Koi Pond
The dirt path worn smooth by the passage of many feet weaves in and out of tall, shady trees before coming to an abrupt halt at the edge of a sheer cliff. The steep rock face falls nearly a dragonslength before disappearing below the surface of the small pond tucked at its base where it continues down, making it safe for the daring of heart to attempt the jump. Trees line the cliff top, which dips and rises to offer views from various heights, and several ropeshave been tied to high branches for any who want to swing out over the sparkling water. A narrow path leads down one side of the cliff to a small rocky beach, and the opposite hillside boasts what could be a smooth, steep path, save that it leads directly to a drop-off several feet above the water. Above the path is a bucket attached to a convenient tree by a pulley - all the necessary ingredients of a mud-slide. The wind often whistles through the small valley formed by the hillside and cliff-face to join the laughter of the pond's visitors in ringing across the water's surface.
It is an autumn sunrise.
Rathan is here.

Rathan sits at the edge of the pond, idly fingering one of the smooth stones he's picked up as he watches the sun rise. Glancing down at the rock, he pulls back his arm and quickly launches the stone out across the water, watching it bounce once, twice and finally a third time before sinking beneith the water. Again another pebble is picked up and the process is repeated.

Linora approaches quietly, her steps slow but light, trying to soak in as much of Gar as she possibly can before she has to leave again... Rukbat's rays slicing through the trees leaving dappled patterns on the path, the warmth of the dawn air, the quiet sounds of the leaves and the water... She can hear the gentle splashing before she can see the source, but she's not really surprised to find Rathan here when she's finally close enough to see. And she picks her way carefully down the path to the pond's edge to settle on a large rock nearby. Lost in thought as he appears to be, it's possible he didn't even hear her approach, so she watches him in silence for a long few moments, a light breeze ruffling her unbound hair, a tiny smile lighting her pale eyes.

Rathan pulls his knees up to his chest, his free hand wraping around them before resting his chin on his knees. A soft sigh escapes his lips as he watches the sun slowly creeping up the horizon. Again a stone in launched, though he wasn't paying as much attention this time and rather than skipping, it simply results in a splash. Shrugging to himself, he picks up another larger stone, this time simply tossing it in to hear the splash.

"Hey, you." The greeting is softly uttered, but Linora's voice carries easily in the still morning air. She tucks a wisp of hair behind one ear, pale eyes still fixed on Rathan, waiting for him to turn and look back at her. "Shouldn't you be at work or something?" she adds, her tone gently teasing.

Rathan blinks a couple of times as he looks up from the water and picks his head up. Glancing from side to side, he tries to find the source of the voice. Finally it dawns on him to turn around. Twisting sideways, he turns his head to scour the path as well as the boulders behind him. And there, sitting on one of the rocks is the source of the voice. Not only that, but it's a Linora too! Breaking out into a wide smile, he hops up before giving his trous a quick brush off. "Lin?"

Linora's smile broadens, lighting her pale eyes as she tilts her head upwards to watch Rathan. "Yup," she replies brightly, since she never minds answering an obvious question with an obvious answer. "One of the riders wanted a warm place to swim, so I got him to drop me here on his way. There's always stuff in the archives t'keep me busy." Nevermind that she's not actually /in/ the archives just now... obviously.

Who cares about the archives, she can always make something up later. It's much more important where she is now of course. Continuing to smile, he picks his way across the shore to the boulder where she sits. Hoping up with her, he scoots close, of course just because he needs the space so he doesn't fall off. The obvious question has already been answered, so it's on to the next usual one. "How long you here for?"

Of course. Not that Linora minds how close Rathan is; as a general rule, closer tends to be better. She half turns to face him, one hand lifting to brush that bit of hair out of his eyes. Of course it falls back down right away--she'd known it would... maybe it was just an excuse to touch him? "Just the morning, I think," she returns quietly. "Whenever they've had enough of the sea and the sunshine." A little grin lights her face--who could get tired of that, after all?

Close is good, at least in his opinion. Sitting room isn't the only reason he's 'snuggled' up next to her. Smiling, he leans into her hand, rather unconciously as she brushes back his hair, giggling a bit as it falls right back to it's original place. "Well," he says looking at her, "I'm just glad that you're here." After all, every minute that they can get together is more than worth it. "And it's not too much longer before winter will be upon Reaches, is it?"

Linora obviously feels the same way, or she hardly would have slipped off to Gar for the day when she really ought to be sleeping. Well, she'll deal with the fallout tonight, when she can't keep her eyes open to chart. Right now she's rather stubbornly not thinking about it. "Me too," she whispers, then shakes her head. "Only a couple more months, really. And this season's charts are nearly finished." She might not be able to work hard enough to keep her mind off Rathan, but it's not for lack of trying.

Rathan nods, quite happy in the thought that soon she will be back here permanantly. Only a little more time before the happy day comes. Turning back to watch the sun finally rise above the horizon, he sighs contently. What could be better? Just sitting here with her, watching the sun come up. The fact that she will be leaving again soon is pushed from his mind as he turns back to look at her, the soft smile still upon his lips as his eyes meet her's.

Linora is watching the sunrise herself, leaning back on one hand, until she feels Rathan's eyes on her and tilts her head to meet his eyes. "Y'know... every time I see you it's harder to think of leaving," she says quietly, her cheeks flushing slightly. Suddenly she doesn't seem to be quite sure what to do with her free hand, idly twisting the ends of her hair between her fingers.

Rathan's hand reaches up to grasp her free on, his eyes never leaving her's though. "I know what you mean..." he answers softly. "I feel the same way everytime. But I know that it won't be much longer now..." And that's the thought that keeps him going. Not much longer before she's down here permantely, or as permantely as can be expected. With her hand still in his, he bends his wrist just enough to lightly brush her cheek.

Linora doesn't resist as Rathan takes her hand, her eyes closing at the gentle touch on her cheek. "Only a little bit longer, yeah," she agrees, almost as if she's trying to convince herself of this fact. Pale eyes open again to fix on his, and she gives him a little grin. "Course I'll be real busy when I get back and stuff... least I ought to be." Either finishing up her requirements, or studying, or even teaching if she's managed to finally earn that promotion. But it's better than being half a planet away, isn't it?

Rathan simply watches her for a moment, unsure of exactly how to take the last part. Eventually though he smiles and voices what she didn't. "Well, at least you'll be here and not at Reaches." It's certainly the better of the two choices. Quietly though, he continues. "Hopefully you won't be /too/ busy though...?" The statement comes out with a slightly questioning and unsure tone, as if he's looking for reassurance. He in the meantime, isn't as hard pressed since he left the craft. His time is a little more his own, and who's ever he wants to share it with.

Linora just smiles, reaching over to touch his shoulder--a gentle, almost tentative gesture. "Naw, I couldn't ever be too busy," she admits, finding his eyes. "There's lots of hours in a day... and a night." Her voice trails off as she speaks, perhaps imagining the possibilities... as might be evidenced by the little blush that creeps up her cheeks.

Rathan's smile brightens as she speaks, as well as what she leaves unsaid and only hinted at. Leaning foward, he quickly searches out her soft lips with his own, kissing her lightly before pulling back to look at her again. "I'm happy to hear that..." he trails off, leaving much unsaid. But it's all things they both already know. And now, only time will tell.

Linora barely has time to react to the light kiss; it's over so quickly. But she's smiling when he draws back to look at her, just so pleased that he's happy. Then she takes a deep breath, letting her eyes close as she slowly exhales. "I can't wait until winter," she whispers, slipping her hand behind his neck and leaning in to kiss him again.

Rathan can barely whisper, "Neither can I..." before his eyes close and their lips touch. His hand goes up to caress her cheek as the kiss intensifies. Pouring out all his feelings and passion, he attempts to try and express how much he misses her and can't wait for her to return. This time he doesn't pull back, instead letting his lips part slightly, his tongue gently tracing her lips.

Linora is drawn in completely, both arms slipping around Rathan now as she relaxes into that kiss. All the emotions she's been suppressing seem to bubble to the surface. Her breathing becomes quicker and more shallow, even as her own lips part, savoring the taste of his lips, his tongue. The time, the distance... all of it seems meaningless now in the quiet of this place--the sweet caress of a tropical morning, the gentle sounds of the water and the breeze, and not another human sound around them.

Fade to black...