Can I kiss you?

Igen Weyr - Hydroponic Gardens Entrance
Vibrant sights and smells greet visitors to a lush desert oasis that oughtn't exist here in the crater of Igen Weyr. Everywhere one looks, lush greenery waves lazily, hiding growing lights and the fixtures which give off the subtle lighting. The cavern, a natural bubble in the rock, is mostly round - there is no closure to the outside, and there's a tapering off at the back before exploding into another bubble further back. One can just see that the next "room" leads to yet another room even further back.
There is no set aisle through the plants. Walkways meander here and there, sand heaped along the floor and kept warm by whatever device gives the Hatching Grounds their warmth. The heat is not as intense here, but the mist generated by clever automatic sprayers lends humidity to the air. Tubs of various depths and sizes are scattered higgeldy piggeldy, and the plants in them seem to have no rhyme or reason. Aromatic scents give the hint that kitchen herbs and useful vegetables have been scattered among the decorative flowers and trees.
The chain of rooms are obviously quite "new" - most of the plants seem to be quite young. Insects buzz about everywhere, and there is a quiet twitter of avains and firelizards, who seem quite at home here among the vegetation. Near the door, a wooden rack holds a few pairs of shoes, encouraging visitors to go barefoot.

The gardens had become something of a favorite spot for Zorya throughout candidacy. The greenery found within that is very much lacking throughout the rest if Igen holding perhaps a touch of home in its lushness particularly when compared with the bleak desert surrounding the weyr. And so it is that morning finds the harper apprentice at the gardens on the day she's to leave Igen's sand and return to Ista's tropical island. The blonde swishes lightly down one of the walkways, stopping to lightly finger one of the brightly colored flowers.

These gardens have attracted the adoration of more than one person new to Igen. The resident forester weyrling has visited here almost everyday since it's the only real source of greenery around. And so, after going and looking for Zorya and finding out that she's here, Ma'kai is glad to head up to his favorite place to see his favorite girl. Garanth, of course though, is close at his heels; following along to make sure his lifemate stays safe. "Hey Zorya." He says somewhat softly when he comes upon the girl in the garden. A smile is spread across his face at the cuteness that is this girl playing with a flower.

Knees bent slightly as she ducks closer to the flower, Zorya blinks as she glances up from her place on the path upon hearing her name. "Oh, … hello Ma-'kai." a slight hiccup in the name as she changes it from pre to post impression form. "Garanth…" added with a slight nod of her head towards the baby bronze before turning blue-eyed gaze back to the brilliant pink of the flower in question.

Ma'kai walks on up to her and crouches down near her to look at the flower too. "You can still call me Malakai if you want. It's been my name for twenty years, it'll be nice to hear it from you every now and then." Garanth, rumbles at the girl. Not exactly a happy noise, but at least he didn't growl.

Zorya mms. "Ah only knew it for a few months. And it'll be Ma'kai for far longer, might as well get used ta it sooner rather than later." she replies idly, her gaze still focused on that single piece of flora rather than anything else in the area.

Ma'kai makes a sad kind of face. "I guess. But who can say for certain." He's kind of easygoing about mortality so he says weird things like that sometimes. He watches her with the flower while Garanth settles down behind them. "You're going home today, right?" He tilts his head and watches her face, that little smile on his face still.

Zorya nods, a subtle movement noted primarily by the shift of her hair about her face. A murmur of agreement is made before she pushes to her feet, a soft sigh escaping as she does so, fingers lingering for a short bit longer even as she turns away to move a few steps down the walkway they're on.

Ma'kai frowns lightly at her as she gets up to move down the path. Standing up he follows after her and grabs her arm lightly. "Are you alright?" He looks down at her with a worried look on his face. When did she get this quiet.

Zorya stops at the touch, hesitating between pulling away and turning back towards him of which she does neither. "Fine," she assures, lifting her chin if only to show that its truth, but there's something in her voice that hints otherwise. The girl lets another long moment pass before she finally ventures to send a fleeting glance his direction from the corner of her eye. "Ah'm not good at this…"

Ma'kai isn't quite sure he believes her and so doesn't let go. When she says she isn't very good at this, he sighs and moves to hug her from behind, wrapping his arms snugly around her shoulders. "Come on Zorya." He starts softly in her ear. "This isn't a forever good-bye. It's an I'll see you later, good-bye."

Neutral. That's the girl's emotion, or lack there of, to the hug. Almost cold. Almost. "Ah know," Zorya replies, though confusion tinges her soft voice. "Ah just.. Ah've always avoided it." And perhaps that's just what she was trying to do being here in the first place, though if she were truly trying to do that there are other places much more conducive.

Ma'kai is a bit bewildered. This isn't the same girl he's gotten to know over candidacy. This isn't even the same girl as yesterday. He moves away from her a bit and turns her around to face him, a worried look plain on his face. "This doesn't seem like you. Where's my bright little dancer?" He asks, letting a smile tug at his lips. "This is the last time we get to see eachother for a while and you seem, sad almost." he says, moving a bit of hair away from her face and lightly running the backs of his fingers across her cheek at the same time. "Smile a bit won't you?"

Zorya doesn't resist the movement, submitting as he turns her. "Ah'll visit." she offers almost too quickly, avoiding his questions. "Ah mean if Ah'm at Ista Ah'm sure Aisling will visit an' Ah could get a rid with her." Not that there aren't plenty of others she could get transport from, but being that the greenrider is his sister she's the first that comes to mind as already making the trip to Igen at least once. A smile tugs at the corners of her lips, not quite breaking through. "Ah'm sorry if Ah'm ruining it for you.. It's just.. well when Ah left home… an then when Ah went ta harper hall. Then Ah didn't think Ah'd be staying an Ah didn't tell my cousin and then Eastern and.." No one thought fully finished.

Ma'kai sighs and smiles a little broader. At least he's got her babbling now. "If it's Ais we're going to rely on for transportation and I send her a letter to get you over here as often as is convenient, I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of eachother." Sharp green eyes probe blue while he speaks. "And are you saying I'm really the only person you've said a real good-bye to before?" His hands move to give her shoulders a squeeze before sliding down to her hands to hold onto them lightly if she'll let him.

"Ah'd hate ta inconvenience her." Zorya interjects. At the question however she nods, gaze falling to her hands as she starts to turn away again. Tries, but not very hard and being that he's still holding onto her she doesn't actually complete it even halfway. Left places, yes, said a true goodbye, no.

"It's not an inconvenience if I ask her to bring you when it /is/ convenient." He contradicts her with a smile on his face. When she starts to turn away again, his hold on her hands tightens. "Zorya…" He says softly, pulling her a little closer to him. "It's not hard to say goodbye in action. Maybe a little hard on the heart at times, but the actions are easy enough." He pulls her arms up onto his shoulders and lets go so he can wrap his arms around her middle. "If you're friends or better, you hug and say Goodbye, I'll miss you." He hugs her a little tighter. "Good-bye Zorya. I'll miss you."

And this is exactly why 'congratulations and good luck' was supposed to suffice the day before. "Ah'll .. miss you." Zorya echoes, a certain awkwardness in her voice as if the thing were foreign territory. A slight pressure on her part to return the hug he gives, though there's a tenseness in her posture even as she surrenders to leaning her head against his shoulder.

If that was all she wanted to say, she should have run from the weyr while she could instead of giving Ma'kai the chance to track her down for a better good-bye. He eventually pulls back enough to look at her face. "I regret not asking you this sooner, but would it be alright with you if I kissed you?" He's not the type to force a kiss on someone, so he gives her the time to think about it and the chance to say no.

Should have, yes, but perhaps there was something nagging in the back of her mind that kept her from doing so. Or perhaps her ride was just a day late and her thoughts a penny short. Either way she stayed long enough for it to happen. As he pulls back there's a blink, followed by another at the question. "What?" Zorya asks in return, the single word soft and tinged with confusion even though she knows exactly what he said. Not what she was expecting.

"Can I kiss you?" Ma'kai repeats, a bit of a smile creeping up onto his face again. His voice is soft, gentle almost, but with her being right there, he doesn't need to shout. He rubs her back idly with his thumb, letting her think it over. He tries to catch her eye though, to see if he can figure out what's going on in her mind. Though how many guys have ever really been able to do that?

"Ah.. don't see why not…" Zorya finally replies after a bit of hesitation, still clearly confused by the question as blue eyes gaze back up at him - or perhaps the confusion comes only from the fact that the question was asked at all.

Ma'kai might be a flirt sometimes, but he does it with people's full consent. That's how he gets away with what he does. A small smile stretches his lips as he leans in slowly to kiss her softly. He pulls back, barely an inch, looking at her with a sparkle in his eye before leaning in to kiss her again, this time with more passion. His arms tighten around her again, holding her close to him.

Zorya did say okay.. As he pulls back so does she, maybe even a second before, and further than he does, or at least she would if he'd let her. There's a second to follow the first however, and the girl leans back in as he pulls her gently towards him. There's a certain lack of emotion in her reaction, not devoid of any, but not quite what one might expect either. Though when the second does break, something she'll leave up to him, there's a pale rosy blush painted across the girl's cheeks and she tries to turn in attempt to hide it.

Ma'kai pulls back from that second kiss, probably sooner than he would have had he thought she actually wanted to be kissed and wasn't just saying ok for his sake. His pride probably would have taken a major blow at her near non-reaction if it weren't for that blush she's trying to hide. "Alright. I'll, leave you alone now. It's the only thing I can think of that'll make you anykind of happy." He gives her a kiss on the side of her head before letting go of her and taking a step back. "Have a safe ride home. And I'll definitely write to Ais and let her know I'd like to see you again."

He's leaving? No, no. At that Zorya reaches for his hand, not grabbing but reaching, turning towards him once again. "Mal-" she starts, her soft voice catching just a bit. "Ah didn't…" Mean it like that. Its implied by the expression on her face though the words themselves are left unfinished. Its complicated.

Ma'kai takes her hand in his when she reaches for it and brings it up to his lips so as to brush his lips across her knuckles. "Tell me what's wrong Zorya. What can I do?" All he can see is there's something wrong and she's having issues talking about it. But he wants her to be able to tell him.

Is her inexperience in such issues shining through that brightly? Of course she'd hope not, but its there in blazing neon most likely. "Nothing's wrong.." Zorya replies. Not wrong persay.. no. "Ah'm just.. Ah'm not used ta all this." Whatever this is that's going on. And trying to not worry him obviously isn't going to succeed. She closes her eyes and leans in to kiss him again. That's what he wants right? But its forced and impetuous, and not the same as what there just was, and so it lasts only a second before she falls back with a frown. "Its so… different. Its been almost a turn," she starts, shaking her head just a bit, "And things still don't make sense."

Ma'kai kisses her back in that brief moment and doesn't really sigh, but exhales heavily. /That/ isn't what he wanted persay, but he's not going to turn it down either. He wanted to convey some sort of feeling to her. The feeling of liking her, but that might not have gotten across. "I think I should have waited a little longer to ask you for that kiss." He says softly. He raises a brow then, "Almost a turn since what?"

"Since Ah left home.." Zorya replies with a sigh. Convey the feeling? That was successful, in a way. But perhaps what emerges now will shed more light on things. "And.. well Ah guess its just as hard ta understand that as fer me ta understand this." This and that being here and there, though that meaning might easily be misconstrued. There's a pause as she wets her lips, if only for distraction. "How old were you when ya saw your first dragon?" a question that seems rather out of the blue considering where the conversation just was.

Ma'kai nods a bit, at least understanding the confusion that runs through one's mind when they leave home for the first time. Though that next part gets a bit of a confused look from him. It's not till she asks when he saw his first dragon that he says anything. "I was just thirteen. I caught a ride from a rider when I first joined my craft." It is a little out of the blue, but he'll answer anything he can for her.

Zorya ohs when he answers. “Thir..” but then she shakes her head again. “No, not rode. Saw.” There’s clearly a distinction, and that distinction makes a difference to her. “Ah didn’t until Ah got ta Ista.” Which one might infer from previous conversation to be just about a turn ago, though her continuing remark confirms that, “Just in time for your sister’s weyrling class to graduate. Ah mean sure, ya’d seem ‘em in the distance, flyin. But they didn’t come there, not really, an when one of ‘em did they’d stay plenty far away from the cothold. Growin up they’d tell us how terrible they were, stealin children.. that they’d eat us…” And just where past experience might lead one to believe she might pause with nothing more to say until prodded for it, it seems that she’s on a roll and the girl continues. “Did ya know that if Ah hadn’t left Ah woulda been ‘fasted six months ago? There was an order ta things there, and its not here and even though Ah like that it still scares me.” Freedom, when you’re not used to having it, can be a very scary thing. When she does finally stop she doesn’t look away like she might have any other time. There’s worry clouding her otherwise clear blue eyes, uncertainty of the reaction it might receive.

Ma'kai is good and doesn't interupt her untill she seems to be finished and looking for some kind of response. "I saw my first dragon when I was around nine when my dad took us up to the hold to deliver a catch. I grew up in a little cothold outside of Island River and my family's a bunch of Fishers." He tacks in that little bit as a kind of aside to give her an idea of where he's talking about. But he pauses for a second, not quite sure how to go on. "Shells, I didn't even know places like that still existed." He rubs the back of his head. "I mean, mom's always tryin' to get us 'fasted off young, but she understands that we don't all /want/ to be yet." He sighs and gives her a little smile. "It's alright to be afraid untill you get used to things. We aren't all ready to take on everything that comes our way."

Zorya sighs. That done and out of the way her gaze slips back towards the ground. "Things just were there. It didn't matter.. it just was and it was for everyone." she tries to explain. Most don't know such places exist, and such places generally like it that way. "An its just so different from what's out here…" the girl shakes her head a bit, bitting her lip. "… Harpers.. Dragons.. Choices…"

Ma'kai gives her hand a little squeeze and a shake. "Free will is a part of what life's really made of. I can only imagine how terrible my life would be right now if I'd been forced into becoming a fisherman." He scoffs a little. "You know, I'm actually afraid of water, or rather, the ocean. There's a reason I went the other way and stuck to the trees." He tips her head back up with a finger under her chin. "You should really thank whoever it was who gave you your ability to choose for yourself. It might be more comfortable to have your choises made for you sometimes, but it's a whole lot more boring that way too."

A smile pulls at the corners of Zorya's lips. "Afraid of the ocean? You?" she sounds almost skeptical of the thought. A subtle nod then at what follows. "Ah suppose Ah did that for myself…" There she pauses so shake her head and continue, "Only comfortable if you're happy with them like my sister. No matter how strange it might be here, those things… they just weren't me." And perhaps that was all she needed, to work that out and admit it to herself. "Ah still think about it though. If Ah hadn't run away."

Ma'kai nods and grins a little sheepishly. "Ah, yeah. But you can't tell anyone I told you that. Alright? I'd totally loose that attractive edge if everyone started making fun of me for being afraid of water." He cocks his head to the side a bit and nods again. "If you hadn't run away I wouldn't have gotten to meet you and I really like you so I'm glad you did."

Zorya laughs lightly. "Secret's safe with me." she assures, a taunting lilt in the smile that creeps across her face. "Stayin away was harder than leavin," she points out the expression falling, "But Ah guess Ah was mad enough long enough an havin Zipalla and Uncle L'ton at Ista helped make it easier too Ah guess. But meetin you.." she trails off, eyes slowly closing to blink open up towards him once again. "Maybe all of it was worth leavin everything behind."

Ma'kai gets a slightly playful glint in his eyes at that taunt in her smile. "Thanks." His expression eases off more than falls when she continues. "I can imagine. I was wanting to go home right after joining up with the wood craft. But the longer you're away, the easier it is." That last bit has a small smile creeping onto his face and he covers the hand he's holding with his free one as well. "As much as I like hearing that from you, I have to warn you that I'm not exactly the best guy, for anyone." He tries to warn her as kindly as possible. "Though I'd never turn you away if you wanted me, you just might not always like what you see when you see me." If that makes any sense at all.

Zorya's blue eyes blink back from hands to face at that. No. That makes absolutely no sense, in any way, shape or form. "What do ya mean?" the inevitable question makes its way past her lips even as the confusion surfaces in the rest of her expression. The hand in his pulling back as if his were that of a stranger rather than a friend, though not so hard as to actually pull away unless he lets it.

Ma'kai can see it in her eyes and it makes him feel like a jerk. That question that says she's got just about no real experience with guys. "I'm saying please don't think I'm something worth anything. There are better guys out there for that look you had in your eyes just a moment ago." He lets go of her hand this time when she pulls away.

Zorya might have had more were circumstances different, but perhaps that short exchange moments ago as to her past shed a little light on that. "Ah.." But nothing further is said as the girl simply looks at him uncertainly, lips pressing into a thin line as considers his words. The length of silence drags on though it may well seem longer than the scant twenty or thirty seconds it really is. "Good by Ma'kai. Ah'll miss you." Isn't that how he said it before? With that said the girl leans in to close the small gap between them, pressing lips to his once again though this time there's emotion behind it however short the touch is before its broken. If left up to her its fleeting before she turns with all the grace of the dancer she is to make her way back towards the bowl.

Ma'kai gives her as reassuring a look as he can during that space of time where neither of them says anything. He's gotta let her work it over in her own mind. At her words of a goodbye though, a small smile tugs at his lips before he's returning that small kiss. "I'll miss you too." He says in return as he watches her leave, letting her go her own way now that she's said her own first farewell.

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