Big Picture, Little Picture

Xanadu Weyr - Observation Level
Dark blue seats form a semi-circle around the sands below, the lowest row separated from the multicolored red and white sands by merely a railing. The seats climb upwards, each row a bit higher than the previous, and they are broken up into sections by three sets of staircases. Between the first and second section, a glass wall descends to separate the observers from the heat of the sands. Air is kept in motion through a set of fans, and so these seats are quieter and cooler than the rest… though the noise and heat of the sands is still present.

Lights are evenly spaced along the outer wall, lighting the seats and the sands easily, though they tend to be dimmed unless a major event is taking place. A large balcony overhead connects to the glass wall. Vents for cooling run along the bottom of it, and the ledge provides a place for observers of the draconic kind to watch without obstructing the view for others.

The sand below is variegated in hue, individual grains of red and white that have a pinkish hue when seen from across the circle of the hatching grounds but - up close over that railing - are clearly two varieties mingled.

It's late enough in the afternoon that the candidate's lessons and other usual afternoon duties have largely drawn to a close. It's not unusual to find a few candidates, among others, retreating to the observation level to relax, egg watch or as just a place to sit while they tend to personal tasks. Stefyr is seated high in the seating today, where he might not get too warm especially in his short-sleeved tunic and cargo shorts. The rain from the drizzle outside has long since dried in his hair, leaving it a little funny from whatever push through it his hands must have made. He's sprawled back in a chair, hips scooted far out on the bottom so his slouch is profound. In his lap is an open book with words and definitions scrawled in a tidy hand, a pen forgotten at its internal apex. His eyes are closed, so he might appear at a distance that he's fallen asleep, but as one nears, one would see the slight movement of his lips and hear the low, pleasant rumble of his untrained but passable baritone singing a song.

Evangeline has not been avoiding Stefyr, outright but. Avoiding barracks life altogether, rarely seen except during chores, egg touchings, and dropping off ridiculous things to apologize to Stefyr. Today is different, walking up the stairs to the Observation level; she moves at a clumsy shuffle that is audible to anyone who might be listening to the struggle. Once in eye line, it's apparent why Evi is wrapped head to toe in a fuzzy blanket and looks a bit bedraggled. Her nose is bright red, and you can hear her clear her throat a few times and give a small cough. Settling down near the sands she tucks her feet under her rump and pillows her head with her blanket after a few moments she hears the noise, standing up and glancing up at Stefyr before moving up the stairs not saying anything but dragging her blanket burrowed self upwards, the movement is penguinesque. Settling one row below Stefyr and about two seats from him, she glances up and waves, lips pursing she curls her body into her blanket and says. "I am running out of glitter." Her voice is hoarse and stuffy, crackling a bit as she speaks. By the first egg, it might be a real miracle.

Stefyr has gotten through most of his song, an up-beat drinking song that talks about drinking all the stores of alcohol before opening the door to rescuers when there's a tavern fire, when Evangeline's voice penetrates. He opens his eyes first, blue gaze settling on her, taking in her blanket and red nose. His expression is blank. It's unhelpfully blank. But after a moment, he shifts, sitting up, letting the book close between his thighs and sliding it out to set it on top of one. His brows dip down a little as he considers her in silence, unnerving silence. "Listen." He starts, stops, probably orders his thoughts and then tries again. "You can stop apologizing." Maybe it's HOPELESS. "I didn't understand what was happening at the time, but it's been explained. About senior gold flights. Gold flights, really." And maybe whoever told him also said Leirith in particular, but if so, he doesn't add that particular tidbit. There's another hesitation, but if she waits it out, he'll add, "I hope you understand I just thought you were sick and I was trying to get you help." It was the act of a friend. Or it was intended to be, at any rate. Is Evangeline forgiven? Or is he saying there's nothing to forgive? His communication isn't terribly clear on this point. Maybe another man could do better, but not this big blond bumbler.

Every word that comes from Stefyr's mouth punctures the blanket cocoon, which is eerily still while he speaks. There is such stillness and quiet that for a moment, it appears she might have fallen asleep. Evangeline purses her lips tightly, her mouth bunching up with an unhappy pout as her brown-green eyes take him in. "I did not know that was happening, I am so so so sorry." Moist hair peeks out from her wrapped up form as her head shakes violently back and forth. "I was hot, and then I was not. I felt… free, and everything I did seemed fun. Nothing seemed worth questioning." Each word comes with a crackle, her sweet tenderness broken up by how wretched she sounds. All the sadness in the world seems to settle on the confused form of Evi, her body sinking into the chair and head falling to the side, "I would never ever EVER try and hurt you Stefyr." She had been doing pretty well, but this last sentence sounds teary-eyed and pathetic. "Nana told me to punch you if you said anything but, she's good at that, and I am. WELL." SNIFF. She's Evi. "If I made like, a dozen more cookies can we call it good?"

"Evangeline," Stefyr starts, stops, adjusts, turning his body very slightly toward hers. "Evi," he tries again, though the name isn't as casual as it was once spoken, not yet. "You don't need to apologize. You don't need to make any more cookies." SORRY, OFFICE CREW; NO MORE TASTIES. He could just accept her apology and maybe that would be it, but probably the emotional blockhead doesn't realize those are the magic words to release them from this awkward spell. "I didn't know what was happening either. No clue, in fact." He shifts uncomfortably in his seat. "I wasn't feeling quite myself. I gather no one was." Maybe that's why the person he's been making an effort to avoid is Khavro and only Evangeline by happenstance. "I didn't love," he admits after a moment, "that you brought up biting me in front of N'on. That was embarrassing. It made it sound like it had been something that it wasn't." He reaches up and rubs his forehead with the side of a long index finger. "I know you're old enough to Stand Evi, but under circumstances other than what was going on at the time, "You're… not old enough for me to look at like that." That's awkward. Possibly even unnecessary. "And you don't need to tell me it was all the flight because I know it was. I'm not saying—" Sheesh, he's stopping again. Awkward, awkward, awkward. He gives up. "You can punch me if it would make you feel better. I'm not sure what you need to stop beating yourself up about it. Things happen. We move on. It just… all this is as new to me as it is to you. I only got here maybe two months before Ilyscaeth laid the clutch." He shrugs in helpless defense.

"No, I will not be hitting you." Evangeline wraps blankets tighter around her, letting out a small sneeze and sniffling. Words fail, there's silence as she sits in her shell. "I- um." Quiet, not even a rustle from the caped form of Evangeline. "Stefyr, I- -" Nope, nothing. There seems to be nothing but defeat, the saddest little toaster all wrapped up. Evangeline lets the silence be; some moments need silence, and so after Stefyr quits talking, she allows it to be quiet. "I NEVER act like that, and will NEVER again." Vowing quietly with as much gumption as her stuffy voice can manage, but there's real conviction behind every word. "I will hit you, and you will hit me. THEN we can shake on it, and be friends?" The proposal is the first sign of hope, her voice perking up a bit with her newfound solution. "I- - I needed N'on's help, and since you got here two months ago, I met N'on when he helped bury Doorknob three-quarters of a turn ago in Monaco." Oooh, there's a bit of bite behind her words, something that has never happened before. "I- - just wanted you to know I was sorry. N'on will think what he thinks, those who matter don't care or won't for long." There's a slight hrmph behind her tone too, tangles of the immaturity of a girl not yet 16 turns old mixed with the girl raised for the sole purpose of being a bride. For a single moment, you can see the spine that may one day exist in this girl, it's there, it's coming. JAWS THEME. The girl sitting in a pile is only now becoming a woman. "N'on helped the most. YOU know. Punching sounds good. Let's just punch each other." Once you have exhausted all other options, the last one seems most natural.

Stefyr makes an unhappy noise when Evangeline makes her proposal, but he doesn't say anything yet, doesn't derail as he shifts forward to lean his elbows on his knees. "Shells," is not quite quiet enough to qualify as a mutter, his hands lacing together and then pulling his shoulders forward in awkward hunch. Then he straightens. "I don't care that you needed N'on. The only claims I have on anyone here are those of friendship and friendship doesn't…" He's getting derailed himself and shakes his head, sitting up again to turn a little more toward her. "I just meant that saying randomly in front of someone else that you thought you bit me has a number of meanings that could have gotten us in serious trouble. N'on caught me almost getting into a fist fight with Khavro. I don't think it would've really happened even if he hadn't come along and broken it up, but if he thought you and I had been in a fight, or had-" Fucked. He doesn't say it, but he catches himself just on the edge of doing so. He bites down to keep the word from going out, "-had ended up in a situation where you could've become pregnant, that would have been it for me, for the possibility of this," his gesture is sharp and it's toward the eggs, the sands, the future possibilities so tenuously held there. "Do you get that? Your careless words almost cost me." There's the frustration. The anger he's trying to keep in check. "What if they had thought me hauling you to the healer qualified as fighting? What then? What defense could I have offered? Trying to be a friend? I doubt that would have cut it." He locks his jaw now, eyes pinching shut. "I'm sorry." He breathes after a moment. "I didn't mean to bring all that up. Just. I mean, shit, Evangeline, this is serious. It's serious beyond what did or didn't happen during the flight. I understand you feel badly for something you didn't even control, but you're not feeling badly for the thing you actually might need to apologize for." His growl of frustration is so low as to not even really be a whole sound and his face buries in his hands, elbows still propped on his knees. Through his hands he adds, without emotion, without humor, without anything, "And I will not hit you. I don't want to." For so many reasons.

The worst thing after a tirade of Stefyr proportions might be silence. The fact that the blanket blocks Evangeline's puzzled face does not help, her body still as she allows him to say all he is saying. About halfway through, there's a loud sniffle that could be hiding a sob, could also be that she is sick, and it's making her sniff. "You… assume you're friends with N'on, and then you assume he would not find out more about what happened before doling out punishment." Her voice is hollow and emotionless, there's no mocking but a heavy dose of questioning in her tone. The kind of questioning tone that belongs to an older person, questioning something deeper in Stefyr, like his relationships with the world. The flat tone continues, "Everyone I have met here has been fair, Stefyr. I— I trust this place. " The minor revelation seems to be of no significance going by tone alone, but the idea itself is a huge one for Evi. "I am sorry for whatever trouble I could have brought on you. I wanted everything to be ok again. I trust N'on knows me well enough to ask before— before he assumes that I would EVER let ANYONE get me." -PREGNANT- Words fail, the thought too terrible to even consider. Her body sinks deeper into her covers; her knees come up to become a chin rest, and now she is crying. "This is dumb. All of this. You could be standing out there for the next five turns like Rhodelia, or you could be the next D'lei. None of it is in our control. No one knows anything about this except my whole family, and they seem to view this as normal." There's a slight tinge of sarcasm to her saying 'normal' as if maybe none of this is normal. Sadness overtakes her. "I am sorry. I. I just wanted to." WHAT. WHAT DID YOU WANT. "I wanted… friends. Who I could talk to. I am around riders.. who are family. I saw N'on as my big brother. He buried my cat." Full out crying, no hiding it, she's bawling. The sobs. "I wanted to feel like I belonged here. Sharing with him felt right. I did not think. I—I trusted." The crux of the whole matter, Evi had gotten comfortable. She started seeing people as family.

The tears should get him. He should do something about that. But this time, he doesn't. He has words instead. "I am… or was… friends with N'on," BUT LET'S NOT LET THAT AMBIGUITY THAT IS DEFINITELY AN INDICATION OF SOME OTHER ISSUE DISTRACT US. "But." Pause. "Shards. How to explain." Stefyr's hands finally leave his face as he takes two attempts to sit up and do just that. "The number of friends I have had in my life who are not my blood kin and with whom I haven't known literally all my life is exactly the number of friends I've made since coming to the Weyr. All of this is new for me." Painfully new. "My friendship with N'on is new. My friendship with you is new." And look how swimmingly both of those are going! "My friendship with Keruthien, with Rhody, with Risa, with R'hyn even," if they can be called friends? He doesn't seem sure, but once more he's getting derailed. "They're all new," he sums up. "No one here knows me. No one here knows if I'm the sort to take advantage of a young girl who's acting drunk at best," slutty at worst? HE DOESN'T SAY THAT. He makes no comparison, truly. "No one knows that I'm not the type to punch someone just because I'm mad. No one here can vouch for me that my dumb decisions like grabbing Khavro's shirt, like having one too many swallows and slipping over the line from tipsy into drunk were stupid, one-time things. No one knows me, so the rules are the rule. They might even be the rules even if they did know me. I wasn't much past tipsy, but I looked drunk. I woke up with a headache like I was drunk, and so I have no more drinking privileges." He gestures as if to explain one is simply the consequence of the other. "I've tasted punishment twice already for things that people asked what happened before bringing down a consequence on me. I'm however inadvertently already a repeat offender. So forgive me," it's scornful, bitter actually. Who knew sweet Stefyr had that in him? "If I don't trust that just explaining something that seems bad at first blush will not get me booted from the ranks of candidacy. I don't care if I have to stand a hundred times. If there's an egg here now or that might be here in the future who might contain a lifemate for me and a chance at being a dragonman, then I want that chance." It's scary fierce. Note that his big bulk has not budged one bit, has not done any of the towering or the in-your-face body language that other people's tirades might come with. If she thought she was listening to a tirade before, she has this true tirade to compare it against now. "So you can get yourself in trouble with careless words and hope for the best with your explanations, but leave me out of it, Evi. I want friendships. Yours. Others. I want this life," a hand flings toward the sands, "but I'm already too close to putting one too many toes out of line and losing any chance I have." And then he looks at her, wincing because he'll allow himself to acknowledge her tears now. He slumps, slumps, slouches, back into a brooding hunch as far down in the seat as he can go, but he does fish in one of his cargo pockets and come back with a clean handkerchief, which is offered toward the younger girl.

Evangeline cries, sitting her blanket pile her nose full of snot and her face throbbing with pressure, chest tight with the cold she brought upon herself through her rainy day exploits. The crying continues for a few moments, her hand waving off any offered handkerchief, body tightly wrapped in on itself as if somehow she's reached the chrysalis form of being Evi and is waiting to become a butterfly. Her body does not seem to contain more words. Her head gives a shake as she clears her throat and poises to speak. Nothing. For all the world, he has rendered her speechless, broken sobs breaking through the heaviness of the silence. "Stefyr, as your… -friend???" The word is posed with so much question, dense in her mouth. Then nothing, nothing more. Whatever she wanted to say is gone, she stands up and walks up the two steps that separate the second to top gallery seat and the top row. Walking down the row, it's clear that she is ill, but the need to quarantine herself away from him has been given up. Settling down in the seat next to Stefyr, she reaches out her hand to place her small hand over his big one. Then sit. For a full minute, if he allows it, she will sit and hold his hand and squeeze every now and then. "I am your friend Stefyr, whether you want to be my friend, or you want to be a harper assistant, or a dragonrider, or a gardener. " Tears still flow over her face, her blanket damp with her own leaking face. Evi has rarely ever touched Stefyr; in fact, if it's thought of, Evi never touches almost anyone, especially anyone male. Her contact is rare and fleeting. "I will be more careful with my words, ok." More crying, it's like she had saved up years and years of tears. Closing her eyes, it's clear she does not feel well, her body sinking into the seat, but her hand remains for as long as she can keep it there, the strength in Evi crystalizes. "I am sorry." Brown-green eyes search to find his, so she can look directly into him and say this, then she curls back into her seat. Her body shaking from all she's asking, anxiety, emotion, trying not to cough all over everyone. "Here, you need a laugh." Reaching under her blanket, she pulls out a piece of paper presumably from her skirt pocket. The sheet looks new, there are 55 names on it that all begin with Z. "Nana gave this to me, those are my aunts and uncles… same father. So. Maybe we don't have problems, I am probably his seven hundredth grandchild. See what you have to look forward too" There's a small smile of humor, her tone mocking as if she has long gotten over the shock value of being L'ton's grandaughter. "That's what awaits us… " Her eyes get big for a moment, she is trying.

Stefyr watches her with a hooded, broody gaze as she draws near. It's definitely enough time to decide she's sick. His eyes drop to the hand that she covers and it looks like maybe he wants to pull away. He doesn't, so there's his self-sacrifice for the day: too much proximity to the ill. He doesn't hold his breath, but he does slump a little more and possibly is breathing a little shallowly. Maybe that's emotions, but it might just be that he doesn't want to become a plague carrier. Think of all the people he could transmit it to! The hand under the one being squeezed tightens on the still held handkerchief. "Thank you," are the two words he manages after her apology. He probably means them, but his tone is a little hollow, like he's wrung out. He glances at the paper, but no smile cracks, no laugh bubbles up. "I need to go study. I failed some of my Harper exams and have to retake them." So, there's more going on here than just what's apparent. Are they friends? She said so, he did, but then this, and … maybe he just needs to go brood somewhere alone. He deftly, but not impolitely slips his hand from hers and manages to not wipe it on his pants (until he's outside where the drizzle can help wash it), but takes up his book and tucks it into a cargo pocket before heading for the exit with no more words than that. Maybe he ran out. He's walking out of here at any rate, though the slump of shoulders is one exhausted or defeated or maybe something else, not one on the run.

Evangeline sits there for a long, long time. Possibly because she is not ready to be the barracks plague bringer yet, probably because doing things when you're emotionally and physically exhausted is HARD. After a while, she stands, and penguin shuffles back. For her part, she says nothing to Stefyr, no trying to stop him, no begging. This was her grand effort, and it needed to be enough. Standing at the rail, she looks out to the eggs and cries some more her eyes search for a sign of the healer slash goldrider slash clutch mother that is Cita is visible. Not finding her, she wanders down and sits beside the sands and talks. Talks to Ilyscaeth, the innocence of someone who still thinks that giant gold dragons want to hear about their problems. Ilyscaeth, for her part, listens to the girl until she has talked her voice away. Standing up, she bows, "Thanks." Waddling her way to the barracks, she's going to bed. Hiding away until the world decides to stop being so hard. Are they friends? It's up for debate for sure.

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