Breaking the News

Xanadu Weyr - Firelizard Theatre
There are many different things to look at here. In the northern part of this field lies a massive fort made out of wood. About 10 feet to the right of the fort, there are wooden sit-toys carved in the likeness of dragons and even painted as such. In the middle of the field are two sets of swings suspended from a wooden beam, held up by two wooden beams on either side. To the left of the swings is a 5 by 6 rectangular box filled not quite to the top with sand from Xanadu Weyr's Beach. To the right of the swings are monkey bars, completely crafted out of wood. In front of you are two seesaws, both made out of wood. Finally, to your near left are two benches underneath a large Lemosian Ironwood tree. You find yourself standing in the Courtyard of The Firelizard.

There's not a sound to be heard at the firelizard theatre, other than the occasional dull creak as the low wind pulls at a seesaw or swing. The days's fog has yet to really lift from around the various wooden structures, making Marel's figure on one of the swings not immediately noticeable. Perhaps it's that she makes some of the only movement in the place that might draw attention to her presence, or maybe it's Brier, who sits atop the beam supporting his girl's swing, his poor excuses for wings spread as he surveys the territory before him. Below, Marel presses the toe of one foot against the ground every so often to maintain the slow, shallow momentum of the swing, feet never really leaving the ground entirely. There's a new addition to her usual dress now: a white knot sat at her right shoulder.

Muir meanders down to the theatre, gazing around in search of…ah! "Marel!" her twin calls, lifting a hand to wave as his steps lengthen. "Listen, I was thinking we should make dinner for Mom tonight. Or, you know. Try, like we always do, and then just get something from the caverns and say we…made…it." He comes to a slow stop when he's near enough to see that knot on her shoulder, and he just blinks at it. Blink.

Marel tenses when she hears Muir's voice; perhaps /because/ she hears her twin's voice and not that of a relatively innocent stranger. On the beam above, Brier goes still and hunkers down, leaning forward to keep an eye on the proceedings, right as Marel lifts both hands to grip the chains that keep her swing, well, swinging. It's debatable whether she actually processes any of what her brother says, for she's too busy staring at him, green eyes wide and faintly panicked, though she otherwise manages to remain composed. "I'm sorry," she murmurs, looking down into her lap.

Muir doesn't stare at /her/, but at the knot pinned to her shoulder while his heart convulses like a fist closed around it. "I," he stammers. "You…" He shakes his head firmly and finally lifts his gaze to try and meet hers. "Uh." He can't quite get the word out - it sticks in his throat even though he clears it, it still won't come.

"I'm /sorry/!" Marel says again, gripping the chains more tightly, until she's left with nothing to do but get to her feet or try and rip the swing down trying to expel energy that has no real outlet to escape through. "I asked! You were the first thing I asked about before I even said yes!" she protests before she even knows whether she should or not. "…N'shen, he came into the shop and asked me to babysit Alishe, and then he was asking me to Stand and…" She wraps her arms around herself, knotting them tightly, white-knuckled hands curving around her elbows. "Say something," she pleads.

Muir stares at her, and there's a flicker of emotion in the depths of his eyes at her admittance. Then he clears his throat again, and shakes his head firmly. "Congratulations," he says, but softly, and his heart isn't really in it. But then he winces, pushing a hand through his hair in agitation. "You…did?"

Anything but that. Say anything but that, for Marel begins to crumple at that single word, lips pressing firmly together as she struggles not to fold in on herself or permit any tears to escape, her green eyes blinking wide to try and ward off their increasing glassiness. "…There's time," she tries to reason. "They could ask you too. I just… I couldn't say no to something I wanted because of… I didn't want to make you the reason and then be angry with you for a decision I made." As for asking, she only nods, looking progressively more miserable. "I don't want to do this without you," she murmurs, "but I can't refuse /because/ it's without you."

Muir steps closer to her, swift and without hesitation, when he sees her expression shift. Reaching up, his hands clasp her upper arms, gentle but firm as he gazes into her face. "I don't want you angry with me," he whispers. "You…you did the right thing if this is what you wanted." Even though it hurts him terribly, the idea of her doing this without him. Of her doing what he wants /so/ badly. His hands tighten on her arms, convulse almost, and then relax as he watches her.

Marel clenches her jaw even more tightly in her ongoing battle not to cry, her arms unwinding from around herself when his tighten, hers making to wind around him instead and fold herself in against her twin as closely as she can get. Then comes the awful rest of it, and where some might be joyful, Marel cannot be, and so the tears arrive too, despite her best efforts. "…I had to move my stuff into the barracks, s-so I'm not… I'm not at home anymore," she stammers. "And I haven't t-told Mama yet." Through her misery, her mind races a mile a minute, and so she suggests, "You could ask Mama. Maybe Seryth would… Or Siebith…"

Muir slips his arms around her and pulls her close, hugging her against him and resting his chin on the top of her head. His eyes peer sightlessly at the ground behind her, and he gives her a squeeze as he focuses on breathing for the moment. "You've - we've - been away from home before," he murmurs. "Doesn't mean home isn't still there…" And then he stiffens slightly, pride warring with the shaft of hope that suggestion brings. "No," he says, quiet but firm. "I'll be Searched by a dragon or not at all."

Nodding in against his shoulder, Marel tries holding her breath to force back her tears and the ugly hiccupping noise that sounds soon to be on the horizon. Only when she /has/ to breathe does she put voice to her biggest fear, blurting out, "D-Do you hate me?" worry twisting her voice high and strained. Determined not to let him go, she keeps her arms wrapped tightly around him, leaving it to Muir if he wants to put some distance between them.

Muir rubs his hand along her back, a little awkwardly but at least making the effort. "No," he answers, his voice thick with emotion. "I'd never…I /couldn't/ hate you. Never," he whispers, pressing his cheek against the top of her hair and squeezing her tightly. "You're all I've got."

Marel takes another deep breath and draws back to look her brother in the eye. "There's still time," she says again. "One of the dragons will decide you're for the eggs too. They have to." Or there's the other option. "…I-I might not Impress anyway. Then I'll come home. And I'll still be around in the meantime and you can visit and… and even if I do Impress, you'll still have me. I won't vanish. No dragon will make me not your twin." She tries a smile, weak though it is. "You're stuck with me."

Muir leans back too, his hold loosening but not letting her go. "We'll…we'll see," he says with a slightly forced smile and attempt at confidence. But every day that goes by eats at him. Doubt, mild self-distaste. "And you with me, Mare," he returns with his usual crooked grin.

"They will," Marel insists, like she could make it happen if she just repeats it or thinks about it for long enough. Slipping down from the beam above the swings, Brier loops his way to a perch on her shoulder as she goes to loop one am through Muir's and aim them both in the direction of 'home', away from the fog-swamped playground. She paws at her eyes with one hand, trying to hide any trace of her tears, and asks, "What were you saying about dinner?"

Muir slips his arm firmly around her shoulders and gives them a firm squeeze. "Let's make Mom dinner. And then we - you - can tell her the news, okay?" And he offers her a smile, trying to be encouraging and happy, if only for her sake.

"…Okay," Marel agrees, meaning to suppress and hide away any worries she has about telling their mother as much as Muir tries to encourage her, making their present sort-of equilibrium as much of a false construction on her side as it is on his. Still, it will have to do for now, and she's willing to play along, to try and be happy as they experiment with putting dinner together, even if she senses that neither of them truly feel what they try to project. It'll do, for now.

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