Conceivable Collaboration

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.

It's lunchtime at Xanadu Weyr on this bright and warm spring day - the serving tables have just opened up but the crowds have yet to flood the caverns, though there are trickles of folk beginning to arrive. The harper classes won't release the hordes of ravenous children for another half hour, so things are, as yet, quiet and orderly. Darsce arrives from somewhere deeper in the caverns, casts a longing look towards the door that leads to the administration hallway but she hasn't time to go seeking her husband. Her job requires that she sample the dishes laid out and reassure Cook that they are, indeed (as always), delicious and fit to serve the Weyrfolk. Usually she's in her office and able to stick her head into Jethaniel's office, cajole him into joining her for lunch; today she's late, arriving out of breath and uh, oh, there's Cook behind the serving table, irately smacking a wooden spoon against one hand. So that's where the headwoman goes, schooling her face to pleasantness as she approaches the fretting woman. She already knows the menu for the week, so doesn't ask what's there. Instead, she offers one of the greetings she regularly cycles through, "Everything smells-" Erk. She catches a whiff. Face, do not grimace! Weakly, "…great." What the shells IS that?

While Jethaniel is not generally averse to the prospect of lunch as an entity - and, in particular, considers favorably the concept of encountering it with Darsce (though that valence may be more a factor of the company than the content) - he is also prone to becoming involved in his work. This means he may, absent reminders, be oblivious to not only the flow of time exterior to his office, but also to the internal signals which might motivate him to seek sustenance. Darsce's reminders to do so have increased the frequency with which he actually eats the noontime meal at an hour approximating noon; however, as he has acclimated to those reminders, his capability for self-notification has decreased. If Darsce has not arrived, his subconscious postulates, it cannot yet be lunchtime; thus, any rumbles of hunger may be safely ignored as he continues to untangle the threads of attribution involved in this forestry agreement.

Yeah, that's partly why Darsce cast that longing look towards the admin wing - having Jethaniel's company while taking lunch. The other is knowing he's probably engrossed in some project of another which totally fascinates him and he's unlikely to arrive in time to rescue her from dealing with Cook on her own. Because Cook, while she loves hearing how wonderful everything is and how delicious it tastes, is overly-sensitive and takes constructive criticism badly and considers it a personal insult when her dishes are not only appreciated, but snarfed down as if they're the best thing on the planet a person ever had. Stifling a sigh, Darsce forces a bright smile and as Cook has dipped a spoon into steamed spring peas, turned the handle to offer it to her, she takes it. Six peas. She can do this! Here goes nothing! Not bad. "Nice! I can taste the butter and is that hint of tarragon?" Cook beams. Darsce smiles. One down.

This particular project is, while not intrinsicly interesting, rather complicated. In attempting to comprehend it, Jethaniel is constructing a convoluted chain of references in memory. If this - and that - then therefore it follows - and so forth. This structure, while necessary to the resolution of his task, is also fragile. A pair of riders, talking loudly on their way past his door, is sufficient to disrupt it as a mentioned name entangles with the referent to a similar-sounding one. Jethaniel starts to read the next line, and frowns. This is… not what he thought it to be, which means… he exhales, leans back in his chair. This will require another attempt, for the purposes of which it will be advantageous to him to consume klah. When he rises from his chair to investigate the possibility thereof, he discovers that certain supply chain issues are still extant - that, or he's already drunk it all. Regardless of the reason for the lack within his personal environment, it is likely he may obtain it externally. As such, he emerges from his office, and shortly thereafter from the admin hallway itself. An observation of the state of the caverns includes the fact that it appears to be mealtime; Jethaniel blinks, incorporating this into his perspective. The observation of Darsce is incorporated with a smile, and he determines that the klah - and his re-attempt of that paperwork - may be delayed in order to arrange an encounter with her first. As such, he heads toward her.

There are, admittedly, arranged encounters that Darsce prefers without Cook looking on, however this is one not of her making. She will undoubtedly welcome Jethaniel's presence nevertheless. Cook is offering her a small spoonful of something creamy and white; Darsce takes it without hesitation, eats that bite, thumbs up and nods. After swallowing. "Mmm! Those are from the high fields?" Cook nods, pleased the early potatoes pass muster. The headwoman moves on down the table, while behind her hungry weyrfolk begin to have food dished to their plates because Cook now allows it. The next item is in a vat - a steaming pink…stew. Darsce eyes it and as the odor hits her nostrils, almost blanches despite herself. She stifles a shudder. Brightly, "The seafood newburg." Bring it! She accepts the spoon. She swallows several times in preparation to tasting. Cook is watching. Darsce's face pales. A fine beading of dew breaks out on her brow. "Dill," says she weakly while trying not to actually breathe - or actually taste the dish. Stalling for time? Ohhh you betcha!

These arrangements are, in fact, being constructed entirely by Jethaniel. He has not ascertained whether, under these precise circumstances on this particular day, Darsce wishes to see him, nor has he consulted with her regarding his intentions. He is merely operating under his general understanding of her behavior and preferences, using them to construct a model which implies that she will, in fact, be in favor of such arrangements if presented with them… even should they already be in progress. He is, in fact, sufficiently certain of this approval that he might accept it without doubt. He approaches her from an angle between side and back, and while he might appear to be cutting in line, the focus of his attention makes it apparent his goal is in fact the person leading it rather than its head per se. His smile is a far less forced one than Darsce's as he approaches her, granting Cook a nod before he turns his attention back to Darsce, offering her that smile. "Good morning." It is likely still such, though he did not check the time. If so, the temporal period will not be accurate for that much longer; perhaps Jethaniel is, instead of wishing it prospectively, hoping that it is retrospectively true.

While there might be certain circumstances where Darsce would prefer Jethaniel not arrive unexpectedly, she has yet to discover them. His model, therefore, is accurate in this particular case. He arrives. His greeting might also be a metaphorically accurate description of how Darsce's stomach is reacting to lunch, at least the second half of it. But nether of them know that, do they. Darsce turns, surprised and obviously pleased to see Jethaniel. "Hey," she greets and her smile brightens even as she latches onto the life buoy his precipitous arrival presents. "Do you like fish?" she asks while her eyes beg, 'pleaseplease say yes?' And that bite? Is offered to him subtly - not, y'know, shoved in his face - so he can decline if he'd rather. Cook's eyes narrow. Behind Darsce the line of weyrfolk grows and shifts restlessly. What's the holdup?

Such circumstances are conceivable, but Jethaniel has no speculations as to how he might discover them - nor particular desire to do so. He is more desirous of the arrangement of encounters intended to be pleasant - for example, this one. Her expression of pleasure is expected. Her question concerning fish is not; Jethaniel's brows arch slightly. "Ah…" he begins, then observes further the manner in which she is asking the question. This determines his answer, or at least provides a desiderata on it. "…sometimes, yes." The spoon with a sample thereof is observed, as is Darsce's desire to present it to him. Her own preferences regarding fish… may no longer match the ones previously observed? Jethaniel is mildly perplexed, but this confusion does not stop him from leaning forward to accept that offer of seafood cooked in the style of newburg. Perhaps the old burg was found to be outdated? He chews, swallows. "It is…" Jethaniel is not entirely oblivious to the looks Cook is giving. "A complex and rich dish."

The aroma from the vat beside which they stand still arises to encompass them. To the average seafood-loving person the scent of butter, garlic, cream, white wine, delicate shellfish, spiderclaw and bivalves is mouth-watering. Darsce watches with almost fatalistic fascination as Jethaniel's lips close over that spoon. As he does so, she shudders, heaves; the bodily impulse is forced into subjection and mastered, but she's left looking decidedly pale. She can't add to the steward's assessment, simply nods agreement. Cook will just have to be satisfied with a surrogate taster! The last thing left to test is rice, a fluffy white cloud of starchy-goodness. How could Cook possibly mess that up?? Darsce flicks her fingers at it and mumbles, "M'sure that's fine-" before clapping a hand to her mouth, flicking an apologetic look to Jethaniel and mumbling a muffled, "Be right back and…" She backs away several steps, lifts the hand to draw a much-needed lungful of air, "…we'll do lunch." Off she goes in the directions of the latrines while Cook glowers after her. Then threateningly to poor Jethaniel. "Well? Can I serve this or not?" Smack goes the spoon in her hand.

Jethaniel may, in fact, not be giving the dish a full analysis. He is certainly not giving it his full attention, because a portion of that attention remains on Darsce. This is, if he extrapolates merely from her facial expressions, something quite horrendous. The flavors as he perceives them are not congruent with that reading; it is, perhaps, a richer dish than his preference, but that is not an intrinsic fault nor a failure of preparation. There might, of course, be some imperceptible flaw; that would also be consistent with Darsce's expression, but while she may appear horrified in the manner of one unable to warn someone of what they are about to accidentally consume, she is the one who offered him that spoon. As such, it is likely that the only multilegged creatures in it are those crustaceans intended for consumption. He is perplexed, but not by the complexity of the flavor. Jethaniel, after providing his answer to Cook, reaches out for Darsce, fingers with a light touch that is intended for her arm but encounters only air as Darsce beats a strategic retreat through that very substance in order to fill her lungs with a sample containing fewer aromatic chemicals. Jethaniel's mouth opens, his expression puzzled as Darsce flees, and he takes a step after her only to be recalled by Cook's voice. He turns, observing both chef and rice. "Yes," he informs her. "You may." Untasted as it is. Jethaniel turns once more, pursuing Darsce to the exterior of those latrines where he may station himself to observe and await her return.

Cook grunts her annoyance at Darsce's retreating figure, but her gaze does not linger upon the headwoman, oh no. It's fixed upon the steward as she awaits his reaction to the seafood dish. His verdict draws a vindicated, "Humph, I told her it was fine!" After all, Cook tastes her own cooking also. The clean spoon, about to scoop up some rice for Jethaniel's assessment pauses as the man declares it fit. Wait-what? Not going to taste it?! She mutters, "Fine! But if anyone complains, I'm sending them to you!" And the servers are sliding into place ready to dish out the stuff to those with waiting plates. Cook is irate, but she's hardly been insulted enough to burn dinner. Crisis averted right? Maaaybe. "By the by," she grunts as he turns, her wooden spoon points to where the headwoman disappeared and she drops her bombshell with a casual assumption that he's already aware of what is obvious to her, "Whilst she's expecting, I'll need another taste-tester. Tell 'er that for me, please." Because there's dinner up-coming and who knows whether she'll see the headwoman in time? As for Darsce, she isn't long in the latrines, emerging with still-damp face from having splashed water on it to find that Jethaniel is there. She doesn't stop, merely attempts to snag his hand on the way by, "I'm going to tell Cook to throw that newburg out. Something's wrong with that batch!"

"Do so," Jethaniel agrees readily. He's not particularly concerned by the prospect of complaints, given that those would require both Cook's incompetence and a person of sufficient bravery to dare her ire. These are both individually possible, but he considers the combination… unlikely. Besides, he has more important things to concern him, and so he starts after Darsce. Cook's request makes him stop, mid-step. Ex…pec…ting. This word may require assessment at the level of individual syllables instead of as a complete entity, though it is more interesting when given a contextual analysis. There exist many things which might be expected. Jethaniel expects dinner to be served. He is, as such, expecting dinner. That is… unlikely to be the form of expectation described. Jethaniel's face is unlikely to be visible to Cook, but were she to observe it she would find it blank; the expression one left behind when his focus is sufficient to not provide the opportunity for social engagement. He doesn't answer her. He stands there a moment, and then - still without replying - he continues on in pursuit of Darsce. He hasn't long to wait, but it is sufficient time for concern to etch itself slowly onto his features as a side effect of the thoughts still cycling. Darsce emerges, and while Jethaniel's hand is easily snagged, he himself is more resistant to being swept along, instead seeking to exert the inverse influence and draw Darsce toward him. The newburg did not appear concerning to him, nor is it his concern, but it is the one Darsce expresses. "It… did not taste atypical to me."

Cook's attention is back on getting lunch served. With a critical eyeing of that serving table, she departs for the kitchen to ensure that refills are ready in a timely fashoin and to get her workers prepping things for dinner and to loom over the ones washing dishes and to… to… do a million other things she is sure the Weyr's very existence depends upon (a Weyr marches on its stomach, after all). Where're they marching to? Well, one of them is marching to the latrines, but she's off and marching in the opposite direction. Darsce, having caught Jethaniel's hand, continues for two steps before the slack is taken up and she halts, tossing a questioning look over her shoulder, "Not…atyp-? oh!" She frowns. "But it smelled funny." Nevermind that she didn't even taste it. She's unresisting in his attempt to draw her closer, but preoccupied with craning her neck to glimpse the serving line through the opening at the end of the hall. People seem to be accepting servings without qualm and her frown deepens into one of confusion. Iceblue eyes still on the room out there, she asks slowly, "How's…the klah…been lately?"

"Not to me." While senses are (rather literally) a matter of perception, Jethaniel grew up in a coastal hold. He knows what seafood should taste like, and while this particular dish may not be one he would select, that is a matter of his personal preferences. Given the choice between eating it and having to venture further to obtain sustenance, his decision would be easily made, and he would consume it without complaint. Jethaniel keeps Darsce's hand even once he's drawn her toward him, the other arm slipping around her. He makes no attempt to restrict Darsce's observations of people seemingly satisfied in the meal she found objectionable, but his own gaze remains on her. She mentions the klah, and he frowns. The klah for which she lost her taste; the intended contraceptive whose lack of efficacy sent him on a mission to discover a replacement. It is not retroactive. For that matter, it is not certain to be reliable, though it is more likely to be so than… klah. Jethaniel drinks it regularly, though often without any particular concern for the taste. Nevertheless, he is not always enthralled by a problem, particularly not during his first cup of the day. "I have noted nothing unusual."

Darsce grew up in Ierne where seafood also was plentiful. She's eclectic in her tastes where it comes to cuisine, enjoying sushi and chilled, raw bivalves on the half-shell. So certain is she in her ability to judge good fish, that if it weren't for knowing Jethaniel ate it at Cove Hold, she might've pressed ahead and marched out there demanding Cook dump the stuff lest she sicken the Weyr population. Instead her gaze lifts to her husband as his answer sinks in. She settles against him, but her expression doesn't reflect the usual pleasure from being close to him that it usually does. Instead she's troubled. That remedy he'd brought back from Erijeane has been faithfully and consistently employed for the few sevens since and things - with her cycle - have been regular - as far as she knows. So her conclusion is, "Huh. I guess hitting my head must've rattled my sense of taste and smell." She frowns, then her face clears as she shrugs. "It'll go away eventually!" Ah the power of denial! Her smile returns, "Do you want to catch some lunch?"

Under most circumstances, Jethaniel would be inclined to trust Darsce's opinions regarding seafood. He's shared with her some of the more exotic dishes of aquatic derivation. Under these circumstances, however… his arms settle around Darsce, holding her close, but his expression is also troubled. Her conclusions regarding the effects of her concussion are not precisely ones he finds reassuring, and his frown deepens. "Perhaps not." They might never go away; alternatively, there might be another reason for those disturbances, one implied - quite matter of factly - by Cook. Jethaniel's expression remains troubled, and his arms remain around Darsce. The seafood. The klah. "Has there been anything else?" He's attempting to recall certain things mentioned in passing by Liessa, by Sulliam. They were, at the time, of no particular relevance to Jethaniel, but now… he wishes to consider possible correlations to present circumstances. Lunch. Not, presumably, the seafood newburg, but… "We may, if you wish." Jethaniel's inclination will, in fact, be to eat. Darsce's desires seem… less easily predicted, and Jethaniel's troubled expression lingers.

There goes the smile, fading into uncertainty in the face of Jethaniel's lingering unease. Oth…er causes? That possibility hasn't occurred to Darsce - blame it on the educational gaps in her life! "But… I'm not having the headaches anymore. Those got better, so…" She trails off as her little bubble of false self-reassurance partially evaporates. Her arms slip around Jethaniel and she leans her forehead against his shoulder as she considers never eating fish again. And…will she…retain a distaste for klah…// always? How will she //possibly pry herself from bed without it? Lately… she's barely managed to drag herself upright in the mornings. "Well, that'll suck," she mutters into his collarbone then goes silent to consider his question. Has anything else tasted off? After a moment or two, she lifts her head to meet his eyes, "Just the klah and fish dishes, recently." A breath is taken, her nose wrinkles at the scent drifting down the corridor, "I am hungry," she admits despite not having a positive reaction to the main dish. Probably because her stomach is now empty? He's troubled while she just wants to pout about klah and fish. Mostly the klah, truth be told! She eyes him, baffled at his uneasy expression. "What's…wrong?"

Jethaniel nods to Darsce's assurance that the headaches improved - as, for that matter, did the soreness of her muscles. The potential of this as a neurological phenomenon is troubling; the duration of such are unknown. The potential of this as a phenomenon of another sort is… at least of known duration. Jethaniel touches his lips softly to Darsce's hair as she leans in against him, then lifts his head as she does, his angling down so that their eyes may meet. The klah and fish. He hesitates for a moment, then nods. He lacks the knowledge of precisely which further questions would be most effective in diagnosis. He can, at least, ascertain that she is hungry. "I can get us some tubers and peas to eat in my office." Simple foods, away from the scent of fish. He does not, however, release Darsce in order to put that plan into action. She has another question, and Jethaniel endeavors to construct an answer for it. He is hesitant; his knowledge is incomplete, the reports of others unreliable. Nevertheless, he attempts to provide Darsce with information she has asked for, but may nevertheless not wish to hear. "There… exists an alternate explanation for… certain variances in taste. It is a… known reaction correlated with… hormonal changes during some stages of… pregnancy."

Darsce is hungry and as such she begins to nod about having peas and creamed tubers in the steward's office. "And plain rice," she adds, leaning to brush a grateful kiss to the corner of Jethaniel's mouth. Not having to eat in the (by now) crowded caverns, great! Not having to gag at the smell of the fishy main course? Even better! She's eased back, eyes on his for that answer, flickering slightly between them as she absorbs the clinical and scientific explanation, nodding along with until that last word. That's where her head pauses. She's still, silent for all of five seconds until she sputters a laugh. "Yeah, that's called morning sickness." She's heard that one! Aaaaand still hasn't applied it to herself becaaause, "I'm queasy…pretty much…all…day." Her voice goes from amused, fading to more quiet as her comment slows towards the end where she closes her jaw with a little snap and a sharp exhale. "I'm not pre-" Of course she isn't - can't be! Her research hasn't even begun! She isn't ready! Besides, Erijeane's remedy? She has tak- has she though? Remembered the precise two day window? Every time? Uhhh… My, that wall beside Jethaniel's head is interesting! Or might be, if she were actually seeing what she's fixedly staring at. When she moves, it's to back up a step, arms slipping from his waist. Numbly, without looking at him she murmurs, "I'll be in your office," and goes there.

Jethaniel nods slightly at the addition of a further starch to their meal. Darsce's kiss draws that corner of his mouth slightly upward, the other echoing it to make a smile… albeit a brief one. He provides the information which he has regarding a hypothesis which might fit the observed data. He's silent for Darsce's laughter, nods slightly for the name given that symptom, and as she explains why her symptoms do not qualify due to being… excessively present… "Ah." It's barely voiced, almost pained. His eyes remain on Darsce's face, but Jethaniel is silent. He does not deny her assertion; nor does he concur with it. How can he? It is not even fully made. His arms remain around her until she steps away, but when she does, he lets her go. His nod is to her back, as she departs, and Jethaniel exhales slowly, closing his eyes for a moment. He goes to the serving table, where he takes advantage of his rank to cut in line and obtain a pair of plates with peas, creamed tubers, and plain rice. He takes a pair of forks under the presumption of its consumption (or at least an attempt thereof) and proceeds to his office… and Darsce.


Xanadu Weyr - Steward's Office

The office of the Steward is a place for things to pass through. On the side of the wooden desk nearest the door are a pair of boxes labeled In and Out. The center of the desk provides a place to process those papers, with a set of draftsman's tools - pens, pencils, rulers and compasses - tucked in a small wooden box. The computer, as it receives fewer messages, is set off to the side of the desk.

One thing that stays in the office is the Steward himself - at least, so long as he holds that office - and so there's a comfortable chair behind that desk, as well as a pair of plain wooden ones in front of it for those passing through.

Bookshelves line the walls, crammed with tomes ranging in topic from weather patterns of the southern continent to crop output for the last one hundred turns. They are some the many things of which a Steward must have a passing knowledge - one sufficient to let him delegate the rest. To record the events so delegated, there are a pair of file cabinets full of paperwork not yet so historical as to merit relocation to the archives.

Oh it'll be fully made alright! By the time Jethaniel steps back into his office, Darsce is pacing it, trying not to hyperventilate and failing miserably. She's at the far end of the room when his door opens and as she pivots on a heel to see who enters, her silverblonde hair splays in an aureole about her head, settling back to her shoulders as she stills to seek Jethaniel's face. Her complexion is white, her mouth is set to keep it still, iceblue eyes wide, darkened with…some tumult of emotion. Behind her, are Jethaniel's cabinets to which she turns and reaches for in a blind sort of grab for support. "I… I…" She needs to breathe; she needs to tell him something. At least she's not sobbing hysterically? "I'm pregnant? I can't be!" Doh. Oh yes you could be, Darsce! When you play with fire…

Jethaniel looks for Darsce as he enters, finds her in the harried figure across the room. He swallows and steps inside, pushes the door shut behind him with his foot. "Darsce," he begins, taking a detour by his desk for long enough to set down the plates - on top of the forestry agreement, since it has not been cleared away - and then continuing on. She may be pregnant; he nods slightly to acknowledge her, answers the question and denial both with, "I do not know." He stops just before her, extends his arms to her; she may enjoy their support more than that of the cabinet. Darsce's pleasure in physical proximity to Jethaniel is known; much like that fire, she has found him hot. In fact, her enjoyment of certain aspects of that proximity is why pregnancy is a possibility for her. This may, given her reaction to that prospect, be a reason for her to repudiate the offer; Jethaniel nevertheless extends his arms. His eyes are fixed on Darsce, concern etched at their corners and in the tug at the corners of his mouth.

Darsce turns her head to send Jethaniel a beseeching look over her shoulder. He doesn't know, but oh if he had an easy answer for her she'd welcome it! His open arms offer her a refuge to which she goes without hesitation, hers slip back 'round him and grip tightly while her face finds a spot near his collarbone to press, shutting out the reality of the future somehow. Or perhaps she simply, like a child, feels the looming specter of catastrophe cannot see her and will pass her by because she's now invisible. He'll feel her thudding heartbeat, her breathing as her ribcage expands and contracts far too quickly. He doesn't know - she doesn't know for certain but… the thought, the chance, her symptoms, even in light of her precautions, point to the existence of possibilities that… "I'm not ready for this! I have no clue how to manage a baby. I haven't studied! I'm going to wreck it, I just know it!" Isn't there some sort of course for this sort of thing wherein when you pass a test you get to be deemed passable for parenthood? Where is her certificate? Where's her diploma? She's unlicensed! Illegal! Someone should sentence her to crimes against humanity and send her to the Island of Misfit…Mothers! Seriously!!

Jethaniel exhales softly as Darsce seeks his arms, an expression of relief - if only partial. The question remains; the possibility is as real as ever… but he has Darsce. His arms wrap around her, holding her close. Jethaniel's breathing is steadier than hers, his heartrate more normal. They're elevated with concern - for her, for the situation, in echo of hers - but in comparison to Darsce, he may seem stable and calm. She is… unready. He tilts his head slightly in a nod, keeps it lowered to observe what little of her features he may, given her desire to hide against him. There is no baby crafthall, and though the nursery could likely provide a few masters, they lack any particular knot to indicate that status. Darsce… has not even apprenticed to the craft, which is only partially due to its lack of existence in any organized fashion. There are nevertheless some who study proactively, eager to make it a soon thing instead of a someday thing. Darsce has not been one of them. Now, faced unexpectedly with the prospect of the someday being soon, she expresses her perceptions of ignorance and lack of affinity, and Jethaniel frowns slightly for the hearing of them. "I… believe you capable." His arms remain around her, holding her against him, and his gaze lowers. His next words are quieter, but not as hesitant. "I expect you would be better than Asher."

Darsce listens, but whether she believes Jethaniel's faith in her ability is well-placed might be another matter. She does not argue and gradually calms within his arms enough to bark a short laugh to his last comment. "Anyone would be better than Asher!" Which may be doing her mother a disfavor, for what young adult ever appreciates what their parents did right? The numbers go up after having their own offspring, of course. For now, Darsce's intent is to be nothing like either of hers. She relaxes, finally drawing enough away to look up into Jethaniel's face. What's done is done and though she didn't pro-actively prepare, she may play flail-catchup. "What…about you?" Not… is he pregnant (though someone with a sense of humor might argue if she is, they both might as well be), but, "Are you uh, ready for…this?" If she is.

Jethaniel smiles gently for Darsce's laughter. "And yet she raised you." His tone is earnest, loving; his arms are close around Darsce. It's clear Jethaniel believes that being Darce is, in fact, a good thing. Whether anyone beyond this room believes that is… an open question, which does not require resolution at this time. Or, potentially, ever; it is irrelevant to the line of reasoning Jethaniel intends to present. Asher's actual skill at parenting is also deemed irrelevant; Jethaniel does not wish to conduct the research required to ascertain whether Darsce is a minor or major improvement over her mother. His arms loosen enough to permit that easing away, though they remain around Darsce. His concern has eased as she's calmed; his mouth is a fairly neutral line, his grey eyes soft as they seek for hers. What of him? There's a twitch of his lips above that neutral line, a wry - apologetic? - smile as he brushes one hand up enough to tease his fingertips against Darsce's hair. "I… have wanted this." His chin lowers, eyes lifting to compensate that they may remain on hers. "Albeit not… like this."

As she's reminded that she's the byproduct of Asher's parental effort, Darsce's eyes flick to one side, unsure, despite his warmth whether that's a point in her favor. While she may well be one of the people who questions her redeeming qualities, if any, she is aware that Jethaniel sees something in her and she appreciates that. His opinion, after all, is the only one that really matters to her, when all is said and done. Her eyes do not remain long averted, but return to his after that brief avoidance and her mouth, tentative at first, curves in a smile that answers his. Not like this, he says and her chin tips up. "Like… how did you want it? Because, I am not hopping on a dragon for a trip between," her voice firm, nevertheless wobbles with the same trepidation that lingers in the depths of darkened blue as she meets grey. There's no going back for her - perhaps that's part of the scary!

Darsce may doubt; Jethaniel will continue to hold her while she does so. She may find whatever clarification of his position she requires in the placement of his arms. The clarification regarding his desires… his mouth shifts, preparing to transition from smile to speech, but then Darsce continues. His brows lift, the widening of his eyes followed immediately by a shake of his head. It's a denial of that as his desire, and following that, lingering in his gaze, there's a certain gratitude that she - for all her panic and flailing, for all her doubts - does not want it. She does not; nor does he, and as for the positive formulation of his desires instead of mere denials… "I wanted you to be ready." Jethaniel's eyes remain earnest on Darsce's, though his voice gets quieter. "I wanted it… to make you happy." Having said that, he does not lower his gaze. It requires an effort to keep his eyes lifted; Jethaniel makes that effort, because he wishes to see Darsce's reaction… whatever it may be.

And Darsce is perfectly fine being held by Jethaniel, with having his fingers run through her hair. Were her mind in a better place, she'd be melting into him and muttering against his mouth how hungry she is, but not for lunch. For now though, she is indeed comforted. As Jethaniel's eyes widen and while his head shakes, she blurts out, "Because it's ours!" Not to argue the thought he might want that, but to clarify why she dosen't. Her nod follows his first reply. He wanted her to be ready; so did she. But happy? Not exactly what he's meant, but he's got her to thinking, so she says slowly and with a thoughtful frown, "That's… not a kid's job. We - Rehsa, Evee and I - couldn't make our parents happy no matter how hard we tried." A breath later she includes her half-siblings, "Hali, Nshen, Marel, Mur'dah and I still can't make D'had happy." Her rueful twist of lips says without words how miserably they've failed with him. "I think I understand what you meant though. I'm not unhappy. Just… scared." It's a step up from sheer panic?

The reason Darsce provides for her retention policy is entirely coherent to her husband, as evinced by how Jethaniel's hold of her tightens for a moment, hugging her against him. Her initial precept regarding the pursuit of happiness receives a slight nod from him, and he listens to the clarifications regarding its prior implementations as his fingers continue to observe the contours of Darsce's hair. "I would not expect a child to do so." As distinct, perhaps, from the prospect of a child… who will be a job for the parents. Jethaniel has often found fascination in his work. "I want you to be happy because…" Jethaniel searches for suitable words, finds them in Darsce's. "It is ours." If it even is, this hypothetical merely pointed to by certain symptoms not otherwise explained, but they are currently speaking under that presumption. "I wish to… share our happiness." Via a distributed system for the transmission of positive mood valences… or at least, with a family. Jethaniel nods to Darsce's lack of unhappiness, his shoulders easing of some tension. He may still hope for her to be happy; knowing that he has not made her unhappy will, however, suffice. As for the other… "There is yet time to prepare." Presuming, that is, the necessity of those preparations - and that more knowledge will reduce Darsce's fear instead of increasing it.

The arms Darsce has around Jethaniel had loosened as she'd relaxed during the course of their conversation, but they respond to Jethaniel's hug, sliding more fully around him and up his back. Pleased with his approval, her expression eases to something less fraught with anxiety and she smiles. There's a quick nod of agreement and she breathes, "Because I know you try so hard to do what I want all the time…" The curve of her lips edges on abashed as she admits, "…I just want you to know I won't expect it of mine." What Jethaniel wants…to know that there's more than just 'whatever you want'! As he speaks of what he wishes she's captivated, lips part slightly, but there's not the slightest attempt to interrupt him. "I will work hard at that," she promises earnestly of sharing a happy home. Under her hands, she can feel the easing of his tense muscles and her body responds in kind as he speaks of preparation. "I've been afraid to start." Confessions abound this afternoon! It explains why she hasn't been pro-active at least, and perhaps in this nature has been kind to them, for she may never have gotten going otherwise. "I should… find out whether I am or not," she observes. "After lunch. Do you want to come with me?" That'll be a start, but heh, she has no idea how they test for pregnancy. Maybe she'll run flailing from the infirmary?

Jethaniel admits to the frequency of his attempts to oblige Darsce with a dip of his head and a faint smile, one that turns more serious again at her clarification regarding their progeny. "I am glad, he says earnestly. As for himself? The smile returns. "I will keep that job for myself." Making Darsce happy, to Jethaniel, does not necessarily mean doing what she wants, though it often does; his desire to please is also satisfied by providing her with unexpected enjoyment instead of merely following her directives when they are presented, and he does have wants of his own, they are merely… infrequently stated. Jethaniel can, however, express those wants (if he permits himself to do so), and make his own choices rather than awaiting Darsce's. Sometimes, he even does; as now, and he smiles for her promise, leans in to brush his lips to her cheek. "We both will." Sometimes his desires are expressed, but not always. There are other times when things are not said - by either of them. "Ah." There's understanding in Jethaniel's tone for her fear to begin, a slight lowering of his head. "I… did not want to ask." Concerning her progress… or perhaps more accurately, if she was making progress instead of merely… delaying. There is, however, nothing like a deadline to focus the mind - whether that deadline is actual or merely potential. Regardless, however, of the utility of the perception of a time limit, this hypothetical should be confirmed and the possibility space… collapsed. He nods to that. Unfortunately, certain amused speculations about the shared nature of this endeavor aside, Jethaniel will not suffice for the physical aspect of a pregnancy test if Darsce flees. Nevertheless, "Yes." He would like to come with her and receive that information as expeditiously as possible. The forestry agreement may continue to wait; he will stay late in the office if necessary.

Darsce chuckles, drawling, "Aaaaaalriiiiiiight, if you must, I suppose I'll suffer through." A feigned sigh of long-suffering follows before she laughs quietly again. At least she's over the initial shock and can do so. Besides, who knows? Maybe it's a false alarm. Will it be enough to spur her to action if it is? That remains to be seen. Oh, she's aware that Jethaniel is capable of expressing his wants, it's just rare that she gets to hear them and so she's pleased, understands him better for having done so. She leans her cheek into that kiss, and breathes a sigh of contentment at his promise. "That's what I want most for them." To have both parents there for them, those future children of theirs, but then, she told him that long ago. As for her research, "You could have asked; I wouldn't have minded telling you." Anyone else would have gotten a flip answer to deflect, but never him. Depending on what the outcome of their infirmary visit is, her research will begin in earnest; hopefully her work will not suffer because of it. But first, lunch - she's ravenous! For… bland starches, not fish. There is…irony here that twice in the span of weeks she's submitting herself to the healers willingly. However, even if the test is positive, all bets are off how much of that she'll be doing for the next nine months!

Jethaniel smiles for Darsce's teasing and laughter, his concerns further allayed by the restoration of that capability. False or otherwise, her alarm is subsiding… at least for the moment. It is capable of doing so, and while it may rise again, it may presumably also be eased. Jethaniel's desires may be infrequently spoken, but Darsce is nevertheless a frequent hearer of them when considered as a proportion of the total set of want-expressions made. He nods for her want, for their children; he has heard it before, but sometimes it is useful to express desires - even known ones. They are reminders and reiterations of beliefs, points of concordance and collaboration. Her research, and the status thereof, he considers. "Perhaps I should have." He's not particularly concerned for it, at present, but it is a thought which may merit further consideration… whether or not the rate of research turns to 'frantic' in response to unfolding events. Now, it's time for lunch… a rather bland meal, but one that will be significantly improved by the presence of Darsce. It will be followed by a visit to the infirmary; whether that will be improved by Darsce's presence is likely to be a matter of some debate.

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