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    Mawgrim
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
Dragonriders of Pern series was created by Ann McCaffrey in 1967 and spans 24+ books published by Ballantine Books, Atheneum Books, Bantam Books, and Del Rey Books.  Any recognizable content in this story is from Ann McCaffrey, Todd McCaffrey, Gigi McCaffrey or their representatives or inheritors.  Original content provided by author of this FanFiction story without monetary compensation.

To the Weyr - 4. In the Hills

Any sympathy he felt dispersed over the next few days. He’d been attempting to show Kadin the basics of beast care around the Hold before they were sent off into the hills. Having someone along who had no idea would be worse than having to cope alone.

Kadin just didn’t seem to listen. Worse, Jevikel had come to the conclusion he was doing it purely to irritate him, perhaps to see how far he could be pushed. He didn’t like it. A part of him still felt sorry for his cousin - for the whole scorching family, to be honest - but Kadin was trying his patience.

He wasn’t stupid, that much was clear. He was scrupulously polite, but even that was like an act; a way to show off his privileged upbringing. Whether it was learning about herbal remedies for the animals, milking or mucking out the barn, Kadin would drift off after a short while. Jevikel could tell by now when this began to happen. His eyes took on a far-off look and although he nodded or agreed in the right places he wasn’t really there.

‘So you separate the dung from the clean straw, then mix it well with the fresh milk…’

‘Hmm,’ Kadın said, with a slight nod of his head.

‘You don’t even know what I just said, did you?’

‘Er, something about milk?’

Anger fizzing, Jevikel threw the fork down. ‘Listen, I don’t care if father beats you black and blue when he quizzes you about all of this. But I do care about my own hide and I’ll get the same treatment for not teaching you properly. Don’t you understand?’

Kadin shrugged. ‘Might not be here by then.’

‘Now you’re being stupid. Where would you go? If you’d had anywhere else, you wouldn’t have come here in the first place.’ The story had emerged in dribs and drabs. Kadin’s father was dead; killed in a knife fight down at Bitra Hold. Rumour had it he’d been caught cheating at cards, or embezzling money. Something shameful, anyway.

‘Mother had no choice. My sisters are young. I could fend for myself though, if I had to.’

That haughty manner again. It made Jevikel want to strangle him. ‘All right, then. Go off to the hiring fair and see who’ll pick you. You’ve no skills at anything…’

‘I can read and write. I can play gitar and pipes.’

‘Not going to help when they’re looking for a strong back and someone who can care for beasts.’

‘I was going to be apprenticed. Not as a Harper; I’m not that good at music. But there’s a calling for scribes…’

‘In Bitra, maybe. Not here. None of that’s any use to you any more.’ When would Kadin realise his old life - and whatever dreams he’d had - were gone? ‘If you ran away, you’d end up crawling back here, just like your mother.’ Even as he spoke, Jevikel realised he’d gone a step too far. Still, he wasn’t going to apologise. It was the truth.

Kadin gave him a look of utter contempt. ‘You’ve no right to talk about her like that.’

‘And why not?’ He wasn’t going to back down. He hoped Kadin would take a swing at him. Even though they were close to the same age, he was bigger and stronger. ‘She brought shame on our family…’

Kadin went for him. Jevikel dodged easily. While his cousin was off balance, he pushed him against the partition. Kadin gasped, winded. Jevikel grabbed a handful of shirt and held him there. Fury burned in those klah coloured eyes. Something else, too; something that stopped him from following through with a punch that’d show him who was in charge here. Memories of that awful day and what Vikkel had done.

‘Just like… your father.’ Kadin said slowly, trying to get his breath back. ‘Nothing but a big bully.’

‘I’m not,’ he protested.

Kadin went on. ‘Go on. Hit me. He’ll probably tell you what a good boy you are.’

Jevikel could see it. Yes, he’d probably get a cuff, maybe even a beating for fighting, but his father would be proud of him nevertheless. He pulled Kadin forward, so they were eye to eye, held it for a few seconds, willing him to look away, blink. Do something to show he’d given in. But Kadin just stared back with that self-possessed attitude until all he could do was to push him away a second time. ‘Run away, then. See if I care.’

Kadin brushed dust from his clothing. ‘I’ll learn whatever you want, for now. But one day, I’ll be off. You should, too. Or is this really all you want from life?’

That was the trouble with Kadin. He stirred things up. Maybe that was how his father had been, too, pushing folk that bit too far until he did it to the wrong man? Still after that, he paid more attention. Even asked questions. Except Jevikel had the notion he was just biding his time, until something better came along. Until he could run away, just as his mother had done.

Merida’s arrival seemed to have brought an uneasy tension to the Hold. At meal times, she sat off on her own. Jevikel wasn’t sure if this was because she wanted to stay apart, or because the other women had shunned her. Her daughters, Idarna and Dameri, had already made friends among the others of their age. Most people felt that no matter what their mother had done, they weren’t to blame. Kadin sat with the rest of the young folk; those too old to still be treated as children, but not quite old enough to be considered full adults. Around the table, there was always plenty of banter and flirting, although the older folk kept a watchful eye on any of the lads and girls who seemed to be taking too much interest in each other.

Berrand kept trying to find out which of the girls Kadin favoured. ‘There’s Gatri, of course,’ He pointed down to the end, where she sat with two others of a similar age. ‘Though everyone knows she’s got her sights set on Jevikel.’

‘Yeah, but he’s not doing much about it,’ Lengiorl said.

Jevikel felt uncomfortable, as he always did when talk turned this way. ‘Not much point, is there,’ he said. ‘As soon as I’m old enough my marriage will be arranged to someone suitable, just as Kemi’s has been.’

Lengiorl nudged him. ‘Doesn’t mean you can’t have fun in the meantime.’

More or less what Kemi had said. ‘Not very fair on her, is it?’

Kadin looked down the table. ‘Which one is she?’

‘Blond one, to the left of the dark girl.’

Kadin turned to Jevikel. ‘She’s pretty enough. And if she wants to, where’s the harm in it?’

Not him as well. ‘Maybe, in the summer.’ By the time they got back from the hills, once the animals had given birth and it was time for their young to be weaned, Gatri might have lost interest in him.

‘How’s about you?’ Berrand asked Kadin again. ‘Which one do you like?’

‘I’m still weighing up my options,’ he said, lightly. ‘Don’t want to tread on anyone’s toes round here.’

Jevikel carried on eating. Kadin could get along with folk, when it suited him. Well, most folk. After they’d argued, the air had cleared between them, but he still wasn’t looking forward to spending two months alone with him. He anticipated a lot of awkward silences. Had Kadin not arrived, it would have been he and Berrand, which would have been so much easier.

He didn’t have long to wait. A few of the herdbeasts had already birthed their young and the weather was steadily improving. The beasts were tough, even at an early age. They wanted to be running free over the hills, grazing on the spring grass and fragrant herbs. Two days later, they were ready to set off.

Jevikel had already briefed Kadin. ‘Our job is to make sure as many of them survive as possible. This time of the Turn, it can go from fine to foul in a matter of hours. The wild wherries sometimes try to snatch a newborn, too. And the mothers get themselves caught up in shrubs, or narrow clefts in the rock.’

‘Sounds easy enough,’ Kadin said.

Jevikel wasn’t sure if he was serious, or being cheeky. ‘Just mind what I do and you’ll pick it up as we go along.’

As they climbed higher, the Hold receded and finally disappeared behind a ridge. Jevikel felt a sense of freedom once they were out of the shadow of Pinnacle. He’d always enjoyed being in the hills.

By the time the sun had reached its zenith, his legs ached and sweat trickled down his back. There was a good stopping place beside a stream, where he unpacked fresh bread and cheese, laying it out on the smooth rocks. All around them the herdbeasts grazed on fresh, young grass.

Kadin must be tired, too, as he didn’t say much. That suited Jevikel perfectly. They ate in companionable silence, punctuated only by the sound of running water and the soft chime of the bells the older beasts wore around their necks.

‘I reckon we’ll make for that shelter over yonder.’ Jevikel pointed up and to their right towards a tiny speck in the distance. Several stone-built shelters were dotted across the slopes. Some would be in need of repair after the winter, as would the bridges across some of the mountain streams. That was a part of their job, too. ‘We can dump off this lot there.’

Both were carrying a good weight of provisions; pounded grain to make porridge, a sack of tubers and roots and a few rounds of smoked cheese sealed in wax. Klah bark too, of course. Once the fresh bread was gone, they had flour with which to make rough loaves over a fire, but if they wanted meat, they’d have to hunt for it. Pots and pans would have been left in the shelters from the previous season, together with any unused firewood and kindling, which they would be expected to top up.

Once the meal was over, they refilled flasks from the stream and headed off. It was a good few hours trek, especially when some beasts strayed off and had to be brought back to join the others. Jevikel sent Kadin to do that. It would help him gain experience. Plus it kept him mindful of his position as the junior. By the time they reached the place, clouds had cloaked the sun and a cutting edge to the wind reminded Jevikel it was still early in the season.

The shelter had survived the winter almost intact with just one or two slipped slates on the roof; an easy fix. They unloaded all of their supplies onto the shelves, out of reach of the beasts, should any get inside. Kadin set to making a fire in the hearth. At least he knew how to do that. Once the first flames caught, it felt more like home. Jevikel checked the mattresses that had been stacked at one end, finding them dry and sound. With blankets on top, they had somewhere comfortable to sit.

He handed the container of klah bark to Kadin. First things first. Once they’d had a rest and a mug of klah, they’d check the animals before settling down for the evening.

By the time a stew bubbled gently over the fire, rain had set in. Jevikel affixed a hide curtain over the entrance to keep out draughts and lit a lantern. It was a pity they couldn’t have brought glows. They were so much less trouble, but a person couldn’t carry everything.

Darkness fell; a black, moonless night. Some of the winter ghost stories he’d heard back at the Hold sprang to mind, making him glad he wasn’t alone. This was different from the few times he’d stayed out on summer nights, lower down the mountain. Up here, they were isolated from the rest of the world.

‘Might as well turn in,’ he said to Kadin, once they’d eaten and finished up the klah in the kettle. They’d be awake at first light tending to the beasts and sitting up made no sense when there was barely enough light to see by. It was also wasteful. Jevikel could almost hear his father stressing oil wasn’t cheap.

‘It’s been a long day,’ he agreed. ‘I’m exhausted.’

‘You did well.’ Kadin hadn’t whined at all and he’d carried his fair share of provisions. He’d made a good job of rounding up the strays, too.

Jevikel expected to fall asleep quickly. He was tired enough. But the mattress wasn’t as comfortable as his usual bed and the only light came from the embers of the fire. In a day or two he’d be used to the unfamiliar noises; rain on the roof, wind making the curtain flap, the occasional bell as the herdbeasts stirred. Eventually, he dropped off into an uneasy sleep.

At some point during the night, the rain ceased. By the time the grey light of dawn reached fingers of light around the curtain, his bladder was bursting. He’d been wanting to go for a while, but the idea of getting out of the warm cocoon he’d made hadn’t appealed. Now though, he could wait no longer.

He pushed aside the curtain just enough to slip outside, not wanting to wake Kadin, who was snoring softly. He didn’t go too far from the hut. There was a large rock behind it he thought was probably used for the purpose and he gratefully let his steaming piss run down its craggy face. Once he was done, he looked around. The beasts were mostly sleeping; young ones curled next to their mothers. A few were grazing already. The crescent of Belior, sinking behind the mountain, lent a soft light to the scene. Jevikel found his eyes drawn to the eastern horizon, where that reddish coloured star had just risen. It seemed larger than ever this morning, although maybe that was due to it being so low in the sky.

The sound of the curtain being pulled aside made him turn. Kadin emerged. ‘Wondered where you’d got to.’

‘Needed a piss. There’s a rock over there.’ He pointed. ‘We’ll need to dig a hole for t’other, later on.’

Kadin disappeared behind the same rock. Jevikel stayed, watching the star rise, its colour intensifying.

Kadin rejoined him and followed his gaze. ‘There’s a Teaching Ballad about that,’ he said.

‘“Red Star in the morning, Holder take warning. Clear all green, 'fore Thread is seen.

Red Star in the East, both man and beast, Stay under stone till danger's gone.

Red Star in the Eye, dragons must fly. Pass will begin before third month comes in.”’

‘What’s all that mean, exactly?’

Kadin tutted. ‘Don’t you remember any of your Teaching Ballads?’

‘We didn’t learn many. Just the ones Granny Val knew and that wasn’t one of them. She was better at telling stories, really.’

Kadin pointed at the eastern sky. ‘That’s what it’s about. The Red Star. When it’s seen at dawn and in the same part of the sky where the sun rises, it means a Pass is coming soon.’

Jevikel felt a shiver run down his spine. ‘Thread’s gone for good. Everyone says so.’

‘Then why do the Harpers still teach us the old ballads?’

‘Father says it’s to scare us all into tithing the Weyr.’

Kadin snorted. ‘Some folk believe that. Doesn’t mean they’re right.’

Jevikel looked at the star again. It definitely seemed closer than the last time he’d seen it. ‘Granny told us about Thread.’ He remembered that story about the two children. What if it began falling now? Would they get eaten where they stood?

Kadin must have noticed his expression. ‘It’s not going to happen right away. We just need to be ready for when it does. And so long as we’re under stone, we’re safe enough. The part about the eye is something to do with the Weyrs. They can tell when it’s going to start and they’ll warn the rest of Pern. “Green withers, arm Pern.”’

‘You know a lot of those, don’t you.’

‘I had a proper education.’

He was back to normal again, being superior. ‘Come on. Let’s get some breakfast.’ As they made their way back inside, Jevikel noticed the grass growing right up to the threshold of the hut. Maybe they should clear that, just in case?

They fell into a routine as the days passed. Check the herdbeasts, gather wood for the fire, fetch water for klah. Make sure the beasts that gave birth were all right, along with their offspring. One or two didn’t survive, but that meant a meat stew instead of the endless vegetables or porridge. Jevikel gathered some of the fresh new herbs to add flavour to their food. He made a point of clearing a wide area around the hut, too. Kadin noticed and smiled, although he joined in. ‘It’s as well to be prepared,’ he said.

As the day drew to a close, they preferred to sit outside when the weather was fine. The fire kept them warm. One evening, almost a sevenday after arriving, Kadin went inside and brought something back with him. Jevikel recognised a set of pipes. The Harper had played those as well as a gitar.

‘Do you mind if I play?’ he asked. ‘I need some practice.’

‘No. Not at all.’

‘Only there’s never any music at the Hold and mother told me it wouldn’t be a good idea to play in front of anyone.’

‘I like music,’ Jevikel said. Vikkel’s rules didn’t extend to the mountains. Maybe that was why he felt so much at ease here?

‘Your father doesn’t, though. I used to think mother was joking when she told us what a joyless place Pinnacle had been when she was growing up. Now I know better.’

Jevikel had no answer for that. ‘Just play.’ At least it would stop him babbling on.

He’d expected Kadin’s playing to be hesitant and full of mistakes, but it wasn’t. The clear, liquid notes travelled across the hillside, weaving a spell along with the melody. While he played, time seemed suspended and the Hold a very long way off. Even the nearby beasts were transfixed, flames reflecting in their eyes as they watched. Jevikel felt all the tension he’d not even known he carried draining from his body. Even after it ended, the music seemed to linger inside his head.

‘Go on, then. Play another one. Or the same one again. I don’t mind.’

Kadin gave one of his smiles. ‘All right, then.’

Jevikel knew the next tune. It was one Val used to sing in her cracked old voice. A love song about a young lad and his girl who were split apart by a family feud. Played on the pipes, it was so much more poignant. He began to sing along with it, even though he couldn’t remember all the words. Then he realised Kadin had stopped playing and it must be because of his singing. ‘Sorry. I didn’t mean to…’

‘You’ve not got a bad voice. Bit squeaky at times, but once it settles, it’ll be fine. That’s why I prefer to play right now. Can’t trust my vocal chords.’

‘You used to sing regularly?’ Jevikel found himself asking.

Kadin nodded. ‘Astarl, the one who taught me to play, used to invite several of us round to try out new music from the Harper Hall. And father loved music. When he and mother entertained, they always hired musicians.’

It sounded like a different world. ‘Carry on,’ he said. ‘If you want to, that is.’ At least when they had to return, he could hold on to the memory of this music.

That was still a long way off, though. They moved further up the mountain as the beasts sought fresh grazing. The next shelter had been damaged in a rockfall and it took a morning of hard work before it was habitable. Close by, a waterfall streamed down the hillside into a small pool.

‘I’m going for a swim,’ Kadin said. ‘That looks inviting.’

‘It’ll be freezing.’

‘Don’t care. The sun’s warm today, so I’ll dry off quickly enough. Anyway, I’m tired of being grubby and smelly.’

That was true. Everything ended up smelling like the herdbeasts. Jevikel was tempted to join him. It couldn’t be much worse than washing in a stream, apart from the initial shock.

‘Not scared of a bit of water?’ Kadin teased, pulling his shirt over his head.

Jevikel tried not to look at his body. Kadin was a few months younger, but seemed better developed. All that good food he’d had, living in Bitra, no doubt. As he took off his own clothes, he felt very self conscious. Over the past Turn, as he’d shot up in height, he’d become even more skinny. Still, why should he even care what Kadin thought? From what he’d gathered, his cousin was interested in girls and wasn’t likely to spare him a second glance.

Kadin jumped in, splashing around. ‘It’s lovely in here,’ he said.

Jevikel realised Kadın was staring at him. He’d been going to wade in gradually to get used to it, but that made his mind up. He jumped off the same rock Kadin just had.

The water stung like a thousand sharp needles. It burned, as if boiling hot rather than freezing cold. ‘Oh, shit!’

Kadin laughed, even though his teeth were chattering. ‘Got you there.’

‘I s..said it would be freezing.’ Although it wasn’t quite so bad as he became accustomed to it. Or perhaps he was just so numb he couldn’t feel the cold any more.

Kadin dunked his head under the spray, rubbing the dirt from his hair. Jevikel thought that wasn’t a bad idea. Keeping moving might keep him warm. Warmish, anyway. He wasn’t going to be the first one to get out, even if it killed him.

Kadin swam back over to the rock, where both their clothes were piled. ‘Might as well give these a wash too. Don’t want to get back into smelly things if I’m clean.’

Before Jevikel could protest, he dragged them into the water. The next thing he knew, his own sodden shirt hit him in the face.

‘There you go.’ Kadin threw his trousers next.

Jevikel was furious. ‘What if I didn’t want to wash them?’ Now he was going to have to sit there naked until his clothes dried out.

‘You can’t say you like the stink of herdbeast.’

It was true, of course, but he’d had enough of Kadin’s larking around today. Leaving his clothes floating, he swam back towards his cousin.

Kadin obviously realised he’d gone too far. ‘Hey!’ was all he managed to say before Jevikel ducked him under. He might be skinny, but Turns of hard work had made him strong. Kadin was like a fish, though. He seemed able to twist in ways Jevikel wouldn’t have thought possible and his torso and legs definitely had unsuspected muscles beneath the surface.

Maybe it was due to his fingers being almost numb that Kadin got away so easily. As they surfaced, he became suddenly aware of how close they were. For a long moment, Kadin stared into his eyes. He was so close, Jevikel felt the warmth of his breath. Then Kadin pushed him under again and the spell was broken.

It was good to be clean again. Lying in the sun felt irresponsibly lazy, even though there wasn’t really anything to do besides keep an eye on the grazing animals. He sneaked a glance over at Kadin, lying on a patch of grass, not too close, but not too far away either. There’d definitely been - something - between them for that brief instant. Like a flash of lightning; gone, but leaving behind a bright after image. He needed to know if Kadin had felt the same. He must have. And yet, to acknowledge anything had happened was such a risk. Once again, the memory of Rosh and Col limping away from the Hold gave him pause for thought. Vikkel was harder on his own family than any of the workers. If he even suspected his own son of having feelings for someone of the same sex, well, it wouldn’t be good. And yet, if Kadin was having the same doubts right now, then one of them would have to say something.

Round and round in his head it went, until Kadin abruptly sat up. ‘Hey, look!’ He pointed up into the blue sky.

There were too many dragons to count, arranged in a tidy V formation. At the head of the V was a bronze, gleaming in the sunshine. The trailing legs were a mix of colours, green, blue and brown, flying low enough he could even see their riders. Jevikel shielded his eyes as they flew almost directly overhead. It was the closest he’d ever seen dragons in his life. He heard the sound of their wings and saw their shadows pass across the ground as they headed in a westerly direction. Both he and Kadin followed them as they grew smaller, finally disappearing from sight over the mountains.

‘Whoa!’ Kadın said. ‘That was amazing.’

‘It was.’ How must it feel to fly over such a distance so fast and effortlessly?

‘Do you see them often out here?’ He sounded awed.

Jevikel shrugged, trying to make it seem as if it was a frequent occurrence. ‘Now and then. Their Weyr’s somewhere over yonder.’ He waved an arm in the general direction of the Benden range.

‘I’ve heard so much about the Weyr,’ Kadin sighed. ‘Don’t suppose I’ll ever see it, though.’

‘Me neither.’ Now the dragons had gone, he was very aware they were both still naked. While he’d been in the freezing pool, it hadn’t been an issue, but now he was worried his body might betray his interest. He turned away, checking his clothes, which he’d draped over a bush to dry. Still damp, but not too bad on a warm afternoon like this. He quickly pulled his trousers back on. ‘Best get dressed,’ he said gruffly. ‘We should check on that brown and white beast. She looked like she might be ready to drop her young’un earlier.’

Evenings had fallen into a pattern now. After they’d eaten, Jevikel made klah and they sat by the fire, while Kadin played the pipes. Having initially dreaded spending time up in the hills with his cousin, now Jevikel found the prospect of heading back down to the Hold stifling. In just another couple of sevendays the young beasts would be ready for weaning so their mother’s milk could be used for this Turn’s cheese production. He hoped he might be sent out here again, but you could never tell. Vikkel might decide he should learn more about Hold management, or help with the barn extension they’d been talking about before he left.

When Kadin finished the tune he was playing, he set down the pipes and took a sip of klah. ‘You looked sad, just then.’

‘Did I? I was thinking about going back to the Hold.’

‘Funny thing is you never call it home.’

‘Well…’ He didn’t know what to say to that. How did Kadin always seem to be able to tell how he was feeling? He didn’t think he was that transparent. At least, he hoped not.

‘If you don’t like it there, you should leave.’

‘And go where? It’s not that easy.’ It was different for Kadin. He hadn’t been raised at Pinnacle. No one expected anything of him. ‘Anyway, it’s my duty to take over the Hold when father gets too old.’

‘If you do, you’ll end up as miserable as he is.’

Jevikel knew he should spring to the defence of his father, but unfortunately, what Kadin said struck home. ‘I don’t have a choice.’

‘There’s always a choice. But sometimes, you have to lose everything before you realise it.’ Kadin’s dark eyes glistened in the firelight. ‘When we first came here, I hated it. Everything about it. You as well. So smug, so much a part of the place. Only I’ve come to realise, you aren’t, at all. You’re trying to play a role that doesn’t fit you.’ Kadin threw another couple of sticks onto the fire. Sparks flew up into the darkness. ‘I notice things other folk overlook. Like the way you try to pretend you aren’t staring at me when you think I’m not paying attention.’

‘I don’t.’ Jevikel was glad it was too dark to see his blushes.

‘It’s all right,’ Kadin went on. ‘I probably notice you doing it because it’s what I do, too.’

Jevikel’s heart beat faster. Was Kadin trying to say what he thought he was? Or was he playing some game? A couple of sevendays ago, he might have thought the latter. Now, he wasn’t so sure. ‘I…’ he started to speak but wasn’t sure how to go on. Then, all at once, he felt reckless. He wasn’t going to let another moment like this one pass. In one swift move he rose from where he sat and closed the distance between them. Kadin looked up. Their eyes met, as they had in the pool that day. This time he didn’t hesitate, but leaned forward and gently brushed his lips against Kadin’s.

For a moment, he thought he’d been wrong; that Kadin would push him away. Then he was kissing back. His lips were warm and soft; he tasted faintly of the klah he’d been drinking. At first, Jevikel didn’t know what to do with his hands, then it became a natural progression to reach one arm around Kadin’s slender body, puling him closer. He felt Kadin’s hand on the back of his neck as the kiss deepened, their tongues sliding together inside the slippery warmth of mouths. Purely on a physical level, it felt wonderful, but there was something else, too; an emotional connection he’d never dared to dream he might have.

There was a pause, during which Jevikel remembered to breathe. They pulled apart sufficiently to look into each other’s eyes. Kadin smiled. ‘I’ve been wanting to do that for a long while.’

‘So have I.’ He wanted to do it again. ‘You know, maybe we should practice some more?’

‘Yes, we probably should.’ And if the kissing led on to other things, which Jevikel hoped very much it did, then he wouldn’t mind that at all, either.

Jevikel woke with Kadin wrapped around him, sharing the same blanket, the same mattress. It was early morning; the first grey light of dawn filtering around the gaps in the curtain. He felt tired - they had spent a considerable amount of the night exploring all of the new and wonderful sensations their bodies were capable of - but strangely peaceful. He felt as if he could lie here forever, Kadin’s warmth against his naked body, listening to the soft sounds of his breathing. Together.

He stroked Kadin’s hair gently, not wanting to disturb him. He wanted to wake like this every morning. Up here, in the freedom of the hills, they could. But when they returned to the Hold, they’d have to hide their feelings. How would he bear not to touch Kadin? Not to be with him? Surely everyone would look at him and know something profound had happened. It was as if parts of his life he hadn’t really understood before had fallen into place.

Kadin opened his eyes, yawned, then stretched, his arms falling into place around Jevikel. ‘Morning,’ he said, sleepily.

‘i didn’t wake you, did I?’

‘No. I was having a weird dream. Something about flying.’ Kadin wriggled closer, so their mouths were in line again. ‘You know, I think we should start the day same as we ended it. If you want, that is.’

‘I definitely want.’ Jevikel guided Kadin’s hand down so he could feel for himself.

By the time they’d got dressed, the sun was already over the horizon, the Red Star just barely visible against the growing daylight. Another day had begun. There was klah to be brewed, breakfast to be made and another day of herding. And at the end of it, more chances for practice.

©1967-2022 Ann McCaffrey, Todd McCaffrey, Gigi McCaffrey; All Rights Reserved; Copyright © 2022 Mawgrim; All Rights Reserved.
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New chapters will be posted each Thursday.

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
Dragonriders of Pern series was created by Ann McCaffrey in 1967 and spans 24+ books published by Ballantine Books, Atheneum Books, Bantam Books, and Del Rey Books.  Any recognizable content in this story is from Ann McCaffrey, Todd McCaffrey, Gigi McCaffrey or their representatives or inheritors.  Original content provided by author of this FanFiction story without monetary compensation.

Story Discussion Topic

It is with great sadness I must announce the death of Mawgrim, Promising Author on GA. He had been in declining health for some time and passed away on Christmas Day. Mawgrim worked for decades as a cinema projectionist before his retirement and was able to use this breadth of knowledge to his stories set in cinemas. He also gave us stories with his take on the World of Pern with its dragon riders. He will be greatly missed and our condolences go out to his friends, family, and his husband.
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Chapter Comments

Sweet first kiss for the boys.  The mountains are a very remote and romantic place for their discovery of each other.  Jevikel and Kadin are both very affected by the music Kadin plays as it brings comfort to them both.  I fear their return to the hold because of the chance of discovery of their feelings.  At least right now I feel a comfortable mellow feeling as they begin to discover more about each other.  Great writing to inspire an emotional bond with both boys.

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Bitrans are known for gambling and a love of entertainment, but also for being somewhat lazy and feeling entitled. But maybe they have some redeeming features like being less prudish and bigoted when it comes to sexual attraction. This would make Kadin more relaxed about being gay and more willing to admit it. But Jevikel will have to warn him about his father's attitude.

Edited by Timothy M.
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On 3/1/2022 at 5:29 PM, Timothy M. said:

Bitrans are known for gambling and a love of entertainment, but also for being somewhat lazy and feeling entitled. But maybe they have some redeeming features like being less prudish and bigoted when it comes to sexual attraction. This would make Kadin more relaxed about being gay and more willing to admit it. But Jevikel will have to warn him about his father's attitude.

Coming from what is effectively Pern's version of a city is the reason why Kadin is better educated and informed about the world. It may well be that the larger Holds such as Bitra are more tolerant than those small, tucked away in the back of beyond places such as Pinnacle,

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