What Others Don't Have

Xanadu Weyr - Secret Garden Refuge
Constructed of hand-chiseled whitestone, this cottage is unique in that it appears to have been here from before the time Xanadu was founded, it's stones bearing a resemblance to the ruins in the old forest. Large windows, flanked by raw wooden shutters faded to a silvery-grey, have thick-leaded diamond panes that allow the meadow's light inside. Pink climbing roses scale the front wall, the porcelain blossoms scenting the air with their delicate fragrance and providing shade over the three shallow stone steps leading to a portico in which an arch-topped door is set.

The space within the cottage is vast, but simple. Stone floors are covered in large rugs in pale, pastel shades and the walls have been painted white. Some spaces have built-in storage: cupboards in the living room; counters and a cooling/heating unit for food in the kitchen, which is accessible via a door to the right. The living room has a double-wide, deeply-inset window that make the sunny room perfect for housing potted plants, Isyriath's portion opening off of one side. Comfortable couches in pale pink line two of the walls, standing opposite each other, a long, low table set between them in the centre of the room. On the wall, above one of the couches, hangs a painting of meadow, in which both the cottage and Marel herself feature, the picture signed with a capital M. To the rear of the cottage, a door to the left leads through to the main bedroom, while French doors open up onto a private courtyard, a garden enclosed within.

Marel's bedroom is decorated in a similar fashion to the rest of her cottage: predominantly white with pale pastel accents, down to the colour of her sheets and pillowcases, which bear lines of faint floral patterns only at their very edges. The brownrider is not a particularly heavy sleeper, nor does she hog the sheets, and as light blossoms over Xanadu, she's curled on her side, her hands clasped close and the waves of her hair cast in disarray over her pillow. She seems softer in sleep, the careful guarded blankness of her features gone.

E'tan opens his eyes in a spasm, the sudden move nearly stirring a gasp sound from his mouth. Nearly. And luckily silence remains as dawn light slowly chases the veil of darkness of the dying night. The first thing he focuses on is the ceiling. A foreign ceiling. Of course he remembers what happened during that night, but the slight frown on his face is somewhat confusing. Everything happened so fast. Trying to match the calm breathing of the silhouette next to him, Tani carefully rolls to his side to look at the cascade of her hair flooding the pillow…

It's movement that must stir Marel back to consciousness and encourage her to open her eyes, though she curls up a little more before she truly wakes, tucking her head down and drawing her knees closer. She sighs quietly as she uncurls and blinks her eyes, which of course brings E'tan into view, yet rather than let her noticing and remembering his presence be defined by surprise or awkwardness, all she does is stare steadily across at him for a few moments, her expression shifting only slightly into an easy, though tempered calm.

There are moments in life that solely exist to mark one's life or soul and this, is one of them. Everything seems so perfect. She won't ever be as pretty as she is right now and he begins to realize that. To live the day rather than anticipating what tomorrow may bring, it's a lesson he just learnt. No sounds leave his lips either as he delicately replaces a lock of her chestnut hair behind one of her ears, eyes focused. "Thank you…Marel." Where is that previous frown? Gone for sure.

Marel's eyes narrow a little with a wry kind of humour, though she doesn't quite smile. "…I'm not sure that I've ever been… thanked for… that," she answers quietly, with a sleepy, slightly hoarse edge to her voice earned during sleep, or through use the evening before. It's plain enough that she's teasing, and she seems in no hurry to go anywhere, yet she looks him over with a question colouring her gaze. "I didn't mean to… I mean I meant to, but… I guess it's a bit late to apologise for being too forward."

E'tan slowly shakes his head, a dawn of a smile edging his lips as he regains his usual self, the bewitching moment vanished. "I did ask you to show me after all." This time he clearly grins, stretching his shoulders, finally free from all of their yesterday's tension. "And if you don't have to apologize…." he pauses here to puts an elbow on his pillow to rest his head on his palm, "…I want to thank you again. You…opened up my eyes….as well as my senses I must add."

"And you did blunder in and throw your paperwork all over my floor, so I'm going to take that as you signing up for anything," Marel says softly, faint smile sharpening one corner of her lips. Further thanks - maybe it's just the word - threaten to make her awkward, and she glances down at the sheets, though she keeps that faint veil of lazy humour pretty firmly in place, perhaps as a defence mechanism. "I imagine it's still there," she idly observes. She keeps from quite looking back at him when she murmurs, "…I don't expect anything from you. If you want to forget this happened and move on…"

E'tan can't stifle that sudden laughter, icy blue eyes mirroring his own mischievousness. "If it means being with you, shards Yes! I'm signing up for anything. Not that every riders in my wing have that effect on me though." He quickly adds, raising a finger humouredly. If it's a defense mechanism for her, he clearly uses it as a charming weapon. Hearing her last words, though, his expression turns into a less airy one. "I won't forget about it unless you ask me to, Marel." Tilting his head he tries hard to catch her gaze until he dares to place a finger under her chin. "Maybe we can…learn to tame each other?"

"If it was every and any rider in the wing, I can assure you that we wouldn't be here," Marel answers a little more seriously. "Though you've come to me for gifts for other girls more than once," she gently reminds either him or herself, lingering not too long on that thought. She glances up again when he hooks a finger beneath her chin, and observes him in silence for a little while. "…I have a daughter and a business and a small horde of winged friends," she carefully replies, "and you have a whole Weyr. But you can have of me what others don't, if I can have the same of you."

"I was young by then…" Tani replies in a breath as his head falls on his pillow, eyes focused on the ceiling again. "And to be completely honest, last time I followed your advice and kept it for me." And he did indeed, a glimpse of light reflecting on the dark obsidian gem that hangs around his neck. Curling to his side again - he definitely can't keep his eyes away from hers - he reaches out a finger to trace invisible lines on her bare shoulder. "I….like the sound of that." His life may be a living mess or even hell, since he came here and…felt, it doesn't matter anymore.

"Good." Whether it's a response to his reply about the egg shard or his latter comment, Marel doesn't spend any more time on words. Not right now, anyway. Maybe it's the tracing across her shoulder that does it, or perhaps she's just following her instincts and forgetting what she said about being forward, but, whatever her reasons, she slowly moves to close the distance between them, meaning to ease him onto his back and cover his body with hers for the time that they have before duties of one variety or another summon them away and to their respective working days.

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