Favors for a Friend by a Friend

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrling Barracks
A long and roughly oblong cavern. About a third of the space is open, used for classes or chores as required. The rest of the space is filled with couches of varying sizes, all with plenty of space between them. Some couches are obviously intended for the very young weyrlings while the largest ones at the back are for the older weyrlings.

There are supplies for the care of dragons tucked back against the walls. A barrel of oil sits with scrub brushes and soft clothes, and a thick hardwood table is used to prepare meat in bite-sized pieces for the young dragons. There's also a few supplies for the weyrling humans, like bedding for cots or extra pillows for those sleeping on their lifemate's couch.

It's late. The barracks is relatively quiet with many of the dragons finally starting to have something that sort of kind of MAYBE resembles sleep patterns instead of just entropy at work. Glorioth is not one of the dragons developing regular cycles; he shows no signs of leaving his GO GO GO CRASH habits behind with the second month of weyrlinghood. But he is crashed now, and crashed hard. That's probably why F'yr is heading toward V'ro's cot alone, hands tucked into pockets and his demeanor thoughtful. He approaches with no intent to disturb the dragon in residence; it's the rider whose attention he's aiming to claim.

Koth is asleep, though somewhat restlessly so. V'ro is awake, also restless, but it's hard to tell if one of them is affecting the other, or who is the source. He's sprawled on his cot, one leg off the side, foot on the ground, leg bouncing. One arm is tucked behind his head, all propped up on a pillow, so he can glance at Koth now and then while he absently reads through something that doesn't look like fun fiction. It also means he sees F'yr, though even after making brief eye contact, his gaze only shifts back to his book and he doesn't look like he's going to get up or anything. "What's up?"

F'yr invites himself to take a knee beside V'ro's cot that they might have a more comfortable exchange, but doesn't invade the greenrider's personal bubble on the cot. "Have a minute?" At least he asks. He's wearing one of those earnest expressions that he comes by so honestly. "I want to ask you for your help with something." It's a prelude to a conversation but given that the big man pauses after that, he probably is waiting for the answer to his original question. Excuse F'yr for his F'yrness in adding with a glance toward Koth and back, "Everything okay tonight?" because inquiring F'yrs genuinely want to know the answer to that, too.

"What could you possibly need my help with?" is the sort of question that suggests V'ro might think F'yr is up to something. It's probably completely unwarranted, but the greenrider takes nothing at face value, even if he should know by now that's pretty much the only value F'yr communicates on. "Everything's fine," he says. That's how he always answers that question, isn't it? "You can sit, if you want," he adds with a glance to the space along the edge of the cot that should be big enough for F'yr's butt. He can even shift to make more space if necessary.

A quick glance assures the bronze weyrling that his lifemate is, indeed asleep and looking deeply so before he shifts to take V'ro up on the offer of a spot on his cot. It would probably floor anyone if F'yr one day whipped out fancy tricks of the two-faced variety, but so far the only thing anyone has seen that even comes close is avoiding showing his hand for long enough to make sure it's worth doing so, and that wasn't an exchange V'ro was witness to, even if it was because of him. Here, now, there's apparently no need for such obfuscation. "I need to make a trade," is said as simply as the shrug that comes along with the words, "and I'm terrible at making trades." He really is much better at giving things away for free, although he has been known to also strike truly terrible bargains for extremely pointless things not worth their asking price. "You were a trader," he points out unnecessarily, but this is F'yr, so, "I thought you could do it for me, if you were willing."

Of all the things F'yr could have wanted his help with, this should have been the most obvious. But it also seems to be the last thing V'ro expected. "What do you need to trade? With who?" That's either a 'sure, I'll help', or an 'I need more info', but no real indication of which. Either way, he shifts to set his book down out of the way on the floor, and then pulls himself up into sitting, crossing his legs pretzel style. He's interested.

And here's where it starts to get complicated. F'yr shifts when V'ro does, pulling socked feet up and turning to face him in a mirror of the other man's pose. Evidently, the big blond hadn't thought through the explaining of all of this because it takes him a moment of staring at the cot between them before he brings his eyes up to meet V'ro's and speaks. "Katailea traded her locket to Jerica," he names a second (notably obnoxious) candidate who failed to impress in this class. "I don't think Jerica would trade it back if she thought Katailea was going to get it back, but I do think she'd trade it if it was for something else." He reaches into one of the pockets on his trousers and takes out a small tied cloth bundle tossing it to the other young man. It contains three mark pieces. "These marks are Katailea's that she tried to give to me on hatching night. I thought we could use them to get her locket back for her, and maybe not even use them up in the process?" He sounds out of his depth but vaguely hopeful. It's a beat later before he adds, "I think she's been having a rough time of it and I wanted to do something nice for her." He doesn't actually owe V'ro an explanation for his personal conduct, but he offers it anyway.

V'ro catches the bundle, feeling the marks inside of it as F'yr explains what it is, and what it's for. He's perhaps a little too thoughtful there for a few moments, fiddling with the marks. And then he must have decided he's willing to ask, "Is Katailea one of the people you were kissing?" It's a simple question with a simple answer, right?

"No," is a simple answer without hesitation. F'yr's head tilts slightly as he looks at V'ro, "Would it make a difference if she were?" Blue eyes study the other young man's face his own turning thoughtful. "Why does it matter now? You don't want me to kiss you." He glances briefly over his shoulder toward Glorioth is still asleep before turning his attention back to V'ro.

He follows F'yr's gaze toward the bronze, then it shifts back to the blond, but V'ro is scowling now. Not at F'yr, probably, but at what he's saying. "What do you mean I don't want to kiss you? It's literally all I think about whenever I'm anywhere near you." That's probably an exaggeration, maybe, considering V'ro's flair for the dramatic, but it's true enough for the sake of argument.

Even if V'ro didn't actually reach out and slap him, F'yr looks a little like he has been. His brows dart down and his eyes squint and his chin juts a little toward the greenrider all in a gesture of what…? "You said we were just friends on the beach. That it didn't matter who I was kissing because we were just friends. You said that." Just in case V'ro missed that part the first time. He sounds utterly bewildered. "I asked you about you not wanting me to kiss you because I was kissing other people," at least now he's lowered his voice and is leaning in to create the illusion of privacy in the barracks and his eyes flick to Koth and back over to Glorioth over his shoulder and down a ways before he looks back to V'ro and finishes, "And you said…" does he need to say it a third time? Now he's searching V'ro's face like the answer to this complex riddle is right there and he's just not literate enough to see it.

The green weyrling glances toward Koth, around the barracks, his jaw tightening as he listens to F'yr. But he's less scowling now, and more baffled. Which is also something he doesn't like. "We are just friends, aren't we? You can kiss your friends, F'yr. You can do a lot with your friends. I only stopped kissing you because I didn't want your dumb ass getting hurt because of me when I wasn't even important enough to be the only one you wanted to kiss." And then F'yr went and thought about trying to protect him anyway, the bastard.

Bafflement meet befuddlement. Blue eyes continue to search V'ro's face like the answer is there and he's somehow just still missing it. "How does kissing anyone else make any difference to how important or not important you are to me? You are important to me because you're important to me. It doesn't change just because someone else is important to me too. Glorioth's important to me, just because he's important to me, doesn't mean you can't also be important to me differently." All of this is sotto voce and maybe some parts come out a little like a hiss or a breath because it's not really a conversation he wants carrying down the barracks. "You're important enough to me that I would get hurt for you," with F'yr that's a low bar, to be fair, "or at least I would do what I could to protect you even if that meant getting hurt and that has nothing to do with whether or not you're also important enough for me to kiss because I don't even understand what being important to someone has to do with kissing someone. I kiss someone because I want to kiss them. They're usually also important to me, but I —" He stops because he's talked himself into a maze so he'll settle for giving the other weyrling more of that clueless puppy look.

"Then why did it matter that I said we were just friends!" If F'yr doesn't understand any connection between being important and kissing, that is. V'ro doesn't actually yell that, it's more of a whisper yell, slightly frustrated, a lot confused, and trying very hard not to get any outside attention from both dragon and humanfolk alike. He must not expect an actual answer, though, because he reaches out to put the bundle back into F'yr's hands. "Look, I'll get the locket back. Save your marks." He doesn't need them.

"It matters because I said I'd only kiss you if you asked me to because you didn't want me to kiss you, and you didn't say you wanted me to kiss you," finally F'yr is starting to sound exasperated. "I don't kiss people who don't want to be kissed. I kiss people who want to be kissed." How is this very straight-forward view of consent so confusing in this moment. "If you wanted me to kiss you, why didn't you just tell me?" He reaches up his hands and scrubs not his face this time but through his hair, roughly. "I would have." Shellllll. So complicated so far after it even matters. The marks get shoved back over, like a game of hot tuber. "They're not my marks, they're Katailea's and she won't take them back. I tried to give them back hatching night and she threw them on the ground and vanished while I was picking them up." There's some more frustration there, but these frustrations and exasperations despite the topic matter must not be more than run of the mill strong feelings, not the strong variety that bother Glorioth; if they were that kind, these boys would know it from the shards of broken cot and the being flung into the air by a distraught bronze. It's the kind of thing that's hard to miss.

"I thought I did," is all the answer that V'ro can think of, sounding kind of defeated. He doesn't even try to pass the marks back to F'yr, just looks down at the cloth and the shape of the marks inside. "None of that matters now, though," he says with a glance toward Koth, who he definitely would not trade for kissing literally anyone on Pern, before green eyes are seeking out blue. "I do want to kiss you. If we can still stand each other when this is over." He offers a weak smile. "I'll get her marks back to her."

F'yr looks like he would like to demand when, would like to have a proper fight or something, but really, he's still just too tired. His eyes follow to Koth and whatever words he might have said become a heavy exhale. The exhale and lack of fighting probably signals agreement with the current state of anything mattering, so they can agree on the one point. He meets V'ro's gaze but can't help a hand rubbing across his face in the next moment. F'yr Snow knows nothing. "Even though I'm going to kiss other people who may or may not also be important to me and whose importance or unimportance has no bearing on your importance to me?" He still looks a little bewildered, but maybe a little less so now.

Ugh, stop saying words, F'yr. V'ro tries not to wince, tries to hide it when he looks away, imagined movement in another wallow catching his attention. "Maybe. I don't know." He shrugs when he says it, all his emotional indignance deflated out of him. Apparently they can cross that bridge if they ever even find it again.

Ugh, stop being indecisive, V'ro. F'yr's trying here. His hands rub across his face. "Okay. Well. It doesn't matter now," he reiterates the greenrider's point of moments before. "But when it might matter again, you decide what you want and just tell me." Because apparently this hasn't put him off the idea of kissing someone as indecisive and emotionally complex as V'ro. "In the meantime," back to the main point, the reason they're here at all, "will you help me do something nice for Katailea because she's had a rough run of things?" Nevermind that he already said he would. Maybe things are so generally confusing to him at this point that he's lost track of whether blue is supposed to be yellow or mauve or salmon today. Maybe it's three or artichokes — does Pern even have artichokes? ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE AT XANADU, AND WHAT DOESN'T KILL YOU ONLY MAKES YOU CRAZIER. At least F'yr is back to looking at V'ro with earnest hope.

"Yeah, okay," he says for future V'ro to have to deal with whether or not he can share F'yr with all of Pern. Then, "I already said I'd get the locket back." In case the bronzerider has forgotten that part after wading through all of the greenrider's emotional baggage. "And get her to take these back," he wiggles the marks.

"Thank you." F'yr reaches without thinking to touch V'ro's knee in a squeeze that earnestly expresses that sentiment. "If I can help… tell me how?" Because he will, you know, V'ro, and he probably means for more than just the matter of trading for Katailea's locket and getting her marks back to her. "And…" He sighs, "I still want to be real friends, whether we end up kissing later or not." He gives V'ro one of those puppy looks. You know the one. The painfully sweet one. Who wouldn't want to be friends with this face? It's unfair, but he doesn't know he's doing it so maybe he can be forgiven.

The green weyrling looks down at F'yr's hand on his knee. He seems fine with it there. Then he's looking up to meet the blond's eyes. "I could use, like… a real hug. Whenever it's okay with him, I mean." V'ro glances in the direction of the bronze, briefly back at F'yr, then down at his own hands in his lap. "We are friends. Of course we're friends. I'm sorry I'm like… this." Whatever this is.

F'yr turns his head a beat after V'ro's glance goes to the bronze to make his own assessment of his sleeping lifemate. He shifts, unfolding his legs and sliding off the cot, reaching his hand down to offer to pull the greenrider to his feet. "How about now? He's pretty deeply asleep. Dreaming a maze and a quest." Obviously. What else is there to dream about except maybe stabby death of the valorous and heroic variety. "If Koth doesn't mind." He adds with a nod to the green. "Glori's getting better about my touching people, platonically, when he's awake." SLIGHTLY. "And he's sleeping more deeply, so I think it's a reasonable risk." If it's too much, they'll very quickly find out.

That's not the response that V'ro had been expecting, and it takes his brain just a moment to process even as he reflexively accepts the help to his feet. He looks up at F'yr like he's not sure if he's fucking with him or not. But then he's stepping into the other weyrling, wrapping his arms around the blond's torso and tucking his head in against his shoulder like a man starved for touch. Koth does stir, but then she settles, relaxed, like a bad dream has finally given way to something more pleasant.

Maybe one day V'ro will figure out that F'yr fucks around about a lot of things, but not things that matter. At least, not if he realizes they do, and this one he seems to think does. His big arms engulf the slightly shorter, distinctly more slender man, settling into a real hug. It's really strictly platonic, if anyone's worried. That's why Glorioth's not all up in their business, although he does roll over and grunt in his sleep. Maybe there's a new foe to fight in his maze, but he doesn't wake. And really, F'yr seems to need a hug as much as V'ro, starved for human contact as he has been largely these first two months while his baby dragon has had the strongest, most mattering opinions of anyone in the big blond's world. He doesn't rush it, either, although as it goes on, he does cast one glance toward his lifemate and that seems to be the sign that it's time to gently disengage. He doesn't say anything stupid now, he doesn't say anything at all, bt he does let his hands stay on V'ro's arms briefly while he searches the other weyrling's face perhaps for some sign that that helped, or at least was the right thing to do or maybe just that V'ro is okay. It's hard to know without words, but at least if he doesn't open his mouth, he can't put his foot in it, so… trade offs.

When the bronzerider decides it's time to disengage, V'ro lets it happen without complaint. It's not like he wants to risk Glorioth's wrath anywhere near his part of the barracks. He just stands there for a moment, crossing his arms over himself, then those clear green eyes look up at the blond. "Thanks, F'yr," is quiet but earnest. "I've missed just… touching people." And it's not like that's against the rules, but V'ro had really only been touching F'yr in any meaningful way before.

"Me too," F'yr replies, shrugging off the thanks. At least his ribs are healed enough that neither the hug nor the shrug seems to have bothered him any. "I think a lot of people do." He gestures in the vague way that includes all the weyrlings. There's a pause and then, hesitatingly, "Not… trying to tell you your business, because you have Koth and you have me," SORT OF, "but… it looks like you'll be sticking around a while now," there's a gesture toward the obvious tether to the Weyr. "Maybe you can get to know a couple other people better now." He doesn't say 'make a few friends' since that suggestion went over so swimmingly before. "You know, once there's time, energy and sleep." He cracks a smile. See? Jokes. Jokes are good. He glances back toward his sleeping dragon. "I think I'm going to crash." That sleep thing. "You'll let me know about anything else I can do, yeah?" He's rocking back a step though, so departure (and subsequent sleep) is imminent.

Be 'friends' with some other people so you stop obsessing over me so much. That's probably what V'ro is taking out of that suggestion. But all he does is smile back at the big blond and say, "Sure. Yeah, of course. Sleep well, F'yr." Then he's turning back to his cot to decide if he's going to do the same while he can.

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