Who F'inn, K'zre
What K'zre tries to bake. It does not go well.
When Winter - Month 13 of Turn 2718
Where Kitchen, Fort Weyr

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Fort Weyr - Kitchen
After rising up an imposing flight of steps you enter an elaborate vaulted ceiling. The delicious smells that gently infuse the air drift out from this portion of the cavern. The head cook, Rickard, bustles about creating the masterpiece dishes that the weyr as a whole consumes. His extensive collection of prized copper cookware hangs upon their custom-made racks, reflecting soft light back out into the cavern proper. A handful of sub-cooks and helpers are engaged in an variety of food preparations, moving briskly but efficiently about their work. A pair of spit canines trot in their wicker wheels, continuously turning the spits with their slowly roasting joints that hiss and crackle over the fires.

It started slow. A pinch of sugar here. A little honey there. Sweetening things that K'zre found to be too bitter or too bland without it. And that was always the excuse given: The Klah was too dark. The toast too dry. The meal too salty. So that something sweet was required to balance it out. Gradually increasing as the days went on, even as he utterly and completely refused to admit that he's actually craving sugar. But he can't deny it now, and it has him raiding the kitchens ala Phineas-style, to see what he can wheedle from the bakers. Sadly, for Kez, he does not have the charm that F'inn has. And when his demands of "I need something sweet" are met with blank or suspicious looks, he did not help his case by looking supremely disapproving and glaring in return. Which… is how he ended up getting booted to the back of the kitchens and told that, if he wants something sweet, he can damn well make it himself. Social skills. Kez is definitely still lacking them

So here he is, a few hours into his project with nothing to show for it but a whole lotta mess. It's a disaster. He is a disaster. There's flour and powdered sugar all over him; cheek and nose and forehead, streaked through his hair and down his neck. He's at least rolled up the sleeves of his sweater and stuck on an apron, but that hasn't stopped the mess from continuing on somehow, impossibly, beneath his clothes. And the kitchen area around him is no better. There are pans of discarded cakes (burnt on one side, still oozing and raw on the other), cookies burned beyond recognition (they used to be oatmeal, now they are just… black), bags of frosting meant to pipe onto the cupcakes that have somehow managed to make it into the oven but seem to refuse to bake properly. The rest of the kitchen staff is giving him a wide berth and alternating between pity and trying not to laugh while Kez chews at the pad of his thumb and peers toward the oven with great concern.

F'inn has been looking for K'zre since getting released from the infirmary. He'd checked the weyr, checked the barracks, even checked the human infirmary before finally giving up and asking Nymionth. Course, Nymionth is distracted with keeping a keen eye on the males paying court to Yasminath. And while he does not stop them, he is there to interject if any of them even consider getting out of hand. Course, he's also doing his damnedest to keep a wing over his little green while paying his own suit. Proddy. It's obvious and with it's realization, SO MUCH becomes clear to F'inn. He's both concerned and amused as he heads into the kitchen, winking at the cooks as he follows the pointing fingers toward the back. It is the mess— visible for quite a distance— that has him slowing his steps, one brow twitching mildly as he finally catches sight of K'zre. "Sweetheart?" The call is tenative as he draws close enough to smooth one hand down the length of K'zre's arm. "What… What are you doing?" Besides trying to become Frosty the Flour man.

Proddy. It is obvious to every male dragon in the Weyr and yet, K'zre has no idea. It doesn't help that Yasminath is not particularly glowy, and only really shows any sort of change beneath the light of the moon. And even then her natural 'glow', the silver accents that rise to the surface when the sun has gone and Timor and Belior are in the sky, hide the fact that she's just a little brighter than before. A *little* more silvery than usual. She is oblivious to the nature of the males that court her, finding their praise flattering and accepting it with the same bashful, shy delight that has always accompanied the issuing of praise or compliments in her direction. She has no clue that they might be less than sincere, or at least motivated by more than natural friendliness. But she remains tucked against Nymionth's side, pleased as punch to be snuggling with the bronze. Oh, there is a blue or two that sought to take that place, and will undoubtedly seek to snuggle should Nymionth and F'inn be called away. But for now, they are left wanting and Yasminath is left flattered and content.

And Kez? Kez is left… miserable. Confused and frustrated and wanting something he can't have because "The oven doesn't work!" The declaration comes in lieu of greeting, a reply for the tentative call that turns brown eyes away from the oven door and toward his weyrmate. "I'm… I'm baking. No," he amends, frustration balling up his fists and scrunching up his nose as he fights against an irrational swell of emotion. "I'm trying to bake. Only… only the oven doesn't work!" Clearly, it is the oven that is at fault and not user error.

It would take Thread suddenly returning to fall from the skies for Nymionth to move away. He is not budging without Yasminath and he has made that abundantly clear. For the moment, F'inn is fine with that, particularly since he has no intention of going anywhere without K'zre and Yasminath. It's the response, though that has him brushing his tongue over his lips, blue eyes flicking toward the cook that gives a faint shake of her head in the negative. "Alright," he soothes. "Well, let me look at it and see what I can do." Fortunately, while he is no baker, he does have considerable experience with a kiln. A kiln? Just an oven for clay. Squeezing K'zre's shoulder, he steps away for a moment, speaking briefly to one of the cooks before returning with a tray of frosted cookies. "Here," he murmurs as he presses it into K'zre's hands. "Work on these while I see what's up with the oven." And, true to his word, he does check that oven as well as he can without disturbing the attempt at cupcakes within. "You are using a recipe?"

There is not a single thing wrong with that oven. It works just as well as the rest of them. The fault definitely lies with the cook (baker?) and not the kitchen. K'zre looks like he can't decide if he's going to throw that pan of cookies against the wall, or collapse into a heap of miserable, sugar-and-flour-coated weyrling right there on the floor. There's even a sniffle, a subtle thing that Kez tries to pass off as powder up his nose, and not the threat of tears that it really is. "Of course," he offers, voice a touch raspy from that restrained emotion. "This one," and he turns to the battle-ground that is the counter, shoving supplies and failed experiments aside in an effort to find it. "This one," he says, offering it over. There's nothing wrong with the recipe. There's nothing wrong with the ingredients, and there's nothing wrong with the oven. The thing that is wrong? K'zre. He's not exactly followed that recipe. At least, not when it comes to recommended temperatures and baking times. This time, it's a forlorn look that follows F'inn as he goes to check on the oven, Kez worrying his teeth at his bottom lip before he sets about nibbling on one of the cookies given him.

F'inn has enough experience from cooking with his mother to realize the problem and immediately turns the oven down. A LOT. It's the sniffle, though that has him stepping back to K'zre and winding his arms around his shoulders. "The cupcakes are perfect," he promises. "They just need a little bit longer to cook is all." It's the sight of K'zre eating a cookie that has him leaning in to press a kiss against his brow, the flour and sugar not deterring him in the least. "Ovens can be finicky things," he explains. "You really have to check them to make sure the temperature is correct." Slanting a glance toward the counter (mess) he makes a point not to wince, fixing a reassuring smile on his lips as he trails his fingers over the nape of K'zre's neck. "We've got about ten minutes before they are done."

A little wrinkle, highlighted by the flour smeared across, forms over K'zre's brow. He's watching all that oven-fussing with the sharp-eyed gaze of the healer that he is, critically assessing each touch or tweak of temperature. "But…" because, because… "I want them now…" which is why, of course, he'd had the thing maxed out. It's a pitiful sort of complaint, and comes with a half-hearted bite of cookie that is nonetheless enjoyed by the sugar-craving weyrling. Another little sniff, even if there's a murmured and mumbled, "This is good," for the edible treat in his hand. His gaze abandons the oven at the kiss to his brow, brown eyes slanting upwards to peer at F'inn as affection is bestowed and explanations delivered. "But… but I did," because yes, he totally checked the temperature. And made sure it was exactly twice what the recipe called for. "Maybe it's me," he decides, "I can't bake." This is a miserable realization, and it has him sniffing once again, the threat of tears a reason for rapid blinking. He leans into F'inn, utterly oblivious to the mess of a person that he currently is, and how this is likely to translate to the other weyrling. "Why can't I bake…"

F'inn is a champ and does not laugh. Instead, he winds his arms around K'zre and hugs him gently. "You can bake," he promises. "But you have to follow the recipe as it's written." Pausing a beat, he thinks for a moment before offering. "It's like medicine. You don't get better faster cause you double the dose you've been told to take. Cupcakes are going to take a certain amount of time at the specific temperature given. You watch, this batch will come out perfect," he promises. Well, not perfect, cause it will take a bit to cool the oven down, but better then burnt beyond recognition. Fortunately, the cooks have already figured out what the issue is and are pointedly staying away from the proddy rider. As far as they are concerned? That's all F'inn's problem. At the moment, it is a problem that has him covered in sugar and flour and ignoring that in favor of gently rubbing K'zre's back. "It's not you, sweetheart. It'll pass just as soon as Yasminath rises."

"But…" because while K'zre understands that medicinal analogy, it just doesn't compute in his brain why doubling the temperature wouldn't reduce the baking time. However, the evidence has sharply proven his hypothesis to be wrong. Repeatedly. And the normally logical greenrider must admit the truth: he is the cause of his problems. This realization is the final straw, and the dam breaks. A soft little hiccup of a sound, and then Kez is sobbing, pressing his face into F'inn's chest. He clutches at him, fingers twisting into his sweater even as he still holds that cookie hostage in one hand and does his best to try and get himself back under control. The struggle is real, but he at least contains the sobbing to a more manageable level. "What do you mean…" and then the words sort of sink in, and Kez is going stiff and tense and jerking his head back to glower up at F'inn. "She is not proddy." Straight up denial.

"Oh, honey," F'inn murmurs as he craddles K'zre against his chest. "It's fine," he promises in the face of that glower. "Perfectly natural. I know it's scary," he assures as he continues to gently rub K'zre's back. "But I'm right here and Nymionth is glued to her side. Everything is fine." Just very emotional, clearly. It's the tears and the lack of logic from his normally stoic and logical partner that has F'inn shifting with the intention of using his back to shield K'zre from the kitchen staff. "Don't look at me like that," he whispers as he reaches up to gently cup K'zre's cheek.

"It's NOT scary!" It is. It's terrifying. "How would you know?" for being natural, because, "Have you ever been lifemated to a proddy green dragon?!" Even if K'zre is adamant that, "she's not proddy." Because logic? Yeah, that's gone. He's hopped up on sugar and running on emotions, swinging rather violently between furious anger and devastating sorrow which just inspires more tears. Frustration, this time. "Everything is not fine," he counters, lifting one hand so that he can swipe at the tears making an even bigger mess of his face. At least the kitchen staff is polite enough to pretend they don't notice the scene happening between the weyrlings (though undoubtedly, gossip will be going strong just as soon as they're out of earshot). It's the shifting and the cup of his cheek that swings that pendulum right back into sorrow, the fury in K'zre's expression vanishing as he clings once more to F'inn. "I'm sorry…" he murmurs miserably.

F'inn takes it all, his expression remaining reassuring even the face of that anger. "We're going to be right here for you," he promises. And while he is not /personally/ experiencing the surging emotions? He is, from the outside, at least. And he does his level best to weather the storm in it's entirety. It's the last that has him winding his arms around K'zre in a warm embrace, his head lowering to help shelter the smaller man's face from view. He can do nothing about people witnessing the scene, but he can protect K'zre's pride to some degree. "You have /nothing/ to apologize for," he whispers in quiet tones. "I love you and I am going to be here for you and Nymionth is going to be right there to sweep Yasminath out of the skies to safety."

"But I do," argues K'zre, the words a lot less heated and a lot more miserable-sounding. "I… I…" yelled at him. Glared at him. "Got flour all over your sweater…" And tears. And sugar. "And… and…" but he doesn't know how to apologize for being an emotional wreck who can't bake cookies without possibly burning down the Weyr. Because this is definitely a new situation, and just the uncertainty of it, just the fact that he's feeling all these crazy emotions, is enough to make him want to cry again. Frustration once again, because this is hard darn it, and he doesn't like it. "I just want to eat all the cookies," he admits, shoulders slumped and expression despondent. A little sniffle, and he murmurs a low, "I love you, too," as he goes back to burying his face into F'inn's chest and trying his hardest not to cry anymore. "Don't leave. Don't let Nymionth leave…" because right now? The absolute worst thing that K'zre can imagine would be Yasminath rising without the bronze pair present.

"Leave? Psssssh." The response is uttered as F'inn's hands move to K'zre's waist. A moment later, he's picking him up and setting him on the table in a seat. "There is nothing on Pern that could pull me from you, or Nym from Yasminath." That? Just not happening. In the wake of the words, he sets the plate of cookies in K'zre's lap, picking up one to press into his hands. "Eat your cookie, I'm going to pull the cupcakes out of the oven." And that is exactly what he does. When they set on the counter to cool, he steps back over, wedging between K'zre's knees to wrap his arms around his shoulders. "The sweater can be washed," he assures. "It's had worse things on it then flour." Feeling K'zre's anxiety, Nymionth puffs up next to Yasminath, his wing tucking more protectively around her as he makes himself larger then he is normally. It's time, clearly, for the admirers to be on their merry way. "We're going to be okay," he promises. "We graduate tomorrow. Everything is good."

K'zre might just have squeaked in surprise at being hoisted up onto a counter, but he's not going to admit it. A moment later there's a sniff, a swipe of his hand at his face to try and vanquish the evidence of tears (hopeless, really. All it does is smear that flour around a bit more) and a muted nod of his head for the assurance that F'inn and Nymionth are there to stay. A murmured, "Okay," as cookies are handed over, and cupcakes are checked on. Kez nibbles away at those cookies as F'inn does the baking thing with the sort of effortless ease that makes the greenrider a little bit jealous. He's managed to put away at least three cookies before F'inn is back and wiggling in against him, Kez more than happy to be in his arms once again. The plate of cookies is set aside, the final half of his fourth one quickly devoured so that his hands are free once again. "We're graduating tomorrow," he repeats, a low murmur that doesn't seem to understand the implications. Until he does. "I'm going to be… I'm going to be like this…" around a whole crowd of people? Devastation. "I don't… I can't…" On the rim, Yasminath is confused and somewhat sad when her suitors suddenly see fit to vanish. She might even pout about it, just a little. Sulking in her spot beside Nymionth as she watches the blues and browns and even that one other bronze, slip away to find something else to occupy their attention. Oh, they'll keep watch, ready to spring into the air should Yasminath rise. But none of them are in the mood to pick a fight right now.

"You are perfect," F'inn assures. In the wake of the words, he reaches up and cups K'zre's cheek in one hand, leaning in to brush a tender kiss over his lips. "And I will be absolutely proud to be the one escorting you." Leaning back slightly, his smile is quiet and warm, nothing but confidence shining in his gaze. "I'm impossibly proud to have you as a weyrmate, K'zre rider of green Yasminath." For F'inn there is absolutely nothing about K'zre's proddy that he finds distressing. "I'll serve you sweets the whole time we're here," he promises.

His hold just tightens, fingers digging into F'inn's sweater as he holds on with a desperate sort of determination. There's a flicker of a frown, a moment of hesitation, but he hasn't the heart to argue any of that. Any of it. It's making his heart hurt in the best way. "Thank you…" comes for the last, even as he takes a few more deep breaths because damn it he's going to cry again! He can feel it, welling up behind his eyes and threatening to spill right over again. And he doesn't want to cry anymore, even if this time it's from unbearable joy rather than sorrow or frustration. "Ugh," comes with a scrunch of his face and a lean forward to hide himself against F'inn once again. "I hate this, I hate…" feeling like he can't control himself, feeling like he's a hairsbreadth away from sobbing over nothing. Hormones. They suck. "I really want to eat one of those cupcakes," he confesses. "Do you want one?"

F'inn smooths his hand over K'zre's hair when he tucks his face against his sweater clad chest. As far he's concerned, K'zre can cry all over him and that is absolutely fine. At the thanks, he brushes a kiss over the top of K'zre's head, nuzzling gently. "I don't mind it, at all," he admits. The emotion? It's a welcome thing in F'inn's world. The mention of the cupcakes, however, has a mellow laugh sounding in his throat, his hand smoothing over K'zre's hair before he draws back a step and reaches for them. Without so much as a blink, frosting is smeared over the top of the cake and the cake pressed into K'zre's hand. "You go ahead," he assures. While a part of him would love a cupcake, he's not willing to indulge in sugar at the moment. "I'll lick the frosting off your lips."

K'zre believes him, if just because he has no reason to think that F'inn would lie. And so it is a comfort, that declaration that he doesn't mind the tumultuous emotions that are currently running rampant in the healer-weyrling. Kez hates them, but he can't do anything about them. Not when F'inn is there, making him feel safe and loved and like it's OK to be a little out of control. A little (lot) vulnerable. The presentation of a cupcake gets a shuddering sigh, and he lifts it to swipe up the frosting with a lick of his tongue. "It's good," he murmurs. "It's so good. Now I know why you liked it so much." Even if his craving and adoration of sugar will likely vanish once Yasminath has been flown, for the moment K'zre can't think of a single thing that tastes as good as that frosting does. A second lick, and he's cleaned the cupcake of frosting, prepared to break into the 'cake' part of it with his fingers when he turns his face toward F'inn in expectation.

F'inn exhales a husky laugh as he watches K'zre with an adoring gaze. It is a sight he never expected to see, but one that he finds welcome all the same. It is the expectant look that has him stepping in, one hand raising to cup K'zre's chin as he leans in and draws his tongue over his weyrmate's lips. In the wake of the brush, he steals a tender kiss, pale blue eyes warm as he leans back. "Exceptional frosting," he admits. In the wake of the words, he slips two tubes off the table and tucks them into his belt pouch. "For later," he explains with a lopsided smile.

It's the tender kiss, and the declaration that follows it, that inspires the first smile of the day. It's a timid, tentative thing, but there all the same. K'zre loves him. Undeniable. Unbearably. Hopelessly loves him, and it's shining in his eyes even if he doesn't say the words. The theft of frosting bags? Doesn't even get a twitch. Kez? Not entirely catching the meaning of those words, but utterly glad for the thought that there will be sugar in their weyr, and he won't have to come down here to get it. "I want to go home," he decides, a faint murmur that (thankfully) lacks any sort of a quiver that might suggest tears were imminent. "I want… I want to take the rest of the cupcakes, and the frosting, and go home." And baring complaint, that is exactly what they will do. Go home. Take a bath (because Faranth knows, Kez needs one. F'inn too, probably) and then curl up in front of the fire and make good use of that frosting. The wreck of a kitchen left behind them? Ehhhh… Someone will clean it up.

F'inn totally scoops K'zre up Gone with the Wind style and carries him off to home.

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