Xanadu Weyr - Domicile of Discernment

On the outside, this cottage is fairly unremarkable. It's of moderate size, though it's clearly not the home of a rider - there's no wallow, nor is there any means for even the smallest of greens to enter. It's set in the meadow, amidst the gentle roll of the terrain toward the ridge, but any adornment by flowers or ornamental plants is purely incidental. The exterior is painted white, and the roof-shingles are brown. There's a small wooden stoop, centered along the longer side - three wide steps leading up to a doorway framed by windows.
Once inside, the main room of this cottage is bright and airy, made so by a high arched ceiling and large windows that take advantage of their northern exposure, with gauzy drapes and pale golden oak sills. Overhead, there's more of that oak in the form of exposed beams, the ceiling between them painted a soft cerulean. During the day, there is likely sufficient illumination from those windows, but for night-time, there are recessed lights hidden within the beams that diffuse against the ceiling. The walls are white with a sponged speckling of the same blue from overhead, and underfoot is more of that oak.
The house has a central column of yellow fieldstone, with a fireplace facing into the room and a half-flight of stairs to either side - one leading up, the other down. Above the fireplace is an oakwood mantel, and while it may provide warmth, under most circumstances, the radiant heating system beneath the floorboards is likely to more effective. The fireplace may, however, provide a pleasant flickering warmth, and as such, a sofa and a pair of armchairs are arranged in front of it. The sofa's a velvety blue-grey, accented with a pair of red pillows, and the armchairs are brown leather - suitable for company but selected primarily for comfort.
There's a kitchen tucked off to one side, near the upward staircase. It's small, but well equipped, with granite countertops and a brushed steel cold-box and stove. There's an oblong wooden table with chairs set around it, and even some plants in small terracotta pots on the windowsill, as the presence of fresh herbs is useful when cooking.

It's been a few sevens since that blood test in the infirmary told of changes to come. Changes still thought of, at least by Darsce, as 'afar off' rather than that nebulous 'someday' of having a family used to be. The revelation has been followed by some rather abrupt, tumultuous changes that have pushed her own thoughts away from the future she shares with Jethaniel: the loss of Seryth and Thea, while she might not be consciously aware of how deeply it's affected her, has nonetheless kept her mind preoccupied with immediate needs. The Weyr's slow-absorption of the loss has resulted in the occasional cavern and kitchen worker finding her and unburdening grief and worry, something she's tried, oh and mostly succeeded in the awkward listening and mumble of reassurance. There might've (okay, no, there definitely have been - with increasing frequency, even!) tart assurances that the world will continue revolving around Rukbat, the stars will still shine at night as well as the clarification, just in case they all forgot, that she is not a mindhealer, they must've turned left when they ought to have gone right, pointed the way towards the infirmary and told them to take a number. It's been… busier during the course of her normal workday with all this shoulder-crying and things haven't gotten done exactly…right or quickly. She hasn't even caught up with her half-siblings yet! More than once she's cussed out Cyrus under her breath for getting himself locked up, though she's sent a steady stream of young girls Versae's way. Things are, finally tapering off - or her sarcastic bite is keeping people at bay - and she's having time to breathe and… think. Whiiiiiiiich might be why she now lies awake in the bed beside Jethaniel this late night when she ought to be sound asleep. On her back, eyes wide open on those dim star lights with on hand on her belly - which to the eye still looks as it always does - just… awake.

Jethaniel has, for the most part, been quiet through the tumult. There have been occasions on which he has spoken regarding Thea, moments of mournful contemplation - but he has continued in his work without any substantial decrease in personal efficiency and managed those workers and crafters reporting to him appropropriately. The mindhealers qualified to work have been apportioned overtime pay, the projects not considered necessary have been delayed to give vacation time to those who require it, and the world has, in fact, continued to revolve around Rukbat with Xanadu located in its accustomed place thereon. Tonight, the stars shine both within and without, and Jethaniel lies beneath them. He's on his side, curled toward Darsce, and the pattern of his breathing is slow and deep. He's asleep, his day made sufficiently long to tire him by several projects which are, as other matters calm, being resumed. His thoughts have, thus far tonight, remained sufficiently distant to permit his repose, and Darsce's state of alertness does not, by itself, constitute a reason for him to wake. As such, Jethaniel sleeps.

Jethaniel's the only one Darsce hasn't minded - even encouraged to - speak his thoughts regarding his feelings of loss. But that's usually when they're in the privacy of their own cottage, not during work hours. She worries less about him when he does share, this is evident in her face as he does choose to break the silence he might otherwise keep, not that she presses him to talk, nor has she herself tended towards chattery lately. Perhaps it's the circumstances of recent events, perhaps physical demands have drained her, perhaps feeling he's needed quiet. Whatever the causation, her quietude has definitely not been a withdrawal. The nights tangled with him whether sleeping or not, she's expressed her love for him. Neither has her demeanor been morose and so while her silence has not been exactly a serene one it hasn't been a troubled one either. Perhaps it's the calm before the storm? She lies wide awake while Jethaniel sleeps, but the thoughts in her head aren't enough to keep her from thinking other things… As such, presently she rolls on her side to face her sleeping husband, props an elbow in her pillow, braces the side of her head in her hand and… begins playing with the ends of his hair, little gentle featherlight touches that take pieces of those layered ends to lay them this way… then that…arranging them over his forehead, then over his ear… while a tender smile curves her mouth.

Jethaniel has been quiet, but not evasive - at least not to Darsce. She may hear his regrets, his concerns… though even with her, there comes a point when he finds he has nothing more to say, and all he asks is her closeness. That too she has provided gladly, and while his moods have been somber in greater proportion than they might ordinarily be, he has not been wholly dark in demeanor - which may serve to further reassure Darsce concerning him. He smiles; he laughs. His sorrow is one which inclines him to seek Darsce and hold her close, not draw away from her. Even in repose, he is turned toward her… though he is, given his slumber, less reactive to changes in his environment and Darsce's behavior. Less reactive, but not entirely insensate; the touch of Darsce's fingers brings an alteration to his features as well as a rearrangement of his hair, a smile slowly lifting the corners of his mouth. His breathing gradually changes as well, his sleep becoming more shallow due to the confluence of Darsce's touch with his current position in the sleep cycle.

Jethaniel has great hair! Whoever's cutting it has made it just perfect for playing with - a temptation for her fingers. It's thick, shaped in a pleasing way that suits him and while he has it, she's going to enjoy it. Her fingers flip it gently - now away from his face. It's been with a sense of awe that Darsce has noted the difference between Jethaniel's behavior when grieving in contrast with that of her parents towards each other when doing the same. It's a night - day difference, from what she can recall, of backs turned and silence that lasted hours, perhaps days with one of them gone more often than not. This closeness is something she treasures, revels in despite the somber aura of her beloved. And with these thoughts in her mind - along with those other ones - she bends to gently kiss one corner of his mouth, then his ear, after which she breathes in a bare whisper, "You're going to be a wonderful…" What word to use for what he's going to be? Papa was…her father, who wasn't much of one. Father seems… quite formal. What will he prefer? "…parent… to our baby, I know it." Not enough to wake him, surely? But then it might be. Her fingers move to resume their attention to his hair, but the move is arrested with a sharp intake of breath. Her head tilts, a comical expression of puzzlement claims the tenderness on her face. Her hand leaves Jethaniel's dark strands and rests on her lower abdomen once more.

Jethaniel's hair is dark, but his sleep tends toward the light; a combination of natural inclinations and habits learned in the apprentice dormitories and while monitoring precariously aligned equipment which might - through a change in sound - indicate a need for nocturnal readjustment. The brush of Darsce's lips is, while perceived in a distant fashion, not something which rouses him in any particularly rapid one. It it felt; it makes him smile. The touch of her lips to his mouth and ear is not an incident requiring rapid response; it is a small pleasure, a sensation which encourages perception but does not induce alertness. Darsce's words are heard, though perhaps - given Jethaniel's slumbering state - not entirely comprehended. His lips part, but the answer he provides is only half-voiced and contains no meaningful constructs at any level more complex than that of the phoneme. Jethaniel is somewhat reactive, but it would be a misapprehension to call him awake, and he lingers on the darker side of sleep's twilight until the sound of Darsce's breath - drawn in, instead of exhaled with words - provides the stiumulus to induce wakefulness. That sound, unlike soft words and gentle touches, may be considered by his subconscious to potentially require some reaction, and as such be the trigger for a release of neurochemicals which bring him rapidly to half-awake instead of half-asleep. The cause for this wakefulness is not immediately apparent to Jethaniel as he once more takes conscious possession of his body, his hand reaching out impulsively for Darsce as he slips up through the fog of sleep falling down around him.

…Nothing's there but her silken shift and below that the flat of her stomach. Darsce feels around, slowly at first and then more urgently, biting back an utterance of dismay that nevertheless reaches her throat in a sort of muffled squeak. She's peripherally aware of Jethaniel's reach for her, realizes she's disturbing his sleep, but she's rolling the other way and stretching an arm to fumble for a light switch. Her breathing is picking up - not that she's hyperventilating quuuite yet while her hand patpatflails. There's a thump as something is knocked over and then soft light illuminates the bed. She rolls back half-towards her husband - propped up by an elbow while the other hand pulls the sheets back. She's tensed and ready to leap out of bed if necessary.

That muffled sound serves to further rouse Jethaniel - not so much due to its volume as through the concern expressed by the tone. Pitch may, in addition to being described as transformations of a waveform, be used with moderate effectiveness as a form of emotional calibration. His eyes open, blink as they encounter the brightening light and seek to adjust to that illumination and focus on Darsce. Jethaniel shifts toward her, one elbow under him and his lower arm extended to be beneath Darsce as she shifts back. "What… is it?" he asks, concern in his tone… and perplexity, because while he can observe that Darsce found something sufficiently alarming to respond in a manner which woke him, he cannot actually see anything substantively different than any other night beyond that reaction from Darsce. His reaching hand continues toward her, a gentle brush of fingertips down along her arm that follows the direction indicated by that limb.

"I'm… pretty sure there is a bug in the bed," is Darsce's reply. Though if so, why's she still in it? Likely because… "There might be others on the floor." She's still flipping the sheets around, eyeing them for the telltale sign of critters that might fall out - pleasenotonher! - and scurry for cover. Okay… now? She's hyperventilating because the real is not as horrible as the imaginary, right? But then she explains further as with another bitten-back sound she flails towards her stomach, pinching her shift to fluff it explaining with a gasp, "I…I keep feeling them run across my stomach!" Oh thank the shell Cyrus is no longer in Xanadu! "I'm not dreaming, either," she says in a tumble of words, a sidelong look flicked to Jethaniel, just in case that's his next question. How to explain? While fluttering the sheets more and peering down towards their feet she adds in a rush, "You know the old term, butterflies in your stomach? Well, I feel like I ate one for dinner. And it's trying to get out." So… the only logical explanation to her is… Bed. Bug.

Among the things which Jethaniel does not actually observe at the present moment are any form of insect, living or otherwise, in their bed. "Ah," he says, and his brow furrows further with puzzlement. "I… do not see one." He shifts closer to Darsce - not because he is particularly concerned by the prospect of insects, but because he is concerned by the rate of Darsce's breathing and her anxiety. His fingers trace along her arm until it flails out from beneath them, then reach to settle against… her stomach, given that it is the focus of her current agitation. His eyes settle there as well, though he continues to listen to Darsce. Dreaming? "No," Jethaniel says. While such a scenario might be suitable material for nightmares… "I do not believe you are." He has ascertained that it is unlikely that there is any external influence responsible for the sensation, given the lack of visual or auditory evidence of such an influence. This does not necessarily imply a lack of cause for such a sensation; merely that the insect postulated for that cause is not extant. Darsce's abdomen nevertheless remains as a plausible source of sensation, and need not be immediately removed from the assessment of cause. In fact, the insects are also not entirely removed, but they are employed in a metaphorical instead of tangible context. Jethaniel's fingers splay against Darsce's stomach, and his grey eyes lift to hers. "Does it hurt?"

Darsce isn't finding anything - and thankfully not hearing anything of insect sounds, otherwise she'd be climbing Jethaniel - and not in a fun way! This fact coupled with, a sighed, "It… maybe we scared it off." And she'll be eyeing the floor closely when she needs to leave their bed, that's certain! She lets the sheet go, the material free to drift to the bed once more and eases herself off of her elbows, lying down, albeit relcutantly, still tensed and ready to spring should she feel that …crawling…sensation again. The vigil she'd kept for bugs is left in favor of focusing on the hand Jethaniel places on her stomach before her iceblue eyes lift to his,a touch wide. "Nnnnno…" She's certain of that but, "It…seems to be…gone." The bug, she means, but also the sensation. Her breathing begins to slow, her taut stomach muscles relax finally, fully. She draws a deep breath. "I'm… sorry I woke y- aaaugh!" Before she moves, under his palm - a barely-there flutter, like the tickle of butterfly wings against skin. Darsce's reaction is to lunge, reach for his hand, glance at the palm, then lift her shift to stare at her abdomen. There's nothing… there. She whines, "Please don't tell the healers - they'll think I'm crazy." Well, they probably already do, but this'll certainly confirm it!

In the hypothetical case of an insect, the further hypothetical that it has found reason to depart is a plausible one, but Jethaniel's perplexity remains despite that potential explanation for this series of events. He does acknowledge the possibility of departure with a nod, shifting his arm beneath Darsce as she settles down once more in the temporary absence of that sensation. His hand is warm against her, a gentle touch matched to the contour of her stomach, and he relaxes slightly as she assures him of the lack of pain associated with that unfamiliar feeling. His hand remains, despite that departure - which proves to be merely a temporary hiatus. Jethaniel's inhalation is cotemporal with Darsce's exhalation; a reaction to the same occurence, not to her response to that stimulus. His eyes widen, looking up to her, and his hand is easily lifted - but uninformative in its presence, his palm unmarked by any remnant of that sensation. Once released by Darsce that she may conduct her abdominal inspection, it follows her hands, his fingertips brushing the back of one. "You are not," he says softly, his eyes remaining on her face. The words are spoken in a tone which, while possessed of concern in the affectionate sense, seems unworried; neither does he urge her to reconsider her view concerning a healer's involvement in this. Instead, he smiles slightly, his fingers shifting against hers to seek to twine with them. "You are, however… pregnant."

Darsce's fingers twine willingly enough, but he's given a look askance. Yeah she's pregnant. "I've heard the jokes," she mutters reproachfully, though without actually following through with any sort of pout because that fluttering is back. There are no bugs. She smooths her shift down absently, settles their twined hands atop her abdomen where they can monitor that. Still, it's creepy and so she shudders because, "…If pregnancy makes nerves crawl under my skin, this is going to be a real picnic," she drawls. The flutter barely-felt stops, starts again. "Can you feel that?" It's totally her fault that no one has told her these things would be happening because she's avoided the healers ever since that blood test. Moreover, she IS pregnant and the thoughts of this, having kept her awake and now that she's woken her husband, she can say, "It's going to need a name. And I can't think of any."

Jethaniel lowers his head for that look, the smile fading. "I… did not intend to imply…" He frowns, half-closes his eyes as his fingers settle with Darsce's against her stomach. Pregnancy may indeed cause a wide variety of things, up to and including such sensations, and Jethaniel nods slightly to Darsce's assessment thereof, his head remaining lowered. His hand also remains with hers, and so when she asks her question he may answer, "I can." He's quiet, but his eyes open again, drifting down over Darsce and settling on their hands as a point of focus, watching them - though there are no visual observations to accompany the fluttering sensation. It will, in fact, require a name. Jethaniel has none to suggest, but he does ask, "What are your desiderata?"

Of course he didn't! Darsce is instantly contrite, seeing that lowered head, hearing the comment. "I'm sorry I took it so," she breathes. Her other hand seeks to brush his cheek with gentle fingertips. "Please don't, Jethaniel…" She doesn't try to lift his chin or move into his line of vision - not this time. This time she'll allow him time to recover, if that's what he needs. She lies still, just breathing - and that is slowing back to normal now that the idea of creepy-crawlies in her bed is fading. Into the silence she says reluctantly, "I'm just a wee bit scared. Regardless, I shouldn't have snapped at you." She too contemplates those wierd flutters until Jethaniel's question draws her attention back. Her head tips back on her pillow, she blinks at him at first. "My wha?" Then a fond smile tweaks her mouth up in one corner, " Oh - do I want a boy or girl?" She's guessing. "I… haven't thought that far. How about you?"

Jethaniel tilts his head toward those fingers on his cheek, but he does not immediately look up to Darsce once more. While that is not what he intended, he can, now that Darsce has brought the matter to his attention, realize the possible interpretation which another might make. It is a thought which - once it has been brought to his attention - he finds difficult to wholly dismiss, lingering there… but he exhales slowly, turns his head to brush his lips to Darsce's fingers. "It is reasonable." His fingers splay a little, shifting against hers and her stomach beneath them as his gaze lifts to her once more. Her interpretation receives a tilt of his head to the side; equivocation rather than agreement, but not a displeased one. "I would be happy with either," he answers her, considers it a moment further before adding, "I am not aware of a preference." His fingers shift, one brushing against the back of Darsce's hand. "Are there things you want in a name?" Has she thought that far yet?

Though Darsce cares about Jethaniel's opinion of her, "I don't care what other people think." Not true! But she'll assert that she doesn't to just about everyone who asks. "You know healers, though. They might do something like try to make me go talk to Cy- ohwait, he's gone, hm. Versae. She's alright." The newly-arrived healer-mindhealer and Jethaniel both have already said she isn't crazy, so she's good. Speaking of Cyrus, she's reminded and so inserts the next tidbit brightly, "Did I tell you I took Cyrus his dinner when he was in jail? He ranted some plan of his about fixing the mindlink so dragonflights would be better. He's crazy!" She snorts at the telling of that. Names? Oh! That. No. Darsce shakes her head; she hasn't thought that far. She now considers it with a nibble to her lower lip. The seconds tick by. The fluttering stops, starts, pauses, resumes, like a sputtering candle flame with just enough melted wax and oxygen to continue burning, fragile enough to be snuffed out by whim or eddy of air. She finally comes up with, "Something…that doesn't sound uncool that the kid will hate when we call it that in front of its friends? We could name it after one of your relatives if you'd like." A breath is taken as a thought occurs to her, "I… haven't told my family yet. Have you told yours?" Iceblue eyes, far too chipper for this time of night await his answer as they seek grey.

Jethaniel nods to that assertion, whether or not he actually believes it. Darsce's opinion of the opinion of others is that it is inapplicable. Her reactions to the opinions of others - and the ways in which she attempts to indirectly influence those opinions… may exist despite her claims otherwise. As for Jethaniel… "I do, sometimes." …care what people think, that is - though the healers might have a few comments to make about how well he's actually followed instructions. There were (or can plausibly have been) extenuating circumstances? Jethaniel frowns slightly for the discussion of healers, follows it with a nod. She has said it does not hurt; as such… he does not see the necessity of involving a healer if she is disinclined to do so. Given Cyrus as an example, her disinclination is quite comprehensible; Jethaniel's frown deepens for the recounting of Darsce's recent interactions with him. "I had not heard," he says. "The situation seems… problematic." His fingers curve a little more firmly against Darsce's, then slowly relax as she considers on the possibilities for names, expression easing as he watches Darsce's expression. He smiles faintly for her desiderata, once stated. "I am likely unqualified to assess coolness." Unless one refers to the kinetic energy of the name, as calculated by the set of muscle-motions required to articulate it? Which might be assessed either in the written or verbal form - though it would seem likely, given the reference to calling it, that the verbal form would be primary… presuming that was the meaning of coolness under discussion, which it is not. "I…" He pauses, considers, then shakes his head. "…do not think I wish to name it after my family. I have not yet told them."

Darsce mulls over Jethaniel's response, cocking her head on her pillow in curiosity as she seeks clarification, "Of you? Or me?" Proper English? Pfft! It's late and there are flutters. As for Cyrus, she agrees with an emphatic, "He says he doesn't know anything about it and yet has to try. He doesn't even like dragons!" Well, neither does she, but that's another story. "What if he makes them like giant…whers or something? That'd be problematic, alright!" The eyeroll she makes at the end of that is directed at Cyrus, not Jethaniel and speaks more to the opinion of the healer's crazy than her alarm of it. Back to names, her smile re-appears, fond again and she scoots closer to him to apply her lips briefly to his. "Will you consider something meaningful then? Maybe from one of your poetry books?" There goes cool, right out the window? "I'll help with the cool part." As for his family, she nods slowly, agreeable. "Then we won't." Name it after them. "And you may tell them when you're ready." Those intermittent flutters… it dawns on her that they're… not happening anywhere else on her body but where that baby grows. With a soft intake of breath she lifts her head to peer down in wonder where their twined fingers rest. "Jeth…an…i…el? I… I think that's… our baby…moving…inside me." This time - yay - no fainting! Even if there is an alien inside of her eating its way out from the inside.

"Yes," Jethaniel answers an either/or question. "I sometimes wish to… explain how wrong they are." He smiles faintly, dips his head with a lift of his eyes. "I do not, but I wish it." The urge to jump to his beloved's defense is not absent in Jethaniel, merely subsumed beneath his confidence in her ability to handle those situations to her liking. When considering those who are wrong, the matter of Cyrus may be given further thought. "I… would hope he is not permitted near them," Jethaniel says of Cyrus and those dragons. "Given his lack of expertise." Also of basic competence. The mindhealer is, however, gone from Xanadu and their lives, and there are other things to consider - such as names for their future progeny. "I still like yours," he says with a smile, and kisses Darsce back. Their lips part to leave his in an upward curve, and he nods to her request. "I will consider." If nothing else, it may provide him with an excuse to glance through some of his favorites once again… which means time not spent working, though quite possibly still spent with Darsce… and the prospective entity which will be their child. About whom Jethaniel's family will be informed… "When things have settled." He does not specify which things, but will presumably be capable of identifying them. His brows arch, an inquisitive tilt of his head at her slow articulation of his name. It's followed by a smile, a slow nod that seems unsurprised by that revelation and is followed by a lean in to brush his lips to her cheek as she observes the continued lack of visual signifiers to accompany the tactile perceptions of her ongoing pregnancy and the concomitant fetal development. "It seems likely."

With a smirk, "So… what's stopping you?" Because Darsce doesn't have a problem with doing it, obviously, given her outspokenness when in the presence of healers heretofore. For herself she notes, "It's highly therapeutic." There's a wicked little grin and maybe a too-gleeful little wriggle that he'll feel with her close proximity to him. She'd make a terrible goldrider in the, well, in every sense of the word, but especially the diplomacy department. As for him, she, remembering permissions, grants him one now, "You may feel free to punch someone to defend my honor?" There's a snicker after that. "I heard Cyrus did it for Kera. But you know what?" And here her arm drapes around his neck casually as she grows half-serious, "I think I'd be interested in the verbal wit and logic you'd employ on my behalf…should the occasion arise." Names, and the figuring out of them, might come at a premium of lost work hours - though there are less projects these days, something she leaves unsaid out of consideration for his feelings on the subject. The loss of the Weyrwoman, his friend, is still raw and she's not going to make light of it. Still, she intends to keep him busy during their free time with… other activities, so maybe they'll collaborate over lunch or something. She nods agreeably to things settled - doesn't question that, but entrusts him to define/determine that. There are times she's this easy - perhaps it makes up for the others when she is not? She leans her cheek into his kiss and, with a contented sigh admits, "I was a little worried about the fall from the runner… doing damage… but…" It's aliiiiiiiiive! Also - she wants to know, "Does it…" She flounders, "…are you… " She can't quite verbalize the wish to know if he's as filled with wonder as she is and so just blurts a touch breathlessly, "Our baby!" To which she wants him to know, "I'm happy-scared." Flail.

"They are often entitled to their opinions," is Jethaniel's answer, given as he maximizes his promixity to Darsce through the adjustment of his own body. His hand on her abdomen with hers remains there, but the rest shifts to press closer. "Even when entirely wrong." If it were a matter of facts, perhaps he would be quicker to correct them? Ah, but it likely depends on the facts involved. He lowers his head slightly at her grant of permission, though he brushes his lips to her shoulder while doing so, then lifts it again to note, "I do not think Cyrus may be construed as an example of positive behavior in any regard." He settles into the position indicated by the drape of her arm around his neck, pressed close to her. "I do not wish to let anyone hurt you." That's serious, though it's quietly spoken. Should the occasion arise… but, while Darsce might be interested in making those observations, Jethaniel would likely prefer that the occasion for her to do so does not actually arise. Historically, he's been less prone to defend her honor and more to shield her from the more drastic potential consequences of her mistakes… some of thich turned into projects for him as Steward. Now, however, there are fewer projects - only partly because Darsce hasn't broken anything lately. There have also been fewer projects from Thea, only partially countered by the necessity for some procedural adjustments as Jethaniel does his part to help the office adapt to the lack of the former Weyrwoman's established functions. Those too have been resolving, leaving him with more free time - something Darsce is both suited and inclined to occupy. She has many excellent ideas for doing so! Though… "I would suggest no races for now." Darsce may find a means to entertain herself other than riding runners… though many of the elements of that entertainment mechanism are still plausible. They merely require a certain amount of recombination… as may Darsce's incoherent words. Jethaniel listens to them with studious attention. It does? He is. Their baby! Jethaniel smiles, and he brushes his lips to the corner of Darsce's mouth, his expression warm and fond. "It is," he agrees. "I am… glad that I am not dreaming."

"I suppose," Darsce admits reluctantly, given that she frequently exercises her own opinion of others - and often to their faces. She doesn't expect him to continually defend her, as evidenced in her laughed, "I think you're quite clever, that's all." And she loves a good debate? Perhaps far too much. Though there are times she fails to say a word on her own behalf. Ah, but that likely depends on the people involved. "You don't have to!" she assures him despite the kiss that brushes the skin of her shoulder when he lowers his head. Moments later she sputters a laugh about Cyrus being an example for anything positive. "He's a… very confused person," she says and that's being as charitable and understanding of the mindhealer as she can get. There's no personal dislike for him, just… a headshake that says she doesn't get him at all. "Nor do I," she says lightly snuggling closer and leaving a kiss to his jaw. Being hurt is not on her agenda, but then… when is it ever? Perhaps the occasion will not arise that a situation not of her own folly brings on desreved castigation. She's certainly trying to avoid pushing the wrong buttons - mechanical or otherwise these days. She learns… ahh… through her mistakes? Races he says and Darsce's eyes dart sideways guiltily. "I… fall off when not racing too," she admits, though he already knows about this. "So I think I'll stay off runners until after the baby. Riding though, no promises that I won't be doing that for the next several months!" He's given a wanton look and the slow smile right after that has only partly to do with his shared…gladness regarding their coming child.

While Jethaniel does not provide any clear answer to his intentions regarding the defense of Darsce in verbal form, his lack of reply is a thoughtful one, mingled with affection. The concepts involved are perhaps too complex for him to untangle in the middle of the night, and so while they may receive his consideration at another time… for now, it is sufficient that he is permitted but not required to act, and he will do so as seems appropriate to future situations. Cyrus… Jethaniel frowns for that, though he says nothing more of the departed mindhealer. His thoughts are more for Darsce, and while he smiles for the kiss to his jaw, the context of conversation which accompanies it is one which puts a nebulous concern in his eyes. There are a wide variety of incidents which may cause harm, not all of which are necessarily known. Reason enough for Jethaniel to worry. He certainly is aware of the possibility for non-racing incidents involving runners; as such, his subsequent nod for Darsce's decision to avoid runners is one of relief. At least that need not be one of his concerns; Darsce will not ride… runners. She will, however, ride… Jethaniel brushes his lips to her cheek, creating reference points for her smile's rate of spread. "I am… also glad for that," he admits, his head tilting that he may press a kiss down to her jaw. "This… seems plausibly similar to a dream, at times. It is… strange, but…" His fingers spread on her abdomen, resting there as grey eyes lift to hers. "…also wonderful."

Darsce's inclination to intercept the lips that brush her cheek is there, just slow and while she dallies, Jethaniel's moving down to her jaw. Nevertheless she's pleased; his ear is right there and she nips it playfully before he's lifting his head once more. "Good!" she murmurs smugly. He's glad - she's glad he's glad and this totally works for her! Her fingers gently disentangle from his, leaving them on her stomach with a caress so she may slowly and deliberately curl both arms about him, snuggling closer to him. She weasels her face into the curve of his neck and as he speaks further, echoes him with amusement curling the corners of her lips, "A strange dream is it?" As her head slides back on the pillow once more to give him an impish twinkle, she hears the word wonderful and melts, the teasing words dying on her lips. Aw, really? He thinks so? Her sudden rush of conflicting emotions are there to be plainly seen in her expression - a guilty tenderness, a pleased uneasiness, a baffled half-fear, half-joy. Her quip, more plea than tease now, is shared only after she presses her face back to his neck. With a yawn she mumbles, "Hope it's not a nightmare…" Her body relaxes into his, her breathing slows to the rate that one, exhausted by both hormones and fear of imaginary insects, will find in sleep. Under Jethaniel's palm the sporadic fluttering continues.

Jethaniel's breath catches, a faint quiver as Darsce demonstrates that there are certain buttons she not only continues to press, but is encouraged to do so. His eyes lift to hers, remaining there as her fingers withdraw - though not before receiving a caress in return - and leave his to curve against her stomach, his other arm more fully around her as she nestles in against him. His lips brush to her forehead as her head nestles into the hollow of his neck, and he nods slightly, eyes seeking for hers - and she may see the earnesty in them. Wonderful; potentially also terrible, but it is a prospect and occurence which fills him with an ineffable sense of change and hope whose physical manifestion at present is, contradictorily, contained within Darsce without any visible change. Her expression reveals its own contradictions, observed by Jethaniel with eyes that also display his affection, and he smiles as she presses herself to him once more. "It will not be." Of that, he seems certain despite the fears, the uncertainties of their future. Jethaniel holds Darsce close, feels the motions of their child growing inside her, and as her breathing slows toward sleep, he explains. "I have you."

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