For Those Left Behind

Xanadu Weyr - Garden

An arch woven from the tendrils of a willow tree stretches overhead lightly creeping with ivy as one steps in from the meadow into this sanctuary of green. Cool gray flagstone carefully spaced enables a soft velvety moss to thrive within the cracks, and creates a single wide pathway that fluidly breaks off into two paths of stone once free of the natural arbor. It is a wonder this place, and meticulously tended from the way it seems not a single leaf is out of place.

On either side of the main path expansive grassy patches are trimmed short and edged behind with natural tan colored stone selectively chosen to stack just right. Beyond these are a line of fine puffed shrubberies in vibrant green intermingled with flowering bushes of brilliant pinks varying in hue from the very light to the very dark, which causes the occasional snowy white blossoms of other scattered here and there without worry to simply pop out of the scenery.

Directly in the center of the garden is another wall of intricately stacked stone, this of muted grays, creating what from the air would prove to be a perfect circle. It's been set high for safety, but not so much as one would not be able to lean over it to admire what lies beyond, either standing or sitting at the smattering of benches whose backs are set every four feet along it. Flush to the ground inside it's protective stone outcropping, is an enormous twenty foot wide fish pond. Within one can glean the metallic glint of playful goldfish, the unhurried cruise of fat koi, and even a frog or three among pale yellow and white flowering water lilies and their thick green pads.

The trees surrounding the entire garden were planted to give the impression that they had always been here, not only lending to a rustic look, but also alluding to the beauty that can be found among the wilds if only one might just look for it. Species vary from the ordinary Birch and Pine, but the flaming red capsules of the Indian Shot to the robust orange spokes of the Firewheel tree suggest the spice of the exotic.

The last couple of days have been a blur, saying goodbye to those that didn't Impress that were back to where they'd been gathered from, packing up his belongings in the barracks and moving into a much smaller room down in the residential area. It hadn't really hit Mathis just what exactly all of that meant until he'd sat down on his new bed (at least it was new to him), and realized how alone he felt. It's with puffy and red-lined eyes that he'd escaped to the garden to seek more space, to have something around him rather than four stone walls that felt like they were closing in, curled up with legs drawn towards his chest at the far end of the bench beside the frozen pond. Blankly he stares at it, unlikely really seeing it, bundled up in a very puffy down filled jacket, knit hat with an enormous fuzzy pom-pom on top, and the fluffest of woolen mittens. Cheeks, nose tip, and chin were quite red from the cold, suggesting he'd probably been there a while.
It's totes early afternoon.

For Kaesen, the bed he returned to was a very familiar one; back in his parents' house, the one he's been in since… well, as long as he can remember, up until those barracks. A bed he knew from top (with the one post broken where the dog chewed it) to bottom (where the monsters used to hide when he was young)! But… somehow, it feels different now, even though it's the same bed as ever, and so… he took an excuse to get out of the house, to head to the gardens with a tool that didn't really need to be returned until spring but… it's an excuse, and now it's in the tool-shed, and he… could go back, but instead he turns his steps inward to the rest of the garden, a slow walk along the path that pauses mid-step when he sees that pile of winter clothing on the bench with a Mathis inside. Uh oh. Hazel eyes linger, uncertainty on his face… and, indeed, his entire posture. What does he do now?

He's in those adolescent years of uncertainty and change, somewhere in between boy and young man with a frame that's gained height but not yet filled out. His dark brown hair is a middling length, undecided whether it's in the midst of growing out or just awaiting a trim… which means it's currently at the length where it shades hazel eyes until it's brushed back behind his ears to be kept out of the way for a moment or three until it slips forward again. He tends toward simple attire, short-sleeved tunics in shades of blue or brown and trousers that coordinate with them but are otherwise forgettable and interchangeable. The most consistent part is his jacket, klah-dark wherhide with tawny trim and still just a little too big for him.

Pulling his legs in somewhat tighter, Mathis adjust his position a little as he had been every once in a while, because unpadded benches were not especially comfortable when you sit on them for as long as he had been. Mittened hands curled and balled up together just behind his knees, he comes to nestle his chin against them, head tilting slightly before tawny lashes fall to send fresh moisture racing down his face. It's followed by a sniff and an uneven sound that possessed the heaviness of a sigh, his own hazel eyes a little red, a little puffy, and affixed for a while longer on the ice and snow that winter has wrought. Mathis doesn't notice Kaesen at first, even as the older teen lingers on the edge of his periphery, that is until his woodcrafter sense tingles and he very slowly turns his head just enough to bring him into view. It's difficult to tell that his brows twitch up and then down with his hat set low like that, but he does duck minutely behind his knees a bit more. Does he recognize his fellow ex-candidate? Maybe, maybe not, but it does seem as if they were at an impasse. Neither of them knowing what exactly they were to do in such a situation.

Kaesen meets Mathis's eyes for a moment - just a moment - and then ducks his head. Hello, ground. How are you? Snowy, but vaguely cleared? Yeah, he thought as much. Okay then. One foot creeps forward and sets down, then the next, and… that just starts it going, as he paces forward with a rush of motion and sits himself right down on the bench next to Mathis. OKAY. He did it, he got it, he… uh… what now? Uhmmmm… his eyes stare forward, looking at the curve of that iced-over koi pond that's suddenly so interesting, and it's to that - apparently - that he addresses his words when, after that abrupt silence, he just as abruptly speaks. "Are you staying?"

Teinon is probably supposed to be at work. There may have been a hatching, but that just means another few mouths to feed for the class of weyr citizens whose job it is to care for the animals that feed them. And yet… Tei is not at the feeding grounds or stables. Nope, he's in the gardens. Maybe he's lucky enough to have a rest day? Whatever the case, he wanders past the arch, following the path with a meandering step. When he sees a couple of the ex-candidates inhabiting one of the benches, he turns his steps slightly, navigating a circle around the edge of the garden. He doesn't appear to have any particular destination in mind. He just wanders, looking absent-mindedly at the various winter-deadened bushes and trees.

Things were going swimmingly, weren't they? Mathis drops his eyes almost at the same time that Kaesen does, remaining relatively unmoving up until there is the sound of footsteps crunching against snow. Slow at first and then with progressive speed, drawing his attention back just in time to see a whole lot of klah-dark weyrhide joining him in a kerplunk beside him on the bench. Eyes wide, the woodcrafter blinks several times, staring outright at him without a thought to how rude that probably was. As the silence stretches out between them, his expression evens out from surprised to something much more muted, just beginning to turn his gaze back towards the pond when Kaesen's question cuts through the stillness of their wintery surroundings. "Yeah," he breathes, tucking his face into his mittened hands once more. A wild Teinon is spotted, wandering around the edge of the garden, following his idle journey seemingly to nowhere in particular.

It doesn't count as rude staring as long as it's not noticed, right? Which means, given that Kaesen is definitely staring at the fish pond and not Mathis (who's staring at him), it can't be rude. And anything that peripheral vision might imply is a lie, and any coloration besides the usual is clearly due to the cold. He nods, a quick acknowledgment to that single word, even if… he then pauses before giving any sort of verbal response of his own. It might be a great time for him to notice Teinon as a distraction, but he's too distracted for that. Very fascinating rock wall, this is. "…good." His voice is half the volume it was before. "That's… good." Reasons why? Nah, none of those are going to manage to make it out past his lips. Maybe the fish know, if they're psychic. (They're probably not.)

Teinon might have noticed something up with the whole bench situation if he wasn't so very lost in his own thoughts. Isn't that just the way these things go sometimes? He continues his path around the edge of the garden, slowly making the circle. About a third of the way around, he pauses in place, peering into the bushes with vague interest at something that isn't visible from a distance.

"I'M GOING." « GO FASTER, MINION. » "I AM LITERALLY GOING AS FAST AS I CAN." « YOU COULD GO FASTER IF YOUR LEGS WERE NOT SO SMALL. » "THAT'S NOT MY FAULT, LEIRITH." « NEITHER IS YOUR DISAPPOINTINGNESS MINION, BUT IT DOES NOT MAKE IT ANY LESS TRUE. » One of the two voices that is affecting Rudus Interruptus on all this personal introspection is not laughing (hint: It's Risali). But Leirith is, a boom of bass and drums and giddy sound that somehow still manages to be exuberant despite the look that crosses Risali's face - or the look you can assume crosses Risali's face, because it's buried under TWO SCARVES, accented by her own pom-pom'd beanie, and shadowed by the hood of one Very Warm Jacket that she's tucked gloved hands into as leather-bound legs and booted feet pick their way through the snow. SHE'S A WOMAN ON A MISSION, and yes, she sees you Teinon; the man gets a dip of the weyrwoman's head as she keeps on keep-onning right on towards Mathis and Kaesen. And then slips, and DOWN SHE GOES. SPLAT. Don't mind her. She doesn't have enough dignity to worry about what she looks like as she gets right back up and keeps crawling towards them. "HOW DID YOU GET OVER THERE?" she seems to be calling to everybody. Because Drama 101: she got this.

Watching Teinon was fascinating, riveting stuff really. Just look at him strolling along that path so effortlessly, as if he walked around every day since he discovered he could. Practiced. Skilled. Knees all bendy and not losing his balance at all as one foot leaves the ground and then the other. But wait! Peering into a bush now, gasp, what could possibly come next? "What?" Mathis sucks in a breath, peeking some at Kaesen out of the corner of his eyes, as if he'd suddenly realized that the other teen was still there, cheek resting against one woolen mitten. Processing. Processing. Fizzle. Critical error. Confusion settles slightly into what features can be made out, just half of his face really, the coloring there entirely due to the temperature of the air around them. "Why is that good?" Curiosity, the woodcrafter totally still had it, even if it was rather tucked away behind all the other feels he was trying not to actually feel. Hazel eyes scan what he can see in profile of Kaesen's face and maybe he opens his mouth to say or ask something else, but enter Risali. She be little but she be loud and her lifemate was loud, and she's down and she's up and Mathis blinks as it all unfolds in a relatively short amount of time. "…uh…" But that's all that comes out, because she's calling to them and he tucks himself a little behind his legs again. Was it magic Matty? Did you beam yourself in? "Walked." comes quietly. Or that.

Uh oh. Shouldn't have actually said a thing. Now there are WORDS out there, and you can never ever actually take those back. Kaesen looks down, because you know what's even more interesting than the fish pond? The ground in front of it, that's what. Or maybe this tree off to the side, it's… "Uh." Very cogent, Kaesen. You're definitely going to win the award for most well-spoken Crestwood this year. And maybe he could have come up with more words - maybe an excuse about the cold for pink ears - but THANKFULLY Risali crashes her way into this situation. Kaesen perks right up from the slouch he'd sunk to, and it probably isn't even because of a love of slapstick, and his mouth opens - closes - opens again. Matty's got a good answer, and Kaesen looks there - ever so briefly - before back to the crawling Risali, and… nope, he's just gonna close his mouth again, but he is going to stand up and demonstrate that walking - out to Risali, of course, and with a hand extended to her crawling self in an offer to help her up. Or maybe just make a regrettable attempt that will end up with him down as well. Who knows?

Teinon flinches at the laughter of Leirith. Yes, he /flinches/. Gasp! And all this noise and drama going on at the entrance of the gardens startles a little bird into flight. It erupts out of the bush Teinon was watching as though its tail were on fire, and /books/ it out of that garden to parts unknown. Tei would have left it at that, if the weyrwoman hadn't fallen, but then he's jumping to trot across the grass, arm outstretched as though to offer help… But Kaesen just so happens to be closer. So he slows to a walk, but since he's already headed in that direction, he continues on his way. All effortless and everything, even. He must be magic. That's the only explanation.

Well, she's kind of up. She's on all fours, crawling through the gardens, but Risali is not a woman made up of lady-like inclinations anyway. She's never had grace, she doesn't abide by dignity, and so HERE WE ARE, with the highest-ranked person in this weyr on hands and knees in the snow and showing absolutely zero embarrassment for her plight. "MATTY, THAT'S NOT WHAT I -" Risali, how is it even possible to fall again when you are already down? She manages, and so she's lying in the snow, catching her breath from beneath a thousand layers and blinking up at Kaesen when he's suddenly in her line of sight. A beat, two, three, four and she smiles with a breathless, "Hi," those eyes lighting up with it as she reaches out to take his hand and shifts onto knees, and then one foot, and - Teinon catches her sight and there's an awkward smile for the herder that starts with, "I think we've-" and is interrupted by a squeak of sound as yep - nope — yep. SPLAT. DOWN SHE GOES. MAYBE she pulls Kaesen with her, but either way, she's laughing. If Kaesen's with her, there's a scrunch at the corners of her eyes that says she's probably scrunching her nose as she breathes out, "I'm sorry," and dissolves into laughter again. YOU AND YOUR VOODOO MAGIC, TEINON. BUT RISALI WILL NOT BE DEFEATED. NOT YET. "MATTY!" YOU TOO. ALL OF YOU. THIS REQUIRES TEAM WORK.

By now, Mathis was very used to Leirith rattling around his brain meats and doesn't even so much as twitch an eyebrow at it, not that you'd be able to tell because hat. Tenderized or no, he was rather busy for a time waiting for Kaesen to answer him, mild curiosity turned to perplexity as his fellow ex-candidate remains there slouched and looking anywhere but at him directly. This, he wasn't used to this, not really anyway and he wasn't entirely sure what to do or say in such a situation and its made worse by the complete and utter lack of genuine response to his question. He knows words and 'uh' does not in anyway mean anything at all. YOU CAN NOT FOOL HIM KAESEN! But Risali's are falling, crawling though the snow, herders are flinching, avians taking flight from bushes and thundering drums of laughter booming in the background (not really the background, it's Leirith, so…). As wondrous a miracle as Teinon leaping across the snow covered ground is, Kaesen was up and walking towards Risali to try and help her up and it all might be a little much for the woodcrafter. He sits there, helplessly, and just watches everything go down without any indication he was going to do anything but exactly that. He's all but disappeared behind his legs thanks to puffy jacket, that hat, and a whole lot of scrunching. What is human has been reduced to a thin pale line of forehead with just a hint of hazel peering over that way as the goldrider calls over to him. Maybe he thinks between Teinon and the older teen, recovery is possible but down she goes again, maybe or maybe not with Kaesen along for the trip. It's Risali's continued laughter that brings him to peer over his knees once again, hesitant, unsure, perhaps even unwilling before he reluctantly unfurls himself and booted feet find the snowy ground below. Lips pressed together, one step at a time, he makes his way over there and scans the length of the flattened Weyrwoman. Edging closer, he does eventually extend one arm and in so doing one mittened hand to offer his aid, cautiously mindful not to step on anyone else who might also be on the ground.

Nuuuu! Kaesen was hoping that his tricksy non-answers would suffice. (Okay, really, he wasn't so much hoping as failing to come up with anything that seemed better, but… shhhh.) He's at least got something useful to attempt, though! He can help Risali. Right? He's used to winter. He's familiar with ice. He knows how to find secure places for his feet, and put them wide enough to brace, and not have them go sliding out from under him at the slightest tug from Risali. He smiles, nodding encouragingly, because… knees, yes, and a foot, and - nooooooo! Teinon, you distraction, you ruined the whole thing! If Risali had just kept her focus on standing up, surely she wouldn't have been such an ice-slipping disappointment… AND YET! Kaesen makes a squeak that's about equally undignified as his arm's tugged, his balance - precarious thing that it was - DISRUPTED by Risali's sheer tiny Risali-ness, and… thwud. He's … only half down? He's got one knee on the ground, one leg stretched out behind and to the side, and one hand (the one that had Risali's) down with hers. "…ow." It's not very loud, more a commentary than an actual squeal, but he's got to acknowledge it, okay? Some things just need to be said!

Teinon winces when Risali and Kaesen go down again, but he renews his trot to make his way over. One thing about Tei, once he decides to do a thing, he doesn't do it by halves. He doesn't even bother politely offering an arm to her. Nope. This is a crisis situation. Once he arrives, he hooks his arms under her armpits and tries (unless she flails again and prevents it) to bodily pull her to her feet. He might be a doe-eyed timid-looking fellow, but he's certainly strong enough to lift a fun-size weyrwoman. She can't possibly weigh that much more than a calf, right?

Okay look: a lot of things are happening at once. Risali is breathing another, "I'm so sorry," to Kaesen around more laughter because she is worried but also THIS IS RIDICULOUS. TELL HER THAT SHE'S WRONG. CUE MATHIS, whose hand Risali is shifting onto her knees to grab, except TEINON. DISTRACTION. Suddenly there are arms under HER arms, and there's squeak of sound from Risali and a flail of startled limbs that mean she's catching at Matty's jacket and PULLING, maybe tripping him into Kaesen BECAUSE DOMINOES, and then catching at Teinon's arms as she slips, then catches lower, and then TAKES HIM DOWN WITH HER TOO. You guys. You guys. After Risali gets over the fact that that impact attempted to wind her, she's laughing. Again. "I'm sorry," she manages, reaching out to patpatpat hands against all those bodies SO VALIANTLY SACRIFICED to try and help her up. "Just lay here with me for a moment. And then we'll try again." ALL OF YOU. CATCH YOUR BREATH. NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER.

Nope. Nope. Nopers, Kaesen. Mathis has called you out. Well, not literally or anything, but there was a whole lot more staring and bewilderment than there was before. The older teen is SAVED from further inquiry by an all hands on deck call to rescue Risali from possibly being trapped exactly where she is until Xanadu warmed up enough to melt what's challenged her ability to regain Homoerectus status. He watches her move to her knees, braces himself to help her up by locking his knees and planting his feet in a centering position, and everything might have gone well enough, but Teinon comes around and slides his arms beneath hers. Hazel eyes become the size of dinner plates as events unfold, watching helplessly in slow motion as Risali flails and goes for his jacket in an attempt to stop herself from falling again and takes Mathis down with her. Accurate in prediction, into Kaesen the woodcrafter falls and where they end up is anyone's guess, only that's the direction he's headed and there he goes. TIMBER! Just as dignified, he flails and "WHOA!" at the very height of alarm, reaching out to catch his hands on anything that might slow or stop his descent but ends up down anyway. So he lays, however, whichever way he's landed, taking stock of appendages. Yes, yes, everything seemed to be intact. Wait, what's this thing? It was soft and squeezing several times, he find it to be squishy? What the?

Kaesen shakes his head to that apology from Risali with an, "Itsokay." Yes, it's all one word. There's not room for two words, okay? He's already said most of his quota for today, and that's even without Mathis calling him out enough with anything more than meaningful stares meaningfully ignored. Which, uhm. As Mathis comes in to help, Kaesen leans back a little, the better to stay out of the way and avoid any more of that bewilderment! He can figure this out, he's sure (maybe he shouldn't be, let's be honest, but he is). He'll just let Risali get clear, then he can shift back onto that leg he's slowly moving back toward a more stable position, and… it'll be fine. …or that's his idea, anyhow. Something else would probably have gone wrong even if it wasn't Teinon's attempted lift startling the Weyrwoman and making her flail and continue that cascade of chaos! It's just that… well, that's the shape the chaos takes, and not only does Mathis fail in his plan, Kaesen does in his part of staying out of the way, because… yep, sideways and down he goes, with a yelp and then an inward tuck to roll to… uhm… wherever it is he's heading. Into a pile of chaos, that's where. At least winter clothing makes for good padding? And… oh, look. There's the sky. So pretty and peaceful, unlike here. "…can Leirith just come pick us up?" Kaesen asks, almost wistful for the idea of being scooped up in giant dragon claws and carried off. (Maybe he hit his head.)

Apparently a wild Risali is much more trouble than a wobbly-legged calf! Teinon /almost/ manages to keep his own feet. Almost. But it's hard to stay upright when a slipper weyrwoman is grabbing at your legs on the way down. He falls hard, possibly awkwardly, with a heavy exhale. Owwww… For a long moment, he lies stunning, then wheezes something that /might/ be a laugh, blinking hard. But the ground is cold and the snow is colder, so he rolls /away/ from Risali so he can scramble back to his own feet. Apparently they're all on their own, now.

VOODOO MAGIC, TEINON. Not so voodoo magic: GROPING HANDS. Risali's hands catch at Mathis' wrists, her laughter unbroken despite the fact that she probably makes a little sound that's hard to distinguish because she's laughing. AND SHE HAS MANNERS. Kind of. So she pulls the woodcrafters hand away from her person very gently and without calling attention to it because she DOES NOT WANT TO EMBARRASS HIM. "No," Risali breathes to Kaesen, head tilting towards him. "She's too big to fit." In the gardens she means, which she gestures to with a sweep of her hands. "But if your mother and her queen agree to it, Leirith will gladly play with you once we figure this out." Because SHE IS A VERY ACCOMODATING DRAGON. "THAT'S CHEATING," she calls to Teinon as he ABANDONS THEM and GETS TO HIS FEET. Risali? She remains, shifting so that she can wiggle between the boys and press shoulders or heads together as she catches her breath. A beat, two, three and… "Do you feel better now?" It's a quiet question, but earnest, and full, perhaps, of a little trepidation.
Teinon has reconnected.

Mathis may very well never know what that thing was that his hand ended up on, only that he knew it wasn't the ground. That his wrist is caught and thus his grasp relents, he may never know and the universe may have smiled upon him this day. However, the accuracy of this statement might come into question when that confused hand does find the eventual firmness of ground along with his other and he applies force against them to push himself upwards. It is at this time that he discovers that what he'd landed on, more or less, was Kaesen. Vision filled with equally hazel eyes, then the rest of his face, teeth catch on the flesh of his lower lip momentarily as lashes lower, "Sorry," he exhales, and there might had been more to come (perhaps in all awkwardness given their predicament) before Risali was wriggling in between them and they on their sides so she can press the heads of both boys against hers. What all else was discussed or happened in the interim? Lost to Mathis, lost to how his gaze finds the laughing Teinon and he fights to retain power over the chin that threatens to quiver at the Weyrwoman's question. Again, lips form a thing white line, and swallowing thickly a single blink is all that's required to clear his gaze of what had distorted it, sending the perpetrators downwards with the help of gravity. There is only a nod, but no real evidence that this answer was anything other than a lie, turning his face away from the herder. DON'T LOOK AT HIM TEINON! LOOK AWAY!

That yelp from Kaesen is followed by a sound that's more of a huff, the compression of his body beneath the well-wrapped form of a boy who is, at least, warmer than the snow beneath. Significantly so. Eyes meet eyes, too surprised to do otherwise, and there's a slight open of lips as Kaesen gazes up to Mathis. "Uh." Yes, he already said that, but seriously, what else is he supposed to say? There's not exactly a lot of… anything, really, but especially not coherency to be had - but before more can be said, there's another distraction to send thoughts tumbling away as readily as the ice does to feet. Kaesen bites at his lower lip as Risali shifts in, a momentary close of his eyes that might be to try to retain words - or escape them - before he opens them again. He's quiet for a moment, in the wake of Risali's question - and the silent (if poignant) answer from Mathis. "…I don't mind," he says, quiet - hesitant, as if he fears to trample on the other boy's emotions with his own. "I just…" Nope, after a brief pause he realizes the words for that are too complicated to get out, and he just settles for a soft, "I'm okay." But… his gaze steals over as if to check on Mathis who… maybe isn't.

Teinon somehow manages to get to his feet without getting dragged down again. The fact that he's out of arm's reach of the weyrwoman probably has something to do with it. He stands somewhat apart from them, slapping his arms and torso to get rid of the snow that had stuck to his coat. Risali's call earns her a wry little smile. He signs something at her that would probably be HILARIOUS if only she could understand it. His attention is drawn over there, looking for a moment at Kaesen and Mathis. He blinks rapidly, then looks away uncomfortably. Nope, no worries, HE SAW NOTHING.

RISA MAYBE SAW THAT EXCHANGE. And really, she didn't mean to interrupt it; maybe the Weyrwoman is feeling awkward because there are more than just the feelings of those left standing. But it doesn't stop Risali from reaching out to catch Mathis' hand, to squeeze without giving any verbal acknowledgement to his tears because this is how she operates. She doesn't like attention called to her own emotions, and so she will not call them to anybody else's. She reaches for Kaesen's hand too, listening and then… nodding once more as she breathes out, "Good." And for one, two, three heartbeats, she stays just like that, squeezing the hands of both younger men, grey eyes trained up towards the clouds and less on Mathis right up until - oh hi, Kaesen. She sees you looking, and there's a shimmyshimmyyaySHIMMY-YA as the weyrwoman wiggles out from between them. And gets on her feet. YOU ARE PROBABLY A FUNNY MAN, TEINON, and Risali smiles because she probably understands the spirit of that gesture even if she doesn't understand the meaning. But then she's clearing her throat - WAIT. HOW IS SHE ON HER FEET? And dusting off snow. Risali, you are just rude. "I have to uhm…" A glance between the boys, and then she shifts on her heel, MOVING WITH PERPLEXING LACK-OF-TROUBLE AWAY. Y'all got DUPED. "Bye!" And there's a smile, a press of one finger to her lips in Teinon's direction as she FLEES. Leirith clearly sent her to be a distraction. Mission: accomplished. And she saw all those looks, and she has no intention of getting in the middle of them. WOOSH!

It is at this time, looking down at the speechless boy beneath him, that Mathis may come to the conclusion that he's in some way broken poor Kaesen. There's only enough time for a flash of guilt across his features, the intake of breath past parted lips, before they are inexplicably separated by the diminutive form of the Weyrwoman. Whatever thoughts or questions remained in regards to his fellow ex-candidate vanish with the blink of his eyes and the brief warmth left chilled against his cheeks. He was so very not okay, nope, and thus misses whatever Risali might have gleaned which inspires her to…get to her feet and walks AWAY. What? Perplexity was right, cause WHAT NOW?! A single glance through the empty space now between himself and Kaesen, the woodcrafter props himself up onto an elbow and peers after her with a look that said he didn't understand that they all had just been deceived. Several drumbeats later, his mind was no less scrambled by this turn of events but at least it seems as if the waterworks had been (likely temporarily) turned off, looking between the remaining males. "What just happened?" Really, he's not usually so dense, but it's been a sevenday okay? Slack, might need to be cut a bit.

…blink, blink. Expressions chase across Kaesen's face. Risali's okay! Yay. She's fine on this ice! Yay. But uh… why did she fall in the first place? …hmm. And if that was a lie… was that second tumble? What about the third? So yes, Risali also gets a look, and then one to Mathis that is at least sufficiently confused (THANKS RISALI) as to not immediately go swooping back away… but then he hehs, and tilts his head back again to look up at the sky. "She thought we needed a distraction." And that, friends, is Risali's middle name. Or maybe Leirith's. Risaleirith Distraction Li. "At least it wasn't snow down our coats." This time, Kaesen. THIS TIME. But hey, at least the boy's forming entire sentences now, even if he's doing it with his gaze quite firmly up on the sky instead of daring anywhere near Mathis's face.

Teinon still stands a bit apart from the two Candidates. He watches as Risali flees the scene, his expression kind of…wistful. Weirdo. When he looks back to Mathis and Kaesen, he considers them, glancing back and forth, then he turns and follows in Risali's wake. He's not about to get in the middle of all /that/ teenage confusion. So he leaves the two boys to it, heading out of the garden at a fast clip, without so much as a farewell. Rudey McRudester.

What was happening? Kaesen was hehing and Teinon was looking at them funny and also leaving without even so much as a goodbye. Rude. He thought they were friends! "Teinon!" Mathis calls after him, but apparently the herder was deaf as well as dumb today because he doesn't stop and is all too soon gone. Blink. Blink. Blink. What the actual… "Distraction?" The older teen earns his full attention, what with nothing else to draw it away now, pushing himself up into a seated position and once again staring at him. Hat is adjusted, tipping it back and off his eyebrows and snow pointlessly dusted off his mittens, glad for the fact that his trousers were proofed against soaking through and making things especially uncomfortable for him. Still, in time, the parts of him in contact with frozen ground would go from numb to stinging. There is little doubt that Risali had been successful in her endeavor even if the woodcrafter was unaware of it. Still, he bawks at the suggestion that what had occurred could have been worse, "She wouldn…" Oh she would and he realizes this, shuddering regardless of the lack of snow being jammed down the back of his coat. Curious as to what might be so interesting up there, silence having fallen and with no indication that Kaesen was going to provide any meaningful eye contact, Mathis slides his own gaze upwards watching the laziness of clouds drifting by.

There certainly are clouds in the sky, and blue behind them. It's pretty, even if it's maybe not as distracting as Kaesen's attention might make it seem. He nods slowly to Mathis's questioned word, very deliberate in keeping his attention away so he can focus, then nods again - just a bit - as Mathis comes to that chilling conclusion. "Like birds," Kaesen says after a few moments, which may seem like it comes out of nowhere - both because of the pause, and the conversation before it. He seems, however, heedless of that as he continues. "They'll pretend they have a broken wing, and hop along -" or crawl, in Risali's case "- to be a distraction and lead things away from the nest."

That much was true, the sky was pretty enough, but certainly did not contain anything that would have enraptured Mathis as it had Kaesen. Perhaps there is disappointment in this, expecting at the very least the puffy sort of clouds that tickled at the imagination to dream up what they might resemble, but finds them little more than wisps lacking any defining characteristics. Dubiously, the woodcrafter drops his eyes back upon his reclined compatriot, one single brow tipping upwards. The silence was making what was already awkward, exceedingly more so, and he finds that he's fidgeting in no time at all. And so, he busies himself with really looking at the other teen, finding that now that he has the chance, that he recalls seeing Kaesen a few times during candidacy. Not only around the barracks, albeit quietly and perhaps not as stealthily as he might have thought in passing, but more importantly on D'lei's turnday. That particular bout of staring had been a lot more blatant than the other times, but all those snippets of fleeting looks he'd once dismissed come back to him in a flurry of images that leaves him utterly at a loss. Now, he couldn't even look at him. "What?" Once more, the abruptness of words that spring forth to break the silence pulls Mathis from his thoughts, brows twitching downwards towards a furrow. A fluttering of lashes, metaphors failing to be deciphered right away, and finally something clicks. Except, it was the meaning of the bird analogy, and he sighs softly. "Oh." Casting his eyes off somewhere along the ground, Matty's expression shifting towards doleful.

That much was true, the sky was pretty enough, but certainly did not contain anything that would have enraptured Mathis as it had Kaesen. Perhaps there is disappointment in this, expecting at the very least the puffy sort of clouds that tickled at the imagination to dream up what they might resemble, but finds them little more than wisps lacking any defining characteristics. Dubiously, the woodcrafter drops his eyes back upon his reclined compatriot, one single brow tipping upwards. The silence was making what was already awkward, exceedingly more so, and he finds that he's fidgeting in no time at all. And so, he busies himself with really looking at the other teen, finding that now that he has the chance, that he recalls seeing Kaesen a few times during candidacy. Not only around the barracks, albeit quietly and perhaps not as stealthily as he might have thought in passing, but more importantly on D'lei's turnday. That particular bout of staring had been a lot more blatant than the other times, but all those snippets of fleeting looks he'd once dismissed come back to him in a flurry of images that leaves him utterly at a loss. Except now, Kaesen couldn't even look at him. "What?" Once more, the abruptness of words that spring forth to break the silence pulls Mathis from his thoughts, brows twitching downwards towards a furrow. A fluttering of lashes, metaphors failing to be deciphered right away, and finally something clicks. Except, it was the meaning of the bird analogy, and he sighs softly. "Oh." Casting his eyes off somewhere along the ground, Matty's expression shifting towards doleful.

At least Kaesen has finally said something that makes sense, even if it's just an analogy about birds. He lets out a slow exhale, as he hears Mathis do similarly - and the tone of that word. Whether it's at people or away, Kaesen certainly does seem to have something about staring at things, doesn't he? Most certainly a pattern, even if… it isn't one that makes sense or is coherent or any of those nice things. That would just be too convenient! And… here comes the silence again, though this time it doesn't last much longer than it takes for that sigh and a bit at his lower lip. "Sorry." A glance over to Mathis, one where hazel eyes seek another set - then start to dip away - before he forces them back up to actually pretend he's a normal human capable of looking another one in the eyes. "I'm… not good at people."

Really, Mathis should taken what he could get, right? It was certainly better than 'uh' or 'um' or rather makes for better conversation. Might have, anyway, but things of an upsetting nature were still fresh and perhaps had an opposite effect than the way they were meant. Before his gaze could wander off too far, it's returned for that apology, just as confused about that as he had for all the staring that'd gone on throughout their candidacy together. Admittedly, the woodcrafter hadn't exactly been kind when he'd finally noticed Kaesen at the meadow party, having seemingly chased him off with particularly dismissive mien that had demanded to know what he was looking at. Another sigh comes, this one pointedly apologetic, "No, I'm sorry." Catching his gaze, he intends to keep it, shifting in to reclaim what's lost if only to return to his original position when he does. "I don't think I am either." Lips twitch at their corners though, unable to help that he all too son wears a lopsided yet toothy grin, shoulders bouncing faintly in silent amusement, but what had brought this on is anyone's guess because Mathis doesn't explain. Thrusting out a mittened hand, "Let's try this…" Perhaps, together, they could figure out how to do this thing. "…Hi! I'm Mathis, and you are?"

Uh oh. Now Kaesen's caught! Trapped in an abyss of hazel gaze! There's no escape. He swallows, with a "But -" at the returned apology… though he doesn't get further than that, because even he doesn't really know what it is that would make sense as a counter-argument. He's just… got this urge to counter it! For no good reason. Mathis's laughter makes his expression grow uncertain, a hesitation because he doesn't get the joke… which is not entirely a new experience, but generally not all that positive of one. He sucks in the corners of his mouth a bit, a sidewise bite to the lower lip - and then, surprise again, as that laughter's followed by a proposal and an offered hand. "Uhm," is his first, and maybe slightly regressive, response, but at least Kaesen recovers significantly more quickly this time. He reaches out his hand in turn - with a brief delay as he shifts to get his elbow under him enough to make it work - and takes it. "I'm Kaesen." What now what now what nooookay, there is something you can say here, his parents drilled it into him, and even if it feels weird so what, it's familiar. "Nice to meet you."

Curiously, the woodcrafter tilts his head to one side a degree or two for the long deep look he receives once he's got a secure hold of Kaesen's eyes, his own searching for answers that are not readily in coming. Perhaps at some point Mathis would explain what his apology had been about, but for now there is just "Hmm?" No, it won't be now, either because he didn't understand the barely formed interjection or he was purposefully avoiding an explanation. At least, whatever the cause, there did not seem to be any malice attached to it. As if he'd suddenly come into possession of all the patience in all the world, he waits with his bemittened hand for the gesture to be either accepted or refused, and what was once lopsided transformed into face splitting with two rows of brilliantly white teeth when it's decided that it would be the former rather than the latter, "Hi, Kaesen." Was it awkward that he remains with his hand clasped to his, smiling so brightly and unwaveringly, while the other teen gathered his thoughts on what was to come next? Probably most definitely yes, but somehow they weather the storm together and more words of meaning are exchanged with success. "It's nice to meet you too." Shake. Shake. All very normal, see?

If there are answers in Kaesen's eyes, will someone please tell him? Because seriously, he looks out for those things all the time, and all he's ever found are more questions. …well, at least when it comes to his own motivations and what's inside his head. Facts about birds? That, he can do. What his mouth should be doing? That one, he usually cheats on by glancing to his older brother… when he's around other non-family humans at all, that is. Which he has been doing an awful lot of this candidacy past, and yet somehow he's still attempting to do more of it. He smiles, shy but warm, as the greeting is accepted, like he's not entirely sure he can believe he's doing this and yet he is, and then he's too distracted by his quest for what else to say to realize that he might feel awkward about the delay. It's helpful, is what it is! And yeah, this is the shaking of those hands, which is maybe not ideal in terms of angles with them both on the ground still, but shh. Never mind those little details. Kaesen is doing his level best not to, because he's deciding that he's ignoring them and charging ahead so… yeah. Definitely not gonna crash and burn with this! Nope. "You're from Fort, right?" Not only staring, but apparently Kaesen's been listening to rumors!

Judging by the questioning gaze and sound that come from Mathis, it's safe to assume that there were in fact no answers to be found within Kaesen's eyes, at least not yet. Whether that comes in time or not, remains to be seen. There were things that he did know, things that he'd guessed, and others still that eluded him completely. Candidacy had taught him a great deal about himself as well as how to approach others in friendship or otherwise, and so he was not as shy as he'd once been. Confidence was earned through experience and while he'd made leaps and bounds in some areas, others were considerably lacking. What a pair they made! It was the reddness the cold had bestowed upon his cheeks that obscures any color that might have risen in response to that smile, too set in at this point to alert him to that telltale heat, thus continuing on with introductions and the like ignorant that anything had significantly changed. Shaking hands. Yes. A good thing, but as Kaesen goes on to ask for personal details the shaking part of that hand hold becomes just a hold of hand as he becomes successfully distracted from his sadness yet again. That's how you know a conversation is working, when angles and the sense of them don't matter. "Oh! Um, kinda?" Taken aback a bit by this knowledge, all those teeth become less all those teeth, but returns with a vengeance along with a soft and sheepish chuckle, "Originally, Benden weyr. Fostered in Benden Hold. My first posting was to Fort after Woodcraft Hall." A drumbeat later, brows lift. "You?"

In a way, that cold is doing them both a favor. It means that traitorous blushes can't sneak in and make their lying (or, uh, too-truthful) statements. They've just got words, and eyes that don't have answers, and hands whose grip can be forgotten because of distracting questions - and besides, winter means there's wool in the way, obscuring the feel and warmth of skin. Kaesen nods to that 'kinda', a bright sort of interest in his eyes. Neither right nor wrong, which means that… the answer is probably interesting! Though he'd probably find that answer interesting one way or another, whatever it was. His eyes shift a little to the change in mouth, a whisper of concern returning - but then Mathis returns to his smile, and Kaesen echoes it with his softer one as hazel eyes lift up to hazel once more, to listen, to nod… "Ohh." Postings! It makes so much sense, it does. It's like young people move around Pern for reasons other than dragons. Kaesen can definitely be glad now for that cold, the concealer of blushes that it is. "Here," he answers, with a shift of his mouth that's trying to still be a smile but is almost more embarrassed than anything. "Well, I guess technically I lived at Telgar Weyr when I was a baby, but I don't remember any of it." So really, it doesn't count. "I've just… been at Xanadu." So much less upheaval in his life! So much less story to tell…

That wool might just be their saving grace here, even as muscle fatigue requires that what was once held aloft drifts down until that clasp of hands settles against something and rests in obliviousness. This is the first time today that, aside from all too fleeting moments, Mathis felt like himself again. That his world had not ended and that he was not drifting alone in the silence of empty spaces devoid of the friends that had once or never occupied them. It's the light kindled in Kaesen's eyes that catches his attention first and foremost, a strange feeling — yet to be defined — beginning to twitch within him much like the eggs had on the sands, a feeling that makes him want to keep that brightness there for as long as possible. This might explain why, at least in part, why his smile so readily returns when the other teens gaze lowers to his mouth. The return of such a simple gesture really does try and warm what was too cool, the blood beneath his skin refusing to pool near the surface but instead remain in the relative comfort of larger vessels. "Hmm, hmmm!" Cheerfully clipped off with a crisp bob of his head, "I'm an apprentice woodcrafter," he further clarifies, seemingly happy to either believe or assume that this is information that Kaesen did not already have. For the answer he's given, Mathis doesn't appear to be at all disappointed by the news that his newfound (dare he say it) friend was more or less a local, and all this time he'd been right under his nose. See, this is what he gets for being unfriendly! "Wow! Really!?" There was no doubt about it, the woodcrafter was thrilled, setting aide that whole infancy in Telgar thing just as effortlessly as he had. "You're sooooo lucky. This place is amazing!" Fortunately, for now, Mathis seems to have forgotten exactly why he felt that way about Xanadu to begin with. "So, I guess that means you know ALL the hiding spots and the secrets and stuff right?" It wasn't just Kaesen who was shinning so brightly, the younger was now as well.

Will Risali come back to find the two teens frozen solid here, still linked by those wool-clad hands resting against the snow-hummock that's probably some kind of decorative something-or-other? …maybe. But Kaesen and Mathis are still young enough to be immortal and heedless of consequence, and whatever stirrings of sense might tell them to move are, well… not making themselves heard, at least not yet. Kaesen's smile flickers with a bit of abashed disruption as Mathis mentions his craft, a nod that has his eyes sliding away for a moment - but that grin brings back an enthusiasm of his own, an answering smile that warms his face in a way that may not actually make it any less cold, but certainly makes him notice the cold significantly less, because it puts his focus back on Mathis instead of himself. Even if what Mathis is talking about is Kaesen, Kaesen still gets to pay attention to him! "Yeah," he confirms, then - emboldened by that enthusiasm - says more. "My parents got an old farmhouse for their weyr, down across the river and down the road a bit." He'd gesture, but… his hand is busy, see. Though, admitting that was the reason why would mean acknowledging that he and Mathis are still holding hands, so… something in his subconscious mind just kind of shoves his thought process past that. Kaesen's already got enough to handle with the idea that he knows things. "I guess, yeah!" His expression is earnest, almost hopeful - like he's never quite thought of it that way, but since Mathis has brought it up… he supposes he must! Those stores of secrets, yes. "Like… what kind of secrets?" Tell him what he should know, Mathis, and he'll see if he knows it!

If truth be told, what was in direct contact with the ground, was edging towards the first pin-pricks of warning that would at some undisclosed time alert Mathis that getting up leastwise was advisable. Shelter of some sort would be required beyond that, as to allow him and that cold infused flesh a chance to thaw out and circulate some blood within it once again. For now those starting signs, like any others, are ignored in favor of normalcy and budding friendship. That ever so slight blue tinting to lips be damned! There is but a single blink when Kaesen's gaze averts, brows lifting sluggishly, and his free hand moves upwards to tug his hat down over it in an effort to rewarm it. The renewed change in the way that the other boy's mouth expressed his ardor stirs that odd sensation inside of him again, stronger this time, a fluttering of a butterflies wings within his stomach. That wasn't a hunger pang, he knew that much, but before he can explore further there is confirmation and more is revealed about Kaesen that Mathis didn't know. Not there was any room for the fear of repetition at this point, they had only now officially met and so everything from this point on would be new and filled with equal elation, at least until familiarity put some distance between such events. As Kaesen reveals the location of his family's homestead, without an accompanying gesture to indicate exact direction, all he can do is eagerly bob his head and grin in such a way as to suggest his face were about to split into two. Reflexively, the betrayal comes when his hand tightens against his, but will the exhilaration of discovery be overshadowed by it? It's too soon to tell, and really the woodcrafter doesn't seem to notice. The energy, despite the openness of the garden, almost permeates the air when the dark haired lade reveals that he does indeed knows things. Perchance, all the things? Ever and always? MAYBE! There's a record scratching moment though as Kaesen asks him what it is that he should now, and that beacon of light dims minutely. "Uh…" Oh no. Was this it? Was this how it all ended? "Liiiiiiike…secret stuff." Yeah! Come on! You know! Hazel eyes are rolled upwards in recollection, teeth drawn against his lower lip before they are applied in earnest. Dropping his gaze back to reconnect with his, laughter bubbles out of him before he lifts and drops his shoulders, "I don't know, like places to hide treasure or neat places you might escape to if you want to get away but not actually leave. Secret tunnels, forgotten ones, that sorta of stuff…"

What's a little hypothermia between friends? (Other than, you know, a grand and wondrous thing because it means they're friends.) So long as it's only a little, that is… because yes, there is most definitely a point of Too Much Hypothermia, and the time will come (and not all those long from now) when they do indeed have to leave for warmer climes. But not yet! First there's details (or, uh vaguenesses) of homes to be shared, and secrets to be… too secret to actually be known? Kaesen studies Mathis's face, waiting for his answer, then… nods, slowly, with a hesitation and then… "Like how you can get up on top of the caverns." That's the sort of thing Mathis means, right? His eyes flicker, checking if he's right. "On the outside, I mean. Where those big radio towers are. There's stairs back by the archives." If you know where to look, that is! …and if you know how to get yourself into the archives in the first place. Which Kaesen does, apparently! Even if it didn't seem all that secret to him… at least, not without a bit of prompting. Then again, maybe that was just what was needed to counter the distraction that the tightened grip brought - both in the cold-finger tingles, and the rather warmer tingles that the conscious mind brings in because of why those gloved fingers are cold and also squeezed… and still tingling, along with his cheeks. "There's some neat places down against the cliff rocks, too… but you have to be careful, because the water comes up into some of them."

Hypothermia is exactly the sort of things that true friends share! It is known. Though it must be stressed that indeed, too much of a good thing can be hazardous to your health, meaning that moderation was key. Mathis was admittedly floundering a bit there, having presumed that Kaesen would know precisely what it was that he had asked him about. It's most serendipitous that his fumbling vivification turns out to be exactly what was required and he falls into an anticipatory sort of silence as he listens intently to the response he's given. There is a tentative nod at first, one that becomes all the more affirming as it bobbles and the pilot light of that brilliant smile returns with an intensity thus far unmatched. Yes! Yes! Yes! This was definitely the sort of information that he was after. Secret places that only someone who'd grown up in Xanadu would know about, nothing that any run of the mill tourist or random persons ambling through blindly would even have heard about. Hazel eyes sparkling, again, his hand tightens around Kaesen's…but this time it comes with the repositioning of his body to bring legs to tuck beneath himself and he eagerly leans in as if to avowing himself into absolute secrecy in that admission that such places existed. And if to add to the current, the older teen reveals even more places that Mathis had yet to see and experience and… man he really needed an outlet for all that unadulterated joy buzzing through his system because he was all but bursting at this very moment. "Do you think you can take me to all those places sometime?" Maybe not today, or more aptly not right this second. He's was beginning to shiver at this point and those teeth were clattering some. It probably something to do with that icy little breeze that had just begun to pick up, making the bare branches of the trees around them creak. "I'm sure you know about other places too, places that only people who grew up here know about." More secrets. Just, more. There is expectation here, that Kaesen does indeed know more and that he was not only willing to share that knowledge but accompany him on that journey of discovery. "Maybe, we can even find new secrets along the way!" Oooh! More secrets and presumedly implies copious amounts of seclusion and alone time with him and him alone. Well, if you were into that sort of thing.

Kaesen glances down - almost startled - at the motion that has Mathis's body shifting, like he'd forgotten that, oh yes, there's more than the look of eyes and the expressions of a face and the pressure of a hand. There's actually a whole body there, and… and… shards, where was he even going with that thought? Kaesen is pretty sure he had ideas. There were thoughts, really, and they even more or less made sense, but… uh… (oh no, he's back to the uh!)… …again it's Mathis that throws him a lifeboat, a question of can that carries behind it the hidden question of want to… and Kaesen looks back up, catching up to the brightness of smile, the beam of face, the glow of hazel eyes… and there his own gaze remains caught, as he gives a vigorous nod! "Yeah!" Though… he's not quite so oblivious that he can't put together the pieces of shivers and what they mean, or notice the chattering of teeth in the teen who'd already been sitting out in the cold for however long before he got there. "Maybe even ones that only I know," he says, because hey - he's not just any kid who grew up at Xanadu, right? He's Kaesen! "Or…" and yes, the cold is at least still doing its positive job even if it's also freezing them to the point where they risk the only secrets in reach being those of the infirmary. "…ones that only we know." GASP. Shared secrets, seclusion, time alone together within places known only to the pair of them… things could get quite interesting! But… Kaesen reaches out, touching a gloved hand to Mathis's cheek for just a fraction of a moment before he realizes that even if he could feel it through those gloves, all it would tell him was what his eyes could already confirm. Also, he's not even sure it's how you're supposed to social, because how does it work. "Come on." Quick, hide the awkward evidence by getting into motion! Kaesen scrambles to get his own feet under him, putting off the release of hand for as long as possible before it's actually required. "I know where the cooks keep the leftover pastries." See? So many of Xanadu's secrets, tucked behind those hazel eyes and just waiting to be discovered!

The curse of the 'uh', yes, it would undoubtedly haunt them for some time to come. However, there is nothing wrong with that. It was an integral part of the process, so to speak, where awkwardness and the unknown blossomed into the promise of that which potentially awaited them on the horizon. As it was now, Mathis gives considerably less thought towards bodies and their connection to budding feelings he doesn't quite understand yet, offering up another of those brightly polished smiles unabashedly and wholly unaware of what effect he might be having on Kaesen, or really that which his had on him. Rest assured it would be not be long before those tender young shoots take root and realization dawned, bringing with it a host of new hurdles to either conquer or trip over along the way. Anticipation grows and grows as the older teen examines him, eyes widen and all of him awakens at once as if from a long sleep, barely containing his desire to throw his arms around his new friend and smother him with too eager arms. That nod! That nod meant yes! And this means that his grin, a smile that was already too big, too toothy, too all encompassing brightens to near blinding, revealing the smallest hint of the looks he'd possess once adolescence gave way to adulthood, but soon overwhelmed by a boyish gleam that promised all sorts of mischief. "Really?!" And now his other hand was joining the first, clamped over Kaesen's one and he holds it with surprising strength for one who was so thin. Thinner perhaps since vital imports had been spirited away by persons unknown, but whispered about. Washed away and similarly dismissed in the assurance that not only would he become privy to places only Kaesen knew of, but that together they would find and lay claim ones that only the two of them knew about. A secret conspiracy of secrets and secret places! Mathis was nodding, he knew he was because his view of the other boy was bobbling, but his heart was racing so fast it was making his head swim and sending out puzzling sensation throughout his nervous and circulatory systems. A development that is amplified exponentially by the gloved hand that finds it's way to the side of his face, in which the woodcrafter finds that breathing (for a very short amount of time) no longer appears to be deemed necessary. Hazel eyes search their counterparts, for what, he doesn't know as lips part quietly to release nothing past them at all. Okay. Weird. He meant to say….something… It's probably best that he's not given the chance to consider any or all of this before Kaesen removes said hand and he sucks in a breath, finding himself pulled to his feet with only some minor wobbling involved. Between frozen and blood deprived his legs seemed to have forgotten how to work, and so this is why his hand remains holding onto Kae's. He doesn't want to fall down! Food. Perplexity falls away in favor of the full return of eagerness, grinning ear to ear, "I know where the kitchens are!" He'd lead them that far, starting back towards the weyr and unrelinquishing of that borrowed limb, "You'll have to show me from there." After today, one secret would become their secret, and from there? Who knows! Their youth had limitless possibilities.

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