R’le rubbed the back of his neck. Paperwork was the worst. The subject matter didn’t help much either. It hadn’t been long since V’lan had been killed, and things were still all over the place. People were still coming to terms with it, positions were all just a bit off, and the Weyr was still not at ease. He was only marginally better.
That wasn’t his biggest worry though.
The Cloudrider pushed the stack away and got up, strolling out of his office. He was going to push off work. Again. There was something bugging him though. Not about the big grand scheme of things. Just the ordinary sort of thing. The friend sort of thing. So he went to Rilora’s office. He hoped she wasn’t there. But he guessed she would be.
There were guards there, but they let him pass to knock on the door. How was it that more security made people feel less secure. Weird paradox.
Bel was curled up in her lap. It was about the only thing that registered. Rilora had her hand resting on the purring cat. Her silver fur was soft, as it always had been. She heard the knock. R'le. She stared back down at her desk. What had she been doing? Oh, done with that one, and was considering the next when Bel shifted to a new spot in her lap. How long ago had that happened? She wasn't sure. She tried for a "R'le! Come in," but her voice gave so little air to the words its volume hardly carried.
So she scooped up Bel and walked towards the door, opening it to find the Cloud Rider as expected. She tried again. "Come in."
R’le waited, hands on his hips as she waited. He leaned forward after a moment. He thought he heard something. He eyed the guards, but it seemed like they were on the job so Rilora should be here too. It took a bit, but she opened the door, feline in hand, and asked him to come in.
“Sure.” He walked in and gave a passing tiny wave to the feline. R’le was not as much a feline person, but it was Rilora’s pet so he appreciated that. He paused once he was in and turned back to Rilora, watching critically.
“Hmm. I waana talk, would ya rather do it here or do ya wanna play hooky a bit?” Weirdly, he didn’t have his familiar grin on when he said that. Usually when he brazenly mentioned playing hooky it was paired with grin and mischief. Today he was more serious about the matter.
"I don't need any more excuse to get out of here," Rilora agreed. She gave Bel a good scratch behind the ears and under the chin, kissed her on the forehead and set the silver feline back down. Bel arched her back and rubbed on her owner's leg. Rilora considered R'le's more subdued tone, she couldn't be rubbing off on him, could she? No, R'le was too jovial for that. Something else then. She considered bringing something for the bright summer sun and settled for swooping up the not-too-large hat that was leaning off the side of her desk. She let it rest at her side for the moment.
R’le let a smirk play on his face as Rilora so readily agreed and he waited while she prepared. He looked a bit distant while he told Quiorith where they were going, and the Dragon told him he’d be there. Good. When he looked up properly, Rilora was ready to go.
“Well then, off we go.” He motioned with some fanfare and led the way, out from the stuffy offices to broad daylight and from there to the beach. It was warm, as always, but a breeze off the ocean was eternally welcome. As they got closer it was easy to see where they were headed, the Cloud dragon on the sand was conspicuous.
“I asked Quiorith if he didn’t mind creating some shade. He’s always happy to help.” Quiorith rumbled at the human’s approach, and flared his wings. Such large wings made for good protection from the sun. He took an unceremonious seat on the sand and kicked off his shoes. It was a nice day. Hopefully Rilora would enjoy it a little bit. He looked up and motioned next to him.
Rilora followed her friend like a shadow, not really paying too much attention to where they were going. She felt the breeze on her face when they first stepped outside, and it only improved when they made it to the beach. Quiorith made an excellent parasol and she smiled despite herself. She directed it towards R'le and mimed pulling up a chair before she plopped down onto the sand, floppy hat and all.
It was actually kind of nice.
"So." Rilora waited as if letting the lapping waves speak just a little longer. She exhaled slowly and focused on the warm sand, the pleasant shade, the repeating waves. "You wanted to talk."
R’le chuckled lightly as Rilora mimed before sitting. He buried his heels in the sand, and waited for Rilora to get settled. She spoke, slowly, but she let him know she was ready to listen to him. Thing was, he wanted it to be the other way round.
“Yeah. I wanted to ask you how you’re doing.” He turned his head, leaning back on his hands. “And I ain’t asking polite ways, I actually wanna know.”
Rilora let his concern sink in as they nestled into the sand. His request for an honest answer dredged up the sharp pain out of the murk. She took a split second to examine it before letting it slide back into the vague ache that had become familiar. She breathed out a curse for the entire situation and rolled her shoulders back.
"I loved him," she admitted quietly. The investigations had turned up little in the way of finding Anaela - how did one hide an enormous Gold dragon? The increased security made her uneasy. The daily visits to Lithena were at first heartening to see her recovering and then depressing that they were necessary at all. "And I almost lost Lithena. It's not hard to figure out how I am doing," Rilora trailed on. She was reluctant to put it all into words. That would hurt.
R’le waited as Rilora organized her thoughts into words. Then he listened. To her admission, well he didn’t exactly look surprised, merely sympathetic. He had rather thought she had been. She put it simply but he frowned. Not because what she said. It was more what he was concerned about that had him frowning.
“Well, it’s okay to not be okay. But like...” He trailed off and frowned, his mouth scrunched up as he tried to find a way to talk that made sense outside his head. “Are you sure you don’t need more time away from all the paperwork nonsense?” He himself was glad to hear that Lithena would be okay after a long healing stretch, but he was sure Rilora was feeling it much more keenly.
"You ask that like I have a choice," Rilora scoffed, pulling her left foot out of the sand to cross it over the other. The Weyr had been demanding of her life since Archith chose her. While like all Riders she was committed to her dragon unquestionably, the extreme stresses of leadership hadn't done her any favors. If Isodae didn't start out as stern as she was, the job did the rest. Speaking of- no, she'd earned her retirement. Was R'le's suggestion even viable? "Who would even manage the 'paperwork nonsense' in my absence?"
R’le shrugged. He was aware that Gold riders couldn’t do everything they wanted, as much as it seemed like it to the outsider. Still.
“Retny? Rekkora?” Life would be a lot easier if he had some weyrleader names to give out too, but he really didn’t. “You could put your foot down and make me do some work for once. Surely our triple R’s could amount to one Rilora for a bit.” He teased very lightly, but the suggestion itself was serious.
“I really don’t think people would mind pitching in a little to give you two seconds to actually take a break in the wake of all this nonsense.” He waved around to indicate what he meant. There was a lot going on. And it had barely been over a seven day since the attack. Even if people didn’t know about Rilora and V’lan (well R’le certainly did so it hadn’t’ been a secret really) he had still been the Weyrleader and Lithena was certainly her sister. Just because Rilora was a Weyrwoman, didn’t mean she shouldn’t be allowed to be human.
"I admire your faith in them," Rilora said. She watched the crests of the waves and the seabirds on the wind. Considering it further, she took in that it wasn't so much the people of Rainbow Mists she was concerned of. They were strong. And if it was just the rest of the world and its critical eye...well, perhaps her allies here could conceal her stepping back just a little. "Very well. Then I leave it in your capable hands. Most of it. And I get to borrow you sometimes since Lithena is a right pain when she's sick."
R’le smirked. ‘Course he did. He totally trusted his friends. Well Rekkora wasn’t like a super close friend, but she was still in the leaderfolk crew. He waited for Rilora to think and he waited, looking up at the large blue and gray wing over his head. It wasn’t too long before she spoke again and this time R’le broke into a wide grin.
“I would honestly be more surprised if she wasn’t.” Was good friends with both Rilora and Lithena, but he knew how Lithena could be sometimes. She was fabulous at a party, less so when she had to sit still for a while. “You got it. I’ll be there when ya need me.”
"Have you been to visit her?" Rilora asked. She had adopted a steady smile at R'le's agreement. His lackadaisical attitude made for an easy friendship and one she was grateful to have around. Now its effect on his work ethic, well... for the boons it brought to the team it could be overlooked more often than not. "She's worse than that one time, two Turnovers ago. You remember? She had us avoiding her for a sevenday with the powerful ire of her hangover," Rilora chuckled.