Roaring Grief

Xanadu Weyr - Deep Forest
The wooded areas closer to Xanadu Weyr represent a compromise between man and mother nature, but to the north and west, no such arrangements have been made. The deep woods between the Weyr and the mountains are less traveled, the wider paths fit for man and beast less present. The noises of mankind are barely audible here, brief ghosts on the wind, and the quiet thrum of forest life presses in on all sides. The snapping of a twig, a bird's cry, the low cadence of insects; all of these things seem louder. Closer. The deeper one moves into the trees, the more it becomes obvious that one passes through nature only at her allowance.

The cover of trees is more severe in this area of the wood and only occasional shafts of sunlight lance down through the canopy, the sky visible in brief patches. A rough path has been blazed back towards the Weyr. It does not appear to be a heavily frequented path, but the few who have chosen to pass through this area appear to use it more than other avenues available. Only the very foolish or the very experienced would ever wander far from the path.

The days of living in the cramped candidate barracks with dragons grown huge with their first turnday only a few months off have finally gone! JOY! Wait, no, where there was once a roof and walls to deal with the heat of summer, now there's the canvas of the large tent that fits the ten cots plus enough for the instructor(s)-on-duty and the extended set of tarps serving as cover for the dragons, separate (if not by much) from their rider. It makes for much closer quarters for the human beings without extra cots or even dragon bodies to separate them from the rest of their class. That might explain why F'yr, who has been turned so far inward these past six months with only the minimal explanation that something bad was happening at the farm, that everything that could be done to help was already done, and it was still just bad, is presently "outside" at the farthest edge of the tarp shelter seated by his sleeping dragon. His dragon has improved, slightly, with F'yr's intense attention to Glorioth, to training, to work that kept him too busy to think. He hasn't stopped approaching V'ro from time to time in quiet moments to claim a long and fierce hug that offers some unmeasured, unexplained comfort to the big blond for whatever is going on. He hasn't ignored V'ro, and he has asked, from time to time, about how the other weyrling is doing, and he's done his best to pay attention to the answers, but he doesn't talk about himself; what is there to say? The hugs sought in the last two sevens have been longer, harder, more frequent. They've left F'yr stumbling away with some kind of emotional weight he still hasn't been able to share. He sits, now, with the board that serves as lapdesk, paper and a writing utensil. The page is blank, the bronzerider is just staring. Oh, no wait, the page isn't blank anymore. There's a teardrop just there before whatever others are dashed away by his hand. "Shells," is quiet, rough, and abruptly, all is snatched up and he's pushing to his feet, stowing those things and heading off into the nearby stretch of forest.

It's likely that there's not much going on in V'ro's life other than Koth, but the sometimes prickly greenrider seems to try making a deliberate effort to share anything even vaguely interesting when F'yr asks about him, like he thinks it will help the bronzerider somehow for him to simply talk, regardless of what it's about. Right now V'ro is coming back to the tent from, most likely, a run. He pauses when he sees F'yr heading into the forest, pushing a hand back through his sweat-damp curls. He might even consider leaving the big blond to his own devices, but instead his path shifts just enough to follow along in F'yr's wake. Just in case he needs a hug or something, you know.

F'yr crashes his way through underbrush until the tent city of the weyrlings is out of sight and earshot. Then he stops and… violently hurls the lap desk into the nearest tree. It sends the papers he'd pinned to it flying and the pen from his fingertips have surely been lost forever among the summer flora. It's not the only thing that's hurled though, a yell goes with it. It's not a word, not a curse, nothing with a particular meaning, and yet, it carries so much rage, so much defeat, so much grief that it's heavy and maybe it's that or the denseness of the trees that makes it not carry far. As if that one gesture sapped the big man of all his strength, he's going to his knees and from his knees to bend double, his arms around his chest as if he could force the pieces adrift within back together with the strength in those honed limbs.

It's not difficult for V'ro to follow the blond through the underbrush, but it's not until F'yr is actually going to his knees that the greenrider really announces his own presence. "F'yr!" is concerned, and V'ro is closing in on the other weyrling in the next few moments, an arm draping over F'yr's shoulders as the greenrider falls to his own knees beside his friend. "Are you—" Okay? No, obviously he's not okay. "Are you hurt?"

At the sound of his name, the hunched form on the ground tenses, but doesn't move. When V'ro's arm drapes across his back, tremors can be felt, uneven shakes that might be… well, too many things to narrow down without more evidence. There doesn't appear to be any blood, so there's that. There's no bronze crashing through the trees behind them, and if Koth is still awake, she might be able to offer that for all of this, Glorioth is still asleep, though he did shift as though something bothered him. This would have to, wouldn't it? Maybe. The next happens perhaps uncomfortably fast. F'yr doesn't appear to be hurt since he can move with speed to snap upright and twist to wrap the greenrider with his arms and drag the slighter man against his chest, halfway but not fully into his lap, his face pressing against V'ro's neck. It turns out F'yr does need a hug. V'ro's neck is touched with moisture that isn't a mouth (and hopefully isn't a nose), which is probably a fair indication that there are some tears involved here. If V'ro will give him this hug, give him the long moments to collect himself, just a little more— just a little— F'yr can get out choked words, "My brother died."

There's something to be said for how much V'ro trusts F'yr that, despite whatever lessons in self defense they've managed, the only resistance he offers up to being grabbed is a surprised gasp. And then all his attention is on F'yr, an arm around his shoulder so a hand can soothe over his hair. "Oh, F'yr," he murmurs when the other weyrling shares that heartbreaking news. "I'm so sorry." It doesn't seem like enough to the greenrider, but he seems to be at some loss as to what more to say just now, but his arms wrap around his friend tighter, like he could, if he tried hard enough, help steady his world.There's something to be said for how much V'ro trusts F'yr that, despite whatever lessons in self defense they've managed, the only resistance he offers up to being grabbed is a surprised gasp. And then all his attention is on F'yr, an arm around his shoulder so a hand can soothe over his hair. "Oh, F'yr," he murmurs when the other weyrling shares that heartbreaking news. "I'm so sorry." It doesn't seem like enough to the greenrider, but he seems to be at some loss as to what more to say just now, but his arms wrap around his friend tighter, like he could, if he tried hard enough, help steady his world.

The big blond doesn't move from that embrace. He holds to V'ro like the hug is, in fact, helping counterbalance a world tilting out of control. There's a long sniff as F'yr pulls his head back, loosening his arms just a little. There are the suspected tears on his cheek, but the bronzerider seems in slightly better control of himself now. His eyes are glistening, but the tears don't seem to be coming anymore. It takes him a moment of staring at trees, at nothing, before he can clear his throat. "I should be able to get over this." There's self-recrimination in his voice, which might seem unfair, only he does go on, filling in only some of the mystery of the muted man he's been for the last six months. "He was always dying. We just didn't know before. And then when we knew, there was nothing we could do. There never was anything we could do." His hands tighten where they have slid to on V'ro's lower back, arms still encircling. His blue eyes, made paler by the tears, find V'ro's green ones. "Sorry." For what? Who knows. It doesn't seem to be for having stolen the hug because he almost seems unaware of how close they are.

V'ro listens, looking at F'yr with the sort of earnest sympathy that suggests he's lost someone important to him at some point in his life. That he has at least some basic understanding of what the other man is feeling, however numbed by time it might be now. The greenrider lifts his hands to F'yr's cheeks if the bronzerider allows, gently wiping away the dampness there. "You don't have anything to be sorry for, F'yr. Not to me. Or any of us." The weyrlings, he probably means. His hands move back down and he offers a hint of a smile as he searches the other man's face, then he looks out toward the trees instead of whatever he might have wanted to do instead. "It's not so much getting over it as learning to live with it, anyway. It won't hurt so much, you won't think about it all the time. But I know that doesn't help very much right now." And he seems to realize he's being pretty useless about that point, so he asks, "Is there anything I can do? To help you?"

F'yr's eyes flutter shut as V'ro's fingers clear the tears for him. They come open in time to see the hint of a smile, to meet the greenrider's eyes before they go to the trees. There's a sniff from the bronzerider, but the tears don't return so perhaps something in all of this is actually helping. "Just… be you," he shrugs a little. Then a long and deep breath comes and goes and he shifts his arms, "I can let you go, but I want to just… hold you tighter for a while." His eyes flick from V'ro's shoulder where they addressed that remark to the greenrider's gaze again. "Is that okay?" F'yr is changed by all this, but he's not that changed.

"Of course it's okay," murmurs the greenrider. "You're one of my favorite places to be," is added, maybe a little more quiet, but V'ro smiles at F'yr again, like he's happy to do anything that might help the other weyrling through this difficult time. It just so happens that he's become a big fan of having F'yr's arms around him.

Hopefully V'ro really meant that because keeping him a while involves pulling him the rest of the way into F'yr's lap instead of awkwardly on one thigh. It involves F'yr shifting to get more comfortable too, proving the worth of all his physical exercise as he shifts and lifts the leaner greenrider so F'yr can get his legs from being on knees to being more or less cross-legged. Then the blond is tucking his face against V'ro's throat again, his arms resettling across his back to keep him snugged quite tightly to his chest, though not uncomfortably so unless one counts thoughts that might, understandably, stray. Then F'yr will just sit a while, with just the sound of the woods and V'ro's heartbeat to track the passage of time. Only after a while, a long while, does he finally move, shift to stretch limbs becoming stiff, to seek out green eyes with his blue ones and murmur, "Thank you."

Oh, V'ro did mean it. And he helps as he can to settle himself as F'yr gets more comfortable. One arm around the bronzerider in such a way that he can quietly stroke and play his hair, or settle it against him to hold him back. Any straying thoughts might be betrayed in his heart rate, but V'ro keeps the thoughts themselves to himself. When F'yr shifts again, withdrawing to stretch, the greenrider meets those blue eyes, his brow furrowed just noticeably. He even draws in a breath like he might say something, but there's a glance at the blond's mouth before he lets the breath out again. Then, "I'm always here for you, F'yr. Always. Other than Koth," and dragons are just kind of assumed in these things, right, "you're basically my best friend."

F'yr might not know what to say to that. On a good, he probably could say something real and feeling without over or understating things. Today isn't one of those days. Blue eyes search green and he simply draws in and lets out a breath before moving his face closer to V'ro's. It's not to do something with V'ro's lips, but it is to do something with his own. They press to the greenrider's cheek and F'yr's arms are tightening again, squeezing his emotional support greenrider in a way that hopefully communicates without words that he is appreciated, needed, even, or at least wanted. The bronzerider remains there, his lips no longer pressing but still touching the skin under them for a few breaths before he pulls back. "I should pick up my stuff," he murmurs with a sigh. He doesn't move yet, though. There's a pause. "How… do you learn to live with it? Just… one foot in front of the other like always?" So maybe he did pick up on the fact that V'ro seems to have some personal experience in a similar arena of feeling.

It doesn't seem to bother V'ro that F'yr has nothing to say. He closes his eyes when the other weyrling presses lips to his cheek, and he might draw in a somewhat deeper breath, but then he's letting it out slowly. At least he hasn't started trying to cry, too. That's probably not what poor F'yr needs right now! "I can help," he says a little quickly about picking stuff up. But he has to pause in kind for a moment to consider the next questions. "Yeah, basically. Probably doesn't feel that way right now, but it might be for the best you weren't there. Easier to remember the good times and not the last times." Which might be what V'ro is doing now, judging by the distance quality his voice takes on before he's snapping back to the present, clearing his throat, and starting to shift to get up onto his feet. He'll offer a hand to help F'yr up, though, once he's there. "You just keep living. That's all you can really do."

For all that F'yr started out as the comforted, it seems roles are reversing. Blue eyes study V'ro seriously as he speaks. When V'ro shifts out of his lap and up, F'yr reaches to take his hand and draw himself up. Once he's there, though, he steps into the greenrider, one arm going around his face while the other hand comes up to brush knuckles across the cheek he kissed and then push fingers through his hair just above his ear. It's a silent thank you this time, an appreciation that V'ro revisited something painful to help him. As much as it's gratitude, it's also an intention of comfort. Just because wounds become old doesn't mean that they don't still hurt from time to time. Only then will the bronzerider turn to start tracking down all the empty pages lest he leave his litter behind.

V'ro doesn't ruin the moment by talking. He sort of tilts his head against the brush of knuckles, though, eyes closing to take the last bit of comfort from the physical contact he expects to get from the bronzerider for now. When F'yr withdraws to start picking up his papers, the greenrider helps him track down what they can and brings his findings back to the blond. There's a brief smile as he offers it over, then his gaze shifts away and he turns to start heading back to the tent, expecting the other weyrling to need some time alone and to follow him back in his own time.

V'ro's smile is met with the ghost of one from F'yr. His lips tick up just at the edges, though the grief lingers so many places in his face. "Thanks," he murmurs as he takes the papers from the greenrider, his blue gaze following V'ro's retreating figure but feet not moving to follow. F'yr will come back to the tent-called-home, but after the calm of the forest has had a chance to offer what comfort it can on top of what V'ro already shared with him, or after he's had a long cry with no one but the fauna to witness. Whichever.

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