One Way or Another

Half Moon Bay Weyr - Tidal Pools
Up a path from the lagoon sits a plateau of tidal pools. The shallowness of the pools combined with the dark stone they're made up of means that Rukbat beating on the pools in the daytime keeps them warm. The rock has been hewn gently on most of the pools to allow for ledges to sit on while still in the water. The pools allow for a more private, relaxed atmosphere than the beach below. When they are occupied, it is not uncommon to see a waitress or waiter come up from the Tiki Lounge to serve drinks to the occupants.

With her firelizards a little bigger now and more able to carry a message, that’s exactly what Elixyvette has the eldest (by no more than an hour) of them do, the young green sent to seek out L’mal and Maurth late one afternoon, just as her assigned work for the day reaches its end. It takes the green a couple of attempts, but she soon locates L’mal and waits relatively patiently to be relived of her letter. The message itself is brief, requesting the bluerider’s evening if he has the time, and so Elixyvette waits on one of the flat, rocky surfaces between one tidal pool and the next, away from the hustle and bustle of the Weyr’s caverns, yet with the odd dragon and rider visible at the nearby lagoon. While her firelizards try to soak up the warmth from the rocks, she sits with a book in her lap, for once seeing without reading, her weary gaze distant.

L’mal’s proud of the little green and shows her his gratitude for the message delivered by treating her to a piece of jerky he was meaning to eat himself. Maurth has no complaints when it comes to visiting Half Moon Bay Weyr and Elixyvette. This time he requests that he be allowed to his own devices, so freed of his straps he heads off to locate a green or two to occupy his time with. L’mal makes his way down the rocky area, careful of steps so that he doesn’t fall or injure any sea creatures on his journey towards Elixyvette. He settles beside her, arm tossing around her shoulders as he draws her closer for a hug. “What’re you reading?” he asks, kissing her cheek as he looks down at the book in her lap.

Elixyvette’s answer is to shove both herself and the book at L’mal, closing it so that he might see the title and cover illustration that mark it as a storybook focusing on legends of dragons while she all but clambers into his lap and curls up there, pressing her head into his chest. “I miss you,” she murmurs, following up that admittance with words that uncharacteristically ramble. “I’ve always missed you, but I feel it now and I didn’t let myself before, and it hurts and I don’t know what to do with myself… Why does it hurt?” Fingers hook into the fabric of his shirt as she sags against him. “I’m tired. Don’t go. It’s safe with you here.” Just how long has she gone without sleep this time?

L’mal takes Elixyvette into his arms, settling her in his lap comfortably. He rubs at her back as she sags against him, listening to her words without interruption. “I’m a missive away- right, love? You called and we came. I’m sorry it’s been some time since we got here, but we had a mission that required our focus. I’ve wrapped it up. I’m here for a day or more.” He soothes his hand against her back some more, then begins to run fingers through hair. “Have you slept? Or do they run you all ragged with the nearness of the Hatching?” He puffs out a breath, looking out towards the waves moving away from them. “I can seek a transfer here,” he decides, with little hesitation. “If this is where you want to stay. My home is with you.”

Lifting her head a little, Elixyvette tucks it just beneath L’mal’s and drops one hand back into her lap, content to hold onto him with just the one for now. “Not them,” she quietly assures. “I can’t sleep. Can’t stop thinking. I’ve never… slept much.” Except that causes her to blush, for she’s slept well enough beside him more than once, pleasantly exhausted beyond the point of being able to think through much at all. “…If I’ve no reason to stay, I likely won’t. I’ll need to get back on track with my work and I’m not sure being here, thinking of what could have been, will be any kind of conducive to it.” Taking a deep breath, she holds it before asking, “If I could go to Ierne…? Could it be home for… both of us?” She closes her eyes. “I want to be where you are. And perhaps I want to be selfish for a while and not care about anything else.”

“Ierne WeyrHold could use a stable Harper,” L’mal answers easily enough, shifting thought from moving to her to having her move to be with him. “We’ll have to find a new place to live. My home there is meant for a single man. I won’t have you try and build our life there. I’ve savings that I’ve never much thought about. We could make a true try at it.” He kisses her head and smiles against her hair. “It’ll be a good way to start our life the way we want to live it. With no limitations to hold us back this time.” He draws a hand up her back and moves to rest it against her cheek, wanting to turn her face to look into his eyes. “All I’m going to say, Elixyvette, is one way or another – we will not be parted for a decade again. Days, perhaps; maybe a week if that happens. But years? Never again.”

“I’ve never really spent any money, except on the children,” Elixyvette confesses. “I’ve only ever needed smart, formal clothes. I suppose a true, performance Harper would need all the gowns and shoes and all of it…” One shoulder inches ever so slightly upward, understanding without being dismissive. “Fancy fabrics look better on the children in the form of books and toys, though Tressie has begged some pretty jewellery over the years.” Dragging herself back on-track, she says, “I’ve enough put by to help start a household, at any rate. I don’t need you to give up anything for me.” Carefully, she sits up enough to lift her gaze to his when he encourages her to look up. “We work together and it will be ours. And we won’t be parted again. We’ll both know where we belong.”

“Here I had a vision of you descending upon Ierne and bringing with you the law and rigor of the Harper craft not known by some of the heathens that reside there,” L’mal teases, smile a quick flash against his tanned features. He leans forward to rub his nose against hers before he kisses her softly on the lips. “I’m glad to know I can belong with you at my side,” he tells Elixyvette once he pulls back from her lips. “And if we’re making plans of going to Ierne, so we should also discuss what our life would look like if you walk off the Sands with a dragon stumbling at your feet. If that’s what waits for you out there, I’ll move here. Until you’ve graduated. If it stays a fit for you, Maurth and me’ll make our home here forever. If you want to move on, we’ll move on. Pern is open to us, Lixy. We can go anywhere we wish. Be whomever we wish. Without anyone telling us we’re too dumb or unwanted, or have to meet their expectations. That was our youth. Not our future now.”

“What, and make a facet of my Mastery an attempt to ensure all at Ierne live by a moral code?” Elixyvette arches a brow and settles herself back against L’mal in the wake of his kiss, sighing out, “Impossible, so I hear.” She smothers a yawn with one hand, then curves that hand to his shoulder, nuzzling absently against his collarbone. “Would you be happy here?” she questions, fingers tightening a little. “I mean beyond you and me. Would Maurth be happy?” And then there are the questions that are perhaps not truly meant for him. “…What if I change? What if I Impress to a dragon nothing like me? What if it turns out to be the worst thing I’ve ever imagined?” Silence, then: “I’m sorry. You can see why I can’t sleep.” Lips curving in a tiny, almost imperceptible smile, she tells him, “I prefer your view of the world to mine.”

“Likely impossible, knowing the sorts that enjoy living at Ierne over others. But there’re enough crafters there to make it worthwhile,” L’mal muses, catching on but unable to hold back his tease. “They could use your guidance, I’m sure.” As to her other questions, L’mal lets them roll over him as he goes back to idly brushing his hand along Elixyvette’s back. “Maurth doesn’t care where we live. So long as there are females to chase, he’d be satisfied. We like the surf here,” he notes, looking out at the water once more. “I’m sure I could find work here. Where there’s ocean, there’s need of someone to guard the coast. Help the sailors out. You know, usual work.” He presses his lips against her temple. “You can’t know what will be out there. Even if you think you change, you don’t. Dragons simply help shape who we always were. You can’t hide your truth from them. What if you find your perfect match? Your best friend? Someone who knows all of you and loves everything – good and bad? It’s more than a partnership. It’s more than the love and friendship we share. It’s… a new way of being. I don’t think you’d be failed by a dragon choosing you.”

Lulled by his presence and the picture of Impression that L’mal paints, Elixyvette unintentionally closes her eyes again, her form resting more and more heavily against his as he speaks, until the grip she has at his shoulder loosens and her hand slips down to find a natural resting point at his hip. It’ll be the second time that she’s fallen asleep on him in recent weeks, exhaustion finally shutting her down while her guard is lowered enough to tolerate it, but at least there’s not a lot of her to hold and support, even if he might have to lie back if he chooses not to immediately wake her. Before sleep claims her completely, she murmurs, “Home,” against his chest, not consciously at all, curls falling forward to conceal her face from view.

L’mal keeps his hand idly moving along her back, wanting to keep contact with Elixyvette even as she falls to dozing in his lap. He shifts himself carefully on the rocks, moving to find a more comfortable place to settle himself down with his love in his care. He watches the waves in the distance, falling to thoughts that drift in an aimless pattern, prepared to keep her asleep in his lap as long as she needs. When she wakes, he’ll escort her first to get food – he’s always trying to get meat onto her bones – and then he’ll find excuses for them to sneak off to hidden corners, where lips and hands can play games that’ll leave them both distracted over a future they only barely have control of. “Soon we’ll know one way or another,” he whispers near the end of the evening as he walks her back to those barracks. “And we can move forward. Together.” He and Maurth will leave her then, headed to their own home, though they’ll make themselves available to visit her in the coming days. With the Hatching this near, L’mal and Maurth won’t risk not being nearby.

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