Strips. No Tease.

Xanadu Weyr - Steward's Office

This office has a rather austere desk, bookshelves crammed with tomes ranging in topic from weather patterns of the southern continent to crop output for the last one hundred turns and a file cabinet full of meticulously-arranged paperwork. It is otherwise void of decoration. Every square inch is scrupulously clean and dust-free and the desktop is pin-neat.

There is such a thing as being in the right place at the wrong time. Don't ever let anyone say otherwise. Outside in the administration hallway the sounds of the door to the caverns slamming shut interrupts the peaceful quiet usually reigning in the office complex, followed by running footsteps that skid to a halt seconds later. Two female voices collide, one urgent, the other questioning, followed by, "ACK! Shi- no!" Then the firm closing of a door resounds down the hall and the click of a lock clunking immediately afterwards. A series of pounding on the same door is accompanied by, "THEEEE-AAAA!" Rattling of the knob is also quite audible as is the swearing to follow THAT. It's mere moments later when Darsce bursts unannounced into the Steward's office without knocking, eyes bright, hair mussed (but prettily so) and breathless. "Jethaniel! Help." And the young woman is running straight for him, wherever he is.

The right place for Jethaniel is a matter of some debate. Currently, he's at his desk here in the Steward's office; whether this is correct is up for interpretation, but he is nevertheless present. The normally neat desk is occupied by several objects today. The most prominent is a large schematic of… a barn, perhaps? It's certainly got four walls and a roof. Beside it is a sheaf of paperwork, stapled together and lifted to a page midway through, and on the very corner, half hidden behind the wooden inbox, is a small plant in a terracotta pot with a white ribbon around it. One delicate flower has shown itself, pink with an ashen center, but other buds promise more to come. For the moment, it's tucked away, because Jethaniel was busy with work. The past tense is used in this case, because the sounds from the hall have drawn his attention from the work, though he still holds a pen in one hand. "Oh," he says, blinking at Darsce's full-tilt approach. "Ah." There must be some suitable response here. Surely there must be. He stares at her as his brain is briefly racked until he discovers one. "Can I help you?"

Can I help you - I can help you. It's funny what the brain will hear when panicked. Relief floods the pink-flushed cheeks of the Iernian model, but doesn't quite overcome the nervous energy of her demeanor. "Oh suh-weet!" breathes she, although the girl is still moving at a rapid clip for his desk. In fact, around his desk she comes and without preamble, flops down in his lap more like she tripped than is trying to be sultry. Though now that she's there… "Here," she gasps, holding something cupped in both hands over to him. Which might explain why she didn't catch herself before she fell. Though truth be told, she fell quite some time ago.

A simple inversion of the words, that's all it takes. Jethaniel begins to push his chair back - for, doubtless, the cause for Darsce's concern is something happening elsewhere. A brawl in the caverns, perhaps? Or maybe someone's caused trouble with the electrical systems again. There is a distinct and troublesome lack of practical technological knowledge in the people of this Weyr. If not addressed, it may have dire consequenes. He makes a mental note to make a note to attempt to address the problem at the source after addressing this latest manifestation. His attempt to rise, however, gets no further than pushing back his chair, because there is, abruptly, a lovely lady across his lap. "Ah." That's his first response, the one that triggers at the same time as a subtle gradient of pink indicates increased bloodflow, most notably in the vicinity of his ears. The second response is for him to ask, "Are you all right?" The third response, happening without any significant thought as to the potential ramifications, is to willingly accept whatever it is she offers him. His hands, with the calluses of pen and the tiny scars of past nicks and scrapes, come together just below the elegant, manicured ones on which his gaze now rests.

That increased blood flow likely goes unnoticed by the blonde in Jethaniel's lap, but she's preoccupied and not looking at him. Feeling his hands beneath hers, she releases what she's got into his, pulling her hands away like someone burned. There is a reason for that though. In the Steward's hands is a warm firelizard egg, already cracked, the side of the shell heaving in and out as if breathing as the creature inside attacks it. And coming from the fissure is a high-pitched chittering and creeling alternately sounding pleading then irately demanding. Darsce appears terrified of the egg, leaning back against Jethaniel so she is as far away as she can get from the immanently-hatching egg. Now her head is nearly beside his and she can send him a sidelong look from iceblue eyes to see his reaction to… the egg.

All the World’s a Stage Egg

Dim light illumines vague rows of plush red seating, the velvet on them as faded as the tattered curtains that envelop the contours of this egg. There’s only one bright area on the whole surface and that is the polished stage that gleams as if purposely spotlighted and awaiting a star’s entrance to an encore. Who will it be? Well, there’s no one there, it’s just an egg, after all.

Darsce's hands part like the curtains opening, and Jethaniel finds himself regarding what once lay within. Another set of curtains, and these already tremble. The orchestra has begun to play, insofar as a firelizard's noises of hunger constitute an orchestra. "Ah. This. Ah. This is a firelizard egg," he observes of the trembling shell in his hands. His eyes remain on the egg as he cups it gently. "I, ah, may be lacking in the applicable knowledge to handle this situation properly," he says in a rather quick tumble of words.

"Yes and no," agrees Darsce trying to appear brightly optimistic. Which may not be so hard to do in light of the fact that she's not been flung off of his lap and the egg pushed back at her in a panic. "It's a HATCHING firelizard egg. Happy… Turnday?" Just in case he gets ideas that she wants him to help her impress it. "I'll be happy to be your teacher," she says, sounding much more like the Darsce everyone knows, her suggestive tone implying much more than just coaching him in the art of firelizard impressing. Her sugar-pink glossed lips curve in a smile that borders on more mischief than minx as she reaches down inside her shirt and pulls forth a paper packet. What? She has no pockets and her hands were busy holding that egg!

It is, perhaps, fortunate for all concerned here that Thea fled to her office and locked the door. She's not likely to come back and see her step-daughter draped across her Steward's lap. Jethaniel makes no move to remove Darsce from his lap. He is rather distracted at the moment, but the truth of the matter is that the distraction is not what's keeping him from removing her; instead, the distraction is what prevents an increase in the degree of blush present and, most likely, permits him to retain the faculty of speech. "You are approximately nine months late," he says without removing his eyes from the egg. "I… ah… you are correct. It is hatching. Ah… yes. I would like to learn from you." Ah, but what? The first lesson, evidently, is on what to do with hatching firelizard eggs. His eyes finally leave the egg, darting now to Darsce just as she draws forth that packet. "Ah. What is that?" Object, or hiding spot? His intention is one thing, but words, once said, are subject to interpretation.

All the World's a Stage Egg grows restless, wobbling slowly a few times, then rolling as if to escape the hands that hold it before the shell curtaining the hatchling waiting in the wings parts. It's show time!

All the World's a Stage Egg hatches, revealing a egg-wet hatchling.

If You've Got it Flaunt it Green Hatchling

The iridescence of teal and abalone washes down the graceful neck of this lissome green firelizard to ripple across lithe flank and flow along supple back. Aquamarine variegated with pearlescent seablue-green ebbs in a tropical tide, waters lapping neck and backridges tinted pale aubergine all the way to the tip of her tail. Lit mistily, translucent wings flare open in a splash of cool ocean foam.

Darsce is NINE MONTHS late??!!!!! It's a very good thing that a) she's not as promiscuous as she pretends to be and b) her father isn't nearby to overhear that comment and misinterpret it. But well. They'll both survive. She will, no doubt, make innuendos from his faux paux another day. She makes a mental note to just when his turnday is, however, plans already simmering behind that silvery-blond mane. "This? It's a lure." She means the packet - of course! The shell splits while she is opening the paper packet and she squeaks, tearing it faster. "Here!" And this time she's pushing a strip of raw meat into his fingers, holding his hand from behind to guide it towards the tiny creature. "Think loving thoughts now." Ooh right. Coach! "Tell her she's lovely, and special and you want to be with her. And oh. Make kissing sounds. Can't hurt." For reals? Yep. Totally.

"Ah," Jethaniel begins to say, and then his attention is drawn back sharply to the egg in his palms as it rolls. It comes dangerously close to tipping over the edge down onto Darsce's chest. Jethaniel's hands curve up to better secure the trembling egg, but even so, as the shell breaks, shards fall past his fingers to scatter like red accents over Darsce as the egg-wet firelizard is set carefully atop the schematics he was so carefully studying moments before. The meat is placed in his hand, and he extends it toward the firelizard, palm turned up. "Ah. Yes. You are lovely," he says… to the firelizard. Definitely to the firelizard. "Very lovely. I should like to get to know you better. You are… perhaps you would like some of this?" He wiggles his meat at the girl. "I hope so. It's very nice, you know. You must be hungry. Will you come stay with me? Please?" There are, however, no kissing noises, though his gaze remains intent on the firelizard, and there's a gentle smile on his face.

If You've Got it Flaunt it Green Hatchling flutters as she is set onto the desktop and struts her stuff right there on the beastpen blueprints. Hey, they are her Red Carpet, rolled out just for her, right? Right! She thought so too! There's no other way to describe the mincing walk the imperious green adopts with wings half-spread to dry. She ignores both Steward and his lap-sitter as well as the meat, but she is aware of them! Her attitude seems to be 'DO admire me - aren't I lovely?'

Darsce is… red-freckled by shell shards but hey, since the color doesn't clash with the creamy skin below her neckline, she's not complaining. She remains seated where she is for the time-being, perhaps so she won't attract any attention from the just-hatched firelizard and she's also holding her breath, silently willing the green to see the meat offering. And well, no kissing noises from Jethaniel. Maybe he doesn't know how to make those? No matter! She can demonstrate that later! But three out of four, hey not a bad start to her tutoring career, eh? "You're doing great," she says in a barely-there breath of sound. Little firelizard, she's not here!

The blueprints will never be the same again. Hopefully there's another copy? Otherwise, it will serve as an object lesson for why there should have been a second copy. There's a reason for filing things in triplicate! Jethaniel doesn't seem to have noticed that part yet, his eyes still on the imperious green as he wiggles the meat to her once more. "There's nobody quite like you," he says with gaze intent on the young firelizard. Still no kissing noises, but at least he's proven himself willing to accept instruction. Doubtless he will apply himself to lessons earnestly, should they be offered. He'll have to check the syllabus. Is it in his inbox yet?

If You've Got it Flaunt it Green Hatchling craves applause and adoration. She makes the rounds, dipping and bowing to an imagined audience but her stomach is her true dictator and before long she is searching - and pouncing - on that dangled meat Jethaniel is holding with a tiny, but ferocious growl. Adulation is no longer enough for her! She wants sustenance. Tiny paws reach for his finger and cling as the firelizard creeps up onto the Steward's hand and peers up at him. Feed me, I'm yours?

Jethaniel surely got along with Xanadu's previous Weyrleader quite nicely, right? If indeed their paths crossed. Which is quite likely seeing how Xe'ter was determined sneezes were to be done in triplicate. Darsce would snort if his name were to be brought up. After all, the Iernian will long remember being routed out of bed before noon so he could have the residents’ cavern fumigated and had her nail polish and remover added to his Xanadu MSDS sheets (which indeed, were done in triplicate). His syllabus? Was inserted into those hatching sands schematics, but alas, not in triplicate. Sadness! She breathes only when the tiny green lady has attached to his hand, easing out of his lap reluctantly, but unwilling to get in the way of the fragile bond. She'll content herself handing him strips of meat, while he feeds the firelizard. Strips, and no teasing. Imagine that from Darsce!

If You've Got it Flaunt it Green Hatchling looks into Jethaniel's eyes. Impression!

Oh, Jethaniel and Xe'ter? They hardly had any cause to meet. After all, why would a properly filed form merit a personal investigation? Too much similarity means there's no interesting friction to be had. "Such a lovely lady," Jethaniel says to the small green. "What is it you're looking for - ah!" She's found it, with a pounce to his hand, and his eyes widen as the meat is consumed eagerly. "There you are, yes," he says, with a warm smile that only dims ever so slightly as he realizes that his lap has turned empty. Still, the net number of lovely ladies on his body has remained constant. "Oh, she's eaten it." What is he supposed to do now? Ah, there's another piece of meat. "Thank you," he says, though his gaze doesn't leave the firelizard. Who knows what she might do if he doesn't attend to her wishes well enough?

She might nibble his fingers and her teeth are much sharper than- Darsce's a good coach. She remains close by, right behind his chair. In fact she's leaning on the forearm of the same hand holding the meat packet, which is bent and propped across the back of his shoulders as she leans in. Her breath tickles warm in his ear as she whispers, "Lesson number one: firelizards are voracious creatures. You need to keep her satisfied, so keep giving her what she wants until she doesn't look for any more." Darsce really IS talking about firelizards, right?? She must be, because her slim fingers keep handing him strips of meat while the critter inhales them. "Lesson number two: Firelizards are needy; they hunger often and crave affection; be prepared to give her plenty of both. Lesson number three: They are social creatures and like to be talked to. They might stray if you neglect them." If correlations should be drawn by Jethaniel to the social realms, this would mark him an apt pupil indeed.

Those teeth are most certainly sharp, and Jethaniel winces when they nip him. "Careful, lovely lady," he tells her softly. "Don't worry, I'll give you what you want." He's talking to the firelizard, of course, as he hands her piece after piece of that meat, his fingers lifting to accept them from Darsce before presenting them to the little green. He nods to the instructions murmured in his ear. "Insofar as I understand it, but you are a lovely lady," he assures the firelizard, his finger brushing back along her muzzle as she consumes one of those strips of meat, then quickly taking another piece to offer her. "I will certainly try to learn." About firelizards, certainly, but will he prove capable of generalizing? That question has yet to be answered.

The little firelizard looks nearly sated so Darsce places the nearly-empty packet of meat on the edge of the desk where Jethaniel can reach it without too much trouble. She needs her hand for the next lesson. "Lesson number four: your lady will crave tactile stimulation and so-" here she pauses to reach inside her shirt and remove a small glass, wide-mouthed jar, lifts it to eye level, which is pretty much on the same level as his, seeing she's still leaning on him. "Hmm. The whipped oil's melted. Oh well. Here." And she tucks it into his shirt pocket for him. She's quite the assistant, if she does say so herself! "-so you'll need to bathe and oil her pretty much daily. Don't let her skin flake or it could be fatal when she betweens." She stops her litany to peer at the little green and then Jethaniel, adding flippantly, "You're pretty much her slave for life. Have fun with that?" Smirk. Which… might explain why she didn't want to impress the firelizard herself.

And reach for that packet of meat Jethaniel does, for the green's still just a bit hungry. She is, however, now willing to actually savor her meal. Perhaps even appreciate it, along with the one who provides it to her. "Ah. Does she," he says, and turns his head away from the green at last, only to encounter a bottle of oil being displayed for his perusal. "Oh. I… see." Does he? That pink gradient to his ears reasserts itself as Darsce reaches down to tuck the bottle neatly away, and he regards her features for a moment, words reaching almost - almost! - to his lips before an impatient creel informs him that the next piece of meat was too slow in coming. Hop to it! And Jethaniel obediently does, returning his gaze to the green firelizard and feeding her another strip of meat - this one, likely her last, if the slow pace with which she eats it is anything to judge by. Jethaniel pets along her neck as she eats, observing the proud arch. "I believe she and I may nevertheless find that satisfactory," he says with a smile to the young green.

Darsce leaves the jar in his shirt pocket with a gentle little pat, lifting lashes to meet Jetheniel's eyes for the brief moment the little green is working on her previous bite, time only for a slow smile and a barely-wink fluttered before that creel turns his head and attention away. Her eyes are not far from those pink-flushed ears and her smile grows, tempted to- But no, bitten back is the impulse. Now is not the time. "She'll need a name too," she says. And here her voice turns teasing, the giggle in it almost audible, "And she's too pretty to be named after some… chemical."

"I suppose she will," agrees Jethaniel, stroking his fingers along her sleek side. "Won't you, lovely lady?" His voice is soft as he asks her that, his expression a smile. As for naming her after a chemical? "Certainly not," he says briskly, with a slight shake of his head. "She is far too organic, and hydrocarbons do not lend themselves to monikers. Too repetitive." His fingers trail along the delicate arch of one of her half-spread wings, and he smiles once more to the firelizard. For this moment, his attention is more focused on one lovely lady than the other. "Though her apperance is somewhat reminiscent of an oil-" He stops himself. "I suppose not. The connotations are wrong. Perhaps something to do with the ocean would be more suitable."

Are there chemicals in the ocean? Darsce wouldn't know because she has yet to attend the up-coming Tech class he's giving. "I'm sure you'll think of something," she says eyes moving from the gentle fingers stroking the firelizard to the tender smile he's bestowing upon the creature, perhaps surprised that the analytical journeyman can be so besotted. Oddly pleased for some reason, even though she is not a recipient of that, she tells him huskily, "I think… I think you'll be alright, Jethaniel." Nothing to do with the firelizard, but he can't know that. And of course she covers that up with a hastily, giggled, "And you'll make a good… slave. I'll go get you some meat to take to your quarters or she'll be waking the entire dorms later." And off she goes on her errand, running from her own ghosts.

"I shall have to," Jethaniel agrees. "Something suitable." If his analytical mind had predominance now, perhaps he'd be paying close enough attention to Darsce to register some social signals. Then again, if his analytical mind was in charge right now, he'd likely still be working on those blueprints his lovely green lady has made such a mess of with claw marks and shreds of meat. It will surely take an interesting moment to bring the right thoughts to the forefront in the right way, but the future is as full of potential as the ocean is of chemicals (two hydrogen, one oxygen). "I… thank you," he says, looking up at Darsce again - though he's too late to do more than catch a glimpse as she heads for the door. His eyes linger on the empty doorway for a moment, until a firelizard's chirp brings his attention back to his desk. He pets her once more, but his gaze lifts briefly to rest on the half-hidden flowerpot on the corner of his desk before returning to the green firelizard. "Yes. We'll be all right," he murmurs softly, drawing her in against his body to hold and pet.

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