Something rough and wet attacked his face, a strong hand tilted his head back, something roared in his ears, familiar sound. Didn't know what, until he opened his eyes on blood-stained white and felt the seat arm under his right hand.
The bloody towel went away. Jago's dark face hovered over him. The engine drone kept going.
"Bren-ji," Jago said, and mopped at a spot under his nose. Jago made a face. "Cenedi calls you immensely brave. And very stupid."
"Saved his damn--" Wasn't a nice word in Ragi. He looked beside him, saw Banichi wasn't there. "Skin."
"Cenedi knows, nadi-ji." Another few blots at his face, which fairly prevented conversation. Then Jago hung the towel over the seat-back ahead of him, on the other side of the exit aisle, and sat down on his arm rest.
"You were mad at me," he said.
"No," Jago said, in Jago-fashion.
"What is 'God'?" Jago asked.
Sometimes, with Jago, one didn't even know where to begin.
"So you're not mad at me."
"Bren-ji, you were being a fool. I would have gone with you. You would have been all right."
"True," Jago said.
Anger. Confusion. Frustration, or pain. He wasn't sure what got the better of him.
Jago reached out and wiped his cheek with her fingers. Business-like. Saner than he was.
"Tears," he said.
"'God' is 'tears'?"
He had to laugh. And wiped his own eyes, with the heel of the hand that worked. "Among other elusive concepts, Jago-ji."
"Are you all right?"
"Sometimes I think I've failed. I don't even know. I'm supposed to understand you. And most of the time I don't know, nadi Jago. Is that failure?"
Jago blinked, that was all for a moment. Then:
"I can't make you understand me. How can I make others?"
"But I do understand, nadi Bren."
"What do you understand?" He was suddenly, irrationally desperate, and the jet was carrying him where he had no control, with a cargo of dead and wounded.
"That there is great good will in you, nadi Bren." Jago reached out and wiped his face with her fingers, brushed back his hair. "Banichi and I won over ten others to go with you. All would have gone. -- Are you all right, nadi Bren?"
His eyes filled. He couldn't help it.