I Thought We Were Being Serious

Day 5 of Month 11 of Turn 2716
Half Moon Bay Weyr - Berry Bushes
The cooler air in this section allows for an assortment of berry bushes to be grown in this section of the garden. The bushes are spread out in a winding symmetrical path around a fountain. The hedges have grown high enough to create a small maze.

The barracks are not the most comfortable place in the world. Especially given hard cots compared to comfortable hammocks. At least Half Moon is not like other places in the world that become utterly unlivable during the winter. Cue one candidate hard at work, (and by hard at work we mean taking a much needed noontime nap) Hidden in the thickest of the bushes, a basket of freshly picked berries sitting to one side of the opening the dolphineer has claimed. Really the only thing to give her away is the blue fire lizard perched in the branches and the white cat cleaning her claws fastidiously, lime green eyes peering about for perhaps the next meal.

That is a statement that Zeltan will agree with - uncomfortable cots - and no room for buddies! The trader, for his part, doesn't seem as if he is adjusting all too well after his first night, given dark circles under his eyes - as he wanders through the gardens in a bit of a daze. But, there is a white knot on his shoulder, though it seems as if he hasn't yet been assigned chores. The blue - and the bucket - are missed, but the white cat is hard to miss, and after a moment, he is 'awwwing' slightly under his breath. "Hey sweetie.." He murmurs, slowly creeping closer with an outstretched hand.

Lime green eyes blink slowly at the approach of the human, halting her claw cleaning smooshed face intently studying the youth before deigning to move over to greet him with a headbump against his hand, her thick white fur looking like something more at home in the frozen north than the balmy south. She will even stretch and adjust to indicate those spots which do require scratching and will lightly place teeth on him when he strays to someplace he shouldn’t. Not hard enough do draw blood or any such thing, just a warning, or perhaps an attempt at playfulness.

Carefully, slowly, Zeltan moves to settle down in the middle of the garden path - people can go around him, thank you very much - offering scritches to the fluffy white cat. "Aren't you just the sweetest thing?" He offers, totally taken in by the feline - careful though to obey her warnings. After a moment, he tilts his head to peer at her a little closer. "I bet someone is missing you, you know.. wandering out here in the garden by yourself." Yes, don't mind him having a one sided conversation with a cat, even as he is sitting a bit straighter to look around to see if he can spot anyone.

There is a lime green charm in the shape of a lime that rings a little when she moves possibly a favor done for the firelizards and avians. Still she will all but plop herself in his lap purring contentedly teeth snagging at the shirt sleeve of whichever hand attempts to stop petting her first, and using paws to drag it back to the top of her head. It’s the chatter that causes the russle in the berry bush leaves, a bleery eyed tanit sitting bolt upright. “I’m not sure what the difference between a parsnip and a carrot is just by the leaves – I am sorry I picked the wrong thing again.” Give her a moment from vegetable induced nightmares and she will squint at cat and man and berry bucket. Three, two one, and recognition sets in. “Lime, we do not collect stray humans.” She peers at Zeltan with a smile. “You look like you could use a nap too. Here theses mulberry bushes are big enough to hide both of us for a while – but why are you exhausted Zel?”

Cat in lap! Cancel the rest of the day, Zeltan can't move, and he is stuck until the feline has decided that the pets are done. Which, given her actions may not be for a while. The bell is noticed as he continues to lavish attention on the fluff, but it isn't until there is a voice in the bushes, that it all seems to click into place. "Tanit.. What are you.. Why.." A pause, and glances down at the cat in his lap, quickly resuming the pets at her not totally gentle reminder. "I guess you are Limecat, then, hm?" He says with a soft chuckle, even as he flicks his gaze back to Tanit. "Turns out candidate cots are downright uncomfortable. And narrow.."

“SHH the evil garden lady will hear you and then try to set me back to pulling weeds.” Tanit stage whispers, “Berries were safer.” As for Lime? She just purrs contentedly, in the way that most cats who get their way do. As for the cots Tanit almost visibly deflates, “I think I may just grab the hammock from my room and string it between two cots. I’m not used to a ‘proper’ bed.” She admits before squinting, “Sweet Faranth, you didn’t?” What does Tanit think he did? Why try to fit in a bed with someone. It may not have dawned on her what the other reason for sleeping in the barracks would be. “I mean how the hell did you not get caught?”

"I was warned of some things which I would definitely rate was worse than pulling weeds.." Zeltan counters, even as fingers continue to pet the purring cat - ok, lets face it, Zeltan is clearly a sucker. As Tanit mentions a hammock, he laughs softly, shaking his head. "You need to learn to sleep anywhere. It pays off." And then, his hand freezes as she acts all shocked and asks about getting caught, and he just blinks, honestly slightly confused. "I didn't what? I think I -did- get caught.. that's how I am stuck there in the first place."

Lime does not stay too long, leaping up to disappear in the bushes for a moment before dragging back something by its neck and crawling back into his lap. Zeltan may even recognize it. Tanit however is still trying to put two and two together and is still coming up with thirteen. Give her a minute. “Who?” And there may be just a faint touch of jealousy to the word (though she’d deny it), though the dolphineer seems to be keen on adding berries the basket, as she waits for the answer. Lime? Just stretches and makes herself more comfortable, holding her prize to the trader as if waiting for his approval.

The cat disappears and Zeltan is shifting to stretch his now free legs, as he blinks at Tanit again, with a tilt of his head. "Who?" And then the feline is back with her toy, and he is laughing softly, making himself comfortable again. "Uhm, the Weyrlingmaster. The odd one that stares, you know? It was his green, whatever her name is." Now, is is Tanit going to take *that*. Lime gets a soft pat to the top of her head, and the toy is wiggled a little, perhaps creating an appealing target.

“Oh. OH.” Are her ears pink. Maybe. “I didn’t know you were interested in…” Well it is Half Moon Bay, and that sort of thing does run rampant. Lime bats at the little plush avian playfully, rolling onto her back in his lap so all four claws can assist in the capture of the beast. Give Tanit another minute, and she blinks, “Wait – do you mean you were searched?” Hopefully it’s that because the other scenario would lead to a rather awkward discussion that the poor dolphineer’s sleep addled brain just couldn’t handle.

"Interested in being a candidate?" Zeltan counters, completely unaware of where -Tanit's- mind went. The plushie is wiggled again, before he is using it to 'attack' Lime as she rolls over, adding a little RAR! to his murmurings to the cat. And then as Tanit seems to reach a different conclusion, he laughs softly, pausing his Peacock attack to stare at her. "Why else would I be complaining how narrow a cot is?" There are some thing you -simply do not do- in a shared dorm, Tanit.

“Yes.” Tanit agrees for his interest in standing, recovering quick enough, at least until Zel catches on. “Tell that to Bartok – The butcher’s boy who doesn’t bathe regularly.” She shivers in disgust. “I don’t think that one is all there in the head.” Sweeping anything else the line of thought might have had under the proverbial rug as she watches candidate and feline. “I didn’t think you had any interest in following your father’s footsteps, or did they not give you much alternative either?” She will ask now scooting closer and sticking the basket of berries between them.

Attention is back mostly on Lime, as he plays with the feline, though it is a bit more absent-mindedly, plushie wiggled now and again. "I mean, I don't have any -disinterest-, but I just assumed at this point it wouldn't happen." He shrugs, glancing at her as settles down nearby with the berry basket. "Though, I am not sure the green would have let me say no, to be honest. And she seemed a little.. shiny, so I figured it was better just to agree. What's the worst that can happen? A couple sevendays and everything will be back to normal." Sparing Tanit another glance, he is reaching tentatively for the berry basket - is it sitting there equal to permission?

Tanit listens and the basket is nudged over because she did intend to share them. “You never asked to stand?” She wonders thoughtfully, watching the cat and plushie with a curve of her smile. “Proddy dragons, no probably best to just agree.” Tanit scoots close enough to rest her head absently against his shoulder, still not fully awake. “Worst that could happen is you wind up impressing and are stuck with an overgrown infant that there is no escape from.” She admits, with a deep sigh. “It doesn’t scare you?”

A shrug, and Zeltan shakes his head. "I figured if it would happen, it would happen, and it didn't, and I wasn't worried about it. I mean, its not like -all- of my siblings Impressed." Trader-candidate seems unbothered, but then Tanit is scooting closer, and there are suddenly three options for his hands - cat, berries, Tanit - and only 2 of them. A longing glance at the berries, and then he is moving to gently put his hand on Tanit's back, patting softly as she leans into him. "Eh, how often does the worst thing *actually* happen though? THere's only 7 eggs, what are the odds."

Lime at least seems content to finally seize the plush, curling it toward herself and curling up around the avian in the Trader’s lap. Nipping if petted. Hopefully you weren’t planning on going anywhere Zel. “I feel like it’s a rude thing to ask, but – how many siblings do you have? Your dad kind of made it sound like there would be armies knocking on his door for child care fees due.” She will pop the sweet fruits into her mouth completely unaware of the poor trader’s predicament.

At least -Lime- is nice, and the plushie is abandoned to the feline, though Zeltan is left instead to reach awkwardly across himself to steal a berry, using that as an excuse to ponder quietly. "Shards, I don't even know." A pause and he reaches for another berry. "A hundred?" He ventures after a moment, "I mean, I don't know for sure. Most of them are older… My half brother was Weyrleader here, for a while." He hand waves. "He has kids our age, I think." The perils of the Shipton family tree.

Yes, lime is very nice, all shall worship the lime. Ahem. Tanit sits ramrod straight blinking as the numbers are given, “You are – your joking right?” Trying to do the mental math, “I mean I assumed he had to be prolific if he was always hiding out in the kitchens for that reason but… A hundred?” Horror – pure unadulterated horror written across her expression. “You aren’t – or well haven’t?” Had kids? She can’t even bring herself to say the words and yet the exponential multiplication of the Shipton family does merit such a impertinent question. “I though islander families were overlarge.”

As Tanit sits up, Zeltan freezes, sparing a cautious look at her. "I.. I mean. I guess maybe that is a bit high, but, I don't know. He doesn't really talk about it, but you could ask him. Just watch out for the Zs, and you'll have an idea." A soft laugh, and he shakes his head at Tanit's awkward question, lifting his hand to gently pat the top of her head. "Ain't no one banging down my door for marks, if that's what you're worried about.. Which means I have plenty to buy more plushies. Speaking of.." He glances down at the cat in his lap. "I have something in the barracks for you.. though now that I see the real thing, it isn't quite as cute."

“Sorry – just.” She flushes, “That was rather rude, I apologize.” And let us be honest its more the pregnancy by osmosis fear than anything else. Ridiculous? YES. “I couldn’t really judge you if you did I suppose.” She admits, and Lime heaves a sigh as if to say, yes, I am cute and the cutest. “You do?” Tanit asks laughing looking at the smooshed faced cat so contentedly sitting in the trader’s lap. “You don’t wake up with her curled on your face every morning. She’s not liking the barracks much, and I can’t say I blame her.”

At least Zeltan doesn't seem to care too much, giving it a little shrug, smiling at her, and moving to try and sneak an arm back around her and get her resettled. "Why couldn't you judge, is there something you want to tell me? Is there a cute little tiny you running around I haven't met? I mean, seeing as you have kept this lovely little thing from me for so long.." And he risks a pet of the fluffy kitty belly. "Yeah, and what I have won't curl up on your face either." He carries on, as if not even expecting an answer to the first part.

If Pern were possessed of forest loving horned herbivores, Tanit would look very like one caught in the headlights of an on-coming semi truck. Her mouth opens, and closes several times, blinking before at last she admits, “Two, fostered with my mother. As it turns out I’m one of those people who has to lock themselves in a supply closet during goldflights.” Which might explain her curious absence during Ilyscaeth’s Though that one was spent locked in her room. Claws splay and catch the hand at her belly, Lime now seeming to cuddle the hand instead of the plushie. Though the delicate prick of claw is shockingly gentle.

It takes Zel a surprising amount of time before he realizes that Tanit has been stunned into silence, peeking down at her face as she finally speaks. "Huh." Is all he offers, after a moment, before giving her another little tug to scoot her closer, leaning to whisper in her ear. "You can always lock me in a closet with you. Though I guess not now, since I think that might be against the rules." His other hand is caught, which puts an end to his berry eating, but it seems he is resigned to his hand being the new cat toy.

Tanit laughs but finally relaxes enough to get tugged over. “Thank you but I think one ‘secret’ set of children is quite enough for me.” She will murmur as Lime releases the hand at last twisting to get comfortable again. “But maybe you can understand now why the idea of standing bothers me so much… If I ran away from being a parent to my own children – how the heck could I expect to shoulder the responsibility a dragon involves? I have seen the way it changes people, my cousin and several friends. The idea doesn’t terrify you?” She wonders, relaxing back into place.

Raising a hand to gently pet Tanit's hair much like he was petting Lime only a moment ago, Zeltan is quiet for a moment, before his freed hand is back in the berry bucket absently. "I never said anything about children, just a closet…" He offers cheekily, before her question has him sobering up (some), and he shakes his head. "Not everyone is cut out to be a parent at every point in their life." A pause, and he considers. "And frankly, a dragon may be a lot of work up front but, they aren't babies for -that long-." Ok, Zel may be in for a rude awakening if he Impresses. "At least they can tell you what they want, from the start."

The cheeky comment earns laughter, and a shrug. “I suppose there is no use in worrying about things that may never come to pass,” but she does shake her head. “Most of the weyrlings I’ve known were miserable for quite a few turns.” Dark humor in her voice for that thought, “I’d appreciate it if you’d keep the parent thing to yourself though. There are enough who know but – it still isn’t my proudest moment.” Though perhaps she knows the words go without saying. “But the barracks are the absolute worst. I didn’t know people could snore in concert. I would have sworn I’d heard the ballad of lessa’s ride last night to the key of sawing logs.”

"Hey Tanit.." Zeltan replies softly, leaning to try and catch her eyes, holding her attention for a moment before continuing. "You don't have to worry.. that is -your- story to tell, and not mine. But thank you for trusting me with it." And then, he is leaning back, reaching to ruffle her hair with a grin, serious moment come and gone. "I think we should keep a bucket of something, to start throwing at the worst of them. I finally managed to arrangement myself and get comfortable, and then there was this horrible -smell- from the next cot over."

Tanit meets his eyes for a moment, shifting enough to place a light kiss against his cheekbone, as much a thank you as words could manage. It’s the rest though that has the dolphineer laughing. “I think, they have some of that plastic sheeting from the plasticraft, the kind they put down when painting? I bet we could rig it to the under sides of some of the cot frames with some tubing and cause instant baths through the entire barracks. Granted I’m sure it’d ruin the lewd pictures a few of the boys have up, and at least two or three copies of ‘I rode his abs to Rukbat’ But it would be a worthy sacrifice.”

"Are you really worried enough that you want to get yourself tossed out of candidacy?" Zeltan teases her, or at least, sort of teases her as she comes up with the suggestion, shaking his head. "Between that and the Sands, they might not let you back in again. And then how am I suppose to keep annoying you, hm?" WELL?! A shake of his head and Zeltan shifts carefully, trying to avoid disrupting the lap-cat too much, before he tilts his head back to peer up at the sky, his tone cheerful despite the words that come next. "Besides, I think you've soaked enough books already."

“I’ll let you know when those eggs get closer to hatching, but the smell might be worth it. Besides I am not entirely sure I can get myself thrown out at this point, it’s almost as though they’ve challenged me to try it.” She laughs, “I did apologize for the books, though that does remind me – I’ve something for you too, though it’s in my old room still.” The space still hadn’t been reassigned and Tanit managed to sneak off to the space still.

"I'd be more tempted to steal a bunch of the sheets and make myself a nice little tent in the corner, to be honest.. Gotta be a way to make it more comfortable." Zeltan muses on that idea for a moment, humming softly to himself. "I wonder what they would do about it.." and then she is mentioning a gift and he is blinking shaking his head. "You know I was just kidding, right? Almost all the notes I had in there were transferred already, it really wasn't a big deal."

Tanit laughs, "I bet we could, A few ropes and we'd have a nice pretense at comfort, maybe soak them in soap sand and herbs first to combat the stench. Though I admit it isn't as bad as when the dead sea monster washed up." As for the shaking of his head, Tanit just laughs. "Relax trader, I already had these and found them while I was packing my things. Someone may as well use them." She heaves a sigh floping back to stretch out on the ground, enjoying the midday sun against her skin. "And if you keep running your mouth about the sands, someone will figure it out one of these days. I believe they are still quite clueless or if they aren't they are doing a very good job of hiding it."

"Oh, does this mean you want in on my little shaded retreat?" Zeltan asks with a grin, leaning back a bit on his elbow, but he is pretty stuck since as previously mentioned - he is a sucker and can't disturb the cat. "Well.. thank you.." He offers after a moment, glancing over at her again, rolling his eyes. "Honestly, I'm surprised that sw-" And then Zeltan is clearing his throat, changing his word choice, "That that silly nanny hasn't tattled, you know?"

Tanit laughs, loudly enough that lime stretches and moves, deciding to seek a shadier spot. A quieter spot. “That sweet little Nanny?” Tanit offers with a wry twist of her lips, “She is a sweet one, all cotton and stardust up in here.” Tapping a long finely scarred finger against her temple. “I’m surprised she hasn’t tattled on you too, actually.” The dolphineer offers after a moment’s consideration. “Maybe she’s sweet on you.” The pickings in the barracks after all seem quite slim. There is no trace of jealousy however in the woman’s tone. Rather amused by it.

Free! As LimeCat abandons him, Zeltan stretches out with a relieved sigh, pointing his toes and reveling in the return of free movement. And then, Tanit is laughing at him, and he is pouting a little, "Would you blame her, if she was? I mean, I think I'm pretty charming.." And then he is shifting to roll over, propping himself up on his elbows to keep at eye on Tanit, even as he shrugs. "Hopefully it doesn't occur to her.."

Tanit laughs, “I think most young girls should be warned off charming young men. Most are harmless but others like to collect conquests like pearls on a string.” Tanit does not give any indication of which sort she thinks the trader, perhaps purposefully. Perhaps just to annoy and puzzle. “Who knows what’s going on in that head of hers, I think she’s entirely forgotten about the glitter in favor of fawning over the dragon eggs. I don’t think she has a cruel thought in her.”

"What, if you warn them off, then it leaves more of them for you?" Zel teases, before her commentary on Kiele as him pondering, rolling back onto his side to stare at the bushes behind Tanit. "She is one of those.. I don't know if I hope she Impresses, or if she doesn't. I don't know which would be the bigger shock to.. well, her entire world." A shrug, and his eyes are searching out the berry basket once more. "Could you imagine, if she Impressed a green, the first time she went up?" There are some things that are almost mean.

Tanit laughs, “I wouldn’t know what to do with them. Seems like everyone wants something a person isn’t willing to give, and some of the more painful lessons just have to be left to experience.” There is a stern look at him now even as he shifts back to his side, “I would think considerably less of you however if you did any of them a harm by encouraging affection and promising more than you are able to reasonably promise in return.” Which is perhaps the only warning she will give the young trader, “I’d rather not be stuck with a bunch of moon sick girls for the next few months thank you.” The last thought has Tanit grimacing. “Hopefully if she hasn’t taken care of such things yet, she will before that point. It really isn’t fair to someone to have that be the first experience they have.”

"Now, Tanit, are you saying that I don't play fair?" Zeltan actually looks a little hurt at that comment, eyes flicking back to her - a look that is ruined as he pops a berry into his mouth. "I like to think that everyone knows -exactly- what they are going to get. Otherwise, what type of Trader would I be?" Though, his words probably imply that the bargains are settled up front. Wisely, though, it doesn't seem like Zeltan will comment on 'helping' Kiele with that potential problem - at least not to Tanit. "Besides, maybe they will all be moonsick over you.. There is that one woman.."

Tanit laughs popping a few of the berries into her mouth and simply giving him a look. “I think you are a charming young man who has an excessive number of prospects.” Grinning at him, “Who is probably too charming for his own good.” This last revelation however is news to the dolphineer who rolls on her side to look him squarely in the eye, curious. “What woman?”

"I don't know if its too much for my own good.. I mean, it seems to be working out -pretty well- for me, right now." Even with the white knot putting a damper on things. As she rolls over and looks at him, though, he waves a hand - berry and all - around. "I dunno her name. Short hair. Sort of.. odd. She was Ayushi's performance." He shrugs and pops the berry into his mouth.

His statement does get something of an eyeroll and a lean into his space. “Oh is it now, and just how is this working in your favor so far?” Lips curving at the corners. “Near white hair, green eyes?” The dolphineer asks thinking she knows who he means. “Wears a blue flame hold knot and is decidedly – not social?”

"Mmm, well, I don't see you running away.." He counters, daring to lean closer, shameless, but he keeps his hands to himself. "And yeah, that one. She just.. She looks at you like.." And then he is shutting his mouth, and flopping over onto his back, out of her space.

“I don’t run away from everything Zeltan.” She counters, fighting a smile as he flops back on his back, rolling on to her belly to study his expression in dark amusement. “Like I might earn her a few marks? I promised her a diving lesson, and she got at least one. Unfortunately, she seems prone to violence as a first answer and pulled a knife during the lesson.” The dolphineer sounds decidedly unamused by that turn of events. “And probably is someone who needs people who are capable of exercising patience with her lifetime of accumulated habits – though I don’t believe in a romantic fashion.” Sea-green eyes fix on his, and an almost smug grin toys at the corner of her mouth. “Are you – jealous?”

"Clearly, cause you didn't move from the couch when she headed over." Zeltan replies in a smart-alecky tone, though he still seems to find the sky quite interesting, not turning his head even as she flops over to peer at him. "Also, you guessed wrong what I was going to say." Though, as her words about the knife incident sink in, Zeltan is blinking a few times, a hand moving to cover his face, unsure of how to comment. Except Tanit saves him from having to, as she asks about jealousy. "What?! No!" He may protest too much.

Tanit laughs, and as if to prove her point, moves to press her mouth against his, quite cleverly, breaking away in laughter as she pulls herself to her feet, seeming to plan on leaving without another word.

With a hand over his eyes, he is caught off guard by Tanit's move, and just as Zeltan is responding (in more ways than one) she is suddenly gone and he is reaching out a hand to snag at her ankle before she is out of reach. "Shards, Tanit…" He mutters, blushing a bit as he clear his throat. "Where're you going?"

Tanit laughs, but the escape is not quite as clean as it might have otherwise been, with her ankle caught sea-green eyes turn to appraise the young trader, glittering in mischief. “I thought I might go find Ayushi and describe my plan to ensure that young Bartok gets a bath and maybe see if those extra sheets are somewhere in the laundry. Why, do you ask Zel?” As if she hadn’t just kissed him at all.

Carefully sitting up, making sure to not lose hold of Tanit -just in case- she decides to run for it, he hesitates a moment before carefully getting to his feet - standing much, much too close. "Oh, no reason. Just.. before you go.." His words cut off as a hand lifts curl around her jaw as he leans in to give her a not-so-quick kiss in return, eyes on her face when he pulls away. "Tell Ayushi hi.. I probably should figure out what exactly I am suppose to be doing as a candidate." Probably not what he just did.

To say that his action is not rewarded would be inaccurate, long fingers knotting up in the trader’s hair as Tanit seems to melt into the action. Yet she still looks like the cat that ate the avian as he pulls away, as though aware of something the trader might have missed. Something that might become apparent as one of her hands draws slowly away having undone the buckle on his belt, though she does kiss him again so he might be distracted from the motion, maybe and with a graze of teeth over his lower lip she pulls away, and takes off his belt trailing behind her as long legged strides carry her away from the bushes and out into the bowl.

Zeltan, caught in a trap entirely of his own making. As Tanit pulls away, with his belt in hand, he is left staring after her, and then down at the waistband of his pants which thankfully doesn't shift -too far-, before his eyes flick back at Tanit's departing form. "Faranth.." He mutters, shaking his head. And then, after a moment's thought.. "Tanit, wait! What about Lime?" He calls after her, before shrugging and turning to look around him, after a moment settling into soft calls of, "Here kitty, kitty, kitty…", apparently resigned to the situation. But man, he liked that belt.

Lime saunters out from the bushes plushie held in teeth staring at the silly human brushing up against his leg as if expecting to be carried back like the royal majesty she is, purring.

A hand on his waist to make sure that his pants stay put, and Zeltan is bending to scoop up Lime, settling the feline and her plushie carefully against his chest before turning to head to the barracks. And Tanit will even be so lucky that her feline won't resemble her namesake. You're welcome.

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