Who

Amani, Ibrahim

What

Amani decides to end her relationship with Ibrahim; Ibrahim is devastated.

When

It is the eighty-eighth day of Winter and 42 degrees. Still dark and overcast, the winter rain has picked up and become heavier, albeit still pleasant.

Where

Beach, Southern Weyr

OOC Date 28 Mar 2018 05:00

 

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Beach

An eerie mirror, the glass-quiet Sea of Azov: the clear waters stretch along the dark-pebbled shores, and along this narrow beach. Here the faintest lap of waves belies the calm beyond; here the rocks have been ground down into finest, softest sand - those observant would mark upon the similarity between it and the sands of the hatching grounds. The soft sand soaks up summer sunlight as a sponge; painfully hot during the warmer months, it is only truly pleasant at wintertime. Rocks rise to east and west, lichen-limned and green against the abyssal darkness of stone.


Cold and wet - such is winter at Southern Weyr, as everyone is well aware. But it doesn't change the fact that a dragon needs a bath every now and again, and Zymuraith has decided that day is today. At least it gives Amani an excuse to get away from hidework in her office for a bit. Her lifemate has a knack for catching breaks in the weather, but despite the rain having stopped, the young goldrider throws an oilskin on over her leathers just in case. Then she grabs all the necessary elements of a bath into her bucket and makes the short flight to the beach, setting down her burden in the sand to watch Zymuraith take to the water and do her own bit of cleaning before the scrubbing begins. At least the brisk weather is good for clearing her head…which of course lets the list of all the conversations and meetings she needs to get to once her current task is done start scrolling through her mind. She sighs heavily, dark eyes lowering to focus on the sand for a long moment.

Time and past Ibrahim has showed his nose in the Weyr proper again - so much time spent in the aid of his own folk might seem an indictment against him in the eyes of some. But even though relations between he and his own have gotten even more strained, there's something to be said for the duty one owes one's family, and the wildling executes it with all due consideration. Still, by the time all is said and done, the man is bone-weary of the strife and miscommunication, of the innuendo and sly, sideways looks and whispered disparagement, hidden behind brown, wrinkled hands. It is with relief that he finally reaches the beach, and spies Amani out with her golden dragon. There is, as usual, a shift towards something more lighthearted for him, a playfulness that he restrains more out of habit than necessity. But her heavy sigh brings a frown across his features, and he wonders: what thing has she taken on now? "Amani?" He calls, worried. "Have things gotten even worse with those… refugees?" For what else can they be called? Criminals, perhaps. Ne'er-do-wells. Squatters, maybe.

Ibrahim's voice pulls Amani out of her thoughts, a small smile reflexively coming to her lips. She hasn't been able to see him much for some time now, perhaps twice a sevenday, if she's lucky. It's been a troubling state of affairs for her - for both of them, she thinks. And a conversation with him is on that mental list, so his wandering out here, at this moment, seems fortuitous. Except the topic isn't going to be an easy one. She's having to fight the instinct to run, and that's saying something. "You could say that," she replies, shoving her hands into her pockets beneath the oilskin. "It's gotten ridiculous. The guards need to just march them out of the barracks, but it's not that simple, apparently. Add to that this sharding mystery illness the Healers haven't figured out yet, continuing tensions with the Black Rock people, and all these other little…things that keep coming up…" She shakes her head, huffing out another sigh before bringing her eyes back to him, the act almost reluctant. "I'm glad you happened by. I've been meaning to talk to you."

Oh, yes, that. Ibrahim has had an uptick in the collecting and proper mixing of such things; so much so that he'd begun to think he'd never get all the green out from under his fingernails. And it'd certainly been putting a damper on his availability for Amani — but such, he has long accepted, is life when one actually has a job to do. Sometimes the personal pleasures must suffer for the practical. "Mm. I suppose there must be some broad political reason for it. That, or there's something these people want that they're trying to suss out. Hard to do that if they merely dispel them without further ado. Besides, this illness started with them. It'd be difficult to disperse them out and have it spread even farther, unchecked, without knowing the whys and wherefores." He squints Weyr-ward, wondering. And then he swings his gaze back to Amani, brows arching questioningly. "About what?" A hint of uncertainty springs unbidden into his tone like a creeping vine.

"Either way, it'd make things a lot easier if they'd spit out whatever it is. They have to know that…" And if they don't, or if there's some other motivation, it's all beyond her. Amani takes another deep breath, slow and quiet, turning away from the water to face Ibrahim fully. "About…us, Ibra," she replies quietly. Again her gaze drops for just a moment before lifting to his again, klah-dark hues shadowed with melancholy resignation. "Things aren't going to slow down. Not any time soon. We haven't really had time for one another, not the way we'd hoped, and all things considered…I don't know that that's going to change." She gives a little shake of her head. "This is what my belonging to the Weyr…to Pern, in a way…looks like, I guess. And it isn't fair to you."

"How not? I was well aware of what would happen when you Impressed a gold. It's not like I expected we would be glued to each other every single day." Ibrahim points out reasonably enough. "Is that really the reason, Amani?" He asks, gently. "Because I seem to recall having told you, more than once, that I am all right with how things are." He tucks his hands into his pockets, casting his gaze out over the sea, turning a million questions over in his head. "Why have you convinced yourself that I wasn't aware of what it would be like?"

"You have told me more than once, and I still…can't seem to stop questioning it." It's something Amani is clearly extremely frustrated with herself for. "You shouldn't have to put up with my constant second-guessing of it. And you deserve someone who-" The lump in her throat rises sudden and hot, choking her words of as her eyes drop ground-ward again. They're over-bright with impending tears, her lip caught in her teeth as she blinks in an attempt to hold them back. "I value all that we've shared, Ibra…and all that you are. I always will. But you deserve someone who can actually show you the same without reservation. Someone who can dedicate time to you, love you like…I can never be able to…who can commit to you in ways I can't… I don't know how to do it!" She suddenly looks like she wishes she had something to hit, perhaps something to shoot, and considers the bucket for a long moment before the ire gets reined back in, directed where it belongs - to herself. "Not with everything as it is. You might be alright with things as they are, Ibrahim, but I can't think of it the same way. I've tried. It just…isn't…right. In the end…Zymuraith and the Weyr are always going to come first. Someone needs to put you first…but it can't be me."

"I see." Ibrahim is still quiet, very quiet, his gaze still focused out on the sea. Perhaps he's drawing a sense of calm stillness from it, for he doesn't seem to even quite be breathing. "So. You have decided that you know what is best for me, despite my having told you otherwise. You know, deep down, that I cannot possibly know my own mind in this. That I cannot possibly be happy with things as they are." Finally, he turns his head to consider Amani almost as if he's never seen her before. "Well, then. I suppose that's it, then. You and I are…no more." Again, his gaze shifts — away. Elsewhere. Anywhere but on Amani. "You're right. You really don't understand how these things work, Amani. I hope, for your sake, that you can figure it out ere you crush another man's heart unthinking."

Ibrahim's words sting as surely as a slap, and some of them should, Amani thinks. She'd been prepared for…some of such a reaction. But not all of it. Especially not the way he looks at her in the wake of his first. "I still…care about you, Ibra…" But he's far away, his distance from her suddenly and terribly evident in the gulf wrought by the withholding of his gaze from her. She's suddenly underground again, staring down into the Maw's sinister abyss, trying to understand and conquer the fears that emanate from it. And the realization that it's a mirror nearly sends her tumbling headlong into it. She steps back from the edge, from Ibrahim, the tears streaming freely down her cheeks now. "I…I'm sorry, Ibrahim," she chokes out, her feet still carrying her slowly, haltingly backward. For all she must be to the world, she has no armor here. Nothing to draw from, save for Zymuraith, who emerges from the surf to the strand behind her, great eyes a strange swirled mix of crimson and silvery grey. She surveys the scene with no judgment, there only for the sake of her bonded who is in the midst of learning a very wrenching lesson.

"Maybe, in time, I'll believe that, Amani." Ibrahim murmurs softly. "For now, I can't fathom that you do." Part of him wants to go to her, to provide comfort, as he might have had this been in the wake of another situation entirely. But right now? He can't, for right now, his own feelings are shattered: betrayal, first among them. "Maybe, in time, an apology will carry weight and meaning; for now, it means nothing. Nothing at all." The familiarity of the sea is a comfort to him: predictable, at least, in its various moods. His gaze sweeps her one final time, wondering: who is this stranger to him? "Take care of yourself, Amani." Perhaps it will come as no surprise that with that, he turns away, heading for the Jungle, and its shadows. Perhaps that, too, is his way of coping with this turn of events.

And so two hearts break upon Azov's beach - Ibrahim's, at Amani's hands with what he sees as her betrayal, and Amani's, at his hands with the rejection of her apology, ineffectual though she knew it would likely be. At least there is tit for tat, even if the causes are unbalanced. But broken is broken. "Goodbye, Ibra," she manages at a whisper, the tone leeched from her voice as she watches him disappear. She wonders if she'll ever see him again…but knows if it happens, it won't be on purpose. How could it, now? She wants to crumple, to curl up in the sand and weep until there's nothing left. But Zymuraith is there, providing a much more steady alternative. And the day cannot end for either of them over this. She'll weep through the rest of tending to her lifemate instead, all the while wondering just what sort of woman she must be, to have held such power over the heart of another…and crushed it.

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