There may be something there that wasn't there before
Who A'ster, Thys
What o/ We'll wait and see, a few days more… There may be something there that wasn't there before. o/
When Spring, Turn 2711
Where Center Bowl, Fort Weyr

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Fort Weyr - Center Bowl
The wide center of the bowl is often bustling with activity as riders come and go. Off westward can be seen the entrances for the candidate barracks and the guest weyr, while to the east is a large opening that leads into the dragon infirmary. The bowl stretches off both to the north and to the south, where the sheer stone walls rise steeply to the sky.


This scene begins in this log: Girls Gone Wild.

"The uniform suits you," Thys comments in return, allowing herself a quick up-and-down glance over the brownrider once again… she's got to be sure she's telling him the truth that he looks good, after all! Then she snorts a laugh, shaking her head as she looks in the direction the girls just went. "Faranth, I hope Akleteyth doesn't like them too much, what with Kayeth about to clutch and all… I'd pity the weyrlingmaster who got stuck with them. Poor M'icha." Shaking her head, she brings her attention back to the guard-rider beside her. "I have no clue. Some strange fetish, perhaps? A practical joke? Maybe… actually, forget maybe. I'm going to put signs up in the lower caverns, the baths, the laundry… people need to know their underthings aren't safe. Who knows what could go missing next? One day knickers, the next… uh…?" No clue what could be next.

"Fines," A'ster suggests, returning the once-over with another of his own; he even reaches out again, and runs a finger down the outside seam of her near sleeve; absent terrifyingly exuberant young women, his grin - his I'm toeing the line and I know it grin resurfaces. "Threats of time in the brig. Searches on entry and exit of the laundry. If you ever wanted to find out how much of this is the uniform's tailoring and how much of it isn't, I would be open to the examination. Flattered. Interested - if you are. We should definitely hang signs."

Thys's got a fine seam on the outside of her sleeve! Which is made of a buttery-soft leather, too. It's very swish. She must be off to see someone important. Her head turns to watch A'ster's trailing finger, one brow raised in curious amusement. "Are you suggesting we hang signs in the lower caverns, or that we hang a sign on my weyr door?" She smirks, giving her umbrella a twirl before settling it on her shoulder. There's space enough for the brownrider to duck under too, if he wants. "You're very forthright in your propositions, A'ster." Though she hasn't said no. "It might take a little more to reel me in if I don't have a drink in me." Could that be a hint?

"That would be a sock, ma'am," A'ster corrects, and oh! he is cheeky with it - so earnest in its delivery, but the corners of his eyes crinkle and give it away. He lifts both eyebrows, glances at the umbrella - and should the deliberately left space remain an invitation, steps under. It means he's very close again; close enough Thys might even catch some of the lackluster spray of water that comes off of him as he scuffs his fingers through his hair to get it off his face and keep it from dripping into his eyes. "I think," he says after some deliberation - time during which he's quite interested in her face, and the approximate location of her right collar bone. "That I'd rather put in the effort it takes to reel you in sober - not," he adds quickly, to clarify, "that I'm opposed to buying you a drink, goldrider." There's that curl of affection, of warmth that simmers a little higher this time, turns the title into something more intimate than a given name. Ridiculous brownrider.

Oh hello, very-close-A'ster. Thys shifts her weight so she's angled towards the brownrider, making conversation a little easier. A little more intimate, too. Which does mean she gets some of that water from his hair - and like a pro who's used to keeping a straight face in awkward situations, she ignores it beyond a little blink of her eyes. "I'm afraid the effort wouldn't be worth the pay-off," she says softly, with a crooked half-smile. "Beyond flights and bars…" Thys shrugs her shoulders gently. It's no real secret that she's only really seen with company when she's a few drinks in, and rarely when she's sober. "Let's have drinks?"

A'ster runs his finger over that seam again, but this time he lingers on the butter-soft leather, then curls his hand around her elbow. It's a loose grip, so she can easily pull free, but it's solid and sure in spite of that. "I just offered to let you inspect the quality of our uniforms' tailoring, up close and hands-on," he reminds, eyes bright. "I'm happy to let you blatantly objectify me, with the effort it takes to have that be the pay-off…" He's still picking her up, rather than letting her down - he leans in and adds, "I don't need to get drunk to enjoy your company, you know. And you don't need to get drunk just to get me out of the uniform." He's warm, leaned in that close, and there's an extra breath as he pulls back, one that leaves the lingering impression he nearly went for the kiss on her cheek, then didn't. Just opted for grinning down at her and saying, "But let's have drinks anyway."

And for the second time this morning, Thys is left without words. It's the blatantness of A'ster's flirtations that do it, when he leans in so close to her, causing her breath to catch in her throat. She stays pokerfaced while he lingers, looking straight ahead at Rhenesath who is absolutely no help at all, given that her eyes are whirling a happy, and very bright, turquoise. She's enjoying this, even if Thys gives off no signs beyond the slight stiffening of her posture, which the brownrider will likely feel through his touch on her elbow, if it's not obvious any other way. When his breath is on her cheek, her eyes narrow slightly, her lips part just a fraction… and she exhales the breath she's held this whole time. "A'ster. Ali." She remembers his pre-Impression name! "Let's have drinks." Again. She looks at him, biting briefly on her bottom lip. Then Thys reaches out to gently press her palm to his chest. It's a brief touch, one that turns into her actually fiddling with one of his uniform's buttons, before she withdraws her hand and slips it into her pocket, where it's safe. Hopefully he'll understand what she's trying to say without words and through her body language alone: cannot do this now, but not saying no.

It's the button business that does it: when Thys has reclaimed her hand, he ghosts the motion, touching the button with his fingers before dropping his hand, and tucking it into his pocket as well. The other hand, still at her elbow, drops as well - but not away. To her hip, which he spans with the entire reach of it. He doesn't use it to drag her close, just holds it there while he looks down at her. His grin is a ridiculous half-hook of an expression, but his eyes are sincerely earnest in a way that reminds of the newly-relocated, freshly-promoted guard she first met turns ago. "Okay," he agrees, easy despite that aching sincerity, "let's have drinks." His fingers tighten briefly in warning, and he leans in - to kiss her forehead.

Again Thys' breath catches in her throat, first at the touch to her hip, and then when he leans in. Her eyes close and she loses her straight-faced composure for a moment, just long enough to run her tongue along her lips to moisten them. While he leans down, she tilts the umbrella she's holding to ensure it's high enough to be out of his way - so his hair doesn't tangle in the spoke-things beneath the canopy, since he's tall - and she also draws her hand from where she'd just placed it in her pocket to press it gently against his jacket. There's even a little curl of her fingers into the fabric; a ghost of a hold, perhaps? It's certainly not pushing him away. Thys looks up, brown eyes catching his gaze to hold it, steadily, when he pulls away from the kiss. "If I didn't have to go to the Weavers…" She blinks, biting down on her bottom lip again. And her hand stays on his chest, too.

A'ster's thumb moves - the one on her hip, the one that hits the hem of her jacket but doesn't push under. Instead it rubs, back and forth, over the same half-inch of material at her hip. He's too busy not looking away, as long as she holds his gaze, to realize he's doing it. He ALMOST breaks the shared look - but instead it's the downward sweep of unfairly thick eyelashes that mutes the blue of his eyes, the catch of his own bottom lip between his teeth as he considers - and then he smiles. It's the sun breaking through the cloud cover, if the sun were a little bit of a golden retriever; it's his eyes crinkling so much they almost close entirely as he pulls his hand out of his pocket, covers hers with it. "I need," he says, bright and conspiratorial and never having been more interested in the prospect of being pawed over, ever, "something to wear to the clutching to-do and the hatching shindigs that isn't just my dress uniform - and won't embarrass the weyr. I'm under orders, goldri- Thys, and I-," this time he does look down, look away, but it's as he's laughing at himself "Doing everything to avoid it. Would you be amenable to an escort to the Weavers, if I turn all the finicky fashion decisions over to you?" When he stops, when he looks at her again, his expression is more hopeful than any one he made while trying to flirt his way into her pa- out of his uniform in her presence.

Holding a gaze like that is almost criminal. But, when A'ster rests his hand over hers, Thys blinks and gently pulls her hand away, snapping out of the moment even though she doesn't move any further from him. "I'm meeting with the Master Weaver," she says in a small voice that's barely more than a whisper. "We're sending him… a thank you. For taking in some of our people after the cave-in." Hence Rhenesath's straps loaded down with bags. "I… don't have the best eye for fashion, but," the goldrider pauses, dropping her gaze briefly before looking back up at the guard-turned-rider. "If you want to accompany me and you want my opinion, I can join you after my meeting?"

There is something in that small voice that dims the boyish brilliance of A'ster's expression but doesn't diminish it: it's warmer again, softer. He starts a motion, the lift of hand to her cheek - but alters course mid-lift in a way that has little to do with disguising his intent and everything to do with trying not to overwhelm her. So rather than touch her face, he scuffs his hand back through his still-damp hair, and swallows. "Yeah," he says, all eloquence momentarily stolen, "yeah, absolutely. That sounds - great." The wording is lackluster, sure - but there's nothing in his tone or body language to indicate disappointment. "I'm definitely happy to steer clear of the Master Weaver," does edge a little sheepish, but if her memory is long - the pink that spreads over his cheeks and the tips of his ears and down his neck might serve as a reminder why.

Thys sadly doesn't remember, though she does pick up on his blushing cheeks. "You don't like the Master Weaver, A'ster?" She tilts her head slightly to one side, looking curiously at the brownrider before her. "He's quite charming. We get along wonderfully well… which means I can't promise how quickly my meeting with him will be over." Damned goldrider responsibilities, and all that jazz. She shifts her weight, resting on one hip, which just happens to jut slightly towards A'ster. Perhaps she liked his earlier touch? "I have to ask." It's said in all seriousness, as if this is the most important question on Pern. "Why are you so keen to strip off your uniform in front of me? Do you have a bet in the barracks, or something?"

The blush increases, enough that the faint freckles over the bridge of his nose are noticeable; he ducks his head and rubs his hand over his face - over them - but he's chuckling as he drops it, lets it fit into place spanning her hip again. "It's less dislike on my part as it is a good, healthy fear - you don't remember the end of my candidacy." Gosh, A'ster, it's like it was a few turns shy of a decade ago. "But there was an incident with - my candidate group. Involving dye - a lot of dye." Her question catches him off-guard, enough that his answer is unscriptedly honest: "Because our tailors are good, but I'm not so hard on the eyes, out of it, and it seemed less threatening of an opening than trying to get your pants off. Thought it might be fun? Might lead to something else, but -" when he shrugs, his shoulders hitch up around his ears; his brain's caught up to his mouth, apparently. "Thought you might enjoy the view without the expectation that you had to - do more. If you didn't want to."

"… dye?" The cogs are turning in Thys' memory banks; she might get there, eventually. "I have vague recollections of something happening, but that's about it." Or not. Her shrug is much more dainty than A'ster's. His explanation of why he wants to strip off in front of her makes her cheeks flush, and she laughs - a combination of coyness and embarrassment. "That's a very unique way to approach it," she replies, blushing deeply. "I… I don't know quite what to say." Which leads to her biting her lip again, and shifting her umbrella on her shoulder. Thys falls silent for a moment, spending that time just looking at the brownrider. "I didn't know you felt this way, A'ster."

"Think pink," A'ster says with the sigh of someone who is still: living it down, apologizing when it's brought up, and inclined to flinch around certain - occasionally all - weavers with raised voices. Her blush doesn't make his double down, but he is so bold as to reach out and tap the tip of his finger down the end of the goldrider's nose. "I didn't know that there was a way to feel about it," he admits. "I do, actually, like you. You are, actually, an attractive woman - you might not have noticed," he's definitely teasing, "on account of maybe your knot intimidates people into holding their tongues. You," he laughs, but this time it's just a little chuff of breath. "Didn't seem to mind the way I fill out the uniform. I thought it was worth taking a shot - worst that I thought might happen was getting laughed at, and hey-" His smile is crooked, and this time he does give in to the urge to lightly drag his thumb across her cheek(bone). "Wouldn't be the first time someone's laughed down an offer of seeing me naked. Probably wouldn't be the last, either."

Pink. Dingdingding! That rings a bell for Thys, and she smirks. Yep, she remembers now. And she laughs, too, when he taps her, shaking her head and pulling away, just a little, as she wrinkles her nose. Her expression softens when he begins explaining, and when he calls her attractive she winces, very slightly and for no more than a second. "There's something about men in uniform…" … is about all the explanation A'ster will get from her, as her cheeks flush once more. She gives him an apologetic, lopsided smile when he mentions being laughed at, and then she sighs, reaching out once more to fiddle with a button on his jacket. "What are you hoping to get from me, Ali?" It's a heavy question, spoken in a serious voice, and accompanied by Thys's body language becoming a little more closed off - well, save for the button-fumbling that's going on. Buttons are good distractions, and she looks down at it while she waits for, and listens to, his answer to her question.

A'ster doesn't miss the wince - he's been trained to watch faces for the things people give away without meaning to. He doesn't say anything about it, though, but rubs his hand up and down the outside of her arm. "Goldrider," he says, that quiet-warm too-intimate tone wrapped around the title, paired with the half-smile grin that's a little self-effacing. "I'm not hoping to get anything from you. I'm hoping - I don't know, honestly. That maybe we can make flirty eyes at each other sometimes and talk up the fit of my uniform or the way your fancy leathers do things to your hips that should probably be illegal," he is, at least, polite: he flexes his fingers at the flare of her hip, but doesn't drift his hand to her ass. "Until people tell us to get a room and leave us alone to actually get work done. To sometimes get naked and dumb and see what happens when we do. I'm hoping," he bites his lip, shrugs that little honest and almost insecure shrug, and gives her the through the eyelashes look. "I'm hoping - to be able to have fun with you, sometimes, with no pressure for it to be - more. Or for either of us to be anybody but who we are."

A'ster couldn't have explained himself better, as what he says is pretty much what Thys needs to hear. And yet, she'll still look up at him with her serious face, a gentle frown creasing her brow. "I need you to know that if," she emphasises that word, even holding up her finger so he knows how important those two letters are, "we do… anything, it is nothing more than it is. I don't do… 'we'. The couple thing. I don't have time for it. It will always be Rhenesath, Fort, even my Craft, before anyone else." Her frown has deepened by now, and she looks from A'ster to Rhenesath, then back to the guard. "I need you to know that. Now. Before we get drinks and before my head is muddled by alcohol or whatever else may happen beyond this moment." Thys lets that sink in for a moment, then bites down on her lip, hard. "Do you understand?"

Thank Faranth and all that's not held holy by the Pernese: A'ster doesn't tell Thys to smile. He does, though. No, hell, he laughs, relieved and warm and a little bit inappropriately giddy considering her seriousness - especially once she's got her teeth sunk into her lip. "Oh," he says, and it's a bright gasp of sound as he lifts both hands - smooth, but slow, telegraphing the movement and intent to give her time to move, or refuse. If she doesn't: the touch of his hands is surprisingly delicate as he cups her face, calloused fingers and palms warm and just a little rough against her skin. "That's why you're my favorite, Thys. Not counting Inri, but she was nearly my sister once, so that doesn't count. Stumpy chases everything that ends up in the sky, it's not like I can't get laid," gosh, he's so good with words, isn't he? "But I've been a guard since I was probably too young to be one, honestly, but I wasn't getting involved with fish and it was that or nothing. I swore my service to the Weyr, to keep it in line and keep its people safe - and Kle and me, we're on the same page. Did you know he made me re-earn my rank, after I Impressed him? Gotta do it right, can't skip anything, no room for shortcuts -" He realizes he's still going, shakes his head, then tips it down to rest his forehead against hers. "I lied. There's definitely something I'd like to get from you. I just thought of it."

The laugh both confuses and reassures Thys; the former because she's not sure if he's laughing at her for her laying-down-the-rules speech or with her for being on the same page, and the latter because he's not running away. When his hands are on her face her initial reaction is to tense up, but she doesn't pull away from him. Instead, she listens, intent expression on her features showing that he's got her engaged, at the very least… or he had, until he says there's something he does want. Only by then they're forehead to forehead, and with being so close it becomes hard to breath, given the heat of the air between them and the heaviness of the anticipation that laces the space between lips like an electric storm, as Thys whispers a husky "What?"

"I would really like permission to hug you," A'ster answers, his own voice scraping raw in response to the huskiness in hers.

Thys freezes. "You want to hug me?" Clearly not what she was expecting.

A'ster freezes back. "Yes?" Because, of course, everything must be the most ridiculous and incredibly inopportune: his voice cracks, turning three letters into two syllables. He flushes, swallows and clears his throat and hastily adds, "I'm not - not like nothing else, ever, or that I don't want to do whatever you want me t- whatever you would like, but also, just: permission to hug you."

Still confused, Thys doesn't quite know what to do with that request. Her expression shifts from expectant to uncertain, and she takes a long time to answer him. "A'ster…" It sounds like it's going to be a let-down, with his name heavily laden with hesitation. Then she draws her umbrella in as close to the two of them as it can get, without bumping the brownrider's head - and Rhenesath moves in around them, effectively affording them a moment of relative privacy in the middle of the busy bowl. Once her lifemate's in place, Thys looks up at him and shakes her head. "No." Then, a double heartbeat later - "Kiss me."

Akleteyth moves when Rhenesath does, but where she makes a privacy shield for the pair of them, his muscle-packed, short-stacked little body isn't much use there; the little brown sets himself up as a sentry, to watch over all three and head off any incoming interruptions. A'ster's light hold starts to lift away at his name, but he stops moving when the dragons do. He watches her face, and it's easygoing acceptance that settles into his expression at her no. Then, just as quickly, turns to incredulity. "What?" he says, most eloquent of brownriders, "wait, wh- you don't want a hug," he's making sure he's got this right, "but would like me to kiss you?" He's going for it, though: the cup of his hands turns into one hand curled around the back of her neck; the other, threaded through her hair, close against her scalp and not quite far enough around to mirror the placement of his other hand. The lean in is deliberate, and he pulls her into it just a little as well; there is something sweet about the press of his lips to hers, without being chaste: it's the hug he would have given, warm and comfortable and secure. He breaks it, and leans back just enough to make eye contact and hold it; then he leans in again. This time the kiss starts with the same tenor: this is affection; this is security; this is friendship without expectation. Then he adjusts the angle, changes the tilt of his head and turns on the heat; by the time he pulls back - with a too hot to still be considered cheeky nip of her bottom lip - the slow simmer has nearly tipped over into a full boil. "Was that what you had in mind?"

It mightn't make sense - not even to Thys, and she's the one who said it - but that kiss is exactly what she wanted. She's pliable in A'ster's hold, and though she keeps her hands to herself - one's still holding the umbrella, while the other remains, somewhat awkwardly, in her pocket, she does lean gently into him when he kisses her for the second time. Her eyes remain closed when he draws back, though the nip makes her chuckle. Thys runs her tongue over her lips, slowly opening her eyes. "Exactly what I had in mind," she replies in a hushed, husky tone, before breathing in and exhaling a deep breath. "I'm terribly late for my meeting. I'm going to have to make time."

This time when A'ster laughs it's a little bit breathless, and refused permission or not: he slides his hands down and reels her in. He doesn't make it a full contact hug, out of deference, but there's definitely some breaking up of the simmering tension thanks to the bunt of shoulders, the bump of heads and the brownrider nearly getting tangled in the umbrella before he kisses Thys - the side of her head this time, nearly her temple - and ducking out from under the umbrella entirely. His hair promptly sticks to his forehead again and the uniform starts to cling fetchingly as he holds out his hands for hers. "Let's get you to your meeting," he says as he wiggles his fingers. "The faster you're done, the faster you get to ogle this and dictate what goes on it," one hand gestures back, up and down to indicate himself. Then, he waggles his eyebrows and adds, "I promise you full artistic control. Be kind." No one wants assless chaps, no matter how many marks you could bounce off of his.

Thys presses a hand to A'ster's chest, while Rhenesath unfurls herself from her role as protective shield. "You need to change into something drier before you go between," the goldrider says, using her authoritative voice. She's still his boss, even if they did just share a loooong moment. "Get yourself dried off, and meet me there in, oh, let's say…" There's a pause for some mental calculations - "an hour." Thys sidesteps A'ster to grab her flight helmet and gloves from Rhenesath's straps, slipping the former on over her short hair before she closes her umbrella. That's then passed to the brownrider, so that he can hold it while she puts her gloves on. "And when we're done at the Hall… drinks. Gemstone. Tonight." Fully dressed for flying, save for the goggles that she's left atop her head instead of pulling them down, Thys leans in against A'ster gently, with one hand on his shoulder and the other on his taut abdomen. It's a very brief contact before Thys pulls away. "See you in an hour, then?"

"Dry," A'ster repeats, grin lopsided-dopey and no small bit delighted. "Dry, Weaverhall, an hour - yes ma'am." His salute is so crisp there could be no question of propriety there, but he ruins it by dropping the hand to his abdomen, where hers rested briefly. "Clear skies, goldrider."

"Clear skies, brownrider," Thys replies, before shimmying up Rhenesath's straps and settling atop her lifemate. For her part, the dusky brown-gold dragon at least takes a hop, skip and a jump away from A'ster before leaping skywards, so he's not caught too badly in the backdraft caused by the downsweep of her sizeable wingspan. Up they go, spiralling higher and higher until they wink into nothingness.


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