====November 14, 2013
==== Cerise, V'dean
==== Sass and soaking in the baths.

Who Cerise, V'dean
What Sass and soaking in the baths.
When There are 0 turns, 8 months and 18 days until the 12th pass.
Where Baths, Southern Weyr

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The steamy fog of the baths could be an entirely different world, transitioning from the well-lit brilliance of the inner caverns: a different world entirely, one wrought in dreams and humid fog. Steam lifts from hot waters, obscuring those who bathe within, drenching any who dare enter. Well-maintained, well-stocked, the baths offer pre-netted portions of soapsand in various scents, fluffy towels in orderly rows, and five separate spring-fed pools, all of differing temperature: from scorching hot to soothing chill.

Why is it that the thick humidity of the great outdoors saps a person's will to live, and yet coming to the baths with its steamy atmosphere is such a pleasure? It is a mystery, but a happy one for those who've staked a claim in one of the pools. There are actually a number of weyrlings in the baths this evening, soaking away the aches and pains of a long day spent doing what weyrlings do. Work, work, work and perhaps a little play- at least for those with the energy required for horsing around. A couple of them are doing just that, engaged in splashing each other under the amused- or wary- eyes of their fellows. Cerise is not one of these, by virtue of having hopped a pool over into the hottest water the Weyr has available. Modesty is a distant memory but though she's bare, she's also covered almost to her chin in water, sunk as deep as she can go without risking drowning, with curls spread on the surface around her head and eyes closed. If pleasure were a visible thing, there'd be lines of it surrounding her, shimmering and swirling as the steam does. Visible beneath the ripples, she has a hand cupped over her shoulder, fingers engaged in idle massage and prodding of the yellow-green bruises that come of hauling sacks of firestone through daily exercises.

With the louder splashes from the horsing weyrlings in the adjacent pool, the ambling plap of bare feet probably is below notice. More obvious is likely the plonking of a controlled slip into the water nearby Cerise, creating ripples that bob at the dark penumbra of floating curls. "Is this the penalty pool?" comes a low-voiced question of lazy humor. V'dean's voiced question. The rider still stands, ribs brushed up against the pool's stoney side as he reaches an arm back to tidy the towel that was dropped before his entry into the water. His hair is already a wet slick, corrugations the shape of his habitual combing fingers, scented vaguely of one of the cavern's more subtle soapsand bundles. "Evening," he thinks to add afterward with a smoother flicker of smile, cool green eyes running over that tell-tale shoulder prodding as he twists to set his back to the wall.

It's possible that Cerise cracks an eye open when the water goes all wobbly, if only to ascertain the identity of he who dares disturb her peace. It has to be a he. In her life, it's always a he. And when V'dean speaks, he adds a plus one to her anecdotal evidence pool. By the time he's settled and lobbed the first salvo in her direction, both eyes are closed again. "I swear if you do not play nice, I will not hesitate to dunk you just shy of drowning. I've got the muscles for it now, and youth on my side." Aggressive as this reply might be, there is a small smile playing over her lips, higher on one side than the other. She forgoes the salute, though. "…but maybe not surprise now that I've warned you. Evening, bluerider. This is the sore, broken or otherwise disadvantaged pool." A glint of hazel shows, as she peeks at him one-eyed again. "Do you qualify?"

There's a moment where he feigns wounded innocence, all lofted brows and blinking eyes. But it soon slips into his easier grin as a quiet chuckle catches breath in his throat. "And I believe I've still got leverage," V'dean will add while they're making tally, which may just hazard it being put to the test. While he deprives himself of that greater height, sinking himself lower beneath the surface with a stuttered out-walking of feet that just so happens to drift him closer to the weyrling, the bluerider doesn't fail to note the play of her smile with a sly slant of gaze. Her question presses his dimple deeper underneath the mist dewed upon the scruff of his cheek. "I'm afraid I've lost my way, then. I was looking for the pool of the virile, unbroken elite." His teeth flash as he takes up a run of palm not so very different than hers, sloshing water as the heel of his hand absently digs along a bicep. "Firestone," he assumes. "Anyone yank out their shoulder yet?" is wondered with an idle smirk.

"None thus far, but Dimi might've wrenched his hand getting caught in the straps dismounting, and I'd swear to my spine being out of alignment, trotting Jia 'round the training grounds earlier. Firestone's the worst though, aye." Cerise wedges her feet against the pool's bottom and scoots herself up, bringing shoulders and collarbones above the surface. It does nothing to discourage closing space between them when she twists to better show off the bruises dappling shoulder and back, beneath a bright layer of moisture. Helpful fingers point out especially deep marks. "It's like learning tumbling all over again, except with rocks in a sack on my back. But if I can look forward to becoming virile and unbroken…" Surely it's all worth it. The tilt of her smile digs a false dimple into her cheek, echo of his. Water-dappled eyebrows lift to punctuate the shift in expression. "Was a yanked shoulder part of your experience in weyrlinghood?"

"Mm, dragons on the ground," V'dean gives a little shake of his head and quirk of his mouth. It's a little like sympathy. The display of aged bruising spawns more ripples as he leans in a closer look across the water's steaming surface, though perhaps he's not quite so focused upon her helpful indications as he might be. The low whistle he gives is benign enough, however. His eyes flick briefly to her mirrored dimple, the warp of his mouth pressing against the stretch of a deeper curve as he tips his chin up and sets a more studious look down his nose towards the yellow-greened patterning. "I may have had a moment's falter," allowed, "despite springing forth in strong perfection." It could be he's just lifting an arm to add preening flex to this claim, but after flicking excess water off of his fingers, they're reaching a poke towards one of Cerise's darker spots. "Did you get this from slinging it over your own shoulder, or did you make someone angry and they chucked it at you?"

"You sound like a Harper, talking like that. Springing forth in strong perfection, such poetry," Cerise parrots, returning both shoulders to the heated support of stone wall behind her. That the flex earns a glance can't be denied but checking out the ripple of muscle resulting from that movement has the additional side effect of letting her spy the poke, incoming. She reaches out with the intent of seizing and turning aside those fingers before they can make contact. The whistling's provoked a grin though, keeping the evasion all in good humor. A parry, of sorts. "I'll have you know I am adored by one and all. No one's chucked rocks at me since I was…oh, fourteen or fifteen, and that was just the twins so it doesn't count." Then, with nary a breath taken between one sentence and the next, she provides a prompt: "Tell me how you popped your shoulder out of joint." After which eyes are closed again and head settles into the hollow provided for lounging. Lounging, and listening.

Such a poet, he snorts, the breath chasing down to a second dry chuckle low in his lungs. It leaves his smile at a slim cant, though there's plenty laughter in green eyes as her catch interrupts his reach. Unchastised, V'dean doesn't pull his hand into retreat, the water allowing an easy float that leaves his knuckles a small archipelago. "Twins," he doesn't fail to note, though it's an absently done thing as her universal adoration warps at his brows. Oh-really. Nothing is forthcoming, at first, when she closes her eyes. But then a deeper sway, the submerged currents pulled by some larger shift of his, comes along with the bright chime of palm-poured water. "I was about seventeen," he's moved out from the wall, perhaps closer to the drift of her toes. "Weyrling training. Determined to sling stone with the older guys." The smile in his voice is edging on rueful. "I didn't, actually, fully dislocate it. But I did get laid up a good while."

"Twins." There's a twinge to accompany the repetition of the word, a downward tug of lips that's all too easily hidden. All Cerise needs do is open one eye, curiosity compelling a welfare check on the bluerider and allowing her to set aside whatever that was- discomfort or wryness or both. Toes stubbornly remain where they are when he's spied. "I can't for the life of me imagine you showing off to…no, wait…I take that back. Did they appreciate it, at least? Come to visit you in your cot? I bet they didn't, the cads." The lightness of her words, their dance through steam and over water, is at odds with the placid expression that slides into place with the closing of her eyes again. There's a little rumple threatening, a dip between her eyebrows which might soon develop into a line. "…Jia cracked a talon. Doing something like that, with the other greens. It matters to her how she's seen. Maybe you could give her tips on how to grow out of it."

The shape of his smile is a touch hardened for her teasing, though his words are as light as hers. "I may not have been universally adored," is pitched to sound a startling revelation. "But we've friends enough, amongst our clutchmates." And while concern may be settling more heavily upon Cerise's expression, the suggestion prompts a short laugh from the bluerider. The swirl of his wading pulls the tide to her other side as V'dean floats up to the wall by which she reclines. He faces it, the laced curl of his hands at the edge becoming prop for his chin as he stretches his shoulders under the water's surface. "You think I'm suitable as a roll model," he is disbelievingly amused. "I might even argue that it is important, keeping up appearances." Though a languid blink may admit to some irony in this.

When he settles, she lets her head tilt gently in that direction. There's a gleam of light reflected through lowered lashes, proving Cerise to be not nearly as at ease as she'd prefer to appear. "And yet you don't seem to really bother. Why is that, I wonder?" Before he's given the chance to reply though, Cerise shifts and turns to adopt the same posture. The bonk of elbow against elbow is no coincidence, judging by the sidelong look and faint smile offered in concert with her settling. "But if you're just going to encourage her, I retract the request," she says with chin brushing her knuckles. "She's adored by everyone, and tying herself in knots to suit someone else's image of the perfect green is ridiculous. There's no reasoning with her though. Was it you who wanted to impress those boys, or Ekerth?"

There's certainly no coincidence as he bonks companionably back, the easy wing of his elbow a languid float in the water as V'dean matches her look along the half-lengths of their arms. "She does seem sweet, if… forward," is what he has to say of Jiamoth, that impish dimple lingering. It remains even as he ratchets his chin higher a knuckle, letting his low-brushed gaze fix from a slightly higher angle. "We weren't trying to impress them," he claims rather determinedly. Even in his lazy tones, the speed is such to leave space in want of explanation: "I," takes the onus off Ekerth, "just wanted to fit in." Perhaps there's something to the past tense of it, but the bluerider isn't exactly distancing himself from the statement, either.

"Forward? He put his tail out there for the taking." What was that about irony? Where V'dean offered languid blinking, Cerise twinkles self-awareness instead: eyes, dimples, teeth and the laugh that follows as she reorients her head to face forward. "You know she's still pleased with herself for that? I heard about it for a full seven before it slipped her mind and I had to remind her how clever she'd been." There follows a lapse in conversation, time spent just letting the water lift and the heat to soak in. A quiet, contented sort of moment finally broken with a sigh. Marked shoulders tense as she rearranges her arms, hands curled over the pool's edge in a prelude to pulling herself up and out. "It's easier to fit in when you're always on the move. You put the costume on going in and slip it off again leaving, no one the wiser until you're well away."

"That sounds like him," Ekerth, dry amidst the steam. But it puts a little hitch of chuckle in the rider's exhale. V'dean is content enough to sink into that close pool of silence, though there's some small wince and re-set as his lean shifts from chin to cheek. It lets the curl of his hand slack, leaves his hang on the pool's wall by his fingertips as the water eases high above drill-worked shoulders and against the long cords of his neck. Thus it's his turn to flicker just one drifted-closed eyelid in order to note Cerise's arranging to exit. "Sounds about right," his agreement is muffled against his hands. A wider blink lifts his smile and pushes him into a listing roll, catching his nape against the pool's edge where he'll likely make less a voyeur even if he leaves his gaze slanted aside at the weyrling. "Appearances," he'll muse idle. "It's all just costumes."

"Trappings," Cerise says in tones of agreement, the jiggle of voice midway between the word marking an almost-chuckle. "Trappings and the rules needed to bolster them." A shame, really. The steam-soaked bluerider is studied at an angle, just as idle, slightly more speculative as hazel eyes shift from arms to cheek to paler eyes. It's there that she adopts another grin. "I do like our little chats," she tells him, the genuine hidden beneath light amusement. And then it's up and out, a wave of water sloshed over the side and more pattering down as she steps over his towel to fetch her own from the bench against the wall. If there's a huffed complaint for the effort needed from back and shoulders, for the weight put on tired legs, it's soon hidden beneath a veil of terrycloth. Once she's wrapped herself, parting words are offered by way of, "Come run with me, tomorrow," before she directs herself towards the dressing nooks.

There's no shame in the pleased little smile-and-nod V'dean has for her agreement. "Me, too." The words roll along upon that wave, the set edge of his gaze both unflinching and unfollowing as she winds her way from the water then heads off dripping across his towel. He starts the absent drag of fingernails through the bristles at his cheek as she huffs behind him. And while the bluerider says nothing further in parting, he will roll a look back, arching brows high in order to meet the angle of gaze needed to answer Cerise's offer with a quiet depth of dimple. With that he watches her a moment, off towards the nooks, before sinking himself into the steam for a longer soak.

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