Bad Moves

Xanadu Weyr - Store Room
The storerooms here are carved into the stone, stretching back deep underground beneath the upper hallways that serve for residences and work areas. There is, after all, little need for natural light here; a series of electric lights are more than sufficient to illuminate smoothly cut walls and the assortment of supplies kept until they are needed once more.

For some of the things here, that time will be long in coming. Broken furniture and torn clothing awaits the opportunity for someone to repair it - or else the kindling and rag piles. Other items are more immediately useful; gently worn clothing and boots are neatly arranged in rows and on racks, especially in the quickly outgrown children's sizes, and an assortment of furniture and small appliances in functional condition await new homes.

A series of side rooms connected to the kitchen are the larder which feeds the Weyr through the winter. Sacks of grain lean against barrels of salted meat and wheels of hard cheeses stacked high. Refrigeration and dragonflight make for a more flexible winter diet, but it still takes a great deal of food to provide for this many people. The food is a tempting target for tunnelsnakes, and the occasional scuttle can be heard in the otherwise quiet depths of these caves.

Toward the southern edge, near the path leading down to the hot springs, there's the laundry rooms, a set of steam-filled chambers where water and soap are scrubbed into fabric of various sorts and the dirt and grime is scrubbed right back out.

Much of the stores are easily accessed, requiring only the appropriate permissions to be borrowed from. These supplies are, after all, here for the good of the Weyr and the people living here. A few rooms - those containing particularly valuable or dangerous items - are kept locked.

Laundry duty is hardly an enviable candidate chore, but Khavro and Stefyr have lucked out in their draw for the day. Rather than helping with the actual washing, drying, ironing or general carrying, they're folding. It might not seem at first blush like a dream job, but it leaves them with large baskets of clean laundry in one of the less used storage caverns to put away linens of various types - towels, napkins, sheets, and other sundry items of non-personal-to-a-particular-person item. Some of the items will end up stored here, in this cavern, until they're needed again, while others will be taken on to the Hot Springs or Caverns or where they will be put into the rotation. Stefyr's muscles flex as he sets down the basket he just brought in to join the other two, before looking to Khavro, with what might just be a shy sort of smile. "Want to start with big things or little things?" Sheets or towels - jobs where they work together or separately?

"Probably best to get the big ones out of the way first," replies Khavro with no particular indication of whether he's given thought to them working together or apart. He is watching Stefyr when the more muscular candidate sets down his basket, though, and his gaze only shifts up to meet the other's when he answers. No shame in watching, after all.

The expression that meets Khavro's when he looks up is bland, but with that blandness is the spark of humor in blue eyes. ISN'T THERE SHAME IN WATCHING? Well, Stefyr's not about to point it out if there is, but he wastes no time in bending to pull a sheet and offer one set of corners to the other young man, fingers brushing fingers in the natural if technically unnecessary and possibly a little lingering course of things. "Does it worry you? The hatching? A dragon?" Obviously he's wasting as little time with diving into the deeper matters as he is with getting the chore underway, the sooner to be done. At least he asked it while they're alone, with only drifting voices and the occasional passerby heading to another part of the caverns going by the open door to disturb a private chat.

Of all the things Khavro might have to feel shame about, oogling the muscles of cute boys isn't high on the list. He takes his side of the sheet, lingering in the moment of contact before they set to it. "A little, I guess. Worried none of them'll want me. Worried I'll have to find somewhere else to go. Worried you'll go off and become some fancy dragonrider and forget I exist right away." Look, Khavro has his little insecurities, but he might be exaggerating a little bit to keep the big guy distracted from stuff he doesn't want to talk about. "You're not worried, are you?"

"Why would you have to find somewhere else to go?" Trust Stefyr to pick the least obvious and probably most uncomfortable question to ask, so artlessly that it can't possibly be with conscious intent. His tone is earnest and his expression puzzled as he studies the leaner candidate. "I am. I want it. There's something to lose in finding a lifemate. Rhody warned me not to get too attached, but…" Obviously he needed that advice not at all.

Whether or not it's obvious that Khavro doesn't want to answer that question while also wanting to answer Stefyr is up to how perceptive the other candidate is right now. The curly-haired candidate eyes his peer with a brief frown, then, "Someone I don't want to find me might come looking for me. I figure if I'm a rider, it doesn't matter if they find me. If not…" His voice trails off and he shrugs off the thought. "What do you lose? Attached to what?"

"Isn't that why you have friends? Big ones. Strong ones." Stefyr might add good looking ones if he knew how to flirt properly, but alas. His face will have to do that talking for him. "Or haven't you bothered to make any besides me?" His fingers brush Khavro's as the steps of their sheet folding dance bring them face to face again. "And if you impress, is the dragonrider status your protection or the dragon itself? I'm assuming this is a matter of protection?" Yes? Well. Since it seems the big blond is on a roll, maybe he did catch the subtle conflict of Khavro's answer. "Attached to eggs, to what that life might be with a dragon. I lose my first shot. I lose whatever of my heart I've put into the idea that this is what's next for me." He shakes his head a little. "Maybe I get my heart broken and have to learn to go on anyhow." His expression is sober, but he shrugs like it doesn't matter. But how could it not?

At least it's Stefyr who suggests Khavro doesn't have any other friends so he doesn't have to do it himself. Even still, he glances up at that 'besides me' like he wasn't actually sure they were friends. And then fingers touch and he's clearing his throat to focus more on the folding. "I hadn't really considered them separately, so just… being a dragonrider? Anyway, any dragon would be an idiot not to want you." So Stefyr has nothing to worry about as far as Khavro is concerned.

"From what I gather, it's not a matter of being wanted. It's… something else." Stefyr shrugs. "Just like sometimes hatchlings go between if their lifemate isn't there. It's not that anyone else on the sand wasn't wanted, just not by that one. And if it were being wanted, I don't see why a dragon wouldn't want you, if you didn't make it want to punch you." That's wry humor with a bland expression as he looks across at the other man. "If I don't impress, I'll have my job, which is good. But it's not what I want." He shrugs. "Do you want to be a rider? Or you just want to be safe somewhere?" There's no indication in the man's tone that he would judge the other candidate for any answer he might make.

"I don't think I'd wanna be punched by a dragon," muses Khavro. Probably especially not a floppy baby dragon who doesn't know how to control their talons very well yet. "You could try again, yeah? There'll be more eggs soon." That's really all he's got as motivational speeches go. He seems to realize the same goes for him, though. "Suppose I just want to not have to run whenever things get sketchy. I don't know. Having a dragon seems like a lot of responsibility." And it's no secret that he's only used to thinking about himself.

Stefyr's grave, "I'd recommend against it," results in a grin directed to the other candidate. "Could. Will, if it comes to it. You too, you know." He could stay, could stand again. There's a silence in which the blond is thoughtfully considering Khavro. "It is a lot of responsibility." That's what those candidate lessons have been attempting to teach them, after all. But taking on big responsibilities like baby dragons doesn't seem to daunt him in the here and now, when there is no baby dragon present. But what he really wants to know from the other is, "How sketchy does it have to get before you cut and run?"

"I know." He knows, okay. But it doesn't seem to be something he wants to consider too much right now. If you don't think about things, they just go away, obviously, and he doesn't have to think about that until after these eggs hatch. It's a future-Khavro problem. "Depends on who finds me," he shrugs. Probably also depends on him getting cold feet, but he's not going to say that. "Some people can be reasoned with better than others, you know."

"I know that, generally. Not in your particular context." Stefyr replies, expression thoughtful as he looks the other young man over. He steps closer to finish this sheet, taking it from him with another brush of fingers. But rather than backing off to set it aside, he holds it and studies Khavro's eyes from this place that's in his personal bubble. "Why do they want you?" A pause. "I don't need details you don't want to give. I just need… an idea. How bad." LIKE, MURDER BAD? OR LIKE, RAN OFF WITH THEIR SISTER BAD.

Even from Stefyr, who he's otherwise enjoyed being this close to more often than not, Khavro looks like he might step back, maintain some of that distance. But he doesn't. He meets the other candidate's gaze. "It's really not something you need to get involved in, Fyr. I didn't kill anyone or anything." Not directly, anyway! "Theft, mostly. Sharing too much." HINT HINT. Even if this is nothing like that.

There's a considering silence and then, "Okay." And, "Are you finished with that? If you don't have to be doing it anymore?" Did Khavro ever have to be doing it? That's a different question but not one the big blond asks, although the omission is a little loud. Stefyr still doesn't move to set the sheet aside, holding his gaze on the other candidate's as though reluctant to miss any nuance in the intensity of his listening.

Answering that might take Khavro a little too long, and maybe he just doesn't pick up on whether he's ever had to do what he's done. "Sure. I mean. Mostly. I haven't stolen anything since I got here, anyway." Is that the right answer? He seems to want to give Stefyr the right answer.

"As long as you don't, you can count on me. Just ask." Stefyr's expression is serious in an extreme, but not harshly so, more… he seems to want Khavro to realize that he can count on him. Then that sheet is tossed to the side, into the basket, probably mussing it and Stefyr's hand is coming up to catch Khavro under the jaw and draw his lips up as Stefyr's come down to press against the trader's. Then he's using his body to press the leaner man back until his back is against one of the sets of shelves, his tongue flickering over the seam of Khavro's lips. Maybe he means to try that whole sticking his tongue down Khavro's throat thing that the trader mentioned. There is, possibly, a subtle change in Stefyr's kissing. He's a little more confident about it, a little more willing to try and see what happens.

It's probably for the best that Khavro doesn't have too much time to think about the idea of Stefyr being count-on-able. His pale green eyes flicker toward the tossed sheet before the other candidate is demanding his full attention with lips and moving. And he must like Stefyr's confidence, judging by the sound he makes and the way his lips part invitingly. His hands touch, seeking skin if he can get under his shirt, but since they are where they are, his attention stays above the belt.

There's a rumble in Stefyr's chest that is some kind of approval for Khavro's hand finding those hard abs under that shirt of his. If that wasn't his first clue that the big blond was all for whatever this is right here, the fact that his tongue is delving into Khavro's mouth with a plundering roughness, that should be enough to clue him in. It doesn't go on overly long, but long enough that Stefyr is breathing hard and the friction of body to body that lingers for a moment once he breaks the kiss can leave no doubt for the other candidate that the big man wants him. "Make some more friends unless you want me beat half to death if I have to get your back." There's some more incentive for him.

It's definitely some sort of incentive, but Khavro couldn't say for what just now if you asked him. In the aftermath of that kiss, he seems a little lost for words, so all he says is, "Yes, sir, Stefyr, sir." Because of course he's going to deflect with his dumb humor in a moment that could otherwise mean something.

His humor earns a low chuckle from Stefyr, the sound as much rumble in his chest as what is voiced from his lips. The big blond casts a glance toward the open door and then before he can really second-guess himself, he bends his head to kiss Khavro's neck, teeth and tongue following briefly— too briefly? before the larger man is stepping away and moving to reclaim that folded sheet and fix it before setting it in the finished basket, still woefully low. He plucks up another sheet, his back to the curly-haired man, shaking out the sheet before he turns back.

Khavro pants a sound of protest when Stefyr does that to his neck and then stops. There's a quick clearing of his throat, some awkward adjustment of his pants, then a hand pushing back through his curly hair to leave it in more disarray than it was a moment ago. "You, uh… been practicing?" Smooth, Khavro.

The blond reaches out with the cloth to tuck the corners that are Khavro's into his hands before beginning the dance for the next folded item. "Does it matter?" is an admission of yes, but it refocuses the conversation exactly where Stefyr wants it.

With the fabric in his hands, Khavro reflexively goes through the motions of folding the sheet with the other candidate, distractions be damned. "Suppose not," is all the curly-haired one says in response, but his eyes are focused on the sheet instead of Stefyr.

And if that's so, Stefyr isn't offering more of an answer. There's just the folding of sheets for a moment, though blue eyes stay locked with the other man's. It might be weird by anyone else's standards but the extended eye contact doesn't seem to bother Stefyr - like he's listening to something Khavro's expression is saying. It isn't until he puts this folded sheet in the basket and picks up another that he says anything at all. It isn't until his hands are brushing across the other candidate's that he asks quietly, "Did you like it?"

Khavro does seem a little unnerved by Stefyr's intensity, only meeting his eyes briefly before he's closing his eyes entirely. He doesn't flinch when Stefyr touches him again, but his response is noticeable. He looks up at the other candidate and doesn't seem entirely sure what his answer will be until it comes out of his mouth. "So much," it is. "But should we really be doing it?"

"During chores? Probably not." Stefyr replies with a devil-may-care smile, the humor brightening his eyes. "Or are you speaking more generally?" That comes with a very slight tip of the man's blond head, eyes searching Khavro's face, expression sobering. "We don't have to do anything you don't want to do. If you want me to stop… anything, you just tell me where the line is." Not that he looks especially excited about putting a stop to things, but neither does he look devastated. He looks willing to respect that line, wherever Khavro draws it. "Or is it because I kiss other people?"

"I don't know," is Khavro's answer to all of it. "I don't know. Can we just finish folding?" Sure, it's technically a question, but he's already moving to sidestep the blond to work on the stuff that doesn't need a partner's help to fold.

Now Stefyr is unsure. He watches Khavro, watches him as he moves to work solo. Then he moves to put the sheet down before going to another basket to do likewise. There's silence for some moments before he chances an earnest, "I'm sorry if I overstepped. I thought…" His expression turns to troubled confusion but instead of saying more he just says again, "Sorry."

"It's fine," says Khavro in a tone that's familiar and shut down, like their first encounters when his walls were full force. "Really. There's nothing to apologize for." He pauses mid-fold that had been hurried a moment ago, so he can flicker a look toward the other man, "You're so sharding pretty. And perfect." This is one of those 'it's me, not you' things, apparently.

If it helps even the footing at all, Stefyr blushes. He looks away from Khavro, focused in on his own folding which is deliberate and careful, making sure the edges meet because it makes him focus more. "Pretty… maybe." He shrugs, not unaware of his looks, but everyone has something they don't like about themselves, so he's entitled to shrug, even if that thing may be his big toe. It's not the important point. "Perfect… far from. You just don't know me well enough to see it yet." That actually does make him grimace. "I won't kiss you again unless you ask." It's meant to be reassuring to the other candidate. "There's time for you to get a better read on me if you want to." His lower lip is drawn between teeth to be worried at silently while he folds his next item. "For now, we can just… fold." And he'll keep his hands and his lips to himself.

Whether or not that's what Khavro wanted, what he wants, he says, "Okay." He doesn't even argue Stefyr's argument, despite remaining entirely unconvinced that the blond is anything but annoyingly perfect. "Thank you," he says, though it seems to be more meaningful than what's immediately happening, edged with something like an apology.

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