Things That Need Sayin'

Xanadu Weyr - Averil's Room
This room is small by any standards. Just large enough for a bed, a battered trunk of clothing, an accompanying wardrobe and the mountain of art supplies nearly overwhelming the small table in the corner. Shelves line every available inch of wall, all of them loaded with paint supplies, charcoal, canvas, frames and paper and adorned with colorful scarves, belts and jewelry. It is, in short, chaos executed in a pointedly artful fashion.

Shiloh knocks on the door.

Averil doesn't so much as glance up from the watercolor he is working at the knock, calling out, "It's open," before turning back to chew on the end of his brush while surveying his handiwork. The painting on the easel is clearly for a romance novel cover, complete with a dramatically posed 'Hero' and a woman clinging in a swoon to one thickly muscled arm.

It still takes a moment before that door is opened. And even then, Shiloh does not step into the room. Simply stands on the threshold, peeking in at the painting Averil, his hat held in his opposite hand. The artwork is given a glance but, truly, it is the artist that has his attention. "Is this a bad time?"

Averil was expecting the knocker to be.. Well, anyone else, really. A fact that is made clear when he twists around (with the paintbrush still gripped in his teeth) and stares at Shiloh. It is the fact that the beastcrafter remains in the hallway that has him flushing lightly, one hand dragging through his hair as he pulls the brush free and shakes his head. "Bad time…? No, not at all." Pausing a beat, he turns to busy himself with cleaning the brush, his head tilting toward chairs pushed up against the wall. "Come in, just shove the stuff off a chair." Play it cool, Averil, he is reminding himself. Remember to breath (also important).

Shiloh is not surprised. He's fairly certain his arrival was unexpected. Whether or not it is unwelcome is what has him hesitating in the door. And then, well. This is not exactly a public space that he is invading, is it? With a clearing of his throat, he takes that invitation after only a moment's pause, stepping into the room and closing the door gently behind him. The things on the chair are most certainly not shoved off, but rather gathered up and carefully placed aside somewhere Shiloh hopes is acceptable. And then he sits. Awkwardly. Looking like he has no idea what to do with himself, hat twisted in his hands before he sets it on a knee to keep from ruining it. And then silence. Because maybe Shiloh didn't plan this far in advance (or maybe, what he envisioned has already differed enormously from what is).

Averil is a bundle of raw nerves although he is doing a commendable job of concealing it. Still, it is reflected in the way he fusses with the brushes and paints, resisting the urge to so much as glance over his shoulder. There is only so much willpower packed into that small frame, though, and eventually he is turning around to observe his guest. It's awkward, that silence, awkward enough that eventually he lowers his gaze and perches on the very edge of a stool. "I…" Trailing off, he abruptly redirects himself, the tip of his tongue brushing off his lips as he fidgets with rolling down his sleeves. He has no idea what to say, either. Particularly since he has clearly said far to much, already. "How are the runners?"

The runners are not why Shiloh is here. But he will at least answer that question with a calm, "they're fine," that is not meant to brush off the topic so much as provide an honest answer. The runners are fine. Happy, healthy, probably napping. "But I didn't come to discuss the runners." Even if getting to the reason for his visit is somewhat challenging to do. "Avi… I am here because there are things I need to say that you deserve to hear rather than read. But I can't promise to be good at this. I can't promise I won't… muck it up more. And… Well, if you'd rather not hear it, then that is fine, too." He's certainly not going to force him to listen. "But I think it's things that need sayin'."

Averil isn't sure if he is ready to hear what he is certain Shiloh has come to say. And, for a moment, his gaze flicks away to stare blindly at the jumbled mess of belongings on the floor. Glancing up at Shiloh's face, he frowns faintly, leaning forward to absently gather up a length of lace to twist between his fingers. "You aren't the one who mucked things up, Shiloh," he admits in quiet tones. "I am. And I know it. I'd.. I'd not.. take it back," he admits. He can't do that, cause it is the truth as far as he is concerned. "I never would have said it outloud, though." He misses working in the barn, misses keeping company, and misses their rides. "I didn't mean to upset you."

Shiloh listens and, to his credit, does not interrupt. But he clearly does not agree. "You have every right to say how you feel. And if that's how you feel…" Well. That's the sensitive topic now, isn't it? That is why he is here, isn't it? "You didn't upset me in the way you probably think you did." A little shift of his weight, and while the urge to look away (probably to squint at something) is strong, he won't allow but a moment of 'looking elsewhere' before he's watching Averil again. "I like you, Averil. An' I wouldn't have pursued you if I didn't think there could be something more between us. But I'm…" Scared? It is probably the most apt description, but Shiloh won't say it. Instead, he lets the sentence dies and starts anew with, "I don't wanna lose you. But I don't wanna hurt you either an'… I dunno if I'm the person you think I am. I'm not perfect, Averil. And I don't know that I'm ready to love someone." It's the truth, at least.

Keeping his gaze on Shiloh's face is the hardest thing that Averil has had to do. Normally, trusting people is not something he does. He's learned the hard way not to indulge in such things. But it is Shiloh and he simply doesn't believe that the beastcrafter would lie to him. It is the words though, that have him tilting his head, a flicker of confusion trailing through pale eyes. "I didn't think you did," he assures. "Love me, I mean. And not to say that that couldn't happen," he adds quickly. "I wasn't saying how /you/ felt, Shiloh. I was saying how I felt. I wouldn't.. I wouldn't lie about that," he adds quietly. Frustrated on so many levels he drags his hands through his hair before exhaling a quiet sigh. "I don't want you to be perfect. I like you how you are. I don't want you to change. And I don't want you to feel like you have to say something like to me just because I've said it. It's how I feel. I'm happy and relaxed when I'm with you. It's where I /want/ to be." Which sounds impossibly lame when spoken outloud, but there is not a lot he can do about that. "You might never love me, at least in a romantic sense, and that's okay."

"Is it?" Okay if Shiloh never loves him. But while he might challenge him on that point, he will endeavor to do it gently. "Have you ever been in love before, Averil?" He's pretty sure he knows the answer, but he is not going to assume it. "I was once. I gave my heart to someone, and he gave it back in pieces. It's not as bad as it was, but it's not whole again either." A hint of a frown. A tip of his head, and he plays idly with the band on his hat and lets his gaze roam around the room. "Who do you think I am?" he wonders. "What do you see when you look at me?"

Averil has never been in love before and it shows in the faint shake of his head and the flicker of embarassment that traces over his features. "I don't.." Trailing off,he brushes his tongue over his lips, his gaze dropping to the floor. "It wouldn't make me happy," he admits in response to the first. "But.." It wouldn't surprise him, either. It is the admission that brings his gaze sweeping back up, pale eyes holding an uncomfortable measure of hurt /for/ the beastcrafter. The last though? That at least is easy to answer. "A gentleman. A real gentle man. I know I'm safe with you. Like.. I would never ride off into the woods with anyone. But I know you wouldn't hurt me. I don't know /how/ I know it," he admits. "But I do. You're thoughtful and kind and awkward when you are flustered or surprised. I don't think I know everything about you, Shiloh. But I do know those things."

"I am not the only gentle person in the world, Averil." The words come quietly, and with a hint of almost regret to them. "And I am not always gentle." He will not go further on that point, though it is meant to be cautionary. To point out that he is more than what Averil has seen of him so far. For a moment he sits, his gaze dropped to his hat which has wound up in his hands again, twisted around out of idle habit before he sighs and looks at Avi once more. "Sometimes it scares me," he admits. "How much you trust me. Because I don't wanna hurt you. Ever. And I'm afraid that I will, on accident. Like… Like I did in the baths. Like I did at the barn. Because you trust me, and I'm… not sure I'm worthy of that much trust."

Averil exhales a breath as he listens to Shiloh, pale eyes dropping to the floor. "I don't know what you want me to say," he admits quietly. He /thinks/ Shiloh is talking about sex, but he's not sure and he's not ready to venture down that particular road, yet. "I don't think you are perfect, if that is what you are worried about." But compared to the people he usually finds himself around? Shiloh stands head and shoulders above them. Falling silent for a long moment, he sighs when he finally looks back up at Shiloh's face. "The baths were a misunderstanding," he points out. "The barn was my fault. I don't.. I don't know what to say," he admits. "I understand you don't feel the same way. It's not something you need to apologize for. I'm not as fragile as I look. I just… I stayed away because I felt bad that I upset you." He's nervous, though, and trying very hard not to let his guard up. "I am sorry that it upset you. I wish hadn't said it." Not that it would be any less how he feels, but there wouldn't be this awkwardness between them.

Shiloh rakes a hand through his hair, a hint of frustration in his expression. It is for himself. For what he's trying to say but can't quite hit on. "You don't have to say anything," he decides. "I'm not here to listen to you — I mean I am," he adds hastily, lest his meaning be misinterpreted. "I just mean that I came to say stuff to you. Not because I needed you to say stuff to me." He's not sure that's better, but it's as good as he's gonna get. "Look," he decides. "I guess… I'm just worried that when you look at me, you see somethin' that's not real. And someday, you're gonna see the real me, and you're not gonna like it as much. I'm not a hero in a book. I'm not… That," he decides, jutting his chin toward the painting Averil was working on. "I can't be. An' I'm worried that's what you love. A me that don't exist. Look," he sighs, scrubbing his hands over his face briefly. "This ain't really why I came by. I mean it is. But… not." A heave of a sigh and he settles back in that chair, head tipped back to study the ceiling. "This ain't about wrong an' right. I came to explain how I feel, and to tell you that I miss you. That's all I got."

Averil twists around to glance at the painting when Shiloh gestures toward it. For a moment, he studies the image before his gaze sweeps back to the man in his room. "Those men are not real. I know that." Still, he would argue that Shiloh has proven himself far more reliable then the men in those stories tend to be. That, however, is not the point and he knows it. Dropping the lace in his hand, he leans forward a bit, his arms resting lightly atop his thighs. "I miss you, too," he admits quietly. It's horrible, working alone in his room. That that used to be his solace is not a fact that is lost on him, at all. "So what do we do?"

"What do you want to do?" That's an important question, with an important answer, that Shiloh absolutely wants to hear. But he will also offer his own in the form of, "I said I missed you. An' you miss me. So seems like we should just… go back like it was." Maybe. Except, "I don't mean ignore what happened. Just… I dunno. I want to spend time with you. I wanna teach you to ride, and I wanna go to the beach, and I wanna watch you sketch while I fix tack…" He wants it all back, like they had before. "An' maybe you can tell about… Tej…" even if maybe Shiloh is a little worried that to speak of her will bring the witch around and that is not something he is ready for. "And I wanna hold your hand and I wanna kiss you…"

Averil lowers his gaze, strands of golden hair spilling into his face as he listens to Shiloh's response. When he looks back up, pale eyes are crinkled at the corners despite the shimmer of tears in the depths. "I think that sounds perfect," he admits. It's the last that inspires a pinkening of his cheeks and pleased laugh, that is accompanied with a far more wry smile. "Can we get out of here? Get some food? There are cafes.. or the tavern?" Rolling to his feet, he gathers up his hair, twisting it into a knot at the back of his head and promptly securing it with a paint brush. "Tej.. Tej is a force of nature," he admits in tones that make it clear that he loves her immensely. "You'll get used to her, though," he promises.

"Yeah," comes as Shiloh pushes to his own feet, hat finding his head in a practiced motion. "Whereever you wanna eat," he allows. "Though… maybe not the Wherry." The tavern doesn't hold exceptionally great memories, even if they're not especially unpleasant, either. And while the mention of Tej might make the beastcrafter brace just a bit (he is absolutely certain he will get used to the human-hurricane that is the other harper) he won't voice those concerns. Instead, he steps over to Averil, closing the distance between them, and reaches out to tuck a lock of hair behind is ear. "I really did miss you," he murmurs, the words low and soft and affectionate. "An' I want you to know that I never wanted you to leave. I always want you at the stables." Because whether it was true or not, Shiloh doesn't really buy that "I was busy with work" excuse that came to him via letter.

Averil tilts his chin up at the brush of fingers in his hair, the admission inspiring a soft smile as he reaches out to curl his fingers around the beastcrafter's free hand. "I like working in the stables," he admits. "I like looking from a drawing and seeing you near by working on tack, or talking to the runners.." Or just relaxing. It is the rest though that has him drawing in a slow breath, his chin dipping in a firm nod. "I was being cowardly," he admits. Because there is no way he will not admit his own failings. In the wake of the words, he squeezes Shiloh's hand, his own sliding up until their arms are looped and he's close against the beastcrafter's side. "We can go to that cafe in the tree," he suggests. "Maybe take a walk afterwards?" He's missed his companion and anything he can do to prolong their spending is more then welcome.

There is a moment in which Shiloh simply studies him, letting dark eyes roam over Averil's face and hair before meeting those misty-grey once again. "Yeah," he agrees, straightening as his arm is taken and the artist tucks himself against his side. "I'd like that." A casual meal and a comfortable walk are exactly what he needs.

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