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    Mawgrim
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Recognized characters/events/plots from Dragonriders of Pern belong to Ann McCaffrey

Canon-typical violence, character deaths

Threadfall - 19. Heated Days

D'gar gets some much needed advice

D’gar saw S’brin across the dining hall. Their eyes met. They walked towards each other. For a long, slow moment, neither of them said anything, then S’brin was the first to break the silence. ‘I’m really sorry, D’gar. I don’t know what came over me. Well, I do. I was proddy and unreasonable. I can see that now.’ Then he reached out his arms and D’gar stepped forward to be enfolded in that warm, comforting embrace.

D’gar woke, feeling absurdly happy. Everything was going to be all right, after all. Then, as full consciousness came back, he looked around and realised he was still in M’rell’s weyr. Nothing had changed. It had just been a dream.

Dawn’s grey light oozed through the gaps in the curtain. He sensed Herebeth sleeping beyond. Evidently he’d come back to the weyr at some point. M’rell was snoring softly, cuddled up next to him as usual. He wondered if S’brin and - whoever - were still sleeping, too. Knowing that he’d not be able to get any more sleep himself, he quickly left M’rell’s bed, pulled on some clothes and went outside. The dragons were curled together much as he and M’rell had been, and by this means were just able to share the couch space. Herebeth’s tail was wrapped around Toth’s body and their wings were folded around each other. It was quite sweet, really, like the way young hatchlings often slept in piles. He tiptoed past, not wanting to disturb them and looked out on the quiet, early morning Bowl. Even the herdbeasts in the distant feeding pens were dozing. The sun hadn’t yet got above the rim. Mist hung over the lake water. Up beside the Star Stones, a green dragon and her rider were on watch duty, while a couple of Lower Cavern workers trudged across to the kitchen entrance. D’gar loved to watch the Weyr slowly wake up. It was the best thing about getting up early to go out running with S’brin. He’d missed that, too, even though he’d often complained about it.

He sat down, letting his legs dangle over the edge, with his back against the cool stone. Time to think things through. Firstly, he needed to find a time and place where he could talk to S’brin alone. Secondly, he needed to convince him that his suspicions were unfounded. Well, that wasn’t exactly true, he supposed. He knew now that J’rud fancied him, but there was no way he’d do anything about it while he and S’brin were together. J’rud realised that, too. Just needed to make sure S’brin did. Thirdly, they had to start from a clean slate. Whatever had been said or done, had to be put aside, as Herebeth had said, ‘like eggshells left behind on the Sands’. There was nothing he could do about Zemianth’s cycle affecting S’brin’s emotional stability, although he’d often heard riders say that as pairs matured, they became less affected and it did seem that most of the older green riders were far more even tempered than the young ones. All he could do about that was to try not to let it get to him. Zemianth had risen to mate eleven times so far and it had only been before three or four of those that S’brin had suffered from moodiness.

Behind him, a dragon shifted; the familiar sound of hide slurring against stone. He felt Herebeth’s consciousness change to his waking state and turned to see the dragon stretching his wings.

What are you looking at?

Nothing. Just thinking.

It is a peaceful time of day. Herebeth joined him at the ledge and sniffed the air. Still dry. There will not be any rain for a while yet. He settled down again and D’gar leaned against his flank. It was much more comfortable than the wall. More workers were about now and the smell of cooking began to drift upward. Suddenly, a familiar pale green dragon glided across from their left, dropping down to land close to the lake. S’brin jumped off. He was dressed for running, which meant not very much; a short pair of breeches, boots and no shirt. He set off at a steady jog on the lake track, while Zemianth took off again in the direction of the feeding grounds. A brown dragon flew from the same direction; clearly a youngster and recognisable as the one D’gar had seen up on Zemianth’s ledge the previous evening. He winged toward the barracks, confirming that it had been a weyrling pair who had won the mating flight, also that he had obviously spent the night.

D’gar debated on whether this might be a good time to try and talk with S’brin, then decided against it. Disturbing his run would be certain to put him in a bad frame of mind.

You do not need to disturb him, Herebeth said. If you are running too, you could meet by accident.

Clever dragon. That’s an excellent idea. Getting some exercise wouldn’t be a bad thing. If he met S’brin on the way round, it might be possible to stop and chat, undisturbed by anyone else. At the very least it would show D’gar wasn’t going out of his way to avoid him.

You wish me to take you down?

Please. He climbed up onto Herebeth’s neck. Drop me where S’brin got off. If he went further along the track it would look as if he was trying to intercept deliberately, which was what he didn’t want. He knew the circuit S’brin would take and if he timed it right, they would meet naturally at the crossover point on the other side of the lake. He’d need to set a decent pace to get there in time, though.

He hadn’t run for a few days and felt it. Threadfall the previous day had taken its toll on his body and his legs ached as he began to run. From experience, he knew it would wear off. It really was a beautiful morning; still relatively cool before the sun climbed high enough to start baking the Weyr walls. He focussed on his pace and breathing, while also keeping half an eye on the speed S’brin was going, to make sure he would be in the right place at the right time. S’brin was running at a fairly fast pace and D’gar had to speed up as he realised they might miss each other. It was almost as if S’brin was aware of him and was trying to reach that point before he did. Well, if he thought that, he was about to find out he was wrong!

D’gar reached the bridge from the opposite direction just seconds before S’brin stepped on it. It was a narrow crossing and they passed very close. ‘Morning,’ D’gar said casually, as if his lungs weren’t about to burst from the effort he’d made.

S’brin nodded back and gave a small smile before continuing on his way. All right, it wasn’t much, but at least he’d acknowledged D’gar’s existence. He felt marginally happier on the way back than he had when setting out.

M’rell wasn’t quite as impressed. ‘Was that all?’ he asked, as they got ready for breakfast.

‘It’s better than nothing.’

‘Well, let’s hope I get something more than just a smile from Rina, later on. I’ve got it all planned out. I’m going to get one of those cakes she likes and take it to her when she’s on her break.’

‘Good luck.’ D’gar wondered how to spend his rest day. Just hanging around at the Weyr would be boring and as the hot weather was continuing, all the outdoor spaces would be packed. Perhaps he should take Herebeth to a beach somewhere, even if they were alone? He was thinking about the possibilities as he ate, when M’ta caught his attention. ‘A few of us are going out for the day. Fancy joining us?’

‘Where to?’

‘I know this cove. Very secluded. You can only get there on dragon back. The kids will be going too, though.’

D’gar had since discovered that some of Ketrasso’s fosterlings were M’ta’s children. ‘I don’t mind. They were fun, last time.’

‘Great.’ He paused. ‘Er, think you could get us some more food to bring along. I know your mum works in the kitchens.’

‘So that’s why you’ve invited me,’ he joked.

M’ta cracked a smile. ‘It’s useful, I admit. But Ketrasso liked you as well. You’re easy to get along with, not like some I could mention.’ He gave a quick nod of his head to the far end of the table, where the usual group were talking loudly, while pointedly ignoring everyone outside of their clique.

As soon as breakfast was over, he went through to the kitchens to find Agarra.

‘You’re looking more cheerful today,’ she said. ‘Made it up with S’brin?’

‘Not yet. But he smiled at me this morning.’

‘Generous of him.’ She raised her eyebrows. ‘That lad doesn’t know what a good weyrmate he has in you.’

‘M’rell said much the same.’

‘There you go, then. So, where are you off to today?’

‘M’ta knows of a good beach somewhere. We need to take some food.’

‘Thought you might. Sometimes it seems as if you only come and see me when you’re on the scrounge.’

‘Mum!’ That wasn’t true at all. But maybe he did take her for granted. ‘Look, why don’t you come along as well? Been ages since you got away from the Weyr.’

‘That’s true and I’m owed some time off. I’ll have to check, but I shouldn’t think there’ll be a problem.’ Agarra pulled him into a floury hug. ‘You’re a good boy, really.’

It turned out that M’ta had invited quite a few people, as by the time he’d got Herebeth ready, there were several dragons assembling on the landing ground. J’rud and Zurinth were among them, which he hoped wouldn’t be awkward. Now that he was aware of J’rud’s feelings for him, he didn’t know if they could have the same easy friendship as before.

Agarra had managed to take the day off and had also brought along D’gar’s younger foster sister, Torala. He got the two of them up on Herebeth with a bit of struggling, then made sure all the riding straps were well secured. Torala hadn’t ridden on dragon back very often and was slightly nervous about it.

‘But she’ll put up with it,’ Agarra said. ‘She’s hoping to snag herself a handsome dragonrider.’

‘Mum!’ Torala protested, blushing bright red.

‘Maybe you can give her some advice about the ones who might actually fancy her.’

D’gar smiled. ‘I’m sure I can.’ Torala was only two Turns younger than he was and he remembered them discussing which riders they liked before he’d ever Impressed.

He climbed on board. Comfortable? he asked Herebeth.

The young one is worried, he said. Tell her I will fly steadily. You might warn her when we are about to go between.

Good idea.

It took a while before all of the children were on board and secured. As they waited, a few more of ‘C’ Wing’s riders came to join them, A’ren and Brandith among them.

Agarra nudged D’gar. ‘Your sister wants to know who he is.’

‘Name’s A’ren. He’s very quiet.’

‘Shy, eh? Does he like girls?’

‘I’ve no idea. He’s never said enough for me to know one way or another.’

Agarra turned around to speak to Torala. ‘There’s your challenge today, girl. You can try and find out.’

‘Good luck getting him to talk at all,’ D’gar put in. ‘Looks like we’re almost ready now. Herebeth promises to fly carefully and I’ll count you in when we’re about to go between.

N’rir had joined them, so he took the lead, sending each dragon coordinates and signalling for them to jump between. The dragons descended slowly towards a beautiful, sheltered bay. The sand was silver and the cliffs curved round to form a natural and effective barrier against the waves. It would be safe for even the smallest children to paddle or swim here.

‘Where’s this, then?’ Agarra asked.

‘No idea.’ It could be anywhere along the coast, although judging from the lack of humidity, he reckoned it must be north of Fort Sea Hold. ‘Ask M’ta if you like. Blue rider, over yonder.’

M’ta was carefully lifting down some of the younger children from Zath’s neck ridges.

‘He’s not a bad looking fellow.’ Agarra had a twinkle in her eye. ‘I may have to go and get to know him better.’

‘Mum!’ Torala rolled her eyes at D’gar as their mother straightened her skirts and set off across the beach.

‘Great,’ he groaned. ‘Should have known better than to get my mum and my wingmates together.’

‘She’ll be fine,’ Torala assured him.

‘It’s not her I’m worried about.’ He got the provisions off, then removed Herebeth’s straps. His dragon shook himself and flexed his wings a few times before setting off for the water. Several others were already bobbing around in the shallows.

‘I’ll be off, then.’ Torala had singled out A’ren among the riders.

‘Have fun,’ he called after her.

He looked around for some shade where he could put the food. There were some large rocks over to his left and what looked like a cave mouth. That should be ideal. Having dropped everything off, he found a sheltered place, spread out the blanket he’d brought and took off his clothes to sunbathe for a while, before it became too hot. The sound of the distant waves was soothing and even the occasional screams from the children playing didn’t disturb him. Having woken early, his eyes closed easily and he began to drift away. Herebeth’s perceptions mingled comfortably with his own; warm sun, dappled water, fish darting against pale sand, blue sky. For the first time in a few days, he felt utterly at peace with the world.

It didn’t last long, of course. Come and swim with us, Herebeth said.

I’m comfortable here.

You are missing the fun, he insisted.

Sometimes, dragons didn’t understand when you wanted to be alone. Still, he felt rested and he must have dropped off for a while as the sun had moved around slightly from when they arrived. He got to his feet and looked out to the sea. Several dragons were clustered together, people swimming around them. As he watched, J’rud climbed up onto Zurinth’s back, stood, then dived smoothly back into the water. A couple of the children were trying to do the same with a very patient Zath. Their splashes showed they hadn’t quite mastered the skill.

Oh well, it was getting warmer, so having a swim would be pleasant. On my way, he said as he made his way down the beach. He noted Torala in a group that included A’ren and wondered if she’d managed to get anywhere yet. His mother obviously had, as she was stretched out on the sand next to M’ta. They were turned toward each other and seemed to be chatting companionably.

The water was very clear and the beach shelved gently. He had to walk out a long way before it became deep enough to swim. The sound of splashes and shrieks became louder the closer he got to the group of dragons.

The children recognised him from their trip to the ice lake. A couple of the older ones swam to meet him. ‘Can we jump off your dragon? one asked. ‘He’s bigger than Zath.’

‘I’ll check.’ Herebeth, do you mind having children climbing over you?

So long as they are careful and don’t pull on my tail or wings.

D’gar relayed the message. He boosted a couple of them up, after which one girl began walking down Herebeth’s back, making him twitch. That tickles.

Thought you wanted to have fun?

The games continued for a while, until Herebeth became as resigned to it as Zath. D’gar jumped off a couple of times, although not as gracefully as J’rud, who made another perfect dive before swimming over to him.

‘Good place this.’

‘Not bad,' he agreed.

‘I, er, heard about what happened after the lake trip.’

‘The real story or the one all the gossips are putting around?’

‘M’rell told me.’

Probably the true one, then. He remembered what else M’rell had said. ‘Sorry to hear some of those idiots have been picking on you.’

J’rud shrugged as well as anyone could while trying to stay afloat. ‘They don’t bother me. I’ve got other friends in the wing. Not all green riders are like that lot.’

D’gar wondered if S’brin was included in his judgement. He’d never considered S’brin to be malicious in the same way as H’fra or A’kindry. They’d just closed ranks around him after the fight, enjoying their power to keep the pot stirring. ‘That’s good, then.’ He didn’t know quite what to say next.

‘I hope it all works out for you two.’

‘Really?’ He’d have thought J’rud would have wanted the opposite.

‘I like you, D’gar. But I don’t like to see you unhappy the way you’ve been these past few days. I know I don’t have a chance with you when you love S’brin as much as you do, so if we can still be friends…?’

‘Of course we can.’

‘Hey, J’rud!’ one of the boys called. ‘Watch this.’ He ran along Zath’s back towards his tail, leaping off. The waves made by his impact with the sea reached them both.

‘Better make sure he’s not drowned.’ J’rud smiled briefly and swam over.

D’gar felt better than he had for a while. It was obvious there wouldn’t be any problems with J’rud. for which he was grateful. The sun was shining and he’d got through another Fall. If his luck held, maybe he’d be able to get S’brin on his own later and talk to him sensibly.

He padded back up the beach to his comfortable spot, checking to make sure nothing had got to the food, then lay down again for a while. This time, he was disturbed by N’rir.

‘So this is where you’ve got to.’ He sat himself on one of the nearby rocks. ‘Why not come over and join the rest of us?’

‘Maybe later, when we eat. I just needed some time on my own.’

N’rir nodded. ‘That’s fair enough. You’re handling all this better than I’d have done at your age. Still, I thought you might want to talk about it. Relationships can be difficult.’

D’gar knew that N’rir didn’t have a weyrmate. He had no idea if the man was currently attached to anyone but he must have had a few relationships over the Turns. ‘I saw S’brin this morning. We didn’t talk, but he didn’t brush me off, either. That’s progress.’

‘Are you hoping you’ll just move back in and everything will go back to how it was?’

‘Sort of, I suppose. We’ve argued before and that’s more or less what happened.’

‘It might be for the best if it didn’t.’

‘What do you mean? You think we should split up?’ N’rir obviously didn’t know how much they loved each other.

‘No, not exactly. Look, you two got together when you were fairly young, didn’t you? Mind, to an old man like me, everyone under thirty seems young.’ He gave an amused chuckle. ‘What I mean is that you’re both still growing up. This last Turn you’ve had a lot going on; joining our Wing, learning all you need to know. Seeing friends get hurt or dying. It’s a lot to cope with.’

That made sense, in a way. D’gar listened as he carried on.

‘Some people are slower to grow up than others. Now you, for example, I can relate to. We both Impressed brown dragons, which says something about the kind of personalities we have.’

D’gar started to protest, but N’rir stopped him.

‘I know what you’re about to say. Not everyone who Impresses a certain colour is exactly the same, but there are similarities. I’ve noticed how you work. You think a lot about everything and you tend towards being cautious. S’brin’s not. He’s daring, impulsive, likes to take risks. Probably one reason he got a green. Anyway, what I’m rambling about is that it stands to reason you’re both going to mature at different rates. Bit like dragons, really.’

‘And the point is?’

‘I’m getting there, lad. You’re both growing up, like I said. Only you’ve got a bit ahead of him. He’s still at the stage where he’s easily influenced by other folk. And you know what some of the greens in our Wing are like.’

D’gar had thought that himself. ‘I reckon some of them are poisoning his mind against me. Not sure why.’

‘Some folk don’t like to see others have something they don’t have themselves. It’s clear as that sea out there you two love each other. That can cause a deal of envy. Plus, he’s still getting used to handling his dragon’s emotional swings. You or I are never going to know quite what that’s like, but add it all together and it’s no surprise he’s a bit of a mess sometimes.’

Hearing someone else say all of this clarified his own thoughts. ‘So, what did you mean about us needing to split up?’

‘I didn’t say that. It would be all to the good for you to iron things out with him. But maybe you need to be a bit less reliant on each other. He needs to learn to cope better with his temper when his dragon gets proddy. He also needs to realise he can’t take it out on you without consequences. What’s happened over the past few days has probably got him thinking about all of that.’

‘And me? What do I need to learn?’

‘That you don’t have to accept being treated badly when he feels proddy and you can call him out on it. You might want to think about finding yourself a separate weyr just so you can get away from each other some of the time. Sharing a weyr’s not the same as being in the barracks, as you’ve probably discovered.’

D’gar nodded. N’rir was right about that. It had been harder to argue when there were other people around. And even if you weren’t speaking to the one you loved, you still had friends around to support you. ‘I can see that.’

‘Good. Remember, you aren’t alone in the Wing. R’feem’s already told you he doesn’t like riders to fall out with each other. Sure, there’s always going to be a bit of a clash with some personalities, but we all need to try and get on. And those of us with a few more Turns under our belt are always happy to help out, if you need to talk.’

‘I appreciate that.’ D’gar wondered how many times over the Turns N’rir had needed to smooth over relationship difficulties. It was yet another aspect of being a Wingsecond, he supposed.

‘It’s not a problem.’ He glanced back towards the beach. ‘I reckon folk will be feeling hungry soon. Do you want a hand getting all the food sorted out?’

‘Thanks.’

The rest of the day passed pleasantly enough. He chatted to a few different people and played games for a while. He was even able to forget - most of the time - about his problems. They got back to the Weyr well into the evening. Everyone was tired and happy. Torala told him she’d managed to engage A’ren in conversation and was meeting him the lake for the dancing. Agarra had got to know M’ta a lot better. ‘Think I might be having an invite to his weyr for a drink,’ she confided. ‘Maybe more.’

D’gar flew back up to M’rell’s weyr. Toth was already on his couch. As Herebeth landed he looked at them both in a quizzical way. D’gar was about to dismount when he realised he could hear voices beyond the curtain. One of them was female.

Toth says his rider would like some time on his own, Herebeth said.

Doesn’t sound as if he’s alone. Still, he couldn’t begrudge the man. If he’d managed to make up with Rina, he deserved a little privacy. Best go back down, Herebeth. They won’t want us here.

Why not? Are they mating?

If they aren’t now, then they probably will be later. Take us up to the heights.

The sun was slipping below the higher peaks. Far off, a few wherries wheeled, silhouetted against the sky. A group of four dragons winked in from between and began to descend toward the Bowl. D’gar felt wretched again. They all had weyrs to go to. He didn’t.

Maybe Zemianth would let us go back? Herebeth said, with some enthusiasm.

That might not be a good idea. N’rir’s words had made him think some more. He still wanted to talk to S’brin and mend their relationship, but it might be an idea to get his own weyr, even if just for a short while. Still, he’d not be able to sort that out until tomorrow and the fact was, he had nowhere to sleep if Rina stayed the night with M’rell.

Zurinth’s rider would let you stay with him.

That would be unfair.

But he likes you.

Yes, too much. D’gar thought for a while. He still had the blanket he’d taken with him to the beach. Herebeth gave out plenty of heat and the nights didn’t cool down that much. Find a place that’s suitable and we’ll curl up together.

The heights were comfortable enough for a dragon; not so much for his rider. Herebeth flew them to one of the empty weyrs with a good view over the lake. The stone had warmed up nicely through the day and they sat out on the ledge as darkness fell, listening to the music drifting up from the lake, where couples danced to all of the old favourite ballads. He couldn’t be sure, in the fading light, but he thought he saw A’ren and Torala together.

Gradually, as before, people drifted away back to their weyrs, rooms or barracks. The music died away as the last few weyrfolk packed up and made their way home. D’gar nestled closer to Herebeth and pulled the blanket around him. It wouldn’t be the most comfortable night’s sleep he’d ever had, but it would have to do.

He discovered that even summer nights can get chilly. Once the stone had given up the days heat, it seemed to suck warmth from his body. He slept fitfully and woke several times, each time slightly colder than the last. Herebeth was impervious to it. He slept as well as he ever did on his couch. D’gar tried not to toss and turn too much, fearful of waking him, but he was glad when at last dawn began to lighten the sky. Fingers of mist rose from the lake surface as day broke over the Weyr. Even though he knew the sun wasn’t yet high enough to make any real difference, he began to feel slightly warmer. He got to his feet, careful not to tread on Herebeth’s tail, which had curled around his makeshift bed, stretched and walked to the front of the ledge. Today, he’d do the sensible thing; go to Naraina and ask about getting his own weyr. He couldn’t keep on relying on the goodwill of friends. Herebeth needed his own space. He needed a place to keep his things and to stay.

A green dragon dropped off her rider; S’brin was out running again. D’gar watched him take his usual route. This morning, he couldn’t summon the energy to try and join him. He didn’t think he’d be able to, to be honest. His feet were cold and his knee joints felt as stiff as if he was ninety rather than just nineteen Turns.

Zemianth dipped her head to drink from the lake, graceful as ever. Like a miniature Kadoth, Valli had once said. As if she caught the tail end of his thought, she looked up at the weyr mouth once she’d had her fill of water, then settled herself down on the sandy beach, waiting for S’brin to return.

D’gar watched as he finished his run and did a few stretches, flexing the muscles in his back and shoulders. Then, surprisingly, he looked in the same direction as Zemianth had and after a few moments, walked across toward them. There were no steps up to these weyrs, but enough people had trodden the route over the Turns to make an unofficial path. If you were nimble and didn’t mind scrambling over a few rocks, they were accessible from ground level.

D’gar felt both apprehensive and expectant. S’brin might think he’d been spying and be annoyed, or he might just want to take the opportunity to talk in private. Hopefully it was the latter.

S’brin joined him. ‘Hey,’ he said. ‘Zemianth said she thought she’d seen you up here.’

He kept a respectful distance from Herebeth, leaning against the wall casually.

D’gar nodded. ‘How are you?’

‘Not bad. You?’

He shrugged. It hadn’t been an easy few days. ‘Getting by.’ He felt Herebeth stirring awake. S’brin is here. Don’t scare him away.

S’brin evidently took in his rumpled appearance and the blanket. ‘Have you been here all night?’

‘Yes.’ Maybe that would make him feel guilty. He hoped so.

‘Thought you were staying with M’rell.’

‘He got back together with Rina. I didn’t want to spoil their reunion.’

‘Ah. May I sit down?’

D’gar shuffled over and left a space on the blanket.

‘Herebeth’s not going to mind, is he?’

‘No, he’ll be fine.’

S’brin settled next to him. After his exercise, almost as much heat radiated from him as from the dragons. D’gar wanted to get closer, but resisted the temptation.

‘Sorry I got like that with you.’

D’gar wanted him to admit it. ‘Like what?’

‘Angry. Unreasonable. Stupid, I suppose. I’ve not really enjoyed the last few days much.’

‘Apart from that mating flight. Why did you take him back to our weyr?’

‘We could hardly go to the barracks, could we?’

‘You could have just stopped once the dragons did. I don’t suppose you were sitting chatting all night.’ This wasn’t how he’d planned it to go. He was supposed to be starting from a clean slate, putting aside what had happened.

S’brin just sat staring at the floor. ‘I didn’t think it through. You know how it is with dragonlust. And I was still mad at you.’

‘Why?’

‘Because…’ he shook his head.

‘It was those others, wasn’t it? H’fra, B’thun and that lot. I know they don’t like me. Not sure why…’

‘You don’t like them because they ride green dragons.’

‘No. I don’t like them because they’re always bitching about people. Not all green riders do that.’ He was about to add that J’rud didn’t, then realised that wouldn’t be a good idea. ‘Look, I know you sometimes get irritable when Zemianth’s close to rising and I can cope with that. I can’t cope with all this other stuff.’

S’brin didn’t say anything for a while, just shuffled his boots in the dust. ‘What do you want to do?’

‘I don’t know. Maybe I should move out of the weyr.’

‘You don’t have to do that.’

‘I can’t keep letting M’rell put me up.’ As N’rir had pointed out, he didn’t see how he could just go back as if nothing had happened. There was too much unresolved between them.

‘Don’t you want to be weyrmates anymore?’

He shook his head. ‘I don’t know.’ He still loved S’brin, that was true. But they needed to move on from the way things had been going lately. ‘I think we’d get on better if we had our own space. It’s different than it used to be when we were in the barracks.’

‘You really think so.’

He gave a short nod. ‘I haven’t stopped loving you but sometimes I don’t like you much.’ Was that a step too far? Would S’brin understand the difference?

There was another long silence, during which Herebeth shifted position. Down by the lake, Zemianth had curled herself up, evidently realising she would be there for a while.

‘They’d been on at me all day when we were at the lake saying I shouldn’t let you push me around,’ he said at last, in a slightly defensive manner.

‘Really? You think I do that?’

‘No. But they said…’

‘Some of them should keep their mouths shut, the shit that comes out. Sorry, but that’s the truth.’

‘They’re my friends.’

‘You think they are. I don’t reckon they’re doing you any favours. How many of them have good relationships?’

‘B’thun and R’xel do,’ S’brin protested.

‘They get drunk and have sex. That’s about it. H’fra and A’kindry go after anyone who’s available. Maybe they fancy you, huh? Maybe that’s why they want me out of the way.’

S’brin didn’t seem to have an easy answer. ‘I hadn’t thought of that.’

‘No. You tend to take people at face value. Some folk are a lot more devious than that.’ He had a lot more to say on the matter but thought it best to stop there. ‘Anyway, that’s past. The question is, where do we go from here?’

‘Dunno.’ S’brin looked glum, then his stomach rumbled.

D’gar almost laughed but tried to keep a serious face. ‘Bit hungry?’

‘Tell the truth, I could eat a herdbeast right now. How about going to get some breakfast?’

‘All right. But I’m not sitting with that lot.’

‘Fair enough. Maybe I’ll sit at your end, if it’s allowed.’

‘There’s no “allowed” about it. People tend to sit in their usual places out of habit, but you’ll often see M’ta and T’garrin up with us. P’goll and H’kail too, if you’re talking about greens.’

‘I suppose so. And after breakfast?’

‘We’ll see.’ Maybe they’d talk some more. He wanted to be sure that S’brin understood why their relationship couldn’t just slip back into the way it had been, up until now. ‘Anyway, you want to hear some real gossip?’

S’brin nodded.

‘I reckon my mum might have got together with M’ta.’

Copyright © 2020 Mawgrim; All Rights Reserved.
Recognized characters/events/plots from Dragonriders of Pern belong to Ann McCaffrey

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Chapter Comments

Such a great chapter, well done, the dialogue was spot on! I think the following line quite neatly summed up D'Gar's feelings...

‘Don’t you want to be weyrmates anymore?’

He shook his head. ‘I don’t know.’ He still loved S’brin, that was true. But they needed to move on from the way things had been going lately. ‘I think we’d get on better if we had our own space. It’s different than it used to be when we were in the barracks.’

‘You really think so.’

He gave a short nod. ‘I haven’t stopped loving you but sometimes I don’t like you much.’ Was that a step too far? Would S’brin understand the difference?

Simply powerful, what those 12 words quietly stated can do...Brilliant...thanks!!!

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There are some pretty savvy heads in D'gar and S'brin's wing...lets hope this gets straightened out fairly quickly.

Hmm, maybe D'gar will have a new brother or sister before too long....

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2 hours ago, drsawzall said:

Such a great chapter, well done, the dialogue was spot on! I think the following line quite neatly summed up D'Gar's feelings...

‘Don’t you want to be weyrmates anymore?’

He shook his head. ‘I don’t know.’ He still loved S’brin, that was true. But they needed to move on from the way things had been going lately. ‘I think we’d get on better if we had our own space. It’s different than it used to be when we were in the barracks.’

‘You really think so.’

He gave a short nod. ‘I haven’t stopped loving you but sometimes I don’t like you much.’ Was that a step too far? Would S’brin understand the difference?

Simply powerful, what those 12 words quietly stated can do...Brilliant...thanks!!!

Thanks. It took me a while to get that dialogue to a point where I felt happy with it. 

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1 hour ago, ColumbusGuy said:

Hmm, maybe D'gar will have a new brother or sister before too long....

That’s looking very likely!

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That was some good advice.  You can love someone and not be able to be with them, it just happens.  We know that they stay together but some time apart might not be a bad thing as well.  

Well written and this chapter flowed beautifully.

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Well done, D'gar, and nice to see a Wingsecond helping his fellow dragonrider.

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