You Do You

Xanadu Weyr - Shady Walkway
Intended to dim the wealth of sunlight for the greenhouse's more shade-loving plants, curved lattice-work arches are spread the length of one pathway in even increments. Wisteria dangles from their webbed heights, rich purples, soft lilacs, and gentle white blossoms hanging from long, delicate tendrils just out of reach. Everpresent petals soften the crunch of gravel underfoot, lending to the cool, hushed, mysterious aire. White-edged hostas encircle the base of each tree, kept from sprawling into neighboring plants by a ring of blue stones and careful keeping. Heuchera thrives, tiny white flowers thrusting from a nest of purple leaves, the red of their stems matched by the wide, rounded caladium leaves that rustle gently on the cycled air. Coral bell variants are plentiful, Xanadu's breeders having taken particular delight in producing a range of colors from silver to salmon to chartreuse, some leaves splayed wide and flat, while others curve and curl in imitation of a young girl's gather gown. Pink and white foamflowers line the edges of the pathway, their tufted upward arch subtly mirroring the wisteria's fall. Other plants have been woven betwixt and between, sweet-smelling bell-shaped flowers and bleeding hearts dangling over tiny mauve heliotropes, while flat, fuzzy leaves that beg to be touched provide texture amongst this otherwise floral-focused section of the greenhouse.

Winter tends to make the rest of the gardens not so enjoyable a place to be, but the greenhouse? Quite the opposite! It's at least comfortable in here and warm. Isn't that an added bonus? Mid-morning means fewer souls about, so that's another to tag to the list of 'Reason to Be Here'! What could surely bring Ru'ien to these parts? Inspiration! He has a small window of time or perhaps half the day to devote to whatever he chooses — and this was his choice. The reasoning is obvious enough, given he's crouched himself down by a particular cluster of bleeding hearts and a small notebook in hand. Sketching (more like doodling, really) away and in a world of his own. He is dressed in his usual 'eccentric' casual way; that is to say the long sleeved, thin fabric 'blazer'-like jacket is nothing so out of sorts. The tunic shirt he wears beneath it is more feminine in style and cut, though perhaps it's how it settles on him. It's the "skirt" that does it, simple and black (it matches the blazer, go figure) with pleated folds barely visible and widely spaced. Knee length, as he crouches there it's difficult to see — given he's wearing black cloth "leggings" beneath it (winter!) and his boots, calf length and thick soled, are neither one style or the other. His hair, dark auburn in color, falls well past his shoulders; he's not bothered to bind it at the moment.

The greenhouse is a source of both calm and inspiration for Averil as well. It is a place he frequents during the day with his own sketchbook ladened satchel slung over his shoulder. Today, he is strolling, content to be away from the hustle and bustle of the crafter's hall, his attention firmly, and perhaps foolishly, focused on the flora overhead. It is the wisteria that has his attention, the gracefully draped blooms more than enough to command his attention to the point that he completely fails to notice that he is not alone. Unfortunately, that lack of observation has him walking /into/ the other artist— unless of course Ru'ien is observant and quick enough to move out of his path. Whether the collision is avoided, or actual, it is enough to have Avi dancing back, one hand coming up to his lips in an expression of surprise. "OH! I'm so sorry," is breathed before he is reaching up to push his hair back off his face and adjust the headband holding golden locks off his face. It's delicate that band, pale blue in color with a little bow that is only visible nod to his preference in clothing.

Of all the expected things to happen in a greenhouse, this was not on Ru’ien’s list! He’s so absorbed in his designing that he doesn’t catch Averil’s approach until the young man is on top of him — almost literally. It doesn’t knock him over, given that the young artist barely has any height or weight compared to him. At most, he’s jostled and his latest scribble ends up with a hard dark line across the page. There’s a startled grunt like sound and as he puts one knee down to regain his balance, it’ll allow him time to look sidelong and up (just a bit) to him. “S’fine! Nothing broken, damaged and definitely no offence taken,” Ru’ien quips, mouth curving in a lopsided grin. “Must be my fault, for crouching on the side of a path.” There’s a low chuckle, his gaze lingering a moment appreciatively on the hairband, but with more curiosity to the satchel.

It is possible that Averil /could/ be more embarrassed if he tried, although he would be hard pressed to think of any circumstance in which that might happen. It is a fact etched on his face in deep crimson hues and the flutter of his hands as he starts to reach out to steady, realizes touching MORE might be beyond the pale, and ends up looking vaguely like he just might be attempting to flutter away. "I was looking up," he offers by way of explanation. And, upon realizing how that sounds, he points toward the wisteria overhead. "At the flowers." Which, really? In retrospect? Not much better. "For a painting," he adds quickly. "Although, I suspect the subject might not be the flowery sort." No, Averil, Glorioth is most assuredly NOT the flowery sort. "He's not really," he decides aloud— because when embarrassed it is ALWAYS best to babble. "He might actually eat me if I put flowers in his portrait." Probably not, but the gnashing of teeth and bellows of outrage might be close. "Actually," he admits. "He's very nice, if not very loud and a little…." Raising one hand, he twists his wrist in an airy gesture indicating, perhaps, nutty? "I'm babbling." He admits as he takes a step back and lightly clears his throat. "I apologize. Are you sure you are alright?" It has not yet occurred to him that he probably could have ran full tilt into the fellow without raising so much as a bruise. It is, however, at that point that he notices the jacket and the tunic and the skirt (Made easier only because Ru'ien is on one knee) and adds quickly. "I know you! You're Ru'ien.. Well… I don't /know/ you, but F'yr told me about you." Which may, or may not, be better? Which is promptly followed by, “And Tej! Unless you are a different man altogether, in which case, I’ve made a complete fool of myself.”

Ru’ien’s gaze drift upwards as Averil explains, a knowing smirk curving his lips. “Yeah, they’re pretty enough to distract, aren’t they?” he slips in, even if his words happen to overlap some of the younger Harper’s rambling. A brow quirks for the mention of painting, another darted look given to the satchel and a hummed sound of understanding. The rest of the embarrassed rambling earns a low throated chuckling. “It’s fine! The babbling. Sounds like a tough client,” he lightly teases and when asked again if he’s fine, Ru’ien seems to do a check on his person. His notebook is inspected last and that is promptly snapped shut and tucked away along with the writing tool. “Oh, you’ll have to run into me harder than that, I think, to do any damage…” There’s laughter in that tone, to match the lopsided grin that follows.

“That so?” Now Ru’ien really does laugh, feigning sheepishness as he gives Averil another closer look over. “Well, that could be both good and bad —“ He teases yet again, clearly joking. Shifting, he begins to stand and the poor young Harper is probably going to witness just how TALL the greenrider is! And how he often forgets this and has a terrible habit of getting into other’s personal spaces without realizing how intimidating that is. Thankfully, he doesn’t immediately do so with Averil, though he’s grinning broadly that maybe it’ll be enough on its own. “Tej too! Wow, my reputation precedes me!” He even gives a small, overplayed bow. At your service! Straightening again, he’ll stretch out his back and roll his shoulders, while his hands fuss and fidget over smoothing down his clothes. Is he preening? Probably. “You got the right guy,” he assures him again, with a wink. “And who do I have the pleasure of meeting today?”

Averil blinks a few times, pale grey eyes following Ru'ien up and up and up until he is entirely /to/ far up for it to be anything less than mildly alarming. And, while Avi is every inch a harper, insofar as his personal craft and the unrepentant addiction to words? For that moment, that singular moment, he is rendered speechless (and perhaps gaping a little bit like a fish). Fortunately, or not (Is it fortunate when giants— Or is that Marsh-wiggle? There are definitely shades of Puddleglum in the man before him— grin broadly? Doesn't that usually mean they are about to eat you?) Ru'ien's grin inspires his own smile. That expression, though, borders on wryly embarrassed as he brushes one hand over the back of his neck and simply takes it all in. In his defense, it is a LOT to take in. "Ummm…" comes in the face introduction only to be quickly followed with, "Avi! Averil.. Averil… I'm a painter." Beat. "Portraits and illustration, not walls." In case there was any confusion there. Course, when he recovers, and he does recover after a few beats, it is with a flashing smile and embarrassed laugh. "I'd ask of I had hurt you, but I suspect that would be a ridiculous question."

Ru’ien is either used to rendering people speechless or it simply doesn’t register at all. He does catch that smile though and that’s enough to encourage him! There’s another low chuckle and he’ll take a little side step, leaning in (and slightly down) as if to start circling in appraisal of the young artist. “Figured you weren’t a general labor sort — usually they don’t go sporting satchels like that.” He points with one of his long fingers, grin broadening even further (mischievous, not predatory!). At last, a name! Straightening again, that same pointed hand is now offered. “Well met, Averil! Mind if I stick with Avi?” If the gesture is completed, he keeps it brief, the hand soon sweeping back to gesture in a dismissive flick — one thing that Ru’ien is, almost immediately? Animated. “Nah, really! Don’t worry about it? Worse that happened is my last doodle is a little scribbled on the final stroke.” Another flick. No matter! Along with a shrug. “I got others and I needed to get up and stretch anyhow so maybe,” Now his voice drops, playful in timbre. “You did me a favour!”

Avi can't help smiling any more then he can keep from craning his neck to watch Ru'ien circle. "I wouldn't be very good at general labor," he agrees with an unconscious tilt of his head to send his ponytail over his shoulder. It's held in place, that runner tail, by an envious large blue silk bow that matches his headband. "Inevitably, they would ask me to fetch a box and I'd end up trapped under it until they found my body turns later." Gruesome, but true. Physical strength is not his area of expertise. Straightening from his twist as Ru'ien comes back into view, he can help but smile at the mannerisms, mist pale eyes crinkling at the corners. "Avi is fine. The satchel is for my sketchbooks, easier to transport and far less likely to get lost. Are you… were you.. are you.." He's not really sure of the tense there. Fortunately he recovers quickly. "Are you an artist?" It's the mention of getting up and stretching though that has him flashing a wry smile as he notes, "That is a lot of stretching." Tall, so very, very tall.

See, Avi’s going to learn a quick lesson today whether he entirely wanted to or not! And that’s not to wear pretty things or unique things and not expect Ru’ien to notice! That large blue silk bow? You better believe it that he’s going to attempt reaching for it! And not to be cruel or pull — far from it! No, his fingers will just touch and trace, firm enough that Avi might feel the shift while the greenrider admires the younger artist’s tastes. “Where’d you get this?” he asks, curiously and without judgement. The grin is definitely a playful one and not mocking! Never mind that he interjected that gruesome humor of Avi’s, though he wrinkles his nose belatedly. “What a terrible way to go!” he laughs, low in his throat and deeper than most would expect. Is he, was he? Ru’ien’s grin broadens further but he only waits for Avi to recover himself. There’s a shake of his head, a rueful narrowing of his eyes. “Hardly! I’ve just enough skill to doodle concepts and that’s about it.” he explains. “Journeyman Smithcrafter, to be a little more exact? Mostly blacksmithing, but I dabble in jewelry too.”

"Ista," Avi offers readily. "There is a little shop in the open market that has all sorts of bits and bobs and fancy frippery. The woman who runs it and her daughter would be /very/ pleased with you showing up," he notes in wry tones. "Far more to decorate." Volume, he's talking sheer volume. It's that low, deep laugh that has him drawing back a half step, his head tilting as he takes a moment to really take in everything. Admittedly, it's a lot. Of course, that regard is interupted with a quick blink and smile that is absolutely delighted. "I've heard," he admits with a quiet laugh. "I can't even imagine making jewelry, I'm pretty sure that I'd be trying to wear all of it all the time." In the wake of the words, he takes a half step back, pale eyes flicking curiously to the skirt. "Do you always wear your skirt over pants?" Of course, Ru'ien is tall enough and clearly strong enough (being a smith) to be able to neatly handle anyone who might issue with his clothing choices. Avi? Not so much.

“Ista.” Ru’ien echoes back, already committing this to memory. “Does the shop have a name? Maybe if I ever get a little time to myself, I’ll nip on over for a little look,” he muses, mouth curving now to a smirk that is suggestively mischievous. Fox-like, if Pern had foxes! “Oh, that so? Well, maybe you’ve sold me further on this idea.” Ru’ien IS a lot, on any given day, but as long as Avi doesn’t show anything negative to his natural self, the greenrider’s just going to chug along with his strange behaviours and exuberant attitude. “You heard — oh, right! You said you knew me from F’yr, eh? I’ll have to give him a thank you for the good word.” There’s a light snickering there, before he sobers. “Well, you do have to test out some of the pieces? Or I do, anyways. Y’know, you’re always welcome to be a living te—model,” Was he just about to say ‘test’? “If you wanted. Beats having to figure out if the set of something is right on a stand. Necklaces are such a pain that way.” He’s rambling now too, which abruptly stops as he takes a look down at his own outfit. Blinking, he darts his gaze back up to Avi, expressionless in his feigned speechlessness. Then it cracks, split nearly in half by that shit-eating grin. Gotcha! “Nope! Just felt like it today. Why? You think it’s too much?” He twists a bit at the hip, striking a bit of a pose. “It’s winter, I didn’t want to freeze!”

Averil is delighted. Absolutely and utterly delighted and not entirely sure if he is /supposed/ to be delighted. Experience, and far to many bruises and broken bones, has taught them that it is not always safe to be pleased about such things. But then there is Ru.. the living embodiment of everything he thinks is -just grand- and there is no way, in the face of all of that energy and.. well that-ness.. that he cannot smile broadly. The expression is accompanied with an equally pleased laugh, his head giving a quick shake. "No, it's not too much," he assures. "I don't really think there is such a thing as too much, really. And it's practical. The pants." Which is promptly followed by, "Frida Fripperies. The shop, not the pants." Which is also followed with a longer pause before he admits. "My dresses are… more floofy? Lots and frills and lace, but they go with my shoes." Course, he almost nevers wears them outside his room anymore. He does, however, twist at the torso, rifling through his satchel to produce a water color which he promptly holds out to the greenrider. "This one is my favorite. I got head ribbons and pearls and earrings at Frida's."

If Ru’ien had a say or any knowledge of Averil’s uncertainty, he would say for sure that the young artist should be delighted! Why not? While his life has had its own hardships, the greenrider has adopted a very ‘devil may care’ attitude towards life. In a nutshell? He’s close to giving zero cares to what anyone else thinks on his choices! Averil’s broad smile and general positive attitude, along with the laughter, only fuels Ru’ien further. “Oh good!” he quips, while giving the skirts a slight ‘swish’ with his hands before adopting a more casual stance. “That was the goal! I can’t obviously Craft in this getup but sometimes I just like a little fun and flare when I’m on my downtime. I save going all out for wild nights~” Ru’ien winks to that, as if sharing some unspoken code to Averil. “Huh, catchy name!” Which he’s going to jot down, once he pulls out his notebook again. He’s just completed that, when he catches on to the younger artists’s continued conversation. “Floofy?” Belatedly, but then there’s his answer! Conveniently right there, visually! Averil won’t mind if Ru’ien just helps himself to the sketchbook, right? That’s what he was offering when it was held out, obviously! If he somehow manages getting it in his hands, the gesture is in no way malicious — it’s simply Ru’ien. “Ooh, don’t you go right for fancy! Don’t skimp on any of the pretty things.” he muses, but in a heartily approving way as his gaze studies the drawing closely.

Avi doesn't bat a lash at the sketchbook being taken. Instead, he steps close enough to peek at the drawing over the edge. "Course, I made my features a little more feminine." Which is not really all that true. Avi can easily pass for a girl without anyone being the wiser. "You have to wear a corset, though," he admits. "Otherwise you lose the narrowed waist." And really? That just ruins the whole effect. "It's much easier when you go places where people don't really know you, though. Otherwise, things can violent pretty fast." And from the frown that momentarily traces over his lips, he knows that from experience. "I can't imagine you have that problem, though," he admits. For one, Ru'ien is /massively/ tall and well.. he's a smith, he has to be strong, as well. It's the mention of 'wild nights' that has him lightly clearing his throat and trying to -look- like he knows what the greenrider is talking about. He doesn't. He has a pretty good idea— clear from the flush of his face— but they could just be flights of fancy. "I really didn't think anyone else did that," he admits. Which, again, is not entirely true. He's been quite emphatically told (usually to the accompaniment of flying fists) that no one else does that.

“You wear make up?” Ru’ien seems very intrigued by that and he’ll give Averil another studious look over. “Do you do your own or you get someone’s help? Because I still can’t get the knack of it but then I’ve only really started to dabble in it recently — and not always.” And he probably needs much more than the young artist. His features are angular but still more stubbornly leaning towards masculine. He peers a little closer at the drawing, then a wistful sigh as he closes it and carefully hands it back. “Corsets! Figures. Never tried one — not a real one because…” His hand sweeps over the front of him. Anyone know where to find a corset big enough? Point made. His brow furrows at the word ‘violent’. “What kind of crowds you been courting, Avi?” Then he blinks and chuckles heartily, mouth curving into a smirk. “Can’t say I get entirely compliments either but at the end of the day I don’t much care?” The greenrider has probably NOT put much thought into being assaulted because Averil may not be off the mark with his assumptions; though if anyone were to pick a fight, they’d likely be somewhat disappointed. Ru’ien doesn’t have the stomach for physical altercations but he’ll damn well do it if he’s cornered — he’s just terrible at it. Now, though, his thoughts begin to drift to other perspectives. “I thought the same thing once and it turns out it’s not uncommon — just a lot don’t flaunt it.” Like himself. “Which is fine, to each their own!” HIs shoulders lift and fall in a passing shrug, his mouth pursed in an amused way. “Weyr’s tend to have a far more lax attitude towards these things.”

Averil is torn between being embarrassed and thrilled at having someone to talk to. There is, after all, a part of him that whispers, 'it's a trap'. Fortunately, or not, it is only a small part and easily ignored. "I own my own," he answers readily. "It's easier and really, the only one I trust not to make me look like a clown is Tej." He's an artist, he's more than comfortable doing his own makeup. It is the suggestion, though, that Ru'ien can't get a corset that has him exhaling a short and disbelieving laugh. "Of course you /can/. Have you seen some of the Lord Holders wives and daughters? I assure you, they make corsets in your size." It is the mention of not caring that has him slanting a pointed look up to Ru'ien's face. "How? I try not to care, but.. people can get violent," he admits. "And I'm not very strong. I've tried fighting back, but that only tends to make things so much worse." Which is coupled with a slow inhale and a mild shake of his head. "Mostly Tejra and I would go to gathers away from Harper's Hall." It's the last though that has him smiling again and maybe, just maybe there -might- be a hint of hero worship in his gaze. There is. There totally is. "If you do go to Frida's," he provides. "She can definitely point you at where to get a proper corset. You want one with /really/ good stays, though."

“Tej does your makeup, does she?” Ru’ien’s grin couldn’t possibly broaden any further and yet it appears too — he’s up to something. Probably already devising some way of seeing if she’d be so kind to him. So far, he either does the bare minimum himself when the mood strikes or had Risali do it for their mutually-proddy nights out. “Ever the helpful one, our Tej!” She may not approve of hearing him put it like that but hey, Ru’ien is Ru’ien~ When does he ever put too much thought into what he’s saying? Blinking, his mouth drops open slightly and then purses into a mock pout that isn’t quite whole — it’s threatening to tip into a smirk at any second. “Did you — “ Ru’ien begins, with just enough humor in his voice to keep out the potential of a mistaken threat; because in the next beat, he’s leaning in (and down, sigh) a bit. “— just call me fat? ‘Cause the only corset I see fitting me, designed for a woman, would be a large lady — not that I am saying a lady with curves is not a beautiful creature in her own right!” But not his tastes all the same! He straightens with a low chuckle, clearly amused until he’s not, eyeing Averil once more at the mention of violence. There’s a click of his tongue. “Some people can’t stomach their own insecurities. Bullies, the lot of them! Idiots, too.” Ru’ien has more colorful language, but he bites his tongue for now. “Y’think people can just leave well enough alone, right?” He flashes Avi one of those bright grins and likely misses some of what is shared thanks to his focus on one topic over the other. “Stays?” he mulls over the unfamiliar term. “That keeps it together, yeah?”

Avi looks absolutely mortified at the thought that his words were taken as calling Ru'ien fat. "Not at /all/," he assures quickly. "But you are not exactly small, either." Which really doesn't sound much better, but it is what it is. "Stays are the metal or bone bits in a corset that holds everything in nice and snug. I prefer metal stays to bone," he admits. "As for makeup, I am pretty sure I can rope Tej into helping me teach you how to do it. If you want that, of course." The observation on bullies, though, has drawing inward, it's a subtle thing, a gesture of self-protection that is just barely noticeable, but present. "There's more than you think," he murmurs quietly. "I'm pretty good at avoiding them." Mostly. "But sometimes they sneak up on you when you least expect it." It's hard not to smile back at the grinning, though, and harder still to keep hold of fear when faced with unrepentant energy.

Ru’ien blinks, his now blank expression almost comical in and of itself, until his features shift back into that ever-playful smirking of his. “Avi, dear, I think you missed the point — it was a joke!” He almost goes to boop the smaller artist on the nose with a lone finger but stops himself short and merely rolls the hand in a teasing gesture instead. “That so? I guess I will just have to try both, if I ever do decide to take the plunge!” he muses, his hand now returning to tuck under his own chin, his index finger resting against his cheek. His head shakes slightly, his grin returning full force. “I’ll make do on my own! It’s not every day I wear it, anyhow.” When the topic drifts back to more sobering tones, his grin eases back a little but overall his main attitude in approach is positive outlook. “Yeah, they can do that! Sneaky bastards, eh? Shame you feel you have to hide … or maybe you’ll find some confidence here, anyways!”

Avi can't help grinning at the near boop to the nose, pale grey eyes crinkling at the corners as he watches Ru. He's never been particularly good with social cues, but he recognizes them enough to know that he's missed the point. He's relaxed though, more relaxed then he's been with anyone who isn't Tejra. "I'm not worried about it," he admits. "That gives them power they don't need to have." Bullies, he's talking about bullies. "I've gotten pretty good at avoiding them." And it's just easier to avoid it all then try to deal with it. That, however, is not something he really wants to dwell on, not when he is talking to someone who is so clearly impossibly comfortable with themselves. "How.. If this is an unwelcome question? Ignore it, please… but how long have you been so flamboyant? I mean, you are so /free/." And he isn't even about to pretend that that is not exactly where he wants to be. “Confidence is something I am working on. I don’t.. I don’t not dress up when I want to, though.”

Ru’ien gives a shallow shrug to his shoulders and spreads his hands out — to each their own! Though he agrees with some of Avi’s reasoning, mainly avoiding and not worrying on the issue. He’s good at deploying similar tactics, in a parallel sort of way. His head tilts a little when he’s prompted about another question and one that may be unwelcomed! It certainly grabs his attention, though when Averil asks it, he only grins, shameless in the wake of the potential seriousness of it. Him? Flamboyant? You don’t say! “I’ve always just been this way? Way I see it, is if folks don’t like me as I am, then maybe they aren’t worth knowing, y’know? And if they’re gonna get deeply offended by the way I act or dress, well…” He flicks a hand in a sweeping gesture. Buh bai! Next he snaps his fingers and points directly at Avi. “That’s the right of it,” he muses with a quick wink. “Confidence! Be proud of who you are and don’t make excuses to please others. You do you!”

Averil cannot help smiling, but it is the sort of smile that makes it abundantly clear that he's found a 'hero' to look up to. "You do you.." The words are mulled over and, after a few moments spent considering, met with a firm nod of his chin. "I'm going to do that," he decides. "Thank you." Because he could not live with himself if he didn't take the opportunity to say that. "I.. I have to get some work done, but if you ever have the urge to have a portrait done? Don't hesitate to let me know, please." And, after another momentary pause, he takes a step back before smiling a bit more. "It was really nice to have gotten to meet you."

Ru’ien doesn’t mind or doesn’t catch that smile in its entirety — if he had, he would’ve awkwardly tried to dissuade any sort of ‘hero’ being labeled to him. He was only being his shamelessly honest self and offering the truth as he saw it! “That’s the spirit!” he encourages yet again, still grinning much like the fool before giving a flourishing gesture. Don’t let him keep you! He understands all about work calling and likely the greenrider has dallied here long enough. “A portrait, hmm? Y’know… I’ll think about that! My weyr does need some wall decor.” And what better than a portrait! He tips his head in a farewell manner, grin tempering to a crooked smile. “Same to you, Avi! Enjoy the rest of your day, eh?” Not one to linger long on farewells, he’ll tip his hand in a quick wave and then he’s off, striding with purpose down the paths within the garden.

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