Death Before Dishonor


"Fuuuuuuuuuuuu-" Stefyr pauses for breath and finishes, "-uuuuuck." It's not the first time, nor the last, likely, that he's moaned the word. It's not a good moan. It's not even a good context for the versatile word. It's said because, once again, the blond can't seem to resist poking at the puffy, livid bruise that's closed his left eye and purpled the side of his face. "We are never doing that again." It's not the first time he's said this either. It doesn't change that he expects his companion to respond in some way, his head turning with some measure of stiff muscles to look at Ruthien out of his good eye.

How's Keruthien looking right about now? Probably on par with Stefyr, with a matching swelling to one side of his face around his eye. Only, he's not so much cursing, as he's catching his breath from some mad-cackling laughter… or maybe from rushing away from wherever they came from. He's sobered himself to muffled snickering, which ends in a heaved sigh and an almost dreamy-quality. "Well, shit." Did anything go according to plan? Nope. What was that plan? WHO KNOWS. "I still say it was worth it!" His head tilts too, with some stiff hesitation because of Faranth-knows what. "We're alive, right? This is nothing!" Cue a vague gesture to either of their faces.

"Do you know how many questions Risali is going to have?" Stefyr demands of his bro before pitching his voice higher, "'What did you do, Stefyr?' 'Where did you go, Stefyr?' 'Keruthien told you what, Stefyr?'" There's a mostly mockingly baleful look tossed at the other young man after he screeches high on the 'what,' for effect. "What am I even going to say to her? To anyone?" It's a hopeless, probably mostly rhetorical demand. "Does it look bad?" He hesitates to inquire, but he does. "How many questions am I going to get because of this?"

Keruthien weathers all those panicked not-questions from Stefyr with the largest, fox-like grin ever on his expression. It's like he's getting a HUGE kick out of this whole scenario and isn't taking a breath of it seriously (spoiler: he is, it's just buried… somewhere)! "Stop freaking out, you're just gonna give yourself a headache!" he chides, teasing, instead of any practical advice. There's a hand that clasps on his shoulder (sorry not sorry if that stings!) and he leans in a bit, squinting comically. "… you probably look as horrible as I feel?" he ventures to assume, with another snicker and exhale. RIGHT! What to do? "Eh, just bluff 'em! Not really any of their business to know the details. Just say someTHING happened and you're fine and leave it at that!" He makes it seem so easy! "By the way, it was YOUR idea, you know! Mostly." Was it a 50/50 thing?

There might be a little wince from that hand on his broad shoulder. Maybe. (Okay, yes.) "I already have a headache," Stefyr half-growls, giving a sharp gesture toward his face's beauteous coloring. "Are you telling me you don't?" Nevermind that he seems to have missed the point Keruthien was making, teeth catching up his lower lip to worry at it. The fact that the blond man rolls his eyes at Keruthien's accusation of it being his idea is probably largely missed due to the fact that A. his good eye is on the opposite side of his face from the one nearest Keruthien as they walk along more or less side by side back toward the Weyr from… where? Who knows. And B. the fact that as Stefyr unthinkingly rolls his eyes, his swollen one definitely throbs and he groans, again. "I'm going to have to see a healer for some numbweed. They're going to ask too." Nevermind that in all of this he hasn't exactly denied his culpability. "Do we need to get our stories straight?" Maybe he's never had a partner in crime before? No, with 11 siblings and 15 cousins on hand, that surely can't be so. Maybe it varied from scenario to scenario in the past. "Will you be able to work with your-?" He gestures to basically all of Ruthien, unhelpfully vague.

"I do but I'm not gonna make it worse by worrying about all that shit," Keruthien counters with ease, not the least bit ruffled or his spirits diminished. Eye rolling or no, he's content to just stride along side Stefyr, happy as a clam and not a worry to be seen about whatever shenanigans he's been up too. "Eh, they might not? But even if they do, they gotta keep it to themselves! Something all Healers stick to. I'm probably gonna get looks when I show up at the forge later but eh… My Craft kind of yields injuries, so…" Sorry, but he's got his butt covered! Kind of. He's probably just EAGER to spin all SORTS OF TALES! See that grin? That slow, mischievous grin? He's already plotting! "Huh? We gonna keep ourselves paired or don't you think it's easier if we swear it was separate?" Keruthien frowns thoughtfully for a moment and then shrugs his shoulders lazily. "Mhm, should be fine so long as the swelling doesn't mess with my vision! What about you? You need two eyes for what you do?"

Stefyr contemplates, slowly, quietly and with precision the idea presented to him. Despite the outcome, it surely was noted at some point that although the gardener-turned-assistant goes with the questionable ideas, such as what landed them in this fix, he does take the time to think them over and try to develop good contingency plans for the what ifs. Cautious if not overly careful is how one might describe Stefyr. "Swearing it was separate would probably work. Throw people off." The rest is easier to answer, "Generally. I wonder if the Harper will banish me from the classroom until it looks less… concerning. The kids…" He shrugs, "I don't know if Weyr kids would take this in stride. Farm kids would ask questions until swatted with the spoon." The Spoon of Justice. "Maybe I'll just work for Risali directly for a couple days, if she'll have me. Or Rhody can teach me some things. My reading and writing is improving so I'm not quite so useless learning what all Rhodelia does and can actually help." Did Keruthien know Stefyr changed jobs and isn't a gardener anymore? He may have forgotten to mention it. "That way I only have to deal with a few questions instead of all the kids." Then his face lights, "But if I do stay with the Harper and the kids for the next few days, I can tell them all kinds of things and never be caught out." Because kids are known to make up stories, aren't they? And Stefyr wouldn't be expected to tell the kids the truth, if it were gruesome, if it is.

Oh, decisions! So many choices! Keruthien makes a few non-committal sounds, while leaving Stefyr to much of the groundwork of figuring out the next stage of whatever-this-is. It could be that he's already executed what he felt was HIS portion of this deal! "So we gonna go for the whole separate deal, then? Claim innocence and uh… coincidence, I guess?" he grins all the more, along with a wink from his good eye. "Maybe that's the spin of it! Make it some funny joke, like — oh hey, did you see those two? What're the chances they both had piss poor luck and got matching black eyes for their trouble? Eh?" See? EASY PEASY! He blinks (well, one eye does anyways) and tilts his head, somewhat befuddled and intrigued. "What's got you so keen on lessons?" Wait, does he know that Stefyr can't read or write!? HOW MUCH doesn't he know! It's all of a concern for the span of three seconds before he's snapping his fingers and finger-gun pointing at him. Yes, the children! "I like it!" It's a terrible idea but there's no one around to tell him otherwise!

"Maybe that's too complicated," Stefyr rethinks, "Maybe we deny it half the time? Coincidence… or is it?" The blond exaggerates in what he probably imagines is a very Keruthien-styled way. Then he cocks his head to see what the other thinks of the idea. He gives that a moment to sink in before he rolls his shoulders. "Well, at first I was just going to learn to sign. The way that rider, N'on, does. But when the Harpers found out I wasn't very good with my lessons-" he pauses to add defensively, "-not much time for that on the farm, and so I found myself in need of more lessons. Then Risali asked if I wanted to be her assistant. Well, their assistant, hers and D'lei's, with Rhody. But I figured I needed to be better at the regular things to help with any of that paperwork." Paperwork gets a definite nose wrinkle.

"Always keep them guessing? Yeah, I'd be down for that. It's kind of right up my alley, really!" Keruthien SOUNDS like he's joking but he really isn't. Where are they headed right now, anyhow? He doesn't seem to be paying any attention at all to the 'where' part of this adventure! He makes a sound of understanding, then a slight click of his tongue as he chuckles to himself. "Look at you, moving on up the ladder… so to speak! No wonder you were getting all frazzled about questions. I'm telling you though, if you keep to the vague parts and bluff, they'll drop it! And Risali's really not that scary, y'know?" Cue an elbow attempting to meet Stefyr's ribs, along with another knowing smirk. HOW would he know? And is there anything, anyONE that Keruthien might actually fear (spoiler answer: No)?

Stefyr can be counted on to keep them going in the general direction of the Weyr. Or, what he thinks is the direction of the Weyr. It's a good thing Risali isn't here to hear the big man mutter, "You obviously don't know her well enough." He's a big enough man to admit he's scared. Of her. Anyway. Sometimes. "It's complicated," he dismisses the whole assistant thing. "I'll make it work," he resolves and then looks to Keruthien, reaching out a hand to touch his arm, to stop him. "We tell no one what happened. Agreed?" He'll even offer his hand to strike the deal. Everyone knows you can't go back on deals sealed with handshakes and LIVE.

Keruthien gives a heartfelt sigh that is probably no where near actually heartfelt at all. "No, you're right but it's not for lack of trying! I mean, granted I started kind of late and sort of just crashed her place the last time BUT — I was invited! I swear." By his cousin, K'vir and it's a long story which he doesn't elaborate on further, which only makes it sound like he's some weird CREEP — but that's just Ruthien for you. No cares, no fucks given! Let's folks assume whatever the hell they want and he'll correct them later (if ever). His much extended, strange family isn't the focus here, anyhow! It's the DEAL going down between a newfound bromance! A hand is grasped firmly, only awkward because he never stops walking and may have to step a stride or so ahead of Stefyr to pull it off. "Oh man, keeping everyone guessing and in the dark? Deal! This'll be great." It's going to be a TERRIBLE IDEA.

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