Finding Room


Ahnika.jpg Merendezen.jpg

Date: 7/23/10
Location: Weyrling Barracks
Synopsis: Zen finds Ahnika studiously examining the barracks and they realize that they are both Candidates now. Conversation ranges from an awkward discussion on friendship to the cramped quarters in the barracks.
Rating: PG
Logger: Ahnika

Eastern Weyr: Weyrling Barracks

Set back into the northeast corner of the Upper Bowl, this cavern is huge. With a doorway wide enough to admit a very large brown or a small gold, it balloons out into an almost round room. Along the walls are couches carved out of the rock, some bigger and some smaller. Next to those couches are small, utilitarian cots. In the center are rows and rows and rows of similar cots, only a wide aisle seperating them from the couch-cots. Space is at a premium here, for both Candidates and Weyrlings must share space until another barracks can be dug.

Toward the evening of Day Who Knows of Candidacy, as more Candidates drift in from their chores or dinner or the baths, Ahnika is a rare image of stillness at the back of the barracks, staring down the aisle in between the rows of cots, her arms crossed under her bosom and her expression one of supreme concentration. She doesn't seem to acknowledge anyone coming or going or passing her as she stands there, and perhaps they just assume be about their own business anyway. After this lengthy moment, she finally stirs, but this is just to weave her way through to the next aisle over, and there she stands and gives the aisle another considerable long look.

Merendezen is moving into the barracks one hand trailing through damp blonde hair, green eyes are upwards and generally ignoring his path. Luckily anyone who is in his way move to avoid him until he finally looks to see where his cot is. Ahnika is spotted and a brow lifts. "What are you doing in here sweetcake?" Oh yes, that's his form of greeting as he drifts over to attempt to see what she does. "And what are you doing?"

Apparently, Ahnika is either so engrossed in whatever it is she is staring at in the barracks, or she is just not making the connection of “sweetcake” to herself. So, there is a little moment of apparent catatonia before Ahnika blinks herself out of it, “Hmm? What?” She looks around, seeing Zen, and blinks quickly again, momentary lost by his good looks and presence. He probably gets that a lot. “Oh,” another blink, and finally a smile. It’s the kind of sheepish and shy smile someone gives after waking up from a wonderfully deep sleep beside someone for the first time, all cozy-like. Zen might be familiar with that kind of smile, too, if his reputation is any indication. She takes him in another moment longer, looking up at him—something she doesn’t always get to do with men considering her own height—and notices the knot. She brightens a little more, “Oh, lookit,” and then gestures to her own Candidate knot, “Something in common. How have you been, Zen?” The last is asked as she returns back to her study of the barracks, and seemingly in particular, the aisle between the cots down in front of her right now.

When Ahnika doesn't respond right away, Zen instead continues to move closer until his presence is felt. Or something to that affect. He gives a mock salute as he's spotted, smiling easily in return for her smile. "Hello." He dips his head once, in a form of greeting as he waits for her to join in on a speaking level since it's no fun to simply talk away at someone with no response. A look to her knot and he nods, "congratulations. Enjoying it so far?" He chuckles, "we have a fair bit in common, sweetcake, it seems. I've been… Well, interesting. One way to put it. Not that I don't mind all the work that they have us doing… I prefer fixing things." He turns his attention, looking to see what she's searching for. "What are you doing? And how have you been? Find someone to teach you?"

And there he is smiling at her as Ahnika turns back to regard him when he speaks, and the redheaded teen raging with hormones is momentarily lost in that smile, too, before she gives herself a little shake, and blinks again. His mojo is starting to suck her mental faculties a little. Then she gives another smile, this one genuinely friendly and casual, not so much with the coy. “And congratulations to yourself, as well, then.” She chuckles softly and gives a small shrug, “It’s not too far different from what I was already doing, really, well, maybe a few things different. So, I suppose so. It’s nice to finally be knotted something anyway,” a hint to her need to feel involved and significant in some way, needed. Her grey eyes sweep up to his face, the gaze settling there, seeking his own, and a single eyebrow arches a little in curiosity, “Interesting, eh?” The fixing things seems to strike something of excited alertness in her frame and she suddenly looks like she is ready to pounce him, opening her mouth to say something but is forestalled by his last questions. The excitement fades as she considers her answers, and her expression wars with that consideration, seeming to slip from eagerness to melancholy, and all in a matter of a few seconds. She toes her boot against stone floor a little, and then shrugs, “No, not yet, but since Candidacy, the urgency isn’t quite what it was. They’ll never allow me out, even if I do know how to hunt.” She rubs her neck a moment, “I was considering asking someone else, actually, but … “ but that person kicked her to the curb, her expression twists painfully, briefly, and then she just shrugs again, sighing and reluctantly admitting, “It’s … complicated.” Then, as if trying to segue smoothly into a more preferable change of subject, Ahnika gestures to the aisle in front of them, “As to what I’m about, well, look for yourself,” she says, as if that explains everything. Then she adds, “Look at these barracks. Tell me what you really think about them.”

Merendezen's smile grows into one of his lazy little grins, the less charming one, but still possibly enough to melt a teenage girl. "Thanks. I apparently smell right." His shoulders roll in a bit of indifference. "Ah, you did general chores around the Weyr before? A knot makes things fill official and… Set." His brows lift expectantly as he turns a look to her, searching her face briefly before brows settle and the smile grows. "Interesting. Learning new things…" He trails off at that, watching her expression change and then there's mild concern drawn onto his brows for a fraction of a second before indifference returns. "They likely won't allow any of the Candidates out, we're too important to be risking our lives when a dragon could, potentially, want us. It is a shame. When we're done, and if we are not attached to a partner, I would be glad to teach you." There's no price tacked on this time, "if this complicated person continues to make complications, at least." Green eyes flicker away, examining the barracks before rolling his shoulders. "I see the Weyr trying to shove many people into one area to designate their ranks. Though there aren't any Weyrlings at the time… There will be. I just wonder how it will work with Candidates and Weyrlings in the same area. How jealousies will not spark anger."

Not seeming to get the smell comment, since, really no dragon was involved in her own Search. Ahnika’s brows furrow a little and she looks up again at him and returns the lazy grin with another flash of her friendly and slightly distracted smile, “Well, I notice nothing wrong with your smell, unlike a certain bronzerider I know.” That inside and likely unfair barb done, she continues, smiling softly at Zen, and shaking her head, “Thank you for the offer, but I don’t know if I can afford your asking price, Zen, to be honest.” Remarkably, she is not blushing at the thought. That could be intriguing for some. What’s changed? “Unless I am actually luckier and more skilled with hunting than I am at fishing and get those pelts you requested.” The corners of her lips turn down in a thoughtful frown, remembering how she nearly lost Ciara’s fishing rod in the river. She is lost in that memory for a moment until she hears him giving his assessment of the barracks and the arrangement, and then she looks up and out, surveying once more. “Mm,” she says at first, nodding, then adds, “I think we can fix this up better. Look at the wasted space,” she gestures, and to the immediate glance there wouldn’t appear to be any wasted space as crammed in as they all are, so someone might think she is mad, unless they see it the way she is looking at it. “We could possibly double the number of cots in here, or just give the ones we have in here more breathing space, whichever is better. They’ve gone about this all … “ she furrows her brow, stalling on the insult that was about to be issued, “well, all in the rush they were likely in, I suppose. We can definitely make it better. Don’t you think, Zen?”

"That's what I said." Zen notes, rolling his shoulders once more before looking to the woman with a lift of his brow. "I was offering to teach you for free. But, if you don't want that then I guess I'll retract my offer." He considers, then, shrugs. "I may not need the pelts anymore." One must wonder what changed with the man, or, if he is simply bored because his expression reads that at the moment before he turns his gaze to scan the barracks. "I don't see the point in trying to cram so many people into one area… You have to keep in mind, sweetcake, that when the eggs hatch there will need to be space for the Weyrlings and their growing dragons. Especially with the larger sized dragons…" He turns his gaze to her. "Unless you mean to make more room for the Weyrlings while shuffling most of the cots meant for Candidates closer together. I'm not sure many would appreciate the loss of space. Some people like to whine about such changes."

The commentary on the barracks is lost as other Candidate’s reaction to the hunting lesson refusal visibly startles Ahnika and she suddenly puts her hand out toward him, and attempt to put it on his forearm in a reassuring manner, “Oh! Zen, I’m sorry. Really. I didn’t mean to … err … “ what? Kick him to the curb? Now she’s doing it. She frowns, mentally beating herself for a moment, and then she takes a breath, exhaling slow and trying to regain some composure. It doesn’t seem to work as her flurry of words are all flustered, “I didn’t mean it like that … I … it’s just that … well, you know … I didn’t want you to think … and I didn’t want to mislead … and I was afraid that … someone might … oh shells! He’s got me all … sharding discombobulated,” and cussing, too, apparently … whoever “he” is. Bad Ahni. She looks up at Zen again, looking appropriately contrite, “I’m sorry, Zen. Look, I’d love to go, if the offer is still there. In fact, I’d love to go anywhere with you,” dangerous words, perhaps, but either she doesn’t seem to notice the implication in them, or she is speaking genuinely. A pause and she throws out, “I just want us to be friends.” Because anything more would severely complicate her already complicated life right now. Her grey eyes look at him somewhat imploringly. “Can we?”

Merendezen's brows both lift as her hand is suddenly making contact with his arm. "You're sorry? For…?" He presses this, watching her with a deceptively straight face. If he's at all amused by the poor teen's plight, he won't let her see. "Didn't want me to think…? Mislead me into what…?" He looks down at her, staring intently with green eyes boring into hers, or, rather staring, intently. Look at that smolder. "Sweetcake… Sweetcake…" He shakes his head, leaning down. "Pick your words carefully, please? I'd hate to take advantage of you. We can be friends, sure… But, what is your definition of a friend? Mine is, most likely, different than yours." His voice has dropped considerably, a low whisper for only her ears, a hand lifting to stroke a finger along her cheek. "Can you tell me what a friend is to you?"

Yes, indeed. That smolder. If her heart wasn’t already starting to sink for someone else, and she didn’t already have a good idea about Zen’s reputation, Ahnika would be in more trouble than she is right now, and Faranth bless her she is in a pickle, especially as Zen leans in to whisper and strokes that finger along her cheek. “Uhhh,” she starts, completely lacking finesse and probably sex appeal too, with that deer-in-glowlight look. Okay, now comes the blush, deeply flushing her high cheekbones, burying her freckles in the shade of it. She blinks a lot and looks away, smiling bashfully, “Uh, well, umm. I wasn’t weyrbred, Zen,” she says by way of explanation, “I’m afraid I’m not as … liberal-minded in some things.” Though she is learning to be, it seems, especially lately.

Merendezen waits, patiently for her reaction, watching as she blushes and turns her attention away. "Neither was I." Is his softly breathed reply, his finger strokes once more and then all contact is cut off. He steps away, close, but respectable. Hands are in his pockets as if he's not touched her at all and he's looking around the barracks as she was previously.

Goosebumps appear with that second whisper and caressing finger and draws a faint frown on Ahnika’s face, and as Zen steps away and removes all contact, she feels startlingly bereft, and blinks at herself in surprise, the frown fading. She glances back toward him, watching him looking around, and then clears her throat, trying for awkward indifference as she explains, “We have far more ceiling space than needed,” a hand gestures lazily, “What if we bind the cots on top of each other, at least the Candidate ones.” Bunk beds, in other words, “You are experienced in such things. Can it be done? It’d give everyone a little more breathing room, and if absolutely necessary, more room to fit more cots in this place.” By the end of her suggested solution, Ahnika has regained much of her composure. This is practical business, after all. She’s much better at that than at defining friendship.

Merendezen tilts a mild look in her direction of stacking the cots. "They should be built like that if one wants to do such a thing. It's not always safe to simply stack a cot onto of the other without extending the posts or the legs. Otherwise, one could easily be crushed to death. Unless it were made of metal, it could be shaped more easily…" He shrugs, "that'd be more of a job for a smith, sweetcake. To make proper metal cots that won't lead to certain death if they were built one on top of the other." And then, he looks in her direction, his expression indifferent as he shrugs.

Apparently, she’s never minded the term of endearment Zen has bestowed upon her, and she’s not about to now. Ahnika is far more interested in his thoughts of her idea, and his opinion is highly regarded in this, but his seemingly indifference to it leaves her feeling a little deflated. She nods once, and looks back at the barracks as a whole, “You don’t think it should be done?” And she punctuates it with a look towards him with her grey eyes, and an arched eyebrow.

"Sweetcake… If you think it's a good idea, then suggest it. It'll simply just take more time and effort to rig the beds to be proper without potentially hurting or killing anyone." Zen shrugs, focusing his green eyes on the cots. "You'll also need to find storage for the candidate's things. Most generally tend to stash their stuff under their cot…"

“I got that part. Thank you,” Ahnika says, without any bite to her tone, and steps forward to reclose the distance between herself and Zen, looking up into his face, “But I asked you what /you/ think of my notion.” She squints up at him a little, not the narrowed gaze of someone irritated, more the squinted look of someone trying to riddle something out. “What’s wrong?” She asks suddenly, her tone soft and gentle, an attempt to be disarming.

Merendezen casts a brief look towards her, nodding as she seems to understand as he repeats himself once more. As she looks to him, he turns and considers the cots. "Generally, I don't care. I am rather easy with my life and therefore can adjust as needed. It will take up less space for the Candidates when the Weyrlings start getting into place if that's what you're seeking." He shakes his head once, "nothing. Picturing how to get this to work without anything going wrong."

Ahnika continues to scrutinize him a moment longer, not as a scientist does with a bug under a microscope, but more like a friend studying another friend, assessing and gauging to make sure they are hale in every sense. Finally, either she is satisfied with his reaction or Ahni just simply doesn’t know Zen well enough to even begin to guess, the consummate problem-fixer redhead just sighs a little, relaxing. “Well, perhaps with the smiths all occupied with other priorities, and us not really being able to safely work it here on our own, I suppose it’s moot,” she still seems preoccupied with this, either out of disappointment her idea doesn’t fly or she is simply trying to figure out a way around it. “But perhaps when the smiths are done carving everything else out and are finally just on basic maintenance, we can suggest they go ahead and make these kinds of beds so that if we have a particularly large clutch in the future, we’ll be ready.” That gets a “done” nod, punctuating it and freeing her mind to start tackling some other perceived problem. That very well could mean Zen, himself, since she immediately turns her attention back to them, “So, did you enjoy … handyman work, Zen?” Ahnika asks, kind of out of the blue.

"You could suggest it to the Headwoman or the Weyrwoman, they might listen if it helps with the transition of Weyrlings and Candidates while the other barracks are still being dug. They may put a temporary pause on other projects to finish this. It shouldn't take too long." His hands lift from his pockets, turning a curious gaze to the young woman beside him. "Well enough. I prefer working with trade items, carving things by hand, building things. Hunting." He waves a hand in almost a dismissive manner as he ambles towards his cot finally.

Nodding, Ahnika says, “Good idea. I may just do that,” smiling a little and lapsing quiet as he continues, talking about his work. When he starts to walk away from her and toward his own cot, she follows. Who wouldn’t? Look at him! “Why’s that you suppose?” She asks, not seeming ready to go anywhere, herself. But neither is she trying to crowd him, either, keeping appropriate space between them now, “Like working with your hands?”

"Probably the best we can do at this point, sweetcake. Lest we want to count it as a very well done, smart, and hard to reverse prank." Zen flashes a teasing grin in her direction, settling on the cot and he shrugs. "More control. Creating things allow you to clear your mind."

The suggestion of a prank actually pulls a smirk from the redhead, but she doesn’t comment. The difference in their approach toward labor is interesting as well. Fixing things help occupy Ahnika’s mind, keeping her distracted from thoughts she’d rather not think about - usually. So, it’s not really all that surprising that Ahnika seems rather stumped at that, never having thought anyone would want to process things through and clear his mind. “Huh,” she says at first, a statement not a question. “More control is better, though, you’re right there.” As he settles onto his cot, she looks back toward hers, across the rows, and then back to Zen, “So, I’ll talk to the Headwoman,” wanting to see Indira again anyway. Another nod to Zen and she adds, “Thanks, Zen. I better go settle in for the night, too.” And with this, she turns, heading back toward her own cot now.

Merendezen watches her process her thoughts, lifting a brow. "It's easier to control your hands and do more precise things when you're used to the smaller movements that are required for some crafting." He smiles, tipping his head back and closing his eyes. "Alright, sweetcake. Sounds good. Sleep well darling."

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