Quentin, Br'er


Br'er has a canine who needs training. Quentin has a father who needs get-to-knowing. Isn't it nice when things come together?


It is evening of the twenty-eighth day of the second month of the second turn of the 12th pass.


Herder Complex, Southern Weyr

OOC Date


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Herder Complex

Oh, the scents of hay and runnersweat and leather: no matter how many expensive, fat wax candles are burnt in this long hall, the pervasive Eau de Herder will remain predominant. Spaces are haphazardly stacked, one after the other: there, brightly-lit for study and mending tack; there, a miniature library to rival the Harper's in animal husbandry; there, the medicinal tang of redwort and numbweed, the beasthealer's stockery; and there, no different from the rest, the smell of sweetrolls and klah, furniture torn and worn and chosen for comfort.

Timor: moon6.jpgBelior: moon3.jpg

Okay, well, technically Quentin doesn't really belong here - the knot on his shoulder lacks the yellow of the Herdercraft to go with that stark white. That doesn't stop him from being co-opted frequently by the herders of the Weyr for all sorts of tasks - like the one he's engaged in tonight. Namely, tack mending. There's always odds and ends of runner tack that need upkeep, and with a pair of skilled hands available from the general labor pool that is the Candidate corps, it only makes sense that Quinn's found himself in familiar surroundings. Tucked away at a table with several tangled sets of reins in front of him, the boy is meticulously unwinding them, clever fingers sliding over the leather to check for stress or dryness.

It's okay, it's not like Br'er belongs here, either. It's hard not to miss the wingsecond, mostly because in the midst of rough-and-tumble Herders and miscellaneous animals, he moves gingerly, like a fastidious person tiptoeing over a floor filled with used handkerchiefs. It's just… there's so much hair. And poop. And liquids of unknown origin. It's also hard not to miss the reason he is here, because she - a puppy of some terrier kind, on the verge of awkward doggie adolescence - is trotting affably at his heels, the toenails in her oversized paws tapping. She keeps stopping to investigate things. Br'er keeps sighing and tugging (gently) on the lead.

Tip, tap, tip, tap - the clack of canine nails on stone is music to Quentin's ears, and the boy's hands pause, his head jerking up and gaze going unerringly towards Br'er - or rather, Br'er's companion. Pushing away from the table, he skirts around a chair or two to study the pair for a second. The wingsecond is vaguely recognized, in so much as months of living in the Weyr means he's likely to have seen him once or twice, but the puppy - she's all new to the boy. Hearing the man's sigh for the pup's constant stopping, he manfully swallows a smile and instead ventures forth a conversation starter in the form of an observation: "Puppies are like any baby; endlessly curious. She's pretty. What's her name?"

"That's why I've never had much to do with children," confesses Br'er, baldly. No need to call the Pernese Society For Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals, though: the hand that ruffles the terrier's ears is a gentle one. "She's Tiny." Ironic, clearly, if those paws… and the fact that Br'er already doesn't have to do much leaning down to ruffle her ears… are any indication. Tiny leaves off sniffing an ambiguously brown stain on the ground, and promptly perks up at Quentin's attention. A stubby tail waggles furiously, and Br'er, after a moment's hesitation, gives her enough room on the lead to tip-tap hurriedly over for a panting hello. "Got her in one of the fishing villages; she's some kind of Wildling mix."

As the canine approaches, Quentin twists his hips slightly, angling his upper body outwards to ensure that Tiny is unable to find any purchase should she try to jump up. At the same time, he holds out one hand, palm up, for her to sniff. "Tiny, hmm?" Amusement colors the young man's voice as he takes note of her height and the size of those paws. "Well, I suppose there's always a case for wishful thinking. Looks like she has some terrier in her - though with her size, I wouldn't be too surprised to find one of the larger breeds in her ancestry. Spitz-type, maybe." The hand not offered to the canine slides to the pouch on his belt, but doesn't enter it quite yet. As if suddenly realizing he's about to introduce himself to the canine before the owner: "I'm Quentin, by the way, sir."

"Yes, I thought you might be." Br'er smiles. "You have a bit of your father's look to you." And now that he's dropped THAT bomb, he's content to fall silent as Tiny sniffs dutifully at Quentin's hand before panting affably at him. She woofs, once, and then wiggles enthusiastically, paws tip-tapping eagerly on the stone. HELLO NEW FRIEND HELLO HI DO YOU HAVE FOOD HELLO. Br'er reaches down to give her a scritch. Serenely, he says, "I bow to your greater expertise. She's evidently the runt from her litter, too. I'm just hoping she won't turn out enormous." An afterthought: "I'm Br'er. Green Inlayraith's."

"That has to be the first time I have ever heard that," Quentin remarks wryly, blue eyes flicking up to meet Br'er's for a moment before his attention turns back to Tiny. "Have you taught her any commands yet? Let's see. Tiny, sit." His voice, for all its youthful tenor, is firm. Not sharp, no - it's a simple command, given in a voice that expects to be obeyed… as long as the one given the command understands what's expected of her. "I'm always told I favor my mother - though to be fair, very few have ever asked if I'm truly my father's son." All it takes is a little time in the boy's company to see that if his looks come from his mother, his personality has Q'fex written all over it. "Well met, Br'er, green Inlayraith's. Do you know my father well, then?" The question is casual; either the boy hasn't heard of the relationship, or is choosing to feign ignorance. Most likely the former.

Br'er laughs at that, a raspy chuckle. "I suppose I wouldn't have guessed if he hadn't told me about you," the greenrider concedes, while watching Tiny puzzle at Quentin's command. It is terribly, terribly obvious she does not know this 'sit' he speaks of. She tries wiggling at him, experimentally. "We," the plural is casual, "haven't done much except try to get her to distinguish 'outside' from 'inside', to be honest. I was actually hoping to find someone to help us with that; I haven't the faintest how to go about it." And, casually: "Oh, yes. I know your father." There are oceans of meaning in that phrase. Br'er's voice turns distinctly amused. "I know him a bit."

"He seems a popular fellow here," Quentin observes as he watches Tiny's reaction with a keen eye. Reaching into the pouch at his belt, he brings out a small stick of dried meat, holding it up out of her reach, but making sure she sees it. Always, always, present the carrot first. "Everyone I meet knows him some way or another. As far as training her, any herder can teach you basics - housebreaking, basic commands, leash training, and the like. Last I heard, we don't have any canine specific herders here at the Weyr, but there's one coming to the Hold soon," and is that a hint of excitement in the boy's voice? "And there's me," he adds, with evident pride, "but I don't know how much longer I'll be… available." A hint of anxiety threads through his tone, echoed by the sudden tenseness in the boy's face.

TREAT TREAT TREAT. Tiny obviously knows exactly what TREATS are, but it's equally obvious she has not yet been taught patience in the face of TREAT. She whines and cries as soon as she realizes it's out of her reach. TREAT. Br'er watches all this with narrow-eyed interest, though just a little more attention is given to boy than canine. "Weyrleaders are like that, if they're good ones. And he was," the past tense is ruefully given, "an exceptional one, for all I don't think he believes me when I tell him that." The greenrider says, casually, "She's not going anywhere, for all my weyrmate hems and haws." Whatever, Br'er, you've woven a web of LIES about this dog. "So - if you do Impress - you could pick it up again once you have the time, if you wanted to guide us in training her. And if you don't, well, you don't. Unless you're looking to avoid father-son bonding experiences; I know I wasn't much for them as a lad." He probably thinks he's being subtle here, that's the sad part.

Yes, yes. Treat, treat, treat. But no, Quentin's not giving up that jerky just yet. Sharp blue eyes stare into the canine's as he continues to hold the treat out of reach. He twists around to her side, then reaches out and places a hand firmly on her rump, pushing down. At the same time, he states: "Sit, Tiny. Sit." As soon as her bottom contacts the floor, he says, "Sit, Tiny! Good girl!" And down comes the treat - but not the whole treat. He breaks off a piece and offers it to her on his palm. "I wish I could have seen him in action," the boy admits a bit wistfully. "I - get to hear a lot about him second-hand. But I guess that's the way of things, right?" This is not a young man with any clue as to the components of a healthy father-son relationship, no sir. "Your weyrmate doesn't want the canine? That's sad - I never understood how people could not like them. They're just so… loveable. And while I'd be glad to help you when I've the time, you should probably see one of the local herders for basic training, at least." At mention of bonding, the boy looks up, puzzled. "I don't think my father much likes canines, from what he said when he asked me to Stand, sir. I doubt I'd get him to help me train her." Subtle or not, Br'er is talking to Captain Oblivious here.

Tiny's little stubby terrier tail thumps vigorously against the stone floor as the TREAT is given. But not the whole treat? She looks puzzled, ears cocking inquisitively, but when the rest of the treat isn't immediately offered, she looks a little put out, and starts to rise from her seated position. What game is her new friend PLAYING? "It's hard for riders to bond with our children, as a rule," says Br'er. He's smiling as affably as ever, but his tone is gentle, and - ever so faintly - a little bit regretful. "But if you did want to get to know him… Kraakenaeth won't fly for another two turns." He doesn't say 'if he ever flies again', but it's there in his voice. "And he could do with distractions." The greenrider eyes the dog. He eyes Quentin. He looks, for some reason, extremely entertained. Captain Oblivious indeed! "Hence the canine, actually." He says this so PATIENTLY. "He doesn't actually dislike her, in fact I saw them snuggling the other night… but if I'd come right out and said, 'Hey, I don't want you two in the weyr all day moaning about being cripples, here, have some company', he'd have been insulted… so there's been a small bit of subterfuge. But," he smiles with a flash of white teeth, all confidence, "he'll warm up to her, particularly if he has the training of her. Especially if his son helps him train her."

The boy is slow - at least in terms of reading between the lines, but he's not stupid. Even as Quentin is repeating the whole sit-push-treat trick for Tiny again, his brow is furrowing and he's clearly focusing on Br'er's words - both spoken and unspoken. When he does reach the inevitable conclusion, his reaction is a series of slow blinks and a slightly incredulous look at the greenrider. "You mean, your weyrmate's my fa- Q'fex?" Congratulations, Quinn. "I… didn't know." Blue eyes flicker over the older man, brow still wrinkled with just a hint of confusion, and he slowly rises from his crouch over Tiny, absently feeding her the last of the treat. "I thought bronzeriders…" He trails off, faced with the obvious evidence that his assumption was flawed. "Oh, uhm. Huh. I, uh…" Stumped, the boy just stares at the greenrider, brain clearly trying to catch up with events. Finally, with a healthy flush in his cheeks, the boy ventures, "Does that make you like… my step-father or something?" It's probably the safest direction he could take this conversation.

"Oh, didn't I say?" Wipe that innocent look off your face, Br'er. For a moment, there's a flash of white teeth, and the terrible promise that terrible teasing is about to commence. But Quentin's confused face melts the frozen heart, and the greenrider takes pity, and his tone is kindly. "I wouldn't, if I were you, concentrate too much on color in relation to the… bits and bobs… of the riders around you, Quentin." He shakes his head, hair perfectly quaffed. If the presumption re: Q'fex goes one way, the presumption re: Br'er must surely go the other. And yet: "Your father and I are both fond of women, as it happens, and men as well. I'm just more tolerant of his bullshit than most." He says this fondly, honestly. There's a grin to follow. "Maybe wicked uncle. You needn't think of it too formally, though." Tiny, having gotten her TREAT, has come prancing over to flop down next to his feet, panting. Br'er gives her an absentminded pet, and then a look of more sincere apology at Quentin. "I really should have just told you, sorry. I wanted to sound out whether you'd be interested in helping Q'fex with canine training, mostly."

There's still a fair bit of the flabbergasted in Quentin's face, though he seems to be weathering it well enough. At least, he hasn't fainted at Br'er's feet or run screaming from the room. He does, however, find a chair to sit in. Carefully. Poor kid. Not every day you find oout your father has a… spouse, of sorts. Of the same gender, no less. For all he's dragonrider-born, he's hold-bred, and there's a hint of that in his discomfort; or, at least, that's one possible explanation, and likely the most obvious. "I know my father likes women," he says slowly - shards, the whole world knows Q'fex likes women, "I just didn't know he also.. I didn't…" He trails off, shaking his head sharply, then raking his hand through his curly mop, tugging at tangles. "It doesn't bother me," he finally offers, with painful sincerity as his blue eyes meet Br'er's. "Not," he adds, with just a hint of wry humor, "that it would matter much if it did. S- sorry I'm acting so stupid, I just… never really figured my father for a weyrmate. Of any kind." Another deep breath, then the boy sits up, spine straight. "If he'll work with me, I'd be happy to help him train Tiny. It… would be nice to have an excuse to spend some time with him. A- and you?" Maybe? So uncertain, is Quinn.

At least Br'er is kind enough to give Quentin space to process all this, tactfully entertaining himself with a friendly (slobbering) Tiny. "I didn't know myself, actually, until he started following me around like a puppy. Or a stalker." So FOND, his chuckle. "At the time I was still very much enamored with one of the Oldtimer goldriders we'd met in the past, and…" He shakes his head, much amused at the memories of the past, though there's a wistful note. Glory days, man. The greenrider favors the boy with a slight smile. "I'm glad. Honestly. Because it would matter. I'd sooner not stand between the two of you, Quentin. I think he'd like to get to know you better." Br'er's mouth twitches, once, humorously. "He and I are both getting to be old men." Whatever, thirtysomething. "One starts to want to put some grass under one's feet, I've found." Hence the weyrmate. And the canine. And, potentially, the father-son relationship. Smiling, Br'er extends his hand for a businesslike shake. "Oh, I think I can figure out a way we can connive him into doing it. He can take a little managing, your da, but I'd be happy to teach you my tricks." He flashes the candidate a toothy grin. "I've got a canine that needs training, and a weyrmate that needs hobbies. You've got a father you'd like to get to know. Sounds to ME like our interests are perfectly suited."

"Uhm." So intelligent, is Quinn. Then the boy gives another sharp shake of his head and rakes curles from his eyes. "Yeah. You're right." Probably about everything, but the boy expands on what he thinks Br'er is right about. "I do want to get to know him better. I know we'll never be like… well, like a lot of the fathers and sons at the Hold, but…" He trails off, shrugging. "It'd be nice to be, I dunno… friends." There's a wistful yearning in the boy, tempered by a kind of wry resignation that speaks of turns of knowledge that whatever Quentin may have wanted over the years, he knows what he can have, and is content enough to work towards that. When the hand is offered, the young man levers himself out of his chair and crosses to the greenrider, accepting the handshake with a firm one of his own. "When all of this," and he gestures to the knot on his shoulder, "is done with, I'll be happy to work with him - and you - on training Tiny. Sounds like a good way to spend some time with him. And," he adds, just a bit shyly, "with you. I mean, family, and all." And if nothing else, family is what's important, to Quinn, anyway.

"It's a little late for him to wipe your nose and kiss your boo-boos," Br'er concedes. "But he's a… good man. Better than he gives himself credit for, and I don't just say that as a loving weyrmate. If you have anything of him in you," other than DNA, obviously Quinn has THAT, "you'll go far. And I think - know - it'd be good for both of you to get to know each other." Handshake offered and accepted, he ventures for a brief clasp on the shoulder: not quite overstepping into 'paternal', but certainly in the 'friendly older man type' range. "Ha, I'm more likely to teach you bad habits than anything else, but - of course." He smiles. "He and I will be watching you in the Stands. If there's a dragon there for you, this little lady," who has slumped amiably over her owner's feet, and is currently drooling on his shoes, "will still be there when you have time. If not, well, it'll give you something to do." A bald acknowledgement, accompanied by a relaxed shrug. Easy for HIM to say that.

"I'm told I can use a bad habit or two." And if Quinn's eyes slide slightly to the left at that statement, well, maybe something distracted him. After all, he's only been here a few months. What kind of trouble could he have gotten into? At the shoulder clasp, though, the boy raises his gaze once more to the man's, and he even ventures a slight smile. If the easy humor of their earlier banter has vanished, there's still a willingness to accept and try in Quinn that makes this less than awkward - for him, at least. "I don't know what's gonna happen. It'd be nice to know the future, but… gotta take what you can get, right?" His gaze slides down consideringly to Tiny for a moment, then he shakes his head and straightens, rubbing the back of his hand across his eyes. "I'd best get those reins cleaned up and get on to bed - it's getting late and I have early PT in the morning." Even as he starts to back away towards the table, he gives the greenrider a lopsided smile. "Thanks, sir. For… everything." And he even means it. With a nod, the boy turns back to his work, already thinking ahead to his bed.

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