Varren didn't have much time in his day that wasn't scheduled to the last moment. He had candidate classes, despite the number of Hatchings he had already stood for at High Reaches. He had lessons for his craft, as well as shifts in the infirmary assisting the older healers. When he was done with all those lessons, he still needed to spend time in the greenhouses working with his plants, and any moment of free time after all that belonged to his sister and her babies as far as he was concerned. He just didn't have time to become good friends with his fellow candidates, and given how much those friendships had ended up hurting him in the past, that was probably for the best.
So he didn't really know the other candidate at the table. He took his tray to that table to eat, precisely because the young man was reading something, so he would probably be quiet, and Varren could just eat and leave. Maybe he should say some of the empty greeting phrases somewhere in there, acknowledge the other candidate's existence politely, but surely there interaction would be limited to that. He hesitated at even those greeting, though, since he didn't know the man's name. He was older than Varren....maybe close to aging out? And a recent transfer, even more recent than Varren himself.
He wasn't being all that quiet, though, making dissatisfied noises as he read and reread whatever was in that message. Varren continued to avert his eyes, trying to give him a little privacy. Though, if he had wanted to be left alone, wouldn't he be in his own room? Was he doing this in the dining hall because he wanted attention? Still, at this point it seemed more polite to avoid acknowledging the other man at all, to just eat his meal, take care of his dishes, and return to his quarters to study.
Until the man all but exploded, and Varren couldn't help but look at him directly. Stare, really.
"Shard-it, Karic! Why couldn't you have come with me?!"
It was his actions more than his words that drew Varren's focus. He hit the table, and Varren looked straight at his hands. They were bleeding, from reopened scrapes perhaps, and he had seen injuries like that. He had treated injuries like that, though the supervising healer usually hovered over his shoulder scolding and criticizing the patient while he did. He'd been in some sort of fight, but without knowing the details, Varren wasn't inclined to judge. He didn't throw a lot of punches, but he was well aware that there were situations that didn't leave a person much choice. Still, did that explain the other candidate's recent transfer?
"What? Haven't you ever talked to yourself?"
Well, that called for an answer, apparently, and Varren was going to have to interact with another candidate in a less shallow way than he had managed so far at Atricis. "It's not so much the talking to yourself," he answered, evenly. That was...maybe not precisely normal, but not exactly uncommon. And shards, he lived in a Weyr. Riders were laughing at odd times because of their dragons, or saying something aloud in response to their lifemates all the time. It was only a little unusual for someone without a bondmate to start speaking aloud. "You're bleeding." He pointed out. "On the table." Which was a secondary consideration. People ate there, but after all, there was a reason that Varren didn't put his food directly on the table. And someone would surely clean it up.
"Why can't anything go right anymore?"
Varren managed to keep his sigh internal. Obviously the other candidate had more trouble than bleeding hands, but that was what he could fix. And if he confided in Varren while he worked, that was actually pretty normal. "I can't help with whatever you were reading about," he said, calmly. "But we should clean up your hands. You don't want an infection making more things go wrong."
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