Who: Nala and Aislara
When: Month 6, 204 AT
Where: Weyringmaster’s Office, Honshu Weyrhold
What: Can it be fixed?
For weeks, there’s no communication from Nala or Jynth, the time spent in Fort’s infirmary unbearable to the point of words being few and far between following the breakdown on the night of her attack – one that had the Healers dosing her for those first days whether she wished it or not. When she’s informed that she may at least go Between, she takes the opportunity to return to Honshu, Jynth angling down to land at the shore of the lake and not on the ledge that he shares (shared?) with Ryerith, the two of them unsure of their welcome. They’ve not brought any luggage with them, but then they didn’t arrive at Fort with any, and so whether they intend to stay is not immediately discernible from the state of the blue’s straps. Nala is careful in climbing down straps, her injuries hampering her and the cold of Between having not done her any favours, but she gets there, her booted feet touching down on sand just as word of Jynth’s return begins to ripple through the dragon consciousness of Honshu.
Aislara has not known what to make of the lack of communication between her, Nala and Jynth, where there had always been an ease of understanding they had with each other. To cope with her own uncertainties and to push down her desire to return to Fort and check on Nala every day, she devotes herself more to her knot. Her weyrlings, and her weyrlingmaster assistants, have learned to put their heads down and work as hard as their Weyrlingmaster. Whether or not Honshu notices Aislara’s staying put with Nala injured in the North is thankfully not a point of gossip that reaches the Weyrlingmaster’s attention. Ryerith is at the lake, basking in the warmth of the sun, with a brown close enough and protective enough of those looking towards her to show he still holds interest with the one he’s flown so recently. Ryerith is unphased by the brown’s attention and turns her mind towards Jynth, << You are home? >> she asks, drowsy from the sun, << Or are you to leave again? Aislara is in her office >>. The office that was once shared with Nala has not changed, still being positioned off one of the main classrooms used for weyrling instruction. The door has been left open at this time, signaling Aislara’s availability to any who may need her.
Whatever Jynth might feel upon realising why that brown is so close to Ryerith, he’s not aggressive unless provoked and no fighter in general, so no matter what passes between him and Nala, he turns away from the sight and launches himself back into the air, heavy wings carrying him up to one of the highest points of the Weyrhold, where he perches to look outward. << I don’t know, >> is an honest answer, if nothing more, unable to make any clear promises as Nala trudges towards the rooms reserved for the teaching of weyrlings. When she reaches the Weyrlingmaster’s office, she goes no further than the doorway, her feet very precisely planted in line with the edge of the doorframe as it’s some imaginary border she mustn’t cross. There’s no smile for her weyrmate; no word of greeting offered. If anything, Nala looks quite like she’s reporting for duty, passive and distant as she looks Aislara over without remark.
“There’s no need to stand in the doorway when the door is open for a reason,” Aislara calls out, knowing there’s someone there but not quite warned enough by Ryerith to anticipate Nala being the person. She finishes a few strokes on her notes and lifts her gaze, catching the sight of Nala she stays behind the desk. “Come in and close the door,” she tells her weyrmate softly, looking to the various firelizards in snoozing in the rafters. “Be gone,” she tells them, those that are her own disappear in a blink and with a nudge from Ryerith the rest leave their rafter-slumber to return to the Weyrhold and their various owners. Aislara turns her gaze back to Nala, making quick assessment of her physical state – at least that she can see immediately. She can’t find the words for any questions so she waits behind the safety of her too large desk and watches Nala closely.
Nala does as she’s told, yet still ventures no further than the door once she’s closed it, not quite leaning against it, but with it firmly at her back. “You belittled me,” she levels at Aislara, unflinchingly. “You chose the moment after I had been beaten half to death and had to kill a man and his dragon to survive to decide that it was unreasonable of me to not want you to become a target or be harmed.” A voice usually too level and calm is low and burning, no matter that not a bit of anger shows in her expression. “You thought that was a good time to hurt me. And then you left me there. I did not think that I could hurt any more after escaping with my life, but then you chose to worry more about a perceived insult to your strength and jealousy of another and stab me again.” She shakes her head the tiniest bit. “Do you know how many times I have told people that I love you more than anything? And you do that to me.”
Nala may be unflinching, Aislara is not. She visibly winces – her eyes close, her lips tighten, and she turns her head away from Nala. When her eyes reopen, she keeps them leveled on the wall opposite Nala. She doesn’t immediately defend herself, her words aren’t quick to form on her tongue as she listens to all that Nala has to say. “I’m sorry,” she manages, throat tight, and voice strained, “I didn’t behave in the manner one should when you were near death and injured. I was… lost to my emotions.” She reaches for her pen, holding it in her grasp, looking at it. “I understand that I’ve hurt you, and I know that’s why you haven’t been communicating with me.” She lifts her gaze, which as a strength of will, is free of tears. “You may tell people all that you like that you love me more than anything. I do the same. There is still something broken between us and I may have broken it. I need your help to fix it.”
Nala finds herself unable to respond, even to form the words to try and accept the apology that she’s given, expression unchanging and gaze unmoving. It’s the edge of Aislara’s desk that she seems to find the most interesting, the sight one that doesn’t require her to keep her head high or avert her focus elsewhere, the explanation she’s offered one that doesn’t have her drawing her attention to ask enough to look up at her weyrmate. Silence consumes her, until she drags, “Do you truly want to fix it?” from somewhere, her voice heavy. “If what you said to me is how you feel, I do not know if there is anything that I can do. I am never going to think that it is acceptable for you to be in unnecessary danger. I am never going to willingly encourage you into situations in which you could be hurt. I am never not going to care whether you are safe or not, physically or otherwise.” A moment, then she murmurs, “…And I am not going to tell Rori I cannot see her anymore; that you said it was okay and now it is not.”
Aislara looks at her pen as she listens to all Nala has to say. Silence follows her words, stretching the tension throughout the room and making it an almost living, vibrating, being. “I never thought when I said you should continue to see Rori that it would mean that you would go to her first when you were near death,” she finally manages to say, adding words to the air that only further make it hard for her to breathe. “I reacted the way I did because of it. I’m not proud of it.” Her voice falters and she lifts a hand to brush her fingers along her scarred neck, her gaze going distant as she lifts it and looks past Nala to the door. “If you are always the one who is protecting us, how will we ever prove we are worthy of you?” she asks, perhaps meaning Ryerith, until she says, “Rori is young enough to be enamored by your gallantry. She may find it chafes sometime in your future.” She finally looks to Nala’s face. “We need to fix what’s between us because what we have is special. We can work through this, can’t we?”
“I went to her because she was the next obvious target and she needed to know what had happened,” Nala states emphatically. “You say that you want to fix things and you cannot go two minutes in conversation without pointing out what a failure you think I am to you and will be for her.” She finally looks up, temper rising and curling her lips back into a snarl, electricity crackling out across the Weyrhold from Jynth. “Is it not enough that someone went out of their way to try and kill me? That someone might try again? That I have to go the rest of my life waiting for the next person to decide I am an abomination and need to die?” Though she doesn’t let herself move, her voice lifts, demanding, “Are you quite finished? It is not enough that it happened. No-one has time for how I might feel, or Jynth. You are too busy being offended by a choice I made after bleeding out on the floor for hours! Is it any wonder that I need to protect you, because //that// is enough for you to have a meltdown, let alone how it was, or how I feel, or what it means!”
“You would have this be a world in which I never tell you my feelings! I may not contradict myself, I may not //express// myself, I may not tell you some nights I look over and see my bed is empty and I know you are with her and it makes me mad! What of it?” Aislara rises, her fingers tightening on that pen as if it were a sword. “Would you rather I not tell you? Would you rather I keep secrets from you?” Her eyes glisten with tears, “While you continue to be a potential murder suspect, and a potential victim, I have to sit at this desk and pretend it’s all okay? That you’ll handle it? You’ve done a shit job of handling it, Nala.” She throws the pen across the room. “You realize Ryerith rose while you were tucked in her arms?” she throws her words like daggers, wanting to hurt Nala as much as she’s hurting. “That a man took me? That brown out by Ryerith is not admiring her for future sport. He’s already had her!” her voice is shrill as she looks back to Nala, “How does that make you //feel// Nala?”
Nala starts to lift a hand as though she’d keep the pen from potentially hitting her, the gesture one that goes by unneeded and leads her to clasp both hands behind her back, her expression drifting back into impassive as Aislara grows more shrill. She can’t even look at her by the time she’s finished, the question directed at her one that makes her lift both shoulders in a loose shrug. “Truly?” Brows twitch, but ultimately nothing else of her changes. “I feel nothing. That is how it has to be, because we are once again dealing with your feelings. How you feel. What you need. What has happened to you. So I have to feel nothing, because there is no room for me to feel anything.” Another shrug. “You have not even asked how I am. But you are right. You did break what was between us. Not before, but now. If you do not need me, do not want me to protect you, and think I do ‘a shit job of handling’ things, then you do not need me or Jynth to be there for your flights. Or at all. And it is as simple as that.” Turning away, she reaches for the door and swings it open, setting it wide and leaving it there before she walks out. From the rim of the bowl, Jynth drops down to collect her, and it’s not then, but the next morning, that rumours of a transfer start to do the rounds of the Weyrhold.