Who

Xanthee, Malosim

What

Xanthee plans a small surprise for her boyfriend Malosim's Turnday.

When

It is sunset of the sixteenth day of the first month of the thirteenth turn of the 12th pass.

Where

Crafter Quarters, Igen Weyr

OOC Date 24 Jan 2018 05:00

 

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Crafter Quarters

Set high against the steep slope of the Weyr caldera, the Crafter Quarters lie subtly removed from the Bazaar below them. They bustle, but it is a slower bustle from the mercantile flurry: the scurry of Apprentices being sent on errands, the muffled shouts of irate Masters, the bursts of bangs and clicks and clacks as Crafters carry out their work. The familiar abode brick buildings of Igen line this little web of streets, some colorfully painted, some drab and dull. With the portioning of space first come and first serve, some Crafts have laid claim to multiple buildings, while others are forced to share space - sometimes in rather incongruous ways. Private rooms are the domain of Journeymen and Masters, while Apprentices must make do with cramped dormitories, when they are not reduced to claiming mere corners.


Just before sunset on a brisk winter day there is activity at one of the benches that overlooks the bazaar below. Xanthee is there and she is definitely up to something. Dressed in a familiar green dress, the one Mal said he liked on her, and a thick woolen shawl pulled over her shoulders, the girl is bustling around this bench, laying out a thick fur over top of it, a couple of thick blankets stacked next to it. On the ground there is a large basket from which things appear. Bending over, she unwraps a small piece of fur from around a kettle, a plume of mist coming off whatever is inside, giving one clue, it’s hot. Taking out a couple of mugs, she places them off to the side with blankets. Then a small package is taken out, prettily wrapped in what looks like a dark blue hanky, ends tied together on top to look like a bow.

Her trio of firelizards are circling the area from above at her orders, keeping an eye out for a certain Miner, ready to alert their humanpet at his arrival any moment. Xan isn’t sure if he is in his quarters, the door of which she can see from where she’s standing, or working somewhere else in the area, so if he doesn’t show up on his own when she’s done her preparations, she’ll send Grymm to find him. The raven-haired girl is getting a little nervous now, wringing her hands and reaching up to make sure her new earrings that Mal gave her for her Turnday are hanging correctly.

A Turnday doesn’t mean a day off for Malosim, apparently…not that he minds all that much. He hasn’t done much to mark the day of his birth for some Turns now, so doesn’t give it much thought. He does remember it today, however, because he’s of a mind that he’d like to share it with someone, now that he has someone to share it with…so isn’t it serendipitous that he should come trudging up the incline from the Miners’ area below his apartment to find Xanthee there with a spread on a nearby bench, just in time to see her fussing with the earrings he’d given her.

He can’t help but grin, swiping the back of a gloved wrist across his forehead to relieve an itch caused by a smudge of stone dust that he isn’t quite able to rub away (though he doesn’t know that, so there it stays). “Hey there, love,” he greets as he approaches, glancing over what’s on the bench. “What’s all this, then?”

Guess her little flying friends weren’t up to the task, because they only come down to alert Xanthee when Mal is already upon her. She gives them a dismissive wave as they scatter to find various perches nearby. Then she takes a few steps towards him, one hand waved over the bench, “Well, I remembered what you said, that time when we walked up here, right before our second date.” She pauses a moment before continuing. “You said that it must be really something up here on a cold day with all the chimneys going.” Then she dramatically waves her hand at the view, the thick plumes rising from the bazaar floating across a sky just beginning to color with sunset.

“And..” Xan’s emerald eyes dance a little bit at this, “I may have whipped up a new special drink just for your Turnday.” Of course she didn’t forget. She points to the little flat package on the blanket, “And a little something from me of course to mark the occasion.” Looking again over the spread, she remembers the blankets, “Ohhh, and something to keep the chill off us.” Turning back to her boyfriend, she clasps her hands in front of her expectantly, searching his face with trepidation, not being able to resist adding, “I know it’s not much, but I really didn’t have another Turnday party in me after the last one.” she adds with a soft sigh of bitterness.

Malosim finds himself coming back up here when it’s dark fairly frequently, so doesn’t always have the chance to take in the view in full color. He does so now as Xanthee gestures out past the wall, the smile on his lips growing slow and warm before she speaks of her new concoction…and a gift…and blankets…

With her last, he steps close and wraps his arms around her, embracing her tightly against him as he beams down at her, dark eyes dancing. “So long as I get to share it with you, Xan, it’s perfect.” The kiss he follows his words with restates the sentiment tenfold, his hand lifting to her cheek as he finds her eyes again. “After the last one, I wouldn’t have expected anything from you, love. This is more than I could’ve asked for.” If he’d even been thinking to ask for anything…except just to see her. Glancing past her, he cocks a dark eyebrow. “So enlighten me about this new drink of yours.”

Looking extremely pleased with Mal’s reaction, Xanthee lets herself be gathered up in his arms and sink into that kiss with a happy sigh. When he pulls away again, she finds his eyes and just smiles up at him. “Happy Turnday love.” She says softly before he reminds her of her drink, so catching his hand, she leads him over to the bench, dropping it to reach into the basket and pull out a kettle, making sure to keep the fur wrapped around it. “When I saw how much you liked the cider at the Gather, I decided I would try my hand at a mulled version.” What is it with this girl and mulled things anyway. The smells wafting up from the kettle are spicy and sweet mingled in a delicate balance. She nods her head over at the mugs, “If you would please kind sir.” she says teasingly demure, eyelashes drop to flutter at him, holding the kettle up expectantly.

Cider! It is most definitely Mal’s favorite in the colder months, and even when he’s in the mood any other time of the Turn. The eagerness in his expression can’t be helped when Xanthee names it and he catches a wafting of the sweet and spiciness emanating from her little kettle, and he takes the mugs obligingly holding one at the ready for it to be filled.

Pouring the steaming liquid into the mugs in quick order, Xanthee then puts the kettle back into the basket carefully before standing up and relieving him of one of them. “I hope it's good. Never worked with cider before, it's so sweet.” Moving to sit on the bench covered with the fur to keep off the chill, she sets down right next to the little package and rubs the soft furs next to her, “Come take a load off love. Long day?” She asks conversationally, waiting for him to sit, wrapping her hands around the hot mug, warming them.

“It can be,” Malosim agrees over the sweetness of cider, “but I like that, in the winter. It’s when it’s hot that you want something a little more tart and light, and cold. It’s energizing.” To him, anyway. He sits beside her readily, blowing at the steam drifting upward from his mug. “Yeah, but it passed quickly,” he says of his day. “Happens when there’s a lot to be done, you know how it goes.” Since surely the Tea Room has its peak hours…and peak days, for that matter. Carefully, he ventures a sip from his mug, his expression thoughtful as he lets it sit on his tongue a bit…then pleased. “That’s not bad at all, Xan. The spice is pretty strong, but it’s a good balance to the sweet.”

Xanthee preens at his compliment and takes her own careful sip of her drink. “It definitely warms one up, that’s for sure.” After another sip, she sets her mug aside briefly and scoops up the small package in her hands and holds it out to him. “And this is just a little something for the time when we may be apart.” she says rather cryptically and hands the package over to him. Inside, a carefully wrapped miniature portrait of Xanthee done in oils. She is posed so that she is looking over her shoulder, emerald eyes dancing with hidden mirth and a soft smile on her lips. As she hands it over, she makes sure to add, “You can open it now if you want.”

Mal also sets his mug aside when Xanthee hands him the little package, his expression intensely curious at her words. When he unwraps the portrait, it changes to one of wonderment as he traces the edge of it with a fingertip. There’s a lump that rises in his throat even as he smiles, and while that lump is invisible, the glittering in his eyes from heightened emotion isn’t. “It’s beautiful, Xan,” he murmurs, and sets it down so that he can frame her face in his hands, thumbs skimming softly over her cheeks. “Not nearly as beautiful as the real thing…but it’ll be perfect for when the real thing has to be beyond my reach for a time.” The warm depth of the kiss he gives her this time is different somehow, savoring and drawing as much of her sweetness into him as he can while overflowing to her in silent gratitude and devotion. “Thank you, love,” he whispers, lingering close as their lips part, his eyes settling upon the emerald depths of her own.

Xanthee nearly beams as she sees his eyes glitter with emotion, she claps her hands together, her own eyes brightening as well. “I am so glad you like it. I thought it would be good so then you don't forget what I look like while I’m off being a Candidate.” She says with a little wink at her beau before he moves in for the kiss, feeling herself melt into the kiss, responding deeply, her hand reaching up to his neck, pulling him closer. When they finally pull apart again, she almost looks disappointed. “You are so very welcome. I’m so glad I was able to surprise you for once.” She says with a giggle as she leans forward and plants a kiss on his nose before reaching again for her mug for another sip. Then her thoughts fall to something not so festive and her brow creases a little bit as she decides to just get it over with, “Mal…I think we need to have a talk.” she says and looks up at him, and then chickens out, “But it can wait if you aren't up for serious talk.”

“How could I forget?” Malosim questions atop a chuckle, grinning as Xanthee tags his nose with another kiss. Now he’s starting to think about doing something similar, of course… He’s a bit surprised when things take a more serious bent, but he doesn’t shy away from the prospect. “I’m up for it,” he says, and a corner of his mouth quirks upward. “So long as we can take advantage of the blankets you brought while we’re at it.”

Xanthee smiles a little bit and scoots closer to him, her side pressed up against him as she reaches over and grabs a blanket. Unfolding it, she slips it over her shoulders and then over his. Taking up her drink again she takes a thoughtful sip and starts. “Remember when I went to Southern with Reveka for the night a few sevens before my Turnday?”. She proceeds anyway, because it's not entirely important, “Well my friend Amani reminded me of something we haven't addressed yet. If I go through Search again and manage to impress, that means…” she pauses here to nibble her lower lip and take a deep breath, “mating flights. How much do you know of what happens during one of those?” She asks curiously, her eyes flicking to take him in as she takes another sip.

Once they’re ensconced in the blanket, Malosim wraps his arm around Xanthee beneath it as she presses up against his side, taking up his own mug again once they’re settled. He nods to her first, lapsing into a moment of quiet thought as he considers the question she ends with. “Well…I remember what happened to us when that gold went up,” he says, his smile tilting with remembered heat and then fading back again as he goes on. “If a dragon can have that sort of influence on us unbonded folk, I can only imagine what it must do to riders, joined at the mind as they are and all…” Meaning he has guesses, but he doesn’t know exactly what it entails.

Snuggling into him further when he puts his arm around her shoulders, Xanthee smiles again as she remembers those lingering effects from the gold flight the day of her party. “Well golds can affect a lot larger area than greens, but yes, that feeling. Well, for the riders of the dragons involved, from what I’ve been told or learned from growing up in the Weyr, is that when your dragon flies, or chases even, the riders are just kind of along for the ride. But, most of the time, if dragons mate, their riders will….” She hesitates with a sigh as her eyes wander a little bit, looking out over the bazaar and the deepening colors off the sunset broken up by the thick white plumes of smoke rising from the chimneys. “…do the same.” she adds when she finally finds the right words. “Do you understand? It’s the dragons’ wills that bring them together, not their own desires.”

Malosim nods along with Xanthee’s explanation, unsurprised at where it leads but pensive as he processes what that entails. “I think so,” he says finally, and takes another sip from his cider. “When dragons mate, the riders get caught up in their instincts, since it’s such a strong urge?” He studies her profile a moment, a gloved hand slipping out from beneath the blanket so that he can brush some of her hair back behind her ear. “You’re wondering if it would upset me, you being caught up in one like that?” It’s more statement than question, though it’s something he obviously hasn’t had to ask himself before. His expression remains thoughtful as he waits for her to confirm or deny what he’s concluded.

Closing her eyes briefly as he brushes her hair back, Xanthee just nods, not looking at him, just staring out at the sunset painted sky. “Yes. Knowing I had shared a bed with someone not you because of a flight, how do you think you would handle that?” She says evenly, trying not to show how nervous she is to hear what he has to say, but she daren’t look at him, her pulse is quickening slightly with rising nerves, afraid to look in case his reaction is particularly negative.

The thought isn’t particularly appealing, of course, though Malosim is more concerned that Xanthee seems nervous that he might take it badly. There are a great many things he’s had to get used to about living in a Weyr, and one is that some things that might seem scandalous to the outside world are simply viewed and handled practically in the world of dragonfolk. And whatever seems practical is something Mal is ready to adopt.

“Xan…” His fingers find her chin, gently tilting her eyes his way. “It seems like there’s a lot of potential for awkwardness no matter how you look at it. But the thing is…sex and love aren’t the same thing. If what happens for a rider during a flight is out of their hands, if it ends up being something you get caught up in someday…it’s just sex in the end. I love you. That’s way stronger than something that might happen every now and then.”

Xanthee finally turns her face towards him when his fingers find her chin, eyes bright and a small hopeful smile touching her lips, her free hand reaching up to cup his cheek gently. “You really mean that truly? Because if I thought that even the chance that it would…taint what we have, well, it's enough to make me rethink standing again actually if I’m honest.”. Once the words leave her, her mouth suddenly goes dry with the heaviness of them, bringing to life a thought that she had been ruminating on for while. She feels a strange dread creeping up over her with the thought of not pursuing the one thing she is so sure she wants. But the thought of it costing her the love of the Miner… the conflict is plainly written on her face.

“Don’t you dare.” Although Malosim says it definitively and firmly, there’s still a small smile on his lips to go along with the determined set of his jaw as he locks gazes with her. “That’s your dream, Xan, and I don’t want you giving that up for me. I really, truly mean what I said.” He sets his mug down again, his hand finding hers to clasp against his chest between them as he turns to face her more fully. “I believe in us, love. That what we’ve got is strong enough to stand the months apart, flights, and any other test that might come our way. Whatever happens, I mean to be there for you at the end, whatever the end may look like. And I mean it with all my heart.” He goes quiet for a beat, still holding her eyes as he lets her ruminate a little on his words. “Do you believe me, Xan?”

The strength in his conviction behind his words, combined with the feeling of his heartbeat beneath her hand, pulls a glisten of tears to Xanthee’s eyes as she looks up at him. Lips part to let out a soft sigh as she tries very hard not to let her emotion overcome her at this moment. As she sets aside her own mug, taking the moment for another steadying breath before turning back to look at him. “I’m so glad you said that. Because I am going to really need your help to stay strong if I enter Candidacy again and it means being away from you. My heart almost aches already and the clutching hasn’t even happened yet. But you’re very right. This is my dream, and I need to make sure I am completely focused on my goal.” She reaches up and cups his cheek in her hand, running her thumb softy along his jaw. Then her eyes flick up and spies the smudge of stone dust on his forehead with an endearing smile as she moves her fingers up to brush it away, “Bringing your work home with you?” she says with a giggle before lowering her hand now so that it joins the other one on his chest, feeling the fine definition of his muscles as she goes serious again, “I believe you love. And I will let that belief comfort me when your arms cannot.”

The over-brightness from the tears in Xanthee’s eyes nearly sets off Malosim’s own, but he manages to keep them in check. The mere thought of the time to come does already make his heart ache, but as he’s hopefully made clear, he’ll do whatever he needs to in order for her to be able to chase her dream, including stepping out of the picture so as not to be a distraction no matter how many times he needs to.

He chuckles when she notices the dust, needless rubbing the spot in the wake of her efforts and raking his fingers back through his hair before covering her newly-lowered hand with his. “Usually do somehow,” he quips softly, and sighs, tilting his head to lean his brow against hers. “We’ll talk more about it when the time’s closer,” he murmurs, not wanting to think about just how close that time might be but determining that it’s a conversation they’ll have soon. “Right now…let’s enjoy the view, and these blankets, and this cider.” He shifts so that he’s straddling the bench, inviting her to fit herself into the niche he’s created as he speaks at her ear. “I wanna hold you, Xan.” And eventually more, but right this moment, it’s what he wants more than anything else.

Closing her eyes as they touch foreheads, Xanthe lets out a soft but happy sigh and nods at the idea that they should table this discussion for a later date. When he shifts on the bench, she nods more vehemently in agreement, “Yes let’s. Because I went to so much trouble you know.” And as easily as that, she slips back into her usual teasing Xan self, shedding the upcoming worries for the sweetness of this moment. Shifting herself to match him, straddling the bench, she scoots back into his awaiting embrace, until she is tucked up as close as she can be, her back pliant against his chest. Her hands go to rest on his thighs, just lightly laying there, slightly cold. “I will never say no to being held by you Mal.” She says softly but with a quiet confidence.

Malosim shrouds them both in the blanket once Xanthee is settled back against him. Being a pretty warm guy in general, the ought to be nice and cozy in short order, even if the cider gets somewhat forgotten. “I know you did, and I’m grateful for it,” he chuckles to her teasing, touching a kiss to the back of her jaw and then settling in himself, his head resting against hers as he watches the plumes of smoke rise from the Bazaar abodes below in the steadily waning sunset.

Eventually the light will fade entirely, which is when he’ll invite her inside instead…and he’ll of course suggest something even better than the cider and blankets to keep them warm for the remainder of the evening. All in all, it’s the best Turnday he’s had in a very long time.

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