It's an Adjustment

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrling Grounds

Cradled in a cup shaped bite out of the mountain, this wide, grassy flat has become home for Xanadu's weyrling dragons. It's set surprisingly high above the level of the beach, visible from the eastern side of the grounds where a long path snakes its way down the hill to the sand dunes below. All other sides to the grounds are bordered by the hard granite cliffs, two entrances clearly visible. One is merely human sized and leads deep into the mountain, to the Caverns. The other is broad and high, the entrance to the Weyrling Barracks.

Nearly a week has passed since the hatching, and the days and nights are slowly settling into something resembling a routine. Though every weyrling on the grounds looks more haggard than they tended to be in the days preceding the lifechanging event, at least there are several up and about. A group of boys works on butchering, as noisy as they are messy, but M'trin has claimed a bit of space as far from them as he can manage. He's wearing the rougher garb he has adopted in the last 5 days, worn denim and a grey cotton shirt that can withstand splatters of oil or blood or whatever else Volenth manages to throw his way. For now the only danger is oil, and the dark bronze is stretched out with muzzle resting on his forelegs, while M'trin carefully rubs scented oil into the hide across his ribs. The pair seem to be conversing, with the new rider's eyes a bit unfocused and a pretty steady stream of quiet mumbling escaping his lips.

From hatching to now, miah hasn't really seen M'trin, for things have been a tumult of busyness since those eggs cracked. She’d been totally occupied in the post-hatching rush having helped Ocelara during the hatching feast to serve guests and help direct her small charges in refilling drinks, fetching baskets of fresh, hot rolls for the tables and clean silverware - whatever was needed to assure their guests were taken care of. Somewhere in there had been a breathless moment to congratulate M'trin and meet his relatives, before being called to help with some small mishap of spilled dinner on a fancy dress. And although her cottage was offered for their lodging, she had no time to spend in it, much to her regret, so not enough time to get to know them thanks to working late into the night fetching sheets and settling folks in guest rooms. It's been whirlwind week of adjustment for Mishkia. By day getting to know the new harper journeywoman that she's been assigned to work with, learning and her routine and preferences how she is to help with the little ones. By night trying and failing miserably to fill the void left by Matrin - now M'trin - and his new role in life. Finally it is her rest day and she slips though the forest by the now well-known way through trees and brush to watch unobtrusively from the cloak of leaves where she's stood vigil each evening hoping to get a glimpse of a certain harper.

So a week of adjustment to be had by all. And rest assured the Mire Hold woman has played a large part in M'trin's thoughts. At the moment however he is too absorbed in this most mundane task, and the fact that it is Mishkia's rest day or that she might come to visit has not yet occurred to him. Blame it on the way these early days grow and stretch until the minutes last an eternity but the weeks seem to fly by. It is Scarlett who first senses the familiar presence lingering in the trees. She perks up from the spot where she is curled at the base of Volenth's neck, lifting her tiny golden head on her long slender neck for a single beat before her dark bronze perch is mimicking the motion with quick whirling pale green eyes. It makes M'trin pause and he blinks, tipping his head to eye his young lifemate. "What is her? Is who - her?" Blinking, he peers over the line of Volenth's neckridges and his gaze finds that flash of auburn in the midst of green. Just like that, her name is on his lips and he's hastily trying to wipe oil off of his hands and get around his dragon at the same time. His dragon, who is pushing to his feet and impeding M'trin's progress in an effort to get the hiding human first.

A smile of pure enjoyment is curving Miah's lips as she watches the careful ministration to the young bronze, grey eyes flickering only occasionally to where others gambol and frolic out there further away on the grounds. So cute, says the amusement writ upon her features, quite forgetting that perhaps she oughtn't even be here. But the voice, so well-known recalls her gaze to the trio. Whoops! Spotted! And by not only the pair she is familiar with, but by a bronze dragon, who, baby or not, is heading for her! Ack! Mishka, despite all the months of being at the Weyr and the fact that she's seen firsthand how gentle these dragons are, takes a hasty step behind the tree she's standing beside. Not going to run unless there's growling and teeth-snapping, she stays, but peeking out her eyes are wide with both a wary watchfulness and a hungry sort of longing as she watches the man who is bonded to the creature move her way.

M'trin is still swiping at slick and glistening hands as the trio nears Miah's hiding place, and Scarlett flits into the air, whirling around with an excited chittering that can only be the firelizard equivalent of unintelligible introductions. It makes M'trin grin, but the sight of Miah can't hold a candle to the gold's antics, and after a flick of an upward glance he only has eyes for her. That may explain the fact that her sudden hiding makes confusion flash and his brows draw down a bit, but Volenth's rumble as he nears the treeline drags his attention that way. "Oh, Volenth slow down, you're making her nervous." The little bronzeling immediately halts, but it is less to follow the request and more to turn a haughtily denying glance back at the human who's trailing him. He snorts, then slinks forward with exaggerated care, lithe and lean and already nearing grace as he slips up to Miah's side. "He won't hurt you, he's looked forward to seeing you." M'trin shoves his rag in his pocket then hurries the last few steps to snag Miah's hand with a backward glance for hovering weyrlingmasters. "You are a sight for sore eyes. I've missed you."

Despite her caution, that joyous aerial dance of they tiny gold draws Miah's eyes along with a flicker of a smile before she returns her attention to the approaching bronze. The stalking approach might give one who is familiar with watch canines, of which Mire Hold has plenty of, more trepidation than reassurance but coming on the heels of M'trin's 'slow down' the air of rebellion in the overly careful gait tickles her sense of humor and she laughs, a bright note that is hopefully lost across the distance of the grounds to any watching AWLMs who might shoo her off as a distraction. Since the bronze reaches her first, she steps from behind the tree to offer her hand in greeting as is only polite. "Hello Volenth. You certainly have a mind of his own." Her eyes slip admiringly over the form of the dragonling to M'trin as he makes those last few steps and takes her hand. She steps closer with a low-voiced, "And I you!" She closes the space between them in an impulsive move that is as natural as breathing to her and she is about to slip her arms about him when remembrance hits full-force. "Oh, I- " A laugh of chagrin interrupts, "I may not without…" she falters to a stop, tilting a flustered and questioning look at Volenth, unsure how to treat a new rider and having heard snippets of the bonding process in infancy. Does she seek the dragon's permission, the AWLMs… just keep her hands to herself? So clearly unsure.

Scarlett, ever the advance guard, comes swirling down out of the air to perch on a branch just above Miah's head. A flutter of pale wings sends a shower of leaf bits down on the trio below her, and Volenth grumbles audibly when a few stick to his freshly oiled hide. "He does have a mind of his own," M'trin agrees, absently brushing the debris from Volenth's slick hide. "And he says it a pleasure to finally meet someone I think so highly of." The words are delivered with a liberal dose of chagrin, but he seems to feel an obligation to pass on the words just as they are spoken, while Volenth inspects her with a close-hovering head and vast whirling eyes. He takes the slightest step back to allow the girl to rush into his chosen's arms, but watches what comes next with the intense gaze of curiosity. M'trin reaches for her, then falters as well, blue eyes flicking from Miah to Volenth and back. "I… I don't know, to be honest." But he'll keep her hand, rubbing his thumb over the back of it as if he might soak her up from this scant bit of touch. "He seems relatively mature so I think he could handle more but-" he trails off uncertainly as the dragon leans in to sniff at her hair, making M'trin cough out a chuckle. "A private conversation with him might be in order. And yes, her hair does smell good, I told you so." A hint of pink actually rises in his cheeks and he swings their joined hands, shaking his head and looking down. "He just digs through my head and finds things."

She's had leaf bits, bark, twigs and even the occasional avian dropping fall on her while moving through the forests back home, so the Scarlett-caused rain has only a chuckle coming from Miah, who is wise enough not to glance up while things that might otherwise land in her eyes flutter down. Her fingers curl around M'trin's hand and she must find solace in half-lifting it, half ducking to press her cheek against the back of it before straightening to regard the intent attention they're getting from that head looming so near. Unaware that she's been holding her breath until she must use it to speak, she breathes out with renewed respect, "He said… all of that? My how well-spoken he is." Her sidelong look catches the expression on M'trin's face and she notes where his eyes are looking but the whuff of breath in her hair is telling all on its own without her having to look and see what Volenth is doing. Despite his discomfiture, her lips twitch and she can't help but respond with a twinkle, "As long as he doesn't try to taste me, I'm good." And in afterthought she asks, "Does he… pick the ability to use words out of your harper-trained mind or is that all him?"

The press of hand to cheek makes M'trin's breath go out all in a rush and his eyes slip closed for a beat. It's enough to bring Volenth's head swiveling back his way and he's quick to shake his head and reassure the little one. "I'm fine, I'm more than fine." Miah gets his gaze next, sparklingly intent as an echoing grin starts to flirt around his mouth. A reply blooms on his lips and he starts to speak but then snorts and just shoots Volenth a wry look. "Out of my head, you." Clearing his throat with a returning bit of pink he explains wryly, "He implies that he doesn't need to taste you… for himself." Running his hand through his hair and shaking his head he adds, "I think it's mostly coming from my mind at this point. He often uses imagery instead of words at this point, but it seemed like he was gearing up to meet you and use that pleasure to meet you bit."

That move of Volenth's head is enough to have Miah not breathing again while M'trin speaks to reassure him. Her light laughter follows the translation, but then as the meaning sinks in just what picking things from brain could mean for them both - and it's something parents of young tots everywhere must dread dealing with - her cheeks turn dusky enough match the rose-colored tunic she's wearing. She covers it by reaches a hand once more towards the week-old hatchling's hide admiringly, trusting M'trin to translate for her when she flickers him a questioning look for permission to touch. "May I? His coloring is interestingly complex." And while doing so she adds sincerely, "It's nice to meet you too, Volenth. You couldn't have picked a better person to- to be yours." There's not one ounce of jealousy in the catch of her voice over the compliment even though she now stands outside of a relationship she still doesn't quite grasp. "What was it like, the moment he- you- it happened? And did I see him nip your rear end right afterward?"

M'trin is quick to shake his head at the dark of her blush and starts to further clarify then just ends up laughing. "Kissing you, he sees me kissing you." He can't help a rogueish wink though, and gives her hand a little squeeze. Volenth does not give M'trin the chance to answer Miah's question, and perhaps the distraction is a welcome one (as far as the grown ups are concerned) because he takes a little step sideways and leans his shoulder against her hand, then winds his neck around to nudge at her arm, encouraging pets or scritching or whatever she might give him with the further encouragement of a low hum. "Thank you, I happen to think he's pretty spectacular, but I might be biased." Which doesn't stop Volenth from being both pleased and smug, with a flick of his tail. "It was… hard to explain. Someday I will have the time to really describe it in writing I hope, but it was like… my mind expanded and was filled at the same time. I worried that it would be awkward or that we wouldn't mesh well, and there are definitely some growing pains but it has seemed very natural from the start." He pauses to grin and shake his head, adding, "You noticed that did you? I wasn't moving fast enough for him. I never move fast enough for him." Punctuated, of course, by a grunt of agreement on Volenth's part, as the bronze seems to be enjoying putting in his two cents even though Miah doesn't have a dragon to talk to.

Mishkia's grin answers the correction, fingers curling around his hand, returning the squeeze, her attention taken by the abrupt press of shoulder into her hand, the strength pushing her tentative gesture so it is the flat of her palm rather than fingertips that meet bronzen hide. "He's so soft- oh!" Surprise rather than alarm colors her voice at the nudge to her elbow and again her laughter rings out, this time delighted rather than chagrined. "I see what you mean," she murmurs, moving her hand along the contour of the shoulder, fingers exploring the velvety surface before rubbing with a firmer touch. Of impression, "That sounds… painful. Did you have a headache after that? I think I might have." M'trin's elaboration leaves her thoughtful and draws yet more questions, "I'm glad it's not, um, uncomfortable." She’s assuming there. "So obviously you know he's there, in your mind, but do you feel it also? Physically?" The grunt draws a renewed movement from her paused hand, fingers scritching as she's seen other riders do while a curious smile tugs at her lips, "Act first, regret later?"

Volenth grows ever more smug at her compliment, practically wiggling with eyes whirling blue-tinged green. M'trin just snorts and gives the dragon's side a swat. "Don't encourage his arrogance, love. But he gets oiled enough, he darn well better be soft." He takes a moment to ponder the idea of being able to feel him physically, or perhaps it's just some quick and unheard interplay between the boys, but finally he shrugs. "It didn't hurt, or at least I didn't notice him hurting. I am aware of him all the time, at least partially because he's very… intrusive I guess? I think moreso than some. But it's not really a physical sensation unless he's tired or hungry. Then it can make my eyes drift or my stomach rumble, but I'm told we'll all get better at separating that. Uh, a little to the left." The change from his own train of thought to Volenth's is strange enough to him, let alone to her, but the words just fall from his lips as the bronze fidgets around trying to get those scratching fingers to the right spot. "He's not well spoken enough yet, but from what I gather he thinks that I analyze too much. Obviously my idea - whatever idea - is fantastic and that's what we should do. Right now, not in five minutes."

The young woman beside dragon and weyrling listens avidly enough to the answer that her hand pauses. It's with a startled blink that she recalls herself to the task at that directive, hand shifting to her left and nails applied while she gives M'trin a sidelong and slightly eye-widened look of awe. "Did you hear the timbre of your voice just then?" She scritches harder while listening to him elaborate on sharing brainspace with a curious dragon. No doubt not helping with the intrusive inquisitive mind probing his, Miah flickers M'trin a saucy wink, "Maybe I need to find myself some of this oil. It definitely works. And you, no doubt lavish it on him correctly; I may have to borrow you." The nuances of being bonded are staggering to her, but ever the inquisitive scientist, Miah gives in to the impish impulse that's been percolating as they talk. With a swift glance towards the weyrling barracks, which she can't see thanks to Volenth's body, she tries it out, "Oh really? Right now with him is it? Let's see how this works. What do you think about kissing me? Should you or shouldn't you?" Tsk. Pitting his own dragon against him.

M'trin's dark brows go up and he shakes his head, absently leaning his free arm across Volenth's back. Dragon, head-filler, inquisitive intruder, armrest! "I didn't. Did it change? When I was talking for him?" The very idea seems to startle him a bit and he blinks, looking over at Volenth like the dragon might have some thoughts to contribute. Fat chance of that though, as his muzzle is slowly sinking down until he stretches out in the dirt with a pleased grown. "I need to grow my nails out because this feels really good, is all he says," M'trin notes with a snort. Then it's only one quizzical brow arching and the smile that quirks his mouth is definitely flirtatious as he nods. "I could probably get you a pot of it. Though I think it's specially made for dragon hide and might just make you slippery." His own words hit his ears and he clears his throat, shifting so his back is to his dragon as he looks down into those impish grey eyes. "You're going to get me in trouble," he almost purrs, and as for pitting his dragon against him, as Volenth's head hits his forelegs and he chuffs at the dust, adding a deeper rumble to M'trin’s. "He says do this kissing thing already so you can get back to scratching him. How's that for a concerned hatchling, hmm?" But since it doesn't seem like it will bother the little bronze, he drops a hand to the tuck of Miah's waist and gives her a slow but gentle kiss.

"It sounded different," says Mishkia. She, with the quick ear and ability to mimic bird calls accurately doesn't seem able to express just how to describe it until she shrugs a touch uneasily as she comes up with, "Compelling?" How's that for vague? She certainly followed the directive without question! She meanwhile, recovers enough to make her quip and scritch itchy dragon skin at the same time, the comment on oil drawing a low laugh from her. At the same time the bronze sprawls on the ground out from under her fingertips and her movement to crouch beside him in order to continue is checked as M'trin speaks once again. Her expression is a study of contrived innocence as she tilts her face and offers her lips, leans into the kiss, returning it as gently as it is given, savoring the sweetness. That interlude is rudely interrupted by the patter of running human footfalls followed by the heavier gallumping of draconic ones. One eye cracks open to spot Den'l tearing by with a bright blue hatchling hot on his heels. Her sigh as they separate speaks without words how just how much she's missed his kisses but her saucy returns as she points to Volenth. "Tell them you were just doing his bidding?" Because with surely Den'l drawing the eye of the AWLMs, they may just have seen that.

"Compelling," M'trin rolls that word around in his mouth as if testing the flavor of it, then nods. "Sounds about right. Volenth is already quite convincing and I am sure it will only get worse." The kiss is not nearly long enough, and M'trin lets out a sigh as Den’l and his blue come crashing through like a herd of elephants. "Mmm," is his noncommittal agreement with Miah's suggestion, and he watches the young boy gallop past with a trace of annoyance. "I don't think the rules are terribly set in stone anyway, and it clearly didn't bother him." A headtilt takes in the sprawled form of Volenth, who half opens a wing to flap at Miah. More touching and focusing on me please. It's enough to bring M'trin's smirk back as he rolls his eyes, but his smile softens when his gaze comes back to Miah. "He's starting to get hungry so we'll have to head back before too long, but… don't be a stranger ok? Missing you has to be worse for him than kissing you is."

Mishkia leans around M'trin to watch the dragonpair disappear in a cloud of dust. "I cannot imagine what it's like in the barracks with that pair in there," she says with a shake of her head. The wing-flapping draws her glance downward and the bronze needs no words to get her to comply, however reluctant she is to slip her hand from that of his bonded. She sinks down to a couch and applies the fingers of both hands to that spot on his shoulder she'd been previously directed to. She nods for the need for them to go soon, the smile she quirks up at M’trin contains a hint of teasing as she says, "I understand. You are sort of a… a parent now." After all, she's seen plenty of human babies and they all require frequent feedings. "I won't be a stranger," she promises with a slow-growing smile. "Just send Scarlett to get me when you are free and I'll douse my hair and come a-running."

A scowl makes a very brief appearance on M'trin's face but then he shakes his head. "It's not just him. Den’l is actually an ok kid for the most part. It's a barracks full of kids and baby dragons that makes me hide out near the trees sometimes." But the indulgent look he casts down on his dragon - who is now slowly rolling over to encourage her fingers downward, until he's got one wing sprawled on the ground behind him with his eyes closed, says that M'trin is willing to deal with whatever. Even a dragon this sumberged in sensory experiences. "I suppose I am sort of a parent, but luckily they grow up much faster. Though apparently not just yet - Volenth, watch where your talons are going." Without cracking an eyelid he just curls his paws in against his chest and M'trin rolls his eyes. "I will send Scarlett but you don't need to douse your hair every time, silly woman. I was anticipating spending quiet alone time with you in the morning, not just your wet hair." But he's grinning as he holds a hand down to help her up in spite of Volenth's disgruntled rumble. "You are hungry and if we don't feed you, you'll be a beast. Up out of the dirt now, so glad I bathed and oiled you an hour ago."

"I concur. The trees are a perfect spot to hide from the racket." A quiet snicker follows the hair-dousing comment. She knew what he meant. Miah's quickly finding herself comfortable with the bronzling, easily following the hint of canine-like upturned belly, scritching along chest to armpit as the dogs back home would like. Leaning over to reach further, oblivious of where those talons are (um…reaching?), the paws-curling back to his own chest in what appears to her a 'Darnit. Busted!' sort of way at M’trin’s caution does draw her eye and she gives them a bit of a blink. Surely he's not that curious? Oh the look on her face! Priceless. She peeks up at M'trin but no, she's not going to ask. His hand reaches for her and she accepts the assist, easily reaching her full height to smile down at the bronze. "I'll come back," she promises the young dragon before adding in an aside, "It could be worse. Mire Hold muck stains. At least maybe a damp cloth will get the worst of it?" And then she steps back, allowing the pair to go off and do what they need. She'll stand and watch them go before fading back into the woods in the direction of her cottage.

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