Tension
Who A'ster, Thys
What There is… tension.
When Autumn, Turn 2711
Where Tir Na nOg, Fort Weyr

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Fort Weyr - Tir Na nOg
Located in the administration complex, this ledge is reached by walking up stone stairs carved into the bowl wall, passing several other ledges before reaching the wide tongue of stone that shapes this one. Worn smooth by centuries of time, wind, rain and dragon hide, its finish is almost glossy, shimmering with minerals deep within the basalt. The ledge transitions into a massive cave that shelters the queen's wallow, and from there there is a sturdy wooden door that leads to the inner weyr.

Step inside, and you'll find that, as with any of Fort's leadership weyrs, this one is spacious and well appointed. Already furnished with fine hardwood furnishings, the new occupant is of course welcome to alter things. A sitting area cozies up to the large fireplace, stones from the mountains creating the facade and the hearth. There is a small kitchenette with simple storage and workspace, and further back is a nook that could easily be used as an office, complete with a rod for hanging a curtain. The far back of the cave has a small hallway, through which the modest bedroom and precious bathing chamber are located, the bath carved into the floor itself with running hot and cold water.
All that being said, this weyr is /cramped/. Not that it's full of furniture, but it's full of /stuff/. There's a bookshelf overflowing with old books and records, half of them nearly disintegrated and most of them being based in poetry. Shelves are crammed full of knick-knacks and various other *things*, stuff piled upon stuff piled upon stuff. No doubt there are treasures hidden within, but it'll take a lot of time to sort through it all and find things worth keeping. Might be easier just to chuck the lot.


It's been quiet lately. Not in terms of the Weyr as a whole - Faranth knows those new weyrlings are noisy troublemakers. But quiet in Thys' weyr. Thys herself has been quiet, ever since Rhenesath's flight. And today is no exception. While her dragon is sleeping in the infirmary, Thys is taking some time for herself. She's retreated to her weyr, and is currently sitting on the fluffy sheepskin rug in front of her fire, with what could best be described as a portable smithing set - she's got a soldering iron, tongs, hammer, even gloves and a small anvil, on which she's currently battering out a piece of glowing hot metal, with gloves and visor on. Safety-wise it's probably not the best place or time to be working, but she's clearly feeling… industrious?

A'ster says, "Shh- -!" no, wait, he says, "Shhit!" and then, clearly, "Idiocy. Emnity, I sharding told y- -" It's not the most calamitous of entrances, but it's not the most graceful: there's Idiocy, winging in, itty-bitty Emnity not far behind him, and then there's … A'ster, not quite hat in hand but clearly less sure of his welcome than he has been in months past, an apology already on his lips as he follows them through the door. "They were supposed to see if you were busy," he announces, as the pair whirl and chirp smugly, "not barge right in. We're clearly barging."

Thys lifts her head at the commotion, lips parting in surprise when she sees firelizards that aren't her own often-absent trio. She has a small smile for A'ster when he appears, and she takes a moment to ensure the glowing metal she's working with is secure before she pushes up her safety visor. All the better to see him with. "Ali." There's nothing in her gestures, from her tone of voice to her body language, that is turning him away - but she isn't leaping into his arms, either. With her work secure she stands up and pads over to him, running her wherhide-gloved fingers along his arm with a gentle squeeze. "Would you like a drink? I could use one." And she makes a beeline for the kitchen.

A'ster shoos his tiny fair once Thys acknowledges him, earning a finger-nip from one and having to actually gesture for where the other should settle; he sighs, but. "Ames," is warm, a little tired, and he reaches to return her squeeze with one of his own. The gesture is easily turned into a brush of fingers against her back as she turns and heads for the kitchen; he follows, hands tucked into his pockets and posture casual-loose. "I. Sure, if you were already wanting one."

"Smithing's thirsty work," Thys replies, looking over her shoulder at him with a tired smile. "Not that this is real smithing. Just… tinkering." She shrugs, clattering about in her kitchenette to grab two glasses and a decanter of Cromese Curse. Without asking if that's the sort of drink the brownrider wants, she pours one for each of them, and hands his glass to him, still with her wherhide gloves on. Thys says nothing as she takes her first sip with her eyes closed - which is closer to half a measure than a mere swig - and she only looks at him when she's set the glass down. Even then, it's a fleeting look, and she quickly drops her gaze… even if she does reach out to capture his hand in hers, twining fingers together.

A'ster's hold is firm, and he uses it to pull Thys gently over — he doesn't reach for her face, but he nudges her shoulder with his own and says, quietly, "You're still allowed to talk to me, you know," and then drinks. He doesn't match her, but it's no little sip, either.

One more 'sip', now that she's beside A'ster, has Thys draining the glass. She sets it aside on the countertop, and for a long moment it's almost as if she's going to break away from him to get herself another - then she leans against him, wrapping her arms loosely around his waist, and burrowing her face against his neck. Sorry about the safety visor in the way there, A'ster. It can't be comfortable, but she's still not taken it off her head. "I'm sorry," she murmurs, soft and warm. "I… I haven't known what to say."

A'ster reaches for the safety visor, manhandling it out of the way (and off of the goldrider) as she burrows. "We can start at the top?" he says, and he's laughing, just a little — enough to acknowledge that there's so much, not enough to make little of it. The visor bangs into their thighs and he's still holding his glass around her back, but even without his hands free he's — clearly reluctant to let go. "I'm sorry," he adds, turning his face so it's her hair that gets addressed directly, "I am, too."

Thys stiffens a little at the suggestion of talking. But, at least she pulls off her gloves and drops them on the floor, so he's not being fondled by wherhide. "You're sorry?" She raises her head to look at him, confused. "What do you have to be sorry for?"

A'ster juggles a little, twisting so that he can put visor and glass alike on the countertop without actually letting go of Thys. "It takes two people for there to be a failure in communication," he says, both shoulders lifting in a shrug. "I'm culpable, too. We've been — I've let myself be busy. Kle— we're used to ending up grounded. Your flight's not the first time he's hit the ground — during a flight, sure, but I think that's just because he wanted - anyway. I figure it's gotta be different, you and Rhen. We've," he looks down, away, focuses on her shoulder rather than her face, "been checking up. On her. Neither of us thought she'd try to catch him, he's used to just — pulling up. Or not." It's clearly not everything the brownrider has on his mind — but it's a place to start.

"No." Thys pulls away, shaking her head at him. She reaches for her tumbler and the decanter. "No. That is not your fault, or Akleteyth's, or anyone's but mine." Her hands shake a little, and the decanter chinks against the glass as she measures out another generous whisky for herself. More is then poured into A'ster's glass, too. She spills some in the process. "For fuck's sake." Setting the decanter down, she balls her hands into fists, closes her eyes, and draws in a deep breath. "You were here because I wanted you here. He flew because I wanted you. He caught because Rhenesath knew what I wanted, and she wants me happy. A'ster, this is not your fault." Hands still trembling, she reaches for her whisky and raises it to her lips, though she doesn't drink yet. "I love you." Except… she sounds sort of flustered as she says it. Not angry, not frustrated, just… exasperated,with stunted words and clipped pronunciation rather than her typical soft, countryside Cromese accent. "That's why this happened. Because I love you. And this is not how and when and where I wanted to tell you but it's what I've got and that's… that's it. I'm sorry."

A'ster waits for Thys to drink, then — waits some more, and eventually reaches for her shoulders rather than her hands. "I think he wanted to make it worth her while, that's what I didn't say — that's why they crashed. He would have pulled up, pulled out — of the catch, the whole thing — faster, if it hadn't been for m— wait, hang on, back up." He shakes his head, wrinkles his nose, and — laughs. Full-on, full-out, completely and utterly delighted. "Well shells. I can definitely — I can think of worse ways to figure that out, and that means I'm still sorry, because this is still my fault too. Because I love you, too. Akleteyth is the wooooorst wingman possible, but he's — he was trying, too." He downs his whiskey, sets the glass aside, and leans in to kiss her — forehead. In case she's still all … testy about this.

She is definitely still testy. That laugh was not what she wanted to hear, even if it was a happy one. "Stop it." Thys allows him to kiss her forehead, then pushes him gently away. "Ali." There was the hint of a question at the end of his name, except she turns away and lifts her drink to her lips instead of asking it. Only when a second measure has disappeared down the hatch does she pose the question to him, without looking at him. Instead, she stares intensely down at her empty glass, around which her fingers are wrapped white-knuckle tight. "How can we be so… fuck, you're perfect, and… how can we be so…" She snaps fingers on her empty hand, shaking her head as she looks for the right words. She gives up. "… and they're… they're not?" They being their dragons. "Are we as good as I think we are if our dragons can't even… if they…" She looks up at him, eyes glossy and on the verge of tears. "I thought this would be easier with a rider." Her voice cracks, and she instantly reaches for the whisky decanter again in embarrassment.

"Because Akleteyth is a lousy lay," A'ster says, and this time he does reach to still her hand, curving his around hers and the decanter alike. "Akleteyth is a lousy lay who means tiny clutches the once — twice, now — he's actually caught a gold. If Rhen plans to make this a thing, shit, he'll practice, I don't know, or she can let his dumb, wrecking-ball landing face crash without trying to save him. Have you ever noticed how we're not here for any goldflights? That's why. He's why. 'Course, I don't have anyone else's schedule memorized, so that means we get caught up, but in case you've also forgotten I was kind of a lousy lay, too, thanks to him. Until you came along." There's something — he's got that faint frown like there's something he's not quite catching on to but it's not enough to chase down. "Ames. Kle's a lousy lay."

Thys sniffs, running the back of her hand under her nose, then scrubbing at her eyes with her hand not being held by A'ster's, where it's still curled around the decanter. She keeps her hand over her eyes, spreading fingers in an attempt to hide her face as she draws in a deep, shuddering breath that makes her shoulders quiver. "We wouldn't ever let that happen." There'll be no pancaked Akleteyths on their watch. She breathes in again, still covering her face, still trying hard not to cry. "It will be a thing, Ali, as long as I feel this way for you." Thys trembles, raising her fingers where they're beneath his, trying to lace them with his. "I don't want it to be anyone else. Not when I want to be with you. But…" And all that trying to hold it back breaks as she sobs, a hiccupy sort of sound that open the floodgates so that Thys is actually crying - a rare sight to be sure.

"I mean, he bounces," A'ster manages to get out, still half-way to grinning before, whup, before Thys is trembling, and trying to lace her fingers with his. Which he facilitates, and quickly, then drags her into his arms. There's no flood of soothing nonsense, but he turns his head to press a kiss to her hair, and wraps his free arm around her shoulders, hard, and just — lets her cry it out. As long as she needs. When it sounds like the tears might be subsiding, he pulls back and wipes her face with his sleeve. Then pushes her hair behind her ear. All that stuff.

There's enough crying to leave a damp patch on his shoulder by the time she's done. Probably tears and snot. She has a sniffling little thank you - even a smile - for him wiping her face down, and her sob-flushed face blushes even deeper with just being plain embarrassed. "I'm sorry." It's a whisper, said with eyes closed as she tries to get herself further under control. "There's just… there's so much right now." Her deep breath in trembles, and she scrubs at her face with the palms of her hands. "I'm not used to… talking. Crying. All of this. And you…" With her bottom lip wobbling still, she gives him a wet-faced smile that's indended to be a lot warmer than her teary expression can fully muster.

"I'm really good at listening," A'ster offers, a little bit awkward but almost entirely genuine. "When I remember that I probably need to. You can — tell me about the everything else, or you can just," he looks around the weyr, then gestures toward where she was working when he came in. "Tell me about what you're working on."

That is a good distraction, and Thys falls for it. Or she grasps at it - one of the two. Either way, she links her hand with his, bends down to scoop up her gloves, and leads him through into the living area. "It's nothing." But she's keen to show it, nevertheless. By now of course the metal she was working earlier is cool - it's a gently hammed strip of silver that doesn't look like anything, where it's fixed into her clamp. Thys sits, pulling A'ster down so he's sitting behind her, all the better for her to lean back against his chest as she holds up the little piece of silver for him. "I thought I'd make you something."

A'ster leans forward, resting his chin on the goldrider's shoulder and reaching for — then pulling his fingers back from the piece of silver held up. "I like somethings," he informs her, grinning sideways and leaning in so he can smoosh his face up against her cheek, and then smooch it. Jerk. "What's the something going to be when it's all grown up?"

"It was going to be how I wanted to say what I told you earlier." Thys leans back more, resting her weight against him and toying with the little scrap of hammered silver. "Except I blew it." In frustration, she flicks the silver away, dropping her hands hopelessly down into her lap. "Sorry, Ali. I really blew it. I've been blowing it for 2 months now. And you're… you're still here." She swivels around, so she's sitting sideways with her legs over one of his, and her hand propping her up where it rests on the floor by his tush. "Do you know how often I think of those dumb freckles of yours? And your dimples? And your silly blonde hair and everything else?"

"Hey, that's my something you're throwing away, there," A'ster protests, but the protest is a warm one — when Thys shuffles around, he hooks an arm around her and stretches so he can snatch it back up, then flip it over between his fingers as he snuggles back against her. "'Course I'm still here. If one crash-landing was enough to send me away, I'd never have survived weyrlinghood." Not — quite the same, alright, and he knows it. "I don't know," he admits to her hair, "but I can probably guess. I'm a terrible distraction, aren't I?"

Thys is happy to be snuggled for a moment or two, before she gently squirms away and takes back that silver scrap. She edges towards her smithing gear, pulling a metal rod and a roller-like contraption out of her toolbag. "Wait a moment." Things are set up in the clamp, the silver is slotted into place - and with a considerable amount of gloved-hand exertion it becomes clear what Thys is doing - bending the hammered silver piece around rod. It certainly shows in her arms where her muscle's been built up over the past turn as she puts her back into making it work. When it's finished, and she's got a light sweat on her brow, she pulls it out, blows gently on it, and polishes the new, incompleted ring on her shirt before holding it out in the palm of her hand to A'ster. "That was how I wanted to tell you. With this."

A'ster is torn between watching the process, and watching the arms — and manages to split his attention between them both enough that he's clearly appreciating the Smith-rider's arms when she finishes. "What," he says, because that was truly eloquent, then reaches for the ring. He doesn't put it on, but hooks his index finger into it, then rubs the smooth finish with his thumb. "Oh. I think I like both ways of telling me. If you're asking for opinions."

"But it's not finished yet." Thys gently takes the ring back and sets it aside. "Would you even wear it? I didn't know if it was your style. I was just… thinking. It came into my mind. And I'm not… I'm not asking anything of you with it. Just… giving you something." She sheds her gloves once more, takes a moment to rub at her still-blotchy face, and then nestles back in against the brownrider, sideways in his lap where she can cup his jaw in her hands, which smell slightly metallic, slightly of earthiness, flux and the forge. "I'm relieving you of all duties for the rest of the day, 2nd Lieutenant A'ster. You've been reassigned. Here."

"I'd wear it," he assures, then amends to, "if I felt like it might get messed up on my hand, I'd ask you to put it on a chain for me, and wear it under my uniform. Either way — you made it, and it's mine." He tilts his head so he can kiss her palm, metallic tang and all, and says, "Just like I'm yours, alright?" Then he laughs, and pulls away to eye his inefficient fair, then shake his head. "You'll have to play messenger on that one … but okay. I'm reassigned. Right here."

Thys draws in another shuddery breath, but this time it's not because she's about to cry - it's because her eyes are shining with something far warmer than tears as she fixes her gaze on A'ster. "I want an early night. I'm tired." And undoubtedly getting a bit tipsy now too, given the whisky she knocked back. "Come to bed with me." She clambers somewhat awkwardly to her feet, given where she's sitting, but once she's standing she reaches down to help A'ster up to his… and it's an early night for both of them.


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