Breaking the Storm

Xanadu Weyr - Observation Level
Dark blue seats form a semi-circle around the sands below, the lowest row separated from the multicolored red and white sands by merely a railing. The seats climb upwards, each row a bit higher than the previous, and they are broken up into sections by three sets of staircases. Between the first and second section, a glass wall descends to separate the observers from the heat of the sands. Air is kept in motion through a set of fans, and so these seats are quieter and cooler than the rest… though the noise and heat of the sands is still present.

Lights are evenly spaced along the outer wall, lighting the seats and the sands easily, though they tend to be dimmed unless a major event is taking place. A large balcony overhead connects to the glass wall. Vents for cooling run along the bottom of it, and the ledge provides a place for observers of the draconic kind to watch without obstructing the view for others.

The sand below is variegated in hue, individual grains of red and white that have a pinkish hue when seen from across the circle of the hatching grounds but - up close over that railing - are clearly two varieties mingled.

It's been nearly a seven since Inasyth wasn't wrong about having eggs. Nearly a seven of a reversion to a time in F'yr's life that he hoped was long gone and over FOREVER, a time when Glorioth could not be left alone while conscious. It's meant long stretches of wakefulness followed by periods of rest, but none nearly enough. Baby Glori: REDUX. It explains why F'yr's eyes are a little closed as he slumps in a seat in the section of the balcony normally reserved for those with fancy knots. The area has been set up with heat-resistant snacks and drinks and decorations at hostess-with-the-mostest Inasyth's insistence. Right now, it's also the place F'yr is keeping his vigil. Inasyth may be sleeping in truth, but Glorioth is prowling the sands. He's probably telling the NOBLE STORIES of HONOROUS GLORY AND GLORIOUS HONOR to the eggs, but he probably learned pretty quickly that waking up Inasyth typically resulted in a forced insistent snuggle, so he's quieter about it now. There's a drink in F'yr's hand and the man's shirt has been removed and tucked between his head and the warm seatback. Nothing like a little booze to take the edge off of baking to death.

Clutchings are always exciting times! Great for the morale and even more so when other events proved to be… far more explosive. Literally! Eggs on the sands mean visitors too and that may not be the whole reason for one greenrider to be present among the observation levels. Ru'ien moves as quietly as one can among the rows, casting a lingering glance on Glorioth as the bronze prowls around the sands. Hopefully he’ll be inconspicuous enough not to bring THAT much attention? Does he get a free pass because he belongs to Kihatsuth? At least it won’t take Ru’ien long either to find the other reason (and the real one, sorry Glorioth and Inasyth your eggs ARE lovely truly!) he’s come here. Lucky for him, it isn’t too difficult to navigate towards that reserved section of the balcony. He’s not one of the big knots, not by a long shot and while he doesn’t go crashing right into that space, he does settle on the edge of it — or thinks about it. First he makes sure to scuff one boot as he steps closer; a subtle way of announcing his approach. Second is —to be completely distracted by shirtlessness— to smile broadly, but with a hint of a question even before he speaks, even before he quirks a brow. All this, should he have gained F’yr’s attention by then. Even so, he does at least speak at some point (with a slight clearing of his throat). “Hey,” he greets, keeping his voice pitched to lower levels less even TOO MUCH SOUND brings Glorioth this way. “Mind some company?” His company.

The most likely time to be allowed into the observation level is when Glorioth is sleeping. He's more than a bit much with this whole protective parent thing, so the gawkers are few, even now, creating the sense of privacy, even if the space is not really that. They're few enough that whirling eyes are on Ru'ien from the moment he enters the observation level. HE SEES YOU, LIFEMATE OF POSSIBLY TRAITOROUS SHIFTY-EYED SISTER (he hasn't seen her today, so maybe she's not, who can say). But at least the greenrider's entrance doesn't seem to prompt an instant interrogation. If anything, he's suddenly more aware of the eggs, and okay, yeah, sure, their mother, but the eggs are out here now, so— listen, back to the possible egg heist Kihatsuth might be planning. That's a safer topic than Glorioth's consistently self-obsessed character. (Are we all clear that the reason he cares about the eggs is because they are currently part of him and proof of his virility and VALOR? Good. No one would want anyone thinking Glori cares about //progeny anymore than he cares about mates.) Part of the reason Ru'ien isn't pounced upon (possibly literally) is because blue eyes have slitted a little farther open to track the greenrider in his direction. It means it's not really a surprise when the man is stopping with his polite scuff of warning. Eyes open properly in spite of the yawn that seems to come right along with them. "Please," F'yr invites with a lazy sweep of his arm encompassing the area and the refreshments. "If Inasyth hears you were here and weren't extended every courtesy, I won't hear the end of it." His voice drops lower so he can add in a clandestine stage whisper, eyes flaring wide, "And I can't leave." SAVE HIM! BLINK TWICE FOR BEING HELD HOSTAGE, F'YR! "At least there's booze." And he's got some, he is reminded by this, to shift enough to tip his cup into his mouth. He's not drunk, but probably comfortably sense-dulled, if not numbed because that wouldn't help his cause of babysitting the big beast out on the sands. "Help yourself," he adds in case it wasn't clear that Ru'ien should feel free to get drinks, snacks, or probably a seat.

Is this some terrible version of the game ‘red light, green light’? Because Ru’ien forgot the rules to play~ THANKFULLY, he’s given leeway to (tress)pass without incident (and so much relief)! If anyone would be a readied sponge to absorb the TALES OF GLORIOTH it would be Kihatsuth — she would listen and silently mocking but never has she truly been overly ruffled by her larger bronze-brother. In fact, she’s probably nearby somewhere OUTSIDE, after vehemently protesting why she couldn’t pay homage to the clutch and fawn over Inasyth’s power and Glorioth’s success. Ru’ien spent TIME convincing her to behave, okay? Everyone’s welcome. There won’t be chaos descending on their heads on the whims of one green’s tastes for it! —so maybe Glorioth isn’t entirely wrong—

“Well, in that case,” Ru’ien’s reply is marred by the low chuckling laugh he’s trying to suppress. SORRY NOT SORRY, F’yr — though clearly, he’s got the bronzerider’s back by agreeing to take part in the refreshments! “I will. I’d hate to disappoint Inasyth, anyways, if she went through all this trouble.” By extension, he’s probably suggesting Rhody in this (and F’yr, and whoever else). Listen, he doesn’t envy any of this, okay? at least he can leave “And take the pressure off of you.” What little help that’ll be! There’s a crooked smirk given at the mention of booze, followed by a pointed look — is he drunk? No? Good. Why would it matter? Making good on his word, Ru’ien will move to where the refreshments are and promptly help himself to his tastes: obviously, he’s hitting up some of that booze but he takes some of the food too. Snack stuff, which he’s already nibbling on a little before he’s taken a seat again beside F’yr. He might not have eaten anything yet but — shh. It may also afford him a moment to stall get comfortable and settled in before diving right into some form of conversation. “How’re you holding up?” Too much to ask? Or just too obvious? Either way, Ru’ien puts it forwards quietly, with a small gesture-tilt of his head to the sands and a certain prowling bronze.

F'yr watches the greenrider go, watches him come back, will probably have to be able to give a credible report to a gold upon her waking, or when he and Rhody are desperate for a new distraction. He's shifting a little higher in his chair and even being polite by pulling his shirt on over his head (for now, but can anyone blame him? The hatching sands in summer? Eesh). His drink is set aide, cup now empty and he shifts a little in his seat, looking at the man beside him. He doesn't rush Ru'ien to speech, even as he watches him stall get comfortable and even as he selects that starter question. It is perhaps fortunate and unfortunate that F'yr was once a farmer, that he learned in certain situations it's simply better to take the bull by the horns.

The thing is, blue eyes are studying that face, the one that has been too absent from his life, except in casual, if increasingly okay with it passing. Because this is one of the faces that mattered when the Council Chamber exploded. Rather than answer the question, whose answer really is writ all over him if not in words: exhausted, on edge, more than a little stir crazy. "It's not that it doesn't matter, Ruin." This is not the topic the greenrider started, but it's the one that would eventually have come. "It matters a lot." There's even the sound of old wounds there in his voice that is not without the shading of those feelings of hurt that still exist. "It just doesn't matter most." F'yr's eyes close and he lets out a sigh, swaying very slightly toward Ru'ien in what's probably a truncated but oh-so-familiar gesture of forehead-to-forehead togetherness. He doesn't make it all the way there before he opens his eyes and looks at the older man. Ru's turn.

Listen, there will be no judgement from Ru’ien on whether or not F’yr keeps his shirt on in the heat here. He, however, is used to this sort of oppressive heat and doesn’t seem troubled by it — so there’s no risk of him shedding his shirt. How he handles that and the amount of hair he has (it’s much longer now, though he’s got most of it gathered up and tied behind his head) and not overheat? Anyone’s guess. F’yr has the advantage here, with experience of ’taking the bull by the horns’ and it’s difficult to say what experiences Ru’ien has gone through (probably not the best examples).

His expression begins to falter under the studious look, minor fractures as his own blue eyed gaze takes on a questioning shift. Brows knit faintly, while confusion is but a fleeting half second before words begin to sink in. At the sound of old wounds in F’yr’s voice, resonating in not-healed ones of his own, any ‘mask’ he wore cracks and falls away. Those brows lift slightly, eyes subtly widening as his features go slack — vulnerable, but genuine. This is Ruin he speaks to and not some defensive persona-shield or even faux-emotional play. It’s not the topic he started and he might not have been wholly prepared for it but he doesn’t withdraw. Because it is important and F’yr is the most important in all of this. Despite all that has happened, all the emotions wrapped in, his feelings towards the bronzerider haven’t changed. That much might be obvious when F’yr sighs and Ru’ien’s features soften to something akin to lurking sadness and regret.

It’s hard to miss that oh-so-familiar gesture and he locks his gaze with F’yr’s. Holds it, despite the slight burn on his end — could he be forgiven for a moment of weakness, in the way his eyes go over bright? He at least has control of himself, and it’ll take him another breath, another moment to set his jaw and manage a vague smile; a shaky one, but true. “I know how much it matters, Fear.” He finally speaks, voice low and not without some thickness to it from speaking with a throat suddenly too-tight. With each second, each breath, it lessens but it’s not easier by any stretch. He’s not asking him to believe his answer either but there is truth there too.

“And it’s not that it doesn’t matter to me, either…” Because it does, obviously. Ru’ien starts and he will lean forwards just that much more, to echo the familiar gesture but not broach further than he already has just then. He wants to, more than anything and it’s written in his posture. “You—” Another beat, for a steadying breath. “You are still so important to me.” Ru’ien doesn’t rush the words, each spoken low and hushed but firmly. “That hasn’t changed.” Lower still, but it carries no expectation with it. He’s not asking much of F’yr and now that that has been said, he’ll lean in just enough to touch his forehead to his — maybe lightly, perhaps not at all, if the gesture is refused.

F'yr will allow it, will meet it, even, that gesture, because some part of him needs it. But not for long. There's still much too much that keeps it from being sustained, from turning into an embrace or other once-familiar closer comforts. It can't. Not yet. But candor, a lack of maks, that makes it easier to cut through the things that aren't at the core of what must be dealt with between them. As he leans back though, he lifts a hand, cups one of Ru'ien's cheeks. His own eyes might be looking like they might be putting in a bid for salty liquid even when his body's already working on that pretty consistently, given the cavern and the never-ending heat.

He'll hold the greenrider's face, looking at him. "I didn't want to speak with my fists." Beat. "Again." Nevermind that in a fair fight, he probably would not have landed that kind of punch so easily. He takes a slow breath, a steadying breath. "You could have told me. You should have told me. You knew we didn't have labels or strings. But I hurt someone." He has to live with that, and for a man like F'yr, that is far from easy. He grimaces and his hand seeks to drop away. "Why didn't you?" He's not asking Ru'ien to excuse himself, but he's finally ready to find the explanation to the thing he hasn't been able to work out on his own in all these months of separation and relative silence.

There is no disappointment for the briefness of that gesture — a part of Ru’ien understands why it must be, even if a larger part grieves for the chance for it to become more. Not now, not yet and he respects that, as much as it stings. He was not expecting the touch to his cheek (was it the one punched, even?) and before he’s fully aware, he has tilted gently to those fingers — eyes briefly close, he swallows hard, but he asks nothing more. His gaze will lift at F’yr’s words, holding steady to his and a vague, weak-shaky smile flickering at the mention of ‘speaking with fists’. Once was enough, thank you! But he’s not cracking a joke about it, rather showing the remorse that it ever came to be.

Ru’ien doesn’t voice that he knows what he could have done, should have done and that, worst of all, F’yr ended up hurting someone because of it. Instead, it surfaces in his open expression, no mask in place to hide the myriad of emotions — deep sadness, regret, remorse, and others all tangled into that mess that is him. His gaze won’t turn away entirely by his own volition, but rather in an effort to hold it together, because it’s not about him (or those threatening tears).

Excuses won’t work and he’s not about to start making them. Would apologies? Maybe, but Ru’ien’s remain unspoken along with the rest — because ‘sorry’ doesn’t “fix” much of anything. Nothing will undo what was done and he knows — it’s a part of why it hurts and he’s not going to beg for forgiveness. Then the hardest question is put forth and it’s his turn to take a steadying breath, a slower exhale. What follows isn’t a stream of rambled words or even half-baked truths but just the truth — straight cut (a little blunt) and genuine. “I didn’t realize how deep I was getting in,” he explains, his voice low and tight, looking at F’yr. “Until it all went wrong.” His gaze lingers until it cannot and he has to turn away — not because he cannot face the truth and more because he is trying to steady himself. The struggle is obvious enough, from the tense line of his jaw, his throat working and mouth pressed thin and tight.

Though F'yr may miss some of the subtleties in Ru'ien's looks, between the shaky smile and all the rest, he does not miss the looks themselves. It prompts the stroke of the greenrider's cheek with one thumb. And then the words… something in F'yr's tense frame eases infinitesimally. The explanation does not make it OKAY. It is, however, something real, something true, and there's value in that.

More than that, it's something the bronzerider's expression betrays a touch of empathy for, though no immediate explanation is forthcoming. When Ru'ien needs to turn away, F'yr's hand drops away, but it finds some part of the greenrider to touch. A hand, by preference, but failing that, an elbow or forearm, even a bicep will do. It's not much, but it is a physical connection to the pieces of what was that still are. Will they ever be as close? As physically intimate? Time is the only thing that can tell that. What is still there is the foundation under everything else. It needs tending and care, but obviously that is not lost, not completely.

"Okay." It comes after a breath, a slow one. Just 'okay.' This would seem to indicate that they don't need to revisit this, the explanations on each part - why F'yr stayed away, why Ru'ien didn't speak. That's done, for F'yr. Still, he's taking a moment to breathe. It might be up to Ru'ien to say something more while the bronzerider's gaze is wandering out to the eggs and he processes, or maybe they'll just process for a moment in silence.

That explanation wasn’t meant to make it okay, because Ru’ien is no fool (at least in this matter) — he knows it won’t make it okay. Nothing ever would and he’s not about to try to even remotely pretend that it can be forgotten. This isn’t a plea for forgiveness, but something else, something necessary for both of them.

He wasn’t setting out for sympathy either or pity, but empathy? Ru’ien is a touch startled by that and it may add to why he has to turn away when he does. As F’yr’s hand drops away, it will find his and the bronzerider will feel the minor twitch and jump under the touch — but Ru’ien doesn’t withdraw his hand. Instead, he relaxes his hand a fraction, tentatively brushing back. Testing reception before he makes a slow attempt to fold his hand in F’yr’s, grip firm. A physical connection that means so much to Ru’ien in that moment, even if it pales in comparison to what once was — it’s something, it’s enough for now, to know that the foundation is intact. Time will tell and show what can rebuild from it, but the greenrider takes a small, tiny shred of comfort that not all is lost.

Okay. One word, but that too is enough for now. It doesn’t say much and tells him everything for that moment. Ru’ien won’t press further and he is no more willing to revisit all of it. He would, if asked, but not here — he would certainly break and already being this vulnerable in a space as open as this one is pushing his limits. He is exhausting all his ‘strength’ not to fall apart, because for his own reasoning, that isn’t needed right now. For that reason, he is quiet in that moment of silence, taking that time to process as well and to get a grip on the chaos in his own head. How long do they sit like this? It could be any amount of minutes, but Ru’ien does not seem inclined to rush, leaving it all to progress as it should.

Fingers interlace after a heartbeat's delay. This is how much they still are, will always be entwined. There is more shared in silence than simple silence. Each has their own thoughts, but through the connection of that hand, neither has to be alone with them. F'yr's eyes drift to his lifemate and there they linger in that extended silence. Finally, he speaks. "C'mon." Slipping his hand out of Ru'ien's and rising in one smooth movement, F'yr heads for the exit, not looking back. "We need to go somewhere." He trusts his friend will follow.

The 'somewhere' is a Fear and Ruin signature space, which is to say, a dark nook. Well, a shady one, anyway, outside of the Hatching Arena, where the summer air is markedly cooler than the heat designed to bake eggs to perfection. F'yr hooks Ru'ien's wrist and pulls him into the unobtrusive place of greater privacy, and then… Then the greenrider is in F'yr's arms, and the embrace is everything. It's tight and it's real and it's just everything that matters for the moments (minutes) that it goes on.

Silence often has more to it than the simplicity glimpsed on the surface. That contact, that touch of hands and interlaced fingers, becomes an anchor for Ru’ien — and a reminder, too. No, they are not alone. His gaze had found some distant point to focus on, but it turns slowly to F’yr when he speaks and briefly to where their hands slip apart. Brows knit slightly, puzzled, but rather than linger and stall in questions, Ru’ien will push to his feet and that trust in his friend will have him following.

Oh, in another time, another situation entirely, Ru’ien would’ve laughed and teased as that dark, shadowy nook comes into view. Some part of the irony (if that is what it is) isn’t lost and there is a very brief, shaky look of bemusement on his features — it just can’t be helped. He’s not entirely himself and is, just unmasked. He is about to speak, but the words halt unspoken as F’yr hooks his wrist and pulls him into that private space and into his arms; words lost instead into a grunt and choked, breathless exhale. That embrace IS everything and real and Ru’ien is rigid, tense, in those first few heartbeats. Whatever he meant to say, morphs instead to something incoherent, a throatier and low sound — emotional, raw and all of it surfaces with it. F’yr will feel the way his breath catches, his frame trembles, the slow, gradual sensation of his arms wrapping around to return that embrace as tension ebbs away…

… and he falls apart. It’s a quiet storm, no high dramatics but maybe something worse in comparison as it rolls in waves that leave a surreal lightheadedness and exhaustion in its wake. It will pass, quicker (like any storm) perhaps than expected, and at some point Ru’ien may have rested his head over F’yr’s shoulder or against it, if that embrace ever tightened further. At some point, his hands may have curled against the fabric of his shirt, gripping firm, but they smooth out now. Slow, gradually, he leans out from that closeness and those very hands wipe and press the heels of palms under his eyes in an effort to stave back the lingering tears. No words, but he’s getting there — it’s at least visible in the way he meets F’yr’s gaze, offers a subtle smile. It’s an ‘I’ll be okay’ mixed with an apology and thanks, mixed with the remnants of that emotional storm. Mixed with something more — appreciation, maybe? or something deeper — for what F’yr has given, when the bronzerider could have easily as withheld this, to which Ru’ien did not feel entitled to.

The space of the months that have separated two parts of this whole is not nearly enough to erase the intimacy of the connection. Ruin may have been doing a passable job of passing off lingering storm clouds as just a grey day now and again to other people, but Fear sees him, has always seen him, may always see him with unnerving clarity. Like a desert dweller able to prepare for a sandstorm by the faintest smell on the breeze, F'yr might have spotted this storm's breaking before Ru himself knew it was going to need to come.

Worse than high dramatics it might be, but this is F'yr. This is the man whose world was torn asunder and only one man stood anchor for in that moment. This is, among other things, the bronzerider's chance to pay it forward. The gift Ila'den (DID I STUTTER?! YES, THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE CACTUS HIMSELF) gave F'yr the day his world went to ashes can never be fully repaid, but paying it forward by being anchor amid the chaos that rocks the soul for another is a small start on that karmic debt. There is no judgment of the wounds that warrant such a storm; what is one mortal wound compared to another? Does it matter that one was to the neck and the other to the heart? The result without a stabilizing force to counter the bleed out is the same.

This anchor is familiar, steady. Though his absence has been felt too much to now be called constant, he can claim the other two attributes. He still smells of dragon oil and F'yr sweat. He is not unchanged in his absence, but he is still very much F'yr. As such, when Ru'ien puts distance between them, this is allowed, but F'yr's hand comes up to help brush away the tears. No apologies are necessary nor are accepted, even silently, but the wry return look appreciates the very Ru-ness of the attempt, to try to slip one by unsaid. (HE SEES YOU, RUIN.) In this way, these friends are a reflection of one another, both feeling unworthy of the acts of care performed for them by those who care (yes, Ila, he sees YOU TOO. Every gratitude to that Cactus of a Man. Every. Single. One).

It could be for that reason alone that Ru’ien doesn’t even try to keep fighting, the moment they’re pulled into that nook. How could he, when Fear knows him, still sees him, to such depths as no other? That he breaks so completely and cleanly speaks enough volumes of just how much trust and intimacy remain — that never wavered, truly, despite the time separated.

(BEHOLD THE GIFTS OF THE CACTUS!) Perhaps it’s not unlike a form of grief, but it certainly is a deep hurt, an ache not so easily soothed even now after that wound has lanced. This moment, those tears, will not undo what was done and Ru’ien has no such expectations — but that F’yr stood as anchor for him does not go wholly unnoticed. It may not be remarked on or even discussed now (or later), but he will not forget it. Familiarity helps and he will cling to that much too, let it guide to firmer ground; so much changed and unchanged. The distance now is nothing compared to before and while Ru’ien voices a hushed sound to F’yr brushing away those lingering tears — he doesn’t stop him. Another vague implied smile for the wry look, caught but not apologetic this time for the attempt; it couldn’t be helped, really and it wouldn’t be him to not try.

How uncanny is that reflection? Ru’ien doesn’t shy away from this one, at least, like he does his own. As for those acts of care, he’s only truly allowed one in to do so — something he figures F’yr has seen too and understands. That in a Weyr that is technically full of his blooded family, it’s the bronzerider with him now that he’s closer to. Why and how could be explored another time or never, as in this present time all that is of importance to the greenrider is everything that is them. It takes another span of minutes, a few more breaths that steady and even out before Ru’ien can speak. When he does, his voice is still thick, edged with hoarseness but not heavy with that effort of control. “… I’ll be okay.” It’s not a promise or a guarantee, just the truth that he’s still having a moment but it’ll be as ‘okay’ as it can be. It could be another ‘thank you’ too, or reassurance for F’yr (if that is even needed). What more could be said? Should be said? Softer, with one hand pressed to his face and an obvious sidelong drift of his eyes towards the direction where the Sands would be, before they track back to meet F’yr’s. “Do you need to get back?” The intention is not to hurry this along at all and born from Ru’ien’s thoughts that he’s perhaps asked enough from his friend for now. If they have time, even if it’s the start of a ‘farewell’, he will say a little more.

F'yr knows, surely, that just as he sees, he, too, is seen. But sometimes, that big dumb herdbeast brain of his makes his expression nigh unreadable because it's simply patiently waiting. In this case, it's for Ru'ien to speak, maybe it's even waiting to find out what the greenrider is going to say when the storm is passed. It's not for him to speak first, but the rumble of his voice does sound after his friend has spoken… but not before hands move and curl around Ru'ien's jaw to draw them forehead to forehead. "You'll be okay." He repeats it, even if Ru doesn't need to hear it. "I'll be okay." At least in this context, and perhaps most meaningfully, "We'll be okay." He's not quite ready to get back to those hot sands yet; they're not the most important thing this moment. "Figure it out together, Ruin. Yeah?" It's an offer, a plan, a vague promise, but a promise of some kind nonetheless. If there's agreement, then there's a brusque brush of lips to forehead in a kiss that has less to do with the fact that they were lovers and more to do with the fact that they're still family.

Ru’ien’s features slip into a gentled expression when F’yr’s hands curl around his jaw and it’s with a shaky sigh that he leans into the gesture — forehead to forehead. In the seconds that span there, he will closes his eyes, swallow thickly but find further steady ground on which to calm and centre himself. “Mhm,” he acknowledges quietly on F’yr being okay in this context, but he echoes back the last. “We’ll be okay.” Ru’ien isn’t ready to leave either, but he does not take back that he checked to be sure lines weren’t being crossed too soon or too much pushed too fast. When has he ever been so cautious? “Yeah,” he replies without hesitation, only pausing to steady his voice and offer another small, tempered and genuine smile.

The brush of his lips to his forehead will have him reaching to lightly embrace F’yr again — fleeting, but no less of a gesture. “Yeah, I’d like — I want to, Fear.” He’s tired of being “alone” and while he’s hardly been without company of some sort or killing much of his night hours socializing, nothing came close to filling the gap left by the loss of his closest friend. Kihatsuth obviously has his heart and he is never alone in that sense there's only so much to be confided even to his lifemate (can he be blamed? Kihatsuth is a consistent fifty-fifty for genuine answers). “I’ve missed you.” The words come unbidden, on a quiet whisper but with nothing attached to the confession — it is just what it is, a shred of truth but he expects nothing in turn. It could be too much or too little, but Ru’ien doesn’t take it back.

There's enough movement of F'yr's head to imply a nod even if there's not enough distance for there to actually be one. His frame is more relaxed in the moment of the second embrace. The words that come unbidden to Ruin, do not follow from F'yr, but it doesn't make it any less true for the bronzerider. That's what the stroke of his thumb against the greenrider's cheek says. He knows, he feels the same. But F'yr has always been a man of fewer words than his friend, so the feeling in action will have to serve. "I should go back." For the good of the realm watchers. "Come hang out when you've time." Briefly, his voice colors with exaggerated (but not wholly false) longing, "Tell me of the word where the heat doesn't curl your nostril hairs. Where there's more concerns than whether or not your dragon is going to corner another unsuspecting person for daring to look at his eggs." He pinches his eyes shut, because that's happened.

Then he smiles, small but genuine. "And remind me to tell you about how he forced another firelizard on me." YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD GET AWAY WITH THIS, DIDN'T YOU, F'YRSOMELY MISTAKEN ONE. SPEAK, AND SHE COMES. EVERYWHERRRRREEEEEEE. Bursting in from between much too close for comfort given that the kiss of cold touches the tall men's faces and nearly the brush of wing spars as a fire-brushed gold SCREECHES into existence between them only to beat her wings up and up and GONE again. It takes a moment for the bronzerider's heart to start again, of course, and the look on his face - stricken, horrified, resigned, genuinely still disbelieving this is even his life, it's really hilarious. Especially since he adds, "Very quietly." Like, WITH THE HOPE THAT THE SWORD GOLD OF FIGHTING will not hear them.

Ru’ien will take what is unspoken in that little touch to his cheek, content by that method of expression. There is no disappointment when F’yr confirms that he should be getting back, giving a faint smile in a ‘figured as much’ way. It’s the offer to come and hang out when he has time that’s met with a slower, warmer, smile (still tempered to a degree but him to a T). “Alright.” Done deal! His head tilts just a fraction, but there’s amusement surfacing there for that exaggerated longing. “You sure you want my stories? Might bore you to tears.” he reflects and for a breath or two, he’s himself again in that exchange. “Do I want to know that story, though?” He can’t help but let some curiosity sink into his tone — oh, he’s aware of how Glorioth can be — before his features slip to a mildly concerned look (that could be missed, given F’yr’s eyes are shut).

Brows lift and Ru’ien is definitely intrigued by this supposed firelizard being forced upon him yet again! In fact, he’s about to get that first syllable out past his lips — and ends up making some strangled sound (hey, at least he doesn’t shriek) instead. He flinches back by instinct to avoid getting smacked in the face by an errant wing and only after the gold has completed her SREECH IN and then GONE-IN-A-FLASH routine, do his eyes open slowly again. Almost immediately, his gaze darts to F’yr with a stunned sort of WTF JUST HAPPENED!? stare. All while the bronzerider is cycling through his own myriad of visible emotions. It’s just too much. TOO MUCH! Ru’ien makes another sound, something choked, stuttered and — oh yeah, there it is. He’s trying so hard not to laugh and FAILING!

Maybe if he hadn’t just gone through the wringer and exhausted himself crying, he’d have better control. Not now, it just creeps up on him too quick to be stopped! Even with his hand coming up to press long fingers against his mouth, they eventually splay over his lips as he continues to try and hold it back. It ends up some hiccuped, shaking mess of snickering that eventually yields to him giving in to the low throated laughter. “… can’t help it…” Sorry, F’yr. “I just — damn, I don’t envy you. Really?“ To clarify, he points with a lone finger to where the firelizard vanished. Along with everything else, THAT happened!

It's really alright that Ru'ien is laughing because once he's begun, F'yr is only a breath behind. They can laugh together about this. The bronzerider might even need to lean on the greenrider so they can mutually stay upright through the gales of laughter (on F'yr's part). He's knuckling tears of mirth from the corners of his eyes. "My life gets stranger every sharding day, Ruin." Well, maybe not every day. BUT MANY OF THEM. "C'mon. Walk me back." And with that, he'll unlean and start the walk back at casual stroll that gives them both time to recover themselves before parting ways by the entrance.

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