Hearts

Who: Isolwyn, C’aol, Safiye
Where: Weyrwoman’s Weyr, Fort Weyr
What: Isolwyn tries to do something cute.


It isn’t often that Isolwyn likes to leave for others to find any evidence that she is capable of romantic feelings, but she must be making an exception this afternoon and pointedly using the time off the Healers have demanded of her to do something not entirely productive, yet must at least be keeping her well occupied. When the first messenger boy turns up at C’aol’s office, he offers an envelope that contains nothing more than a paper heart. A firelizard appears half an hour later with a blue ribbon from her hair. Later, one of the assistant headwomen knocks on the door and produces a page from the last novel she finished reading aloud to him. Soon, another firelizard surrenders a fragment of coal chipped into another heart that must have left her with sooty fingers. She even sends a confused Safiye with one of his socks that she’s stitched little hearts along, the item proffered with a blush and, “I don’t know what it means, but I think it’s cute.” And all the while, Isolwyn sits at the foot of the couch before the hearth, in a heap of blankets and pillows and furs that has become her base of operations.

C’aol looks at the messenger as the boy waits for him to decide if he’ll send a reply back to the message in the envelope. He quickly opens it and pauses when he pulls out a paper heart. He frowns at the heart and turns it back and forth before dismissing the boy. He’s returned to his work when the firelizard appears with a blue ribbon. He shoos the creature away with a wave of his hand, “Sharding silly creatures,” he mutters to himself as he returns to his ledgers. C’aol’s completely rude to the assistant headwoman as she hands over a page from a novel. “I don’t have time for these jokes,” he warns the woman before she dares smile at him and disappears. “This is getting ridiculous,” C’aol growls at Safiye as the girl hands over a sock. “Where is she?” he demands of the young goldrider, rising from his chair.

Maybe Safiye is learning more than one might think from Isolwyn, for, undaunted, all she does is tilt her head and tell C’aol, “She’s at home,” with a shrug, before she turns and carries herself out of his office. In the meantime, Isolwyn seems to have amassed further things to send, including one of the laces from her dress, given it now refuses to tie exactly how she wishes. As of yet, she’s summoned no-one else to do her bidding and act as messenger, but she still looks immeasurably smug and comfortable where she sits, her legs stretched out on the floor before her, feet poking out of the end of the blanket.

C’aol is completely flustered, shifting from irritation, to confusion and a small part of him, the part he keeps closed down the most, is amused by Isolwyn’s antics. He enters the weyr with a loud slamming of the door. He moves towards her and the blankets. “What are you trying to do?” he asks her as he folds his arms in front of him and glowers down at her. “Have you sent the entire Weyr on a mission to annoy me?” He waves the ribbon and lace out of his pocket and wriggles it at her. “How do I interpret this?” he asks of her, his voice raising, “Is this some sort of code?”

Isolwyn is calm in the face of C’aol’s agitation, though she’s not entirely able to prevent herself from continuing to look far too pleased with herself, her eyes betraying her while she manages to school her lips into a serene line. “Well, now I’m going to keep it on file as a summoning ritual, seeing as it brought you here,” she replies, mouth quirking into the tiniest of smiles. “Where’s the sock?” she even dares to ask before explaining herself any further. “I didn’t do it to aggravate you,” is what she finally admits. “The healers want me resting and I thought we were going to think less about the Weyr all the time, so I thought I’d think about you instead and let you know that I love you.” She gives a somewhat helpless shrug. “It was a first attempt. Maybe it needs fine tuning.”

C’aol looks down at her in that severe way of his, eyes sharp and mouth hardened. He shakes his head at her shrug and lowers his arms before he settles on the couch near her. “Thank you,” he tells her a bit stiffly before he eases some tension out of his shoulders to offer her a small smile. “It’s nice that you were thinking of me and wanted to show me that you love me. Forgive me for… not knowing how to process your..,” he considers her with a small tilt in his head. “Was it meant as a joke?” he considers Isolwyn and then reaches into his pocket to pull out the sock he hands her way. “Safiye has grown more confidence, hasn’t she? She didn’t wince at my bark. Seemed she had more of a snap to her that reminded me of you.”

“…It was supposed to be teasing,” Isolwyn will go so far as to admit, though she also declares, “Not that it was meant to be so much at your expense. I don’t know; part of me just thought you might find it… sweet.” She shrugs again, suffering her turn to be embarrassed and unsettled. Accepting the sock, she turns it this way and that for a moment to examine her stitching, then sets it aside. “Safiye spends most of her time with queenriders,” she supposes. “It isn’t as if we let her socialise too much with other riders – and certainly not men – lest they get any ideas. She loves Emily and I hope she’s growing to like me better. And… she //is// a queenrider herself. No matter what sort of offspring Vesoviath does or doesn’t produce, she’s gold, and Safiye’s been trained as a weyrwoman. I guess I wanted to see if she’d do it as much as for your reaction.”

“Yes, I do well with teasing,” C’aol drawls with a fondness entering his gaze as he looks to Isolwyn. “Your staff seemed to be enjoying themselves at least.” He rests his arms loosely on the armrest of the couch as he stretches his feet out in front of him. “Do you think we have any men in our Weyr that would accost a child?” C’aol asks with an edge to his voice. “If you do, point them out to me now. I won’t wait for them to make an attempt on Safiye or others.” He lets the severity of his thoughts be brought in as he allows, “I think she will be a good weyrwoman, were she to be one. If that Court has visons of having her take that role for them… all the better. I do not see the Council allowing her to truly fulfill her role.” He pats his lap. “We’re talking about the Weyr again,” he reminds her with a twitch at his lips, “and I thought you had taken the time to do this elaborate game in hopes of talking about other things between us.”

“I think… that Safiye is nearing an age when we accept Candidates for Impression, which means some riders will consider her closer to woman than girl,” Isolwyn says slowly, her eyes gone a little unfocused in thought. “And some may well want their dragon to fly Vesoviath simply to see whether she can produce a clutch, and for it to be their clutch, as cruel as it sounds. I don’t have enough faith in people to believe that cultivating a friendship with her in the hope of it paying off later is beyond the realm of anyone’s thought. So, we protect her.” She looks up at C’aol and down again as he notes where their conversation has led, the leisurely nod that follows one that accompanies a wry, “I had noticed.” Carefully, she curls her legs beneath her and gets up from the floor in what is not a particularly elegant way these days, but she does her best, and brings a blanket with her to curl up beside him on the couch. For a moment, she hesitates, then reaches to do what she has done perhaps only once over the course of her pregnancy, claiming one of his hands to press his palm over the spot where the baby is currently aiming a series of quite solid kicks. “They’re strong,” she murmurs. “As if I expected anything else.”

C’aol has been distant during the entirety of her pregnancy – going so far as to not acknowledge it as often as a future father may be expected to. He allows Isolwyn’s hand to guide his own to her belly and holds his hand there as the sensation of feeling the baby’s kicks registers against his palm. “Strong,” he agrees and then presses a kiss to her temple. “Like their mother.” He keeps his palm pressed against her abdomen until the kicking stops and then he moves to rest his hands against her shoulders. He quietly begins to knead his hands along her shoulder and neck muscles, offering nothing further by way of conversation as he takes the time to ease whatever discomfort she may have. He finishes his massage after about fifteen minutes and then he looks to her and asks, “Are you hungry? We could go and get something to eat. Together. In view of the rest of the Weyr,” he smirks at her, “so they can talk at length about how you’re glowing and I’m mellowing in the wake of this pregnancy.”

“And their father,” Isolwyn says quietly, tilting her head just enough to touch her lips to his cheek. As C’aol lifts his hands to her shoulders, she turns a little and sighs a quiet, content sigh as fingers begin to knead at muscles that complain more and more these days at the rigid posture that she maintains, arching her neck a fraction as he finds knots that are slow to yield. She reaches back to gently rest her hand on his knee, her thumb idly smoothing back and forth in lieu of anything that she might say while her eyes drift closed and her world narrows to the touch of his hands for those few minutes. When he speaks, her mouth curves into a faint smirk to mirror his and she offers up a single moment of low laughter. “I think ‘glowing’ is too kind a word, but I admit I am more comfortable than I expected to be,” she counters wryly. “And don’t let them think you’ve mellowed too much, or they’ll start asking for all sorts.” Standing, she reaches for his hands, and waits until he’s on his feet to lift up onto her toes and press her lips firmly to his. “Mine,” is all she tells him, a possessive kind of quiet confidence claiming her in the instant before she turns to lead him out into the world.

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