Who: Zinovia and Akio
Where: Silverfield Hold, Honshu Territory
What: Zinovia returns home after Yukijiath’s flight.

In total, Zinovia spends three days at Honshu. It’s in the middle of the second that Yukijiath rises, pursued by enough males that Silverfield’s Lady is right in her assumption that many follow at the behest of riders intent on bedding her for her rank and, between fierce competition and Yukijiath’s ire, ichor is spilled and scars are left, even on the green herself. For her part, Zinovia seems to escape damage, her return home one that finds her with no visible marks or bruises, the first hours spent making sure that her lifemate is comfortable and her wounds are clean. She seeks out the children next, checking on both of them before excusing herself to her quarters, though not before laying hands on a bottle of wine.

Akio has not known the proper course of action following Zinovia’s stay at Honshu. In the past, it had been his twin who was the one who spent the majority of the time with Zinovia in the wake of Yukijath’s rising. Now that Akemi is not there, Akio hesitates as he does not want to step clearly into the role so recently vacated by his sister. Despite his hesitation, once he has checked on the children himself and found out that Zinovia has returned and is in her quarters, he steels himself for whatever reaction he might find in seeking her out. He slips inside her quarters quietly, moving through her rooms until he locates her and that bottle of wine. “I’m happy you’re home,” he offers as a greeting, moving to her side.

As far as the wine goes, Zinovia doesn’t stand on ceremony or proper manners at all, simply lifting the bottle to her lips to take a drink as she sits herself down on the edge of her bed and reaches out a hand to Akio, not confident enough to assume she can just take his hand. She offers him the bottle without comment, her eyes a little glazed over from what cannot so swiftly be the wine. “Yukijiath’s hurt,” she murmurs, casting her gaze down into her lap. “I’m not,” is a quick assurance, before the same might be assumed of her. “It was a bronzerider.” A moment passes and she quietly clears her throat before adding, “And a brownrider.”

“That hurt her?” Akio asks, confused by the flow of the conversation. “How is it possible that riders are even involved so far that they could hurt a dragon?” His tone is sharp on the end of his question, his brows furrowed, and anger quick in his gaze as he reaches for the bottle to take a sip. He returns it to her and settles himself beside her, choosing to ignore her hand in favor of wrapping a strong arm about her shoulders. “We should complain to someone that they hurt her,” he continues, //clearly// missing the point, “and if it’s true that O’rlen and Aerishani want to move here with us, they’d best make assurances they aren’t going to hurt Yukijiath once they are here and addle-brained from these future flights they’ll have.”

“No,” Zinovia murmurs in the moment before bringing the bottle back to her lips, that apparently more pressing than clarifying. “I mean dragons hurt Yukijiath when they tried to catch her. There were a lot of them and it got… ugly for a bit.” She allows herself another mouthful of wine before she puts the bottle down on the nearest bedside table. “Flights can be like that. You don’t get to complain if you’re hurt or your dragon is; not unless you can prove it was done with malicious intent.” Twitching a shoulder, she sighs out, “I’ve been assuming that Aerishani will have to take Amorenth to a Weyr when she rises. She’ll have to let Amorenth clutch at one for certain.”

“You don’t get to complain? This isn’t even something you’d //complain// about! This is a punishable offense!” Akio declares, fists balling up on his legs as he slams his right hand down on his thigh for emphasis. “We have to hold people to better standards!” He turns then to wrap his arms around Zinovia and hug her against his chest, not caring if the action causes the wine bottle to slosh around or get dropped. “We have to find a better solution than going to a Weyr,” he decides aloud, “maybe you can invite a handful of chosen partners here… so you aren’t so… outnumbered.”

Though she lets Akio hold her as he speaks, Zinovia gently extracts herself from his arms when he moves on to finding supposed solutions, getting to her feet to slowly turn around and face him. “I told you when you said you wanted to marry me that this was a piece of //my// life that you were going to have to live with,” she says slowly and calmly. “That includes dealing with what happens during flights. Dragons get hurt. People get hurt. Yukijiath belongs with dragons and the least I can do for her is take her to a Weyr now that she can’t have her own mate. She won’t even remember him before long. She got hurt this time and maybe the next will be better. Maybe it won’t be. But it will happen, regardless. Every three or four months for decades.”

Akio is not so practiced at schooling his features as his twin became – the stricken look puckers his brow and widens his eyes at the mention of how often Zinovia and Yukijiath will be faced with these issues. He closes his eyes and lets his features smooth into more controlled lines as he takes a breath. He dips his chin towards his chest and opens his gaze to focus on his lap. “Akemi left you to a horrible fate,” he’s not kind in his sharp words and in the anger that flashes as he lifts his chin to once more consider her. “If this what you have to face, and if truly there is nothing I can do to help you,” he pushes himself off of the bed and follows after her. He reaches for her hands to hold in his. “I can promise to be here for you in what ways I can. If it means I hold you after, I will. Though you cannot fault me for //wanting// it to be different.”

“And it feels like I dragged her here in the first place, so I would think we’re at least even on that score now,” Zinovia utters without anger or bitterness. She lets Akio take her hands, shaking her head as she curls her fingers around his. “I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t wish for better or be angry. I’m only… saying that this is how it will be. If it isn’t something that you feel you can live with, I don’t expect you to still want to marry me. I don’t want you to become… bitter and angry about all of it and think you never should have done it.” She twitches a shoulder. “I don’t know that I would be happy if it were happening to you and I had to stand by and let it. It isn’t that I don’t understand, only that… I can’t change it.” It’s not without dry humour that she drawls, “Maybe we should put you to the dragons after all.”

Akio’s hands tighten against Zinovia’s as she speaks and his face remains thoughtful, if weighed down, by the realities of her life. “Is it so simple as that?” he wonders aloud as he considers her joke far more seriously. “Simply put me to a clutch and hope that one takes me for theirs?” He keeps her hands firmly held in his. “If it eases this burden you face so routinely, I would take to the Sands to claim a dragon. I wouldn’t want to be without your company for… how long do they make you train? Years? That would not do. I would take a dragon for my own and bring it here to be raised by myself and you. I won’t have a Weyr dictate how I live my life, as I barely allow the Hall to tell me what to do.” He smiles at that and leans forward to kiss her cheek. “We could make it a requirement that Aerishani gives me an egg when she settles here?”

Zinovia shakes her head, her wry smile faintly dismissive. “I would never truly suggest that you should seek out a dragon for any other reason than you or said dragon wanting it yourselves. I may not have sought or looked for Yukijiath, but she wanted me and that’s how it must have always been meant to be.” She lean in to touch her lips to Akio’s cheek. “And I’d certainly not want you to change your life and that of a dragon’s so drastically just so that I needn’t go to a Weyr and let her fly there. Flights are just… a footnote, in the grand scheme of things. To bind your heart and mind to a dragon just for me? No.”

Akio does not seem so ready to let go of the idea that’s been placed before him. “It might be better for you both were it to happen,” he adds, “and it would not change my way in any negative way I can view. Are you not happy with Yukijiath? Did Maozheth not bring my sister joy?” He shakes his head and rubs at his jaw briefly, looking at the wall in a distant manner. “We should think about it more,” he decides and then looks to her. “Because they don’t allow married people to Stand, do they?” He drops his hand back to his lap and looks to Zinovia and the wine. “Do you need more? Are you hungry? I can go and get you anything you need so you can feel comfortable.”

“I love Yukijiath,” Zinovia says without hesitation. “I would never be without her. I’m never alone and she’s always there for me. But taking care of her and making sure that my life doesn’t completely overrun what she needs to be happy takes time – and I don’t know that you’d be comfortable with that, with your craft.” She settles herself back on the edge of the bed and stares unseeing at the far wall for a moment. “I was thinking… That if we’re to have a queen and a bronze and potentially other dragons living here too, I might start going by what Yukijiath calls me. Nova. Something to… consider.” Shaking her head, she denies needing anything, insisting only that, “I just want to go to bed and… sleep… I think…”

“We may become a Weyrhold yet, with a gold and bronze joining Silverfield,” Akio notes wryly, “All we’d need to do is build a place for her to have her eggs. Then my acquiring a dragon may not require me to leave your side at all.” He nods as she speaks on wanting sleep and he rises. He moves to pull down the blankets on the bed and encourages her to lay down. “I’m not ready for sleep yet,” he tells her as he kisses her brow. “I’ll come to bed in a little while.” He rests his hand against her cheek and adds with a small smile, “Nova.” He kisses her lips once before he turns and leaves her chambers. He takes himself to his workroom and settles himself down at his desk. He reaches for a piece of paper and a pen. Only — the plans that he draws have nothing to do with the Smithcraft Hall at all.

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