Selling E'ro


Ahnika.jpg Rocio.jpg

Date: 7/26/10 (IC: Ahnika's first night in the Infirmary, after "normal" hours, following Ruined and Healing All Wounds and PoTAYto PoTAHto)
Location: Eastern Weyr: Infirmary
Synopsis: Rocio comes in that first night Ahnika is in the Infirmary to change the glows out, and they end up in a deep conversation about men and relationships, with Rocio doing a very convincing job of selling E'ro to Ahnika, whether that is what he really wants or not.
Rating: PG
Logger: Ahnika

Eastern Weyr: Infirmary

Long beds and examination tables are placed strategically throughout this room, each having its own set of curtains to give some sembance of privacy when needed. The walls are lined with counters, each housing cabinets containing the necessary items Healers need to do their jobs. A small sink fills the east end of the counter: the one nearest the entrance to the bowl. The entrance is sloped so as not to allow the sun to shine in the patients' faces. At the far west end of the Infirmary, a small darkened tunnel curves around to the larger rooms where the dragonhealers take care of their draconic patients.

The late evening in the Infirmary brings with it the usual quiet one might expect, though it is kept lit as necessary in case of an emergency. Still working on the contents of the darning basket that is nestled next to her on the Infirmary bed, Ahnika is up much later than any of the other patients. But darning socks is a quiet business, at least.

Priorities are set by need. Rocio walks into the infirmary and takes a look around, noting most of the people are not using their dimming glows, except to sleep by; she will then carry her baskets toward the woman who has the yarn and the socks. As she approaches, she'll parse out of the shadows, Ahnika's features. "Ah. Hello." Rocio inclines her head, "Why are you here?"

Hearing the voice, Ahnika looks up from her work, recognizing the other young woman though uncertain if she ever got her name. She manages a tight, polite smile, moreso for the question and what it means for Ahni than for any genuine bitterness toward Rocio. The smile fades with a soft sigh and she sets half the work down to lift one hand to rub her eye. In the process, she turns her head a little more toward Rocio and shows off the little bandage covering the knot on her forehead. “Clumsiness,” Ahni answers finally. There’s more to it, of course. A lot more. But that’s all she gives by way of explanation for now. Eye rubbed, she puts her hand back to the task at hand and asks, conversationally, “How have you been?”

"Fine, thank you." Rocio intones, lifting the fading glow from its holder and setting it carefully within a wrap, on the top of her two nestled baskets, before taking a fresh one out from underneath. She'll settle that one in. "Candidate's knot?" Both brows quirk up, not so much in suprise, but in question.

The redhead continues to work, not liking to be still with nothing productive to do. But Ahnika can work and talk at the same time. So, she says, “Yeah,” then smirks, “I was surprised myself, really. It just never occurred to me.” Then she pauses a moment and looks up at some distant point ahead of her, “But once I made the decision, I came to realize that suddenly, I really hope to Impress, and I’d wondered why it never came to me before.” She looks to Rocio and lifts a brow, “That ever happen to you? Missed something big in the picture until you got hit over the head with it?”

Rocio thinks about that, even pausing in her own private momentum of glow-changing. She'll settle a hip down and rub her chin through the cloth. "I feel like sometimes I'm not sharing the same reality that everyone else is sharing… Often. So perhaps that is a similiar feeling. Did you ever straighten out your feud with E'ro?" The black eyes flick over to the nearest glow, then down again, to Ahnika. "I want to Impress too. Seems there's going to be a lot of eggs and maybe… We can hope… Not so many Candidates. I wonder," she offers back her own speculation, "If dragons go for 'second best' - someone who is not their first choice, but if that choice is taken… The next one that might do."

There is a glance for Rocio’s knot as the other young woman talks of Impressing, and Ahnika nods with a smile containing a bit more warmth, “Congratulations,” and finishes hearing out the other woman before speaking, taking up her darning work as she listens. There is a little bit of quiet as Ahnika chooses her next words carefully, “Right so, it’s entirely possible. Second choice.” She doesn’t seem to like the possibility, however. She takes in a small breath and exhales, shifting in her position on the bed a moment before shrugging, “I suppose you could say that E’ro and I have called a momentary truce.”

"Good. He seems like a fine man." Then again, all things are relative and Rocio already explained /her/ version of reality. "Second choice or first. Still a dragon." The 'r' on 'dragon' is rolled out, extolled, as if this might emphasize the vitality of the meaning of the word. She'll move to the next bed to Ahnika's right, an empty one, and uncover the glow, so as to change it. "I'm still to do my… This duty, mostly… Haven't been awake during the day much. Have there been more Candidates Searched?"

To the first statement, Ahnika pauses in her work again, looking at Rocio as if she is trying to gauge if the other woman is joking or not. Finally, she slowly and carefully shakes her head. “Not from what I’ve seen of him so far,” Ahni says. But with an internal and unseen nod toward her mentor, the redhead adds, “But … it’s recently been suggested that I may have been a little … hasty … drawing some conclusions. So, I’m willing to give him some kind of second chance, I guess, to prove my thinking wrong.” She punctuates it with a shrug, “If he has a care to.” The dragon comment doesn’t get remarked upon, for some reason, and instead Ahni seems happy to chatter about Candidatehood during the day time. “Oh my, yes. There seems to be new ones coming in all the time! Every day, in fact!” She goes back to her darning, “I had some ideas about the barracks being altered some to help fit everybody better, but … “ another little shrug and she lapses quiet.

"I find it difficult," Rocio admits, "To sleep in there. So," she'll send a quick look over her shoulder to the younger woman, "I'm hiding out to try to sleep, during the day, so I can get this done without looking like I was beaten." A gesture of a finger highlights the darker circles under her eyes. "I'm to train the lads working with me, so that I can get to being a Candidate with the rest of you." Zylle's very voice, actually, seems quite upbeat. "What have you seen of E'ro, that has him marked as wher-kind in your estimation?"

Ahnika nods as she listens to the other Candidate, appearing sympathetic to the plight of someone who has odd sleeping schedules. “Well, I hope you can get to being a Candidate with the rest of us soon,” Ahni says generously with a soft smile, and then goes back to her work, somewhat studiously. “You mean other than using children to try and manipulate people and shield himself from accountability?” She asks, a hard edge coming to her tone for that. She pushes the needle through again and draws it out, “He’s a mischief-maker, a liar, and that makes him out-of-control and dangerous,” sayeth the control freak. “He makes fools out of innocent people and tries to get others into trouble. What’s worse, he seems to have no remorse for when someone actually gets hurt.” At this, she puts her darning down again, “Did you know he put oil on the stairs? Not here, but in another weyr? And he doesn’t even seem to care of someone falls down the and gets hurt, or even breaks their neck.” She frowns, “He doesn’t think things through as to how it might impact others around him. He’s irresponsible.” Then she repeats again, “And dangerous. He needs a firm hand and to be brought to heel, or one day someone is going to get even more hurt.”

"He's a /boy/, Ahnika. You can't expect them to act like girls. Men. Women. Same thing. He's -male-." She shrugs. "Dangerous. He's dangerous. Did he ever hit you?" Rocio asks, slanting a look over to the other.

Shaking her head, Ahnika is already disagreeing with the other girl, but she politely waits until Rocio is finished speaking before she speaks herself, “I’ve seen other men, and boys, behave responsibly and sensibly. To say it’s something male or female oriented is just … .” Ahnika frowns, trying to put the words together, “It’s making allowances and giving them excuses. No one excuses a woman when she is going through her courses, cramping, bloated and miserable, and yet still expected to behave appropriately. And that’s the way it should be. The same goes for men, I say. It is one thing to play harmless pranks. I should know,” Ahni says, warming to the topic now, “growing up in an overcrowded cothold of fosterlings. But it’s another thing to play a prank or be deceitful and it hurt someone. There are lines everywhere. It’s just a matter of teaching him to see which ones he should and shouldn’t cross.” The latter question draws a thoughtful frown and she shakes her head, “No, not yet,” not entirely sure he wouldn’t do so should the occasion call for it. “He did toss me over his shoulder and carried me off unwillingly like a sack of tubers, though.” Her tone indignant now, and then she frowns, trying to riddle out how she got drawn in this discussion anyway, but she doesn’t say anything. Yet.

"Sounds like he's flirting with you." Rocio returns. "Trying to impress you, provoke a reaction. The story, with the children… That was nothing less than sweet, really." Rocio moves to the next glow down, repeating the changing of it, with the same care of the glass. "The men and boys you've known before… Probably weren't trying to get your attention. Men, they're like young runners. Ever watch the stud-colts in the field? They're all looking over at the fillies, and then they run around doing stupid things. But when it's just one stud, they're not so bad. Act better." Rocio straightens, stretching shoulders. "The more men they are, or the more important they are, the more badly they are behaved, but that does not mean they are /bad/. Sometimes," Rocio allows. "Sometimes they are. There's a difference between that, and your E'ro."

‘Your E’ro’? Her E’ro? That just quite simply stuns Ahnika … and not just into stupefied silence but also into stilling her hands. Go Rocio! But Ahnika is staring at the older teen just the same, neither really looking like she thinks the other girl is crazy (as before) nor looking startled by the idea. She’s just sort of dumbfounded for a long, very long moment, soaking all that in and processing it. Overthinking it, really, because suddenly she looks suspicious, “Did he send you in here? Is this some sort of prank?” Despite the accusation, there’s actually no bite to her words, just plain inquiry. As if this is just the sort of thing she would expect from E’ro and it is simply her cross to bear.

"No. I come in every night." Rocio actually chuckles. "I change the glows." She does just that, next bed down. "But if I were interested in having a man, I'd be interested in that one." Nimble fingers unfasten the ebbing glow; Rocio seems like she is always in a quiet motion. "If he did not respect you, he'd have not gone through the trouble of telling the story. Of asking for a way to apologize. He's a /man/. He does not know how to communicate."

First Indira wanting Ahni to give the man a second chance, and now Rocio. There must definitely be something in the water here. Still, while Ahni doesn’t know Rocio well, Indira’s words of wisdom do carry a lot of weight for the redhead, and for all that she has gone through recently over sentimental feelings, Ahni actually thinks this through some. It would actually explain the one thing she’s never been able to come up with, that is, why he would even bother with her so much. Why the persistence. Something clicks into place for her finally and she blinks at her lap, intoning, “He … Searched me.” Sitting up a little more, Ahnika draws her knees up to her chest under the sheet and worries her lips a little, “He didn’t even do it with a dragon. He just … wanted me to be a Candidate.” Now she flicks her gaze to Rocio, and adds, “He said he was wagering that I would Impress and said that if I did, I had to let bygones be bygones and forgive and forget, and accept his offer of friendship. But if I didn’t Impress, he would never talk to me again.” She frowns, but it’s a frown of confusion and not of displeasure. With her ego so dreadfully wounded lately, and her reputation ruined so thoroughly, it is kind of nice to hear of a guy actually trying—even if in such a backwards way—to win her affections. This is nearly too much. And finally she says, “I don’t think he respects me. If he did, he wouldn’t have tossed me over his shoulder like that.” She sniffs a little, disdain in her mannerism, but her expression is otherwise cloudy with uncertainty. “You really think he’s … that he likes me … in that way?” She asks Rocio.

"Yes he would. Guys… Are physical. We talk. They push each other." Rocio has evidently long been a student of humanity. "That's exactly what I'd expect a guy to do, if he can't have his own way. They don't know how to… Win a woman's affections. So they are loud. They try to be noticed. They push each other, and then look over to see if we are noticing. And if that's the only excuse to…" Here, her voice catches for a moment and Rocio pauses for a moment, before nodding, as if giving herself permission to keep speaking, "To touch a woman, that's what they'll do. Carry her like a sack of potatoes. That… Isn't so bad, really."

This conversation is definitely distracting Ahnika from her work, which is something to be said. She rests her chin on her knees and wraps her arms around her legs, chewing on this information longer and seeming intrigued by the other woman’s seeming wisdom when it comes to men and relationships with them. At the last part, Ahnika shakes her head slightly, and rolls her eyes, but a small chuckle comes out, “Speak for yourself. I didn’t like it, personally. His shoulder hurt my ribs until he agreed to set me down.” She wrinkles her nose a bit at the memory, “And he smacked my bum, too.” Still, this is all sort of fascinating and she asks, “And what of men who don’t do that? Don’t try to … overpower you? Give you space, even perhaps push you away, saying it is for your own good? Yet, do everything to make you think they actually care about you, and respect you, and want to … look out for you.” She’s rambling now, “Hold you and make you feel safe and cared for … but won’t … swear to keep you as their only love?”

"That wasn't overpowering…" Too quickly said. Then Rocio stills for a moment, before she'll seem to draw breath and look directly at the glow. The light burns, afterlight in her mind's eye, better than the image flash that had been there. "Well. That is overpowering. But not… He wasn't…" Rocio has to stop, and she puts the glow that she'd picked up, down, before she straightens and reaches behind her, to rub her neck. Finally, looking over at the gal in the bed, Rocio speaks quieter. "He didn't beat you up. He didn't just see you as a conquest. An object to be subdued. He was playing with you, Ahnika. He doesn't realize how big he is, or how much stronger. He did not use that strength against your weakness. Maybe you're hurt, and I suspect he'd feel badly if he knew. But he did not /hurt/ you. To make you do something. Do you see the difference? He's much closer to… To the man who holds you and makes you feel safe and cared for…" Then she's looking past Ahnika for another minute. "Don't belive those either. Actions… Speak so loud, so you cannot hear what they are saying. And actions do not lie. E'ro… He holds children. He tells them stories. He asks you for ways to say he's sorry. He Searched you, to give you an opportunity you might not otherwise ever have."

Ahnika watches the glowtender carefully, and seems to hang on her every word. She doesn’t shift from resting her chin on her knees, though her fingers fidget with her toes through the fabric of the sheet. “I dunno about that,” Ahni disagrees, but gently, “I felt pretty ‘conquered’ there, swinging from his shoulder for all the weyr to see.” A moment’s pause and she concedes, “But I guess I sort of pushed him to it some, now that I think about it. I wanted to finish my chore and he wanted me to go get knotted right away. So, maybe he wasn’t trying to hurt me. I can see the difference there.” She chews her bottom lip, looking down at her hands. It’s the final statement that draws Ahni’s attention back over to the girl, seeming rather quite moved by them. She knows E’ro lies, but doesn’t seem inclined to point out that particular inconsistency in her logic. Instead, she says, “You speak so well of him. Like a trader might of prized spices.” She tilts her head a little, looking at Rocio, “You … admire him, I think.”

"I do." Rocio admits. "He is… Cute. In a boyish sort of way. Seems… Safe, to me." She shrugs. "Understand, Ahnika. I come from a different world." Hints of weariness there. "And I see things differently than you do. To me, E'ro is like a big playful colt, not aware of what's happening, but meaning no harm by them. To 'train' and 'control' him might be to… Break the spirit that makes him so delightful. You are a Candidate, woman!" Rocio adds, stepping back over so that Ahnika can see her in the light. "You live at a Weyr. Why do you want to put Holder values on people who made the choice to leave those social mores at home? E'ro is charming, entirely, as E'ro. Do I want him… Wooing me? No. I am not ready for a man's attention again. Not yet. Maybe not ever. But he likes you, and he means no harm by it. Enjoy E'ro for himself. Not who you want to make him into."

Again, Ahnika stills, her grey-eyed gaze sweeping up to take in the other woman as she speaks. For the first time since she met E’ro, she is actively trying to look at the bronzerider in the way that Rocio seems to see him. Even in her conversation with Indira, there was no real romantic or sexual suggestion about the man. Indira simply wanted Ahni to cut E’ro some slack. Rocio, however, seems to see an entirely different E’ro and wants Ahni to see him that way now. So, Ahni does try. Cute? Well, yeah, maybe. Safe? Well … Ahni has a very different definition of ‘safe’ from Rocio, or so she thinks. She chews on her lip again, and finally nods a little, stirring from the deep thoughts the other girl generated within her. “You’re right. I would be trying to train or control him,” she says, glancing up, “But if so, it’s not because I want to break him. It’s because I’m terrified of his unpredictability … of him being out of control. Of him hurting someone.” And then, unable to stop the words from tumbling free, “Of him hurting me.” Her voice cracks with the last statement, but she licks her lips, swallows and manages in a normal tone again, “You’re forgetting one thing in all that. I am not trying to control or train him. I was perfectly willing to just avoid him entirely. Let him be his free and unbridled coltish self, if that is what he wants. But no, he is … . “ she leans back against her pillows now, freeing her legs and letting them sink back down to the bed, “pursuing this … whatever it is. I don’t know if I could ‘enjoy’ him for himself if that is the sort of disruptive, risky person he likes to be. Don’t you see?” Ahnika says, actually appearing imploring toward the other young woman, “You make it sound like I am wanting to break him, his spirit. I was perfectly willing to let him ride off, without bridle, saddle, or rider for that matter, as free and spirited to his heart’s content.”

Standing there for a long moment, Rocio finally offers her hand, or perhaps the gesture is meant to ask for the other woman's hand.

Ahnika blinks a little, but does extend her hand to Rocio. She watches carefully, not for suspicion, just curious.

The veiled woman's fingers are fine, calloused, but strong. She steps a bit closer and then draws Ahnika's fingers up under her veil, her own fingers guiding the pads of Ahnika's. There's skin. Smooth. Then there's skin that wells up in unnatural twists. Brief, is that touch, but sliding from high on Rocio's cheekbone to where jawbone nearly meets lips. "This." Rocio pulls both their hands from under the veil, her soul-black eyes staying on Ahnika's, "Is when a man hurts you." Her fingers pick up strength and then flip Ahnika's fingers over so that they might touch the cloth of Rocio's vanbrace, on her left forearm. Under that cloth can be felt more welts, in a more organized design. "This is what comes of bad decisions, in reaction to a man's hurting you. What E'ro does… Is /flirt/. And you choose to hurt yourself, or not hurt yourself, Ahnika." Then the pressure of the other woman's fingers is gone, and she's straightened. "All he wants, is that he is him, and you are you and the two of you are friends. He does not mean to hurt."

Ahnika arches an eyebrow as the other woman lifts her hand, but as she brushes Ahni’s fingers across her marred flesh, both face and arm, that curious look is wiped clear away, replaced instead – and rather insensitively – to a horrified expression, if perhaps a little sympathetic. Ahni will be more sympathetic anon, when she is over the initial shock of it all. She does manage some tact at least, and not allowing herself to fulfill the urge to wipe her hand across the sheet, as if such a thing might be catching or something. Instead, she just sort of rubs her fingertips together vaguely and relaxes them and her hand, at her side. She regards the other woman a moment longer and finally murmurs, “I’m sorry,” not really knowing what else to say. What /can/ one say to that revelation anyway?

"Don't be. " Rocio returns. Her eyes narrow slightly. "Someday I'll uncover them. I'm not ready. Yet. I am still healing." There's no real rancor in her voice, and she'll straighten, her own hands maybe betraying her words, because they seem to bury themselves in loose cloth. "I just want you to see… Being 'hurt' by a man. Or feeling hurt, because a man is not who you want them to be… Are two different things. Do you see? E'ro…Is charming. If I … Had not… Lived the life I've lived, I'd have a terrible crush on him. I would… Envy you his attentions. And," her chin drops just slightly to her chest, though her regard stays on the redhead, "I don't want you to throw away a friendship, because you are too willing to 'hurt' yourself over perceived wrongs and slights. He is like my brothers. Exuberant. Charming. Brilliant. And I'd counter you, that he's responsible, though you remember his misdeeds. — Do you see?"

Ahnika listens to the older girl, giving her her full attention, though Ahnika’s hands do fidget with the sheet at her midriff a little. She tilts her head, actually seeming to think Rocio’s words over and giving them considerable weight, mulling them in her mind before responding with a slow nod, “I … think so.” And really, Ahni doesn’t feel like she has much right to talk about being hurt after bearing witness to Rocio’s trauma. At least not right now. She straightens her head and says with a small, sheepish smile, “I uh, just realized I don’t think I know your name. Yet you know mine … thanks to E’ro, I suppose.”

"Rocio." Supplied. That name, she'd considered changing after her own crime. But that name, too, was the only thing that her family gave her, that she was allowed to keep, and keep it she did. "Forgive him. Forget. See what he has to offer. But your E'ro, he is not a tunnelsnake lying in wait. He's a man, he's a dragonrider, he is a fighter and poet and flirt and if he has made a bad decision… Who amoung us has not?" With that, and a shrug, Rocio heads over to fetch her baskets, and heft them before she turns. "Hope you're feeling better, Ahnika. Congratulations on the Candidate knot, no matter who gave it to you. It's still white, and it's still going to let you Stand, won't it?" One might imagine a smile under that veil. One would not be wrong.

"Rocio," Ahnika repeats, that small smile remaining and she inclines her head a little toward her politely, though not enough to cause her pain from her bump on the head. To the last bit of advice, Ahnika remains quiet as she listens again, and at the very end, with mention of standing, Ahnika draws her knees up once more, resting her arms across them and her chin on top of that, watching Rocio collect her baskets and prepare to leave. "True," she says gently, and then adds with a small wave of farewell to the other woman, "And good luck to you on the Sands, as well. I … hope you find what you're looking for. What you need."

A hesitation, there, before Rocio pauses on the threshhold between the infirmary proper and the healer's hallway. "I don't need anything, Ahnika. I have me, and I haven't gotten sick of my own company yet. Everything else… Just cream in the klah. But thank you." Then she, slightly illuminated by the green-glowing fungi that rubs off on her, heads off.

Closing Credits Theme Music: KT Tunstall - Other Side Of The World

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