dogbreath ii: (not so) electric boogaloo
Who A'ster, Syn
What Syn semi-pranks A'ster with a surpris(ingly adorabl)e prospective pooch. A'ster appears amenable. (Surprisingly so, says Syn.)
When Season and turn. Or handwave as needed. Or shrug.
Where Guard corral, Fort Weyr

filename.tld


Fort Weyr - Guard Training Field
The TP room desc is unhelpful. Presumably it's a field full of guards that are training. There's a room full of desks for bigwigs apparently, and the scene takes place at A'ster's desk. You know what, just read the log, it's okay to use your imagination this one time.
It isn't actually an office all to himself — it's a desk in a room off the guards' barracks, adjacent to their brig (surely) but not part of it. His isn't the only desk, but he's the only one in at the moment. There's a little nameplate that says 'Sergeant Alister' still despite the time since his Impression, there's a few file-folders in a stack.


Is this still A'ster's desk? Does A'ster still have this office-that-isn't-one to himself? Is he really still listed as Sergeant Alister? WHO KNOWS. Certainly not Syn - regardless of whether she has the right desk or not (she didn’t look at nameplates, she could be at the desk adjacent to his for all she knows), or whether or not there are other people around, she has completely occupied it, butt plopped firmly into the chair, booted feet crossed right in the middle because she's short and that's all she can reach okay? Which leaves the entire rest of the desk to be consumed by a sincerely enormous stack of folders to one side, and a large box that occasionally gives an ominous wiggle on the other. The mistress of chaos herself? Literally filing her nails whilst ugly-humming an offkey series of notes that might just be a song, or might just be an audible manifestation of her inner horribleness. You decide.

Yeah, that’s still A’ster’s desk. It’s a little bigger now than it used to be, and while the nameplate on the desk still bears Sergeant Alister, he’s listed in the directory (of course there’s a directory) by proper rank and name. He, notably, is not at his desk, at least not until it’s been thoroughly colonized, invaded, no longer inviolate. He? Was not informed of this, and there’s a Look cast outward — presumably to his lifemate, or possibly to literally any of his fellow guards who could have given him a heads up, but didn’t. Even in a sea of desks and uniforms, A’ster’s approach is an easy one to spot, all clean-cut amiability and disarming charm, right up until the moment he actually sees his desk. Or, more importantly, its occupant. It isn’t thunderclouds that roll up into his expression, but the easygoing grin fades into something resigned, and the area between and composed of his eyebrows (and, adjunct, the corners of his mouth) go a little bit pinched. He says, simply, “Syn,” but it’s astounding how much resignation, faintly laced with what-now trepidation, he can imbue a single, three-lettered syllable.

There's a DIRECTORY? Shit man, she just looked for the desk that most read 'I'm an uptight but reportedly-loveable asshat that likes to stick their nose into other people's business' and went from there. Eenie, meenie, mynie, A'ster's, the success of her selection echoed in the nose-wrinkled, shit-eating grin she aims at the brownrider as he approaches from afar. It grows by increments that can be measured with each of his steps, maintaining a vaguely-friendly element right up until his expression changes. He sees her and that smile goes positively feral, blue eyes tracking all of those little markers of his resignation on his face as though they were something to be catalogued before she replies with a drawled, "Blondie." Cue sudden, affected, over-the-top seriousness, feet swinging down from on high so she can rest elbows on the edge, steeple fingers, observe him with solemn eyes and pressed lips. "Have a seat. We have important matters to discuss." Did she just gesture for him to sit on the other side of his desk? She might have. Does she mean it? Maybe not. The facade breaks with a giggle, tinkly if slightly-manic, tacking on an amused, "I've always wanted to say that. Shells, I need a desk like this. It's so big and fancy." It probably dwarfs her. She trails newly-manicured fingertips along its edge nevertheless, humming thoughtfully under her breath before her eyes flick back up to A'ster's face. That whatever-it-is in the box rustles again, but she doesn't look away, merely smiles a tad harder and says, "Long time no see. I've been good, can you believe?" Can he though? CAN HE.

A’ster GESTURES with a finger, from her to the correct seat, though the motion isn’t a direct line — he clearly doesn’t trust her not to come over the desk, if he doesn’t clearly indicate that she’s supposed to go around it. Like a reasonable human. (He has faith. Sorely, sorely tested faith.) “There has been a distinct lack of your presence in my,” he glances up, toward the brig, then back down to his desk and the stacked folders sitting there, “files, lately.” Syn may not look at the box, but A’ster is a trained observer with a finely tuned sense of paranoia when it comes to Syn — and, let’s face it, her cadre of clutchmates. “If that’s about to explode, I’m definitely going to arrest you,” he tells the box. Wait, no: he tells her, while steadily watching the box. A’ster, unlike other blond, slightly uptight, good-aligned people who could be named but aren’t relevant in this setting, doesn’t look like he’s about to throw himself on the box should her answer be yes. He does, however, look like he’s fully prepared to grab it, sprint, and hope no-one decides to play receiver when he goes long. “Why,” is exhaled on a sigh, “are you here?” Specifically at his desk, one presumes, although ‘here, on this planet, in this weyr, in my life’ could also be assumed.

OH, A'STER. Precious lamb. My sweet summer flower. Did you really think that precise little gesture would be enough to keep Syn from climbing your pretty desk like a goddamned mountain? If so, you thought wrong. That half-wild flicker the likes of which is usually employed by cats about to do exactly what they were just told not to enters her eyes, fierce grin softening into a docile smile as she hefts herself up onto the desk's surface just to see what he'll do. Wiggle. Wiggle wiggle. Back she goes, enough that she won't be IN HIS FACE but not far enough that she can't lean her tiny self over and just… patpat the newly vacated chair. There you go, Blondie. She even got it nice and warm for you. "Mmm," she agrees at length of her lack of presence in his brig/desk/planet/weyr/life, head tilting to one side to best blink coyly at him, "I decided your files were boring and decided to make my own." Which perhaps explains why there's just so many of them. There's more of that blissful smiling for his rapt attention paid to the box, and really the expression is just as dangerous if not moreso than her actual sharky grin, in that it tries and utterly fails at at being innocuous, and worse, she knows it! "It's not going to explode." Beat. "Much." Well. "Dangerously." Swing-swing go her feet, that too-innocent smile finally trading for something more suitably mischievous, lips pressing up at the corners to draw out her dimples. "What? Can't a girl pay a visit to her favorite guard?" A'ster might not be Captain America, but Syn is definitely some manner of villain-a-la-vixen, fingers pressed to her chest in mock-offense before she leans towards him with a savage grin. "It's for you. Why don't you open it?"

What he’ll do is wait, eyes still focused on the box but peripheral attention clearly on Syn as she climbs; as she feral mountain goats up but not over, and then leans. It’s either the chair-pat itself or the lean back toward him (either one affords the chance to catch her slightly more off-balance) that’s the signal to move. A’ster isn’t lightning-fast, as good as that sounds, but he’s got creeping up on twenty turns of guard-training at his back and in his arms as he shifts his attention and his weight all at once, one arm behind her back to grasp her far arm and pull it close to her, his other arm sweeping under her legs from behind to knock them out from under her. It’s a sweep that keeps sweeping, though, to hook up behind her knees and by the combined force therein, HAUL. He is, at least, expecting a grapple of the sort that ensues when one attempts to put that self-same cat in a bath, but still. He does his best to get her scoop-heft-hauled up off the desk (there are, unfortunately, acceptable losses amongst the files) and grapple-pinned to one side (is he trying to get her up against his hip like she’s one of his no-longer-baby siblings or nieces, rather than set her down? It’s. Entirely probable that’s where the move originated.) The attempt being made is to free one of his arms, so he can reach for the box and flip it open with all due suspicion — and then his grip on her tightens in surprise and somehow simultaneously softens, like all the wind’s been knocked out of him. “Sygnet,” used to end in ring (and wow, it’s been a few turns since that one got employed) but for the moment, it doesn’t. “What?”

The box says, “Aroo?”

Grapple? Maaaybe not. Laughter? Deeefinitely yes. The initial sweeping of feet perhaps earns a surprised noise from the greenrider, hands going out as though to catch herself on something more out of reflex than any implication that A'ster meant to drop her right on her ass (Though, could one even blame him if he did? No, no they could not). Outside of that, she's surprisingly compliant with this literal man-handling situation, tinkly giggles issued as she's scooped and hefted and perched on his hip like a damn child. She doesn't protest, though - she owns it, knees tightening around the rider to better keep herself aloft, one arm hooking around his neck, the other lifting to trail artfully-poised fingertips A'ster's chest with a purred, "Why, Blondie. I didn't know you had it in you to sweep a girl off her feet." Replete with nose-wrinkle and a crooked-grinned wink, because she's horrible and A'ster just can't be allowed to have nice things. Luckily, it's most likely play in the end, considering how quick sultry mirth is to vanish in the face of his stretch to flip the lid of the box. There's a twitch of small hands, as though stilling the temptation to stop him at the last second, a breath taken in and held there and is Syn nervous? She might actually be nervous, lower lip jerked out from between teeth the second she realizes it's there, blue eyes lifting from the box to A'ster's face as he tenses and eases in turns and invokes nicknames she hasn't heard in so long it actually pulls a laugh from her, a small, slight noise that actually fits her shape, rather than threatening to burst from her seams. "It's a dog," she says needlessly in answer to that question, because the box says, "Aroo?" but it also wiggles and fills with scrabbles, floopy ears flip-flopping over one another over a derpy face as, lid gone, the puppy within tries to peer without. HELLO WORLD. "Someone was getting rid of him, and I don't know, he seemed big and dumb and floppy and I thought to myself, if anyone'd know what to do with him, it'd be somebody equally big and dumb and floppy." AH YES. Back to our regularly scheduled Synsults. Break's over!

“There’s a lot about me you never bothered to get to know,” could be cutting, but isn’t. It’s a little bit gruff, distracted in its offhanded delivery. When Syn doesn’t protest, but in fact aids his endeavor, he secures his arm around her and her place on his hip with a hitch-heft that’s entirely too practiced to be happenstance. “Stop,” he says, withdrawing the hand from the box to flick at her trailing fingers, flick-flick no. His heart isn’t in it, though, because his eyes are all for the flop-eared, big-eyed puppy perking up out of the box. The puppy’s ears get a ruffle, all easy affection in the pass of one hand over its face, a brief and playful grapple-tug of its snout, and a quick lift of one precious puppy paw to check that — yep, it’s gonna be a bigun. (If, perhaps, not quite so big as its predecessor.) “Syn,” is still that soft-gruff, and he jostles her against his hip for emphasis over, “stop. Stop.” Because this is A’ster, undone: one hand is still where the puppy can reach it, but he turns his head just enough that he can jam his face against the top… side… ish … of her head, wild-thing hair or not. It’s hard to tell the shape of his mouth, whether it’s a grin or something a little more in line with slightly damper eyes. “For five Faranth-damned minutes, fucking stop,” is aggrieved, but there’s less of a teasingly exasperated edge to it as there is something genuine. “Keep your ridiculous tongue in your ridiculous head long enough for someone to have a human fucking emotion because you brought them a fucking,” he jostles her again, for emphasis or just because he’s realized what he’s asking of her, “puppy. I missed my damn dog.” He probably shouldn’t have said damn so many times, but w/e my Pern slang is sloppy for the sake of sharding emphasis, tonight.

There's lofty laughter for that proclamation, but also a roll of one shoulder, conceding the point with a drawled, "Fair. A situation I shall endeavor to rectify forthright." Declared firmly in the wake of a snicker for flick-flicks aimed for her fingers; she stops, but only to link one hand in the other, effectively completing the koala chic look A'ster's got going on right now. She doesn't stop being cheeky, per se - her teeth are still bared in a grin, her nose still wrinkled with the depths of her amusement, but even she knows not to interrupt puppy-petting! You know… until the nerves hit, and suddenly she's talking a mile a minute. He's telling her to stop, and briefly it seems like Syn might not truly know the meaning of the word, jaw working, mouth already open to offer more excuse or perhaps deflect in the event A'ster doesn't want him post-inspection, to offer suggestions as to who around here looks trustworthy enough to inherit a dog when — face! Face in her hair, haphazard though it most certainly is, and Syn tenses, pauses, listens, and slowly shuts her damn mouth. Breathing is slower to come, the rest of that held breath leaving her on a slow exhale that bleeds characteristic wound-up energy out of the rider's tiny form, fingers splitting apart to allow hands to separate. One palm goes for the back of A'ster's head, applying the gentlest of pressure from both sides as she tilts her temple against his forehead, too; the other drops, and maybe it's the advent of a daughter or just enough turns between this time and the last, but Syn's picked up a thing or two about emotional human contact, fingers skimming his far shoulder in slow, comforting drags even though she's jostled and told and sworn towards in the name of human emotion. "Okay, A'ster," is all she says in reply, voice soft as though hesitant to put forth even that, but she's doing well for an agent of chaos and misfortune, and life owes her at least two words, especially when one of them is the brownrider's real name. So she gives him his minutes, maybe not five, but close enough for a Sygni-turned-Syn, insecurity finally outweighing attempted obedience in the form of, "I hope this wasn't unwelcome."

The puppy will have to make due with chewing on the edges of his box for a little while. When Syn actually stops, actually responds — so does A’ster. There’s no more jostling, although there is a little bit of a hitch — so he can bring his other arm around, bring her around, turn the whole thing into an actual, real hug. (Albeit one where she’s still, you know. Held up at his hip/waist height.) It’s some shuffling, and he’s the quiet one for a while, too, save for a genuine-laugh breath when she actually talks. “No,” is probably still a little more openly honest than either of them are used to being with each other, but it’s only the flex of A’ster’s arms that belies the turn of his head to look over at the puppy as he finishes, “it’s a lot less unwelcome than I’d have expected it to be.” Oh, god, A’ster needs hugs, doesn’t he? His dog died, his last relationship ambled to a close, his life’s been a freaking country song — and now there’s a puppy, and a hellchild demonspa— chaos incarnate greenrider who’s brought it. He doesn’t let go, or put her down, but there’s something A’ster-breezier about the, “So, ‘s the mutt got a name?” that he asks while totally not at all obnoxiously rubbing the end-of-shift scruff of his chin against her hair. (See: he can obnoxious right back, under the right circumstances.)

There might be amusement for the need or will to shift her around again, but Syn tries to mute it, she does - shoulders might quake, air might get huffed out of her nose along with a flashed grin, but she keeps her promise and leaves words out of it. Instead, she slides the pet-soothing hand forwards to dangle over one of his shoulders, the hand in his hair taking up the task in its stead, probably setting all of poor A'ster's hair askance as fingers card back and forth through it, but look they'll match, okay? There comes a hum of satisfaction for the brownrider's response, Syn tipping her own head against his to turn her bright blue gaze on the puppy as well, keeping silence in the form of considering the little whimpery wigglyworm before huffing a quiet, "Good." And maybe it's that motherly instinct kicking in again, or maybe Syn really is human under all those demonic entrapments, because she reads that edged need for a hug and responds in kind, curling both arms around as much A'ster as she can reach, hands seizing on bits of uniform and tugging, the better to press herself against him. THERE THERE, A'STER. Look on the bright side: there's no Autobots and Decepticons in this universe, so at least his truck and his house and his booze can't up and leave him, too! It's something! The embrace is brief, the span of a few heartbeats at most, but genuine nonetheless, ending with a light pat-pat and an unladylike snort against his shoulder. "I've been told I'm not allowed to name things after Ibsyglei," she drawls, words edged with bright laughter for the scritch-scratch of stubble in her hair that she endures with a scrunched expression, "and he didn't come with one, so I guess that falls to you. Thinkin' of something in particular?"

He doesn’t cling, but gosh: A’ster’s a hell of a hugger, with all of his attention focused on it, and there’s a match to the seizing and tugging and pressing; once-upon a candidacy, weyrlinghood, and intervening turns-ago Sygni would have had an apoplexy to know this is all it took to get this A’ster-pants adjacent without a fight. Ibsyglei’s name isn’t a surprise — of course it isn’t — but he laughs anyway, buries his snort against her hair for a moment before shift-shifting her again. It’s not quite back to his hip, but it frees up one arm again so he can scoop the puppy up with it, and drag him into the A’ster-holds-tiny-things (who probably want to chew on him) collective. “I don’t think you’re acquainted with any of my family besides me, are you?” he asks, then lists off, “Calataish and Andebrai, who had, Cailen,” normal enough, “Ashandrei - think they’re going by Ash’rei now, but it’s changed about eighteen times, Alister,” he doesn’t really have a hand free to point a thumb at himself, but it’s fairly easy to figure out, “Beshnai, Coriselle, Biskimec, and Calira. Ibsyglei’s nowhere near what it could have been.” Which isn’t, actually, the question she asked him. “Last one,” the one Morizanth stank-faced the stands for when she hatched, “was named Dogbreath. It wasn’t entirely on purpose.”

It's like you read her mind! "Faranth," Syn drawls in the wake of that hug, pushing back to rest elbows on shoulders, if only for a moment that she might try to meet him eye to eye. "Would've gotten you a puppy four turns ago if I thought it'd butter you up this bad." It's a joke, but somehow it's more earnest than those previous, head tilting, gaze reading something that might be concern, rather than the usual wild mischief or droll contempt. It's a question raised without asking, checking if he's actually okay before she's off again, expression clearing to make way for an amused, crooked grin and a hiss of laughter pressed through teeth for the snort pressed to her hair. "Shut up," she sasses, aiming a pinch for something vaguely rib-wards with the intent to tickle, a singular attempt before she settles back against his arm to listen to name-justification in the form of family members. "Alister," she repeats, perhaps the sanest of all of those, though it's likely she says it only because his full name amuses her somehow, the train of thought abandoned to offer a confided, "My baby cousin's named Zozizezny. My aunt got mad her weyrmate named their twins without includin' a Z for himself." HE FIXED THAT, DIDN'T HE. Still, "None of those have to do with you, though." And so she waits, and blinks when the former canine's name is offered, and mouths the name back at him, and wiggles a finger in the face of the beheld pupper contemplatively before saying, "You either have to name him something better or own up to that by naming him Dogbreath the Second."

A’ster lets the eye contact happen, and there is the ridiculous, sunflower-bright charm-and-disarm guardrider that everyone else knows him as: there are crinkles at the edges of his eyes now, sure, but his grin is just shy of trouble as he leans in to tell her, “Four turns ago, I wasn’t in the market for one.” Which is definitely a way of saying: four turns ago, he still had his original old-man doggo, but without making things sad. (It’s also his way of answering her look: as okay as he’ll be, and able to tease about it.) “Hey!” is much more familiar coming from him, but it’s difficult to side-step pinchy tickles when you’re holding a) a puppy, who thinks all of this is utterly delightful, and the person doing the pinchy-tickling. “I will drop you,” is a credible threat, but it loses a little impact as he shifts to make sure that if he has to follow through, the desk will greet her behind before the floor does. “Zozizezny,” he repeats, with both his knack for heard-once repeated-right names, and more than a little awe. “That’s incredible. And Dogbreath wasn’t on purpose,” he laments again, “he just. Had. Dog breath. I spent a lot of time saying, “get your face out of my face, dog breath!” until he just. That was his name.” Dogbreath 2: Electric Boogaloo says, “Awoo?”

"As though, if I had brought you a cute dog, you would have said no," said in a haughty drawl as though that wasn't a concern she'd legitimately had five minutes ago. Syn's already past it, confidence restored, bolstered, even, by the sergeant's sunny regard. She doesn't push her hands all over his face in bemused wonder, but she looks for a second as though she'd like to, the impulse coming and going with a press of dimples and a flicker of bright blue eyes. SEE. She can behave. “Still. Now I know the secret. Bring Blondie cute things, watch him become an instant softie,” ??????, profit. Tickle objections earn a sharp bark of laughter and a sudden sway against him, nearly nose-to-nose with a dangerous-drawled, “You wouldn’t dare.” Wouldn’t he though? Maybe he would, and so she vacates his face to mitigate the risk, leaning to push hers up into the puppy’s instead with a cooed, “You wouldn’t want to give the ickle pupkins a bad first impression of you, would you? No you would not, noo yoo wood noot,” gets repeated with less and less real syllables and more and more wooble-woos the likes of which are reserved for baby animals as the poor pup’s face is peppered with kisses and nuzzles, peeking up only with the change in subject. “Almost as good as Biskimec,” she replies with much less adroitness in pronunciation (reasons she gives nicknames, y’all), choppy hair set to swinging with a shake of her head. “Still, Dogbreath. Well, it’s a legacy now,” asserted in the face of that ‘awoo,’ “better emblazon it all over a collar before you change your mind. To the leathercrafters!” Did… did she just point and squeeze her thighs as though A’ster were a steed? She sure did.

“I’m developing an immunity,” A’ster is quick to deadpan-drawl out, “via exposure. I was due for a booster, thank you very,” it’s the corners of his eyes that do it, the corners of his mouth: the smiles start there. On Duty, and that’s where they tend to stay; Off Duty, or very-nearly? It breaks through over, “much. The Weyr appreciates your dedication, and thanks you for your contribution to the health and safety of its officers.” He isn’t ignoring her terrible, terrible, awful baby-talked assassination of his character, not with the way he pairs a small, long-suffering shake of his head with an eyeroll to the ceiling. What he isn’t doing is verbally engaging over it, instead using the moment’s distraction of both Syn and DB2 to reach for a folder, flip it open to a clip-bookmarked page, glance up briefly, and scribble something down. “Biscuit and Gravy,” he adds, because it’s funny. “B’s the one who made Akleteyth that,” oh, and there’s the thundercloud that Syn’s more used to seeing obscure A’ster’s sunshine face, “sweater.” Pause. “Gravy raises the sheep.” There’s a little — a little something, in the way he tenses as she point-and-squeeze directs him; it’s gone before he turns away from the desk. “I know where it is,” he adds, familiarly aggrieved but with a newer, slightly-teasing note of mock-petulance, “I don’t need directions. Don’t lose the puppy.” Because they are leaving, and since it’s A’ster’s feet that are the ones on the ground, they are leaving on beat-cop steady strides.

"An immunity," Syn deadpans right on back, expression held flat, lips curved only just so, one eyebrow cocking ever so slightly over the other. "To cuteness." Inhale. "And if I believe that, you've got a well in Igen you'll sell to me?" Callin' him on that bullshit? Absolutely! "I'll bet you five marks - no, ten! - I can cause a breakthrough infection again." Confidently asserted, with a low-mumbled, "Health and safety of its officers my ass," and "the day I'm responsible for your health," and "I'll safety you" with a poke delivered to his nose before she leans back to cross her arms, the very picture of the petulant child in need of hip-lifted wrassling. It's all for play, though - Syn has her tells the same as he does, low-grade amusement simmering in the recesses of her gaze, appreciation for his jokes and humor even if she feigns otherwise. "Biscuit and Gravy," she repeats at length, actual mirth shattering her little facade even though her brow quirks impossibly higher. "Which one is Gravy?" Because sheep don't help her, but that sweater does. Eyes light up like the Christmas monstrosity the sweater was, entire diminutive form swelling with eager energy. "Oh, that was her? I need to write her and congratulate her. That was brilliant. I want one for Morizanth!" No. No she doesn't. That should on no uncertain terms ever happen. "She would look so charming. And also kill everyone in sight, but." Shrug, aka, 'worth it!' And Syn reads that brief hesitation, but assumes perhaps that it's something she's said or done, settling back into her skin with a sheepish look that doesn't keep her from chatting his ear off as he makes like a tree and gets them the fuck outta there. "Even if you don't, I can see for miles from up here. I'll spy the place from ages away. Is this how you see all the time? Need stilts.” And, “Do they even do dog collars? I was mostly just bluffing, but I mean, I suppose a commission's a commission, right? I'll totally buy it for you." Said as she gathers the pup to her chest, the rest of her turned in A'ster's grip to watch the same old usual world go by, just taller. She digs it.

“You,” A’ster meets Syn’s challenge, “haven’t met any of my nieces and nephews, have you?” Oh but A’ster, the universe has a trump card up it’s sleeve in the form of the as-of-yet unmet Ibsyglei, after all. Tch. “Because, let me tell you — hey,” is actually broken up like this: be-cause. Let. metell. YOU. HEY; each pause contains a little bit of a duck-dodge of the FACE-POKING FINGER, and the last word is punctuated by another one of those little hitch-heft not-quite shakes for emphasis. Historically, here’s where the struggle for dominance between A’ster’s order and Sy(g)n(i)’s chaos would have taken place, but with the diminutive greenrider hitched up on his hip, A’sterBlaster’s changed his tactics. He, literally, gets words in edgewise, a little short-breathed as he keeps verbal pace with her and keeps pace from the training grounds and further into the weyr. “Biscuit’s bestie,” answers, “he, actually,” corrects, and, “careful, she might decide to keep it on just out of spite, and decide BITING IS AN APPROPRIATE RESPONSE TO A PERFECTLY REASONABLE ‘OKAY, THAT’S LONG ENOUGH, YOU’VE HAD YOUR FUN, COME ON,’” retains all of its capslock but in half-size font in deference to the puppy’s ears as it’s directed over A’ster’s shoulder and up, where there’s no telltale flash of carved-wood curio whergoyle brown in visual range, it’s — not an unfamiliar routine, after all. It’s also all Syn’s show as he navigates foot traffic that takes slightly more attention; they’re in a briefly crowd-cleared space just long enough for the quick stumble-and-correct in, “I’ve been buying dog collars for th- turns,” to be clear-caught. “If you’re good,” he covers with, uses the full and weaponized force of his good-boy rogue’s charm to deliberately distract, “I’ll let you pick the color.”

"I don't need to. I can be very cute all on my own, thankyouverymuch. You just haven't met me trying to be cute." Because Ibsyglei is the ultimate trump card, one she'll keep tucked well up in her sleeve until one day — whabam! Cuteness! But that is not this day, or at least, not yet in this day. Right now, she's giggling and chasing his nose, unrepentantly avid about it, 'mmhmm'ing patiently for his staccato words as though encouraging him to get to the point (whilst simultaneously keeping him from it). Worst. Shaking (or successful booping) brings her to a stop, at least, instead focusing on peering over people's heads for once, snickering for the brownrider's sweater plight, and lower-case shouting, "YOU SHOWED HIM! HE'LL NEVER TAKE YOU ALIVE!," even though, again, no dragon present, and no mental connection to 'Kle either, so it just looks like two people yelling at each other past a dog but… this is fine. People probably see it's her and write it off immediately. Stranger things have happened while she's being carried off by a man. "But also probably not. Have you met Morizanth? She'd shred it before I got it put on and I'd have to deck her wings with strands of yarnage," flalalalalala. The mental image amuses her, enough that aborted sentences take just a half-second longer to kick in than they might ordinarily, but when the quick-change hits her brain, Syn is all over it, head jerking back with a side-eyed, "A'ster." It doesn't stop there, either, because he doesn't stop. "A'ster, A'ster, A'ster," each said with a bodily twist that's more dramatic as it goes, trying to wrench herself down to physically stop him by skip-stopping her heels and toes against the ground bike-like, if only to ask, "A'ster, are you kinky?" Faranth, but her expression is fey, rapt, attentive in ways it shouldn't be, smiling shark-like in the face of this charm that she knows is a ruse because that's her ploy, but also… It works. For now. If she's succeeded in escaping, she'll climb right back aboard the A'ster-train as though this was a normal thing and he should keep on carrying her, wicked-tease in her tone as she slants him a sly, "And if I'm bad?" Terrible.

Also, let’s be fair here: if seeing Syn is involved gets their oddity dismissed easily, then after ten turns of the Alisty and Stumpy Show, the fact that A’ster is the other half of their shouting at nothing double act means. Well. Means no-one really pays them any kind of mind. Which is convenient, really, for the purposes of everyone involved. Well, the second: maybe not Syn. Because it means that A’ster can keep them moving through the next wave of foot traffic, dogged determined (and determinedly be-dogged). It’s just like old times! Except. Except. He is deft, in his dodging, and did this deliberately; he clears the crowd while also having slowed down just a little on every repetition of his name, while grippy-grappling with his armful of mind-blown explosives aficionado (expert?). While by it’s nature there’s definitely some hindrance to her attempts, it’s also helpful as much as it can be: she hits the ground solid, and drags against his forward momentum - but that momentum is slow, by the time she does, stubborn enough that she does exert a genuine amount of force before he stops. A’ster’s face doesn’t do fey, but oh it does human achingly well: the expression that meets her shark-grin is so guile-free it should be bland. It should, by all rights, but it isn’t; there’s something in the eyes, maybe, or the way a grin softens, slightly sad, over, “No,” so genuine, so heartfelt-wistful that he should be winning awards for it. (He’s already earned promotions on it.) Because it is a performance: he’s leaning in to scoop her back up as that expression shifts, lightning-fast: his grin turns bright, brilliant, wicked with delight; why is revealed with a turn of his head toward her as he scoops. “I’m Blondie,” should never, ever manage to match Syn tone-for-tease; it’s unfair, really, that A’ster can actually pull it off, especially considering: the moment after their delivery, the one where Syn is secured in her spot, the ruff-scruffed puppy redeposited back in her custody? In that moment: he laughs. He laughs, how dare he, and grins down at her with eyes bright with terrible delight and cheeks — and cheeks bright, too, mouth gone all temporarily, genuinely shy-boy compressed around the grin as he starts walking again. “If you’re bad,” comes after a pair of beat-cop strides, delivered with eyes front and cheeks pink, but delivered evenly, “well. I am a guard.” It isn’t the statement that answers her question; it’s the quick glance down at her over, “Aren’t I?” that does instead.

Oh. Oh he's good. He had Syn with that act, had blonde brows easing back to something less like exclamation and more like apology. The words are already there on parting lips, 'I'm sorry' or 'I shouldn't have joked' on the very tip of her tongue, something that will never be regret but still dims the light in her eyes for wistful words and an expression that hits her right in the humanity as he hefts her back up against his side. The look is so grounded that it makes its transformation all the more stark, her own features flying through bafflement, suspicion, straight on to scandalized outrage and— "Oooh," growl-hissed with wicked blue fire in her eyes and a sharp lift of her chin for that DAD JOKE to END ALL DAD JOKES, "ooooh. You. I— Ooooooh." Don't get her wrong. Syn's delighted, and what's more, she's literally delighted beyond words. She cocks her jaw to one side, mouth shifting around a bucketload of things she doesn't say, instead darting her eyes over and over every inch of him that she can see, appreciation in her gaze. Appreciation, and revenge; revenge for that play on her emotions, and that joke, and that use of tones that are hers but also somehow so fittingly and disturbingly alluringly his; revenge for the injustice encapsulated in his laugh, and the color riding high on his cheeks, color that she finally caves to impulse and reaches out to brush with her thumb, though perhaps only to draw his attention back from beat-cop striding with a drawled, "What're you gonna do, Lieutenant Blondie?" Lean. A sinful curve of lips. "Handcuff me?," she asks, enunciating those three syllables as though they were each their own little sentence. Witness. Witness her smirking smugly and petting the puppy in her arms nefariously enough to be a villain. Muhahaha.

Today’s a good day to die, Valhalla! Syn has been witnessed, and while A’ster has neither the cultural context nor the free hands to v-8 salute, well. We know it’s there. He’s not quite so fatalistic as a warboy, though. The color on cheeks doesn’t fade, but he stops paying quite so dedicated attention to his forward trajectory. (No quite doesn’t mean none at all, though.) “I should get that as my next nameplate,” he tells her pausing briefly to re-orient the three of them, then move onward again in a slightly different direction. It’s al-most like he knows where he’s going, like he’s had a plan all along. (He does. He has. He has a guy.) “No,” he says again, but this time there’s no intent to trick or tease — well. Maybe a little bit of that second one. Just a bit. “Never in the bedroom. Hard metal, narrow edge — can cut off circulation, cause permanent nerve damage,” is just as sincere, as slightly-concerned for everyone involved’s well-being as he ever has been when delivering a safe-sex, a flight-sex, a Faranth save them all, dragon-sex lesson. “Now,” he says, and that smile curves into being again, enthusiasm-bright with just a trace of wickedness at its corners, “cuffs, on the other hand,” yes, it’s the same two words, but he reaches out to gesture with a hand, span a width with thumb and middle finger. Then he glances down at Syn, the smile turns into a grin, and he closes the span of his fingers to a width more suited for the greenrider’s wrists. It isn’t long, though, before he slows them again, and says, “We’re nearly there.” It’s almost an offer: he slows slightly, shifts his hold so she could more easily drop out of it - but doesn’t put her down. Lady’s choice.

Oh boy, A'ster. Now you've done it. There's comes an inhale, so sharply drawn that it can only be the harbinger of incoming dramatics, one hand going to press against her chest, this time in mock distress and scandal and— "Oh no. You are kinky!," she breathes before she pitches her voice alternatingly loud and low, expression tilting between holderly horror and perverse enjoyment for each of her own asides. "My delicate feminine sensibilities are offended! (Actually, they're kind of turned on.) We simply cannot go on like this! (Don't you loosen your grip, mister, I'm not going anywhere.) How dare you, good sir!" Dogbreath gets shifted, that one arm might fling outwards towards an unfortunate passer-by. "Help! Help! I'm being carted off by an unreasonably good-looking man! He has a delightful sense of humor and an appreciation for leather! This cannot stand! Arrest him! It will be gloriously ironic!" The last is mostly for A'ster, a wild twinkle in her eye as she glances at him sideways, voice finally lowering back to regular tones even if her absurd mood persists. "Is it incestuous if you're arrested by another guard? Arrestcest. No, arrestuous." God bless A'ster and his armful of wiggly puppy and equally wiggly woman, one that fixes him with a look that's exceedingly predatory before she finally glances towards where they're going. "I want it to be green. No, red. Or maybe black, like my heart." Er. The dog's collar? "Ooh, do you think they can make the cuffs to match?" Oh. No. She means for her. Good. Thank you, Syn. Because that's a mental image A'ster needed on top of everything else. Maybe he should drop her before it's too late. Or at least put a sign on her that says, 'DANGER. DO NOT INDULGE.' EVER.

This isn't a closing pose so much as it is a brief summary, because this was back-and-forthed over the course of a few days and then suffered from a series of unfortunate(ly distracting) events that left it unfinished. They did, however, make it to the guy A'ster's totally been buying dog collars from for turns. Then part ways, because the combination of the two of them is too volatile to predicate any other predictions on. (Also: too much fun to just leave up to speculation.)


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