Wake Up Call (Rated: R)

Warning: Adult Situation. This log contains R-rated material

Xanadu Weyr - Jmn/Master's Hallway

This wide, arched-ceilinged hallway, tunneled deep into the rock, has been painted a pale ivory to offset the lack of windows and natural light. Niches are carved into the walls at intervals where lamps with soft lighting illuminate the way to the rooms off this corridor. Inter-spaced between them, ornately-framed paintings, the handiwork of Xanadu harpers past and present, hang upon the walls and provide eye-pleasing relief from the plainness of the walls. Lining the floor, a colorful carpet of soft wool, one of weavercraft's finest, muffles the footsteps here, providing the peace and quiet busy Journeymen require for rest, relaxation and work.

Midmorning finds Xanadu's new Headwoman entering the Craft Complex with clipboard and pen in hand. Well, it's tucked under one arm to free her hand to curl 'round a steaming mug of klah. She's up before noon and not looking too happy about it. Or that awake, for that matter - still adjusting to this new schedule! Oh her makeup, hair and nails are as flawless as they ever are and her dress, while hardly appropriate for her station as headwoman, is stylish. It's a jacquard suit in a taupe shade closer to dusky plum that's been tailored to hug her body. The skirt is just very short, showing almost three-quarters the length of her slim legs, the pale lavender blouse under the jacket a low-v neckline. It's clear she assumes there is no physical work - or at least no on-her-feet to this job, for she's wearing four-inch heels as she moves from room to room down the Journeymen's hallway knocking lightly before entering with a master key (no picking locks today!) Closing the door to each one once she's finished, muttering to herself as she makes sure the latch clicks before moving on to the next, which could be Jethaniel's, she has no idea. Not that she's looking for it! Nope, not her.

Xanadu Weyr - Journeyman Jethaniel's Quarters

The stone of this cavern dwelling has been made comfortable, with rugs to cover the floor and hangings on the walls. Comfortable, but hardly stylish; the hangings seem to be a combination of faded remnants from the storerooms and apprenticework that wasn't up to standards. They still keep out the chill well enough, and apparently, that's what matters.
The room is lit from overhead with a soft glow - many small lights laid out in a pattern of the night sky. They're adjustable in brightness; from mere faint sparks for sleeping with, to a mid-morning shine suitable for many tasks.
Many tasks; but not all of them. There's also a pair of swivel lamps, mounted to a wooden workbench that juts out into the middle of the room. The lamps are adjustable to bring the light precisely where it's needed and cut down on annoying shadows.
There's not space on the bench - or in this room - for any major projects, but there's a never-ending series of minor ones, whether it's fixing the stars above when they burn out or else optimizing the small space heater tucked beneath his desk to keep his feet warm. One way or another, there always seems to be something there, its parts spread out across the scratched white plastic sheet of non-conductive surface. Not to mention the tools - a set of jeweler's magnifying lenses and tools for fine-work, scaling up through the wrenches and screwdrivers for medium work, tucked in a toolchest beside the workbench - or else in the worn canvas bag used for bringing the right tools for the job, to the job.
Sharing a chair with that workbench is a small desk. The desk is up against the wall, making an L shape with the workbench. Atop it is a computer terminal and a few books, along with a stack of notebooks that look well-thumbed… and a pile of paperwork that looks barely touched.
Tucked in the back corner, there's a bed. It's got plain white sheets (smudged with grease), and a navy blue blanket. It, too, is comfortable, and it never seems to be made.

A certain amount of sleep is a requirement for continuing to function. In fact, there are multiple levels of requirement, each of which correlates to a different degree of function in both the short and long term. Lately, Jethaniel has not been getting sleep at night sufficient to his desired degree of function. This is on account of staying up late to talk to the starcrafters. Therefore, he has adjusted his schedule to sleep later on some days. This is one of those days. As such, his morning meetings have been rescheduled and he's still asleep in bed, sheets twisted halfway off during the night. There's a foot sticking out, and one arm over the top, the hand resting on the pillow next to his head. His eyes are closed. His hair's going in a wide variety of directions. There's a pair of trousers - worn yesterday - hanging halfway out of the clothing hamper, and a tri-folded sheet of paper set on the edge of his desk nearest the bed, splayed partly open due to the properties of the material. The knock on his door, as Darsce encounters it, reaches his subconscious and begins the process of rousing him. It does not, however, act quickly enough to create a substantive change in his behavior in the next few moments.

Sadly, very, very sadly, Darsce is not the reason for Jethaniel's lack of sleep, damn! Those starcrafters are DEFINITELY are on her list for, well, not interfering exactly but yes, interfering. Hey, a girl can dream, right? Receiving no answer from her knock, she inserts the key, turns it and is immediately surprised by how smoothly and soundlessly the key turns compared to the others. Huh! Into the supposedly unoccupied room she goes, shutting the door behind her with a push of fingertips. CLICK! The latch catches loudly because she hasn't bothered to turn the knob. Then she stops short, just blinking at the (to her) clutter of workbench and desk seen but dimly in the light overhead. Is she… even IN a residential room? Or is this a misplaced workroom? Her iceblue eyes lift to the ceiling and she can't help it. "Ohhh how pretty!" She's captivated by the dim glitter of pinpoints up there, never ever in her life has she seen lights like that inside. Normally she wouldn't try to discern how something is made, but this, well. This is entirely different. Her head is tilted back and she's turning to get a better view of them while taking a few backward steps towards that bed (that she hasn't discovered yet).

Interference can take a variety of forms. For instance, electromagnetic interference could produce difficulties in the operation of the stars above this room. On a somewhat different scale, it also creates a variety of effects of interest to those starcrafters whose interference - of another sort - so displeases Darsce. Another form of interference is that by which sound affects sleep. Such a relationship can not effectively be described by an equation - though perhaps an electroencephalogram could register the alterations of brain activity in response to noise? - but is undeniably present. The click of the shutting door is somewhat more effective in rousing Jethaniel. Perhaps this is due to its sharper character; or perhaps the fact that small thumps are an expected consequence of a firelizard in motion but the click is closer to the sort of sound that might mean something's about to break. Regardless of the precise reason, Jethaniel's eyes open soon thereafter. They do not find Stardust causing trouble. They do, however, discover that he's not alone. There's a shadowy shape, moving… toward him? And he's got a vague sense there's something about things being pretty, though he's not sure where that came from. Jethaniel shifts, pushing himself toward the head of the bed and drawing the sheet further up against him with one hand as the other reaches for a familiar switch that causes an increase in the current distributed via a complex network of wires (which are, incidentally, insulated to reduce interference) and acting over a series of filaments. The points of light slowly brighten.

Yeah, pretty might be the vague silhouette of miniskirt and thighs he gets in the glow of those overhead stars, not that Darsce would say that, nope. Though most people would be disinclined to believe it, she's oddly oblivious to dressing the way she does, thanks to the modeling culture she's been a part of for so long. Really - she could never understand her father's growled objection to her clothing! So weird!! And so she's awed by those lights that seem to magically brighten as she speaks - wonder of wonders - voice-activated?! Who knew? Yeah, she's still backing up until the back of her knees unexpectedly collide with the edge of that mattress and then WHUMP! she sits sudden-like. It's only reflexes that save the mug of klah from spilling everywhere, her hand doing a sort of salute to those stars and managing to spill nary a drop of it. The clipboard and pen, however go flying. "What the HELL?" Yep that'd be Darsce cursing. Oops? Because she's nearly had a heart attack here. One hand patpats the mattress… and encounters… a foot?! So unexpected, she screams. She can't help it. Hey - she's only been up for a little over two hours - her brain is still not functioning.

Pretty would be one word for that silhouette, yes. There are also a variety of other words which might be applicable. Jethaniel would not, however, be the one to ask. Not that he doesn't appreciate the view - it's arguable how much the dilation of his pupils is due to the dim lighting and how much is due to what that light nevertheless permits him to perceive - but, while his vocabulary is a large one, it is not focused on such domains. Not only that, his gaze - after focusing for a moment and thereby realizing what he's seeing - looks away. This may not have been the most optimal decision. His throat-clearing "Ah…" comes at approximately the same time as Darsce's tumble and curse, and while that makes him look back in her direction, his reaction time is insufficient to prevent the clipboard from landing on him. Or to say anything else, in the interval before the scream. Apparently today's activities include an unscheduled test of the noise insulation properties of his bedroom. The walls interfere with the sound waves. So do the hangings on them, but Darsce's scream is still enough to make Jethaniel wince, his head lowering and his foot drawing away. Oh look, there's the pen. "…I did not…" intend to startle her? expect a visitor? know what to say? … evidently the last is true, at least, for Jethaniel trails off into nothing, half-sitting in bed with the sheet up around him and his eyes still wide.

Ah shucks! The Jethaniel thesaurus would be very interesting right about now! Not that Darsce would ask, nope because she is, after all still oblivious. Her scream is sort of choked off, not the long, unending 'hellllllllp!' sort of one who expects immanent doom. It's just the short kind of startled out of her mind sort that realizes after one point two seconds she's not going to die. Lost in her scream, the 'Ah' goes unnoticed but the 'I did not' is clearly heard. This room is not only NOT a workroom, but it has not been vacated for the day! Oops? Darsce now has sufficient light (even though her butt knows the feel of a mattress), to see that she's landed on someone's bed. "I'm-" she starts to say, turning her head towards the voice and in the increased lighting recognizes that wide-eyed man. Recovery is quick though and the hand with the mug of still-steaming klah extends towards him as she changes what she'd meant to say (because she is DEFINITELY not sorry) to, "here with your klah." A brilliant smile, perhaps a touch breathless and but certainly not forced because damn, she can see his bare shoulders above that sheet (mmm!). She swallows and adds perhaps foolishly, "It's black." Hello, didn't you ask for a wake up call?

Jethaniel did intend to vacate his room within another hour or two. He also intended to wake up! This is not, however, the way he intended to do so. Those wide eyes settle on Darsce once more, and this time, he does not abbreviate the motion. "You…" He pauses. This is not within expected parameters. Never mind his thesaurus, he's having trouble finding it in any of his reference works. "…are?" It's a question. His eyes lower from Darsce's eyes (blue) to her klah (black). That part of the evidence does seem to support her claim. He slowly removes his hand from the sheet and reaches out toward the mug. The motion incidentally causes the position of the sheet to drift slightly further down on one side. He doesn't seem to notice. Jethaniel is conscious and reacting to stimuli, but he is not at optimal alertness and functionality. Perhaps the klah will help?

There's a pleased curve to Darsce’s lips as he takes the mug from her, mostly because of the drooping sheet, not that she says anything. Brightly, "Uh… yes!" Because it could totally be on the Headwoman's to-do list, right? Said list, which keeps expanding daily. She did find the one in those notes Ocelara left mentioning to keep the offices in the Administration Wing supplied with Klah and snacks. But no, she's not going to lie to Jethaniel. "I am now," she says with a silvery laugh. "I'm also here looking for bedbugs." She rolls her eyes and adds, "It would help if I knew what they looked like, but then I guess any bugs in the beds would not be a good thing, right?" And she shivers. Still making no move to go like she really ought to, she sits there, an uninvited guest, idly crosses one knee over the other, leans back on the heel of one hand, and motions to his mug, "I just filled that out in the common room; it's clean, promise. I hadn't time to sip." And then she frowns because it occurs to her that, even though it's EARLY for her to be up, it's probably quite late for him to be still in bed. Because number one on Ocelara's list: 'Be on time to work! One hour before breakfast is served in the caverns to have things ready for the Administration Wing.' "You don't usually sleep this late, do you?" She leans towards him to peer at his face with some concern. "Are you sick?"

Once he has taken the mug, Jethaniel takes a moment to observe it. Under most circumstances, klah does not provoke this degree of perplexity, and yet he stares at the mug with an apparent lack of comprehension before lifting his gaze to Darsce once more. Not that he hasn't had klah delivered to his office before, but there are several key differences, such as this not being his office. "Ah." Jethaniel smiles slightly at Darsce's amendment, then nods about insects and beds. "I… would expect not, yes." His eyes lower once more to the mug. It certainly does appear to contain klah, and he smiles down at it before lifting the mug to his lips to take a small sip. As he does, his eyes lift to Darsce, watching his uninvited guest take her ease on his bed. He lowers the mug again and shakes his head slightly to her question. "Not usually," he answers her first question, then… laughs. "No. I am not sick." The amused expression lingers. "However, I was up late last night." For reasons she may be able to reach by speculation, but he does not mention. He would prefer to keep that smile. "As such, I arranged to come in late today."

Darsce is a wealth of information this morning, “Xe'ter had a note in Ocelara's book with a schedule for fumigating the sleeping rooms. We’re overdue. I thought inspecting for them first might be less annoying.” You know, mostly because he’d had HER roused out of bed before the crack of noon once or twice to do it! Klah rather than pesticide is the better option here? Now that Jethaniel mentions it, she remembers those late night meetings he’d mentioned and her smile does fade just a touch. Yay he’s not sick, boo she won’t be playing nurse. There’s more tenderness in her contrite look than guilt over those meetings though. “You should go back to sleep. I’ll check out your bed later.” She doesn’t even snicker saying that, either because she feels his pain. Up before noon bites! There’s her pen. She plucks it from amongst the tangled sheets by his foot. Now where is- Ahh! There’s her clipboard. She scoots towards the head of the bed to better reach it. Hello, invading your space here, don’t mind me! Clipboard in hand, she REALLY should go, yet she lingers. “You get some rest.” Is… the Headwoman allowed to give the Steward orders? Oh well. She leans to brush a kiss on his cheek, then shifts to rise.

Fumigating is far from pleasant, and Jethaniel frowns slightly as he nods. It can, however, be important; hence the nod. The thought of his sleep brings a small smile. "I suspect I am awake now." Something about the shriek in his ear? Or perhaps it's circadian rhythms reasserting themselves. It's a question, though one easily enough dismissed. There is, however, another question - one already answered, and yet it nevertheless takes his attention as Darsce gathers her things The more he considers on her query about his health, the more Jethaniel's smile fades. The kiss brings a smile back briefly, but does not erase his speculations. The most frequent conclusion others draw about his behavioral deviations is illness. This leads him to a conclusion of his own, one whose truth he cannot successfully determine on his own. "Wait," he says, reaching out to touch his hand to her arm. As one hand is still holding the klah, he does it with the other one. As there are now zero hands holding his sheet in place, it slides down over his chest to stop somewhere over his stomach. Jethaniel's attention is, however, intent on Darsce and his troubling conclusion. "Am I really so dull?" His expression is a serious one, grey eyes questioning - and, perhaps, a trifle concerned.

He’s awake? Darsce wouldn’t be. Even after a scream – as Shep recently discovered – she could easily sink back into oblivion. But then her circadian rhythm has always danced with the stars and fizzled with the dawn. At the touch to her arm, her upward movement pauses before it’s really begun, the shift forward to rise halted by Jethaneil’s request. She eases back, shapely brows lifting in question. Perhaps he’d like her to bring him something from the basket out in the commons or something? But no, there’s that question, which is totally unexpected. Still not noon yet, her brain does try to come up with a reference point and fails. Also messing with her thought process, there’s those shoulders, bare chest, abs now exposed and Darsce, though holding those troubled grey eyes with puzzled iceblue is nevertheless aware of them. So many ways that question could be interpreted in such a situation! But this is Jethaniel and so she gives him options, “Is that an invitation? Or are you asking me if you bore me? And if the latter, why on Pern do you ask?”

An invitation? Jethaniel blinks, confused, but the second alternative brings a small inclination of his head, his eyes adjusting relative position to remain steady through the tilt. "I am aware I am… not very exciting," he says quietly, attempting to answer her question. "I do not go on adventures. I fix things. I do paperwork. I… sit and read." He could look over to his desk and see proof of these actions; a box of assorted fasteners, a folded letter addressed to the Steward, a book of poems with a paper tucked into the front. He does not, because that would involve looking away from Darsce. "I suppose a focus on my work is… a logical assumption, but…" Jethaniel frowns slightly. "…might I not act for other reasons? I could simply wish to sleep in."

See now, it's a very good thing that Darsce didn't just assume, isn't it? Though she looks a touch disappointed all the same. That expression is a momentary flicker, however, because Jethaniel's next words demand her full attention. Her smile fades, tinted lips part to protest, but he continues, so she is silent, intent on his words, listening for the tone and most importantly to the expression on his face. Her eyes soften as he finishes, a hint of contrition in them. "You do those things," she agrees, not commenting on adventures, just yet. "And you're very good at them too." She raises a finger and places it lightly on his lips as if to keep the protest she thinks will come, leans forward until she's just a few inches away, her smile creeping back, "You ARE a bit of a workaholic, but you're hardly dull. There is a difference between being dedicated to your work and dull, trust me." And then a genuine apology, "I'm sorry, I hurt you. I wasn't thinking." To put it mildly, she was distracted? Very.

He does. Jethaniel nods, but then Darsce's finger keeps him from speaking, and so he simply listens. His gaze remains on her, eyes widening and becoming slightly unfocused as she moves closer. It is, as such, difficult to see the individual details of her face, but he can nevertheless observe the gestalt. The difference she describes may not be obvious to him, but Jethaniel will trust Darsce. It's why he asked - and she's smiling. He will, additionally, trust that smile, and the concern fades from his eyes. Jethaniel reaches up, gently lifting her finger from his lips and taking the hand in his, the backs of her fingers curved toward him - but he doesn't look there, instead looking directly at Darsce. "May I kiss you?"

Darsce could list the ways they are different if he asks, but Jethaniel's question derails the notion to promt him. Her smile turns a bit quirky because you see, she's biting on the inside of her lips to keep her mouth from the amused smiling it wants to do. He's such a gentleman! One point in favor of Not Dull. But, "Can I give you blanket permission to kiss me whenever you wish?" Answering his question with a question, a teasing one at that. "Yes, please do," she adds to avoid misunderstanding or hurry the attempt, maybe both.

Jethaniel waits for Darsce to answer, her hand in his and hope in his eyes. Her first reply - the teasing one - makes him smile. "You can," he answers, but he doesn't give her a chance to do so just yet, because her second reply makes it clear that regardless of the ongoing state, in the current scenario, he has permission. The smile increases, and the mug of klah is set carelessly down before he leans forward a little further - fortunately, the contours are such that the sheet remains approximately in place - and closes his eyes as he presses his lips to hers with a kiss that begins soft but slowly deepens. It could be an attempt to prove he's not dull, or express his feelings… or, perhaps, simply to do what Jethaniel wishes.

Forgotten is that sheet as is Darsce's clipbard and pen, dropped once again somewhere on Jethaneil's bed. She returns his kiss, lips parting as it deepens. She can't analyze a thing right now, that ability having flown out the proverbial window. With a little sigh she gets lost in it and melts into him, her arm - the one with the hand he doesn't hold - curls around his neck, fingertips brushing the skin as it slides slowly up to tangle in his hair. Later, when her lips aren't busy, she'll give that blanket permission but right now she's breathless, her heart rate doubled. Anything she'd try to say would probably be incoherent and besides, she'd rather have him keep kissing her, so she's not even attempting to pull away, quite pleased to have Jethaniel be doing as Jethaniel wishes.

There are a great many processes - for example, heartrate - not under conscious control. They are, however, affected by actions consciously taken. Jethaniel's lips press eagerly, encouraged by Darsce's responses. He lacks expertise, but - ah, those parting lips are met by a wordless half-voiced sound, his own open to meet them and let a dare of tongue test Darsce's permission with his desire. He brushes his thumb softly over the back of her hand, the other of his hands slipping back along her side to wrap the arm around Darsce and hold her close against him - his bare chest and autonomic reactions and earnest passion.

Darsce's kissed boys before, but that was different, motivated by shallow reasons such as curiosity, boredom and the like. This is a world away from the teenaged games she's played, her heart in a different place and Jethaniel is no boy. If he lacks expertise, she's unaware of where the lack lies, exactly, for as far as she's concerned, he's doing just fiiiine. With a little moan in the back of her throat, her own tongue flirts with his, fingers curl a bit tighter on both his hand and in his hair, not painfully so, but enough to answer and give him the permission he seeks. Willingly pulled closer as his arms tighten around her, she shifts to face him, flexes one knee, loosing a shoe in the process and doesn't even notice. Her breathing increases to erratic little puffs of warm air against his cheek. Definitely no complaints here!

At some point, Jethaniel will realize that Darsce's missing shoe is trivial compared to his degree of undress. Also the degree of his body's responses. He is, however, intent on his actions to the exclusion of many other considerations. His lips press firmly; his tongue presses lightly. He drifts backward as his muscles slowly lose the tension required to remain upright, arm around Darsce to draw her with him as he comes to rest against the head of his bed. His own head shifts with the small motions of the kiss, the tightening of those fingers in his sleep-mussed hair encouraging the movements instead of halting them. Breathing is not optional, but Jethaniel nevertheless attempts to deprioritize it. This works for a while, but eventually, his lips part just enough to draw in a deep breath, and his eyes open to look at Darsce in wonder and affection.

Darsce goes with Jethaniel's backwards motion, how could she not? Most of her muscles are pretty much fluid, save for her fingertips - they seem to have a life of their own. The shift puts her off balance enough that she pulls her hand from Jethaniel's, splays her fingers on his bare chest as a brace against awkwardness. Half-sprawled on him now, head on his shoulder, her clothing twisted and minus a shoe, she's encouraging him with a tickle to the inside corner of his mouth when he lifts his head. Breathe? Who needs to do that? Apparently Darsce does, for the breath drawn is a ragged one. Reluctant to stop there, her eyes, slow to open, seek his with a hazed bemusement. "SO not dull," she whispers, a slow smile following that.

His hand freed from holding Darsce's, it reaches to her cheek, brushing along it softly before settling against her hair. Jethaniel watches her carefully, not so uncertain as to loose his hold on her, and yet. Her words - or perhaps the look in her eyes - makes him smile widely. "I am glad," he murmurs back, and leans his head down to press his lips to hers once more. He's inhaled, after all. Darsce can feel it, the motion of his chest beneath her fingers from the expansion of his lungs. Surely this time he'll figure out some technique for generating oxygen from the pressure of lips against each other? …perhaps not. Still, he's willing to make the attempt, lips touching off-center and tender.

Oh she did and marveled at the vibration of his heart against her palm, the thudding of her heart perhaps muffled by her jacket but skipping along in response nonetheless. And he's surely heard her inhalation, so they're both good to go? Darsce presses her cheek into Jethaniel's palm while it caresses her skin, eyes drifting closed even before he lowers his head. Responding to that gentle kiss in kind, though there's passion, it has retreated catlike to lurk and return with a rush when hunger drives it. The response now is sweeter, more poignant. Tears gather under her lashes, prompted by the tenderness he's demonstrating. Breathing? Is overrated. If she passes out in his arms, it won't be the first time? Though she's breathing fine, even able to whisper a plea against his lips, "Don't stop?" Blanket permission given for… more. Her hand traces down his spine to halt at the sheet and wait, though it doesn't stop motion altogether, for his response. Fingers trace patterns, tickling at his side, coaxingly. Inspections? Work? She's completely forgotten.

Jethaniel's hand rests against Darsce's cheek, fingertips in her hair. Perhaps, as his lips press in a slow motion that lets him feel every alteration of mouth shaping to mouth, he's forgotten about it? Not quite, for his thumb brushes lightly along the curve of cheekbone a moment before his lips draw away just a little. Another miniature moment of breath, long enough for Darsce to speak. To ask him - not to stop - but the opposite. He swallows, and for a moment he hesitates, though those fingers keep his breath quickened as they tease. The hesitation has nothing to do with inspections or work. He's not thinking of those. The clipboard's probably fallen somewhere. He won't notice the pen unless it jabs him. Jethaniel's reasons for hesitating are in his own head and in his arms, and in his arms is the reason that the hesitation doesn't last for long. He lets out that breath he gathered so carefully. "If you want." And she's told him she does - so Jethaniel's fingers brush back, trailing through Darsce's hair and exposing her cheek - which he promptly covers with a kiss, followed by another one, tracing out and then back along her jaw before turning his head and closing his eyes as he presses his mouth firmly in to hers once more.

'If you want'. The words percolate even while she's sinking into the delicious euphoria of Jethaniel's kisses. Though her body instantly responds with a tiny gasp, arching against him, neck tipping back to expose the soft underside of her jaw to those kisses, they're echoing in her mind. While Darsce can be quite selfish, she finds she doesn't wish to be so where Jethaniel is concerned. The hesitation has been noticed and though her fingers have slipped beneath that sheet, her own will, sluggish to respond to her inner prompting, finally acquiesces and she groans, pressing him back slightly with a gentle hand, her palm still on his chest. Her other hand withdraws from its tracery across his thigh towards- She's overly-bold, blame it on her mother, her father would kill her. Not that he's aware of much outside his own weyr these days. Her voice is thick, made giddy by emotion, but her eyes seek his without shame and she begins firmly enough, "I do want. I love you. I've never been with- never wanted anyone else like-" Her smile trembles and the words falter. She tilts her head to better see his expression, almost shyly now. "But what do you want, Jethan?"

Jethaniel's fingers brush over Darsce's hair as her own find bare skin beneath the sheet, and he kisses her until she presses him away - and then he stops. His body curves away from hers, his heart still pounding beneath her fingers but his breathing taking on an odd shortness as he tries to calm it by force of will - something that's quite ineffective, and yet he tries. His eyes are wide. Worried. His fingers lift back from her hair, splayed up and away, and those wide eyes look to hers, anxious and questioning. Does she not want? Did he do something wrong? (Her father would kill him, but that's not Jethaniel's concern.) Her first words do a little to ease his worry. He nods, his hand moving back from near her head to against his side. Her mention of love brings a smile, tangled with the concern still in his gaze. He's almost got his breathing back to normal. His heart, oh, that's still racing, but Jethaniel holds himself still regardless. He takes in a deep breath at her question, but when he speaks, his words are soft. "I want to make you happy." Simple words, and though he doesn't reach out, his eyes are fixed on hers. "Whatever the means. Whatever you want."

The next question would be 'do you want me too, Jethaniel?' But no, Darsce assumes from his physical response that he does, so she doesn't ask that one. Perhaps making an assumption regarding what had him hesitating back there, she says passionately, "I don't care about what people think!" Hah! This is perhaps, not a surprise to him, given her lack of verbal filters in other situations with people. She is not, after all, known for her tact. They could go round and round with the 'whatever you want' thing, so she doesn't pursue that. What she wants? Is to know what he wants, but. "I don't want to push you. I don't want to hurt you. I don't want to make you feel guilty," she says in a rush, continuing with, "I want to love you, I want to stop making things difficult for you and-" This is not dragon-induced, so she can ask it, "I want you. I'd like to know you better and be a better friend. I don't know if you're the marrying type. That's up to you. But right now," her smile is unconsciously sultry and shy at the same time, "I want to be with you- Like that." And if he doesn't object, her hand will snake between them to undo the buttons of her jacket and blouse with swift movements so that there is no material between them when the clothing falls open as her arms seek to draw him close, the one down by those sheets sliding up his back to do so, curling back into him and offering her lips, and herself freely.

Jethaniel smiles slightly. "Nor do I." Though there are many aspects to caring (and many things other people might care about), and thus he feels the need to add, "Not regarding this." His eyes remain on hers with no sign of equivocation. This isn't about other people. When has he ever objected to the eyes on him when Darsce has draped her personal spotlight over his arm? He listens to her now, and the worry slowly fades. The guilt (for not answering her properly) barely has time to get established before he's attempting to banish it, an abashed little smile as he tilts down his head but keeps his eyes on hers. "Darsce…" he says, and as her hand begins to move, his does as well - though not to stop hers. It moves instead to rest softly against her cheek. "I do want you." His body tells the truth, and he reaffirms it. "Like that." He swallows. "I love you, but I am not… I don't know what I'm doing. I…" He trails off, for here she is, jacket and blouse open and warm bare skin pressing to skin as she draws him close. For all his hesitation, he comes willingly to her arms, leaning in to brush his lips to hers gently - briefly, and then he draws them away again, just far enough to speak. "I want you to have me." Jethaniel's lips press forward, kissing Darsce again as he trails his fingers slowly down along her cheek, tracing gently at the side of her neck and not stopping when they encounter her collarbone.

Iceblue eyes remain locked with his. One-two-three buttons undone, as he says he doesn't care. To which she replies with a breathless, "Alright then." Darsce's very pleased she won't be ruining his reputation. Hers, thanks to her deliberate misleading of people, is already probably trashed, but it's a buffer she's built between her, the world and their expectations. In this moment and forevermore, as far as she's concerned, there is only Jethaniel. Attuned to his wishes, even if unspoken, her name on his lips gives her pause. Her hand freezes the unbuttoning, her breath caught until after he affirms his wishes. And is vulnerable enough to say he's unpracticed, doesn't know what he's doing. "You think I do?" She just told him she'd never… Ahh! Her boldness is misleading. With a soft laugh low in her throat, she breathes in his ear, "I don't care! You are YOU. That's all that matters." The remaining two buttons are dealt with, as is the clasp at the waistband of her skirt. When she nestles against him, meeting his lips eagerly, she ripples voluptuously to the trail of fingers as they reach her collarbone, a deft shrug uses his touch to shed the clothing from his shoulder. Call it natural instinct; her mother told her it would kick in and it certainly has! The rest of her jacket and blouse fall away with a second shrug, the starlight overhead gleaming on bare skin, which contacts his as she arches her backbone, bringing a shiver of delight.

Jethaniel half-opens his mouth to seek an explanation, but before he can find it, Darsce finds an answer regardless. Her words make Jethaniel smile - or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that they, along with the rest of Darsce, make him smile. "I am." His fingers find fabric against their backs and flesh against their fronts as Darsce's clothing is brushed away, but his attention is entirely focused on one side of that. Jethaniel's eyes are closed as he kisses, failing to take in the view - but his hand explores nevertheless, tracing down from the curve of her shoulder to a softer curve, investigated first with fingertips and then a best-fit graph of his palm and fingers against that shape. Skin touches skin, and though the sheet still partly obscures Jethaniel, his hips turn, one leg bending and straightening in a motion intended to draw the sheet down - though he becomes somewhat distracted from that motion when his foot discovers Darsce's leg and slows to touch against it.

Darsce can't speak. She is not, however silent. Low-pitched, incoherent and illegible words rise to her lips to bespeak of her rising desire and delight as his hand traces the curve of her breast. That's it, she's beyond conscious thought, all actions from here on out are dictated by pure need for him, to be close, closer if she can. Her hands are busy as well, and so while her mouth responds to the movement of Jethaniel's lips, her fingers skim down his back with deliberate slowness, pausing to appreciate the ripple of rib and muscle, drifting lower to his hips, her intention to aid the southward migration of those sheets. The contact of his leg with the smooth skin on hers prompts the tracing on the inside of his leg with the tip of her toe, her other shoe - this time purposely lost - so she can draw her leg up to hook around his, the movement combined with a wiggle of her hips to escape from her clingy skirt. A little help here?

Jethaniel's fingers splay against that breast, feeling the contours. How many times has he looked away, polite? He still doesn't see it, even now, but his hand explores the shape of it, the softness that adjusts to his fingers. He could become lost in this exploration - but there are other things to draw his attention. Darsce's hands, trailing along his back. Her legs, drawing his closer. The sheet is, for a moment, caught along with his leg. A tangle of fabric, along with the skirt - but after another press of lips, Jethaniel's draw away, his gaze tracing the line his hand already did as his hands continue further down, slipping to her skirt and hesitating a mere moment before helping it down. He'll have to untwist his leg for a moment to get it free. The sheet will likely fall away in the process. And Jethaniel… while his hands are busy with that, his head will lower, kissing at Darsce's collarbone and finally staring at the curve of her breast.

After the efforts to be free of her restricting clothing, Darsce utters a pleased sigh, settling against Jethaniel with a wriggle, snuggling in close. The soft skin beneath his touch has been left puckered, but she doesn’t seem to mind her person being stared at in the slightest, in fact she’s doing some looking of her own, eyes following the tracery of her fingers, which have returned to his shoulders, travel down his chest and stomach in a featherlight trip that is redirected to places accessible where their bodies are not pressed together. The contours of his backside, which she can’t see, she explores by Braille. Hmm, very nice! She gives him time to have his look, eyes lifting to him now to see what he thinks of that view, though her eyes carry a hint of mischief. Playful, she lifts her head and nips his ear, flicks the tip of her tongue inside, then begins nuzzling it. She can give it some serious attention if he’s still busy looking. Or is she distracting him?

Beneath Jethaniel's skin lie muscles, bones, and a wide variety of other structures that make up the human body. Muscle and bone are, however, the ones most apparent in an inspection from the surface. The muscle, while present, is not pronounced; desk-work does not lead to thews. It's most obvious when he moves, subtly changing the planes of his body to adjust the position of joints and permit him the actions he desires. One such action is to press close to her, and in the absence of clothing warm skin presses directly to skin, his own sparsely scattered with fine hairs. His hands trail back to her hips, and his gaze is almost worshipful as he bends his head further to kiss softly along the upper curve of breast itself, intent on fully investigating - or he was, until the touch of teeth makes him gasp, his body trembling and arching in against Darsce's. Muscle is not the only thing that can change the contours of his body, though it is responsible for his motion. There is, additionally, a certain firmness created by applied fluid dynamics… though it is, at present, effectively obscured from sight by being pressed between their bodies.

If Darsce had wanted a brawny woodman, she'd be out amongst the trees and the sawdust. Instead she is here, with Jethaniel and what muscles he has (surely his turns of repair jobs - wasn't he climbing ladders and such before becoming Steward? - have helped keep him toned) are pleasing enough. Not that she's even consciously analyzing his bone-muscle structure at the moment. Her eyes slide shut and her lips leave a trail of kisses behind his ear, down his throat. Right now she's overwhelmed with sensations and her body is attuned to his - the movements, that arch in particular ends the light tickle of fingers and they clench as she curls her arms around his shoulders. Those kisses also come to a halt, her face pressed into the column of his neck as she instinctively arches against him her breathing picks up the pace once more.

On occasion, Jethaniel still does climb ladders - how else would he inspect those places accessible by them? Or conduct the occasional repair not precisely part of his job description. He's more hands-on than might necessarily be required as Steward - though at the moment, he's being hands-on in a different sense entirely. He makes a soft noise in his throat, his head tilted to expose his neck for Darsce as he kisses at her hair. His body, in motion, continues in motion, though there's no planning behind the way his hips move - almost drawing away and then pressing toward Darsce once again. Closer. Can he get closer? Jethaniel's fingers follow the curve of her hip back, seeking - ah. His hands are on semi-spheroid curves, today, curling around her rump to assist him in his the attempt to press closer.

Darsce's hips accommodate Jethaniel's movements - nothing planned certainly, just that instinct her mother said would kick in and her father hoped never would. It works, the closer, until with a cry choked off in the back of her throat, she clings to him with arms and legs, her breath coming in ragged gasps until finally a shuddering wracks her slim frame and perspiration beads her brow. Her breathing slowly calms, but her arms tighten as if she never wants to let him go while her face remains tucked in the hollow of his neck where his pulse beats.

Jethaniel kisses at Darsce's hair with panting breaths, inhaling blonde tresses along with air. His body keeps moving - a pendulum's motion, one that follows his own instincts and is defined by the urge to be close, closer, to gain in closeness even when that means leaving a local maxima to seek another. His voice answers her, as wordless as the movements with which their bodies answer each other, and between his kisses he tries to read the expression hidden on her face - but her face is hidden, and so he fails. He takes her grip on him as permission enough, the tightness with which she holds him as her desire - one that joins his own, to press and hold and - his eyes close, his voice a low moan as he trembles in her arms for a long moment… then stops moving, close against her.

There comes a time when sheer exhaustion dictates that Darsce's arms and legs must not cling so; they're beginning to tremble with the effort. And while she likes that spot where her face is nestled at Jethaniel's throat, the air there is warm and she needs some fresh, cool breaths. So she unwinds - at least partially, allowing her head to recline on his pillow, one of her legs draped languidly over one of his, her arms growing heavy upon is shoulders while her fingers play idly with the hair at the back of his neck. Her expression is softer than he's likely ever seen, her eyes, when he tries to find hers are the clear water of dazed wonder that warm when they meet his. "Jethan…" she whispers, her smile tremulous, awed.

If, however, it were possible for Darsce to keep that hold of him forever… Jethaniel would not object. He adjust his own position just enough to permit her to move, and his hand traces slowly around to her side as she uncurls from him. His fingers splay to make slow caresses as he looks to her - to her eyes, his own soft and hopeful, his smile one that broadens as he takes in her expression. "Darsce." It's a statement. A confirmation of… something. He might find it difficult to say exactly what, but there's a clue in how his gaze lingers on hers, and how he is, for once, wordless - save that one.

Darsce's smile grows sweeter as he speaks her name and she leans to kiss his mouth tenderly, lingeringly. "I love you," she whispers against them before leaving another in its wake. She could just keep kissing him, but she's just exerted herself more in the past little while than she does in a full day's work. Speaking of, she's probably forgotten all about it, either that or she, well, she's taking some unscheduled time off, because she isn't about to go rushing off. So her head nestles on his pillow and she tucks it close under his chin, arms remain around him, content in a way she's never ever been in her life while her eyes drift upwards to the ceiling. "Jethan," hopefully he won't mind the nickname, it falls so naturally to her, "your lights are a work of art. Did you design them?"

Darsce has determined with some certainty that there are no bugs in at least one bed… though it might have been more effective to inspect by breadth instead of depth. Nevertheless, Jethaniel has no complaints about how she's scheduled herself - after all, he's also got work for which he should be preparing instead of kissing her back, slow and gentle. "I am very glad," he murmurs as lips part enough to permit it, "and I love you." His lips brush her forehead as she settles down, and his fingers wander slowly against her side and leg, a gentle motion prompted by a simple desire for touch. Jethaniel's head turns, looking up at his ceiling. "Yes. I made them because I would never be a starcrafter." His head tilts back, regarding Darsce with a smile. "…and as a technical challenge, but I expect that was less significant."

Darsce would be perfectly happy to continue maintenance on Jethaniel's mattress on a regular basis to keep it bug free? Or just to er, maintain… it. Whatever it is, goes without saying - ha! As for the ceiling she considers his reasons, turning her head to see his face. "You were going to be a starcrafter? Why didn't you?" On his back her fingers are moving slowly, lazily in idle exploration, wanting to continue the contact. She hmms, turning her head back to his stars. "See, so don't ever worry about being dull. You can create something so beautiful out of a dream." Surely it must have been his dream once, right?

Jethaniel considers 'containing Darsce' to be an excellent state for his bed, and would most assuredly appreciate the chance to explore its ramifications. As for himself and the starcraft, he laughs softly. "I considered it. Primarily at Azliet's suggestion, but it is not uninteresting." He leans down as she looks up, kissing her cheek softly. "I do not, however, have the patience for it. I prefer to see the results of my actions." Jethaniel smiles, watching Darsce. His lips move, words near-silent… but not quite. Not with her so close. "I dreamed of -"

"Who's Azliet?" Darsce asks, flicking him a glace when that soft laughter accompanies the unfamiliar name. She presses her cheek a touch into that kiss. "I can't imagine you without patience for anything," she tells him with a look that is akin to amazement. Those lights though. She is full of wonder over them - he can thank them for her ending up in his bed. She's so at peace, the serenity making her half drowsy - really with her sleep schedule the way it is it wouldn't take much to have her drifting off - that she doesn't remark right away at that half-finished sentence, waiting for him to finish it. When he doesn’t complete it, eyes still on those lights, she murmurs, "Of what?"

"My foster mother," Jethaniel answers easily. "She is a starcrafter at Landing; my parents sent me there as a boy to study." He smiles. "Perhaps I learned patience from her." When Darsce asks him about his unfinished sentence, his head lowers slightly - and then, without anwering, he half-rises, undesirous to leave contact with Darsce yet partially doing so in order to reach out past her - past his bed, over to the desk (fortunately, his room is a relatively small one). He reaches to flip open a book there and take for a page tucked inside it, his handwriting clear enough to make it readable despite previous corrections, and then he settles back in against her, holding it out in offer. "Here."

When I first saw you
I did not know what to say
But my eyes watched you

Each and every day
I looked for you, and for words
But they stayed far away

Perhaps all the hordes
Of those eager for your light
Turned my words to birds

When the moons shone bright
I dreamed of you, but I found
No way that was right

I treasured the sound
Of your voice - but mine would flee
When you were around

The others were many
Young men with sweet words and I -
How could you want me?

Up above the sky
Day and night a distant spin
I found words to try

My voice in the din
I expected nothing but -
You let me begin

And though you rebut
My unworthiness for you
I do not know what

I can offer you
But I know I wish to do
What you want me to

Darsce ahs quietly, "The name sounded male to me. I thought it might be a brother or best friend." Not that she knows if he has either of those, but. He moves, leaning over her and she draws her arms from around his shoulders to better give him freedom to move. It doesn't stop her from tickling his chest with her nose though, since it's right there in her face while he's reaching for that book. Curious now, Darsce pushes up on one elbow and takes the paper, turns it a little, so the 'star'light falls more evenly on the page and begins to read it. Her lips move as she reads, a soft curve growing as she does, near the end of it, she flashes him a keen look, continues reading and her fingers have to work at holding the page steady by the time she is finished. The lights overhead glitter in her eyes when she shifts her attention from the page to him. "You wrote this, didn't you?" she asks gently.

Jethaniel nods to Darsce about Azliet, but his relatives - yes, he has them - can wait for another time. He passed over that letter for a reason. He gave that page to Darsce for a different one, one related to why he did not take the more efficient course of action and remove himself from the bed entirely to obtain it. As she reads, he watches her, not the page; he is already quite aware of what it contains. His fingers caress along her side gently, pausing when her eyes dart to him and simply resting there while he waits for her to finish. His expression is almost solemn, so carefully does he watch her, and he nods. "Yes."

Humbly, "About you and…me?" Her eyes are back on that page, the tips of her fingers trace the lines written there wonderingly for a few beats. "I… when?" Not so much when did he write it but when did he begin to feel this way? She looks inordinately pleased and poignantly sad both at once. Like she wants to smile and cry all at the same time. Such a mix of yearning and terror, but muted to a haunted sort of look, with awe and joy. It's probably scary, really. "It's beautiful," she manages to breathe that, her eyes wordlessly begging him for something through the shimmer of moisture, liquid stars now escape to trace a glittering trail down her cheeks.

Jethaniel nods again. "Yes." His gaze remains on her, despite her wandering eyes. "It is somewhat based on a Renga. Or, more specifically, the Hokku thereof, though the concept of linked verse was…" he pauses. "A technical challenge." In linguistic form. That is, however, is not the question asked by Darsce - which he's slower to answer. Perhaps he's delayed by the concern growing in his eyes. "I… have been working on it for a while." He sounds uncertain now, encouraged by the pleasure he sees but worried by her fear. "It is…" Beautiful, she says, and he smiles despite his own fears. "So are you." Jethaniel reaches up, tracing his fingertips softly across her cheek to brush tears away, and his eyes are wide and gentle. "…why?" He means why she's crying.

Pressing her face into his palm, Darsce listens to his explanation of the mechanics behind the form he's used. It goes over her head but she pays attention anyway because she wants to understand him better and part of that is the complex way his mind works. Still, without studying those forms. His answer to her question is vague, but she doesn't point that out, accepting the answer while fresh tears take the place of the ones escaping, a tremulous smile when he says she's beautiful. "You honor me and I don't know how to-" she starts, but her throat closes off the attempt and so she points with her forefinger to one particular line, then another, her silvery-pink lacquered nail touching the words reverently, "How could you want me?" and then "My unworthiness for you" and then "I do not know what I can offer you" and she curls into him, her face tucked into the space between his chin and neck and just sobs until the storm is spent. "Because," she answers the why with a whisper, "I'm that. I've never done anything to earn…" well, anything. Especially not his love.

Jethaniel's fingers prove incapable of keeping up with those tears, but they nevertheless linger at Darsce's cheek, even as his head leans in so his eyes can at last leave her face to follow where she indicates. She borrows his words, and though Jethaniel knows what's on the page, he reads it again before turning his gaze back to Darsce. "But -" he begins, though that's all the protest he has a chance to make. His arms go around her once more as she sobs, his eyes closing on his own expression as he holds her close against him, fingers softly moving against her back. Jethaniel is quiet, and he waits. When Darsce speaks again, he touches his lips to her hair softly, then answers her. "You have given me your attention. Your smile. Your curiosity. You care what I have to say. You listen. You look for me. Darsce… what more could I ask for?"

Yes, she borrowed his words. Because that's what poetry does. It moves those who are willing to be, and this has touched her deeply. It has a double meaning for her as well and she hasn't finished telling him the other half of the why yet. Her tears spent, she listens to him. Really listens and huh she never knew something that cost her so little could be so valued. Something, some tightness about her relaxes against him, but she murmurs, "I'm that Iernian priss who can teach someone to hold a fork and has never done anything to earn respect and needs to grow up." Yes some comments have gotten back to her, but there's no self-pity or bitterness in the words, just a matter-of-fact relating of how she's…seen. "And that you felt unworthy and why would I want you and you don't know you do SO MUCH for me already that it makes me want to cry to know you felt like that." Humbled and honored and so deeply touched. "You are so patient and gentle and unselfish and you never point out my faults and you are glad to see me and you talk to me. How could I ask for anything more?" And then she laughs into his neck, not her silvery light one, but a sort of abashed shy one because she did ask for something more awhile ago, now didn't she?

Jethaniel's head remains bent close to Darsce, his arms around her, and he listens as well. She may report on the comments about her without rancor, but he frowns, those arms tightening for a moment before easing again. As she continues, he leans in a little closer, breathing in her hair once again as his eyes half-open - though they can hardly be seeing anything except a blonde haze. "I…" He swallows, a motion of his throat necessary for the continued use of his voice. "I am very glad to see you. It is your choice, always… and I am glad when that choice is me. You make me happy. I am… not always the most socially aware," here he's speaking to what he's heard about himself, only he's internalized far more of it than Darsce, "and I know I can be difficult to understand. I am glad you make the attempt."

Darsce's listening, for against his neck he can feel the motion of her head nod to those points. "I choose you, Jethan," she murmurs at one of them, adding, "I'm glad I make you happy." She is and she'll be watching him to figure out how she's doing that exactly. As for him being difficult to understand, she says faintly, but not without the tickle of humor, "Easy is dull." She's relaxing more and more, shifting to curl yet more comfortably with him, twining her legs with his, her arms slip around his waist and her head rolls to his shoulder while her eyes drift shut. Dreamily, "That poem is beautiful…" There's a long pause wherein he might think she's fallen asleep when she sighs, "Is it titled Star…dmnsgnn…" the rest is lost in an incoherent mumble as she slumbers in his arms, content, nay happy with what he's offered her.

Jethaniel smiles, with fondness and relief, at that murmured choice. "I am glad," he repeats. "I do not want for you to choose anyone else." And yet he keeps insisting it's her choice. After all, he has no right to choose for her - no matter how strong his preference. Hence, the lengths he goes to in order to prevent himself from unduly influencing her. One of his arms unwinds from her, to stroke down along her hair softly as she adjusts her position, settling back to something comfortable and close. Her humor draws a different sort of smile from him, a quirk of his lips. "So it is." Hence the challenges that draw him in and absorb his attention. Jethaniel rests with Darsce, pleased to feel the warmth of her body and smoothness of her skin against his. He trails his fingers along her hair, a slow caress that grows slower and slower with repetition, and smiles at her words about his poem that he's taken so long to show her - though he told himself it wasn't done. Of course, he was certain, when last he tucked it in the book, that it still wasn't done. Neither is Darsce's final statement, but Jethaniel answers it anyhow, voice quiet so as not to wake her. "Perhaps it is My Wish Upon A Star." Not that he writes it down, or does anything else that would require moving away from Darsce. He too falls asleep, heedless of the fact he should be rising to prepare for his work. That would require moving away from Darsce, and Jethaniel… has priorities.

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