Who: Jet, M’tan, Arlet, Aadi
When: Month 10, 204 AT
Where: Court of Shadows, Honshu Territory
What: Jet and M’tan discuss some next steps and Arlet makes some progress.
With Arlet continuing to demonstrate no interest in her child, Jet has started to spend more time with the boy as her duties become more restricted to the Hold and he hits milestones that have the Healers certain of his health and future. This evening, she’s retreated to bed early to read, with her grandson snugged against her and all manner of creatures occupying the bed as well, three of her firelizards and two of Sister’s daughters claiming bits of blanket for themselves, as well as a rogue tabby cat that must have snuck in from the lower floors. It’d be a thoroughly domestic scene, were it not for the sword lying propped against the bed and in easy reach, and for the dagger on the nightstand, and for the watchful, not docile, gaze of the firelizards.
M’tan has made no comment upon Arlet’s lack of interest in her son and on Jet’s continued time spent with him. He’s quick to ask about her day, and more than eager for reports of his milestones, yet he’s always remained cautious. He wants to force no decision upon his wife and knows no other way than to remain neutral about any eventual outcome. He returns home past dinner, having had a meeting with Southern’s Weyrleader and O’rlen both. He’s got aging Sister in his arms, having found her scratching at their main door to scoop up with him as he enters. He’s got a greying terrier in his arms, a fat green firelizard draped upon his shoulders, and a pair of bronzes flitting in after him once he works his way into the room. His bronze’s take up residence beside the tabby cat without care, his dark clothing, strapped on weapons, and ‘Lordly’ air is far misplaced with the cuddling in his arms. He pauses upon seeing Jet and smiles. “Well,” he manages, settling Sister onto her bed beside the hearth where she likes to sleep before he makes his way to Jet’s side. “I rather enjoy this sight upon my return home.”
One of Sister’s daughters scrabbles to her feet and hops down from the bed to go and join her mother at the hearth, allowing Jet to stretch out a leg she’s been keeping folded for the sake of not disturbing any of her companions. “How did the meeting go?” she asks, letting her book fall closed as she reaches up to tug at M’tan’s collar to bring him down to her for a kiss. “If you’ve decided to take out another idiot Weyrleader and I can’t go, I reserve the right to pout and murder at least three pieces of furniture.” On he chest, the baby stirs, yawning, yet no indignant or unsettled screaming follows. Jet tucks a knitted blanket over him a little more securely and looks back up at M’tan, drawling, “Though I probably should’ve thought about lying here for so long with two babies flattening me. I might never be able to move again.”
“We never named them,” M’tan notes as he watches Sister’s daughter join her in the bed. The older dog groans and pretends to be put out. Soon enough with a grin leveled and a wink to Jet, he notes the two of them snoozing cuddled together. “The meeting? Too many questions. Mostly from R’byn. O’rlen’s holding himself together. He’s not as quick to temper now. Perhaps not all is well with his Weyrwo-, er, Weyrlady.” M’tan pauses as the baby stirs and his face falls to the tenderness he shows to his wife and children, his calloused hands move to brush against the infant’s soft head. “Has she named him?” he asks, keeping his gaze leveled on the boy. “No one else will die,” he draws himself back to the matters of business, looking to Jet with that ever-crooked smile. “Unless C’aol oversteps himself. I believe that is O’rlen’s reservations. It was stated to me by one of my spies… that there was much belief that C’aol orchestrated Honshu’s ‘leaders’ death in the hopes of gaining that Weyrleader’s knot. It did not go as expected.” A shrug, “Maybe O’rlen’s realizing he’s played the same hand.” He moves to rest a hand along her belly, savoring the feel of the swell of the baby inside her. “Why would you want to move?” he asks her, voice rich with love as he angles his gaze to hers, “when you are full of such perfection?” He tips himself down to tease her lips with a kiss. “Never move again and I will be a happy man.”
“Maybe we should name one each and let Safiye name the third,” Jet considers, her gaze straying to the baby as M’tan runs his hand over his head. “And no, she’s not given him a name. She’s not even been in the same room as him all week, the nannies and healers say.” She sighs and absently readjusts the blanket again. “…She has two more days. If she doesn’t name him by then, then we ought to. Even if Arlet hates us for it, if she can’t manage it then someone has to.” Despite her worries for one baby, she can’t help but smirk as the other answers M’tan with a couple of solid kicks against his palm while she claims, “You’re just trying to get on her good side early so that she won’t wrap you around her little finger,” and surrenders a kiss. “You don’t stand a chance, you know.” Carefully, she shifts onto her side, settling Arlet’s son in the indentation between the two narrow pillows she’s settled there, and reaches for M’tan to claim another kiss, her fingers lingering in his hair. “Just as well I can’t go Between. It’s getting too tempting to finish off C’aol before he starts anything else.”
M’tan’s lost all sense of the room around him and their conversation as he marvels at the tiny kicks to his hand, he leans closer, watching the ripple of movement across Jet’s belly and feeling it with his own hand. “Does it tickle?” he asks softly, marveling at the wonder of the moment as he lifts his tender gaze to capture Jet’s. “We can’t name them now,” he tells Jet regarding the offspring of Sister, “it’d confuse the hell out of them. They surely think their name is ‘No,” and ‘You”, and ‘Here!’,” he teases, moving one tender hand out to brush along his grandson’s hair. “He shouldn’t suffer that,” he decides, giving a glance to Jet before he looks once more to the baby in her arms. “I say we call him ‘Aadi’, which if I remember my aunt’s words enough, means ‘new beginning’.” He brushes his fingers along the infants cheek and smiles as the baby sleepily mimes suckling. He’s distracted from names and babies by the lips of Jet and he falls to kissing her, careful of their bedmates, as he does so. “No need to do it,” he murmurs against her lips, tipping his forehead against hers, “It’s no longer to our advantage to do so. J’kson says he’s doing well at Fort. We watch. And wait. Like we always do.” He lifts his head back and traces a finger carefully along her lip. “We control this time,” he reminds her, “no others.”
“Early on, yes,” Jet murmurs, some measure of amusement lurking in the depths of her dark eyes. “Now it feels more like planned patterns of attack on my insides.” She huffs out a note of dry laughter and drops her head back to her pillow, keeping a hand at M’tan’s shoulder as she studies the sleeping baby as he flails an arm before going still again. “Well, I promise not to cross C’aol’s path and claim he fell on my sword,” she says quietly, easing her palm around the curve of her husband’s shoulder. “For now. If we start hearing stories of his Acting Weyrwoman or the one who’s to inherit hiding marks or changing temper, I’ll pay him a visit.” Her hand strays back up into his hair, fingertips idly playing through strands. “It’s a nice name,” she says softly, backtracking. “I like it. And it’s similar enough to the sound of his mother’s that it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that he’s hers, even if she never wants anything to do with him.” At that, she glances back at the baby, apologetic, as though afraid he might understand. “…Maybe she gets it from me. And my mother. It can’t be said that either of us did a stellar job of parenting. If not for Khyrisan, I might never have wanted to try.”
“I know how much that promise takes from you. If you //did// come across C’aol I know the impulse to iveserciarate is strong,” M’tan drawls, letting his hand rest along her abdomen as his gaze falls to the infant on her chest. “She’ll want something to do with him when she’s healed. She’s been through a lot. We know how… much trauma can hurt us. I hope she finds a way to repair herself.” He brushes his fingers through his hair and sighs softly. He pauses mid sigh and lifts a brow at Jet. “And Safiye is now a happy child, who has opportunity and choices, she never had in her past. Khyrisan’s arrival… we were prepared for him. At least, in a different way. Like we are for this next baby. And even Arlet’s son. We’re… ready to have a family now.” He shrugs his shoulders and flops back on the bed, letting half his body hang off, as his arms move to pillow his head. “You’re nothing like your mother, you know. You know how to hurt someone with steel. All she knew how to do was use her words to hurt.”
“Better that you deal with him than I do. I’m not sure that I’d need that much of an excuse to let him bleed.” Watching the baby as she speaks takes some of the sting out of Jet’s words, cradling him close again with her palms curving the soft waves of a knitted blanket to him. “…It feels like too much to hope for that Arlet might one day spend time with her siblings and son and be happy,” she quietly confesses. “I know that she doesn’t have to be ‘happy’ to be well. I suppose… I don’t know. It feels so far out of reach that I don’t know what to do about it. Like I should never have left her that–“ A knock at the door has her sliding a look to M’tan, efforts made to sit up and make herself look vaguely more presentable, an arm secured around the baby as she sits back against the headboard. “Come in…?” she calls, a frown creasing her brow until Arlet pokes her head around the door and barely inches her way into the room. “I just… wanted to say something…” she hazards, swallowing hard. “I know I’m not a good mother. I don’t have a name for…” she nods towards the baby, “but he should have one. …I want to try. One day. I can’t… not yet. But he’s my son and… I won’t go anywhere without him.” She hesitates before already edging back out the door, ready to close it.
M’tan sits up at the knock, body tensed and ready to spring should he need it. His body’s too used to the habit of preparation and the tension only slightly eases as Arlet is the one to come into their room. He looks to Jet with a lifted brow, the silent communication of – ‘what’re the chances?’ – given in his gaze before he looks back to Arlet. “We choose to say things like, ‘I’m not ready’, instead of saying something like, ‘I’m not good’. You don’t pick up a sword and know how to handle it with perfection. Why would the same expectation be for parenthood?” He shifts on the bed, looking boyish as he sheepishly grins, “To be fair, Arlet. I… sort of had a name idea. I was thinking of the name Aadi. Which, my aunt says meant in an old tongue no one cares to remember, ‘a new beginning’. You don’t have to use it.” He moves his hand to rest on Jet’s needs, offering unsolicited comfort for her in case she has need of it. “We like having you here with us. But if you choose to leave our Court, we will not keep him from you. We want to love him with you.”
Arlet pauses, her head resting against the doorframe in a manner that has her almost closing the door on herself, unable to quite look M’tan in the eye as he speaks, though she tries to offer a nod or two, her jaw clenched. “…No, it’s… it’s nice,” she eventually murmurs. “The name. It has some of his father’s and mine, so…” She shrugs. “It’s nice. It’ll suit him.” Her gaze darts to Jet and to the baby and away again. “…You’ve been kind to me and I’ve not exactly… But you’re my mother and… my father, if you’ll have me. I know I’m an adult and you’re not that much older than me… Just… for what it’s worth… you’re my family. I’ll try harder.” Before she can break or say something stupid, she abruptly closes the door and flees, leaving Jet to grasp M’tan’s hand just a little too tightly. The greenrider blinks a time or two, her eyes suspiciously glassy, yet she insists, “I blame you and the baby for my eyes watering,” with as much dry dignity as she can muster.
M’tan doesn’t interrupt Arlet, giving her the time it takes her to say what she wants to say. He doesn’t hide his smile at her calling him father, but he doesn’t press it further than that. “She’s healing,” he tells Jet, laughing at her tears and squeezing her hand back as fiercely. “Usually when I make you cry it’s after we’ve had the most glorious sex,” he teases her, leaning in close enough to steal a gentle kiss over the top of the baby’s head. “We should find something for her to do. She’s got to have grown tired of wandering our halls not doing much,” he comments, rising and stretching his arms over his head with a yawn. “What should it be though?” he asks, moving across their room to shuck off his shirt and put it in the hamper for dirty clothes. He shucks his pants off next, doing the same, waiting for her to answer as he disappears to fetch more comfortable clothing. He returns wearing a rumpled shirt he favors (that is far too worn for him to wear in public view) and a comfortable pair of warm pants. “I’m not as good as you at placing people. I don’t think she’d be one of my spies readily.” He settles back on the bed and digs one of Jet’s feet out to cup in his palms, the slow knowing strokes of his fingers finding any places that may be aching for her.
“If we didn’t have an audience, I’d show you glorious,” Jet mutters in response, aiming a half-hearted swat at her husband’s head. During M’tan’s brief absence, she murmurs the baby’s name a few times as if the child might capture and remember it, though of course she earns herself nothing more than a sleepy snuffle as he snuggles closer to her. “If she can be taught combat to a decent standard, she might make a good unit leader for when we need to send out teams,” she considers as he returns, an appreciative hiss given as he finds one of the more long-suffering points on her foot. “She’s led a Weyr. Even if it didn’t end so well, it wasn’t exactly her fault. She has no formal Craft training, as far as I’m aware. And there’s Akanyth to consider. Kyramith finds him more amusing than anything, but he would make a good failsafe if a mission went wrong.” She shrugs one shoulder. “I don’t think she’d do well in the kitchens or records or with the children. Not at the moment, anyway.”
“Sirhyth has kept himself decidedly silent on the subject of Akanyth. I don’t think he’s the sort to care about more than one males presence. But it’s clear that Akanyth would //not// be welcome to fly Kyramith,” M’tan’s nose crinkles at the mere idea of it. “Some Weyrs may have fosterd such depravity as to having family members… I can’t, no, I decidedly will //not// comment on it. When Kyramith is proddy, we leave for our home in the Reaches. And that is that.” He works his thumb against Jet’s foot, making headway on the persistent muscle that doesn’t want to budge it’s knot there. “I wouldn’t want to put a rider in the kitchens or records. Forgive me for it, but we don’t need them there. If we want to allow non-riders in the Court, we must leave positions open for them.” He hmmms under his breath, “I don’t think J’kson is doing particularly well at Fort. Malynth isn’t, for sure. Maybe… maybe we need to form a wing here. Of some kind.”
“I think we’ll have to rely on Sirhyth as much as me for knowing when Kyramith will rise. Sometimes she makes her mind up so quickly I barely have time to react.” Jet bares her teeth for a moment as muscle protests, only to drop her head back against the pillow as it finally gives in. “In all honesty, as useful as he might be trying to be at Fort, for his own safety and Malynth’s, J’kson would be considerably better off here. If he can pull himself together enough, he could do heavier work than gathering intelligence and Malynth would be safe here while he’s doing it.” Her eyes narrow slightly, gaze going distant. “…Maybe that should be part of the deal for some that the Court plant on the Sands. They stay, train and then return to us.” Sitting up again, she gathers Aadi more securely against her and leans forward to touch her lips to M’tan’s cheek. “I should return him to the nursery before I get too comfortable.” Mindful not to disturb any lingering creatures, she casts her legs over the side of the bed and gets to her feet, to quietly pad to the door and away to settle their grandson.
M’tan’s thoughtful as he moves on to massage Jet’s other foot. “He’s a drunk,” he says with a shrug, “not sure he’ll ever be of much use outside of finding things out for me if he’s able to stay out of a stupor long enough. He’s close to their future Weyrwoman. That’s a tie I want to maintain.” He lets Jet continue on and grows quiet as he listens. “It would be a way we could get more dragonriders,” he agrees, “since we aren’t going to be a traditional Weyr of any kind. We bring on talented people from the Holds and Crafts, we take on refugees. Maybe some of those refugees would like a chance to do more. We could put more on the Sands at Fort when they next have a clutch. There’s eggs on Southern’s sands right now. And Telgar’s. I don’t have many contacts in either of those places.” M’tan watches Jet move out of their room with a fond smile. When she returns, he’ll have a warm mug of tea ready for her and other distractions to be had should she want them.