Not Settling

Fort Weyr - Mirinda’s Room
Mirinda's suite, tucked next to the Healer tapestry gracing the hall in the Crafters' quarters, is well on its way to gracefully suiting her rank and station. The stone walls have been softened by other tapestries and art, neatly lit by the sconces on the walls between them; a single electric lamp rests on a table beside a chair, tucked against one wall to provide plenty of room for the wooden dining set and Mirinda's sofa. On one side of the room, a doorway leads to a former den room, now Taimri's sleeping area; opposite, another door leads to the "master bedroom", which does not even yet hold a Master, for all that the room itself is not large — there's space for a double bed with a chest at the end, a dresser, and a desk kept fanatically neat tucked in the corner with its chair. The last door leading out of the front room opens to a tiny half-bath, tucked between the two bedrooms.


To say that Zhirayr hasn't really been paying that much attention to his surroundings for the past, oh, hour or so is probably at least a little bit of an understatement still. To say that Zhirayr is surprised when he realizes he knows exactly where it is, and that it is — quite possibly — one of those locations he would have sworn were among the very last he would want to be, whether in the immediate wake of a goldflight or not, is definitely an understatement. But. Here he is, in Mirinda's suite of rooms, wearing one black sock, with a great deal of other black clothing strewn across the nearby space, most especially the dining room table. "Well," he mutters philosophically — and quietly — "at least the clothing on the lamp isn't mine."

Most of Mirinda's clothing is actually still on Mirinda, seeing as how she was wearing a skirt and all, so it's just a half-unbuttoned blouse that is most of her problem when it comes to being exposed, but that doesn't stop a, "There's a —" mutter coming out of her mouth, and it's her own stocking she finds on the lamp. "Of course there was clothing on the lamp." Sigh. That is what would happen. Along with the rest of this, which she's not entirely sure how it happened … she was going back to her room, and he was walking in the same direction, and — something like that, yes? She doesn't ask.

Most of Mirinda's clothing is actually still on Mirinda, seeing as how she was wearing a skirt and all, so it's just a half-unbuttoned blouse that is most of her problem when it comes to being exposed, but that doesn't stop a, "There's a —" mutter coming out of her mouth, and it's her own stocking she finds on the lamp. "Of course there was clothing on the lamp." Sigh. That is what would happen. Along with the rest of this, which she's not entirely sure how it happened … she was going back to her room, and he was walking in the same direction, and — something like that, yes? She doesn't ask.

"I don't think it's entirely fair that you're wearing so much more than me," Zhirayr points out, more-or-less calmly, as he… fails to get dressed. Well. It isn't like she hasn't seen what's on offer plenty of times before — it's just that before meant before she accused him of killing the former Steward. Anyway. "We should also probably actually — talk, about this. Shouldn't we." Is that a real question?

"I should probably be getting — a bath and then back to the Infirmary," because Mirinda doesn't really want to go back to the infirmary just right now, sweat-soaked and all. But she hasn't got her own bath in her current space (she isn't quite high-ranking enough to merit a private bath, one assumes) and the public baths are probably crawling with people. So that's not actually much more appealing; all of this plays out across her face in about two seconds. Two very tired seconds.

"I have a bath, now," Zhirayr offers, impulsively, because it's a terrible idea, but he has, actually, missed Mirinda, and her daughter, and having them in his life in an actively-participating-on-a-daily-basis kind of way. "If you wanted some privacy, or not too much." Meaning, company. But only one person.

It's absolutely a terrible idea, as much as not leaving because there was a chance a gold could go up tonight was. Mirinda has already made one of those mistakes, though, and facing the entire bathing cavern or going to the infirmary to deal with flight and hookup-related injuries this mussed … "Okay," she says, instead, but doesn't seem to be actually moving just yet.

Well, to be fair, Zhirayr is still only wearing one of his socks, and it would probably be awkward for him to remain behind while she goes to his quarters to use his bathtub. He is, at least, reaching for his trousers, now. "So," he mumbles towards her floor, "about… this. What do you want this to be, anyway?" He's Weyrbred. He's also still a little heartsore. He could go either way.

Mirinda's entire response is to just look at him for a minute, blank-faced and equally blank-minded. Because she is absolutely not sure, which she's also completely failing to mask. "I have — I don't know. I don't —" She's upset. She has no experience with this. She understands the way flights work, but she has deliberately not experienced it before. She respects it. She is not like C'rus was once, unable to align her beliefs and understanding with the way things are at the Weyr. But that does not have anything to do with what she wanted in her own life, so this is astoundingly uncharted waters.

"Did you," Zhirayr asks carefully, as he neatly uncrumples his shirt and picks specks of infinitesimally small dust off it, "miss having us, and want to try again?" Most of the care goes into not saying which he wants, either way, just in case what she wants isn't what he wants. If he knows what he wants, meanwhile, he doesn't know about it.

"Does that have anything at all to do with what just happened?" Does it, in fact, always feel like something warm and familiar even when also terrifying and externally controlled? Mirinda doesn't know; she's left for every goldflight. She knows Zhirayr never does, and therefore, he must know the answer, and also know exactly what she's asking.

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeah, except how about no? "Um," the Steward answers, freezing, just a little, and then — carefully — glances up at her again. "As in, does the fact that we have a past history influence the way we just shared the expected aftermath of a gold flight in the immediate vicinity, or…?"

Mirinda nods, waving a hand in the air - "Right, yes. That." She seems pretty confident that was what she wanted to know, anyway, readjusting in her seat so she's got a more comfortable couch corner. "Does that history in fact influence anything that's happened in the past hour or were your two questions unrelated."

"If not for our history together, I certainly wouldn't be asking you if you missed it and wanted it back," he … teases, albeit mock-acerbically. She can still tell, can't she? Hopefully? "As for the rest — I think that if not for our past history, we probably would have been better at going to our individual quarters by ourselves, as well." Hey, Zhirayr can be honest.

"I'm not sure if I should take that as that you think the sex was enormously unremarkable, or —" That hand-waving thing again. Mirinda is still doing it. "But I don't see why you are making the connection between something that was the result of a flight and a romantic relationship, because you have also told me," like when he hooked up with someone else during a goldflight when they were just newly-together, before they had ever had sex, and she wasn't really angry so much as just confused and lost, "that there is no connection. So you've actually asked me two largely unrelated questions — am I supposed to assume that because we had ill-advised flight sex, which I know you've done plenty of times before, that means we should be talking about a relationship?" AKA exactly what he told her people didn't do.

Zhirayr remains silent for a long moment, watching her hands doing their wave thing until they finally stop, and then — and only then — looks up to meet her gaze again. "I'm not over you," he admits, quietly. "I'd been planning to go solo."

Maybe he should have grabbed them, seen what happened with that. "That's unlike you," is all Mirinda says; her tone and expression are both distinctly surprised, because this is the person who hooked up with someone else during Rhenesath's flight after they'd started dating. Possibly two of Rhenesath's flights, though it's entirely possible he was actually with Mirinda for the second one. She was gone for Kayeth's, and assumed that as they'd recently split up, he'd happily found someone — now she's confused.

"Well." Now it's his turn for the awkward hand-waving, although his is somewhat more abbreviated, whether or not it's more graceful. Economic, maybe. "There's something of a difference between general flight-related sex between two more-or-less-consenting adults, neither of whom have any reason to have sex with each other beyond the fact there's a gold flight going on and they find each other at least moderately attractive while under its effects, and moreover neither of them are deeply in love with someone else, and… pining for someone who maybe regrets the break-up as much as the person pining does." He spreads his hands wide in something of a wrists-down shrug. "So to speak."

"I, uh." Mirinda lifts one hand up again, and then puts it down rather than making another hard-to-follow gesture, "I think I followed that. I might have followed that. Are you sure you aren't related to Inri?"

"Reasonably sure," Zhirayr answers dryly, one of those hands coming up to shove his hair back out of his face, "since my family has been at the Weyr for generations, and hers… notably hasn't." More or less? Something like that. Or, in other words, isn't everyone on Pern related, to some extent, by this point…? "Leave it as — I wasn't going to settle for someone else when you were who I wanted."

Zhirayr's not secretly from Breakwater? Disappointing — but with an apprentice from Breakwater, Mirinda probably did know that. Thank you Kiard. "That's … I think that's sweet, but I'm not completely sure that's the word I want. Flattering? Still not quite right, but close."

"And then," Zhirayr continues, ruthlessly (because apparently Ruth has made off with the word Mirinda actually wants), "there you were, right when I hadn't been expecting you, and those plans to avoid people-who-weren't-you had failed to take into account the possibility I might actually run into you. I think I wasn't expecting you to still be here." Come to think of it… "Why are you here, anyway?"

"I was covering the infirmary tonight; I hadn't looked at weather reports." Mirinda's pretty sure it wouldn't have mattered — was anyone expecting it to rain? Would the visiting riders have been there, had they been expecting it? At least one or two must've been familiar enough with Fort's golds to have expected it. "Someone always has to be here, and — well, it's good I'm here, people usually get hurt after these things, but. I was working."

"And you probably need to go back to work," he admits, "hence wanting the bath, but — Mirinda. What do you want?" Because Zhirayr still has an answer he's hoping for, and as soon as you provide it he'll draw your bath himself.

"I don't know. You started it," he started it, right? Mirinda can say he started it, because she is ninety-nine per cent sure that he grabbed her arm. Even if this is also her tiny suite of rooms. "You tell me."

"You," Zhirayr answers simply enough, and is the first to drop his gaze.
"You're also the one who ended things between us." Meaning that: a) yes, he started it! and b) that he could, presumably, also end it. Or begin it again, as appropriate. Mirinda is not dropping her gaze, she is instead staring at the side of his head. At least she's speaking gently.

"After," Zhirayr points out dryly, "you accused me of murder." Because that is, in fact, what happened. It's hard to stay in a relationship with someone who thinks you killed a third party.

Isn't he the one trying to get back into that relationship, though? Mirinda is confused. 'Confused' is all of what's playing out on her face. "I did what I had to. I was unfortunately doing my job. I didn't actually think that you did it, I had to respond to the fact you had motive and opportunity — and some of the opportunity rumors were even involving me."

"It was a really poor motive," Zhirayr spits back instantaneously, and then stops himself, drawing a (slightly shaky) hand through his hair and letting out a sigh. "But. You were doing your job. I realize that. And you realize I didn't kill him. And you've apologized," more or less, "and I — miss you."

"Do you." Yes, Mirinda, he told you that already. "Well, then, I guess we could — should work on that, hm?" It's impossible to pretend nothing happened, but it's not like she really wants to ignore it, either. She has missed him. But good luck getting her to say that. "Also, I mean, actually no it wasn't to most people but it's — not important."

"I already had the job," the Steward points out. "Maybe not the title, but — everyone who was around knew that it was me. Us, really." He had help from the other Assistant Stewards, after all. "Anyway. You're right. It's not so important, now." There are other, more important things going on, like… fish. Right. "So. That bath?"

He didn't have the nicer apartment with its own bath, now, did he? Maybe he had a smaller bath. His digs are swankier now, anyway. With a tiny little smile, relaxing a bit, Mirinda nods. "Yes. Bathing. Bathing would be a good idea so I can get all of that off me — no offense — " she's never doing this goldflight thing again sorry, " — and get to dealing with all of the people who got minorly maimed."

Well. There is that. Zhirayr, meanwhile, is laughing, in a quiet-chuckle sort of way. "I suppose I won't be offended, this time," he teases. "So long as there gets to be a next time, whether or not you bathe immediately afterward. Shall we?" Does he have his pants on? He definitely doesn't have any of the rest of his clothing on (except that one sock, anyway). He should probably finish getting dressed before escorting her to his elegant tiny bathing chamber, even if it isn't all that likely that many people are prepared to notice partial nudity in the halls, yet. Ahhhh, goldflights.


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