Fort Weyr - Residents Cavern
This hall is long and wide, with numerous doorways off either side, leading to private residential rooms. The hall has clearly been hewn from the living rock by the Ancient's stonecutting technology, utterly straight and planed smooth.

It is late. Very late. 'Why in Faranth's name is that crazy girl out and about' late. Several hours after her meeting with Abigail and, despite her earlier beliefs, Polana still can't bring herself to fall asleep. So she decides to do the only thing she can think to do at the moment, apologize to Borodin. As in apologize for slapping him a while ago, which she may or may not have already done. She can't quite remember if she has or hasn't. Either way, it's getting done now. Borodin sleeps in a private room in the residents cavern, but she isn't about to let that stop her from reaching him. Quietly the blonde pushes the door open and slinks over to the sleeping form of the Vinter. She then proceeds to bend over and give him a small push before calling in a soft voice, "Borodin, wake up. I need to talk to you."

Zzzz. Borodin sleeps peacefully! He's had a long and busy day hauling barrels along the tunnels, because sometimes what vintner apprentice means is being a packbeast. Oh, sure, they could get the drudges to do it, but after that time when a barrel got dropped and the hall smelled like beer for a seven, that job gets given to the apprentices, because at least if they mess up, uh… the journeymen will know who to glare at? (No pressure.) So, his busy day done, Borodin's sleeping. Not just that! He's dreaming. His eyes are moving behind their lids and he's got just a tiny little twitch of his foot at erratic intervals. Oh such dreams he's having! The other cot in this shared room's got a vague shadowy lump in it, maybe the occupant - or maybe he's out, the opposite of those nights when Borodin's the one kicked out to make the room a truly private one. (Which is, one might speculate, the whole reason Borodin got invited to share the room in the first place. He's easily kicked out!) For now, though, Borodin sleeps. He dreams. They're nice dreams. He has a smile on his face! … nudge. Someone is poking him. Someone is talking to him. Saying his name. Wha? Huh? "…jus' anothr…" It can't be morning yet, can it? He doesn't wanna open his eyes. If he does, he won't be pressing blueberries with pretty girls a-dragonback anymore!

Aww, he's twitching! And when someone is asleep and twitching it's easy to assume that they're dreaming. This is nearly enough to make Polana decide to turn around and leave him alone. Nearly. Her apologizing is clearly much more important than him getting more rest. Not to mention that petty little part of her that says that if she can't sleep he shouldn't be able to either. So Polana lets out a small sigh, a bit of a frown crossing her face. Her eyes scan the dim room for a moment, searching for glows to make it brighter. Lights always wake her up. Soon enough she spots a mostly-covered basket of glows and proceeds to place it on the bed, right next to Borodin at that. She then pulls off the sheet covering it, allowing the light to spill out. As if that won't be enough to wake him up she also calls, "Borodin, I need to talk to you. Wake up."

Why are the blueberries turning into glowworms? Now they're not going to make good wine at all! And the dragon is turning into mud, and it's squishy (and blue), and the pretty girls are, nooooo, they're going away and… Blink. Blink. Borodin opens his eyes and finds… Polana. His nose wrinkles a little. Girl, yes, but she is a very poor substitute for the ones he had in his dreams. "Wha?" he says, and reaches up to rub the back of his hand against his eyes, then lowers it again to squint at her. Yep. Still Polana. Borodin frowns.

If she could read his thoughts Polana would be rather upset. And just what is wrong with her!? She's pretty, certainly better than any dream blueberry dragon girls. But she is not a mindreader, and thus he is saved from her wrath, the wrath that is probably why he prefers the dream girls. When Borodin's eyes blink open a small smile crosses her face. Despite it being the middle of the night and her being in a nightdress she still looks as well put together as she normally does. In fact there's a good chance that she stopped to comb her hair before coming and waking him up. Paying absolutely no attention to his tiredness Polana exclaims, "good, you're awake!" Suddenly she hesitates, as if she's having trouble bringing up her next words. "I just wanted to say I'm," another pause, she looks away from his face, "sorry."

One important difference is that Borodin's dream girls (which are not necessarily the same as the girl of his dreams) only very rarely slap him. And this wasn't one of those dreams! So, yeah, he's kinda disappointed. He dreamt of a dragon and woke up to a wher! (Personality-wise. Very few whers have long blonde hair, and if they wear nightdresses, Borodin doesn't want to know about it.) If she brushed that hair, Borodin's not in any state to appreciate, though he does stare at her. "Uh." Awake? "…yeah." He supposes he is, shardit. So what is this ever-so-important thing that's got him woken up in the middle of the night? As Polana hesitates, he slowly pushes himself up to a sitting position, because at least he can not be lying prostrate before her. Even if he is in an undertunic and boxers for the night. He tugs the blanket up around him somewhat, though her words - when she finally comes up with them - make his hands just… stop. "What, uhm…" She certainly didn't do it before. Not for that, and - to the best of his knowledge - not for anything. He stares, at Polana, befuddled, and then… "Oh!" It all makes sense. This is still a dream, he's just changed settings. "Can you go back to the blueberries?"

If the girls in his dreams did slap him, and slapped him when it wasn't one of those dreams, it would probably be more like a nightmare than anything. Naturally Polana would also resent being compared to a wher, no matter how true it is. As a matter of fact she might actually make a good wherhandler. Not that she'd ever agree to bonding to one of those 'beastly' animals. All ugly and lumpy and mean, why would she want to bond with one of those? It might show her up! She is supposed to be the scary one in any sort of partnership she enters, not some malformed not-dragon! Not that she would ever admit it. At Borodin's slowness to respond Polana's eyes narrow and for a moment it looks like she might be tempted to slap him again. But she does no such thing. After all, slapping him is what got her in this problem in the first place. Instead she watches, an amused look crossing her face as he sits up and pulls the blankets around himself. Like he expects her to attack or something. Then there's the question, that utterly baffling question that causes confusion to cross her face. It also shows in her voice as she asks, "what blueberries? I'm apologizing for slapping you, blueberries have nothing to do with this."

…it was worth a try. But, no, apparently this is going to be one of, well… those dreams. Figures. Borodin frowns, shaking his head. "Uhm, never mind." No blueberry dreams for him! "I, uh." Wait. Blink. His tone holds disbelief. "You are?" Okaaaay subconscious, let's try to keep the dreams at least plausible?

Wait, so squishing blueberries on the back of a dragon with pretty girls is more plausible than Polana apologizing? Either Borodin has some wild secret life no one knows about or Polana deserves some sort of award for being so unkind that the other thing seems more likely than her apologizing. The 'bitra of the turn' award. She shakes her head at his disbelief-laden tone, a exasperated sigh leaving her. When she speaks she says in a deadpan, "no, I'm here because I like watching you twitch in your sleep. Yes, I'm here to apologize! Now accept it so I can move on with my life." Her grace with words knows no bounds.

Wait, she does? Borodin's eyes widen for a moment before he concludes that it was probably (hopefully) sarcasm. (Please be sarcasm. Please, please, oh please be sarcasm.) "Uhm. Okay…" he says, and then glances past her to the rest of the room. Still dark. And it's quiet. And… "It's, uhm, the middle of the night." Right? It feels like it, anyhow. "Uh. Why are… what…" Losing track of thoughts. Try again. "Uhm. Why now?" So much for him being obligingly quick.

She can't help it, she lets out a small snicker when his eyes widen. Right, like she would really spend her time spying on the likes of him in the middle of the night. Doesn't he know that she has better, much more important things to do? Polana tries her best to be patient as he struggles to find his words, and when he does finally manage to string some together she comments, "relax, it's sarcasm. Like I would spent my nights watching you." A small huff leaves her along with a roll of her eyes. Before he can say anything she adds, "and I'm doing it now because your sister suggested I do so a couple hours ago and I don't want to forget. Well, your sister and the leadership."

Watching him in his sleep, no, but apparently Polana is interested in laughing at Borodin and rolling her eyes at him. Borodin pulls the blanket a little closer around him, and as Polana explains the reasons for doing it now, he frowns… frowns… oh but then, a moment after she finishes talking… is that a smile? It's a small one, if so; tight-lipped and practically not even there. "Well, uh, I…" He sits up straight. "No." It is a smile. It has to be. Even if his eyes are squinching a little from the effort of not watching for the slap. "I'm not accepting it. The apology."

Oh, she expected him to accept. He /had/ to accept. Who in Faranth's name would go and not accept an apology? Borodin apparently. He says that he is not accepting the apology and the reaction is immediate. Polana tenses, her eyes narrowing and a snarl threatening to make it's way onto her face. For a moment it looks like her hands are going to curl up into fists. But no, if she does something she will lose her position and possibly be kicked out of the Weyr, no second chances. So she forces herself to appear calm and makes a thin-lipped smile appear on her face. Her voice is clearly fakely sweet as she asks, "and why not?"

Borodin is expecting that reaction. He's even expecting those fists to come and beat the small smile off his face. He wouldn't duck. Why should he? It would be ever so satisfying. The brief flash of anger is satisfying in its own way, though. Especially with how fake the smile afterward is. "I, uhm, don't have to tell you that." He doesn't! Oh, he doesn't, because for once, Borodin's the one holding the power. He has something Polana wants. He'll just hold fast and… "But, uh, it's because you aren't sorry." Okay, so he won't hold fast all the way, but he's not going to give in entirely. "So, uhm. I'm not accepting the apology."

Borodin holds the power in this moment and Polana knows it. Knows it and hates it. Wherever she is, whatever she's doing, /she/ always had to be the one in control. Knowing that she isn't for once absolutely infuriates her. If he doesn't accept her apology, if he tells the Weyrleader or Weyrwoman that he doesn't accept it, there is every chance that she could get stripped of her position. Not that she's going to tell him that, for she has no doubt that he would take advantage of that fact. Instead she frowns at his explanation of why he won't accept her apology, noting how quickly he gave up the answer when he said he didn't have to tell her. There is a blunt tone to her voice as she says, "I'm rarely sorry. And you don't have to really accept it, just say you do."

Oh, Borodin doesn't know anything about potential consequences for Polana. He doesn't have to! All he has to know is that she wants it, and that part is entirely obvious. "But, uhm, I won't." Because what's she gonna do? Hit him (again)? "Because I don't. So I won't say that. Because I'm not going to lie."

Surprise shows on her face for a brief moment when he says that he won't lie. He's not going to lie? What's wrong with lying? Doesn't he know that Pern would fall apart if no one lied? Polana actually goes as far as saying so, exclaiming in a shocked voice, "and just what is wrong with lying!? Society would fall apart without it. Leaders lie to keep people calm, people lie to each other to stop people from freaking out, if I had lied to you I wouldn't be having this problem right now. If anything lying is good."

"I'm, uhm, not a leader," Borodin says. He shifts, leaning back against the cool stone wall behind his cot now that it seems he's escaped physical attack for the moment. "So, uh, even if they do, I don't have to. You, uhm, you don't get to tell me what to do. So, I, I'll do what I want unless someone who can, does. And, uhm, that means I'm not accepting it." He even manages to swallow down the reflexive 'sorry' that wants to follow that sentence.

So much for the nice approach. Polana's eyes narrow and this time she does not try to stop them. Her last nerve being rapidly approach she beings to do one of the things she does best, looking for weakness. Her voice is cold as she points out, "you sound awfully nervous for someone trying to stand up to me." She then sits down on the cot without an invitation and asks, "tell me, what did I do to upset you so that I have not tried to apologize for? Am I not pretty enough for you?" This is followed by her flicking her hair to the side and leaning forward slightly. "Am I not /good/ enough for you? Would you not gain from being able to have me on your list of allies? Because you certainly do not want me as an enemy."

Borodin smiles briefly, ducking his head as though attempting to hide the expression before looking up again at Polana as she sits on his cot. He remains leaned back, shoulders resting against the wall. "Why, uhm, should I?" He shrugs, flexing those shoulders against the stone. "Sure, you're pretty. I don't care if you're good. I'm not much good, so why's it matter?" He looks away, across the room to where the shadows are. Like he doesn't even have to keep an eye on Polana. "I, uhm, don't really keep track of enemies. Sorry." That time it slipped out.

She is trying to seduce him. Does he not /realize/ that she is trying to seduce him? The nicely combed hair, sitting down on his cot, leaning forward, the question about being pretty. Is he /blind/? Frustration flares through Polana, although she refuses to let it show. Instead she starts playing with facial expressions again, this time trying to make herself look innocent. But when that 'sorry' slips out you can almost /feel/ the smirk that wants to crawl across her face. Her voice is soft as she asks, "why are you sorry, Borodin?"

This is, oddly enough, not the first time Borodin's been leaned back against a stone wall talking with a girl who's insulted him. Of course, the situation last time was somewhat different, but nevertheless. Borodin leans his head back until it (very gently) touches the wall behind him. He can see Polana when his eyes drift that way, though he doesn't seem to be spending nearly as much time staring at her as she might hope for purposes of her seduction. They move toward her, then away again at her question. Another shrug. "Lots of reasons. Most of them don't matter."

Oh, that answer works for her, in fact any answer at all would have worked for her. It's actually enough to distract her from the fact that her attempts at seducing him are failing, and failing miserably at that. Of course she isn't trying as hard as she couldn't but she doesn't want to end up actually doing anything with him. Besides, she is beginning to think that emotional manipulation would work much better for him than anything else. Leaning back slightly she says, "exactly, lots of reasons. Like I apologized to you for lots of reasons. I /am/ sorry about some things, like that I messed up and that anyone had to get slapped at all. It would have been much easier if I didn't have to resort to physical violence."

Well, this is Borodin, after all. Who would? He leans against the wall, not really moving much. His eyes wander to Polana again. Lots of reasons? And she is sorry? … oh. His mouth curves up on one side in a not-really-smile, and he looks away again as she finishes. "No. Still." Would've been much easier if he said yes, wouldn't it? Borodin lifts a hand to muffle a yawn. "Can I go back to bed?" It's late! Late enough it might be getting early. And he's tired.

No, it's still a no. This whole time Polana has tried to be composed, tried different tactics aside from flat out beating it out of him, and still he holds firm. By now she is actually starting to fall apart on the inside, although she will not show it. Actually, maybe she will. For a brief moment desperation actually flashes across her face. So finally for her last attempt she resorts to something she rarely ever does when trying to get what she wants, being honest. "Look, Borodin. I'm not sorry that I slapped you specifically but I am sorry that it happened. I don't really know you and I am not an empathetic person, I almost never feel sorry for someone unless I knot them. I'm sorry that I upset your sister, I do respect her as a rider and as a person." A pause before, "tell her I said that and I swear to Faranth I will cut you." As if that little thread had never happened she continues to say, "can you please, please, just accept that for whatever reason this is important to me? Not important as in I will be emotionally unsound if you don't accept the apology, although after all this I probably will be, just also important as in if you don't it could /ruin/ me. I was promoted to a messenger, and one of the conditions was that I apologize to you. I don't want to go back to being a drudge, I can't go back to being a drudge. Even if I don't really know you you seem like a good person, maybe even a better person then me. Please, please prove that you are. If you do I will leave you alone. No more midnight visits, no slapping, /nothing/. You won't ever have to talk to be again if you don't want to." A pleading looks appears on her face, a true pleading look. And, for a moment, it looks like she might actually be sorry.

Oh, sure. Polana's not sorry for doing it, she's sorry there were consequences (for her). Isn't that how it always is? Borodin stares across the room, not really looking at her. Oh, and she's sorry to Abigail? Yeah, sure, that still makes sense. That's different. And… he turns his head slightly, looking at her as she continues. His lips curve at the mention of it being important to her. He gives a scant nod, as if noting her admission of something he knew all along. Ruination? That gains a measure of interest, and then… oh. She's worried about being a drudge. He frowns, and his head turns away again, looking at the shadows as she finishes. A good person? His lip curls. That's like being a nice guy. "Sure you can. It's, uhm, not that hard. You stand there, shut up, and do what you're told." He shakes his head. "And you get a dinner without finding it yourself, so you're one up on the holdless while you're at it." Borodin looks back at Polana, a frown on his face. "So, uh, yeah. You can do it. You won't be ruined. Drudge isn't some sort of slime that makes you melt away and never comes off. You, uhm, you might not be happy, but that's not the same thing. Sometimes things happen you don't like. I… why should I care about what happens to you?" His gaze remains on her, this time.

She listens to what he says, her gaze remaining on his face even when he is not looking at her. For once she does not interrupt, she does not make faces, she does not try to come up with plans and ways to manipulate him and word her way out of this. Instead she watches and waits, a grin feeling of acceptance settling in. Once he seems to have finished she adds on, "it is having no one respect you, having people looks at you and wonder what is wrong with you that you haven't been able to get out of that position. It is not having any responsibility because no one trusts you enough, because no matter how great you try to act like you are, no matter how much you push yourself up, you are still nothing at the end of the day. It is living in the Weyr when you do nothing in return to help them, living with a sense of uselessness that won't leave you no matter how hard you try to shake it. It is knowing that you will not do anything to impact Pern, nothing to be remembered, knowing you are just a face in the crowd." Although she does not say it out loud the words go unspoken, 'it is everything I pretend not to be.' Finally, she adds in a voice that is barely above a whisper, "and after all I've done you really shouldn't care."

Borodin listens. He doesn't look away. His facial expression barely even changes, a stare and a flatness of his lips that has no intent to be readable. At the end… he laughs, a short and humorless sound. "That's life. I'm not a leader. Nobody is going to remember me, either. What am I going to do? Make some drinks and let people forget about the futility of their existence a little sooner at night?" Borodin snorts, dismissing himself readily. "You're not your job. You can take your knot off and go wandering the tunnels. Go out for a walk. If anyone remembers you, well, guess you're not as forgettable as you think. If they don't… give them something to remember. Or don't." He shrugs. "If you want to see not being respected, take off your knot and hike to some of the outlying holds. If you're lucky, they'll sneer instead of reaching for their bows and not just during." Borodin shakes his head. "So. You… you won't be ruined." He frowns, and now he does, finally, look away. "I, uhm. I'm still not accepting it. But, I'll… I'm not not accepting it. I'll give you a…" His frown deepens. "A chance."

What he says has a frown appearing on her face. Life. That truly horrible thing called life. It's rarely ever fair, and when it is it isn't to everyone. For all of her effort Polana only just managed her get herself out of the position of a drudge while others, like Abigail and Inri, are given a stepladder to another life thanks to something like a hatching. Surprise momentarily crosses her face when Borodin talks about how he likely won't be remembered, like he understands but, unlike her, has accepted it. For a moment she feels pity for him, although it doesn't show. To walk around having already decided that you won't make a difference? It must be even worse than fearing that it will happen. When he gives examples of how it could be worse she finally finds herself unable to hold his gaze, glancing away even if only for a moment. And finally he finishes, offering her a chance. Polana is quiet yet hopeful as she asks, "a chance?"

"Uhm. Yeah." Borodin frowns to the opposite wall, not looking at Polana. "You, uh. You want to… make a difference, right? To change Pern. So, uhm. Start with me." His eyes dart to her briefly. "Change my mind." Borodin looks away again. "Convince me that… you're worth helping." His lips quirk. "It shouldn't be that hard. After all. Uhm. Some of my friends are drudges." The smile, such as it was, disappears again. "So, uhm. That's… your chance. And, uh, I don't mean tonight." He does want to get some sleep! "I just mean… in general. I'll watch. And. And you can convince me." He shrugs, shoulders moving against the stone. "Or not."

His speech is not all smooth and planned like hers normally is. Instead it pauses, it takes a while for her to listen to. It is the kind of speech that she normally wouldn't have the patience to deal with. But this time? This time she clings to his every word. When he finally finishes she gives a nod before saying, "okay." With that she stands up and begins to walk away, about to leave him to get some sleep. But just before she exits Polana turns around and whispers, "thank you." And with that she is gone.

Borodin nods. And then he goes back to bed. The blueberry girls are, however, nowhere to be found.