Who: Ixia and Kironen
When: Month 5, 201 AT
Where: Road/Ixia’s Weyr, Honshu Weyrhold
What: Kironen finds out why Ixia hasn’t been feeling well lately.
Towards the end of what has been a long day, Ixia trudges down from the heart of the Weyrhold and towards the lower lying land upon which the homes of various riders and crafters and all sorts sit, Zerujath idly throwing herself through loops not so far above as one might like. Having freed her lifemate of her straps, she carries the long lengths of leather across her shoulders, a weighty satchel further impeding any desire to quicken her step down the well-worn path to her home. She’s looking better than she has in the past few days, having been so pale that she might as well have been a ghost haunting Honshu’s caverns, yet it would seem that energy has returned to claim only Zerujath and not Ixia herself.
Kironen is walking towards the Weyrhold when he spots Zerujath’s loops up above and Ixia on foot headed towards him. He darts to her side, trying to take the satchel as he falls into step with her. He’s gained a healthy amount of muscle now, still a bit on the lean side but far improved from the rack of bones he was when Ixia first met him. His dark eyes linger on Ixia for the briefest of moments but long enough that concern sinks into the edges of his lips. He tries to ease the seriousness from his eyes with a flicker of a smile and fishing a comically large carrot from his pocket to chew on between sentences. “You been lookin’ half-dead lately,” he admits without reservation, tone playful. “What you been up to?”
Ixia surrenders the satchel without argument, adjusting the straps across her shoulders as she shoots Kironen a faintly rueful smile that finds a touch of bemusement when he fishes out that carrot. Still, she chooses not to remark upon it, reaching to sling an arm around his waist in a familiar fashion born of trust and weariness. “You know how it is,” she attempts to deflect, knowing full well how much of a futile thing it is from the twist of her lips that carries some genuine shame in the effort. “You miss a few meals…” On that supposed subject, she invites, “You want dinner at my place? I can do a better job than the caverns when I put my mind to it.” So as not to make her reply seem so flippant, she lifts her gaze to his and promises, “I’m /fine/.”
Adjusting the satchel over his far shoulder, Kironen welcomes her arm around his waist. It isn’t without some slightly cautious tension like a dog eager for affection but wary of a raised hand. The tension eases as he relaxes into it, taking another crunch of his carrot. “Like you gotta ask,” he grins back, on the subject of dinner. But concern for her isn’t so easily overlooked tonight as it has been in the past. “If you gotta tell me you’re fine, you aren’t fine so you might as well give it up.” The crunching of carrot lets him mull over his words casually, carefully. “I met your cousin.”
Rather than continue to protest or attempt to explain herself, Ixia latches onto the news of Kironen having met one of her cousins with a little too much enthusiasm. “Ione?” she assumes, lips quirking in a sharper kind of smile this time, unable to entirely rid her expression of a faint twinge of frustration. “She’s not a bad sort. Living here is good for her. Easier for me to keep an eye on her, too. You like her?” Her fingers twitch at his side, delivering a tickling touch before she desists. “This place has been good for you too. You don’t look like the breeze might carry you away anymore.”
Kironen shrugs his free shoulder. “‘Didn’t ask her name. Short like you, built like a stick.” He describes her like she’s a landmark; there’s no inflection in his tone or excitement in his expression and he entirely side-steps the question of liking her. Brown eyes slide side-long for a brief consideration of the greenrider, watching for that twinge of frustration. “What’s she do for a living? Said she’s good at pretending and pretending’s useful to some people, or somethin’? Is that why you gotta keep an eye on her?” As for himself, Kironen’s smile tugs at the corner of his lips, a humble embarrassment not quite smothering the expression in a boyish way. “Yeah, ‘guess so. Still feels like they might kick me out any day.” His smile flourishes into a grin. “Maybe they’ll say I eat too much.”
“Must’ve been Ione. The others are scattered all over and don’t have much call to be visiting here.” Ixia lets the next few steps pass in silence, unnecessarily watching her feet the whole time, only to audibly exhale as she looks up and give a shallow shrug of her outermost shoulder. “What Ione does both keeps her out of trouble with some people and gets her into trouble with others, so I just need to be ready to be there for her when she needs me,” she says quietly. “Nothing I haven’t been doing since we were kids. And nothing you need to worry about either.” She pokes a finger at Kironen’s ribs. “You just mind you don’t offend some bronzerider by taking their share of dinner,” is delivered with a smirk. “Or at least land the first punch if you do.”
“I steer clear of bronzeriders. You didn’t hear about my scrap?” Kironen lets the subject of Ione slide, falling easily into recalling the details of his short-lived fight that C’aol intervened in. He trades probing questions for more light-hearted ribbing and gossiping about Ixia’s wingmates while following her home, offering his help to prepare dinner when the time comes and taking to her direction as seamlessly as he does in their work together. It’s while waiting for her to give him another task to help with that Kironen asks, “So what’s a girl like you do for fun? Other than pick up strange guys in other parts of the world and keeping your cousin out of trouble.”
Ixia’s home is more warm and cosy than a fine example of interior design, the furniture not particularly expensive and the decorative pieces accumulated a mismatching collection of things that must have simply caught her eye. She passes along to Kironen a selection of vegetables to chop while she watches over the meat she’s browning in a pan on the hob, mindful not to let it settle for too long. “Me? Depends what kind of mood Zerujath wakes up in, a lot of the time. She likes picking up bits and pieces from different communities across the planet.” Which might account for the décor. “I like to cook. It’s calming. Didn’t get much of an education before I got here, so I mostly like to see and do and… not have to write stuff down.” She shrugs. “What’re you doing in your downtime, anyway?”
Kironen sets to work chopping the vegetables crudely. Cooking has undoubtedly either only served for the purpose of staying alive or he’s not had much opportunity to cook. The knife, on the otherhand, is held with an uncanny intimacy. Dark eyes roam about with curiosity between slices, wonder glowing subtly in his youthful face as he stares at her collection of mismatched possessions. Her admittance pulls Kironen’s attention over to her, gaze absently sliding to her waist in thought before dropping to the floor and eventually back to the task at hand. “Mostly odd jobs. And avoiding the Weyrlady. And worrying ‘bout you. Lucky that Zerujath’s so easy to spot,” he teases with a crooked smile. “Bet she could steal an apple off a tree, the way she flies…” Vegetables chopped,they’re brought closer to Ixia for whatever purpose they’re meant for, Kironen giving her a playful nudge with his shoulder. “‘Know you don’t want to hear it but if you’re ever in trouble or need anything, tell me. Isn’t nothing you could do that I haven’t done worse.”
“Faranth, don’t say that. She’ll take it as a challenge.” Ixia lets out a soft huff of laughter and gives a shake of her head, reaching in the same moment for the jug of stock she’s got ready. “In there, please,” she asks Kironen, nodding towards a heavy dish sat beside the hob. “Then I’ll pour this on and add the meat.” Whether she’s trying to be evasive is difficult to discern, for there seems to be nothing but a practical bent to her words and she delivers a nudge of her own back at him with her elbow. “Maybe I should be keeping you out of trouble too,” she teases, allowing her smile to fade into more serious lines and so not completely dismiss his offer with her attempt at humour. “I’ll tell you,” she promises more quietly, “but if you do what I do, you’ll start to get sick. I cheated a bit when I brought you here – you felt it, didn’t you? – and I shouldn’t have even done that.”
Vegetables are put into the heavy dish moments before Kironen emits a yip as her elbow connects with his ribs. “That’s not fair, I’m ticklish,” he chuckles quietly and rubs his side. “You’d have to stay in close quarters to keep me outta trouble,” he mumbles with threads of humour in his tone. “Trouble finds me if I sit too long.” Kironen falls quiet, features turning humourless as he recollects their first meeting and tries to piece her words together between the lines of his eyebrows. Those dark eyes lift to hers. “I felt… off, yeah. What’s that got to do with you? How’s my gettin’ sick got anything to do with you cheating on somethin’?”
Taking a deep breath, Ixia quickly pours the stock into the dish, then adds the meat, checking the heat beneath the pan is no longer on before she props her empty hands against the kitchen counter and steadies herself, letting her hair fall forward enough to conceal her features for a moment. “…I clipped a couple of hours off the return when we went back.” In-case it’s unclear what she means, she adds, “I got us to Honshu not all that long after I left and it was nothing to do with what time it is where.” She swallows hard and looks up at Kironen, guilt darkening already weary features. “I did it by accident, the first time. I was worried about Ione and Zerujath got us to her faster and earlier than I meant to. But if I can make sure I’m there for her… and if I can get more into the day every so often… why not? It just makes you feel a bit funny sometimes.”
That puzzled knit in his brow only looks more puzzled as Kironen leans his back against the counter and crosses his arms over his chest as he watches her. “You’re making yourself sick so you can help your cousin and fit more into one day?” It’s a question without judgment, seeking to clarify that he understands the concept. He reaches over to gently tuck her hair behind her ear. “You look like whatever it is you’re doing isn’t a good thing for you to do. Could you get hurt doing… whatever it is you’re doing? More than just not feeling good.”
Unconsciously or otherwise, Ixia tilts her head into Kironen’s fingers when he tucks her hair back for her, closing her eyes so that she doesn’t have to focus on anything more or see his response to the admittance she must make in response to his question. “…We could end up in the wrong time and not be able to get back. We could mis-jump and get lost Between. If I… do it too often, I guess I could get so sick that I die.” And yet she makes it sound like nothing more than an acknowledgement of fact. “Took too many jumps the past couple of weeks,” is no longer worth concealing and explains the recent state of her. Opening her eyes, she lifts her gaze to his. “I do it for Ione. For more money for the wing; for Honshu. For me. I’m not book-smart like the others, but I can do /this/.”
Kironen’s fingers linger in her hair, suddenly too aware of /her/; her hair, her mouth, her eyes. Moth meet flame. Maybe with her eyes closed, Ixia might miss the subtle way he’s drawn closer — before her words stall his unintended movement. Flame extinguished. Moth flutters off. Kironen bites his tongue, corners of his jaw flexing with the effort to smother a remark. He chews on his lip, fixing his gaze on a spot on the wall across the room. He manages to keep the irritation from his voice even if he can’t quite keep it from the arch of his brows or the sober pits of his brown eyes. “…You don’t need to do it,” he murmurs quietly, but he’ll abandon the subject just as he abandons her in search of dishes for their dinner. “You wanna’ play cards or call it an early night tonight?”
“Someone has to,” is all Ixia finds the wherewithal to argue, turning her attention to putting the casserole into the oven while Kironen goes on the hunt for dishes, all of which can be found neatly stacked in one of the cupboards, contrary to the less than organised nature of the rest of the place. “Cards would be nice,” she says absently, next going in search of those, then the means by which to get the fire started in the hearth. Dinner might be nothing particularly fancy, but it does taste as good as she promised. By the time they get to playing cards, she’s no more formal about it than anything else, happy to sprawl on the floor in-front of the fire and dole out hands until she’s all but sprawled on her cards too, which is when she gives a huge yawn and props her head against Kironen’s thigh, ostensibly to continue playing, but, in reality, to sleep. At least she’s small and easily moved.
It’s a point Kironen won’t pursue, investing effort in finding some other lighter subjects to discuss and joke about while dishes are set out and dinner is eaten. Humour comes easily with a full belly, and spread out on the floor before the fire, youthful mirth begins to shine over the shadows in his eyes. With Ixia asleep in his lap, Kironen sits with his own thoughts, staring into the fire as the weight of his shouldered burdens smothers the glow of joy from his face. He winces at some unshared thought, lifting a hand to rub the sting from his eyes. “‘Sorry.” Eventually, he’ll run away from his thoughts, leaving his jacket as a pillow folded under her head.