Let Sleeping Goldriders Lie

Xanadu Weyr - Forest


In sharp contrast to the treeless, carefully manicured look of the main clearing, the forest is full of trees, and maintains most of its natural look. Wild flowers grow in their seasons, bordering the road leading from the main clearing as weaves its way between the stands of trees - wide enough for traffic of all types, even draconic. Leading off are several smaller, less worn trails, which branch outwards, making their way to private residences and other attractions - the theater for example. The road, though, continues on eastward, to the feeding grounds and the mine, and beyond that, to the coastal road out of Xanadu's territory.

Amongst the normal weyrs scattered amongst the trees, there is one that is undergoing construction. A large, four-sided structure is protruding, supported by thick wood beams, bearing a ledge, and four large clock faces. It towers over the trees, creating quite a sight for arriving riders.

It's midmorning at Xanadu and one of those beautifully clear, crisp days with the sky that impossibly deep blue that so oft marks Fall. Yellow and red leaves against the sky provide a perfect foil for the azure overhead, warming the landscape to provide one last flush of color before white and gray take the world prisoner in its colorless grasp. The floor of the forest is littered with the multi-colored cast offs as the trees begin de-robing for the mantle of snow they will eventually wear, the scent of the sun-warmed dead leaves perfuming the air. Enjoying the day is one junior weyrwoman, seated on a jumble of rocks underneath a huge tree. She's taking a quiet break from the sands and found herself a place on a tilted slab that doubles as a recliner. Thea half-lies with one leg hanging off the side, swinging gently, the other knee is bent, leg drawn up and propped against the slab beside it. So comfortable, in fact that the arm she's thrown over her face to shield her eyes from the sun has allowed her to fall sound asleep.

A mid-sized leather ball bounces down the path, followed by a whistling Natishen. With the breakfast crowd cleared from the Caverns and a short recess before lunch begins, Natishen's been sprung for a short break before his serving duties resume once more. Taking advantage of the beautiful day and the fact that he's once again on his home turf, the boy kicks his ball along the forest paths, idly sending it rolling further. His progress, however, is halted when he espies the weyrwoman, and he calls out "G'morn, Miss Thea!" before he realizes she's asleep. Clamping his lips shut, he winces and studies her anxiously, clearly hoping he did not awaken her from her nap.

The fingers of that arm draped over Thea's eyes twitch then relax. A moment later she stirs, lifts her arm, blinks to awake, eyes moving about in that first few moments of disoriented 'where am I?' sort of way before she spots Natishen on the path and smiles warmly at the boy. "Oh, hey Natishen!" She pushes up just a bit on that stone seat, still drowsy, but cheerful enough. "Nice day isn't it?" Idle chit chat, she's relaxed and obviously not annoyed to have been woken.

Natishen taps the ball closer to the goldrider, tilting his head to the side as he watches her. "Sorry t' wake ya, Miss Thea. I didn't realize you were asleep. 'Tis a good day for it," he adds after a moment. "Uh… lovely weather. Good day to spend outside." Wide green eyes flick anxiously to her face, then away - someone's trying out his 'polite conversation' techniques.

Thea has a hard time not laughing if her smirk is anything to go by, "I didn't realize it either. And it's okay, Natishen." She idly swings her leg, eyes lifting to the golden canopy above. "It is!" She responds in a dreamy tone, "I love days like this." Sea green eyes lower to him, "Do you like climbing rocks?" Silly question, really. What boy doesn't? She pats the high jumble of rocks she's reclined on, inviting him up. It's large enough for several people.

Trees, rocks, tables, walls - oh wait, boys like making other people climb walls. But Natishen certainly enjoys the former two, and he scrambles up beside her, grinning. "I think days like today are just meant for climbing rocks," he replies, voice cracking on the last word, though he doesn't even notice, as such vocal breaks have been coming more rapidly of late. "Or trees, or hunting shells, or anything but serving food!"

Wry, "Serving food to the anuties and uncles?" Thea's eyes dance, "Oh, watch out for Keryn. She usually demands a kiss with her meal." She adds teasingly, "She's the one with no teeth left." Which describes nearly all of the old ladies in the caverns. As for climbing, "Remind me sometime to show you the cliff if you like climbing so much." A secretive smile twitches her lips, "It's hard to find." Sliding him a sideways look, casually mentioning, "Speaking of hard… Seryth's eggs are quite hard now. Should hatch anytime. You ready?"

"No," Natishen replies with open candor, the smile falling from his lips as he sinks down onto the rocks, clinging to them. "Is anyone ever ready?" An astute observation for one so young. He shrugs, looking away from her to the brilliant sky. "But, I gotta be, right? What happens, happens." Biting at his lip, he lowers his gaze back to hers, his anxiety reflected in those green depths. "I really wanna Impress, Miss Thea."

Thea seems unsurprised by this answer, her nod acknowledges his honesty. she reaches for a handful of small rock shards lying where the boulders form a sort of pocket. she turns them over in the palm of her hands, studying them for a time. Finally, thoughtfully, "Well, I suppose there's some who think they are, but when it comes down to it, I think we all find we aren't… or weren't ready for the experience. You've seen hatchings? They're chaotic. And all the changes that come if you impress…" Her headshake of wonder as she looks back to the boy says it all - it's both wonderful and awful. "I can see that you do, Natishen." Her fingertips tweak one of the shards from her palm and she flips it hard at a nearby tree where it lodges in the rough bark. "Did… ah any of the eggs, uhm… stand out to you when you touched them?" Curious, her attention moves from the tree trunk to his face, encouragement in her expression.

"I've seen Hatchings," Nash replies, subdued. "I try to get to see 'em all, when I can. They're very… busy." He watches the weyrwoman as she flips the rocks, eyes widening slightly as the shard embeds itself in the tree. "Wow. Good shot. You're sure not like most girls. You're like… Phylicia. She ate bugs." They all did, actually, but clearly the fact that she showed no squemishness has stuck in the boy's mind. His lips twitch in a smile, though it fades with her final question. "The eggs… So I wasn't just imagining it?" He looks up, studying her face. "I really felt things when we were touching them? It was… very strange. Like when her dragon speaks to me, but not - there were…" He waves his hand vaguely. "Colors. I liked the bronze one. With the face on it. It was… calming."

Bugs. That's where Thea draws the line. Her face clearly says what she thinks of that particular entree, "I… they made us eat them too, but I swallowed them without chewing." She shudders, grimacing. "But yeah, I grew up in the mountains and with my brother Tharen around, well… had to learn to throw rock, Y'know." Not… to throw AT him, surely? There's a grin when he mentions the healer-candidate. "Phy's my best friend," she tells him as she selects another rock and flips it. It misses the tree entirely this time, landing in the leaves beyond with a small puff. Her eyes move back to Natishen, "Yeah, folks feel and hear all sorts of stuff when touching eggs," she tells the boy earnestly. "Seryth's egg… it made me cry. And run off the sands." A nostalgic smile touches her lips.

Natishen reaches out and takes one of the rocks from her palm, bouncing it in his own for a moment before he flicks his wrist. He doesn't aim for a tree - instead, he sends it skipping down the path, creating a number of little sand puffs before it comes to a rest. "I figured you two had t' be friends," he murmurs softly. "She's a lot like you. I like her." His green eyes flicker up to her face, then back to the road. "The bronze one made me feel… safe. I liked the sparkly one, too. The one that was all over colors, with that shine to it like an oil on water. It made… music. In here." He taps his temple. "I- I like music. And the faded one. It told… stories. In pictures. Why did you cry?"

Thea's gaze follows that rock shard Natishen throws, her mind's eye seeing something else entirely. Musing aloud, "Hmm, yeah. I'd trust her with my life. She's fun, little serious of late though." She shakes if off, blinking back to him, a faint smile tugging at her lips, "Safe huh? Fearless rider of Siebith, why does safety call to you?" She's nodding about the music, "Seryth's egg did that too. A peaceful rainsong." She looks away through the trees off towards the northwest as her eyes seem to look into the far distances. Finally, slowly, "It made me feel… like I'd lost something precious that I never knew I'd had and would never find but always seek." Back to the boy, residual shadows linger, but her tone is light, "In a way, it was right." She selects another shard, takes careful aim and tosses it with sudden force, hitting one of the boulders below where it shatters into a satisfying shower of bits drawing a grin of triumph from her.

Natishen takes another shard from the weyrwoman's palm, but he doesn't throw it. Instead, he runs his fingers over it, rolling it around in one hand as he stares off into the distance. "Not… safe, like protected. Safe like… not lost. I'm… Miss Thea, I feel very lost." He sighs softly, bouncing the rock on his palm as he glances at her sidelong. "I'd only just adjusted t' living on my own when I got Searched, and every day it's something new, someone new. I can't… settle. That egg, it made me feel settled, if only for a li'l bit." He hehs softly, shaking his head. "Do the dragons actually end up like they were when we felt 'em in the egg?"

"Lost, hmm?" Thea doesn't really sound surprised to hear this, but she bites back the critical words she'd aim like the rocks she's been throwing at a particular someone for losing the boy. "I think I can understand that feeling but if it helps, we are your family now." She says it sincerely, meaning to reassure while her handwave encompasses the weyr. "Life's full of unexpected changes, but they do come rather fast when you're a candidate. It's not easy at all." Faint concern melds with sympathy, "Impression and weyrlinghood are tougher, I won't kid you." She nods thoughtfully, "A lot of times they do seem to have characteristics they showed in the shell, yeah, but you know what?" Totally serious, she is as she continues, "They aren't all they are when they hatch. When they bond, they become part of their lifemate. And they both go one to become who they will be, over time. It's a process." Green eyes crinkle with humor, "It's an adventure to be sure."

"Family." Nash repeats the word with an understandable underlying bitterness. "Your kids, they'll never know how lucky they are." He cocks his head, looking her straight in the face. "Been lots of changes," he agrees, changing the subject. "Not all- well." A dull red flushes his cheeks. "Lots of changes," he simply repeats. "And yet, I can't help but hope for another." His eyes flick away, towards the direction of the Hatching Arena. "Maybe it's silly of me, t' want to Impress when all the riders seem t' be warning us it's not easy, but it's all I've ever wanted, y'know? I feel like… it's what I'm supposed to do."

"Family." Thea repeats firmly with eyes that mirror regret at that hint of bitterness in one so young. "You are a part of -my- Weyr-family, if you don't mind me claiming you as such." As for Marella and Muir, "I hope I'll teach them to know and appreciate what they have," she says softly. She meets his eyes and when he looks away, her gaze remains on him. "Not silly at all," she assures stoutly. "I wasn't sure at all, for where I grew up we rarely saw dragons and my da didn't like them. Still doesn't." She shakes the troubled look from her face adding, "Can you tell me what you hope impressing a dragon will do for you?" Interested in his answer, she waits.

Natishen looks startled at her question. "Do for me? I- I dunno. I never really considered what it would do for me." He shrugs thin shoulders, bouncing his shard on his palm. "I guess I always looked at it as what it would allow me to do. I'd be useful." His lopsided smile is a bit sheepish as he looks at her from under long lashes. "I mean - I don't have a lot to offer the Weyr, Miss Thea. I'm not very smart, or talented. I don't have a craft, nor is there one I think'd suit me. I don't want to spend my life in the lower caverns, doin' odds and end tasks like some drudge. Not that drudges are bad," he adds hastily. "But - If I rode a dragon, I could serve th' Weyr, y'know? An… well. A dragon'd have to love me, right?" he adds wistfully. "I'd be somebody to someone, if I had a dragon."

Leave it to one certain WeyrSecond to interrupt the talk they're having with his presence. The bluerider strides down the path that leads through the trees in the general direction of junior weyrwoman and candidate after Siebith roaring crash of a request to Seryth as to Thea's location. At least there's warning of his coming though, between the junior likely being told by her lifemate and the crunch of autumn leaves underfoot. "And here I thought ya might be sittin' out here all alone," D'had comments, tossing a smirk of a smile in the direction of the pair on that stone slab.

"Do for you," Thea confirms with a light shrug unconsciously copying his. "I hear a lot of candidates hoping they'll find a best friend and ally in a dragon, that's all." She's totally accepting of his explanation of being useful, "That's understandable," she murmurs, "but you should know that who you are is far more important than what you do." She taps her own chest with a fingertip, "In here." There's a small outrush of a soundless laugh with his hasty clarification of drudges, "No one wants that," she assures him before she frowns slightly, "But you already are someone to someone, Natishen. You're pretty special to me. But yes, dragons usually love their riders above all else. It's pretty wonderful." Her eyes swing down the path before the crunch of leaves herald the approach of the Weyrsecond, for Seryth is kind enough to warn her - this time. She grins outright at his comment, calling back with a snicker, "Far too dangerous to be out here alone. Never know if there's somone lurking out here set to nab a person. I have a bodyguard today."

That's right. Bodyguard. Natishen's chest unconciously puffs out as D'had comes into view, and the rock stills on his palm as he studies the Weyrsecond. "Good afternoon, Mr. D'had," he says evenly, inclining his head politely, before his attention refocuses on Thea. That slight flush doesn't leave his cheeks, and he ducks his head, eyes skimming down to the ground. "Well, thanks for that - I think you're pretty special to. But you got a lot of people t' worry about, like him," and he jerks a thumb at the bluerider, "an your kids, an' you don't gotta worry about me too." But it's clear it pleases him that she does. "I dunno. I guess there's no reason why I want t' be a dragonrider, 'cept it's what I feel I'm supposed to be - where I can do the most good, y'know? And, well… Siebeth seems t' think I can be one. And, yeah. I'd like a friend. Like you got. Or him." Again with the thumbjerk in the other rider's direction.

D'had chuckles. "Oh yeah? People layin' out in the woods waiting for ya?" he teases back as he continues towards the pair only to rest a foot on the edge of the rock when he reaches them. "Candidate," he nods towards Natishen in return to the boy's greeting. "Weyrwoman's job ta worry bout everyone in the Weyr," or so he's been told on occasion. "Might worry bout some more than others, that's her choice."

Thea coughs at the title Natishen uses for the Weyrsecond, hiding a smile as she ducks her head quickly, allowing her hair to swing forward until she can get her amusement under control. Likely by now D'had is well able to read her and knows she's trying not to laugh, but it's worth a try anyway. Natishen's protest is brushed aside with an airy, "Yep I do, so what's one more, eh?" Lifting her head, eyes still dancing as she meets D'had's gaze, "Mmhmm. Dangerous scoundrels about." She tilts her head at the boy, "Think I'm safe with him watching out for them though." Back to the candidate, "Oh hey! Natishen, you should ask D'had about how Siebith's egg made him feel or think about when he touched it." By the curious look she slides the man's way, it's a question she'd never thought to ask. From that handful of sharp stone shards she selects one and tosses it to the Weyrsecond, flipping another of hers at the tree with one stone already imbedded in the bark.

"Ask… " Green eyes flicker to D'had, then skitter away, much as the rock does as it falls from his hand and clatters down the heap of boulders to land in a puff on the ground. Natishen coughs, rubbing his throat, though there's little doubt the octive shift on that single word was as much a result of his continuing personal changes as it was surprise - or the proverbial frog. "I suppose so." Though he seems dubious, he lifts his gaze to the bluerider. "M- D'had." If he's going to ask a favor, the least he can do is return one. "Before you Impressed Siebeth, did you… touch his egg? Did you feel anything?"

D'had chuckles, amused at something apparently. Likely Thea's attempt not to laugh by the direction of his dark eyes - at least at first. "Really now? Well, guess ya probably are," he agrees after a glance towards the candidate in question. Then again with the scoundrels she's talking about she'd likely be safe with anyone. Its that thought of asking him a question that catches him off guard. "Ask?" he repeats uncertain as to if he really wants to be asked that question even as it's posed. "Well… I guess made.. You know. That was a long time ago."

Thea's flipped stone lodges somewhere near the first one. That poor tree! She blinks, peering out of the corner of her eye at Natishen's sudden nervous squeak. But she wants to know, too! And thus her attention remains on the Weyrsecond, awaiting his answer. His evasion has her trying to mask the disappointment by tossing him another rock. Apparently he's ignored the first one she sent his way. She mutters under her breath, then asks helpfully (or not so), "Do you remember how you felt about it all, D'had? Touching the eggs, impressing? Were you nervous? Excited? Dreading it?"

Oddly, Natishen looks neither upset nor surprised by D'had's response, or rather, lack there of. Instead, resignation crosses his face, before his expression becomes carefully blank. "No, Miss Thea," he says softly, his eyes sliding to the ground again. "It's okay. He doesn't have to answer." He reaches out to take another shard from her hand, rubbing it between his fingers as he locks his gaze on it, studying it intensely. "It's kinda private, I get that." And it's clear he also understands that the Weyrsecond doesn't include the Candidate in his private musings. "So." Silence. Silence. Must fill it before it becomes awkward. "Have you seen the betting board?" he asks the goldrider, lifting his eyes to study her face in curiosity.

D'had is ignoring those rocks, yes. One will hit him enough for him to bother to pay more attention to them eventually. "It was… a hatching. Impression," he replies without detail. It was what it was and that's all he's saying. "I just.." he tries again at the boy's disappointment. Not that he has reason to care, but for all the rough exterior he gives off sometimes disappointment is not a thing he handles well. "Sorry." For what, he doesn't say.

Thea pushes herself upright as the boy slips to the ground; she's no longer lounging all relaxed and peaceful. She's trying and failing not to look as distressed as she is, "Oh, Natishen, it's not that…" A tiny headshake for his assumption follows as she slides a look at D'had, winces when he declines to elaborate. And he doesn't want to play today either so she stops trying to toss him rocks to throw with her. she allows all the rocks in her hand to trickle out to fall and be lost amongst the cracks and crevasses of those boulders, brushing her hands together before sliding down herself. She doesn't really look at either one of them. Dully, "Not really, Natishen. I don't understand betting, I'm afraid." She turns to walk off into the forest, downcast.

Distress comes now, as Natishen lunges out to catch at Thea's sleeve. "Miss Thea, don't go," he says, voice crackling. "I wasn't upset, I'm sorry. I really just didn't want to pry." He holds out a hand to her pleadingly. "Look - I respect that D'had likes his privacy. He's made it clear, and I can respect that, because I don't like to share all my secrets with strangers, either. Just 'cause I talk to you doesn't mean I talk to everyone - you know more about me'n my own mother." Not that that should be surprising. Dropping his arm, he leans against the rocks, gazing imploringly at her before slowly turning his gaze on D'had. "I don't want to pry into his private feelings - if he wants to share, he will, an' I'm honored when he does. But I don't expect him to, an' I'm not mad when he don't." What ever happened to the easy friendship that so characterized their earlier days? Perhaps that's the loss he regrets the most, as he turns his eyes to the ground, wrapping his arms around his not-quite-so-bony-anymore chest.

D'had was just too stuck on trying to find an answer to play with those rocks. Given other circumstances he might well have taken interest in her game. "Thea.." he starts as she gets up, but then Natishen tries to catch her and he just shakes his head, waiting until he's finished his piece. "I say something?" he asks, dark gaze following the woman. That's his guess for her leaving, he must have done something he didn't realize he was doing. Another shake of his head and he looks to the boy. "Like she said, ain't that I don't wanna share with ya. Just some things I don't remember so well."

"I…" Thea turns when her sleeve is plucked, flickering D'had a beseeching look over the top of the boy's head. She can't explain for him! Well, she could, but she won't. It's not her place. She drops her eyes to the boy, nodding as he speaks. "Natishen… I- it's not…" The boy's uneasiness bothers her a great deal and she seems at a loss at how to set him at ease. Ice green eyes return to the Weyrsecond and she answers shortly, "Not a thing." Pressing her lips together lest she say more, she looks away. She hasn't a clue why he seemed so withdrawn and her face shows her total confusion. When the man speaks to the candidate about his memory, she's obviously surprised, sending him a startled blink before nodding slowly at Natishen to confirm that. Still, she remains silent.

"Why do things got to be so complicated?" Natishen asks, lifting his gaze to Thea's. "They didn't used t' be. I like you two," he adds, with a sigh that belies the words. "I enjoy spendin' time with you two. But it seems all as ever happens anymore is one or the other of us gets all upset, an' I dunno why. I ain' tryin' to be trouble." He holds up a hand, anticipating their usual denials. "You can say I ain't trouble, but if everytime I'm around someone gets upset, then maybe I must be. Maybe it's memory, maybe it's privacy, I dunno, but I don't like makin' you feel all uncomfortable whenever we talk," he says to D'had, before turning his deep green gaze on the weyrwoman. "An' you, lady, seein' you upset breaks my heart. I hate knowin' that's my fault sometimes." He lapses into brooding silence, still watching the goldrider.

What else was he supposed to say? Well, he could have played it off as the privacy thing like the boy said, but then… D'had's not all that good at lieing either. Even if its a white lie that isn't going to hurt anything. He replies to Thea's silence with a shrug her way. Who knows. "Ain't trouble," the Weyrsecond replies, "An' ain't no one getting upset." Well, he isn't anyway. "Is just a question can't answer," he continues, casting a glance towards Thea then and back to Natishen. "An' that makes two of us."

Thea opens her mouth to do just that - protest, but that upheld hand stops her. She's baffled, clearly as the boy goes on. Finally she shoots D'had an apologetic look, "He's always uncomfortable when someone tries to get him to talk. It's not just you. Words… just aren't his thing. I know how I feel when he can't answer, it hurts, but I've learned…" She shrugs, miserable at having to explain the man while he's standing right there. With the Weyrsecond she'll have to concur, "He doesn't answer very many of them." And by the resigned way she says that, it bothers her a great deal "Life's complicated and women are too," she goes on to say humbly with a warning sort-of look at D'had - no wise cracks you! Her lop-sided smile probably doesn't reassure the boy, but she has to try. "It's not you, promise."

"Then I don't want him to have to find the words if they're just gonna run from him," Nash replies logically, shrugging his shoulders and slanting a sidelong glance at the Weyrsecond. "Would I like t' know? Sure. I mean. Sir. D'had." He hesitates, then plunges ahead. "I'm really interested in what you went through, as a Candidate. I think it would be good stuff to know. But I get that you don't always want to - or can't - talk about it. Can't remember. Whatever. I don't blame ya for it." His eyes slide back to Thea, now pleading. "Don't go. I'm sure there's somethin' we could talk about, and D'had could just… listen. And nod. And stuff." Grunt, perhaps?

D'had sighs and shakes his head. "Ain't you or no one," he says in reply an answer or comment to each of them at the same time. "Don't mind talkin', just somethings ain't so easy to." Talk about that is. "Guess…" he tries, and maybe this little while of them going back and forth with each other has given him time to think. "Reminded me of home.. but everyone's is different so I hear."

"Oh, don't you?" Thea asks the boy with quiet concern. "You looked hurt when he didn't answer. I…felt bad." And just why, when it was D'had not answering the boy? She doesn't say. She allows Natishen to have his say to the Weyrsecond without interrupting again, muttering, "That makes two of us." About wishing to know about his Candidacy. Natishen's plea for her to stay pauses her edging away. "I just thought it best to go…" She throws an uncertain look at the somber Weyrsecond. He's trying, she can see that, but… she can't bring herself to ask if something is wrong. She doesn't move off right away, however. "Natishen… see, I'm different, I guess. Silence and nods from people…" Her eyes sparkle with tears as she turns away, "That was my da's way. It left me lonely." Damn her for being emotional in front of the boy!

Natishen isn't about to try and explain his own complex emotions regarding these two. For one thing, he's a boy. Emotions just aren't a general topic of discussion. But that doesn't stop him for reaching out for her again. "Don't go," he repeats softly. "My mother rarely had two words to say to me." See, he understands how she feels. "But what I get from D'had, it's not cold. Not like her. Maybe at first it felt like it, but… well, only so many times you gotta tell me that that's not the case afore I gotta believe, y'know? Miss Thea." He hesitates, and it's clear that he's struggling with his words. "You're not alone." But he can't speak for D'had, he has even less of that right than she does. "Gah."

"I ain't your da, babe." She knows that. He knows that. But for some reason he feels the need to say it all the same. "And if anyone should go should be me, let you two finish talkin'," D'had replies. He casts a glance down then, towards those stones Thea was tossing at him earlier and shakes his head. Its a quizical look that's turned back towards Natishen for that commentary on him, though he doesn't say anything about it rather dark eyes seek out Thea again. "Come 'ere," he says gently, reaching towards her with the hand that's closest aiming to curl it around her should she come in range to do so.

"You too, huh?" It comes out more roughly than Thea means, "Her loss-" She stops right there before she says something not nice about the candidate's mother that she'll later regret. "I know, he's not cold-" she says of D'had, sending him another apologetic glance, "I just don't deal with silence so well." But she is relieved that the boy seems to be sorting it out in his head. That 'gah' of his has her turning around with a crooked smile, "You're very sweet Natishen." How can she resist the two of them when they combine forces? D'had's gentle command is heeded and she steps to him with a muttered apology under her breath and a shake of her head no about him leaving. "It's… just… everything." He may not use words much, but when she does? Oh she doesn't always make sense. But maybe he'll understand.

"You're more of a mother to me than she could ever be," Natishen says quietly, looking Thea full in the face. "For all you're younger'n her - you care, an' you listen. I know you're not tryin' to be one, and I appreciate that, 'cause, well, you ain't that old." He flashes a hesitant grin at her, before shrugging carelessly. "Maybe an older sister. Never had a sister, but you're what I always figured she'd be like." He squirms slightly, embarassed by the sharing. Seriously. Emotions are such a girl thing, and he's totally not equipped that way. "But I figure, I know cold, an' I know uncaring, and ain't neither of you uncaring or cold, even if half the time he," and the thumb is jerked once again at the bluerider, "ain't sure what to make o' me."

D'had isn't sure what to make of most people, particularly those under the age of say 20 and female. And children, for that is what Natishen is considered - a child, are a whole nother story as Thea has been finding out over the last few months of having twins. He curls that arm around Thea's waist, hand lifting to give her back a bit of a rub as she turns to talk to the boy. "Never knew ya had another brother," he teases them both though the comment is clearly enough directed towards the woman at his side. See, he doesn't do that emotion thing very well either. Them's guys. Rah. Yep, no he's not feeling awkward here at all.

"A mo-" Thea blinks, clearly not expecting that revelation. She opens her mouth to say something like aww thanks, but the words never pass her lips because the boys next words have her cough-laughing suddenly, her face hastily averted into D'had's shoulder to hide it. She's just been given a high compliment AND told she's not old. Natishen's continued commentary about D'had as if the man isn't standing right here doesn't help her either. It's that sort of laughing you do when you KNOW you really shouldn't, but just can't stop? Makes it all the more impossible to not do. Between coughs (hopefully that's what it sounds like and not hysterical weeping?) muffled into the Weyrsecond's shoulder, "Thanks… Natishen…I'm…honored." Eyes are swimming when she lifts her head and meets D'had's eyes, barely managing to choke out, "S-surprise?" When she turns to peek at the boy, her eyes are overbright, but dancing with something more akin to what he is used to. "Must have you meet Tharen."

Kids will say the darnedest things - and Natishen's still a kid yet. "Are you okay?" he asks anxiously, peering at Thea. "You ain't gonna suddenly turn into a girly girl on us, are you?" You know, with tears and stuff. Shrugging his shoulders over the incomprehensibility of women, he settles on the edge of the boulder pile and folds his hands in his lap, looking between the pair of them. "When do you think the eggs will hatch? I mean, I know you dunno when exactly, but…" He's anxious, and excited - and he's wisely changing the subject. Or trying to.

D'had chuckles, a bit of a surprised look on his face when she leans into his shoulder like that. A hand lifting to pat her back. "You okay?" his question echoes Natishen's before she finally looks up again. Surprise? "Well I know your ma'd say more than two words to him if she was her's so must be from your da." Teasing, yes. Appropriate? Maybe not so much, but then Donn has never exactly thought before speaking. "Eggs…" he says the word as he thinks on it, "What'd you think?" he asks, turning the answering over to Thea. "Couple sevens?"

"I'm fine." Thea finally manages to respond to the both of them, turning fully to face Natishen. "And no, not right now, I'm not." Thea assures the boy about being a girly girl with tears, although if he's around her long enough he's sure to witness that sometime. It's inevitable. She rolls her eyes at D'had when he mentions Thadan. "He's never been to Xanadu, thankyouverymuch and hopefully he never will." Her back shudders slightly under his hand. Although with her mother here so long, why hasn't he? She tilts her head, considering the hatching, "Something like that." Bright interests for the candidate over there, "Are you getting excited?"

"Very." Natishen bounces on the edge of the boulder. "I just want it done with, y'know? Not that I mind being a Candidate," he adds hastily, "but the anti- antici- suspense is killing me. All of us, I think." He tilts his head to the side. "Weren't you excited by the times the eggs hatched? I mean, it's been months since we were Searched, and it's all been comin' down to one thing - them eggs Hatching." He grins slyly at her. "An' I bet you wouldn't mind bein' home full time, from what I been hearing from the gossip."

D'had chuckles for the boy's excitement. "Yeah well.. good for practicing patience or something." He was told once upon a time in his candidate days. And he should probably know by now anyway, but he doesn't bother to think that far as to the real reason for the length of candidacy. "Anyway.. I should be getting back to the office. Paperwork to finish." Which he sounds so thrilled about. But knowing him, its the paperwork that he was supposed to have finished yesterday. "I'll see you both later," he adds, leaving a kiss for Thea before tossing a wave towards the boy and heading on his way.

Thea nods at Natishen, "Yeah I was. Am every time, to see who impresses." She snickers at his last comment, "You got that right. Home." Won't that be nice? Then… D'had's leaving her? "At least let me walk back with you?" It's called to his back and there's a hasty wave for the boy as she skips after D'had. But not before bending to scoop up a handful of those stones she'd tossed at him before. Someone's going to have target practice all the way back through the woods….

Natishen watches them leave, grinning broadly. Sometimes, the three of them together just feels like… family. Bouncing off the rock to his feet, he dashes away, no doubt off to deal with his belated chores.

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