==== December 1, 2013
==== Br'er, Q'fex
==== Br'er and Q'fex. They always escalate quickly. (If that's what they are calling it these days.)

Who Br'er, Q'fex
What Br'er brings Q'fex dinner. Things … escalate quickly. That poor guard.
When There are 0 turns, 7 months and 3 days until the 12th pass.
Where War Room, Southern Weyr

brer-amused.png fex_disapproval.jpg

War Room
Within this room there is a constant buzz, a low-pitched thrum of activity no matter the time of day — or night. Here are the records for the current leadership, and pertinent information for the time: inventories and star-charts, ledgers and tithe manifests and wing records. Such valuable information is kept twice-watched by two disparate forces: a guard at the door and the archivist at his table, and none quite sure which of the two is more dangerous.

-- On Pern --
It is evening
It is 8:37 PM where you are.
There are 0 turns, 7 months and 3 days until the 12th pass.
It is the eighty-seventh day of Autumn and 63 degrees. Partly cloudy with faint silvery moonlight that can be seen poking behind the break in cloud cover.

Under lock and key, the War Room remains a place for… well, for Q'fexes, apparently, this evening. The Weyrleader has been a scarce commodity as of late: after that disastrous mock threadfall, he's been pulling an insane amount of working candlemarks a day. Generally speaking, it's rough when even Kraakenaeth notices that you're working too much. The dark-eyed man is here, 'relaxing' over wing reports, sipping at a tall glass of milk while the posted guard looks on, bored.

Poor guard. Here, let a staccato rap on the door give him something to do, by way of poking his head out to see who the visitor is. And there's a raspily familiar voice, briskly overwhelming any well-trained scruples the guard might have to just letting someone waltz right in: "Here, hello, could you get out of my way -" nudge nudge NUDGE seriously dude move it "- this shit's heavy." It's Br'er, of course. Specifically, it's Br'er, and also dinner: a bulky oaken tray's worth of solid earthenware dishes. Plain solid stuff from the kitchens, though the contents may not be. Southern's cooks are good, but it's doubtful tonight's menu included steak.

What Q'fex would give for a solid chunk of sirloin, flash-charred medium rare. Br'er will just have to do! The man settles his glass of milk down on the coaster the archivist has so painstakingly (emphasis on pain) provided for the task. Milk around records? It's good to be king. Weyrleader. Whatever. "Oh, look," amusement in a dark burr of roughened voice, "Dinner." He rises from his chair. "And food, too?" Ha, ha. Very funny man, Q'fex. He is, at least, enough of a non-asshole to clear off a section of table for Br'er to settle that tray down.

"Dinner? Not in front of the children, dear," retorts Br'er, setting down the tray with a hint of relief. "You'll have to settle for food." He looks tired, albeit probably not as tired as Q'fex, but otherwise more or less his usual self - which nowadays means 'sleek and smug'. And a turn ago he was still a peaky ex-con! Despite the sham protestation, there's a moment of affectionate leaning before the greenrider settles, all chastity, into the next seat over. "That beast of yours," he says this with affection, "told Inlayraith to tell me to come harass you. I figured you hadn't eaten yet." There's steak and nicely seasoned potatoes and fresh salad, all revealed as he starts removing protective lids. Also beignets - so, yes, wherever he got this from, it sure as hell wasn't the kitchens.

"Mmmm." Q'fex doesn't necessarily sound DISAPPOINTED. Probably because the bastard is in fact hungry. The darkhaired man does raise his eyebrows at the feast as it's displayed, slanting his eyes over to Br'er in amusement. "You spoil me." He plucks up one of those potato-bits of seasoned deliciousness, eyes closing in unmitigated bliss at the bite. The guard shifts uncomfortably where he stands. Awkward. "Whereever did you get this from? Here, you have to try one." Q'fex will even show that he knows how to be a civilized creature by grabbing a fork to stab one of those potatoes and offer it over to Br'er, all innocent-face. "Kraaken disapproves of me right now." Offered as belated response.

That poor guard. And here is Br'er, making it worse, responding to accusations re: spoilage by reaching over for distinctly friendly ruffling of salt-and-pepper hair. Well. It's more… petting, really. SO awkward. "You're working yourself too hard," is the chide. "Let the rest of us -" oh, right, there is that shiny new Serval wingsecond knot on his shoulder, isn't there? "- pick up more of the slack." Another RUFFLE, before he drops his hand back down to his lap. "Idiot." The potato is eyed, an eyebrow quirked. Q'fex should know by now that Br'er is not the best at backing down from an opportunity to be terrible. He makes a SHOW of things. THAT POOR GUARD. A moment of blissful chewing is a moment of reprieve, but the snicker is right out in the open in his voice once his mouth is clear. "Ever been to the Glass Sea? It's in Nerat. Little inn, you'd never think anything of it." One of the array of little places where Br'er Knows A Guy, evidently. "It was a bitch figuring out how to take the dishes with me so they would stay warm, but…"

Friendly petting. What could ever go wrong there? Q'fex dodges after a moment, though, complete with a retorted: "Oh, sure, mom." He attends to his food, starting with the salad in an obligatory type of way — though that changes when he actually tastes it. A good vinagrette can change a man's life. Or something. Speaking of incorrigible men, there are two of them in the room, but one is striving to be good… or at least doing well to show that side. "I'm sorry I've been so busy. We should have gone there instead of you having to figure logistics." There is tired apology in dark eyes, and then, just like that: "Sure. I will give you guys more work. And…" A pause in eating, and he rubs his face. "Maybe it's time."

There's a hint of a smirk at the corners of Br'er's mouth, upon the shift from obligation to exhilaration. Mom, indeed. Here to make sure Q'fex eats his VEGGIES. Presumably the greenrider has already had his, because, well. He's stealing a bit of potato. Don't mind him. "You make an amusing vista when you're sleeping," well there's a creeper statement if there ever was one, "but I'll admit, I would like to see more of you when you're awake." There's a quiet spot of rumination to follow, during which Q'fex can actually, y'know, eat. Abruptly: "You're not the only one who wants to deal with fear through work. You don't owe me an apology. It's just, well." Barging in doesn't embarrass Br'er. Implied fork fellatio doesn't embarrass Br'er. Petting doesn't embarrass Br'er. But what he's about totally embarrasses Br'er. "I'm happy." Shocking. "It makes me feel like being selfish and extravagant, to cling to it for a little longer." Hence the fancy meal-bringing and the work-interrupting, presumably.

Maybe he's watching his girlish figure! Lookin' all sleek and shit. Q'fex cuts his eyes at Br'er at the sleeper-creeper comment, not quite fast enough to halt the involuntary rise of eyebrows. He opens his mouth to say something but then finds it occupied with a first slice of steak and hang on, he's communing with nirvana. Only one thing can knock him out of that — that being Br'er-embarassment — and when the point comes around those eyebrows lift again, omnimobile. When he replies, his voice has dropped an octave and comes out softer (still loud enough to embarass the guard!), "You make me happy too, Br'er." Nevermind his thumb has just a bit of steak-grease on it, he's reaching out to brush that digit over Br'er's lower lip, his own smile half-crooked and eyes drowsy-lidded in what can only be his most unguarded expression.

Seriously, guys. The guard is right there. Br'er should not be catching the tip of Q'fex's thumb with him mouth like that, much less lathing at the steak grease, when the poor thing really can't get away. He probably shouldn't be scraping his chair closer, either, but at least that just ends in a perfectly innocent bit of leaning, and a slightly dopey sighing of "Good." Chaste affection! For all of ten seconds. "If I hadn't promised Kraaken I'd make sure you got back to your weyr at a responsible hour tonight," the greenrider says, sadly failing to lower his voice enough to spare the innocent, "I'd tell you to kick the guard out and lock the door. I have a thing about tables covered in hidework." He presses closer. There's a flash of teeth, visible for just a few seconds before he shifts and presses his face into Q'fex's shoulder. "Eat your food."

There comes a noise from the door — a laugh choked off, or maybe just a strangled-down response. The guard stares straight ahead (vectoring off completely different than where they are located, thankfully) and doesn't comment threafter. Q'fex's eyes darken at the suggestion, flicking from Br'er's eyes to his lips and back in a classic man move of trying to decide which is more important to focus on. "Now I have you as a mom and Kraaken as a nanny. Whatever will I do." He snort-chuffles a laugh but goes back to his steak. He is EVEN a good enough man to redirect into something more … appropriate. "I'm thinking of getting an assistant." Control-freak Q'fex, delegating?

Just imagine how much more complicated Q'fex's man moves would have to be if Br'er shucked off his breeches and gave him more things to look at! (Actually, maybe don't. The guard doesn't need that in his life.) "I'm fairly certain Inlayraith spared me the more creative of his suggestions." Br'er's voice is a little muffled by shoulder, now, but the amusement factor still rings clear. "An assistant? That's not a bad idea. Amongst of the Weyrfolk, or a rider?" There's a thoughtful pause. "Either could be useful. It's good to have other people who can step into parts of your role when needed, and know the things you know. Especially with Thread so close." There's a somber note. But Br'er doesn't dwell on it. Instead, he tacks on, almost dreamily: "If you had an assistant, we could take a vacation."

If Br'er took his pants off, Q'fex wouldn't be worried about what to look at. It would be a completely different set of hardshi… uh, difficulties. "I'm not sure," Q'fex returns. "A rider," he contradicts himself easily enough, "But a new one. One that I can teach, one without any… bad habits." He takes another bite of steak and shifts an amused glance sideways to Br'er at that last. "Oh, could we now? What, living at Southern isn't vacation enough for you?" His voice, teasing.

"One of Dhiammarath's brood, then? A few likely looking lads in there." Br'er is a screaming liberal by Nowtimer standards, (as has been an important plot point on multiple occasions), and Q'fex is in the select circle of people the greenrider doesn't bother to chameleon-shift his politics around, but even Br'er takes a second to remember to add, "Likely lasses, too." He shifts enough to return the glance, smirk more audible in his voice than visible on his face. "Southern's charming. But I wouldn't say no to a few days somewhere quiet… by ourselves…" starts off wistful, ends sour "… before there's Thread patterns and Fall obligations to worry about." He will eat his worries, by stealing a scrap of steak.

"Perhaps." Q'fex, master of the vague. "I'm not looking for an actual… weyrsecond, you could say. A token weyrsecond, but not one to manage the wings. Someone to manage my paperwork." He hefts a nearby inventory tome as if to prove his point. "Before Thread." Q'fex's voice has gone from charmingly husky to stark in point zero zero seven seconds. "It's coming." (No shit, sherlock.) He finishes the meatiest part of the steak and starts worrying last pieces of edibles off of the gristle — with his fingers, eat your heart out table manners. "It would be nice to — have a few days by ourselves, before." And thus the seed is planted.

"Heh. I'd volunteer, but we might be a little too, heh. Mutually distracting." Read: even with Q'fex hefting that tome, and even with talk of Thread, Br'er remains flush against him, which is hardly secretarial. "Besides, I think I already turned you down for something similar." He is terrible. "Maybe you should figure out a subtle way to ferret out the right person for it. Some kind of trial. You want someone who genuinely wants to do the work, not just someone looking for an in with the leadership." One hand starts subtly sneaking towards the beignets, because did you really think Br'er didn't plan on filching one of those? The way his other hand creeps up towards the nape of Q'fex's neck, a light little massage, has all the signs of a diversion. "And - yes. Just a few days. Up in the Central Range, or on a boat, or… something."

"I did offer it to you before," Q'fex isn't peeved at all. "I'll have to get an office if I have an assistant, though." His voice is a little moody. He is a man who likes to not be predictable (even though he is so entirely predictable). He notices that hand creeping and reaches out to snag the beignet that Br'er was reaching for. Because he is also a dick. "We could go find a little cothold up near the snowy wastes," the man comments. "Cold weather and a fire. Maybe coax Yules to give up her secret klah recipe." A snort of amusement, and he shifts to lean back on the greenrider in momentarily contented silence.

"You could always get a moving desk, like a drudge's pushcart," suggests Br'er, more than a little mocking. "And set up shop from day to day in different parts of the Weyr. Keep us on our toes." Man, fuck you, he wants that beignet. A petulant note creeps into the greenrider's voice as he eyes Q'fex's thieving hand. "Hm, maybe. I learned to ski when I was at 'Reaches." Sadly, this is Pern: he's talking about pretty-scenery-hard-labor cross-country, not easy-zippy downhill. But most of his concentration is on the beignet. It doesn't take much for a cuddle to turn into a shove, and Br'er goes rapidly from being at Q'fex's side to half straddling him, as he tries to pull off a highway robbery and intercept that pastry. It's awkward, and a little flaily, and extremely up-close-and-personal. There's two more on the tray. But it's the principle of the thing.

THAT causes Q'fex to stop, pause, and just level a Look to Br'er. "Do I look like a drudge to you?" Sudden pause, sudden raised hand. "No, don't… don't answer that." But before he can pull the ultimate asshattery move and eat his powdered-sugar delicious frippery of butter and flour, there is a Br'er trying to STEAL HIS FOOD. "You littl…" is all he gets out as he, of course, FIGHTS this thievery intrusion by the ultimate teenaged-boy move: raising his hand with the beignet over his head, as far up as it can go. NO. NO YOU CANNOT HAVE IT IT IS MINE. There may be some extra grabby to his other hand as he tries to block the greenrider.

No worries, Br'er's kind of busy. The teenaged-dickhead move elicits a growl, because most of the time Br'er may quietly enjoy Q'fex's height advantage but this is not one of those times. But he will not be deterred! The straddle turns into a straightforward climb onto the bronzerider's lap, the better to give Br'er's questing fingers a few precious inches' worth of lift. The chair wobbles precariously. Br'er, arm in the air, notices this. Pauses. Notices the extremely close proximity of their faces. Pale eyes narrow dangerously. And then he shifts tactics in a way Q'fex can hardly fail to notice, because, hello, unannounced ferocious makeout. THE POOR GUARD. Does he get combat pay?

That noise, that strangled noise, it happens again. Q'fex isn't distracted by a tongue in his mouth, no matter how talented; if nothing else it gives him MORE impetus to grab at one of Br'er's wrists and then go seeking for the other one while precariously leaning back with his pastry. NO IT'S MINE YOU CAN'T HAVE IT even though you taste like delicious roasted potatoes. The guard, at this point, makes an executive decision to guard this entrance from the OTHER side of the door, slipping out with flustered step.

It's suspicious, maybe, how readily Br'er lets his hand be captured. When the chair wobbles and creaks, the location of the other makes itself know, as the greenrider slings it over the back of Q'fex's neck, the better to tug him forward. Possibly, this is to stabilize them. Possibly, it's to keep Q'fex from leaning so far back he accidentally drops the pastry. The exit of the guard registers a few hectic seconds after the poor man leaves. And then Br'er pulls back just a little, nips at a lip, and snickers breathlessly. "You know. I bet we wouldn't even have to lock the door now…" Br'er is the WORST. But don't let yourself be fooled; there's a little tiny eye-dart up towards the pastry. He's lying in wait.

"Get off." Heeeeeeeeeey now. Oh wait, not like that. Q'fex has a DEATHGRIP on his damn pastry. "Dammit man," he's just a little breathless himself, "There are two others on the fucking plate." Speaking of fucking plate, there goes one of those involuntary glances from Br'er to the table and back, as if gauging if HE COULD GET AWAY WITH IT. Q'fex, with his arm STILL WAY UP THERE, leans forwards for a completely eyes-open kiss. Just a little one. A warning one, maybe. He SEES you, Br'er-the-sly.

"But that one is mine." Irrefutable logic. There's nothing even subtle about the narrow-eyed smirk that follows the kiss. Also not subtle? The little shimmy that accompanies Br'er settling himself more comfortably on Q'fex's lap, leaning back a little, surveying. Br'er this is why you shouldn't be allowed in here Br'er this is where serious work happens. "We could always… split it." A little further with the leaning back; the arm snakes free of Q'fex's shoulder, providing a bracing elbow on the tabletop instead. A possible strategic error - leaving Q'fex with the space to snag a bite of beignet. But such an obvious one, accompanied by open slyness!

"Isn't it enough that I'm yours?" Of course the closest thing Q'fex has ever come to actually verbalizing… whatever it is. Whatever *this* is… would be that. Right here. Over a hifalutin' donut. That little shimmy has his eyes darkening. "You are a bad influence on me," he scolds, "And that is saying something." It really is. He doesn't go for the obvious open movement - it feels too SCRIPTED and he knows Br'er is smarter than him. Come on, let's face that fact right now. "Why don't you just get one off the table and I can have this one since you were so nice to bring this here. For me. To eat."

The thing about Br'er is that he is (yes) terribly bright, and brightly terrible, and a schemer - but he is also the kind of man who Impresses an Inlayraith. He has a certain sentimental streak. And whatever scheme he was up to, Q'fex's irritated attempt to put words around their… THING… has Br'er now genuinely distracted. The greenrider gazes for a still and weighty beat, during which that beignet could totally be safely claimed without challenge, before he smiles in a terribly dopey fashion and leans forward for another kiss. And then, just as suddenly as it ended, suddenly the unspoken cuddle resumes. "I love you." Whatever, dude, you just tried to maul him over pastry. Which, by the by: "I still think we should split it."

Inlayraith: the soft, sweet, smooshy side of Br'er's soul. Like marshmallow fluff. Q'fex is taken off-guard by the dopey smile and the kiss and the return of the cuddle and TRIPLICATE-off-guard by the Three Words. The look on his face is pretty epic: well, that escalated quickly. He opens his mouth to say something, closes it, and then wordlessly brings down his hand and offers the forlorn, semi-crushed pastry to Br'er. "Nah, you can have it." Read: I love you, too.

Dude just got makeout-wrestled over a donut and that's what seems like an escalation to him? Br'er takes the pastry, wordless, and then de-cuddles for the half-second it takes to acquire another. Like a civilized person, he offers it, and settles back against Q'fex's side to eat the spoils of war. Quite abruptly, regular conversation returns, though he didn't sound quite as faintly-embarrassed and kinda-raspy and definitely-smug before: "So. Any idea how you'll find your paperwork-weyrsecond?"

Of COURSE that seems like an escalation to him. He's Q'fex and therefore perverse. The weyrleader accepts the second-best (and uncrushed!) beignet, shifting to throw an arm over Br'er's shoulders so-casually. "Eh, I'm not worried about it." Now. He's not worried about it now. He's worried about something else. Worried is the wrong word, anyhow. "So. You said you had promised Kraaken to return me to my weyr at a reasonable candlemark…" Somehow, Q'fex makes it more suggestive than any man has a right to turn a perfectly innocent question.

"You will be," predicts Br'er, though without much emphasis. He's happy, he's victorious, and there are other things to think about right now. 'Worry' is absolutely not the right word for his emotional state. ASSHOLE. "Mm." It wouldn't be quite right to say the man makes a show of eating, but it wouldn't be entirely wrong, either. "Come to think of it," he comments, without moving, "I did say that, didn't I? We should probably get you in bed. After all." A weighty pause. "A man needs his strength."

"Maybe." Q'fex doesn't seem concerned about future!worry. His eyes linger on the show of Br'er and the beignet. "Oh, come on. I'm done. You're not naked and that isn't good for my health." Pause. "Thank Faranth the guard left." Hahahahaha no. He makes to stand, tossing his book closed and extending a hand to Br'er. His eyes gleam, understandably, teeth showing just a bit in his smirking little smile.

"That poor guard. I'll have to apologize tomorrow." Br'er is not going to apologize tomorrow. Br'er is, however, going to take the proffered hand, rising gracefully. Slightly less gracefully, he has to hastily smooth down his mussed clothing, and, egads, hair. Turns out, duking it out over pastry gets you sugary and rumpled. But once he's satisfied, there's a moment of smiling, that turns into a moment of smirking, and then into moving towards the door. "Yes," he agrees. "We should get naked." An after thought: "Take that last beignet, will you? I think I have plans for it." Faranth help us.

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