N'shen, Meet D'had - Your Dad

Xanadu Weyr – Caverns

A massive cavern in it's own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as are the walls where numerous tapestries hang to provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt, leveled carefully but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.

The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area, however, is the one near the Kitchens where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. Its plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr and equally plain that on such occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are appropriated from all the other areas.

A big fireplace is set into the wall near the Kitchens as well, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.

Exits lead off in all directions, a big archway the largest and that leading outside. Shallow stairs to the west lead to the offices and administration area while tunnels to the east lead to the infirmary, kitchen and resident's quarters. Southwards, a sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs and southwest is a wide tunnel, carefully roped off to avoid accidents.

Icy-cold outside and not much snow and the recent ice-storm has made for some interesting situations not the least of them downed wires and tree limbs. Having no electricity in the weyrbarn has made it too cold to stay there and thus Thea is here curled up on one of the couches by the fire on this midmorning day off. Why she's not off on Seryth for warmer climes? Well… she's sick. But not sick enough to be in the infirmary. Or maybe she is, but refuses to go. She's been warned not to get in the twins' faces, so they are either with the nannies or their father. At any rate, she's bundled in a blanket, her boots have been kicked off and her sockfeet are curled underneath her as she blinks absently into the crackling flames.

The twins must be with the nannies being that their father makes his way out of the inner corridors of the weyr without them, likely coming from the office. It’s for the table that holds klah that he heads first, collecting two mugs before turning towards the couches by the fire. There he leans to leave a kiss on Thea's cheek before handing over one of those mugs in hand. "How ya feelin'?"

With Taozyuth asleep in the barracks and the Weyrlings free for a brief time, N'shen has stolen away for a bit of warmth and some food to boot. Bundled up in an old coat several sizes too big for him, the boy dashes into the caverns from the bowl, shivering slightly. Seems he still hasn't gotten around to getting any winter clothes, the slacker. "Cold, cold, cold," he mutters over and over as he makes a beeline for the hearth, only belatedly realizing that Thea and D'had are already occupying the couches. "Er. G'day, Miss Thea, Mister D'had." Public places mean public names.

"You," Thea notes to the Weyrsecond with a bit of a nasal tone to her hoarse voice, and probably not for the first time, "are going to get sick." Never mind that they sleep together, unless he's retreated to the couch for the duration of her cold. She smiles faintly nonetheless, tilting her head back to rest on the back of the couch as she looks up at him and sniffs - or tries to as she accepts that mug from him. "Like Seryth ran over my head." Siebith may perhaps pass on Seryth's mental snort and eyeroll at that comment. She lifts the mug in a silent salute, "Thanks for-" Eyes blink and follow the over-large coat's progress with amusement, her widening grin hid behind the mug. Happy to see the boy, it may not be evident in her croaked, "Hey there, N'shen. How've you been? How's Taozyuth? They're keeping you busy, hmm?"

D'had chuckles. "I'll live," he replies to the comment of getting sick. He might get lucky, he might not, either way he's not being overly cautious about it. Poor Thea, but he does reach over with his now free hand to give a short and light rub to the back of her neck before taking a test sip of his drink. That greeting earns a grumble at first, a mild annoyance at being interrupted during this break of his. The voice is recognized after a second however and he replies with a nod of greeting, and while he might have been about to ask about the boy's well-being Thea beats him to it and he simple adds, "What she said."

"We're well. It's cold outside, did you know that?" N'shen eyes Thea owlishly for a moment. "You sound sick. I hope you feel better." Fortunately, he's wise enough to sidle away from the goldrider, hovering behind the couch several feet away. "We've been real busy," he adds, with a groan. "Exercising! Lots of exercising, Mr. V'dim, he's unhappy with Tao and me, 'cause Tao, he can't just jump up and take off, being as he's all big and stuff, and when we did unmanned flight, Tao got annoyed that he couldn't just jump up, so he took a running start but that made V'dim unhappy and he gave us an extra two weeks of exercizes." The words come spilling out of the boy, as though to make up for his weeks' absense from their company.

Thea's eyes slide closed for the brief duration of that neckrub. "Ah, thanks, it aches," she mutters opening them again, rotating her neck and tilting a hopeful look up at D'had. "Are you staying?" She pats the couch cushion next to her inviting him to sit if he's going to. Lifting the mug, she blows on the hot liquid, her eyes shift to N'shen and crinkle when he speaks up. "Hmm, yeah. Cold inside some places too." She sips, swallows and nods in answer to N’shen, "Yeah, stupid cold is all." And then he's off behind her somewhere, so she leans forward and twists uncomfortably to see him while he relates his experiences. "Two weeks more exercise, huh?" Teasingly, "Is that why the ground's been shaking? I thought it was earthquakes." She waves to one of the empty seats opposite her. "You can sit while you eat if you want. I'll try not to cough on you."

D'had nods slowly, "Yeah, cold out there," he agrees, a hint of a smirk touching his lips for Thea's comment of inside as well. "Been sittin' in the office," he comments as to his staying. "Stand for awhile." Stretch his legs and all that. "Gettin' into trouble already, hmm?" he comments back towards N'shen, amusement in his words. "Exercises like that ain't so bad though. Can help."

N'shen shifts uncomfortably at D'had's words as he moves to perch gingerly on the edge of the seat indicated by Thea. "Not meanin' to," he mutters, eyeing the Weyrsecond. "It's just Tao's so big - he ain't fat or nothing, and he's not lazy, he's just… big boned." Really. "He's not going to be as… what's the word? Spry? As the littler dragons. But we'll get it done, I guess, an' show V'dim we can do it the way he wants."

In that case, since he's not sitting… Thea takes another cautious sip from her mug before setting it down carefully on the floor right next to the couch and flops back to stretch out lengthwise upon it, propping her head on the armrest at the far end. No one else seems to want to sit over here anyway, giving the area a wide berth. "Donn, if you want to sit just say and I'll just move my feet." Though likely they'll end up on his lap if he does. Her head turns on that armrest to eye the boy, a little sympathy there with the glimmer of silent laughter in her eyes, "Trust me, trouble stalks weyrlings whether they want it or not." She speaks from experience there, a significant glance at the Weyrsecond as she says that. Surely he can relate? Hoping to encourage him, "You know, N'shen, Vivian flew late because Kelioth was so small she needed some extra time."

D'had knows well enough by now to just move her feet and make room for himself if he wants it, but he nods to her note all the same. "Sure," the verbal part of that is followed by another nod this time towards the weyrling. "Happens sometimes," he replies, "You'll work it out though. Might just take some time," he adds nearly echoing Thea's sentiments on the topic.

N'shen snorts softly, though not in a derisive way. "We'll figure it out," he mumbles, glancing down at his hands in his lap before raising his gaze. He opens his mouth, but whatever he was going to say catches in his throat, and he stares past the goldrider towards the entrance, dark skin turning a little paler. As his dark green eyes meet the identical ones of the woman entering, he swallows loudly. Though he drops his gaze away, the woman doesn't look away, her sensuous lips curving in a slight frown before she detaches herself from her companions and approaches the hearth. "Well, boy, I hear you've done well for yourself." Anatasha's tone is completely neutral as she comes up behind Thea, staring at the speechless weyrling speculatively.

Thea knows her weyrmate does, so there's probably a little wistfulness to that reminder, but she says nothing more on that. She leans over to lift her mug from the floor, lever herself up on an elbow to sip a few times, her eyes lifting over the rim to the Weyrsecond. Lowering it just a bit, she tells him with a roll of her eyes, "Oh, the nursery declined my request of a nanny to help tonight. Said they don't want her to get my cold." She's watching D'had warily, waiting for his reaction to that when the female voice distracts her. She's familiar enough to the weyrwoman, who merely nods a greeting to her, unwilling to interrupt the mother-to-son communication. N'shen's reaction draws a concerned glance, however. Puzzled, she remains silent for the time being.

D'had has settled himself leaning against the back of the couch just behind where Thea's feet rest. Arms resting on the back edge he takes a long drink from his mug, a nod for his weyrmate and the boy. "We'll work it out," he returns. He might not be happy about it come morning, but they'll make it work somehow or another. But then with N'shen going quiet and there's the voice of another beside him and he turns a glance towards the rider narrowing his gaze slightly. Then again, him and names were never a good combination so any greeting that might have been is overlooked in favor of a shrug as he goes back to his klah.

"M- mother," Nash replies tonelessly, eyes darting up to meet hers before looking down again. "I didn't expect t' see you here. I hope you and your lifemate are well?" Anatasha sniffs slightly, eyes flickering to study first Thea, then D'had, where they narrow almost angrily. "Yes, well, we're fine. I heard you Impressed a bronze." Turning back to her son, the greenrider sniffs audibly. Odd that she wouldn't have been there to see, given her son was Standing. "Well. It's better than I thought you'd do, given your lineage. I'm impressed. I would have pegged you for a green, or perhaps a blue, like…" She trails off, eyes darting to D'had again, this time almost thoughtfully.

Thea nods with a long breath out. Of course they will, they always do. "You're such a good daddy to them," she murmurs over her steaming mug as she lifts it once again. Blinking at N'shen, surprised - the Weyr just isn't that big he'd not bump into his mother now and then? Just before taking that next sip, she catches Anatasha's tone and hikes herself up, first on her elbow, then pushing up with one hand to sit and give the woman a mild look of reproach. Her words about lineage and that glance at D'had just go right over her head, for she's focused on the condescension she's sensing directed at N'shen. Her lips press together before she asks quietly, "Be kind, Rider?"

D'had chuckles, mug almost to his lips at that murmur of Thea's. "Try," he replies. Not that she's given him much choice in learning there. And no, the weyr might not be that big, but its not such an oddity really and when people are avoiding one another its surprisingly easy. A sip, another glance towards the woman. "Think a mother'd be proud a that," he comments a brow raising for that look she gives him but any meaning is lost on him. He shrugs though, going back to his drink.

A Weyr can be more than large enough when you're avoiding someone. "Proud? I suppose." Anatasha sniffs again. "Amazed that he managed it is more like it. The boy showed no such potential when he was with me, after all." Thea's words earn the goldrider a critical glance and a wave of her hand. "Kindness, weyrwoman, is overrated. The boy grew up well enough to Impress a bronze, I'd say that's more important than any kindness." Is it any wonder N'shen is as shy as he is, raised by this cold woman? "You keep interesting company, Natishen. Or, what is it you call yourself now? N'shen? You must tell me how you found out. Was it that interfering Moyra? I should have known that woman couldn't keep a secret to herself." Her lips curve in a smirk. "Not that I imagine you get any more out of him than you did for me, if I recall his reputation correctly." Nash's bewildered look causes the greenrider to bite her tongue with a soft curse.

It doesn't occur to Thea to avoid people, which may be why she's puzzled by N'shen's response. "I know you do," she answers D'had with pride for his efforts. Anatasha's casual dismissal causes her to frown in irritation and she rises slowly to meet the woman eye to eye, her chin lifting slightly. Uh oh. Someone's riled. And no, she doesn't do so well with a female version of her father. "That wasn't a request," she says evenly and even more quietly, thanks to her hoarse throat, than the last time. She slides another look at the weyrling, almost wincing at the way he looks, her glance shifting to the Weyrsecond in silent appeal before returning to the woman. Firmly then, "You will be civil to him in my presence." Whether the Rider does… well. The rest of the woman's words are so much blather to her, for all the sense she makes of them. "N'shen, you don't have to sit and take this."

"Weyrwoman was just askin' him how he was doin'," D'had cuts in commenting back to the woman's remark on the weyrling's company. But what follows has him as confused as anyone else listening in on the conversation. Turning to lean sideways where he stands so he has a better view of all parties, "Anyway, not everyone impresses, could at least congratulate your son," since that relation has been made clear enough given that N'shen called her mother.

It seems N'shen is the first to understand Anatasha's words - then again, he's also the only one here who's neither surprised nor irritated by her apparent lack of motherly instinct. "You can't be serious," the weyrling states bluntly, staring at the greenrider, who stares back at him angrily. "Oh for Faranth's sake, mother, /him/? But he's - " The same man Nash has fixed on as a father figure since day one? Anatasha's lips thin, and she tosses her head. "Well, boy, you've figured it out. I wish you joy of it." Cold green eyes flicker to Thea, and the greenrider offers a slight, frosty smile. "Don't worry, weyrwoman. I was just leaving. Boy." Turning back to Nash, she studies him, her expression a strange mixture of distant affection and exasperation. "I /am/ proud of you for Impressing. I like to think you'll do well. You've good blood, and a good head. Just - don't make the same mistakes I did." Nash regards her stolidly for a moment, before commenting softly, "I think our idea of what a mistake is is different, mother, but… thank you."

Thea sends D'had a grateful flash for speaking up in the boy's defense before returning her attention to Anatasha. Her lips part, but the words she has ready never pass them. Instead N'shen speaks and she turns her head in time to catch the weyrling's look towards… the Weyrsecond? Complete confusion washes her features. They're talking about -him-? Slowly the past conversation sinks in, realization dawns and the color drains from her face. Unaware that the word is spoken aloud through whitened lips, "No." She doesn't want to hear any more, sinks to sit back down on that couch, unseeing eyes upon the boy are wide with pain and a certain kind of loss.

D'had is a little slower on putting all those unsaids and hints together. He looks from greenrider to weyrling and back. Stare. "What?" almost an accusation there, but its finally sinking in what they're talking about. "You're saying…" He blinks again, glancing back towards Nash and then finally remembering that Thea's stuck in the middle there too, a frown settling on his lips.

Anatasha may be cold, and she may not have maternal instincts, but she's not a heartless wench, either. Eyes flicker to Thea, then D'had, before finally settling on Nash. "I'll just…" Leave everyone to their personal drama. Hurriedly, the greenrider makes her escape, leaving N'shen staring stonily after her. "Don't worry about it," he says gruffly to D'had, eyes shying away from Thea, clearly unwilling to see her reaction. "Water under the bridge. No big deal, it was just a flight. Things happen." Pulling his legs up to plant his feet on the edge of his chair, he wraps his arms around his calf, staring broodingly off into space. Is he trying to reassure the Weyrsecond? Or himself?

Thea doesn't really notice Anatasha's leave-taking, nor D'had's response to the greenrider's revelation. She's barely breathing as she remains unmoving, numb until that gruff reassurance from the boy. Blindly she reaches for her boots and stuffs her feet in them, eyes focused on the task. As she stands and grabs her coat, she sees N'shen wrapped up in his own arms and compassion replaces some of the shock and loss in her expression. She manages it kindly and sincerely even if her voice breaks on the words, "If it had to be, I'm glad it's you, N'shen." Turning to walk past D'had she lifts her eyes, blinking to clear the tears that have begun to gather in them she says roughly, "Your son needs you." Tilting her head towards the boy in such a way that makes no question of which one she means.

That would be his luck, being left to try and reconcile with both Thea and N'shen. Of course it’s his own fault he's not sure which to go to first and that only leaves him dumbfounded. He turns a sort of wry assurance towards the weyrling at his attempt to shove worry off. And then Thea's moving and he's reaching for her hand as she passes, giving it a reassuring squeeze if he manages to snag her, and if he can he's pulling her to him to press a kiss to her cheek. "Get some rest, hmm." A hint of a smile for her and given she's given him the go ahead to talk to the boy he leaves it at that, letting her on her way as he steps towards the weyrling's chair. He stands there for a long moment of silence then, unsure of what to say. "You.. gonna be alright?"

N'shen shifts uncomfortably, staring after Thea as she leaves. It's even-odds which expression is more dominant on his face - embarassment, or anxiety. But he doesn't try to keep her from going. He'd probably run too, if it wasn't for the fact that he's the cause of this mess in the first place. Instead, he turns wary green eyes on D'had, sizing up the Weyrsecond with an odd new light in them. "I guess so. Doesn't really - I mean, it don't have to be no different than it's been for th' past fourteen turns or so, does it? Not if you don't want it to be, I guess."

Thea's rather happy to note the greenrider is gone given the 'help' she's already been. Finding her hand caught, she's drawn close enough for that kiss to land on her cheek before she pushes on past and out the door yanking her jacket on as she steps outside. Not long after, Seryth lifts off from Xanadu and disappears *Between* refusing, if asked, to say where she's going. It's her day off. She doesn't have to be here.

D'had nods, "Yeah, well…" he starts, turning a glance back towards the door through which Thea's just recently left, lips pursing for a second before he looks back to the boy. "I.. didn't know," he offers as if that might make things better. Then again, at that time even if he had he likely wouldn't have been around. "An' if it helps…" he's completely awkward about the whole thing. "If it helps, your Ma's right bout one thing. Ya did good."

N'shen studies D'had silently for a moment. "I didn't either. And knowing doesn't have to change nothing. I'm almost grown and stuff, and I have a dragon - it's no big." Unhooking his arms from around his legs, he lets his feet fall with a thud to the floor, then stands up abruptly, tugging that oversized coat tight around his too-skinny body. "Look. Tao's awake, so I should… get going." Everyone abandon D'had! "I'll… see you 'round. Sir. And… thank you. It means a lot to hear it from you."

Awkward as it might be D'had doesn't seem all to upset to be abandoned. At least the weyrling isn't leaving him in a way that makes him feel all so terrible. Besides who's he to keep the boy from his young dragon, well besides the weyrsecond but then that's still not so much of an excuse. He nods just the once, "Go take care'a him," he agrees. "We'll see ya around." That said he waits still, watching N'shen head off before turning to head off himself.

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