==== December 3, 2013
==== Nora, V'dean
==== The progress report is better for somethings than others.

Who Nora, V'dean
What The progress report is better for somethings than others.
When There are 0 turns, 6 months and 21 days until the 12th pass.
Where Archive Library, Southern Weyr

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Archive Library
Where once books reigned supreme, this open space is now dominated by a stalwart skybroom reaching to the sky through a broken ceiling. What was once evidence of collapse is now ornately carved with engraved ivy, matched by a clever contraption of stone that allows the gap to be closed in inclement weather. A small garden occupies the space around the tree-trunk, all manicured bushes and flowering shrubbery enclosed by a grated gutter. The walls are lined with bookcases, while a spiral staircase leans on the western wall to wind upwards to the second level. Tucked in the corners and scattered in the main areas are tables and chairs, cafe-style, and comfortably worn overstuffed armchairs. It is the perfect place for individuals to gather, to enjoy the offerings of the food-cart or a spirited conversation.

Since its completion, the library has been attracting a few more patrons, especially on sunny days when the light pours in through the ceiling. But on an overcast afternoon when most people are toiling away at their work, it's relatively quiet. And older man sits near the tree with his book propped up on the edge of his table. Two young people are in the corner, bowed in concentration over their studies. Nora is standing on the balcony, perhaps not terribly noticeable beyond the branches of the skybroom, though the crispness of her white blouse and black skirt might stand about amidst the stone and wood and dark leather spines. One hand wrapped around the rail, the other around a mug, she appears just to be enjoying the view, though it's entirely likely there's some work waiting for her on one of those corner-tucked chairs behind her.

There's been at least one additional trio tucked amidst the sparse shelves: Ocelot riders with winter's breath still brisk across their faces. Jackets open, gloves tucked into belts, it can't have been long since they were at their work in the skies. Long enough, however, for them to be breaking up now. Perhaps it's only that the skybroom has been obscuring the upper level's view that the lone bluerider is the one that ends up making for the stair with a bound volume tucked under his arm. Perhaps, on the other hand, it is exactly the glimpse of ankles and crisp skirt that have V'dean striding up the curving steps at a confident clip. A dimpled smile is aimed upward at the first, though he will spend most of the climb admiring the view she commands. But there's to be no effort at avoidance on his part; near the top, his fingers comb through his hair and green eyes settle back upon Nora.

Perhaps she did miss them. If not the whole trio, then maybe the bluerider among their number. But Nora does see him as he crosses toward the stairs, a slow beat of observation, and he may just catch the tail end of her glance, before a casual blink tosses her gaze to other, farther, sights. She takes a sip of her tea. There's no hurry to gather her things or step away from the rail, and so that is what he finds as he reaches the top: Nora still surveying the library, not a hair out of place. She turns just enough to give V'dean a thin smile with little effort to sweeten it, hardly enough to delay him from going about whatever business he has with that book under his arm.

V'dean, of course, proves quite capable of delaying himself. His step slows as he gains the landing, dimple fixed firm beneath the scruff of his cheek and gaze likewise steady upon the sleek surveyor at the top of the stairs. His arms shift as he prowls at a slow amble about her, tucking the book more tightly under the pinch of a grey jacketed armpit. "Admiring your handiwork?" If Nora turns just that little bit, there may be just the warmth of his voice to mark his smile as he passes behind the tidy sweep of her hair. His hand finds the rail beside hers, the lean of his weight sinking high into his shoulder. The squint of his glance lifts up into the tree's branches before dropping to the little garden below. "Is it everything you imagined?"

Of course he would delay, and prowl closer. Expected as it is, it might just lengthen her blink, weariness in the way that fall of lashes pairs with a quiet exhale. But she'll go right on admiring her work, eyes picking down the tree trunk to the garden below. "Some things are just as good in reality," comes Nora's light reply, her weight slinging forward for her hips to meet the rail, leaning there as she curls her mug toward her collar and swaying back onto her feet again with a sweep of skirt. "Or it will be." After all, the garden has that newly-planted look, the shelves far more sparse than one would probably like, but she seems disheartened by none of these things.

Of course he would delay, and prowl closer. Expected as it is, it might just lengthen her blink, weariness in the way that fall of lashes pairs with a quiet exhale. But she'll go right on admiring her work, eyes picking down the tree trunk to the garden below. "Some things are just as good in reality," comes Nora's light reply, her weight slinging forward for her hips to meet the rail, leaning there as she curls her mug toward her collar and swaying back onto her feet again with a sweep of skirt. "Or it will be." After all, the garden has that newly-planted look, the shelves far more sparse than one would probably like, but she seems disheartened by none of these things.

There's a slight deepening twitch at his smile as V'dean watches Nora through her skirt-swaying shifts from a sidecast gaze. "Fort wasn't built in a day." It's thrown-away agreement with her latter statement, taking into account those open shelves and leggy plants. "Though something like that," green eyes drift back towards the tree, "that can't be planned for. Happy happenstance. How old do you think it is?" His head gives a little tilt, his brow a little tuck, and the pause in the lazy trip of his musing is given between the words that follow: "Decades? Centuries?" A long breath starts to roll his shoulder into something like a shrug as his poorly filtered smile flicks back to the headwoman. "Some things just might turn out better."

"I think they told me, but I don't remember." The age of the tree. Nora doesn't seem inclined to wrack her brain for the information, either, particularly since as his attention turns toward the tree, her own moves off to the two young people working hard at their studies. Her expression bland for another beat, a cool smile finds her lips. "Yes, some people get amazingly lucky." And then nothing of the expanse below has her eye, nor V'dean, since she turns away from him as she takes a sip of her tea, paused to drink perhaps, but very likely in the process of moving toward that chair with its clipboard and stack of papers.

V'dean catches that shift, bland to cool. It sets off the curve of his own smile, racheting it into a grin that even the roll of his tongue doesn't suppress. Of course, she's turning away, and so the way he drops his chin down for a beat doesn't really matter. "Luck." He's mostly kept the laughter from his voice, and with the single word there's little room for nuance in the rounded pronunciation. "They do," is much more passively bland in comparison. His brows lead the lift of his face, his posture. The departure of the curl of his knuckles leaves a soft thrum through the metal of the railing. The bluerider is also twisting to find first the back of Nora's neatly coiffed head and then her clipboard. It leaves a lopsided quirk to his smile. "What are you working on today?"

Whatever transpires on her face while it's turned away, when Nora sneaks a look over her shoulder at him there's some reluctant hint of tension tugging at one corner of her mouth. With a bend, she sets her mug aside, freeing her hands to gather up the clipboard and other work, letting it find a comfortable tuck between her arm and her hip. "Scheduling. Ready to start the next thing," she says a touch more lightly. Ah, her job is never done. But after she takes up her mug again and straightens, she turns toward him and her delicate features find the repressed beginning of some quiet smile. "Can I tell you something?" Her lashes flick flow, eyes only fleetingly meeting his.

While she gathers her things V'dean lets the book he carries slip down from its tuck against his side to rest in an easier sling within his palm. If this has him looking away from that glimpse of tension, it's probably just in order to ensure that the choreography goes smoothly and no nascent shrubbery down below gets squashed by falling texts. "Looks like a big thing," is his observation given that stack of papers. The drift of his steps away from the rail bring him nearer to Nora and the table she seems to be abandoning. "Can you?" There's muted cheekiness in the lofty little twitches at brow and mouth's edge. But no, that's not his answer. "Yes, Nora. You may." That little sway of his stance, it might look a little like bracing despite the cavalier manner he lightly wears as he attends to her in mild expectation.

There's just some faint tip of her head to make light of whatever job lays before her and in the pages nestled in the crook of her arm, and she gives no reaction for the teasing repetition of her question, the correction of her grammar. Perhaps what she means to tell him is somewhat private in nature, with the way her glance remains low, the hesitant press of her lips together, but she draws a step closer to him, too. "Do you remember when we were on the beach?" she asks with voice pitched low, her eyes lifting to find that steady green gaze. Her mouth twists a little, just enough to leave her expression uncertain. And though surely he does remember, she pauses to give him leave to answer.

It's all rather collegiate — her with her armful of papers, him with his text slung loosely in hand, and that pair of studious youths working away on the lower floor of the hushed and overcast library. There's perhaps something a touch guarded in the way he meets Nora's seemingly docile approach. But his posture, like his gaze, remains unflinching. If anything, the slight stretch of his neck tips V'dean further into the pocket of privacy she creates. He'll make good use of that pause she grants him, searching the uncertainty of her expression. If the truer curve that pulls soft to his lips is artifice, it's masterfully drawn. "I do."

It is terribly collegiate, but then the library does lend itself to such a situation, just as the cant of her own head, with its sleekly coiled hair and the flat plane of her cheek, lends further intimacy to their nearness. Her eyes flick over his face, the stubborn divot beneath his scruff and the lingering softness about his mouth. "You were right, V'dean." Her hands are both busy, but, with the twist of a step, a few fingers outstretched from the hold of her clipboard can brush lightly against the fabric of his shirt, if not the shape of his waist beneath it. But it's the sweetness blooming in her smile that surely solidifies his guarded reception, the spark of her eye he knew was coming. "It's not worth it," Nora tells him flatly. A reverse of her twist has white shoes drawing off toward the stairs with another generous sway of her skirt.

Perhaps he ought to look smug, for this declaration of his rightness. And yet it seems to initiate the resigned drift of his lashes as V'dean aligns with the nearing tip of her fine jaw. While not held, his breath is shallow. Beneath the open hang of his jacket, winter altitude has called for a sturdier weave of shirt — but a lean into the brush of her fingers assures that they'll reach the taut flex of his waist. Not that it matters. He must know what's coming, but while that lock is kept upon any deeper reaction, there's no hardening of his expression. Perhaps that soft curve has gone a little sickly, and certainly the slip of his gaze has fallen off floorward. It's in periphery, then, that he's left to watch the crisp departure of white shoes beneath that black swaying hem. There's a slight hum at the start of a murmured "sorry" — I'm sorry, probably. It binds him in place, the book in need of reshelving forgotten a minute more as his free fingers slide up in an ill-aimed drift over cheek and mouth.

Nora has started down the stairs before she looks back, up, at him. A deep breath helps to loft her chin, firming resolve on her face, but not hardness. No, as her gaze lifts over him — his planted feet, his open jacket, the downward tip of his head and the rub of his hand at the weakening curve on his mouth — there's a touch of sympathy in her steady blue eyes, with the memory of her own sickly smile not entirely forgotten. And so perhaps there's some remonstrance on that pale face, leaving the responsibility with him before she finishes her descent and those white shoes can sound though the library as she starts across the stone below.

As the sound of her heels descend the stair, V'dean doesn't expect her to look back. It catches him in a moment of slanted careworn calculation, the loose fan of his fingertips still partially obscuring the solemn soft of his mouth. Or perhaps it's just weary, lazy, carelessness — a blink leaves his eyes simply dull. The gathering of his fingertips presses to collect a kiss that is waved into the air after her with a languid waggle as an elastic smile pulls into place, knowingly forced. And with that the bluerider turns, drifting off to the upper shelves to find the home of his borrowed book where the sound of Nora's exit can echo up at him.

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