A Meeting of the ... Mouths

Xanadu Weyr - Council Chambers
Effort has obviously been spent on this room and the result is understated luxury. The elongated room, situated between the Weyrleaders' and Weyrsecond's office, faces the clearing. Two large windows are flanked by heavy antique bronze jacquard drapes and further shielded by ivory-colored sheers that allow a diffuse light inside. The walls and recessed ceiling are of a polished granite that gleams a pale cream flecked with gold in the soft overhead lighting.
Much of the tapestry-carpeted floor is occupied by a long, heavy table of Lemos hardwood, stained dark and then polished to a brilliant shine. Hanging in the space above the head and foot of the table are heavy frames of that same dark hue with a finely painted landscape in each. They're signed by the artist, a scrawl that begins with M.
Each place at that table is made ready with an elegant blotter made of leather, along with a fine pen and a pad of paper. The cushioned chairs are fashioned from the same dark hardwood, the backs and seats upholstered with softly-tanned leather. The room seats perhaps twenty or so, but can be used for more informal meetings as well, and a potted palm in the corner reminds those meeting here of the world outside these walls.

The first problem with piracy is that you don't get the goods you expected. The second problem with piracy is that the people who sent them don't still have them. (Somewhere in there are also some problems involving murder, but let's not get sidetracked.) So, the thing is, after piratical incidents, one can end up with a need to have negotiations about how to get the supplies you need from people who don't have them, without the money you'd put aside to buy them. Which is why D'lei has been having a lovely conversation with some folks from a couple of holds, where he's been attempting to arrange matters such that some draconic hauling and labor between them, for the goods they want to trade with each other, can be partially replaced for some marks exchanged to them for replacements of those supplies. It's… well, it's gone well, or at least, as well as one might expect, which is to say that nobody's got everything they want, but everyone thinks they've snuck something to their advantage into the negotiations. So… good enough, and now D'lei is busily getting them out of his face. "Yes, thank you for coming- of course, I'll have the rider meet you out front - yes, thank you…"

And there is Risali, the Weyrwoman having been present in body if not just a touch absent in spirit. She smiled her best smiles (which were awkward, because most of them came in knee-jerk response to her not paying attention and being called upon to answer for the class) and somehow managed to fumble her way through just enough to not turn negotiations into a train-wreck of non-negotiable failure. Now the meeting is over, and Risali is standing at the foot of the table opposite D'lei, the tips of fingers on her right hand pressed down against the surface of wood to support her as she gives forced, closed smiles and dips her head in both acknowledgement and farewell to those who spare glances backwards. Few stray to her, but the goodbyes are always brief and - alone. The door closes, the last person files out, and that same expression that's been crossing Risali's features every time she looked at Dash today (which, for the record, was a lot) settles in, grey eyes fixating on the Weyrleader, Risali practically vibrating with unspent tension (which, by the way, translated into her fidgeting with pens and bouncing her legs under the table and being altogether restless in form) as she hesitates one, two, three seconds and goes. Not nearly long enough strides have the tiny woman clearing that gaping distance between herself and D'lei, arms extending out before she's even reached him, fingers curling into the lapels of jackets or shirts or whatever in the hell fabric is in her way so that she can bunch it in her fists and push him backward, so that she can push as she strides forward until D'lei refuses to yield more space or she can slam his back against the wall. There's half a heartbeat where adrenaline couples with anticipation to stagger her breath and send her heart thundering against her ribs, another heartbeat when grey eyes seek out amber as if she might find answers to unvoiced questions there, as if she might tell him what comes next, and then she's jerking D'lei down as she goes up on the tips of her toes, as she closes her eyes and curves her body to press more tightly against his when mouth finds mouth and lips yield against that pliant give. Fingers rake up shoulders, press nails gentle but persistent up along his neck, into his hair where they twist and pull to get him even closer because somehow he can never be close enough. And there's a sound, half a whimper, something desperate that needs and wants and begs for more while still somehow managing to communicate more innocent things: comfort, ease, that moment when everything becomes okay because you're safe, and this is familiar - this is home. And that. She presses into that a little bit more desperately, a little bit more aggressively with teeth that come down on bottom lips and pull.

And, okay, it's not exactly unusual for D'lei to be swooping in on certain parts of these meetings sometimes, because let's be clear, it involves people… but this one has had more than usual. Which D'lei hasn't asked about, because there's been this meeting, see, and the moments when eyes meet Risali have been mostly in passing, because there are all these other people who need to have contact and reassurance and handling. Is that the last one? The final negotiated holder out the door? It takes him a couple moments to convince himself of that, to persuade the back of his head that he's done being D'lei, Weyrleader of Xanadu and can let the careful tuning of his expression (tough but fair!) ease - and then there's Risali, driving into his space with all the wound-up energy of a meeting spent fidgeting. Back - his head tilts, the smile fallen off his face as he looks down to her with a tilt of head to shadow amber eyes - back - another step as his arms come up against her sides, fingers splayed - back, the wall behind him and Risali before him, eyes sharp and intent as they meet hers - and body pressed to hers, tugged to meet hers, and there's a growl in his throat as his body arches down over hers, his hands slide from sides around the curve of hips and back onto her rump, the curl of them there to squeeze and pull her up against him, the press of his mouth down to take hers and meld with it, to demand all the attention that she didn't give to the meeting be focused here, now, on him.

And Risali does press, gives and takes in equal measure, loses herself in those hands - on her sides, on her hips, on her rump - as much as she finds herself in the sweep of tongue, in motions that might have been apologetic were they not so damn iniquitous in intent and coquettish by nature. And still, Risali can't get as close to D'lei as she wants to be, needs to be closer still, echoes his growl with one of her own in frustration because she can't get close enough by sheer will; because taste, and smell, and touch aren't enough to sate fingers that relent their assault on hair and instead drag down between them, pull Risali from that kiss so that she can drag nose and lips up against cheek, against jaw where she bites down as she palms up the fabric of his shirt. There is nothing gentle about the way she presses splayed fingers against his abdomen, curls fingers and nails to rake up against D'lei's ribs only to have them splay again and sweep out with thumbs when she reaches his chest — but there is something reverent about it. There are no deities on Pern, but Risali attends to D'lei with the zealous piety of one devout to this religion, as if absolution, and revelation, and salvation can be found in him, can be attained in this moment, with the diligent study and fervent worship of bodies. But she draws back, pulls her hands free as her head tilts with a hiccup of laughter that sounds almost hysterical, that twists into another sound of frustration. Hands curl back into fists that come down without much force against D'lei's shoulders, gentle again as they catch at his neck and pull him in so that she can press her forehead to his and breathe, will her body to calm, swallows down breath and absorb his presence… and then she's withdrawing completely, frustration manifesting in the rake of fingers through her hair and subsequent dishevelment of it as she stalks back towards where she was sitting with one wayward glance towards the door. "Fuck." DOWN SHE GOES, INTO A CHAIR, thunking her forehead against the desk's top with one. more. thunkthunkthunkthunk for good measure.

There's a cycle, the give and take, in and out - the tides that sweep down in the press, rise up in the embrace and squeeze. D'lei is caught between the wall and the Risali, his lips caught and released, his jaw nipped as Risali tests whether she can reach right into him and grab his heart, or maybe his liver, and grasp him by those essential organs to understand the true nature of what is - that ineffable D'lei that cannot be reached, that can only be approximated; that isn't inside him any more than it's outside, but exists as the concordance of him that murmurs a non-word and strokes his hands outward along the inflection of thighs and- a change, a discontinuity like the one that exists between close and close enough, as Risali tugs his head down to breath in the exhale that's gained a more ragged edge, to feel the heat of his body that radiates out and… then she goes, stepping out from his arms, increasing that distance, moving. D'lei looks out from under the tilt of brow, watching her go, and then his chin tucks a little further. He goes as well - though not to her; at least, not at first. The door, first; the click of a latch to ensure that there are no interruptions for them, no D'merials with one more question that will throw everything into the flurry of exterior chaos to interrupt this internal one. After that, D'lei moves again, quiet as he does - around to stand behind Risali's chair, the shield of wood between the two of them that his hands reach over to brush against her shoulders, the light touch of fingertips resting there to make his presence known as he looks down to see what Risaliwork's laid out for him against that surface.

Notably: she did not take notes. That furious scribbling of pen during important moments were actually little more than her hands crafting doodles that had exactly no bearing on the topics discussed what-so-ever (and therefore probably mean that she will be making eyes at D'lei for his notes at some point). But that is a secondary restlessness, one that is in the past and lacking relevance to the here and now, where D'lei locks doors and Risali retreats; where hands find shoulders from behind the backing of chairs that are simultaneously a blessing and a curse in the barrier that they provide between Risali and D'lei (whom she can't seem to get quite close enough to while needing distance from to sort through all those unwelcome thoughts in her head). "He kissed me," comes sudden and furious, Risali's body shifting to sit up, those shoulders going rigid with tension, her spine stiff as fists come down on the table with not nearly enough impact — and then she seems to wilt, curling in on herself once more, a touch of desperation in the way she whispers, "Why did he kiss me?" And why does it matter so damn much? Perhaps that's the more damning question, perhaps that's what has Risali looking over her shoulder to find D'lei, to fixate with a confusion borne of inexperience despite the fact that she has two weyrmates and has been subject to many a venereal act between them (literally and figuratively). And here comes an exhale, a press of the heels of palms in against her eyes, a moment of still before she shakes her head as if to loosen an amalgamation of thought. "Why didn't I stop him?" There it is, there's the real question, even if it's loosed into the loosed into the cosmos rhetorically - right before she thunks her forehead back down on the desk again. Thunkthunkthunkthunkthunk. "Put me out of my misery, D'lei," comes muffled. SHE DOESN'T KNOW WHO SHE IS ANYMORE.

There's the wall of chair-back, the solid wooden surface that means D'lei's heat, his soft-hard-ness, isn't in contact with Risali even as she sits up. His fingers curl over her shoulders as she sits back into them, curved over that tension of anger. He - who? - kissed - what? - her - whom. There's an arch of one eyebrow, followed by the inward tongue of one corner of his mouth… not that it's visible, but perhaps that's its own kind of helpful. There's no change in tension to those hands, the knots beneath them unechoed by D'lei… and too intense for Risali to hold, her collapse following as she asks the question of why - or at least, one half of it. His hand shifts, as her head turns, and his fingertips brush underneath her chin with a soft touch as she turns her head to look at him, catches the vestiges of that brow-arched interest and almost-smile on his face before she asks the other half of why and thunks right on down against that table as if - by beating her head enough - she'll shake out the answer. D'lei leans down in over her, bent awkwardly over the back of the chair to trace his fingers down along her upper arms, and that half-smile quirks a little deeper. "Can't," he answers, with the words that sort of matter-of-fact that's laced with a wry humour. "I'm not really into jealous rampages." A lean, just a bit further, and a soft kiss against the back of her neck. "And murder seems a bit excessive."

DID SHE JUST LAUGH? She did, muffled though it was by arms and wood and her own refusal to lift herself off of the desk just enough to be heard. But Risali shivers too, a rekindling of that drive that saw her pushing D'lei against the wall, that compelled hands and nails to recommit every inch she already knew by heart (and tongue) to memory - and for no other reason than the sheer pleasure of touching him, of pursuing a need that turns and turns of encounters has never been able to sate, or quiet, or dim. "Well, there goes all of my fun," she rejoinders, a tilt of her head as lips find the back of her neck and she arches up and into it, presses to that kiss like a moth drawn to flame despite the awkward hindrance of one very immobile chair. "Here I was, hoping you'd throw me on the table and fuck me within an inch of my life. 'Please Dash, no Dash, yes Dash yes.'" MURDER DOESN'T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE VIOLENT, D'LEI. At least, not the kind of violence that comes with fists and hands (though hands and fingers will surely be involved, colluding with teeth, and tongues, and hips to be her - their? - undoing). There's another laugh, quiet and short-lived, but slowly Risa comes up for air, settles elbows on the table as she shifts her body and - back into her hair her hands go, to make a further mess of it. NOPE. STILL MAD. "I don't even know his name, Dash," a quiet confession, breathed with a fragile kind of trepidation. And there comes another shake, as if she means to rid herself of Casper, of those thoughts, of that kiss because it was only a kiss anyway and her weyrmate is right behind her — her home, her family, her safest place. "You probably think that I'm being ridiculous." But it's not as if Risali has spent turns and turns and turns kissing men or even looking at them. She treads the world with blinders on, practically immune to charm and every wayward intention cast her way by anybody that's not D'lei or K'vir. This is a deal for her, a big one, even if she tries to play it off as less. "Anyway, I will settle for one hit." A beat. "To my mouth. With your mouth. Gently." And here comes that slow smile, spreading as she whispers an accusatory, "Because you like me." And yep, she's leaning around the back of that chair at an awkward angle, eyes squeezed closed, lips AT THE READY for those kisses (aka: brutality) she demands (in jest) to be delivered. Risali: distracting herself and others since 2694. 3? Somewhere in there.

D'lei, ruiner of funs! Which is different than D'lei, purloiner of modesties, but also the same, because they're both just D'lei. Both corners of his mouth quirk up, an answer to Risali's laughter and rejoinder - which also gets a verbal addition. "Don't. Stop." They're just flat enough, just enough of a pause between them, to play on that ambiguity of the words versus the phrase. Risali sits back up, and D'lei rises from his lean - partly, his arms still remaining close, to extend in a drape down along her shoulders as she takes out her aggressions on her hair as the nearest proxy for that brain of hers that's doing Faranth even knows what. D'lei nods slightly to her admission, his fingers shifting in a slow pet along collarbones, tracing the line of them, and then a half smile. "I think," he says, "that something is tangled up in your head." Almost as badly as her hair is. Almost. "…and maybe you're enjoying a distraction, and maybe you're feeling guilty for it." Maybe. WHO EVEN KNOWS? But what he does know is how to FACELIP RISALI. With a lean in, at an equally awkward angle, that somehow - along with Risa's - makes those faces come near enough that lips can press in a slow kiss, one that starts soft and grows firmer while retaining its sedate intensity.

Yep, more laughter for the ambiguity of words, for that application of just-enough-pause that throws them into the territory of double entendres. But Risali doesn't add to their terrible implications; she arches instead into the drape of D'lei, listens to his words with an expression that comes over her face, one that says no and communicates confusion as much as denial because - closer, closer — "I don't do distractions, D'lei," gets whispered just before she's silenced by the weight of that kiss. And while it's a half truth in whole, it's a whole truth in part. Risali is not, contrary to what people may suspect in the wake of a double weyrmating, promiscuous. She's not, in any sense of the word, liberal with her body or the kinds of affection pursuant to carnal expectation. And maybe that's what scares her just enough to be angry about it. Because she doesn't understand and she doesn't want to understand. So instead she lets go, and while D'lei presses firm but sedate into that meshing of mouths, Risali shifts in that chair without breaking contact in that awkward lean, moves onto her knees, and then rises to her feet on the cushion so she's got the sudden advantage of height over D'lei and can lean over him, can thread her fingers through his hair to twist, to pull, to force his head back so that she can burn with a quiet-but-fierce intensity that has her pulling away from lips and sinking teeth into chin, along his jaw, down against his neck when she leans just a little more, just a little awkwardly. And there's that sound again, that wantneedyespleaseyes in her throat as she curves her body towards D'lei's, interrupted though it is by the chair and her own precarious positioning, passed down to fingers that tremble as she relents just enough to cup his hands in her face and press her forehead back to his, eyes closed.

Really, Risali is all about distractions… but they're running, and shooting, and jumping; things that involve her body, not the bodies of others. So yes, there's a slight wry smile from D'lei that's not an argument before there's that press of lips, and then Risali moves - drawn up, drawn out, drawn around as D'lei's arms draped around to her front shift until they're on her back, and those fingertips trace the lines of shoulderblades as she leans up and into and then over. His head tilts, as she nips in to jaw, and leans up and in - a rise onto his toes - to nip back at her ear and get some listening to go with his talking… because that's how it works, clearly, and that's how to answer the graze of her teeth down along his neck where a soft rumbled murmur answers her whine. His arms shift, holding, embracing her, and he is solid for her lean, present for her with his… himness, and his fingers shift against the tangle of hair that holds that chaos of thoughts in its tumble. "Do you want it to mean something?" he asks, and the words are soft, gentle despite their implications.

Risali goes rigid, her breath catching in her lungs, her body, for once in her life, going completely still as questions assault where she went and bring her right back to where she was. And now she draws back, to find amber eyes with grey, to look between them as teeth worry her bottom lip and hands framing his face drop down to his shoulders, down his arms under the pretense of smoothing out fabric. "I…" What does she want? "I don't have… people are not attractive to me." A beat, as brows furrow for the implicit wrongness of that statement, as lips curve over words that she hesitates on issuing before she tries again. "When I first met you, I thought you were handsome, but I…" a gesture between them, "I wasn't physically attracted to you. Not at first. I wanted to be close but I was okay with…" What they had. She's mucking this up spectacularly. "Wanting more came later, with falling in love with you." A beat. "I don't look at people and automatically picture their body on mine - I don't even really want to know what it's like. I can appreciate that they are attractive, but it's never… more than that for me. Even when N'kon kisses me. It's…" An exhale. "Different. I'm… I don't fantasize about it would be like to be Ricki, I don't fantasize about his hands on me, I don't…" Her gaze lifts, abandons fidgeting hands to focus on amber. "I don't know how to do casual, Dash. I don't… know how to kiss somebody and not mean it, to love somebody and not do it with every part of me, to have somebody and have it mean nothing." A roll of her shoulders. "I know that someday I'm going to wake up to somebody that isn't you after a flight, but I'm not going to remember it." So what is the point, Risa? "I don't know him. But I didn't hate it," where usually she'd have probably started swinging - verbally, anyway, if not physically. "And I don't know what that means." Because she doesn't know him enough to be okay with it. That's her point. Still, her shoulders sag, and her hands come back up to cup D'lei's face, to run fingers along lips and cheeks. "The only thing I know I want for sure is in my hands," a sideways pull of her lips that's sad, lacking humor. "And I know most of the time I don't deserve you. The rest of me, I'm pretty sure, is just broken." WHATEVER THAT MEANS.

D'lei's gaze is steady, but he doesn't chase Risali. Her own thoughts are doing a good enough job of that, and so he stays where he is - and traces her back, soft brushes against the shoulderblades and the hair that are at least only a small additional distraction as she seeks for words to say just what she thinks about PEOPLE. SRSLY, PEOPLE. What's even up with them? D'lei listens, with a slight nod here, a quirk of lips there…. and then a smile. "You can still deny it, if you want." Denial and repression, such great coping strategies! "You were distracted. The kiss reminded you of Velvet." Just downgrade Casper to being a proxy for that puppy he brought them, it's fine! "But." That's not where Risali's brain is going, and so that smile fades somewhat - though the warmth remains, and his head tilts for a soft kiss to fingers before he continues. "I'm not N'kon either." Or even K'vir. "I'm not interested in everyone." Despite what various greenflights and extra-weyrmating pursuits of his own might lead someone to imply. "I've got a physical system that's quite willing to work," his smile is wry, amused at himself and that trouser weasel who'll put on a performance on request, "but I'm not… attracted to people I don't know. That I don't… love, I guess, but… it's not the same as romance and happily ever after. It's about wanting them, whether it's for ten turns or tonight."

"I know," Risali says at the end of D'lei's explanation, because she does know. "And I didn't mean to imply that you were. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not attracted to him now," a half-pull of her lips, because maybe she is just denying it, but… "But I'm worried that if I keep letting him kiss me, that will change. And I don't know if I want it to." And here she sighs, here Risali drops her arms and gets down from her RIDICULOUS STANDING ON CHAIRS to come around it and press her body more firmly against D'lei's. "I can't do just for tonight." That's a whisper as hands catch as his shirt on either side, bunching fabric into fists as she leans forward. "That's my point. That's what scares me. I… am probably broken," comes with a huff of quasi-amusement, "especially for a dragonrider. But I'm not interested in casual sex, D'lei." THUNK. That's her head, finding his sternum. "Anyway, I'm probably getting myself worked up over nothing. It was one kiss and -" An exhale. "No, I feel like I'm talking in circles." And now she's pulling D'lei back in, going up on the tips of toes as if she means to KISS HIM, pressing foreheads together, tilting her head like she wants a kiss and - nope. At that LAST POSSIBLE SECOND, teeth come down on her bottom lip and she draws back, walks backwards with a fey look and slow smile for the weyrleader. It's probably not the most invoking conversation for that kind of teasing, but this is Risali, who reaches up to TOUSLE D'LEI'S HAIR and set his clothes askew. "There. Now D'merial will be extremely disappointed that we locked the doors."

There are the last couple of pieces shifting together, and there's the nod from D'lei. "Because you can't put those dragons back in their shells… and you don't know that you want to impress any of them, either. So." He smiles, wry amusement, and tilts his head partway. "Quick, shove the egg at someone else and make them take it. I'm sure you can find a willing victim or three…" It's a tease, but there's an element of truth behind it. There's not a choice once it happens… but nothing's happened yet, and there's a choice now, when it's all just possibilities instead of the only escape being a messy breakup. "If you keep getting yourself up, I'll just have to work you over…" Such brow-waggling, very threat. "…and we all know what happens then." D'MERIAL IS SAD, THAT'S WHAT. But Risali steps back instead of kissing, and so he - as she tousles him - reaches to untuck her shirt and make it suitably disarrayed. "We're lucky he's not sleeping with Niko, yet, or there'd be cameras everywhere…" Instead of just most places. "But. Let's go have some casual tea, hmm? Maybe with some cookies… if they have any." Have the bakers gotten their sweets in yet? THEY SHALL FIND OUT.

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