Scared Children

Day 20 of Month 7 of Turn 2720
Half Moon Bay Weyr - Candidate Barracks
Carved from a natural bubble in the volcanic stone, this small dorm room has room enough to hold around two dozen occupants comfortably. Along the walls are stationed sets of cots and clothes presses, each made up to the standards of the weyrwoman. Above, the soft white light from electric lamps cast down during waking hours.


The blanket fort is still in full swing apparently, perhaps helped by Garland and his friends who've prevented the thing's disassembly. His spot has grown into the place to be, it would seem, and the man has benefited from it. He has a pleasant smell about him, a soap certainly not provided by the Weyr's limited stores. Currently, he lounges on his front in his fort, one soft slipper half off the foot that is kicked into the air; he's reading a book and chuckling. Etinei is here, too, though she has found shelter in a nearby tent of blankets and pillows, silently reading a book of her own. It's warm, a summer's mid-morning.

Teinon was out of the barracks before the sun came up, which means that surely he had some chore that required an early start to the day. Perhaps he's interning today! Whatever he was supposed to be doing, his lunch break has come as early as his morning had started. Rather than braving the late breakfast/brunch crowd, he's opted for a napkin full of portable pies, which he brings back to the barracks. Upon arrival, he stands in the entryway for a minute or two while he has a bite of his pie and takes in the mess of blankets and pillows.
Through most of candidacy, Teinon has seemed to prefer keeping his head down and largely staying out of other people's business. Whether that's because he prefers to keep to himself or because talking to people is hard… Well, that's unclear. But today seems to be when all that is going to change, because after surveying the scene for a minute or so, he strides purposefully over to Garland's section of the fort. He picks a spot of clear floor inside the 'forbidden' area, and starts to sit down cross-legged with his lunch. Is that a defiant look he's sending toward Garland while he chews his meat pie? Maybe.

Garland seems entirely unbothered by someone's presence, thrusting out a hand with his usual request. "Pay up, please." He's done it to so many other candidates now, it's practically his catch phrase. He doesn't even look up from his book, his foot wriggling above him lazily as his eyes continue to flick across the words. Etinei glances up, sees Teinon enter the fort, and starts to shuffle herself quietly to get a better view of what's happening.

Teinon does his very best bovine impression. He stares placidly at Garland, slowly chewing away at a bite of his meat pie. He remains seated there, cross-legged. There's something about the way he stares at Garland that makes it pretty clear he /got/ the message. But he's neither announcing his refusal nor vacating the premises. Slowly, deliberately, he brings the meat pie up for another bite, and continues chewing.

Nothing is being put in his hand. Nothing! What is this? The man finally turns his head to look, the rest of his body entirely still. "Oh. You." He flicks a look up and down Teinon. "You have to pay to be here, you know." This is said rather slowly, as if he thinks the fact the boy doesn't talk also means he doesn't understand things. Etinei's eyes have widened at this point, but there's an excited sort of tension in her as she watches, her book open and forgotten in her lap.

Now and then, a feline comes along that doesn't warn with hissing or laid back ears before laying open someone's arm. It might sit there an hour, placid as can be and purring away, only to burst into an unexpected whirlwind of teeth and claws. An observant person might note that those felines always get a look in their eye /just/ before they've had enough. Tei has a bit of that look at the moment. A certain sharpness in his gaze to suggest he's reached about his limit with this Garland fellow, even though he smiles slowly and takes another bite of his pie. He doesn't move, and needless to say, he also doesn't pay up.

Garland pulls himself up into a sitting position slowly, rather ominously. "You. Have to. Pay." He says again, staring at Teinon. The other candidate's placidity is clearly annoying him. "Everyone else has to. You don't get an excuse just because-" Etinei makes an involuntary noise, and the man looks past Teinon and at her, scowling. Just as quickly, his now-angry eyes flash back to Teinon. A resistance was the last thing Garland had expected, apparently.
Strangely enough, Teinon does not seem afraid of Garland. Go figure! He doesn't even flinch at the almost-not-quite reference to his muteness (or perceived idiocy). He just goes right on watching Garland with that sharp-eyed gaze and faint smile. Chew, chew, chew… Bite… chew, chew, chew…

Garland's hackles have well and truly risen. His teeth are clenched as he hisses, "you don't get a pass just because you're messed up in the head." Then the man rises to leave, whipping aside the blanket at the entrance with such force that it is jostled from position and falls; the first part of Garland's little empire to crumple. The man stalks out, leaving Etinei to stare wide-eyed at Teinon. "Did you…did you just beat him?" She says in a hushed, stunned voice.

Garland's hackles have well and truly risen. His teeth are clenched as he hisses, "you don't get a pass just because you're messed up in the head." Then the man rises to leave, whipping aside the blanket at the entrance with such force that it is jostled from position and falls; the first part of Garland's little empire to crumple. The man stalks out, leaving Etinei to stare wide-eyed at Teinon. "Did you…did you just beat him?" She says in a hushed, stunned voice.

Teinon watches Garland stalk out, his faint smile sharpening to a smirk. Once the troublemaker has gone, Teinon wipes at his face with the back of his sleeve, just in case he has any crumbs lingering. He doesn't look over until Etinei asks her question, and when she does, he actually looks just a touch embarrassed. Probably because he didn't know she was watching. But that quickly gives way to a little grin and a knowing wink. He shoves the rest of his meatpie into his mouth and pulls out a piece of paper to scrawl a quick note, then holds it out for her, if she's brave enough to venture inside and take it. If she does, she will find that it reads: "He's weak by bully standards. Not hard."

There's only the briefest hesitation before Etinei puts her book carefully aside, and creeps over to the fort that Teinon now solely occupies. Slipping in to sit cross-legged across from him, she takes the note to read it. Once her eyes have slipped over the words, they flick up to look straight at him, sad understanding in them. "This isn't the first time you've had to deal with someone like him, is it?" That sadness seeps into her voice, too, as she asks the question she hates herself for asking.

Something flickers in Teinon's amusement, just a brief discomfort, but enough to confirm the accuracy of her assumption. But he smiles, waves his hand as though to banish the sadness in her question, and takes a moment to scribble another note. "They're just scared children."

Etinei's sadness is not entirely swept away; there's still something in her eyes as she watches him write again, before she concentrates on reading the brief sentence. She contemplates that silently, eyes running over it a few times before she looks away, towards the barracks entrance where Garland stormed out not so long before. "I guess so." She doesn't sound too sure herself, but she's not going to press the matter. The meatpie Teinon was eating has reminded her of something. "I should - go get some lunch. I sort of…forgot." That's what intense reading'll do to her.

Etinei's lingering sadness somehow leaves Teinon looking uncomfortable where all of Garland's crude insults had failed to get under his skin. He smiles crookedly and lifts a shoulder, but takes the paper back and tucks it away. He waves a farewell to her and glances to the barracks exit, but he seems to have every intention of staying put for at least a few minutes.

As she slips out of the fort, Etinei gives a little wave back; then, she leaves the barracks, her slow pace indicating that a lot of thinking is going on in that head of hers.


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