Xanadu Weyr - Coastal Road
This coastal road runs parallel with the edge of beach that stretches endlessly beside the Caspian Lake. From coast to inland the dunes of the beach grow smaller and smaller until they eventually peter out into nothing but small moguls in the sand. The path is eventually seen to be blocked by a river that reaches the lake just south of the point where the road turns west and crosses a grassy meadow towards a sturdy wooden bridge that can be seen in the distance.
PG-13 (Some suggestive material ahead)
Someone has kidnapped Skyler from the nursery!! Call the police! Summon Galaxy! … Wait, no. False alarm! Kanekith has taken care of any panic that may have risen by a lack of Skyler in the baby area of the nursery by having sent Luraoth a message. « Mine has the small one. » is what it consisted of. Short and to the point. And Ka'el does have Skyler, and the both of them are outside at home. Skyler is laying on a blanket that's been spread in the grass, settled on his belly with his head lifted up. He's getting stronger! He's still a bit bobbly, but the length of time he can keep his head away from the ground has grown longer with the weeks. He's a big boy now! (okay so not really, but look at how he's laying there all by…himself…wait, what?) Who leaves a baby alone? Ka'el does…apparently, though he's not too far off. Just some handful of yards away, piling leaves up because yardwork is part of the home job description. Sometimes. Even a Weyrleader has to get his hands dirty sometimes, and Skyler gets to watch! At a vague distance. At least Alloy's nearby, playing watch-canine. Nugget's inside…because being outside is so overrated.
It's that beautiful span of time when a baby can be left alone because it's mastered (okay, at least… journeymaned) head-lifting but not yet apprenticed in crawling away. Skyler won't disappear if his parents turn their backs! …which is good, because they're doing so. Well, Ka'el is doing so, and Soriana's not quite here yet, still on her way home. Anyway, Alloy's there being responsible, because he likes having important jobs to do. The situation is under control! …hopefully. Soriana's just coming down along the path now, with Toral draped over a shoulder and Haruhi… nowhere to be seen. She's got other things to do, important goldlizard things. Like… uh… well, they're important, anyway, which is why she's not here. Soriana waves to Ka'el as she comes down the path, then looks past him to… aha, there's Skyler. With his bronze baby monitor!
Alloy knows an important job when he's given one. And this, sitting here with the squirmy one, is definitely Important! Just look at his stance. It's an important, rigid sort of stance. Grrr, nobody will get by him on his watch! Especially not tasty bugs. He's especially on the lookout for those, chirrup! Ka'el does glance at the youngest member of their family occasionally. He's not one hundred percent un-humanly-supervised after all! There's much to be on the lookout for .. not that much harm would purposefully come to the only child of the Weyrleadership, but still! There are other things .. like dooking tunnelcats! One of which comes zooming out of the weyr. Vrroom! It's the teenaged Rowdy, on a mission! Just what's the mission? Who knows, but it's a mission that happening in the barn because that's where he's zooming too! Skyler is only half-startled as the slinky fuzzy thing darts right by him, causing Alloy to chirp indignantly! The baby is .. almost kind of used to it? There are a lot of things that zip and zoom and pop into existence and make noise in their home. His head bobbles down and up quickly (that's the startle) and he tries to follow the fast-moving thing with his eyes. "Buh.." Yeah, baby version of 'come back!' Ka'el saw all that, and he snickers. He also sees Soriana, and he grins, brushing off his leaf-littered hands. "Be careful. Every living thing that we own is on the loose."
Who thought it was a good idea to raise this baby in a zoo? For that matter… who thought it was a good idea to have a zoo here? …and on a completely unrelated topic, oh look, it's Soriana! She - unlike the animals of her household - is not hurrying along on some crucial mission. She's more… walking at a leisurely pace because she's finished work and evaded extra work and things are going okay. Also Skyler's not crying (because if he were, she could hear him from here!) so really… things are great! And really… they kind of are, or at least good. Sorrin's got a handle on this (acting) senior thing. Life in the juniors' offices is settling to normal. Soriana's settling into her routine. Ka'el's got one of those too. Skyler even mostly has one! Everything is as it should be, and so Soriana laughs to Ka'el as she approaches. "Every one?" Consider. "How many is that again? I've lost track." Are the bugs theirs, the ones Alloy intends to eat? And how many firelizards do they have, anyway?
If Ka'el didn't have a routine … yeah, he probably wouldn't be here right now. For part of his routine has been, as of late, to /make/ time for his family. He hasn't always had one of his own! This is a relatively new thing for him still, and with the passing of one of their own, it's never been as clear to him as it is now that tomorrow isn't promised. True, being home at a reasonable time isn't always easy, or doable for that matter, but he'll try. Today, it's worked out. He's home and it isn't even dark yet! And Soriana's home, and Skyler's home, and so is Alloy, Nugget, Joy, Rowdy, and Toral! .. That's all of them, right? Minus the little queen.. "I think we're up to seventeen," exaggerates Ka'el. "A few more firelizards have moved in, and Rowdy and Joy have invited friends over." He grins as he moves over to her to greet her with a kiss. "And I think a stray feline's been hanging out behind the barn.." Brave cat! "Good day?" he asks just as Skyler's head goes down. It's heavy! But his cheek makes a good pillow and he continues to look and watch and wiggle his limbs. He sees his mother! And she excites him because she makes him feel happy! And she feeds him. And fun times! Wiggle, wiggle, burble noise. Over heeeere!
So, see, routines aren't all bad! They bring people to work and also back home again. They… don't always manage to actually keep these routines, but.. that's what's trying is for. And today, it's got them all here. All… "Seventeen?" That look on Soriana's face is the one where she tries to do a quick mental count. She's pretty sure it's off. …pretty sure. But… "Feline's not likely to find any rodents, not with the rest of them…" But hey, tunnelcats and cats can be friends… right? Hopefully? Maybe? …who knows? Soriana leans back and returns the kiss, and smiles. "Pretty good. Had some accounts from the stores to reconcile. Spent half of it wandering the back hallways counting bins." Boring day! But not a terrible one, and - bonus - it's over. "So now all of us…" She glances to the barn, where grey-furred tunnelcat vanished. "…can do… uh… whatever it is we're doing tonight?" Skyler has a probosal! His proposal is 'burble'. …that's a pretty good one, to be honest. Soriana makes for him now that she's greeted weyrmate, giving baby-back a baby-pat. "How about yours?"
Leaf pile is officially abandoned now. Poor Ka'el. By tomorrow it'll be a mess again once the local weyrbrats find it. It's like … the perfect 'jump in' pile! He follows behind her as she approaches Skyler, nodding as she speaks of her lackluster day. "Could've been worse," he says, then of course continues on to tell how much worse it could've been. "You could have been wandering the back hallways counting bins, when suddenly, an unexpected storm blew a team of dragons off course. And they could've crashed right on top of the back hallways and caused a collapse. And you could've been buried under debris and rubble, and we could've had to call the wherhandlers to come find you and dig you out. And when you got out, you could've realized that you were stark naked because your clothes got ripped and torn during the rescue, and the entire Weyr would've seen you." Sage nod. That's how it could've been worse…apparently. Skyler's happy for the attention, and Soriana gets one of those gummy grins of his as he picks his head back up to bobble as he looks at her. Sooooo much effort!
Oh yeah, in theory, Soriana could have like… helped with the leaves instead of abandoning them to be jumped in by kids. So much for responsibility and raking leaves and… yeah, let's be honest here. Those leaves are probably going to be scattered across the lawn until someone sends a gardener down to take care of it. "Could've," Soriana agrees to Ka'el, then smirks as he starts to explain exactly how and why and wherefor it could have been worse. "…I probably could have found some spare clothes in the bins." Because that, of course, is the most implausible part of this scenario. She looks down to Skyler, and says, "Besides, you would have let me borrow some, right?" Babyclothes! On a very much not baby sized Soriana. It'll work out great, right? …Skyler certainly seems to agree. He's putting effort into it! Well… into… looking up at her. The point is, it's effort, and also he's glad to see her. Close enough! "But it's true, you never know when an unexpected storm will rise up," she says to Ka'el, and to Skyler, "Remember that." Life lessons!
Ka'el slips his arms around her waist from behind and rests his chin on her shoulder. "You're delusional. You don't have Skyler's sense of style. You'll never pull off what he wears." So stylish with his onesies! And now that the temperature is getting cooler, he's sometimes dressed in onsies that cover his arms and legs with little bootie feet at the ends. GQ cover baby all the way! Ka'el's arms tighten around her middle and he smirks, perhaps imagining bootie-foot Soriana flailing around. Skyler's given up on keeping his head up and neck almost craned. Time to plop it down again. Plop! And maybe now he wants to get up, but he can't quite get up himself. He can't even roll over yet! He's stuck til somebody kind picks him up. Hey mom..dad…a little help down here please? He starts to fuss, making those noises that fussy babies make and his arm motions get a little stiff. Ka'el is usually pretty good at catering to his son's every beck and call (heh, for now cuz he's a baby!) but having his head on Sori's shoulder gives him a pretty good view of her neck, and he's remembered that her neck is the perfect place for kissing when his head is where it is, and thus he's gotten a little busy doing just that.
"Nah, I've got it," Soriana insists. "Bright colors… extra padding… and animal prints go with everything." The essentials of baby fashion! If Soriana's to be wearing booties, you can be sure she'll have the ones with the little puffs of yarn over the toes. Extra stylin'! Just like Skyler the dashing… well. He's not dashing yet. Not dashing, not crawling, not rolling over… not even lifting up his head, because he's not yet able to do three of those things and he's tired of doing the fourth. Hence, the fussing! Which, well, Soriana'd usually do something about - because fussy babies mean unhappy babies and lead to crying babies - but she'd being held back. Not that she couldn't pull away, but there are these distracting kisses, you see, and so she attempts to soothe the baby with a pat while she's… well, yeah, no, she's not being soothed, but she's okay with that, tilting her head to expose that neck and making a noise that - while positive - is closer to Skyler-syllables than Soriana-words.
Skyler looks good in animal print! So would Soriana for that matter, but the prints that are going through Ka'el's mind have been printed on clothing of the more … adult variety. Feline stripes, anyone? Poor Skyler is left to struggle on his own. What's wrong with his parents? He's not used to such neglect! Right about now, he should've already been lifted up and carried close, just like he likes it. Instead, he's on the ground (granted, on a nice blanket..but still not where he wants to be!) and is being ignored! Ka'el .. kind of sort of is ignoring the fussy sounds. They're not full out crying sounds, and there's still the hope that Skyler will settle himself and he can continue to focus his efforts on kissing the curvature of his weyrmate's neck. And oh! More neck now, for that tilt of her head makes more of her accessible to him. And he obliges, pressing his lips up that curve in slow and deliberate motions, each kiss a soft and suckling touch. His arms remain around her, but his hands refuse to stay settled in one place and move to squeeze at her waist, lower to her hips, and .. Skyler cries. Those pats to the back almost did the trick. Kept the cries at bay a few seconds longer than they would've without. But, they're here anyway. Cuz baby wants what baby wants and darn it, he's gonna get it!
Entire seconds of neglect! What's a baby got to do to get some attention around here? …well… start crying. Which Skyler is very capable of doing, and… does. In the moments before he quite gets to that point, Soriana reaches a hand back to brush along Ka'el's arm, to hop-jump to his side as her other one attempts to soothe the baby. Skyler has an entire fraction of her attention! It's just that she really rather wants to also give Ka'el a very nice fraction. Her hips sway a little, her butt pressing back as her head moves aside with a low groan and… … …Skyler is unhappy with his fraction. It's not enough! Not for him. Not for this baby. He wants more! Never mind that Soriana and Ka'el are weyrmates, the important relationship here is that they're his parents. Moooooom! Daaaaaad! Waaaaaaaah! …Soriana makes a face. "Shardit, kid…" Why must Skyler have such timing? Why must this be the moment when he insists on his routine of being held and cuddled? But… insisting he is, and Soriana turns her head to move her neck away from Ka'el's lips - and touch hers there instead - before turning away entirely to scoop up the baby before cries turn to shrieks, wails, and (more) tantrums.
After all that he's done for you Skyler, this is how you repay your father? By being the worst wingman ever? This little fraction of a moment is likely the closest thing that Ka'el's gotten to action in … forever! And the moment is truncated with Skyler's wails for attention, but at least not first without a kiss! He leeeans into her, and even when she draws away and turns to claim their boy, he continues to lean towards her as if drawn by a magnet. "Meh…but, but…" He makes a pout face, but it doesn't last long, nor it is entirely real. The baby can't help that he's a baby! And Ka'el help but look at Soriana in such a way that'd make it easy to suggest that he's imagining that cave-in scenario … minus the disastrous cave in, but leaving the 'no clothes' part intact. But he can't drown out Skyler for too long, and he shakes himself out of his reverie and joins her with the soothing. "You have The. Worst. timing, boy…" he says with a smirk as he reaches for a little hand to wiggle a finger against. "Four months and already stealin' women away…" He shakes his head.
His parents have desires other than catering to his whims? Skyler has no concept of this. Or of anyone outside himself, really. Theory of mind? Yeah, he'll get to that sooner or later. Mostly later, because right now the most important thing in his universe is that he's trivially uncomfortable and wants… attention. Soriana comes toward him. Ka'el is in pursuit, but the baby-cries are too much for him. If it weren't for their attraction, Skyler wouldn't even exist! …if it weren't for Skyler, they'd be doing something about that attraction. But as it is, Soriana's clothes are intact instead of being torn off her by a crazed weyrmate (or wher), and Skyler's in her arms being jiggled and patted and shooshed. It's okay, baby Skyler. Your parents won't go and pretend to have lives again. Not even for five minutes. They understand. You're the center of your little baby universe. He sniffs, curls his fingers around Ka'el's. The baby trap is sprung! There's no escaping him now. Soriana shakes her head. "…animal prints nothing, give him a black jacket and a tie and nobody will be safe." Skyler the master romancer! …or at least the attention (and finger) grabber. Soriana eyes their son, then eyes Ka'el and… takes a step toward him, along with a little bump of her hips. Because hey, a girl's gotta dream… right?
Ka'el is caught in the baby trap! Help! Skyler's vice-like grip will surely sever the circulation in his finger! … Or maybe, with his father's finger successfully grabbed and the sight, smell, and sound of his mother close and comforting, Skyler will tone down the crying. Which he already is, having failed to get to full wail mode! Ka'el … just sighs. What else can he do? Skyler is the best thing ever! So what he has to sacrifice a little (a lot of) private time with his weyrmate? It's not like this will last forever! Even though it's felt like forever. Eventually, Skyler will be sleeping in his own room and actually sleep through the entire night! And Ka'el and Soriana won't be worn out from running the Weyr all day and parenting in the evening and will actually have the energy to do things together once that time comes! And it'll come … in the turns to come.. Maybe even shorter than that. Mere months! Until then .. well, Ka'el can ogle her and have moments in his mind. Soriana's quip gets him snickering as he looks at their Casanova little boy, shaking his head. His eyes return to Soriana as she moves nearer and bumps her hips to his, causing a wry smirk to form. "You're killin' me," he chuckles, pressing a brief peck to her lips, then one to Skyler's head. "I'm gonna finish the last of those leaves," he says with a nod to the pile. "Want to take him in? Maybe we can get him down early…" And maybe porcine will fly with the dragons tomorrow. But hey, the man can hope.
Months. It's been months, it'll be more months, and… well… that's life? Unless they decide to pack Skyler off in a basket and leave him on someone's doorstep… which they've sort of stopped talking about as an option, haven't they? Not that they couldn't, but between their busy days and their busy nights (which still aren't managing to be busy in certain ways) they've just sort of gone from trying out Skyler to working things out for Skyler. Because he's part of this zoo now, and they're keeping things… together. They're all together, all seventeen of them. Soriana kisses Ka'el back, though it's not so easy to do with a baby in arms. Not impossible, though. She can still kiss, she just can't do all that much more. Because… Skyler. Soriana nods. "If I get him fed and ready for bed…" He probably still won't go to sleep, but at least they'll know, in their hearts, that he's ready and it's just… fussiness or routine or whatever else that's keeping him awake. Tomorrow, dragons will fly. And maybe porcines, or maybe they'll just have pork chops being fried up for dinner and getting a little extra height when they're flipped in the pan. Who knows? But they'll figure out something. Soriana gives Ka'el another kiss - a brief one, don't worry Skyler, you're still going to get your attention - and then… she heads inside, for another night with Skyler before another tomorrow.