A snake, a snake!

Half Moon Bay Weyr - THE LUV NEST
Do you hear that sound? THE LAUGHTER AND JOY OF CHILDREN RUNNING fUll throttle with messy things in their hands, and then the SCREAMING? You have entered a den of eternal childhood, lights and nose and things to attract the attention of the ungodly number of children living in this weyr sit strewn everywhere along with a LIME green piano well loved and used from the look of the keys. The rough stone walls covered in crayon and paint where someone managed to sit quietly for a few minutes while the parents were distracted. THE LUV Nest has become a wild playground for the scores of little hands and feet constantly running amok. Welcome to Chuck- ok Pern does not have Chucky Cheese's believe it or not this is actually the weyr of the weyrleader, weyrwoman and their weyrmate. Someone should talk to them about the lime green paint.


It's a fabulous night. Outside, little bugs sing, their noise wending in and out of the breeze that rustles the trees. The stars are bright. The moons are full. It's not too hot, not too cold, and the clear skies promise a beautiful day on the morrow. In the weyr of the senior weyrwoman and her men (and their babies and thousand cats), all is quiet. Even little Yzi sleeps soundly, snug in the nursery. In Citayla's room, it's quiet, save for the unholy snores issuing from a fat grey cat sleeping on top of a wardrobe, and the sibilant sound of scales on soft linen. SCALES? Firelizards don't have scales, which means — "AAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUGH!" With a screech that could wake the dead or probably send her Weyrmates to an early grave, Cita springs out of bed, flings duvets, and somehow manages to hit the floor without touching a damn thing. "WHAT — ILA. RYN." Cita, you're going to scare them to death. It's just a snake, that the cats have somehow managed to ignore, useless beasts. "KILL IT! KILL IT." Well, bats can hear her, if Pern has them, but she might be a few registers too high for human ears, as she throws open the door to her room and backs out, not having Anything to do with the tunnelsnake.

Early grave: UNDERSTATEMENT. It's probably for the best that R'hyn fell asleep on the upstairs couch, book covering his face and a cat curled up on his chest, because the absolutely inhuman JOLT he gives for that first unholy screech would likely have shaken Ila'den awake even if that screeching cacophony had not. Sending the feline hissing and fleeing, the weyrleader reacts with the blindness of fear and instinct, leaping the couchback and catching at the first vaguely weapon-like object he passes. A letter opener, Heryn, really?! Oh well. At least it wasn't the paper mache sword. It's something, something that comes secondary to closing arms around Citayla as she backs out of her room, hauling her up against him before thrusting her towards the stairs. "Go, get the kids and run," commanded as he turns to face the room, body dropping into a defensive crouch, dull metal pointy bit shaped like a particularly sinuous firelizard curled in one hand, hair totally akimbo made worse by a free had that pushes it up to get it out of the way so he can see— Nothing. A beat, two, filled with held-breath silence and then: "EUGH." IT RAISED ITS UGLY HEAD. SUP TUNNELSNAKE IN CITA'S BED. WHY CAN'T YOU BE METAPHORICAL AND THIS COULD HAVE BEEN A SEXY TIME? WHY YOU GOTTA BE REAL THOUGH?

It wouldn't have mattered whether R'hyn was there or not because that first shriek has Ila'den up. At least the bronzerider is half-dressed and not at all adding to The Great Tunnel Snake Incident of 2716, even if he comes bearing children instead of weapons. GIVE THE MAN CREDIT, OKAY. He's managing an almost calm (but pretty far from it, actually) command of, "Go to your Mother," for Ibsy and Heribly both - a command partially heeded between increasingly distressed and pitchy reiterations of the words, "Daddy!" and "Mommy!" Fear makes those tiny voices tremble, panic rising even as Ila'den pushes them towards Citayla, as R'hyn gives his own orders and the Weyrleader sinks into a crouch. "Now." And Ila'den is behind R'hyn, offering no comfort to their children, fingers closing around R'hyn's arm in what might have turned into a redirect when - EUGH INDEED. HE SEES YOU NOT-THE-FUN-KIND ASSHOLE SNAKE. HE SEES YOU AND YOUR ABERRANT MULTI-LIMBED-NESS. It's a moment, two, three, when fingers dig momentarily into flesh and then Ila'den lets R'hyn go. ONE MISSISSIPPI, TWO MISSISSIPPI, THREE MISSISSIPPI. "Do you want me to pin it down so you can stab it?" ONE OF THEM IS SANS A WEAPON, REMEMBER? And don't mind the tremor in Ila'den's voice; that adrenaline has to go somewhere.

Citayla refuses to be ashamed for her reaction to waking up in bed to the WRONG KIND OF TUNNELSNAKE. Even as R'hyn grabs and pushes her, orders sharp, and Ila follows, half-dressed and bearing babies. "It's —" She tries. Honest, she tries. "It's not what you — hi, babies. No, shh, your daddies have it under control." She gathers the not-quite-toddlers-any-more up, kissing head-crowns and shuffling backwards a little still, arms tight around the pair of them. She's not taking any chances, weyrmates having it under control or not. "NOT MY BED." A high-pitched protest, because that's the worst thing that'd have ever happened in that bed (in fairness, it would actually be). "There's a tunnelsnake in my bed! How did it get in here!" The Weyrwoman hisses, angry and afraid, calmed down enough to deliver more kisses, at least. "It's alright, girls, I'm sorry I woke you up. There was a snake cuddling with me!" Maaaaybe her voice is a little too high-pitched for the humor to land, but she tries, anyways, shifting a little, antsy. In the distance, Ilyscaeth's distressed noises are probably waking up a fair number of people outside of the weyr, too. Faranth.

Blue-grey eyes are still wide as they turn away from the spectacle of a hissing snake (and a useless feline), taking in the tableau before him: Cita stuttering explanations, children squeaking in confusion, Ila gone somewhere just as serious, twice as dark. Some bronzeriders react with arm-squeezes and quivering voices; others dissolve into hysterical laughter, bones going jellied as R'hyn drops the letter opener with a clatter, barely making it through the rise and twist it takes to bury his face in his werymate's shoulder and laugh. It's honestly just as much a purge of adrenaline as is Ila's tremble, accompanied by a hard sway of too much man as R'hyn seeks out whatever bit of clothing the bronzerider has managed and tangles it up in his hands to pull him close, shed anxiety, reassert the gravity in his head and the marionette strings in his bones before managing an inhaled, "It's face." The tunnelsnake's, apparently, as he continues with a choked, "It looks so damn indignant." Wheeze. "Cita, I think," vocal wobble, "I think it heard what cute babies you make and came to see what the fuss was about." 'Cuddling,' he parrots the goldrider's attempt to soothe children under his breath, making a concise effort to contain rampant hysterics, laughter becoming choked-off pulses in his chest accompanied by small gagging noises, one wrist coming up to swipe the corners of his eyes before fixing Cita with a look that'd be a lot more chiding if he weren't so damned relieved. "Yeah, yeah, your bed is your sanctuary." He tries a moment to work up comforts for Heri and Ibsy, but can't seem to find ones better than hers, settling for blowing them kisses before lifting his gaze to Ila. A beat, a glance back down at the letter opener that he regards with a sudden lump in his throat an a sick look and a low-spoken, "Maybe the other way around?" And, covering the selfish request: "Too bad we don't have a weyr full of felines that could have nicked it on its way clear up here. Oh wait." USELESS. THE LOT OF THEM. NO CANNED TUNA FOR YOU WASTES OF SPACES. HMF.

And not-quite-toddlers cling, trying to find the calm in Cita, falling short when she goes all pitchy again. Ila'den, on the other hand, is bringing one arm around R'hyn when the younger bronzerider leans into him, hand at rest on his lower back, fingers easing against flesh whether they have to burrow under shirts to find it OR NOT. That tension in Ila's shoulders eases a mere fraction of an inch in the wake of one weyrmate's laughter and the other's protests, his own low-rumbling, short-lived, clipped humor rising on an exhale of breath. "I wear the same expression every time Citayla rejects my tunnelsnake like that too." HE TRIES, OKAY. He tries real good for that humor but he's MAYBE A LITTLE SLEEP ADDLED and MAYBE A LOT TRYING TO KEEP CALM and so he MAYBE FALLS A LITTLE SHORT. As if to cover up his failures, he presses a kiss to the top of R'hyn's head, looks over it to Cita who gets another fleeting quirk of humor that shows in that one eye and the briefest upward tick of his lips as Ila'den smooths down some of R'hyn's hair and breathes out, "I've had some of the best moments of my life in that bed, little bird. I wouldn't dream of it." HE'S THE WORST. IT HIM. IT TRUE. He's also pretty observant, which maybe works in R'hyn's favor (REGARDLESS OF ALTERING SUGGESTIONS) because Ila'den looks to his weyrmate for a moment, two, three, and then gives him another squeeze before he drops his arm and moves away. "Go help Cita for me instead?" A REQUEST because it's more meant as an out for R'hyn. "And they're your cats." SHOTS FIRED. Ila's already leaning down to pick up that previously discarded letter opener, stepping into Cita's room and heading towards wayward 'snakes for a BRIEF MOMENT OF VIOLENCE. MAYBE a litany of hissy protests from a tunnelsnake, maybe a little scuffle, and maybe a dull thud before Ila re-emerges with the prize DEADER 'EN DEAD in one hand.

« DO I NEED TO COME KILL IT OR ARE YOU GOING TO? » Ilyscaeth's dramatics are a little amped up on Broody Mom Syndrome, Faranth bless her. SHE SEES YOU LAUGHING AND NOT KILLIN', R'HYN.

"Shut up, Ily. They've got it under control." Cita mumbles, in spite of the fact that R'hyn has not a lot under control just now, in the throes of a fit of hysterics. "Your daddy is funny." The Weyrwoman informs the girls, droll, and this time the humor probably sticks, sleepy-exasperated amusement clear. Which one? It could be either of them, honestly, even if she's a little antsy on Ila'den's tension and possibly a little more concerned on that front than the 'snake front at this point. "He thinks he's funny." She adds, louder now, fixing Ryn with a scalding look that can't quite formulate completely, too busy trying to be a smile as it is. And FARANTH, there it is, she should have seen it coming, shouldn't she? It's ridiculous that Citayla didn't see Ila's line coming. The astounded, jaw-dropped look is utterly unwarranted, but the noise that might be a laugh follows whether unearned or not. "Little ears." She tries, and it would be entirely more effective, probably, if not for the fact that she's laughing even as she speaks. And again, "LITTLE EARS." BONK go heads, gently, together, and being distracted by Mom Being Silly is probably better than the understanding that Dad's Gonna Murder That There Cuddlesnake. "You want any more good times in that bed, you —" There he goes, and probably it's for the best that she can't finish whatever threat she was going to, glancing sidelong, exasperated again, at R'hyn. "They were Teimyrth's first." The goldrider can't help but point out, because they are definitely not at fault there, at all.

« THANK YOU, MINE'S. BRING IT TO ME. I WILL EAT IT. »

Oh no. Ila'den makes terrible jokes, and Citayla makes aghast faces, and it threatens to send R'hyn back into a fit of giggles all over again. The temptation ripples through him like a force, a full-bodied quiver of repressed emotion that surges from toes to nose where it manifests in a single, hard snooort and a huffing exhale. HE'S GOT THIS YOU GUYS. REALLY. He doesn't, though, not even a little bit. A pinch has taken up residence between his brows, easing only for the kiss pressed to the top of his head, breaths taking on a more thoughtful, regulated air as eyes slide shut, counting through careful paces even as Xermiltoth addresses Ilyscaeth's concerns. « THEY HAVE IT CORNERED, FRET NOT. » Inhale. Exhale. Hands rise to squeeze at Ila'den's hips, but R'hyn nods, a fraction of tension bleeding from shoulders, eyes guilty and grateful both as he accepts the bronzerider's excuse and allows him to step past to deal with the un-sexy cuddlesnake problem. Weary steps take him to Citayla and the babies, an arm tucking around the former to reel her in so he can kiss and nuzzle little bonky heads with a murmured, "Your daddies are hilarious, never let your mommy tell you otherwise." Hands squeeze Cita, brief but emotive, expressing relief and gladness that she's okay before he shifts to take one or the other of the children into his arms, needing the curl of little arms around his neck, hands pressing to long-grown hair and a tiny back with eyes pressed shut, shoulder pushed up against Cita's, tuning back in only when Ila'den finally emerges, victorious. There's a brief, fleeting smirk, a murmured, "Our hero," and then, on a surge of hot diamond winds, « MINE SAYS COME GET IT YOURSELF. » Because that's R'hyn, stepping out of Cita's personal space to take the noodlecorpse from his weyrmate's hand, flinging it over the bannister where dragons can get to it below and make with the disposal. R'hyn? R'hyn is pulling at the back of Ila's neck, drawing him in for a brief, chaste, but no less poignant kiss before gesturing back the way the bronzerider had came. "We'll deal with the rest of that come morning, yeah? There's enough room in our bed," this to Cita, trying to phrase it as though the MESS and ICHOR surely won't be worth fussing with now, and not he probably won't sleep unless he moves everyone into the same room. This is not the paranoid bronzerider you are looking for, clutching at hands and arms and bits of clothes on various weyrmates' persons to harry them all back to the main bedroom, bitty bassinets in tow. Surely not. Move along.

"Daddy's cuddlesnake helped Mommy make those little ears, so don't let any cuddlesnakes near you girls, understand?" ILA: RUINING ONE'S UNDERSTANDING (OR LACK THEREOF) OF REPRODUCTION ONE INNOCENT AT A TIME. ALLONS-Y! Or, wait… no… that would be GERONIMO!!! goes the snake, pilfered from calloused hands by distracting 'mates, relinquished without a fight as Ila'den leans into the press of lips and finds hips with those cuddlesnake murdering fingers to hold R'hyn close (and bleed a little of his tension into that kiss) even if it's meant to be relatively chaste. Still, Ila gathers Cita for a hug, to frame her face in his hands, to ask important questions with his eyes like, 'Are you okay?' before he gathers up Ibsy and Hery to follow R'hyn around while bitty bassinets are gathered up. And why you ask? SO THAT HE CAN BE THE WORST DAD. "We'll make sure no cuddlesnakes join us." Kisses to little heads, wicked (falling short) wolfish smiles for Little Red Citahood, and eventually they all find their way into one room, on one bed, where cuddlesnakes certainly slumber but do not rise to startle or bite anybody on this night. THE END. FIN. MAYBE.

Citayla definitely doesn't doubt Heryn's amount of Having It Under Control, noooo. Clearly, he has it, can't you see? With Ilyscaeth rumbling a sharp rebuff in the back of her mind, the goldrider huffs, herself, eyeing the dead tunnelsnake with disgust and a lot of trepidation. It might be dead now, but it's still disgusting. Euch. Still, she readily hands over a baby on the hug, smile coming quick and warm, bumping shoulders gently. "Yeah, sure." Riiight, Cita, we see you. We see you. « I CAN'T. » BITCH. HUFF. ANGRY MUMBLING ABOUT EGGS. And a vaguely disgusted expression for the chucking of the dead 'snake (her sofas), but it can't be helped. "Yeah," She's about to agree, happily, to the plan, when Ila does Ila things, and she can't even formulate anything beyond a "That's not, for Faranth's sake, that's —" before he's finished his Rynbusiness and there's hugging. And she can't stay exasperated for the hugging, rolling eyes skyward briefly and standing on tiptoes to plant a kiss on their hero's nose. She's not fine — there are snakes in her weyr and they have babies — but that one's dead, so, she cedes to his carrying of the big ones and goes to fetch a little. "Certainly not, with a mouth like that." Thank Faranth that she's probably out of earshot, and thus deaf to any rebuttals that she would have walked right into. BYE.


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