A Well-Deserved Punch

Western Weyr - Kitchen
Perhaps you followed your nose here.. the cooking
aromas are tempting. This is the main kitchen of the Weyr. At any time
of the day or night you find cooks and drudges busy making meals and
preparing foodstuffs for storage for later use. The cavern has been
shaped into a huge room with a domed ceiling. The huge ovens and
cooking stoves line the outer wall, their perpetual fires fueled by
natural gas from a nearby well. Vent holes pierce the cavern walls,
keeping the room amazingly clear of smoke. The inner wall has long
counters of smooth stone, carved from the walls. You see a large,
heavy looking metal-clad door. This is the large cold storage room,
much like a man-made ice cave. The walls are made of volcanic rock,
known for it's insulating properties. The heat exchanger is also
powered by natural gas.

Ila'den has spent a lot of his time avoiding a /lot/ of
places around Western Weyr, mostly because they remind him of a
certain little sister and the long-past pitta-patta of her
no-longer-tiny feet. In an attempt to heal gaping wounds (that seem
only to open wider when he tries), Ila'den has taken to spending more
time around the places that seem to weigh on him the most— in a
cowardly sort of way. He never does it alone, you see, and so today
he's gone and coerced a certain brownrider into sneaking into the
kitchens with him like a very naughty pair of children. "I am telling
you, V'ric, it was the most delicious looking bubbly I have ever seen.
It's going to be worth it." It's not going to be worth it, it never
/is/ worth it, but the Weyrsecond is leading his best friend anyways,
past bakers, sticking fingers into pastries for a taste, and finding a
relatively abandoned counter-space to haul himself up onto, and sit.
It's evident when those grey eyes take a sweeping look around the
bustling workspace that there's something… sad, but he hides it, as
ever, behind a cheshire grin.

It really always is V'ric that gets dragged along. And if
Ila'den is doing some sneaking, the brownrider is being
decidedly…less so. He looks to be dangling at the end of his own
patience even as he follows Ila'den through the kitchen. At least he
doesn't have to dodge around the bakers and other kitchen staff. Most
of them simply get out of the man's way without a fuss. "You're
behaving like a child." More of a statement than a complaint, really,
but V'ric heads over to the counter along with Ila'den. A hand settles
next to the bronzerider on the counter, and while he might look a bit
disapproving of his friend /sitting/ where they make /food/, he
doesn't comment on it. He simply leans there watching the other man,
head canting just a little to the side. "/Is/ it worth it?" The
brownrider…probably isn't referencing the pastries.

"Well, one of us has to refrain from looking like we're out
to kill everybody," Ila'den laughs, reaching out to press his finger
into V'ric's forehead— though the brownrider's question does give
Ila'den pause. There's nothing cheshire about the smile that he turns
onto his best friend this time, instead allowing that glimmer of
sadness to grow and twist until the mask he keeps up has nearly
crumbled. "No," he says softly, "but what happens if I don't try is
worth even less." It doesn't need to be elaborated on, because V'ric
already knows the consequences of Ila'den's mourning. There's a shift,
and then Ila'den is suddenly on his feet once more, grin back in place
as he leans a shoulder-bump into his best friend, and jerks his chin
in the direction of one unsuspecting baker. "/She/ made the bubbly.
She's making one now, too. When she turns away, we have to steal it."
A pause, a look, and then, more of that low, husky laughter. "I'll
distract her, since you would probably just make her run away." LOOK

V'ric brings his fingers up somewhat, rubbing at the space
between his eyes for a moment. "Because this can't wait until they're
put out in the caverns?" Really, bubbly theft, in the crowded kitchen,
by grown men? Yes, V'ric is /teetering/ at the edge of patience.
"You're the Weyrsecond, just /ask/ for it." He could get away with
that..couldn't he? The brownrider's lips press into a thin line though
when the /plan/ is doled out to him, eyes narrowing as well. "I'm not
doing this, Ila."

She in beant over what will eventually be a bubbly pie,
kneeding the dough that will make the crust into submission. Another
pie is at her side, one that she only recently finished. Naris isn't
exactly the best cook around, so naturally she is eager to fix this
and has spent most of the morning baking pies. She thinks she has made
decent progress considering how her pies no longer look like shapeless
lumps. Her hair is pulled back in a bun and bits of flour cover her
face. A look of true concentration is on her face, she isn't about to
fail at simple baking. After all, Naris has to earn her keep in the
weyr, what use is she if she can't do every chore that is thrown at

"No, it absolutely cannot wait until they are out in the
kitchen." Ila'den says this with conviction, as if there was never a
more righteous truth spoken in all of Pern. V'ric might be teetering
on the edge of patience, but Ila'den has no qualms about pushing his
best friend over. He's already hunkering down for a sneak attack when
there's mention of being Weyrsecond (which earns a roll of shoulders),
and then the brownrider's halting stubbornness probably saves them
both from impending humiliation. Those grey eyes jump from
bubbly-making magician to Vel, and settle with a disquieting cold.
"You're taking the fun out of it," Ila'den breathes, ice dispersing as
those eyes close and, for a moment, he simply doesn't move. "Suit
yourself," the former renegade says only then. "I don't need you." A
harsh implication? Or does it only apply to their current situation?
Ila's back on his feet, and using all that practiced quiet to
sneaaaak, sneakkkk, sneeeaaaak up on the maker of the much-coveted
bubbly. He looms just behind her, and then reaches out one hand to
bring over her eyes. If he is successful he will, of course, be
reaching out with the other to steal the baked goods, if not, well…
She will be greeted with a face full of grinning, failure bronzerider.
Either way, she'll be getting a whisper of, "Surprise!" as he goes for
the 'kill'.

The words don't seem to faze V'ric at all. He knows the
truth, despite what Ila'den might say. The bronzerider needs his best
friend, even if said brownrider won't run around stealing pies. So he
simply sighs, shaking his head as he leans on the nearby counter,
simply /watching./ "I'm taking the intense embarrassment out of it. At
least mine." Besides, V'ric's stealth is reserved for the outdoors,
not crowded kitchens. He's a big, angry-looking brownrider, ill-suited
for pilfering goods!

The hairs on the back of Naris's neck prick up as she
notices someone sneaking up behind her. She doesn't know if she heard
him or felt his breath on the back of her neck, all she knows is that
he is there. It happens in a matter of seconds, when it's all over she
will be confused and not completely sure of what happened. All he
knows is that a hand suddenly covers her eyes and someone whispers,
'surprise'. In that moment an unholy screech leaves her, he might as
well have plunged a knife deep into her with the noise she makes. With
that she whirls around and, without thinking, aims to punch the man
right in the nose. She fails to notice that this is the weyrsecond and
not some attacker, although running on instinct as she was it might
not have mattered either way.

V'ric, speaker of truths. There is an intense
/embarrassment/ at having a 17-turn-old girl take a swing at you, but
the icing on the cake is when her swing actually /connects/. Truth be
told, the Weyrsecond really could have darted away, or caught her hand
in more than enough time, but he… doesn't. Instead he lets the baker
take all her instinctive gumption out on his nose with her fist, and
the impact, while not nearly as impressive as it may be from some
/other/ folks lazing about the weyr, has him stumbling backwards. The
bubbly he'd caught up is dropped, exploding as it connects with the
ground to spatter all remaining surfaces with evidence, and there's
blood trickling from Ila'den's nose when the Weyrsecond brings both of
his hands up to cover his face. Those grey eyes blink once, twice, and
then settle on Naris in total amusement. There's suddenly laughter
bubbling up from the bronzerider, stifled by his hands and the fact
that he suddenly can't breathe properly through his nose. There's no
lasting damage, to be sure, but the initial hurt has yet to pass over.
"I'm sorry," he says suddenly, motioning towards her ruined bubbly. "I
didn't mean to scare you, or ruin your work." And then he's brining
his hands away, to look at V'ric with a brow raised before dissolving
into more laughter. He needs a napkin or something, he's trying to
communicate to his bestie, but the poor resident's got him too amused
for effective articulation.

Oh the utter amusement of watching his friend get punched
in the nose. And although V'ric doesn't quite laugh, his lips do
twitch upward, answering Ila'den's look with a smirk. He does move
over though, grabbing a cloth along the way to shove roughly in the
bronzerider's hand. "You deserved that." And now there's a /mess/ all
over the floor….which V'ric ignores wholeheartedly. He's not
cleaning it up. He avoids the mess however, having little interest in
wandering about with bubbly guts on his boots. He turns his attention
though to the poor girl the Weyrsecond startled, eyeing her in turn
before offering a small nod. "Did you hurt yourself?"

The moment her fist connects with the Weyrsecond's nose
there is a /crack/ and a burst of pain. Naris lets out a yelp and
jumps back, holding her hand close to her chest. For now she is even
distracted enough that she fails to notice the bubbly pie falling to
the floor, or at least she ignores it until the rider points it out.
It is made clear that his apology for scaring her and ruining her work
is not exactly accepted by the glare on her face. He destoryed her
bubbly pie, scared the shards out of her, made her injure her hand,
and then was /laughing/ about it. It was then that she decided that
she would need to report his behavior to some higher authority, not
noticing his weyrsecond knots quite yet. Suddenly another rider walks
over, says that the man she punch deserved it, and asks if she hurt
herself. Naris is still for a moment before giving a small nod, biting
her lip in an attempt to prevent herself from saying anything.

Thank goodness for V'ric, and his ability to read Ila'den
so well. When the brownrider approaches with a cloth, the bronzerider
takes it to staunch the flow of blood. "Faranth, did I ever." He
deserved it, and he knows he did. If there is one thing that Naris
will probably learn about the Weyrsecond in time, however, it's that
he laughs at /everything/. It's not to insult her, or hurt her, or to
enjoy her sudden lack of pie, but an inability to do away with a
joker's mask that he's practiced for years to keep in tact. Naris'
glare does calm the laughter to a smile, although the amusement never
once leaves his eyes. Not, at least, until he takes note of the way
she's holding her hand to her chest, and the biting of her lip. The
Weyrsecond stills only then, bringing his hands (and that cloth) away
from his face. Suddenly he's in the poor Naris' space without enough
decency to spare her personal bubble any mind, and reaching out to
catch her hand between his own. "You okay?" he asks softly, and then
turns his head to look at his best friend. "Don't think she knows how
to take a proper swing, Vel. Come look at her hand." He needs a second
opinion, after all. He doesn't want to force her to the infirmary if
she doesn't /need/ it, not when his nose is still happily bleeding

V'ric grunts softly. "Take a look at it? If your face is as
thick as the rest of your head she's bound to have broken something."
He's not a healer, after all! His eyes narrow just a little though,
giving a slight jerk of his head toward the door. "/Both/ of you need
to get looked at." After all, even if Ila'den's nose isn't broken, he
probably deserves having someone poke and pinch the sensitive bit of
cartilage. He settles a hand on his hip then, sighing. "Ila. Give her
room to breathe. And you." He looks at Naris again, gaze traveling
once down, then up again. "To the infirmary." Well /he/ has no problem
forcing people to the infirmary.

It seems that Ila'den has noticed the way she holds her
hand to her chest and the way she bites her lip as the laugh falls
from his face. Before she can do anything he's all up in her personal
space, grabbing her hand and looking at it. It has already begun to
swell around the knuckle of her index finger which, although she does
not know it, is broken. At least he seems to care, asking if she's
okay and calling his friend to come and look at her hand. Before she
can say anything the other rider says that she must have broke her
hand and that they both need to get looked at. Without even asking her
opinion he turns to look at her before ordering her to the infirmary.
At this Naris frowns, trying her best to ignore the pain building in
her hand and the tears begining to prick at her eyes as she says, "no,
I don't have time. I have to clean up this mess, a-and I have so many
other chores to do! My hand can wait." Brave words for someone
fighting back tears.

Did V'ric just insult Ila'den? You see how the Weyrsecond
responds to it? You would think not, because the man starts laughing.
Again. It's low, and easy, and husky, but he does obediently let go of
Naris' hand. "Are you jealous, V'ric? You know there's nobody who
could take your place." He says it with a croon as he moves closer to
his best friend, hooking an arm around the brownrider's shoulders and
smiling up at him, bloody face and all. It's probably quite grotesque,
actually, but Naris' words, and her building tears have the
bronzerider blinking back towards her. "Oh, don't do that," he says
softly. TEARS ARE CHEATING. "I said I was sorry, little bird." He lets
go of V'ric again, to once more invade Naris' space, only this time
he's shrugging out of his riding jacket and letting the material fall
over the top of Naris' head, to hide her face. He gives her a gentle
push towards the door then, not giving her room to escape either way.
"You have time," he says, with an edge of authority to his words this
time. "Your Weyrsecond is ordering you." Yes, he's just going to guide
her, if she will allow, towards the door, looking over his shoulder
for V'ric, fully expecting the brownrider to follow.

V'ric shakes his head somewhat. But it seems he doesn't
have to rebuke the excuse of /chores/. He merely pushes Ila'den away
and toward Naris when the bronzerider gets too close. "You look
disgusting." No, the brownrider doesn't really pull his punches when
it comes to his friend. He simply sighs though, easily moving to
follow the weyrsecond and jacket-hooded Naris. "Just do as he says. He
won't leave you in peace until then anyway."

Yes, it certainly does seem like the rider feels guilty. He
points out that he did apologize before swooping into her space once
again. Naris opens her mouth to protest only for a jacket to be
dropped upon her head, hiding her face and partially blocking her
space. What on Pern this accomplishes she has no idea but she does
know that she /will/ protest. Or at least she knows until Ila'den
gives her a nudge toward the door, not giving her room to escape. Once
again she opens her mouth to protest, only to be silenced once again
by him saying that her weyrsecond was ordering her. Shards, /he/ was
weyrsecond? Is Enka the only sane part of the leadership of this weyr?
But in the end she does comply and allow him to guide her, because
sane or not he /is/ part of the leadership.

Western Weyr - Infirmary(#4868RJs$)

This long, rectangular cavern smells faintly of
antiseptic and strongly of pleasant medicinal herbs. The general
atmosphere is one of bustling but orderly quiet and strict
cleanliness. The back of the room is dominated by a small hearth for
heat and medicinal preparations and by swinging double doors that lead
to a small DragonHealing bay, an emergency surgery for human patients,
the main storage, and the staff area where Healers can eat, shower,
change, and the like during their longer shifts. The front of the room
is a waiting and reception area where patients and staff can check in
to receive treatment and begin work, respectively. The east wall of
the room features examination, birthing, recovery and outpatient
treatment rooms while the opposite wall is curtained off to provide
privacy and bed-space for patients requiring overnight care.
Western can certainly handle most of the routine and
sometimes urgent treatment needs of its residents here. It lacks some
of the equipment available at the main Healer Hall. Once they are
stabilized, patients requiring specialized or ongoing care are surely
transferred there.

If one /must/ know, the point of throwing ones jacket over
one's face is so that the jacket-hooded can cry privately, if that's
what they feel like they need to do. Ila'den understands pride, and
more than that, he's got a weyrmate, a little sister he's raised since
practically birth, and a little girl all his own. He might be all
rough edges and sharp turns, but the man /does/ understand at least
the /basics/ when it comes to the feelings of women, and he
understands the need for privacy, even if he's constantly pretending
as though he doesn't. So he leads the way to the infirmary with one
arm around Naris' shoulders, the other around Vel's (despite being
/disgusting/), and delivers the poor unsuspecting resident teenager
into the very capable hands of Western's healers. Or into the waiting
room, anyway, where they are all told to sit. Ila'den brings his cloth
to his nose only then, leaning sideways in his chair so that all of
his weight is rested against V'ric. LEAAAAN. "So," he says, grey eyes
focusing on the girl with the broken knuckle. "What's your name,

V'ric made the trip in relative discomfort. Really, why
should he enjoy having a bleeding Ila'den clinging to him? Gross.
Still, he did get there, despite not being injured at all. He's there
for supervision. He sighs though once he sits down eyeing the
bronzerider for leaning on him..but he doesn't complain about it. He
simply grunts a soft warning to the Weyrsecond. "Bleed in the cloth,
not on me." But then he's addressing Naris, and the browrider's eyes
lift again to study the girl. Oh yeah, /names/. People tended to have

Although Naris wasn't a very big fan of the coat, things
putting extra weight on her head tend to upset her, even hats, she did
indeed cry a bit under it. Not too much, all her childhood she has
been careful to make sure that no one saw her cry. But it sharding
/hurt/. Because of this when she removes the jacket from her head her
eyes are rimmed with red. But she does not let her voice shake when
she answers Ila'den's question, instead trying her best to look strong
as she says, "Naris. My name is Naris." She is quiet for a moment
before adding, "you must be Ila'den if you're the wingsecond, I read
it in a record." Another pause before she glances from Ila'den to
V'ric and asks, "are you two weyrmates?"

You see, Ila'den /was/ about to confirm, correct, deny, but
Naris' innocent question gives the Weyrsecond much pause. There's a
lapse into momentary silence as those grey eyes simply stare after the
teenager, and then V'ric really /is/ getting his tunic bloodied when
Ila'den turns his face into his shoulder and starts /laughing/. The
Weyrsecond laughs until it hurts, and when he's pulling away from Vel,
there's a deviant smile for Naris. He's got that cloth pressed back
against his nose again, as the laughing has started up that flow of
blood all over again, and then he's whispering in a conspirator kind
of way, "Can you tell? He's so shy about our love. It's cute." And
then he's dropping the cloth so that he can leaaaaan into his best
friend again, puckering up as he aims to land a kiss somewhere on his
best friend's face. Shameless. Absolutely shameless.

And while the question might make Ila'den laugh, it's one
that V'ric himself doesn't seem terribly pleased about. He tenses
somewhat, abruptly /eyeing/ the Weyrsecond when his face makes contact
with his tunic. Really? /Really?/ At least he doesn't seem to mind the
blood as much as he might've sounded when he /gave/ Ila'den the
warning. Instead it's his answer that comes in a gruff-sounding growl,
bringing his hand up to /cover/ Ila'den's mouth when kissing motions
are made. "He's weyrmated to a goldrider."

There is a certain feeling of pride surrounding Naris when
Ila'den asks if she was able to tell and says how shy he is about
their love. She completely fails to notice his laughing this time,
thinking that when he turned to face him he must have been kissing
him. Then he leans in to plant a kiss on his love's face and Naris
watches silently, not wanting to interrupt the sweet moment. But then
the other rider raises up a hand to cover the kiss, claiming that
Ila'den is weyrmated to a goldrider. At this she gives a sigh before
pointing out, "of course he mated with her, he is weyrsecond after
all." She falls silent for a moment, a serious look crossing her face.
Her voice is cool and steady as she says, "you live in a weyr, sir,
not some hold. People won't judge you for your choice of mate here, no
matter the gender." She then leans forward and adds, "I promise. You
don't have to hide here." Unfortunately in leaning forward she moved
her hand a bit, jostling her broken knuckle. With a soft hiss of pain
she falls back into her former position, subconsiously pulling her
hand closer to her.

Ila'den's laughter is probably cruel, in retrospect, but
Ila'den is not laughing at the /thought/ of being weyrmated to his
best friend. No, he's simply laughing at Naris' incorrect observation,
and how eager she is to ease V'ric's 'embarrassment'. When his best
friend is slapping a hand over his mouth, Ila'den licks the
brownrider's palm, and then pushes his head backwards as that cloth
comes back over his face. There's another chuckle, maybe two, and then
Ila'den is reaching out to place a hand on the top of Naris' head.
"Easy, little bird. Don't need to damage yourself any more than what I
already have. V'ric is his name, and he's telling the truth. I am
weyrmated to a goldrider, her name is Iris, and we have three children
together— well, two. One is belongs to this guy." He hooks a thumb
towards the brownrider, and then shifts his weight so that he's
leaning into V'ric again, hand coming away from Naris' person to rest
on his own chest. "He's my best friend, not my lover, but I think it
was very… sweet and valiant of you to defend his… preference."
Another chuckle, though he's simmering down. "So are you a baker,
then, Naris?"

V'ric looks..baffled for a moment as Naris..consoles him?
Whatever it is, the brownrider bristles..and there are probably quite
a few scathing words bound to come…if only Ila'den didn't intercede.
Instead the brownrider simply suffers in silence, still allowing
Ila'den to lean on him though, despite it. "..What he said."

Soon enough Ila'den puts his hand on top of her head,
invading her personal space once again. She manages not to flinch at
this, having been slowly getting used to his presence. In the short
time she has known the weyrsecond she has come to figure that this
'personal space' thing does not exist in his world. He calls her
little bird again, causing her to wonder if there's anything
particularly birdlike about her. But maybe it's just one of those
things that she takes too literally, like a nickname. Coming to that
conclusion she does not say anything about it, instead choosing to nod
when he admited that the other rider was telling the truth. When he
said it was sweet and valiant of her to defend his preferences she
looked down at her lap and blushed, unsure of what to say. Eventually
she glanced up and said in a slightly choked voice, "sorry, V'ric. I
saw how often and willingly he touched you and assumed… sorry."

Ila'den touches /everybody/ like he's known them for ages.
Hasn't Naris already been subjected to the overly-friendly
bronzerider's touch one time too many in their short time together?
The difference as that his contact with others is always /brief/.
There are very few people who're subjected to lingering touches, and
V'ric is assuredly one of them. The apology is not directed towards
him, but towards Vel, and so for once, the Weyrsecond is silent,
rolling his head back on his best friend's shoulders so that those
eyes can watch his face for a response. He's grinning all the while,
roguish, and deviant, and everything so infuriatingly /Ila'den/.

V'ric sighs, rubbing at the bridge of his nose just a
little bit. Really, what else is he going to do? "You don't need to
apologize. It's a common…misconception." Ila'den, for all his
smiles, is given a quiet, but meaningful glare for a moment. Grins are
salt in old wounds, after all, but the brownrider gives a slightly
annoyed noise, looking around. "What's taking so long?"

A frown remains on her face, not quite having forgiven
herself despite what he said. She casts a quick glance at Ila'den, a
mostly blank look on her face. An eyebrow raises when she hears that
it's a common misconception. In that moment she can't help but feel a
little sorry for the rider, it must be annoying to have to constantly
correct other peoples assumptions about your sexuality. Yet Naris does
not say anything though, not feeling that anything she could say in
this situation could possibly help. Instead, having remembered
Ila'den's earlier question, she turns to look at him and responds,
"no, I'm not a baker. Just a normal resident, no real specialty." At
V'ric's question of what's taking so long Naris shrugs and murmurs, "I
don't know but I hope someone comes soon."

It /is/, unfortunately, a very common misconception, and
the blank look that Naris spares Ila'den does not go unnoticed. The
Weyrsecond arches a brow in silent question, and then smiles again.
Annoying having to correct your sexuality? Oh, it's so much more than
just that. Thankfully, Naris chooses to say nothing, and venues into
safter topics. "My weyrmate was a baker before she impressed. Your
bubblies look good enough to rival hers, maybe you should pick that
up." And just as the two others are starting to question where the
staff is, there's a cheerful little healer bustling her way out into
the lobby and making her way over to Naris with a smile. "We're all
ready for ya, deary. Heard ya got your hand hurt, but we'll fix you
all better. Come along." There's a pause, as the healer's eyes narrow
in the Weyrsecond, and she's stating, "And you're next, Weyrsecond.
Don't you go trying to run away like you always do." But for now, she
will lead Naris away, to be examined, and questioned, and all fixed up

Naris smiles at Ila'den's compliment, it seems all her hard
work payed off. She is about to respond a healer comes out, calling
her to go get examined. With a small smile to the two men she stood up
and followed the healer.

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