Bro-ly Support

The Weyrling Tent and TARP CITY
You know, big tent on temporary wooden platforms with cots for 10+. Tarps stung out for dragon, etc. YOU GOT THE IDEA.

Where the candidate barracks may have been cramped to contain the growing weyrlings, the tent city sees dragons and riders separated. There's the wide stretch of tarps creating shelter for the dragons, now immense as their first turnday approaches in only a few months, and the large tent erected with cots set within for the ten older weyrlings and their babysitter- instructor-on-duty. Given that it's only the ten plus,the space is closer than either barracks was and that means less privacy all around, without even dragons for buffer. It's a quiet moment when most of the rest of the barracks is still out and about in the late afternoon, but F'yr is recently arrived, judging by the way his shaggy blond hair (grown too long of late) is still damp and he's still pulling on a fresh shirt. He must have been part of the group that got back first from the day's flight out into Xanadu region. Through the last six months that have been just quietly awful for the big blond man, he's provided minimal information to anyone whose asked - largely in the variety of: something going on back at the farm, everything that can be done has been done, and it's still not good (a vast understatement), but just what the nature of the issue is has not made it around anywhere for the simple reason that F'yr has been extremely tight-lipped. It's not that he's withdrawn from people, just that he's been so turned inward that what was open friendliness before is now a spectral haunt of the man. He's there, but he's not. He listens. He replies (although things have become more and more monosyllabic in recent months, even devolving to grunts when appropriate). He spends a lot of time with his lifemate, who is, in fact, improved by the level of dedicated management partnership with his lifemate (although, frankly, not vastly improved, he's still Glorioth, after all). The largest change in the past couple of weeks is that F'yr has been seen to have traces of red-rimmed eyes and has spent virtually all the time he can out of the company of anyone who might crack the routine of 'fine-but-not.' There are red-rims now. If it weren't for the fact that they wear goggles during flight, he might be able to chalk it up to wind in the eyes.

There is at least one constant among the weyrling group and that is Ru'ien. His behaviour has changed little over the span of their training. It could be a notable thing that, now with the dragons considerably more “mature”, he’s become more like his previous self. Not so much divided, mentally, in keeping a very young and impulsive Kihatsuth, in check. Chaos happens regardless, but a little more infrequently! Ru’ien is also a very good source of ‘leave it alone’ and tends not to push at things. Sure, he’s a constant source of energetic optimism and humor, but even his supposed cluelessness seems to catch on when not to tread further. He likely assumes something is going on with his good and closest friend and comrade, but he does not ask. Support is offered in a variety of ways, often subtle and unspoken, a small olive branch to be taken or ignored. The only thing he may not be so good with is silence at first, but even if Ru’ien is the one rambling and such ramblings are accepted, then he is happy enough to keep on the conversation one sided (with no judgement). His arrival back to the tents is not a planned thing; he was part of the group that F’yr was in, but he did not immediately go to freshen up. That task completed now (albeit likely hastily), he’ll saunter in and, upon spying F’yr, drift his way. Not immediately up into his personal space, which is a sign that he is, at least, being respectful. He’ll notice the red-rimmed look of his eyes, but pays no heed. Makes no remark, save to pretend all is as it should be and leave the choice to F’yr to address it or not. “Damned if I still won’t feel aches in places I never knew I had…” he laments instead, with a feigned aching sigh, as he mills about on the fringes of some invisible line. “But it’s worth it, right? We did a lot better today.” Collectively, not in reference to just himself and Kihatsuth. Ru’ien has yet to escape his unfortunate nickname ‘Wheezy’ by a certain AWLM, after nailing himself badly on one of Kiha’s ridges when the green stumbled in their first tastes of manned flight. The bruising has long since faded, but the stories have not. Probably in part of Ru’ien himself!

Given the limited numbers in the big tent, it's very likely that F'yr's cot is quite near Ru'ien's, though none of them are terribly far from one another in the confined space. He finishes settling his shirt as the greenrider arrives and blue eyes settle on him. The big blond's lips press lightly to one another, searching the other man's face as he approaches. One of the hard things about so much silence (even silence where words are said) is that breaking it becomes a thing. His eyes sweep the strangely empty space and come back to his friend. He clears his throat, hands wrapping the poles that the canvas of the cot is stretched on, knuckles rapidly going white. It's not that what Ru'ien is saying isn't important to F'yr - one may be sure that it is, it's just that… it seems to be now or never for the moment of breaking that silence. If he doesn't break it now when he's thought about it hard enough to come close, each return will only get harder. The man's Adam's apple bobs visibly and his mouth opens. Then the words spill, hurried, like if they can be gotten out in a rush, the pain need only last that long (which, of course, could never be true). "My brother got sick. And then he died." There's no 'once upon a time' to begin and certainly no 'happily ever after' at the end, but it's about as succinct a story as one could ask for, if wholly lacking in detail. Still, this is more than the bronzerider has managed in the whole six months. Just this much is progress. It's progress with a cost. Blue eyes cast toward the ceiling of the tent, staring hard at some indeterminate point there as tears threaten and he swallows hard a few times in rapid succession.

Perhaps it’s the rapid way the dam breaks and the words spill into a flood of blunt truths that has Ru’ien holding his tongue. There’s certainly a heavy silence for a few heartbeats and whereas F’yr is finding the ceiling, Ru’ien’s gaze is held only on him. Yet it’s not one of shock or overly dramatic tones, merely a dawning realization as the world tilts and his assumptions find the missing pieces. “Ah,” he begins, in a heavy exhale, already moving forwards before the whole breath is completed. Boundaries are crossed, by necessity, but only so-far that he will settle himself beside F’yr on the cot. His weight shifts, almost imperceptibly, to bring him to a very subtle lean towards the weyrling bronzerider. In the wake of that, he finishes the last of his statement, which is nothing more than a heartfelt curse. “Damn.” What more is there to say? Ru’ien isn’t the type to wax poetic bullshit (okay, well, not when things are serious), nor is he about to offer the canned words of ‘sorry for your loss’ and ‘my condolences’. Regardless, one lingers there, unspoken, between them, as heavy as the silence that hangs again. He’s not blind and can see, from the corners of his vision, how F’yr is struggling to hold it together. Some would think him lacking in sympathy when that could be furthest from the truth; he IS there to lend support and comfort, but he does not coddle. Tentatively, his knuckles will brush against one of F’yr’s hands, should he still be gripping the edge of the cot. If that amount of touch is received without complaint, the rest of his hand will follow to overlap over his — a silent gesture and reminder that he is there and asks nothing more of him than he is willing for now. If it’s a confession and nothing more, Ru’ien will press no further. That safety is a guaranteed promise.

Struggle is the right word. It's nearly a tangible thing. The bronzerider doesn't move his hand when Ru'ien's brushes his knuckles, but nor does the hand loosen. It only does so after the greenrider's hand is settled over top. By small increments, F'yr's fingers come free from the bar of the cot and the hand turns under his friend's fingers interlacing. There's a long sniff and the other hand has to come loose to so he can rub his face with the other hand to clear the tears that have escaped. "Sorry." Maybe for the tears. Maybe for the not being able to share. Maybe for just … everything. Maybe even 'sorry for his own loss.' It's a nebulously offered apology. Then he leans into the offered support - that's what that lean toward him was, right? It's how it's taken anyway. F'yr leans into his friend, forehead pressing to forehead (in that contagious Risa and R'hyn clan gesture). "Couldn't… couldn't say it before." He manages on the second try at the sentence. Another ragged breath drawn and blue eyes close. "It's done now. He's not suffering anymore." At least he sounds sure of that, if nothing else.

That certainly was the intent, that subtle lean and even the gesture of his hand afterwards. Ru’ien is there for support, however F’yr may choose to seek it from him. “Don’t be.” It’s murmured in a hushed way, gentled but not so-much whispered as though the speak of something shameful. There is no shame here or judgement or wrong doing. He does his best to implore that, with the way he looks at him, sidelong and, yes, with that ever-present half smile tempered just enough too. “Your choice on how you grieve. No one else’s. Alright?” In case it wasn’t clear already, that he could care less that F’yr kept it all to himself for months. Oh, there’s concern, of course, buried in there because despite his behaviours he IS human and has a heart. There’s been no heartfelt confessions of his own, but the bronzerider, as well as the rest of their clutch mates, are the closest he’s felt to having true family. He loves them all, in his own way and F’yr is no exception. His hand is gently squeeze, once their fingers interlace and the forehead to forehead gesture is completed. Ah, familiarity there! His eyes will close as well, smile sobering further to a fainter version as he speaks quietly. “There is some comfort in that.” Spoken both true and in vague question, but without the pressure of necessary response.

The laugh that comes isn't really a mirthful sound, but it's not derisive either. It admits the validity of Ru'ien's point, which is a summation of why F'yr said what he said. And yet, it's only a small comfort. The bronzerider doesn't open his eyes through the sound, but nor does he back away in any other way. He just stays. He can't stay forever because eventually someone else in their flight group will come back and though F'yr may be trying to share more widely the circumstances of his experience over the last six months, he probably has no desire to make this a group exercise. After some long moments a shuddering breath leaves the man and his eyes come open to search Ru'ien's. "Thank you, Ruin." One hand comes up to cup the greenrider's jaw in a gesture that is as intimately friendly as just plain intimate. His thumb brushes the other man's cheek lightly before falling away and F'yr is straightening on the cot. He's silent a long moment and then he clears his throat and slants a glance toward Kihatsuth's lifemate. "How many people called you Wheezy today?" In happier times, F'yr would have been keeping the tally for himself the better to rib his friend over it. Just now, he'll have to trust Ru'ien's good sense of humor to help him, but F'yr knows the man well enough to know that Ruthien isn't above making a joke at his own expense to cheer up a friend. And though F'yr may have straightened so they at least look more comradely rather than comforter-comfortee, his knee has slid so that it's touching one of Ru'ien's, just to keep the contact.

Ru’ien echoes that laugh with a quiet, throaty one of his own and lacking the truth mirth of a genuine one. As it was from the start, he leaves it in F’yr’s hands to lead when this exchange ends. They will stay as they are, for as long as needed. He’d likely prefer to skip a group exercise in this case too, especially when high emotions are involved! “Anytime, Fear.” he answers without hesitation, even as he turns his head ever-so slightly into his hand and the gesture that follow. Likewise, his hand will rise to mirror the same gesture, only his hand will lower to briefly and firmly clasp to F’yr’s shoulder. Another reassuring squeeze and then he’s withdrawing just enough so he can straighten. He scoffs as the topic changes and rolls with it easily, his features changing expressively to one of feigned incredulousness. “Not nearly as much! Which means I gotta spice things up again, I guess.” Who is keeping count? In happier times, he would’ve greatly enjoyed being ribbed about it with ACTUAL numbers but neither does he linger on the what-could have beens. “Any ideas? I mean, I’m kind of disappointed no one came up with anything given how awful I am with some of our other lessons.” He grins ruefully, all too happy to reflect on some of his failings if it helps lend some distraction. Contact is certainly kept in that subtle, lone, manner of kneed touching knee and remains as such, unspoken and unremarked.

"I don't know," comes slowly. Is it a sign F'yr is still thinking about the previous much more distressing topic? No, it's a glimmer of hope that F'yr is still there somewhere, when he has the energy to be himself. Maybe he has just a little of that now because the drawled answer is prelude to, "I've been thinking a lot about the last time Kiha shared her art with the class." Or part of the class, anyway, this part of it. Whatever it was that was shared is worth a grin that spreads and might be worth the embarrassment Ru'ien may have suffered in the moment to have this moment now. The knee against the greenrider's nudges, playfully, and the bronzerider casts a small smile toward him, something that's maybe the last apology, for not being this F'yr for all those months. "I'm sure all I have to do is ask…" He murmurs, knowing full well that this is a line he can only pretend to cross lest the results prove less embarrassing and more disastrous.

What starts as an intrigued look and quirked brow quickly morphs to something akin to mortification — not that it’s genuine but he makes a good pass at it! His hands lift to drag his fingers over his face, pulling slightly at his cheeks as he groans and then whispers hoarsely in feigned dismay. “… I still have no idea how she got those images! Or knew how to make them so… unique.“ Understatement! To which he looks aghast, again, in pure jest. “You wouldn’t take a name from THAT would you? Think of the children who might overhear!” Seriously, F’yr. He can’t hold the ruse forever and with a snickered breath, he’ll nudge him back with his knee. “Maybe we’ll keep it as is? Might be safest. Shards if I don’t want to be keeping a list,” Never mind he already has one! “of all these nicknames.” Bemused, he will flash another crooked smirk and then steer the conversation away again — gently. “Been thinking on going to the hidden swim hole, now that it’s summer. Smaller group this time.” His gaze lingers, even sidelong, with the real silent question. You in?

"None whatesoever?" F'yr inquires with equally feigned dubiousness. "I mean, the things some rascal shared with your green. Tch," his tongue clicks like the most disapproving of aunties. "If I were you, Ru'ien, I wouldn't sleep until I had the man tied and tortured. Tickled within an inch of his life in the very least." This is helping with those images that Kihatsuth might make into unique works of art, right? BUT, LISTEN, RUIN SHOULD BE GRATEFUL TO FEAR. Because this is Fear with ghosts of smiles, with attempts at playfulness, with more encouraging signs that the F'yr of yore is working toward a place where fun can be had again. "I'm willing to risk the safety of the Weyr's livestock if you are." He consents to the fun of an expedition to the swimming hole, smile curling a little on his lips. If only that statement were all jest instead of also partially quite real threat. "Glori and I were going to go hunting later," in the wilds he must mean - it's usually where F'yr goes, if the nearby and weyrlingmaster-approved wilds. "Do you and Kihatsuth want to come along?"

“Kinky.” Ru’ien states without a single ounce of shame or hesitation, his previous dismayed smirk morphing into a trickster’s grin. CLEARLY we all know the source of Kihatsuth’s inspiration (on most days)! He won’t admit to it either, beyond that low slung hit of humor from the gutter. This exchange between them feels almost normal or close enough that he seems unhurried to see the end of it. So long as he is welcomed, he will linger and when F’yr doesn’t immediately turn down his offer, there is hope! “If that won’t put a crimp in his tail to have his big green sister along? We’d be happy to! She’s due for a meal and I think the lure of some challenge will get her to cooperate!” Or he’ll be creative in his bribery that sees the green NOT turn her appetite for chaos on them all. No promises, however! Stretching out his legs and then his back, Ru’ien will roll the stiffness from his shoulders next, while his weight shifts in preparation to stand from the cot. “You thinking on heading out now or do I got a moment to prep a few things? And we gonna hunt first, swim after?”

The smile F'yr has for his friend's first word and accompanying smirk reaches his eyes and that might just loosen some knots in deep places. "You know I wouldn't know anything about that," the bronzerider replies too primly, brushing off his knees as if to keep himself unsullied by that extended contact with Ru'ien's before getting up. "Glori would be the first to tell you his tail is straight as a sword, or really any other exceptionally masculine imagery you care to conjure up in your head." And there, in F'yr's eyes, is the deep and abiding love and enjoyment of his ridiculous bronze. "I think he likes the challenge her…" CHAOS, "ingenuity brings to the hunts. Not that killing things dead ever gets boring to him." EVER. "Take the time you need. I can keep him entertained with some pre-hunt warmups." But don't let it take too long, Ruin, Fear can only do so much. "Sounds like a plan." He offers in easy return, reaching to help pull Ru'ien up to his feet, only to draw the other man into his arms for a firm, not-so-short hug. "Thanks for… being here. And understanding." And that's enough of that, because the clarion call of, « ONWAAAAaaaaaAAAARD! » means F'yr has somewhere else to be, right now, if he wants to distract that dragon long enough for Ru'ien and Kihatsuth to join them.

Ru'ien snickers under his breath for the prim reply, his sidelong look and expression saying it all; he would flip off some comment about teaching him a few things but he keeps it unsaid. "I'll use my imagination," he states instead, as to the imagery Glorioth can concoct and it's a wonder the Weyr isn't inundated with confusing visual messages — which means Kihatsuth is, thankfully, preoccupied (for now)! "Well, that's good to know! Just make sure she never hears you say that or we're gonna be in for it with the two of them until they both forget about it." It's a jovial, half-teasing, warning that has him taking Fear's extended hand. Up he goes and right into that firm hug, which is returned just as enthusiastically. "Anytime you need it, y'know where to find me." Ru'ien's way of saying 'you're welcome' is unusual but no less genuine. As clarion calls sound, he'll grin and tip his fingers off in a mock salute and wave. "We'll catch up to you guys!" And then he's off with a purposeful stride, to gather whatever it is he needs and to lure Kihatsuth to this new venture. As promised, it will not take long and soon enough they rejoin F'yr and Glorioth for their adventure in hunting the wilds.

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