The Long View

Xanadu Weyr - Dragon's Rest Farm

In contrast to the gigantic barn is the smaller homestead. The structure is a small two-level cottage, complete with a covered porch that sweeps around the exterior. The wooden slats of the house seem freshly painted, as if this old place has been brought back to life by careful hands. A chair-swing sways beneath the shade of the porch, moving with the slightest breeze off the sea. Inside, the quaint space has been decked out with the comforts one might expect. Fluffy rugs cover hardwood floors, and finely carved furniture dominates most of the spaces. A few things here and there seem older, heirlooms that now have a new place to call home.
Everything within the cottage is comfortable, rather than elaborate. Though it may have once been empty, there is now a warm, welcoming feel to the place. Many large windows and sliding doors look out upon both the training field and across the road, a view of the beach and the sea beyond. Even on the hottest days, these can be opened to let in air and leave the rooms cool and comfortable. Set back a ways from many of the other Weyrbarns along the roadway, there is plenty of room for those who need a bit of space and privacy. There is plenty of space, leaving room to grow, to learn, to expand, and most of all… it is a warm, safe place to come home to when the day's tasks are done.

It has been a …looooong… day. One that started in the morning - as days often do, though some of the best ones skip that because of sleeping in - and continued through noon, then the time after noon, and then some time into the evening. Most of the evening, actually. It's kinda looking like night as Soriana finally makes her way home. Admittedly, that's partly because it's winter. The days are shorter in winter! There's less light to be had. Also it's cold, and the wind that's grown stronger as the light faded certainly made that part clear. So the winter weather is definitely partly to blame for why it's been such a long day. There's also the fact that… well, she's been up and out and about for a long time. And she's tired, hence the trudge of her steps back home. Almost there! She can see the lights of the cottage as she turns down the lane. Which is good, because otherwise this walk would be hazardous. That's why she left a light on, because falling down and breaking her neck would… not exactly be a good thing. Soriana does not want the cot next to Darsce. She does want to get home, and so she hurries her weary steps just a little as Toral, curled around her neck as an additional scarf, chirps an encouragement. Or maybe he's just harrying her along because he also wants to be home. Close enough. Down the path. Up the steps. Across the porch. Hand on the knob aaaaaand… turn it!

There's definitely something to be said about long days. They're long! Long with work. Long with meetings. Long with checking on people and riders and the dragons of riders. All those things could make a day long, but they're not what made Ka'el's day long. Oh, sure. The Weyrleader did some of that stuff. He had work. He sat in meetings with multiple wings, listening to their troubles and ideas to fix them. Hashing out schedules. He checked in on riders. Stopped by the weyrs of oft-forgotten craftriders and even puzzled over things with the small Nebula wing, though they did most of the talking in their usual techno-babble. Ka'el's day has been busy, but again, that's not what has made it long. What's made it long have been the thoughts that have woven through his mind for days now, threading themselves through the synapses and nerves and embedding themselves so deeply and tightly that he's found it impossible to get rid of them. What's made the day long was contributing to those meetings while simultaneously sifting through his own thoughts and the blended thoughts of Kanekith. It's a wreck up there, and it's tiring to try to push it all aside and focus on what's in front of him. The maps. The schedules. The faces of riders. The white noise won't stop. Thoughts of … tomorrow. Thoughts of next month. Months from now. Turns from now. His day ended just a candlemark ago, but those thoughts remain in full force. Worrisome thoughts. Uncomfortable thoughts. Those lights that Soriana left on may mask his presence. Kanekith, not so much. The bronze is in the warm barn, curled up in his space. A sock-footed Ka'el is in the kitchen, and the smell of food permeates the air. Don't get too excited. It's the smell of soup. Poultry, to be exact, or whatever the Pern-equivalent to a chicken may be if chickens aren't a thing. Wherry? It's left to softly boil while Ka'el himself is peering at the door. Is that a monster coming through? No. Just a Sori. Which he knew thanks to Kanekith, and perhaps why he looks a little guarded, but there is at least a smile. "Hey. There's soup."

There might be more lights on than Soriana left. Different ones. Noticing that… would require her to think about it, and right now, she's not thinking about much more than putting one foot in front of the other. It was a tiring day. She's supposed to get tired easier now. It's supposed to get worse. Hah. Supposed. That's a funny word to use. Is this… is any of this 'supposed' to be? There wasn't… there was a plan, and this wasn't on it. There's still a plan for some things. She's still got a duty schedule with Nova, still got shifts in the dragonhealer annex. Still got all sorts of things. Just… it's not just them anymore. Things are complicated. They always have been, but now… they're more complicated. Now she doesn't understand the complications as well as she used to. Now… she's tired. She opens the door and Toral swoops inside, no longer waiting to warm up. Firelizards get chilly! And now that Soriana's here, she no longer needs his company to make sure she doesn't fall into a snowbank somewhere. Soriana (who isn't a monster) is here. Ka'el? Also here, and Soriana smiles to him as she steps inside, closes the door behind her and starts shucking her winter clothes. There's food in the air! …also unease, but that doesn't have a smell. It's more in looks and silences, but at least there's also smiles and soup. "Thanks," she says as she hangs coat on hook, leaves her boots by the door to walk in her own socks (which are wet. She's not even sure why, but… they are. Because winter.) across to the kitchen. To join Ka'el. To look at the soup. To breathe in hot steam and warm up.

His Sori. Still his, right? His Sori, plus one. But it's hard to think of that plus one as plus … anything. It's just a thought. A phrase. 'I think I'm pregnant' turned to a healer's assurance of 'You're pregnant' are still just words and phrases. They mean so much and nothing at the same time. Soriana looks like Soriana still. Regular Soriana, which was the same Soriana he knew a month ago. Two months ago. Three. Six. Eight. Ka'el's eyes shift to her body as she peels off her winter gear, not really knowing what he expects to see differently today than yesterday. A suddenly swollen belly? A bundle of a birthed baby wrapped up beneath her coat? Surprise, here's baby! Heh, thankfully he gets neither of those and instead is faced with the same version of Sori that he saw this morning. Tired Sori. He's noticed a lot of weariness in her as of late and a change in appetite. Perhaps that's why he's only made a small pot of soup. He may be the only one eating it this evening. He gives the pot a few more stirs as she moves closer to investigate, turning off the heat after a while. "It's ready. I tried not putting too much into it. Just a bit've herbs I'd thought be good. Just a little tuber. For flavor." And because he likes tubers and she put tubers in the stew she made that one time and they were great. And so maybe she'll like this. And maybe the tiny humanoid thing inside of her will like it too…or something. His eyes flit towards her abdomen. He can't help it! A human being is in there! .. Sort of. It's strange to think about. Stranger even to know that Soriana is the one carrying it around. And he helped to put it there. Strangeness abounds! He sets his stirring spoon down on the countertop next to the stove and turns to face her. "Are you feeling okay?" It's a question he's asked her every day. Sometimes more than once a day. It's bound to get old eventually.

Months and months. Nine months? It's just eight plus one. Only… not. Because sometimes things mean more than what they mean. That doesn't mean they don't mean the things they are. It's just… Sori plus one. Soriana and-a. She still looks the same. Like… her. Maybe if she got out a measuring tape and measured her belly, there'd be a difference. She has not, will not, isn't going to because she doesn't want to know the answer. She'd almost rather ignore it, but… she can't. Because she's tired and not-hungry, but those she could shrug off as just something on any particular day, not … a thing. Because of all those can'ts that the healers tell her she's to avoid, and those are harder to ignore. No klah. No between. No alcohol. No exercise like that, but try to do some like this, and while she's at it… something else. There's always something else she's supposed to be doing or not doing, and she's tired of just trying to remember it, let alone doing it. Maybe she can forget, at least for an hour. A night. A bowl of soup. She nods as Ka'el explains it. Herbs. Tubers. Chicken. She can smell that part. "Good," she says. Because she's hopeful? Because… "It smells good." Soriana turns to look at Ka'el, and smiles. It does smell good, and lately, that's an accomplishment. Especially in morning, but even later in the day… well. Getting the nutrition that the healers tell her is so very important is difficult. So… yay for good-smelling soup! That will go in her belly, along with… her lips tug to the side a little, a wry look. Is she okay? "…more or less." She reaches for his hand. He doesn't get to take the spoon back again. Not yet. "You?"

His hand is taken. It's good because Ka'el would've gone back to that spoon. Or gone to get some bowls. Or gone to pour a drink. Or gone just to do…something useful that'd occupy himself away from her because being near her has been … difficult. He's not sure why. He can't fight the guilty feeling that he gets when he watches her. So unhappy. He doesn't have to be told that she's unhappy. Happiness is easy to see. He's seen happy people. Happy women with swollen bellies. Happy women without swollen bellies who hold babies that aren't theirs with a wistful look in their eyes. Soriana is not happy. She is … tired. Weary. And the usual morning aroma of klah has been absent for a day or so, nad even a day without it is a notable change. She's an addict, and the sudden cold-turkey change is…concerning to him. And… He looks down at her hand and his, her fingers curled and his fingers slowly beginning to curl around hers. His gaze trails to that ring on her finger. Less than a turn ago (his player thinks…Time, beh, it's confusing and hard!) he gave that to her deep within a cavern of hidden stars. With it, he promised a lot of things. To love her and protect her. To respect her and value her. But … he didn't promise this. This thing that was never supposed to be. His brows faintly furrow now, and he raises his eyes to meet hers. Is he okay? "I don't know." An honest answer. His light grip upon her hand tightens as he brings himself closer to embrace her, his free arm curling around her to hug her against his chest. It's been difficult to be close, but now, to be close is what he wants.

Yeah, Soriana's tired. She's not drinking klah, which means more tired and more headaches. She's… eh. She's missing Ka'el, because she's been tired and he's been busy, and with the restriction on betweening, she can't go with him when he goes on those diplomatic visits, and so that means more time away, and… and so she wants to hold his hand. So she does, and he doesn't pull it away. She's got his hand, and his ring, from that cavern with hidden stars. And now… there's something hidden in her belly. Something that will… that's supposed to… be okay? There's people that want this to happen to them. People who try with eager anticipation and long for the day when a healer will tell them, "YES! You're pregnant." …but Soriana's not one of them. She never has been. She's … terrified, sometimes. Curious, sometimes. Tired… a lot of the time. It's like there's something leeching away her energy, because there is. Feeling not herself, but not so not herself that she's forgotten that… she sighs at Ka'el's answer, with a rueful smile and a nod, and her arm slips up around him, holding him in turn as he holds her. Even this close, she still feels the same. The bulge of belly… it's not there yet. It can be imagined there, perhaps. A hint of round, between breasts and hips? But no, it's not there. Not really. Not yet. "It's…" she begins, then stops. She lowers her head, resting it against his shoulder. Presses against him, but doesn't look at him as she asks, "…did you want kids?" They never really talked about it, did they? He knew she didn't want them. That much was obvious. If it was a dealbreaker for him… he never would have given her that ring. But… she never asked him.

Their baby, the leech. The poor kid is already making a name for him or herself! Leeching away energy. Sucking the supply of nutrients and vitamins and all of those things that food provides that no one but healers really think about. Draining … happiness? Is that true? Not…really. The idea of this baby is scary. The thought of what it brings and what it all might mean, terrifying. The unknown is a frightening thing. But does the thought of his daughter or son make him unhappy? Take away everything else and focus on just baby Crestwood…how does he feel? .. There's a lot of layers to get through to get to that feeling, whatever that feeling may be. A lot of stuff gets in the way, but he has to try to push through and get to it somehow, because now she's asking. Did he want kids? Not specifically this kid, but kids in general? Ka'el's hand is pulled from hers so that his arm can join the other around her body, and he continues to hold on to her, in no real hurry to answer. He's not going anywhere. And neither is she, right? She's here, in his arms, and as long as he holds on to her like he is now, she can't go anywhere. If he holds on tightly enough, they'll be alright now and tomorrow and months from now. That's how it works, isn't it? He inhales deeply, filling his lungs with her. Her klah-less scent. Her warmth. Her essence. Did he want kids? "That's the way it was supposed to be.." Not really an answer, but.. "I find a girl. I get married. I have kids. My father has six, remember? My eldest brother has four now with his wife, I think. Kord had two last I saw of him. The others.. I don't know. But to marry and have children is what … was expected." He pulls back just enough to look at her. "I wanted kids..someday.. until I knew you didn't, and I thought, '…I'm okay with that,' especially because of Kanekith and riding and…being Weyrleader." All things that'd make proper parenting sort of un-doable, right? "But you don't want kids. I never meant to make you part of a life you didn't want."

Aren't all babies leeches? They're dependent on the mothers who carry them. On whoever holds the milk and changes their diapers. They just… sometimes they find more effective hosts. Hosts who burble happily and coo about the little darlings, whatever those are supposed to be. The little baby Crestwoods or whoever else. It… he or she… would be a Crestwood, wouldn't it? Well. At least if they'd married instead of weyrmated, if they weren't riders and there were one less of the complications that would make it - make it? - so hard to be parents. Not that it mattered, because… they weren't. Just Ka'el and Soriana, Soriana and Ka'el, and she leans in against him, her other hand slipping up to go around him as well. She's willing to wait for his answer, since she's holding him while doing it. He's holding her, and smelling her along with that chicken soup. She's got him, and surely he hasn't been changed by all this. Well. Not physically, anyhow. But… heh. Everyone changes. From tiny babies through to adults. From what's expected to what actually is. Babies were expected. Soriana nods to that. Just like people expect that she'll ooh over babies. Same sort of thing. Find a girl. He did that part. Get married. Well… sorta. That didn't work out exactly right, and she gives it half a wry smile. He draws back, and her hands shift to a different position, one that lets her look up at him. He wanted them, but… as she studies his face, she doesn't see any… disappointment? Anger?… any of that. No particularly strong anything, just a thoughtful mention of his expectations. And being okay with that. Because… it was just expectations, not… desire. Soriana nods a little, keeping her eyes on his. Kanekith, and also Luraoth - though the gold, well. She spends days being crawled on by weyrbrats, sometimes. She… eh. This isn't about her. Weyrleader. Junior Weyrwoman. Busy lives, lacks of time, running around and… she slips a hand away from his side, brushing it up over his cheek. "I know." That she doesn't want them? Well, presumably, but. "You wouldn't. It's just…" A sigh. "Stuff happens." She tilts her head down for a moment, then glances back up again. "We could foster."

Ka'el, unchanged? Ha! He's felt like a man walking in someone else's shoes for days, sevens now. This couldn't possibly be his life, besides. Impending fatherhood, ha! The guy who thought it'd be a great idea to date two girls at once. The same guy who fuddled his way through Weyrlinghood, making enemies out of friends. He's tripped and stumbled his way through life, yet somehow Life thought that he would make grand example of a father? Good grief! He leans his head gently against her touch of her hand, seeking more of it, finding comfort in her caress. "We'd have to foster, wouldn't we? I didn't think there's be any other choice.." He closes his eyes as he inhales a slow breath. "Were you fostered?" He realizes that he actually doesn't know. Sorrin is a rider. A Weyrwoman. She couldnt've possibly raised Soriana all by her lonesome, right? But … Soriana hasn't mentioned any fosterpeople in her life at all. Maybe it can be done? Though…really, can it? They're hardly home enough for each other. No amount of schedule shuffling could possibly make enough time for a child. Not the kind of time that his hold life gave him. "I don't…" He frowns. "I don't like the thought of… it .. being born and us..handin' it off to someone and being done with it. I'm not sure if that's how it works. If they … take it as soon as they can…or.." The frown continues. He's not sure why. This is a confusing thing. This baby while not "wanted" persay, is not exactly…unwanted, either. Not by him. Not…really. It's a difficult thing to describe, this oil and water feeling that churns inside of him. Conflicting emotions that refuse to work together and mix into something less complicated. He leans in, pressing a kiss to her forehead, then corner of her mouth. "I don't want it … to feel.. I dunno. Like.. we hate it."

Can the someone else be found? They can give back those shoes, get Ka'el's back. Get Soriana's… uh… sweater?… from whoever's stolen that. It'll be good again. Instead of… this. Which isn't… bad, exactly. It's not good. It's not wanted. It's tiring. But is it… bad? Like, of itself? …maybe not. Soriana's not sure of that. She's not really feeling sure of anything, lately. …oh wait. She's feeling sure of one thing right now: she wants to keep being with Ka'el, watching him. Listening to him. Trailing her fingers along his cheek and feeling the bumps of the stubble growing there. Little things, as the soup keeps warm. Important things. Not like this big thing that's… eh. Important too, but it's more confusing. Less understood. Babies. Kids. Fostering. They'd have to, and Soriana's not sure if she's relieved by that or not. She nods, a little. No other choice. Avoid klah nine months, have a kid, and… oh, but is that really how it works? Ka'el asks, and she gives her head a shake as she answers. "No. But we weren't at the Weyr then." Not when she was a little kid. The teenaged years, surely those don't count, because how could a person that can feed and dress itself possibly be at all difficult? …yeah, there's a lot about parenting Soriana doesn't understand in the slightest. "Just the cothold with the runners." And various other people who all knew Soriana's name and who to drag her to by the ear if she got into trouble. Here at the Weyr… it's a bigger place. They're busier people. Things are different here… right? She doesn't know. It's confusing. She doesn't know. Ka'el doesn't… want to give it up? Soriana's thoughtful frown is… more thoughtful than frown. Taking a thing she (well, her body) has worked on for nine months. One that she's fed (on the balanced diet she doesn't have the appetite for) and avoided klah for and… just because she didn't want it doesn't mean she wants to give it to someone else and have them do the happy beam thing. Because… "I think it depends. On… the people. The fostering." It could be from day one. Wet-nurses and carrying the baby off to another Weyr. It could… not. Soriana breathes against Ka'el's jaw as he kisses, tilts her head up and presses her body a bit closer as he kisses again. "I don't hate it." Not that Ka'el said she did, but… eh. Soriana feels the need to get that out there, for some reason. Frustrated and scared and worried, oh yes. She's all of those things. Hate? No. "I just…" She trails off. Frowns, thinking about it. "Kiena sees hers." But they have a foster-family, too. She doesn't really know how that works, just that it (apparently) does. "I… don't think Thea fostered." There's a furrow of her brow for that. Did the senior? But she's never heard mention of it, if so. And it seems like the sort of thing that would… come up, at least in passing. "So maybe…" Soriana trails off. Maybe what? They could try to keep a baby and rearrange their lives around it so that all the time they don't have to spend on each other can be spent on it? Every waking and some sleeping moments… and… she frowns, shakes her head. "I don't know."

Ka'el is all too happy to let her do those little things that's helping to keep the 'what the shards!?' feeling down to a minimum. Those grazing fingers to his cheek, which indeed could use a shave. The continued closeness of her body. Listening to her words that are answering his questions. Was she fostered? No. Not at the Weyr. Off living in a cothold in a life simpler than the one they have now. He nods, slightly, wondering..just for a moment, if they'd be having this conversation if they were simple people living simple lives, raising runners or forging tools to sell? If their lives weren't those of dragons and leadership, would they have welcomed this news with something other than dread and fear? Or is dread and fear one of those normal reactions that people have but never admit to having? Because to fear the thought of having a child, your own flesh and blood, is a mar, isn't it? Maybe all of those instantly cheesing grins that people paint on their faces at the 'you're pregnant!' announcement are masks to hide something else, and Ka'el and Soriana have no need for masks. And thus, Soriana does not mask the fact that she does not…hate…this. It? It. She doesn't hate it. How did she know that the question was burning on his tongue? Not a question, actually. A plea. A plea not to hate the tiny thing they've made together because that tiny thing is the most innocent of things and he doesn't want either of them to hate it. Ka'el exhales a breath, one of relief. One that has a grin accompanying it even though it's short-lived, fading with his next inhale. "I thought…" That she already did. The phrase fades before it's finished though, and he presses a kiss to her mouth, gentle, yet.. still urgent in touch. "Thea's never mentioned a foster," he realizes. "Neither has Marel…or Mur'dah." Could the goldrider have raised two children without the help of … anyone but her weyrmate? His hands slide up her back and he seeks her mouth again to press lips and close eyes and melt into a kiss he's been wanting but has been too … unsure to take. It's randomly timed, after that comment of the twins, but he doesn't seem to care. She's close. She's here. And he wants to kiss her, so there! That's reason enough.

Minimum 'what the shards!?' levels are still pretty high, at the moment. There's a lot of shards to be what-ed. This isn't a moment she's practiced for. All those people who coo over babies that aren't theirs… maybe they're practicing. Soriana… well, she's had the theory before now. The theory of babies… she might hate that. Children in principle… but nah, she doesn't even hate those. They're people. People she'd rather have at a distance most of the time, yes. People she wants other people to deal with, yes. But they're people. This baby, the one growing inside her… it'll be a people too. A person. Or people if it's twins, but… no. Let's not even consider that possibility, because one baby is more than enough to think about. Soriana thinks. Ka'el thought… something, but he doesn't say what. Instead, he kisses her, and Soriana kisses him back, her fingers trailing back along his jaw and into his hair. "Yeah," she agrees about Thea, about Mur'dah and Marel who… seem to have been raised by their parents. The biological ones, not fosters. Of course… that mother was Thea, not Soriana. Someone competent! Which is probably a crucial difference, but at least in theory, it's possible. People raise their children. People have been raising their children, for years upon years - as many years as they've been having them, in fact. They raise the children because they have the children. They have the children because… well, because of things that often start rather along the lines of that kiss. The sort of kiss where lips press together and part a little, where fingers trail around to the back of Ka'el's head to encourage him close. The reason why Soriana's pregnant… might well have begun with a kiss not entirely unlike this. But… that wasn't the goal then, and it's not the goal now. Babies aren't the reason. Being close and together and wanting to kiss is, and it's a good one.

Twins? Twins? Geeze, let's not give nature any random ideas. More random than the idea she's already had by giving them this (hopefully) /one/ child. A child that may be given to someone else to raise. A child, given away. Does a foster baby realize that the person that it sees daily, the same person that feeds it, and changes it out of its messy things to clean ones, and loves on it, and plays games of peek-a-boo, is not its mother or father? Do babies fostered as babies grow to love their fosters more than their parents? Do they grow to love their parents at all, or will Ka'el be destined to be one of those distant faces the child recognizes as an occasional visitor and nothing more? And Ka'el himself… Will time be enough for him to not care and be one of the many distant rider fathers that comes around…every once in a while? If at all. Is that what he wants? Is that what she wants? Would that be best for this new life that has yet to begin? There's so much to think about still. So much to wonder and plan for and decide on. Big things. Huge things. But all he can do right now is kiss her and let his mind focus on that for this small moment of bliss. His hands slide downward, gripping at her hips to squeeze and pull upon momentarily. Then they're on the move again, shifting up her body, her back. His mouth moves with hers, opening and closing in a slow dance. Tongue teasing her lips, slipping between them, tasting her slowly like one would a fine wine. His Soriana. Still his. His lips slowly part from hers after a while, and he moves his hand to touch and graze his fingertips to the edges of her ear, caressing down to the lobe. Further down to her neck. "We could ..ask Thea. We've got time.." Months upon months of time which may end up feeling like no time at all. Not enough time. "You should eat, baby. Or sit with me. Or lay with me. Because I don't want to…not…be close to you."

Anything at all Soriana wants, as long as it's with Ka'el? …yeah, she can go for that. Which means she has to decide what she's going to go for, because there are a lot of anythings that she could be doing with Ka'el. "Let's have dinner." It's a thing that people do. That… families do. They're a family, the two of them. Weyrmates, and… well. Beyond that, things are less clear. The future shape of this family is in flux. Things are changing, and… they aren't ready. Maybe they'd never be, but Soriana knows she certainly isn't ready now. She could keep flailing at readiness (whatever that means) for hours, days, months, and it wouldn't get her anywhere. She kissed Ka'el for moments, and it got her… if not any closer to feeling like she knows what she's doing, at least to feeling happier. To being glad she's here and he's here, and the rest… well, it's still huge. But maybe it's a huge that they can deal with, one step at a time, and if it isn't, it's at least a huge that they can push back for moments at a time. It's enough to change their lives, but it doesn't have to change everything. Just… a lot of things. Things they haven't even thought of yet. Things they'll encounter, but first… Soriana trails her fingers down along Ka'el's neck, toying with his hair. Still her Ka'el. Still his Soriana. It's more complicated (again), but they're together (still). And so they can have dinner together.

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License