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You're back?!

As first meetings go, it wasn't anything like she expected.

---| Waterfall Pool |----------------------------------------| Ierne Weyr |---
     Pleasant grasslands, interspersed with small trees, trail along the edges of the outlet stream and up to this pool's two open sides, giving way only at the very edge of the water to the underlying bedrock of Ierne Weyr. The remaining sides are bordered by high 'cliffs'. Steps in one wall lead to the diving point.
     The ground gradually slopes downward toward the small lake wedged between the cliffs. The crystalline waters lap gently at the shores; every boulder dotting the bottom is visible due to the lack of shrouding silt. On the shelf of bedrock that makes up the majority of the pool's bottom, the water reaches only four feet deep or thereabouts. However, a sharp drop of indeterminable depth, marked by a darkening of the aquamarine waters, stretches all around the waterfall that is the focal point of the area. Some thirty feet high and ten feet wide, the waterfall emits a constant dull roar audible from great distances and churns the water beneath it into white as it sends up billows of mist, soaking the nearby rocks and often rendering them hazardously slippery.
      The sultry summer morning shimmers with a blanket of high clouds dancing overhead.
People:      Linara          Molen          
Others:      Deck of cards        
Obvious exits:
Diving Point  Eastern Beach  Western Beach

It's a glorious day, made of all the good things at Ierne: warm sunlight, a warm breeze and temptingly cool water. Despite that, there aren't that many people around at the pool, having chosen to go to the beach instead, and the water itself is practically deserted. There's a small figure balanced on the diving point far above, standing stick-straight. Its knees bend, its arms fling with and it dives off in a perfectly graceful arc over the roaring water, back curved in a bow. For a second there, it almost floats, but gravity snatches at it and it enters the water in a smooth, slicing motion.

Bark. Bark-bark-bark-bark. "Shuddup." Molen, let it be known, was not one to turn down a long day of basking in the sun. He is stretched out in the brightest patch of warm light, not at all unlike a lazy bronze fire-lizard, eyes just closed for a half hour of warming and toning his long back muscles. BARK. Or, at least, that was the plan. Grunting angrily, the young man shoves himself to his elbows, glaring up at the canine standing protectively at his side. He spares a quick glance towards the waterfall where, apparently, something dangerous and evil lurked - or so Aoife was telling him through tone and posture. "You're seeing things, mutt. Go eat a wherry or something." With a contented sigh, the boy sinks back onto the cool grass, ignoring uncomfortable whimpers and whines.

Aoife might be right. The person emerges from the water, seal-slick with water, and makes its way out onto the bank. The head tilts, then the figure turns and wanders towards the noise of the barking. Along the way it turns into a female, one not seen around the Weyr for quite some time. Her feet doesn't make much sound as she walks through the grass, and eventually she closes in on the poor animal's position. Strangely-coloured eyes flick over its over for a second, and they widen almost comically before narrowing. Her mouth pulls into a deviously-curved smile, and she waits. He'll soon feel her shadow on him.

For a second, Aoife is quiet, body rigid but vibrating as the monster rose from depths of the waterfall pool but the sudden silence of the unusually vocal canine is a blessing to her boy, who wriggles closer to the ground to balance the heat of the sunshine on his back. Lips purse into a pout and a single hand raises, fingers snapping. "Aoife, come. You're blocking the sunshine." A warm, wet tongue lathers Molen's face in warm dog-spit, and it doesn't take him long to figure out that his lurking shadow is still there. Flipping over, he squints up into the sky, about to scold the smirking little girl who was "/Linara/?!"

"So I was right. It /is/ you," Linara murmurs, balance shifting to one hip with the ease of all females in their teens. Her eyebrows arch. "Yes, it's me. Surprise." She scans him up-and-down once, then an eyebrow arches. "Are you going to be nice and say hello politely, or shall we just get to the stomach-kicking and nose-breaking?" Full lips twitch before she points out oh-so-helpfully, "You know, you've got canine-slobber all over your face."

A thousand questions threaten to tumble from the boy, who is suddenly scrambling to get into an upright position, and completely missing the fact that he all but looms over Linara these days. "Where have you been? How are you? .../Where/ have you /been/?!" Okay, so it was the same question on a bad case of repeat, really, but she had the upper hand at the moment; surprise indeed! "I didn't see you offering any pleasantries either, evil wherry." The words are punctuated by a smile that quickly turns grimace as he realizes that he is, in fact, covered with Aoife's kisses. "Ugh. Stupid dog."

Oh, no /fair/! When did he turn into such a young tree? Linara looks up the five inches difference in their heights, eyes flaring just slightly. "I've been with the Hunters, mostly, and wandered around a bit. I'm quite fine, as you can see." She turns a small circle for him, then reaches up with a still-wet hand, rubbing the slobber off if he'll allow. "That's disgusting, none of the girls would kiss you if they knew. None of the boys either. But look at you! Did you eat some tall beans? I can't even call you a little runt anymore." Then, at the end, she favours him with a dimply smile. "Miss me?"

"I see that." Maybe there's a little more to that smirk than is first apparent as Linara twirls for him, maybe not. It's hard to say, for as quickly as it has come, it goes, replaced by a longsuffering look as he patiently allows the girl to fuss over him. "Oh, you worrywart. It's not as if I care about them anyways. Or see them! I'm in the kitchens a lot and they... aren't," he finishes lamely, shrugging and laughing, expressions coming much more freely to a face quickly losing its baby pudge to an angular jaw. "Good. You enjoyed wounding my pride /entirely/ too much, you know." His ripple of laughter fades, eyes becoming... wistful? Perhaps. "Yeah."

Linara turns to make her way back to her clothing pile, picking up a towel to rub at her hair before she slips her feet into sandals and returns, pixie-cut still spiky, though slightly longer. "I missed you too, you know," she confesses soberly. "It's just... wow. I never expected you to turn up so /tall/, or in the possession of beard shadow." She's back by then, towel over her one shoulder. "I think the pride-wounding went both ways, didn't it? I can remember a few times I was in tears over you as well." There goes that lazy, deviant smile again. "Are you still one of my minions, then?"

Linara, being a sharp girl, will probably notice that Molen's watching her every move, hazel gaze reading emotion between afraid she'll vanish off into the wilds again and something he didn't quite understand. A small smile tugs at the corner of his lips, arms crossing over his chest in a gesture of smugness. "Did you really?" An eyeroll is given to her beard comment, fingers scratching over the bristles in question. He really didn't enjoy the stuff, nor its constant itchy sensation, but laziness won over shaving in Molen's book. "Oh hush, you like it." Grinning to show he meant nothing by the glibe comment, Molen stares off into the distance, lips pursing as if he's trying to remember something too far back in the past. "Oh, yes. There was that one time. And that other time. Okay, and that other time. And- You know, Linara, I don't think we've made it through a conversation yet where we haven't decked or cried on one another." A snort. "You wish, small fry."

"I don't know. It looks as if it could scrape one something awful," Linara laughs before she too sobers. "We were pretty awful to each others. You were a right little prat though; you never forgave me for thinking you were ten, did you?" The look hasn't gone unnoticed, and she wisely chooses to pass the 'small fry' by with a snort and a direct "Why are you looking at me like that?" She looks down at herself, front ant back. Nothing sticking out where it shouldn't, right?

"Naw, it's just a little bristly. You can feel if you want." A slow smile creeps up around the corners of his lips. "No, I didn't. You were so mean. And I was so... so..." He was at a loss of words, but a helpless shrug sums up the feeling well enough in his mind. "Er? Like what?" Oh, he felt it now, that little twinge of fondness and caring that added that extra half inch of lid to the bottom of his eye and lended extra curl to the right side of his mouth. His expression smoothed. "Better?"

Linara reaches up to feel at the bristle, fingertips running to and fro over it to explore that jaw that's beginning to show, visibly fascinated with the feel. "It's so... /prickly/," she finally mutters, thumb teasing the edge of the smile before she lets her hand fall away. "You were a prat," she judges firmly. "But at least now you're a tall prat. I'm still stuck being an evil wherry." Pause. "Molen?" she finally whispers, just to prove her point, "Don't I get a welcome-back hug?"

Molen's slightly-off nose scrunches at the feel of her hand on his face, enjoyable but unfamiliar at the same time. "Prickly, bristly. A rose is a rose." A grin is offered to her, entirely too cheerful and pleasant. "And yet you still hung out with me. Evil /and/ stupid wherry?" Bright eyes suddenly go dim as they hood to look down at her more carefully, noting with faint amusement that she was so very close, head tilted back to stare the five inches that had sprouted between them. "I think I have a better idea," he slurs, focus already centered on her lips, a gentle hand tucking itself into her wet hair below her ear, should she let him. "Pleasedon'thitme." Leaning in carefully, he let his nose brush hers, warning enough of his intentions before he angled his head /just/ enough forwards and to the left that his warm lips could press to hers. He was surely going to get punched for this, but right about then, he wasn't much for caring.

Molen's slightly-off nose scrunches at the feel of her hand on his face, enjoyable but unfamiliar at the same time. "Prickly, bristly. A rose is a rose." A grin is offered to her, entirely too cheerful and pleasant. "And yet you still hung out with me. Evil /and/ stupid wherry?" Bright eyes suddenly go dim as they hood to look down at her more carefully, noting with faint amusement that she was so very close, head tilted back to stare the five inches that had sprouted between them. "I think I have a better idea," he slurs, focus already centered on her lips, a gentle hand tucking itself into her wet hair below her ear, should she let him. "Pleasedon'thitme." Leaning in carefully, he let his nose brush hers, warning enough of his intentions before he angled his head /just/ enough forwards and to the left that his warm lips could press to hers. He was surely going to get punched for this, but right about then, he wasn't much for caring.

Linara stills the moment those fingers of his slipped into her wet hair, frozen to the spot. Her hands are the first to move, lifting and settling against his shoulders as if to push him away. It's the gentleness that keeps her there though, and ever so hesitantly she lifts to tip-toes, fists still curled against him and showing no signs of hitting him yet. Her head tilts, just a little, and she presses more firmly against him, trying to learns the maneuvers of a wholly new dance. "Momo?" she whispers as she pulls away a little, lips trembling and leaning against her for balance, still wet against his sun-warmed skin.

"Mmm?," seems to be the only response a distracted Molen has to offer. His small smile is back, if not a little shy, scrunching up eyes that, like his fingers, can't seem to keep off her face. Tension he didn't know he had melts off him in waves, body relaxing against hers, free arm reaching around to help her balance, if she's willing to have it. "Er, sorry. That just... uhm. Well... Welcome back?" Suave.
Molen pages: She left, though, so I should be good from now on.

So /this/ is what it feels like to have someone hug you that isn't family. Linara takes a few moments to process the sensation, staring up at his eyes, his hair, trying to brand it back into her memory over the child's face from before. "Thanks," she mutters shyly before leaning closer again, placing a small kiss at the corner of his mouth where it twitches up. It shifts slightly inward though, and this time she's the one to initiate the kiss, arms sliding slowly over his shoulders and lips warm as she tries to recapture that strange, /strange/ feeling somewhere deep inside, as if something's squeezing at her emotions through her body.

A very soft noise accompanies her kiss, arm shifting to the small of her back, holding her close. He can feel her soaking his shorts, newly bought to fit his growing self, but... they'll dry. He's too concerned with the shift of her hands, the motion of his lips as he shifts a bit for a better angle and- he stiffens, exhaling once, quickly, as an amusing thought flickers through his mind. "This is a lot better than the last time we did this, you know." His warm breath tickles across her cheek as he speaks, but then his mouth is back again, brushing gently across her lips before pressing down, hard. "Works much better without a broken nose."

"You..." Shells, it's nice enough that she doesn't want to stop, and she doesn't, not for a long time. It costs her burning lungs before she pulls away, and she breathes against his neck, hot and a little erratic. "You don't taste the same," she admits quietly. "I can still remember and... it's not the same." One small fist thuds gently at his shoulder, and whilst her cheeks colour, it's likely only detectable as more heat against his skin. "Why did you do that?" she asks, naively curious, then admits. "The stubble /is/ kind of cute."

"Me?" Voice pitched a tone lower than usual, Molen grins, tipping her chin up to admire the color flaring across her cheeks. "It's you that tastes all different." He glances down in what he thinks is a subtle manner. "And feels. You've, ahm... grown. Up, that is. ...Sort of." Frustrated by his sudden lack of tactful vocabulary, he pouts through her questions, taking a long moment to consider before his shoulders raise in a shrug. "It just felt right? You were being all... /you/ and your voice was quiet and just. Hmm." Pout. "If you say so. It's itchy."

Linara looks down her body to the curves that finally showed up whilst she was away and she flushes again, this time scarlet. "They're just boobs and hips," she mutters, though there's a hint of genuine satisfaction lurking deeply in those strangely-coloured eyes of hers. She doesn't pull away from him, just stares, too captivated by his own eyes to mind the sun beating down on them, or the chance of people wandering by. "You really did grow up. I never thought you had a thing for evil wherries though?" There's a long sigh. "I didn't think I would miss you, but I /did/."

His laugh is sardonic, eyes rolling skyward before returning to their quest to burn this intimate side of Linara into his memory. "/Just/, hmm? You must not be around very many boys your age if that's the way you think." A stunned look crosses his face, quickly followed by a protective squint. Was she? She'd had time, after all. "Ha! I didn't think so either." Worry still creases his brow, but he's smiling as he drops a quick kiss to her forehead. "Really? ...Me too. A lot." His laugh is breathy this time as he glances away, watching the water ripple in the sunlight. "Poor Lishani had to put up with my questions for months. Then she left too. Did you know?"

"No," Linara mutters stolidly. "I was up in the mountains above Redtree Valley cothold on the mainland for most of two turns. I didn't know until I came back, and then I found everyone gone, and things so noisy and crowded I couldn't think and..." There, fears allayed and unspoken questions answered. She tries to slip away from him, but one hand reaches out to keep hold of one of his, if he'll let her, small palm marked with dagger-callouses and tiny nicks. "So," she asks after long, long moments. "Does this mean we're not going to fight anymore? I hope not," she says honestly. "I didn't suddenly turn into a gelatin-legged caverns-harpy, to sigh and ... do things like sighing. Didn't it ever make you feel warm inside, the fighting?"

"Oh. So that's where you were," he murmurs, jaw jutting out in a disgruntled fashion. "Yeah. Thing's've changed around here. Some of it I like." He emphasizes the 'some' in particular, glancing around them with more alert eyes to take in faces that he didn't know. Long fingers wriggle to lace between hers, shoulders rising and falling in a non-committal way. "Not going to lie, once Var finally high-tailed it, I stopped talking to most of these people." He doesn't mind the silence, using it to push himself past the grump that still lurked in the back of his concious. "Ohhh, no. You're not getting off that easy. You're still a snot-nosed, evil wherry who's too big for her britches." Pause. "In a manner of speaking. I /am/ rather fond of our 'playful banter.' Can't say I missed the feeling of your fist connecting with my face, though."

Linara slowly starts pulling him in the direction of the pool, reaching out for his other hand as well. "And you're still a pouting little prat that needs to be put in his place, even though he might actually fit into grown-up britches now," she retaliates, eyes sparkling with enjoyment. "I'll never break your nose again, but it was your fault for kicking me in the stomach, you know. Even though I tackled you. I've got much more effective things that I can do now. See?" She flexes an arm for him, and her bicep bulges somewhat, and her shoulder shifts in the most distracting way under all that golden skin. "How fast can you run, little boy?" she taunts.

Molen allows her to take his other hand, though not without a bit of trepidation. The water was /cold/, and he rather enjoyed the heat of the sunlight, but he wasn't about to let go of Linara's hands. "Never is a very large promise to make, lady." A bemused pursing of lips accompanies a raised eyebrow as she shows off her newfound muscles. "Ooh, I'm scared /now/." He pauses as if considering her question, glancing down towards his bare toes. "I dunno, I have pretty long legs. I could outrun you long enough." He steps forwards though, stopping just short of touching her, head tilted at a curious angle. "Or maybe I won't run at all. What then?"

It's a strange feeling, to have a boy - man? - loom so close that breathing makes you almost touch, and Linara swallows at the thought. "Then I'll just have to think of something else to taunt you with," she whispers as she stands on tip-toe to reach his ear. "If I were you, I /would/ start running. You did just challenge my ingenuity, after all." She treats him to that dimply smile again as she turns to stride into the water with nary a swish in sight, just a length of tempting spine. "Come on in, Momo. The water's great once you get used to it. You /can/ swim, right?" she tosses over her shoulder.

Molen's nose scrunches with his grin, and he's trying to be subtle about how he is pulling away from the tickle of breath across his ear and neck. He's not ticklish, noooo. "Nah. I enjoy a challenge." There's no hiding the way he watches her retreating back, though, a healthy mix of intrigue and interest. "Linaraaa," he folds arms over his chest, eyeing the water stubbornly. "Have I ever told you I turn into a bronze flitt come summer? I like to bask in the sun." He places emphasis on certain words, but already there's an edge of defeat to his tone. She wouldn't let him live it down if he stayed out of the pool. "Of course I can swim, wherryhead." And so, with a look of supreme disgust he waded out into the water with her, goosebumps raising themselves on his skin as he began to shiver. "T-there. Happy? I'm in."

Linara dives into deeper water as quickly as a fish jumps, and stays there for a good long while before she surfaces an inch at a time. There's a naughty grin as she finally gets her mouth clear of the liquid. "A bronze? Hm, I don't think so. Scipio's got you all beat. Maybe something punier, like a little blue." She's trying to stay out of his range, really, though he'll likely catch her if he lunges quickly. "You're turning as blue as one too. But yes, I'm deliriously happy." Hands and legs wave slowly to and fro as the girl easily maintains her balance.




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