We *Are* Family! (Pt. 1) ((JP: Andreya, Shalia))


Rosiegirl
 

(OOC: A bit backdated of a thread. This follows directly after the thread titled "Family Means No One Gets Left Behind Or Forgotten.' between Andreya and T'rif and is set on 8.28.5.3, the morning after the MD's Hatching.)


Walking out of T’rifoshe’s office, the egg pot in its holder cradled carefully in her arms, Andreya’s stomach was no longer in knots worrying about talking with her dad for the first time. The talk had been...nothing like she’d been worried it would be. Her dad had been kind, worried about her reaction to the news, and more than willing to have a relationship with her, any type of relationship she felt like having with him whether it was really embracing him as her father or not. He was actually *eager* to spend time with her and get to know her, as well as introduce her around to the rest of the family. 


Family...it was so strange a thing. You could wake up one morning thinking family was just two people, you and your Mom. Then, all in a second and purely by happenstance, your family was now many times what it was before, including people you’d met already and never even known you were connected to. So very strange as to be unreal. Like one of those ‘Harper tales’ she’d enjoyed hearing told as a youngster.


Shaking her head, Andreya still couldn’t believe how different everything was to how she’d woken up this morning. How different everything felt now…


Walking through the barracks, not really thinking about where to go except back to her cot, before she even reached it her stomach decided to make its displeasure with Andreya’s lack of concern with food known...quite loudly. Stopping briefly, deciding whether to leave the egg by her cot or take it with her, Andreya decided to take it with her. She didn’t want to risk the egg being out of her sight even for a moment, who knows how soon it might Hatch. So, turning away from the direction of her cot Andreya headed instead to the Dining Hall, intending to sit with her egg as close to a hearth as possible no matter how hot *she* got, she wanted to make sure the egg in its pot was warm enough. 


Her egg...her Callamere flit, produced by her second cousin’s gold flit. Wow...her dad had gotten her a flit, before even speaking to her or knowing if she’d come speak to him (as his daughter instead of a candidate). That was another thing that was just sticking in her mind, his *caring* that much about her already. It felt like a puzzle Andreya needed to figure out...how this ‘having a dad’ thing really works.


But before she had too much time to dwell on this new puzzle, she was at the Dining Hall. Carefully carrying the egg pot in its holder with a strap over her shoulder but still cradling the pot close with one arm, she gathered a plate of food. Since she was out of hands, however, she asked one of the Staff walking around who didn’t look terribly busy if they could bring her a tall mug of juice. The Staffer agreed with a smile, and it was just as Andreya was sitting down in a seat as close to the hearth as she could get that there was a mug of chilled juice sitting in front of her. She nodded her thanks, placed her egg pot on the floor next to the hearth for the heat (but still where she could easily reach it) and ate. 


And boy was she suddenly hungry! Breakfast felt like it had never happened as far as her stomach was concerned. She finished the first plate of food, quickly gathered and ate a second plate (making sure to take the egg with her), and then sat back in her chair a moment thinking. Now that her stomach didn’t feel like it was about to consume itself, the Harper began making a mental list of the items she’d need to gather before the egg Hatched.


When the mental list evolved into more than a few things, Andreya actually ended up requesting a scrap hide and charcoal from a passing Staffer who, after giving her a look until they noticed Andreya’s candidate knots and figuring it was just a quick ‘omg, I forgot my hidework and need to complete it!’ moment, returned quickly with the requested items. It took Andreya mere moments to recreate the list she’d already done, before continuing through the rest of the list: 


~raw meat, 

~towel to clean off egg goop (and to clean the egg shells themselves to save the shell pieces), 

~soapsand to bathe the flit, 

~hide oil and oil rag, 

~a harness and/or collar, 

~some type of bedding for the flit, 

~a secure wooden box to protect the shell pieces until she figured out what to do with them (but still wanting to save them so that she *could* do something with them), 

~a flit sling, 


and, most importantly (for the flit to cling to without scratching *her* or destroying her clothes)

~a thick leather glove and 

~a shoulder pad she could strap over her shoulder, on top of whatever she was wearing


As Andreya looked over the list, taking extra time to make sure she didn’t miss anything, once she was sure she was done she decided which stop to make first. It..didn’t make sense to get the raw meat *now*, even though she was in the Dining Hall and was already here, as she’d have to carry it with her while she gathered everything else. So, Andreya quickly came up with a plan of action of where she needed to go and in which order, with the raw meat being the last stop before going back to the Barracks. Tailor first for sling, glove, and shoulder pad, and then hopefully Stores for everything else, then back to Kitchen for a sealed container of raw meat. That made the most sense.


So, Andreya carefully picked up the now quite warm egg pot in it’s holder, swung the holder’s strap over her shoulder to feel more confident (even as she still held the pot close to her body) and then headed off to the tailors. It took a bit of describing to one of the tailors, a woman named Bronwynn, for the tailor to sketch out the ‘shoulder pad’ with straps/buckles that could just be attached at the shoulder/under the arm for the flit to sit on without having to ruin every outfit with a thicker shoulder piece, but the tailor said she’d work on it and have the shoulder pad ready for Andreya in about a sevenday, but would send Andreya a note if there was a delay. Bronwynn also seemed interested herself in this ‘attaching shoulder pad’ idea and planned to make one for herself too. The thick leather glove and the ‘flit sling’ were a lot easier for Andreya to get from the tailors and after giving the tailor woman the payment for the items, including the ordered ‘attaching shoulder pad’, Andreya left. 


Next visit was the Storerooms, with Vyemina still there. When Andreya gave the Storemistress her list, with the few tailor provided items crossed off, Vyemina looked it over and then said she’d begin gathering everything. It didn’t take long, the Storemistress didn’t get to be the Storemistress by not being efficient at her job, but when Vyemina returned carrying a sack she said she’d found everything on Andreya’s list, except a harness/collar. Instead, since the flit would be growing quickly, Vyemina produced a tiny jar of Harper blue paint and suggested Andreya used this to mark her flit, getting a collar or harness once the flit was more grown. Amdreya thanked Vyemina for the suggestion, as well as got some names of people who make flit harnesses and collars for when she would need it. 


Since these were not items normally provided, Andreya passed over compensation for the items happily. She thanked Vyemina sincerely, then took the bag (after adding the glove and ‘flit sling’ to the bag), then after a quick stop back by the Dining Hall for the sealed container of raw meat (to keep it fresher longer), Andreya headed back to the Candidate Barracks. 


First she went to her cot and set up all the items that wouldn’t be immediately needed upon the egg Hatching. The flit bed went on the nightstand next to her bed, with the items that had been on top of the dresser getting put carefully in the first drawer. Deciding the second drawer would be her flit’s drawer, once she cleared it out and rearranged the previous contents among the other drawers she arranged the flit’s items inside: the paint and glove for the moment, but would hold the rest of the flit related items later. 


Keeping the rest of the items in the bag to take with her, Andreya scratched out a quick note on some scrap paper. Then the Harper gathered up some reading material, some hidework, and some other study materials...enough to keep the tall candidate busy in the common room for several candlemarks without her having to leave except for maybe dinner. Gathering everything up, the bag with the flit items, a shoulder bag with her study materials, the egg holder strap on the other shoulder, and the raw meat container, Andreya left her room. She first stopped by to leave the note on Shalia’s much larger bed, and then she settled herself into the smaller (and thankfully unoccupied) common room. Setting the egg pot on the hearth, glad to still feel some heat coming from the egg pot from earlier, Andreya settled herself comfortably on a couch next to the egg. Leaving the bag of flit items as well as the raw meat container easily within reach, Andreya instead pulled out some study material and began to read. 


Anyone peeking into the small, out of the way common room would see Andreya sitting sideways on the couch, her long legs stretched out in front of her looking quite pretty in something *not* candidate yellow. A pretty brown skirt that's tight at the waist before it flowed out and fell a few inches higher up her legs than the candidate uniform’s skirt was spread carefully over her legs. Up top she wore a tightly fitted pale blue corset over a flowy white blouse that emphasized her narrow waist even as it stopped just below her bust to help push those curvy assets into the flowy blouse that was under the corset. The neckline of the blouse under the corset had been adjusted so that it left her shoulders bare, aside from the thick red braid sitting curled up on her collarbone (from Andreya having put her hair into a sideways ‘French’ braid earlier for meeting with T’rif). The Harper candidate’s outfit was complete with her favorite brightly patterned scarves tied around her long neck like choker and a thick belt that was slung low around her waist, and while her feet were bare the heeled slippers with ribbons to tie up the ankle securely were sitting carefully next to her bag on the floor nearby. 


However, what was most unusual was that the candidate’s head was bent studiously over some reading material, which is very different than most other candidates who were taking advantage of the free day they had after yesterday’s Hatching…


((The note Andreya left on Shalia’s bed in clear view:


Shalia, 


I’m in the smaller common room with a hearth if you are free and would like to come visit.


~Andreya))


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Shalia had had a fairly busy morning herself.  She hadn’t wanted to get out of bed at all (nice warm, cozy bed with a beautiful naked sister that it was) but finally had to.  Her first stop had been the Dining Hall and a few other public places putting up notices about Lady’s extra eggs, saying to see her at R’tal’s office if interested in buying them.  Then had come the Candidate Barracks for a quick change before heading up to the Weyrleader’s office, on the assumption that as long as she kept showing up he wouldn’t say anything, because she was enjoying the work, for the most part.  Periodically somebody would show up to purchase an egg, and she’d quietly take them to Sarati’s weyr to pick one out, and lunch of course had been spent… well, not eating lunch.


After that she’d swung back through the Barracks.  She’d promised Andreya that she’d help her find a flit after the Hatching… and she had one for her.  It was just a green, but full Callamere heritage would help make up for that, and Sarati had been willing to part with one of Lady’s eggs for Shalia to give to her friend.  


She first checked Andreya’s dorm, but didn’t see her there, so she headed up to her own room, planning on writing a note to the other girl and sending Noctis off with it… when she found Andreya’s note to her.  Chuckling, she set off, eggpot in hand, to the indicated common room.


“Hey, Andreya!” she said cheerfully, after taking a moment to take in the view.  She herself was still wearing the drab basic uniform, hoping that would help R’tal not notice her theoretical change in status and keep her around.


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Andreya had managed to distract herself from the mornings events entirely by getting totally absorbed into what she was reading. So, when Shalia did pop into the common room the harper-candidate was completely unaware and totally focused on the study reading. It took Shalia’s cheerful greeting for Andreya to lift her head, blinking confused for a moment at the other girl as she pulled herself out of the hides in front of her.


After those few blinks, however, Andreya shook off the confusion and said “Hey Shalia!” She leaned forward, unintentionally possibly giving Shalia a different view to admire, to put the study reading on the lowered table in front of the couch before she leaned back against the arm of the couch, hands smoothing her skirt down over her thighs. There was enough room for Shalia to sit down on the couch with her, without Andreya having to move her legs, but there were also other seats available as well as the option of Shalia sitting closer to Andreya and Andreya stretching her long legs out over Shalia’s lap (which, probably wouldn’t occur to Andreya to immediately do.)


As Andreya settled back against the couch’s arm, she glanced up at Shalia and was about to ask how her day’s gone when Andreya noticed the egg pot the other girl was carrying. Grinning, Andreya said “Oh! Did you get yourself a flit egg?”.


Then, her brain fully caught up with the change of thought out of the reading material and she remembered her new connection to the candidate in front of her. When that knowledge flashed through her brain again, there was a moment of ‘Oh shells! How do I tell her!’ that flashed over her face before the tall candidate’s expression shifted a bit. Now, where Andreya had been at ease with her friend, now there was...something there in Andreya’s blue/grey eyes that wasn’t quite as untroubled. 


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Shalia, of course, chose the couch.  She just plain enjoyed being close to people.  She settled down carefully, turned so she was partially facing the other girl, with one foot tucked under the other leg and the egg pot in her lap.  “Nope,” she responded cheerfully.  “Well, yes, actually, I did, but this one’s for you,” she grinned, moving the pot so it was between the back of the couch and the other girl’s feet, though she was absolutely not taking her hands off it until Andreya took hold.  


She was watching the other girl expectantly, so saw the change of expression, and her own smile faltered.  “Hey, what’s wrong, Andreya?” 


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As Shalia approached the couch, when she sat at the end with the egg pot in her lap Andreya felt like she needed to give the other girl more space and so she bent her knees a bit and sat up with her arm on the back of the couch to support her so that her legs curled toward her a bit on the couch. 


A frown crossed her face at Shalia’s ‘Nope’, but then she smiled as Shalia said she’d gotten an egg herself. When Shalia added that *this* egg was for her, Andreya’s mouth fell open in surprise as she glanced from the egg back up to Shalia. *Two eggs!* Oh shells! But of course Shalia wouldn’t know that the egg T’rif had gotten from her had been meant for Andreya...nor why. 


Reaching out a hand to help steady the egg, at Shalia’s question Andreya gave a wordless shake of her head before saying “I...Shalia...oh shells…” That last was muttered by Andreya, who was annoyed with herself. Normally she was smooth and ‘harper-tongued’ not awkward and tongue-tied. Why did she have to be now?


Taking a breath, Andreya lifted her eyes up to look at Shalia and tried again saying “Shalia, thank you for thinking of me with an egg but I don’t think I can take it….I, well...I actually got one today myself…” Here she gave a small nod at the hearth and the egg pot sitting in front of it before she added in a softer voice still full of shock “...from my...my Dad…” Being able to tell someone, even someone now related to her, there was a small hint of relief in the harper’s voice as she said that last word. Her eyes, those blue/grey eyes, were focused on Shalia’s face to see what her reaction would be both to Andreya’s comments about probably not being able to take the egg...and then about her Dad.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Shalia watched Andreya, concern in her eyes.  Something had happened to upset her, that was clear.  She wondered briefly if it was disappointment about not Impressing, but that didn’t seem right.  One of her hands moved down to cover Andreya’s on the pot as she waited for her to speak.


And then the other girl lifted her eyes and Shalia was struck once again by the vague feeling of familiarity in them, and spoke.  Her own green eyes widened.  “Your dad?  That’s… not wonderful, right?” she said carefully, trying to get a read on Andreya’s emotions.  She would definitely support them, she just needed to figure them out, but it definitely didn’t seem like it was all full of joy and happiness behind the shock.


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When Shalia placed her hand on Andreya’s, the taller candidate hesitated for a few seconds before she turned her palm over and laced her fingers with Shalia’s being grateful for the others’ support. 


Andreya watched Shalia’s eyes widen, sure that expression had been on her own face at least a dozen times today. At the other’s ‘your dad?’ question, Andreya nodded silently to confirm, but when Shalia asked if this was ‘not’ good Andreya froze for a moment staring at Shalia as if confused how the other girl could make that connection based on what Andreya had said...that she’d met her dad and he’d given her a flit egg. 


Finally, shaking her head, Andreya answered saying “Yeah, my dad...And it’s good! Really...I’d stopped hoping I’d know...It’s just...just a bit of a shock *to* actually know. My mom’s never known who he was, remembering him but not remembering his name..Gather night celebration of her tailoring promotion, drinking, etc. She’s always felt so guilty about that, about not knowing so that she couldn’t tell him about me...Well, she saw him last night at the Feast…She was finally able to tell him about me.”


Taking a breath, not needing any help remembering the conversations she’s already had this morning, Andreya continued with “This morning...well, this morning she told me at breakfast. And...and I went and saw him just before lunch and we talked...and he gave me an egg. With everything else today, not just knowing who he is, and...and all the family I gain from him...a Callamere egg on top of that when he’d not even *known* about me before yesterday? Just...just so unexpected.” 


Andreya said all this, leading up to the last piece, and was still holding onto Shalia’s hand and looking up at Shalia as she finished with “T’rifoshe’s my dad, Shalia.” 


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Shalia smiled as Andreya spoke, glad she’d misread the emotions.  “Oh good,” she murmured, giving the other girl’s hand a squeeze, before falling silent to let her speak.  She leaned forward a little, listening intently as she spoke about her mother running into him the night before, then telling her, and then meeting her father.


And then Andreya dropped the Threadshell.  Shalia’s eyes widened again.  “Oh.  Oh.  Oh!” she repeated as she worked through the implications.  She’d known that T’rif had a new-found daughter, he’d said it when asking for the egg, but he hadn’t given a name despite her and Sarati’s obvious curiosity.  Wanted it to be her choice to reach out, he’d said.


“That means you and I are…” she hesitated; they’d already worked out the relationship, but ‘first cousins once removed’ was just… clunky.  “Cousins,” she simplified.  Which might explain the other emotions, given how often and openly Shalia had flirted with the other girl, which if not necessarily reciprocated had at least been well-received.  Which… cousins.  Yeah, that would explain a lot of emotions.  Then she suddenly leaned forward, almost like she was going in for a kiss, but stopped well short to look into Andreya’s eyes, her own narrowing slightly.  “THAT’S why your eyes look so familiar!” 


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The hand squeeze from Shalia earned her a small smile even as Andreya explained. Watching Shalia as her eyes widened, she could see the exact moment the other girl realized what exactly it meant knowing T’rifoshe was her father. At the multiple ‘oh’s’ from the other girl, Andreya nodded in encouragement but stayed silent waiting for Shalia’s reaction to knowing Andreya was family...After all the flirting, after the admission of attraction in asking to kiss when the Hatching had been imminent, after everything.


Andreya was family...undeniably family.


When Shalia finally said ‘cousins’ Andreya had been about to correct the other girl when suddenly Shalia leaned forward quickly and stared into Andreya’s (now widened) eyes. Seeing the other candidate’s narrowed eyes as she stared directly into Andreya’s eyes, at the exclamation Andreya blinked before nodding and saying with a smile “Yes, exactly. I even remember thinking T’rifoshe’s eyes looked familiar when he interviewed me, but convinced myself my mind was playing tricks on me...Apparently not.” 


Then, being the harper she was, she couldn’t help but add quite logically “And technically...Weyrwoman Kassia is my cousin...You, and your siblings are...cousin-like? Not second cousins, something like...1st cousin, once removed...whatever that means. It’s easier to say second cousins though even if it’s not technically fully right.”


Then Andreya fell silent a moment, before repeating in a voice full of complicated emotions, the main one being somewhat dazed (even though she’d had since breakfast to absorb this information), “I am Weyrwoman Kassia’s cousin…”


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Shalia leaned back and grinned, not letting go of the other girl’s hand as long as she wasn’t.  She knew well how comforting a simple touch could be.  “Yeah, I keep thinking your eyes seemed familiar without placing them.  But I haven’t looked into Uncle Triffy’s eyes nearly as much,” she joked.


She waved off Andreya’s explanation of their relationship, literally, using her free hand.  “‘Cousins’ is even simpler.  And if we’re getting technical, you and I aren’t even that,” she pointed out.  “Near-cousins at best.”  So if the other Candidate was feeling uncomfortable about the flirting and attraction… well, maybe that would help set her mind at ease.


Though possibly less so if and when she found out what Shalia had been doing with her sister the night before.


She gave the hand another squeeze as Andreya repeated the line about being the Weyrwoman’s cousin.  “I bet that just feels weird to say,” she said softly.  “How are you doing?”


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Andreya mirrored Shalia, leaning slightly more against the back of the couch with one of her arms still braced across the top. Her other hand was still holding Shalias, not thinking about all the flirting the other girl had done in the past but more holding on because...because Shalia’s palm against hers felt solid and reassuring, holding her to the moment instead of letting her get carried away by it. 


When Shalia mentioned not looking into T’rifoshe’s eyes as much as hers, Andreya couldn’t help but smile at that saying “Quite understandable.” As Shalia waved off the technical explanation she’d given, Andreya watched the other girl carefully and listened. At the ‘near-cousin’ correction, Andreya tilted her head to the side considering, remembering that Shalia had only been adopted by Kassia, that she wasn’t blood related to the Weyrwoman, and that ‘near-cousin’ actually made sense. 


Smiling gratefully as she felt Shalia squeeze her hand again, Andreya couldn’t help but nod in reply saying “It really does, very weird.” After a pause she added in a much softer voice that rang true with it’s honesty “I...I don’t know. Really. I’m glad to know, to be able to have a relationship with T’rifoshe, that the guilt my mom’s always felt can finally fall away. But...I don’t know. It’s hard to reconcile everything I’ve learned just since *breakfast* today, to adjust to this new reality. I mean... It’s one thing to...to find out who your father is. But then to suddenly have so much *more* family than just a mom and a dad, my mom didn’t have any siblings so it’s always just been the two of us...And now there’s so many more...And for one of them to be so...to be such a prominent figure…” 


Falling silent, Andreya glanced down at the hand on the pot, her hand holding Shalia’s, and took a moment to try to piece everything together, trying to figure out how to describe how she felt, and feeling frustrated at not being able to figure out the right words for the first time in her life. Letting out a small, frustrated breath, Andreya finally asked in that same soft voice, although this time with a hint of worry but not over her father, he’d already shown how he felt and that he was very kind. Instead the worry was for another new family member entirely “Can you tell me...what is she really like? The Weyrwoman? I mean...not her *as* the Weyrwoman, but...well...as family?” 


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Shalia returned her smile, then listened as Andreya talked about how she was feeling.  She didn’t say much, but just listened with sympathetic eyes.  This revelation had hit her hard; she could only imagine what it felt like for the other girl.  No wonder she’d seemed so shocked!  She suddenly had a whole slew of family that she hadn’t had when she woke up that morning.  ‘No,’ Shalia thought to herself, ‘I can’t imagine what she’s going through.’  But she could at least be there for her, to listen, to offer the other girl her support and friendship.


And then Andreya asked what her aunt was like.  Shalia hesitated, and then bought herself some time to think, and to try to separate her feelings at the moment about Foreth from how she felt about Kassia.  She let go of Andreya’s hand long enough to get up and move the pot over next to the other before sitting back down and taking hold again, all the while her mind churning.  “She’s… complicated,” she finally said, interlacing their fingers once more.  “I call her ‘Aunt Kassia’ but she’s always been ‘Mama Kass’ in my heart.  She’s as much my mother as she is my sisters’.  She’s always been generous and loving… at least to us girls,” she added a little wryly.  “Less so with the boys.”  In fact, there had been times in the past when she wasn’t entirely convinced the woman even remembered she had sons.


“I’ve never felt anything less than loved by her, and I’m sure Dad’s going to want to throw a huge family dinner or something when he finds out,” she added with a laugh.  “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you from him ‘til you’re ready.  But… Aunt Kassia’s always been there for me.  When I was upset about Sar moving to the Hold, she was the one I went to to hold me as I cried.”  Of course, the tears hadn’t been just about Sarati moving away, but Andreya didn’t need to know that yet.  And the habit of keeping her feelings about her sister to herself were hard to break anyway.  “She tried to talk Dad into letting me Stand before I was 15.  I know she’d do just about anything for me, let alone my sisters, and I’m sure she’s going to be happy as a dragon on a sunny rock to learn about you,” she assured her new-found cousin. 


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Watching Shalia after asking, she saw the other girl hesitate and her worry spiked up. When Shalia suddenly let go of her hand, Andreya took a breath to say something until she realized the other girl was just moving the egg pot. As Shalia moved the pot to the hearth, Andreya shifted on the couch pulling her legs closer to her. When Shalia not only returned to the couch and took her hand again but also sat closer to her Andreya gave the other girl a grateful smile.


Then the shorter candidate began talking and Andreya held her breath as she listened intently. Shalia got a small, albeit concerned, nod when she said ‘complicated’, and then a small, sad frown at the comment about Kassia with her boys. But then Shalia continued and Andreya fell still and continued listening. 


However, when Shalia mentioned a ‘huge family dinner’, something she’d specifically asked T’rifoshe about earlier and been told didn’t happen, Andreya couldn’t help sucking in a breath of trepidation even as her hand tightened on Shalia’s. But when Shalia immediately followed that up with promised protection, Andreya relaxed...but only very slightly. As Shalia finished with assurances that Kassia would be happy to hear about Andreya, she gave Shalia a skeptical look but didn’t know enough to know if that was a correct assessment of how Kassia would actually feel about her. 


Still, Shalia had indeed answered her questions, clearly showing that Kassia was...was very much able and willing to bend and show that she loved her children. That she wasn’t just ‘The Weyrwoman’, an elite figure of the Weyr, but was also Kassia, someone relatable and who’d be her family...her cousin...and who might not look at this newcomer to the family with scorn and disdain. 


Taking a breath, trying to let herself be reassured by Shalia’s answer, Andreya said sincerely “Thank you...I realize that...that probably wasn’t the most polite question to ask as she...she is your Mom, your Aunt...so thank you. I do hope you’re right, that she’ll be happy to know about me. I was concerned. I mean, T’rifoshe was happy, quite enthusiastic actually, but I didn’t know how she’d feel about an unknown, nearly adult possible ‘interloper’ in the family.” And after a pause Andreya added in an attempt to lighten the mood just a touch “And yes, I’d appreciate waiting on a big family dinner...or at least enough warning so I can find the appropriate dress to wear. 


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When Andreya sucked in her breath and visibly tensed up at the mention of the family dinner, Shalia put her other hand on the girl’s knee and squeezed comfortingly.  As she’d said, she would keep her father from doing that.  At least not until Andreya was ready for it.

“Hey, we’re family now, Andreya, there’s no need to be polite,” she teased.  “I’d want to know, too.  And in fact, I do want to know about your mom, but I’m happy to wait,” she smiled reassuringly.  Kassia would have a whole lot bigger impact on the other Candidate’s life than a tailor at a hold would have on hers, after all.  Shards, so would the rest of the family, for that matter.  “And I’ll make sure you get plenty of warning to run for the hills before dinner,” she added, eyes twinkling.


“But Aunt Kassia, she’s… always been there, y’know?  So I don’t really think about our relationship much.  Once word gets out, though, expect people to suddenly try to get to know you, though,” she warned.  “Won’t be everyone, of course, but there’ll be at least some who think cozying up to the Weyrwoman’s cousin will benefit them somehow.” 


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Andreya gave Shalia another small grateful smile at the knee squeeze, and at the tease about family not needing to be polite the harper nodded in understanding. And then when Shalia mentioned wanting to know about *her* mom, Andreya gave her a surprised ‘Really?” look. At the other’s words about running for the hills, Andreya shot back with a grin “I’ll have to make sure to keep my good boots on me, not my slippered heels that’s for sure.”


When Shalia continued, Andreya nodded in understanding trying to think about how she’d describe her mother to the other girl when Andreya had *known* her mother her entire life. But when the shorter girl continued with a warning about people suddenly wanting to get to know her because of her new weyrwoman cousin, Andreya actually had considered that possibility herself. But hearing it from someone as an actual warning was different than just thinking it *might* be something she’d need to worry about. 


In response to the warning, Andreya straightened up in her seat a bit as her spine stiffened. Shalia’s warning of people wanting to take advantage of being connected to Kassia was similar enough to her promise to herself not to be duped and hurt again that it brought forth a bit of the cold, distant, ‘Siren’ Harper she’d been before candidacy and Andreya lifted her chin a little saying “Thank you for the warning to guard against them.” Then, fighting down that feeling of needing to protect herself (there was no one here she needed to guard against, after all) Andreya gave Shalia a smile saying “But at least I know *you’re* not one of them, even if we weren’t near-related, cousin.”


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Shalia giggled a little at Andreya’s response about the boots, glad that her friend, her cousin, was lightening up enough to make jokes, glad that she’d been able to be there to help out.  


And then her demeanor… changed utterly.  Or at least significantly.  She straightened up, stopped being as warm and open, and instead looked like she’d walled herself off, and Shalia blinked at the metamorphosis, recognizing it as the same act she’d seen when an overly-eager Candidate (one not named Shalia, that is) had come on just a little too strongly.  But it didn’t last long, and if the other girl wasn’t quite back to herself (or at least the ‘herself’ that Shalia knew) yet, she also wasn’t quite so… icy.  But somehow, she didn’t think the taller girl would have too much of a problem with people trying to get to Kassia through her.  Giving her hand a squeeze, Shalia smiled back in response to Andreya’s.  “I dunno, I might be using you to get to your tailor mom,” she joked.  “Trying to get some free dresses.” 


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Andreya was slowly ‘melting’ as she sat there with Shalia, who she’d become friends with enough to feel secure. Her hand relaxed in Shalia’s and she nodded to the other girl’s comment adding “Oh, no problem there. Mom loves sending me clothes to wear, free advertisement of her skills after all. So I’m sure she’d be fine sending some designed clothes to you too. After all, we’d be wearing different styles to show off to people. As long as if they ask who designed it we direct them to Mom.”


Pausing, Andreya’s gaze wandered to the hearth for a moment and the harper remembered what Shalia had said at the very beginning: that she’d brought the egg for her! Turning to look back at Shalia, she said with an embarrassed smile “So...I was so dazed by T’rifoshe giving me a flit egg, just out of the blue like that, and it being a Callamere egg...that I didn’t even think to ask what color he’d been told it might be. I know there’s no guarantees, but there’s normally some pretty good guesses. He mentioned he’d gotten the egg from you, so maybe you know what color it might be? Oh! And you said you’d gotten one yourself? Another blue? I know how you love that color, and it would give Noctis a partner-in-crime...think of all the knots they could tie.” 


That last part was said with a bit of a grin as she looked at Shalia before she added “Thank you, by the way, for thinking of me and getting an egg. I know we’d talked about flits. One flit just seems so...so amazing, I couldn’t *dream* of getting a second. Especially now...wouldn’t want people to think I was suddenly getting all kinds of perks being Kassia’s cousin, or T’rifoshe’s daughter….you know?” Even as she said all that, that it was *logical* to not have a second flit, that even getting one was totally amazing, there was a slight wistful note at the thought of what that second egg might hold inside. 


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Shalia chuckled.  “I’d be happy to send people to her!” she promised.  She hadn’t really been serious about getting free dresses, of course, and she wasn’t sure how serious Andreya was, but she certainly wasn’t going to turn them down.  Especially with a Gather coming up.


Then the other girl turned the talk to the flit eggs.  “Callamere is good at figuring out the colors inside the eggs, at least for their flits and whers.  And Sar’s Lady is a full Callamere, and so was the bronze who flew her, so these are basically Callameres even if we can’t call them that.  And according to them, that egg,” Shalia indicated the one she’d brought, “is only a green.  Sorry, I would’ve tried for a blue, but when it’s free you take what you can get, right?” she grinned.  Even at half-price, blues could be sold for enough more that she’d gone with a green.  “As for the other… when Uncle Triffy came to get it, he said it was for his new daughter,” she squeezed the other girl’s hand and gave a smile at that, “and only the best would do.  But he couldn’t have the best, because even though Lady had a gold, it was already claimed.  By me.”  This was said with a bounce which would have looked much better on the bustier Andreya, or even if Shalia hadn’t been wearing the awful button-up uniform shirt.  “So I’m sorry, but you’re having to settle for second best… a bronze.”


As Andreya spoke wistfully about possibly Impressing a second egg, Shalia grinned.  “People will wonder enough about that with the bronze, I’m not sure adding a green would make it that much worse.  But since you’re getting the other one, I’m sure Sar would want this one back to try to sell.  She was fine letting me have it to give to my friend, but as a second one?  I’m not so sure about that,” she chuckled.  Even if Andreya was family now. 


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Andreya grinned at Shalia’s excitement over possible dresses and replied with “I’ll have to give Mom a heads up, so that she makes sure to have quite a few samples of her fancier work available to be seen. Not that she doesn’t normally, but it never hurts to give her some extra warning.” With everything that had happened today, Andreya hadn’t considered if maybe she’d overexaggerated a bit, that a free dress would be a bit less likely to occur than a discounted dress would be.


When Shalia began to talk about flits, and Callamere specifically, Andreya couldn’t help the excitement in her eyes as she remembered what she’d heard about Callamere flits. When Shalia said the egg she’d gotten for Andreya was ‘only a green’, Andreya gave Shalia a look of surprise at the words and the way they’d been said. Andreya hadn’t expected any flit, so how could Shalia think she’d be upset at getting a beautiful green darling. She was about to reassure Shalia that she wasn’t upset in the slightest, in fact that she was honored Shalia had thought of her to begin with, but then Shalia continued speaking and all Andreya did was give Shalia’s hand a reassuring squeeze as she listened. 


When Shalia continued by saying that T’rif had said the egg he was wanting was for his daughter, Andreya’s eyebrows lifted in surprise, but then she continued by saying ‘only the best would do’ and Andreya sucked in a quick shocked breath as her eyes darted to the egg pot. She’d thought he might have given her a blue egg, or even a nice steady brown, thinking that T’rif would have avoided giving his daughter a green egg knowing she’d feel the green flit’s Flight emotions. She was thunderstruck that he’d asked for the *best* egg, before she’d even come to see him as his daughter. Oh shells. She’d opened the pot to check the sand, but hadn’t dared to do more than that not wanting to harm the egg, so she’d not seen it’s shell yet. Had she *really* been carrying a Callamere gold flit egg around with her since lunch? Surely T’rifoshe would have told her if it had been a gold egg!


Before she could work herself up much more in her state of amazement, Shalia’s next words washed over her, that while Sar’s Lady had indeed had a gold, that Shalia herself had already claimed the egg for herself. Turning from her egg on the hearth to look at Shalia, listening as Shalia apologized for claiming the gold and saying that instead Andreya’s egg was a bronze one. As she focused back from the egg to look at Shalia there was not a hint of anything but complete happiness for her ‘near-cousin’ on the Harper’s face as she exclaimed out before Shalia could speak again “You didn’t get another blue then, you’re going to get a gold? That’s amazing! I’m so happy for you!” Then, so happy for the other girl’s luck, Andreya leaned forward and impulsively hugged Shalia tightly saying “Really, that’s so incredible!” 


Then, after releasing Shalia, Andreya gave a totally understanding (and still a bit dazed) nod to the other’s words about what people would think and what Sar would want done with the egg. When Shalia finally finished, Andreya, putting aside that previous wistfulness she’d had, replied happily with “Oh, of course she should have it back! And I’d not have minded a green, not at all! I’d have loved a darling little green girl, but I didn’t expect any egg even though we’d talked about it before! And…T’rif got me a bronze? He was trying to get me a gold egg? I can’t believe that! When he told me he got me an egg, which had overwhelmed me already, I thought it was a blue… *maybe* a brown, but I never imagined anything higher colored.” Giving a amazed shake of her head, Andreya continued with “But yes, of course she should have the egg back. No way could I have a second one, it took T’rif a bit to convince me to accept the first egg! I hope you and Sar are able to find someone amazing for the green.”


Then she went back to the other surprising news and grinned at Shalia as she asked “And a gold for you. That’s wonderful! How long have you been wanting and waiting for one from Sar’s Lady?”


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Shalia looked a little surprised that Andreya was going to give her mother a heads up about the dresses; maybe she hadn’t been joking about that after all?  “Well, when we do let Dad do his family dinner, you’ll have to invite her to join us,” she suggested.  She was now part of the extended family as well, after all.  “I bet Aunt Kassia will want to commission something… but tell your mom not to dare offer her a discount,” she giggled.  Unlike a lowly Candidate, a Weyrwoman could afford to pay full price.


She watched the other girl’s reaction as she spoke about Callameres in general and these eggs in particular.  Andreya was definitely excited about getting one, and she was glad she’d asked Sar for an egg, even if it did turn out to be unnecessary.  Shalia guessed at the thought that must have accompanied the near-gasp and quick look at the pots in the brief time it took to say that she wasn’t getting a gold, but there wasn’t even a hint of jealousy when Andreya found out who was.  She returned the hug happily; she’d always been a hugger by nature, and with them sitting, it was somewhat less awkward than a standing hug, given their height difference and what was right at face level for Shalia.  Plus it was the first hug since Shalia had admitted wanting to kiss Andreya and gotten a slightly confused ‘...give me some time…’ in return, so it was nice if those were back on the table.  Even if it was because of them being near-cousins.  “Yeah, I’m really excited,” she said as the hug ended, eyes dancing happily.  “I’ve been wanting one forever, but the timing just never worked out right for various reasons.”


“And I did tell you I’d help you get an egg after the Hatching,” Shalia reminded her teasingly.  “Admittedly I expected it to take a little longer, but I like to keep my promises.  I didn’t think you’d mind a green in the slightest, though,” she smiled.  And a Callamere green was at least as good as a wild blue which would have been about what could have been expected otherwise.  Maybe a brown at best, but chances would have definitely heavily favored green or blue.  “I dunno if Uncle Triffy was actually looking to get you a gold, he didn’t even really get a chance to ask about it, but he did want the best available.  I think he figured a brown himself, but he was happy to get a bronze to give you.  And he wouldn’t tell us your name, just so you know, he wanted that to be your call,” she added.


She gave another happy bounce as Andreya asked about her gold.  “For Turns now, ever since Sar got Lady,” she admitted.  “I didn’t want just any gold, I wanted one of her golds.  Sar was getting worried about how long it was taking for Razelth’s clutch to hatch,” she laughed.  “She was afraid she was going to have to find another home.”


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At mention of the family dinner her mom being invited, Andreya’s eyes widened slightly before she nodded. Her mom would be...ecstatic, surely to come to a family dinner. And at the idea of Weyrwoman Kassia wearing one of Mom’s designs, Andreya couldn’t help but grin and nodded again saying “Oh, Mom would just...she’d be stunned to have Kassia wearing something she makes. And oh, of course about the discounts.”


At Shalia’s comments when Andreya pulled back from the hug, the Harper added “I’m so glad that the timing worked this time, you finally being able to get your gold flit. And yes, you did say...but I didn’t expect the *day after* the Hatching. Although, with Foreth’s soon to be clutch, I suppose if it wasn’t this soon after the Hatching then we’d have to wait until after the *next* Hatching to get flits...or else risk them if we Impressed at Foreth’s next clutch.” 


Listening as Shalia continued talking about when T’rif requested the egg, when Shalia said he’d not given Shalia and Sarati her name, respecting her choice about joining the family, Andreya couldn’t help the smile that crossed her face. T’rif’s respect for her before they’d even gotten a chance to really talk made her feel all warm and happy, helped her to realize how lucky she’d gotten with who her father was. Then when Shalia continued on to talk about wanting specifically a gold from Sar’s Lady, Andreya nodded saying “Well, now Sar won’t have to...She will be your gold and I’m so happy it worked out for you.”


As Andreya was speaking, talking about flits and how lucky Shalia was with being able to get her gold after turns of waiting, over by the hearth the egg T’rif had given her that was buried in warm sand was beginning to shift against the sand in the pot as the flit inside the egg began to tap against the inside of the egg...It was as if all this talk of golds had caught the bronze’s attention in its egg and the bronze was wanting to make it known that *he* was there and would be the one to win all the golds. 

  

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