WARNING: May Cause Heart Palpitations

Xanadu Weyr - Purgatory
While the cottage is not large, the rooms are spacious, the place constructed with an open floor plan and designed with the young at heart. Large windows allow for light to flood the area, while inside shutters may be closed for privacy. The dragon space is slightly concave, slate laid to protect the floors from sharp claws. The rest of the flooring is polished hardwood. A simple kitchenette has a dining area that juts out over the waters below, along with a breakfast nook sort of room. The living room is completed by a low, comfortable couch and a few large cushion-like pillows that when piled together make more of a nest-like seating around a small, equally low, dark wood table. Two other ground level rooms form a spacious and well furnished 'guest' room, while the other is suited more as an 'study'.

The draw for 'young ones' comes with the spiral staircase that leads to a loft bedroom, also flooded with light from the triangular window in the peak of the ceiling. Beneath that very window, rests a circular-shaped bed. Tiny pinpoints of light are imbedded in the ceiling to form 'stars' when the main lights are extinguished. Encircling the spiral staircase is a slide — a fast and fun way to get back downstairs. Affixed from the stout beam that runs the length of the peaked ceiling is a thick rope swing. For those… rainy days.

Risali is not the only one afraid of storms, though her fears are turned into bravery when facing the fearful faces of her — their — children. It was one of those days spent indoors, quiet but busy, full of bumps, and bruises; full of tiny cries, and small victories. Now day has receded into night. Rukbat has taken those muted greys of storm-cloud days beyond the horizon with her and left Timor and Belior to make darker shades and deeper shadows out of nature's fury. Sanctuary from the roaring boom of an Autumn storm came in the form of one surprisingly large blanket and pillow fort, one that spans almost the entirety of the front-most living space, utilizing couch, and table, and staircase to support a canopy large enough for an adult to crawl under - and sit (which Risali is doing right now, cross-legged, but we'll get to that). The walls are a mixture of pillows and more blankets, protecting and inside of even more pillows and even more blankets and the small mattresses of children pulled from their beds, placed side-by-side in the space afforded by pushing furniture out of the way. But the thunder subsided with the lightning, relenting to a mere downpour of rain that persists. Risali opened the door at some point, and stationed herself where she could watch that rain from an opening in the fort's 'front door', burdened though she is with sleeping children who have made pillows out of thighs, or pressed against her chest, or close together on those mattresses while Risali reads, fingers tracing through Darien's hair while one arm supports Zyriden to her chest and holds clumsily to a book.

SHOW NO FEAR. Children can sense it. LIKE VELOCIRAPTORS. …or, more to the point, like small humans that are scared of thunderstorms but would be terrified if they see mama being scared. So yes, there is a shelter of protection versus storms, set up to keep all terror at bay through the combination of soft bedding, and silly distraction, and the comfort of parent. The rain pours down, and brings with it… D'lei. He's wet - soaked through, really - but he does not melt in the face of water. The door opens - the real one, not the one that's a gap in blankets - and he pauses as he sees that FORTRESS OF FLOOF, with a grin and then a careful step inside and a slow maneuvering of the door behind him to make it only click instead of thud.

So D'lei steps through the door, and Risali looks up and holds that image — of his pause, of that grin, of those careful movements meant to prevent disrupting the slumber of those tiny littles that have decided bed will be here tonight (and had a Mommy ridiculous enough to oblige). SHE WILL BE SLEEPING HERE TONIGHT, D'LEI. IT IS HER FATE. Maybe he can't see her yet, but Risali can see him, and there's a hushed, adoring smile that comes, the kind that doesn't need words because words are inadequate. There is not a single definition within the confines of any language that might capture the emotion in Risali's expression. That warm blanket that she pulls a little higher over her free leg comes pretty close, though. She's cold, and that thing is almost as fabulous as stealing a weyrmate's body heat. And her love for D'lei. (I'm just sayin'.)

If you can sleep in your weyr, you can sleep… anywhere! Okay, so it's not exactly going to be the next harper hit, but oh well. D'lei makes his way to a small stool by the door, with a wiggle of fingers to Risali like oh hello there, but without actually saying it, because that would require words and babies are sleeping. (Not that any of them except Zyriden would permit themselves to be called babies, but never mind that. They're not awake to notice, and he's going to attempt to maintain that!) He sits there, pulling off one wet boot - squeaaak-pop - and setting it down, suuuper careful… and then the other one. Ha! De-booted. He booted those boots! Which means he can stand back up, and wiggle his way out of his also-soaked jacket, one shoulder at a time. And also some arms and torso, while he's at it.

Risali would probably wave back, except that one hand is in Darien's hair, and the other is attached to the arm supporting Zyriden while holding a book. MULTI-TASKING MOM POWERS, ACTIVATE! So Risali just smiles. She smiles, and she watches, and then she forces herself to look back down at that very boring text in her suddenly extremely interesting book because putting the words 'D'lei' and 'wet' and 'stripping' together in the same sentence — OR PARAGRAPH - spells out D A N G E R for Risali. Stop denying it. We ALL KNOW he was being accidentally-on-purpose sexy and Risali was totally into it. That shift of tiny body is not, in fact, because she is telling hormones to BEHAVE and CALM DOWN, it is because she has been this way for a long time and you try sitting still enough to keep a four-month-old and a two-turn-old asleep. At least Selene and Kyriel decided to be brave and curl up on the mattresses together. It could be worse.

YOU'RE NOT SQUIRMING, D'LEI IS. Or, wait, no, he- okay, yes, kinda? But not really. Okay, so the point is that he's terrible, because not only is he taking off that jacket, he's also taking off his shirt, and never mind that it's because it's also wet where things leaked in around the collar, that's just not fair. Neither is the way that he rubs his hair with it to get the worst of the wet out… and leave it all rumpled and wild… and what is especially unfair is that grin he has as he gets down onto all fours and crawls his way right in, with a kiss to one of Risali's legs and then a turn around to lie down onto his back, head tilted up to see her as that wet hair brushes her leg, and reaches his hand up to trail fingers on her arm on the way to giving Zyriden a pat.

None of it is fair - but that doesn't mean Risali can't enjoy it. It's hard keeping your eyes off of your weyrmate when you see movement, and it's devastating (in every way except for the bad way (unless you count wanting to touch and being unable to touch (which we totally are (because babies)))) when you cave to curiosity (and okay, desire) just in time to see that shirt come off, and go through hair, and leave D'lei looking wild and untamed and — sigh. Have you ever wanted to be a shirt before, D'lei? Neither has Risali. But this particular display is making her question her shirtuality, so much, in fact, that her lips come apart and eyes try desperately to plead, or beg, or — REALLY D'LEI? Rude. So rude. SO VERY RUDE, in fact, that Risali's lips set in a line that says she is unamused; so rude that those grey eyes narrow on D'lei's form and watch transfixed when he comes close, closer, threatening violence without words (and, for once, action) until he's laying down and Risali is shuffling that baby to her other arm so that her fingers can be in D'lei's hair now. There, contentment. Somewhat. Okay, so her heart is racing and her face is flush, but that's to be expected. Somebody really should fix D'lei with a sign that reads, 'WARNING: May Cause Heart Palpitations.'

About the only way D'lei could be more of a jerk than BEING HERE would be if he were to leave. But he doesn't; his fingers trace up along Risali's arm, as his goes in to run parallel to it, and he rests that damp hair and - with a bit of a shift - his shoulder in against her leg, and he smiles as he gazes up to the draped blanket of ceiling - then a tilt, both to lean in at those fingers tangled into his hair, and also so he can turn a warm smile to Risali, a radiant of contentment like he isn't even making it even harder for her to escape… not merely by the pressure of his body, but also by sapping her motivation.

Risali's motivation is certainly sapped, but her will is not. That perseveres, even in the face of devastating men named D'lei, even when turns of jumping, and laughing, and exploring, and learning to love have done nothing to diminish or curb that thrill that chases up her spine every time he smiles, or looks at her in that particular way (or at all, really, if we are being honest). It's why the moment his shoulder tucks in against her leg and she starts trading motivations for body heat, she gets goosebumps. But it's that smile that draws Risali's eyes, that contentment in expression that has fingertips pressing against the pliant give of his lips and, in a moment of reckless want, risking the waking of children as she leans down to kiss him. SAFE. And when she draws back after that slow, lingering press, Risali pulls D'lei's hand with hers, presses it in against her stomach with his palm facing out. And then she uses those same fingers to trace letters on his skin. D'lei will probably never know what she wrote (I love you, I hate you, I think that wet looks good on you), and Risali isn't giving up her secrets. Instead she's dragging fingers through his hair one last time and then retrieving her book. It's that will we were talking about - and perhaps a contentment to share D'lei's space, even if she doesn't share any words.

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