Fort Weyr - Floating Dance Platform
An enormous raft-like structure of wood and plasticraft has been set up at the edge of the weyr lake. It floats just offshore, supporting a raised stage with a dome-shaped back. A wide, flat area, presumably for dancing, sits before the stage. Food tables, sporting banners in Fort's colors, have been set up along the edges, and a large number of curved benches ensure ample seating. Thick ropes secure the structure to stakes driven into the shore, while a number of floating wooden bridges provide easy access.

The steely sky overhead is dark with the promise of rain to come, but for the time being the world is calm in a pre-storm kind of way. The calm by the lake is broken by the giggling of children; attended by a mixture of candidates and nannies, the group of pre-teens looks to be rehearsing a dance performance of some sort, directed by a couple of older-looking kids. One coltish candidate, his white knot clear against the plain brown of his tunic, is hovering on the edges while a younger girl talks to him. Fynnigan's curly hair is loose and hides half of his rosy-blushed face, as he stands with his hands dug deep into his pockets and his shoulders rounded, gaze firmly fixed on the tips of his boots. It would seem the girl - probably 12 or so, by the looks of her - has taken a shine to him… and he's not handling it very well.

Zapallie usually would be out sunbathing, except the clouds have rolled back in. Strange summer they're having. Well, no bathing suit today, but still, the dress…oh the dress. Today it's white, the skirt tiered and flowy. Appropriate summer gear. The unseasonably cold weather means she's got a light sweater on over it though. The blond teenager is out for a stroll, crossing the floating bridge out to the floating platform and standing on the fridges to watch the children.

Lucky for him, the too-affectionate girl is called away from Fynnigan, leaving him to slink back into the land where too-young pre-teens aren't able to lavish affection upon him. He looks awkward as he eases away from the crowd, hands still firm within his pockets and shoulders still hunched - almost defensively, but certainly shyly. His attempts to escape without being seen as abandoning his chores lead him towards Zapallie, and he gives the dress-clad girl a shy half-smile and a greeting nod of his head.
"Looks like somebody has a crush," murmurs Zapallie in her soft, husky voice as Fynnigan approaches her. She's got no particular look on her face, it's neither friendly or antagonistic. She just sort of is there, hanging. Nothing weird about that.

If Fynnigan was red before, he's now two shades more so as his blush deepens and spreads as far as his ears. He shifts his weight awkwardly, giving Zapallie a pained, embarrassed sort of look from beneath brows tightly knit. "S-she… she wanted a d-dance partner," he stammers shyly, quickly dropping his gaze again to the tips of his boots.

Zapallie tips her head just slightly. Oh, it's so hard to resist a blushing boy. Painful, almost, for the nasty girl. But she's pretending to be not-nasty! Oh, woe. "And you don't dance?" she pries.

Fynnigan shakes his head, setting his loose curls bouncing. "Me? No, n-no, I don't… don't dance." His dark green eyes flicker briefly up to look at Zapallie, and the corner of his mouth tweaks into a warm, is somewhat pushed-for, smile. "D-do you?"

Zapallie tests him, just a little bit. It's too hard to resist. She reaches up, trying to tweak a curl. "I do. Terribly, and with much toe-stomping, but yes, I can dance." Zap looks back at the children and drawls, "I'm afraid they're doing better than I could."

Touch! Fynnigan's eyes go wide and he shies away from Zap's questing fingers, blinking at her before looking over to the dance practice, then back to the blonde - then back again to the kids. Where are the distractions now? Everyone's too occupied to notice their exchange though, so he hunches his shoulders and blinks big doe-eyes at the teenager once more. "I-I've… um… I've never tried."

Zapallie tilts her head very slowly at Fynnigan. "You've never tried?" she repeats, making sure she has this right. And then she snorts. "Oh shards. Then how do you know you can't?"

"I didn't say I can't," Fynn corrects, biting down on his lip. "I said I, um, don't." Subtle difference! The brunette runs a hand through his curly mop, then rubs his fingers over the back of his neck. He lets silence carry on for as long as it will, before clearing his throat gently. "Um… do you live here?"

Zapallie concedes his point at the difference with an incline of her head. "That is a very logical reasoning." And logic will get you everywhere with Zap. His question catches her off guard and she shrugs. "As much as I live anywhere, I suppose. I'm not staying much longer though. It's time for me to move on."

"O-oh. Okay." The way Fynnigan says it in his Istan accent, every letter in the 'okay' is present and correct. He seems to have relaxed a smidgen now that the conversation's moved on, and his smile is a little more natural for it. "D-do you move on a lot? We moved a good bit, when I was with the, um, Tariqo."

"I just don't stay put well," explains Zap with a shrug. "And, uh, the people here have grown hostile." She lifts her hand, displaying the army of bandages someone has pasted on to her hand and wrist area. "You say one thing to the wrong person and suddenly you're the target of much grief. Are the Tariqo a trading family?"

Fynnigan eyes the bandages with polite curiosity, but doesn't comment…. though the way his eyes seem to drift back to them after he's steered them back up to the blonde's face suggest they're still very much at the forefront of his mind. "Um… yeah. Traders. Not… not a /family/, though. J-just traders."

Zapallie nods her head. "Just traders," she repeats, and watches the way his gaze flicks up, than down. "So are you a trader then? What do you trade?"

Shaking his head, Fynnigan rubs at the back of his neck again. "Um, no. Not a trader, not really. I, er, was with them, but I didn't, um, trade. Not so much." He looks down at his long, slender fingers, flexing and stretching them as they're examing. "I painted a bit, though. And sketched. And… did some other stuff." A very gentle shrug of his broadening shoulders, and Fynn smiles softly. "What do you do?"

"Other stuff?" prompts Zapallie with her eyebrows raised. "Did it involve stuttering your way through your day?" She shifts her weight, plants her hands on her hips and smirks at him. "Then you're an artist? Will you draw me?" asks the blond boldly. "Me? I make trouble. I'm a problem. I'm a nuisance. In short, I don't do anything."

"A-anything at all?" Fynnigan seems astounded to hear it, and gives Zap a very odd look. "B-but… but you can work? Only… you don't?" The look gets even odder. "Um… I… I'm a c-candidate now, I'm… I'm… um, I'm not sure I… that I can…"

"Not sure you can draw?" prompts Zapallie, not dignifying his other question with a response. Of course she can work, and she just said she made trouble. That is work by itself. "Did they break your fingers when they handed you that knot? Forbid you from setting pencil to paper ever again?" she's teasing now, that hint of a nasty smirk coming back. It's just too hard for her to resist. "I'm sure they didn't, little mouse."

Fynnigan's eyes narrow at the teasing, his hands once more dug deep into his pockets. "Um… n-no. I'm not a mouse." Biting down on his lip, he looks over to where a new dance routine is being rehearsed, the last one apparently perfectly (or at least giving up on) for the day. "I d-didn't… when I was packing, I didn't, um, bring my things. M-my sketching things. And… and I have chores. I, um, like to work. To be… to be useful." Oh yes, that /is/ a little dig.

Zapallie is the first person to admit she isn't useful. It's kind of her thing. Like picking on others. "Ah. So you're just sloppy," she digs back, grinning at the game. "Well, I can see how useful you're being currently, what with helping the 'brats with their dance and all. And breaking that poor girl's heart. That was also useful."

"I-I…" Stammering, Fynnigan blinks at Zapallie, then shakes his head. "I'm d-doing what I've been assigned to do. That do-doesn't include, um… being… over-friendly with, um…" He turns to nod his head in the direction of the kids, while chewing nervously on his lip. "Th-that would be wrong."

"Of course it would," she agrees. "But dancing with the girl is hardly over-friendly. Unless you get cozy with her. That would be inappropriate. My my, little mouse, I didn't realize you were such a pervert." Zapallie is having far too much fun, crooning these things in her husky voice. "Of course, if you wanted to get over-friendly with me, that would be just fine." Except for the whole candidate thing, but what does she care about that? "So they assigned you to come stand over here with me and trip all over your tongue? That's fascinating."

The suggestion that he'd do something inappropriate has Fynnigan's colour flaring up once more, and he looks absolutely horrified as he stares at Zapallie, eyes wide and lips parted. He's stripped even further of the ability to speak when she suggests getting over-friendly with /her/, his mouth dropping into a surprised 'O'. He has a few spluttering false starts before he finally kicks the cat off his tongue. "Th-that's not an appropriate thing t-to say."

"I'm sorry, you seem to have mistaken me for somebody appropriate." Ah, screw the dress, and the nice attitude, Zapallie sucks at that game anyway. Fynn just makes it too easy to be bad. "Well, it's fine anyway. I'm sure you wouldn't even know what to do with me if you had me. I suppose I could draw you a map, but I'm sure you'd still get lost."

Scoffs at Zapallie. It's soft, but definitely there. "Wh-what makes you think I, er, /want/ a m-map? M-maps are only good for, um, finding things that are, um, worth finding." Shy and stammering he may be, but he's not opposed to being snippy when the time calls for it: and now is definitely the time.

"Oh-ho, the mouse has teeth." She bares hers in an amused grimace. "Good. I like people with backbones." Zapallie's gaze skims past him, out over the water.

"I-I think you should maybe, um, maybe go." Fynnigan's not so keen on keeping this current company for much longer - it makes even the failed advances of teenage girls seem welcoming. "We're h-holding a lesson. I… er, you, um, don't… don't seem to, um…" He loses his line of thinking as he's distracted by applause from the kids, looking over to them with a little frown as he tries to figure out what he's missed. "I think you should go."

"I don't see a sign saying I can't be here," replies Zap with a nasty smile. "But you're welcome to go back to being useful. I'll just be watching."

That's a point Fynn didn't think of. "Y-you should go," he repeats, giving her a look that's both wary and disapproving. He turns halfway to go, then looks at her again, green eyes flickering one last time down to the bandages on her arm. He doesn't offer a goodbye when he finally steps away towards the group, falling in with the nannies when he rejoins them - and there's a definite lot of looking from both him and the women in charge as he seems to be regaling them of the situation, before slipping off to help someone a little further away.

Zapallie lingers just long enough to really bother Fynnigan before turning to go, fleeing the rain that's threatening to return any second. Oh well, back on the bandwagon tomorrow, one more enemy made.

'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.