How It Is

Who: Safiye, J’kson, Malynth
When: Month 8, 205 AT
Where: Court of Shadows, Honshu Territory
What: Safiye and J’kson finally meet properly.

J’kson has not done much by way of socializing at the Court when he is there. Most of his focus remains on Malynth and their combined learning of how climbing high enough will allow the blue to have enough space in falling to blink Between. J’kson has only practiced a handful of times, fearful that he and Malynth may push it too far and disappear (or injure) themselves permanently. As far as J’kson is aware, no one notices these ‘practice’ sessions as he chooses it in the pre-dawn light, when most of the Court are either wrapping up their nighttime business elsewhere, or beginning to rouse themselves for the day. This morning J’kson and Malynth had one successful jump Between, moving from the sky and reappearing over the water for Malynth to crash into safely. Now the pair are outside and J’kson is oiling Malynth in the early sun, looking as scrubbed and orderly as Malynth is looking in the gleaming light. He hums a tune to himself as he brushes the oil along his blue’s rear leg.

She may have no hope of being one of those put to the eggs Kyramith guards, but that hasn’t stopped Safiye from sneaking out to get a look at them when she is most sure that no-one but her parents’ dragons might see her – and hopefully not tell said parents. She’s stayed out longer this morning, having caught Kyramith asleep, first drawn by the opportunity to gaze at the eggs from a closer distance (but never, ever touch them), then by what she has seen of Malynth and J’kson’s activity as the sun begins to rise. Biding her time, she waits to be sure, following the path down from the Hold and to the water when she finally chooses to hunt them down and see where they’ve landed, only to disappear again until she’s ready to be seen. When she resurfaces, it’s from around no building near that which houses the eggs, just to be sure. “You’re the one my sister thinks she’s not good enough for,” foregoes any greeting.

J’kson pauses at the task of oiling Malynth’s tail, his head lifting and turning over his shoulder in the direction of the voice. He stands, allowing Malynth to move his own head to peer curiously at the girl. J’kson gives a bemused glance Malynth’s way before he shoves the brush back into the oil tin. “Are you speaking of Arlet?” he asks, brushing his fingers off on a rag that he’s pulled from his back pocket. He shoves it back into the pocket as he strides closer to Safiye. Malynth’s head lowers and he eases his head towards the girl. “He says you may pet him, if you like. He’d like you to,” J’kson offers, not usually having found himself in a position to explain Malynth’s wishes to a stranger. “Arlet is too good for me, whether or not she recognizes it now. She will as she heals,” he tells the girl with a shrug. “And then your mother doesn’t have to consider killing me for being near Arlet,” he teases, cracking a grin at her.

Though she holds her arms out towards Malynth, hands reaching to smooth along his jaw, Safiye fixes J’kson with a stare as she tells him, “It isn’t a joke,” her expression shifting to be completely at odds with her words while she tries to ensure that Malynth understands she has no desire to upset him. “She needs someone to look after her. She thinks I’m just a kid and it’s her job to look after me, but she’s //my// little sister.” She pauses, waiting for whatever recognition of the greater meaning of that might light J’kson’s gaze. “I don’t care she’s grown-up. That’s still how it is.” In her mind, at least. “So, I need to know you’re going to take care of her and not get yourself killed Between, for one. I love her. She’s my family. People took her to bed and they hurt her. You can’t do that. You can’t.”

Malynth moves to encircle his body closer to Safiye, placing his shoulder to her back as he scoops his neck around to tuck her against him and seek more scratches from her. J’kson let’s Safiye speak as his arms fold in front of him and he watches her with a controlled and serious expression. “Alright, well, to the first part – I know she needs looking after, but I am not her nursemaid. That would hurt her deeply to think that’s what she needs, a minder. She’s my friend first and I treat her as I do all my friends. With love and respect.” He takes a breath and glances down at his hands, not sure how to handle the last of her statements. “You’re too young to be knowing about how some people share beds in that way.” He lifts his gaze to meet hers. “I don’t intend to hurt her, little miss,” for he has yet to grasp hold of the name for her, “I haven’t yet and I don’t want to ever do it.”

“The women here talk,” Safiye declares, running gentle hands across Malynth’s neck. “And besides, I heard her say so to Mama,” she adds with a shrug. “I’m old enough that they’d have tried to get me married soon, if Mama and Papa hadn’t taken me away.” She tucks her head a little closer to the blue, hesitant in being too invasive with offering a proper hug. “I know Mama couldn’t look after me when I was little, and Arlet can’t look after Aadi, and I know Mama loves a lot of people but she’d rather they were frightened of her. Arlet’s not so different. She’s just scary in a different way. She tries to be.” She glances down at the floor for a moment, then back up at J’kson, something closer to her sister’s coolness than her mother’s fire when she tells him, “If you’re trying to go Between and escape here, then you should go. Please don’t stay long enough to be her family and then leave her on her own.”

J’kson seems surprised by Safiye’s assertion that she’s of marriagable age. “You can’t be older than thirteen,” he states, looking to her as Malynth rumbles a low-throated croon. “Dragons do not //marry// humans, Malynth,” he tells his dragon in an exasperated tone. “So no, you may not //marry// her.” He takes in all the information she supplies about the Lady of his home, about Arlet and her son, and holds back any reaction he might have with the information. “I know what it is to not have a mother and not be wanted by a father,” he tells Safiye carefully, “I would do nothing to encourage Arlet to remain hurt by her past and stay away from Aadi. I imagine she worries if she gets too close she’ll damage him. She believes she has nothing to give others.” He straightens and tenses as she makes her assumptions over his and Malynth’s practice. “We aren’t planning an escape,” he tells her hotly, his face folding into a firm line as he battles between anger and exasperation with Safiye’s sharp eyes. “I don’t want anyone to worry or involve themselves. I’m not going to let Malynth live his life like he’s nothing more than a runner.” Malynth tucks himself closer about Safiye. “And since he can’t fly, we climb.”

“Hey!” Safiye snaps, raising her voice for the first time. “If Malynth wants to marry me, he can marry me,” she insists, nudging her head in against his to mock glower out at J’kson. “We can raise firelizards together,” she tells the blue. “People will judge us, but we won’t care, because our love is true.” She sticks her tongue out at J’kson and remarks, “I guess that’d make you my brother in law whether you ever marry Arlet or not.” Both brows lift, however momentarily. “I figure she’ll be kind of mad if she finds out what you’ve been doing without you telling her. Maybe she could help you too, if you let her. Akanyth seems sort of mean, but he might want to help if she does.”

J’kson bursts out laughing even as Malynth delights in all the images he plays with. He pushes a gentle query at Safiye, his mind a melody of piano keys. << They will be happy as you will be happy >> he tells her, of their future raising firelizards. J’kson keeps on laughing as Malynth shares more with him that he does //not// pass on to Safiye. He sobers rather quickly once Safiye returns to the topic at hand. “Ah, I don’t know,” he tells Safiye, rubbing at the back of his neck. “If we fail and she and Akanyth do something reckless to bring us back… I’d be dead or injured… but if she got hurt or died? I can’t have that weight on my shoulders.” Out of habit he reaches into his jacket pocket and then drops his hand, looking a little embarrassed as he tries to breeze past what he went to do. “I don’t think she’d want to marry me. But since you’re going to marry Malynth and all, I suppose we’re family now.”

“Yes, we will be,” Safiye murmurs to Malynth, glowering over at J’kson as though to dare him to argue with her. “Maybe you could practice with the baby dragons before we adopt our first firelizards? Or, you know… your rider seems like he could be stroppy. He might be good practice too.” She lifts her arms again to throw them both around Malynth’s neck as far as she can and hug him tight before she reluctantly moves to step away as light begins to spill through the skies in earnest. “I don’t think Arlet would be any happier with you dying, you know, whether you ever find out if she wants to marry you or not. And I won’t be happy if you get my husband-to-be hurt either. And if we’re upset, Mama will be angry and…” She shrugs. “I’d better go. I can keep your secrets if you can keep mine. For now.” And she’s off.

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