The Young and The Bewildered

Xanadu Weyr - Caverns
A massive cavern in its own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as have walls hung with numerous tapestries that provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt. The stone is carefully leveled but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.

The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area is the one near the Kitchens, where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. It's plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr, instead feeding people in shifts as they come off duty. On occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are borrowed from all the other areas.

There's also a big fireplace set into the western wall, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.

Exits lead off in all directions, the largest an archway to the northeast that leads outside. Near it there's an alcove with hooks for coats and shelves for muddy boots. A tunnel to the east goes to the infirmary, and a set of stairs just a little south of that lead up to the offices and administration area. To the south, a long and sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs. The kitchen is off to the southwest, while the residents' quarters are reached by tunnels going west, deeper into the cliff.

The day was winding down, the caverns almost completely empty save a few late dinner stragglers caught in conversation over their empty or nearly so plates. Mathis was back to being curled up in one of the big armchairs by the hearth, drowsily staring into the flame as fingers idly stroke over the minute length of his brown firelizard, Bocote; fast asleep. The boy's overstuffed satchel was on the floor, left open and rested against one of the chair's legs, several finished carvings resting on top of the pile of things unseen below them. That feline he had been working on and another of two dragons twined around another another. Both would have to be stained and varnished before they could be called truly complete, but Mathis didn't look like he was going to be on top of that today. Notably, his area as shavings free, so at least he'd cleaned up after himself.

How well we've come along! How fast the weeks have gone. Cielo can hardly believe that he's back to spending his days in the Annex, more than anywhere else. It makes his return a little bittersweet, but he seems in good enough mood as he slips into the caverns. First order of business: hot beverage. He passes by at first, setting to the little clanking and clattering of preparation before he looks over his shoulder and smiles. "Oh. Hey. I'll be careful not to wake them up…" And tone down that voice a notch. Eyes linger a bit on the work-in-progress. Gifts, maybe? He wonders, admires, and asks, "How's life after lessons..?"

Mathis did not notice the dragonhealer's arrival, not even when he'd passed and gone to get himself something hot to drink. There had been several that'd come in during the time in which he'd sat in that chair. At first, to do some craft related study, and then on to his own personal projects once he was done. In that time, Bocote had arrived, and while he was bigger than he was his attitude had not changed much. The brown was still a greedy lap hog, who forcibly snuggled himself into whatever position suited him at the time. Not asleep, but likely to drift off left to his own devices, Mathis lifts his head at the sound of a familiar voice, returning Cielo's smile with a gentle one of his own. His own voice, much like his expression, "Hi, Cee." That upward turn at the corner of the boy's mouth deepens minutely with the promise not to wake Bocote, nodding his head in confirmation that he had heard. There is no chiding for the admiration of his work, letting the other candidate gaze and wonder to his own content before he shrugs a little, "It's okay. Busy." A drumbeat later, gesturing to the other armchair opposite his own, empty and ready for an occupant. "Were you at the Annex again today?"

Cielo is content enough for that. Beneath notice, for the most part. Opera is nowhere to be seen, but the soft sleepy purr seems to resound both soothingly and ominously from somewhere around his person. "You want anything?" While he's up. After all, Mathis is a prisoner to the brown. He will be there until whim or fate decides otherwise. "Hi, Mathis," he replies. Not quite Matti yet; that takes something like confidence. "Mostly that. My body is telling me I should take a day off, but I wanna get a few things done before…" Before? He lingerse a bit and shrugs. Before.

"Hmm, maybe a cup of that nighttime tea with a little sweetener and cinnamon in it?" Mathis asks, teeth pressed into the flesh of his bottom lip, giving the older candidate a hopeful expression that was pointedly on the shyer and apologetic side. Sure, Cielo had offered, but sometimes people did that out of politeness rather than an actual desire to be kind in full. "If you don't mind?" As was perfectly stated, he was Bocote's prisoner, a slave to his will and he would punish him severely for disobedience. Whatever someone chose to call him didn't much matter, but his name spoken aloud by the dragonhealer brings a blossom of color to once pale cheeks. Mathis weathers it well, not getting all flustered and awkward about it, merely accepting the change as it came. "Join me?" is offered, a perfectly comfortable chair there across from him, lacking a dozing Auntie at the moment. A nod is soon to follow, one that understands what before had meant. Before the eggs hatched, before their lives were potentially changed forever. "Do you think, if you Impress, that I could come visit you and your lifemate?"

Cielo smiles and nods. He's not the sort to go through pointless gestures when genuine hospitality is a thing. Especially with friends. With water still hot, it isn't a huge stretch to prepare another cup. "Not at all. If I take something like this, I'll fall over on the way back to the barracks…" That color Mathis always turned. Well, so many of them. It's a little amusing, but it does still give Cielo his own brand of shyness. "Sure." The invitation is accepted, and he comes over with two cups, one of which he offers before settling into the opposite chair. "I think," he says, while giving his cup a little stir still, "That you could visit whether or not I impress. Though I suppose I wouldn't be as interesting then, would I?" The last bit is given in jest, of course.

If Mathis had learned anything from this candidacy, it was to never assume anything. Far too many times his assumptions had turned around and bitten him, which is why he'd decided to be completely honest and forthcoming rather than beat around the bush or think that he has the right idea. There's a short laugh for the idea of falling over after drinking an herbal tea, "Oh no, nothing like that. More like, hmmmm, that little extra bit of something that sends the message to your head that its time to sleep." Man, does he hope that made any sense at all. Maybe he didn't need that tea after all. But, as Cielo returns with it, it's taken all the same and with the express intention to ingest it entirely. His cheeks have cooled by the time that he's lifting the cup to his lips to softly blow at the contents and give that first tentative sip. Swallowing, he sighs with a pleased smile and seems to sink further into his chair. That's the stuff. Brows lift as the dragonhealer goes on, hazel eyes peering over the simple white ceramic, "What?" Bah-link. Okay, now he was staring, in disbelief. "You get that I like you, right? LIKE…like you…" Weyrbred, holdraised, but Mathis had found confidence and boldness in those extra lessons the Leadership had put them through the last several sevendays. "Pretty sure I'd want to visit you no matter what."

Probably makes more sense than Cielo who, when he DOES manage to speak up, seems to fish up the mental equivalent of kelp. "My body is already telling me to sleep," he admits. "If my head agrees… well. Dragonhealer meets floor. Maybe less so now that lessons are over." Because some~one tries to do it all. Cielo nurses that tea and settles in, peering back. The question makes him shrink a little, holding his mug up to his face but not entirely hiding the most-smile. "The… uhm.. possibility had occured to me. It's kind of a first." HE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT WHAT THOSE FEELINGS DO. Aside from make him flustered and confused. "I'm glad you feel that way though." Because even if he is hopeless on sorting out his feelings, "I'd want to see you again, yes."

The woodcrafter nods in agreement from behind his cup, glad that Bocote wasn't riled up when he's abandoned his petting of him in favor of a warm herbal beverage, having wrapped both of his hands around it as to keep the cup steady while he sipped at his leisure. "Mine too, been fighting it for a couple of hours." Out of necessity, wanting to avoid having his legs shredded by tiny offended claws. Soft laughter rises up out of Mathis, picturing Cielo just walking along minding his own business and then falling over as if someone had just yanked out his power cord. "You should pace yourself, you know. Don't want to be all wibble-wobbly on the hatching sands." He's heard things, okay? Things that have put all sorts of imaginings inside that already overactive imagining head of his. Sometimes, he really wished people were less inclined towards rumor and gossip. He observes the change in Cielo and is rather successful in not letting his disappoint show as he shrinks back from his question, lowering his own cup after another sip and giving over the reassurance of a smile. See, it's all good. "That someone likes you, or that a boy likes you?" The follow up comes out of his mouth before he can stop himself, but he goes with it. Not like he can take it back, now that it was out there. Mathis smiles and tawny lashes descend as he lowers his eyes down to look into the remaining contents of his cup as the dragonhealer speaks of gladness for his feelings and that he wanted to see him again, no matter what the results of the hatching, a rosy hue returning to his cheeks. "Did you know that I'll be fourteen in a couple of days?" If he was asking his drink that question, he'd be disappointed with its stoic silence. Tea, it's rude. "Yeah, I know, still a kid." Gasp. Maybe it WAS talking back to him. Telepathy tea! "But it makes me really happy to hear you say that."

A warm beverage has an advantage of being warm, which makes laps and proximity more pleasant. Cielo is basking in this while he tries to find his composure; speaking of that INCIDENT with THAT egg does not give him a lot of stable footing. Is that going to be his legacy? The guy who fell over bawling during a little egg touching? Maybe -he- should be looking into the hermit cave market. "That… won't happen again." He murmurs. Sounds like he IS talking to his tea. And the question of like-like? Alas, he can't turn this into a fireside lovey confession session on the eve of the hatching. In part— "That… anyone could." He replies honestly. Boy? Girl? Stump? He's taken aback by the very idea of it all. He doesn't know if he even can 'like' people; the closest he comes is getting giddy is around dragons and that isn't even the same thing. The birthday though! That's a thing. "I do now," he says, smiling over. "Honestly, after those training sessions, I feel like… we're all kinda kids. N-no offense. Is that offensive? It just… was a feeling I had." He shakes his head.

Bocote was certainly not complaining about that whole warm being warmer thing. He might even be the reason that Mathis had scooted that chair closer to the fire, which is why it is decidedly off center compared to Cielo's. As for THAT incident with THAT egg, if Mathis had been present he must have been preoccupied with his own touching of eggs and missed it, there was no way he wouldn't have noticed the usually composed Cielo breaking down into tears. In regards to that tea-wards murmur, "Hmm?" he inquires, looking over with brows aloft. "Did you say something?" Whatever the response Mathis will take another couple of sips from his cup, enjoying the flavor and the sensation of warmth working its way down to his core, but nearly chokes on the last as the dragonhealer suggests that anyone could like him like Mathis claims that he does. He doesn't say the words, but 'are you kidding me?' is clearly etched into his features,"You-you're kind…you're f-funny, and you heal dragons for a living…." comes out instead, blushing a deeper shade of pink and tossing hazel eyes towards the fire so nearby. "…and …very…beautiful…" or maybe that's just his 'have you LOOKED into a mirror recently?' face. Can a guy BE beautiful? Mathis seems to think so! He's just going to sip his tea and try to get control of where his blood wanted to pool though for a bit or two, appearing uncomfortable briefly before he does slide his gaze back towards his fellow candidate. That smile erases all the progress that he'd made, that blush tinting the tips of his ears. Oh, hello tea. How are you. Yes, he's back to staring down into his beverage, because it was the best conversationalist. Again, with that look of discomfort, a frown teased at the corner of his lips. However, his chin jerks upwards as Cielo goes on, finished with a firm shake of his head back and forth, "No, no. I don't feel offended or anything," a hand lifted to flip and flop in a dismissive gesture. "Just, sometimes, I wish I wasn't." A kid that is, and softly he mutters under his breath, "Or at least, less of a coward." With the heaviness of a sigh, he pushes aside his insecurities and offers Cielo the crispness of a single nod, "I get it. I guess anyone would feel young and inexperienced when told to do something they've never done before."

Small blessings for embarrassing moments…well, all would be forgiven from the sands sooner or later, would it not? Then he is met with a volley of wonderful compliments that give him the expression of a spotted owl, perhaps one that had rolled in strawberry paint. "I…" Error. Cielo needs to reboot. His fingertips squeeze around the cup tight before he murmurs, "Thank you, if you really… feel that way. I mean you're talented, and amazing, and h-h…" Handsome? The reply of complimentation is quite sincere but perhaps not in the same fawning sort of way. "I… remember all too well having every ugly thing about me rolled out like a scroll and sung across the square. I may have been the only one who heard it, but it was loud." He frowns and drinks deep. "You only have to be a kid once. But you only get to be a kid once, too. But.. you don't really strike me as a coward, Matty."

There was nothing left in Mathis's cup, he'd gone and drank it all trying to keep his mouth busy and not spouting the sorts of things that kept coming out anyway. For a moment there he'd prayed that it would magically fill itself back up and save him the embarrassment of having to pretend he wasn't looking down into or hiding behind empty ceramic. The return of compliments, for some reason, do not have the same effect on the woodcrafter as his had on Cielo. In fact, it seems quite the opposite. Staring hard downwards, Mathis returns quickly to his normal pallor, pressing his lips into a fine white line, falling into a very concentrated silence. The end result is another round of muttering to himself, but this time in such a way that only odd word here and there actually carries over, "I….wouldn't….stuff….that. …fair." Hazel eyes lift only when the dragonhealer has moved on, any sign of comfort afforded him by the tea in his belly, his proximity to the fire, and the overstuffedness of his chair, vanished. Cielo's confession brings about a lifting of brows, seeming surprised. "Someone said bad things about you?" While he could relate, he doesn't share his own experiences more than he did that day in the playground sevendays ago. A weird expression laces itself among his features, "Tell that to Risali and D'lei." It might have been meant as smile, wide and toothy, riff with amusement over the playful antics of the weyrleadership, but something had clearly gone awry during processing as it falls painfully flat. Mathis averts his gaze back towards the hearth as he says, "I'm tired of being a kid. Tired of people treating me like one and looking at me like one." Maybe if he stopped acting like one, that be an advantageous first step, hmm?. A rough sound, half scoff and half sigh, emerges from him when his cowardice is brought into question, gently shaking his head even as he watches the ageless dance of flame before him. "If I wasn't a coward, I'd kiss you instead of just sitting here and thinking about it."

Well thank goodness THAT particular stream of awkward is over. On to the next one! Cielo gives a slow shake of his head. "No one is talking bad about me. I just mean, during the touching, I got to see a lot of things." A lot of things he wanted to forget. A lot of things he couldn't forgive himself for. Add in the normal stress of candidacy, and it's no wonder he's barely got his head on these days. "You know, I just might. Just to see how they react. Leirith especially. Oh, don't—don't tell her I said anything." He fumbles right back into that with a little rewind. Cielo watches the flame, too, and for a long while it seems like he didn't hear anything. Though a cursory glance would show a deep, deep blush. "… there's… more to confidence than doing what you want right now," he murmurs. "But having the strength to act when the time is right." Is the time right? Is he sorting through his own issues while Mathis is bringing down some INTENSE HEAT? Would kissing another boy even be that bad? He keeps rubbing at his face in a shy way.

Well, that was a relief. The woodcrafter had actually been worried that someone, for some stupid reason, had decided to pick on Cielo. He had a hard time wrapping his head around anyone finding the older teen anything other than kind, if not a little quirky. Nothing wrong with that. "I think we all did, but Rinian really helped me understand. They're basically telepathic dragon babies. Reaching out and touching the thoughts, feelings, and memories of a completely different species. It'd be like…I dunno…being asleep and suddenly having a wherry or tunnelsnake's mind open to you. It'd be weird, right?" Did wherries or tunnelsnakes think like humans did, have the same thoughts and dreams and aspirations? Prooooooobably not. "I was scared at first, I didn't want to go and touch them anymore, but after she explained it to me…I found it a lot easier to get back out there." Awakening with an enormous yawn from such a tiny head, Bocote streeeeeetches out his sturdy well-fed body and smacks his little maw together, whirling facets peering about before he flutters up and over the back of Mathis's chair and beings to preen a bit. The boy can only watch, a furrow set onto his brow, but takes the opportunity to drop his feet to the floor and shift his position now that he was allowed to do so. Ugh, he was so stiff. How many hours he'd been trapped there unable to move is anyone's guess. Peeking back over towards Cielo, the boy blinks a few times. "I won't." Say anything. That really wasn't an especially hard thing to promise for him either. With the eggs being as they were, Leirith had more or less confined herself to the sands and there was no way he was getting around Garouth to talk to her. Risali and D'lei had been acting really strange lately, the reason why he suspects, having to do with the conversation he'd half overheard before he'd fled from the extinguished bonfire back to Xanadu. Effectively, this meant the dragonhealer's 'secret' was safe, even if Mathis was the kind to blather (which he was not). Within the silence that grown between them, he's unable to stop himself from peeking over at Cielo, finding he was doing a fair impression of a redfruit. This was not helping to dispel whatever illusions the boy had deluded himself with, among them that he might actually have a chance. Inhaling sharply, he pushes himself up and out of his chair and rigidly propels himself to his feet. Almost against his will, given all that hesitation, he makes his way across the short distance between them and falls to plant his hands on either side of the older teen by slapping his palms to the fabric covered armrests. Leaning in, close enough that the sweet scent of his fragrant tea can be detected and the heat his skin was throwing off felt as he turns three shades of pink in no time at all, "Is…the time right?" he breathes out, tawny lashes lowering as his eyes drop to the other candidate's lips. Maybe baby dragons weren't the only ones who could read minds.

There is waning likelihood of anyone picking on Cielo; calling him out on his BS sure, but a true teasing is yet to come. "That is what I believe, yes… whether they meant ill or not, it was still something to go through." All the parts of him that he doesn't like he's VERY aware of right now. It doesn't do well for one's esteem. "I realized that many of them are just are feeling it out… how much they want someone by their side. I am not.. sure about a couple of them though." He closes his eyes. Where once was a tremble there's just quiet. "Well, thank you. A solemn vow between dear friends." Let's face it, it's a dumb secret that's like a rock on top of bigger, more juicy secrets. Then. BOOMF. There's Mathis, over him in the chair and he makes a squeak-ish sound while staring up at the other candidate. His presence is not.. unwelcome at least. "I… don't know…" he says, because his train of thought is a lightning-fast 'Do I want to do this? Do I NOT want to do this? Does he really want to do this with someone who can't make up his mind… that's totally not fair… oh no… what do I do…'

"I don't think they mean any harm, or I guess…now that's what I think." In the beginning, Mathis had thought that something might be inherently wrong with the embryonic dragons trapped beneath those pretty shells, or that all dragons were secretly exactly like them but trussed up their thoughts for their riders while secretly planning world domination. Yes, welcome to what it was like being him, overactive in the imagination department to the extreme sometimes. He can't disagree though, those three egg touchings he'd participated in had been an ordeal all in themselves. They'd certainly given them both something to think about, if not every single candidate who'd experienced (he imagined) much the very same. Although, "I'm not sure they have a choice in whether or not they want someone by their side, but maybe…who…they want is a better way to put it." This aside, there is further agreement. Mathis wasn't sure about a few of those eggs himself, thinking there must be a better way to flesh some out than terrifying them half to death. Cielo's gratitude receives the courtesy of a nod, however being called a dear friend returns the boy's eyes to the licking flames nearby, his expression difficult to read. Before he knew it, he was there, leaning over the dragonhealer and his gaze filled with bewildered brown eyes. It's noted that, despite his rather aggressive and bold approach, Cielo was not exactly pushing him away or telling him to back off. This, was unexpected. Somewhere in the back of his mind he'd run this scenario through at break-neck speeds and every time it'd ended with rejection. I don't know, was certainly NOT a no. Ah, youth. An all consuming surge of confidence and hormones overwhelms Mathis in that moment, tilting his head to the side before he closes the gap and most decidedly presses the warm dryness of his lips against his firmly. The dragonhealer might have been thinking everything through lightning-fast, but apparently not fast enough.

"Or maybe they were lashing out. Some of the other candidates seem worried. But it's not like… I mean, I think I've been seeing shadows." A pause, a soft laugh. "Maybe I can blame my first touching for that." Cielo really didn't start seeing monsters until… well. If he'd forgive anyone, it'd be THAT egg. "Who, or if… one thing I still can't make sense of is ~why~ like that. There's confusion, there's pushing away, and then there's just… hurting." He heaves a breath. "Maybe we won't know until we meet them." And talk along he does, somewhere, eventually losing track of the young male leaning, moving in, the expected *shove* never really coming. Wide eyes are easier to see, at least, and an almost-word becomes a muffled yipe of surprise. There's a beat before he decides to follow—brief, clumsy, if a little warm. In the dragonhealer's defense, it's never happened before.

What could Mathis do other than agree? "Rinian said that, that maybe they were lashing out because they were scared," he freely admits and for a second he worries his bottom lip over it. Not over the other candidates, or that Cielo'd just admitted to seeing shadows all post-traumatic shell groping, but rather because he felt bad. "What if…" The boy takes a breath, releasing it unsteadily. "…we're the ones scaring them? Do you think we hurt them?" It was an honest question and certainly something to consider even it ultimately it meant dismissing it as nonsense. The longer that the dragonhealer goes on, the harder that flesh is abused by the woodcrafter's teeth until he looks downright sick to his stomach. A nod, unsure and concerned, comes in response to having to wait until the eggs had hatched. What other choice did they have? To distract one another from the potential of early-onset ulcers by kissing, apparently. Mathis's shoulders tighten at the muffled sound of surprise, the tension ebbing incrementally as lippy assault becomes a somewhat awkward and warm exchange of pressure. Pressure that increases minutely for a few second before the younger candidate inhales sharply through his nose and draws back. Not too far, not yet, seemingly too busy staring down at the dragonhealer's lips and touching fingertips to his own. Not that he really needed confirmation on what his bestie had already guessed, but that certainly clinched it. Mathis really did like boys. Hazel eyes lift, finding brown, "Can I do that again?" Oh sure, NOW he asks permission.

So much FEELING to be resolved before Cielo can address that deep and gnawing concern. He's still blushing and breathless when Mathis pulls away to speak and ask permission. "Maybe… later…" Though before doubt can seep in too much he reaches out to catch Mathis' hand. His lips curl like.. he didn't dislike that but there are SO many things in his head right now. "They might be scared," he agrees, finally returning to the matter. "I am certain they are, sometimes. But it's not… 'we.'" He shakes his head and smiles up. "I know I felt them. Finding comfort in us. Well… I felt it." He tilts his head. "The question is, did ~you~ hurt them? Because I don't think I did. I don't think you did, either."

So much feeling. Yes. The sheer amount of that feeling overpowers Mathis without warning, erasing any meaning the word once had, and leaves him reeling and desperate to understand. What made the moment all the more confusing is the excitement that rushed through his veins leaving him bursting and tingling with anticipation, but towards what, he didn't know. It made his chest feel tight, heat seemingly in permanent residence upon his cheeks, and with his gaze filled with a flushed and breathless Cielo; everything else fell away and suddenly nothing else mattered other than kissing him again. Chalk it up to the plentiful abundance of alacrity usually found in the young. It was the person beneath all those raging hormones and impulsive bouts of intrepidity that thinks to ask, that sizable part of him that cared how the dragonrider actually felt. Not to say that there wasn't notable disappointment when the answer isn't what he hoped to hear, but somehow Mathis manages a weak smile despite his instant assumption of what 'maybe…later…' actually meant. In retreat, his hand falls away as he drops his eyes and he begins to move away. His intention was to return the space he had selfishly stolen, however then his hand caught and held making that sort of impossible. The suggestion of a furrow begins to settle upon the woodcrafter's brow, looking back to Ceilo and fully taking in the curl of lips he finds there. Opening his mouth to say, something, nothing comes out and he finds himself caught. Long slender fingers curl and take hold, head tilted to the side. For now, he was going to put in genuine effort not to think about the bewildering set of emotions taking up valuable real estate, and tries to focus instead upon Cielo was saying to him. It requires some serious backpeddling, but in the end Mathis closes his mouth and listens, considering each and every word as they come. That smile was surprisingly disarming, thanks for that Cielo, mixing up everything anew and making it difficult to breathe let alone think clearly. Scrambling to catch up, "No, I…I did. I…just…" he exhales in a quick and breathy sigh, "I…had a hard time with several of them. They really scared me, but then…I felt awful when Rin reminded me that they were only babies and they were only trying to figure things out." Guilt shows plainly on his features, even as he's nodding in affirmation, "I felt it too…" is said quieter in reconfirmation (well, once he got over himself and realized that it wasn't all about him), gaze affixing to the collar of the dragonhealer's tunic. Hazel eyes lift at the question, his face transformed into a mask of momentary horror, "Faranth, no! I would never…" Annnnd that's when it hits him, what Cielo did there, and a warm smile gradually appears to soften his features, giving his hand a squeeze. "Thank you." For what, is not defined at this time, but there was a warmth for the older candidate to be found in those hazel eyes that hadn't been there before.

If only Cielo didn't look, and feel, so much like a deer in bright light. He seems both advanced in age and in confusion, unpacking what it even means to be the object of someone's affection. The very… intense… focus, at least in those fleeting moments of spark here and there. Upended once already by candidacy, another by the touching, and now his desperate need to not inflict pain which… acceptance and rejection both… seem to potentially hold in equal measure. He'll not run away, this the only bitter credit he can give himself, but what now with the eggs hatching so soon? Yes. That. "It gives me some relief to hear you say that. I could not help but feel that they were… a much more awful experience than most eggs seem to give. But they are who they are." A gentle shrug. The dragonhealer tilts his head a little bit with a kind smile, fingers curled. "Then I think there is little for you to worry about. Ahh…" He gives a mock look of accusation over the back of the chair. "Who is underestimating me now?" Hopefully everyone. He did rather like the low, unassuming profile.

"You aren't alone," Mathis confesses, "I think most of us were…freaked out. I mean…Meion even sorta kinda fainted…" Admittedly it was from the mental exhaustion but it all stemmed from the same thing. As if to give his fellow candidate a renewed sense of hope, "Rhodelia said that the sweetest nicest green hatched out the nastiest egg of the clutch at Fort recently." The eggs hatching at Xanadu might very well prove to be Cielo's saving grace. Impress or not, things would be different when they could no longer call themselves candidates and feelings could very well change in that time. Perhaps the dragonhealer could concentrate on that, rather than let himself be filled with dread that he'd seriously messed up letting Mathis kiss him. Or, Mathis could look at him like that, "It's okay," the woodcrafter exhales, undoubtedly having seen that enduring look of blind panic residing upon Cielo's face, returning the gentleness of that smile and giving his hand another squeeze for his reassurances. "I liked kissing you, I'd like to keep kissing you…but…not if you don't want me to." Might as well get it all out in the open, right? Tawny lashes fall and he inclines his head to one side, "I think someone'd be an idiot to underestimate you, Cee." The tension in his hand lessons and he seeks to release it from his, perhaps even to escape now that things had been said.

Cielo gives a gentle nod. It would be a lot better if all of the candidates just… talked to each other, and shared how they felt. But that—well, it's coming late and it's coming limping. "Did she? Perhaps we have nothing to worry about then." Or perhaps it means that the unknown is truly unknown. Cielo smiles in spite of this, his other hand sliding from the chair to his leg in an idle unwind. "It, I mean, I'm glad. My head is just a hundred places and that's not wholly fair to you. It's not.. I mean.. I'm sure it won't be the last." Little by little that hand might slip to join the other of his own. Who knows what they would be in a week, who they would be in a week if they impressed… or if they didn't? That, too, isn't a fair thing, though it's one concern he keeps to himself. "Well… maybe we're both unstoppable." He laughs quietly. "These Xanadu candidates…"

If Cielo had voiced that opinion aloud, Mathis would have been in absolute agreement. Some of the candidates were better than others and there were a few he felt especially close to, but he counted them all among his friends. "Leirith is really nice, and so are a lot of the others. So…" How much stock could they put into the wild throes of a developing mind? Shoulder that were just beginning to broaden are lifted and then dropped in a shrug because it was all waiting game now. As for the dragonhealer's response to his statement? The woodcrafter listens, his gaze unwavering and nodding a few times throughout, "That's fair, I kinda, sprung everything on you at once." Perhaps an odd bit of wisdom from someone who barely understood his own feelings and desires, but he'd taken the time to really think and consider everything that was being said to him. He might have let go of Cielo's hand, returned it to the arm of his chair in preparation of pushing himself off, but a faintly crooked grin appearing as it is implied that there would probably be more kissing. "I'll kiss you a lot, if you let me." There seemed to be a promise there that he would be asking for permission, at least until such a time as it wasn't necessary to ask anymore. Laughter follows his escape, plopping himself back down into his chair and stretching his arms up above his head. He felt, good, like the world was filled with possibilities and all he had to do was reach out and grab them. "We're going to be awesome." Dropping his arms back to his sides, he stifles a yawn against his shoulder and casually checks on the time. "We should probably head to bed though, it's almost curfew." They didn't have to sleep in the barracks, but at least his Journeyman expected him to be there being an apprentice and all.

Cielo nods and nods all the same. He laughs a little bit, biting his own opinions and gossip against the back of his curled hand. "She is. They are. So, I feel like we were already really lucky." Waiting. And whatever they could do for themselves in the meanwhile. Without lessons, other duties and chores had developed an odd sort of tone. "It's okay," he says, though what he's really thinking is surprise and amusement that this was the same guy that was hiding behind playground equipment when they first met. "Ahaha. That's quite the promise," he says, lifting his hands and slipping back. "…. you're right. Awesome people need sleep too…" He gathers himself and stretches. Why would he leave the barracks? There were too many people he wanted to see there, and the slumber-party feel had not nearly lost its charm for him.

Chuckling and sharing in the mirth even though he didn't know the exact source of it, "We got searched, Cee. Out of everyone in whole world!" Yes, was his emphasis here, they were indeed already really lucky. Those extra lessons might be done, but now there was certainly a kind of nervous energy about fueling building anticipation. All of this might very well be why, after sevendays of blushing and stammering, Mathis had worked up the courage to be straightforward. When he and Cielo first met, Mathis had been bawling his eyes out and clinging to Meion, and it was his embarrassment over this which lead him to hide until Cielo had promised him that he'd never tell another living soul what he'd seen that day. A malevolently toned bout of laughter follows, "Oh, it's a promise." It appears as if the dragonhealer's prediction that Mathis would someday be the roguish type might very well have been spot on. To what extend, only time would tell, but if that had been any indication of what was to come… the weyr better batten down the hatches. Heaving a sigh, he thrusts himself up to his feet to take care of their cups, placing them in the bin to be returned to the kitchen and returns for Cielo. Reaching down, he takes one of his hands and holds it in his own, helping him up and happily leads him off towards the barracks.

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