Who

Amani, Ibrahim

What

Amani and Ibrahim try to establish a firmer foundation on an afternoon out at the cove.

When

It is afternoon of the seventh day of the second month of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Cove, Southern Weyr

OOC Date 01 Feb 2018 07:00

 

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"When I think about where the eye of the storm is for me…"


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Cove

A saber's curl along the coast of the Azov Sea, the cove is a clash of green and black; where deeply forested jungles encroach upon the curving expanse of this tiny cove, found only past the rocky barrier that serves as demarcation between cove and beach. Lacking the softly ground sand of the beach, the cove is made up of dark, volcanic pebbles, making it trickier to navigate than the beach itself. Yet, what a surprise is given if one braves the less comfortable path that curves around a long-forgotten cinder cone to find the quiet tranquility of seclusion. Brilliant against the black pebbled beach, greenery is only enhanced by the purest of turquoise waters, warmed by a deep volcanic vent and churned by hidden currents that further feeds into the relative calm of the sea itself. A small school of rainbow fish and yellowfish swims around here.


Being pensive is something Amani has learned to wear well lately. At least it can be said that Southern's junior weyrwoman is not some young girl given to daydreaming; she's a thinker, whether it be sorting through matters personal or professional. She's been doing much of the former for the past few days since her visit to Igen, both on her own and with input from her lifemate (which is, of course, inevitable). With the arrival of lunchtime comes a quiet escape - the goldrider is out at the cove, swimming in shallower water, working on some longer, slower strokes and looking better at it than she has in some time. Which is ironic, considering how much she's thinking about other things at the same time. Most all of those things revolve around a certain long-haired wildling. Perhaps that will be enough to summon him? It's happened before!

And so it is enough this time as well, for like magic, he appears put of the very sand itself, it seems, fresh from his morning shift in the Infirmary, ready to release the morning's tension with a relaxing ocean view. And oh! what a view: Amani in the water, working on her swimming. Ibrahim will take the time to enjoy the very fine view, kneeling in the sand and letting fistfuls of the stuff drift through his fingers, smiling in fond affection. After awhile, though, it occurs to him to catch her attention, perhaps tempt her in to shore and his company if he can. "Hey," he calls out playfully, "Are you planning to become a dolphin?"

Fortunately, Amani has enough of an ear out of the water to hear Ibrahim's call and lift her head. Her feet find the sand below and she stands, pushing dripping hair back over her shoulders and chuckling. "I just might! They are amazing creatures," she calls back as she wades out of the surf toward the shore. It isn't difficult to offer up quite the show without trying; she's in her favorite indigo two-piece, which leaves very little to the imagination except for the important bits. And tempted into his company she is; snapping up a towel waiting folded on a nearby rock, she dries herself and then spreads it next to him, sitting down and leaning in to brush a quick kiss to his lips. "I was thinking about you. And look - it was enough to bring you around!"

Ibrahim can well imagine those covered bits all on his own, the bugger. And his gaze is admiring indeed as she approaches and joins him. "You're getting better." He says of her swimming, and nods a little as to her assessment of dolphins. "They follow the ships. It's a beautiful sight." Her kiss is accepted and returned, complete with a brush of fingers to her cheek. How he loves these small moments, where affection is shown between them. "Ha, it usually is. Turns out I was thinking of you as well."

"And so much else besides, I've learned," Amani says of the dolphins, catching Ibrahim's hand as his fingers pass back along her cheek. She keeps it, drawing up her knees and draping her other arm over them so that she can rest her chin there and study him. And she really does study him right now, as though she might commit every exotically handsome line even further to memory or find something that she'd never noticed before. "Oh?" she asks with a little grin, and tilts her head a bit. "I'll share if you do."

Ibrahim will tangle his fingers with hers as she makes herself comfortable, wondering at her close study of his person; in return, he will study her, committing her features to memory as though he's never seen her before. A moment passes before he recalls himself to the here and now and puts the question stewing in his mind out there, where it can be examined. "Are you happy, my Amani? With life as it is now? With… us?" It seems a rather odd question to ask now he's said it, but he worries. Worries that he keeps her from truly being all she should be.

Amani doesn't shy away from Ibrahim's countering study of her in turn; she welcomes it, in fact. She has never felt anything less than safe under his gaze. And it assures her that they're on the same page at the moment, both wondering about the state of things surrounding and between them. His question tells her as much. She nods first, her fingers squeezing his lightly. "Yes," she answers definitively to begin, "though that's not to say everything is perfect. Me least of all. Things are just going to be non-stop; I've had to come to accept that. And learning to balance everything is going to be a near-constant thing. As for us…" She lifts her head, her other hand coming up so that she can trace her fingers along his jaw. "I'm still afraid that I can't be all you deserve, Ibra. Afraid I'm just going to make a mess of things because I'm still learning to trust my gut, and my heart. But…I had some good talks with a few friends a couple of days ago, and they gave me a lot to think about." Her lips quirk into a small, thoughtful smile as she pulls up the memory. "One…was that I need not to worry so much about dividing my heart. I thought I'd have to be sparing with it, with Zymuraith taking up residence there…but that's not how it works, apparently. Which is…a huge relief. It took me a bit to understand what Willimina meant by that, but I think I see now."

For a brief moment, he lifts her hand to his lips, pressing a kiss to her knuckles, and heaves a long sigh at her answer. They are, indeed, traveling the same path; each trying to be everything they can be to each other. "Hmm. It is really trial and error, is it not? TO balance responsibility and play, especially when there are only two of you." But his mind is wholly on the state of their affair, all a-whirl with the possibilities that may present themselves to them. Her hand on his jaw makes him smile, even as he leans into that caress. It always, always steadies him, her touch, especially when he isn't sure what might happen down the road, with the choice she has to make, and make soon. "Can we, though? Be everything to each other? I still don't know that I am who you need me to be, or what my place is in your life." There's a long pause, where he searches the sea, trying to find the words to explain what goes on in his mind. "No, love, Zymuraith is always first, that much I understand. It's difficult, though, to know how much claim I should lay to you." Hence his slow, deliberate courtship, and the hesitation to push too much. He's been down that road, and on it lies disaster. For him. For others.

"We can be everything we need to be to one another. And that means just…being who we are, I think," Amani says, slender shoulders hitching in a subtle shrug. "You knew me before I Zymuraith, and…I've gone through some changes since Impressing, I know. But here you still are. And you…I've liked you for who you are all this time." Dark eyes drop to their joined hands, and she gives a little shake of her head. "Your place in my life is…right where it needs to be. My lover, my friend, my support, and I can't imagine what my life would be like without you there. When I think about where the eye of the storm is for me…it's Zymuraith, and you, and two girls who are like sisters to me, but they can't always be close by." She chuckles quietly at that, and brushes her fingers along Ibrahim's cheek again. "You're always near. More than near." She considers him quietly again, waiting for her next words to form themselves properly on her tongue. "You've called me 'love' before, Ibra. What are you saying, when you do that?"

"I try to be." Ibrahim replies softly, slowly, letting the words just… drift from him. It's always seemed that Amani has needed an anchor in the storm that is her life; an anchor that will not be swayed by mere life storms. And even when he is not physically present, his thoughts often wing after her, as though he can reach her with the power of his mind, though he has no such talent. "Neither can I imagine being without you - you who reminds me that caution is not always advisable. You've made me consider seeking a new path in life, to come out from the Jungles and see what more I can be, and do, that isn't… subsistence. Mere survival." And then she asks him the question he'd hoped she'd not ask, not just yet. The feeling's too new to him to properly name, and yet, it seems, he must name it, here and now where they're being honest with each other. "I am saying that I have begun to love you, Amani. For yourself. For your intelligence. Your bravery. I know it's… too soon, this thing between us. Too new. And yet…" He shrugs, unable to lay a name to his feelings any other way. "I care for you in ways that… I have not cared for any other.

And there it is. Somehow, Amani thought she would be hearing something along the line when she asked the question, and now that she has, she's processing the reality of it rather than the imagining. She takes a slow breath in and out. She can't say the word herself, not yet, for reasons she fears to examine more closely…yet she's going to have to at some point. One reason, however, is one he names - it's too new for the moment. "I care for you too, Ibra. The same way," she murmurs, the hand at his cheek dropping to his neck. "It's going to take some time, still, for me to be able to say more…and I promise I'll explain when I've sorted through it some more." After a few beats of quiet in which she simply studies him again, a corner of her mouth lifts. "If I remind you that caution isn't always advisable, there's something I need you to do for me, Ibra."

Ibrahim's brows draw down, and he stiffens, hung amid extremes: worry that he's overstepped himself, that he's going to lose this woman who holds his heart in her hands — and a creeping, befuddling sort of fury that she might yet simply leave him, a wildling man who should not have aimed so high. And yet, if there's one thing the man has learned, it's the value of patience, and so he waits, still, to see what may come of it. Slowly — very slowly — he turns his head to face her, eyes studying her much-beloved visage, again committing it to memory. There's a reason caution rules him so, but he cannot resist asking the question: "What is it you would have me do?"

Amani's thumb skims Ibrahim's jawline when he turns his head, dark eyes holding his intently. "Please stop being so cautious with me," she replies evenly. "Every day I'm reminded that I'm now this rarity, this one out of dozens and then out of thousands among the Weyrs, and some would try to shelter me from anything and everything while I'm out and about. I refuse to be coddled out there, and I've never accepted anything near it in my life before, nor will I now." Following that declaration, her expression softens, her eyes warming upon his. "You've never coddled, but you've been being careful. You see me more for who I am than anyone else here. I'm not going to hold back with you now, Ibra…so don't hold back with me."

His expression softens, then, and he brushes his cheek against her knuckles, eyes closing as he revels in her touch. Even now, he likes it that she's so willing to be close to him. He sighs, softly, letting go the breath he had been holding. "I… see." And then he smiles a little, wry. "I've no wish to scare you from me, Amani. Sometimes… who I am is not…" He waves a vague hand toward the Weyr, and its people. "What Pernese society seems to hold dear. I will do my best not to hold back from you, my Amani, the things that aren't so pretty to look upon. It's hard." He pulls a hand through the thick, twisted locks of his hair, detangling them and letting them fall down his back like a thick curtain of vines. "You are the one person whose good opinion I cannot abide losing, you understand?"

"Having come from a part of society few people hold dear myself, believe me when I say you can't scare me," Amani counters. "I may not be that old, but something I've come to understand in the little time I've had to become close to people is that there's little worth to know about only the good in someone. We all have our darkness. How the people close to you deal with that darkness when it rises is a measure of their character that we need to see, and love is the choice to stand beside someone in spite of those things as much as it is a feeling." She seems a bit surprised at herself for that outpouring, but knows it wouldn't have come so easily if she didn't mean it. "While I appreciate anyone's best foot forward…I appreciate the real far more." To his last, she nods. "I do understand. But even if disagreements or shocks happen, it won't necessarily mean you've 'lost' my good opinion."

"Such wisdom in one so young…" Ibrahim wryly trots out the phrase so often said unto him by the elders of his family, as a subtle tease about their lone meeting with those luminaries. But still, he does appreciate the meaning of her soliloquy, and presses a kiss to her knuckles. "I see, and must accept, your point, Amani. I forget that you are not a hothouse flower, too delicate to see all of life and not wilt beneath the weight of it. I must trust you to know yourself, adn to be able to protect yourself." He smiles, grateful, for the assurance that she will not scare off from him, and gently slips an arm around her trim waist to deepen the physical contact between them. "Hmm. Yes. Perhaps I have spent too much time by far leaning on the suspicious nature of my family, who keep telling me you will not stay with me if you knew me truly, as a man who has stolen, lied, cheated — done everything he could to survive. And somehow… I know you will not look sideways at me for it, but still." And then he shakes his head vigorously. "Still, as I would trust you with my heart, it is best to trust you with all of it, even the darker parts of it. You're no child, as you have proven over and over."

"How could I, when I've done the same?" Amani asks guilelessly over the matter of survival, lifting a hand to rest upon Ibrahim's chest. Bare as it is, however, she can't help her fingers traversing the breadth of his collarbones. "No, I'm not a child…but I'm not done growing either, I know," she sighs. "But growing, for me, happens with exposure to harder things. It always has."

Can she feel his heart's pace quickening beneath her hand? Ibrahim is certain that she can. He traps that hand there, much preferring the way it feels against his chest. "Ah, yes. So you've told me, now you remind me." So hard to believe, when she looks at him so guilelessly. He even steals a kiss of her, right on the tip of her nose, and grins boyishly when he draws away. "Mmm. I can't find reason to disagree. I've found my time here, away from my family, learning to survive in the Weyr — it's been… difficult. To know I don't have to steal, nor lie, nor sell things I'd rather not to be fed…" He shrugs, slightly uncomfortable, but amused at himself. "All it requires is an honest day's work. I admit I do not understand."

Though he traps her hand, Amani can't help the continued stroking of her fingers against Ibrahim's skin, confined though they may be. While she grins at the kiss he touches to her nose, it simply won't do by itself! She turns slightly, pressing herself to him as she exacts a more proper kiss. "Considering you're doing it, I'd say you understand fine," she murmurs, smirking up at him. "Try not to think as much as do. Things have a way of lining up in a perfectly comprehensible manner if you just let them be what they are. You let yourself out into the river…and drift with it."

"Oh, like this?" And Ibrahim tangles his fingers into her thick dark hair, and bends his head to claim her lips quite improperly, languid and deep. That hand on his chest plainly does wicked, wicked things to his self-control. With reluctance, he draws back, then nods, slowly, his understanding. "I don't need to manipulate things into some perfect plan, you mean."

"Do, more than think.." The phrase is duly considered, complete with chin rubs and thoughtful sounds made deep in the throat. And then, mischevously, Ibrahim smiles at her. "Oh, like this?" And Ibrahim tangles his fingers into her thick dark hair, and bends his head to claim her lips quite improperly, languid and deep. That hand on his chest plainly does wicked, wicked things to his self-control. With reluctance, he draws back, then nods, slowly, his understanding. "I don't need to manipulate things into some perfect plan, you mean."

Amani hadn't been expecting that, precisely, even with that mischievous smile he dons, but given the way she twines her arms around Ibrahim's neck to pull herself closer and utters something that sounds remarkably like a purr, it's clear that she doesn't mind in the least! She's a bit flushed when they part, watching his eyes and nodding at his last. "Some people might say otherwise, but I know I wouldn't be here if I'd been trying to follow a perfect plan. Life is unpredictable, so…I don't believe there's any such thing."

Ibrahim likes to be unpredictable at times, especially when the result is Amani purring at him like a contented feline. All too happy he is to have her twine herself around him — to the point where he gently draws her into his lap, taking advantage of the relatively private spot for a decent cuddle with his girl. "I'm glad you had no perfect plans, lover mine. Otherwise I may never have had an excuse to leave the Jungles."

"Maybe…and maybe not," Amani says with a shrug, draping her arms over Ibrahim's shoulders. "But here we are, so not to worry. We just go forward." And forward is the direction she'll go to find his lips again, indulging in cuddling and more for long moments until, inevitably, Zymuraith shows up to remind her of the next round of business they have to tend to. "Duty calls, as usual," she sighs, giving him one final kiss before shifting to rise and gather her things. "But…come by later?"

There are times when Ibrahim heartily wishes that dragons and Weyrs and duty did not exist; this is one of those times. With a reluctant sigh, Ibrahim will release his lover into the care of Zymuraith, though he casts the young gold the saddest of the sad puppy eyes as he, too, begins to gather his things. "Duty ever interferes with me when it comes to you, woman. But I shall extract retribution later." Ominous, that promise: ominous and loving all the same, with a liberal dose of mischief.

Zymuraith has not a whit of sympathy, of course. While she likes Ibrahim just fine, he is just one of many things that will not be interfering with her and hers when it comes to their duty to the Weyr! Amani chuckles as she covers up in preparation to meet her lifemate, who is winging in for a landing as they speak. "I'm sure you will," she replies with husky-edged certainty. "Until then, lover." With that, she is up Zymuraith's neck and in the air shortly thereafter, interlude ended in favor of necessity…and anticipation banked for the promises of later.

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