Okay. That's good. They both need more sleep.
He contacts Gluttony to thank her for the hot water bottles, and asking if she can also deliver more food supplies when she gets a moment. Then he settles into keeping an eye on the Cardinal's systems and path, and keeping watch - even if he doesn't really need to.
She presses her face into his shoulder. "You wouldn't put us in danger," she murmurs, as much to herself as to him. "You would have -- tried to get us to leave, after we rescued Star, probably -- you think we're safe, I know that, I just -- it's -- hard to think of -- the others -- as something where that's -- possible? Especially -- her."
She leans into the hug. "Yeah. I -- it helps, so much, that you're so sure we're safe?" (She doesn't know where she'd be without that, but it wouldn't be good.) "It's just --"
She shakes her head slightly. "I -- I don't even know how much of this is, them, and how much is just -- me? Star's doing much better with it --"