Who F'inn, K'zre
What F'inn's been getting letters, and the letters have been getting to F'inn (based on a random +pevent)
When Spring - Month 5 of Turn 2720
Where Living Caverns, Fort Weyr

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Fort Weyr - Living Caverns
This cavern, having been created by bubbles in the volcanic flow of this extinct volcano, has a breathtaking ceiling — a vast dome that arches high above the heads of the weyrfolk that scurry around beneath it. A hollow echo can be heard from loud enough noises, and the chatterings of various firelizards are consequently multiplied into a chaotic babble. All in all, the living cavern is a loud place.

Tables are scattered around the room, apparently in no particular order. Over to one side near the kitchens, two medium sized serving tables are constantly spread with snacks, klah, and other goodies. The tables look worn, yet perfectly fitted to the atmosphere of the caverns. In the 'corners' of the cavern, smaller two and four place tables are set up for more private talks or just a less chaotic atmosphere in which to eat.

disclaimer: some language

Normally, F'inn makes a point to not keep things from K'zre. Normally. However, over the past few days he's grown more and more withdrawn. Not in the sense of being away from his weyrmate, but more in the sense that he's quiet and a lot less prone to smiling then is his norm. Fortunately, with Fort moving into Spring, Search and Rescue has been kept busy. Numerous thaws followed by unexpected cold snaps causing more then a few problems in the outlaying, higher elevation areas.

For most of the day, F'inn's been wrangling herdbeasts in the wake of a mudslide and getting them back to the cotholder. It was dirty, exhausting and thoroughly entertaining work. Exactly the sort of thing that he loves to do. Upon returning to Fort, he'd gone immediately to the baths to clean up, although there is still a bit of mud clinging to pale hair, and then out to the living cavern to get food while waiting for K'zre to return.

Everything is pretty typical but for the fact that he has opted to sit at a table away from the rest of the Wing and is frowning hard as pale blue eyes drift over the pages of the letter in his hand. Whatever it says, he's more then a little angry, a fact made clear by the hint of a flush touching the tops of his ears and the fact that, at more then a few points he slams it back down on the table before picking it back up to scan over the pages.

K'zre is not oblivious. He might fail at reading social situations, but he can certainly feel that there is something not-quite-right between them. It is not something he can articulate. Nor is it something he will bring up. But the sense that things aren't as they should has grown from a whisper of concern into full blown dread. It means he's not really sleeping, nor really eating, (even if he'll make a show of it), and is just as happy to throw himself headlong into all that work until he's too damn tired to do anything except pass out for a few hours. Wash, rinse, repeat.

And today is no different. His own adventures were not so entertaining. Just routine sweeps through less than pleasant weather (rain. ALWAYS rain!) and less than pleasant people. It might be spring, but it's pretty clear that things are Not Right with Fort's territory, as much as they are Not Right with F'inn. As mud was not involved, K'zre made no trip to the baths upon his return. He did, however, swap out flight leathers for a set of scrubs and promptly volunteer himself at the Infirmary. As it is cold and flu season, they were more than happy to accept him as an extra set of hands and, put to work that he knows and loves, K'zre manages to distract himself for a few hours more.

But now, stomach grumbling, he can dally no longer. With a few final words to the other Journeyman, Kez leaves the infirmary and heads for the caverns. A glance around the growing crowd spots his weyrmate on the second pass. That he looks upset is easy enough to see, and is reason enough for the greenrider to hesitate before heading over to his table and claiming a seat. "You have mud in your hair."

"Herdbeasts," F'inn murmurs as he folds up the letter and tucks it into his jacket. "Mudslide took out the fenceline and they scattered." Which, in all fairness, would normally be a task for beastcraft, but with the mud and the rain, it was just safer for Search and Rescue to handle. "Had to dismount a few times to dig calves out of the mud," he adds as he scrubs his hand over his face before reaching for his klah. Glancing up, he finds himself staring at K'zre for a long moment, pale eyes searching his face before he inhales and drops his gaze to the klah. "You look as tired as I feel," he murmurs as he takes a long swallow of the steaming beverage. He knows K'zre has been pulling double duty, he's been keeping track. And, while he hates it? He can't shake the feeling that it is probably for the best. For K'zre, at least. "They glad to have you back more?" Pausing a beat, he realizes he's commenting on his own thoughts and frowns. "The infirmary?"

"Oh." Herdbeasts. It is an answer K'zre accepts easily enough. And while curiosity might have inspired a question or two, he leaves them unspoken. Settled in his chair, he takes in the state of his weyrmate, gaze lingering on the place where that letter was tucked away before lifting to meet that searching gaze. A tip of his head; a hint of a frown. And then he's dropping his gaze to the mug of Klah instead. "I am alright," he decides in a sigh. "I'm used to it." Being tired. Being stressed. It is not terribly new. But there's a scrub over his face nonetheless, a vain attempt to banish the dark circles. "I don't know… I don't think glad is the right word…" he murmurs, hands dropping back to his lap. "But there is a lot to be done this time of Turn," because everyone's getting sick, as they tend to do. "They're busy, and short staffed," he adds, as though building a case as to why he should be so busy and helping so often. "They need the help."

F'inn nods as he listens his gaze remaining on the mug of klah in his hand. "And it makes you happy," is murmured in quiet tones. "Being there, doing the things you've been training for your whole life." Trailing off, a frown traces over his lips, the klah remaining in his mug downed in a long swallow. "That's good." Falling silent, he spends a few more moments staring at the empty mug while pushing down the urge to glance back up. He's miserable and he damned well knows it's all over his face. Still, he does glance up as he reaches for the pot of the klah, and for a moment, he actually looks like he just might cry. He shakes it off, though, drawing in a slow breath before lightly clearing his throat and pouring the steaming liquid into his cup. "You needed to get back to it."

When did things turn awkward? Where did the distance come from, and why did it feel impossibly wide? K'zre does not know. But there's a growing sense of unease within him, a cold dread that makes him want to curl up and hide. He doesn't. Because he can't. But it means his response is delayed, the words meant to answer the question that wasn't quite a question stuck in his throat until he just decides not to speak them at all. He should speak. He knows this. He knows that he should be saying something in return. But what that is meant to be escapes him, and he falls into silence instead. His eyes are on the table, studying the grain of wood without really seeing it. It is the last that has him glancing up, confusing inspiring that frown of his to deepen further. "I… did?" A beat. Two. "Why?" he wonders. "You've never…" but whatever F'inn 'never' did is left unspoken, Kez pushing himself up from the table rather suddenly with a murmured declaration of, "I need something to drink," as the excuse.

F'inn isn't looking up. He just can't bring himself to do it, not when he knows that his expression will only make matters worse. He doesn't know what to do and the letter is just to fresh for him to be able to shake it off. Logically, he knows not to expect an answer from his weyrmate. He knows that K'zre is trapped in his own head. And normally, he's more then ready to do everything he can to pull him out. When the words finally come, F'inn meets them with a nod of his head, waiting until K'zre has gone to get his drink before scrubbing a hand over his face. "Fucking bitch…" The words are uttered in a muttered curse before he glances up to watch the greenrider's back. He hates the thought though, that she might be right. For a moment, one painful moment, he considers getting up and walking away before he folds his arms and hunkers down over his mug of klah.

It would destroy him. If F'inn got up and left, it would destroy him. But K'zre would not be surprised. There is a small but growing part of him that is expecting it. Waiting for it. Bracing himself for the moment in which he leaves. Because that's where this is going, right? All this distance, all this withdrawal. All this unhappiness. That is the logical conclusion, whispers the small voice in the back of his head. Arms curled at his stomach, he stands before the tea kettles, mugs and cream, and realizes the thought of consuming anything is nauseating. But he goes through the motions regardless, loitering there as long as he can while he concentrates on breathing deep and settling his own expression. By the time he returns, a steaming mug of dark tea in his hand, his expression has settled into that healer-neutral, emotions shoved away because they are not welcome right now, and Kez is trying to convince himself that he is stronger than he is.

F'inn is silent, staring into the klah in his mug until he finally glances up at K'zre's face. It's a sight that has him immediately frowning, every protective instinct in him screaming to get up and move to the other side of the table. For a long moment, he ignores it, before finally pushing to his feet. In that instant, it might appear that he is, indeed, walking away. Instead, he moves along the length of the table and slides into the seat next to K'zre. Without a word, he draws the letter out of his pocket and rests it on the table infront of the greenrider. Inside? A long diatribe detailing the myriad ways in which F'inn is holding his weyrmate back from being truly happy coupled with a lengthy discourse on how he will, and already is, inevitably hurt him. "Is it true? Why didn't you tell me?"

K'zre is pretty sure his heart has stopped. It is only a moment, but it might as well be eternity. Shoulders tense, breathing shallow, he watches F'inn beside him with an unreadable expression. When it is a letter that comes instead of the words he's expecting, the healer doesn't quite know how to handle it. The mug of tea is pushed aside and ignored, but he hesitates a moment or two before picking up the paper and turning his gaze to that instead of F'inn. But while it might not be what he's expected, the words he reads do nothing to settle him. A shallow shake of his head, and he sets it down before he's even finished it. For a long while he just stares at the paper on the table, conscious of F'inn beside him but briefly unable to turn his gaze. To speak. To do anything that would actually be productive. But he does reach out, fingers curling tightly around whatever he can reach of his weyrmate, if just to ensure he does not leave. Eventually, he manages a quiet, "I don't understand," that is barely a whisper.

It's the simple act of reaching for his hand that has F'inn sliding closer, work calloused fingers twinning with K'zre's. "I…" He doesn't know what to say, though. "It was never my intention to hold you back," he sighs as he glances at the letter on the table. "I had no idea you were so unhappy." And it hurts. It hurts in ways he cannot possibly express. "You know that, right?" There is so much that he wants to say, so many points he wants to address, but at the same time? Saying any of it seems so pointless. He simply cannot grasp that the letter might be designed to do exactly what it is doing, it's not in his nature to think like that. "I wouldn't have been insulted," he assures in quiet tones. "I know I'm not your intellectual equal. I… just thought you were happy."

"Hold me back…" The words are murmured as though K'zre doesn't understand their meaning; as if they are a foreign language and he can't comprehend it. But while he's a jumble of emotions, confusion predominant among them, some things are starting to become clear. And it has all of that building anxiety turning into relief and anger. And it is that irritation that has him lashing out to snatch up that letter, ripping his hand out of F'inn's own so that he can shred those papers. If he could throw it into the fire, he would. For now, he settles for throwing it across the table, despite the ineffectiveness of such a thing. Little bits of paper fluttering across the wood, he twists to turn that anger toward his weyrmate. He's so furious he's practically shaking, the words he'd like to scream catching in his throat, too numerous for him to get out. Eventually, he manages to find a few and, thankfully they come out as a hiss rather than a shriek. "Why didn't you ask me?!" He might hit him. At least, he looks dangerous close to doing so. "Why didn't you just ask me?" he repeats. "I thought… I thought…" and now that fury makes way for grief, K'zre's words caught in a sob that he swallows back. "I thought you were leaving," comes in a whisper.

F'inn probably deserves that anger. He's pretty sure he does. Still, he meets those words with an exhaled laugh that is more then a little bitter in tone. "Ask you?" The words are hollow and coupled with a faint shake of his head. "I couldn't ask you that. I couldn't.." Turning his face away, he takes a moment to breath, his eye opening wide in attempt to thwart the sting of tears. "I couldn't…" He has just barely been able to maintain under the thought of it. It's the sob, however, swallowed that has him twisting around, his hands moving to firmly grip K'zre's shoulders. "I am /never/ leaving you," he growls. "Stop saying /that/. You are always thinking that.. always waiting for me to just…. go." It's been a sevenday of hate-filled letters detailing how everything about him was exactly wrong for the person he loves. He's had enough. "I thought I could handle it," he finally sighs. "I thought I could ignore it. The letters." But. Every. Damned. Day. And it slowly eaten away at him until this.

Shock. Pain. Sorrow. Anger. A rather potent concoction that has the greenrider swinging from grief to rage in the span of a few seconds, speechless in one moment, and then ready to scream in the next. "I told you I love you. You accuse me of always thinking you'll leave, but I don't. I wasn't! Not anymore…" At least, until F'inn started pulling away, and K'zre had nothing to explain the change other than what his mind could concoct. "What was I supposed to think?" he asks, furious once again. "What was I supposed to believe when you wouldn't talk to me. When you just… you could barely even look at me…" It's too much. The flurry of emotions, the public space, the eyes that they're attracting despite being tucked away. It's too much for K'zre, and he's out of his chair and eyeing the door before he can think on whether he ought to leave or not. "I'm going… I'm just… I'm going." Where? He doesn't even know.

F'inn exhales a sigh, his chin dipping in a faint nod as he braces his elbows on the table and rests his head on the heels of his hand. There is nothing he can say. He has no idea what to say. It is a very, very rare thing for him to be anything less then completely confident and in control. "I get it," he murmurs. "I'll be up shortly." He just needs time to think, to get himself back together. It is his own fault for letting his emotions get away with him.

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