Sleepless Nights

Xanadu Weyr - Dragon's Rest Farm
In contrast to the gigantic barn is the smaller homestead. The structure is a small two-level cottage, complete with a covered porch that sweeps around the exterior. The wooden slats of the house seem freshly painted, as if this old place has been brought back to life by careful hands. A chair-swing sways beneath the shade of the porch, moving with the slightest breeze off the sea. Inside, the quaint space has been decked out with the comforts one might expect. Fluffy rugs cover hardwood floors, and finely carved furniture dominates most of the spaces. A few things here and there seem older, heirlooms that now have a new place to call home.

Everything within the cottage is comfortable, rather than elaborate. Though it may have once been empty, there is now a warm, welcoming feel to the place. Many large windows and sliding doors look out upon both the training field and across the road, a view of the beach and the sea beyond. Even on the hottest days, these can be opened to let in air and leave the rooms cool and comfortable. Set back a ways from many of the other Weyrbarns along the roadway, there is plenty of room for those who need a bit of space and privacy. There is plenty of space, leaving room to grow, to learn, to expand, and most of all… it is a warm, safe place to come home to when the day's tasks are done.

It's late. Businesses have closed hours ago, with shop owners likely nestled in bed by now. The usual savory smells of the kitchens are gone now, and the halls are quiet in the residential area. The smell of rain permeates the outdoor areas, and clouds cover the moons and stars, making it appear darker than usual. It's the perfect time to be asleep. The gentle sound of the rain is a soft lullaby as it patters upon roofs and drip to the ground. Ka'el should be asleep, but he's not. At least he's at home as opposed to locked up in his office, poring over paperwork and plans and making lists. There’s always something to, which is perhaps why he’s not in bed now, dreaming away while the rain pours. There’s always something he could be doing, and his brain is refusing to fall into that peaceful place in which nothing is thought of and dreams are conjured. He stands by one of those sliding glass doors, watching the rain through flashes of distant lightning as it falls upon the training field. His hands are clasped behind his back, expression, if seen, thoughtful, if not a bit grim. He wears long cotton sleepwear pants, overlarge, and no shirt.

Even the tavern's closed, despite the pleading of some for 'just one more round!' But no, the Wherry's gone empty to match the shops, locked up and left for the morning. Everyone except the night watch should be in bed, and most of them actually are… but not Ka'el. Soriana? Well, she was. Honestly truly she was! Only somehow she's gotten kind of used to the breathing (snoring?), and the patter of the rain doesn't quite do it. Or maybe it's something else that's gotten her up again, in an oversized shirt that dangles to her knees (between them, she and Ka'el have a full outfit! For a giant) as she pads out to peer around and… aha. There's the Ka'el. She doesn't see his face directly, but the darkness outside makes the glass of the door somewhat of a mirror, and what she glimpses of his expression there makes her own serious as she pads closer with bare and quiet feet. She steps toward a spot at his side, hand reaching to around his lower back. "Hey."

Ka’el most definitely does not snore…all the time. >.> Or so he’d claim! Anyway, he’s definitely not snoring now as he stares out so concentratingly at the nothing that there is to see out in the dark world beyond that window. If he were more aware of his surroundings, maybe he’d notice Soriana’s approach in the form of her reflection. But, he doesn’t, and her quiet arrival is unobserved until the touch of her hand to his back. He stiffens vaguely, slightly startled out of his reverie, and his eyes flit to her as she greets him. “Hey. .. Did I wake you up?” he asks, voice low, gravelly sounding as if he hasn’t used it in a while, or perhaps he himself is more tired than his body is letting on. He looks back outside after the question, the hard lines on his face still slightly present. Frown lines. Etchings of troubled thought.

Just what's out there in the darkness? Besides… the training fields… and other weyrs… and dragons and riders tucked inside… and… okay, new question. What's Ka'el picturing, out there in the darkness? There's so many options. Soriana doesn't pull away from that stiffness, just waiting for Ka'el's attention to extend from images placed in the darkness to her, standing here with him. The darkness is still there. It's just… out there. And she's in here. "Nah," she says with a shrug. Because since when does quiet staring into the darkness make enough noise to wake someone? Now, brooding, that's… maybe. Soriana looks over Ka'el's expression as he watches that darkness once more, then turns her head to see those shadows casting shadows.

Good. The word is implied with the nod that he gives in answer to her. Outside, the rain continues to fall, making rivers of wagon tracks and forming small ponds of mud. He is quiet for a time, searching for hidden answers that have thus far eluded him. Those flashes of lightning offer no guidance at all even though they illuminate the world for fractions of seconds. An edge of his mouth gives a slight twitch, and after a while, his eyes again shift towards her. “Kiena is having trouble with her weyrmate. … Ex-weyrmate,” he corrects with a look back to the glass. “I feel as if I should do something, but with matters like that…. I think I’ve too much’ve a personal investment. Politics and personal business shouldn’t mix and all that. But.. still. She’s the Weyrsecond. I’m her Weyrleader. I feel as if I should do something,” he repeats himself, that frowned look making a reappearance on his face now.

Soriana glances to Ka'el as he looks at her. Just for a moment, and then it's back to the glass again and all that exciting outdoors. Lightning would be pretty exciting, if they were out in it, but… they're not. So… Kiena. Trouble? Soriana frowns, and her eyes shift back to Ka'el as she listens and thinks about it. "What sort of trouble?" Because it can make a difference. Some sorts, it's important to do something whether it's personal politics or not. Others… "Does she want you to do something?" He knows about it, at least. Surely that counts for something, with someone as private as Kiena is… but maybe he only got to find out because she trusted he wouldn't do anything. People are complicated. So are politics. Mixing them? Soriana just frowns.

Ka'elcan’t help but to scoff a little at her second question, and a brow faintly elevates while he looks at her. “Does she ever?” It’s a rhetorical question. At least this time his attention stays on her instead of roaming back to the glass and the rain beyond. “It’s not … ‘big’ trouble, I suppose. But it’s trouble enough for me as it’s troubling her. He .. belittles her.” Is that the word he’s looking for? He pauses for a brief moment, brows furrowed in thought. Belittle. It’ll do. “She gets to a point where she is fine. She’s fine being here. She’s fine with her girls and their fosters. She’s fine with her position. Most’ve all, she’s fine with all the things that’ve happened in her past. Then he comes and rattles her. He’ll say things to her, ask her questions, accuse her, blame her for their past. And then he’ll leave, leavin’ her doubting everything she was fine with before. Then come back some sevens or months later and it’ll be the same.” His mouth twitches, fighting a losing battle against a scowl.

Soriana snorts at Ka'el's rhetorical retort. She knows the answer to that. Oh, does she, but… she can hope. Well, could hope, but she knows what to expect, and that's Kiena being… Kiena. So she nods to that, and listens. Not big, and her nod for that is a smaller one. Because the trouble can't be that small, because here's Ka'el - awake in the middle of the night over it. (And who knows what else - the Weyrleader's head doesn't get to rest easy - but…) Belittling. She frowns more for that, and as she listens, she glances out to the rain - just for a moment - then back to Ka'el, still frowning. "Why's she even listen to him?" It's half rhetorical, but… only half. Sometimes not listening to people is the best thing you can do. "Shards, why's she even see him? I mean, Weyrsecond stuff, sure, but… if he tries that there you can stop him." Because that's a time for politics, not… the personal. Or the persona non grata.

“Why she listens is anybody’s guess,” Ka’el answers, shaking his head. “I wonder the same thing. Shards, I wonder a lot of things when it comes to her an’ him, because a lot’ve it doesn’t make sense to me.” He lifts a hand to rub it through his hair, half-scratching, half..well..rubbing because sometimes rubbing one’s head helps to organize the thoughts that have tangled themselves up in there. In this case, it doesn’t help at all. Oh well. His arm drops down while his hair sticks up at odd angles in places. “He comes to see his daughters. Or .. so the excuse is. I told Kiena that she ought to have someone with her when he does come. Me. Mur’dah. Whoever. Doubt he’d say more than a few passin’ words to her if she weren’t alone with him, but she doesn’t want to ‘drag anyone in’ to her issue.” One can almost hear the airquotes around the phrase. “He doesn’t come to Xanadu for business,” he notes with a meaningful look inserted. “And as a guest on our Weyr, you’d think trouble’d be the last thing he’d want to bring. Yet. Where he goes, it seems to follow.”

Anybody's guess, and that means Ka'el doesn't have one. Soriana sighs, and nods. Her arm slides a bit closer around him, and she looks out into the rain once more. "She doesn't make herself easy to know." A shrug, for that. "He…" A frown, and Soriana shakes her head. "I don't know." She glances back to him at the mention of the reason - excuse? - for those visits, and her mouth squirms through a series of partial expressions. "Shards, leave 'em with the fosters when he visits. It's not like she has to be there." Not that Soriana knows much (anything) about parenting, but… her lips quirk as she regards Ka'el. "You seem pretty dragged in to me." Up at night. Staring at the rain. All that. "Don't think I've ever seen him without trouble around." A pause for thought, then the confirmation. "Ever."

Ka’el gently leans against her now, his weight slight, content with just the feel of her next to him. His arm slips around her waist, and he holds her as she holds him. “I told her that too. She doesn’t have to be there when he’s here. But, she doesn’t trust him with them. M’not sure what she thinks he’ll do … run off with them, I guess. But if he even tried, then he’d have me and Galaxy to deal with.” And oh, what a formidable force that’d be! “ .. Not the mention Thea’s wrath at havin’ Xanadu’s weyrkids stolen by a Weyrleader. Whatever ties there are between Xanadu and Western would disappear. Not even Zi’on could be that shardin’ stupid. He agreed to them bein’ here, anyway.” He shrugs a shoulder. “Kiena sees with a mother’s eyes, I guess. And mothers .. most mothers would put up with anything for their kids.” He turns his head and leans down a bit, pressing his lips to her hair, lingering there. He’s dragged in? Yes, he is. “I’m always dragged in with her. I don’t know why. She’s there for me when I’ve needed things. I try to be there for her.” An exhale against her hair. “I plan on talkin’ with Thea about Zi’on. I don’t like him poppin’ in and out of here as he pleases as he has been. ‘D be different if he wasn’t a shithead when he’s here.”

"He did." And Ka'el's right about all the various wraths, too! It's just… Mothers. Soriana sighs, leaning in against Ka'el as she listens to how Kiena is, as a mother. If she needed another reason to avoid babies (which, uh, she doesn't) this could be it. So irrational! "…maybe she needs to learn to put up with asking for help." That's a mutter, followed by a shake of her head that stops as she leans into the touch of his lips to her hair. Sigh. Her head tilts, just enough to look back up at Ka'el. "Because you're the only one she'll go to." Not that Kiena does much in the way of going, but when she does… "You or Mur'dah. That's it. If you're not there for her, she's got nobody." Soriana shrugs, as if the rest just follows from there. Somebody with nobody? Not a good thing. So Ka'el's there to prevent it. Because that's one of the things it's important to do. Those plans to talk to Thea get a nod, the part where Zi'on has been a shithead gets a sideways tug of her mouth. "I know there's been riders banned. Not… weyrleaders, that I know of. But…" She gives her head a shake. "Winning flights is a sharding stupid way to pick who's boss, isn't it?" And she looks to Ka'el, with a tilted head and arched brow to go with the wry pull of her mouth.

Kiena with nobody. Soriana is right. Ka'el doesn't like that thought. Not one bit. And so he makes sure that she knows that she has somebody in him, even if she denies ever needing anyone to help her through things. She does, just like they all do. And she'll know, if and when that time comes, that he will be there for her. He's always dragged in with her, yes. He willingly drags himself into her things. So .. that really isn't dragging at all, is it? One more kiss is pressed to her hair before he straightens his head and looks back outside. The rain has only let up slightly. The lightning flashes have decreased in number, but randomly a blinding moment of white will brighten the universe like a lightbulb trying to flicker back into life. "I don't wish to ban him .. at least, not at this very moment." Who knows. Tomorrow he may be given enough reason to want to! "But at least to draw up some sort've protocol that's to happen whenhe or any other Weyrleader or senior Weyrwoman visits. One general enough that he can't say he's bein' treated unfairly or whatever, but will give us at least a heads up when he's here. I never know that he is til after he's thrown a wrench in things." Her last comment brings a mirthless chuckle, and he grins at her. "Couldnt've said it better myself."

Maybe it's dragging in the same way that a horse drags a carriage. Because someone had to put on harness and straps and climb aboard, but it's still the runner moving them forward. Soriana nods to the lack of ban. "Good, because that'd probably be an utter mess." Not that she's saying he can't do it, mind. He's Weyrleader. He's half of the tyrannical power that rules this Weyr! But it'd be messy. Ka'el's actual plan brings a wrinkle of her nose. "Since when," she muses, "did we get to a place where making more protocol and more official whatevers seem like a good idea?" Aren't they supposed to be slipping away from formal events and hiding out in the kitchens? But the thing is… "It could work. At least…" Her mouth twitches up in one corner. "If you know he's coming, you can make Kiena go to extra meetings until he leaves." Because Ka'el is the boss! Even if the reason behind him being boss is… sharding stupid.

Since…. “I think it happened sometime last turn. For me, it was when I finally stopped cutting the crusts off of my sandwiches and started eatin’ them like a man,” he jokes lightly. That’s the moment where he grew from a boy to a man and meetings and rules were no longer things he ran and hid from! .. Yeah, sure. That’s his story and he’s sticking with it! “Heh. I know what you mean though. From breakin’ protocol to makin’ protocol. We’ve come full cycle.” Or something like that. As for Kiena…brooding isn’t going to help him find the right way to handle that situation. Talking has helped in ways staring at the window never could. “If I make her go to extra meetings, you’d probably have to find yourself a new weyrmate because she’d kill me,” he says with a bit of a laugh. “I’ll figure out somethin’. I usually do.” With or without the night of little sleep. The arm around her squeezes fractionally tighter. ”Bed?”

"Do you still put twice as much jelly as peanut butter?" Soriana asks of those sandwiches with a smirk. Because there's growing up, and then there's just going crazy! Surely they don't have to grow up all the way… even if they are the new makers of the rules they once broke, and that reminds her. "…I should talk to Innes." Not that it's a to-do for anyone but her to remember, just muttered to herself, but then she hehs to Ka'el. "Maybe it'll spin around again." Maybe that's what happened to Zi'on. He was respectable (surely it must be possible?) for too long, and now he's gone wild. Maybe. Or maybe it's just… him. As for Kiena? Soriana laughs. "Okay, point. Send her for smith practice." Because she's surely lacking in (and eager for!) time doing that. "You will," Soriana agrees to Ka'el figuring things out, and leans up to kiss his cheek as he squeezes her against him. "Yeah. Let's get some sleep."

Ka'el arches a brow. “Is there any other way? Putting twice as much jelly as peanut butter is ….. protocol. Written within the Book of Protocol. Anyone who doesn’t jelly their sandwich with the correct jelly to peanut butter ratio is subject to severe consequences. Haven’t you read the fine print?” .. He squints his eyes at her. “Don’t tell me you’ve broken protocol, Soriana.” Um. What was that about him growing up? Well, maybe only one part of him has grown up! The part of him that worries and cares for friends enough that he’ll put himself in the middle of their problems in hopes of assisting them in fixing them. Yeah. That somewhat selfless part of him has matured. But this part? This PB&J Protocol part? May never see adulthood! He’s smiling because of the joke and the kiss, then he’s grinning at the mentioning of sleep. “Who said anything about sleeping?” Well. Other than Soriana herself, but ..she gets what he means! Sleeping would probably be a good idea, considering the hour and the fact that tomorrow is not a rest day. But, he can’t pass up an opportunity to jest! And who knows. He may get lucky! Either way, he finally leaves the window behind to instead walk with her, back towards their bedroom.

And now they're followers of protocol! So really, those former high-jelly days, they were doing what they weren't supposed to (by doing what they're supposed to) as opposed to now, where they do what they're supposed to by doing what they're supposed to. "…I like 'em with apples," Soriana says, thus avoiding that whole question of whether she's been obeying the rules. Besides, having other fruit involved changes the PB&J Procedure. It's in a footnote. Or maybe a supplemental volume. The point is, it's totally a real rule (like the rest of it) and utterly something that should be properly PB&enforced. Meals are important. So is sleep, but. "No?" Soriana asks with a lifted brow and lifted corners of her mouth to go with it. "Rain's supposed to make you sleepy, you know." True fact! But she bumps her hip to his along the way back to that bedroom… and surely they don't need that much sleep tonight? Or maybe they do. It's a question. Just like the question of what to do.

Apples!? Woah…let's not get crazy. That's nowhere in the rule book! Ka'el will go through it with a fined toothed comb (and super magnifying magnificent magnifying glasses) to search and prove to her that apples are definitely not okay. Though they should be because..he likes apples. Hmmmm. This may have to be something that's added if it indeed is not there. Soriana may be spared after all on that technicality. Ka'el makes a scoffing noise at her retort. "My will is too strong to be lulled to sleep by rain." Mwuhahaha! Fear him! Buuut on second thought, it may be hard to fear someone who looks so utterly comfortable once they do climb into bed. They have their spots. Their sides. Not exactly 'designated' but habits are formed where the body gravitates towards one side of the bed. And tonight, Ka'el's body gravitates towards Soriana's once they've settled in, his chest close to her back. His arm curls around her middle, then slides beneath that too-large shirt of hers to rest his hand against her stomach. Skin to skin, much better! Oh man .. he is tired. Lying in bed has activated all those sleepy feelings that have been kept at bay with his busy mind, and he feels comfortably heavy as he nuzzles against her neck and hair. "Talk to Innes soon," he murmurs in belated reply to words that weren't meant for him in the first place. “Whatever you’ve to say to her’s gonna be good advice.” Groggy voice. Eyes close.

That's part of the nature of rules, after all - they can change, to better fit the situation. And what people like. They can change to fit what people like. Especially what people in charge like. And guess who's in charge? So! Apple peanut jelly butter it is. Or will be. Or was. "Oh, yeah. Show me that mighty will of yours." Was there a pause before the will? Like she might substitute something else? No, surely not. It was just… uh… coincidence. A pause for breath. Yeah. Gotta breathe to be comfortable. They don't technically gotta lie on the bed on the sides they're used to and nestle toward each other, but it certainly helps. Soriana rests her head half-against his shoulder, and half closes her eyes as Ka'el presses close. She could… well. She gets as far as putting a hand against his hip, but the bed's distracting, tugging out thoughts. One by one they fall down, and the Innes one is surely just emerging as words as part of getting rid of it for sleep. "Mmh," Soriana answers. "I guess. Not like I know what I'm doing." And yet… she'll give advice, because the blind're who the blind have to lead them. She kisses Ka'el's shoulder, drifting off to sleep after him. Or maybe just together with him, because they take turns being leader.

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