The Points Don't Matter

Xanadu Weyr - Observation Level
Dark blue seats form a semi-circle around the sands below, the lowest row separating from the sands themselves by merely a railing. The seats climb upwards, each row a bit higher then the previous, and they are broken up into sections by 3 sets of staircases. Lights are evenly spaced along the outer wall, lighting the seats and the sands easily, though they tend to be dimmed unless a major event is taking place. A large balcony looms overhead, darkening some of the seats, providing a place for observers of the draconic kind to watch without obstructing the view for others.
When one looks over the railing, the oddly hued sand below can be seen easily, the circle-shaped area of the sands spread out to the far walls, the sand itself a unique mixture of red and white grains.

(Continued from How to Score)

Warning: Strong Language

It hasn't been long since Ka'el left and Ka'el is already coming back? Why. Some sort of mix up with scheduling. The guardfolk not quite communicating efficiently with the schedulers of Galaxy, and after some confusion of just where they needed him, they decided to just dismiss him for the day and report back tomorrow after things have been squared away. So! Back he is, after having made a quick stop at the archives to snag a book. He's taken off his uniform jacket, but there's not much he can do about the long pants and boots. Ah well. Back into the stands he comes, grinning because unexpected rest days like..never happen! Back towards where he last left Sori and Mur'dah, finding them still here! And talking. And..fondling? *gasp!* No, not quite. Massaging. But it still causes him to considerably slow, curling the paperback in his hand. "Hey…"

Mur'dah is in no rush, so he can take his time easing the kinks out and loosening up those muscles. Yeah. Reasons. He'll figure it out though, and have a cot in here by this evening, with light weave blankets. So she can cover up without sweating. And a note that says the guy he hired to spritz water on her and fan her all night had another appointment, but he'll keep trying to make it cooler up here for her. Glancing up when Ka'el returns, Mur'dah's hands pause for a brief moment, and then resume. Not doing anything wrong! "You're back early!" That's what they all say.

Maybe rider-to-the-clutchdaddy isn't so bad after all. It means days off! More or less. Soriana's eyes close as she leans back into Mur'dah's hands. Hands that are moving over her back and neck, with massaging type motions. Nothing funny. She just likes massages? Well, she does… and she certainly doesn't notice Ka'el's return at first. He's got plenty of time to observe. When he does speak, her eyes open and her head lifts, turning to look at him - which makes certain muscles tense, but they move easier now. Yay massage? "Hey!" She smiles for Ka'el, early or not. But then - "Something go wrong?" It's nowhere near evening! If it was, Mur'dah'd be out of time for getting her that cot.

Yeah, it's all good. Right? He's not going to overreact! .. Right? …. Right! Ka'el's just watching, no longer walking, as Mur'dah's hands rub and squeeze and loosens those likely oh so tense neck muscles and shoulder muscles and back muscles. And isn't it so nice that he's allowed to touch her all over? And she doesn't tense up when he's close (close enough to put his hands all over her back) and she's not running away just because there are mere inches that separate her from him instead of mandatory feet and.. Hey, it's all good! It's not all good for that poor paperback book though, which has been rolled into a tube in his hand with the coverpage starting to crease a little. It's slide behind his back. "Yeah," is answered to Mur'dah, looking less jovial than he did when he left. Buuut.. There. He gets a grin on his face. Hold it. "Schedule mix up," he answers Soriana. "Their fault, not ours. Told me to come back tomorrow, so I figured I'd.. check Kanekith."

Mur'dah glances up at Ka'el, his expression mixed. "Oh. Well, surprise day off, that's nice!" And his hands continue as his head dips, glancing away and popping his own neck.

[DTU/Project] Kalsuoth projects to Luraoth . o O ( Should mine stop? )

Soriana nods to Ka'el's answer. "It's been quiet." Just her and Mur'dah… talking. Soriana smiles, and indicates the chair next to her on the other side from Mur'dah. The one she's facing. "Come here?" The one that's right next to her, and separated by… yes… mere inches. There's no visible tensing as she says it, though Mur'dah might be able to tell from the change in her muscles. Still. It's well-hidden, and her gaze stays on Ka'el - though she doesn't move away from Mur'dah's hands on her back. He's good at this, shardit.

[DTU/Project] Luraoth projects to Kalsuoth . o O ( Mine enjoys it. )

See, this is what he doesn't want to happen! Weirdness upon arrival. Or maybe it's just Ka'el that feels awkward? But they're not talking any more. That's weird. And it's probably because he's here and he wasn't supposed to be back here for hours which would've given them plenty of time to have a happy romantic un-awkward interlude and h'es ruined everything by coming back early! .. !! Shut up runaway brain. He looks at the seat offered. It'd be the nearest he's sat to her in a month or more! Not across a table. Not two seats down. Not clear across a room. "Do you mean that?" he asks, not sounding completely convinced. Oh, and the book! He bring it out from behind his back, unrolls it, and..heh, straightens it out a bit. "I found this. It's about a boy and a canine." And, lo, there's a boy and a canine on the cover! "Read it before when I was younger. Thought you'd like it." Think Sounder.

Shards, if they have an emotional, heart to heart discussion while Mur'dah is rubbing her shoulders…Mur'dah's head is going to explode from the awkward. His massage continues though, hands shifting to try and soothe those muscles that just tensed. It's okay. Glancing at Ka'el, the brownrider offers him a little smile. Encouraging! And terribly awkward because omg he's massaging Ka'el's girlfriend(?) and he came back early. This looks /so/ wrong. "That's a good book." And the weather, that sure is nice, too. Only it's, uh…hot. Yeah.

[DTU/Project] Kalsuoth projects to Luraoth . o O ( Mine says everything is going to be okay. )

"Yeah," Soriana says to Ka'el. Because she's going to get over these things by facing them, right? And what better way to face them than by demanding they come front and center and be there to be dealt with. Also hey there's a Mur'dah here to keep her from getting too tense. Kinda like treading water, except, with her muscles. "I do mean it." The chair. Her hand. The pointing-to. Also about that wher in the room? "Mur'dah's going to study massage." And not (just) to pick up girls. Her gaze falls on the book. Hullo, book. "Don't think I've read that one. So, good. I'll read it." Words. In a line. On a page.

[DTU/Project] Luraoth projects to Kalsuoth . o O ( So does mine, but it is better than okay. She likes the touch of yours. She wants other touch too, but she enjoys this one. )

[DTU/Project] Kanekith senses that Luraoth's summery fields drift beneath shadowed wings. « Mine wants the touch of yours. »

Ka'el is just gonna keep smiling and get the shards out of here because if he has to watch Mur'dah rub her one more time he might just explode. And that'll upset the dragons. And that'll upset everyone. And that's definitely not going to help Ka'el fix his reputation. He glances to Mur'dah's face as opposed to his hands now as he adds in his recommendation for the book. Yes, she'll definitely want to read it now that the can-do-no-wrong-Mur'dah has given his op- .. Stop it, Ka'el! He was just having fun with this guy a candlemark ago. "Yeah, it is," he says in answer. He moves to drop of the book on that gestured seat. Drop and go, Ka'el. Drop, and.. He pauses, looking to Sori at the explanation of just why she's being so felt up. Ooh. .. "What?" He glances to Mur'dah. "..New branch of Comet Wing?" asked with an arched brow. Still planning on going, he sets the book down on the arm of the chair, but then stops again, this time looking to the sands with a momentarily distant look. His mouth twitches, but then (hooray!) he sits down. Like a statue.

[DTU/Project] Luraoth senses that Kanekith's thoughts are an inky veil that intertwines with that summery feeling. « Mine fears further mistakes. His confidence wilts. » A rumble of stormclouds, gentle and distant.

Mur'dah continues that massage, his hands moving over her shoulders and her neck. And that's it. He focuses on that, glancing up at Ka'el again. Shards and shells, the awkward. "Uh. Seems like…a nice skill to have." No matter how he says that, it comes out skeevy. Faranth, he wishes he drank right now. When Ka'el sits, he squeezes Soriana's shoulders encouragingly, and keeps up with the rubbing. Calm. Callllm. But who is massaging /his/ shoulders? No one. Oh, the burdens he has to bear… *tiny violin*

[DTU/Project] Kalsuoth projects to Luraoth . o O ( Mine knows he is not what she really wants. )

So. Much. Awkward. Soriana is using the 'ignoring it and hoping it goes away' technique. It's… well. It doesn't seem to be all that effective, but maybe she just hasn't been trying hard enough. HARDER. … NOT LIKE THAT. Her gaze tracks Ka'el as he approaches, with a smile that grows a little forced with the distance of Ka'el's. But it's there. Still. Even if… Her head lowers slightly as Ka'el sets the book down on the arm of the chair. Yeah, the book. Which she did want - does want - but… yeahhh there's no hiding the little twitches of tension from Mur'dah. Behold the secrets of her body. (Not like that.) Ka'el's going to walk away. She can tell. He's going to leave and… should she go after him? (As far as she can, anyhow.) She's trying, but… but then he sits down, and Soriana blinks up, surprised. He stayed. Maybe he is done running away? She raises her gaze to him. "Thank you," she mouthes, ever so softly, and reaches a hand out for his. Relax. Yes. It'll be okay. Mur'dah: so soothing. Soriana can do this. She hopes. People do this sort of thing all the time, right? No sweat. (Well, no metaphorical sweat, anyhow.)

[DTU/Project] Kalsuoth senses that Luraoth sends soft reassurances, a pale wash of pink behind an image of Mur'dah. « He is her friend. She is glad. » A rain of happy white rosepetals. (So manly.)

[DTU/Project] Kanekith senses that Luraoth tangles easily with the shadows, a gentle agreement. « Mine fears too. I do not understand why. »

A nice skill? Statue-Ka'el peeeeers to Mur'dah. "So's sewing," he remarks matter of factly. "Or painting. Cooking is also a grand skill to have." But Mur'dah can do that already, can't he? But sewing! Painting! Two useful skills at which he can practice without putting his hands all over his…. Soriana. Girlfrind? Friend…that's a girl, who used to be a girlfriend, who is now…something that's not quite that anymore? -.-; Awkward is winning this battle. He should've just went to exercise or something! But noooo, he had to come back and make things weird and tense and…weird. He can see Soriana's hand. Her hand, which is the limit of what /he's/ allowed to touch. He should take it and be happy he has even that, but he doesn't, instead giving his head a miniscule shake. "S'alright." It'd be too much like staging a photograph when something as simple as hand-holding should be something both naturally want to do. Sitting next to her? He's pushing the boundaries already. That /plus/ his hand? She'd run screaming. "Sorry I won't be doin' the juggling act tonight. Maybe tomorrow."

[DTU/Project] Luraoth senses that Kanekith eases into comfort, dark with light, though his concern is a constant, low noise on the murky horizon. « I do not understand human feelings. They change as the winds shift. There should be no room for fear now. What is there to fear? »

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain… behind the Soriana. He's the third wheel again. No. No, wait. He's like the one remaining training wheel you have to have on before you can ride your bike on your own. That awkward, wobbly little wheel that's all bent out of shape and yet essential to keep you upright. Massaaaaaage. It'll be okaaaaaay. Glancing at Ka'el, Mur'dah just nods a bit, expression…apologetic and guilty. Because /that'll/ help. "Sewing and painting, those are good ones. And juggling." Ha ha? "Once you find your-" balls. He doesn't say that. "Firelizard eggs." Fuck. And yet his hands continue to kneed and rub against Soriana's shoulders, up to her neck and back down again, gentle and soothing.

[DTU/Project] Luraoth senses that Kalsuoth soaks in those reassurances. /He/ is calm, at least. « He is glad he can be here for her. » Oooh, white rosepetals. *hoard*

[DTU/Project] Kanekith senses that Luraoth's world is a peaceful place, save for her rider's turmoil. « Nothing. We are here. They are safe. The eggs are safe. All is well. » Her thoughts remain close, but some of her attention slips away, to the place that is Soriana.

[DTU/Project] Kalsuoth senses that Luraoth sends a rainbow of colors through the petals, gentle affection and gratitude before her attention slips away.

Mur'dah's hands are fighting a hard battle, here. If it were just Soriana's tension, they could win - but it's not just that. Shells, even if it was her tension and the added tension from having Ka'el close… Mur'dah's pretty good at this massage thing. He could probably handle that. Her tension, the tension of having Ka'el close, the tension of seeing Ka'el unhappy… yeah, they're kind of ganging up on her muscles. Ignoring the problem isn't making it better. If anything, it's making it worse. So… fine. New plan! Retreat - where she turns in her chair, easing away from Mur'dah's hands and turning her head to smile at him. "Thanks." Casual. Because that's what this is. Regroup - where she takes in a breath and asserts her own calm instead of soothing brownrider hands. It's part weyrwoman, part Luraoth, part pure Sori stubbornness. Nope nothing is wrong not here. She's ready (no she isn't (too bad)). Charge - where she leans over toward Ka'el and tries to brush her lips to his cheek. Is she ready for it? No. But she's got to somehow convince the stupid bronzerider that it's okay, even if it isn't. Because she doesn't want him to run away (again). What is there to fear? Nothing. (Rejection. (Shh.))

For all Ka'el has tried to keep his smile, it's getting to that impossible point because he can feel his temper rising, and rising, and rising. Like a pot ready to boil over. And though technically he is mad at Mur'dah, enough to want to wring his neck right now, it's more than a mere anger at his hands touching and rubbing and grazing her. It's the fact that it's not Ka'el himself that's being trusted to touch and rub and massage and make her feel better. He's boiling mad that it's Mur'dah that's getting the trust and Mur'dah that's causing her to relax and Mur'dah that she's turning to. Mur'dah, Mur'dah, Mur'dah! </BradyBunch> He should go. He can feel himself spiraling back to a point where Mur'dah was more an enemy, a rival, than a friend…and he doesn't really want that. So he starts to rise just as Soriana ends her massage so nonchalantly, but he doesn't even get partially up before those inches that separate himself and her are suddenly devoured and turned into nothing as her lips press to his cheek. He blinks, head rearing back. Surely she'll explode now! He looks at her with bewildered eyes. Probably not the best reaction, but hey when you haven't been kissed in over a month, surprise may be the only reaction to a sudden one. Thudthudthud <- That's his heart. "Why'd you do that? You didn't have to do that."

Mur'dah lets his hands slip easily from her shoulders, shifting back a bit so there's now an empty chair between him and Sori's back. SEE?? He's being GOOD. Not that that's going to help him now, as he can /feel/ the emotions rolling off of Ka'el. Shit. He's so dead. Then Soriana is leaning forward to kiss Ka'el and Mur'dah freezes. Should he go? Should he stay? He looks around and realizes that he's a bit trapped. If he /were/ to go, he'd either have to do that awkward 'I'm getting up in the middle of the performance to go to the bathroom' shuffle, either with his crotch towards them or his ass. OR climb down over the row of chairs in front of them, to get to a clear aisle. OR walk allll the way down this aisle in the opposite direction, until he gets to the stairs, and then walk allll the way back across the galleries again. None of these appeal to him. So…uh. He just squirms and tries to figure out a way out of this, without being murdered.

Her kiss is met with a recoil and a bewildered demand for explanations. Not exactly something to make Soriana feel she's going about this the right way. (Rejection.) She looks away. Away from Ka'el. Down to the ground. Oh look. There's a stray leaf. Well, half a leaf. Maybe less than half. It got torn apart, somewhere in the midst of being dragged in here and trampled. It's really not that interesting, though you wouldn't know if from how Soriana's staring. She lifts one shoulder - the one further from Ka'el. The Mur'dah-side shoulder - in a shrug, then lowers it again… though not quite so low as it was before. Some of the tension has come back, despite how she's holding so very vehemently to (a pretense of) calm. "I wanted to," she informs the leaf, offhandedly. Not like it matters.

Poor Mur'dah! Trapped. Poor Soriana! Rejected? Poor Ka'el! Imploding. "No you didn't," he retorts, eyeing her as she eyes that leaf. "That was fake." Forced, fake, whatever. "That was the sort of kiss you give your great uncle Gerird because your mother would kill you if you were rude and he's come to expect it when he comes for gathers once every two turns, but you get the same amount've enjoyment from kissin' him as you would kissin' a jellyfish that's been baked in the sun and tossed in dung." He's a descriptive guy! He thrusts a hand towards Mur'dah. Oh yes, he hasn't forgotten you, Mur! "You wanted that massage from him. You enjoyed it, til I got here. I'm sorry." And he kind of really is sorry for that, because she doesn't relax much anymore. Nice going all around, Ka'el. "Don't do something with me that you don't want to do. That already happened, and look where it got us."

Well this wasn't in the manual. And now look, all Mur'dah's hard massage work has gone to waste. SIGH. Looks like he'll have to go again. The teen looks at Sori, concerned, and at Ka'el, and flinches, and then…sits there. Because he doesn't know what to do. #brownriderproblems

Soriana's eyes flick up to Ka'el at his denial. What? Because, uh, she's pretty sure she did. What with being the one who did it. Fake? Her jaw sets, and she looks back down to the leaf. She stares at it, because if she just stares hard enough, the blurring of her eyes as she listens to Ka'el will somehow magically go away. There are no tears there. Nope. Couldn't be, because she's calm. She is so fucking calm. Like… like… no. She doesn't even have words for how calm she is. On the sands, Luraoth rumbles softly. Soriana's fingers curve into fists. No. Calm. She. Is. Calm. Her gaze darts toward Mur'dah (well, his shoes) as Ka'el mentions him, and then… she stands up. She stares at the blurred sands for a moment. "Yeah, I did." Enjoy the massage. "And I won't." Do something she doesn't want to do. A clench of those fists, and then she turns around and steps toward Ka'el. Watch out, she's coming at him with fists again? Only… this time, her hands go to his shoulders and her legs straddle him and she leans in to press those lips to his, with a hot, heavy kiss that grinds her mouth to his - even if he sits there like a statue. It's not an uncle kiss. Not by a long shot. It's about as different as gold dragons from… jellyfish. Even if he rejects her, she kisses him with an entire month's worth of passion - and then she steps back and she runs, stumbling down along the seats. She can't leave Luraoth, but she can't bear to see Ka'el's reaction, and so she goes to hide in… the bathroom. The girls' bathroom.

Uh oh. Fists. Ka'el sees those fists. MUR'DAH! Do you see those fists too? At least there will be someone to bear witness to the pummeling he's sure he's about to get. And Mur'dah can confirm that Ka'el didn't do anything this time! Which of course doesn't mean he's any less deserving for another black eye or two, but at least there can be no rumors now that Ka'el instigated anything with fists of his own. He braces himself. An angry girl is a strong girl, and although she's smaller than him, she packs a punch! He braces! .. but…wait wha-?? She's straddling him, which is already enough to make the heat of the sands seem like a cool breeze in comparison to the head of his face and neck. He's pressed back against his seat, held hostage, and…kissed! A far, far cry from the peckish kiss on a cheek. Nope. Full on, mouth opened, mind melting make out type kiss. He is a statue for about a second or two, but the reaction after that is to kiss her back, hungrily. Passionately. Ravenously.. and then she's gone! "Wha.." He's left there, mouth open, face flushed, eyes wide, and heart kinda racing. Thumpthumpthumpthumpthump! His mouth is still agape as he looks to the bathroom, then…Mur'dah. "..The fuck?" Yup. Sums it up.

Mur'dah watches Soriana stand there with fists clenched, but…he hardly springs to Ka'el's defense. Honestly, he would see /nothing/ if she decided to punch him. Go Team Sori! But then she's sitting on Ka'el's lap, and kissing him, and he's kissing her back, and the brownrider /gapes/ at the sudden, embarrassing display of passion. And then Soriana runs away, and, oh, Ka'el is talking to him again? Not glaring angry daggers at him? Well isn't that nice. Turning to stare at Ka'el, the brownrider just smirks. "Aren't you glad I got her relaxed?" he asks, /very/ dryly.

Oh he'll still have daggers! .. Once he gets over his initial shock of .. all this. Ahem. Ka'el gradually straightens, still feeling the wonderful weight of Sori on him, but scowling at Mur'dah's reply. "Idiot.." he snorts before glancing to the restroom again. Should he stay? He should stay. But..maybe he should go. She'd be embarassed if he stayed. But if he left, then she'll think he was angry about the kiss or something. What should he dooo? He looks to Mur'dah. .. No. Definitely not going to ask him! Even though there's nobody else to ask. "Shardit, you couldn't've /stopped/ rubbin' your hands all over her for a second, could you? 'A nice skill to have' my ass." He gives him a shifty-eyed look.

Mur'dah's eyes narrow a bit at Ka'el's words. "She was /enjoying/ it. I asked if I should stop and she said no, so…what was I supposed to do? I was trying to keep her calm!" Because Ka'el was there. And Ka'el = tension. How delightful. "And I /am/ good at it."

"Yeah, and I'm good at pickin' up girls, but doesn't mean I practice at it because it's. Not. Helpful to the situation!" hisses Ka'el…quietly. Quietly because of the dragons, one of which has turned his head so that he can peer up at the seats above. Quietly because of Soriana, who probably wouldn't appreciate hearing that he's good at getting girls. "You couldn't shardin' keep her calm any other way but havin' your hands all over her? Do me a favor, think've a girl you really like." And it'd better not be Sori, says his eyes. Eeeeye.

Mur'dah leans forward, also dropping his voice to a hiss because, yeah, dragons. "I don't /have/ a girl that I really like." And THANKS for bringing it up! "I am a /damn/ good friend though, and when she needs a massage I'm there to /give/ her a massage. And talk, and listen, and /you're/ the one that told me to keep an eye on her!" Okay, an eye is not the same as hands and rubbing, but /still/. "She's so fucking /tense/."

"Damn it, so am I!" He's what? Tense? .. Liiiikely yes, but also not what Ka'el means. "I'm a good friend too! Leaps an' bounds over you. I've always been there. Always! To give her a massage, to talk, to listen, to protect her. I'm there. I'm here to do all've that for her, but she won't let me!" He kicks his boot against the back of the chair in front of him, frustrated. "Shard it, she won't let me. And why? Because've a damn, shardin', fuckin' flight that I didn't have any control over! Yes, I know I told you to keep an eye on her. Not friggin' seduce her…" Ok so maybe "seduce" is a little strong of a word. "Put yourself in my shoes. How would you feel if the girl you've loved for turns has to force herself to touch your hand and can barely do so without flinching, and you walk in and see her let someone else rub all over her. How'd you feel?"

"Well do /you/ want a massage?" Mur'dah snaps, lifting his hands and…cracking his knuckles. C'mere. He'll give you a /nice/ massage. But now he's tense too, because…this kind of sucks. "Leaps and…it's not a /friendship competition/, Ka'el! Stop feeling /threatened/ by me! It's not my fault you won the flight, it's not my fault any of this happened and I'm trying to be friends to both of you and not have to /choose/. I'm not /seducing/ her!" he hisses. "I've been encouraging her to talk to you, encouraging her to try and /fix/ it with you. I haven't been trying to steal her away! I know you're jealous but what am I supposed to do? She wants a massage, I'm going to give her a fucking massage. I'd feel horrible, Ka'el, I'd feel replaced and all that shit but what am /I/ supposed to do. Reject her like you just rejected her? No! I'm her friend and I'm going to be there for her /however/ she needs me."

"You know, it's not my fault either. It's not my fault I won that flight, and not my fault what happened in it happened, so why am I bein' punished for it!?" It'd be a good question for Soriana. Too bad it hasn't been asked. Ka'el can't sit any more. It's a miracle he's stayed seated for this long, though that's likely due to the dragons and not wanting to upset them although Kanekith is grumbling. Rumbling. Agitated with his rider who now stands up. "I'm not threatened by you. I'm not shardin' jealous!" Yes he is. "And don't say I reject her. I didn't fuckin' reject her, she only did that shit to pretend things are alright." Except for that last kiss. That felt .. very real. His eyes dart back to the bathroom, and he exhales. "I don't know, Mur'dah. It's shit all around."

Down on the sands, Luraoth is restless. Her rumble joins with Kanekith's and fills in the moments when he's silent. Soriana… is still gone. Hidden away, out of sight.

Mur'dah shakes his head firmly. "It's no one's fault so stop throwing blame around." When Ka'el stands, Mur'dah stays sitting. Maybe to just be contrary. Maybe he doesn't want to appear threatening. Ha. He does look down at the sands though, and back to Kale. "You did too reject her. You say you want things back to normal and when she reached out to you you assumed she was faking it." Except for the last one. Which Mur'dah had /better/ not see in his dreams. "You are too jealous!" Called him on it. "And you're the one who thought I wanted her for our ENTIRE WEYRLINGHOOD." Mur'dah shakes his head. "Yes. It's shit." Hey, something they can agree on, as he frowns down at the Sands, and glances at the bathroom as well. Then back to Ka'el. Waiting to see what the bronzerider does. So then he can do the other thing.

"I'm NOT…" Jealous. Muttergrumblewhatever. Ka'el will let that one go. He could deny it til he's blue in the face and it won't make a difference. He'll also let the weyrlinghood thing go cuz he knows that Mur'dah wanted her, whether he'll admit it or not. "I know she was faking it," he snorts. "She didn't want that. Not then. She wasn't…" Eh, it's hard to explain, "It didn't feel like it should." His eyes stray to the sands, and his mouth downturns a little. "Sorry Luraoth." Words and feelings of apology are sent to his bronze, for him and for him to convey to Luraoth, hopefully. Then, taking steps two at a time, he heads on down and over to the girl's restroom, lingering near the door. "..Soriana?"

The restroom was empty, when Soriana went there, and the same door that muffled the conversation outside did the same for any sounds Soriana might have made inside. As Ka'el stops by the door, his words are first greeted by silence. At least from inside; Luraoth, on the sands, still rumbles unhappily, though her voice is quieting and her tail is ceasing to twitch. She's not yet to the point where all is right with the world, though. Probably because-

The door opens. Not far. A halfway sort of thing. Enough to reveal Soriana's face, which looks calm if you ignore the redness around her eyes and the signs that a hasty scrubbing can't do anything about. She had a sharp rejoinder in mind when she opened the door, but then, of course, Ka'el was there, and so all she actually manages to say is,"…what?"

Hello, delusional. Mur'dah's hands clench and then he forces them to relax, because punching Ka'el and saying he did not want Soriana during weyrlinghood wouldn't go over well. How can you argue with crazy? When Ka'el goes towards the bathroom Mur'dah gets to his feet, stretching and exhaling heavily. And he starts to make his way slowly down the steps. Just in case someone calls for help or something.

Oh, Sori. He's made her feel bad. Again. Ka'el frowns upon seeing the unhappiness on her face, wanting to push open the door all the way and hug her and apologize til he doesn't have any breath left in him. That probably wouldn't go over well, though, and so he stays where he is. Close to the door. Close to that crack. Not caring of Mur'dah is close enough to hear him or not. That doesn't matter. He can patch things up with him later, because he will eventually want to. Soriana will always be first of the humans in his life. She's answered him and he takes a second or so to answer. Trying to find the best answer. The right answer? What he says may not fit either one of those, but it is truth. "….That was the best kiss I ever had."

Or in case the punching starts? But Soriana has no attention for Mur'dah, right now. Ka'el is there, until he steps away or she slams the door in his face… and really, both of those are options. She stares back at him, her face trying for impassive. It's not being very good at it, but she's definitely trying. For Luraoth's sake, if nothing else. Then Ka'el speaks, and Soriana frowns. "If that means you want to make me mad at you…" Her fists curl again, but then she notices them. "I'm not giving you another black eye for your satisfaction." She forces those fists to open. "So if that-" Roughness. Bruises. Like the flight. "-is what you want…"

You know what? Mur'dah might not /want/ to patch things up with Ka'el after this. Because the more the brownrider thinks about what just happened, the more angry he's getting. But time will tell. With a brief glance towards the bathroom, the brownrider continues out, but Soriana's words make him pause slightly, because…well that's a volatile suggestion.

Exhale. "Why does what I say always twist into the wrong thing?" Ka'el leans against the doorframe, facing the face in the crack. "That's not what I mean. I mean…I only meant that .. it felt like before. For the first time since that day, it felt like somethin' you really wanted from me. It felt real, an' without all the stuff, the bullshit that we've had this whole time. It felt like you an' me again." His brows push together. "I'm sorry. I know you're sick an' tired of me sayin' I'm sotry, but I am sorry. Come out..please?"

Soriana is really doing a terrible job at impassive right now. Volatile might be a more accurate word, as she tries and fails to fight off the flare ups of emotion that words seem to spark. She frowns again as Ka'el speaks, but she's quiet to let him try to untwist his words. Maybe he found some right ones. Maybe he just found different wrong ones, because her eyes blur again as she gives her head a sharp shake to clear them. "That's not best," she says, though the sharpness of her tone is moderated now. "That's…" hmm. Now she can't think of a word. Well… word or no, it's "…different." She reaches her hand up to scrub the back of her wrist against her eyes. Dried sweat and tears. Now that's just special. Soriana frowns, but it's not going to get any nicer, so she tugs at the door and steps out. Head high. Shoulders… yeah, okay, tense. She looks past Ka'el for a moment, and notices Mur'dah. Her mouth twists a little. "Sorry," she says to the brownrider, then looks back to Ka'el, who is also sorry. To her. Still. She… looks away. "Ka'el." She says the name slowly. Deliberately. Two syllables. Her eyes lift. "I want a lot of stuff. That doesn't mean it comes out right."

Time to go. Mur'dah offers Soriana a little smile and a nod, and he slips quietly out. Wherever there is injustice…wherever there is suffering…wherever liberty is threatened… Fuck that. Mur'dah goes to get a drink.

Ka'el doesn't know what she wants. He truly doesn't know, for every single uttrance that comes from his mouth seems to be the wrong thing. But they're truth. And they're honest. And they're the best things that he can come up with when everything is feeling so unsure and wrong and .. He should've just went to exercise. Why did he come back here, so eager to see her? Eager to continue his teasing and taunting with her and Mur'dah both. How did everything end up so upside down? She's out of the bathroom, though he's not sure if it's good or bad. She's not looking at him. That's bad. His fingers twitch and slightly toy with the hem of his shirt as he listens to her, trying to decipher the puzzle of her words. Failing. Feeling unintelligent. In the way. He should've kept out of her way, and she'd be relaxed and happy without him. Fear rises again and he tries to swallow it down. A thick, cold, ugly feeling that he doesn't like, nor does Kanekith. But it isn't a fear of her. "Have I messed up too many times?" he asks, stilling his fingers now. "I tried to fix it. Tryin' to fix it. But…have I fucked up too badly now? Are you done with me?"

On the sands, Luraoth rumbles, low in her chest, and then subsides. She's quiet again, for now. At first, so is Soriana. She takes a few steps, going… nowhere in particular. To a row of seats, so she can rest her fingers against the back of one. She frowns, looking across the sands but listening to Ka'el. "That's not the first time he's given me a backrub, you know." Non sequitur. Sorta. "I didn't kiss him." Even on the cheek. She turns, letting the wall watch itself as she gazes at Ka'el instead. "What are you trying to fix? Are you… do you want it the way it was? Because it won't be. But it can be… I still want to kiss you like that. And maybe that's stupid, but." She shrugs. Maybe she'll be stupid.

Ka'el doesn't want to talk about Mur'dah, so he let's that go. All it succeeds in doing is flaring up annoyed anger again, and all he wants is to smother that feeling down. It is good to know that the other guy wasn't kissed. But still … Mur'dah. Out of sight, and ideally, out of mind. What's he trying to fix? "Everything. Me. Us." Especially the 'me'. "Faranth, Soriana. The other day it was so good, you and me. And earlier today.. What did I do to mess it up again so badly? I don't understand what you mean when you say it won't be what it was. What won't be the same? And why?" he asks, following her a step. Then another. "What I want is simple. I want you, Soriana, to be my girlfriend. Is that much to ask, even now? I want you to be with me like before without feelin' like you've got to force yourself to." He furrows his brows. "Is that what you're sayin' won't be the same? Have I lost that with you?"

Big plans, Ka'el. Big plans. Soriana's lips quirk for the 'everything', and then she shakes her head. Too big. She can't do everything. Nobody can. Not even Ka'el. She frowns for a small moment, but then it's replaced by a small smile. The other day. Earlier today. It's… "Nothing. Everything." So which is it? "Shards, Kale, what do you expect me to do? Fling myself at you?" She shakes her head. "I'm doing what I want. I want to be with you. I just…" She trails off, and bites her lip. "Did you want to get drunk? Or was it just… easier than dealing with it?" Soriana frowns - at herself. For bringing it up - and looks away. "It won't be the same because I'm a weyrwoman and you're Ka'el. We can't… I don't want to ignore it. Not anymore."

Another step towards her, then pause. Fling herself at him? That'd be nice, but totally unrealistic. "No," he sighs, feeling frustration mounting pebble by pebble. She wants to be with him? "But then why..?" Ka'el starts then begins, cutting himself off at the question of being drunk. He can feel his face beginning to burn. That's behind him. Isn't it? Or maybe like the flight, it won't ever truly be forgotten. Used as ammunition instead. "I wanted to get drunk because it made it easier to deal with," he answers, jaw clenching slightly after. And by 'easier to deal with' he does mean 'easier to not deal with at all by forgetting it and everything else in the process.'. "Are we talking about the flight, Sori, or something else? I know you're a weyrwoman. We've already had that talk. I know it'll different because of that. In public. In other weyrs. When visitors visit. I don't care about any of that. I care about you and me. When it is you and me and our friends who aren't diplomats. I haven't ignored the fact that you're a weyrwoman. Shards, I haven't had opportunities to show you that I know the difference because you hadn't been one long before the flight happened."

That's what she thought. Like it's easier to deal with how she feels by avoiding Ka'el. By letting things fester, because at least then there isn't a sharp pain. But… Soriana looks away. "Sorry." She shouldn't have brought it up. It explains things, yes. Explains how something can be wanted and not-wanted, but… she gives her head a shake. That's not the point. She wants to go past it, not… think about it. Not more than she has to… but, well, she has to. She frowns about the weyrwoman thing, and shakes her head. "I know you know that. I know. But…" She looks down for a long moment, then up at him, her gaze sweeping along the way. "I don't know." Her gaze stays on his face, willing to find his eyes. "I don't know what it means to be with Ka'el. I … want to find out. And I want to have my boyfriend and my friends." And she hopes those aren't contradictory things to ask for, because she doesn't want to make that decision. "This isn't all about me."

"But you do know, Soriana. You know what it is to be with me." Him. Ka'el. "Because you have been, don't forget that. I've been Ka'el for turns now, and the only difference between Ka'el and Kale when it comes to us that Kale didn't know what the fuck he wanted. Kale was with two people at the same time because he didn't know his own self. Remember remembering?" The other day, however many days ago that was when everything finally seemed to be falling back into place. "All those times, with Kale or Ka'el, were good. You know what it's like to be with me. It's planning weyr parties and flying together and bathing our dragons and havin' water fights and and buildin' birdhouses and roastin' marshmallows. That's what it means to be with me. That and more. Don't look at me like a stranger, Soriana, because I'm not. Not to you." As for friends, he knows what friend she's talking about. Kanekith rumbles. "He's my friend too, you know. I brought him here. I asked him to come." A faint frown. "I'll have to find him, apologize. I was .. jealous." Not that Mur'dah is going to hear that. He grimaces now even saying it. "Because of this. Because of what he has and what I don't with you, and it's what I want to have back with you. That .. that trust. I shouldn't've gotten angry."

Does she? Soriana makes an uncertain face, but she keeps listening. Kale… not her first boy, but then, she wasn't his first girl either. The oblique mention of Idrissa makes her frown, glancing aside - but not for long, and then her gaze returns to Ka'el. There was confusion, then. Uncertainty. That's not a new thing… and neither are the other things he mentions. Marshmallows. Birdhouses. Jokes and laughter and teasing and serious things and… wearing different faces when they're with other people and when they're alone together. Soriana nods slowly, her expression… quiet. Not smiling, though the traces of one have flickered now and then at the memories. Not frowning either. Maybe it isn't so new. (The jealousy isn't new either.) The other night, she remembered the good things. Now? She's remembering some of the bad things. The ones that weren't perfect. Soriana frowns, considering, and then she nods about Mur'dah. About the forthcoming apology. About… trust. "I do trust you." She says. But what about how her body has made a lie of it? "It's not… I'm not reaching out because you want it. It's because I want it." She extends a hand. Reaching out. "If I wanted to break up with you, I would." She half-smiles. "And I'd tell you to your face. I'm not scared of you. I'm…" The smile fades. "…just being slow." To get better. To heal. To remember and forget.

Trust. Now that he's said it, he latches onto the word. It's what he misses most about all of this. That's what it is. He thought it was the kisses. The hugs. The closeness. He thought the thing he missed most were all the privileges that a boyfriend gets. The physical stuff. And oh, he misses that too. Definitely. Physical touch is important to any relationship, but it's not everything. It's probably not even THE most important thing (though Faranth knows it ranks high up there). It's her trust. That ranks highest. And that merges with the physical, because without trust, there'd be no physical anything. But there would also be no secrets told. No quiet confessions of a troubled soul seeking solace or reassurance from the one she trusts to keep those secrets close. Trust that his only intentions with her are good and kind ones, and that his heart really is in the right place. Ka'el could work on his trust with his friends. With Mur'dah. He doesn't trust him … not as much as he should. As much as he'd like to. But it is so easy to be distrustful in times like these, when turning one's back on someone to guard his own injured heart is an automatic reaction. But Soriana? He trusts her. Right? Yes, in moments like yesterday. Shaken, in moments like today. Her outstretched hand this time is not ignored, and he reaches for it to hold, bringing himself a step closer to hold it to his chest, eyes closing momentarily. "Tell me to my face the moment that you do, Sori. If you do. This wonderin' thing is shit I can't handle." A half smirk that, like her smile, fades. Slow. Oh yeah, she's not exaggerating. It's extremely, frustratingly slow. "..You can be slow," he says, "as long as you know you're goin' somewhere." No staying stagnant.

"I will," Soriana says. The smile may be faded, but she doesn't look away, and though her fingers curl against his, they aren't tensed. Not as she stands, hand over his heart. (Where he put it.) "I won't lie to you." Not even by omission, because… she doesn't like to lie. Maybe all this would be simpler if she did. She could tell him the reassuring shit like that she just needs her space and that there's nothing wrong and that it's all okay and she's not mad at him and… she'd smile and laugh and pretend, instead of being hot and cold and sometimes yelling at him and sometimes pulling away and sometimes reaching out. "So…" she frowns. "Believe me?" Because she's said these things before. That she still loves him. That she's trying. That Mur'dah's just her friend. And he doesn't believe. She demonstrates, and he still doesn't believe. "Because I'm not going to keep trying to prove it." In other words… trust her.

Trust issues. He has them. Don't they all? Ka'el does not release her hand that he has situated upon his chest, and he is glad that he doesn't feel the pull of her wanting to take it back. She wants him to believe her. Such a simple request. As was his in his mind, to trust him as she did before. Maybe she really does and he'll have to learn to ignore the little nuances of her behavior when they flare up. He'll have to get accustomed to pretending his feelings aren't hurt by them. Even more, that he doesn't notice them at all. "I do." He's pretty sure that's not a lie. Even if it is, it won't be forever. He lifts her hand and his lips press to the back of her fingers. "I'm sorry I ruined your massage." Fuckin' Mur'dah. But he says it anyway, because the apology is sincere. "I'm not leavin'. .. Let's sit." Together. "And be quiet." With one another. "I talk too much." And all of this needs some serious processing.

So maybe they'll both act like it's okay until it is. Soriana nods, simple assent to his declaration. Even if he doesn't act like it, sometimes… because right now, Soriana knows a lot about how emotions and bodies can betray what's intended. What's really truly meant, past the reactions. The deliberate self. So Soriana watches as Ka'el lifts her hand and touches it with a kiss, and she halfway smiles. It's a small (almost sad) sort of smile, and the apology makes it twitch, though not disappear. Her gaze studies him for a moment, and then she nods. Apology acknowledged. That he isn't leaving makes her head tilt in a question. Not leaving now? Not leaving her? Not leaving things to chance? Not… oh. "Okay," she says, and she takes a step away, not releasing his hand but drawing it away from him. Drawing him, if he'll come, down the steps to where she's been sitting. Where the book he brought her is. Where her pillow is. Where she's been sleeping (badly) because she doesn't have a cot. Maybe Mur'dah will find her one, or maybe he'll decide all his debts to her have been repaid in full by having to deal with this. A mindhealer appointment's worth of trust issues. Either way, for now… Soriana will sit by the sands, with her hand in Ka'el's. They'll be quiet, and after a while, without meaning to… she'll fall asleep.

Ka'el allows himself to be drawn, hand in hers, towards that seat. The book with the boy and the dog on the cover is still where he left it, still sporting wounds of a wrinkled front with pages still slightly curved from being rolled. His uniform jacket has slipped to the floor at some point, and he leaves it there. It'll be pressed later. He sits next to her, in that same seat he so rigidly sat at moments before. The same seat he received that kiss and felt that old stir of real emotion from her for that brief instant. He sits, hot, skin moist, and hand still holding onto hers. He says not a word as seconds turn to minutes, eyes on his dragon who has settled again as flared emotions dwindle down to something more manageable. Minutes stretch and group together til more time passes than he realized. The silence remains, uninterrupted, and it will remain so by at least one of this two person party as Soriana has fallen asleep. Ka'el watches her. The slump of her head. Lowered lashes. An overall uncomfortable position in a plastic seat. He slowly pulls his hand from hers, giving them both time to air out, and he uses that same hand to tuck her hair behind her ear. She's asleep. What's the harm? He leans over, brushing his lips to her cheek, then pressing them very gently to her temple. No words. Just secret, stolen kisses before he sits back again, watching the mounds beneath the sand, expression as hidden as those eggs.

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