Fool Enough

Who: Rori and Nala
Where: Nala and Rori’s Weyr, Honshu Weyrhold
What: Rori finally tells Nala about S’ven’s advances.

Rori has not done much by way of serve as any source of commentary on the situation revolving around S’ven. She’s had more than a few closed door meetings with B’lian and Priska, of which seems in part due to her knot moreso than her previous involvement with S’ven. It is only after S’ven had been formally exiled, if not physically while the man’s condition stabilizes enough to move him, Rori finally sees the need to talk to Nala about the topic she has resolutely tried to avoid talking about with her. She’s awake early this morning and sitting in the kitchen with a fresh pot of klah brewed and a breakfast baked by her on the table.

Nala rarely sleeps heavily or gets through a night of unbroken sleep, but this morning she’s slept on and only really wakes when she rolls over to find that Rori isn’t there. Slipping from bed, she draws on a black robe and wanders from the bedroom and through to the kitchen, where she sits herself down opposite Rori and blinks blearily at her wife for a few moments. “The bed was cold,” she states, not quite a question, but she keeps her focus on her for long enough that the ensuing silence suggests one.

“I couldn’t sleep,” Rori admits in answer to Nala’s statement. Rori looks at Nala and then glances down at her klah. She rises and moves to pour Nala a mug and set a plate of breakfast nibbles in front of her. She moves back to her chair and sits down. “I haven’t talked to you about S’ven,” she begins and then pauses, her eyes flickering towards their bedroom and back to Nala. “I don’t want to talk to much about it, to be honest. It’s been all I’ve been dealing with since Priska and B’lian took over. I’m tired of men,” she shakes her head, anger flashing across her face. “And how they treat women. S’ven’s punishment is an example, but I don’t know how to guarantee it won’t happen again. Because it keeps happening.”

Nala watches Rori as she sets things down in-front of her, listening without interruption. She wraps both of her hands around her mug and carefully lifts it to her lips to take a tentative sip, her gaze still fixed on her wife. “No,” she says eventually, “you have not. And if it were so simple a thing as having worked with him, there would be nothing to speak with me about.” She looks down into her klah. “There will never be a guarantee. Perhaps they may prevent such behaviour during flights, but it will not prevent men from choosing to hurt or attempt to eliminate women who break too far from what they believe is right.” Only as an afterthought does she allow, “The majority of men cannot think in such extreme terms. There are women across the world in relationships and marriages with men who truly care for them. It is primarily men with power or who seek it attempting to harm the women they perceive to be threats.”

“There were clear concerns that S’ven was doing things towards me to try and hold on to his knot,” Rori shares, keeping her hands wrapped around her mug without moving to drink. “I feel at fault for not calling attention to the level of desperation he was getting to since it was announced Priska would come to Honshu as the Senior.” She sighs and shakes her head. “He wasn’t unpleasant as the Weyrsecond and when we first took over Honshu together he was respectful.” She looks to Nala. “Was it the knot that tainted him? Having some power? How it is something that would drive someone to such lengths I honestly cannot understand.” Her mug is lifted and she takes a few quick sips of her now cold klah before she sets it back on the table. “I can understand O’rlen and Aerishani’s desire to retire from their duties here better now. It isn’t worth it. The knot. The work. I wish more people would understand that.”

“…On the one hand, you suggest that these concerns were unfounded, yet you term his actions ‘desperation’,” Nala says slowly, her eyes narrowing slightly. “No-one acts lightly in desperation, which now only leaves me to wonder what it is that he did.” She lifts her mug and takes a slow drink. “That you say you feel guilty for not informing anyone of what he was doing and state that your knot is not worth it in almost the same breath implies that either you have gone to great lengths to conceal something from me, or I have been remiss in noticing what has been happening to you.” She put the mug down again and sits back in her chair, her expression unreadable and impassive. “Are you going to explain, or must I continue to entertain scenarios in my head?”

Rori doesn’t move her gaze from Nala’s and her features shift slightly towards anger though it doesn’t enter her tone. “I meant that he was fool enough to go involve himself at Fort, as a leading form of desperation. Before Priska was even out of weyrling hood. And the knot isn’t worth the risk, do you not agree?” She shakes her head and tightens her hands against the mug. “S’ven believed that I’d have a change of mind about becoming the Senior permanently if I saw the benefit of him in my bed. He wasn’t blatant about it at first. It was the things he said and the way he said it. Sometimes making a point to say things that weren’t professional at all. He kissed me once and then later apologized for it. Does that indicate he was going to decide to attack the winner of Yedrith’s flight? Or that he was going to force himself on Priska? I honestly don’t know.” Her flash of anger has slowly dissolved into sadness as she looks to Nala. “I know you will be angry that I didn’t tell you when these happened. I wasn’t hiding it from you. I wanted to come home and not think about it. Can you understand? I’m sorry.”

Nala doesn’t manage to keep looking at Rori as realisation of what she’s been unaware of finally dawns, her focus too intently fixed on the contents of her mug. She doesn’t speak for what may feel like a long while, yet can be no longer than half a minute, and then she rises to her feet and begins to walk back towards the bedroom. “I am going for a walk,” is all she offers by way of answer, her steps unbroken as she starts to untie her robe and heads straight to the wardrobe to pull out the first pieces of clothing that fall into her hands. She must mean to go with Cinder, but the canine sleeps on across one of the rugs in the living area, oblivious to the fact that she’s likely about to be woken.

“Alright,” Rori’s answer is simple. Rori watches Nala and does not rise to chase after or impede her as she moves towards the bedroom. She had anticipated this conversation not going well and so has formed some responses to her believed reactions from her wife. She’s already dressed for the day. When Nala comes back from dressing, Rori has a coat for Nala and already has hers on. She doesn’t make a demand of joining her walk but it’s obvious enough that she intends on going with Nala and Cinder.

When she walks back into the kitchen and catches sight of Rori, Nala’s steps drag to a halt. She looks her up and down in silence, then almost seems to literally dig her heels in, her posture shifting, when she declares, “No.” Shaking her head, she insists, “You are not coming with me,” despite it seeming to cost her, her voice wavering. However, she still sticks to her convictions and tells her, “You have had time to think on this and to process how it makes you feel. You maintained your silence and took that time, and you do not get to watch or provoke me before I am ready to talk to you about it.” She must decide to forego a coat, giving her wife a wide berth as she heads through to wake up Cinder, who yawns and nudges her nose up under Nala’s hand as she rises.

“I wasn’t going to talk. And I’m not trying to provoke you,” Rori says and then steps from the door and heads back towards their kitchen area. She sits herself back at the table and keeps her back to the door. She won’t argue with Nala to take her coat. And once she’s left, Rori will stand up and clean up their table and the kitchen. She must anticipate Nala wanting more space, for she and Inaskashath leave Honshu for the rest of the day so she can offer it to her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *