Finding Fairy Tales

Xanadu Weyr - Forest
The trees grow thickly here, avians nesting in their branches and flitting about after insects. Flowers sprout up and speckle the ground between, the green of small plants and their blooms of bright saffron and cheeky rose that creep all the way up to the bases of the trees and adorn the fallen leaves and mulch of the forest floor. Those trees rise upward in their aged magnificence, gargantuan limbs casting often welcome shade, the general atmosphere and scent of the path is one of freshness and wild abandon.

A path winds its leisurely way through the trees, wide enough for wagons to pass. As it goes through into the forest, a number of other trails branch away, both more and less traveled. Many of them lead to private weyrs, but there's a few more trodden paths - notable among them a road to the feeding grounds, set against the western slopes.

The forest grows wilder the further north one goes, deep growth and ancient places, and the road splits in two against it. One branch leads to a clearing with a large stone building finished with wooden cladding, while the other turns back toward the meadow. Just before it emerges, a trail veers off to the Firelizard Theatre.

Disclaimer: Language (swearing) toward the end

It is hard to believe that in a few short months, they'll be done with Weyrlinghood. Between is looming on the horizon, an ever-present thought in the back of Sh'y's head, even as he moves through the dense forest around Xanadu in search of the second milestone that's coming for them: their own weyrs.

It is because of Between that he's out here, trying to clear his head from the worries that want to crowd it; the thoughts of all those dangers the weyrlingmasters are hammering home in daily lessons on visualization. He needs fresh air and sunshine (or at least fresh air) and a chance to move around and, while he would normally have headed for the stables, that option is no longer available to him (and is still a very tender subject which he is also trying to avoid thinking about).

So. Woods. Wandering. Fresh air and a definite, welcome drop in temperature as he goes deeper along the over grown paths in the woods in search of suitable accommodation that isn't already occupied.

Avi has wandered out into the woods for much the same reasons. There is a /lot/ going on, and while he is more than happy and excited to be back with Sh'y? The realization that he has no real notion of where they stand, has him preparing for the future as much as he can in uncertain circumstances. He has no idea what is going on and is not entirely sure he has the nerve to ask.

No. Strike that. He is entirely sure that he does *NOT* have the nerve to ask.

It is that that has him stepping carefully along overgrown pathways, the gauzy white skirts swirling around his ankle held up to keep from snagging on underbrush.

The flash of white catches Shy's eye, turning his attention that-a-way. It takes a moment (and a few more steps) before he recognizes it for the person that it is, and another few steps before he recognizes who that person is.

"Avi," comes in equal parts surprise and delight, a little smile touching the bluerider's lips as he quickens his pace to close the distance. Sturdy pants and boots definitely help contribute to a less dangerous (for clothing) walk, the long branches reaching out but not managing to snag on him.

"Going for a walk?" he wonders, eyeing the dress skeptically.

While Avi startles at the unexpected sound, the start immediately turns to a pleasantly warm laugh as he twists around to watch Sh'y's approach. Course, there is a moment of bemused envy at the sight of sturdy pants and boots. That, however, is fleeting and quickly replaced by a warmer smile as he picks his way through brambles and brush to meet the bluerider's approach.

"Looking at Weyrs," he admits the moment he is close enough to reach out and take one of Sh'y's arms for balance. "At least, I think I am," he admits as he eyes the overgrown pathways.

"I thought something off the beaten path would be nice, but I am starting to think I might have gotten lost?" Blinking once, he tilts his chin up, mist pale eyes searching Sh'y's face. "What are you doing all the way out here?"

Avi can definitely have one of Shy's arms. If he wanted, Shy would happily pick him up and let him ride piggy-back the rest of the way through the woods, though that might be a little awkward on account of the dress. For now, at least, he'll reach out to steady him with a hand to the elbow as well.

"Ah," comes without real surprise for the explanation. After all, isn't that exactly what he is doing? Which he admits with another little smile and an easy, "The same."

"I think you're going the right way," he adds, glancing up and down the trail. "Walk with me?"

There is a moment where Avi parts his lips, drawing in a subtle breath as he glances back up at Sh'y's face before falling in to step alongside him. He cannot, however, keep himself from smiling. Particularly not when they are both inclined to get as far away from others as possible. It's comforting, even if he has no intention of saying that outloud.

"Of course," he answers in the wake of the invitation, his fingers tightening on Shiloh's arm as he carefully picks his way along the path. "I was starting to think I'd gotten lost," he admits. "I'd hoped not, cause it is beautiful out here, but…"

"You're still on a path," assures Sh'y. "See?"

He's happy to point out the trail they're following which, while not very well maintained, is still very much a trail and probably perfectly navigable even if Avi isn't as sure of himself in the woods.

"Which means you're not lost. You can always retrace your steps." It makes sense to Shy, at least.

It's the game trails branching off that he points out next, the little breaks in the branches of bushes or the places where the ground cover exposes the dirt; the animal tracks that are present in the softer ground.

"It's not a well-maintained path, but it's a path," he concludes, for the trail they're currently taking. And then he pauses, eyeing a spot on the path that might be missed if he hadn't been looking for game trails to point out.

"This one was made by a person," he decides, eyeing the narrow, overgrown path leading into the brush. "Wanna see where it goes?"

Now, apparently, they're on an adventure.

"You are on a path," Avi laughs. "I'm trusting that you can see where you are going." Twisting his skirt up around his free hand as he moves at Sh'y's side. "I'm not lost because I'm clinging to your arm." He's pretty sure that otherwise, Mirieth would have to be trying to guide him out from overhead.

Still, the game trails are interesting enough to capture his attention, at least enough that pale eyes scan the surrounding area for any signs of the animals to go with them. With the wild flowers pressing in and the scent of them in his nose, he turns a bright eyed smile up to Sh'y's face, a dramatic swish of skirts orienting them in the new direction.

The forest is dense enough that it's unlikely overhead dragons are going to see much. Avi might have to climb a tree for Mirieth to know where he is (and we all know how that would end, hehehe <3 ) But that's why he has a Shy, who is happy to guide him. Even if he's also curious to know, "Why did you wear a dress into the woods?"

The dramatic swish gets a little laugh, an eyebrow lofted as he considers the trail and then the be-dressed boy beside him. "Be careful of the brambles," he notes. A pause and he considers, "Maybe you should walk behind me? I can break the branches for you." And save his skirt the threat of being torn.

"Just put your hand through my belt. You won't lose me."

This path is considerably more difficult to navigate, and may not even look like a path if one doesn't know what to look for, but eventually it widens enough that they can walk side-by-side again and, a few more feet, it opens up in a small clearing with a pair of stone and wood buildings that can be aptly described as 'cottages', even if they are very, very dilapidated cottages.

"Because it is terribly romantic," Avi notes in tones that are utterly aghast at the thought that Sh'y wouldn't know THAT. "I mean, look at it, voluminous pale white gauze, flowing golden locks and wildflowers everywhere… I'm a walking storybook." Except for the brambles clinging to the hem of his skirt and the bits of leaf and twig in his hair. >.>

"I.. didn't expect to come out this far," he admits in sheepish tones. "But once I got out here, I didn't want to turn back."

It is the suggestion of walking behind the bluerider that has him falling back, his fingers curling securely around Sh'y's belt. "If I lose you, rest assured you will hear me caterwauling."

Mind you, he's staying pressed up against Sh'y's back, pale eyes dubious as he peeks around one shoulder. "I think they had to have given wrong directions," he murmurs. "No one could be living out here…"

It is the sight of the cottages that has his eyes widening, though, one hand raising press his fingers against his lips. And from the dreamy, wide eyed look on his face? He's absolutely enchanted with the place.

Sh'y just lofts an eyebrow at the romance of it all — and the brambles and leaves and possible holes that those brambles have put in all that gauze. Alright then.

As they break from the trail and into the little clearing, he steps aside to let Avi have a better look, dark eyes drifting over the weyrling beside him and his reaction to the place. Sh'y slides another look toward the cottages — the broken windows and wrecked roof; the undoubted destruction that animals have made of the interior. Sigh.

"Be careful," he warns as they move further along what was probably once a cobblestone courtyard. "Not sure how structurally sound any of this is…" And he's loathe to lose Avi to an untimely building collapse.

"Oh, but it's /beautiful/," Avi breaths as he steps forward to pick his way along the broken path lined heavily with undergrowth. Still, he stays close to Sh'y, close enough that there is no mistaking the dreamy eyed expression on his face.

"Can't you imagine what it must have looked like in its day," he breathes as he glances at Sh'y's face. "A lovely sage green paint on the exterior with dark wood and window boxes overflowing with flowers? And over there," he adds as he points toward the thick press of trees toward the creek. "A broad swing coiled with ivy and flowers… And all of this," he adds as his arm sweeps out to indicate the front yard and pathway, an artful jumble of wildflowers almost hiding the cobblestones entirely…."

As they get close to the door, he lets the skirt fall, his hand moving to tightly grip Sh'y's arm. "Do you think it's safe to peek inside?"

Oh, Shy has definitely not missed the dreamy-eyed look on Avi's face. Which is why he is sighing internally. Because he knows what he's going to be doing the next few days-weeks-months-probably-years. Siiiiigh. (But also, worth it)

He lets his hand skate down the artist's arm so he can collect his hand, threading their fingers together briefly before releasing him once again to motion toward the cottages.

"Should be safe enough to peek through the windows," he allows. "Be careful of any broken glass."

He'll trail along in his wake, eyeing the perimeter of the once-courtyard with a critical eye, testing a few of the cobblestones and finding them very well set, if a bit distorted by debris. The creek gets a peek, and he wanders that way toward the little trail leading toward it and the bridge. He won't go any further than that without Avi, turning back to circle the rest of the way around the outer area before joining him.

"Whoever lived here has been gone a long time," he says, squinting up toward the growth overhead. "It's so far from the Weyr, I'm not surprised it's been left abandoned."

Avi dips his chin in a quick, obedient nod at the instruction to be careful, his skirt gathered back up and tucked into his own belt as he picks his way around the broken cobblestone and up close enough to peek through the windows. "It's not very big," he calls as he braces one hand against the solid wood of the window brace. "Looks like maybe two rooms on the main floor and stairs going up."

Pausing a beat, he twists around to search for Sh'y, one hand stretching out to snag his hand. "I suppose going in is a bad idea…" Still, he's glancing curiously toward the creek, his chin tilting up to get a better look at that area.

"Isn't that the best part, though? That it's so far away?"

"I wouldn't trust it," agrees Shy, for not going in. "Wood's probably rotted. Might fall through the floor or the stairs." Or the whole thing could just come down on them.

Taking Avi's hand, he pulls him close reaching up to pluck a leaf from his hair. He twirls it between his fingers, an amused little half-smile at his lips.

A shrug answers the last, and he turns to bring Avi with him as he heads toward the creek and the little stone bridge going over it.

"Not for everyone," he allows. "Most wanna be close to the Weyr proper. Food and people and… work." Makes sense that they'd want to stay near, to avoid the long walk to and from.

"I like the quiet," admits Sh'y, pausing at the bridge to listen to the sound of the water and the general… lack of any other noise. "There's another path on the other side of the bridge. Wanna walk it?"

"Yes." Avi's answer is quick and breathy and coupled with an eager gaze as he winds his arms around Sh'y's waist. "I want to see all of it," he admits in quiet tones. Because while it might not be suitable for living in? He absolutely intends to bring it back to life on canvas.

"I think the quiet is perfect," he admits as he nudges them into walking. He cannot, however, keep himself from twisting around to glance back at the little buildings, his smile soft before he threads his fingers through Sh'y's and glances back toward the bridge. "Is the bridge safe to cross?"

Not that he minds the thought of getting wet, but better to expect it then be surprised. "And I do know I am being silly," he adds as he aside. "There are perfectly utilitarian weyrs closer then this…" But he's never been to settle for the norm.

"Looks sturdy enough," admits Sh'y, though he'll test it as they walk over. "Creek's only a couple feet deep. Maybe up to your knees." So even if it fails… yeah. They'd get wet but not much else.

"I'll bet it ices over completely in the winter." But, as it is summer, it's flowing right along at a brisk pace, filling the air with the sound of running water. On the other side of the bridge, the path is once more overgrown but clear enough for Sh'y to follow and after a few seconds, opens up into a wide, lush meadow.

"For the dragons," decides Shy as he looks around the space. "Someone cleared it out." And the forest is slowly encroaching, but hasn't gotten more than a foot into the space; still plenty big enough for their pair to land.

He keeps to the forest, enjoying the cool of the shade, but will let Avi's hand go if he wants to walk further. He will, however, add a pointed look for that statement.

"You're not silly," he says simply. "Didn't I just say that I liked the quiet?"

Avi is enchanted, his expression warm and eyes bright as he walks along at Sh'y's side. He is listening, though, a fact made clear when his fingers trail over the railing of the bridge, his attention sweeping down to the water. "I bet there are fish," he whispers in hushed tones.

It's the clearing, though, that has him returning to Sh'y's side, his expression soft as he clutches his arm and casts him an immediately apologetic look. "You did. I like it too…" It's the meadow, though, with it's bright grasses and delicate blooms that has his drawing in a deep breath.

"I would love to know who lived here," he whispers in hushed tones. "Mirieth would be tickled over this meadow…"


There are no fish. Sh'y isn't going to say this, because why break the spell? But also… it's way too shallow for fish.

At the meadow, Sh'y finds a tree to lean up against, affording a view of the space while he can stay nice and cool beneath the shade of the tall trees. He shifts to pull Avi in against him, letting the artist lean against his chest while he looks his fill at the field.

"If you really wanted to know, you could probably ask the records keepers," allows Sh'y with a shrug. "They'd probably have record of that." Even if the name would probably mean nothing to either of them.

"Whoever it was has been gone for… a long time."

Avi tilts his head back as he settles with his back to Sh'y's chest, pale eyes sweeping up to the bluerider's face. "I'm going to leave it a romantic mystery," he decides. "It is too perfectly enchanting to be ruined by facts."

Facts? Pfft. Who needs them?

Still, he nestles in closer, his fingers trailing along the length of the Bluerider's arms, his nails whispering over warm flesh in a slightly ticklish caress. Eventually, he will have to resume the search for a weyr, but right now? Right now, he's perfectly content to remain right where they are. It's peaceful and quiet and he has no desire to leave any time soon.

And Shy is absolutely certain that Avi has found his weyr. He just doesn't know it yet. Because obviously the artist is charmed by the cottages, so naturally Sh'y is now required to fix them up and make sure they are habitable for him. He's just gonna keep that part to himself, for now.

In case he doesn't succeed.

The last thing he wants is to get Avi's hopes up and then break his heart with a failed project.

He adjusts his hold so that his arms are loose around him, fingers threaded together and hands resting over the artist's stomach, a long breath exhaled.

"Have you looked at any other weyrs?" he wonders, conversationally.

Avi wrinkles his nose at the question, his lips twisting into a moue of distaste before nods quickly. "A few. They are… they are fine," he supposes. "There are some nice ones along the beach." But they are not what he wants. They are certainly not magical or surrounded with wildflowers and creeks and enchanted forests.

Sniffing, he pushes the flights of fancy aside, his teeth nibbling at his lip as he slants a glance back and up to Sh'y's face. "…have you?" Which, really, is not what he wants to ask. But, toeing at the subject of living together again, is not something he is at all sure would be welcome.

"I imagine Kovagath wants something very high? With a suitable perch?"

"Actually, he'd prefer something underground," snorts Sh'y. "Hidden from view. He doesn't want to be seen when he's sleeping." That would make him vulnerable to attack!

A shrug comes as Sh'y adds, "He's not that picky, really. He's got his places around Xanadu that he can go. Doesn't care where the weyr might be."

On the matter of having found others, there's a little pause before he admits, "a few. But nothing… right." And maybe he's having a similar conflict of interest; a similar hesitation about asking for something he doesn't think he has a right to ask for. Doesn't want to push for. Not when Avi has every right to want his own space after… everything.

He leans forward, pressing a kiss to Avi's forehead and smiling a small, crooked smile at him. "Got plenty of time to find something," he points out. "Pretty sure they're not lettin' us out for another month." Woe.

Avi is listening. But the more he listens, the more his anxiety grows, to the point that one hand is reaching up as Sh'y kisses his brow, his fingers curling in the fabric of the bluerider's shirt. "Maybe," he allows in breathy tones.

"Maybe we should think about looking together? Or.. talk about it.. depending on how everyone feels about it?" Trailing off, he lightly clears his throat, drawing in a shallow breath before turning his attention to the flowers

It's the mention of having time that has him giving a quick nod, his lips turning up in a smile that doesn't quite meet his eyes. "True. There is plenty of time. And really, at the end of the day it doesn't matter."

Sh'y watches Avi quietly, a touch of uncertainty in his expression. Not because he has any doubts about wanting to live with him, but rather, he's not sure that's what he means.

"Talk about it…?" he repeats, the question clear in his tone. He shifts against the tree, hands at Avi's waist so that he can turn him to face him properly. His hand lifts, fingers touching at Avi's cheeks and then sliding down to his chin and neck.

"What's wrong?"

Avi lowers his gaze, his head giving a tiny shake as he lightly clears his throat. "I don't want to rush anything," he assures as he glances up at Shiloh's face. "I just.. I miss you. I miss having our own space.. together," he adds quickly.

"Our space together. Not with the other weyrlings, together.. alone, together." Which? He's babbling and presses his lips the moment that he realizes it. "I know it's really soon," he promises. "And it's okay if you.. or Kovagath are not okay with it. Or, if he.. you.. is..are.. I could even sleep on a cot, or something? In another room, even."

Which is still babbling.

Sucking in a sharp breath, he pushes way, stepping quickly toward a patch of tiny blue flowers. "Look, bluebells."

Nice, Avi. Very smooth. Much suave.

Really, Sh'y got it with that first sentence. If anything, the babbling just confuses him, a frown creasing his brow as he tries to read between the lines of what Avi is saying (because he's saying so much and it all sounds the same except… maybe it's not?). In the end, there's a little huff and a roll of his eyes before the mention of flowers has him bemused once again.

"Oh," is about the only thing he can think to say in answer to the bluebells, still clearly confused.

A moment of thought, a few false starts, and he finally asks, "Do you want to talk about that or not?" because while Avi said a lot that Sh'y would like to rebut, the swift subject change to flowers has him uncertain whether Avi even wants a rebuttal.

It is a much easier conversation if he focus his attention on the bluebells rather then looking at Sh'y's face. Still, he glances over his shoulder, mist grey eyes sweeping up as he regards the bluerider for a moment. "I do."

He does. Want to talk about it.

Still, he's quick to brush his tongue over his lips and drop his gaze back to the flowers.

"Okay," says Sh'y. "Let's talk about it."

Of course, this is then followed by silence as Sh'y squints around the field, perhaps debating if here is the right place to talk about it. A breath or two, a press of lips in thought, and finally he finds something to say, gaze dropping back to Avi even if that mist-grey gaze is avoiding him.

"You want to live together again?" he asks, for clarity sake. "Don't worry about Kovagath; just… yes or no. Do you want to live together again?"

"Yes." The answer is quick in coming and firmly uttered, despite the fact that the artist is focusing a great deal of his attention on the patch of blue flowers. After a moment, he draws in a deep breath, holding it a beat before turning around and stepping back to the tree.

It's the fact that there are, as is always the case, a thousand other things he could say to qualify his feelings, or afford options, or even make it less immediate then he feels like it is, that has him holding his breath again, his lips pressing to keep his answer short and to the point.

"Okay," says Sh'y, like it's just that simple. Because it is. "Then we'll move in together. Once they let us."

There's no hesitation in the bluerider; no uncertainty about his own feelings on the matter. It is only Avi's continued avoidance that has him tipping his head and regarding him quietly, a little furrow between his brows.

He holds his hand out as he returns, seeking to pull him in against him, dark eyes studying him with avid interest.

"Is that the only thing bothering you…?"

The response brings an immediate flood of relief to the little greenrider, his fingers curling tightly around Sh'y's hand as he steps in and shelters against his chest. It is the question, that has him looking embarrassed, his chin dipping in a faint nod as he twists to wrap his arms around Sh'y's shoulders. "You know I get myself all spun up worrying about every little thing that could go wrong."

He knows his own flaws. He knows Sh'y knows them, as well. "I was afraid to bring up," he admits. "And then sad about looking at weyrs and then sad about being afraid to bring it up…" And on and on in a dizzying circle of fretting and worrying.


Shy's hands raise to cup Avi's face, an affectionate smile offered.

"I know," he agrees, leaning in to steal a quick kiss. "But you don't need to. I love you, Avi. I love you just as much now as I did before I fucked up." And if anyone should be uncertain and anxious, it should be Shy.

His thumbs brush over the artist's cheeks, dark eyes searching pale grey, a softer smile tugging at his lips. "You can talk to me about anything."

"You did not fuck up." The words are quick and firm and coupled with a stern flash of pale eyes as he Avi's gaze sweeps up to meet the bluerider's. "You did what you thought was right and I know that. And it's… It's done." And he is absolutely determined to keep it in the past.

It is the softer smile tugging at Sh'y's lips that has him melting, though, the fingers curled in his shirt tightening their hold. "If we're together? I'd even be happy living in an underground cave." He wouldn't be. He might /think/ he would be, but he definitely would not be.

"I miss having our space," he whispers. "I miss being able to close out the rest of the weyr and just be us."

"I did," insists Sh'y. "An' I think we need to talk about it." Because maybe Avi isn't understanding what part of that Shy believes was the fucked-up part.

His hands drop to rest at his shoulders, and then slide down his arms to circle around his waist once again, resting at the small of the artist's back.

An amused smirk answers the idea that Avi would enjoy living in a cave, an eyebrow lofted in clear questioning of that.

"You'd miss the sun, and the fresh air," he decides. "Especially the sun." He leans in, pecking him on the nose and grinning for it before settling once more against the tree. He sighs.

"Another month," he decides. "That's it. Just one more month." And until then, he's determined to take Avi somewhere alone and quiet as often as he can.

Avi returns the kiss with a quietly warm smile, pale eyes crinkling at the corners as he tugs Sh'y down to sit on the grass in the shade. "I can last one more month," he assures with a quiet laugh. "But here… We are alone, surrounded by nature, there is no better place to talk, than this."

"And maybe," he allows as he tucks the folds of his skirt around his legs. "You are right about a cave." Particularly since there are sure to be spinners and tunnelsnakes and things he'd much rather not even think about.

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