Forcing it Better

Western Weyr - Hot Springs Cavern
Created by the fires of the volcano a pocket of ancient air has created this huge open cavern in the black stone. Most of the floor is covered by bubbling mineral water that gleams azure in the dim light of glows. Swirls of green, blue, red, yellow, black and white are awash on the walls and floor, earmarks of earlier times when the hot water boiled out of its bed and rose to fill the dark cavern.
A few signs of humanity can be found. A trunk with soft fluffy towels, soap and a boardwalk erected through the middle of the four pools so that people can find their way to the hot water without burning their feet along the way. It is rumoured that an hour in the hot water can melt away even the worse of troubles, leaving a person relaxed and ready to face a new day with vigor.

It's a quiet tableau of sorts in the baths. The cavern is quiet save for the idle splashing of one present. Keely is within one of the smaller pools, sitting up against the wall. There are soap sands and the like arranged nearby, but they are untouched. At the moment the bluerider is in fact lightly touching her stomach, a pensive expression on her features.

With her hair braided and pinned into a thick bun high on her head and bathing accoutrements slung over her shoulder, Rou'x's intentions would be clear even if she wasn't coming into the Weyr's bathing pools. She pauses when she sees Keely, hovering by the entrance as she's undecided whether to press forward - and deciding to do so after a moment's thought. Stripping off silently, dropping her clothing and towel beside the edge of the pool occupied by the bluerider, she slips in without a word. She sidles along, slowly getting closer, until she can reach out towards Keely's hand… stopping just short of actually curling her fingers around it.

Lost in thought, Keely is easy to sneak up on. When you have another being in your head, it's easy to get lost. Especially with such big things to mull over. The brunette jumps a bit once she realizes Rou'x is there… and touching her. The teen's chin lifts and she blinks at the brownrider. Her eyes waver slightly, though it could just be the ambient moisture in the air… She just watches the other woman, not saying anything just yet.

Rou'x's not quite sure what to say. Her brows lower a little over what could definitely be a look of worry in her light eyes, and she nervously bites down on her lip as she simply watches. Waiting, perhaps, for the right words to come to her… or maybe even waiting for Keely to make the first move. She blinks, her fingers twitch just slightly where they touch the bluerider's hand, and one corner of her mouth raises a fraction of an inch in the hopes of inspiring a smile from her wingmate.

There's the beginnings of a smile, but Keely's eyes unfocus… perhaps at a word from her lifemate. It's when those pale blue eyes come back that the smile fades. Her hand falls away from her stomach to float in the water before her and her chin drops as she stares after it. "Rou'x…" she starts, voice cracking slightly.

Taking that as a sign, though of /what/ exactly, she's not sure, Rou'x reaches out to knot her fingers with Keely's, drawing their joined hands up to kiss the bluerider's knuckles. Her eyes close and she crushes her lips against her clutchmate's warm, damp skin, holding that position for a few long seconds as she's reluctant to let go. When she opens her eyes they're shimmering and damp, and she reaches out with her other hand to gently touch the teen's cheek.

At that gesture, when Rou'x kisses her fingers… Keely's eyes close tight and a few tears do manage to squeeze out. The bluerider starts to say something, but her voice cracks again and she sighs, shoulders slumping slightly. "I… How…" she stops again and sniffs a bit, lifting chin to study the brownrider. "How are we going to do this?"

"I don't know." Rou'x's fingers trail down to curl under Keely's chin, gently raising it. "I don't know, Keely, but I know I've gotta try." She leans in, pressing her forehead to the bluerider's briefly, before leaning back. "I'm scared. I'm even more scared not knowing… not knowing if I've got /you/."

Keely shakes slightly as Rou'x leans in, like a series of shivers have gone down her spine. The young woman sinks slightly into the water, watching the brownrider as eyes continue to waver with tears that don't quite shed. "but… what 'bout those times y'don't want me?" Because that's how the bluerider has felt at times lately.

Rou'x drops her hold on the bluerider's hand, so that she can cup both of her cheeks with a gentle, yet insistent hold. She shakes her head, her bottom lip jutting out as if she's about to cry. "No. Keely, don'tchu /ever/ say that. I din't never say I din't want you." The brownrider swallows hard, then sniffs and presses in close, shifting her hold to Keely's shoulders to drag her into a chokehold hug. "I don't ever not want you. Not ever." Hands on the rider's shoulders ease her back, so she can see Rou'x's expression - tears shimmering in her worried eyes. "D'you understand?"

When she's pulled into that hug, Keely sags somewhat. Tears do start to flow now, though they're likely not as noticable in the warm waters of the pool. She deosn't resist the hug and though she doesn't quite return it, she settles against Rou'x's familiar form. There's a sniff as the brownrider parts again and she gives a slow nod, blinking away those tears. "I… I think so… I just… sometimes…"

"KeeKee," Rou'x presses a gentle kiss to her cheek, nuzzles there for a moment, then pulls back slowly to kiss the tip of her nose. "It don't matter what I do. There ain't none of it outside've flights that nothin' more'n a stupid mistake, y'got me? I ain't always had the best… decision-making shit in my head. I ain't always got restraint, but none of it, Kee, /none/ of it means anythin' to me." She pauses for a second, looking thoughtfully down into the water between them."It cain't mean nothin' when I got so much t'feel for you. That don't leave much space for much else."

There's a moment when Rou'x is done. A pause where the only sound are those that naturally move through the cavern. Keely presses in, nestling her head in the curve where the brownrider's neck meets her shoulder. "Rou'x, she says softly, closing her eyes as she slides her arms around the other rider. "I… I don't wanna cage ya or make ya feel trapped… An' I don't wanna, but… I don't want ya t'think ya gotta hide things from me just 'cause I might get jealous sometimes." She pulls back, enough to see the other woman. "'Cause… if ya feel like ya gotta keep it from me, then there's a problem an' I don't wanna be the cause of any problems."

Not wanting to let go when Keely pulls back from her, Rou'x's arms drape lightly over the girl's shoulders, fingers tangling gently into the back of her hair. "I din't hide nothin' from ya, doll. Didja think I were the type t'go around hidin' shit, n' spinnin' tales t'cover for shit I've done?" She seems upset by the thought, and shakes her head. "If I'd've been tryin' t' hide summat, KeeKee, I wouldn't've done in broad sight've half the Weyr."

"I… I jus' wondered, 'cause I kept hearin' it from others an'… I never heard it from /you/," Keely says softly, gaze dropping then. "An'… when I brought it up, y'got so…" She's unsure what to provide there, so she just shrugs. "It made me think that… mebbe y'thought it weren't a big deal at all. That I shouldn't care iff'n yer doin' things with others."

"Everythin's upside down right now, Kee. When ya brought it up, it weren't the best time… I were feelin' worse'n I ever remembered feelin', n' everythin' were just all… just all comin' in on me, all at once. I din't know how to handle it, n' you brought it up n' made all these feelings n' shit well up in me even more…" Rou'x shakes her head, dropping her gaze. "I din't react well. I know I din't, n' I'm sorry. But I weren't hidin' it from ya, baby. If there's one thing I can promise ya from now until forever, it's that I ain't gonna hide nothin'."

Keely bites her lip slightly, watching the other rider. She shifts in the water a bit, lifting a hand from it to run along Rou'x's collarbone. A soft, gentle touch. "Y'don't gotta promise nothin'," she says quietly once she speaks again. "An'.. if y'do, just promise t'try? I… I know shit might happen an' I know yer drawn to a lotta folks, but. I wanna know." That hand slides over Rou'x's shoulder, to try to pull the brownrider in close again. "I might get jealous, I can't promise I won't… But I wanna try."

"It only happened cos I were drunk, Kee. I ain't gonna be drinkin' for a long while yet… not while we're… like we are." She still can't bring herself to fully accept her situation. Rou'x drops her hand to rest it on Keely's stomach, stroking there gently. "I need you t'get through this with, doll. I'm shit scared that it's gonna fuck everythin' up for us, n' I need you t' help me make that not happen."

"Gonna remember that next time H'kel or Jo'en tell ya they were late 'cause they were out drinkin' an' carousin'." Some of Keely's humour returns with the gentle tease, her other hand rising to cover Rou'x's over her stomach. "So yer gonna keep it?" She smiles, gently, "Ir'e will be happy… an' Rhabel, too. He don't wanna be a father or nothin', but he cares for us to th' extent of Ir'e's happiness." And what could be worse than two moody boys being mad at you? "I don't think it'll fuck everythin' up. We're here for each other an' Ir'e's there fer us… We'll sort it out, I promise."

Skipping over the part about Ir'e and Rhabel caring, Rou'x settles her hand over Keely's on her stomach, leaning in close to the bluerider. "I picked a name f'him." Her fingers squeeze gently, and a twitch of a smile tugs at the corner of her mouth. More than that though, her expression softens in a way that's not seen often, if ever. "Theroux. I want to call him Theroux. He's in there n' he's so tiny n' helpless… I couldn't do it, KeeKee. How could I go n' hurt summat like that? He's my /baby/."

"How d'ya know it's a boy?" Keely asks gently, but there's a bit of a smile. "Theroux. S'a good name though." She settles in against Rou'x, glancing past her wingleader towards the soap sands. "Want me t'wash yer back?"

Rou'x shrugs her shoulder, smiling softly. "I dunno. I just feel it is. Mebbe I'd like a little Ir'e for m'yself, y'know?" She looks a little sheepish when her gaze returns to Keely, but she hides it when she leans forward to kiss her cheek. "I don't wanna turn my back on ya, Kee. I just wanna keep lookin'. Missin' you's been eatin' into me every damn day."

Keely returns that kiss, somewhat fervently. Apparently she's had a need as well. The brunette bites into her lip, flushing slightly. She lifts a hand to brush over Rou'x's cheek. "I'll still be touchin' you," she points out softly. "But I'm guessin' yer here for the same reason I am… t'get clean." A small grin.

Rou'x shakes her head. "No, doll, I'm not." It's a tiny admission, spoken softly against Keely's cheek when she leans into her again. "I came cos Indy saw ya comin' in. All I did were pick up my bathin' things t' have an excuse t'be here, in case you were meetin' someone, or… or if y'din't wanna talk to me." Her hands settle on the bluerider's waist, fingers curling gently against her back. "I'll scrub whatever y'want me to, though."

Keely flushes again at learning that. "Oh," she says softly, glancing towards the cavern entrance. "Yeah… I… just wanted t'be alone. Been… doin' a lot of that." Except when she goes to talk to Rhabel. In the middle of the night. "Y'could help with m'hair? I… it's always kinda nice t'have someone else's hands in yer hair, y'know?" She shifts a bit so she can turn, placing her back towards Rou'x. "In case th'rumours are still goin' crazy… I spent th'night at Rhabel an' Ir'e's weyr after… that talk we had. Just talked t'Rhab fer a while an' he invited me t'stay with them… Ain't nothin' happened. We just slept. But I know how these rumours can be."

Once Keely's turned, Rou'x wraps her in her arms and squeezes her tight, leaning forward to kiss her cheek. "I hadn't heard no rumours," she murmurs, stroking her fingers through the bluerider's hair. "But that's real nice. I'm glad they like ya enough t'let you do that." Her voice is maybe just a little tight as she says that, almost as if she's trying hard to keep it neutral. "Ir'e n' I had another sorta fight. Right there in the livin' caverns. Didja hear about that?"

Keely leans back into Rou'x's arms, tilting her head back against the brownrider's shoulder. "I think it's mostly just 'cause I'm carryin' Ir'e's child," she says quietly. Well, that's it with Ir'e, but with Rhabel… who knows. "but it's nice t'know I can get along with 'em both." She tilts her head slightly, trying to get a bit of a view on the woman. "I didn't… what happened?"

"He were drunk, n' bein' an arse." For a moment, it might seem that that's all Rou is going to say on the matter, but then she continues. "He were sayin' all this 'what's it gonna take' shit, n' I weren't havin' none of it. Then he kissed me… real hot like, too, only it were not like the kisses he's given me before. It were hot… but it were cold, too. Like it were all forced, not where's it's been summat he /wanted/ before."

Keely winces slightly, exhaling in a slow sigh. "That'd… that'd be Rhabel's doin'. He… told me 'bout that, the other night. That he was tryin' t'get Ir'e t'take ya." She leans back against Rou'x, enjoying the support of the 'rider and the bouyancy provided by the water. "I asked him why… 'cause it seemed like he was tryin' t'hurt both of us an'… he said he was doin' it fer Ir'e, so Ir'e could have th'family he wants." She's quiet a moment, before going on. "Rhab's… I never realized 'til now how much he loves Ir'e. He loves 'im so much that he's willin' t'suffer provided it makes Ir'e happy, but the thing is… he don't really see things right. Errything is… black an' white. There's only two sides t'everythin' for Rhab an'… I guess he thinks fer Ir'e t'be happy, he's gotta be wit' you, so he can have that family he wants."

There's silence from Rou'x as she mulls over this revelation. After a minute or so she starts combing her fingers through Keely's hair, then scoops up a handful of water to wet it. "I…" She bites back on her word, slipping into silence again. "I've wanted Ir'e f' a long time, Keely. It were all well n' good gettin' it on wi' him n' you, but… I still want him. I don't reckon there'll be a time when I /don't/ want him. It's not that you ain't enough or nothin' like that, but… he's been drivin' me mad like that since we were candidates, Kee."

"Sometimes we can't have everythin'," Keely says quietly after a moment. She exhales in a small sigh, tilting her head back as she slides forward, to make it easier on the brownrider. "I've… wanted Zi'on fer a long time. It started as a crush when we were weyrbrats, but… I tell ya, y'weren't here t'see it, but he went from cute to hot. But he was with Enka an' then I was all torn up over Ila an… now he's with Kiena." And no one's gonna mess with that. "I ain't 'bout t'try anythin' or beg it out of anyone." She reaches a hand back to squeeze Rou'x's thigh. "I… I bet it's that way with everyone, Rou… sometimes y'just gotta admire from afar."

"I think Zi'on's hot." Rou'x's admission comes as a soft breathe against Keely's ear, while she's lathering up shampoo against her scalp. She gives the bluerider's earlobe a gentle nip, then sighs softly - contentedly. "I missed you so bad, Kee. Didja see my sister in the caverns wi' me the other day? That's Xeau."

There's a bit of a shiver with that nip and Keely squeezes Rou'x's thigh again. "I… did, yeh." Her voice drops a bit, becoming quieter. "I… wasn't sure what was goin' on, but… I overheard a bit while I was tryin' to fend off Draval." Ahh, pesky siblings.

"Yeah. My little sister." Rou'x sighs somewhat huffily against Keely's neck, before kissing her there softly. "My brother S'sel dropped her off. Did 'xactly t' her what he did t'me, turns back… swept us up outta home when we weren't happy wi' how things were goin'. Only he dropped her wi' me thinkin' I'd wanna look afta her, but I don't."

"Least y'have a way out," Keely says softly to Rou'x, relaxing against the brownrider. "An'… well, mebbe y'could nudge her on somewhere else? Is she stayin' in yer weyr or in the caverns?"

Rou'x starts to rinse the lather out of Keely's hair, fingertips massaging at her scalp. "Rea told her she can stay, so she's outta my hair n' in the dorms. I don't want her in my business, y'know? She don't know that I… that I like girls." A quiet pause for a moment, then Rou'x shrugs. "Anyhow, it were bad enough havin' Soux stayin' in with me. His blue's pretty big, n' Indy weren't happy none. He's buggered off now, anyway."

Keely makes small, happy sounds at that massaging of her scalp. Everyone loves a good scalp massage. "I… thought I saw a blue on yer ledge," she says after a moment, exhaling slowly. "Guess… I'm glad y'know it was just family, but I'm sorry y'had to deal with 'em."

"Soux's alright, t'be honest. I just din't like him crowdin' my personal space, is all." Finished with washing Keely's hair, Rou'x simply wraps her arms around the girl, holding her close. "I ain't never had space like a weyr just f'me before, n' I reckon I'm kinda possessive about it. It's like I don't want no-one in there interruptin' my peace, y'know?" Her hands trace down over the bluerider's stomach, running along her thighs as far as Rou can reach. "But it's ok when you're there."

"I know the feeling," Keely admits, resting her head back against Rou'x as the brownrider settles in closer. "Sometimes I don't like it, though… I'm so used to sharin' a space that some nights, I feel… really alone." She shivers slightly, but eyes fall closed as she inhales deeply with that touch. "I'm… glad y'don't mind me being there… I like being there."

Back Rou'x's hands go, her fingers lacing lightly over her lover's tummy. "I like it better when you're there. I din't sleep so well while we were… were it a fight? It prob'ly were, right?" She nuzzles apologetically at the bluerider's cheek, squeezing her affectionately. "I'm sorry, Kee. It din't feel right, knowin' I'd hurtcha like I did."

Keely slides her hands down over Rou'x's, smiling slightly. It does waver a bit and she gives a small shrug, shifting to twist so she can kiss the brownrider gently. "It's alright," she offers quietly, "I… guess it was a fight, but… it's alright now. I shouldn't've made such assumptions of ya."

"N' I shouldn't've been such a bitch to ya, KeeKee." Rou'x snuggles apologetically, returning the kiss with one of her own. "Least the hormones're gonna die down a bit soon, right? That's what the Healers said, anyways. don't reckon we'll be back t' normal nor nothin', but it oughta be more stable, I think?"

"Well…" Keely considers, nuzzling into Rou'x a bit. "Fer a bit… I was told the hormones'll come back towards the end." She smiles a bit, lifting her chin. "Mebbe by then we'll know better, yeah?"

"Mebbe." Rou'x shifts about a little, so she's able to to slip her arm under Keely's knees. Once she's done that, she hauls the teen up and settles her across her lap, then starts nuzzling at her neck. "Keely? Y'do wanna be mine, don'tcha?"

There's a squeak as Keely is being man… er, woman-handled. There's some mild splashing as she deals with the brief loss of balance. She settles in comfortably against the brownrider once settled again and gives a small nod, tilting head to press a line of kisses along Rou'x's jaw. "Of course I do."

"That's ok, then." Rou'x nuzzles a little more, tracing her hand along Keely's side, briefly flaring her fingers out over the girl's ribs. "I think you're more beautiful than anythin' I've seen, KeeKee. N' I like you bein' mine. It makes me happier'n anythin' else."

Cheeks flush, though they may already be so from the hot water. Keely pushes away from Rou'x and the ledge they sit on, making to pull the brownrider further into the water with her. "I love bein' yers, Rou," she says, grinning.

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