An Emotional Searching

Western Weyr - Suldith's Playhouse
This king sized weyr has plenty of space for humans and dragons alike. The floors have been worn smooth and mostly level while the walls remain more rough and uneven all in mottled shades of gray. The roomy dragon couch has been covered in a layer of padding and then furs.The arched opening from the ledge lets in light and when the tropical sun is at rest or hidden in the clouds baskets of glows chase away the darkness from their perches in sconce-like baskets around the weyr interior. A long bar provides a place to eat and is set with four tall barstools, set in front of a wall of cabinetry and a long counter for storage and simple meal preparation. A hewn firepit inhabits one wall and a plaid sofa and chair are set before it on a brick red rug, centered for conversation with a low coffee table and side tables. The living area is kept fairly neat.
The exception to the clean living area is the table in the living room. Zi'on apparently is using it as a work table for some sort of electronics project. It looks like it might be a computer monitor or some other viewing display. There are wires and nuts and bolts laying around, also a soldering gun and a voltmeter.
A smaller arch leads to a short hallway with a bedroom on one end and a washroom on the other. The bedroom is complete with a dresser, bedside tables and a large bed with a mirrored wardrobe reflecting light from glow baskets set around the room. It's very lived-in, there is clothing and random junk all over the place. The washroom is spacious and one corner is taken up by a deep tub and opposite that a shower large enough for at least two.

Zi'on sends Kali a note rather late. Much past dinner, but not quite to bedtime. All it says is "meet me at my place". However the firelizard dropping it and the scrawl make its originator fairly certain. Zi'on is still in his weyrleadery clothes, though his shirt his half unbuttoned. He's sipping at a wine glass and pacing the front room a bit, grumbling to himself or a certain bronze dragon that is out on the sands. "I'm -getting- to it." He also keeps fiddling with something in his pocket. Could it be that Zi'on, weyrleader and king of the weyrbrats is nervous?

How late the note arrives is usually of no worry to Kaliena. The girl is prone to odd hours, which the Weyrleader should know by now and tonight is no exception. She's at the forge, or rather the one belonging to her mentor and the other posted smiths, finishing with the last of whatever project she was set to practice on. Even before the note is read, the smith apprentice recognizes the firelizard and can already assume what it'll be. So she goes about the routine of setting everything away, from the tools to her gloves before she's finally on the move. She skips the baths, figuring she could use Zi'on's for once, since he brags so much over it. So when she knocks on his door and then slips in, she's nowhere near as neatly dressed as he is. Her hair is tied back in a loose braid and she has some soot and dirt smudged on her face and arms. At least her clothes seem relatively clean, though slightly rumpled from a long day of work. "What's the occasion this time for your summons?" Kaliena drawls while her eyes narrow slightly, already curious but wary as to what Zi'on might be plotting. She eyes his formal Weyrleader getup and smirks. "You just back from work?"

Zi'on wasn't always plotting something, was he? Besides, when was the last time Kaliena had to be worried about things that Zi'on did, anyways? She ought to make use of his bath more often really. He can't understand why she doesn't. When she slips through the door he smiles at her, then moves in for a nice hello kiss. He doesn't mind the dirt, though the kiss doesn't make him seem any less nervous. "Mm. I guess. Was on the sands for a while, chatting with Suldith." He pours a glass of wine for Kaliena, then heads for the couch, motioning with his head for her to join him. He crisscrosses his arms then to hand her her drink. "Well… I suppose I should cut right to the chase. Though it's not really an occasion per say…" Evasive thy name is Zi'on?

Kaliena only thinks Zi'on is always plotting something. She's a suspicious creature and prone to assuming (incorrectly). When he moves in for a hello kiss, the smith apprentice doesn't brush him aside and even returns it. Maybe she's in a decent mood tonight? "Ah. Suldith still won't leave them? Aren't those eggs due to hatch?" she asks, while her gaze settles on the glass of wine the Weyrleader pours for her. At his gesture to join him, Kaliena doesn't hesitate in settling herself to the couch comfortably enough and then lifts her hands up to take the glass he offers her. "Cut right to what?" Now she sounds suspicious, to match the side-long look she gives Zi'on. Taking a small sip of the wine, she's watching him carefully now, especially when he goes evasive on her. "What're you planning to do?" It sounds almost accusatory the way her tone is.

Zi'on actually does plot a fair bit. During the boring hours of paperwork he plots ways to somehow sweep Kaliena off her feet. Most of them never make it past the planning stages, but he's always thinking about that next big date. Was it often that Kaliena doesn't return his hello kisses? At least in private? "Not soon enough." He says with a sigh about the eggs hatching. "Still a while yet." He chuckles at that accusatory tone and the way she's looking at him. He finishes off his wine, and then sets the glass aside. "It's not me," he says, digging through his pocket a moment, before pulling out the infamous white knot. "It's Suldith. He keeps telling me you should be a candidate. He has since Shadhavarth clutched, but I've been… procrastinating."

Most of Kaliena's plans and plots (yes, she plots) don't make it far beyond her thoughts either. There actually hasn't been a time yet that she's spurned Zi'on's advances. "How long do they harden then? Seems like it's been…forever that they're on there." She murmurs, staring down at her wine for a moment as she twirls the glass slightly between her fingers. Then her eyes are snapping up and over to the Weyrleader when he finally speaks what's on his mind. "Oh." Kaliena says, almost grunting it as her gaze drops to the white knot. She doesn't recoil from it, but she isn't reaching for it either and her features have dropped into a heavy frown. "Does he say why?" she pauses, tilting her head a bit as she snorts softly. "Huh. Procrastinating?" Here come the onslaught of questions!

Other than that first kiss on their first "date". "A while. Months." Zi'on can't exactly remember how long it takes. Other than knowing it took a lot longer than he wanted. It's a good thing Kaliena isn't reaching for the knot, since Zi'on wouldn't be giving it to her anyways. In fact, if she does reach for it he'll pull back and hold onto it. "Heh, why? No. They never say why. They don't even know most of the time. It's just a feeling they get, I guess." There's a nod then about the procrastination, and he leans over to set the knot on the table. "Mm. I want you to be a candidate Kaliena. I want you to impress, too. But there are rules that can't really be bent like they can if you're an apprentice. So I figured tonight we'd… you know. And then you can be a candidate tomorrow, if that's what you want."

"Months?" Kaliena sounds surprised and her frown turns thoughtful. Maybe she didn't know and there's probably a lot the girl doesn't know still. She doesn't reach for the knot, but there is a puzzled look to her eyes when he sets the knot aside and on the table. There's a bit of disappointment when Zi'on informs her there is no reasoning beyond draconic instinct and her focus drops again to the wine glass in her hands. The girl begins to twist it again, lightly swirling the contents. "So is that the only reason why you want me to Stand, Zi'on? In the hopes I'd Impress and become a rider?" she asks quietly and it's obvious then that she has no delusions to the rules. Sipping, finally, at her wine, she lifts her head up to stare the bronzerider right in the eye. "We'd what?" Kaliena presses and would have normally been far more crass and possibly crude with her response but the smith apprentice bites her tongue for once. "I dunno what I want." She admits truthfully and shifts a little on the couch, suddenly uncomfortable now that the decision has been thrust on her.

Zi'on nods in confirmation. "I don't remember what is typical. They'll tell you that during your training courses." Or she could ask someone else who pays attention. "Sorry." He says at the look of disappointment. "Suldith knows you, though. He was pretty adamant about you. Usually he can't remember things from one day to the next, but he's asked me everyday at least once." He frowns at her next question, then. "No. It's not the only reason. I want you to be a rider, yes. I think that it would be good for you. I think the weyr needs you. And not just as a crafter. Though you won't have to give that up. In fact, most of your chores will be doing your craft activities. But at the end it's not about what I want or what Suldith wants. It's about what you want." He slides over a bit closer to her, and reaches up to stroke her cheek a bit. "Stay with me tonight. And think on it."

Kaliena's frown eases away, bit-by-bit, to a conflicted look and soon she has to look away from Zi'on and back to her wine. She chews at her lower lip, silence following the bronzerider's words. "I didn't even think he paid attention. Suldith, I mean." The girl murmurs, her grip tightening on her wine glass as she struggles to control her thoughts and likely her temper with it. Glancing sideways and upwards subtly, she regards Zi'on with a long look, but her emotions are next to unreadable. "But I never had it in mind to be a rider… I was just going to stay to my Craft and that was it." Kaliena admits quietly, almost guiltily, as she knows well enough that that is not what the bronzerider wants to hear. When he slides over closer and reaches up to stroke her cheek, she doesn't pull away from him but neither is she relaxing to it. Maybe he will be spurned tonight if he pushes too hard. "So that's it then? One night to decide?" she drawls and there's a familiar edge to her tone. "What if I need more time?" Even as she asks that, her voice betrays her. They both know she's impulsive. Her decision will likely be made before either of them is asleep.

Zi'on gives Kaliena a confused look. "What do you mean? Of course he pays attention. You're a huge part of my life, Kaliena. He knows you better than you think, probably." He tries to ease the wine glass from her fingers, to replace it with his own fingers. "I know… But you want to stay here at Western, right? This is the best way to ensure that that happens. I can keep you here as an apprentice, but once you get more experience they might want to rotate you…" Really, Zi'on doesn't seem too surprised by Kaliena's reaction. Well, maybe he is a little. She seemed to waffle on the idea of a craft for a while, then dive headfirst into the one she'd picked. He figures that she'll be the same about being searched. "Well, no… if you need more time you can have it. But the eggs won't wait for you." Zi'on doesn't intend to push her too hard, instead he just rubs her hands between his own.

Wrong answer. Kaliena stiffens a little where she sits on the couch, shoulders tensing and it's a small wonder the wine glass doesn't snap she's suddenly gripping it so tightly. So Zi'on may find it difficult, at first, to pry her fingers loose. Before he can claim the wine glass though, she hurriedly takes a generous sip of it. Then it's set aside and her hands are free. "Well. Yes. Western is my home now. And I don't have to take new postings if I dun want to. But neither should I be made to stay." She could be lying, but maybe it's the truth. Kaliena isn't really giving a hint either way, her features still twisted into a conflicted frown, lips drawn down into a thin line. This is a bit different then her decision on a Craft and the girl knows it. "I know that." She grumbles and allows Zi'on to rub her hands between his, though she remains a touch aloof and withdrawn. It doesn't keep her from plying the bronzerider with more questions though. "So you said as a Candidate I can keep my Craft? How's that? Don't Candidates have their own chores 'n such to do? S'What I heard anyhow, from all the babbling going about the younger 'brats."

Zi'on tries not to look concerned about her gripping of the glass. He'd rather she break his fingers than break glass in her hands. He looks relieved when she gives it up. If she wants the wine from it she's more than welcome, as long as she's not using the glass itself for stress relief. "Well, true enough. I guess even as a rider you don't have to stay. You can always transfer to another weyr, of course." Though the bronzer doesn't look too thrilled at that prospect, and it shows. He nods about her craft. "You'll still have some candidate duties. You'll have to attend class and all. But you don't have to take rounds of kitchens duties and other tedious things, of course. You'll spend that time with your craft." Zi'on will continue to rub her hands in his. "Do you not want to be a rider, Kaliena?" He asks her, it's a bit blunt, but maybe more direct questions would be easier for her to process.

"Even a transfer would be by my choice. Wouldn't it?" Kaliena murmurs and now without the glass to cling to, she just keeps her hands still within Zi'on's as he rubs them. At least for a time, until she's wriggling from his hold only so she can grip at his arms instead, as if for support or perhaps his touch is confusing her even more. "So candidate duties, class and my craft work." She echoes back and grimaces. That's a lot to take on and she's showing her concern on that clearly enough by her reluctance. Blunt can work and it will in this case, even if it has Kaliena starting a little with a soft snort. Leaning back, she turns her head just enough to peer up at Zi'on, a frown still etched on her features as her eyes focus on him. There's an awkward pause then, as she struggles to find the right words and not be snarky about it. "It's not that I /don't/ want to." Kaliena begins and then grimaces, exhaling heavily as she lifts her hands up and drops them back into her lap. Now she can stare at them, rather then the bronzerider. "It's just… It's a lot to accept. I don't like change and I was just settling in here." She explains lamely, giving a slightly frustrated shrug of her shoulders as her words fail her in the end.

"Ain't very often a rider gets thrown out of a weyr, Kali. They all move by choice." He watches her move her hands, blinking when she takes his arms. She's certainly confusing him. "Like I said, you wouldn't have too many candidate duties. You won't be worked to death, Kali. There are plenty of people who have a craft when they stand. People far lazier than you." He locks gazes with her when she looks up at him. Even his reaction is hard to gauge. Was he feeling disappointed? Frustrated? Or just… nothing? He wrinkles his brow when she says she doesn't like change. "What was all that about transferring then? No one is forcing you to do anything you don't want to, Kali. You're not leaving. You're not giving up your craft. You're standing. You may not even impress, I don't know."

There's a slight curve of her lips when Zi'on makes his claim on riders and transfers and Kaliena looks amused, even if for half a heartbeat. Never say never? And of course she's begin confusing. That's how she is. She is also easily offended and of course bristles to his teasing. "I ain't lazy!" she snaps at him, immediately defensive until she realizes she's overacting and takes a slow, steadying breath. At first she only grunts to his reply and perhaps the lack of readable expression from the bronzerider is unsettling her. But his words do have a point and one she grudgingly accepts. "True." Kaliena drawls after another lengthy pause of silence. Now she draws her legs up onto the couch, sitting cross-legged and leaning until her back is flush with the couch. She'll have to turn her head to the side in order to see Zi'on, but she doesn't seem to care. "Or I could Impress and then things change, don't they?" It's another quietly asked question, more thoughtful then serious as she regains a hold on her thoughts and emotions. In short: she's possibly caving.

Zi'on peers at her when she looks like she might smirk about riders not often being thrown out. Was she considering that a challenge or something? Zi'on certainly is confused. A look of frustration washes over his face for moment as she overreacts to his teasing. When she pulls away from him he turns to sit with his back against the couch and his feet on the floor. He takes a deep breath then. "Yes. Things would change. Generally most people think it's in a good way, though." Zi'on has never had to work so hard to search anyone before. While Kaliena struggles with her own feelings about becoming a rider, Zi'on gets up and undoes his shirt the rest of the way. Then he heads to grab the bottle of wine, though he doesn't say anything further to her.

Not quite a challenge, though Kaliena does peer back at Zi'on. What? - she seems to ask silently before his frustration leaves her a little puzzled. As things go from tense to awkward, she tilts her head and watches quietly as the bronzerider gets up from the couch to grab the wine. Of course she's going to make him work for it. Kaliena never, ever makes anything easy. "I don't see it as a bad thing. I'm just… I dunno. Expressing some of my thoughts on it I guess. Or whatever people call it." She mutters, one hand lifting up to tuck a stray strand of hair back behind her ear. Silence again and soon she's fidgeting, chewing at her lower lip again. "You're upset, aren't you?" she asks bluntly, turning to face Zi'on once more and this time her eyes do not waver and even her chin tilts up just a bit, as if bracing for something.

Zi'on is just frustrated that he doesn't understand all the apprehension, really. When he returns with the wine he refills both their glasses before setting the bottle down and sitting back down how he was before. He looks at Kaliena for a long while, to see if she really thought she was expressing her thoughts, or just making up excuses for why she didn't want to stand. "No. I just… didn't think it would be this difficult of a decision, I guess. I've never encountered this with anyone before. I just don't know what to say. I feel like we should be… making a like of pros and cons or something, which sounds so completely ridiculous to me. Maybe it is too soon for you to think about this." He reaches over to pick the knot back up then, sighing. "I'm going to have to figure out how to square this with Suldith. No one's ever turned him down before."

Kaliena reaches out to reclaim her glass of wine, taking a slow, long sip of it as if she needs the drink to steady herself. And it's perhaps her last drink for some time too. She was expressing her thoughts, even if Zi'on doesn't quite believe her. But that is neither here nor there and the girl only frowns in confusion to his reply. "So… most just accept right off? No questions, no nothing?" That seems to boggle her mind even more then the fact that Suldith and Zi'on want her to stand as a candidate. "A list is pretty ridiculous." She agrees with a slight smirk and then sighs softly. "Listen. I just am… nervous, ok? I'm not Weyrbred and it took me what, over a Turn to finally relax. I've got a Craft now and… and I've you and other things. It just surprised me. I never thought to be a rider. Ever. But I never said no." When he reaches for the knot, so does she, though Kaliena backs off first since it's not hers to take. Could be she's only trying to stall Zi'on for a little longer, staring up at him now from where she's had to crouch forwards on her knees on the couch.

Zi'on shrugs. "Well, some people waver a bit. But generally, most accept within the first five minutes or so. There's not usually a lot of questions… I generally search at the weyr, so most people know the deal." His expression softens then and he smiles at her. "I know you're nervous. But I'm not going anywhere, nor is your craft or your other things. What's holding you back from saying yes?" He tosses the knot back down onto the table. It was there now. She could take it whenever she felt ready. He looks back at her for a while, then reaches over to see if he can get one of her hands back. Maybe slowly work his way up to where they were when she came in this evening.

"Five minutes seems like so little of time." Kaliena grumbles, looking a little sheepish but scowling all the same. She hates it when she makes grand messes of things and knowing she's muddled this and possibly the whole evening has her in a bit of a bad temper. "I already told you," she mutters with a bit of a frustrated tone, "I was nervous. Uncertain. Don't like change and it just seems like… like a big step, you know? Regardless of the outcome." Her eyes follow the knot as it's tossed back to the table and then they dart back to Zi'on. Hesitant, she leans just a little more but slow, as if expecting the bronzerider to take the knot again or maybe waiting for some cue. Finally, she snatches it and retreats back to a comfortable spot on the couch - right by the bronzerider's side. With the knot in one hand, he can probably snare her other one. "So all I have to do is say yes and it's done, then?"

Kali, in a bad temper? Never! Zi'on was expecting some resistance from her, but nothing to this level. He's a little worn out from all the emotions and nervousness and all. But since that all seems to be wrapping up, he's starting to relax again. "Worried about the future, hm? I didn't think you were the type really. You seem to like to plunge headfirst into the waters." He watches her as she goes to pick up the knot. Her free hand is picked up by the bronzer and he laces his fingers with hers. "You say yes. You take the knot. Then it's done. Though… I was hoping we could at least pretend you didn't say yes until tomorrow morning. But… if you don't want to that's fine, too. You can take tomorrow off if you want, to move into the candidate dorms and get settled."

Oh, Kaliena is still reckless and impulsive at times. Tonight was just not one of them and she grimaces when Zi'on points it out. "I can be responsible, you know." She snorts. "When I want to be. Just like I can be a good apprentice and study and follow the rules…" All the boring stuff, to judge by her drawling tone. "Or I'm not." Then she shrugs as if to let the subject drop. Her fingers lace with his and maybe she even squeezes his hand a bit. But Kaliena definitely has the knot now and her hold on it is tight. "First you tell me I take too long to make up my mind. Now you're telling me to wait until morning. Why can't I say yes now and be done with it, but still enjoy the night with you? Not like you publicly Searched me. Who needs to know?" Kaliena murmurs with just a hint of a smile and a mischievous look to her eyes, glancing from knot to Zi'on as she tries to read his reaction to her not-so proper suggestion.

Zi'on chuckles a bit at her. "I know you're responsible. Generally you just seem more impulsive I guess. Maybe not about things like this. Or maybe you're always like this and I just never see this part of it." Of course Zi'on's mind is drawn back to their first -real- night together. He grins to her then. "That's why I said pretend. Pretend. So… say yes now if you want it. And we'll pretend it happened tomorrow morning." He leans over close to her then. "No one needs to know." The bronzer looks her in the eyes for a moment before leaning in like he's going to kiss her, but he doesn't get quite there. Nope, he'll let her close the gap if she wants to. Or let her give him her answer.

Kaliena flushes a little when she's realized she completely and obliviously missed Zi'on's hints. She doesn't answer him on whether or not she's impulsive as a mask or it's her true nature. Instead she only smiles vague and crookedly. "Fine." She says gruffly and with an amused huff. "Yes. I accept. So you can tell Suldith to leave you alone now." And she'll close that gap, leaning forwards to kiss him back and maybe even wrap her arms around his neck and over his shoulders, with the knot still gripped in one hand. Looks who's impulsive now! No matter that it'd look so /wrong/ if anyone caught them now. Breaking the kiss, Kaliena looks up at him as it suddenly clicks. "This'll have to stop too, for a bit. Won't it?" Duh. She knows the rules and already looks a touch rebellious towards them. "I can't even visit? It's the dorms with the rest of 'em, right?"

Zi'on thought he was being obvious. Clearly not obvious enough. He chuckles a bit when she tells him to tell Suldith to leave him alone. He kisses her back, finally actually relaxing now that Kaliena seems to have accepted the knot. Yes. This looks horribly wrong, seeing the weyrleader of all people making out with a girl clutching a candidate knot. Of course maybe that's why Zi'on is getting so excited so quickly. There's a nod then from Zi'on as the kiss ends, to answer her question. "Yeah… You can visit, of course. But sleeping here… probably isn't a good idea. You'll need to stay with the rest of the candidates." Zi'on is trying not to sound too disappointed at that. Though those sorts of questions are mood killers for sure. "We can't break them, Kali. If someone finds out we could be in a lot of trouble. You'll lose your knot and I could lose mine, too."

Once he relaxes, so does Kaliena and she immediately cuddles up against his side like she would normally. Yep, it looks very wrong indeed but the girl either doesn't make the connection or simply doesn't care. They're in his weyr and she feels safe. "Mhm. I know." She drawls. Then why did she ask? Just so the truth could disappoint? Because the girl does look exactly that before she's giving Zi'on that "look" again. "I ain't stupid. I wouldn't risk you loosing your position." Clearly, she doesn't care what happens to her knot or rank (and reputation). Did she just… hint that she actually cares for him? "I'll be good… on that at least. Can't promise I won't raise trouble other ways." And she grins now, mischievous and chuckling.

Zi'on doesn't care much either, as it would be. Even if it looks so wrong with her holding that white knot. This was the last time they could be together. At least there isn't argument over the fact that she can't sleep in his weyr anymore. He looks back at her. "Heh… well candidates are expected to get into trouble. You need to get it at least as much trouble as your brother did. Though he at least had my help. I don't know if I'll be pulling pranks this time around… though… maybe." He smiles to her, but it falls into an uncertain frown then and he looks away from her. "Maybe… maybe we should talk about us. Before we get to… that."

Kaliena snorts softly, lips curving into a bit of a lopsided smile before she blinks and shoots Zi'on a disbelieving look. "What'd he do? Wait… no, what'd /you/ do then?" she asks, drawling it out slowly as she settles herself comfortably against the bronzerider. Shaking her head a bit, she tucks her hair back behind her ears again. "I'd think you'd be too busy with Weyrleader duties to be pulling pranks." She teases and then things are awkward again between them. The girl goes back to looking down at the knot in her hand, while carefully working it through her fingers. "What is there to talk about?" Kaliena mutters gruffly and already becoming defensive. "Didn't think it /changed/ anything. Aside from the fact we can't… be close."

Zi'on grins to her. "I -might- have snuck into the candidate dorms while everyone was asleep. And I -might- have stolen the underpants of most of the girl candidates. While your brother kept watch." He laughs a bit. "I'm never too busy for a good prank. I think I'll cover Ila'den's chair with glue tomorrow actually… Hopefully he'll be wearing his favorite pants." Things do become awkward, very quickly. Zi'on slides away from her, and sighs a bit, going quiet as he collects his thoughts. "You know I love you Kali. And I know you don't feel the same way. And that's fine. But… with you being a candidate and all…" Another pause and he takes a deep breath, watching her work the knot through her fingers. "Maybe it's best that after tonight we just go back to being friends." Though it's hard to believe that Zi'on really feels that way, given how his eyes are starting to glisten over.

Kaliena's eyes narrow and almost to the point of being suspicious before finally relaxing into a smirk-like grin. Zi'on will get a nudge to the side with her elbow too. "Knew it. Knew I had to watch my stuff with you. Pervert. Didn't think my brother was the type for pranks… but what do I know?" she mutters and ends it with another of her little huffs. Then she eyes him, as if not sure if the Weyrleader was being serious. "You wouldn't… doesn't he work for you?" Maybe she only does pranks against strangers? Where's the fun in that? Kaliena has her mouth open, ready to interrupt and protest something Zi'on has said but she promptly closes it and shifts so that she can face the bronzerider again. "So that's it then?" she says, sounding angry and perhaps, just a hint of hurt. "I take the knot and you're already setting me aside?" Or she's entirely missing the point. It looks like she wants to say more but holds back. Which is probably good, because her next words would have been cruel. Instead she only exhales heavily and pointedly looks away from Zi'on, especially since his eyes are starting to glisten. "I thought we could stay as we were. As a couple, or… whatever it is we are." Kaliena murmurs it, quietly.

Zi'on grins to her. "I secretly have a whole collection of your panties. I keep them around for those… lonely nights." He chuckles. "He's not. I had to trick him into keeping watch." There's just a sly grin about Ila'den and his chair and nothing more. Of course the conversation is changing for the worse. Much worse. Zi'on frowns at her. "I'm not setting you aside. I just… We've been together eight months now. I'm not sure that this is going anywhere. Or that you'll ever feel the same way about me. And… I don't think I can take being the only one invested in this much longer. Eventually you'll just move on, and it'll be fine for you. But I'll end up heartbroken." His brow furrows a bit and he looks at her. "That's what I mean. You don't even think we're a couple. I don't even feel comfortable telling people you're my girlfriend because it might get back to you and then you'll be angry about it. If you don't like me that much just tell me, please. Before I wait for you for months and months, holding onto the hope that someday you might actually love me."

Kaliena's nose wrinkles and she looks both amused and disgusted all in one shot for Zi'on's teasing remark. "That's disturbing." She drawls and would have jabbed him in the side again if she hadn't moved. Then the conversation takes a bad turn and Zi'on is frowning at her, which only has her returning it in kind and perhaps scowling by the end. "Who sayin' I ain't invested in this either? Just cause I don't say the word don't mean I don't /care/ for you." She mutters and then blinks, sitting back a little as the bronzerider pretty much stick her in a stalemate position. Doesn't help that she's so frustratingly stubborn and no better in putting her emotions to words then her brother, so she's struggling. "When did I make it seem like we're not a couple? It's not like we hide anymore. I'm done with that, with the hiding. If someone were to ask /me/ if I had a boyfriend, Zi'on, I'd tell 'em I'm taken and to shove off. So tell who you want and who you like. I don't care." Now her temper does flare and Kaliena is on a roll and as the more she rants, the worse her accent becomes. "I ain't about to go sleeping with everyone in the weyr. What do I have to do, Zi'on, for you to trust me?" She pauses then, taking a shaky breath before muttering. "Words are words. And words can be broken. Words can sound like truth but be a lie." She points out and her mouth twists into a grimace. "I could tell you I love you but I could still rip your heart out later or you mine. So what's it matter if I say 'em now or never?" Did she just subtly admit it? Oh-ho…maybe she did. Now she spreads her hands out in an almost helpless gesture before they return, folded, in her lap. Meeting Zi'on's gaze now, regardless of what his expression may be, she stares intently. "Do you trust me, Zi'on?" she asks softly and in a startling contrast to her angry, harsh tone seconds before.

"I know you /care/ about me, Kaliena. It's more the -how- that's the problem." Zi'on responds, breathing all uneven now. "Like a friend that you sleep around with? Or like a man you want to be with?" At least sort of a man. Zi'on is still in that grey area. "Because if we're just friends with benefits to you and we lost the benefits where does that leave us? And then when they ask who your boyfriend is, do you tell them it's me? Or are you too embarrassed to?" Zi'on stammers a bit, but he can't seem to get much of a word in edgewise as Kaliena goes on about words. And then… did she say she loved him? Sort of, but not really. At least not in Zi'on's head right now. Besides, people didn't usually say they loved each other out of anger. "You could. And I could. That's always a possibility." He frowns again when she looks at him, and he looks right back at her. "Of course I trust you. If you say you want me as more than just a friend I'll believe it. And… I'll shut up. And we can stay a couple." And if she admits to loving him, all the more better! Though he doesn't think there's a chance of that. "But I'm trusting you also to admit to me that you don't think there's a future for us if that's actually what you think."

Kaliena would say it out of anger or a false anger anyways. Zi'on should know by now that the girl is always a ball of fury and gruffness. It's her defense and the only way she really knows how to react. Especially when she's feeling stung and hurt by truths she does not want to admit. "I ain't embarrassed to tell 'em if they ask! And if they're wanting to butt into my life like that I /would/ tell them it's you. Why would I lie?" Kaliena is tensed now, her hands clenching into fists on her lap as she drops her gaze and chews at her lip, scowling. Finally she sighs and her expression falls with it. "I dunno what made you think I didn't want you as more of a friend." She admits gruffly. "So if you trust me, then… trust me." Nope, she's still being stubborn with the words. Kaliena really is her bother's sister. She at least gives a brisk nod to his next words. "I wouldn't deceive you, Zi'on." Which means she does care and… most likely loves.

To be honest though, that's why Zi'on loves Kaliena so much. Because she is all fury and gruffness and passion. Even when they were fighting it was all so thrilling. Especially since most fights weren't serious and ended quick enough. "I don't know why you would lie, or even if you would lie." The bronzer sighs and leans over to bury his face in his hands. "You won't deceive me. Well, that's good. But you also won't say anything. So there's nothing you could even deceive me about." The bronzer can't really think of anything else to say. Kaliena seemed to be good at denying things, but not very good at affirming them. And Zi'on really wanted some reassurance. Out of all the girls around who beg for their boyfriends to be more affectionate, Zi'on picks the one who can't even admit she loves him. If she even does.

"I wouldn't lie about something like that." Kaliena murmurs and for once her tone is sincere rather then angry. But it doesn't take long for frustration to kick in and the girl makes a sharp noise in her throat when Zi'on leans forwards to burry his head in his hands and for his persistence. "It means that much to you, for me to say it, doesn't it?" she asks, grimacing and fidgeting a little with her hands and the knot between them. At this rate she'll twist it apart from her worrying before it even gets pinned to her shoulder. "Just cause I don't /say/ it doesn't mean I don't feel it," You fool, her tone seems to imply but Kaliena is trying to be good and not be too snarky or cruel. Zi'on does have a bit of bad luck for his choice, but maybe in time she'll be a little more open with her emotions. But right now? He'll just have to settle with a pointed look and a light frown.

Zi'on sits up and looks at Kali. "Yes. It does. It means that much to me. Can't you tell? I'm basically in tears over her. Do you love me, Kaliena? Do you? You won't even have to say it, just a simple yes or no is fine this time." It's okay if she picks it apart. Zi'on has several more where that came from. He pulls at his pants a bit with his hands, not saying anything, just waiting for a response from the smith. He's not confident that he'll even get a yes or a no. And he's not feeling confident he'll ever get one, either. Maybe someday she'll be more open. Maybe after a dragon! But Zi'on can't wait that long. He's already twisted up in knots over her.

Kaliena 's eyes narrow and her scowl returns as her expression turns angry again, perhaps a little cold. But it's all a defensive mask, old habits as she feels cornered and vulnerable and doesn't like it in the slightest bit. "I do. Yes." She whispers, eyeing him now with a look that asks 'satisfied?'. Zi'on wins it seems and perhaps the smith does too in a way that she managed to drag it out this long without either of them storming off. So she waits, sitting back on the couch and doesn't seem too phased by how awkward things have become.

Kali should learn that sometimes she'll have to feel cornered and vulnerable. But that it was okay around Zi'on. But at the admission Zi'on actually looks very surprised, almost scared for a moment. Then he smiles to her and looks… a little embarrassed. He reaches over to take her hands into his, to prevent her from tearing the knot apart anymore. He'll probably give her a new one tomorrow. "Kali… c'mere. I'm sorry, for pressing you so hard." Zi'on slides over closer to her again, and will lean over to lay his head against hers. If she lets him, of course. It could be that she's too mad at him right now for making her confess something she didn't want to confess.

She'll likely learn that lesson soon enough or perhaps down the road. For now though, Kaliena is concentrating on brushing it all aside and burying it somewhere. She hasn't learned that lesson either, not to keep things bottled up. Might explain why she's so touchy all the time. Zi'on's smile catches her off guard, having prepared for him to deny it or call her out for not being truthful. So he can take the knot away and take her hands in his before her thoughts can catch up. "Don't do it again." She warns. Yep, Kaliena is mad. But not mad enough to push the bronzerider away, but neither is she relaxed when he leans over to rest his head against hers. After a brief pause, the smith and soon-to-be candidate snorts. "So we're on good grounds again, then? Or do you have another thing we need to argue over?" And her tone is hinting with just a touch of amusement there. Maybe she's teasing!

Zi'on is okay with her burying it. He won't ask her again for a while. Now that she's admitted to loving him, it was his turn to show her that life would go on between them as normal. And that he wouldn't use her feelings against her or anything strange like that. He chuckles at her warning. "Fair enough. But you shouldn't be afraid to tell me how you feel. You're too strong for that." He grins to her then, moving away slightly so he can look at her. "Yes. We're on good grounds. I don't have anything else, I promise. Now come here and kiss me…" He leans over to do the kissing. He's not kidding about that last bit either. Kaliena can sleep when she's officially a candidate.

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