The last time Borodin went hunting, he was awful at it. Really, truly terrible. So today he's here again, this should be fun! With the eggs so close to hatching, the rider in charge decided that actually having the candidates lost in the woods was a bad idea, so hunting has instead been transformed into fishing and catching amphibians in the stream. They're spread out somewhat along it, just barely in sight of each other. If it comes down to it, one quick dragon-slalom down the stream and all-aboard, and they'll be back to the weyr in no time. For now, though, Borodin is wading around in the shallows looking for more amphibians to catch and put in the covered bucket on shore. Near it are his clothes, for he's stripped down to his shorts so the clothes don't get utterly soaked.

Zapallie has been known on many a day to take a stroll down the river, and sometimes just not come back for a day or two. Lucky Borodin that today is one of those days. Zapallie has abandoned dresses, at least when she's out in the forest, at least. With her pants rolled up and her boots in her hand, she wades along the muddy shore, humming to herself. Her untrained, but very pleasant, voice carries well enough on the water.

Oh! There's one. Borodin leans forward, looking at the small creature in the shallows. He tenses his muscles, and gets ready to lunge. Now-wait, what's that voice? Someone here? He starts to look in that direction, but he's already leaning forward, and as it turns out, it's rather muddy underfoot. Sploosh! Borodin is abruptly sitting down in the water. Good: It's relatively shallow. Bad: He's sitting in squelchy mud.

Just in time for Zee to appear, trousers wet, mud between her toes, and yet still not as wet and muddy as Borodin. She stops upon seeing him, eyebrows lifted, jaw agape. "What're you doing?" she finally asks.

Ooh. There she is. Borodin thought he heard Zapallie. Now, this is exactly how a guy wants to look to his girlfriend. Borodin tries to scramble up, but his feet slide against the mud for a bit and make him look even less dignified until he finally manages to stand. "Uhm. Catching spot-tails." He glances to the bucket on shore, and frowns. "Or I was, anyway." Drip, drip. At least none of the other candidates are coming to see what happened.

Zapallie always wanted to get Borodin alone in his shorts. Though, he wasn't the one she envisioned wet in this scenerio. But never mind that! She seems to be trying to figure out what to say, and finally settles for "I see." Sucking on her lower lip she takes a few steps forward to peer into his bucket. "How's that working out for you?"

That's Borodin! He can even mess up Zapallie's fantasies while technically achieving them. He splashes his way to shore, and sits down. It's not like his butt is going to get any more muddy. He looks up at her as she comes over to peer in his bucket, and sighs. "I got a few." He shrugs. A few turns out to be… three. No, wait, four. One of them is on the small side and was hiding under the others. Cough. "Uhm, what're you doing here? I mean, not that it's not nice to see you, but… uhm."

"Do you want help?" asks Zapallie, eyeing his haul dubiously. Well, he's got time to make up for ruining her fantasies. "I was taking a walk. You know, what people do sometimes, for fun?" Especially when they suffer from wanderlust. "Your ass is muddy," she adds. "In case you were wondering."

"I wasn't." Wondering, that is. Borodin can feel it. He feels the cosmos. No, wait, that's mud. Still. He reaches down and rubs at his rump as if that's going to do the slightest bit of anything beyond making his hand muddy to match. "Oh. Uhm. We should do that sometime. Take a walk together, I mean." He frowns, and looks back in the rough direction of the weyr. "I mean, after…" His eyes drop to the water, and he lets out a sigh. "If you want to sure. I mean… I could use the help." Assuming they haven't all been scared away for good by that splash.

Zapallie smiles a little bit and offers her hand to Borodin. "We can take a walk together," she agrees. "I liked the first one we took… even if we did get lost, and end up in the forest, and you complained something fierce. Up you come. Let's rinse you off and catch some spot-tails."

Borodin takes the hand, rising up to his feet, and nods. He laughs a little, and looks out over the river. "Well. I think I'd be better, now. At… walking, I mean." He glances down at his feet. It's like he's actually vaguely fit now! Or so he thinks. It would be ever so easy to disabuse him of that notion, but maybe he won't have to find out.

Zapallie isn't about to inform Borodin he's no Adonis. Especially given the faint smile and the lean-over-smooch she plants in his hair. "Then we'll go for a walk. Even if it's just around the bowl a few times." She keeps his hand, if he lets her, leaving her boots beside his bucket and heading back into the water. "I think this is the…least clothed I've ever seen you," she adds thoughtfully, and with a twinge of jealousy says, "The girls in your class get to see more of you than I do."

Borodin smiles at that kiss, and he seems in no hurry to reclaim his hand. Or to go hunting those spot-tails in earnest again. Oh, he's looking around, sort of, but his eyes keep finding Zapallie and lingering there instead of around in the shallows. As she mentions his not-that-clothed state, he blushes - see, now he's thinking about it - and looks away to the opposite side. "I… I don't… well." He frowns, thoughtful. "It's weird, rooming with girls." Changing in front of… girls. "But… I mean… so what if they say things? It's…" He shakes his head. "I went swimming yesterday. In the lake and everything. It… it was fun. And nobody who mattered said anything, and I found my clothes eventually. So… I thought, today… why not?"

"Why would they say anything?" asks Zap. "I'll beat up anyone who does." Letting your girlfriend beat up people who make fun of you is obviously very manly. "You get used to it, the, uh, coed thing. I mean, you bath in front of girls, don't you?" Unless he's been hiding out and only bathing when the time is right. "And /I/ care if they see. It's kind of… Well, would you want other men looking at me?"

Borodin looks over to Zapallie now, with his head tilted sideways and about half a smile. "You… do know you weren't the first person ever to call me fat, right?" Just checking, 'cause as it turns out, insults are kinda equal-opportunity. The smile lingers for a moment - though you'll note he's not naming any names about who's doing things recently - and then he nods as she brings up the bathing thing. "Yeah. I do. It's… uhm. Yeah." He has no words, and he must… look awkward. Oh, and now he gets to look even awkwarder! "Well. No, but. It's… it's not like I've got a choice, right?"

Zapallie frowns. "You know I just say things," she points out with a sigh. Now it's her turn to also look awkward. "I guess I don't have a choice," she says with a scowl. "Not right now anyway. But soon enough… " Soon the eggs will hatch! And…then he will either not live with girls anymore, or still live with girls, and all that. "Anyway…" Glancing sideways, she grins, and then suddenly leans in to shove him towards the deeper part of the river. "Rinse off!" Yah, that'll bring the fish back.

Erp. There goes his big mouth with the also saying things. Now that, y'know, he says things sometimes instead of just looking bashful all the time. "I didn't mean… I know you do. And it is true. I just…" Borodin frowns back, and it lingers as he tries to make sense of things. So he shouldn't stay with other girls, okay. Only, he'll get used to bathing with them. Only he shouldn't - does this mean he shouldn't be looking - well, he doesn't look, but that doesn't mean sometimes he doesn't see - "WAAARGH!" Splash. Borodin: dunked.

Zapallie stands there with her hands on her hips and looks smug. That'll teach him to … not…live with girls and look, or, see, or not see, or something!

Yeah, that'll teach him all right. Not to trust girls! On account of they'll make him wet. …or something like that, anyways. Borodin flails about in the water, and after a couple of moments, bobs back to the surface to sputter.

Zapallie stands still, waiting for him to come back up. "I was just about to wade in their and fish you out. I could have you for dinner." She flashes white teeth at him. "Are you drowned?"

Borodin shakes his head, sending water flying from his hair. "No. You'll have to try harder." He swim-steps his way back to where he can actually stand, and his hands go underwater in an attempt to scrub his butt clear of mud. "…besides, I can make a better dinner if you don't eat me."

"That sounds like an invitation if I ever heard one." He might mind if he gets wet, but Zapallie has no such problem with being soaked on a nice summer day. "Oh, are you going to make me dinner then? Are you sure I can't just have a nibble?" and she starts advancing on him playfully, death by splashing in her eyes.

At this point, any reservations Borodin had about getting wet are long gone, what with his being soaked already. The glint in her eyes, on the other hand, that might actually be dangerous. He retreats his way upriver, walking backwards and lifting up his hands like he's going to retaliate. "Well. I mean, I made dinner for the whole weyr when I had kitchen duty." … see, he does it for all the cute girls, not just her! Maybe not the best thing to say, and after a moment, he realizes that. Quick, make promises! "I'll make one just for you. A tasty one. Not like me, I'm not…"

Zapallie advances as he retreats, grinning ruthlessly at him. "Don't trip," she tells him, though really it sounds like she's hoping he will. She did promise him a drowning. "You don't think you're tasty?" she teases. "Well, if you're promising me dinner, just for me, I am definitely not going to turn you down."

There's a little bit of mixed messages here! Is he supposed to drown or isn't he? Borodin just doesn't know anymore! He tries to feel his way along the riverbed and not walk off the deep end or into a boulder, but really, it's mostly luck so far. "I, well, no, I don't think… uh, not that anyone's tried- I mean, no! Not tasty." Or is he? "Well. Sure. I mean… yeah. I'll make dinner. What would you like?" Not just dinner, but he'll pander to her! …for dinner. For DINNER, people.

Zapallie likes being pandered too. "Why are you running away?" she asks with a pout. "Don't you /want/ me to find out what you taste like?" And then the blond girl sticks her lower lip out at him and stops advancing. "I'm beginning to think you don't like me." Even though he's offering to make her dinner, a DINNER SHE GETS TO CHOOSE! "I want sweet tubers. They're my favorite."

Wait! He- but- she! The messages are getting way too mixed here, and now Borodin doesn't even know what the messages are in the first place! He stops retreating, and he lifts his hands up as if to, somehow, ward off the pout, because that's totally going to work. "Okay. I can make sweet tubers. I, uhm." The pout! The pout destroys all his attempts at coherence. "But I do like you, I…" Does this mean he has to let her eat him? Nobody explained that this was part of romance! …okay, so yes, he's only barely broached the subject to get Sage Advice From Other Males, but! Nevertheless, it seems… uhm. What was he thinking again? Now he can't remember.

"Good. I like sweet tubers." WHich she just explained. But that's really all that matters. The sweet tubers. "Aren't you going to try to kiss me before somebody comes to find you and you get in trouble?" No, neither of them are good at romance, but sneaking kisses is obligatory to it, right? Well, maybe that's just hormones talking. Teenagers are full of those, you know. "Never mind. I don't want you to get in trouble if we /are/ caught. Fish. Fish. We were fishing!" She turns about in the water, like that's going to help her find a fish somehow.

Oh yeahhh, he could totally have done that. There was a distinct possibility for making out. For sweet sweet… tubers. Borodin steals a glance upstream for just long enough to make sure that the greenrider on take-the-candidates-hunting duty hasn't started downriver yet, then reverses his earlier retreat to come up behind Zapallie. He reaches out one hand halfway to her, then pauses. "…you're cuter than the fish, anyhow."

This might end badly, with Borodin behind her and her looking for fish. She turns around, seeing his shadow across her feet in the river, and nearly bashes her head into his nose before she rears her head back and looks at him wide-eyes. Then she laughs. "Well hello there." His compliment earns a full-on grin though. "Thanks. You're not so bad yourself."

One of these days, she isn't going to catch herself, and on that day… well, Borodin isn't thinking about that. It's utterly gone from his mind, because instead, he's looking at her laugh and that grin, his own face echoing it. "Cute as a cow?" he asks, his tone light and teasing, and now that he's got her attention, he reaches out a hand for hers.

"Cows are very cute," replies Zap seriously. "Haven't you seen Larabelle? She's weaned now, you know. Chewing grass and her own cud and everything. It's very cute." Word of the day, there! She smiles when he takes her hand, giving his fingers a squeaze. If it's all they're allowed, it's certainly enough for now.

So they are. Borodin laughs a little, and nods on the subject of cows. "I have," he says, and nods again about the weaning. And also the alleged cuteness. He's a boy, see, he's not allowed to talk about cute. He's probably allowed to hold hands - though the dereliction of amphibian-catching to do so is somewhat of an issue - and his fingers squeeze back at hers. As for other things… well, among the many things Borodin has not done: gone up to those in charge and asked just what, exactly, precisely is the allowed limit of romance and expressions thereof during candidacy.

Zapallie watches his head nodding repeatedly with a look of morbid fascination. Will it stop? Well, she can help on those lines. Her free hand reaches up to take hold of his jaw, turning it just slightly so she can lean in and graze her teeth lightly against it. She did promise him a nibbling, or was that threaten? Either way! "You taste like river water," she informs him with a laugh, pulling away. "Not as tasty as I'd hoped at all."

Huh? What's this that Zapallie's doing with the hand on his face and… "Hey!" Now Borodin has been nibbled, and he turns back to look at her with something between indignation and laughter. After a moment of that looking thing, he is impelled to speak. "…sauces make a big difference. A sweet glaze, or a spiced- uhm." So what he's saying here is, come find him after he's spent a day in the kitchens, and he'll be much tastier. "Anyways, I told you so." Or something along those lines, anyway.

"So, does that mean I should have you dunk yourself in glaze and /then/ nibble on you?" Zapallie's a little too interested in this option. Oh dear. Poor Borodin. At least she'll always appreciate his cooking? "You told me nothing. Now, are you going to kiss me like it's the last time you'll get to do it for the next two Turns—" because it probably will be — "Or are we going to fill our pockets with frog spawn and go scare some girls?"

"Uhm," says Borodin at the prospect of being glazed and nibbled. He'll just… refuse. Yes, because he's been so skillful at doing that so far. Downright expert. Which is why he obediently steps closer in the water as she speaks, reaching under the surface to put an arm around her. He draws her in close and… laughs at the second option. It totally disrupts his kissy-face. "Uhm, well, if you'd rather…"

Zapallie would probably laugh at his kissy face if she didn't like…well…kissing it. "Shut up," she tells him, but nicely, and tugs him in for, you know, some of that. Mindless self-indulgence, hi-ho! "There," she says when she's had her way with him, or at least his mouth. "/Now/ we can get frog spawn and scare girls."

Borodin shuts up. It's not polite to talk with your mouth full, after all. See also: kissing. "…oh," he says afterward. "Okay." His brain has not yet caught up to what she's actually saying, to judge from the happy smile on his face, and it really doesn't get a chance, because mere moments post-kiss a dragon bugles up-river. Not a particularly unhappy sound, not like anything has gone wrong, but it makes Borodin jump back to alertness. "Oh, uhm, that's the signal. We're supposed to gather again and go back and…" Already there are sounds from further downriver, other candidates on the move. Borodin gives her hand another squeeze, then disentangles his fingers to go splashing to shore and hurriedly gather up bucket and clothes alike.

Zapallie bites her lower lip when Borodin so abruptly pulls away. She lifts her hand and twiddles her fingers after him. "I'll see you later," she says. "Don't forget my tubers!" she calls after him, in case he already had. And probably will.

'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.