Love Hurts

Later the night F'yr told V'ro he loved him...

It's well into the evening when Koth's sudden, distressed presence intrudes into Tejra's business. Maybe later the harper can think back to what it means that the green turns to her in a moment of panic over anyone else, but for right now it's just an overwhelming flash of white, heart in the throat emotion. « He's being stupid, he won't listen to me. » It's probably not meant to be cryptic, and after a moment she shares a sensation that can only be described as a punch to the gut. « Help us? » Please? Koth is waiting in a convenient location, straps suggesting V'ro at least had sense at some point today, but also that the green is going to need to take Tejra to wherever he is.

Maybe Koth, later, before her dragon-length memory fails, will ingrain in V'ro's memory the fact that when Tejra is called, she comes. Not in five minutes. Not when she finishes up. But she literally turns mid-sentence and runs out the door. There are no questions asked, there is no hit of unwillingness or hesitation or anything other than an overwhelming need for the redhead to do what's being asked of her. To help them, if she can. It means she's, in fact, and inconveniently in a full costume, though whether this was before or after she performed and for whom, who can say. The only thing she did was grab some poor rider's jacket as she passed the hooks on the entrance to the outside because she's going to be freezing if they have to between to get to V'ro. If. She'll probably be freezing from the flight, even in summer, but she's running and that makes teal and orange stream behind her, only constrained a little by the black jacket several sizes too big for her willowy frame. The dancing slippers lacing up her legs don't make anything easier, but she does not let it keep her from clamboring up lithely into those straps and buckling in, telling the green to, "Go!" before she's even fully secured (but secured enough that she can manage the rest - she trusts Koth and has flown with her often enough).

At the very least, Tejra's willingness to jump into action so immediately will drastically reinforce the fact that she's Good People to Koth. Not that she's ever had any reason to doubt to doubt the harper. As soon as her passenger has started strapping herself in, Koth is launching herself into the sky, clearing just far enough to safely go between. When they come out the other side, it's over a beach, the lights below coming out of a building that can only be a den of iniquity. Or, you know, close enough. It's definitely a bar. Koth bugles her presence, with all the distressed rage of the helpless lifemate she is, so this is definitely not a stealth mission here. There's some yelling below, though, and once the green has landed as close as she can to the altercation, wings mantling like some sort of threat, a handful of men take off, leaving the last one crumpled and groaning in the sand. That's a drunk and busted up V'ro, there.

This is where Tej reassures everyone who might have been doubting that she knows swears that would make a sailor blush. That's before she's even hit the sand and she's practically a vision - some good spirit or pixie descending upon mortal man; of course, they don't really know of such things on Pern, so the comparison will go as well-appreciated as the fact that she's descending on V'ro proceeding to flick him on the ear. "You idiot!" This is how Tej says she loves you and was worried. But she's quickly and efficiently jerking off the oversized jacket to tuck it under V'ro's head while she descends over him in a cloud of glorious sheer fabric once pristine and surely now bloodied as she begins a quick exploration of the greenrider for obvious injury like, you know, bones JUTTING THROUGH WHERE THEY SHOULDN'T. If he's intact but bloodied, she's going to flick his ear again before she starts to haul him up as best she can, because a dragon will only stay scary to drunk assholes so long.

V'ro is conscious enough to groan at the ethereal creature who comes to his aid— to flick him on the ear? Nothing seems broken, at least, except his skin in a couple of places, and maybe a rib or two, judging by the hissed sob he has when he tries to help with the being hauled up. "I'm sorry, Tej," he murmurs, a little sloppy in his enunciation, but obviously aware enough to realize who's here for him. "I'm fine. I'll be fine. I just… I just want to lay down." Then, like he's not bleeding from his nose and somewhere in his hairline. "You look really pretty."

"I always look pretty," Tej snaps at him. It's a lie: she doesn't always, just like anyone, but she's surely in her own kind of fury over this. If V'ro had wanted to be beaten up, why didn't he just stoke Tej's temper? She probably would've had him covered! "Come on." She'll do her best to get him to where Koth can help. "Koth, can you get us home?" It would serve him right to have his ass dumped in the infirmary, make him deal with the subsequent paperwork and explanations, but- "I have things in my room that can take care of this." She'll take him to the healers if she suspects internal injury, make no mistake.

Koth will make this work, dammit, flattening herself as much as she can into the sand, even wiggling a depression to make herself functionally shorter, swinging her head around to help push V'ro's stupid ass up to where the straps might actually be useful. Pain just means you're still conscious enough to feel it, man! There's a whisper of gratitude once they're settled enough for the green to get them into the air and blinking back home. Except she circles there, like she can't decide whether to take him to their home or land so Tejra can take him to hers. Until the greenrider himself groans, and maybe something said between the two of them has her landing on the ground instead of their weyr.

Tej is along for the ride after a certain point and both V'ro and Koth may be glad that Tejra has spent so much time honing her body to lean muscled lengths that, while not absurdly obvious to the eye are plenty plain when she puts that very functional muscle to work hauling and settling the larger than her man where he won't slip free before Koth gets them landed. She'll even help keep him from falling and busting his head on the way down, but she rather settles him between her thighs and uses Koth's smooth side as a slide to scoot them down to the ground, letting gravity do most of the work. "Now, up, Riddle. No more nonsense. You owe your lifemate more than one apology but one will do for now and then we'll go in." This as she's getting an arm over her shoulders and helping to haul him up onto his feet.

"I'm sorry," murmurs V'ro, to no one and also probably everyone involved. Maybe even himself! Okay, no, not himself. He manages not to completely crumpled to the ground at the end of sliding down the green's side, and Koth warbles, whirling eyes betraying her concern to any onlookers. Fortunately there aren't many just now. "I'm fine," he says again. "It just hurts to breathe." That's all. But totally fine otherwise. "What are you wearing?" He's lucid enough to have fashion sense, evidently, though it's hard to tell which way his sense is leaning just now.

"I'll take care of him, my darling." That's to Koth. "I promise. I'll even make him go to the healers if he needs it." That's pretty deep caring right there. "And then he can make it up to you properly when he can stand up on his own." Don't try, V'ro, Tej is keeping your arm over her shoulder whether you will or nil. "I was at a performance," is the clipped reply from the redhead much more focused on getting him in through the Craft Complex entrance to her room. They will be seen, of course, but not by many, thankfully. "This is one of my costumes." That makes it slightly different than a piece of fashion and should be thusly judged. "Now hush. Just lean into me and we'll make it seem like we're just off for a little tryst and people will look our way less." Although the blood from his head wound probably won't help the illusion.

Xanadu Weyr - Tejra's Room
Tejra's quarters at Xanadu Weyr are in shape and size, unremarkable. A pair of connected bubbled caverns meant to be used as a smaller entry that leads to a wider living space behind, but in this case, the Journeywoman's choice for furniture arrangement is counter to everything the space implies. One is hardly in the door before they are knees to the edge of a full size bed that ill-fits in this small, foyer space where surely no bed was ever meant to be. Across the space tucked in the other corner is a desk and book case, cramped but functional while a narrow walkway between the two spaces leads to the second spacious chamber that is… empty.

Well, no, that's not quite true. This space has generous lighting in tracks around the room in recessed nooks, a switch fitted to the wall at the entry. The only other objects in the room are tools of Tejra's craft. There are thin rush mats folded carefully on a small lofted frame against one wall and a bar running the length of one wall, an obviously new addition. On the opposite wall are a pair of massive armoires, which eat up more space than is truly ideal, but there's little that can be done about that. There are a few worn and faded scarves draped on those pieces of furniture, perhaps to add a little color to the room. Ultimately, it lacks something, having an unfinished feel, despite the few items spread around that would assist her in the upkeep of her craft that assure any visitor that Tejra definitely lives in her unusually arranged space. At least there's plenty of space to dance.

It will get them through the caverns one way or the other to Tej's door which she unlocks and pulls him into, pressing him against the wall next to the door just in side to navigate the very narrow space the door opens into because apparently Tej doesn't want him to just fall into her bed. "Stay here," she tells him as she pulls the door closed with a foot and locks it before hurrying into a flurry of activity that quickly gets a sheet tossed over her bedspread along with a couple of ragged towels before she's back to help get him situated on the bed, sitting up, by preference, at least until she finishes checking his ribs. She'll spare him the questions until after that. "Let's get your shirt off." It begins easy enough, right? Too bad it's followed by, "What on Pern were you thinking? And why weren't you listening to Koth? You know she has more sense than both of us put together." This may not strictly be true, but if Koth overhears and it bolsters her, where's the harm?

Koth watches them disappear, but she trusts Tejra enough to take her V'ro away and tend to him. Otherwise she wouldn't have come to her best friend in the first place instead of just alerting the entire rest of the Weyr that her rider is an idiot. V'ro doesn't make it more complicated than it already has to be to get him into Tejra's room. There's obvious relief when he can settle on her bed, except that she won't just let him curl up and pass out like he really wants. There's enough flinching and hissing that the greenrider might have at least a couple bruised ribs, if not actually broken. But he's had enough to drink that it's still a wonder he's conscious at all, after all this. "Nothing makes sense," is his answer to that, and the waver in his voice makes him sound like he might just start crying. Probably again. "I tried to be right, but I just can't, Red. I can't do it." He looks at her with those glassy eyes as though she knows exactly what he's talking about. But look at that dumb face, it's pretty unlikely that he doesn't have a concussion.

Pale eyes are narrowed at him, lips tight, expression less than sympathetic. Tej knows how to do the tough love thing. But… that's not really what's called for here, so after a moment it melts away and she's settling beside him to wrap him up (carefully) in her arms. "Oh, Riddle." She sighs that, but she'll hold him if he needs to cry, hold him if he doesn't. As unlikely as it seems, the redhead seems to think she understands anyway, judging by the way that she turns her head and kisses his brow. "Here, let me get your cut fixed." Or at least a compress against it. She gets him settled on the bed and then presses that cloth to his head before trying more complicated words. "Right… isn't as easy to be as a lot of people think." She's paying more attention to his cut than to his face, or so it seems, maybe it's because in saying so, she's swallowing hard because she knows that struggle.

Honestly, he probably wants to cry a lot more than his ribs want him to, and alcohol is good for numbing all sorts of feelings for awhile, so it's not an obnoxious about of sobbing, but there are a few shuddering breaths before Tejra is kissing his head and working her magic on his various wounds. "It hurts so much." Clearly the way he says it suggests he's not talking about his current physical ailments. "I didn't think it could hurt this much again." There's a dissociated quality to his voice up to this point, but he sounds much more sober when he says, "I'm sorry I'm such a bad friend."

"Tch," Tejra denies the last in a singular sound that leaves little room for argument. "You're my very best friend, Riddle." It seems she's not about to get into a fight with him over the quality of friend he might be, but she does reach to stroke his cheek, communicating without words that he's in a place where he's cherished. She draws a slow breath and then lets it out before shifting to get a little more comfortable to hold the pressure on his head and put her empty hand over his heart. "Mine hurts. I didn't know it could hurt. I didn't know it was still there, after everything." Maybe she's offering it as distraction, maybe she's just telling V'ro he's not alone, maybe for once she's not looking to poke at the wounds, but she will murmur, "I'm here, Riddle. You can tell me, if you like. I'm not going anywhere." Tonight, anyway.

"He told me he loved me," is barely more than a murmur. That shouldn't make a person sound so upset, though, right? It's been a long day. V'ro is tired, and probably wants to pass out for a few days. "And it's not that I don't believe him. I just… I was stupid to let it get so far. I didn't mean to hurt him. But I don't know how else to fix it." He's probably making a ton of sense here. Fortunately he's all too happy to just exist here with her, though he'll probably feel even more guilty about involving her like this later. "Can I stay here tonight?" Did he have a choice to begin with?

"Oh, my darling." Tej sighs softly and kisses the greenrider's forehead again. She answers things in reverse order because that's probably also easiest. "You're staying here." No, he never had a choice. "Can you hold this while I change?" She asks of the cloth compressed to his head under her strong arm. "Tell me more while I do." At least so far, she's not directly poking holes in his lack of sense (his nonsense?), she's gently urging him to go on, give her more pieces of the puzzle to start to put together.

V'ro lifts a hand to keep holding the compress where she'd been holding it against his head, eyes closing. "We don't have to talk about this, you know. Makes me feel like I'm punishing you for helping me." Which is the farthest thing from what he wants to do right now. "This wasn't, like… really important, was it?" he asks the question with a wave of a hand toward her, and presumably the costume that she's changing out of. He sounds like he wants to apologize again.

"Well, I liked the dress, but I have others." Maybe the blood will come out if she gets it soaking fast enough? That's probably not in her immediate plans. "It takes my mind off things that are impossible." She says it flippantly, but there's too much truth there not to ring as such. She distracts with, "Why would talking about things be a punishment for me? You're the one who has the wound, I'm just the healer." That's funny, so she laughs, the light sound in the cavern as she works herself free of the dress, vanishing into the much larger room beyond. "Besides, if you don't tell me, how can I tell you what you did wrong? Other than not listening to Koth." BFF KOTH. Tej's got your back. It's a joke, and it's not. It's lighter, and it isn't. "Nothing I was doing tonight is as important as this," Tej pokes her head back through the doorway to tell him, one creamy shoulder showing. Really, she's making sure he's still conscious before ducking back around to get something more comfortable on.

"Nobody wants to hear about this crap, do they?" V'ro whines, but without real conviction. He does fall silent, then, but he's conscious when Tejra looks around the doorway, just staring blankly into space, probably thinking about everything he's done wrong, possibly thinking about everything he's ever done wrong. When the redhead reappears, V'ro glances toward her, still looking kind of out of it. "You're right," he tells her, more sober, like he's thinking about a lot of things that he's not saying.

"I'm always right. Except when I'm not," Tejra allows the concession only because this is Riddle as she pads back over to the bed, barefoot now and in an oversized shirt and loose trousers to climb in next to him. "You're going to make faces, but you're dirty and gross and in my bed, so I'm about to take your clothes off. Why don't you talk to me about anything else while we work on that?" To distract them both, she probably means. In a disturbingly no-nonsense way she might've learned from the Harpers that teach the unruly, she's coming for his clothes. "I've got some things that ought to fit you." Even if they're not really his cut or style, though fairly, her dress right now is not that feminine, just comfortable, with a tie to tighten the waist. He could probably pull off something similar without much fuss. "If you keep letting things rattle around in your head like that, you'll go crazy you know." She adds. She starts with his boots before moving to his socks and trousers because that's easier than dealing with his damaged ribs. "I could trade you secret for secret, but I think we both know that you want to tell me, but you're afraid I'll just tell you that the things you are saying to you are real and not wrong." She makes a, "Tch," before casting a pale glance up to his face, "You should trust me more than that, Riddle, my darling."

"You don't think I'm already crazy?" V'ro seems a little doubtful that this can possibly be the case. They've known each other long enough now that it's pretty obvious. "I just… I don't know," he begins, helping Tejra help him get out of those clothes. Fortunately modesty has never been one of his virtues, even before he came to the Weyr. "He loves everyone. I don't mean just, like— I mean, he's a good guy. A great guy. But he connects with people, and gives them all a piece of himself." V'ro looks kind of demoralized even while he's talking about how great the man he loves is. "I've been trying so hard to let him be who he is. Sometimes it's fine, you know? I can pretend it's just us. But every time I'm reminded that it's not, it breaks my heart that it's just never gonna be that way." He draws in a shaky breath, going through whatever motions Tejra needs to get him in whatever she picks out. "I don't want to hurt him, but maybe it will be okay if it's just this one more break."

"Koth chose you. Dragons don't take the crazy. And if you expect me to believe you've gone crazy since she chose, you then maybe you are." Tej will even give him a faux look of dubiousness in exchange. EVERYONE KNOWS KOTH IS AMAZING. Red brows dip and then climb as the man she's denuding speaks. "How many pieces of him did you want for yourself?" Then, perhaps more suspiciously TRAP!!, "How many pieced of yourself were you trying to give him in exchange?" Was it a good deal, V'ro? Maybe the quintessential problem continues to be that F'yr has no idea how to make a good deal. She finishes tying him into the sinfully soft clothes made that way but age and adoration. "Is it ever okay to hurt the ones we love?" This seems to be a real question, but it comes with a sigh and an unknowing shrug as she goes to fetch a cloth from the wash basin which she fills. It will be room temperature, but at least she can deal with the worst of the blood, carefully. "Are you done with him then? Your heart will just let you give him up just like that because there are parts of him that drive you crazy?" Maybe V'ro will be too out of it to realize that's poorly tempered envy in Tej's voice for the idea.

"I want… wanted all of him," says V'ro, but something that Tejra says after that has him batting her attention away with the clean up, and he shifts to lay down, turned away from the harper. "Never mind. I knew you wouldn't understand. I'm sorry we ruined your thing." Performance, dress, whatever.

"Oh, no, you don't." Did he really think Tej would let him get away with that? He's wounded, she's not, ergo she wins the manhandling of the greenrider to force him back to his back and sits on him, looking distinctly annoyed. "I want all of him." The words take a moment to make it past the look of disgust. It's not got him, but for herself. And her hands come up to briefly cover her slightly blush-tinged face. "But I don't want to give up everything I have and am to have him. Except when I do." That surely clears everything up. "So don't you tell me I wouldn't understand, Riddle." She looks like she wants to punch him, for good measure, but it's a testament to their friendship that she doesn't. Since he's hurting.

V'ro is looking annoyed now, too, the ungrateful little bastard. But he doesn't go trying to throw her off of him. "Unless he's out there trying to have what you have together with everyone else he knows, you don't understand, Tej." Her actual name. Well, sort of. "I would give him everything," so much as a dragonrider can give another person, anyway. "But I'm not enough. So don't try to tell me I'm giving up, just like fucking that."

"It was a question, you empty-headed git!" Apparently, the wheel has turned from gentility to tough love here. "Just because you're giving yourself a hard time about giving him up not giving him up, don't put your idiotic words in my mouth. If you could give him up, then I'd be glad for you, you lovesick ass. Faranth only knows how helpless I am." She's only not swatting at him if he's not trying to throw her off. Tej knows not to bring choke holds to a word fight but. Then the flare of temper shifts and she glares at him, "Why are you trying to push away everyone that loves you? Koth? Me? Him? Are you so bent on the stupid idea that you're not enough and not lovable as you are that you won't even accept that some of us do?" She'll get off him now, but only because if she doesn't, she probably will hit him. "If you try to leave in your state, I'm going to tie you to the bedposts and you will not. enjoy. it." She lets all the seething, roiling emotions make it into that threat that makes her actually sound gruff.

V'ro is more than capable of just laying there and taking that tough love, closing his eyes, body limp with easy defeat. Because he is giving up right now, at least. "I'm not trying to push you away. And I couldn't push Koth away even if I wanted to." Which he doesn't. "Can we not talk about this? I just want to sleep. You don't have to stay here and babysit me. I promise I won't leave until you come back." Koth would tattle, anyway.

Tej makes a frustrated noise through her nose, but then huffs out a sigh. "Fine. We don't have to talk about it, but you will hear me when I say I love you, Riddle. And if you go on just hurting yourself then I'm going to start hurting you instead." This may not make any sense. It may be threat, it may be promise but Tej does not say such words lightly. It's why when she slides off her perch and leans down to kiss his cheek in a very sisterly peck she adds, "People like us need to stick together." The broken. "So stop forgetting I'm on your side." Then she's up and moving. "And I'm staying. You can't kick me out of my own room." She knows that wasn't what he was saying, and she reaches up to flick his ear. It's affectionate, really. "Get some rest. I'm going to bother you again soon to make sure you're still with me." Not that Koth wouldn't let her know, but apparently Tej knows about concussions.

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