A Proper Meeting

Western Weyr - Waterfall Path
This jungle path is luxuriant in thick dark green vegetation and brilliant tropical flowers. There is a rich scent of them clinging to the air, mingling with the salty scent from the ocean. The path itself is a mix of the white beach sand and black volcanic pebbles worn smooth. Here and there, narrow tracks have been cut, branching off into the jungle and giving access to the fruit that weights the branches for much of the year, while older tracks are almost lost under the encroaching vegetation. The path ends at a waterfall of about 15 meters high, freshwater cascading into a crystal clear pool that is deep and wide enough for several people to wade in. The pool is bordered by large, flat black stones that jut from the rocks at the sides and base of the pool. There are sweetly scented tiny white blossoms growing from underneath and around the cracks in the black stones.

The sky is a glorious palette of sunset shades - vermillion and gold colouring the clouds so they stand out against the oncoming velvet darkness. Fynnigan is meandering along the path through the jungle, catching the occasional leaf in his hand, feeling the world around him as much as seeing, hearing, smelling. He pinches a low-hanging fruit from a tree he passes, biting into the succulent flesh as he draws nearer to the waterfall.

One of the glorious jobs for apprentice healers is gathering herbs. And while there are gardens for that specific purpose, there are still those that are wild grown. Tahli has taken up a position at the side of the pool of water, bare feet submerged. The basket at his side is full, with the hour growing steadily toward dark, although he reaches for the small roots filling the bakset one by one. He works at peeling away the outer layers, replacing them in amongst the herbs, the pale white flesh of them revealed. His hair is up messily as it usually is, dusky skin standing out against the more blond locks.

Fynnigan manages to snatch another couple of fruits before he makes it to the side of the waterfall, and he's about to start biting into one of them when he spots Tahli. Not recognising him at first, the teenager pauses on the verge of leaving… but curiosity makes him stay. When he spots that it is, in fact, the same apprentice who helped him not so very long ago, the curly-locked lad steps forward and makes his presence known. "Hi," he greets in his soft, husky voice, holding up one fruit-bearing hand in a wave.

Plop! Startled hands fumble the current root they hold, and down into the water it goes to be washed away in the current. "Oh.." Disappointed, Tahli turns his gaze onto Fynn, eyes widening in just a bit of surprise. "Oh! It's you. Are you feeling better now?" Storms and water and drenching and sinking… They could make for some tough times. Still, he pushes the basket aside, climbing to his feet after pjlling them from the water.h

"Oh! I'm sorry - I didn't mean to startle you… was that important?" Fynn makes as if he might try to rescue the lost root, but changes his mind when it's whisked away so quickly. How important can a root be, anyway? "I'm.. I'm much better now, thank you. The last time I was checked up the Healers said I was doing good. Once the bruises clear up," like the one on his cheek, and undoubtedly elsewhere considering the plural, "no-one'll even know what happened." He grins, shrugging his shoulders gently. "Thank you. For helping. I really appreciate it, still."

Tahli shook his head somewhat. "It's alright, I have plenty more, so there's no real harm done." Leaving his basket there, he moves over to Fynn, and in fact quite in his space to peer at that bruise on his face. It's a serious expression he has though, studying the mark with a nod or two. "Well it does look like that one is getting better." He smiles then, sweeping back to pick up his herb collection. "Thank me..?" His face colors somewhat at that, shaking his head. "As an apprentice, there wasn't much else I could really do for anyone."

Fynnigan seems a bit startled to have someone so close to him, and it takes a lot of straining to not pull away when Tahli gets so /close/. "Y-yeah, it's healing." Aaaand breathe out, once Tahli steps back. The coltish youth rubs his hand over the back of his neck, his pilfered fruit clutched down by his side. "I, er, thought you did alright helping. It was kinda cold, though they said that was maybe from the shock of it all or something. I, uh…" His honey-tanned cheeks colour red, and he looks awkwardly down at his feet. "I've never liked the sea. That… it… put me off. A lot more."

Tahli faces Fynn again, letting the basket hang in front of him as be watches tbe slightly older teen. There's a soft smile though. "Well, you'll sort of be surrounded by it here at western. It's not a bad thing, unless you hate looking at it, too." Tahli laughs softly, moving past Fynn to peer back down the thin trail to the beach, stained red with the sunset. "I get terribly seasick myself. Besides, it's faster to get a rider transport than go by water."

"I'm not really loving looking at it right now, if I'm honest." Fynn looks down the trail, following Tahli's gaze, with an look that's somewhat expectant: is someone coming? When he doesn't see anyone he looks back to the delicate-looking Healer, and holds out his handful of fruit. Three perfectly plump, dark spheres sit in the palm of his hand. "Would you like one? I took them from the side of the trail, they're pretty ripe." He picks one up for himself, biting into it as if to prove how perfect they are. "I don't think I got your name in all the chaos?"

"I can't really blame you after all that." Tahli turns, brightening at the fruit offer, abd moves back over to Fynn's space again to take one. "Thank you." There's a look of utter glee as he bites into the fruit, juice leaking back around and down his fingers just a little. "Ripe alright.." He can forgive the mess, with the water so close. He can always wash his hands after. Though he rounds to look at Fynn again quickly. "I can't believe I forgot that.. It's Tahli."

"Tahli. That's pretty." And it rolls off the tongue with his husky Istan accent, making Fynnigan smile - which causes a dimple to appear in his cheek. "I like it." He finishes up the last of his fruit in a few eager bites, then tosses the stone into the undergrowth. "So… you, uh, live here? Or you're studying here, or something?" Dipping down by the water's edge to wash his hands, he then dries them with a quick rub over his thighs.

Tahli blushes somewhat, looking fairly bewildered for a moment. Really, compliments like that were rare. "Um..thank you." He goes to sit by the water agakn though, rinsing off his fingers somewhat while eating. "Yes..to both, really. Live and study here. I take my instruction frkm the healers in the infirmary. I can't do anything on my own of course, but I'm learning. Mainly herbs right now. Whst are you going to do? Stay at the Weyr or move on?"

Fynnigan follows Tahli, though he doesn't sit. Not yet! "May I sit with you? Is that ok?" Once he's got his reply, he'll settle down and make himself comfortable. "I think it's pretty admirable, being a Healer. I don't think it's something I could do, not with the blood and everything." His nose wrinkles, and he sets his chin down on his knees. "I'm not sure what I'm going to do, not yet. There's been a lot to get over since getting here… I shouldn't have really been on the ship in the first place, but it was the easiest way out of Ista. I, um, don't know any riders. And I don't have the marks to pay them if I did."

"Of course. Really, you don't need to be so polite.." Tahli laughs, finally tossing the pit of his fruit away and rinsing his hands again. "I'm glad that blood doesn't bother me. I'd really be in a mess then. I'd have to really stick to roots and leaves instead of patching people up." He brushes back some of the hair that refuses to stay held up, and then scoots over , lowering his voice to whisper conspiritorily at Fynn. "Make some rider friends. If they like you, you won't have to pay to grt a quick trip out of them."

Again, the closeness makes Fynn baulk, and he leans away as soon as it's polite to do so. "Um, yeah, yeah I guess it would be, er, kinda helpful to have rider friends, um…" He gives Tahli a blushing grin, and even goes so far as to break that all-important personal space issue by reaching out to tuck a little of the blonde's hair back behind his ear. "I've never spent long in Weyrs before, though. A little time in Ista Weyr, but not very much. We were on the road a lot."

Tahli smiles. It's just a bit shy for the hair tucking, but he shakes his head a moment later. "I grew up in Igen weyr for the most part, I'm used to the way things are." That expression brightens then, brows lifting. "I can introduce you. I've met a few. There'e a very quiet and sweet greenrider…L'ri. He'd probablh be happy for the chance to get out of the weyr a bit. If you needed to go, of course."

"Oh… a… /green/rider?" Fynnigan's mouth twitches with uncertainty, and he looks down at the water with a little frown. "Don't they… don't they have bad reputations? They're… a bit promiscuous? My grandma always use to say Weyrs were just full of greenriders wanting to…. um, to do things to er, people who, er, you know?" His stumbling over words comes hand-in-hand with the bright red that's sweeping over his cheeks.

Tahli looks surprised, but laughs a moment later. "Every place on Pern is full of people wanting to DO things to other people. It's perfectly natural. Weyrs just typically are a bit more free in expressing that fact." Tahli reaches out then, gently squeezing Fynn's arm. "Wanting something isn't anything to be ashamed of."

There's a whole lot less shying away this time, though Fynn still doesn't look entirely comfortable with being touched. Still, he makes an effort and smiles, nodding his head. "Yeah, I guess there's no shame in it. If people didn't do what they wanted, then there'd be a whole lot of stuff left undone… right?" He winces a little at the cheesiness of it, then blushes some more and drops his gaze to his knees. "So, um… if someone wanted something, you'd advise them to just… just go for it?"

"Exactly." Cheesey or not, it was the truth. Tahli tilts his head though, giving another encouraging nod. "Well you are at a Weyr now. Nobody would judge you. If there's any place to try out something new, it would be here."

"Then I'd, um, like to try something. If I may?" Fynn clears his throat, and brushes his curls back from his face as he prepares himself for what could be something /huge/ - maybe. He's taking a whole lot of time building up to it, anyway. "Maybe I'd like to maybe meet you one evening for dinner, if I may? If you'd like, of course! If it would be ok with you?"

To say Tahli is shocked would be a gross understatement. The teen looks floored. Though he does blush, color rapidly rising in his face. Still, a moment later and there are lips pressed lightly to Fynn's cheek, speaking softly there before tugging away. "I would like that."

Tahli's blush can't be anything compared to the /crimson/ that flushes Fynnigan's face, from hairline to ears to neck. He has to scrunch his eyes tight closed when the blonde comes up so close, tensing head to toe until the teenager's pulled away. "O-okay." He has a date! "H-how, um, how about, er, tomorrow night? Maybe, um, maybe we could, er, the Tiki Lounge, maybe?"

Tahli smiles all the more At least he isn't that shy. Might just be nervous for..other reasons. Still, fingers linger on Fynn's arm for a moment, trailing as he stands. "Tomorrow night then. I should get these back to the infirmary.."

Fynnigan looks down at his arm as if Tahli's touch has left a burning brand there or something. When he's so clearly being said goodbye to though, he springs to his feet and hovers awkwardly. "Hey, um, I could walk you back to the Weyr, if you'd like? I've got to go that way, and… and I'd like to, if you'll allow it."

"Sure." It's immediate. Tahli seems more than happy to stay in Fynn's company. Though he makes the other teen so awkward! He picks the herb basket up though, nodding down the path. "Heh, come on. I don't want the journeymen lecturing me for being out here gathering too long."

"Oh, sure, of course, we can hurry. I wouldn't want you to get into trouble at all." Fynn allows Tahli to take the lead, and falls in behind him. "Would you like me to carry your basket for you, Tahli? I wouldn't mind." He doesn't reach for it, just in case the offer's turned down. "Would you really get lectured for spending too much time away?"

Tahli shakes his head slowly. "I'm not.." He pauses, sighing, but smiles over at Fynn regardless. "I'm fine, I can carry it." He doesn't walk quickly though, in fact straying into Fynn's space again as he does. "If they thought I was goofing off? Probably. Mostly it's just because it's getting late. Stumbling around in the dark looking for plants is a good way to get hurt."

Seemingly a little crestfallen at being refused in his moment of chivalry, Fynn tries not to look too disappointed. "Yeah, I can imagine that's probably not the smartest idea, to be wandering about in the dark in the forest. We wouldn't do it back home, anyway. Ista's forests look kinda similar to these ones, you know? Have you ever been?"

"Once or twice. Ista isn't far from Igen." Tahli smiles, but moves a little closer to hook his free arm with Fynn's. He can't carry the basket, but he can help in spirit! Or something. "I remember Ista being very nice, but yes…a lot of forest like these here. Igen..heh..not so much."

Stiff! That's exactly what happens to Fynnigan when Tahli links arms with him, and he looks in wide-eyed surprise at the shorter blonde. Whatever words were on the tip of his tongue are quickly eaten away by this unexpected - and prolonged! - contact, so he just accepts it and keeps on breathing. In. Out. Stuff like that. "I've never been to Igen. What's it like?"

Tahli enjoys the contact as long as he can, gently squeezing Fynn's arm. "Hot.. So very..hot." Tahli laughs a little under his breath, but peeks up at Fynn again quickly. "A lot of sand…but I do love it."

"That's good, if you love it. Maybe I'll get to see it, one day… is the sand black there, like on Ista island? It's very strange seeing all of the white sand here on the beaches." Fynnigan is trying to very hard /not/ to be flustered by the squeezing, but it's difficult! "There were riders stripping off in the Tiki Lounge last night."

"No. It's not pale sand like the beaches here though." Tahli sighs, shaking his head. "I haven't visited since I joined the hall. I really should.." The teen stops, choking on a laugh at the mention of stripping riders. Though he does look sidelong at Fynn, brows lifting. "And what were /uou/ doing?"

Fynnigan blushes. "I, um, looked away, when, um, the man started doing it, and then when the woman did too I… um… I left. They only had their shirts off, but… well, um, folks back home only take their things off in the baths, not… not out in front of everyone."

Tahli shakes his head, smiling. "That does sometimes…happen. Just avert your eyes. Or..take it all in. Either way." He laughs brightly, although when a bit more hair falls into his face again the healer gives up, tugging it all down with a huff. "Skin is a fact of life wjth flights and everything going on."

"Oh. It's all very… different. I think my grandmother would drop dead if she was there last night." Fynn laughs softly, all too happy to look at how pretty Tahli's hair looks. "You have very beautiful hair. It's like polished gold, almost." He reaches out to snatch a pale purple flower from a bush they're passing, and tentativey holds it out to the Healer. "Here. For… for your hair. If you'd like it."

Tahli looks surprised, but smiles, plucking it from Fynn's grasp. He tucks the flower into his hair a bit behind an ear, then affectionately squeezes his arm again. "Thank you. You're really very sweet, you know that?"

"And… and you're really very pretty," Fynn blurts out. He then looks absolutely mortified, his eyes wide and lips parted as he tries to think of some recovery. "I mean - yes, you are, but… but I mean… you're… I-I… I hope I didn't - I'm sorry, I didn't… didn't mean to offend or anything."

Tahli laughs. He can't stop himself, halting on the path and clutching at Fynn just a little for support. "I'm sorry…" Really..laughing at the poor man! "But, why would I be offended? That's a compliment, you know." Still trying to hold in a bit of that laughter, he tilts his head, /eyeing/ Fynn. But he moves around then to facr the older teen, smiling as he reaches up to quickly press a kiss to his lips, darting away coyly again. "There. Are /you/ offended?"

Not offended, but sputtering as if his world's about to end! Fynn stands absolutely stock still, as if his brain simply can't process moving while it's being overloaded with such foreign sensations. It takes him a while, but he's finally able to shake his head to declare that no, he is not offended.

Tahli waits, smiling a little. Though he returns to Fynn's space again to lean on him, peering up at the slightly taller teen. "You alright? Was that..the first time that's happened?" Whst is Hold life /like/ if the poor boys aren't kissed by the time they're 18? Or sea life.

"No-no… /no/, no, it's not the first time, it's just…" Fynnigan curls his hands gently around Tahli's upper arms, holding him gently to stop the lean against him. When he looks at the blonde instead of staring up at the neutral canopy, his eyes are wide and he moistens his lips with a nervous flicker of his tongue. "It's the first time with /you/."

Tahli doez put less weight against the other teen, letting Fynn hold him away. That part is just a bit disconcerting for him. Touch is wonderful, afterall ! But Fynn seems somewhat..tried..by it. Instead he turns a confused look on the somewhat taller teen, chewing at his bottom lip. "And that makes it so much different?"

Fynnigan gives the tiniest nod of his head, trying to school his conflicted expression into something… well, anything, really. "N-no, but I've not courted you, or anything. I've not done it properly. We just kissed… I-I'm used to… to the whole… dinner, and courting, and… and talking, lots of talking, and then maybe a kiss… Not… not kisses first."

Tahli does look a little worried at that, nodding. He does pull back though, holding his basket with both hands to avoid using them for other things. "I'm sorry. I suppose things are done a bit differently in the Weyrs, I guess. Not everyone, I imagine, but so few show any interest for very long, that.." The blond trails off a bit, caught babbling. "Nevermind. I really didn't mean to make you uncomfortable."

"It's ok, it's really ok, I didn't mind it, it was just surprising, is all." Fynnigan seems worried that he might have caused some sort of upset, and he holds his hand out towards Tahli to tentatively touch his wrist. "Would you like to be courted? That's… that's what I'm used to. If you'd rather I didn't then it's ok too, you can tell me and I'll stop, it's just… you're very pretty. I've been playing you over and over in my mind since the island, and I'd like to get to know you better."

Tahli looks away for a moment, eyes closing. Conflicted! But when he opens them again, it's to smile almost sadly. "I'm afraid I don't really know how to be..courted." He shakes his head though, blond hair framing his face. "I like you, though. And I'm sure..well..we can figure out somewhere in the middle to be."

Fynnigan looks far happier that there's no outright turn-down. "But it's easy for you to be courted. I'll show you how much I like you by sharing mealtimes with you, or giving you little gifts, things like that. And then perhaps there will be kissing, if we discover that we like each other that much - only I think I /do/ like you that much, because… um… well, I'd… I'd definitely like some more of what you just gave me."

Tahli shakes his head a bit. "You don't have to give me anything.." Though he does trail off a little, lips quirking up just a bit. "You would?" He licks his lips though, quickly, then puts the basket down, instead smiling at Fynn again when he rises. "I can do that.."

"But…" The basket is down! Fynn isn't sure if this is a good or a bad thing, and he looks absolutely, positively conflicted. "Wouldn't you get in trouble for being late, then? If… if we… but we can't, we can't, I want to… to do it properly, Tahli, but oh Faranth, I want to… but you'll get in trouble!"

"Whoa! Whoah. Breathe." Tahli smiles at that, dropping his hands onto Fynn's shoulders. "Breaaathe. Don't worry about it. I can say I stopped to eat on the way back." It is, after all, already mostly dark by now. Easier for two to meld with the shadows. He smiles though, leaning close until his lips just barely brush Fynn's. "Stop talking."

Fynnigan is stiff as a board beneath Tahli's touch, even more so when the blonde comes /sosososososo/ close. His green eyes widen and an unexpected little moan rises from his throat - causing him to blush furiously and step back quickly. "I'm… shit, sorry, I'm sorry, I just… I want to, I really do, I do so much, but after?"

Tahli looks a bit startled at having Fynn pull away again, blinking in the dark. He stands there for a moment though, then moves to pick up his herbs. "Alright.. Walk with me?" He even starts going, much easier than standing there being incredibly awkward!

"Ok, I can walk with you, that's ok." Fynnigan keeps pace with the blonde, this time walking alongside him. "I'm very sorry, it's just that I have these rules that I like to follow - I'm sure they'll make everying better in the end, though!"

"Or so much harder.." Tahli murmurs to himself. No, he doesn't hold out high hopes for things, nod when Fynn figures out that he's nit the kind of 'girl' to bring home to /grandma/. Still, he's happy enough to walk along with Fynn, down the beach and back to the Weyr.

And when they get inside the Weyr, Fynnigan reaches out to gently take Tahli's wrist. Then he leans forward, pressing a soft kiss on his cheek."Thank you for allowing me to accompany you back, Tahli. Have a good evening."

Tahli looks…about ready to cry, really. Thank goodness it's dark. He stays still a moment though, looking like he might say something, but then shakes his head. "Goodnight.. Thank you." He turns then, rushing to disappear into the infirmary.

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