The Consequences of Change

Half Moon Bay Weyr - Weyrling Barracks
Inside the wooden building fresh air circulates from the many open windows lining the two longest walls. Outside, you can see many tropical trees and shrubs. The walls and ceiling of the barracks are made of slats that have been pegged together tightly. Overhead are beams from which electric lights have been strung. The floor is of black volcanic stone, rubbed to a smoothness that will not hurt the tender claws of young dragons.
Along each of the two longer walls are cots set up next to rounded depressions in the stone. There are enough areas available for all of the young dragons and their new riders with room to spare. At the back of the barracks are trunks with oiling supplies and bins where fresh meat is delivered until the dragonets learn to hunt for themselves.

J'en lay awake in the Weyrling Barracks, hands tucked behind his head as he stares unseeing at the ceiling. Today had been, something. So much had changed in so little time, and he just needed a few moments to collect his thoughts and really start to understand what all this meant for him now, and what it would someday mean. He'd stood seven times before today, and each candidacy left the sands feeling less and less worthy to say yes the next time. Had it not been for Rezia, he might not have ever come to be here now, and for the first time in his life he felt grateful. Grateful. Is that what this feeling was? Jae's brows furrowed as he turned that thought over in his head like a tangible thing, something that could be examined and pondered like a great work of art. The need to thank her suddenly rose within him, and he could feel his lips turning down into a frown completely out of habit. "Fuck…" he breathes, drawing in an all too quick breath and exhaling it in a quiet sigh which tapers off automatically into a growl, hands moved to his face to scrub at it vigorously.

Leketh stirs, drawn from sleep not because of hunger or something that itched which was really the only two things that bothered him as of late. He was still satisfied from the meal that his J'en had given him, his delicate skin was well oiled snout to tail fork, and so there is a moment when he is unsure what would bring his conscious mind back online. It doesn't take long of course to connect the dots, following them back to his lifemate's turbulent thoughts. What was the word he should use to describe this strange and alien sensation that was rolling off the boy like rough waves against the shore during a storm. Leketh didn't know this feeling, and so had to access deeper into J'en's mind to find which letters combined would best suit it. Ah! There! ≪ You regret. ≫ It wasn't a question, it was there as easy to see as the human's squashed face. Of course he knew that his J'en was handsome and wonderful, but he wasn't a dragon and so his appearance was going to take some getting used to. ≪ You regret…so many things. ≫ Whirling blue facets open and he turns his head towards the reclining weyrling, but otherwise remained as curled up as he had been when he had slipped off to sleep.

The raven-haired candidate shuddered as he felt his head once again fill with everything that was Leketh, J'en's only reprieve when the dragonet was unconscious, and even then he was always there somewhere far back along the edges of his mind; but at least then that sticky cling of spinner threads wasn't enclosed around his brain like a net that saw and felt everything he did, as well as reacted to it in a way that was so foreign to him. He'd long since abandoned most of the feelings that people generally had. Guilt, regret, and fear being among them. Now, he felt them all, and they burned in the slots of his mind where they had been shoved back into their rightful places the second that Leketh had chosen him on the sands. It had been so overwhelming, he'd actually cried in front of everyone. This thought too blazed across his mind, leaving his cheeks hot and his stomach to lurch. Embarrassment, this was also so new to him. He must of felt this way in the past, but he had pushed it aside along with so many other things he hadn't allowed himself to feel. Fear. Oh Faranth, the fear. It took him over like a tidal wave, and his stomach only awarded him but a few precious seconds to hurl himself to his side and grasp the side of his cot before he emptied its contents. There wasn't much, he hadn't been up to eating much at the Hatching Feast, not with P'rel and I'srie there, judging him with their stupid judging faces. Hate. This one he knew far better than the rest, and he suddenly clung to it like a startled child to its mother. However, Leketh was there, and he could feel the bronze rummaging around inside of his head, looking for something. With a groan, he flopped back into his back and wiped his mouth with the back of his arm, his eyes sliding closed. "Yes." he felt himself reply aloud, but it was more of a whisper which was for the best considering the rest of the weyrlings still asleep around him.

≪ Venryk. ≫ Leketh tilted his head as he searched for an image to go along with the word, and then before him displays the image of the boy as he finds it. ≪ Oh! V'nyk. Lychenth picked a good one too… ≫ He takes the time to muse on this discovery, and perhaps let his own thoughts wander on the subject of Lychenth. She was so beautiful and he wanted things from her, things that he just didn't know how to explain or describe. Ah well, maybe he could figure it out later. There were more pressing matters. He returns his inquiry to V'nyk and everything that was associated with the greenrider in question comes flooding into him, and the bronze recoils. Though, its not in rejection. No, his J'en was perfect just the way he was, but there was always room for growth and in this regard there was plenty. ≪ Oh, J'en. ≫ He couldn't help but feel just the slightest bit disappointed in his lifemate, he knew he was so much better than this. ≪ You love him. He has tried to help you so many times, and you've done nothing but push him away. Why? ≫ A bit more digging around, and the realization quickly follows. ≪ That's dumb. He's never once told you he was in love with you, why should you feel guilty about… ≫ More things come, and Leketh finds something new and interesting to learn about. He takes still images of the actions, displaying them in frames, before tucking them away into an album for later enjoyment. ≪ Humans enjoy this activity. ≫ Again, this was not a question. ≪ You've done this so many times for a long time…you… ≫ Another pause, and now Leketh finds a reason for rejection, not of his J'en, but of all those that had used him in that way. For the first time since he was shelled, the dragonet felt rage and it flowed out of him in pulsed of thick red fluid over J'en's mind. He knew this word and what it meant, it was the first thing he had felt when his mind had touched his, and he's reminded of it. Since they had been paired, this was becoming less so, but it still lingered and was something they would have to work on, together. ≪ You don't have to feel like that anymore. I'm here. I love you, and I always will. ≫ While he could feel how uncomfortable his mind felt for J'en, coiled around his like a sticky net, already adjustments were being made so that the boy could be more at ease.

It was hard to ignore the way his head was beginning to throb, photographic stills of things better left forgotten or buried flashing across his mind's eye as Leketh delved deeper into his psyche. He was naturally curious, J'en could hardly fault him for that, but there were things that he had done or happened to him that were better left for a time when they both were better equipped to deal with them. Fuck, Venryk…no…V'nyk. The guilt and the pain of everything he had put the greenrider through, and the way he had used him to satisfy himself. He'd tried so many times to make him disappear from his sight once he was done with him, but he just kept coming back with that annoying persistent bouncy personality that just made his skin crawl. Perhaps not as badly as…those…men, but enough to justify in his mind for treating him like shit no matter how kind he was, or when he looked at him as if his heart was breaking. He had barely tolerated his presence, rebuked him constantly and refused to consider him even a friend. He had always referred to him as, 'this guy I know', and nothing more. "I know. I KNOW!" he growls, Leketh's disappointment in him feeling like the barbs of a whip against his entire body, which only made him feel all the more guilty. Still, even having every conversation he's ever had with V'nyk on instant reply doesn't help him feel any more at ease. He loved Ryk, loved him deeply, but he was never going to be in love with him. Ryk was special to him, but that spot at his side had sneakily been filled by another. Quickly he turns his thoughts away from that person, thinking about anything else, even if that meant to things of the past. Painful things, things that have him curling up on his side upon the cot and holding his legs to his chest. Every muscle in his body was starting to ache with effort, his forehead coming to meet that of his knees, and he started to shake faintly. "Dun't broadcast that…please…" he begs softly, repeating it over and over, pleading with Leketh not to share with anyone who might have stirred in the time up to now. This was not something he wanted to share with the entire weyrling class, and feels nothing but cool wonderful relief when only after a second's hesitation his lifemate pulls the silky threads back and keeps them just between the two of them. This is rapidly followed by that strange and disorienting sensation of absolute love that washes over him soon after, exactly the same one that had driven him to tears on the sands. He was still filled to the brim with it now even as he had been then, and like then he could feel the tears coming and doesn't fight the soft sob that is whimpered against his legs. He didn't hate it, he craved it. Part of him worried that every time he was actively reminded of how he now felt so whole and complete that he was forever bound to bouts of womanly weeping, and that it might take a lifetime to adjust to being so accepted and loved. "I know." he breathes, choking back another sob as he feels it bubbling up within him, pressing his face harder against his legs. "I love ya too…" And he did, unquestioningly, which felt odd as well - to love someone so deeply who you had just met. Leketh, was someone. Someone important. His missing puzzle piece.

≪ Heryn. ≫ This was…another person, and a very important person at that. Leketh's boundless curiosity completely ignores the fact that his J'en was trying to hide whoever this was from him for some reason, and that alone drive him forward with tendrils of thought that go deeper still, to the very back of his mind, to the place only his sleeping mind usually dwelled. ≪ R'hyn! Xermiltoth's? I like Xermiltoth. He's a lot of fun, and he likes to play…and he talks really loud and I can tell everyone really enjoys it! I want to talk like Xermiltoth does, I don't get why you don't like it. He's fantastic! Not as fantastic as you of course, but I'd put him at a close second. Well…third. Because…reasons. ≫ The bronze was babbling, and he knew it. It felt good to talk with his J'en, and know that even if his lifemate was mad at him for being silly, or doing things the way he didn't like, that he was always going to love him, and that was just so wonderful! He was going to show him so many things! They would discover so many other things, together. Oh, how exciting this was going to be! Leketh catches himself going off on a little tangent there internally, barely able to contain the bursts of brilliant light that flared and bled off into discs of golden light before dissipating. ≪ This is the one. The one you have chosen to share yourself with, as I have chosen you. ≫ He had not forgotten about R'hyn, only been momentarily distracted. ≪ Like me, he knows about all the things that make you hurt. He knows you are scared, not only accepting it, but shares your fears. The unknown. The pain of the past. The loneliness. ≫ Leketh tastes of the thoughts, dipping inside every sensation his J'en has ever experienced with Xermiltoth's and while some are still very confusing, he knows now that those things are to be kept private. Private thoughts are private, and not to be shared. The bronze repeats this to himself over and over, as to try and make it one of those things he won't ever forget. Dragons are very forgetful, yes, he learned that from his J'en. He puts this away now, folding it back into its place where his lifemate had tucked it away, and leaves it be for now. ≪ You don't need to understand everything all the time. Just let things develop, naturally. I want to fly, but I'm not ready. Someday I will be! I will fly and you will fly with me. It will be the same with Xermiltoth's! ≫ He let his confidence flow into the curled and sobbing boy, soothing him with his love for him. ≪ You have, doubts? How? You are wonderful! Xermiltoth's must recognize this! How can anyone not see it? ≫ Leketh's thoughts churn and shift hue from blue until they blanch out to white with silky threads of silver. ≪ Perhaps you're right, and Xermiltoth's will find another he wants more. I can't say, but there's no point in thinking about it now. ≫ The bronze pushes those thoughts aside, and instead shifts them to feelings of comfort and adoration. How he loved his J'en. His beautiful, fierce, J'en…with so much to give the world if only he'd stop hating himself so much! ≪ Come to me, J'en. Bring your fluffy thing and warm thing. I will keep you safe in your dreams. ≫

J'en didn't want to think about Heryn, not now. There had been too much going on to really sit and think about what both of them Impressing to bronze meant for them, and what being weyrlings would do to change whatever it was they had started as candidates. They may not have shared much physically, but emotionally it had been a ride and half. They would have to talk, once everything had calmed down and their young dragons had matured enough to handle the baggage that undoubtedly would accompany such a conversation. While there was no doubt, shame, or regret for having chosen Hery…R'hyn, there was fear. It was not a sensation that Jae liked to think about, let alone experience. He was terrified that now that they had found their lifemates, that everything was going to change…including R'hyn's feelings for him. He wouldn't trade Leketh for anything in the world, not even for the muscular mountain that he had come to claim as his, and he truly hoped that their lives exploding thanks to two very opinionated dragonets wasn't going to affect a thing. Still, that fear gripped him like a very powerful fist into his guts that twisted mercilessly and threatened to decorate the floor once again. He LOVED R'hyn, almost as much as he loved Leketh, and so when the bronze takes all thoughts of the former bartender from him and puts them back where he had shoved them, he once again feels relief. Feeling, pfft. FUCK he was so over this feeling shit, he really was, but with his lifemate any chance of running away anymore went right out the proverbial window. He had to face all the feelings as they came now, along with the consequences. Up or down, succeed or fail, J'en was going to have to man up and be a part of the world again instead of shutting it all out as he had always tried to do. At Leketh's offer, he sniffles and uncurls at last. He was still upset, but he was starting to be okay with that. He wasn't going to hide, he was going to man up, and slow but surely he was going to do everything he'd always dreamed of but never allowed himself to think as possible. Well, after he cleaned up his puke there, cause that's pretty fucking disgusting. Only once that is done, does he grab his pillow and blanket and crawl onto the massive couch that would someday hold a full-sized bronzed dragon. His full-sized bronze dragon. His Leketh. He shivers as this realization comes over him. He was a bronzerider now, or would be probably too soon for him to even comprehend. As he settles in against his still very small lifemate and pulls his blanket up over him to keep what parts of his body not in contact with this amazing, living, breathing being who loved him without measure from freezing off, and his mind continues to reel. This was real. This had happened. Just, what the FUCK? Seriously. What. The. Fuck. Despite the turning of his head wheels, sleep does finally claim him, with shimmering threads of silvered dragonet laughter drawn over a field of the pinkest of pinks following him down into the dark. Yeah, I love ya too, ya bastard.

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