tighnari / reader

date published: 9/18/2022

The rainforest was beautiful at this hour.

The trees still wet from last night's rain almost seemed to glitter amongst the light filtering through. The pale sky was still fogged over by mist, meaning you couldn’t get a proper view yet. It was slightly cooler than you were used to, but the rain made everything humid enough for you to bear. You’d never seen the rainforest like this; yesterday, Tighnari had decided you were well enough to join a morning patrol with him and Amir.

You were thankful for the opportunity to spend time with both of them, but you had to admit you were starting to regret taking Tighnari’s offer.

It was about halfway through the patrol route that you started to feel light headed. Your body shook with the effort of just putting one foot in front of the other after a while. Your chest heaved as you breathed in what felt like fire, you couldn’t catch your breath no matter how hard you tried. Eventually, your hands became too shaky to even release the latch holding your waterskin to your hip.

Tighnari clearly notices. You’re vaguely aware of his ears swiveling back to face you as he does a quick heel turn and hurriedly makes his way towards you. Amir does the same, noticing your condition. You see Tighnari above you looking at you with concern. Did you fall over? When did that happen? You become aware enough to feel underbrush on your cheek; you did indeed collapse. You’re barely conscious enough to feel threads of shame clawing at the edges of your mind as you feel Tighnari lift you up.

“Amir, go back to Gandharva Ville and get some help. I don’t think we can get them back on our own.” you notice as Tighnari said this that the fur of his tail was standing on end. Was he annoyed? You haven’t quite figured out his specific mannerisms yet. His voice was as flat as usual and didn’t give much away.

Amir quickly ran off, not before offering some of the food he packed. Tighnari nodded as he tracked the younger forest ranger out of view. Once he was out of sight, Tighnari’s gaze fixed to you. His expression was always hard to read, but you could pick out a hint of worry just before your world went dark.

* * *

You came to in a small room. The first thing you noticed was an awfully bitter taste in your mouth; you had been given some medicine. All your gear from earlier in the morning was placed in the corner resting on a chair. As your senses returned to you, you realized you weren’t in your room. You were in Tighnari’s room.

While you noticed the chair in the room, you didn’t notice the person sitting in it. You heard a grinding sound as the person worked at their desk, seeming to be unaware of your presence. As your senses return you figure out this person is, in fact, Tighnari.
He doesn’t seem to notice you, though. You decide to make your presence known by getting out of bed and walking over to see what he’s doing. You’re able to get right next to him without him even noticing. He’s sitting over his desk, grinding herbs and consulting his notes on medicine. It isn’t until Tighnari goes to grab something on a shelf directly behind you that he starts a bit, his ears standing straight up and his tail swaying violently.

“Why are you up? You shouldn’t be walking or standing in your condition!” in a single motion he stands, grabs your wrist and leads you back to his bed.

“You were in a state of severe fatigue when we got you back home. You need to rest for at least another half a day before you even think of leaving Gandharva Ville again.” There it was. That stern tone everybody in Sumeru knew Tighnari for. It stung a bit to be chastised like that if you were being honest, but you knew this was just who he is.

Shame bubbled deep in your belly just as it did before. ‘This is just Tighnari. This is just who he is. He doesn’t mean anything by it’ you know these are true, but that doesn’t stop your breath from speeding up. That doesn’t stop the blackness at the corner of your vision from tunneling so all you can focus on is your hands. That doesn’t stop your hands from shaking. Before you’re even aware of it, you’re speaking.

“I. I’m sorry– I’ll be a better ranger. I’ll start training again as soon as I'm better! I won’t get in your hair like this again, I know I have to work on this, I–”

Tighnari reached out for your hands and held them in his. The gloves he always wore were soft and worn. At that action you fell silent; Tighnari rarely lets others touch him due to his heightened senses, much less touches another person so openly as he’s done with you.

“Stop that. You know that won’t be needed. You are a valued member of the Forest Rangers, no matter your abilities. There is much more to this role than patrolling, or fighting, or combating the withering. ” his tone greatly softens. You don’t think you’ve ever heard Tighnari speak like this. Even to the children. He always uses the same flat, almost annoyed sounding tone.

Tighnari sat next to you on the bed.

“Forest Rangers protect the rainforest. Yes, that may include fending off hilichurls that get too close to our villages, or deal with a withering zone, and what have you. But protecting something can look like many different things.” He broke off into one of his info dumps that you’ve come to know and adore him for. ”It can be teaching fire safety, it can be making sure children don’t wander off, it can even be cataloging the flora and fauna and tracking their populations so humans can intervene if, say, a species becomes endangered.”

As Tighnari spoke, he subconsciously seemed to move closer to you. He was looking all around the room, pointing to various documents he had hung up to demonstrate his points. You noticed his tail also snaking around your back to curl around you, as if to emphasize his points about protection.

Whenever Tighnari gets focused on something, be that speaking or patrolling or mixing herbs for your and Collei’s medicine, he seems to block out all external stimuli. He only seemed to remember where he was once you leaned against him, stroking his tail where it rested on your lap. Surprisingly, he didn’t push you away or ask you to move. In fact, he put his arm on you and held you closer.

“While I won’t allow you to go on any long patrols like that in the future, I wouldn’t mind adjusting my schedule so we can be on some together that are more within your limits.”

Soon your fatigue had come back, and Tighnari ended up letting you use his lap and tail as your bed that afternoon.