Pre-Panic Panic Party

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrleaders' Office
Office and retreat, this is the domain of Xanadu's Weyrleaders. The door is in the southern wall, quite close to the western end while the northern wall is dominated by big, expansive windows, framed by sumptuous deep blue drapes edged with a brilliant gold braid and tied back with a thick rope of braided gold and blue cord. In between, the western wall is covered floor to ceiling with shelves that house all sorts of records, manuals and supplies that are used on a day-to-day basis.

The southern wall has the Weyrleader's desk — plain fellis wood, well polished and masculine. From behind his desk, the Weyrleader can look straight through the windows and out onto the main airspace of Xanadu. The eastern wall is where the Weyrwoman's desk resides: a lovely piece of furniture made of warm cherry wood. From her seat, a glance sideways gives her an equally good prospect out the window. There are a few other seats, some comfortably arranged around a low round table for small, informal meetings while there also some that can be drawn up to one of the desks.

On the west side of the door, the space is occupied by a low oblong table where refreshments can be set without someone needing to intrude. There is also an 'incoming' tray where incoming correspondence or similar items can be left.

One would probably have to have less senses than a rock to not notice that Leirith has finally decided to take her shiny butt into the skies. Since Rhodelia has working eyes and ears and probably a mind at one point, this particular assistant has worked her way back into the pile of abandoned blankets that has taken over the weyrleader's office. There's not much actual work being done, but there is certainly a good stream of cursing going on as she rifles through the bookcase. Call it a warm up for all the swearing that these walls will undoubtedly soon be hearing from it's new official occupant. One thing is clear, whatever Rhody is looking for hasn't been found in that book. Or the next one. Or the next one. As they're each getting tossed behind her into the trampled blanket fort.

Okay, okay, okay. ARGUABLY, Stefyr has a lot in common with a rock. Big as a-, dumb as a-, hard as a- OKAY, BUT LISTEN, IT WAS A GOLD FLIGHT. This haven of dull, dull paperwork. That would soften just about any— heart. It might even do something about the intelligence quotient pervasive when lust pounds into every head it can reach. Thankfully, the worst of that is past, or passing at any rate. The door is flung open, and Stefyr stops two steps inside, looking hunted (and maybe he was a little, with all the populated areas he had to cross to get to this one that was SUPPOSED TO BE EMPTY, OKAY, BRO?). "Oh." That's when blue eyes find Rhodelia. And he should say something else, anything else, but instead, he takes two steps into the office, and falls back against the door to close it. And he says one word. The only word that's important right now: "R'hyn." He's surely heard things by this point.

Honestly, Stefyr isn't the only one feeling dull as a rock at the moment as Rhodelia jumps and spins around when that door opens. The book in her hand is cocked back as if ready to through but when she spots the big, blonde, fellow candidate and assistant, she gives a sigh and slumps down to the floor and blanket mess. "Stefyr." HE's not the only one that can name names. She gives the tiniest nod of confirmation. "We knew it probably wouldn't be D'lei, what with the…" She waves a hand for the general situation of Quarantined bronzerider that was so recently their Weyrleader, even if she can't find the words to actually sum it up. "But I never really thought about it." She also gives a little shiver as some after-effects aren't so easy to shake.

Rhody was planning to share, wasn't she? Risali does. So that's probably the precedent under which Stefyr feels it's well within his rights to move across the room and thump down into the blanket mess alongside his trainer. "The Harper mentioned something about being ready to release me to full time duties here in another seven or two. Now I think I should have a fit of blindness or just stupidity. Though…" He grimaces, "That might be too believable for comfort." He sighs, shifting so he can tug part of the blanket mess up under his chin. "What do we do?" Rhody's been here longer, surely she knows!

Rhodelia certainly doesn't oppose Stefyr joining the blanket pile as there's more than enough to share. She curls her knees up into a ball, tilting her head so she can at least look at him. "That's at least good, right? Your reading and writing?" As for what to do, she just shrugs and looks at the mess she's so recently added to the chaos of the office. It's with a tiny voice that she actually admits. "I… I don't know." her foot creeps out to nudge at one of the books that betrayed her but not having the answer to everything. "I thought there'd be a manual for this type of thing. D'lei has been the weyrleader for longer than I've been here…" BUT NOT ANYMORE.

"Yeah, I guess." Stefyr's dubious look around the office probably spells out exactly why it's only a guess. "My signing is coming along too. For all of it, the reading, writing and signing, it's all down to vocabulary now. I'm working on that, but there's only so many words I can take in before my brain feels mushy." He wrinkles his nose and then gives another glance around the room before he's shifting and shifting and pushing at the blankets and making it so he can lie down there on the floor, his head pillowed by blankets, blanket tucked all around him. HE'S ACCLIMATING WELL, GUYS. "Transitions have happened before though. I mean… I've never lived through any because my da was always co-head of the farm with my uncles and that's been for as long as I've been alive and longer." He shrugs a little. "Change is… hard, but it can work out okay, in the end. I mean. I didn't die coming here. Probably no one will die with R'hyn as Weyrleader." He squints at the ceiling like maybe he's not totally sure. "He did save Risali and I from being lost in the woods that night. That was pretty heroic." TO HIM.

Look, there's a reason Rhodelia isn't in charge of helping Stefyr improve his reading and writing. It'd probably go about as well as her whole 'organizational system' has gone, so questionable on a good day. She watches as he makes a proper nest and lays down, which prompts her to just hastily gather an armful of blankets and slink onto her own very make-shift pillow. "They have… but usually the weyrleader is around to hand off stuff and D'lei isn't. He's still sick. So who knows when that quarantine is going to be lifted? I guess probably Citayla and Risali will both know what to do… and Ila'den…" It's not like Xanadu doesn't have a plethora of folks that have lived through weyrleader changes in the past.

Stefyr's hands find their way to his belly, judging from the thup thup thup that is him drumming his fingers there. "That does make it harder," he'll allow, frowning at that ceiling before looking toward Rhodelia without really turning his head. "R'hyn will have Ila'den and Citalya's advice, surely. I mean, and then there's Risali." HE DID NOT JUST WINCE. Okay, he did, just a little TINY bit. "Is she going to be okay with this? She didn't seem to—" to what, Stefyr? "…like him very much when he rescued us in the woods. I thought."

Rhodelia is much stiller in her thoughts although she's got plenty of frowns of her own at the thoughts racing through her head. "Definitely." For the advice. "And he could always make D'lei his weyrsecond? You know… once he's healthy again?" There's a smidge of hope crawling into her voice at that thought. Which comes crashing down with that last question. "It's gonna be awkward? I know he's her dad's weyrmate… but it's not like they have to continue… you know. Just cause their dragons." Those boinking hand gestures may be entirely inappropriate, but surely mild considering all other INAPPROPRIATE THINGS some randy and loud dragons may have been broadcasting for everybody and their mother to hear.

Stefyr frowns at that. It's a straight up frown. But also, his expression is confused. Possibly adorably so since the blanket around his head is a lovely maroon and a little fluffy. "Well, they wouldn't," OBVIOUSLY. "Because they're not weyrmated to each other and they both have weyrmates. That are other people." DUH, RHODY. In Stefyr's precious little world, a weyrmate is basically a marriage partner, and sure, there's more than one of those here in each of these relationships under discussion but Stefyr has led a blessed life in this department (or an especially ignorant one), and married people only boink EACH OTHER. NOT ANY OTHER MARRIED PEOPLE. "Flights are different. I thought." He blinks at her, beginning to question himself. "Aren't they?"

Rhodelia got the short straw. Her blanket pile is practically sheets! All thin and sad, which might explain some of the big, puppy dog eyes Rhody is giving Stef and particularly his big fluffy blanket. She'll just sigh and wrap that plaid sheet a bit tighter over her shoulders. There's a bit of a blink as STefyr seems to at least have SOME understanding that weyrleaders don't mean weyrmates. "Well, looks like you figured at least something out! I'm pretty sure my mother still thinks that flights mean weyrmating…" And then another headshake. "They're not though. At least, not usually. But sometimes a rider and dragon pair will be particularly fond of another rider and dragon pair annnnd…" And magic happens. But only sometimes.

Stefyr is habitually bad at subtle signs. Like puppy eyes. He looks more perplexed than prepared to be helpful about it, but when Rhody shifts her sheet, something seems to click and he shifts in echo. Only his shift is a little more of shift, scoot, scoot, shift, so that he's not entirely on the blanket. His arm opens in simple unspoken invitation for her to share the soft fuzzy ones if she so wishes. "It's not a first," he grumbles at Rhodelia. "A second, maybe, though." That comes with a wry look. See? He can laugh at himself. She's allowed, too. "Some mothers think sex means partnership. I understand that's not always true." Even if his understanding is purely academic. "They're not different," he echoes her, and his eyes go back to the ceiling because that is going to take some digesting. "I'm not sure I'll ever figure this place out." He sighs the long sigh of one with an uphill battle.

There's a hint of hesitation from Rhody at the open blanket invitation, but the floor is pretty cold and uncomfy so she'll also scoot scoot closer. "Thanks… let me know if I'm too close?" Space is important after all and she's never really been one to intrude much. She won't join in the laughing, but she will smile, before she blinks at the misunderstanding. "What? Nooo… they're not the same. They're different." Her half sentence explanations certainly can't help with any understandings. Rhody would definitely make a horrible guide for anything important.

"I'm okay," Stefyr will offer after a moment that might have been self-assessment as his arm shifts so that she can get under the blanket without having to be on or in his arm. "Nothing to worry about here." He does work for Risali. She who regularly mushes his face. "If you want more space, I can move and you can have the blankets?" He'll offer after a moment, as though it only occurs belatedly that maybe Rhody is the one that need space. Maybe he has an internal compass that points to the worst possible person for explanations because he is looking at Rhodelia, more confused than before, and still asks, "So they're different? I thought so." But then, the confusion. "But weyrmating is like marriage, right? I mean, with some… variations…" It's such a kind word that could encompass so much more than what he understands about it (namely that sometimes more than 2 people are involved).

Rhodelia might not be as SMOL as certain other people that frequent this office, but she is slight enough to not take up much space on the fluffy blanket. She gives a quick headshake for the moving offer. "I wouldn't wanna kick you off of your own blanket." She does have some manners! "Although… if you can reach the filing cabinet… I think there's a bottle of rum hidden in the third drawer." Because of all things to KNOW where it's filed away, it's not any important paperwork that Rhody can pinpoint immediately, it's the booze supply. Her face scrunches as she tries to think if she can untangle the mess of what weyrmating actually entails. "It is and it isn't? The main thing is… riders can't bind themself to someone like in a marriage cause their dragon and their Weyr is always supposed to come first. So its real informal, but can pretty much mean whatever the couple agrees on?" Or trio as the case might be. "At least that's my understanding of it anyways…" So probably not the truth. Maybe like 60% true though?

"Yeah, but I wouldn't want to make you uncomfortable," Stefyr counters and he really sounds perfectly genuine about that. "I'd give up my blanket to avoid that. I can-" Pause. "-live without blankets." IF HE HAS TO. "It just looked like a good idea." Her idea, that is. The one he appropriated for himself. He will let her mull that while he shifts and shifts and reaches and reaches and eventually hooks onto the drawer. "You can't find the schedule for next week, but you know where this is," is probably only a playfully critical grumble. He does flash her a grin after all. He hooks a finger on the bottle neck and with some finagling manages to pop it out of the drawer without having to get up too much. It's only once he's back and offering her the bottle and shifting to sit up a little, just so he can fluff these blankets into a head rest high enough that she could drink without having to sit up too much if she wanted that he echoes, "Anything a couple agrees upon." There's a pause. "And is it rude to ask couples about that?" Because he can probably tally up a list of people he suddenly has questions for. (ALL OF THEM. IT'S ALL OF THEM.)

Rhodelia is just full of good ideas. And even more bad ones! She rolls her eyes at the dig at her organizational skills. "Look… you gotta have some priorities and when Risali hired me, my only qualification was just being a bartender." So she shrugs. Maybe knowing where the secret booze stash was what she was hired for all along! Drinking while laying down seems like a disaster in the making and since Rhody probably shouldn't wander back into the barracks reeking of booze, she sits up. Properly sits up, but at least her butt is still on the nice and fluffy blanket. Since Stefyr did go through all the effort of getting the booze, she will wiggle the bottle towards him, eyebrows raised as she tries to wordlessly offer the first sip. But that bottle wiggling is interrupted with by the snort of laughter on the last question. "Do you really wanna know what goes on in Risali and D'lei and K'vir's bedroom? Most folks would say it's rude and even if they didn't… you might get more of an earful than you ever wanted."

Stefyr squints at Rhodelia. Then the bottle. Then Rhodelia. This answer might require booze. "I … kind of do? I mean, not… in a weird way, but…" BUT HE IS A 20 TURN OLD WITHOUT A CLUE, can he be blamed for his curiosity. "I don't know. It's not my business, but I feel like I need a manual on how anything works in a Weyr, and they just don't write things like that. For the Clueless Holdborn: A Manual on the Wacky Ways of the Weyr and Weyrfolk?" He experiments with a title. "Do they? Is there a manual for that?" He has to ask now, looking to Rhodelia and then the bottle again. "I want to. So much. But I got my privileges taken," he looks primly chagrined, his fingers lacing together and landing on a knee that he draws up as he sits beside her. "I don't want to get kicked out for not taking my punishment even if people might not notice tonight." No chances. He's taking no chances.

"Stefyr!" That's the voice of shock and surprise, as if Rhodelia didn't know the naive holdboy had that curiosity in him. "You're just full of surprises. And the harpers might know better if there is a manual or a pamphlet even like that. When I first got here, I wasn't really in the mood to question anything, you know?" She shrugs and takes a swig of the bottle first since clearly Stef wasn't taking it up. Her eyes wide as her reveals just why he's not partaking in the offered liquor. "What??? How??? You were supposed to be the good one!" She's shocked, but she'll also tuck that rum bottle behind her back so he'll at least have to go through her to get to the bottle of temptation.

"I don't want to ask a Harper," Stefyr has a manly objection to this confession of vulnerability. OKAY, so he whines just a little. "This is what friends are for. To tell you things you don't know without you having to appeal to strangers." That's more grumbling. This office just brings it out of him. There's a lot to grumble about in here through the regular course of duties and if he doesn't do it too loudly, he even can get away with it sometimes. "It was an accident," he admits after picking at the blanket for a minute. "I was… unhappy… on Turnover. And I took a bottle. And I meant to only have this much," his hand rises to demonstrate a pinch between thumb and index finger, "and instead I had this much," that index finger inches up to not an absurd degree. "And then… well, my giggling gave it away, I guess." He goes picking at the blanket. "What were you in the mood for when you first got here?" He asks, still looking at that fascinating weave on the blanket. He's not doing that thing where he asks hard questions super casually again, is he? Oops. I guess so.

"So you want me to ask the harpers?" Rhodelia has objections of her own for that! Less manly though, but still prideful. "I've been here for four turns, it'd be weird for me to suddenly ask. They'd probably start thinking I had a beau or something and be nosier than an auntie." She shudders at the thought. So instead, he'll just have to deal with her half-baked explanations. She'll lean closer as he starts his explanation, wincing a bit at the overindulgence. "Rookie mistake, Stef. Rookie mistake." She'll give a playful tut-tut even as she takes another swig from her bottle, but hopefully she knows her own limits. As the tables turn to her own past, she gives a shrug. "Was just trying to avoid thinking about home and so didn't really wanna ask questions about anything."

"No," and here's Stefyr's grumpy face taking a trial run. "I was hoping you would just know more than me." He siiighs for unanswered wishes. They might include the bottle behind her which would just be so nice to partake in just now. He seems to be ready to let that go now, finally, along with the rueful shrug for his rookie mistakes. He can't take them back now, alas. He does have a thoughtful, "Huh," for her explanation. "You know," he leans just a little closer to her now, using the anchor of hands on his single updrawn knee to accomplish the air of conspiracy. "Half the time when I ask a question it's exactly so no one will ask me about things. Home. And other things." His brows dip down a little, and he adds. "My brother came to ask me to come home." Then, "Did anyone ever come for you?" He doesn't ask directly what it was she was not wanting to think about, but this does obliquely approach the issue and perhaps offer invitation if she wants to talk about it now, here in the safe haven of the Weyrleaders' Offices, in the blanket nest.

After the next rather large swig from the bottle, Rhodelia gives a sigh and puts the stopper back in. While it's original hiding place may have been in the filing cabinet closest to Stefyr, she'll reach behind her back to file it away in a completely different spot. Change is inevitable after all. She winces as he brings up his brother. "I'm sorry. Normally I'd insist on getting you a drink but… guess I'll just owe you one after the hatching or something? Hatchings…" There's a correction tossed in there hastily. "Because now, even if you don't impress at the first, there will be another clutch right on its heels." Her face scrunches up at the last as if she doesn't really want to answer, but she will take pity a bit on Stefyr. "I thought so, once. But I think my father was just here on business. He didn't see me. I never told them where I was going."

Stefyr's hand leaves his knee and he simply offers it out toward Rhodelia as a tangible anchor. "Maybe they'll let me drink after the first Hatching." He does have a little wince for the idea of more than one, but in for a penny in for a pound. "Hey," not to interrupt this other really heavy conversation with YET ANOTHER really heavy conversation topic, "Did those eggs… I mean, they messed me up some." Was he alone? "I heard other eggs in the past have… But you've met more than I have." She definitely has the experience on him on this one. If she's taken his hand, he'll squeeze hers, if not there's just the tilt of his head and the slow addition of, "I'm sorry about your father." And then, "Do you want another drink?" He gestures in invitation to the new hiding place of the bottle.

"Usually they'll be a bit lenient the night of a Hatching for those left Standing. Unless you really fucked up," Rhodelia at least tries to make the last a joke with a smile. And she'll reach out to accept the hand holding. It'd be awkward to just leave him hanging after all. "They're all weird. Some are just weirder than others. There's always some that seem to crawl right under your skin." She shivers at the memory. "But since they're telepathic and looking for something, I guess that makes sense? The first time I stood, I think one egg kept showing people how the world might end." As conversation turns back to her father, she bits her lip and gives a small headshake. "I probably shouldn't." Limits, they might actually exist! "My father was a vintner. Is a vintner." Because he's not deceased yet, that she knows of.

"I can always hope. I don't think I messed up that badly. Just a little. Enough. I won't do it again, so." LESSON LEARNED, CAN HE DRINK NOW? HE MIGHT NEED TO. Stefyr grimaces, "Some of those eggs." He shakes his head, finding not the right words. "But there was one that was… wow." He sighs like a lovesick fool. Fortunately for all concerned, he doesn't seem to linger on it right now, even if he might be composing odes to it in his free time (JUST TO PRACTICE HIS WRITING SKILLS, Y'ALL). "The world ending." That earns a real shudder that wiggles their hands together when it reaches his fingers, and another squeeze probably because that sounds scary. "Do you want to talk about him? Them? Your family? You don't have to. Just. If." He stops because there will be babble if he goes on and he just tilts his head to let the perpetually truncated sentence stand as offer for his ear and tacit confidence.

RHODELIA WON'T TELL ANYBODY, PROMISE! But then again, someone like the headwoman or steward could come in any minute. Probably for the best the booze has been hidden back away. She watches as she sees seen all the signs of eggy-obsession before. Her hand moves from holding his hand to give a squeeze to his shoulder. "Stef… don't let yourself get too attached? I mean, you'll probably end up finding a dragon out there but if you don't… it sucks. It really sucks. Even if you're not sure if you even want it." If all the practice at being left standing has made Rhodelia better at it, she hasn't noticed. As for family, she shrugs. "There's not much to tell. Do you want to talk about your's?" She might be up for a bit of 'I'll show you mine if you show me your's' sharing of emotional scars.

Stefyr's blue eyes meet Rhodelia's for an intense moment. He should nod, he should thank her for her wisdom and for sharing her experience, but what he does is breath out slowly a few damning words, "I really want it." He didn't before. Egg obsession indeed. "I know there's a real chance that I won't. I mean, what dragon would want a farmer that doesn't know anything," he looks down to the blanket that, WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT, still has a fascinating weave. "Mine would take all night," he observes then of his family, losing interest in that fabric just as fast as the interest seized him. "Eleven siblings. Mum, Da. Aunts, uncles, cousins. All on the same family farm." He reaches up to scratch at his chin. "I think what you're really getting at though is…" He pinches his eyes briefly shut then open, "Gaelis. My neighbor. I don't especially want to talk about her, but if you want to talk about your family and you want to know things about me that might be a little nearer here," his empty hand touches his heart briefly before returning to the blanket in his lap, "I'll tell you what you want to know."

"There's also a real chance you will," Rhodelia can at least offer some hope, along with a bit of self depreciating humor as well. "But how many times have you heard of a rider that stood six times? Folks kinda just stop saying much after the third times the charm, don't you know…" She lets out a bit of a huff there. "But I can be an assistant forever. Or find something else to do if this ever gets old." She doesn't really have plans, but she has faith that she could find something out! It's progress. "I'll tell you mine, but first, you gotta promise you won't tell another soul." She'll stare down her giant companion and hold out her hand, pinkie outstretched and waiting. With all those siblings, surely he knows the sanctity of a pinkie swear!

The noises Stefyr makes in response to that first is noncommittal maybe-yes-maybe-no kind of rumble in his chest, but he's not going to actively argue the point. "Maybe I'll stand six times. Or more. We can do this job together. Unless our Weyrwoman and Weyrleader fire us." It's blithe. Too blithe. Maybe he's nervous? Maybe he just doesn't understand such a thing is ultimately possible. His eyes drop to her pinkie and he gives a little shrug before meeting it with his, "As you like. I won't tell." One day, maybe he'll learn that promises like this can be worth something and he won't just give away his word for free.

Rhodelia wraps her pinkie around his and nods. Promise offered, promise accepted. Now time for a really big breath as she gets ready to spill those beans. "I told you my father is a vintner… he's a master vintner. So he always expected us to go into the craft as well. My older brother did and was every bit the student my father could want. I have a sister too. And while she's not a vintner, she could get anybody to stop in their tracks with her singing, so she became a Harper. Then there's me…" She gives a sigh, her hand withdrawn back into her own lap so she can fiddle with her thumbs. "I tried to be a vintner, but I was never any good at it. I got to the point where I had to take my tests for promotion and… I may have poisoned one of the masters. Twice." There's a big wince. "I couldn't face failing a third time. So I left." There may be some major details left out there, but that's the cliff notes version. "And so now I'm here, until our Weyrwoman and Weyrleader fire me." She'll give a nod as she echoes back his own words there, even as she tries to avoid making eye contact after the admission.

Stefyr was the picture of an attentive and thoughtful audience until she got to the word "poison" then brows can't help but climb. He manages to convince those blond brows down again, looking away from his compatriot and to the blanket. It's not exactly fascinating this time, but it's a good, safe place to gather suddenly scattered thoughts. What does a person say to that? What Stefyr says, quietly, seriously, is, "It could've been worse." There's a moment then, where he looks troubled. "I want to say something funny. To make it not hurt you as much. To make it less," another pause and he shakes his head, "But I don't have any magic words that would do that. And maybe I shouldn't, since it was a big thing for you." The hand he still holds (does he? He's possibly become comfortable enough with that contact that he had forgotten until this moment when it's needed) gets a squeeze. "I'm glad you found your way here at any rate. I mean," and now he can joke, his voice going dry and his tone sweet, "Who would have taught me to file if you weren't? Valuable life skill that. How to lose anything. Even if you were hold it one heartbeat before. It's a real skill, I tell you." He'll squeeze again even, and then as awkwardly as a one-armed hug worked out for him that other time, he'll try it again, if she's willing to be gathered in for a quick squeeze under his nearest arm.

Rhodelia notices those eyebrows climbing and she just chose to ignore them or else she's never finish her story! But when Stefyr adds his consolation in, she gives a snort. "Yeah… he at least lived to be poisoned again! They were accidents both times!" And considering they were willing to give her a third shot, that's absolutely true! And also might have had to do with the whole daddy being a master thing. Failed case of attempted nepotism right here. She'll just shrug off the rest of the consolations. "I… I'm mostly over it. Or try to be. It was four turns ago. That's practically forever!" They certainly have been an eventful time. How many times has she been chased by angry waterfowl, gotten stuck in a tree or had a bull try to work his way in to the tavern? She gives a playful swat to his shoulder for his oh so dry jokes. "Hey, being a professional scapegoat is a very useful skill!" And Rhody has certainly perfected that one, even if her filing is non-existent.

"I have never questioned it." These words are delivered in the deadpan that he uses sparingly but does so damn well when it's given. Then Stefyr grins, eyes holding the look as much as his lips. "Well. Now that we've settled that we're just going to carry on being the best sharding assistants this Weyr has ever seen in the morning," When did they decide that? NO ONE KNOWS. IT'S FINE. "I should get back to the barracks. I-" He lets go of her hand to scratch behind his ear in what is ALSO NOT A SELF-CONSCIOUS TELL, "-also got my staying out late privileges revoked." Not that there is a curfew, because there's not, except apparently for him because he done did the dumb dance and is paying for it in full. "Want to walk back with me? You can help me fend off any—" And he swallows whatever he was going to say, because maybe it's not something he wants to get into yet. "-one," he finishes lamely but possibly not inaccurately on flight night and he's getting up to offer both hands down to pull her up before helping to tidy up what needs tidying before heading for the door.

"This mess can all wait until morning," Rhodelia waves at the sheets and blankets and possibly a few uneaten snack trays somewhere and all the books she discarded so rudely. Getting up is a process, especially since she doesn't want to get her feet tangled up and faceplant, but eventually she manages and holds her hands out like a gymnast sticking a landing. "So, back to the barracks. Neither of us are back late, neither of us are drunk…" A tiny bit tipsy, maybe. She raises an eyebrow at the suspicious request to fend off somethings. "Okay… but fair warning. If it's another swan, I'm pushing you at him and running the other way!" But luckily the path between Admin offices and the candidate barracks doesn't lead near any water. They should be safe enough for the night at least. The timer is counting down already until inevitable explosions at some point in the future but that's a problem for another day.

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