Stronger than we were; unapologetically

Summer - ?

Half Moon Bay Weyr - Rooftop Garden

Soft grasses form a lawn central to this open air garden, producing a pleasant picnic space. Surrounding this greenery is a sanded and bordered path that wends around it and continues toward the front of the roof, where the pleasant aromas of cultivated herbs waft on the breeze. Rock gardens and low-hanging tropical trees form shelter from the elements, combined with an overhanging jut of the caldera wall, underneath which benches and sun chairs have been arrayed, rather like a natural gazebo.

Late afternoon finds the heat and brightness of summer still a little too much for Xyvette's liking, and, though she's opted to remain outside nevertheless, she's retreated to the quiet of the rooftop garden, a sun chair safely in the shade selected as the perfect spot in which to check over straps that undoubtedly fit Nehehkath, yet have seen next to no use in recent months. She sits with one leg out straight before her, foot minus any shoe, with the other bent at the knee, lengths of leather laid out across her lap as she methodically goes through each section bit by bit, checking for damage and rust that might have appeared when she isn't looking.

Fresh air and sunshine. Two things that S'van probably gets plenty of to begin with, though it does not stop him from using it as an excuse to escape indoor spaces. And while there was probably a task or two that would have likely benefited from his attention, it is the area over the living caverns that he seeks out. There's a pause on the patio, a twitch to the corner of his mouth for a private thought, and then he is into the lush green and soft grass of the gardens. A pause, a quick removal of boots and socks and the rolling up of his pants, and then he is walking through the lush vegetation towards Xyvette. Though it is unlikely he knew he would find her here, that doesn't stop the very purposeful stride that carries him toward her. He also seems to care not whether he is interrupting something; he drops down within her space quickly, decidedly closer than someone who just 'happens' to be here. No. This is more or less an invasion of her personal bubble. "Hey." Eyes to the straps. "Nice work."

Though Xyvette observes S'van's approach without truly lifting her gaze to track and follow, watching his progress in her peripheral vision, she chooses not to acknowledge him until he's right there in her space, perhaps growing accustomed to such occurrences, for she doesn't move away or react in a manner that would suggest it is anything out of the ordinary. If anything, she wordlessly accepts that he's there, darting a brief look up from her work and to S'van before refocusing. "Maybe there will still be a day reached when they can be more than aesthetically pleasing," she utters dryly, turning a buckle over to inspect its back. Since he's there, she moves to drape those straps over him too, just so that she can get a better look at them. Such is the risk of being so near.

"Don't see why not," is S'van's quick reply, though he has no basis on which to stake that claim. The draping of straps is met with nonchalance, though he's settling back onto his hands and disinclined to partake in the study of them beyond his first cursory glance and initial remark. He looks out, over the garden and toward the Bowl, gaze distant in a way that says he is thinking to himself rather than conversing with his draconic half. A long stretch of this silence, perhaps companionable, before he can't help but to say, "You know. J'en has nothing to do with the fact that you're being held back. He really didn't deserve to get his head bit off because he was selected to teach a dancing lesson."

Xyvette arches a brow, yet remains silent for a moment or so after S'van has made that comment, pretending to focus on a speck of rust that has the buckle not moving as well as it ought to. As she pulls a length of red ribbon from a pile at her hip and ties it where she's found that 'damage', she questions, "And does J'en need you to come and talk to me about it because he can't handle the matter himself? Is he incapable of having the conversation, if he requires it to occur at all?" The knot is tied a little too aggressively, but her expression remains unreadable, for the most part. "What I said had nothing to do with being held back. I will not be made to stand there like a fool for the amusement of others, pandering to the whims of people far less qualified to instruct in dance than I am. If any of them had been prepared for the lesson, they should have known enough about us to realise that not all of us were beginners." Of all of it, she insists, "It was not done professionally. Any of it. We were toys for amusement."

"Of course not," followed by a snort from the weyrling bronzerider. "But he is…" a quick sideways glance at Xyvette and a brief pause as he seems to decide how best to explain. "He is important to me. And he was just as much a 'toy' in that lesson as we were," he states firmly, his amusement dying off into a much harder expression. There's a glance down, an idle watching of her progress through the straps and the tying of that red ribbon. "We're weyrlings," he notes, as if that explains everything.

"It wasn't my intention to be rude to him, but whether he's important to you or not shouldn't have mattered in the capacity he was supposed to function in at the time." Xyvette tilts her head slightly, a deep breath taken as she passes the ribbon through her hands and moves onto the next section of her straps. "If you want me to… like him, or you want to defend him, or you want me to treat him differently for your sake, then knowing him outside that experience wouldn't be objectionable." It's S'van's noting of their rank that makes her pause and truly stare at him in a fashion that makes it plain she's trying to work out whether he's serious or not. "We're people. That's like saying I could belittle a twelve turn old apprentice and have it be right."

There is an idle shrug of his shoulders that speaks to ease and relaxation, even if the emotion is not mirrored in his expression. "My point was simply that it was unfair to unleash your anger on someone who was not responsible for the decision, or had any say in the matter whatsoever. Just because he got tagged with the role of 'teacher'-" but he just stops, presses his lips together and decides not to continue that line of thinking. "Whatever. Forget I said anything about it. I'm really not someone who should be trying to give advice about the appropriate way to respond to decisions you disagree with. But I will say this. From practical experience. Lashing out usually isn't the best way to get what you want. Maybe it was embarrassing. Maybe it was meant to humiliate us, I dunno. But it's not like our lives were in danger. There are worse things."

"If he expected everything to go exactly as he wished it and nothing more, he shouldn't have agreed to take the class, regardless of the how or why he ended up in that position." Xyvette focuses for a moment on some fraying stitching that doesn't really need fixing or that much attention, but it gives her something to stare at that isn't S'van. "And truly, if I had spoken so to anyone else, would you be here telling me that I was wrong?" It's not an effort for her to concede, "He's not a bad person. It was just, collectively, a poor decision. Perhaps on my part too." She lets silence fall for a while, then leans back a little more in her chair and lets her grip on those straps loosen. "…I've spent my whole life adhering to the wishes of others, often in ways I'm beginning to realise weren't acceptable," she says more quietly. "And I think I'm done with it. Perhaps I could have stood up for myself in a more productive way, but I don't take it back." And such, it would seem, may well be her final word on the subject.

"That's my point, Xyvette. HE didn't agree to anything. He was made to do it." How does S'van know this? He is apparently disinclined to say. But his utmost belief that his words are true is written into the expression on his face and the firmness of his tone of voice. "And if I knew with absolute certainty that they were innocent? Yes," he decides, just as resolute and ready to defend another in the Wingleader's stead. "It is only because I know him so well that I can say, without being told, that he neither chose, nor even wanted, to take part in that little exercise." But he's said his piece. Probably more than he meant to, and there's a hard look toward the distance for the entire subject. That silence will stretch as each keep to their own thoughts, before the slight tilt of his head and brief flick of his gaze betrays that he is listening when she speaks once more. There is not much he can say that has not already been said. Loath to repeat himself again, or perhaps just acknowledging the finality in her tone of voice, S'van decides not to push the subject further. "Are you getting better?" which may not be any safer of a subject, though he still boldly broaches it. "Have you forgiven your weyrmate?"

"You're in love with him." It's not an accusation, even as bluntly as Xyvette makes that statement, but an almost all too clinical observation. She makes little of it, not concerned that she should look at S'van as she reaches that conclusion and watch for what reaction she can discern, leaving confirmation of whether she is right or wrong entirely up to him to provide or sidestep. There's no needling at him; no smirking or intent to tease, her attention on one distant cloud or another. It takes her longer to drag together a response to his first enquiry, summoning courage with another deep breath taken and held. "Some things hurt less and others hurt more," she summarises. "I'm stronger than I was, but my legs remain a problem. It seems every time I get one joint steady, another has its own crisis." Has she forgiven her weyrmate? "…He was right to act as he did, for the reasons he did. He may not have had the right of it, but the fact is that I didn't care enough and he did. No matter how I feel, objectively, he was correct."

Confirmation comes swiftly, a resounding, "I am," without any hint of hesitation or defense. It is no secret, S'van's feelings for the Archipelago Wingleader, despite the nature of the knots each happens to bare on their shoulders. Neither does the weyrling seem to be particularly apologetic for such a thing, powering through the moment with quiet ease. But he does not offer further explanation, for the relationship or his participation as leader of that atrocious dance lesson. Instead, it is swept aside with a casual shrug of his shoulders and a shifting of position that lands his back against something firm; probably a tree. A nod of his head, indication of his acceptance of her answer regarding the state of her health. "That's why you were limping," is noted, as though to himself. The question of weyrmates earns a longer glance, a little furrowing of dark brows, and a quick, "That wasn't really an answer." A beat. "Have you apologized to him?"

Xyvette lets that silence define her again, though whether she is lacking in an answer or simply reluctant to supply it is not so clear. Yet another audible breath, then she opens her mouth as if to speak, her gaze taking on a sharper, potentially argumentative edge, yet she promptly shuts herself up before a single word can escape and must choose not to be as pedantic as she might wish. More silence. She sighs, though ultimately concedes, "Yes." In-case what she is confirming isn't clear, she enunciates a clear and deliberate, "I've forgiven him," that sounds a little more for her benefit than for S'van's. Perhaps because some form of turnabout is fair play, she asks, "Have you mended matters with Catwin?"

S'van is no stranger to pregnant silences, and so the one that stretches out is friendly enough for the weyrling bronzer, who takes once more to looking across the garden as if in idle curiosity. The twitch to the corner of his mouth for her eventual answer is short lived, as the question is quickly posed to him and he must choose how to answer. His silence is not as lengthy, and it's purpose seems to be altogether different as grey eyes roll toward the sky and his head tips just slightly to the side, considering how best to respond. "I've forgiven her," he answers finally, though there is a hesitation before he continues with, "I haven't tried to speak with her, though," other than when necessary for lessons. "There are things she just… is not going to understand and I don't want to fight with her." Another small curl to the side of his mouth, and a soft noise is made, something like dry laughter that doesn't quite make it out into the world. "I've accepted that she didn't know what she was doing. Or, rather, that she thought she was helping when in reality, she was doing the opposite."

"That seems the wisest course of action if you want to salvage your friendship, eventually." Xyvette turns one of the leather lengths of her straps over to check for damage, then continues studying along that line to the next buckle. "Sometimes, I find that writing things down helps. If you still want to express how you feel about the situation and don't wish to get into an argument with her, give her the information in a way that doesn't give her the opportunity to immediately state her case in return. You would both have to think before speaking, as it were." She allows herself a tiny smile, sliding a look towards S'van. "We both know that you could write her a much neater letter than before." Back to those straps. "People are complicated. There's always so much more going on than any of us realise."

"Maybe," is all S'van says about letter writing, though there is enough drag and hesitation in the word as to suggest he is likely not to do any such thing. The press of his lips into a thin line, the way grey eyes harden as he considers the distance, may very well suggest there are things he's not ready to say on the subject; on paper or aloud. "S'good enough I've lost the anger. And I'll tell her I'm sorry when I can, for my part of it. It's her choice then, whether she's going to accept it." A longer sigh as arms unwind and he moves to push himself to his feet in purposeful movements, even if he's taking his time about it. Complicated. That gets a downright laugh, though it's dry and ironic in nature. "Ain't that the truth."

"Next time, let J'en come to me and fight his own battle," does not contain the chill of before, something softer in Xyvette's tone that's a little closer to humour, dry though it may be. "You can referee if you like." An offer to try and make amends or true interest in finding out who the other bronzerider is outside the context she could not bear, maybe it doesn't matter, especially since it doesn't sound as though she has any real intention of fighting. Content to leave that with S'van, she picks up another red ribbon and begins to tie it in place, as comfortable with silence in parting as she has been with much of the rest of it, a thoughtful glance given him only when there's enough distance between them that the next moment will carry him out of sight and she must give her full attention to her work.

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