Call This Part One

Disclaimer: Adult language and themes.

The Temple of All Dooms - Xanadu Weyr
F'yr and Glorioth's homestead in the forest. There's a tower.

It's not that they've been avoiding this topic so much as that life is simply life, which means in practical terms that it's full— full of schedules that don't line up, full of other obligations and while this doesn't mean that they've not spent time together, because they have, here and there, but that it's generally difficult to grab an extended period where they can get in everything that needs to come to get to the place where conversation of this deep and potentially fraught variety feels as comfortable as it naturally can. That's probably why it's after a thoroughly sating expression of how much they've missed having that kind of time together that F'yr approached the topic of boundaries, the things they mentioned but never got to that last time they had heavy talking points. So, now, downstairs, where they're less likely to be distracted, but just as able to be closely entwined on the couch with steaming mugs of spiked klah to help stave off the bite of winter, they're prepared. Right? Well, F'yr appears to be slightly squinting at nothing for some moments before he admits. "I'm not sure how to start. What all we need to talk about." But then, why would he? As previously noted, he's never really tried to do this before, at least not like this. His brows twitch up as blue eyes settle on the greenrider against him, "Do you?"

Life tends to be like that, always interjecting at the inconvenient times or making what is simple in theory that much longer to fulfill. Even with their shorter moments spent together, Ru'ien knew this time would eventually come about. It was too important not too but the timing needs to be right. What better a time than now? F’yr’s approach is met with quiet agreement, no hesitation and a flutter of nerves that he can subdue while still coasting the high of good feels so recently exchanged. Ru’ien will follow him downstairs and eagerly twine himself with him on that couch, snuggled in close with the mug cradled safely between his hands. This is as prepared as anyone could be — or Ru’ien can be. While F’yr chooses to squint at nothing, he is content to let his eyes drift closed in a good approximation of “completely relaxed” — which he isn’t quite, but neither is he entirely tense and ready for fight flight. He’s never done this either and so they’ll at least be united in that starting point; it’s almost laughable, and Ru’ien does chuckle low under a soft sigh when he leans his head back. Partially against the couch, half pressed against F’yr, but it doesn’t stop him from trying to tilt his head and gaze up at his lover.

“Nope.” he admits with a sheepish smirk. “And I wasn’t nearly as nervous or unsure of what to do going into things as a virgin! This is…” Nerve wracking? Understatement! His mood sobers quick enough. “Something else, entirely.” He wants to (needs to) do this and that much is unsaid in his voice. Ru’ien goes quiet, gently blowing on the surface of his spiked klah and indulging in a shallow sip. It’s only after he’s finished, lightly licking his lips that he continues. “Do we start with stuff between us? Specifically? Like you and me — or you and I, but including those important to you too?” His nose wrinkles slightly, brows furrowing as he casts a ‘not quite?’ look to F’yr. Or is it? Warmer? Colder? help him out here, bro

"I was," F'yr isn't trying to play into the line of conversation that could so readily become distracting from the more important and harder one. "More nervous, I mean. So this can't be so bad." What that implies about F'yr's first time, who can say~ He doesn't continue down that road. "Honestly, Ru, I'm not even sure what 'stuff' is." He'd help if only he could. F'yr's expression of (mild) consternation surely comes from the fact that he, in his core, is an empathic helper, and here, he doesn't really have the faintest clue.

"I need to know when there's someone important to you happening with you." There. A first foray into what might be boundaries, even if this one might be sensitive. "I don't care how you want to conduct things between yourself and whoever or whoevers that might be, whether they know about me or not, but I don't want to fuck things up for you out of ignorance. I don't need to know about anything that is—" His brows furrow and he struggles to place the right word, "—more… casual?" He tries it on. "I'm not sure how things happen for you, but casual isn't really a word that fits into my make up. It's all meaningful." He grimaces slightly, but probably because he realizes how foreign this can sound to some, probably has first hand experience being told so.

"What about you?" It's somewhere to start, but it was bound to be turned back to Ru'ien.

There are questions about that, but Ru’ien doesn’t follow that distracting tangent — choosing instead to voice acknowledgment in a quiet humming sound. “We’ll figure it out then as we go?” he offers by way of a not-quite answer, but certainly as reassurance. He has little concept as to what ‘stuff’ is, too. This is all new territory for him! He’s spent so much of his life just shutting out so much emotionally (on a deeper level) as a shield. This is hard for him and scary to take those first steps into still-uncharted depths. That first foray does hit a little sensitively and the only hint is the quiet intake of breath from Ru’ien. He listens though, regardless of that twinge of old wounds as he takes another, longer sip this time, from his mug.

Exhaling heavily, he sinks back a little as he attempts to gather his thoughts and not fall into old habits of humorous deflection now that it’s getting tricky with all the underlying feels. He doesn’t answer immediately, letting a beat or two (or five) pass silently and broken only by the fidget tapping of an index finger against his mug. Until, at last, he begins. “Dunno if it’s always casual for me? It’s more…” His brows furrow, mouth pulling to a thoughtful line. “Fluid?” Is that a thing? He clicks his tongue in the next breath. “That’s not quite right either.” Maybe labelling it isn’t the point or the importance here and he’s catching on to that (belatedly). “So, it doesn’t bother you that I am, how I am, unless it becomes more —“ Another pause. “Meaningful?” The word is stretched out a bit, his tone hesitant. Ru’ien follows up with another sidelong upward glance to F’yr, seeking his gaze. Does he have that right, so far?

In that F'yr doesn't reject the reassurance, he probably either agrees or it's not the thing occupying his herdbeast brain in the moment. "Fluid," is repeated but in a way that suggests it's a concept F'yr can - at least in whatever his understanding is - wrap his head around. It's accepted as a term. The rest, though, his lips tighten in a way that suggests some kind of dissent, confirmed when he speaks. "It's not so much whether or not it's meaningful, I guess. It's more that—" Here's the bracing breath for F'yr, the swallow, the marshalling of his right words, and surely he's had time to think about this part.

His tone is distinctly apologetic as he goes on, slowly, with care if not carefully. "When I met M'ti…" Stop, start: "I didn't say anything about us to him. Somehow, I still managed to make him puking upset. The last time I was puking upset-" His breath hitches only a half heartbeat before he continues, resolved to talk about it as if it was normal, "-was when my brother died." That's his frame of reference for what it takes to get to that point of upset. Nevermind that M'ti's threshold might have been much lower because he's a different person than F'yr. "I'm not sure what I could have done better, there, then, but I'm sure I could have done something."

It might be something they revisit later, whether it be the later of this moment or another time, as to whether or not ‘fluid’ is the right descriptor for Ru’ien’s take on relationships. Instead, he accepts F’yr’s grasp of it for now and remains quiet as he goes on. He’ll note the change in tone, the little hints of other things and it helps a little, but not entirely to keep some reaction on his part from showing through. It’s a grimace, mostly, and that ever lurking sense of guilt and remorse. His apology, especially for making F’yr revisit that loss, comes in the form of his hand seeking the bronzerider’s to grip firmly — or at the very least, overlap. “I could’ve — should’ve, said something.” Ru’ien begins to explain, hesitantly as the words won’t come so easily. He’s not here to make excuses either, but he shares a little more in hopes it clarifies rather than muddy things. “And I didn’t because even I didn’t know until it was already too late.” he explains, slightly hoarse as he chokes up on emotions not usually expressed. “I found out right after, how differently he and I were understanding things between us.” He drifts silent there, not out of lack of desire to continue but because there is little else to add on that thread.

Anything resembling apology is lost on F'yr, probably because it's something he neither needs nor expects. Ru'ien can have his hand to hold, of course, because he's always welcome to that. The bronzerider sets his mug aside with his other hand so it can join the first in clasping the greenrider's while he listens, with that intent focus that is uniquely F'yr's. "You told me some of that already," he notes. It's (largely) not news to him, but— "But that's sort of the point." He shifts a little so he can be less snugged together and more able to look into blue eyes. "It's not really about how meaningful something is, necessarily. Because it wasn't to you in a way that made you think me crossing paths with him might make that kind of hurt. But he was a consistent part of your day to day and with dimensions of interaction that he construed to be meaningful."

One hand leaves theirs to settle instead on Ru'ien's shoulder and squeeze gently. "I get it, even without knowing the details, Ruin." Read: he doesn't need to know them, if Ru'ien doesn't want to go there. "You didn't know." He's reiterating that he's heard, he's accepted what the greenrider has explained, not challenging it, not even reinforcing it, just acknowledging his acceptance. "But we were walking in the same parts of your life for a long time." Beat, blush, and a throat clearing, "Not unlike you and Rhody and V'ro." WHICH IS TO SAY, the pot isn't any less black than his partner, the kettle, and he knows it.

Ru’ien’s brows furrow briefly, but he listens as F’yr sets his mug aside and shifts so they can look each other in the eye. His expression still holds a myriad of emotions, mouth drawn into a faint line as he takes in what is being said. No argument, no countering, just silent agreement. He didn’t get it then, but he understands now where it all went so wrong. The squeeze to his shoulder draws him out of his head, features relaxing a fraction as he focuses back on F’yr. He exhales heavily for that reassurance on not needing those details — not because they’re any less important and more because Ru’ien feels they would not help here. That was then and this is now and Ru’ien doesn’t delve further. He takes a breath instead, swallowing hard and maybe definitely flushing with color when F’yr clears his throat. Pot and kettle? No judgement! None. It’s planted a thought, however, but he addresses one thing first.

“I get that now,” he murmurs, tone sincere in that admission and what follows. “I don’t want to fuck things up for you again, Fear. I’m not wanting to know everything that goes on between you and those who’re important to you. Unless it’s something you feel I need to know, if that makes sense? I’m okay with how you are — how things happen with you. I think I worry more with—” he hesitates, licking at his lower lip as he fumbles for the right words to articulate that earlier thought. Ru’ien still feels clumsy and awkward in all of this. “What if —'' There is more he wants to say, but the words continue to elude him. His waits instead, perhaps, on F’yr’s reaction before he goes stumbling any further.

F'yr's patience is both innate and cultivated. He could wait for Ru'ien to find the right words, or at least some words too try to articulate, but something about the way fumbling words are delivered makes him lean more into another of his key traits: compassion. His hand leaves Ru'ien's shoulder and goes back down to the hand still grasped in his other, to rub it between the two reassuringly. "I'm not sure we can deal in 'what if's and stay sane. If there's a particular something you want to work out how to handle, we can do that." We, together. "We've done alright with all mine so far," he adds as encouragement that they're managing. "There are probably some things it's helpful if you know." His brows furrow slightly as attempts to find a starting thread there and a moment later, he does.

"Like, with Rhody," he starts, not hesitating to say the name now that Ru'ien has had time to sit with the knowledge. He reiterates something he's said before, "She'd rather not see me be affectionate in a non-friend sort of way," which he seems to have worked out the definition of based on common vision of these things, "so you knowing that can let me ask you to be sensitive to that. For me. For her." Something about that makes him frown briefly, but the expression clears as he tries to work it out aloud. "It's not that I want us to be secret, just that…" What's the right word? "What we have is private, by and large." One might reasonably assume that if F'yr is giving this kind of information to Ru'ien about his other People, that Ru can rightly expect that F'yr might offer the same to those who wish to know more details. "Precious," he adds, almost an afterthought, but a nod solidly confirms the word as being as valid as the previously selected 'private.'

There is a small scoff of amusement to ‘what ifs and staying sane’, as Ru’ien’s agreement to that particular statement. It’s not remarked on further, instead a small and genuine smile curves his lips briefly for that encouragement. It eases some of the tension that crept up into his frame, even if he’s not entirely aware of his physical response, as much of his focus is on F’yr and the conversation. He tilts his head slightly, gaze still lingering on him as he picks up the starting thread.

He looks as though he might interject when Rhody’s preferences are mentioned and never does, wisely favouring to listen to the rest of what F’yr has to say. His expression shifts in subtle ways, as he absorbs what is shared and explained, finding nothing that disagrees with what may have already been forming in his thoughts. What gains the most response though is that near afterthought and he smiles true (even if small). “Precious,” he repeats, sampling the word even as F’yr is nodding to confirm it. “I like it.” Taking a moment to finish the last of his drink, he’ll lean over to set it somewhere safe. “I can respect that,” Ru’ien murmurs once he’s resettled, likely touching back on being sensitive to Rhody’s request — it could also expand to much of what was just touched upon between them. “I never thought you want us to be secret, Fear. It’s not my goal, either?” Says the greenrider who won’t even talk about his own family (yet)! “I think,” he begins, pausing briefly before putting it into words. “That leads to something I wanna work out with you on how to handle it?” Ru’ien tentatively suggests, with the unspoken understanding that it can wait, if F’yr has something more pressing he desires to touch on first.

There might have been more from F'yr, judging by the look that says he's thinking hard about something— something not yet in the flow of the conversation. Yet, when Ru'ien (however tentatively) suggests there's something he wants to work out together, whatever was brewing in that blond-capped brain is immediately set to the side. Later, one might be able to reflect back that it's likely because they're dealing with them; part of that is, of course, the web of those connected to them, but in these moments, all those people are secondary to what's happening in the here and now. (The only thing that could ever shift that balance when they're together is unforeseen emergency, which thankfully is not happening here, now.) So, F'yr's whole attention is given to Ru'ien and his hands rub the one of Ru's that he still has, canting his head in a listening gesture, obviously here for it, even if he doesn't speak to say so; the look really says it for him.

Confirmation received to continue, Ru’ien takes a steadying breath, while his hand squeezes within their grip. It will take him a good half dozen beats still to gather his thoughts. “Maybe we already touched on this?” Forgive him, in that case, for repeating it? Realizing he’s already risking veering into a rambling tangent, he grimaces sheepishly at himself and silently works his jaw while trying again. “We overlap in a way, with the people in our lives. I mean, I don’t think all of those important to you right now will be important to me,” he explains, without giving away specific names — because that isn’t quite the point. “In the same way. Only, there’s a chance that could change?” In a variety of ways, but again, Ru’ien isn’t focusing narrowly on just one or the other; it’s more of a broadband thing for now. “And that’s what I wanted to talk about — it’s that potential what then? If we’re not keeping things secret, but precious between us, should I tell them if it comes up that they need to know?”

The words come, but it's not until the last sentence that F'yr looks gut-punched. His eyes close, in involuntary shield to the unexpected. Where there was such openness and presence in this moment before those words, the bronzerider is suddenly closed - the reflexive shuttering against the however inadvertent inflection of pain shows in the sudden and intense tension of his muscles. The look of pain doesn't linger, fading to ache in the next half-breath. His eyes stay closed another two count as tears bead in the corners. His hand— but just one— pulls away from Ru'ien's so he can dash them away. "Sorry," at least his voice is even when his eyes open. "Wasn't— expecting that." He should have been, if he'd been thinking about it from more than his perspective, though which that he means exactly and just why it apparently hurt in the way it did is anyone's guess. Despite the steadiness in his voice, he needs a moment before he goes on. His hand is forgotten in Ru'ien's and his eyes are unfocused — or maybe just focused on something over one of the greenrider's shoulders, his own still tense. Processing.

Not the intended or expected reaction at all and Ru’ien’s own kind of dismay is largely written in the fall of his expression. His mood sobers entirely in the span of a few breaths while noting the tension in F’yr and, worse, the pain. It casts a flicker of confusion and concern, unaware of the details to why and only that it has had such a profound effect on the bronzerider. In a knee jerk reaction, he almost speaks reflexively out of old habits; the words are practically on his lips, threatening to spill over with a ‘never mind’ or ‘forget about it’. Maybe a dismissive chuckle, a claim that it ‘isn’t important’ or he somehow ‘muddled things, haha, isn’t that funny, how typical of him and let’s move on’? Instead, he clamps down hard on that old impulse, a steadying breath bringing a quiet murmured interjection of: “Don’t be.” Sorry. F’yr’s no more at fault for his reaction than Ru’ien is for inadvertently bringing up something so unknowingly hurtful. Familiar as he is with a need to process, he will leave him to it, while silently working through his own rekindled nerves.

It's not an immediate process, but slowly F'yr manages to draw himself back out of his head and into the here and the now. There's a visible shift to his shoulders, a lessening of the tension, even if it doesn't fully revert to the previously relaxed state. His exhale marks the real reassertion of his presence of mind in the moment that is them and not others.

His lips are wetted by a quick press of tongue to upper lip and then he speaks, slow, careful. "It's not—" he seems to want to make this perfectly plain from the outset, "—the idea that someone I'm close with might also be close with you. That's— fine. Good? Something. It's alright by me, anyway, if it makes you and them happy." The happiness of an individual is important to F'yr, and he, thus far, hasn't appeared to have a jealous bone in his body (unless anyone is counting his deceased brother who married his first infatuation, but that gets complicated quickly). So if it's not that…

His tongue appears again to travel over his lips as he tries to explain while his heart races, not that anyone could tell given that the only other thing that changes externally is that he rolls his shoulders just a bit. "Selfishly, I'd want to be the person to tell someone I was involved with, but that gets… complicated, given that we're interwoven and each have a relationship with— well, whomever." The pause that follows shows an expression of frustration, "I… I'm willing to talk with them about things… it's just that they… don't all want to know." At least, as far as F'yr knows.

And one must be mentioned here in particular. "V'ro," he pulls his hand from Ru'ien's, if only so he can rub his face briefly, trying to smooth the lines furrowed across his brow and then push through his short hair. "Things with V'ro are rocky. They've always been rocky." There's a grimace. He wants to fix it, help because he's F'yr, but apparently he doesn't have the skill or knowledge to do so unto this point. "My way of being doesn't work for him." He can say this now with only a brief press of his eyes closed. Obviously, it troubles him, but he's not about to unload the private business of himself and V'ro onto Ru'ien.

Just as times before when they’ve had these difficult talks between them, Ru’ien has patience. It doesn’t have to be an immediate process and he makes no visible sign of needing to rush — if anything, he’s more afraid of things to come than the immediate moment! He can handle the present, deal with his own inner demons in those very seconds but he fears that looming dark of ‘unknown’. Too many variables! Best not to linger on it.

His gaze lifts to focus on F’yr when he does speak, gentled even in his expression of silent support. There’s a nod for the first point clarified, the smallest curve of his lips to indicate that he’s heard and understood that part (and it wasn’t really the concern). He may have even figured as much? But it doesn’t hurt to hear it and he’s not foolish enough to assume that that was it. As F’yr prepares to share more, his brows furrow a little at the word ‘selfish’. Is it? It’s not remarked on and he doesn’t even interject after, though from the thoughtful shift in his expression — something important is sinking in.

Ru’ien will flip his hand once it's freed, leaving it to rest flat against his thigh with little thought on the movement itself. His focus is on Fear and on them and this conversation he’s unexpectedly led them to. There’s an intake of breath at ‘my way of being’, a quiet sound that is not sympathy exactly, or pity, but an ache of understanding; Ru’ien’s not unfamiliar with that feeling. Perhaps not on the same level or intensity as F’yr, or even in the same kind of depth of relationship, but close enough. He chooses then to briefly speak up.

“You touched on that before,” Ru’ien’s voice is low, hushed as it always gets when he’s choked up dealing with a lot of emotions. What more can he say? Anything that comes to his mind feels flat, so he offers all his support and comfort unspoken. “You asked me to be gentle with him, too.” Is there a connection there? There is no pressure to expand on that from him; he can respect that that is a private thing between F'yr and V'ro alone. That he has been given this much is not taken lightly. With a steadying breath, he'll exhale slowly as he thoughtfully mulls over his next words. "We're all fairly private people," he begins, hesitant. He doesn't want to risk tripping into a spiral of 'what ifs' and is already treading too close even for his tastes. "I'm not saying it will happen." No promises made, either. "I just — I don't…" he falters again, realizing his thoughts are circling back on things already expressed. His hand lifts, fingers pressing over his lips as he finds himself floundering and at a loss.

It might seem, initially, like F'yr isn't going to step in at that floundering. The silence stretches, but there's things to process and the bronzerider needs those moments. "I'm not sure what to say." He sighs after a moment. "He'd hate me talking about him." That makes it harder to do just that. "I'd support it," he can say that and the tone paired with his expression shows that it's something of a relief to have happened onto something that he feels he can say, "if it happened." Not that there's pressure from F'yr for something to happen.

"I'd want to tell him that you're one of my people. I've tried to tell him about my people. I tried after M'ti. I tried again before the eggs hatched. It just goes to shit every time." He probably doesn't mean to say this much, but he can't seem to stop himself. "We go round and round both wanting the best for each other, for each other to be happy, but he can't imagine how my loving other people doesn't cheapen my loving him." F'yr bites his lower lip. YEP. DID NOT MEAN TO SAY THAT. But there it is.

It's probably this accidental over-share that makes him add, "I almost think if he could experience it himself," loving someone else too, "it'd work out better for us. And him. But…" He looks helplessly up at Ru, "I know some people just aren't… wired that way." This leaves F'yr pressing his lips together, trapping further blurts, and— well, looking just a touch awkward. Turns out F'yr is but a mere mortal and makes mistakes. No god of thunder here.

That makes two of them, then, at being at a loss of what to say! At least, in that brief moment. Ru’ien can’t fully suppress the nervous chuckle at that realization, but he’ll sober his mood in the next breath. Was this expected? Not really. Is he prepared for how much F’yr shares with him? Not at all. He almost interjects to say ‘you don’t have to’ at the first admission, only to be thrown off again and never acts upon it.

What is this sorcery!? F’yr is oversharing! Ru’ien listens and tries to absorb what is being said and tries not to fidget awkwardly the whole time. It’s a lot to take in, it’s a different level of shared intimacy and privacy, and he’s not quite sure how to feel about it — towards himself, anyhow. He has nothing but support and compassion towards F’yr and the complicated relationship the bronzerider has with V’ro — he feels for him, to be caught in that and that much shows at least in his eyes. It is not his place to say much. He has nothing to add to it (which has him all the more nervous, truthfully).

Ru’ien’s expression becomes grim and tight as F’yr touches on people not being wired a certain way. His eyes drift closed, brows furrowed for that breadth of a second as he exhales shakily in a brief, fleeting moment. Did that strike a cord? Why would that resonate? He has his reasons, none of which he feels compelled to bring up now. Hello, awkward? He’ll clear his throat slightly and work on making the words unstick, as his eyes open again. “It’s hard when you want nothing more than to do something to fix it,” he begins, speaking carefully (or as carefully has he can, master of blunders that he is). Softly, “I get it, Fear.” Enough of it for now, anyways and perhaps in more ways than he’s aware. He’s still processing, his tone suggesting he appreciates him sharing this even if it was mostly all a mistake, even as he falls quiet again. Listen, he needs a moment to parse all of that.

It's not unheard of for F'yr to overshare, accidentally or not, but it's true that it's a rare event, generally, and rarer still for that overshare to involve anyone but himself or his dragon. He hears the support, hears the unspoken continued need for processing. That's probably why he leans to press a kiss lightly to Ru'ien's forehead. "Let's take a minute," he suggests. "I'll get us refills." Because who doesn't like a second cup of spiked klah when they'll want to be awake enough for not only the discussion but probably also for hopeful activities afterward.

He's getting up to make good on his offer, but not without dropping a hand onto Ru's shoulder - lingering a moment (long enough that if Ru'ien's hand finds its way up, he'll stay a moment), but not only does his movement to the kitchen allow him to still be here, but it takes the pressure off the processing moments (for both of them), hopefully long enough for minds to resettle, reframe, adjust. He's back in not too long with the refreshed mugs and settles back in, putting them both on the nearest table to open his arms to Ru'ien, "C'mere?" Now, if Ru'ien is up for a close embrace and touching of foreheads, F'yr is in a place where he wants that. "I'm sorry if that was more than you wanted to know." He's still learning about this. "Was it?" It is an important thing to ask so he knows for the future.

Ru’ien’s mouth curves into a faint smile for that light kiss, his eyes fluttering closed briefly in relief for the offer of a minute (and a refill). “Yeah,” he breathes, followed by a steadier. “I could go for another one.” Maybe he was going to suggest it, once his thoughts caught up. His hand will find its way up to F’yr’s, gripping firmly and followed with a sidelong look up to meet his gaze. He’s okay or will be okay and is appreciating the chance to process and regroup in the interim. Having him there still, even if over in the kitchen, is comforting. It feels normal and routine, while he gradually calms his nerves and sorts out his head. By the time F’yr returns, Ru’ien looks collected — or at the very least, not nearly as stressed.

That open armed invitation is accepted without hesitation by Ru’ien. He’ll go right for that close embrace, settling and leaning in to accept that gesture too and press his forehead to F’yr’s. “No. Not really?” he admits, after taking a moment to mull over that as well. “I just wasn’t prepared for it.” Can anyone be fully prepared? “It doesn’t mean it’s any less important, because it is important.” And he appreciates it all the more, knowing that it didn’t necessarily need to be shared but he has that knowledge now. “It helped,” he adds, after a beat and his hand may seek out one of F’yr’s too, for the added sense of stability.

"We're covering new ground," together, F'yr reiterates something Ru'ien's essentially said to him. "There are bound to be unexpected things. Things aren't always going to be comfortable. Life's just like that." It is what it is. "But you have me," inasmuch as anyone does, "and I have you, and we're in this together." They don't need to leap back into talking about boundaries. Maybe F'yr needs the TLC— or just needs to give it. His fingers feather down Ru'ien's cheeks before he's moving— with a pause to be sure of consent— to kiss the man in his embrace (his hand caught up in the greenrider's). F'yr is certainly relieved that it wasn't too much. Maybe this TLC is his way of making sure Ruin knows— really knows— that the unexpected reach into this topic, however unexpected or unsettling, hasn't seen him living up to his name a second time. Nothing to Fear. Hffhfhfhfhff.

A low, quiet hum of agreement comes from Ru’ien to those words; even if some of it is reiterated from something he had said earlier. It’s true and he takes further comfort from it. They don’t need to leap back into talking about boundaries and he’s content enough to break from the topic for now. His mouth quirks into a lopsided smirk, “I used to make it a habit to avoid the unexpected and uncomfortable things.” he points out, amused despite the light jab at his faults. It says a lot of his relationship with F’yr, however, that he doesn’t evade with them. Ru’ien will rarely turn down TLC or just touch in general and the feathered touch to his cheeks is welcomed — consent given swiftly to draw them both into that needed kiss. Consider the message received, as tension built by nerves begin to ebb away. Ru’ien definitely doesn’t want a repeat of literally living up to his name! Nothing to fear, Fear! Except that maybe he’s not entirely done yet. As the kiss breaks, Ru’ien’s expression will be telling that there is something else lurking. He’s weighing whether or not to bring it up, until eventually going for it — after seeking consent for another (much deeper, lingering) kiss and a threading of his fingers through F’yr’s with their joined hands.

“There is one more thing I want to touch on,” Ru’ien begins, swallowing nervously and licking at his lips before he continues. “It can be now or we can keep it for another night, if we’ve said enough for now?” Does the greenrider need a break? Maybe, but it’s likely he is willing to roll with either outcome. His gaze will seek out F’yr’s, quietly waiting on the bronzerider’s answer.

F'yr almost quips. He almost interjects humor on the heels of that lopsided smirk, but maybe he doesn't want to distract, instead returning a smile that is all warmth and amusement… and gratitude. The bronzerider is plainly glad that they can talk the unexpected, the uncomfortable, and still be here, like this. His fingers feather over Ru'ien's jaw again before finding a bit of his hair to play with during that kiss.

In taking in the greenrider's expression when the kiss breaks, F'yr's brows climb if only a little. He sees it, he waits, patiently, letting the man decide in his own time if it's a thing for now or for later. When the words are put to him to make the call, he considers, before shoulders are rising and falling in a shrug. "I'm not sure we ever resolved on anything so much as just shared," with the things they've already talked about, "but go on. Maybe getting everything out will help us see what we do need to make stated and agreed boundaries and what…" He doesn't have the words, making, instead a simple gesture with one hand to indicate 'might be implicit.' He does shift, pressing one more quick kiss to Ruin's lips before he's sitting back a bit, releasing his arms though one remains comfortably laying on Ru's knee while his other reaches for one cup— offering it (or keeping it, if it's refused), before grabbing the other.

Ru’ien gives another lopsided smirk, a touch sheepish when F’yr points out that they’ve never resolved what was previously discussed. That could be what comes next, if they aren’t both completely overwhelmed by the sharing stage of things. Why not just put as much out there now? Which could explain why he looks relieved too, even when the bronzerider gestures. The kiss helps with some of the lingering nerves, followed by him settling comfortably as he adjusts in order to take that offered cup. After he’s secured it in his hand and taken a shallow sip, he just dives right in before the urge to stall grows any stronger.

“It’s about K’vir.” Ru’ien remarks and pauses for a steadying breath. “Or more about him and I. Not so much what you two share. That — honestly? Doesn’t bother me. I doubt that there’s gonna be bleed over, y'know? And might not even be relevant since we’re all private and …” He’s rambling. Ru’ien abruptly stops, grimacing slightly and exhales roughly. His gaze will meet F’yr’s, gentled but carrying a vulnerable edge — is any of this making sense? Ru’ien’s fighting that natural impulse of his that is not important and to deflect. He pushes on, instead. “He’s my cousin but pretty much a stranger and … we don’t really get along.” To summarize it in the smallest of nutshells. “That doesn’t mean I’m not supportive of you two. Okay?" Even if his original reaction hadn't been the greatest, having the time to really absorb it gives him the confidence to say that with full honesty. "And I don’t want you to ever feel you can’t talk about him, if it ever comes up.” Unspoken is the understanding that Ru’ien isn’t expecting F’yr to share private, precious things and means more ‘in general’ — if at all.

The name brings stillness for F'yr, bracing very slightly, but not like before, just a readiness to absorb whatever's thrown at him, to hopefully not be caught entirely off guard as Ru'ien goes on. Blue eyes meet blue when they're sought, look open, listening, not judging. After the greenrider describes, in brief, his relationship with his cousin, F'yr's lips tilt at the edges, down, a ghost of a frown, but it doesn't seem to be at Ru'ien. His hand flips on Ru'ien's thigh, palm down to rub gently there in a way that's probably meant to be reassuring.

When the man has finished, there's a pause while F'yr gathers his thoughts, assesses his reactions, studying the contents of his mug while he does so, and then after a moment, he exhales and looks up. "I think maybe I missed clarifying something important." He sets his mug aside and reaches for Ru's empty hand before leaning in and looking at him. "I don't expect you to make my important people important to you. I don't even expect you to necessarily like them." Surely, he hopes and expects some level of respect for the fact that they are important to him, but since that doesn't seem even possibly an issue, even with the latest confession from Ru'ien, it's not brought up now.

His free hand comes up to cup the greenrider's cheek. "It goes two ways though," to more directly address Ru'ien's point. "If you want to talk about anything involving K'vir or anyone else that's important to me, you can." But he also doesn't have to.

The touch to his thigh is taken as reassurance, even as Ru’ien’s gaze flickers briefly for the ghost of a frown from F’yr. It’s not questioned or pursued further than that, left in favour of him focusing on the next words to come. Something missed? That brings a shadow of an amused smile to his features — no surprise there, but he takes a lighter approach. He sobers by the next breath and heartbeat, exhaling again but more akin to someone releasing tension. His mug will be set aside as well, in favour of taking F’yr’s offered hand.

As he leans in, Ru’ien will meet his gaze again. He makes a low sound, not quite a scoff but something close, followed by a more genuine (and visible) warm smile. “I think some part of me knew that,” he softly admits, eyes drifting closed when that hand comes to cup his cheek. His head will tilt gently into it and without pause, Ru’ien will seek to press his lips against F’yr’s wrist after murmuring: “But it sounds nice to hear it too.” His eyes open again, turning back to F’yr though he doesn’t seem too rushed to leave his touch. “I’ll try to remember that.” There is a sense of ‘thank you’ woven beneath it all; whether for the understanding, the patience or just potential myriad of things all tied to this moment.

The nod from F'yr is acceptance. It's a simple gesture that means much; the words are heard and witnessed and he needs to give them no other acknowledgement. His hand drops away from Ru's cheek with only one more gentle brush of his thumb. He shifts to reach for his mug again, though he leaves one hand knit with his lover's. "There is something else we should talk about, while we're—" He searches for the right words and quickly gives up, settling with a shrug for words that suffice, even if they're not quite right, "—putting things out there." He presses his lips together a moment, finding better words because the next ones matter more.

He takes a sip and swallows and only then does he shift so he's more facing the greenrider again. "Your place." That's the topic header, but lest assumptions run rampant, he hurries to add, "I never have to come there, if you don't want me there. I know things about it are— well, could be complicated with memories. But I don't want you to feel like I won't come there, either." Beat. "I can." Can he? A moment of probably assessing the truth of that statement, he nods as though to bolster the words. He can. "What do you want?" Where are the boundaries here?

That simple gesture of acceptance is more than enough for Ru’ien, who chases that gentle brush over his cheek with another smile. One that doesn’t fade, even as F’yr has more to offer to their expanding discussion.. He will gently squeeze their joined hands, subtle encouragement that while not the right words, he gets it and it’s alright.

Ru’ien will tilt his head slightly, gaze following him as he shifts to face him, patiently waiting. Is he ready for that header? Not quite, but his only immediate reaction is his eyes widening with the lift of his brows. Luckily F’yr hurries on, because his lips do part as if to interject, only to press together again. He doesn’t jump into answering the question put to him, though he’s blinking and looking away — oh wait, is he about to cry? it’s a close call Swallowing thickly, Ru’ien gradually works his jaw and when he does finally speak, there’s a small smile (almost smirk), curving his lips. His eyes, still bright, turn back to focus on F’yr. “Of course I’ve wanted — I want you there, Fear! You’ve always been welcomed.” he explains in a voice still tight with the tears emotions he’s trying to keep at bay (for now). Ru’ien figured it would come up eventually, but wasn’t in a hurry to broach it (there happened to be a lot more important things in queue for them to tackle first). His tears reaction is largely relief and happy, here! As for the memories? Complicated, sure, but also: “It’d be nice to have some good memories, y’know?” F’yr is probably not the first to his weyr, but he’s one of the most important.

F'yr doesn't jump to action; he watches intently, however, blue eyes studying the reactions as they come to the surface. His hand remains a constant there seeing as how the greenrider does not pull away. He listens when Ru'ien speaks and a beat later, as things process enough, his lips tug - more to one side than the other, giving him a small lop-sided smile whose effect is reiterated in the softening of eyes. "Alright." That was easy enough. "Next time we'll go to your place." He suggests by way of making that easy too.

The next might not be so easy and clearly has just come to the bronzerider because his brow is furrowing. "Is there a good way to check if it's a good moment for me to come by?" This is complicated because (1) Glorioth is completely unreliable for non-quest related messages and anything resembling feminine sentimentalities, (2) Roderick is sometimes reliable, but perhaps not completely, and Triumph is flat-out hopeless for any practical purpose besides hearth-minder, and (3) presumably, Ru'ien does not have a neat lantern like F'yr's place has that he can insert a piece of colored glass into when he's not available for visitors (like he did when they came in tonight because having R'hyn-Ila-Cita's kids— or frankly their parents— or Risa-K'vir's associated kids— or frankly their parents— show up during some of the earlier activities would be beyond awkward, and as honorary uncle and neighbor, the kids at least have been known to drop by unannounced frequently enough to justify the signal lantern's existence).

“Next time.” Ru’ien agrees, sealing it with a firm squeeze of their joined hands and a steadier (and broader) smile on his end. He exhales heavily in the next breath, eyes clearer and less tension in his features — all the better to turn his focus fully on F’yr when he broaches the next not-so easy step! On the surface, it sounds easy enough and Ru’ien goes to answer, only to end up closing his mouth again as his brows knit. Huh.

A similar list of choices likely rise to his thoughts but are dismissed. Just as Glorioth is unreliable, he’s not going to be foolish enough to assume Kihatsuth won’t pull something (and probably pull Glorioth in on it) herself. Ru’ien has firelizards — three, in fact! Drifts, Chisel and Bolster, but has anyone ever seen him use them (no, because they’re Kiha’s pawns)? They’re out of the question. No fancy lantern, which really you think he’d have something that smartly useful (and thankfully in place here, as all of that potential awkward can be avoided — even if Ru’ien would’ve had a good mortified laugh about it)!

“Welllll…” Ru’ien drags it out, as he continues to struggle with an idea that isn’t completely out there. He’ll probably indulge a little in his drink too, just one light sip before he continues on. “I don’t usually have that many guests over? Y’know, keeping the whole ‘home outta the business’ end of things.” Business being his nightlife tendencies and whatever else he gets up to. So maybe that’s not a concern? “If there’s lights on inside, you’re good! Most you might end up doing is just interrupting my Craftwork — which is not always a bad thing,” he muses near the end, with a small smirk to help with the teasing edge to the genuine statement. Is it any surprise that he has a personal setup? “Or do you need something more…” He fumbles for the word. “Exact?” Pause and then a tentative suggestion. "… I could put Jerry the Wherry out?" The hideous tacky and gaudy patterned ceramic statue that he discovered once with Rhody and was the centerpiece to the ice cream party; Ru'ien repaints him now and again, as per (KIHA'S) agreement. Couldn't miss it!

F'yr is listening. He is. It's just that as Ru'ien talks his expression subtly shifts from the intently listening to the particular shade of 'giving the greenrider rope to hang himself on'. Not really hang, of course, but the look becomes gradually guileless (which, of course, is the trap; there's guile in the artistry of making himself seem so— but surely, surely, Ru'ien knows him well enough to be tipped off about what timbre will leave the bronzerider's mouth first… after another prim innocuous sip of his klah. "The business end of things?" Hear how F'yr can make his voice go all naive farmer (something that was true once, but no longer). "So, fluid," he brings the word back up— a chance to examine, or re-examine, "involves things so casual that you wouldn't consider bringing them home just for a place with a bed to be?"

NOW LISTEN, we all know that F'yr is a black, black pot addressing a kettle of similar hue, given that even his Important People were not immediately invited to come see his lair den homestead. But, and they've addressed this for Fyr— F'yr is never casually sexual; that's just not how it happens for him, so there is an underlying interest in better understanding what the scope is for Ru'ien. He surely does not begrudge or judge more casual sexual exploits, but he is, naturally, curious about his partner's preferences— his scope. They'll have to come back to signals; this attempt to at least slightly fluster his lover has eclipsed more practical matters for the moment.

IS he aware of the proverbial rope to hang himself? OF COURSE NOT. Ru’ien’s tipped off by that timbre, but his thoughts are scattered that, by the time he’s even remotely cluing in, he may as well be well snared by that trap! He harbors no shame for his casual appetites and F’yr will only moderately succeed in flustering him — aided, of course, that his guard is already non-existent AND he wasn’t quite prepared. It has him wavering between being his usual outrageously humorous self while delivering the blunt honesty and just … honestly giving it. Eventually he goes for some quasi middle ground.

“Kind of…?” he starts off with, adding a lopsided smirk. It’s with a sigh, another (long, deeper) sip of his drink that he sets the mug aside and then turns to face F’yr. ignore the redness to the tips of his ears Ru’ien licks at his lips, clearly struggling on how to explain and his sheepish expression should yield an apologetic warning — this might be long and rambling. “I don’t bring them back to my weyr because it’s a hell of a walk out of the way,” Humor again, as it draws a light scoff from him. “Since where I go at night isn’t usually within the heart of the Weyr.”

His hunting stomping grounds are still within Xanadu, but a trek for his forest bound weyr! Lifting his free hand, he scrubs along his jaw, then around to his neck, while expressing some of his frustration in some wordless sound in his throat. “It’s more like… I don’t ever know what’ll be going down from moment to moment — and that’s what it is? Moments. I could be just enjoying myself and maybe I catch someone’s attention or they catch mine. We either click or we don’t. Might just be a moment of some dancing,” Literally. “Around each other, maybe a touch or the tease of a kiss or could end up making out and then nothing!” Now there’s a hint of another smirk. “Occasionally the match is really good, the mood is ‘all signals go’, the right moment is there and yeah — dark nooks and hidden corners. Y’know?” Or nearby rooms that are not his. “But I can never tell and often it doesn’t amount to anything other than just some good, teasing, fun. It’s — rare that it goes as far as skipping off to someone’s bed. Usually changes too much at that moment. So it’s either there or never.”

Ru’ien gives a small, unashamed shrug to his shoulders, then. It is what it is! When his gaze lifts to focus on F’yr, despite the amused smirk still lingering there’s a fragile, vulnerable look in his eyes. He’s afraid, of course, under all that devil-may-care veneer, having just exposed a real piece of himself that the greenrider has never put into perspective before — and if he has, it must not have gone done well at all. He’ll lapse quietly now to allow that mess of an explanation be absorbed, giving F'yr time to speak up.

F'yr can grin to the first two words, to the lopsided smirk, for having gotten at least a little of what he aimed for, but just as easily he can let that look slip away to something softer, more open and attentive as Ru'ien starts to try to explain how he is, much in the same way that F'yr struggled on the balcony that time not so very long ago. If his blue eyes are dancing just a skosh for the redness in his lover's ears… well, Ruin knew what he was getting into with Fear, didn't he? In that way, at least.

There's a rumble from F'yr that is a sound of consideration, lips pressing together as Ru'ien introduces the idea of moments, but he doesn't interrupt. His expression gradually shifts to a more inward style of thoughtful, but not closed, simply taking the ideas and descriptions and giving them a solid work around in his herdbeast brain. (In reality, this process will take much longer than the now of here, but it's a start.)

When Ru'ien has finished, F'yr strokes his hand as he pulls his own from it - a reassuring movement to set up for the way his hand comes to cup his jaw and ruffle down his beard in a much more put-on version of thoughtful. "I seem to recall something about your enjoyment of dark nooks and hidden corners," given that's where many of their early encounters ended up taking place, "but," he feigns a squint at an indeterminate point, "I might need a refresher on how that all works sometime." Sometime, but not now.

Now, he's grinning because it was all humor designed to say without saying that he accepts Ru'ien's way of being even if he'll have to mull it over later and might have questions. For now there's the hand hastily setting his mug aside in case a pillow needs to be lobbed at the teasing bronzerider, and full readiness to engage in a (as soon as the other mug is safe!) quick tussle on the couch that is much more pin and wriggle and make out for a hot minute that might see Ru'ien flat on his back (or F'yr, whichever~) in the moments that follow…

… only to come up for air and a much more genuine and lingering look at the man he's entangled with to murmur, "Thank you. I'm glad to know you better, Keruthien." I love you. He doesn't verbalize it this time, but it's there as his lips find the other's again for something slower, sweeter, more real and lasting feeling than the flavor of the playful moment before.

“Do you want an actual physical play-by-play or a verbal rundown refresher?” Ru’ien can’t help it, words slipping past before he can catch himself (maybe the pillow should've been for HIM). His tone in delivery is purely teasing, with just a dash of seriousness (because obviously it’s something they need to touch on) that comes closed to being ruined (ha!) by the slow curve of his lips into a more impish smirk. No apology given, either for his terrible humor!

F’yr’s grin hits the mark, at least! Ru’ien is only a heartbeat behind in realizing what that all meant and he’s never one to pass up the opportunity to lob a pillow — which ends up being more of a playful swing than a full toss at the bronzerider. By some miracle, no mugs are sacrificed in the ensuing tussle! Ru’ien will make an effort to be on top for much of it, but unsurprisingly does end up on his back. Even less surprising, the switch occurs during that hot minute of making out.

Now is when much of Ru’ien’s skin and cheeks carry a definite flushed look, eyes gradually opening to focus on his lover above him. F’yr doesn’t need to verbalize it, the warm smile evidence enough that the unspoken message is understood (and taken to heart). “Anytime, Stefyr.” I see you. I love you too. The words are a touch breathless, potentially cut off or half whispered against those lips — a kiss which he readily sinks into. Unhurried with that slower, sweeter pace, he will seek to draw F’yr into a closer embrace, hands drifting to caress in known familiarity (and finding those sweet spots).

Can Ru'ien glean his answer from the way F'yr's hands might wander a little with that short but no less intense make-out sesh? (BOTH. The answer is both.)

There's a little rumble sound of complaint deep in the bronzerider's chest as F'yr makes himself break away from what could prove to be very distracting indeed and pull himself, and Ru along with him, back upright. "Did we cover everything?" With boundaries? No, they definitely didn't, but they might think they did. They aired a lot of things, but if it doesn't occur to someone now, it might later that though they brought up a lot of things, very few 'do' or 'do not' guidelines were established.

F'yr seems to remember with a snap of his fingers and a point at Ru'ien at least one of them. "Jerry the Wherry. That'd be a good idea, if you think you can manage without it interrupting anything. Better than 'let's just chance it.' It'd be more fine if whoever it was knew about me," STILL SUPER AWKWARD PROBABLY BUT, "but if there's a chance they won't yet, it'd be better for me not to stop in." And everyone knows zero out of zero dragons would stop him from making a fool of himself in creating whatever chaos ensued an unexpected visit like that.

Make that two voices of complaint for breaking away from that make-out sesh! Ru’ien’s is more of a low throated groan and feathery sigh, complete with a faux-pout that doesn’t linger more than a heartbeat. He’ll let himself be pulled up, going willingly despite his vocal protests and unless there’s further protest on F’yr’s end of things, he’s going to snuggle right up into his lap.

“I think so?” Ru’ien’s answer, despite being the least bit helpful, is genuine. They covered a lot and yes, aired plenty of thoughts between them. It feels ‘completed’ to the greenrider (for now) only because they successfully broached ONE step into the unknown. It could be that the boundaries feel ‘wordless’, more of an understanding than a solid line drawn in the sand. Will they eventually find some ‘do’ or ‘do not’? Possibly. Might be beyond Ru’ien’s scope for this particular night, unless the bronzerider leads him back to the topic.

Which he does, in a way, by circling back to their earlier discussion. “It’d be quick and easy enough to put Jerry out.” he agrees thoughtfully. At least they’ve decided on ONE thing! Ru’ien smirks, a touch playful and teasing. “I don’t have guests that often, just so you know?” That smirk soon turns to a small smile, as his mood (abruptly) sobers by a few notes. “And if I can’t handle the quiet, I go out and fix that.” Elsewhere. MOVING ON~ “I’ll make sure to place Jerry somewhere visible too — so you don’t have to,” Awkwardly. “Walk that far up. Visible from a distance, I guess?” That should work, right?

In what world would, in this moment, after a make-out sesh like that, F'yr keep Ru'ien out of his lap? That would be no worlds. At least, not this one. His arms settle around the greenrider, even if that means the temptation to CALL IT GOOD AND MOVE ALONG~~ is literally in his face. There's a slightly disagreeing look from F'yr when Ru'ien says he thinks so, but apparently he can't find words particular enough to express why or what still should be done, so he doesn't try. Maybe he'll sort it after he's had some processing time. What he mumbles perhaps more to himself than to the greenrider is, "Call this 'part one.'" To be continued… but not now.

The bronzerider's hand comes up to cup the greenrider's cheek in the wake of that sobered confidence. The smile is soft on F'yrs lips and his head is already shaking ever so slightly. "It wouldn't matter to me even if you did, Ruin. Whatever you're happy with." He does not, now, share, in turn that he does have guests often enough, but if Ru checks the indicator light over time, it will become apparent enough that F'yr tries to get some if not routine at least regular time with his various partners as scheduling and interest allows. He's away from here time to time, too. But not, surely, at the same kinds of places that qualify for Ru's evening prowls. "Visible from a distance should be good." He adds, almost afterthought because he's looking an awful lot like he's about to kiss— or get kissed— or just be kissing the man in his arms with a few moments if not stopped. After that, things are likely to devolve to other pursuits for a time and even after, heavy topics are like to be left to lie, not forgotten just simply not taken up again in the moments that follow.

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