Who: Zinovia, Akemi, Aerishani, C’aol, Yukijiath, Maozheth, Amorenth
When: Month 4, 201 AT
Where: Records Room/Bowl/Akemi’s Wagon, Honshu Weyrhold
What: Zinovia and C’aol sign a deal, then she and Akemi make a different one.
Notes: Zinovia and Akemi lose their clothes.

The Harpers get involved. Of course, they have to be involved if a contract is to be binding, but not one of them look like they want the document they’ve drawn up to be signed and witnessed, dark glances drifting between Zinovia and C’aol as the details are read through. Zinovia is stoic for the duration, Phoenix on what has become her usual perch, curled around the back of her neck, while the Weyrlady quite plainly stands guard over the young woman who remains firstly one of Honshu’s weyrlings, just as Amorenth quite literally stands over Yukijiath, prepared to stop her daughter from doing anything silly should she feel a spike of anything //wrong// from her rider. There’s no sign from the Lady Holder that she even acknowledges the misgivings of anyone in the room, her signature put to paper when it’s asked for and nothing more.

Though Lord Zaivar tried to get involved in the arrangements of one of his brother, C’aol was able to dismiss that involvement with little more than the right phrased missive signed and documented by one of the Harper’s now present in the room to witness the signing of the contract before the Weyrsecond and the weyrling. C’aol has made no sign of being anything but a cultured gentlemen, devoid of smiles and small talk, he signs when he is asked and remains focused on the Harper’s in the room. The Weyrlady’s presence is cause for Daeserath’s ire, however – rather than allow the bronze’s temper to trickle into the room – C’aol has banished the bronze outside of the Weyr. He does not linger once the official document has been recorded, standing to offer Zinovia a bow. “My Lady, I look forward to our shared future,” he tells her, tone cool and calm as his gaze flicks from the greenrider towards Aerishani. He holds the Weyrlady’s gaze for longer than he should before he turns and vacates the room.

Aerishani looks away from C’aol only to slide her focus to Zinovia, who only gives those assembled to witness (and silently judge) what she’s chosen to do a curt bob of her head before she strides out of the room, forgetting what manners she might owe the Weyrlady or any thanks to anyone who has assisted her, so quick is she to make her exit. Numb legs carry her as far as Yukijiath, who slips from Amorenth’s physical and mental grasp to meet her, staying too close as they make their way not to the barracks, but across what exists of Honshu’s bowl to find a shadowy nook in the rock, where Zinovia’s legs give out and she tumbles to the floor, scuffing her knees and bloodying her skirts. She cares not, clenching and unclenching her fists as though she’s lost feeling there too, staring uselessly up at Yukijiath. << Maozheth! Bring yours. I think she’s going to be sick. >> That doesn’t faze //her//, too easily shared with the blue, along with their location.

Maozheth and Akemi have done their absolute best to not be anywhere in the vicinity of the conversation and signing of documents that Zinovia had before her. Maozheth has spent the better part of his day reaching out and feeling for Daeserath, subtly and not so subtly, trying to gauge the bronze’s mood and subsequently that of his rider. His sparks flare at Yukijiath’s call, growing into a roaring fire of a cannon as his warmth moves to encircle the green. Akemi comes at a dead run from her wagon, sweat beading her brow and her braids torn loose from what band she’d pulled them into. She slows when she nears Zinovia and hunkers down beside her, offering the warmth of her hand on the greenrider’s back and the silence of her presence leset she say the wrong things to comfort her. Maozheth is not so subtle as he leaps forward and flares his wings out, moving to glare at any who look as he seeks to shield Zinovia and Yukijiath from view. << Was it horrible? Is she crying? I will burn him out! >>

<< It was… efficient, >> is Yukijiath’s assessment of the situation, shielded as she has been from much of it by Amorenth, bits and pieces only now beginning to drift through smoke and fit together as they slowly materialise, coloured by the undercurrents of the darker emotions Zinovia finally lets herself feel, now away from those judgemental stares. “It’s done,” the greenrider rasps out, doing her very best not to do as Yukijiath has suggested and keep what little breakfast she managed to choke down right where it is. She reaches forward for her lifemate’s muzzle just as she leans into Akemi’s touch too, unwilling to surrender either for the moment, while she just tries to breathe and process and not make a further fool of herself. << She isn’t crying, >> the green states proudly, the whirling of her gaze beginning to slow. “It’s sorted… and I won’t have to marry some arrogant idiot.”

Akemi keeps her hand where it rests, watching Zinovia quietly as she waits for her to explain what happened. If there are no details she’s willing to share, Akemi will not try and weedle them out of her. She eases down from her crouch into a seated position, tucking her feet beneath her. She reaches for Zinovia then, wanting to wrap her arms about the greenrider and hold her close. Her lips search for Zinovia’s after a time, the comfort she offers a chaste caress to her lips and then each eyelid. “I’m going to marry you,” she promises, “I don’t care what anyone says. I won’t have them ruin the beauty that you may have wanted in a more formal arrangement. A contract… is devoid of love. You deserve more.” She hugs her again, eyes drifting to where Maozheth settles his wings back and calms himself from his protective stance. << She should cry if she needs to >> he tells Yukijiath, nosing her gently. << Sometimes it helps them to shed the water from inside. >>

It isn’t disgust or disappointment that has Yukijiath inching herself around to allow Zinovia to let herself be claimed by Akemi, but both the desire to tuck herself in against Maozheth and give her the privacy in which to do exactly as the blue has suggested, whether brought to it by the sharing of his opinion or what Akemi tells her. While Zinovia openly sobs, the dignity of months past cast down into Akemi’s lap, Yukijiath reaches one, sure conclusion, despite the exact details of how it all works eluding her slightly. << We must never let Daeserath catch me. >> Why? She isn’t entirely sure of that either, but her claws scratch along rock to emphasise her point. Zinovia winds her arms tightly around Akemi, clinging to her more than holding, burrowing against her until she’s at least temporarily cried herself out and lapses into a heavy stillness, her fingers still hooked tightly into fabric. “I love you,” she utters, her voice still unsteady from her tears, though it makes her declaration no less sure.

Akemi holds tight to her emotions, not wanting to betray the anger that’s slowly building inside her as Zinovia falls into her lap and the sobs Maozheth wanted to see her express begin to surface. She soothes her hand along Zinovia’s back, whispering nonsense that she vaguely remembers someone using with her once to offer comfort. Maozheth curves himself around Yukiijath, some of Akemi’s anger trickling into his awareness and towards her. The blue has too much of Akemi’s influence dominating his awareness and the flare of anger surges into a cascade of swirling oranges and reds that amplify into his gaze. << He will never touch you >> he promises Yukijiath, << Nor will any other who you do not want. >> Akemi’s anger causes her to seek action as she moves to her feet. She encourages Zinovia up, moving to encircle her waist with her arm to guide her in the direction of her wagon. “Let’s find some privacy. Maozheth will keep Yukijiath company, won’t you?” she asks of her blue whose anger seems to have been smoothed into a stillness his rider is more prone to. She continues on and directs Zinovia up into the wagon. Since the last time Zinovia’s been inside, she’ll find the space oddly empty – the cramped quarters are no more. “I sold it all,” she tells Zinovia as she guides her to sit on the bed.

While there’s the possibility of others seeing her, Zinovia manages to keep herself together, permitting herself no further tears as Akemi guides her from the nook in the bowl and across to her wagon. She pauses only for Yukijiath, to press her face in against green hide and let her green’s certainty dull some of her doubts and worries, otherwise content to leave in her Maozheth’s company. Has it been much different between green and blue since they were shelled? Zinovia almost stumbles over her own feet as she finds that which was once in the wagon now gone, staring through eyes still red from crying as she asks, “Why?” in a manner that betrays nothing more than surprise. There’s no resistance from her when Akemi encourages her to sit down on the bed, a heaviness to her limbs as she settles herself, using her skirts to make sure no blood from the grazes on her knees mars anything within the wagon.

“I encountered a trader who was willing to purchase all I had,” Akemi says as she pulls a stool that was hidden by boxed goods before to sit upon. She scoots it close enough to the bed so that she can reach for and hold Zinovia’s hands in hers. “I have to offer more to you than what I’ve got. Now, I have enough expendable income that I can offer you more.” She rises then, brushing her fingers against Zinovia’s cheek. “I was going to wait. But I’m not going to.” She turns then and disappears towards the front of the wagon and ruffles through a dresser. She doesn’t take long before she walks back and gets down on her knees in front of Zinovia. “We speak of a future together. We speak of love and wanting. I want to //prove// to you that there’s more than a contract and //some man// as your future.” She opens up the box and presents a large sapphire ring, silver and bright colors, up to Zinovia. “We can’t marry, not in the formal way. But I’m going to marry you all the same. If you’ll have me.”

“You don’t need to—“ is what Zinovia starts to insist, guilt pushing at her as the emptiness of the wagon begins to loom in, her hold on Akemi’s hands tightening before she can stop it, fingers curling a little too fiercely for the instant until she can force herself to take a breath and relax. Watching her, she releases her hold, eyes closing briefly as fingers brush against her cheek, yet when she realises that Akemi is heading away she makes a strangled sound as if she’d stop her somehow but doesn’t have the words to manage it. She’s visibly relieved when she returns and there’s been no rushing off to ‘deal with’ any element of what’s been signed, though stunned into silence when she kneels, hands reaching as though she’d keep her from doing so, only to stop when she reaches some understanding of her intentions and knows that it is not a subservient gesture. Her eyes widen ever so slightly when Akemi presents the ring, though her focus lingers longer on the woman herself than the band, hands reaching to lay palms over the pulse points at her wrists while Akemi holds the box. “Of course I’ll have you,” she says softly. “I don’t ever want to be parted from you. Sometimes, I can hardly remember what is was like to just be me and not with you and Yukijiath and Maozheth.”

“I liked you when I was playing at being Okami,” Akemi tells Zinovia, moving to gently take her left hand and ease the ring on the proper finger. She turns it and smiles as it fits snugly, delight brimming in the gaze she tilts up at Zinovia. “I knew I had an eye for ring sizes,” she tells her and then presses her lips to the inside of the greenrider’s wrist before she releases it. “I love you as Akemi,” she tells her, rising up from the floor to sit on the bed beside her. “You’re strong and giving, you’re dedicated and caring. You’re beautiful,” she adds with sudden shyness, her cheeks hinting at pink as her gaze falls to the hands she’s folded in her lap. “Maozheth has never been mine alone. He shelled himself and claimed Yukijiath and you. The weyrlingmaster’s don’t like to talk about it, but I feel like there’s something different about us.” She reaches for Zinovia’s hand to hold. “Is it possible that they bonded because of us?” she asks, moving to brush her hand against Zinovia’s cheek before she tips forward and presses her lips against hers. Words are hard for the bluerider and so she falls to kissing Zinovia, wanting to erase her shyness with the certainty that touching and tasting the greenrider brings to her.

The tears are for an entirely different reason this time, silent as they are, Zinovia’s gaze lifting from the ring to meet Akemi’s as she looks up at her, her smile one brightens her features and manages to banish the lingering shadows of hours previous. When she settles beside her, she slides a hand over her closest knee, palm curving to fit as she murmurs, “Don’t let me become anything other than those things for you. Don’t let me become the person I have to be in the room with those Harpers and all of it.” Darting a quick look up at her, she declares, “You should know how, because you’re every one of those things to me too.” She lifts her hand from Akemi’s knee to clasp her hand instead. “They don’t like to talk about it because it doesn’t fit what they want to see. It isn’t as if they’ve managed to stop us sleeping in the same bed; they’ve had no reason to, since we’ve done no harm to anybody. We belong together, the four of us. They have to have realised it. Maybe Yukijiath and Maozheth have known how it would be since before they hatched.” Not wanting to discourage Akemi from her chosen path, she returns each kiss and caress with an eagerness that doesn’t quite reach demanding, careful not to take from her what isn’t offered, though she eases herself down onto the bluerider’s bed as though she belongs there.

Akemi moves to place herself over Zinovia, taking the invitation of her laying down on her bed as acceptance for her to possibly do more than kiss. She’s not well versed in the way of intimacy beyond the kissing they’ve done and she has never been so brazen as to touch – but today she does, her fingers inching slowly up along Zinovia’s ribcage before they move to rest against a breast. Kissing and touching continue, the waves of //wanting// guiding her to //where// and the how of it all is something she puts completely out of her mind. It’s all lips and skin and need. “I love you,” she manages at one point, lifting herself off of Zinovia to tug off her shirt and throw it behind her. She’s got her breast band on, which she doesn’t quite feel brave enough to remove on her own. She eases to the side of Zinovia, encouraging her to move on top of her and guide them further if she wants.

Maybe it’s her time with the Healers that has made Zinovia so completely unashamed of her body once she’s actually chosen to uncover it, for there’s no hesitation to her shedding and claiming from her bits and pieces of clothing little by little, nor in letting Akemi know just when she finds something pleasing. She’s admitted more than once that she’s been having difficulty keeping her hands to herself and it must be true, since she needs no further coaxing to move over Akemi and initially do nothing more than kiss her, testing the limits of what she’s comfortable with until she lowers her head to rest her forehead over her heart and murmur, “I love you too,” one hand gently moving to ease her breast band down rather than unwrap the whole thing, gently tugging until the loop of fabric is around her ribs instead. Briefly, she looks up at Akemi, some tacit permission asked and not asked before her lips claim a breast and she slides a hand down to draw one of her legs up about her hips with a low, satisfied hum. She might not know well what she does, yet she knows enough of her own wanting to find out along the way, leading her along until she can’t resist letting her hand slip between Akemi’s thighs to discover just what reactions she can draw from her, nuzzling at her neck while she lets her reveal to her, one way or another, what she wants from her and when she’s dedicated herself enough that she’s found satisfaction in it.

Akemi is trembling – from need, from nerves, from the unknown of it all. She reaches for Zinovia, sinking into herself as the greenrider’s hands wander and find places that draw gasps and moans from her lips. She doesn’t want it to stop – she wants more – but her fear has her stopping Zinovia’s hand as she tries to catch her breath and center herself. “I’m scared,” she confesses to Zinovia, “and I don’t know why.” She continues to breathe, hand moving to brush against Zinovia’s cheek and search her eyes before she leans forward once more and draws Zinovia’s lips back to her own. She’ll stop herself from finding a completion, but now that Zinovia has shown her what feels good, she eases Zinovia back down on the bed and mimics all the moves that drew that uncertain building of feeling inside her to hopefully help Zinovia find pleasure. She kisses and touches, licks, and whispers promises of love and adoration. //She// may not be ready to finish… so long as Zinovia is, Akemi is more than willing to take her there.

“We don’t need to—“ Zinovia attempts to say, going still when Akemi stops her. “It’s okay. We don’t—“ But she doesn’t have quite enough sense left in her to convince Akemi – or herself – that she doesn’t want to be touched and doesn’t want her near, too emotionally wrung out to do anything but let her do exactly as she pleases with her. With need and desire still running sky high, it truly doesn’t take all that much before Akemi can be certain that she’s achieved what she set out to, for it’s not with a cry or her name that Zinovia arches sharply, but with a curse that melts into a sigh, shortly rendered still beneath her, her eyes closed and heart racing. A full minute passes before she speaks, arms reaching to do nothing more that slip around Akemi’s waist. “…Yukijiath wants to know if Maozheth will make her feel like that, one day,” is accompanied by fierce blushing, despite everything that’s gone on.
Akemi’s trembling has stilled, mostly from the focus she’s brought to drawing forward that arching curse from Zinovia. She lays back on the bed, content to let Zinovia curve around her as she stares up at the wagon’s low ceiling. “Maozheth has already commited himself to making sure Yukijiath finds no other lover than him and will make certain that she wants for nothing,” Akemi offers Zinovia that with a small smile, her eyes still focused above. She’s quiet for a time, perhaps conversing with her blue, until she finally breaks the content stillness between them. “I… was it… is it what you expected?” she asks and now it’s her turn to blush at the question. She still can’t make eye contact with the greenrider.

Zinovia tightens her hold on Akemi, pressing her cheek against one of her shoulder blades. “You’re too good to us,” she says softly, gently touching her lips to skin. She idly nuzzles against that same shoulder for a time until she confesses, “I don’t know what I expected,” designed to be only loud enough that Akemi should her hear, despite there being no others present. “The Healers teach how it all works and what happens and why… And then there are romantic stories…” She gives the slightest shake of her head. “To me, the only thing that matters is that it was you who made me feel this way and no other has ever undressed me. Maybe that’s holdbred thinking, but… I like that I could give myself to you.” In-case she should give the wrong impression, she declares, “I enjoyed it,” outright. “When you’re… ready… I want you to feel that way too.”

Akemi is quiet, holding on to Zinovia as she listens to the greenrider speak. She rises, gently untangling herself from Zinovia and moving to tuck a blanket closer around her. She moves to pull back on her shirt, then her pants, before she moves off of the bed and takes herself to the back of the wagon. She ruffles around in a clothespress for a moment and then returns with a delicate silken shift to offer towards Zinovia. “I know we’ll have to change and go face the world sooner than we’d both like, but I thought you’d like this.” Her cheeks flush as she looks down at the shift, her fingers brushing along the fabric. “And you’ll look good in it.” She doesn’t want to talk about what she didn’t do — so she sits back on the bed and waits for Zinovia to pull it on. She pats her lap and waits for Zinovia’s head to settle into it, where she’ll idly brush her finers along forehead and cheek as she talks softly about anything and everything – a way to maintain her distance from the true subject, but she rarely tells stories of her youth. In the end, Maozheth signals them that the weyrlingmaster’s are looking for them. They’ll have to get dressed in the clothes they came in with, but before Zinovia can move out the door, Akemi snakes her arms about her waist and whispers into her ear, “Next time you can wear the shift.”

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