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Sic Transit Gloria Proddy

When Molen doesn't show up at his duties for a day or so, and the rumours start flying, Linara takes matters into her own hands.

---| Resident Dormitory |------------------------------------| Ierne Weyr |---
     A warm air circulates through the lengthened room, hindered only by the metal-tooled door that enters the almost narrow pathway. Quarters line either side of the room, some high ceilinged and natural, others carved into the stone and smoothed over by many turns of residents, each large enough to comfortably accommodate a single resident and their belongings; thick, heavy curtains cover each opening to provide privacy. Random tables run down the center of the room, ending in a circular chamber of comfortable chairs, and smaller tables. A warming hearth heads the room, providing a soft glowing light, and warming klah on most occasions.
      The summer afternoon slips away under streaky clouds of white, that form non-discernable patterns.
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People:      Linara          Molen          
Firelizards: Pantomime       Scipio         
Others:      Aoife                
Obvious exits:
Underground Stream Cavern

While Molen is not the most gregarious person on Pern, the people of the dormitories are accustomed to seeing his lanky form speeding from room to kitchens and back, or heading off to the pool to soak up the sun, or... at least going somewhere. The gossips have caught on to the boy's strangely reclusive behavior for the last day and a half, and have been spreading more than one nasty rumor, most involving him and the recently-returned Linara having one of their infamous rows. A new one has started up this afternoon though as the boy misses another shift at the kitchens to stay caged up in his room while his green fire-lizard flutters in and out of the room, a mix of irritablility and adoration. They're calling him proddy, and unlike the earlier rejoinders the boy would shout from his cot, this one he doesn't deny. "Stupid green," he murmurs from his hunched position over a very well-worn book. Pantomime only nuzzles closer to his chest, body quivering with a silent croon. "Don't try to butter me up. I'm mad at you right now. You'd better hope they stop lurking outside the curtain or we could both be in trouble."

Linara has found that it's better to pay heed to rumour in a place like Ierne; inevitably it turns out to be something that can bite you on the butt, and she had enough of that to last her a lifetime. When the second day passed without her spies (read: friends) reporting Molen's lack of presence in the kitchen and the first rumour, she started to get somewhat worried. Now that the second rumour's out though, she only sat until her task was completed before stomping down here, determined to shake some truth out of the whole situation. There's not all that much warning - Scipio's cheep as his mistress makes her way back into the resident dorms, a hand fluttering the curtain as she takes hold of it and a curtly announced "I'm coming in."

"Oh no, you aren't!" With a rustle of thin paper and a thud of the boy's scrambling body, Molen lurches to the curtain and grabs either of its outer edges, spreading his arms wide to block the entrance to his room. Pantomime, indignant at having been deprived of her cuddle, flutters out from under curtain at his feet and peers up at Linara with red-swirled eyes as if to say 'the nerve of some boys!' Molen couldn't care less, his own irritation bringing out his scintillatingly egotistical side. "I'm not coming out, either. Don't even ask."

Linara keeps her hand fisted in the curtain, putting some strain on poor material. "Hello there, Pantomine. Is he being an ass?" she questions calmly as she looks down at the little green, smile skewed. "Don't worry. We'll soon have him set to rights." The hand tugs gently. "Molen? Open this curtain right now so that I can see what's going on. If you don't, I'm going to kick you through it in precisely five seconds, and believe me you wouldn't want me not to see what I'm kicking at." She falls silent, then notes idly. "Or I can just hunker down and lift it, you're not holding it shut down there, after all..."

"Linara, seriously." Molen's voice is tense and bristling, teeth clenched against return threats he'd like to issue right about now. Pantomime sneezes from her position on the ground, bunching her legs and winging upwards to hover over Linara's shoulder, as if asking permission to land. This girl felt as if she was going to get rid of all those confusing emotions that were welling up in her boy; if that was the case, she was a friend of the little caboozled little green right about now! "Kick me if it'll make you feel better, but I'm not budging, and I'll stomp on anything that isn't green and fire-lizard-y that comes in under that curtain."

Linara holds up her shoulder in an invitation to sit down, should the green wish. "Molen," Linara counters, then reaches out the other hand to touch his through the curtain, rubbing gently as if he's a skittish runner. "Come on. I know you can't be having your period, 'cause you're not a girl, and I know it's not because you're so ugly you want to hide away. Tell me what the problem is. I'm worried, okay?" Pause. "Did someone say something mean to you? Just tell me who it was and I'll go and make them sorry they're currently living." Another pause. "Or is it true what they're saying, that you're like a five-year itch man that doesn't want to scratch?"

While Pantomime settles onto the proffered shoulder with glee, nuzzling Linara's neck if she'll allow, Molen remains as stiff an unmoving as before. "Did you really get /that/ far out of the gossip loop by going away, or are you being a stupid-er wherry than usual?" The words are harsh, but his voice has an edge of defeat to it. Behind that curtain, Molen is staring fixedly at the hand she is touching, half-expecting it to start glowing. Shells and shards if he knows the first thing about all this business! Her remarks had earned her several barks of humorless laughter, though in the long silence that ensued, it seems as if no answer is forthcoming. Then: "You were wrong the other day, about Scipio and that little green speed-demon. They're not the same at /all/."

Linara holds her cheek still. Whilst not as physically demonstrative as Pantomime, the girl enjoys the odd cuddle, and the touch is making her smile at least. "Man, Pantomine, he's ornery today, isn't he?," she asks directly of the curtain as she lets go of it with the clasping hand, which gets transferred to his other hand. "You can't blame me, can you? I've never had a green, so how was I supposed to know she's turning proddy?" Her voice is considerably sharper for the next. "This stupid-er wherry was concerned for you when you didn't show up to work. Forgive this stupid-er wherry for believing that people should look after their friends, or have you suddenly decided you don't want a stupid-er wherry for a friend?"

While she cannot possibly understand a word Linara's saying, Pantomime's tail flips to and fro in agitation, though she remains comfortably close to the girl's neck. Ornery indeed! "I am not!" Growling low in his throat, Molen invisibly hangs his head, though the rumple of fabric that marks his body sags a bit. "I'm not /blaming/ anyone, I'm just... explaining. I don't mean to be irritable it's just..." A rather unattractive noise is apparently what it is. Though its hard to see how they could, Molen's fists ball tighter around the fabric, charcoal hair becoming disheveled as he whips his head from one side to the other. "Quit putting words in my mouth! I'm sorry, okay? I really... I really wish I could just let you in and give you one shell of a hug, but I /can't/, Linara. Please don't be mad at me."

"Shards, what is your problem?!" Linara snarls. "If you're proddy, go and sleep with someone! You're not some blushing Holder, afraid of what's in him and what he's feeling, are you?" She sighs, long and aggrieved. "Have you seen yourself lately? It's not like most of the empty-headed tarts in here won't happily spread them for you! Haven't you done it before?" Little Linara's gotten quite a mouth over the last two turns, it seems, courtesy of the Hunters. "You little runt, your green is sitting /out here/, against my neck, whilst you're in there like a scared scatter-shell! Isn't this supposed to be the other way around?" Abruptly, she shifts her hands away from his and, quick as a feline's paw, darts it to the curtain to try and pull it open.

The mixed product of Linara's pull and Molen's infuriated tug sends the curtain skittering off to one side of it's rung, sheepish and abused as its owner does his best to loom over his friend. "/You're/ my problem, Linara! I /haven't/ done this before, and some sick and twisted part of me /wanted/ it to be with /you/, but not like /this/," he hisses, waving a hand vaguely at himself. His eyes are as hard as the topaz gems they so resemble as he all but glares down at her. "So excuse me if I'm a little blunt, and a little rude, but you're doing nothing but frustrating me right now. It's not appreciated." Anger spent, the boy's body falls from its rigid pose, and he backs from the doorway, head shaking. "I said I was sorry. Look, just... come in if you want, just don't expect me to be all... friendly. Not in the mood."

Linara doesn't back an inch. She just puts her hands on her hips and arches her eyebrows. "Now it's sick and twisted to want to sleep with me?" she asks, voice going dangerously quiet. "You know, I hadn't done it myself yet, since I wanted it to be special too, but I guess if I'm that sick and disgusting it's not worth the trouble, right?" She's just about to go on when he retreats, and for a second she freezes, touched by the vulnerability of the situation. She turns away from him and wangles the curtain back up as it should be, then quietly tugs it across the cubicle again, then sits down so that her back touches it, legs pulled up to her chest. "Come and sit down," she quietly orders. "Just sit back against me. You can handle that, right? We can just talk. One of the girls did this for me, once when Chelith went up and I was scared enough I couldn't see straight."

Molen hangs his head and breathes deep, fingers clenching and loosening a few times in an attempt to calm their shaking. "You aren't sick and disgusting. Quite the opposite, and that's... I didn't mean it like that," he stoops to pick up the book he had knocked to the floor in his mad scramble, carefully unfolding a few newly-damaged pages before setting it into his trunk, anything to buy him time before he has to come up with an appropriate answer. Unfortunately, thanks to this... /disease/, his room is already as clean and tidy and immacuately organized as he could stand to let himself make it. "This is just... making me feel like I'm something I'm not." This fear-filled sentiment shows as he glances her way, visibly stiffening at the mere realization that they were in the same enclosed space, never the less that she wanted him to be /touching/ her. "Sure." He sits as she commands, but stiffly, arms crossed over his chest even as Pantomime flitts to his bed to curl smugly on his pillow. "You were scared?"

"Of course," Linara mutters as she sits back against his back, sighing. "Like something coiling in your belly, right? They give most of the new residents here the talk, you know. I thought it would be okay, since I definitely wasn't interested in anyone that I could get, and I was /young/. But you know what it's like. I was so scared I would do something stupid, or that someone else would do something to me, that I curled up in my cubicle as well. I think one of the other girls heard me crying, and we sat like this until the flight was over, just talking. So that we could watch each other's back, see, in case?" She snorts softly. "This isn't the same, but I'll sit here and watch your back for you for a little while, and then I'll leave you alone until it's... over."

"Yeah... I understand that whole... feeling." Molen shifts uncomfortably against her back, arms uncrossing to allow fingers to wring nervously. "That was nice of her. I-" She can probably feel the sway in his back as he shakes his head, choosing words carefully yet again. "Thanks. I think it's helping a little." He laughs, a bitter quiet little thing as he glances to his trunk. "Better than staring at those pages without reading, at least." The word 'alone' causes a little twinge right around his heart that he doesn't know if he should trust, and so he fishes for conversation to hopefully preoccupy him. "What did you talk about? If you don't mind me asking that is." Shifting a bit, he reaches one arm back, palm up and fingers wiggling in invitation for her to take them in hers. He can't deny that he /needs/ contact right now, and this, he supposes, he can handle too.

Linara is keeping quite still, small back a firm rest for him, even if he's squirming. "We talked about all sorts of things," she reminisces. "What could take the stains out better in clothing, who we really liked, our next duty shifts, how /stupid/ boys ge... ahem. Just stuff so that we didn't have to think of what was happening to us." As the hand appears, she smiles and reaches out to squeeze it, twining her fingers around. "Say, did you speak to ... Kaelyn? Yeah, her. Did you speak to her about giving you any new recipes to try out? Is it just sweets you're good at, because I'm like a hungry, just-hatched flit for stews too..."

"Heyyy." Without thinking, Molen glances back over his shoulder, eyebrows drawn and face wound up in a pout. "You weren't by any chance lumping me in with the stupid boys, were you, Linara?" He draws out her name accusatorily, relieving his neck from it's craning position but giving her hand a gentle squish. "I did, and I especially asked after recipes with those berries, but she told me I needed to be patient." With a great sigh, he rolls his eyes, even though she can't see the jesture. "She obviously doesn't know I'm entirely too patient... But, oh, really? Stews are easy if you know what tastes good together. I've helped make a couple. You should stop by sometime... you know, once I go back." He flicks Pantomime a look. "Hurry up. I'm losing valuable kiss-up time because of you." The green snoozes on, or at least fakes so exceedingly well. "I don't know /how/ she can /sleep/."

Linara contemplates her toes, wiggling them in the rope sandals. "Well, you /were/ a stupid boy. Always getting slashed up by the firelizards and getting your nose broken and everything." She stifles a giggle against her knees, then shifts again so that she can rest her head back against his shoulder. "Closes her eyes and dozes off like the rest of us, I suppose. Seems it doesn't bother her in the least." She turns her head sideways to stare at his hair. "Hey, maybe that's why you're so uptight? Could be that because she doesn't jabber much she's just dumping some of this on you so that she doesn't have to be bothered by it? Or perhaps you're just more receptive than most?"

"They were my friends, even if you /were/ right about them in the end." Molen chooses to let the nose comment slide before one thought shifted to another and he was back at square one. "No, she's been marvelously unruffled throughout this entire thing. I mean... she got mad a couple times, but she came back really quick and was oozing love again." The boy pauses to consider her suggestion, head tilting as it had a habit of doing as of late, eyes almost boring holes in the greenie, as hard as he's staring. "You know, that very well could be. I mean... I don't know if they can do that or what, but... she /was/ rather amused when I was mad earlier. I'll have to ask someone about it." He sighs, face softening even as he concentrated on slowly relaxing the tensed muscles of his neck and shoulders. "Well. So long as she's happy, I guess. I'll just have to suffer through."

"Hey, lean your head back." With his longer legs out of the picture, their shoulders should just about be level enough for their heads to rest comfortably. "They're /firelizards/, right? I mean, if they look like dragons shouldn't they be able to be a little bit like that as well? And she did impress to you, so I guess anything's possible." There's a pregnant silence, then a sly, "Poor, sensitive Molen. Just wait until I tell everyone about how you're being brought low by a little female."

Molen does as he's told, leaning his head back and promptly burying his nose in her hair, inhaling deeply before turning to stare at the ceiling. "I guess so. There's just so much I feel like I'm missing out on with her sometimes. I mean... she's very demonstrative - has to be to get her points across - but... even when she was freshly hatched she at least made noise. As she's gotten older, she's stopped completely. Now she just sort of... vibrates a little, like a kittens pur, only without sound." He chuckles. "And sneezes. That's her favorite now that she's learned it makes noise." A huff is given for her comment, shoulders wriggling in admonition. "Shh, don't let it get out or people might /never/ take me seriously. It's bad enough they think I like them since I've loosened up a bit."

Did he just stiff her /hair/? "Maybe you make so much noise she doesn't have to," Linara counter-offers, voice still sounding faintly boggled. "I'm worried though, Momo. If it's this bad and she's not rising yet, what will it be like if she does? Will you be okay?" There's no mention of the possibility of Scipio catching, even if he should lift after his clutchmate; likely she doesn't want to think about it. Her fingers squeeze, once, and she laughs. "Don't worry, your secret's safe with me, at least until I need something from you. I'll have to make it good too, hm."

Molen will never admit that could be true, so he shrugs and offers a quick response of, "Maybe so." He is still for a very long moment, distant and almost calculating until at last he broke the spell, pad of his thumb tracing the small bones of hers. "I'd wager a couple marks that she's closer than she lets on. I'll be fine, no matter what." He wishes he sounded so resolved and sure as his words, but he simply /isn't./ "Good. So long as it's just blackmail between us, ask away. Gotta protect my, er... manly image."

Linara squeezes his hand one last time before she gets up slowly, holding on until he's sitting by himself. "You don't have a couple of marks to wager. I've a birthday coming up on a few sevendays, and I want something really nice as a gift," she teases. "Look... I'm going to go now, because it's going to get really strange if I stay here any longer. Just promise me that you'll be alright and if you're not, talk to someone. Don't hole up in here like a feline in a trap." She leans down to brush her hand through those tempting locks once, then makes for the way out.

Molen shifts around to face her as she pulls away, a slow smile creeping up on his face as he considers her bold statement with more seriousness than she perhaps intented. "Fair enough. You can expect /something/ from me, at least." Molen's face scrunches up in a rather feline manner, leaning into her touch briefly before giving his head a shake to, hopefully, settle the more wayward locks into place. After a second of consideration, he draws himself to his feet too, rising on tiptoe in a stretch. "I promise I'll take care. And Linara?" He seems to hesitate, on the verge of saying something temendously important, but then he just smiles great big and plops onto the foot of his cot. "Thanks."

Linara smiles as she turns the corner. "You're welcome! Next time just open the curtain when I tell you too." She pauses, then adds, "Minion."

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