Everything Hurts

Who: Nova, Akemi, Yukijiath, Maozheth
Where: Flight Weyr, Honshu Weyrhold
What: Maozheth catches Yukijiath.

To say that Nova has been enjoying herself since arriving at Honshu would be something of an understatement. Between Yukijiath’s hormones and her own – and some riders’ desire simply to say they bedded a Lady – she’s quite contentedly used the haze of it all to try and forget her troubles at home. By the time Yukijiath rises, she has little care to fight any of it, and just lies back on the bed in the flight weyr for anyone to claim her. What neither she nor her green are expecting is for those who were once their mates to be there, and for Yukijiath to throw the chase out of the proverbial window in favour of preference, but at least Nova is so far lost to all of it that she doesn’t note the possible consequence or what any of it means in the moment. It’s only when she regains her senses that she abruptly becomes embarrassed by her current shape and yanks the blankets up over herself to stare up at the ceiling.

Maozheth and Akemi have had little focus outside of the daily normal expected of them at Fort for the past turn (or longer, neither Akemi, and certainly not her blue have kept track). Rumor of her twin’s Impression has given Akemi reason to begin to travel to the Southern continent when her duties permit her the time. It’s been idle questions here and there, her being Lord Akio’s twin little known to those at Honshu and the other Southern Weyrs’ where she has spent time inquiring after the newest dragonrider to call Silverfield their home. One such trip to Honshu found Yukijiath in the skies and only after quickly stripping straps from Maozheth to allow him to chase. It is with no thought but to give her blue what he so deeply desires that has Akemi entering the flight weyr at Honshu. Akemi has always managed to keep some sense of herself during Maozheth’s flights – especially those since her arrival to Fort Weyr. It is with a deeply remembered intimacy that Akemi loses herself to Nova as their dragons tangle. Maozheth’s mind is alight with fireworks as he settles Yukijiath onto the ground. << Too long >> he tells her as he curls possessively around her. Akemi does not allow herself the continued intimacy as she comes to her senses as Nova yanks blankets over herself. She remains silent as she lays on the bed, staring at the same ceiling, not as concerned about her own nakedness.

As Maozheth curls around her, Yukijiath responds by delivering a sharp nip to his neck, enough to draw ichor and for her to lap at it before she makes herself small enough that she can be enveloped by him. << Do not leave me again, >> is an unrealistic desire, but she voices it anyway, twining her tail with his. Uncomfortable on her back or unwilling to let Akemi see what happens next, it’s not entirely clear, but Nova shifts onto her side and curls up as best she can, unable to stop the tears that follow or explain them. Try as she might, she can’t be quiet about it either, sobs rising from deep in her chest as she presses her curled fingers to her mouth to try and stop the sounds from escaping.

Maozheth’s fireworks spark amongst the darkness shared between he and Yukijiath. << I will do my best to stay >> he states as he curls his wing possessively over her body. He does not let sleep claim him right away, choosing to watch over Yukijiath for as long as he can fight off his fatigue. Akemi gives Nova a moment to cry without interruption and then she moves to curl herself along Nova’s back, her hand moving to soothe along Nova’s temple as she holds her through her tears. If any of her own tears fall, Akemi does not acknowledge it. She does not risk the intimacy of a kiss and pauses with her lips hovering near enough that she might lean into it before she pulls back from it. “Please don’t cry,” she manages to say, her voice soft, “I did not mean to make you cry.”

As Akemi holds her, Nova turns again, curling smaller to burrow her face into her collarbone. “I’ve messed up everything,” she cries, dragging in heavy breaths through her sobs. “//Everything//. I’ve done nothing right. Everything I’ve tried to do has gone wrong. They all left me here to do it all on my own and all I’ve done is mess it all up, no matter what I do.” She’s not cried for her family in-front of anyone since they died, only now she doesn’t seem to be able to stop. “I never wanted you to go; I never wanted you to give yourself up, not for me, not for anyone. I didn’t know what to do and I did the wrong thing and your brother hates me too. He wanted the title and he //despises// me, and I didn’t mean to get pregnant for years and years, if ever. I haven’t done the right thing for anyone and I’m sorry; I’m so sorry…”

Akemi continues to hold tight to Nova, saying nothing to stop the flow of sobs, or the accompanying words. She continues to gently rub at Nova’s face and back, soothing with hands where she hopes they will offer comfort and not stop Nova’s tears. “You aren’t alone in making mistakes, Zinovia,” her voice is firm – firmer and clearer than it has been in the past, “I made them too. I should not have hidden myself as Okami to let my brother have his way. I should not have let him manipulate his way into your heart. He is my twin. I know him best. I’m sorry he has brought such hurt upon you.” Her hand drifts down to settle on Nova’s stomach. “He has also given you the gift of children. Do not regret that.” She soothes her hands along Nova’s brow and adds, “Please don’t apologize to me. I wronged you, I broke us, I made the mistakes that cost you too much. I shouldn’t have run away… or divorced you. I shouldn’t have left you alone with him.”

Nova’s sobs eventually subside, though her tears don’t stop entirely and her breathing doesn’t quite settle into an even rhythm. Putting words together sensibly isn’t something that she’s capable of, and, unwilling to let another tangle of hurt and despair escape her, she just slides her arms around Akemi and holds on, trying to calm down enough to make proper sense, soothed by the bluerider’s touch. “…It was foolish of me to turn to him when I needed another heir. I thought… it was the perfect solution. And when we made Zio, I truly thought that he…” She shakes her head. “I hurt you, with him… and with C’aol… I should’ve let them take the Hold and we could have stayed here. Then none of this would have happened.” Gently, she touches a kiss to the curve of Akemi’s shoulder, then seeks to claim her mouth with hers.

Akemi’s hand reaches out to stop Nova from completing the kiss she aimed for. Akemi’s face has clearly aged since they’ve parted – hard lines grace her eye creases and her lips. “No,” she is firm in that delivery. “I wanted to love you as a man would. And then I was outed as a woman during Impression. I never recovered from that. Your people needed you. They never needed me.” She moves forward to press her forehead against Nova’s, taking a moment to inhale the scent of the greenrider to steady herself. “I was so used to Akio taking over. Of getting his way. Of being better. It would have allowed us a child of both our blood, only… my brother has always been power-hungry. I should have protected you more. I ran away instead.” It’s then she finally lets her lips meet Nova’s, gentle and not demanding. “I never stopped loving you,” she confesses, and then guilt overtakes her and turns her face away from Nova’s. “I’m no better than him. With the manipulation.”

Nova recoils when Akemi denies her, tension turning her into awkward angles as embarrassment touches her gaze and has her looking away in an effort to hide it. However, she doesn’t move from where she’s curled herself close, and can’t help but let another quiet sob wrench itself free as Akemi presses her forehead to hers. “I’ve never minded whether you wanted to be a man or a woman; it’s never mattered to me,” she says softly. Her fingers gently brush along Akemi’s ribs as she kisses her, and while she doesn’t immediately argue with her, she murmurs, “…How either of us feels… It makes no difference now, does it? You’re stuck at Fort and I’m stuck married to a man who hates me and the dragon he thought he wanted. I suppose the one good thing is that, if I were to divorce him, no Blooded heir-apparent is going to look at a twice-divorced Lady with three children.”

Akemi brushes her thumbs along Nova’s cheeks to rub the tears from her face. “Do you think he truly hates you? Or is he simply not getting his way?” she has to ask and then she kisses Nova’s temple. “I may not be at Fort forever,” she reminds her, adding, “and I have never been denied the freedom to visit people outside of Fort. I chose to stay away.” She brushes her fingers along Nova’s cheek as she cups it once more. “I wish he didn’t hurt you so.” She pauses for a moment and then she adds, “Three? Then you are blessed and your Hold is secure. You have done right by your people. How can you find happiness? You deserve it, Nova. I’d say more than anyone else.”

“What does it matter which it is, if it renders the same result in how he behaves towards me? Isn’t it worse if he’s not getting his way and thinks so little of me that he’s prepared to treat me how he is?” Nova closes her eyes as Akemi kisses her temple, and settles to a gradual silence, at least in terms of her tears. “Zaimika, Zio, and this one,” she murmurs with a faint incline of her chin towards her stomach, the last spoken of more dismissively than the first. “She still asks after you. Zaimika. She asks when you’re coming back. Home.” That threatens to set her off again and prompts a quiet, “I’m sorry; I didn’t say that to upset you.” She shakes her head a little. “I reached for more than I ever deserved. You should stay away and keep from getting tangled up in this again. You seem… more content, for Fort.”

“I abandoned them as well as you,” Akemi has more emotion to her voice than she’s prone to as she tips her head down to tuck her chin briefly. She moves to settle a gentle hand against Nova’s belly. “I wonder if us trying again… might be something you may want.” She lifts her gaze then to settle it once more on Nova’s face. “To save you the worry of the politics involved… and because of Akio… we could keep it secret. Just between us.” Her hand reaches to capture Nova’s once more. “And if you find the changes I have made since I have been gone get your approval, perhaps you could let me see them sometime. The children.” She shakes her head and eases backwards on the bed, tossing her arm behind her head to pillow it. “If only I could fix all the wrong I did.”

“…If he found out and decided to act towards you as he has towards me…” Nova takes a deep breath and steadies herself. “Is this not a problem I have caused? Marrying one of you and having the other too? Is this not all my doing? You would have been better off if you had never met me.” It’s not with self-pity that she states so, but a steady certainty. Twining her fingers with Akemi’s, she tells her, “I didn’t stop loving you because you went away. I was angry, yes, not with anything to do with the Hold, but because… because you made those decisions on your own, without me. It never meant I didn’t love you or that I couldn’t see my way to understanding why you had done any of it.” She nudges a kiss in against her jaw. “…And it doesn’t make that I didn’t go after you any sort of acceptable. I do want you back. More than anything.”

“I behaved as a fool and I jeopardised your safety. I made a decision I didn’t need to make. Looking to Fort… well, we can have peace of mind that were Zaimika to ever ask after her birth father, he is not the same man that he was when he made her,” Akemi answers. “Being at Fort has helped me. I needed to be back at a Weyr. I needed to find out who I was. I got lost in all of this.” She moves to wrap her arms about Nova, encouraging her down to cuddle against her chest. “I am back, if you want me.” She moves to kiss her gently. “Only if it heals your hurts and doesn’t add to your pain. I can’t come back if it’ll hurt you.”

“He hasn’t seen Zaimika in a long time,” Nova says softly. “Not that he ever really did, or that I gave him the chance. If he truly is changed… I would like her to meet her half-sister, one day.” Nova tucks her head beneath Akemi’s and winds her arms around her, pressing close. “I’m glad it’s helped you… And I’m sorry I couldn’t, before.” She tangles her legs with hers in the wake of their kiss and lapses into a brief silence, judging how honest to be. Eventually, she offers a weary, “Everything hurts, Akemi. All the time. But not this.”

Akemi lifts a hand to brush along Nova’s back in a comforting sweep. “I will help find a way for it to stop hurting, Nova. I promise.”
She kisses her again and then moves to cover Nova with a blanket. “We do not have to have all the answers now. We should take it slow. Besides, I don’t even know. How far along are you? Have you been very sick with the pregnancy? Are you listening to the Healers and taking it slow?” She shakes her head and doesn’t hide her smile that she directs at Nova. “So many questions. I am not sure where I stand with Isolwyn, I try and avoid her. I could ask someday, when her daughter is older, for them to meet. Zaimika and the half-sister, that is.”

“About six months,” Nova murmurs, snuggling down beneath the blanket with a content sigh. “…I was very ill the first three months, and the Healers made me spend a lot of time in bed. Not that I was really in much state to be out of it. I’m convinced Akio thought I was doing it on purpose to punish him for Impressing.” She presses her lips together in a thin line. “I don’t want to talk about him,” she decides. “Tell me about Fort,” she asks instead. “There’s no need for us to rush from here, unless they’re expecting you back. I gave no day for when I would be back at the Hold. We could stay a while, provided the Weyrwoman doesn’t decide to kick us out.”

Akemi cuddles Nova to her and she draws the blanket more snugly about her. She reaches for a shirt to offer Nova. “Not that I want you to cover yourself. You shouldn’t get a chill. We can always take it off later,” she adds with a sly smile as she moves to gather her own shirt over her body. Once she’s dressed partially, she fusses at Nova and tucks the blanket back around her. “Fort is more traditional than Honshu ever was. I take part in daily drills and sweeps..,” she continues to talk softly about the tiny life she’s built at Fort Weyr until she decides it is time to clean up and head out to find food outside of the flight weyr. If Honshu residents and riders notice the two of them spending time together, Akemi does not seem to care, for she keeps her hand firmly in Nova’s. It isn’t hard to secure a guest weyr for the evening. Akemi holds Nova all through the night, and fights sleep as long as possible, as she lets the truth settle around her – she has a chance once more to be with the woman she loves.

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