Why So Serious?

With Autumn on the approach and the days getting shorter and a touch on the cooler side, work on the house in the woods was progressing nicely. Sure, there had been some minor hiccups along the way— such as supplies being delayed or running out of this or that at vital points— but M'ti hadn't melted down for more than a few hours the last time. It might look like a bomb went off: Piles of felled logs in various stages of cut, crates, and necessary equipment everywhere; but everything was coming together. With the framework done for the most part, the walls were going up, though for the last couple of minutes the woodcrafting greenrider in charge of this massive undertaking was eyeballing the supports beneath the structure to the rhythmic clack of hammers against wood. Honestly, it was far too early to be looking that serious, but there he was with an arm across his own belly and tap-tap-tapping at his chin with the fingers of the opposing side as he squints and scrutinizes. For the most part, Matty'd been Matty throughout this whole thing, but he had some very strong opinions when in business mode sometimes and didn't take any weyrdung from anyone when it came to his 'baby'. Not that he was impolite, at least, not to any of the workers' faces. Cough. Let's just say there was a considerable amount of breathing and counting involved now and again, okay?

Here comes MAYHEM! Here comes chaos! And it's name is Ru'ien. Given his priority is to his Sr. Weyrling duties, he hasn't been AS hands on in the development of building the weyr. He's overseen some of it but largely given the control over to M'ti - if anything Smith related is required, he'll step in if times allows but otherwise entrusts some known Journeymen or Apprentices (likely under said Journeymen). As he saunters his way in this day, it's clear that Ru'ien's mind isn't quite on the task and more for some mischief - which he causes by picking up this and that and OOH, what's this!? He's settled on one particular piece, examining it up close and likely putting anyone on edge if said item happens to be crucial.

At first, M'ti doesn't even notice that Ru'ien has arrived, far more used to his absence during the day than otherwise. Of course he hardly faults the man for it, knowing all too well the demands of Weyrlinghood even if his own was over two whole turns in his past. It's the click and clank, the rustling and clamber of someone in his space that draws the greenrider's attention, head snapping towards the sound just in time to see trouble in the flesh messing with all of the things. His neatly arranged things no longer in their place. Brows launch upward and only after breathing does Matty take a very measured breath to ask, "Can I….help you with something?" he asks as cool, calm, and collected as he can possibly manage. Don't mind the way he twitches a bit, really, it's all good.

"Mhm? Oh! No, not really," Ru'ien cheerfully grins to M'ti, completely unaware of the twitching or coolness (or maybe he IS and it's amusing him greatly). "Just came by to see how it's going! How you're doing and holding up." That item? Is promptly set back down but ever-so skewed from the position it was resting in before. Why? Because off he goes again! This time he's touching tools and a Crafter should KNOW BETTER - at least he isn't picking them up? Just a smooth pass of his fingertips over some of the less dangerous ones and then he's poking through some of the scraps… or what he is assuming are scraps (they aren't, are they?) "It's looking amazing, by the way~" he nearly sing-songs the praise, loud enough to be overheard by all, if any are similarly distracted by his arrival.

Twitch. Twitch. Now it was Ru'ien that M'ti was squinting at, or rather peers at with lashes low and a leveled gaze, "It's fine, I'm…fine…" he replies, looking anything but all tense and biting at his thumb over there. When that crucial item is set back down, askew of all things, lingering on it and absolutely propelling himself forward to fix it once the Weyrling has moved on. This is barely done before he notices that Ru'ien is off touching more things, those that might not belong to Matty in particular, but certainly do someone else. You bet some of the workers have stopped, some for only a moment, but one is very quickly to harumph over and yank his toolbox away from any further finger strokes, shooting not the redhead a nasty look but M'ti. A strained by apologetic look is given the worker, however this is not extended to the source of discord, that one borders on ever so slightly poison tipped irritation. But only just. "Ru!" he reprimands, hurrying over to bat those poking hands away from that neatly organized pile of precut molding and attempt to grab the man's hand and draw him away, "Thank you but please stop….touching…stuff…" He can feel the hairy eyeballs upon him and this was not helping with his already profound anxiety of having bitten off more than he can probably chew. Oh, it'd work itself out in the end, but at this point even the littlest things going wrong made the greenrider want to either flip a table or vomit. Maybe both. At the same time. "I have a stupid amount of stuff that has to be done, today, so if you don't mind…" Tug. Tug. Tuuuuuug. Is Ru'ien moving away? If not, M'ti will throw his weight into it (AHAHAHA, I know right?) to really drive that message home.

Oops? Is there an apology to the worker? Not really, but he does smile in a way that could be taken as 'sorry' or… as an arrogant brat. It's hard to tell! Ru'ien's in a mood, but not THAT mood, though some might start hazarding guesses as to what got into him. In reality, this is just a side of him that hasn't come out to play in awhile and he could be making up for lost time! ISN'T IT YOUR LUCKY DAY, M'TI!? Tug, tug! It might've worked had the younger greenrider kept at it that way but once weight is thrown in, well… Ru'ien will at least step out of the danger zones and out of the way of workers and materials alike and then suddenly? SUDDENLY, he'll behave like his body just cannot handle gravity right now. Sorry, not sorry, M'ti! "… oh, and here I thought we could spend a moment together and talk!" he sighs, feigning a woeful, dismayed tone as he practically drops his weight (okay half of it, he actually DOESN'T want to crush the poor guy here) onto M'ti in a comical drape of SADNESS. Eventually, he'll end up on the ground, whether intentionally or not and smartly on his own ass. If they've made it to the edges of the property, he'll promptly lean heavily against a tree behind him, beaming proudly and oh-so smugly around his narrowed eyes. Shit disturber, right here! And he's Not. Budging. M'ti can either curse his name and go back to work or (as he's probably hoping), join him!

A daggerlike dart of eyes from the worker over Ru’ien and the man walks away grumbling to himself, getting plenty of support from his fellows over there when he moves he tools to. Pats on the back and soothing words from his compatriots seems to be enough to smooth any ruffled feathers and not before too long is that handful of workers back on duty. Some others, no more than two or three, remain keenly interested in what was going on with the ‘foreman’ and the owner of the property being constructed while the rest remain surprisingly focused. Hey, the sooner they get done, the quicker they can escape this canine and runner show. Is it Matty’s lucky day though? Is it? That the greenrider makes bad decisions, something that’s been brought up upon occasion in his personal life more times than he can count, certainly extends to his switching out tugging at Ru’ien for trying to physically push him out of the way. For a few precious moments, he’s winning, as the Weyrling steps aside and away from building supplies and the workers that use them. However, all too soon after, the dynamic shifts and M’ti finds himself being leaned upon in greater and greater amounts, “Ru!” he cries out with a grunt, struggling to counteract the boneless drop of body against his person, “For Faranth’s sake…” is what he meant to say, but it comes out more pointedly dipped in sailor speak than he would have preferred in a public setting. A growl of frustration rises up as he’s pinned, more or less, between Ru’ien and the ground making it impossible for him to move anywhere other than away. With a squeak, they’re down, but he’ll never admit that there was something satisfying about the Weyrling making contact with the ground; that is once Matty’s crawled out from underneath him with some choice wording muttered under his breath. Standing, dusting himself off, he ignores any murmurs or looks from the workers in favor of shaking his head at Ru’ien, “You could have just asked,” he heaves out with a sigh, tugging his tunic back down, then drops himself to sit on the handsome yet annoying self-satisfied greenling. Breathing out, “I think the house is going to settle a couple more inches than I thought…” Matty settles there comfortably, leaning his back against Ru’s chest, and already he can feel his anxieties subsiding to his surprise. Maybe, this was exactly what he needed after all.

Dagger eyes and grumblings are summarily ignored by Ru'ien. He's too busy laughing low and mostly to himself as M'ti's brought down with him and he succeeds in his playful assholery for the day. No protest either, when he's basically sat upon and he's not shy in slipping his arms around the younger greenrider. "Mhm? Is that part of the latest setbacks, then? How much is going to have to be remeasured and adjusted for?" he asks thoughtfully, all while resting his head by his. SEE? Nothing terrible happening here at all! Ru'ien's behaving himself, acting like the stress-reliever he's unaware of being. "Setbacks are expected," he adds with a small exhale of breath. "Can't be helped, if we're looking to do this right." And despite his usual quirks, his work is something he does NOT goof off with — even if his hand in the whole construction of this project is minimal.

Truth be told, M’ti would likely apologize profusely later, but there were plenty of laborers looking for work and so if that one in particular couldn’t let go of a single finger sweep in passing over the handle of his tool box then he was more than welcome to not return. It was more the crafters that the greenrider was worried about, but they were much more interested in the task at hand than the antics involved outside of it, a factor that was no longer in play as Ru’ien allows M’ti lap access without a fuss. That arms wrap around him and the Weyrling’s head rested against his isn’t lost on him, nor does it take it for granted, there was still a thrill that shoots through to his limbs that this was real and happening. It helps to remember M’ti that no matter what, Ru’ien was there for him, even if the man wasn’t aware of the impact such simple gestures had on him. Another sigh, “I don’t know, but we better figure it out soon before the full weight of it is a factor. I’m not even talking about interior decor, that’s next to nothing compared to two floors of walls and roof.” Lifting a hand, it’s placed to the side of Ru’s face as Matty turns his towards the opposing cheek and he just closes his eyes and breathes him in. “Yeah, I know. I just…want this perfect for you…and I don’t want you to regret asking me to do this in the first place.” It meant a lot to him that he had, likely more than even M’ti knew.

"I gotta defer to your knowledge and those of your Crafts, as all that goes a little beyond my understanding. Just try to give me enough notice if you need something from the Smithcraft end of things? Either I'll have time or I can delegate who takes over the task," Ru'ien's surprisingly focused and level headed when it comes to his work, a rare show of the lurking passion held in it; even if half the time he acts like he's wholly disinterested in doing anything productive. He'll move under that hand, allowing the gesture to be completed with nothing more than a gentled smile before he goes and ruins the moment! It's done by him gently leaning back, so that he has the clearance to bring up HIS hand and promptly BOOP a lone finger against M'ti's nose. Boop! "Don't sell yourself short!" he chides with a low, bemused huff, letting his hand fall away less it get smacked aside for his rudeness. "Or, y'know, kill yourself over this. It's gonna be perfect and even if it isn't - which I doubt! - it won't upset me." Seriously, M'ti! This stress vibe he's (FINALLY) picking up on? Not good. Ru'ien doesn't live for that sort've thing!

Blinking a few times, brows on the very cusp of lifting upwards as his lips part, and it shouldn’t be difficult to guess that M’ti was about to try and explain it all. Why? Well, knowledge is power, but it actually had more to do with the greenrider wanting to keep Ru’ien in the loop, especially when it came down to something so tremendously important, “It means that the house could possibly end up settling a little off and thus unlevel or detaching from the front stairs depending which direction it goes,” comes with a wince, an apologetic one at that. Mind the gap? “I’m not entirely sure, but it could mean adding another support, or I’m just worrying over nothing at all.” Mhmming to himself and narrowing his eyes at the beams already in place, “We’re going to need more nails soon, and the hinges for the doors and the windows next sevenday,” he says, obviously listening but sounding about seventy thousand kilometers away in response. But then Ru’ien leans back and taps his nose like that, startling him, his hand comes away from the man’s face to the booped spot one moment just to drop to his lop in the second, “Hey…” Nose crinkled, hazel eyes dart to blue, “I’m not…” Selling himself short? Killing himself? Liar. “…it’s just…” But the protest dies as Ru’ien goes on, Matty sighing and his shoulders drooping, “Even if you say that, I don’t think I can just stop worrying,” he admits, his anxiety threatening as he starts to fuss, despite the lap sitting and his return to leaning his back against Ru’s front, “It doesn’t seem a sevenday can go by without something happening or something missing or delayed that stalls the work a day here two there…and it’s already getting colder…”

"Are too." Ru'ien counters mid protest from M'ti, like the great big grown child that he is. He even smiles in that wry, smug way of his! Though he keeps the teasing to a minimum and relents soon after, to listen properly to the rest. Arms will gather M'ti in a quiet, but firm, embrace — warm and reassuring, even if Ru'ien's behaviors and expressions counter it. "You can't control that shit, Matty." he murmurs, bemused and in complete opposite to the greenrider's anxious fidgeting. "Stuff will go wrong and it's just gonna have to be tackled when and however it comes." He makes it sound easy, the way he lives and approaches everyday scenarios. Ru'ien's flaw here is that he cannot quite grasp how it doesn't just work that way for everyone. The concept isn't something he can wrap his head around. Why worry? Why stress? He doesn't get it (or chooses not to, which is worse). Flipping the conversation back around, less M'ti get even more worked up from his less than stellar help, Ru'ien adds: "Nails should be easy to get for you. Just make a list of the size and types and if we don't have 'em, it's quick enough to set a Senior Apprentice on the task and churn 'em out." With quality control, obviously. "The hinges… Yeah, that's doable. And if you think more support is needed then go for it. Can't hurt to have too much?"

Breath taken through his mouth, lungs expanding, it was almost as if M’ti could feel the smug before he actually lays eyes on it. The moment he does, he lets out the air he gathered in a whoosh and deflates a bit as gives Ru’ien a bit of a long look. Okay, so maaaaaaybe a few key points had been made and maaaaaybe they were sorta kinda in the general vicinity of spot on, but did he really have to look like the feline who caught the rodent while doing it? This aside, that Ru wraps his arms around him like that and just listened to a bit of what’s been plaguing him? He’d be an even worse liar if he denied its effect, the butterflies in his stomach settling, his (perhaps not so irrational or unrealistic) fears beginning to subside just enough to bring the smallest wash of relief to his frazzled nerves as he’s told that sometimes even the best laid plans went awry and all they could do was soldier on. He doesn’t voice this change, but there’s certainly a change in the energy around them, pairing well with the softness of greenrider’s expression. Man, Ru’ien did make it sound easy, but deep down M’ti understood that it wasn’t as simple as all that. Not in the least. However, that didn’t mean he wasn’t grateful for the bandaid, even if it’s just been slapped onto a massive gaping wound on the verge of hemorrhaging. Making a very sound sound— probably a little too close to a whimper for either of their comfort— M’ti brings his head to rest on Ru’s shoulder, “Already done,” he breathes out, not bothering at the moment to rummage around in his pocket for the little notebook he’d been keeping in there since the third or so day of construction. It was filled with notes and reminders and timetables (though those had been erased and redone so many times that he’d burned through more than a few pages by now), but it also contained an ongoing list of needed supplies that he constantly updated when needed. Yes, M’ti had been very involved and hands on from the beginning. After all, he had said he wanted everything to be perfect, and he’d meant it. Idly brushing his cool and scarred fingers over the backs of Ru’ien’s hands, “It might, it’d be encroaching on the space you wanted for dragons…” he says, tilting his head back to look up at him, “I’ll talk to the other Journeyman, see if they see what I see…” A breath taken, he lets out in a sigh, gaze returning to the support struts beneath the skeletal structure of the house he’d designed for him, “…or if I’m just losing my damn mind.” At this point, he might already be making mountains out of molehills, if only because the last three days had been smooth sailing and he was waiting for the other shoe to drop.

"You might be," Ru'ien's not going to be much a help there with his teasing, though he is likely putting a lot of hope into that charming, wry grin of his as he beams down at M'ti. "With all that stress! Try to take my advice, it might help." Breathe. Recollect. Take moments like this one! None of which he verbally explains but he's assuming the younger greenrider is perceptive enough to put two and two together. "Just keep me up to speed on things, alright?" He seems wholly unconcerned by this point as to whether or not M'ti's observations are sound or true; his confidence in this whole affair is undeniable. It's with a gentle but firm press (if not tickle) of his fingers against M'ti's sides that have him shifting as if preparing to stand. Leaning forwards, he murmurs in a hushed, near whisper by the greenrider's ear — this is between them, not that the workers could overhear. "Think you can step away from your beloved project? I want a moment with you… we won't go far." Indeed, if he's succeeded in drawing them both to their feet, well, "far" is going to be into the surrounding trees. Just far enough to guarantee them some temporary privacy off the beaten paths. It is in the shadow of one larger tree that Ru'ien will guide him, subtly maneuvering his smaller frame back against the trunk. Resting his arm against it as he leans in, he'll create a loose cage about the younger greenrider; all while his other hand lifts to place a few fingers along the curve of his jawline and chin. All the better to keep him from looking away, right? Ru'ien's certainly fixated on him, faint smirk at play. "Remember how I warned you all that time ago? About the kind of guy I am?" Not THAT long ago, really! He's terrible at this. At softening his brutal honesty and the delivery — to him, this IS being loving. Because it's the truth and no mired in shady two-faced retelling. "I kissed someone." Boom. "A lot. Then it went further — not like us further — but it definitely didn't stick to just kisses. I wanted you to know." Full disclosure. No secrets!

Ru’s agreement as to his potential insanity has M’ri blinking, his brows lifting and knotting, for all of a second. Wait, what? In the next? To describe the expression that follows as deadpan would be putting it mildly, even with the way one eyebrow is arched ever so slightly towards it’s far corner. Before he can voice a pending ‘gee thanks’ (regardless of charming grins which puts pink unbeknowingly to his cheeks), the greenling tacks on the bit about stress and Matty mutters ‘easier said than done’ beneath his breath instead as he slides his gaze off and to the side. He was nineteen turns old, newly appointed to Journeyman status, and this was the first big project he’d ever been responsible for. It was one thing trying to make himself look good and another entirely attempting to do the same for his whole craft, not to mention the added pressure that came attached to the ‘for whom’ of it all. “I’ll try…” is murmured soon after, wanting to give Ru’ien some sort of reassurance that’d— at the very least— he’d consider the ‘helpful’ advice that’d been offered. A far more genuine nod comes for being asked to be kept in the loop, “Not a problem…” he says softly, having done exactly that so far, with no plans to do otherwise. However, where Ru’ien was ‘everything will work itself out’, M’ti desperately needed the reassurance that came when things moved in a positive direction, which is why the setbacks they’ve already had induced such profound anxiety. That didn’t mean, of course, that he wouldn’t love to tap into his lover’s boundless confidence— if only for a moment. The touch as his sides brings a tensing of muscles and a curious look over Matty’s shoulder briefly, listening and wordlessly nodding before rising to his feet. He allows himself to be guided a little deeper into the surrounding forest, eyes rounding fractionally as he eventually corralled and lightly cornered, “Ru…” comes with a soft intake of breath as those fingers guide his chin upwards, definitely taking on a pinker hue as his mind take intuitive but wholly incorrect leaps about where this was going, “…what…” M’ti doesn’t get further than that though, not when Ru’ien reminds him of the discussion that they’d had not that long ago at all, not when compared to the time they’d spent apart. Already he was leaping to logical conclusions, why else would this be brought up, and the lively color once flourishing begins to fade, seemingly bracing himself for the impending impact, “Yeah?” M’ti instantly regretted the ‘go on’ tone in which he answered and sure enough with good reason as the greenling continues and says exactly what he feared he would. Already this was happening? Was it because he hadn’t been around when he should have been? Had he done something wrong or been too focused on work? These questions and more plague the greenrider, “What do you mean, further?” slips out quieter and weaker, looking like he’d just died a little on the inside. His very first thought proceeding that: Am I building this house for them? Then he can’t seem to stop himself even if he doesn’t really want to know, nor can he stem the moisture that builds and threatens as the world and the man before him blur all together, “Do you love him?” It’s about then that, somewhere, Cherith awakens and suddenly becomes very interested in the answer. M’ti? Not so much, convinced that it was going to be yes.

"Hey," Ru'ien's voice gentles, despite the trickle of laughter following on his exhaled breath. "… hey, what's with that face?" Oh, so he's not so oblivious not to see the change in M'ti, even if he doesn't fully address it and doesn't appear nearly as distressed. Shifting a little, he will no longer loom so much over him and instead bring both his hands to gently cup the younger greenrider's face. His thumbs trace lightly over cheekbones, bright blue eyes narrowing slightly as he searches those tear filled ones. The question seems to strike him slightly off balance and this time he does stutter a bewildered laugh. "… W-what? No? I mean, maybe?" That doesn't quite clear it up, but Ru'ien's working on a more concise answer — or the best he can, here. "But not in the way you're thinking! F'yr's important to me and a very good friend. What's between him and I though, is not what we have." he murmurs, expression still gentled even with a lopsided smile. It could be his attempt to put M'ti's worries at ease, because he seems so solidly… confident and assured. There's no waffling, no hint that he's trying to pull some trick on the greenrider. He's speaking honestly, speaking from the heart. "I can't put a specific word to it? This had been building since before we were weyrlings." Before he knew of M'ti's feelings, though no blame is levelled here, it's merely truth. "There are no strings. It didn't change anything between F'yr and I." It certainly redefined but neither of them are looking for labels or, as he just explained, any strings. It was a moment shared, experienced and that was that. "Just like nothing between you and I has." It sounds close to a promise and while Ru'ien isn't so arrogant as to try and kiss M'ti right now (he's dumb, but not THAT dumb), he will draw his hands away from his face in favor of gathering the smaller greenrider up against him in a firm, yet fierce, embrace. "I know I'm asking a lot of you." He will speak this softly, half muffled against M'ti's hair as he continues to embrace him. Maybe it's his way of apologizing? It's very Ru-like, after all. "I didn't want to keep it unsaid though, for too long." In other words, he doesn't enjoy secrets. It wasn't guilt plaguing him, but a need to share this with M'ti and why else would he share it? Because he feels he can put some trust, some faith in the other's feelings. He truly does care for him, even if his actions may sometimes unintentionally seem to say otherwise!

M’ti can’t see his own face, but he’d been told more than a few times everything he felt showed on it, and so he can only assume that he looks a potent mixture of shock and dismay. At least, that’s the sensation, particularly when he hears that laughter and it takes him a moment to fight off the urge to push Ru’ien away and make a run for it. What accomplishes this is a laundry list self reminders: This had been discussed, they weren’t in a hold, Ru was weyrbred, and strict monogamy between riders was exceptionally rare. But, only just. Suffice to say, M’ti doesn’t answer, his gaze dropping away as his lashes lower to scatter what’s collected beneath them into two fat drops to race down his all too pale cheeks. When Ru’ien takes his face between his hands, M’ti does look back up, hazel eyes already refilling and spilling— in part because that very tender gesture didn’t instill the same affectionate confirmation this time as it had before— a cold stab to the center of his chest as Ru’ien stammers his way to a ‘maybe’ of all things. It wasn’t as if he could help it, even if he had been forewarned, although he had expected to be angry with jealousy not feel like Ru’ien had just ripped his heart out of his chest and shown it to him. “What?” he nearly sobs, saved from it by the skin of his teeth as the greenling clarifies it wasn’t the same, but that name dropping appears to have the same sobering effect as a slap across the face, “F-F’yr?” Somehow, M’ti manages to look even paler, the recognition displayed on his features said pretty loudly that he knew exactly who that was. It’s difficult to say whether or not the greenrider hears much past that, clearly reeling, his mind quickly drawing up comparisons that weren’t exactly in his own favor. How could he possibly compete with someone like F’yr?! The man looked like Pern’s greatest artist in centuries carved him out of marble or the best minds on the planet got together and created him in a laboratory after decades of ceaseless research or something. He’d come across as the friendly sort, very self-dependent, and certainly had a leg up over M’ti in that he could carry on a simple conversation without getting nervous or flustered. As overburdened as the greenrider’s neural pathways had become, his ears still worked, so while he might just be standing there looking stunned and notably upset; he’d caught everything Ru’ien was laying down. It was only that he was having trouble processing it all at one time, what with the image of hunky beefcake hovering in the forefront of his thoughts and wondering how the hell Ru’ien wasn’t with that guy right now instead of him. What the hell did M’ti bring to the table that there were no strings with F’yr and why weren’t having a very different kind of conversation right now? That was the thing, he didn’t know. “I…” but that’s as far as that gets, brows pinched into a growing furrow and pulled into an almost crushing embrace. He was asking a lot of him? What was being asked exactly? He didn’t understand and so he stands a little stiff in Ru’ien’s arms, trying to make sense it, but at the same time feels himself nodding, “…o-okay.” Except, it wasn’t okay. Not at all. M’ti loved Ru’ien to the point of distraction, but was that what he was asking? To be okay with the fact he was intimate to an undisclosed degree with someone like F’yr and likely would be again, perhaps even to greater effect? Somewhere in all that over-thinking and self-deprecation, M’ti had lifted his arms and caught his fingertips lightly on the fabric of Ru’s tunic, but it was a far cry from hugging him back. Yeah, he’s going to need a hot minute, because the concept he’d agreed to had turned out to be a much different animal in reality.

Do those tears that M’ti shed even register with Ru’ien? Of course they do and did, likely wiped away by the pads of his thumbs long before events progressed to him embracing the younger greenrider. If only M’ti had voiced his anxieties of comparison, could Ru’ien better explain — it had nothing to do with physical attributes. It never has, not ever, with him! For Ru’ien, it’s emotions and reactions, rooted even in personality, and a certain spark to draw him past any lines of his usual platonic flirting and teasing. That all goes left unsaid this round, in favour of him tilting his head slightly when M’ti repeats the name — misunderstanding brings a vague, lopsided grin. “Yeah.” he murmurs, as though helping confirm for him that he heard it correctly. That’s right! He’s not connecting the dots, here, folks. He’s not so dense, however, not to feel how stiff M’ti is in his arms but he doesn’t relent from the embrace — some of his hold eases, but only so he can slip one arm further around. Why? To gently caress his hand along the curve of M’ti’s back in slow, soothing, motions. Even now, he is caring in his actions. Some would call him a right bastard for it (and for a lot of things), but in Ru’ien’s head he is doing good. He gives Matty several moments to process, a good span of time between them where there is no sound but the forests around them and their shared breathing — his no doubt even and calmed, in the light of things. Eventually, he will break it with a lowered, hushed murmuring. “If you can hold off gutting or neutering me,” he teases, turning all of it towards himself, because he’s not so wholly unaware of what the younger greenrider’s feelings may be. He DID say he was the jealous type! “Until much later tonight, I’d like to show you how nothing has changed.” Show him? Oh, surely that suggestiveness doesn’t imply what it does, does it? Ru’ien cannot be serious and yet… he is, as he leans back just enough to smile broadly down at his lover. Honestly, M’ti has a wonderful window of opportunity to get back at him. Deny him, and see how much that throws him off his ‘game’.

M’ti of course knows he’s crying, it’s just not the thing that he’s focused on, and admittedly neither is the fact that Ru’ien was wiping them away prior to taking him into his arms. That had been, until very recently, the one place that M’ti had longed to be. Now? He found that he wanted some space, if just to absorb the sheer magnitude of information he hadn’t been as prepared for as he thought he would be. Not that he was expecting a confirmation, but that ‘yeah’ adds a knot to his stomach nonetheless, becoming fixated on his own physical and personal faults and trying to rationalize those away with himself. He doesn’t go so far as to apologize aloud for the ways in which he may lack, whatever they may be, but it does turn something over inside of him that brings a cold wash of relief through his veins. Of course it’s someone like F’yr, look at him, who wouldn’t want a piece of that? It’s just the way it is, says the rub of Ru’s hand up and down his back, M’ti couldn’t help being less than and there was no blame for that. Eye opening didn’t even begin to cover it and something takes on a hard shell somewhere in the gooey center of the greenrider with little more than the distant bang of hammers and the sounds of the natural forest around them. Fuck, that silence was deafening, but M’ti knew that Ru’ien was giving him time to process and get right with the way things were. Then there were soft words, riddled with ease, really driven home by that grin and an invitation to what he can only assume is for sex. Releasing what barely passes for a hold of the greenling’s clothing, stepping back, M’ti wipes at his face with the heel of his palms. As much as he wanted to, there’s no smile back, but when his hands fall away from his head he does look up briefly to meet the man’s gaze, “I-I should get back to work while there’s daylight and good weather…” he says softly, “…I’ll…s-see you later, o-okay?” For now, he escapes touch and proximity, hoping a day’s worth of separation is the cure for a broken heart. Although he doesn’t say when later might be, he will eventually show up at the temporary weyr with a kiss and a hug for Ru’ien, but anything else will be off the table for awhile.

If Ru’ien knew, he’d be thoroughly puzzled over the broken hearted state of Matty, because in his head, he knows nothing has changed. He’s not going anywhere and his feelings for him remain absolute — he has put his trust in M’ti and is assuming M’ti trusts him. He forgets that others are not so hardwired as himself, that it isn’t so easy for some to just blindly accept things and not hold doubts or worry over irrational anxieties. So when M’ti steps back and stammers out the excuse to return to work, Ru’ien is a touch puzzled but soon washes it out with a broad grin. “Alright, alright! Wasn’t aiming to keep ya from it too long. Later, then! Don’t be late~” He makes a shooing motion with his hands, though he’ll follow alongside M’ti until they return the site. He lingers too, watching and making small talk about the work so far to anyone who will listen (though mostly to M’ti) and then duties call, as does Kihatsuth. Some relief at last! And it won’t be until later that it sinks in just enough for Ru’ien to get the message that some affection is still on the table but the rest? It thoroughly knocks him off his ‘game’ for a good handful of minutes until he recovers and is back to himself. He’ll respect M’ti’s wishes for once, even shelving much of his more crude humor — at least for the night. Who knows what the next day (or the next) will bring?

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