Who: Zinovia and Akemi
When: Month 5, 204 AT
Where: Zinovia and Akemi’s Quarters, Silverfield Hold
What: Yukijiath is soon to rise, which makes the truth of things between Zinovia and Akio easier and inelegant to admit.
Zinovia has done her very best not to make much of the fact that she has taken to sleeping with her wife’s twin, ostensibly to try and get with child, but that there have been several nights of late when she hasn’t come back to her own bed – something that might not make the Hold’s general gossip – must be plainly obvious to Akemi. With Yukijiath getting ready to rise again and her rider’s control slipping here and there, there’s only so much of trying to behave ‘normally’ and attempting to bear the weight of her guilt that Zinovia can take, and while she’s tried to avoid both Akemi and Akio as Yukijiath’s hide glows brighter, this evening she just… gives up. She’s not wearing much of anything at all, sitting at the end of the bed she shares with Akemi and staring into the distance, either ready to pounce or surrender her burdens… Or both.
Akemi is as she always in the face of uncertainty – stoic and calm. She’s made no comments, no demands, and has turned the proverbial ‘blind eye’ on the entire situation. Her role at Silverfield is still undefined enough that she may struggle to find purpose, though the Steward often finds her each day to go over the tasks that a spouse would have interest in at a more ‘traditional’ Hold. Her own needs for Zinovia are wavering, her seeking of her wife’s bed, less and less as the tension of knowing whom she is spending time with to get with an heir weighs on her – despite her lack of focusing on it. She simply has not been in the mood, and for their early years, that’s not unusual for Akemi. She comes into their bedroom and pauses, taking in the sight of Zinovia, and touching minds with Maozheth she learns of Yukijath’s state. She inhales sharply and looks at the sheets, rather than Zinovia’s face. “She will rise?” she queries, “Maozheth is eager for it.”
“She will rise,” Zinovia confirms, just as if she were talking about the weather, what of Yukijiath influences her own state keeping her flushed whether she wishes it or not. “…You don’t have to… I mean, if you would rather not… Greenriders can make it through flights alone just as well as any others, if they need to.” She glances down at her uncovered knees, her hands folded together and set atop them. “You don’t have a duty to… service us. Me.” Allowing herself to avoid looking at Akemi for only a moment more, she lifts her gaze and murmurs, “I understand. I’m not proud of myself, Akemi. I just need another heir and I didn’t think it would ever be anything more than that, but I love you both. If you never want to share a bed again, I will still love you. If you want to take Maozheth and find your freedom, I won’t keep you from doing so. But nothing of how I feel has changed. If you want to find yourself someone else, it’s your prerogative; I can’t judge, however accidental it may have been.”
Akemi’s lips tighten in anger as she looks up from the sheets to take in Zinovia, something flashing in her gaze, a hint of the rage that may come with Maozheth this flight. “I will not leave you alone nor in another’s care. You are //ours//.” She listens to the rest of Zinovia’s words with a tense back, her arms locked at her sides, her cheek ticking with restraint as she listens. “You always wanted to find a way to push me away,” her voice is hot and hollow, her gaze locked on the wall above Zinovia’s head. “It’s always been that way. Here is the reason now to leave you, like there have been many before now.” Her gaze is hard and cold as she looks at Zinovia finally. “If you wanted a man, I could have continued to be one. Maozheth is tied to Yukijiath and my brother has no dragon. Would you make Yukijiath suffer for it?” She turns from Zinovia then, ripples of emotion sending her walking towards the door and pausing. She makes no move to leave now that she’s hovering on the precipice. It is entirely unfair, and likely Akemi will regret her honesty, as she says flatly, “It was the same with my parents. They wanted a man, and they had Akio. What will you do when he gets tired of you and leaves?”
“I wanted to find a way to give you your freedom if you wanted it!” Zinovia exclaims, only to bite down on her lip for a moment and try to rein herself back in, finding control is not exactly her strong suit at the moment. “I locked myself into leading Silverfield because it was my duty, and I surrendered myself to having children before I’m ready as part of that, and in tying myself to this Hold and its affairs, I also tied //you//. I don’t want you to go. I’ve never wanted you to go! But I don’t want to be another of the burdens I’ve already saddled you with. It isn’t pushing you away if I care enough about you to not want for you what I //have// to be.” The accusation that she would hurt Yukijiath is what brings her to her feet, her, “I would endure Zaimika’s conception a thousand times over if Yuki needed to fly at a Weyr, so don’t you dare assume what I will and will not do for her,” snapped with her teeth bared. “Do you not think I told Akio he would grow bored with me? Without Maozheth, there are times you hardly want me to touch you. But at least by the time he leaves, I’ll have another child and my rank and //our home// will be secure.”
“What if I never wanted freedom, Zinovia? What if //you// are my freedom?” Akemi swings around, voice laced with the heat of her anger that is matched by the flush to her cheeks. She’s never been as outspoken in their fights, usually she falls to stony silence. Now, it’s all unwoven, and she cannot hold back. “You did the duty your family wanted of you, as I did mine, when Akio wouldn’t!” Her voice is shrill, tears blinked back and held at bay. “Do not fall for his lies, Zinovia! He will not be here when you are in need of him. Don’t you understand?” She takes quick steps to close the distance between them, falling to her knees as she grasps for Zinovia’s hands. “He is my brother. He is not worth loving nor depending on. I understand that he is kind and good to you and for that I am thankful. But when you have gotten with child, he will start finding excuses not to pay attention to you. He will //abandon// you,” here is the rage and the loss of her own suffering, laid before Zinovia’s feet, however misguided it may be. “Do not put yourself through it. I beg you. You picked up the pieces of me that he destroyed. I do not know if I have the strength to do the same for you when I can //prevent// it.”
Zinovia lets her wife claim her hands, a little startled as she kneels before her, and for a short time all she can do is watch her, until she gently frees one of her hands and lightly brushes her fingertips through Akemi’s hair. “If he is lying to me and if he abandons me, then so be it,” she says quietly. “I survived the loss of my family. What will the betrayal of a man be compared to that? I will never leave you for him. No matter what feelings I have for him, it’s //you// I can’t be without.” She has to be careful to keep herself decent as she folds herself down to the floor to sit eye to eye with Akemi, taking her hands for her own now. “Why would I depend on him? I hope he will get me with child and yes, I hope he means what he tells me, but I’m no foolish girl. If I am left with a child and he runs away, what of it? I named Zaimika for //you//. Any other will be the same. You are my wife. You’re my family. It’s been that way ever since you and Maozheth crawled into bed with Yukijiath and me.”
A sigh escapes Akemi’s lips as she holds on fast to Zinovia’s hands and listens to it all. She can’t quite meet her wife’s eyes as she clasps her hands between her own, making the excuse of kissing their twined fingers to each others rather than letting her gaze betray her. “I know you won’t leave me, Zinovia. We are a family. You, Zaimika, and your future children are my responsibility. They will be my children. No others.” She rises then, knowing it’s cruel, knowing she should stay, and still she moves to rest her palm to Zinovia’s face. “Call Akio to you tonight,” she tells her, looking at her wife’s forehead, instead of meeting her eyes. “I need… to figure myself out.” She leans forward to press a chaste kiss to the top of Zinovia’s head and then turns and walks out of their chambers. She and Maozheth will be scare during Yukijiath’s proddy glow, but will return once the certainty of her rising is imminent. The words that will have to be spoken – well, Akemi will do her best to figure her side out before she faces her wife again.