Diving, Drinking, Dancing... While Proddy~

Disclaimer: Adult language and themes.


Xanadu Weyr - Shore of Lake Caspian
The cliffs that run along the shore come and go, various weyrs nestled along the tops of them or dug into the walls, but eventually they recede enough to expose a beach. The white sand echoes the rise and fall of the cliffs with a multitude of sandy dunes, endlessly creating tiny valleys that are constantly demolished and rebuilt by the frequent arrival or departure of dragons. The dunes smooth out as the gentle slope approaches the edge of the deep blue water. The sand darkens, and a shell here and there stands out for children to collect.

The beach narrows to the southwest, leaving a path barely wide enough for dragons in single file before cutting in to a smaller, more sheltered cove. The sands are the same white, the waters the same blue, but they're calmer and more tranquil, more protected from the winds that ruffle Lake Caspian and the currents that tug beneath the surface.

Rough, wide stairs lead up to the meadow above and the road that runs along the top of the cliffs, passing through the fields and heading for the river mouth that can be just barely seen from here. The largest of the staircases up the cliff is located near the docks that jut out onto the peaceful blue waters.

Summer is upon Xanadu and even with the day winding down towards evening and nightfall, the heat lingers. At least by the coast, there is some relief from a low breeze and the skies remain clear. But that's enough about the weather! Even if it's the backdrop to the events about to transpire, never mind that they weren't the original plans. Somehow, word was exchanged between Ru'ien and Tiridyn to arrange a little 'dalliance' here in Xanadu (as discussed, once upon a time). Of course, this sort of communique did not come without cost and that cost has a name. Kihatsuth caught wind of it and she's in a fine proddy mood to go stick her talons in it and further than she'd usually bother. Blame could be foisted on Ru'ien for his lapse in barrier control of his thoughts, but the poor boy is halfway to being her puppet not quite able to focus on a good day. Really, if he was responsible he'd have written Tiridyn a note to postpone. Somehow, he never could quite remember to. How convenient?

So at the appointed time and at the appointed spot to meet, it's not a cheery Ru'ien bearing down to greet the Fortian clerk. It's Kihatsuth herself, either poised in full predatory view or perched avian-like nearby for best effect given the location. It's not like she'd be missed, given her size for a green! She's a big girl, all curves and power beneath elegant simplicity of a pale mossy green hide. The moment he's spotted, Tiridyn will be greeted by a low chuff and a shift to her posture, her over-long talons clicking ominously against each other. Even the tilt of her head implies an easy enough translation. Hello, dearie~

The fact that it's Winter in Fort and Summer in Xanadu might have had one or two things to do with Tiridyn's follow-up at a much closer remove than the last gap between contacts— or maybe it's just that the time spent at the gather was motivating to not make it so long between visits. Who can say the exact reason that Tiri managed it, the point is that at approximately the appointed time, he's jogging to the designated meeting place only to slooooooow waaaaaaaaaay down when his date appears to be a different gender and species from what he was expecting. But listen. He was sort of prepped for the possibility (now, later, whenever), and Tiridyn is a weyrbrat through and through.

Though there's surely a healthy respect for those talons for days~ and the sheer Kihatsuth-ness of her, as judged by dark eyes flowing over her, Tiridyn's feet bring him forward. He doesn't get personal, but he does stop within the proximity that if she wanted to hang him by his trousers from a talon until either his large-floral printed red based board shorts ripped or Ru'ien arrived, she could. He reaches up to pluck at the center of his cream-colored button up with its subtle cross-hatch of lines of slightly differing shade of the cream and strips of decorative taupe embroidery up the front-sides, letting it pull away from his body just a little and then fall in the last steps he makes.

The inclination of his head toward Kihatsuth is really a very slight bow, in fact, though nothing overly exaggerated. "I hope Ru'ien has that artist do your portrait, too, while he's at it," is Tiridyn's opening line. If he were faking it, or if he'd rehearsed it, it would be ruined, but fortunately for all, this is pure Tiri, off the cuff and with a sunny smile for the powerful green that is both genuinely admiring and slightly thoughtful, as though his mind is busy hatching a mark-making opportunity as he takes her in.

That he doesn’t immediately balk at her presence has already begun to win him points in his favour! What seals the deal? That clever little line in greeting. It panders to her ego, delights and annoys her — which sets the stage for her immediate delight (for now) in Tiridyn. Can he forgive the lack of compliments on her part? Kihatsuth saves that sort of thing for her puppet rider~ Luckily for the young clerk, his outfit (and he himself) untampered with. She isn’t so rough with her toys!

Bowing also wins Tiri points. It doesn’t even matter by that point if Tiridyn is faking it! He’s got her attention and that was the point, wasn’t it? Those talons click again and her posture shifts to the very tilt of her head — there’s an implied bemused smirk there, in body language. Along with a more audible thrum of sound that is created deep in her throat. No guesswork there, as she speaks directly. Her voice is strangely, eerily, melodic, rising and falling between sweet and sultry. « How flattering! » she purrs, an impish smirk now heavily implied. Along with the hint of bared teeth lurking. « It may be worth my time to see if anyone has the talent to capture my likeness correctly » Somehow, disappointing Kihatsuth sounds like a very bad idea. Abruptly, she slinks forwards and to the side, careful not to crowd Tiri but encircling him nonetheless. Her talons stay well away, but her head has lowered, angled now at a very appraising manner. « Do you enjoy art? » So innocently asked, so sweetly spoken, almost crooned. IT’S A TRAP, TIRIDYN!

OKAY, LISTEN, KIHATSUTH, you're going to have to forgive Tiridyn for the (mentally literal) bubble of delight that she deigns to speak directly to him, his smile blazingly bright in answer to the first purr. If he looks a little besotted on immediate contact, well, she is Kihatsuth, after all, right? "I hear very good things about Averil's skill. I'm not sure how much experience he has with dragons, but I imagine he'd be willing to work to get it right." Honestly, Tiridyn has yet to meet Averil, but his reputation does precede him when someone is looking for him, as Tiridyn is.

TRAP OR NO TRAP, Tiri is only too happy to step right into it, Kihatsuth, either blithely unaware or prepared to do battle - it's hard to say since his mindsense isn't quite so transparent to one that isn't bonded to him. "I do!" He nearly chirps. "I'm not an expert by any stretch, but I find a lot of value in its expression, both monetarily and in less tangible ways. "Do you enjoy art, Kihatsuth?" Does he get a point or two for having recognized Ru'ien's lifemate just from the description given him? He probably should, even if he wouldn't dare petition the judge, jury and executioner for the points if he's not awarded them independently. And honestly? He's genuinely interested in what the green has to say. He's even subtly leaning in toward her, bouncing on the balls of his feet in that suppressed kinetic expression of his enjoyment of this moment.

Forgive? WHAT IS THERE TO FORGIVE!? Kihatsuth is even more enthralled if she can pick up on that delight! She loves a receptive audience, okay? It is fuel to her fire. That Tiridyn looks so besotted? Well! It might be mutual in that fleeting moment; her moods do change on a whim, after all! Another hummed note rises from her throat, as she considers his recommendation but ultimately dismisses it. No offence to Averil, Tiridyn or anyone, but she is a fickle green (and egotistical). and she’s going to pester Ru’ien about it later

Whether the young clerk is unaware or prepared to do battle, matters not! That he so willingly goes into her trap just adds more of that chaotic element. Kihatsuth is loving this! Or maybe it’s the ‘kindred spirit’ in an art connoisseur? She vocalizes her delight, through a light warble. Click-click goes those talons! They’re closer, as she draws her head back a bit. « Do I? » she positively crows, midway through a mental cackle and sultry purr. « I am an artist! » In her own right. Look at her puff up and pose, though, to preen and loom above Tiridyn. « Tragically often mistaken! » she laments, her voice shifting to appropriate feigned timber. Such sadness! « Not everyone can appreciate my talents. » Woe. Then, as if with a flick of a talon, the masks shifts and she’s practically coiled herself in a loose semi-circle around Tiridyn. Her head is as level with him as it can be. Not intimidating at all, right? « Would you like to see it? » the last word is dragged out, all velvet and throaty with an implied predatory grin. Tiridyn’s gaining so many points! Don’t stop now~

Art connoisseur? Nono. Kihatsuth might mistake him. This here is a talent scout. Tiri's the man with the connections, and, of course, a healthy appreciation for anyone worth adding to that complicated network for their skills and prowess. Has Tiri ever collected a dragon to that web? Perhaps, perhaps not, but apparently he aims to try. If there's surprise for her claiming the artist's title, it doesn't show. Nor does he waste her time lingering on things she's already decided on, like other artists and their works, but rather rocks back onto his heels.

"The best artists are," Tiridyn sympathizes — also not adding 'the worst, too.' "But so many people lack vision, or appreciation for vision that isn't their own." He doesn't mean her of course (but could he~), he means her maligned audience. "If you'd like to share, I'd be happy to see." He doesn't even stop to ask what it is. This may be the point where Tiridyn's gamble is on Ru'ien arriving at some point to dig him out of his grave of whatever he's getting himself so thoroughly entrenched in here, or for Kiha's interest to wane to something else. Time will tell, but he's willing, ready and able to take the risk- or so he thinks…

Fortune favors Tiridyn’s gamble or it was just sheer blind luck, because Ru’ien does show up before things get really bad intense! Kihatsuth looks absolutely THRILLED to be asked to share and from the way she settles onto her haunches, striking yet another predatory fetching pose to shamelessly flaunt confidence (and POWER!). Of course, Tiridyn’s been offering all sorts of clever insight that she hasn’t missed but she is a selfish, egotistical girl (and proud of it), so her focus is narrow!

Tiridyn is spared the mental imagery onslaught that gives even seasoned riders a headache by the well timed appearance of Ru’ien. Hopefully the young clerk isn’t against some contact, because he’ll have the greenrider’s arm looping around him — be it over his shoulders or, preferably, around his waist. “I see you two found each other!” he exclaims in a delighted tone that doesn’t sound forced at all. Kihatsuth looks suspicious AND annoyed to be interrupted. Annoyance that shifts to match the low growl, as Ru’ien begins to back them away. “You can fawn over him another night, Kiha.” There might be a cue in the form of a slight squeeze to Tiri. Say something~ “We’ve got plans!” Which, to judge by the way Ru’ien is dressed, brokers many questions to what the night is going to entail! Because he’s wearing a black floral printed one-piece bodysuit, a sheer black skirt that does little to hide bare legs beneath or his calf high boots. A sleeveless light fabric blue-grey vest-jacket completes the look, along with a few modest accessories. His hair is sporting that braided look, though he’s tied much of his loose hair back with them too.

"She found me, of course," Tiri's greeting is not quite chirped to the greenrider, but nearly, beaming a wide smile that might be for him or his lifemate or both in nearly equal measure. But he's giving the credit for the cleverness to Kihatsuth. He leans into the arm around his waist like it's a sideways hug— because it is now. "Good to see you," he says quite genuinely, more quietly, to the man, though there's no trace of distress in the Fortian's voice, and whether or not he's playing to a crowd or in earnest as he says, "So soon?" To the places to go and people to see. "Well, you are all dressed up for them." The plans. That befits a grin. Tiridyn can talk about just how good Ru'ien looks later.

"Thank you for taking the time to meet me, Kihatsuth. You are a revelation." And his tone implies that he means that in the most complimentary fashion if perhaps also a few other ways, too. So he aims for the balance of sad-to-go/happy-to-have-somewhere-to-be, but not because of what he's leaving. Silver tongued stores clerk, indeed! Is it any wonder that he can claim truly that he's good at his job? It doesn't always work out for him, of course, but here's an example of him at work. He'll move with the greenrider as he's backing them away, but does he have a choice with the larger man's arm around his much smaller frame? It's not his fault, Kiha, honestly~~

Kihatsuth will take that credit for her cleverness! Another point to notch in Tiridyn’s favour~ At this rate, she’ll be completely besotted with him (until she forgets she ever was)! Which would put a serious damper on whatever plans were truly concocted. “Good to see you too,” Ru’ien murmurs in a genuinely quick aside to Tiridyn, before he’s playing his own lifemate with as charming a broad smile as he can muster. “Afraid so!” So many places, so little time! Shame, really. “And it’d be a shame if all this preparation went to waste!” He adds, his free hand making a small flourished gesture to indicate himself. Is he wearing what passes as mascara on Pern? You bet he is.

As for the larger than life green? She’s watching them both with thinly veiled suspicion but Kiha is eventually convinced that it works better in her favour to relinquish them to their fun. « And you are such a sweet thing~ » her mental voice croons, equally sultry-sweet to Tiridyn. Her head turns as sharp as the change in pitch directed to Ru’ien (and shared still with the clerk). « And you will owe me later for this! » It’s a teasing, genuine threat and in the next breath, Kihatsuth is backing off with only a played-at sniff at being affronted and snubbed. Ru’ien doesn’t even bat an eye for the display, keeping his arm around Tiridyn as he exits-stage-left them right on out of that! Before Kihatsuth’s mercurial moods shift again. When they’ve escaped for good, Ru’ien will heave a heavy sigh of relief. “That was close!” he exclaims, with a giddy sounding laugh that is almost a snicker. His arm? Still around Tiridyn. Has he forgotten? Yes and no.

There's not time for another bow to Kihatsuth as Tiridyn affects all the appropriate expressions for reluctant acceptance to the needs of the day that involve their quick retreat, but he does flourish a hand in her direction to intimate one. There might be a quick thank you for Kiha's compliment but Ru is pulling Tiri out just in time to keep him from tipping the balance into being too sweet to give up with compliments in turn.

He manages, with effort, to keep up with the much taller man until they're safe and laugh is answered with a laugh, brightly mirthful. "I thought I was doing alright!" He claims, but the way he grins up at the greenrider foreshadows his next words, "I admit, I might have been skating on thinning ice, but-" He lets the rest of the sentence become another laugh. "She's great!" YES, RU, HE REALLY THINKS SO.

Has he forgotten about the arm around his waist? Nope, but he doesn't seem to mind. Except, he has to pull away from Ru'ien with a little twist to get a bit of distance between them, hands coming up in a 'wait' gesture before he lets them drop away to affect an assessing stance— as if he were that art connoisseur Kiha was prepared to believe him. He keeps a credibly studious expression until he completes the roam. Then he beams at Ru'ien. "Definitely not a look to waste on just me." He agrees, grinning, with hands settling at his waist but not quite on his hips. "So do I get to know the plan?" He probably won't object if not.

Does Kihatsuth wiggle her overly long talons back at Tiri for that flourished gesture? Could be. Either way, they’re going one way and she is going her way but not truly ‘gone’. Ru’ien knows this, but it’s not something he would even think to try and explain to the young clerk. There’s enough going on!

Including laughter, which is the preferred focus upon which the greenrider thrives. “You were!” he muses, all low tones but bright expressions. “Better than most. You won her over fast! I only stopped it because I dunno if you could handle the imagery onslaught she was about to indulge you with. It’d be a serious damper on the night, y’know, if I had to nurse you through the migraine of all migraines.” Is he rambling a bit? You betcha. LISTEN, TIRI! Ru’ien knows she’s great! BUT HE’S NO FOOL. “Maybe another time I’ll see if you really can go toe to — talon? — with her. Tonight, I’m the selfish jerk who wants you all to myself~” Hey, have some honesty wrapped in a teasingly framed comment!

Ru’ien’s hold will draw back as Tiri pulls away, his fingers glancing innocently (also, debatable) along the fabric of his shirt. Was that a little shiver? Nah, surely a trick of the eyes! He quirks a single brow at the ‘wait’ gesture, but under the studious expression, he can’t help but strike an arrogant pose. Like what you see? That’s what his smug look is saying. “What if it was?” he asks, mouth curving into a playful smirk now. “You’re looking good yourself, y’know.” Ru’ien doesn’t even hide the roaming look he gives the younger clerk until his thoughts are pulled elsewhere (and for the best). Plan! The plan. “I’d all sorts,” of plans, “and several involve dancing in hidden places of invite only notoriety!” But? He turns thoughtful distracted, one of his hands running up along the side of his neck and into his hair; he’s fidgeting, there’s enough restlessness coming off of him to likely charge the space between them. When his focus turns back to Tiri, his gaze is bright, a little feverish. Is he quick enough to put two and two together? “Can you swim?”

"This is definitely not the right outfit to nurse a man in. You'll end up with one of those tragic 'fell-in-love-with-my-nurse' stories if you try it." Tiridyn might not even mean himself given that he's not currently blushing. It might even be that he's saying words off the cuff in answer while he tries and fails to process the 'selfish jerk' or maybe just the 'all to myself' part. Some things just don't penetrate this witty brain, at least, not as they're intended.

He does fluff his shirt with a pair of pinches pulling it from his chest and letting it drop. "I've been known to throw together an outfit, on occasion." His sense of style is clearly very different from Ru'ien's, but he also clearly enjoys it, grinning at the greenrider. Whether it's style or the particular plan articulated that prompts him to observe, "My outfit is suitable for a swim. Is yours?" So yes, he can swim, he'll even rock a step in closer now that he's done taking in the whole picture Ru'ien presents, brow lifting.

He is normally quick, but he hasn't been around Ru'ien proddy before and surely there was no mention of it in the exchange of notes that brought him, right? So, no, for now, the clerk hasn't made the connection, even if dark eyes do seem to take in the fidgets and bright gaze and all, perhaps attributing them to other, more usual types of anticipation.

“Some of those stories are good though! Cheesy romance and all~” Ru’ien chimes right on back with one of those smirks, not the least bit ruffled by the lack of feedback on Tiridyn’s end. If he finds it puzzling, it’s not processing that way in his head that way, at that very moment! “Just on occasion? You’ve had impeccable taste every time I’ve had the pleasure of crossing paths with you!” he muses, half teasing, half genuine compliment again. There’s a snickered breath for the fluff and pinching to the clothes, while he’ll give a little flourish and flick to the semi-sheer skirt he’s wearing. “What do you think I’m wearing under this? You don’t need a swimsuit to swim, by the way.” Cue a suggestive wiggle to his brows and a bright laugh. HE’S KIDDING! … maybe.

His hands come together though in a delighted clasp, fingers extending even woven together to tap-tap against his chin and curved, smirking lips. Decisions, decisions! “This is where I’m trying very hard to not just say ‘fuck it, let’s do it ALL’,” he admits with a heavy sigh and his hands now returning to smooth over the pleats of his skirt. He inhales a little sharply through his teeth, giving Tiridyn a look that encroaches on ‘wild’. Restlessness almost has him bouncing slightly on his feet and he seems relieved when a breeze kicks up from over the waters. Anticipation is half of it! Most of it is proddy and it’ll come to light soon enough. “Swimming first? It’s a little walk and a decently private place I’ve known about for Turns but it’s got a twist! It’ll be fun~” Hopefully Tiri isn’t afraid of heights? “Or, we can go right to the dancing and do the swimming after as a way to cool down! Hmm… might mean we watch what we drink.” Help him out here, will you, Tiri?

"Well, I mean-" Tiridyn starts but then he doesn't have any real defense, so he just grins, "Fair. Who doesn't love a good cheesy romance." It's not the least sarcastic, so Tiri must be a fan, if not apparently an avid enough one to continue down the path of books and stories. Another day, he might, because books (generally, if not cheesy romances specifically), but right now Ru'ien is laying out all kinds of choices. He doesn't miss the wild look, though neither does he seem to know what to do with it. As the greenrider will surely come to understand, two of Tiridyn's most integral traits are being an opportunist and an enabler. This combination can go very well, or exceedingly poorly. Hopefully tonight it will be the former.

"What's wrong with doing it all?" Tiridyn's breezy reply holds no hesitation to it, no caution, no sense of self-preservation. (Honestly, here is the man who would probably stroll right into a den of thieves thinking he can talk his way to leaving a richer man.) Cavalier. He glances up at the sky, perhaps taking in the time of day as a guide, "Swimming first," he agrees, because honestly it's better to swim in unknown places when there's still daylight. "Do we need to take anything with us?" He wouldn't, at least, go strolling into that aforementioned den without the most cunning right set of provisions.

It’ll remain to be seen how this particular combination goes tonight; but it wouldn’t surprise the greenrider if it’s one or the other or some weird zig zagging pendulum swing (hello, chaos~). “Exactly!” Ru’ien will chime in eagerly, before letting that topic of cheesy romances and books slide. He favors Tiri with a long, pointed stare instead that soon morphs to a face splitting grin and slow rising, clear ringing, laugh. “Oh, darling — you’ve no idea what you’re proposing!” Ru’ien muses, eyes narrowing and voice halfway to a sultry purr. He leaves that to dangle, baited challenge and all. Drifting closer, leaning in towards him, posture ever playful even if encroaching on personal space, he goes on the murmur, “Already taken care of,” with a smug edged smirk. Ru’ien’s come (somewhat) prepared! So maybe there was a (half baked) plan or he’s working around existing ones that keep changing on a whim. Should he have mentioned it’s likely only the bare necessities?

Taking that as a final decision, Ru’ien is abruptly on the move but not without reaching first to snare Tiri’s hand or wrist. Come on~ He’s not exactly jogging, but he has a long stride when he’s of a mind to put some hurry to his steps. They’ve got a little way to go! And will it strike the young clerk that they’re not heading to the coast but away from it and more towards the wilds? This seems fine. He may entertain a few questions or even casual conversation, but anything remotely tied to where they are going remains frustratingly vague. ‘It’s a surprise!’ may be a go-to as well!

What is important is they’ll reach their destination after some span of time and, true to his earlier word, Ru’ien has stashed some towels in a protective bag in a nearby tree. “I’ve known of this place all my life. It was shared with me and I’ve only shared it with a few others," He gives a little wink at that, as if he's just indoctrinated the young clerk into something. "There’s not many places like it and fewer still this private.” So keep it secret, keep it safe, Tiri! It’s a lovely little area. But where’s the water? Ahh, the good ‘ol introduction trick! Unless Tiri catches on, while Ru’ien kicks off his shoes, undoes the belt keeping that skirt in place. No hesitation in the least bit, as he strips to just that bodysuit leaving little to the imagination. “Love this little slice of haven! It’s amazing for unwinding but getting a thrill with it too.” he muses, smirking crookedly as he ties up the majority of his long, long hair. “Hope you’re not afraid of heights~” he sing songs and, without further delay, gets to the point. With a little sashay, a backwards glance to Tiri, a skipped hop and then a leap past a break in the foliage by the rock shelf — the illusion border of what looks like flat ground behind. Nah, it’s a swimming hole! Cliff jumping optional (path down to the side, folks).

Listen, greenrider, Tiridyn is a LIVE and learn kind of man. (Stress heavily on the live part.) This means that even though no, he has no idea what he's proposing nor does he have any notion that 'taken care of' will mean only bare bones supplies, he's not taking any of it back nor questioning the taller man's assurance. It's time to do the living part of these choices. Fortunately for all, Tiri is a routine runner and so the fact that Ru'ien is not jogging means Tiridyn can jog and keep up with the longer-stride's pace setting. He certainly has no shortage of energy to spare. Casual conversation is easy for one who talks as much as Tiri typically does, though there's no shortage of back and forth, although jogging might help with the lack of conversation-dominating monologues, even if he always tries to keep a cap on that tendency anyway. He doesn't ask questions about where they're going, having no need to ruin a surprise. Lamb to slaughter that he is. He does probably mentally take note of the trail just in case, a lesson no doubt from some earlier too-trusting moment, even if the world has not ruined his whim to trust quickly entirely.

Dark eyes move around the private-slice-of-haven that they eventually arrive at, looking at it more than the greenrider until in a scan of the surroundings his eyes catch on Ru'ien disrobing and there's a double-take that's both comedic and complimentary, blush coming as dark eyes go darting away. Listen, Ru, not to spoil it for you, but Tiridyn has a very vivid imagination and that view gives it plenty to work with, okay? It might have been less blush-worthy for weyrbred Tiri if Ru had just stripped naked. But wearing something? That's not the same as sharing a bathing pool with everyone and literally their uncle's cousin's brother.

Still, he doesn't turn away, just averts his gaze back to the area as his hands start down the buttons on his shirt just enough to be able to tug it up over his head and off. Evidently, he trusts that when Ru'ien says there will be swimming, there will be. He does look back to Ru'ien's face to give him a look that presses Tiri's lips together and brings tension to his cheeks - not a smile, but more a, 'I fly on dragons all the time, that's a silly question,' look. At least he doesn't say so aloud. SORRYNOTSORRY Ru, but for all his short stature, Tiridyn doesn't scare easily, so when Ru'ien vanishes from sight, there's no flattering outcry of concern for his safety like F'yr did, just a slight hitch to his brows before he's sauntering over onto that rock shelf to take a gander down. Whatever verbal reaction Tiridyn might have had is too far away or simply above water to be heard.

In the next moment there's a shout of, "'ware below!" out of courtesy and safety, before with a whoop Tiri is launching himself out off the cliff. It's nothing fancy this time, not knowing how deep that pool is, but just wait.

Ru’ien is on board with living one’s life! Learning? Jury is out on that (okay, he’s come along in some ways). Lucky for Tiridyn, the greenrider is relatively harmless but he’d hold no blame for looking for escape routes. The young clerk is equally as lucky that Ru’ien chose to focus on his little “stunt” that he’s spared much of the devouring staring he would’ve dished out. He’s shameless, weyrbred or not, and never passes on an opportunity to admire a fine body line or physique. It’s for the best too that he never finds out just what that double-take from Tiridyn really meant! He’d never hear the end of it.

LISTEN, he’s aware that the last teasing quip made no sense! He has reasons for bringing it up, some prior experiences but no true rooted concerns — if he did, they’d not be here! If he’s disappointed for the reaction to his leap, he won’t show it! That’s not the real important thing, anyhow. By the time that shout is voiced, Ru’ien has already resurfaced, pushing back some of his hair from his face and giving his own whooped laughter as Tiridyn takes the plunge. He’s well out of the way, treading water as he waits on the younger man to resurface. Readied, of course, with one of his signature broad curved grins. “So?” he inquires, amused. “What do you think?” What’s the score rating so far, Tiridyn?

It takes a moment, once Tiri's head has popped back above the surface for him to shake his head in order to whip those floppy locks laid flat by weight of water out of his eyes, but that done he's grinning and running a hand over his face. The grin vanishes in the wake of the question - and there it is, a poker face that's actually really good, and might even be totally convincing if not for the preceding grin and the situation to which it's being applied. "I think…" Wait for it. "… that it's deep enough to get fancy." Grin and splash toward Ru'ien make an appearance together. He'll even peremptorily swim like he's going to put some distance between them and get that much closer to the shore in a two-birds-one-stone move, laughing as he goes. "How do we get back up?"

“Fancy? I'd like to see what can be ‘fancy’ about cliff diving!” Ru’ien laughs at his return quip to Tiridyn, not buying into the poker face (genuine or not — he saw that grin though and that is payment enough)! The splash directed towards him is weathered, half-heartedly shielded by the lift of a shoulder. Retaliation is swiftly given, though more-so in the general direction of Tiridyn’s move towards the shoreline. It’s his turn to grin, as he swims effortlessly through the water, drifting ever closer to the young clerk. “There’s a path that leads up!” he offers, while also putting himself ahead of Tiri by a small margin. It gives him a chance to not only playfully flick more water his way, but pull himself out of the waters first. how about another show of form fitting suits? Ru’ien wrings out the worst of the water from his hair or finding some excuse to keep his hands busy; they seem to flutter over his skin too, but that’s not his immediate focus. In the next breadth and likely predictable, given his impish grin, he chimes: “Race you!” And then he’s off! Like their first encounter With the obligatory pause a few strides in to be sure the challenge is, at least, partially accepted!

Tiridyn is the type to be able to take what he dishes out so the splashes are good-naturedly received with nothing more than a sputter when Ru gets him just there. If the smaller man were trying, he might be able to give the taller man a run for his marks to the edge of the pool, but in this case the Fortian needs the local knowledge to lead the way. Of course, once the challenge is issued… well, it's on. Even if Tiridyn will make sure to lay the groundwork for an uneven terms defense by shouting, "Cheater! Your legs are twice as long as mine!" Well, not really, but that's more fun to say~ He's quick to pull himself out of the pool right behind Ru'ien and scramble to get his footing on suddenly slicked rock, before following in the greenrider's footsteps to the top of the cliff. At least he's not pushing himself dangerously hard, with not expecting and, honestly, not really trying to win maybe he likes the view too much~~. He's not out of breath when he reaches the top and will declare, "Told you!" to Ru'ien before he's laughingly darting around the greenrider to slow his jog as he approaches the ledge, giving the jumping platform a good look over for hazards this time, still well back from the edge.

"Excuses, excuses!" Ru'ien chimes back teasingly over his shoulder for Tiridyn's defence (true or not, it makes him laugh all the same). By the time they reach the top again, he's hardly winded but flushed like he ought to be. He'll take a playful swipe at Tiri when he darts around him, but ultimately letting him take that lead to study the platform. Ru'ien is studying something else entirely with no lack of admiration, which will shamelessly be the young clerk himself. Hello, unexpected physique! That lasts several moments, until the greenrider reluctantly pulls himself from a runaway imagination less Kiha gets a hold of it . "I swear, there's no traps or pitfalls!" Ru'ien muses, approaching now wherever Tiri may be standing; was he referencing natural ones or himself, here? His returning grin suggests a not-so secret thread of thought. "And the water is deepest for several feet around, even if you take a running leap for a fancy trick."

Please, Ru, you're proddy; like Kiha doesn't already have it~~. Initially, anyway, Tiridyn is oblivious to Ru'ien's study of his, yes, unexpectedly defined physique, complete with six pack abs if not as defined as some other people's that we know and amazing pecs see above. It's unexpected, primarily, probably because those who give the appearance of slender and short in stature are often simply not born with the body type that supports that musculature. Damn biology and its predetermined body types; thank your mother's womb~ MOVING ON~

When he notices as he glances back, there's a lift of his brows that might be a silent, 'Hm?' of inquiry that Ru may certainly feel free to ignore if he wishes since Tiri is immediately distracted by Ru's words. "It never hurts to scope things out before you take your life in your hands." Is that what Tiri is about to do? Apparently. Or maybe he just says it for the drama. "Wanna go first so you can watch the whole thing? Probably a better view. Then, too, if I fuck it up, you can play nurse after all and save my life." Maybe that's a lifeguard, Tiri, but listen, it doesn't fit with the earlier line of joking, so on you go~ Evidently, Tiri's self-determined friendzone perspective is what makes him (for the moment) entirely miss whatever not-so-secret thread of thought might be winding through the greenrider's brain in the midst of all this fancy trick big talk.

Shh, of course Kiha has it! Let Ru’ien have hopes she doesn’t and won’t share it! Ru’ien does ignore that silent inquiry from Tiridyn or, more likely, it goes right on past his awareness. He’s distractible, okay? And if it’s not the lovely sight of the young clerk, it’s his own ‘state’ of running hot and that simmering restlessness. His fingers are itching to move, to touch and he’s trying to ignore the whispers of temptation that fixation brings. give it time, he’ll slip up eventually

“No leap of faith, this time? Diving head-long into it? Pun intended.” Ru’ien teases, broad grin flipping to a more neutral expression as he seems to consider the offer to go first again. Better view? His gaze rakes over Tiri again, as if weighing angles options. Hmm~ He does laugh, low and throaty, for suggesting to play nurse-lifeguard. “Okay, that sells it for me!” he muses, with just enough to his tone to make it hard whether he’s still joking or genuine. “You’re lucky I just don’t shove you off — I thought about it, y’know?” Cue a wolfish grin, a wink. Is it still on his mind? MAYBE. Might not want to let him sneak too close, Tiri — and he’ll feint that very thing before with a cackle of laughter, goes leaping off the edge. swan dive! It’s not exactly graceful, but he has his own method that makes it LOOK like he’s got some sort of form to it!

Tiri does move to the edge to watch Ru'ien go down, watches him surface and waits for him to clear the landing zone before he turns his back to the pool. He really wasn't kidding about getting fancy and this must be a party trick he's practiced at length in his youth to be able to get it right. He's right on the edge when he puts his hands down and very carefully gets himself into a handstand. He holds it one, two, three, four, five, and then flexes enough to give himself a push out and off the edge of the ledge, his body folding in half and spinning in the air for a single flip before he straightens himself out to enter the water at a slight angle - hands first, which explains the caution which with he's exercised his making sure the dive sight is appropriate. It takes him a moment to surface, but when he does, it's with a gasp of air and then a whoop that includes a slap of the water. "Nailed it!" He declares for himself; Ru's nursing duties will not be called upon this time.

Ru’ien is polite enough to clear the landing zone in decent time, choosing a comfortable spot out of the way to observe but not leave the water. Once he catches on to what Tiridyn is aiming for (or truly he’s just impressed), there’s a sharp whistle of approval from him. DO IT~ Not that he expected the young clerk to chicken out or botch it — there’s a whoop for when the single flip is executed but he saves the applause for when he’s properly resurfaced and declares the OBVIOUS. Laughter comes next, in tandem with the slap to the water. “Damn, look at you! Fancy diver, you got any more surprises with your skills?~ How’d you ever come up with that!?” Ru’ien exclaims, clearly not put out the least bit by losing his chance to play nurse. He peers back up to the ledge above them, brows furrowed in thought and mouth quirked in a mischievous smirk. He’s drifting to the water’s edge, intending to pull himself out, even as he chimes predictably : “I’m gonna try it!” And there’s no race this time, as once he’s out of the water, Ru’ien’s taking a moment to wring some of the water from his hair and refasten it — or he’s potentially distracted again with himself. Maybe it’ll be Tiri who’ll play nurse? Or maybe the greenrider can be persuaded to try something less adventurous! But what could possibly go wrong everything could?

What indeed. Listen, we mentioned Tiri's excellent imagination, right? WELL, it turns out it works for disasters as well as more pleasant mental diversions! "Hey, woah, hold up!" Tiri's beating a fast path after the greenrider and out to put himself into Ru'ien's path by the time the hair-wringing is done, hands up in front of him. "First of all, greenrider," YEP, HE'S PULLING TITLES INTO THIS, RU, srs bsns "I learned it and a bunch of other incredibly reckless things over turns of being bad at turning down dares. It's a wonder I'm still alive, really."

He's talking fast, probably because he doesn't expect Ru'ien to be listening to him for very long, "So I'm not saying never do it, but I am saying that if you haven't tried the handstand bit or whatever, you need to take it a piece at a time and get in some practice, even with your impressive muscles." He'll just drop that in and whiz right on, "I might be able to manage myself, but there is no way I can carry you back, and I'm pretty sure the fastest way to get on Kihatsuth's bad side is to let you become a vegetable for the rest of your life by slipping and hitting your head on a rock and maybe slipping into a coma from which you might never wake and then die of starvation or thirst— I think thirst kills you faster than starvation, but listen—"

BECAUSE HERE'S THE REAL SELL, RU'IEN: "It would ruin our dancing plans, and you got all dressed up for everything," he gestures to the whole of Ru and flashes his most convincing smile, adorable and brilliant all at once, a little spot of sun, "I don't know how I'd live if we don't get to go dancing." Okay, Tiri, it's starting to be much, which he seems to realize and just shuts up, giving that hopeful smile up to the taller man. (Oh, and if Ru wanted to move along the path? Well, Tiri will have gone backwards, tripping occasionally over his own feet and the unfamiliar switch backs if that's what he's had to do to hold the man's (partial) attention.)

Ru’ien’s definitely set on the course for power disaster and only stalled from that headlong dive (all puns intended) by Tiridyn’s fateful timing (and common sense). “… seriously?” he tries to interject on the TITLES CARD so low, with a wrinkled nose that’s more playful than anything. Oop, nope? Gonna keep going? Well, his attention holds for about three more seconds into that and then he takes on that glazed-eye look of someone who isn’t listening. (Right again, Tiri!)

Granted, he doesn’t completely blow Tiridyn off and really, the way he tilts his head, gaze wandering to that ledge again? It might not be Ru’ien alone in that head of his. The thoughtful sound he makes is more guttural than necessary too. It’s not out of insult that much of what is said is seemingly dismissed, but what eventually strikes home is important — not so much that Ru’ien could die (that’ll hit him later, when he’s alone and he can have his little sad-face moment in privacy), but that the dancing might not happen!

He’ll gasp audibly at that, hand pressed first to his chest as his eyes narrow under a frown and refocus clearer on Tiridyn. Say what now? “But we have to go dancing!” he stresses, feigned pout but genuine dismay, as he leans in just enough to place his hands on his thighs and be more at eye level with Tiri. He was slowly pressing them up that path up to that point, but he’s stopped now. “We’re going to the place with the poles—“ he catches himself there, with another sharper gasp and his fingers briefly pressed over his mouth. Oops! Surprise? It’ll drop away, only to vaguely point at Tiri like he’s at fault as he clicks his tongue and heaves a sigh of faux disappointment. “Okay, fine~" he sighs, preening a little because why yes, he did get all dressed up, didn't he? thanks for noticing "I won’t do that dive and to put you at ease, we can focus on drying off.” Straightening to his full height, he’ll toss a wink to Tiri and then make an attempt to breeze past him (or, at the very least, step alongside him).

Tiridyn and Ru'ien may have really only known each other for two (fairly, fairly long) spans of time, but there's something here, in this, that finally triggers Tiridyn's awareness that something is off about Ru'ien. Maybe it's the degree of success that his real sell is met with. He eyes the greenrider as much for that as for the placing of hands on his thighs. C'mon, he's not that short! His arms come up to cross over his chest, lips settling into a line that just lets Ru'ien hang with the already spoken cautionary words. The word 'poles' does get a little lift of a single brow, but he's working an angle now, and he has to be trying to make sure he doesn't break the expression that then comes with a silent 'it's your choice,' shrug before Ru'ien finally relents.

"After you," comes in the beats after the greenrider breezes past him, of course, humor reassuringly touching his tone. If Ru looks back, there's a grin for him, cheeky even, but at least he doesn't seem to be staring at the greenrider's ass? Just as they're nearing the top, he asks, "Hey, you feeling alright?" There's not concern in the tone, so much as perhaps testing the waters for something he hasn't quite put his finger on yet.

No, Tiri really isn’t that short but Ru’ien’s going to play up any height difference when he’s in the mood for it! There’s a low throaty chuckle for the crossed armed stance and the angle worked by the young clerk — it keeps the greenrider in line, but only because he’s willing to play along. Of course he’s going to look back over his shoulder! Ru’ien lives for reactions and expressions, so he can barely mask his own grin in turn. He wouldn’t mind either, if his ass was being stared at! Could be he assumes Tiridyn is enjoying some of the view but more likely his restlessness has his hands smoothing over his hips and back over the line of that bodysuit and almost to the curve — only to dart up and away and into his hair again.

Fussing with the braids and attempting to comb through the rest with his fingers, Ru’ien half turns, clearly distracted. “Mhm?” Give him a second and with a blink and narrowing of his eyes as his focus sharpens, he grins slow. “I’m —“ Fine? He hesitates with a breathy sigh. Ah, not quite the truth! He IS fine but he’s not going to hide the obvious (to him). “Alright. Proddy, but alright! Not too far gone into it but getting there.” He almost sounds giddy admitting it, chuckling to himself as his fingers continue to play with work at his hair. “Guess I should’ve opened with that, hmm?” In the next breath he seems genuinely curious. “Does it make you nervous?” He’ll stand there, dripping on the stone and not seeming the least bit chilled. If Tiri wants one of the towels, he might have to pluck one up himself (and before Ru’ien obsesses over which one has The Best texture weave).

It takes a beat to sink in, that particular word, but it's not as though they hadn't talked about it before. "Should you?" Tiridyn doesn't seem to think so, necessarily, but the question is a real one, brows lifted. Does Proddy Ru'ien deserve a verbal disclaimer? He probably didn't have that as a takeaway from their previous chat about what a Proddy Ru'ien is like. "Should it make me nervous?" is just as much unfairness in turning the greenrider's questions around on him, but maybe Tiridyn's counters are in earnest because he seems, as yet, undecided about if he should be griping about the lack of a disclaimer or if he should be clutching his pearls in anticipation of just what unexpected thing might come next. (Okay, no, Tiri would never clutch his pearls about something as welcome as the unexpected.)

The clerk will help himself to a towel, but not because he has any awareness that obsessions about the Best texture is even looming so near at hand. He turns away from Ru'ien on the pretext of drying off, but it's only a moment or two later than he turns, whip quick, to use the twisted length of towel to aim a fabric kiss at the greenrider's thigh. If he was owed a disclaimer about proddiness, maybe they're even now?

Should he? Ru’ien tilts his head at that, eyes narrowing as he actually considers it for a solid heartbeat or two. His hands have left his hair, though one now rests against the opposite arm, while the other distractedly traces a few of his fingers along the hollow of his throat. Is it unfair, that return? He doesn’t think so, given the smirk that follows and the amusement in his tone — genuinely amused too, none of that dry or snarky humor! “I don’t know, Tiri, dear! How easily are you offended?”

While Tiridyn goes off to help himself, Ru’ien will just keep on with his rambling. No harm, no foul there, right? He’ll distractedly drift along, but stops short and has his side to the young clerk, while his gaze is turned away to some point or another. “Because I like you and enjoy your company, but I don’t really know you, y’know? What’re your li—“ Likes? Limits? Who knows! It ends there with a startled yelp when that twisted fabric kisses his thigh. OW ooh,moar please! He shoots Tiri an exasperated look along those lines of ‘what he do!?’ and well before the scoffed laughter. “Brat! You better hope that doesn’t bruise~” he teases, wholly joking (he's not THAT fragile!) even as he dips past to grab the other towel. Twisting it too, of course, with a broad curving grin. Did he answer ANY of those questions? Not really, but now there’s play afoot and he’s not passing up the chance for FUN!

It must, then, be fair that Tiridyn doesn't answer Ru'ien's first question - or maybe he thinks it's rhetorical, or maybe he's just too busy with his towel trick. Startled yelp gets a decidedly cheeky grin from Tiridyn, and then a lift of brows as his feet dance back when he realizes that two can and, more importantly, will play at this game and that he's once again disadvantaged by reach. This, of course, just means he'll have to be quicker. For someone of Tiri's build and disposition, this cannot be an unfamiliar position so it can be little wonder that he misses no beats grasping the other end of his towel so he can swing it in quick rotation close to the body to get it wound up all over again. Did someone want more?

He won't move to make the first strike this time, though, he'll wait for Ru'ien to make a move before he'll try to take advantage of whatever opening that might create and he'll be less particular about his aim this time, any center mass or leg will do~ To focus on solely that, however, would not only be bad tactics, but also not in his nature, so the question comes, "That comes with advantages, you know. If you knew me, you'd have been on guard for that," and clearly it worked to his advantage that Ru was expecting no such move. The thing is, it was very successful, his bid to completely distract Ru'ien from even thinking about changing his mind about that dangerous dive while in an impaired state.

"Proddy doesn't usually bother me any more than drunk or exhausted does," he tosses out as additional distraction, sort of answering one of the previous questions. "And those only bother me if they stop being fun and get scary serious." Like deciding on a whim to try to start a dive with a handstand despite a complete lack of experience with it. See? Method to his madness impishness.

Of course he wants more! A delightfully playful game like this? It’s right up Ru’ien’s alley, even if he wasn’t already running hot and restless from proddiness. That he’s given the opening move doesn’t fully impress upon him — his ‘technique’ is as chaotic or sloppy, really as any other part of him. No rhyme, no reason and certainly no careful planning! He strikes when he feels like it, defends poorly (maybe on purpose) but really the finesse isn’t the point. The laughter is, the fun of it and he is having lots of fun regardless of strike count. Tiridyn’s bound to tag him a few times, aimed or not, each bringing a little half yelp, half laugh or low throated sound equally infused with amusement.

“Would I? Dunno, Tiri — you’re hard to pinpoint,” Ru’ien admits, equally as distracted, eyes narrowed but bright, cheeks flushed. He’ll attempt to lash out with his towel at this point, shamelessly for the young clerks leg or backside. Dancing away (literally, those steps are almost sassy in their taunting), he’ll turn partially towards him, towel at the ready despite his distracted mind. “Ahh, we share similar boundaries then!” he chimes, with a slow curving grin. never mind he stepped over said lines already, shh “Then I’ll stop worrying about it.” Was he ever that concerned?

Whether they get in another exchange of strikes, Ru’ien at this point will make a ‘yield’ or similar ‘game over’ gesture. The towel is put to a better use, by acting as some barrier to the stone for when he intends to sit down. “We’ll see then,” he muses, reaching up again to his hair to begin tugging some of those braids free. “how the rest of the night goes — I still really want to take you dancing.” Temptation and risks all included! Since his state is not entirely a deal breaker. “Drinks too, if you’re up for it.” Why not? Using his hands to shake out his incredibly long hair, he’ll peer sidelong in a not-so innocent manner to Tiridyn. “Do I remember right, about you having some skill in braiding hair, last we talked?” he asks, all while gently feeding his damp hair back over his shoulders. So much hair~

"Am I?" Tiridyn seems surprised by this. Surprised enough that he has to yelp when Ru'ien's lash lands solidly. It's not the first sound he's made, but like Ru'ien, it's always followed by laughter. "I always thought I was kind of an open book." Maybe it's just too good to believe~~~ Clearly no such vain thoughts go through Tiri's head, he's too focused on giving chase to that dancing away greenrider until the yield. His towel is shaken out in turn and used to dry the residual wetness since he never did get to that and has been dripping around this whole while.

"Sure," is Tiridyn's dangerous easy response to dancing, to temptation and risk, to drinks. Why not~ WHAT COULD GO WRONG?? (Oh, bb, if only you knew.) The question about braids brings Tiridyn up short though, "Uh—" Skill. That's a word right there. Tiri looks adorably like the apprentice caught out by a master asking about something they were supposed to have studied— and didn't.

"I mean," look at that blush come, "I can do some simple stuff. I was friendly with a bunch of girls around my age that were growing up in the caverns and so I learned. But," he hurries to add, "not really anything as fancy as what you had at the gather." This might be his plea to not be entrusted with all that hair and expected to make it look going-out-dancing-worthy. "I'm out of practice, though." Just in case that should be said, too. "Sort of got too old to be included in sleepovers and stuff." He'll just stand here, now looking adorkably awkward the towel pulled around his neck, holding on to both ends.

Ru’ien beams when he earns a yelp from Tiri, laughter follows to join him. “Maybe you are? But not the kind of book I can easily follow?” he quips, mouth now curving into a smirk. Did that make any sense? Does it matter? Apparently not, as he’s happy to focus on giving the young clerk a little chase around until that fateful moment that he yields. There’s a delighted grin, an excited and small clap of his hands in gleeful display when given the continued go-ahead for dancing.

That adorable look on Tiridyn makes Ru’ien pause, brows lifting and eyes curious in their widening stare — then narrow again under an impish smirk. What’s this? “What if I’m not looking for fancy, like the Gather?” he muses, voice low and bordering on something more sultry and teasing. “Maybe I just want a few simple braids?” Is he batting his eyelashes a bit? Come on, Tiri~ He’ll even point out with his fingers to a section of hair on the top of his head. Right here! That isn’t so bad? Blushing only encourages him! So much adorkable! How can Ru’ien resist? “Never too old for sleepovers! Who said you had to stop having sleepovers with friends?” Okay, it’s not that simple but he waves it off like it is. Until he’s right back to giving his best pleading look that may only be three-quarters genuine.

Tiri contemplates the baiting while he's still blushing. Despite his state, he still is possessed of his wits and he'll lean on his go-to: "What's in it for me?" Aside from being able to play with all that hair~. But listen, in the moment after he cocks his head and makes the ask, he's relenting and sauntering toward the greenrider. "Don't say you weren't warned," is a mutter quieter than the rest. Probably Tiri would feel badly charging Ru'ien for his rusty services given what he suspects the outcome is likely to be. But there he is, close at hand and he's reaching to deal with the section he was bidden to. "Don't suppose you have a comb or a brush?" He'll make do with his fingers if he has to, but don't ask, don't get.

"It wasn't so much age— although being the only one who has to worry about morning wood in a room full of girls is an experience—" that's an aside unrelated to the main point of the rest of what he goes on to say. "It was more that once one of them figured out I wasn't indifferent to girls, I was still their good friend, just not their good friend who got invited to the sleepovers." His shoulders roll in a shrug as he works.

“One braid and I’ll cover the first two rounds of drinks?” Ru’ien’s offer is quick and likely not the most thought-out; but maybe he truly values a braid by Tiri’s hand that much. Maybe there’s another form of “payment” he’s not addressing here either! To make it easier on both of them, he will settle on the towel he draped over the rocks, sitting cross-legged and head tipped ever-so slightly towards the young clerk. Brush? He blinks, then looks a touch chagrined. “Nope~” No comb or brush, so that means fingers only — and one has to wonder if that was part of the deal all along.

He can’t help but scoff for that aside, but there’s a look of quiet agreement along with it and even a darted look with ‘really?’ written all over it. He doesn’t push or tease, letting his shoulders lift in their own minute shrug as he adopts a look of understanding. Fair enough? Ru’ien focuses more on the last, features settling into a fleeting grimace before smoothing back to his usual smirk. “That’s rough,” he murmurs, leaning back as he settles in to allow Tiri to work on his hair. “Guess it’s just ‘one of those things’, hmm?” Softer, he adds in a breathy, distracted way. “Even if it doesn’t seem overly fair.” How so? Ru’ien doesn’t elaborate, content instead to focus on staying still — which thus far is proving increasingly difficult. His fingers are already fidgeting and moving restlessly over his bare skin, over cloth and towel; they’re small movements, lingering strokes or fleeting brushes, but noticeable.

"Deal," Tiridyn's quick to take what's offered. It's a good deal, no need to bargain for more. At least the speed might be reassuring that he wasn't looking for a different form of payment even if he might have accepted it if offered… why pass up a good deal~~ Likewise, he will make do with what they have not— though surely to the braid's detriment. There is some fumbling, some evidence as he starts and has to undo and start again more than once of that rust. At least he does seem adept at not pulling overly hard as he works. "Well, I mean… it was probably fair." Or at least, Tiridyn doesn't feel slighted by being disincluded. Maybe that means one or more more of the attendees would have struck his fancy for more than friendship.

"It wasn't like we weren't friends anymore or anything. Just that the times I had to need to practice braiding became a lot less after that. That was probably six turns ago." Nevermind that he can't help but look more like eighteen than the twenty turns he actually has. Finally satisfied with the start of the braid, Tiri starts to work the length, slowly incorporating more of the hair intended to be caught along that section. It's too bad Ru doesn't have a better vantage, because as Tiri focuses, he's caught his tongue between his lips on one side and it's adorable, though he doesn't seem to be consciously aware that this is part of his look.

“Deal.” Ru’ien echoes back, even if unnecessary for him to do so; but his grin is proof of his delight in such a quick offer arranged between them. Even if Tiri does hit a small snag or snarl, he will roll with it — honestly, it won’t be long in that his eyes drift closed and he is obviously enjoying the moment. He is patient despite that building restlessness and there is no push to rush while the work is undone and redone. Resting there, he keeps his head still (but his hands find any reason to be busy in little ways) while Tiri works.

“I guess,” he repeats again after a thoughtful hum and distractedly in the way one gets when they’re mulling over some point or another. “At least it wasn’t the end of friendships.” Is he doing some math for six Turns? Probably not. Ru’ien has the look now of someone whose mind is drifting. All can agree it’s for the very best that he can’t see Tiridyn in all his unknown adorableness from that vantage! He’d not be able to resist either making a comment, crossing lines or both (it’d be both). Abruptly, he laughs under his breath to dispel the quiet building between them. “Would you have a sleepover with me?” he asks, in as much of an innocent tilt as he can muster with that amusement — yet there IS a thread of genuine curiosity in there too.

"Sure," comes so readily and easy, as easy as the choice to go for dancing and drinks, that either Tiri is very easy or maybe he's not thinking about sleeping over quite in a way that definitely includes more adult types of sleeping over. He does seem to habitually miss some of those cues— or does he? He does. "But do you think I would survive? If I sleep over, Kihatsuth would probably be there," right? Dragons often are~~ "And the sleepier I get, the sloppier my tongue gets." Okay, listen, he didn't mean to put that mental image out there. He's not even thinking of it that way, probably, given the way he rattles right on. "What if I start getting wrong answers in the middle of the night because I'm so exhausted that I can't keep my eyes open? She seems like she might not care for a string of wrong answers." At least not when Ru'ien gave her such a lead in at the Gather.

Who says they have to stick to any conforming idea of what a sleepover should be? They can make it something of their own and Ru’ien will always adhere to his one cardinal “rule”: so long as it’s fun for all involved, it’s good! He wasn’t expecting Tiri to jump on board like that and he almost turns his head to peer back over his shoulder — thankfully, he catches himself with a sheepish chuckle that morphs quick enough into a rolling laugh. “Kihatsuth does sleep, you know!” he adds, probably after he makes quite the face (listen, he’s biting his tongue, okay?) for that unintended double entendre. “Hard to say if she’d care or not — I’m afraid we’d just have to see if you’d come out unscathed, hmm?” he muses, grinning crookedly. “Maybe you’ll get lucky and she’ll be quickly satisfied and then you just have me to deal with.” He’d probably wink for effect then, but settles instead for plenty of amusement laced into his voice.

There's a little tap to Ru'ien's skull with a finger when he starts to turn with a little exhale that sounds like a cousin to a hiss, just something to discourage that movement that ends up aborted anyway, but if Ru'ien could turn enough to see Tiri, he'd see Tiri smiling at the laughter anyway. "I mean, sure, she sleeps," he'll readily give that one to the greenrider as common fact, "But would she sleep before or after making me hide under the blankets." It's so rhetorical it's not even delivered as a question. Just something to ponder while he works his way along that braid. He's on the part where it's time to stop incorporating additional strands and just braid now, though, so it won't be too much longer, even with his rust.

"And just what will I do with myself if I end up a drooling lunatic due to whatever art—" Or OTHER CHAOS~~ "—she'd want to share with me? I kind of need everything I have going for me," he means his gift of gab, his sunny demeanor that currently lacks drool, and so on, of course, "to make a living. Or would you rescue me? Could you rescue me?" Certainly, the greenrider is given the benefit of the doubt. "You know, I've been around dragons all my life and I'm friendly with a lot of them," presumably also their riders, "but I don't usually have that much direct interaction with them, you know, besides scritching an eyeridge or lending a hand with oiling or whatever." Whatever ends up with favors or goodwill curried in his direction to be traded upon later, probably.

"And would I need rescuing from you after she was done with me?" So many questions~ Tiri's ramble has a certain bouncy cadence to it, probably indicating that he's not only not taking anything he says too seriously, but also that he's probably not thinking through the words too much. This is Tiri relaxed. Even a relaxed Tiri is not without energy to spare.

“I’ve become something of a master at figuring out how to work around Kihatsuth’s quirks,” Ru’ien boasts with confidence that isn’t entirely feigned. Does it always work? Maybe! probably not It’s not something he shares with Tiridyn because is it really that important? "So if someone like me can figure it out, I bet you'll catch on quick!" He fidgets with his hands, tapping them along his leg in order to stave off the temptation to move and risk undoing all that work — so close too, to being finished! “I could rescue you!” Why does that suspiciously sound like he might not? Is it the grin? definitely the grin So much for the benefit of the doubt!

Ru’ien’s gaze drifts out to the forests around them, then upwards to the sky, though his attention is still largely on Tiridyn and their shared conversation. “You did great with her today, for not having much direct interaction experience! So you’ll probably,” Probably! “Get along just fine next time. You just gotta be clever and quick with your answers~” Oh, finally! SOME ADVICE. So many questions, Ru’ien is enjoying it! Ramble on, Tiri, ramble on! “Do I look so threatening and dangerous to you, that you’d need to ask that?” he muses, cracking another one of his slanted grins — and starting to tilt his head out of habit to flash the young clerk a faux innocent look. Ru’ien was doing SO WELL too, with staying still!

Fortunately for Ru'ien and Tiri and all his hard work, by the time that Ru'ien is tilting his head to flash an innocent look, Tiri has the end of the braid pinched between his fingers. "Do you have a tie?" The words are the absolute only right answer to that look and question, and innocent~~ pools of deep brown blink in and out with the guileless flutter of lashes.

"I'll give you," he leads himself back to the top rather than address the dangerous semi-captive beast obviously harmless greenrider's last question first, "that I do pretty well learning on my feet, especially with tips," thank you much~, he caught that, "but a whole night seems like making your first hike a peak-climb instead of a little jaunt down to the nearest stream." It's a bit of a stretch for someone without Ru'ien's superior experience.

"And could doesn't mean would," he will call Ru'ien on it, but he won't linger on it, knitting it neatly together with the dangerous question by rambling right on. "It sounds like it would come down to just who you'd rather have the advantage of me in a given moment. I could need rescuing from you. I'm sure you're capable of tripping me into a compromising position whether on purpose or not." It might even happen later tonight. One can never tell when there's dancing and drinks involved.

“Right here!” will be the near purred reply as Ru’ien holds out his hand, where one of his previous ties remains wrapped around his wrist. He’d do it himself, but his other hand is preoccupied with supporting his weight in the manner he turned his frame in earlier and done entirely on purpose. That grin of his is still well in play, his chuckle incriminating enough that he agrees with Tiri and is fully aware of how a whole night entertaining Kihatsuth’s mercurial whims would be asking too much of anyone. He doesn’t even counter being called out as he is, his lips curving all the more broad and impish as his eyes narrow with equal mischievousness that might not be entirely his own . “I might be capable,” he admits without an ounce of shame in that given moment. It could be even later tonight! Even if that wasn’t remotely on Ru’ien’s mind. This, right now, is just some (harmless) fun! “Or,” he muses, lips now slanted in a smirk, as his gaze drifts over Tiri in a playfully thoughtful way. Going over some options, perhaps? “You’ll prove to be too clever even for me! Which’ll negate any concern on rescuing, I’d think?”

The near purr is not nearly enough to warn Tiri in any apparent way of the proddy possible predator, and he plucks the tie off the greenrider's wrist in order to fiddle with it to make sure there's a secure ending for the braid. Then, of course, he has to come around Ru'ien and check out his hand work. "Not as nice as the others," is slightly apologetic, but Ru was warned, so he won't waste feeling on it especially since someone didn't even bring a comb or a brush to give him a fighting chance~. "Mm," is a noise of consideration, arms folding across his chest while he looks at the greenrider, lips pressing together in silent negation even before the words come out. "Now you're overestimating me. I have plenty of stories that start with me having the best of intentions and ending up in something of a stitch. I have a talent for it." But also for getting out, though he doesn't say that. "So I might need a rescue after all." And maybe through no fault of Ruin's, even. Then he's turning with every intention of finishing drying off and fetching his shirt.

“Doesn’t matter! The sentimental value is worth it,” Ru’ien chimes back, broad grin in place and a flirting air alongside the sincerity. He’ll reach up to run his fingers delicately over the work and hums with satisfaction. See? No brush or comb needed! lesson learned, he never makes anything easy! While Tiri has his moment of silent negation, he’s going to get to his feet, brushing himself off. “Oh, you do?” Ru’ien’s tone is mildly amused and intrigued as he casts a lingering sidelong look to the young clerk. “I love a good story!” he muses, lips curving into a smirk that suggests he could be saying the truth but his teasing give Tiri all the chance to dodge any pressure of actually sharing those tales. He’ll attempt to snatch up Tiri’s shirt first and not for an expected game of keep away — no, he’ll offer it as he approaches well into his personal space. The shirt isn’t even necessary for it, as he leans in. “Or,” Ru’ien begins, beaming cheerfully. “It will be a perfectly fine and fun night, spent in great and cozy company, with plenty of drinks and snacks?” Sounds almost like a pitch for another deal between them.

Ru'ien's grab is a success, thanks to the combination of the unexpected move paired with Tiridyn's mental flip over the phrasing of the greenrider's bid for a tale. It results in a rhetorical, "Are embarrassing stories good stories?" His voice rises rather high at the end. His hand snatches at air in reflex as the shirt is spirited away and he turns into Ru'ien's approach, stumbling back a step at the unexpected proximity. The proddy greenrider with the lifemate who revels in the creation of chaos can be rewarded by the way that suddenly Tiri doesn't know what to do with his hands.

First, he sort of reaches in the direction of the shirt but aborts the move long before contact, then there's the placing of his hands on his hips, then immediately moving them to his back, and finally to wrapping around his chest. There's a touch of blush in his cheeks, but only a touch. "It could be that, too," Tiridyn agrees, after licking suddenly dry lips, "but you might be underestimating me now." Over before, now under, maybe Ru'ien's ability to read Tiri will fine-tune in time. There's a little shrug, a slight tip of his pressed lips up at the edges and then back down, something like nerves in his face, though it might not have anything to do with the greenrider's proximity.

Was it rhetorical? Because Ru’ien missed that note. “Some of them can be! If you can laugh about the whole situation now, why not have it be a good story?” ‘Good’ probably means entertaining here, in Ru’ien-speak! He’ll move in tandem to Tiri’s stumbling back a step, not quite crowding the young clerk but certainly close. Much closer! too close

It WASN’T supposed to be a game of keep away but it ends up that way unintentionally as he goes to offer the shirt — and then Tiri’s aborting his grab. No matter! He tries again, but his hands are on his hips now and its Ru’ien’s turn to falter awkwardly. Third time’s the charm!? NOPE! Those hands are moving again but not in the expected way and it leaves him just standing there, perplexed as all get out. Until he blinks, smirks and promptly presses the shirt to Tiri’s bare chest, held there by a few slender fingers against the fabric. HERE! Does he want it or not? “What’re you suggesting by that?” he asks, voice low and amused. Is he noticing the nervousness? Maybe in part. might be why he’s teasing

Yes, he wants the shirt, thank you. Tiri's hands move again but this time to clasp the material between them, not immediately moving to put it on, but rather to let it fall in front of him to occupy his hands while the greenrider is just that close, in his space making him blush (no, really, he's turning pink). There's even a slight stammer this time. "Oh, I mean, just that my— that my talent for ending up in— well," that seems to be the end of that sentence for all that it's not a proper end. "Things that only sometimes make for good stories." That's the end, but it's more than a beat late. He had to think of how to word it that wasn't damning something that might get him disinvited from dancing.

Disinvited!? HARDLY! His deep, rolling laugh should be evidence enough that the greenrider is very difficult to upset enough for him to rescind an invitation! “That’s it?” he muses, chuckling still under his breath as he grins lopsidedly. “I wouldn’t worry about it that much, Tiri!” Easier said than done, right? Ru’ien seems convinced it should be that easy. “We might just compliment each other nicely enough to avoid complete and utter disaster~” How reassuring? He’ll prepare to move away and abruptly reaches up in an attempt to ruffle his hand through the young clerk’s hair — it’s a playful gesture, teasing and affectionate. It’ll be left just to that, as he finally steps away to go gather the rest of his discarded clothes. “If we head out now, we’ll get to where we need to be before things get underway — I want a drink first,” Or two. Ru’ien’s only getting started for his idea of a night of good company and entertainment! “And then we’ll dance!”

The laugh seems a relief to Tiri, judging by the spread of his grin. Because, really, that was coming really close to some things that definitely make some people Unfriend a person. His lips close to that adorkable look of confirmation. That's it. They don't need to probe any deeper~ The look is slightly ruined by the way he tries to duck (too slow~) to spare his hair the worst of the ruffle, but such is life and his shorter locks respond by being fluffed up (probably largely due to the lingering moisture in them, just enough to hold a temporary 'style'). "A drink sounds good." Tiridyn agrees readily not at all because he's avoiding other topics, cough. "Did you bring something or are we walking back to somewhere to get one?" This is inquired as Tiri makes move to use his towel to actually start drying off, though the air has done some of the work for him.

Ru’ien will count it as a win, if his laughter has brought relief and that grin back to Tiridyn! Or he would have, if he were fully aware of what might have been tiptoed around. He’s definitely caught up in his proddy state and that adorkable look Tiri is sporting, grinning impishly himself when his ruffle connects. It bubbles over into more throaty laughter for how the young clerk’s hair fluffs up. Luckily his hands are busy setting the rest of his outfit back into place or he’d be sorely tempted to experience that again and see what comes of a second ruffle! “I’m not that prepared,” he remarks jokingly, smoothing the sheer fabric of his “skirt”. “Figured we’d wing some parts of the night? So we can hit up the usual watering holes or we can get drinks at the venue I’m taking us to~ Sometimes the drinks they serve are as eclectic and varied as the patrons they draw.” Ru’ien gives a knowing wink then, as if he’s in on some unknown secret (and maybe it is, kind of). He’ll give himself another distracted once over, fiddling and fussing until he’s satisfied (for now). At least he isn't rushing Tiridyn yet, any of his restless energy spent to hurriedly stash whatever is left behind away. It'll be a future Ru'ien issue to deal with later!

Whether there is an immediate answer to preference on where their drinks are procured, Ru’ien won’t waste any time in leading the way again. Of course, while the physical path is more or less linear, he doesn’t quite stick to sedately traversing it — hopefully Tiridyn can keep up to the expressive energy that the greenrider is suddenly exuding! He’ll walk alongside and around the young clerk, not against some backwards strides for effect to whatever rambling discussion occurs between them. By the time they are reaching where they need to go, it’s a wonder they’re not running there it’s definitely a hurried pace.

The venue of the night and one of Ru’ien’s many haunts is truly a hidden gem (at least in his eyes). This location happens to be along the coast, but tucked away — one of those ‘word of mouth’ joints. It’s dimly lit for ambiance purposes, populated by a mix of folk of unknown ranks and walks of life; no one seems hung up on formality or names. In a nutshell? It’s as close to the ‘nightclub’ scene as Pernese society can get.

And as promised, Ru’ien will get Tiridyn those drinks (even if they’re a second or third round by that point!), likely trying to find the most outrageously eccentric one on that evening’s menu. Then it’s to the long awaited dancing and the music is suitable for the location — certainly nothing you’d hear in public! He wasn’t kidding earlier, either. There are poles secured in place upon in raised sections and available for any and all who’re brave (or drunk) enough to try them. Isn’t it Tiridyn’s lucky night that Ru’ien knows how to work a pole pun intended? He’ll get a warning at least, along with a knowing smirk, as he leans in close enough to be heard. “Watch this~” He probably sheds his skirt at some point too, before hopping on up to the nearest one to display his budding talents. Does he even try to curb the provocative edge? Nah. Just a taste! Ru’ien’s not looking to abandon Tiri in the crowds for too long and by the time he’s done showing off, he’s flushed and breathless, grinning wickedly as he rejoins him (if he hasn’t run off by this point). “So? What do you think?” He probably means of the whole place but he’s too busy trying to navigate them to a little seating nook out of the thick of things.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Tiridyn is prepared to roll with whatever the current whim of the moment is. Maybe the decision changes from the time Tiri is buttoning up his shirt to when they actually make it back to somewhere drinks can be found. Likewise, the Fortian is prepared to follow where Ru'ien leads, providing feedback as necessary, in the adventure that eventually culminates in the exotic nightlife locale.

It can be little surprise that Tiridyn throws himself into things with whole-hearted abandon. In point of fact, when Ru'ien starts to leave the pole to come to him, Tiri is moving to intercept. "Wicked!" He declares, defining it plainly as 'awesome.' "Show me." Evidently two can have the terrible impulsive desire to mimic stunts performed for their benefit. Of course, this might delay the attempt to navigate them to a nook— but if now isn't the time and place for a lesson (however brief~), the smaller man can be nudged in the appropriate alternative direction with a little coaxing (and an adorable longing look back at the pole).

Ru’ien will laugh, deep and rolling to match the spreading, wickedly edged grin his lips curve into. Show him, he says! Alright. Change of plans! It’s then he’ll cross a potential line, by reaching out with the goal of stroking a single finger along the curve of Tiri’s jaw and ending with a surprisingly gentle (but pointed) ‘boop’ to the nose — that is, if he doesn’t evade. It doesn’t affect him either way, as he’ll say what he wants regardless! “Just a little taste, mm?" And then he’ll be taking him by the hand (or not), leading him to the nearest pole and quickly demonstrating a few easy (or perhaps, “easy to him”) maneuvers that may or may not be the best executed. It’s not like he’s a teacher or anything! Who cares? Ru’ien will cheer it on regardless but he is no Master yet! It’s all for FUN~

He’ll probably take too much enjoyment out of however much Tiri attempts and it won’t be until the music changes that his proddy enchanted mercurial mood changes with it. “Had enough?” he teases, with a telling gesture of his head towards that nook. A brow lifts, his mouth curving into a mischievously angled smirk. Break time? “Don’t wanna wear yourself out too quickly now! We’ve got the whole night, remember?” Was that part of the deal?

Does Tiri really look like the kind of man to avoid a nose boop? Looks don't lie in this case. He only grins in response, all the more when he's sure he's getting what he wanted.

Well, the boy has the body strength and the spirit, but there's plenty of adorkably awkward as he throws himself into trying to mimic movements that, while "simple" are still brand new to him. He does better with the ones that are closer to movements he already knows, but still, there's plenty of reason to laugh together and separately as he makes his valiant (but doomed~) first attempt. Listen, Tiri is many things, but he cannot manage sexy in a traditional sense to save his life. It's fine. He has other things going for him.

"Wellllll-" is a protest of 'enough', but Tiri is courteous enough to not only recognize Ru's waning interest but to acknowledge that there are people who actually know how to use those poles waiting for the newbie to vacate this one. So he's willing to be led away. He doesn't even protest the 'whole night' claim, if he even registered it to begin with. "Drink?" He asks. It might even be his turn to treat.

Adorkably awkward is fully embraced by Ru’ien, who does nothing but to encourage Tiridyn further with whooping laughter and a few whistles, compliments and calls. It’s all in FUN! And who cares if others may join in or simply stare? There’s plenty of reason to laugh, always reason to laugh and even if he misses the mark completely at being sexy, it wasn’t the goal! Ru’ien has zero complaints on the view, okay?

It’s waning interest for now, as he’ll gain a second wind (and third, and fourth) soon enough! Ru’ien’s just sometimes smart with rationing his current energy limits or is trying to be halfway considerate to his companion for the evening. Then of course there’s having to share the poles! Was that low on the priority list? Probably. “I’d love one!” he chimes enthusiastically, gesturing for Tiridyn to lead on to the bar — which isn’t that difficult to find. “I’m gonna head over there,” He at least points to the intended benched nook. “And claim that spot, before someone else beats us to it. You good?” Going on his own. what could go wrong?

"Sure," is surely the expected response by this point. He'll roll with it~ Going on his own to see what goes wrong~~ seems easy enough in theory and even in practice it's perfectly fine. What could be seen as going wrong is the way that Tiri, while waiting for his drink, engages in a conversation with a couple of the others here to take advantage of the same fun, anonymity and so on as the greenrider and his companion abandoned! sent to get drinks.

The body language makes for an entertaining spectacle… because it's obvious to EVERYONE BUT TIRIDYN that not just one, but both are flirting with strong intention. RIGHT THERE: the perfect opportunity to waltz off into the dark to be robbed?? have One Crazy Night becoming a beast with not two backs, but three, and Tiridyn, while plainly friendly— laughing, smiling, engaging— is completely, painfully oblivious.

Fortunately, the drinks are served and marks handed over in short order and despite protestations, the Fortian is gesturing in the direction of Ru'ien and clearly making apologies and excuses and wishing the two a fun evening. Then he's ambling over to the claimed spot to smile brightly at Ru'ien and offer over his drink before plopping down beside him. "I always forget how sore my feet can get from dancing this much." It's brilliant commentary like this that can completely confirm that he has no idea what he just missed. It's fiiiiine.

Rolling with it is a good way to survive most encounters with Ru’ien! Or apparently his tastes in entertainment and venues. That painfully obliviousness of Tiri’s doesn’t go unnoticed — the greenrider happens to be keeping an eye on him (not creepily, okay? he’s trying to be nice) when not distracted by all the eye candy roaming about. It becomes entertaining enough to garner the majority of his attention, however, once body language is very apparent. Isn’t this a hilarious development? Maybe Ru'ien knows them (of them?)! and wants to see them fail

Ru’ien’s not laughing out loud and definitely on the inside, but he is also grinning like an idiot. He'll pick a prime time (likely around the time he’s pointed at) to wink, even blow a kiss to their general direction and follow it up with a playful wriggle of his fingers. Sorry, folks! that adorkable clerk is his He’ll reserve the brightest of beaming grins for Tiri’s (safe) return, murmuring a quick thanks as he takes his drink in hand — but he doesn’t immediately take a sip. He’ll faux groan in agreement, stretching his own legs out to further the point. “Right?” he sighs. “Try it in heels! Made that mistake a few times — didn’t think you could do so much damage to your feet! Drink enough and it won’t matter, hmm?” Chuckling, he’ll give a playful and light nudge with his elbow before leaning in to murmur lower in an attempt to be “private” despite the noise levels making that almost impossible. “Those two were very into you, y’know?”

"I'm sure you look great in the heels, but I think I'll take your word on it." So, while it seems Tiridyn is perfectly supportive of others dressing in the way that suits them, heels don't fall into his own wardrobe preferences. "I'm not sure I want to spend much time thinking about how much worse it would be in heels." That's not the real reason, the underlying reason, but it's light and it's true enough, and it's as good a way to attempt to close the topic as his silver tongue has. He sips from his drink just after he's nudged— with unfortunate timing, as it proves, because the choke and cough that follows into his elbow indicate very solidly that no, Tiri had no idea. Bewildered dark eyes turn on Ru from over the line his arm creates on his face, before it slowly drops, cheeks red as much from the coughing as from what Ru'ien is suggesting. "What? I— No," and he looks toward 'those two,' now engaged on the dance floor and quickly back to the greenrider, shaking his head. "No, they were just being friendly." Friendly, maybe, sweet Tiri, but definitely not just friendly.

“You could probably pull it off!” Ru’ien chimes in impishly, while his eyes do an assessing roam over Tiridyn’s legs any excuse to ogle. “But,” he relents with a heavy exhale. “To each their own! It’s not for everyone~” To put it lightly. The attempt to close the conversation works or it’s his scattered mind playing into Tiri’s favour — could be a nice balance of both! Oh, that choke and cough? Delightful! It was likely partly his aim but what is delivered exceeds whatever half-baked thoughts running through his proddy fuelled head. He smirks mischievously, sipping at his drink like the cat who got the cream, clearly enjoying himself at poor Tiri’s expense. he makes it easy this time “Oh, no,” Ru’ien can’t help but chuckle heartily, leaning in again so that their shoulders touch. “No, Tiri, dear, that,” He’s probably watching that pair now too, before glancing sidelong to meet the young clerk’s look. “Was much more than just friendly! They were practically ready to gobble you right up — not that I blame them~” Amused, he gives a fond-like pat to Tiri’s thigh. There, there!

The squint that Tiridyn gives Ru'ien is patently dubious. The look lingers a moment before, "No," and a shrug. His free hand comes up to flap in the air before him as if shooing the notion away. "That can't be right." He doesn't explain why, of course, even if a slightly wistful look is shot back toward where he was conversing with the two - in an 'if only~' way. Did it not even register to him that Ru'ien said, 'not that I blame them'? Seems like. "We were only talking about how great this place is. They were giving me tips since it's my first time." Fresh meat. Maybe Tiri is occasionally gullible. Maybe he just can't get his mind around certain things. "You come a lot, you said?" Had he? Tiri might be guessing, but then Ru'ien knows some of the art of the pole, so it must be enough, right?

“Why not?” Ru’ien’s going to mildly interject with his prompt, a lazy smirk following as his sidelong gaze lingers on Tiri; all while he sips his drink to hide the amused edge. Did he catch that slightly wistful look? Probably (and listen, no blames, Tiri)! “Mhm. Usually how it starts off — but I guess we’ll never know~” Ignore the way he beams, impishly delighted, at some unspoken joke or thought. It’s there and gone in the span of a breath, as the question posed next by Tiri draws a hummed sound of thought from the greenrider. “I do,” he admits, “Not regularly — I’ve other places too. Rotate ‘em, to keep it from getting too routine! But this is one of my favourites.” And so much so that he felt it was the prime choice to share this with him! Isn’t that sweet? “How’re you liking it?” he chimes in next, all faux sweetness and genuine intrigue under a charming smile.

'Why not?' Could Tiri get away with acting like he hadn't heard in the pervasive noise? PROBABLY. He might even get away with it, but that deepening blush is kind of TELLTALE, even in the low lights. "I'm just not— Interesting that way, I guess. I mean," WHAT DOES HE MEAN? This is, of course, the delightful point at which Tiridyn is becoming flustered and in Tiri's world, that means an unwise babble: "My luck with those kinds of things is usually that we get right up to doing something and then someone looks at my face and feels badly that they're taking advantage of me and no amount of my protesting manages to convince them otherwise, and then it just goes nowhere."

"I mean, for a long time it was just a lot of good luck that led to bad luck. People don't just decide I'd be good to bring between the sheets. People decide I look like I'd be fun to be with. They decide I listen as well as I talk. That I'd be a good friend." That's not a bad thing, of course! Although it does come with a kind of 'thems the breaks' touch of resignation. "I mean," TIRI STOP WHILE YOU'RE NOT EVEN AHEAD, "the longest things I've had go on happened because of a gold flight and because I broke into someone's room and things went sideways." NOPE. THAT WAS NOT NEARLY AS FAR NOT AHEAD AS YOU WERE A MOMENT AGO. RIP TIRIDYN.

Judge him not for the enormous gulps he's taking of his drink because that should at least occupy his tongue long enough to break the babble. "I like it," this place, is lackluster by comparison, though truly meant and maybe a little higher in voice than he intends it to be. THAT'S ENOUGH TO DISTRACT THE GREENRIDER FROM ALL THE DELICIOUS, CHAOTIC DETAILS (S)HE HAS JUST GOTTEN, RIGHT?

IT’S NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH, TIRI! THERE’S NO DISTRACTING RU’IEN THIS TIME! RIP, buddy~ He’s given up interjecting (so many opportunities!), though it came very close when the young clerk first started in. In the end, he can only go along for the ride, going from an openly surprised look to something so utterly wickedly smug and fox-like mischievous — the smirk says it all. His tongue might be held in check, but that doesn’t stop him from working his jaw and running it a little along the edge of his lower lip. GO ON, TIRI~ And he does! What a delicious payout for such a simple inquiry! It gives a little tingle up his spine oh wait, no, that’s just his proddy-ass self. No judgement here (just oozing amusement)!

Ru’ien watches as Tiri chugs his drink, his own still held faux-demurely between his hands with a finger not-so idly tracing the edge. Well, well, well~ Where to begin? “My, my!” he purrs in a velvety tone, trying not to let too much laughter seep through. “Aren’t we just full of surprises!” He loves it. He’s eating all of this up, Tiri! Don’t stop now? If he thinks he was going to ESCAPE any commentary, well — Ru’ien can’t help it. “Goldflights and breaking into rooms…” Tsk, tsk! That’s asking for trouble (whether good or bad is clearly where they differ). That’s as far as he’s going to push there and in the interim, he’s drifted closer to Tiri. All the better to have this little ‘heart to heart’, right?

“It sounds like you’ve had some lacklustre experiences, which is a shame,” For so many reasons and predictably, Ru’ien’s going to focus on just a small piece. “Because you are interesting in your own way~'' There is sincerity in his voice, despite his playful mood seconds before — and how much it sounds like he’s flirting (maybe he is). He doesn’t even follow it up with a wink! “You know there’s nothing wrong with being the fun one, right?” Ah, there’s the (gentle) teasing! Taking a slow sip from his drink, his gaze lingers on poor flustered Tiri before picking up again. “So… if I am understanding this right? You’re into casual flings and no-string romps, but the few people you’ve lucked into snaring suddenly turn on their end of the deal? And this has led you into believing the fault is yours?” Is he warm or way cold here? Ru’ien is going to mercifully stop there, while gazing expectantly at him.

Really, Ru'ien's haul of personal details is the richer for not having interjected into the helpless babble. Really, Tiri would have been grateful for a timely interruption. But no, the die has been cast and now Tiri must lie in the bed of his own making clear his throat as his face flushes deeper - it goes all the way down to his chest, visible courtesy of the few buttons left undone on his shirt. IS HIS COLLAR TIGHT? He checks even though the V- of it is open to nearly between his pecs. Spoiler alert: not tight. By process of elimination, his brain must have sorted that all the sudden heat and sense of strangulation has everything to do with the words he's trying not to spew everywhere. Another clearing of his throat has to happen before he can actually manage words.

"Am I?" That's too high. Another throat clearing brings it back to a more regular register. "I mean, surprises are—" but the silver tongue is flustered into silence so there's a little vague gesture of one hand that is probably meant to end that sentence but doesn't really provide any clue as to how it was meant to end. "I mean, yeah, being the fun one is great." IS IT? Tiri's selling of this is a little underscored by something else that he's surely not going to get into here or now even if he were tied to one of the poles and tickle-tortured. Don't even think about it, Proddy-Boo-Boo.

On the other hand, it means that Ru'ien receives a markedly more candid and less tap-danced answer than he might have received if the topic that came just before was not clearly off limits in this moment. "No?" That's not as firm as it should be, really. "I mean, that's— no." No? He takes a gathering quick gulp of his drink of which there is still but only a very little at this point. "It's more that casual flings and no-string romps are kind of all I've had the chance to experience, so far, sort of." SORT OF? He seems a little unclear about all that. "I mean." He bites his lower lip and then in a close-lipped sort of way he adds, "Weyrlinghood is sort of an interruption to finding out if there's strings I could have." THERE. Something real, firm and truthful. Satisfied, his mouth manages to close…

…only to pop back open to add: "I don't really think much about fault." Except that he's clearly drawn conclusions from his experiences. That vague hand gesture in the air comes again to sort of accent the last remark.

Personal detail gain aside, the view isn’t half bad either! Ru’ien is shamelessly enjoying the amount of deepening flush that Tiri is experiencing; not that he’d ever need the excuse to let his gaze wander (and it does, because who resists a convenient low v-neck?). “You are!” he’ll chime in brightly again, in tandem to the too high voiced reply. His gaze will briefly track the gestured hand, but soon dart back to Tiri himself — all while his mouth curves into another smug smirk. Did Ru’ien catch that? Maybe he put a pin in it.

Sort of, he says! That draws up a quizzical brow from Ru’ien, that previous smirk tempering into something more intrigued and amused (but lacking any and all judgement). Then there is something real, firm and truthful delivered and even proddy (tipsy) something still gentles in his expression. “Mhm. So I was a stitch off the mark!” he’ll poke some fun at himself in the midst, take some of the heat off of Tiri. “Weyrlinghood does tend to throw rude interruptions like that, doesn’t it?” he murmurs the rest over the rim of his glass, draining the last of the drink and setting it aside. It’s in that same motion that he will reach to pat-pat his hand either to Tiri’s arm or thigh — nowhere near as condescending as one would think, the tone of it being more unspoken ‘I get it' and respectfully not prying. It could be a cue too that Ru’ien won’t push further (for now).

He can’t help but scoff lightly, amused all over again as he levels him with a look for the last remark. “Uh huh.” SORRY, HE DOESN’T FULLY BUY IT! Ru’ien does offer a lopsided smile, however, as his gaze drifts to the crowded dance area. There’s a restless drift of his fingers, a smoothing of his hands over the sheer fabric of his ‘skirt’ even before his attention turns back to the young clerk. “Good for another round?” he asks, mischievous grin returning. A round of dancing? Drinks? BOTH!? He’s probably leaving it to Tiri to pick, if the sudden abrupt change of pace doesn’t throw him off completely.

"Shells, yes." The swear is a mark of relief because if they have another round of either dancing or drink, maybe, just maybe Tiri can stop digging himself into topics he isn't quite prepared to discuss in greater detail (maybe not even in the amount of detail he's already offered). Whichever it turns out to be, the slighter man will follow the proddy-tipsy greenrider into the breach and give it his all. If it's a drink, he might turn from tipsy to tipsier (or even slightly drunk), if it's dancing, it's a chance to burn off some of those booze; maybe he'll even end up trapped between the two friendly people from before. Either way, a change of pace is welcome and a good time is never rejected.

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