Ibrahim, Amani


Things swing between awkward and comfortable when weyrling and wildling end up in the same pool.


It is evening on the 13th day of the 5th month of the 12th Turn of the 12th Pass.


Baths, Southern Weyr

OOC Date 03 Nov 2017 06:00


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"Well, that's macabre."



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.

What a wonderful time of day — when all the work's done, and people begin to relax, going about the evening ritual of eating, gossiping, and bathing: the last is where one might find Ibrahim if one cared to look. Fortunately for him, he has the place to himself for the time being, and luxuriates in the heat and silence. His arms are hooked over the sides of his little bit of the baths, long hair trailing over his shoulder and into the water like so many thin, gnarly snakes. His eyes are closed against the world, and his little firelizard brigade settled here and there and basking in the damp heat, grooming themselves lazily.

Amani is worn out. There's something about being up in the cold air on Zymuraith's neck, practicing flying and becoming more accustomed to the motion of it, that finds the goldling feeling exhilarated while she's at it and drained in the aftermath. It is a lot of mental work on her part, she supposes. Perhaps that's all it is. At least it's getting easier. It also puts a chill into her skin despite her leathers, and it's this she seeks to dispel as she wanders into the baths, yawning as the steam coats her face in moisture. She pauses and peers around out of habit, still somewhat self-conscious about bathing in a public venue…but it does eventually get beaten back. It's easier when there are fewer people, and right now, she doesn't notice anyone. Moving toward the hottest pool and yawning again, she finds a place to set down her things, glances around again, and starts to disrobe, the thickness of the steam lending a sense of seclusion to her little corner of things. It's only when she slips into the water, settling and heaving a relieved sigh, that she notices Ibrahim, apparently asleep…and even though she doesn't really have a reason to, she blushes beneath the flush the water temperature gives her. Should she make her presence known or not? She opts for trying to go about her bathing as quietly as possible, eying the dark-skinned man to see if she's disturbing him and starting to feel silly for the initial reaction. What in the world does she even have to be worried about, after all?

Predictably, it's Llyr who makes the disturbance: he lifts his head to note the appearance of another person, and cheeps loudly, right in Ibrahim's ear. With a surprised grunt, the man sits bolt upright, looking around to see exactly why the brown's being so noisy — and spies Amani in the pools. His face is a study in conflict: embarassment at having fallen asleep in the baths and being caught at it, and a smile of pure delight at having been discovered by Amani. At least it's someone he likes. But still, there they are, their clothing shed, sitting chest-high in water. Is the steam quite thick enough? He certainly hopes so — anything to hide the slight flush of his skin. "Hey." He calls softly, almost nervously. One wonders how much can be seen through steam and water, here; hopefully not enough to cause too much discomfort.

Amani has just pulled her head free of the water when that firelizard cheep sounds out, and she gives a start, eyes widening as she looks toward Ibrahim. Well. There they are. "Hello," she answers, her own tone coming out in the same manner as his as she pulls the short length of her deep brown hair forward to wring it free of excess water. She does smile, it being impossible not to do so in the wake of the one he turns her way, and clears her throat softly. "Um… I didn't see you until I got in. But if you don't mind…" She'll stay, rather than trying to slip into another pool. She isn't trying to examine anything other than his face, though she has seen him just after swimming. For her part, the water maintains her modesty…but she's shrunk down a little further since spying him, purely by reflex.

Ibrahim chuckles softly. "Mind? Not in the slightest." It's the perfect excuse to rest his eyes on what he can see of her face. Oh, modesty — so difficult in these mixed-sex situations, but still. Ibrahim absently begins to squeeze the water out of the ends of his hair, a reflex that allows him to expend a little nervous energy more subtly, and manage to not-see Amani shrinking further into the water. "So… how are you. And Zymuraith?" Does she get tired of that question? One does wonder, and yet - he has to say something, doesn't he?

Amani takes a deep breath in and out through her nose - slowly, so as not to make it noticeable, since it's to get herself to relax. All of a sudden it occurs to her how needless her reactions to stumbling across Ibrahim here have been thus far, and she gives a little huff and a chuckle, briefly dunking her head again. It's him, for Faranth's sake, not some stranger she doesn't know or trust. "We're doing well," she replies, not minding the question since it's probably the most frequent one she hears day to day. "I got my leathers, had a Turnday…started flying with her. She's bigger than some of the blues now, so I think that probably helped the first time go as smoothly as it did."

And so it is! They're not unknown to each other, though not in such… awkward circumstances. But still, a deep breath is warranted here, and Ibrahim will follow Amani's lead and exhale his own nervousness, beginning to relax in her company. "Wait, a Turnday? Why am I just hearing of this?" he scolds playfully, grinning in amusement to take the sting out of it. "And I'm glad she's flying now… it gets you closer to…" Graduation. Life. Everything.

One of these days, the whole public bathing thing will cease to be awkward…or perhaps just end up as a non-issue anyway. She's seen where she and Zymuraith will end up living, and there a personal pool in the queen's weyrs. Until moving day, however, there's this. Despite Ibrahim's playfulness, Amani ends up blushing again, though there's a quick grin to go with it. "It's always been just another day," she murmurs, and quickly moves on to the next matter with an eager nod. "We'll be able to travel soon," she says with quiet enthusiasm, though it's quickly tempered by her next statement. "We just have to learn to go ::between:: first. It's coming up in the next month." Which isn't more than a few days away now.

Until then, indeed. Ibrahim will envy her that privacy when she gains it — there's something to be said for the priviledges of rank. Her blush makes him smile softly to himself, though he can barely see it. It's such a sweet, sweet feeling to know he has that effect on her. The idea of going ::between:: has him considering the implications of the danger she will soon be facing, both that and Threadfall, and controls a shudder of worry for her future. "You're worried, Amani." He makes this a soft statement. "I'm sure I'm supposed to be all, 'you can do it' and all that. But it's fair that the idea scares you."

Amani pauses in scrubbing at her arm, dark eyes flicking up to meet Ibrahim's when he pronounces that she's worried. It's not as though she would deny it, though she'd certainly gloss over it. She doesn't want to show that she's worried, particularly because Zymuraith isn't. But to Ibrahim, who isn't one of her classmates, she nods. "I am," she affirms quietly, and her gaze flicks away. She's almost embarrassed at the admission, but it's a relief of sorts to be able to voice it to someone other than her lifemate. "I know I don't really need to be; I trust Zymuraith, and my own mind. But ::between:: is…complete nothingness. To get lost there would be…" She shakes her head, not wanting to finish the thought and starting to scrub at her shoulder, though somewhat absently now.

"Deadly." They might as well say it, here where nobody else can hear. Ibrahim will never spill her secret. He rubs a hand down his arm, absently. "You've never done this before, being the one in charge of it. I know you can do it, so do you. You're braver than you know, Amani." He's not looking at her as he says this, letting the curtain of his hair hide his face as he looks down at the sand-muddled surface of the water. "I'm betting it's a fear that eases with time and practice, though." He peeks over at her, then, and smiles a little to himself: the irony of a non-rider talking to a rider about these things is just much to ridiculous. But she's his friend; he very much wants to help her any way he can. "I wish I could help you with it, somehow. I mean, haven't we all heard the stories?"

"Yes." Such a small word to encompass such a heavy possibility. Amani gives a nod. "It must," she says of the fear easing, "or else just becomes a fear you know and live with. And…talking helps." She gives a soft chuckle then as she smiles somewhat lopsidedly at Ibrahim, damp hair clinging to her shoulders as she shakes her head. "There are stories, and there are stories. I'm soon to learn which are which." Her head tilts subtly. "Which have you heard?"

"Glad to know it does." Ibrahim squints over at his layabouts, brown and bronze hides gleaming in the damp. They're all asleep now, having had done with their grooming. "I've heard about that one weyrling or whatever that's stuck in a cliff face. And about a million stories about not coming out the other side…" He shifts to eye Amani consideringly. "So.. what have you heard?"

Amani shudders. "I've heard that one, too," she confesses, "and I hope that's not something they have us go look at. It makes enough of an impression." On her, at least. Others might benefit from the literal object lesson. She begins working some sweetsand into her hair, sighing quietly. Dark eyes regard the water vaguely, some of her mind given over to blocking out the worry she struggles with from Zymuraith. "Mostly not coming out the other side. And knowing that…that's where every dead dragon and rider has ended up. I wonder if they just become nothing, too, or if their bodies are just still hanging there, somewhere…in the nowhere." She blinks and gives her head another shake. "Faranth, she's rubbing off on me." There's a small, covert grin that curves her mouth - a response to something shared privately, no doubt. Finally, she looks up again. "I'd much rather focus on always coming back out to where we're supposed to be. There are too many people I want to see again, every time I come home."

Ibrahim's head comes up sharply as she mentions the dead bodies just hanging around in there. And there goes his desire, however vague, of ever wanting to go ::between:: anywhere. "Well, that's macabre." But he's laughing a little, too; it's really too absurd a thought to actually be true — he hopes, anyway. He wonders at her smile, wishing he could hear the things they share. "I think, dear Amani, I would prefer you concentrate on that as well. I would miss you too much." Wait, what's that over there under the water? Excuse Ibrahim while he ducks under the surface to find out — and hide his sudden flush.

Amani looks sheepish at that. It is macabre, and hard to wrap her mind around, which is why she really hopes it's not true. There's really no way to know, anyway. Hearing Ibrahim say he'd miss her has the golding looking at him wonderingly - which isn't very long at all since he ducks underwater. Her smile grows thoughtfully, her own cheeks warming as she continues scrubbing at her scalp. When he finally comes back up, she's still looking his way, though presently tilts her head back to start rinsing her hair of lather. "I might miss you more," she ventures softly, her eyes still ceilingward as she works.

Oh. Oh. Now that is a good thing to hear, that Amani might be as interested in him as Ibrahim is in her. His grin is of the boyish type — the boyish 'I've gotten the thing of my dreams' kind of smile. But then, he's going to change the subject before he says something he should not, and manage to get himself into trouble somehow. "Have you picked out a weyr yet? I've been seeing you guys making the rounds, looking here and there…"

It's an interesting thing, to try out a phrase like that and sit with it once it's free, examining whether or not it's a simple platitude to a friend or something given with deeper sincerity meant. It might even be both, but it's distinctly weighted toward the latter, she finds. Has she discovered what it is to flirt successfully, she wonders? Lest she also ends following a trail she shouldn't right now, however, she sidesteps to address Ibrahim's question, a dark brow lifting as a smirk rises. "Have you been watching me, Ibra?" she teases, and lets a grin appear in full before giving a little nod. "The only ones that will fit Zymuraith are the ones at or near ground level, in the courtyard. There were a couple of possibilities I was looking at, but yeah, I think I've found the one I'd like. It's on the smaller side." Inasmuch as a gold weyr can be small. "I don't know what I'd do with too much space."

It's an education, learning the ins and outs of flirtation; Ibrahim might have a little experience at it, though not much. Still, the knowledge that Amani might welcome his attentions stays with him, and warms him a little bit. He keeps it light, though, for both their sakes. And her golden lifemate, whom he always keeps in mind for various reasons. "I might have glanced at you a time or two…" You know, every free moment when he's sure she can't see him. But who's counting such details? Certainly not Ibrahim. The news that she'll be at or near the ground is obscurely pleasing to him, though he's always known the golds are housed such; it's only important in that Amani will be close to the ground. "Good to know." He tries to imagine a small weyr of any sort — and fails. "Huh. Fill it with all the lovely things from your Zingari, I'd think."

Amani chuckles at that, easily shifting back into simple conversational mode, though his admission about glancing her way does draw another bit of a blush. "Well, I didn't have much, though certainly enough before I got Searched," she tells Ibrahim, lifting a foot out of the water to scrub at it. "I'll go and get it once we're free to travel. What's in the weyr I'd like is nice, but…it needs more color." She'd taken a large liking for it while she was among the caravan. She chuckles again. "Talk about something I didn't think I'd ever care much about."

It's hard not to — there's something about Amani that makes Ibrahim want to know more: so much more. But he's going to avoid asking too many questions as yet; it's simply way, way too soon for this kind of thing between them. "Want a hand?" He asks of her instead. "If you have enough stuff to cart back over, I'd gladly go with you." And maybe he can get a chance to ride a dragon for the first time in his life while he's at it. "Pff. Don't we always get a chance to think of new things when we get a new start in life? Like.. I never thought I'd enjoy being here - but here I am, and here I am beginning to think I might have a chance at — " He clamps down on the end of that sentence. Maybe if he keeps it behind his teeth, the dream will come true.

"Well, I did offer to take you to see Igen when we're able, so if you're willing to lend your hands while we're there, sure!" Amani says with a smile, wringing out her hair again. Not knowing where Ibrahim might have been going with that sentence, Amani fills in on her own. "You have a chance at whatever you put your mind to, Ibra," she tells him, quietly earnest. "If there's one thing I know for sure, from experience, it's that." She gets to work on her other foot, though pauses a moment to consider him with slight bemusement. "Here you are, yes. For some reason I thought you might have lived in the jungles just outside. But…you're here here?"

"I'm more than willing." Ibrahim promises her with a grin. "Any excuse to see Igen." He's been quite done with the washing for some time, but in no hurry to leave the Baths. And providential it was, too; here he is with a chance to see Amani again. It seems like forever since they last had a chance to sit down and talk. Even if it's accompanied by many blushes. "Yeah. I'm here here." His voice is low, and a little bit ragged. "It's been… rather a lot, with my clan and family and all. I'm better off where I can do some good." And not have to hear how the outside world has changed him all out of recognition to the traditions of his people.

It's Amani; the odds that there will be many blushes is always high! She gives a curious little tilt of her head at the tone of Ibrahim's last. "You'd do good wherever you land, I think," the goldling opines, and looks as though she's about to say something else before she pauses, eyes going momentarily vague in that way familiar to all dragonriders. Then she gives a soft, rueful laugh and quickly rinses her foot, the last of her own bathing done, at least. "I've got to go. She wants to look at the stars while she can, considering how rainy it's been." It's a rare clear night in the midst of the autumn monsoons, and the young gold isn't about to miss it! "You're welcome to join us for a bit whenever you come out…" She's moving toward the steps out of the pool, but pauses, turned slightly away with one arm crossed to her shoulder, a quiet request in the cant of her small, flushed smile. No peeking?

Oh, how he'd like to — good thing for Amani that he's too much the gentleman to steal a look, though. He'll make a show of wringing out his own hair, his head turned away from her as he closes his eyes and lets the warmth of their quiet moment wash over him. He's probably replaying every word like those sports footage things teams go over after every game, or something. "Mmm. I might. I like watching the stars with you two. It's always so beautiful…" He doesn't explain that little moment of ragged certainty that this is his life now, among the Weyr's denizens and away from the life he's always known; somehow he just known he'd do better in a place like this, with all its potential, despite the things it's sidelined. Eventually, he'll know how to explain it to her — but for now, he's just glad she's happy to share time with him when she can.

Amani's smile grows briefly before she's quickly slipping out of the pool to where her things are, making fast work of drying off and pulling her clothes back on. "Alright," she tells Ibrahim as she pushes her feet into her boots. Her riding jacket goes on after that, her towel draped over her shoulders. She stands watching him for a moment, then flushes yet again as she realizes she'll need to get moving if he's going to come out to join them. "We'll just be in the Bowl." And with parting smile, she makes her way out of the steaming baths and through the caverns to meet her lifemate, there to await Ibrahim's company while her lifemate makes her quiet survey of the autumn stars.

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