No Regrets

Xanadu Weyr - Thea's Weyr

This clearing is sheltered by a thick canopy of trees, which seems supported at its centre by an immense, wild-growing fellis tree. Hanging from one of its high branches is a swing, made up of two ropes and a seat of softwood and leather. The grass is tall here and interrupted in places by clusters of white and blue alyssum. Alyssum covers the indentation of the wallow, remaining hardy despite being continually crushed. The constant sound of herdbeast in their pens can be heard close-by, though its source is invisible through the foliage.

The cottage itself is made of white softwood, like birch, though creeping vines cover all four of its walls from the outside and even encircle the brown-shuttered windows and matching door. The interior floor and walls are raw wood that has been sanded and lacquered to make them smooth and, for the most part, the inside is quite spacious. The bedroom area is plain, an ornately carved wardrobe providing the only real decoration, and at the rear of the cottage a brown lattice has been built into the doorway to a makeshift kitchen, where a breakfast nook has been carved into the wall, along with short counters. On one counter, a circle has been cut out and fixed with a clay-fired bowl with a nearby matching pitcher.

The middle of the afternoon in the middle of spring makes for a warm day. The windows are open, letting the gusty wind spill into the cottage and bring with it a certain coolness. Warm afternoon light fills the room broken only by the shadows of puffy clouds as they drift across the sky. It's the perfect sort of day for lounging or even getting work done, but Enkavir sits at the table with a stack of records that is, for once, untidy. He jots a note, rubs a hand over his eyes, then lets out a sigh and tosses his pencil down with more force than he really needs.

The sound of a pencil hitting the table then skittering across the wood floor rouses Thea from a deep sleep. She stirs, rolls over, one hand patting the empty space in the bed beside her before she lifts her head to peer through untidy hair in sleep-fuzzed bewilderment about the cottage. One hand lifts to sweep dark strands back and off her face and there is Enkavir over at the table. "What time is it?" Sleep-furs her voice as she drops her head back on the pillow, blinking heavy lids and trying to get them to stay open.

Enkavir scowls at the pencil as if it is the pencil's fault for waking Thea up. "Sorry, love, I didn't mean to wake you." He shoves his chair back and goes to snag the pencil, then toys with it idly as he leans a hip against the table. "Middle of the afternoon… a few hours from dinner probably." He finally tosses the pencil back on the desk, lightly enough that it rolls to a stop against his nearly toppling stack of papers. "I was just trying to get a little bit of work done, but it's not going very well." A flick of his eyes take in her sleep-fuzzed appearance and he stifles a smirk. "You want me to go out so you can go back to sleep?"

"No I," Thea clears her throat, "I need to wake up or I'll never sleep tonight." She lifts a hand to rub at her eyes and when it drops, the pale ice green of them is hazy when the lids lift. She takes in the paperwork on the table, her gaze lifting to his face, taking in his posture, tone and face. "Not going well? A problem, Kav?" She frowns slightly in concentration, still not fully awake. One hand fumbles at the table beside her, feeling for something, but she keeps her eyes on him while waiting for his answer.

"You're probably right." Enkavir watches her with his common intensity, following the motion of her hands and eyes as he remains where he is. "Not really a problem. I'm just having a hard time concentrating." He tips his head toward a pot of klah, lifts his brows. "It's a little warm out but do you want some klah? It might help clear your head some."

Thea isn't having any luck finding what she's looking for, so she turns her head away for a moment, snags her hairbrush, swings her legs off the bed and sits up in one fluid motion. "Sure, klah would help." She rises, one hand smoothing her rumbled shirt down over her leather trous, muttering under her breath something about sleeping in riding gear as she walks towards Enkavir, her eyes wary as she carefully asks, "Anything you want to share?"

Enkavir turns, abandoning work and tossed pencil to fill a mug with klah. It's hot enough for steam to roll off of it, a good indicator that Thea's not the only one who has a head that could use clearing. He cradles it in both hands as he ambles back, watching her smooth and tidy herself with a hint of a smile. "I thought about trying to get you into something more comfortable but you were so fast asleep…" he trails off with a shrug and offers her the mug. The smile fades to nothing, to be replaced by serious thought as Enkavir absently pulls a sleeve down, then shoves it back up over his elbow - a nervous gesture. "I do want to talk to you about it, whenever you're awake enough."

Thea accepts the mug gratefully, cupping it with both hands, her brush looped in one finger as she lifts to take a sip, "Thanks." She eyes him over the rim, her eyes crinkling into a smile, "Hmm, I appreciate the thought, anyway." She refrains from making quips about that today. Instead she lowers the mug, her eyes flit over his face, that nervous gesture and they sharpen, more alert. "I'm awake enough." She stands there halfway to nowhere in the middle of the cottage, and her expression has that look of 'oh yeah' as she says, "You had mentioned that you wanted to talk to me and something about not sure how much time you had." It ends on a questioning note and she adds tartly, "Not dying are you?" No alarm isn't in her expression, but still, one never knows. There was that head injury…

Enkavir nudges a chair out with his foot. "Sit. It's not the sort of thing that is so urgent you can't move from that spot or anything." He says it lightly, but there's no smile to join the words. He walks around the table to the other chair and flops down in it, legs stretched out in front of him and one elbow propped on the table beside him. "No, I'm not dying. At least, not any more than we're all dying." The morbid turn makes him wince a bit and he's quick to shake his head. "No, I'm fine, it's nothing like that. I just…" Restless fingers flip through some of his paperwork, mussing it even worse. "D'had, or rather Siebith, asked me to stand."

Thea frowns as Enkavir puts the table between them. She lowers herself into that chair, obedient for now, concern on her face. Something is wrong… That's what her expression says as the wary look returns to her eyes. She puts the mug on the table with a bit of a sharp thump and absently raises that brush to begin making some order of her tangled hair. Her eyes remain on him as she brushes, dropping down to the fidgeting he's doing then back up. She pauses when he speaks about Siebeth, lowers the brush, but doesn't speak for a long moment. Then a carefully neutral, "And?"

Enkavir blinks, lifts his eyes from his absent paper ruffling to turn a surprised gaze on Thea. Clearly that neutral single word was not what he was expecting. "And I have no idea what to do about it! I told him I needed some time to think about it, which I'm sure looks really good. Who doesn't just say yes and jump at the chance to stand?" He reaches over to his own mug, long gone cold, and sips at what remains. The cold, syrupy liquid makes him grimace and he pushes it back away - needing something to do with his hands is not a good enough reason to drink that. "I thought maybe you could help me, you know, decide."

There's a soft exhalation of a soft breath Thea didn't know she was holding. She continues to regard him somberly, "Lots of people, so don't worry about how it looks." The words are briefly, almost tersely. She returns to silence, her face impassive although if he is discerning enough, he will see that her eyes are flickering between several emotions. "Maybe we should go to my office, where I do my other business." As soon as the slightly sarcastic words are out of her mouth, she cries, "Oh, I'm sorry! I-" Her hand reaches for him, "I… you're a million miles away from me Kav, how can I help you when it's like a- an interview?"

Enkavir shakes his head, though whether it's at her words or her tone or both, he gives no indication. The suggestion of going to her office has him bristling, stiffening and shifting his weight forward as if he might just walk away entirely. "Nevermind. I'll just figure it out on my own. Like I always do." He stops, eyeing her hand and then her face, his eyes flickering over her features. "We're sitting together at our table, talking about something, what makes it an interview? I have no idea what you're going to say, how you're going to judge this development or my uncertainty, whether you'll want me to stand or not, whether /I/ want to stand or not. I'm totally in the dark here and I'm just…" it's all a rush until it stutters to a stop and he just shoves a hand into his hair. "Just tell me what you think. Please."

Thea's hand comes up and she scrubs at her face, then just leaves her hand there. His movement brings her head up and his words drain the color from her face. Her eyes drop to her empty hand and she withdraws it with a blink. "Forget I said it. Give me a minute." She drops her head, twirling the brush in her hands and from out in the clearing there is a soft croon from Seryth. For a few moments she breathes deeply, then with her head still down, perhaps to allow him some kind of a shield, she says softly, humbly, "'I think it is a big decision and I don't blame you for wanting time to think about it and I'm honored you want to talk to me about it." She stops before adding, "I can't always be so totally objective, Kav, if that's what you want because it's more than a mind-decision. It's a matter of the heart too." She still does not lift her head, "You want me to tell you what I think? An objective thought? Ok, I think they chose well." She remains hidden.

Enkavir mirrors her unconsciously, rubbing at his forehead and then propping his head up with a hand beneath his chin. She looks away, leaving him free to watch her, and when she asks for a minute he gives it to her, quiet and watchful. By the time she begins to speak again his expression has softened and he reaches his free hand across, offering it to her palm up. "Thank you. And I don't… I'm not asking you to not think with your heart. I just need you to not… push me. I'm coming to you to be my safe place, OK?" It's forced out, a frown on his brow but his eyes open to meet hers. "I want to know what you think and what you feel about this but I just might need a little… space or time or-" he breaks off, shaking his head. "I think they made a horrible choice. I'm clearly emotionally defective."

When Enkavir speaks, she lifts her head, the way her eyes lift to his, hesitant at best before they slide away. She silently considers the rest of his words, her eyes move in a tiny side-to-side as she tries to really see what is in his eyes before tentatively lifting a hand to place it in his open palm, "Safe place. I'm honored. Let's hope I don't mess it up, shall we?" Her lips quirk into a half-smile before dropping to their hands, "Kav… I," Her eyes dart a quick, uncertain glance at him, "I'm not sure what you mean by pushing. I won't-" She focuses on something outside the window. Maybe if she doesn't look at him? "The decision has to be yours, I would never push you into it." She tilts her head, returning to him, "Space then, maybe you do. That's fine. You could… go spend a few days up in the Yokohama? Get the big picture?" A half-attempt at humor but also half-serious. His next words are simply absorbed and she responds, "Well, aren't we all in some ways?"

Enkavir lets out a rush of a sigh, squeezing her hand as he shakes his head. "I know you aren't going to push me to a decision, love." His free hand reaches up to rub at his temple and his eyes slide closed for a moment. "Sometimes I feel like we're speaking different languages." There are equal measures of frustration and amusement there though and he's quick to reassure her with, "There's nothing to mess up. I don't mean to make you feel… responsible somehow. All I meant was, please let me take this at my own pace, which you are doing. Thank you." Another little squeeze and he manages a faint smile for her, watching her eyes. "I'm not going to go anywhere. It's mental space but… let's not analyze my weird thinking any more. Standing." The subject at hand. "I don't know if I want to be… away from you for that long."

Thea ponders this, "Oh, that kind of space." There's a small, soundless laugh, "Different languages. Kinda comes with us having different genders I think Kav. We'll muddle through." Her other hand lifts to place that unused hairbrush on the table, freeing her hand to prop her chin as she returns his gaze thoughtfully, "All right, Standing." She mulls that over, "It will be hard." An understatement. "There will be time to be together though, not much, but some." She sighs, "I wish you didn't have to go at all in order to be a Candidate." It's a wistful comment and she looks down at their hands, her fingers curve round his, "It would give you some time for that mental space you're wanting." Her voice trails off into thought, her eyes flick back to his. "Kav, if you want the chance, though, I can wait for you. It won't be easy and I'll not hold you back."

"I have to admit," Enkavir offers with a smirk, "Even with the communication difficulties I'm glad we're different genders." He's quick to shake his head, amusement turning inward instead. "But anyway. Standing." Letting out a slow exhalation he returns her thoughtful look and nods as she speaks. He tips his hand as she curls her fingers, moving to lace them together. "The rules strike me as a little silly, but I know on top of everything I'll be busy with silly chores and the like." His nose wrinkles a bit. "Which is another part of it, but not nearly as big of a consideration." Her last makes a slow smile spread across his lips and he lifts her hand to plant a kiss on the back of it. "Thank you for that, my love. It makes at least one bit of this a little easier to muddle through. I guess the other main part is whether I do want the chance. I'm not sure I want someone else in my head. I'm not sure I want to be part of the whole dragonriding… thing. I want some purpose but I'm not sure that's the purpose I want."

Thea's lips curve in shared amusement, not commenting on his quip, but she is more relaxed now as she listens, before pointing out, "Most of those chores are to keep the young ones busy. Those with positions already will keep them and spend the majority of the day doing them. Satoris has his mine, D'son wants Vivian, Niva will want you helping with that new archive room." At that kiss to her hand a look akin to pain flits across her face, but by the time he looks back up is it gone. She does not speak again of releasing, being alone or waiting, instead, "I know many Candidates are not sure, even up to the point they are out on the Sands the day of the hatching." Not persuasion, just fact. "Hmm, sharing a brain for someone who likes his mental space. An unnerving thought. Might want to ask someone what it is like." A casual suggestion. She tilts her head at his last comment, "Can you think of one you would want?" It's all about options.

Enkavir can't help but snicker softly, shaking his head. "I bet D'son does want Vivian," he quips again, but it's a brief moment of mirth that is easily submerged in the more serious conversation. "Sorry, couldn't help myself. Do you know… another dragon rider who used to be like me? Or who is like me? I guess you could tell me more about what you think it is like but… the dragon that would choose me-" he breaks off, wilting a bit and shaking his head. "It's probably a moot point. I'm getting all worked up and I'll end up right back where I am in the end." Thoughtful, trying not to slip away, he meets her eyes again and rolls a shoulder in a shrug. "I don't know. I want to help somehow, to make some sort of difference. And I think that's /possible/ as a dragonrider, I'm just not sure it's generally the case. I guess there aren't many other options open to me that would allow that either though."

Thea grins briefly, smothering the snicker that rises in her throat. She shakes her head, "I don't know -anyone- like you, my Kav." There's a bit of pride in her tone and she gives his hand a little tug to emphasize it. "Many are shallow, self-seeking boozers, but there are a few…" Again with a tiny headshake, "I've never met one who thinks about life and cares as deeply as you do." She bypasses the brain-sharing topic for the moment, meeting his eyes, accepting his answer, "It is as good a way as any other, I would guess. It isn't usually the case as many are content to just be satisfied with their own personal gain, but you -are- different." Again, pointing out a fact. She is quiet for a moment. One finger of her free hand reaches to trace the fingers he has linked with hers and she studies them intently before speaking again. Almost as if starting a different topic, she asks casually, "Kav, something fell into place for me up there on the Yokohama. May I share it with you?"

Enkavir arches a brow, faint smirk ghosting around his lips. "Perhaps we should all be grateful for that, mmm? I think I'd throttle the guy if I met someone else like me wandering around." He winks, playful or a moment as he returns the tug to her hand. "I suppose like anything else, it is what you make of it. I think…" but he trails off, scooting his chair around the table in a series of awkward creaks and screeches and thumps until he's beside her. "Tell me. Then I'll tell you what else I think."

Thea flashes Enkavir a grin, "I assure you I am immensely so." His shifting and chair-scooting is cause for pause, too noisy for talking, but she leans to nudge his side with her shoulder playfully, offering a simple, "Thanks." He knows what she means. Her head dips, suddenly, inexplicably shy as she begins, "Impressing Seryth is something I cannot really put into words. And trying to explain what it's like having a dragon in my head as nearly, if not more impossible. But I can give you a word picture of what it is like - at least for me." She takes a deep breath, "It's like living in a windowless Archive Room all your life with plenty of things to read and learn about." Her voice is serene, at peace as she explains it. Her eyes lift to his, but they have the focus of someone seeing into the far distances and the same wonder she had in them when she first saw all of Pern below her. "Seryth came and my mind…expanded for her. It was much like when I stood on the bridge and looked out into the infinity of space. It was that much of a difference. And that wonderful." She blinks back to him and shrugs, "Dunno if that helps…"

Enkavir chuckles, a low breathy sound as he quirks a brow her way. "One of me is all anyone should have to handle, it's true." He turns the nudge into a lean, tipping his head to lightly kiss her cheek, but that is all the response her gratitude gets. He lifts his head as hers bows, watching her with eyes narrowed slightly, his whole body leaning toward her as he tries to absorb and process what she's saying. Her analogy is a perfect one, he nods slowly with a slow-to-bloom smile beginning to curve his lips. "I've certainly had that exact experience myself so… that does help. I guess-" he breaks off, and he clears his throat, a frown darting across his brow. When his eyes dart to hers there is a sheen of emotion over them and he lets out a quick breath. "That was exactly the thing for you to say. I don't suppose I can give up the chance at that. And… if it does happen for me, I can make it what I will. Any dragon who'd choose me will be one I can work with, right?" He makes it sound like some dragonic ninny or layabout will suddenly be claiming space in his head, driving him crazy.

Some unnamed tension in Thea slips away somewhere between that kiss and the expression behind that luster of his eyes. "Thank you, Kav. I'm glad, if it helps you." She offers him what would be a radiant smile if it were not for the poignant sadness within her eyes. His next words pull her from wherever her mind is, "Oh, well. I can't say for sure, Kav. It's like life in that way. No guarantees. I've been told the stronger of the pair bond will have the upper hand." She cants her head, sliding him a twinkling look out of the corner of her eyes, "Somehow I don't think you'd be the weaker one." She snickers to herself about that, adding, "And you learn to work with each other, or some do. Others fight the bond, like…well X'hil does it a lot." She pauses a beat, "You were going to say something else though. What else were you thinking?"

Enkavir tips his head, watching her sidelong with an upward glance. He slides his free hand down the angle of her shoulder, a different angle now that the tension has leeched out of her. It deepens his smile a bit, though still the curve is nowhere near the gift she gives him with that nearly radiant smile. "If I am the weaker one I suppose I deserve whatever I get, hmm? It might be nice to have a… I don't know. Someone else who gets me I suppose." He arches a brow then, lifting his head to glance toward the distant clearing. "He does? What is Kinseth like? Do you ever talk to Seryth about what the other dragons are like? I guess I don't really get how they interact either." For a moment he blinks, trying to remember back in the conversation before her poignant analogy. "Oh. I was just going to say, I think I'd rather see, with your support, than regret the not knowing."

Thea's eyes flick down to Enkavir's lips then back to his eyes, her smile answers his, her eyes dance with a bit of tease, "Oh, don't think it's all that easy," Thea chides Enkavir gently, "Someone who gets you isn't an automatic thing." She leans closer with one finger shaking under his nose like an irate Harper would scold an errant apprentice. "It takes work, just like all relationships." A bit of a laugh bubbles up, "Might not be a male, you know. You'd have to learn a whole different language in that case." She merely shrugs about Kinseth, "They talk like we do, I guess. Was never interested to know what Kinseth is like, to tell you the truth." She sobers at his last statement, "Regret can be the hardest thing to live with."

Enkavir rolls his eyes at the chiding and the finger waggling. "Shells, a green. That's just what I need. /Three/ of you ganging up on me and nowhere to hide. One of them inside my brain, giving me a hard time about even the things I'm smart enough to keep to myself." He feigns despair, covering his eyes. "I changed my mind. Not worth the risk." Peeking out at her through his fingers, he smirks, then lets his hand drop, rolling his neck to work out a kink or two - stress. "I guess I just meant, how is he different that they argue? Why would he pick X'hil? It's all so… bizarre." Her final words make him nod slowly and he mumbles, "Yeah. Yeah, it is. Hey." Looking down at her, he gives her hand a quick squeeze. "Thanks for talking through it with me."

Thea laughs, shaking her head and pretends to pout, "I rather like those odds." She declares her ignorance, "I dunno why they pick who they pick, Kav. All I know is most folks who Impress grow together into what they become." His thanks merely receives a return squeeze. "You're welcome. I hope it was a safe enough place for you to be. Perhaps it's a little like dragons with us, too, Kav. It takes time to grow together." And time is really all they have.

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