Who

Veresch, Finn

What

Veresch slogs home from her foray past the Reika camp. Finn is working hard on an order, but takes a break to visit and discuss business and a bit of a surprise.

When

It is late night of the sixteenth day of the seventh month of the first turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Igen Weyr

OOC Date

 

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Caravan Grounds

Deep grooves in the hard packed earth criss-cross a large patch of denuded ground, bearing mute testament to the caravans that frequent this area. Despite the midden holes set back a ways from the main center of traffic, the air is sweet, redolent with the sagebrush that forms a loose perimeter around the flattened expanse. In what is as close to its center as the vague boundaries suggest, a stone ringed fire pit has been dug and surrounded with the odd log or two, ash overflowing from its darkly blackened core.

It is the seventy-sixth day of Summer and 134 degrees. It is a hot, miserable night. WTH IGEN? It's can't be this hot. CAN'T.


It's late at night, late enough that the temperature certainly should have known better. Regardless, it's warm outside, warm enough that canines prowl restlessly and people can't settle down to sleep, and certainly warm enough for travellers to get around. One such is Veresch newly returned to the Weyr after a seven of surveying, trundling down the Trench strip at the rearguard of a little caravan. Clad in dark desert robes and a mood and a half, she's forced to move at the slow lock-step of the caravan's tired draybeast. When she finally gets to the edge of the caravan grounds and a place she can recognise, she splits off through the Reika section, hoping for a fast trip to a bath and bed.

Miserable. Dusty. Hot. And hotter at the forge where, despite the late hour, Finn is posted up, banging away. Not in his customary spot, he's moved the wagon and small portable forge off from the rest of the wagons. Burning the midnight glows. With tongs a new orange-red piece is placed quickly in the quenching barrel. Breathing ragged, Finn stows his tools and backs out of his enclosure with a tired grunt, feet shuffling. He lifts the apron over his head and hangs it on a hook. He plods to a water barrel nearby and ladles out a too-warm mouthful, drinking thirstily before dumping another ladle over his head. He slogs wearily the short distance to his wagon and slumps against it.

Oh good, she's not the only one to suffer the heat. Veresch, getting a glimpse of Finn as he meanders back and forth, can't even manifest a frown. She changes course though, watching him for a few moments before hoving into talking (and seeing easily) distance. "Finn," she greets, voice low with fatigue, and pauses on the edge of the light. There, stripping most of the bulky robes off, she reveals a simple shift and linen pants, enough to make the abominable temperature at least a little cooler. Her glance goes from him to the forge to the caravan, and her frown twists up a little more. "That was you we heard a bit out?" Poor Finn.

The voice, familiar, lifts Finn's head, a watery smile playing across the grimy face, scruffier than usual. "Hey Veresch," quiet. He tips his head forward, leaning, counting on the weight of it to peel him away from where he's collapsed against the wagon. He peers at the column of traders and straightens, kneading his back with tired hands. "Just back?" Finn, cluerider. He tips his head and walks to the water barrel, "Drink up, and," he looks around, head whipping around with force enough that he nearly tumps himself over. Ah. A rag, nearly threadbare, dubious looking, but clean smelling and soft, snagged from a stack of such at the workbench. "Here."

If there's one thing stranger than tired Finn - he seems to have a puppy's energy - it's gentle, courteous Finn. Veresch takes the rag, struck dumb, and hesitates closer to the water barrel. There's a pause as she sips, then a little more, and finally downs a spoon of the tepid, almost brackish water. Her face is next, scrubbed clean of sweat by the simple expedient of a damp cloth. "Just back," she confirms. "At least now I know how much I don't know." She rinses the scrap of cloth scrupulously clean in a little water and hands it back to him, then fiddles around in a robe pocket to hold something out to him. "Here. Suck on that." Some kind of candy perhaps? It's sticky, in any case.

Puppy's energy perfectly describes Finn. Puppy bound, bound, bound, collapse. Snore. Twitch. Whimper. And the gentle courteousness is there too… just… louder. Bigger. Brighter. He takes the cloth and, deeming it sufficiently cleaned, wraps it around his neck. Another ladle of water, swallowed. He leans on the barrel with an exhalation that's part sigh and part grunt - more grunt than sigh this time. He peers at the nubby ball in Veresch's fingers, sniffing at it warily. 'Suck on that,' not usually a kindly invitation. But nothing about Veresch's manner seems hostile. Just tired. He smiles weakly and plucks it from her fingers, popping it into his mouth. "Fankff," his eyes go wide. "Thiff iff shew-ee." Chew, chew, concerted effort to sufficiently dissolve the stickening agents. Nutty seeds and sticky sweetness register and he tucks the great lump of it between his cheek and his teeth. "Pretty good." He looks like he'd say more, but… it's really sticky. Ahhhhh… Veresch is just trying to stick his mouth shut so he doesn't put his foot in it. Good move, Veresch.

Veresch watches him intently as he starts chewing, and a roguish smile conquers tiredness for a moment when he discovers how sticky it is. "It's meant to give you energy if you're tired," she shares, stepping closer to look up at him. It's the tracks of tiredness that irritates her most, and she lifts one hand to pet gently at his head, rather like one would ruffle a puppy in any case. "What are you doing, working so late? Surely you can't see what you're working with." The hand falls away and she moves to brace one scrawny hip against the grindstone. The offer, when it comes, surprises even her: "Want some help working the bellows?"

Finn cocks a brow at that roguish smile, a close-mouthed and knowing smirk somewhat less impactful for the rigorous chewing. He raises a hand to pat Veresch's but, slow on the draw, she's dropped her hand first. Questions and offers addressed in haphazard fashion, he looks at the glows, "They're bright enough," for young eyes who're happy to strain. Not really. He smiles warmly at the messenger's offer of help. "Stars, Veresch, you should get home. Get some rest," his voice is rough. Gravelly, instead of the usual bright, resonant tenor. "Got a deadline and I'm not sure I'll make it if I don't get out ahead." He scratches at his jaw, scruff bristling under caked nails, he winces, "I sorta need to talk to you about your knife," he shifts, one foot to the other, curved rake of his fingers making grimy hair stand on end and flop. "I can't start on it 'til I'm done with this." He brightens. There's a bit of a cagey look. Sly? Finn? "You want to take a look at materials? I could use a break."

Conflicting messages clash; she's tired, but it's the kind of tiredness where she needs to wind down first, thus the offer of help. Still, with a flick of eyes, she wiggles back for a bit more comfort and musters up a smile. "I'm too tired to run away, but my mind's kind of awake, y'know? As long as you don't expect me walk very far." She folds her hands on her lap, looks up at him afterwards. "What kind of materials did you have in mind?" She's patently new at it, and looks a little curious. "And why are you working so late? Big errand?"

Finn's tired too. Hence the clashing offers. He nods. "I know what you mean." He doesn't. Finn's brain turns on and off like a switch. Awake time. Sleep time. On. Off. Times like this, his brainswitch is struuuuggling to flip to Off and he's struuuuggling to keep it On. "Naw, sit right there. I'll be back in a tick and show you." He's tromps over to his wagon and opens the door, disappearing inside. Quiet shuffling and he emerges with a slatted, cloth-lined crate. It can't have too much weightiness in it, or he's significantly stronger than his lean -albeit well-muscled- frame indicates. He nudges the door shut with a hip and sets the crate at Veresch's feet. He moves back over to the barrel for another ladle of water. "Take a look, see what catches your fancy." There's that sly little smile again. What's he up to?

Honestly, if Veresch had been more awake she would certainly have suspected all those sly smiles. As it is, however, she's too busy trying to count sheep in her mind and being curious to click that a fast one is being pulled. There's a second where she squints measuringly at his torso - okay, so strong - before she leans down to look into the crate. She works delicately, picking the lid up and moving a bit of cloth aside, and freezes. Moments pass slowly, humidly, and her eyes grow wide. There's the suggestion of a sniffle, and all of a sudden she's got enough energy to straighten, hop at Finn and wrap her arms around his neck. Seconds later, her legs wrap around him as well, and she squeezes. Kitten! Cute, furry kitten! 'lizards are wonderful and handy, but … kitten!

Onari's not the only one with a network of eyes and ears. It wasn't Starscraft or anything. He'd seen her mooning at the very litter this'n had come from. The ladle falls from Finn's hands as, "Unghff," he grunts with force of Veresch's assault gratitude. Tired though he is, bearing up under the wrap of a woman's arms and legs is something he's prepared to do. If not right at this moment. From this particular woman. Young woman. Girl. He laughs, breath wheezing out as her limbs make a bellows of his lungs. Chortling, he squeezes back. "Can't say I expected this." He chuckles into her hair and lets her down, slinging an arm around her shoulder, squeezing and leaning over to peer. "Wait," eyes go wide in mock surprise, that sly glint not concealed at all, "Veresch, I brought out the wrong crate!"

Pshaw. From the very enthusiastic way Veresch squeeze at poor Finn, there's nothing but gratitude there, and she hops down immediately. "You're not getting it back!" she says fiercely, already prepared to battle over her precious. She even thumps him in the stomach before she scoots back to the crate. The kitten, being the sly thing it'll likely grow up as, essays a tiny mew and peers up before it snuggles back to sleep. Well and truly Owned, she kneels down next to the crate to gently flick a finger over the furry head as it rumbles an inconceivably large purr. "Finn," she says quietly. "Thank you. This is…" Well, she doesn't have words for it.

"Oof," Finn fends off Veresch's stomach thump. He grins at the rattling, raspy sound of the infant kitty purr. "'Welcome." He leans over ruffling Veresch's hair and his eye falls on the sandtimer he'd set earlier. Time to get back to work. He shuffles back to the forge. The heavy apron slipped off of its hook, put over his head and tied with fumbling fingers. He smiles wearily, "Glad you like him. Her?" He shrugs. Who knows with kittens? Not Finn. Gloves are next. Safety first. Because it's totally safe to work dead tired. All he's really got left to do is check the piece he'd quenched when she arrives. The rest could wait for tomorrow. A monstrous yawn cracks Finn's jaws and he covers it with the back of a heavily gloved hand. Tongs taken and dagger body removed from the oil, a uniform dark metallic gleam under the coating of shining oil. Still hot, but not glowing. He wipes the piece down and sets it aside - gently. Untempered steel could shatter if dropped. And that's that. He begins the slow, methodical process of breaking down his forge.

Given that Veresch doesn't know the least thing about kitten gender, that question'll have to wait until later. She even allows him to ruffle her hair, turning it into a mess. Idly gathering up her crate - there's a protesting mew - she moves to the side and stays there, watching him until the very last step is completed. One last squeeze is contemplated, rejected because he looks so very tired, and her mind is finally stopping its churn. "Thank you," she whispers one last time and scoots away, collecting her robes and things on the way out. There goes a very satisfied teenager.

Finn grins at Veresch's retreating back. Dawn and day would reaveal if the prototype turned out well or not, but that… that was a good end to a long day.

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