Less Than Nothing

Xanadu Weyr - Nature Gone Wild Weyrbarn

The victim of one of the major storms to pass through the Weyr this past turn or so, this weyrbarn stands amidst the majestic trees of the forest like a sore tooth. Although still structurally sound - the underpinnings intact and the foundation unmarred - there is little doubt it will take a great deal of hard work and time to make this once elegant structure livable once more. The roof has been stripped to little more than crossbeams, the walls gaping with holes where boards had been stripped by the wind. The inside of the barn is little more than rotting floorboards and plant life tentatively exploring its new home. The bulk of the interior seems to be given over to dragon living space - stone gives in less to the demands of nature than wood, and most of the wallow seems yet in good repair.

Such cannot be said for the human side, however, where storm and nature have combined to create a verdant ruin where once was a two-level dwelling area, complete with vine-encrusted kitchenette, an entertainment room for mushrooms and fungi of all sorts, and two well-sized - and well-stocked with wildlife - bedrooms up what was once a spiral staircase. Choked with plants, overrun by forest furries, there is little of what was once a well-loved, well-tended weyrbarn in this decaying structure. Yet, with such a sound foundation, there is little doubt that it can be repaired, with a little hard work, a little ingenuity, and a lot of friends and family.

Just the kind of fixer-upper Thea would recommend for her sons, if indeed she had anything to do with assigning the dwelling. It builds character, right?

Luraoth's maiden flight has come and gone a full day ago, morning has dawned and the day edges towards lunchtime before Darsce, hair brushed in a silken curtain and makeup flawless carries a wrapped present under one arm and makes her way to the forest where she's been told her little brother's weyr is located. Oh, she's heard about the condition, so wandering down a few private trails to glimpse nice cottages turns her back until she finally manages to get the right one. "Yo SquiiiiIIIIIIIIiiiiiirrrrrt!" she calls casually as she comes. Mostly to annoy him, partly so he'll know who's coming. He can always tell her to beat it if he's not alone and busy.

It's hard to be alone in a weyr without walls, as Mur'dah looks up and over from where he's busy digging out the last stubborn bits of greenery from the weyr's floor. "Hey, Darsce," he says, with a little smile on his face. Pushing to his feet, he brushes gloved hands on his trousers and goes to meet her at the door (frame). "What brings you out here?"

Hey, vegetation can provide for some intimacy. Just hope nothing flies directly overhead at the wrong moment. Darsce rounds the last clump of tall weeds, flailing just a bit at the clingy stuff but that grabs at her skirt, twirling around delicately to get free without ripping the material. She lifts the tips of her fingers to touch her lips, then flicks them at Mur'dah. "You, of course," she says with a flippance characteristic of her and then offers the wrapped package over. "Happy sixteenth turnday!" Okay so it's nearly a month late, but it's the thought that counts, right? When he opens it, he'll find a soft teddy bear, nearly half his size made with real animal fur - so soft!

Mur'dah looks in surprise - and then excitement - at the gift. PRESENTS. Then he opens it. And lifts out the teddy bear. Oh so SOFT. "Uh. Thanks…" He turns it over, as if expecting to see a gift card strapped to its back, and then looks up with a frown. "Are you making fun of me for not having a girl friend?" Frown.

"It's a girl teddy bear," Darsce says with a suggestive leer at said teddy bear. Making fun of him for his lack of girlfriend? Oh is she ever! She leans to gently pinch his cheek when he frowns. "Who loves you?" she says sweetly. She does, really she does! And then she's rising up on tiptoes, swaying to see around him and wrinkling her nose. "Are you seriously living in this dump?"

Mur'dah just sighs, turning to put the teddybear on the huge rock in the corner of the room. It'll eventually be a table, but right now it's just a rock. "You do," he says, though he sounds doubtful. "Not yet, no. I'm still in the barracks. Just put in a request for all the materials…it should be fixed up soon. The Smiths will come in and do the electricity and the plumbing, and then I'll help with everything else. Another month or so. Should be ready by autumn…" And he goes back to work, restless. She might also notice that bottle of dad's whiskey, set on the only remaining shelf in the place.

"I absolutely do!" Darsce says firmly. She follows, but other than eyeing the greenery-digging he's doing, after a long look at her manicure, she doesn't offer to help. That would wreck at least an hour's worth of work on her nails. Finished by Autumn? Looking around, she says, "Damn, Squirt. You should send a bill to the Weyr for your part of the labor fixing this place up." She does indeed notice that bottle. Is the level down any since she last saw it? Perhaps the sight of it jogs her memory - or it could be the real reason she's come way out here. "So… did Kalsuoth chase the other day?"

Mur'dah chuckles, glancing around and shrugging. "Yeah? I don't mind the work so much," he admits. Nope, the bottle is still unopened, even, though it's dusted and just…sitting up there. "I'm just glad I don't have to pay for the materials. You'll help me decorate? I want it to look nice. Not…like nice like Marel's weyr is nice, but just…nice. Comfortable but not stupid looking." He's got great direction. Then he clears his throat, giving the trowel a vicious twist. "Yeah."

Will Darce help him decorate?! This is something she'd get into! And she's quite good at if if she does say so herself. "Masculine and rustic? With neutral colors predominate? What color would you like as an accent?" At least the bear is a nice sable brown and not pink or purple or anything. After another long look at that bottle, she wanders over to the large stone and lifts the bear, hops up to have a seat and settles the stuffed animal on her lap, wraps her arms about it and buries her face in it. So soft! "Yeah?" It's muffled because her face is still there. "How'd it- how are you?" She knows by now who caught and that it wasn't his brown.

Mur'dah blinks over at his sister for a moment, and then shrugs. "I guess? It'd suit this spot, I think. And blue. Something…cheerful but not something from a kid's room." It has to be the right shade of blue. Maybe some darker jungle greens? Now that I got all the green /out/…" Grin. But then that grin fades as he bends to his task once more. "Eh." Shrug. "It was pretty bad."

Kid's room?! "Psh! As if!" says Darsce with a flip of her hand. "You want something the ladies will see and know they're in a man's place." She approves of the colors with a decisive nod, tilts her head and eyes the exposed ceiling beams, the sturdy walls speculatively. "Shit, nothing from Cold Stone is cheerful, so maybe something from papa's trader roots since they're yours too? Like… you could make a path to the front door with ballast stones, panel the walls in weathered sailboard, use a canvas sail over the bed or use the bottom portion of a boat hull to add recessed lighting from the ceiling…" All enthusiastic about that, isn't she? And then she makes a grimace of sympathy. "Was it? In what way?"

Mur'dah blinks, and then frowns with a grimace. "I…don't think I want anything from Cold Stone /or/ Dad. Can't it just be…Xanadu? Something nice and simple? Not like…a seafood shack." Because that's what he just pictured. Then the harder answer. "It was just…a lack of control. I felt so sick. Kalsuoth was enjoying himself but I wasn't. Then when he lost, I just…there was nowhere for those feelings to go. It was just bad, Darsce. I didn't like it." As if he could avoid it.

Darsce huffs a little. "It wouldn't be anything like a seafood shack! It would be totally classy. And Uncle Lairgnen and grandpapa Naois are traders too. You used to love the trips on the Vega Run." Not that she'll press for the nautical things, but this will bear some thinking and the flow of creative juices. "You could do some generic rustic with a hint of forest and stone maybe. Oh well! There's time yet." At least they've got a head start with the teddybear? She dismisses the though with an airy shrug focusing instead on what he's saying. "I… I'm sorry, Mur." Uh oh! She's using Marel's nickname for him rather than a teasing pet-name. Serious now, apparently. Her arms tighten around the bear, her chin resting atop the bear's head. "I was here only few months when Seryth rose. I didn't know what hit me. Some rider grabbed my ass right in front of papa. And he decked 'im." It's funny now, says her smirk. "I know what you mean though. I wanted to…let him in the worst way." Now? She makes a face at the recollection. "Yesterday I… really wanted… someone. But…" she shrugs.

Mur'dah nods. "I did," he agrees quietly. And then he lets decorating go. There's time for that later. Like when the weyr has walls. He does look up when she calls him that though, brown eyes focusing in on her, as she gets his undivided attention. "You didn't go to Jeth?" he asks, quiet and a bit surprised.

Darsce's lashes have lowered, hiding her expression. She shakes her head, "Nope. I didn't want him to have to…" her eyes lift to her brother's, "you know? Besides," he chin lifts proudly, "Papa once called me a hussy because I was hanging out with boys. And I am a holder, not a kitchen-girl." So she lets people think what they like but this is her brother and the talk is a sensitive matter. She'll make him promise in blood not to spread her innocence abroad later. Undisguised vulnerability, the sort she couldn't show in the group that night when she'd been so flippantly hard is clear in her expression, "I mean, say you loved Soriana. How would you feel if your first time was… yesterday and only because your dragon caught hers?"

Mur'dah thinks for a moment, but then he nods. "Yeah, I understand," he says, giving her a quietly proud smile at her chin lift and her own pride. "I know." Her last question puzzles him though, and he shakes his head. "That wasn't Ka'el and Sori's first time."

"I'm not talking about them, I'm just using it as an example. How would you feel, Mur?" Darsce presses for an answer. "Because I'd rather know it was me he wanted not just anyone." Is she that vain or is there something else? "He's got his family and you know how papa is. Asher, eh." Asher, she calls her mother, which ought to say something.

Mur'dah squirms. "I'd feel…like I'd ruined something," he admits. "Like I'd…messed up the first time." Continuing to watch her, he nods. "It makes sense. I mean…that sort of…of intimacy should come from the people. And that's it. Not driven by dragon lust."

No flippant teasing about how he know's whether it was their first time or not. Darsce merely listens quietly, nodding. "Maybe it'd be different if I was a rider, but I'm not." So that's why she didn't go to Jethaniel. "I've never met anyone like him, Mur. He's just sweet and humble and not all ego like the guys at Ierne." Her take on flights is perhaps colored by her rider parents, for her next comment is, "You say yes to the white knot and you agree to make the sacrifice for your lifemate if you impress. Only a dimwit doesn't think long and hard about it before stepping on the sands." But back to him, and wanting someone, "Why didn't you go with one of those who-cavern girls?" Everyone knows the ones. they lurk about the edges of the feeding grounds, the caverns or the tavern hoping to get lucky.

Mur'dah eyes her for a moment. "So you haven't…?" he asks slowly. Then he sighs and nods. "Yeah, I know. And I just have to deal with it because it's my life now, but still." Then he's frowning. "The same reason you didn't go to Jeth. I haven't been with a woman yet, Darsce. I don't want my first time to be influenced. To mean nothing. I want…" And the teen trails off, clearing his throat. Back to grinding out greenery.

Nope she hasn't. Mostly because she's so damn picky. But now because… "He has his family," Darsce repeats. She knows how holder-moms feel about their sons and how the dads feel about the girls who date them. But back to Mur'dah, "So you want it to mean something, but you don't have someone you care about. I guess taking you to Ierne and getting you laid by one of the girls would be a bad idea, huh? And Kalsuoth will be chasing whenever he wants to. Odds are he's going to win before you find someone." Yeah, she's got nothing, except, "Asher said it was all the dragon. But she was okay with it." It… sucks to be you?

Mur'dah ohs, comprehension dawning. "Oh. Well. That's…really…classy of you, Darsce." He won't tell a soul, he promises. Then he huffs, and nods. "Yeah, something like that. And…I don't know? Would it be? I really /want/ to." He's a teenage boy surrounded by hormones and a horny dragon. Hell yes he wants to. "Ka'el said it was all about the dragon too, but that was before yesterday. I haven't seen him yet to see how it /really/ was…"

"It would mean less than nothing, Squirt. But if you want, I'll hook you up with someone." Ka'el. Darsce grimaces again. "That better-than-thou, judgmental…!" She stops with a snort. Her brother is friends with the rider and she's well aware that she is merely an acquaintance the young bronzerider thinks is the lowest of the low and likely wishes he'd never met. Don't get her started! "Hum. Maybe he's changed his tune," she says sweetly bored but it's too late for that facade to ring true. "You should go find him and ask him, now that he's all experienced and stuff," she says with sudden spite and a glitter of unshed tears that might or might not be visible as she hops down and spins towards the doorway. It's nothing to do with Mur'dah seeking the rider's advice and everything to do with her learning what friendship really is. She's learned that the hard way lately. "I'll seeya later, Squirt." And off she goes.

Mur'dah blinks, startled. "Darsce!" he cries, trying to run after her. "Stop!" He didn't mean…he should have known better. Stupid, stupid brownrider. Mur'dah doesn't manage to catch her. Sneaky Darsce gets lost in the brush and all Mur'dah can do is swear and stomp around his broken down weyr. Break a few more things. Then get back to work. And cuddle his teddybear.

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