Desert Isle Beach
Of sand and stone, primarily the former, this small isle's beach seems to unbelievably stretch on forever. Worn by crashing waves, relentless winds and even Threadfall, the land is nearly flat except for the odd sandy ripples and a vague impression of low hills further more inland of the barren isle. Be it plant or animal life, both are virtually nonexistant but for that which resides in the rock-strewn ocean shallows.
It is an autumn noon.
Blue Zylpheth and blue Cerdith are here.
Kh'ryn is here.
Sweating and tired, Zylph is the one who leads the way towards a resting spot. This day's sweeps has been more troublesome than others, considering the heat of the sun was doubled by the lack of wind. Wingtips curve so that a downward spiral is inevitable. Kh'ryn doesn't halt his blue from his landing, as he too has had enough. Hand lifts, and he motions to the Wingleader where he's headed.
Cerdith peels off from the small group as well, dragon and rider both ready for a rest. They're nearly finished in any case. The little blue backwings neatly, crouching a bit to let Reiko slip off his shoulder. She tugs off helmet and gloves, running her fingers through sweaty hair as she drops to sit on the sand with a sigh.
Kh'ryn takes a moment to rest his tense body before he too slides down from his dragon's back. Jacket is automatically stripped off, as is helmet, gloves, and even his tunic follows. "It's too sharding hot!" exclaims the blond haired man, leaning against Zylph's heaving side. Eyes glaze as he communicates with his lifemate, and with a chagrined look, he pulls himself up and goes to undo the blue's straps, freeing the beast so that he too may strip off, and perhaps delight in a swim. After that's been taken care of, Khor turns to see who else has joined him, and waves across the beach towards Reiko and Cerdith. Long strides take him to their side, and he grins, "Decided to rest before returning too, huh? Don't blame ya. With the amount of sweat we're carrying, we'd emerge from ::Between:: a popsicle.."
Reiko has been wrestling with her own jacket and tugging off her boots, but she pauses to look up at Kh'ryn as he approaches with a finely arched brow. "Something like that," she agrees, finally relenting to Cerdith's insistent little nudges and hauling herself up to remove the blue's riding straps. "We /could/ fly back straight..." she adds, talking while she's unbuckling, "but I'd have to listen to Cerdith begging for a swim the whole way back, and then I'd end up in that frigid lake." She makes a face and drops to sit again, tugging off a sand-filled second boot as Cerdith slips into the water, bugling after Zylpheth. And then the jacket is off at last, leaving the bluerider in a much cooler-looking camisole, and she flops to lie on her back with a sigh, shutting her eyes against the glare of the afternoon sun.
Kh'ryn feels comfortable enough, (and tired enough) to flop lifelessly down beside Reiko, totally unaware of the sun striking off the woman's glistening skin, or the way the sandy background highlights the healthy flush on her features. Instead, he scoops up a handful of fine, beach sand and allows it to stream through his fingers. "Yeah.. Zylph wanted to swim too, but he doesn't usually beg me to go anymore.." The rider grins and shrugs, his own bared shoulder rolling with the motion. "He realized a while back that I'm not as fun when I'm /not/ wanting to do what he wants to do.." If that makes any sense at all...
Reiko frowns lightly without opening her eyes. "If Cerdith worried about whether I'm having fun, he'd never ask me to go into that lake at all," she muses, opening one eye at last to fix on the blues cavorting in the water. Which she's being informed is /much/ warmer than 'that frigid lake', in case she's interested... hence the noncommittal but audible hum that doesn't really relate to anything Kh'ryn said, and her eyes slip closed again. "So how've you been, Khor?" she asks conversationally. "We haven't talked in ages." Not that they ever talked all that much, really. And she either doesn't care to mention or simply doesn't remember the awkward ending to their last conversation.
The other bluerider watches their dragons cavorting too, raising a brow at Reiko's comment. "Really?" Kh'ryn asks, curious. "You mean to tell me that Cerdith doesn't worry 'bout how you feel?" Geez, if only Zylph would be that... thoughtless.. or independent. "Zylpheth always worries about me, and whether or not I'm having fun. He's like this big kidlet that just has to have my approval for everything.." Well, except that one flight, where he got stuck in the weyr with Khena.. But, that's not the point right now.. A shrug dislodges that thought, and he blushes at the woman's next statement. "Well, I'm doing fine. Been keeping myself busy, training for the Weyr games that are coming up. Haven't really seen anyone lately, so you're not the only one who hasn't talked to me.." Though he does realize that Reiko has been less a priority than say, a certain pregnant brownrider, or Skylark, and this causes him to focus more attention on the woman. "How have /you/ been?" he then asks, seriously intent, as though that will make up for him lack of friendship in the past.
Emerald eyes blink open in surprise, and Reiko turns to look at Kh'ryn. "No... of course he cares how I feel." She frowns a little, then half-shrugs. "Just... not about swimming, I guess." Her eyes fix on Kh'ryn's now, and a twisted little smile curves her lips at the sudden shift in her clutchmate's attention. "Fine, really," she replies easily. "Same as always, really." Meaning she remains blissfully oblivious to the effect her actions have on the people around her. She shifts to face him then, pushing up onto one elbow and propping her head on her hand, the other tracing random patterns in the sand at her belly--flat, thank Faranth! She's not about to end up like half the other female riders she knows, not least of all a certain brownrider who Reiko would personally have voted Least Likely To Breed. But whatever.
Kh'ryn nods innocently, his bangs flopping with the movement. "Well, that's good to hear. I have to admit, I was a bit shocked to think that your dragon wouldn't care about his actions.." Yes, that was totally innocent statement. Really! Khor doesn't have it in him to be snide, or condensending. Plus, in truth, he doesn't know Reiko all that well. Blue eyes just happen to travel downward at the woman's fingers action, and a brow clentches in thought. Some memory skirts his mind, something brought back by looking at the other rider's hands.. What was it again?? He shrugs it off as nothing, nodding again at her response to being fine. "Though what's 'same as always'," he then asks, curious, gaze leaving its previous resting spot, to turn upwards again.
Reiko doesn't take offense, being comfortable enough with herself that she doesn't even recognize the connection. And if she notices anything unusual in Kh'ryn's expression as his eyes drift to her hands, she doesn't let on... although she doesn't stop the random motions either, long fingers digging into the soft sand almost caressingly. "Same as always?" she repeats questioningly, rolling one shoulder a bit without seeming to notice the effect the motion has on the flimsy camisole she's wearing. "I don't really know how to answer that," she admits, her smile turning a bit sheepish. "Nothing particularly wonderful or particularly miserable has happened to interrupt the way my life normally seems to be." Does that answer the question? Reiko's notorious for evading questions.
Personally, he finds that really ... boring. Of course, once again, Kh'ryn doesn't know much about Reiko's life, so of course that mention of 'everything' normal does sound dull to him. However, he is a polite sort, and so doesn't comment further than nodding again, adding an "Ahhh... I see..." in there too. His words, however, are not only shortened by his politeness, but also by the fact that his gaze has once more alighted upon the woman's body... this time, namely, her slowly bared shoulder. A faint flush starts to creep its way over his cheeks, and the blond man unconciously gulps. Well now.. Ugh.. What were they talking about?
Maybe Reiko's life is boring. That doesn't seem likely, though, from the gleam that lights her emerald eyes as she notices where Kh'ryn is looking... and the effect that it seems to be having on the man. "It's all right if you don't see," she says lightly, amusement evident on her features. "Hardly anyone ever does." Some people take that better than others, of course. Her fingers inch their way closer to Kh'ryn now, ostensibly still tracing those random patterns in the sand. Just.. closer.
Another gulp follows the first, and blue eyes now watch the slowly moving fingers. Kh'ryn isn't too sure what to say now, as his mouth has suddenly gone dry, and it's not because of the hot weather. "Maybe," he states, swallowing, his gaze darting up to stare into her dark orbs, and then back to the moving fingers... "Maybe I want to see... I mean, you know.. get to know you better.." Blush darkens fiercely and he barks out a laugh. "I mean... Not like that! But just.. You know.." A shards.. Just what is he trying to say anyway? That he wants to be friends? That he'd like to be more than that? Does he even /know/ what he's asking? "I just want to know what makes you ... you..," he finally spits out, and though that too might have been stated innocently enough, there might just be the slightest bit of undertone to that statement too.
Reiko's fingers stop their motion, her hand coming to rest on the sand near her breast. "I'm not sure there's an easy answer to that, either," she admits, meeting his gaze evenly. "You might not like what you find..." So someone's not entirely oblivious, after all. "But you might enjoy the journey." The last comment, quietly uttered, fairly drips with innuendo. There are risks Reiko will take. Outright rejection is much easier to deal with earlier than later, after she's begun to trust.
Kh'ryn's not far enough gone to completely be taken in by that offer, and brow scruntches again as he ponders her words. "What's not to like?" he ends up querying, curious to see why the woman thinks so negatively of herself. "You certainly seem like a very.. ah.. serious person, and you're surely not afraid of hard work..." But, that's about all he knows about her, isn't it? Therefore, why not try this journey on for size, at least for part of the path, in order to learn more about her? His gaze stays even too, and he nods. "Fine. Then start me off on that journey... Tell me... What's your favourite color?" Probably not the question she was expecting, he's sure, but then again, she doesn't know Kh'ryn all that well either... He may have a few tricks up his own sleeves.. even though, at the moment, he's not wearing any.
Well, it's not technically speaking a rejection, and a long moment of silence follows. Reiko's gaze drops to her own hand then, almost thoughtful. "You'd find something not to like, I'm sure," she adds quietly. "Most people do, eventually." Her gaze is almost defiant, though, when it returns to his face, and her jaw is set. "It doesn't matter, though." And then the mood passes as if it were never there, an odd little smile warming her expression. "I don't think I had a favorite color before Cerdith," she admits. "Blue."
Kh'ryn watches as the woman ponders his questions, and at her quite negative reply, he can't help but reach out to lift her chin. When she admits to liking blue, he grins, still holding her chin, one finger stretched out along the smooth line of her jaw, and he states, "What a coincidence. See, I like blue too. Now, that makes two things I like about you. Haven't seen anything I dislike yet..." Pfft. There. Tilting his head, he removes his hand, that finger sliding across her cheek as it goes, and the blond man shrugs. "Of course, I could keep asking you questions, just to see..." Is that a teasing sound in his voice?
Reiko manages not to flinch at the unexpected touch, but a wary expression flashes across her eyes. "Two?" she echoes, unconsciously leaning into his touch as it's withdrawn. "What's the other?" The twisted little smile returns, perhaps to mask the slight nervousness she usually feels whenever someone starts picking away at the mask she wears.
The blond haired man leans back and shrugs, still grinning. "Mmdunno," he mumbles, stretching out into a laid-back position, his upper body propped up by his elbows. Head is tossed back, and Kh'ryn closes his eyes against the brightness of the sun. "Guess," he suddenly tells her, after a few moments of silence. "If you can guess what it is, then maybe, just maybe, I'll...." He'll what? Khor turns his head, eyes blinking open again, as he replies, seriously, "I'll kiss you. Because, lets face it, someone who thinks she's unlikable needs kissing... and often... And by someone who knows how."
Reiko just blinks at that. "Guess...." She frowns deeply, mentally going back over the conversation--such as it was--to figure out what she missed. "I'm not good at guessing," she says at last, her tone mildly irritable. Her free hand lifts then to pull the strap of her camisole back onto her shoulder, then pushes a chunk of hair behind her ear before dropping to the sand again. "And I never said I was unlikable." Did she?
The grin widens into a smile, as Kh'ryn realizes that the woman beside him is doing just as he assumed. "Really...," he states, glancing at her again for a split second, before looking away with a sigh. "I could have swore that you were good at that... Guessing, that is.." ...
It takes a moment, but Reiko slowly regains her composure, that twisted little smirk returning to her lips as she relaxes into the sand, her arm now curled under her head to cushion it. "I'm good at a lot of things," she replies coyly, "but guessing isn't one of them." Something about limited powers of observation (ahem), or perhaps a lack of willingness to guess incorrectly. "But I'll wager you wouldn't have offered if you didn't want to... whether I need it or not." Darkly smoldering emerald gaze fixes on him then, perhaps daring him to contradict her.
Kh'ryn looks confused for a moment, unsure of what turn this chat has headed. It stays for a moment, and then he shakes it off with a shrug. "Well, then you should try it more often.." The guessing, that is. Now, about that kiss... Another shrug follows the first. "I suppose then that you don't want a kiss, since you're unwilling to play along..." Grin returns, and he closes his eyes against that stare, a slight twitch all that betray's his nervousness at treading on such dangerous ground. "Just /try/ to guess.. This once.. You might surprise yourself.."
Reiko eyes Kh'ryn with a mixture of wariness and satisfaction--odd combination, to be sure. "Ah... rules," she murmurs, her walls firmly in place now. A twisted smile curls the corners of her lips as her fingers resume their random tracings in the soft sand. "Well... you seem to enjoy looking at me. Is that it?" She can deal with that, and it's an easy enough guess. Not much risked there, and much to gain.
Though it is something he does like, it's not /the/ thing, and so the blond haired man shakes his head. "Nope," replies Kh'ryn, still grinning, and with that twitch now departed. Opening his eyes, he glances her way and winks. "Though, you aren't all that bad to look at either."
Reiko snorts lightly, shifting a bit and stretching out in the sand, with interesting effect to the camisole she's wearing. "Thanks," she drawls, eyeing him sidelong. "You're not so bad yourself. ... I know it's not my gift for conversation," she adds wryly, well aware that she rarely has anything verbal to contribute. "Why don't you tell me... and I'll kiss you?"
Now there's an idea, but how fun would that be? Well, ok. So it'd be a /lot/ of fun, he's sure, but rules are rules,a nd since he set them up when they started this little game, it'd be insane for him to break them now. "Nah nah," Kh'ryn replies, eyes opening more, as he raises a finger from the sand to waggle in her direction. "Can't get me that way. But since you're having trouble, I /will/ be kind enough to give you a hint." Sitting up and dusting the sand from his arms, he adds, "And it does have something to do with how you talk..."
Reiko's brow furrows lightly in thought until an even gaze returns to Kh'ryn's face. "The things I say? Or the way I say them?" She needs some clarification on this point, actually... in fact, she's having trouble remembering the question. But a brow arches as a wicked gleam lights her eyes. "How /can/ I get you, then?" she murmurs, an appreciative once-over glancing off his well-muscled chest before returning to his face.... and a glimmer of understanding appears. "You like the way I flirt with you, maybe?" Another low-risk guess, but perhaps closer to the mark?
Kh'ryn allows a bark of laughter to escape this time. For a second there, she actually was close, but then she blew it by mentioning the flirting. "Nope.. Not that either.. Though once again," and he shrugs, chuckling, "It's something I don't mind 'bout you.." Though it does make him blush so, which he's doing at the moment...
Reiko gives an injured little sniff at the laugh, stretching to lie flat on her back with her fingers laced behind her head... but she can't ignore Kh'ryn for long. For one thing, he's very near still. And he /will/ keep saying that he likes things about her. She eyes him sidelong, noting the blush with thinly veiled amusement. "You really should tell me," she urges, her voice low and throaty, emerald gaze fixing evenly on him now. "Since you like looking at me... and you like flirting with me... you'd probably really enjoy kissing me." Gentle temptation colors her tone, enhanced perhaps by the light breeze that flutters the sheer camisole and tosses her hair in random wisps about her face.
Kh'ryn is definitively losing here, and it seems that no matter how many times he replies, "Nope," Reiko still has something to add to it. Finally, he laughs, too tired to argue, and shrugs /one/ more time. "Fine. You win. I like the way you don't seem to let things bother you. You speak what's on your mind, and if that happens to be something flirty, or fun, then so be it." Bending closer, he winks. "That's what I like. And here's your prize." A quick lean, a pucker of lips, and voila. A chaste kiss is laid gently upon the other bluerider's cheek. Pfft... was that really worth all the questions?
Reiko laughs outright, surprised both by the true answer and by the 'prize', and seems to begin to relax in a way she very rarely does. "You like that?" she asks, her tone lightly incredulous. Her smile turns a little rueful then. "I think that's the thing that people end up hating about me..." and here her cheeks actually color faintly. "That or they get tired of asking questions." She shifts uncomfortably now, freeing one hand to brush her hair away from her face, her eyes anywhere but on Kh'ryn.
Kh'ryn didn't expect his reply to get that kind of response from her, however, it is interesting none the less. Pulling back, the blond man blinks at the statement. "People dislike honesty?" he asks, sounding much like a naive child. "I've personally found it refreshing, because lies only get you into trouble..." And that's something he knows too well. Not lying, persay, but bending the truth. May's well be straight up with your replies instead, because though they might hurt, they'll still lead to less pains in the future... and in the end, people will usually respect you for it. "I s'pose some people just like being led on then.."
Reiko half shrugs, her gaze still on some distant point where the sea meets the sky. "More that I don't let things 'bother me', as you say," she explains quietly. "I don't..." She catches herself, though. "I don't /think/ I lead people on." She returns an unblinking gaze to Kh'ryn then. "I won't ask for what I'm not willing to give. That's only fair, isn't it?" Her chin lifts in a defiant little tilt, defending her philosophy without even being completely sure why she's sharing it.
Kh'ryn nods. "Completely fair," he replies, though his brow in scrunched in though. Finally, he clears his throat and plows on through with the next question. "You mean, you reallly don't know what kind of impact you have on people though, do you?" he asks, completely serious, even with the blush. "I mean, you're beautiful, you're sexy, and you go after what you want. That scares most people, and angers others.. but in truth, like I said, I find it honest. And /that's/ what I like."
The vindication Reiko feels at Kh'ryn's agreement with her is short-lived, as he gives her a lot of new things to think about. Things she's never considered in her singleminded self-indulgence... and self-preservation. "I don't ... know," she says at last, uncertainty evident in her tone--and the process of gathering her composure about her again is almost visible. And her gaze is no less serious when it finally returns to his eyes. "You're not afraid. Or angry." It's not a question so much as a quiet acknowledgement of what he's already said.
The other bluerider shrugs. "What do I have to be afraid /or/ angry of?" Knowing Kh'ryn, he's used to girls, and guys even, flirting with him, pushing him to blushing point. Reiko most of all, but at least she does it for honesties sake, and not just because she's trying to make him nervous. This fact is explained, and in turn, commented on. "The only I don't get," he continues, "Is why you do it. I mean, I've guessed that it's not because you're trying to make me uncomfortable, but..." He shrugs. "I can't understand why else then... unless, you really /don't/ know when you're doing it.."
Reiko considers this for a moment, the piercing gaze at last wandering away from Kh'ryn's face. "Why not?" she says at last, emerald gaze sliding sidelong again to fix on her clutchmate with a wicked gleam. "You're here... I'm here..." So convenience is clearly a factor. But it's more than that. She shifts to lie on her side again, facing him, her head propped on her hand. "Here and now is /everything/," she whispers, darkly smoldering gaze fixed on his eyes. "Yesterday doesn't matter... and nobody can say what will happen tomorrow." Her free hand is drawn close to her heart then, clenched in a fist, and her voice drops even lower. "This is mine." Not to be shared. Although anything else apparently is fair game.
Once more, Kh'ryn wasn't expecting such an answer. It's very.. philosophical, but more so personal. As the hand moves to touch her heart, the blond man nods at the woman. "Aye. I understand all too well. Though I place more belief in the past and future than you seem to, I agree that one's heart is their own, and me, more than anyone, is afraid to just give it over to anyone..." That was more than he meant to say, but if he plans on getting anything from his fellow wingrider, then it's only fair that he bares some of his soul too.
Reiko lowers her gaze again, her fingers relaxing to lie limply at her side. "I'm not afraid," she says quietly... although something might not ring quite true about the statement. The moment passes, though and she lifts her eyes to fix defiantly on her clutchmate. "I'm not afraid of anything."
The blond haired bluerider sits up and raises his hands at this sudden exclamation of defiance. "Hey there! I wasn't saying that you were.. I was simply admitting that that's /my/ reasoning.." Even Skylark hasn't had much luck in getting Kh'ryn to say those three little words that most people cherish, and one doubts that he'll keep it that way for a very long time. After settling his arms back and now moving to a more comfortable sitting position, Khor then asks, "So, what's your excuse then?" Though it's a fairly serious question, it's asked in a teasing tone, so not to insult.
Reiko herself can count on one hand the number of times she's heard those three little words spoken, much less uttered them. For a long moment she's silent--thinking, perhaps. "I don't..." She stops herself abruptly, perhaps realizing that there's no way to vocalize her reasons without sounding, well, afraid. She takes a deep breath, and lets it out slowly. Long fingers dig in the sand once more, and one shoulder rolls in an indolent shrug. "There are just some things it's better not to think about." And *slam*, the walls come up again. A splash and a warble from Cerdith's direction draws her attention momentarily, but then she looks at her fingers again, without adding anything.
The playful actions of their two blues mucking about in the shallows is enough to drag Khor's gaze away, but not his attention from the conversation at hand. He almost feels the wall return, and winces when the woman states her peace. "True," he replies, treading carefully upon such unstable ground, his words chosen for their sincerity, but yet still showing his curiousity throughout. "However, sometimes, it's just as good to air those things out... Pent up inside too long, they might ... fester... And that, like any sane healer would tell you, is definitively not good no matter what type of hurt it might be... Physical or otherwise.." Hopefully, the mention of healer might bring her out a bit more..
Reiko again stops the motion of her fingers, glancing up sharply at Kh'ryn's words. How could he know? Emerald gaze narrows as she tries to gauge his intentions. Especially since the word 'healer' brings up all sorts of other things she generally only thinks about when it suits her to. "Perhaps," she allows at last. Then her expression clears and she stretches out on her back again, closing her eyes against Rukbat's burning rays. "But it's much too nice here to think about unpleasant things. I keep what I keep... and I don't ask for what I wouldn't give. What's to worry about?" Evidently whatever it is, is buried so deeply that it hardly gives her pause anymore. Perhaps she's forgotten, other than the fact that it's something unpleasant.
Kh'ryn finally wonders if he should just give this up, or continue to push. All he gets is more stinted answers, and nothing of real depth. Of course, that could be because the two blueriders aren't exactly the /closest/ of friends... However, they are wing mates, and clutch mates, for that matter, which means that this bluerider deserves a bit more, if out of respect than anything else. "Nothing's to worry about," he replies smoothy, the flush on his features taking a break for a few minutes as he pushes aside embarassement in order to get to know Reiko more.. The /real/ Reiko. "I'm just curious as to why a woman like yourself hasn't found a man, or another woman, to cherish as deeply as you or I do our lifemates... I'm sure there's a dozen of people all lined up and willing.."
Reiko is practiced at hiding her heart. She's been doing it for Turns. But something in his question seems to strike a nerve. At least, she's very quiet for a very long time. When she speaks at last, her tone is very subdued, her words barely audible. "I don't like to make the same mistake twice." And then, as if she's said too much, she rolls to sit up, brushing sand from her skin, her eyes anywhere but on her clutchmate. Company is one thing. Trust is another thing entirely. As she reaches for her jacket, Cerdith lifts his head out of the water and ambles toward the shore, perhaps at some unspoken plea.