Glad Tidings of Great Joy (jp: Gayatri, N'kaer)


Aaron
 

N'kaer was having a pretty good day. He and Mandath were in perfect sync at drills, and the bronze had finally stopped holding a ball of sulk at the back of his mind over having lost the goldflight. Finally.

It felt like a weight off of N'kaer's shoulders, and he had a spring in his step as he made his way with his dinner toward the table in the dining hall where he usually ate with some of his classmates.

The weeks since the Goldflight had been fairly uneventful ones for Gayatri and Edyth. The unusual cold and rain had meant no Thread to fight, so they had mostly been grounded. There hadn't been any Searches, either.

The one thing they both looked forward to was Graduation, which should be just around the corner. To be a full fledged dragonrider was exciting. Edyth still showed no sign of rising, but Gayatri wasn't overly concerned yet.

The only slightly odd thing to happen was that Gayatri had developed an aversion to the smell of cooking vegetables, and the smell of fried foods. It bothered her enough that she had taken to avoiding the dining hall unless absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, today was one of those times, because Edyth had insisted she be there, for unknown reasons.

Gayatri was sitting alone, as far from the smell of whatever was being cooked that day as possible, when she spotted a familiar head of red hair. The sight of him made her smile, and if he turned her way, she raised a hand in greeting.

N'kaer smiled and waved back and then went to join Gayatri with his tray. This particular tray was full mostly of roasted meat, bread, and cheese – though there was a bit of mashed tuber as well.

"Hey. How's it going?" he asked.

Gayatri was pleased that N'kaer came to sit with her, though she wrinkled her nose a bit at the unpleasant smell of the mashed tuber. Her own plate held only some bread and roasted meat. But she smiled, "Hello there. I've been doing pretty good, what about you?"

N'kaer noticed the nose-wrinkle and tried to surreptitiously sniff himself as he sat down. He did not smell especially unpleasant. Did he?

"Pretty good," he agreed. "I had a great day with Mandath. How's Edyth?"

Gayatri noticed the self sniff test, but politely didn't mention it. The problem wasn't N'kaer. "Glad you're having a good day. I'm not sure I like how chilly it was for a while, but it made sleeping in a little kind of nice. Edyth is...she's rather sleepy today. I left her dozing in the sun while I came to get something to eat." But she pushed her plate away. "I guess I'm not as hungry as I thought."

"Oh." N'kaer grinned, wondering if this might be a pretext to slip off somewhere a bit more private. "We could probably get this packed up to go back home, if you wanted to get some fresh air," he offered.

Gayatri opened her mouth to answer, but suddenly got a funny look on her face, and jumped up, almost knocking over the person behind her, who had a plate full of slices of cooked orange roots. With one hand over her mouth, she ran for the nearest privy.

N'kaer's eyes went wide, and he forgot his food as he stood to follow Gayatri, quite concerned. He wanted to shout after her, but he did not want to draw any extra attention.

[[Mandath, ask Edyth if Gayatri is OK,]] he said quickly to the bronze, who dutifully relayed the message.

((Edyth, N'kaer is concerned about your rider. Is she going to be alright?))

Edyth, who had been soaking up some sun, with her wings spread wide on the stone of her ledge, opened one eye when Mandath contacted her. The worry in his question made her raise her head, and she queried Her Gayatri. {{Are you well? Mandath says His is concerned. Did you try to eat those cooked bits of grass again?}} Unless you were a herdbeast, eating vegetables wasn't healthy, from her point of view.

Gayatri had barely made it to the privy before losing what little she'd eaten that day. When it was over, she splashed cool water on her face and rinsed her mouth before answering Edyth. ((I'm fine, love. Everything will be ok, I promise. Tell Mandath I'm alright, and I'll tell N'kaer.))

A minute later, she stepped out and paused to glance at N'kaer, her face mottled with embarrassment and the rumbling of her belly. "Sorry." She gave him an apologetic look. "I think we need to talk."

N'kaer tilted his head curiously, the concern still apparent on his face.

"Any time," he said. "Is everything OK?"

Gayatri nodded and gave N'kaer a slight smile. "I'll be fine. Let's go find somewhere quiet to talk, ok?" She was actually happy this had happened, and the timing of them meeting up was a lucky sign.

N'kaer could not help but be all the more worried. He nodded and followed, wondering what this could possibly be about.

"OK," he agreed.

Gayatri took N'kaer's hand and led them away from the stench of the privy, to a place where they could have at least minimal privacy. 

When they stopped, she turned and smiled at him. "How do you feel about children?"

"I like them OK, I guess," said N'kaer. He had always assumed he would have them. After all, his dad had him by the time he was sixteen, and N'kaer was a few Turns older than that.

((You guess?))

"No, I mean. I like them." He chuckled. "Why?"

Gayatri raised her eyebrows, and patted N'kaer's arm. "Because we're going to have one."

Gayatri knew the signs, even without a Healer's confirmation. She was the oldest of her parent's children, and had seen her mother through more than one pregnancy.

"I can go speak to a Healer if you want, but I'm pretty sure." She paused and gave him a questioning look, but there was a happy expression in her eyes.

N'kaer's eyebrows rose in surprise, but he was smiling from ear to ear at the same time.

"We are?" he asked. "That's amazing! Are you OK? Is there anything I can get you? Do you need to see the Healers? I'll go with you if you do."

N'kaer's reaction was better than Gayatri had imagined it would be once she realised what was happening. She smiled back and nodded. "We are. But I don't need to go right now. I'm doing fine. Some food smells make me a little sick to my stomach, but that's normal. My mother had some food aversions when she was pregnant too."

Gayatri was pleased by the grin on N'kaer's face. He really did seem happy about the news, as she was. "I'm keeping this baby. So I'll have to tell the WLM, though. I won't be able to do much. And definitely no going Between."

"Of course!" N'kaer was a bit taken aback as he realized that someone, anyone might want to be rid of a baby. Well, at least, anyone at the Weyr. Holdfolk had their own challenges, and N'kaer spent enough time with his grandfather to have learned that.

"Can I hug you? Are we OK?"

Gayatri laughed and held out her arms, "Of course you can. And yes, we're fine. I'm kind of glad about this, actually. And excited."

N'kaer hugged Gayatri close and sighed happily. This was amazing.

"Hey, do you want to come with me to tell my parents? If you need to tell a weyrlingmaster anyway, that would be a good way to do it, yeah?"

Gayatri leaned back and raised her eyebrows at N'kaer, "Your parents?" She wasn't sure what they had to do with speaking to a WLM about her situation, but she shrugged. "I guess we could."

"They're going to be absolutely thrilled to be granddaddies," N'kaer said, grinning from ear to ear. "Ali will want to know she's going to be an aunt, too, and S'lion… Well, he'll be an uncle, not an aunt, but. You get me. And Dad will want to know for your sake, too. He can tell Ko'ssen if you don't want to have to say it all twice."

Gayatri laughed again at N'kaer's enthusiasm. "I'm sure I'll tell my family eventually. My father in particularly is very Holdbound." She shrugged. "Let's go talk to your parents. Who's your father, by the way?" She didn't know much about N'kaer, in truth.

"Assistant Weyrlingmaster R'kyo," said N'kaer. He was actually rather pleased that Gayatri did not know. He did not want to be perceived as receiving preferential treatment because his father was on the staff. "And Bronzerider D'rak."

Gayatri gave N'kaer a somewhat surprised look, then decided it didn't matter. Her father was a Holder of high rank, and that didn't matter either. "Well, let's go see them and share the good news. And it would be nice if AWLM R'kyo could pass the message up the ranks."

"I guess I get my height from my mom's side," N'kaer chuckled. He actually got it from his birth father, and he knew it, but he preferred to pretend R'kyo was his birth father. 

"He would surely be happy to," he added.

Gayatri was smiling as she looped her arm through N'kaer's. "Lead the way, handsome. Let's go share the good news."

N'kaer walked with pride in his step and a huge silly grin on his face as he asked Mandath to send messages to Reyhoth and Kalineth for his parents to meet him.

He almost asked them to meet him back at the table where he had left his food, but then he remembered the smell aversion and decided it would be best to meet them in the bowl.

"Reyhoth says you have some good news!" said R'kyo as he saw N'kaer approach with a young lady on his arm. He could guess what it was at that point, but it was better to let the kids have their moment. D'rak stood beside him, more than a foot taller than his weyrmate and looking rather excited himself – and maybe a touch smug.

"Pops, this is Gayatri of Green Edyth," N'kaer introduced her to D'rak. "And Dad, you two already know each other, of course. Gayatri, this is my Dad, R'kyo of Brown Reyhoth, and my Pops, D'rak of Bronze Kalineth."

Gayatri didn't mind N'kaer's obvious joy, but her happiness was a quieter thing. She let Edyth know where they were going, ((And if you were to go spend some time with Mandath, I'm sure he'd be good company.))

When they reached the weyr bowl, and the two men waiting for them, Gayatri greeted them politely, a happy smile on her face. "Good day, Assistant Weyrling Master R'kyo, Bronzerider D'rak."

Gayatri glanced sidelong at N'kaer, guessing he might want to tell them.

N'kaer bit his lip excitedly. He should really let her tell. But. Well, she seemed to think he should. And she did not have to imply twice.

"We're having a baby!" he blurted as he danced from foot to foot.

D'rak chuckled and pulled N'kaer into a hug.

"Congratulations!" he said.

"How long have you two been seeing each other?" asked R'kyo. He had never known N'kaer to be very discreet even when he meant to be, and he never would have guessed he and Gayatri were anything more than friends.

"Well," said N'kaer. "This happened because of Nykantiath's flight," he explained.

"Ohh, I see," R'kyo nodded. He should have guessed. "How do you two feel about it? Well, I can see how you feel about it N'kaer." He grinned and hugged N'kaer as well. If one saw them from the back, it would be easy to assume R'kyo was the younger of the two with how easily N'kaer dwarfed him.

"How do you feel, Gayatri?"

It was funny to watch N'kaer and his two fathers, neither of whom looked much like him, which lead Gayatri to think he must look like his mother. She had a smile on her face as she looked on, and answered the question easily. "I'm happy about it. Content. And like I told N'kaer, I'm keeping the baby. Even if that means I'm grounded."

"And we can accommodate that," said R'kyo. "I'll speak to Ko'ssen about it. Are you prepared for the possibility that you may have to delay graduation?"

That thought hadn't actually occurred to Gayatri yet, and she glanced at N'kaer, then shrugged one shoulder. "Even if I have to wait, it will be worth it." She did some quick mental math and figured that would put her graduating with the youngest class, or close to it.

N'kaer's smile widened with a touch of relief. What a kick to the gut it could have been if Gayatri had changed her mind on hearing that.

"I'm happy to hear you're willing to work for what you want," R'kyo smiled. "We'll be here to give you whatever support you need. The staff and I as your teachers, and D'rak and N'kaer and I as family. Congratulations to the both of you." He offered Gayatri a hug, too.

The relief on N'kaer's face told Gayatri she'd chosen right, and she looked back to R'kyo with a nod. She'd never been afraid of hard work, and fully understood that good things come to those who wait.

Gayatri hesitated for a moment, unsure if it was a good idea to hug her superior. Then she accepted the hug, but kept the contact brief. "Thank you, sir."

"It's my pleasure," R'kyo answered. It might take Gayatri graduating, but ideally she would feel comfortable calling him by name eventually.

"Remember to tell S'lion and Ali, N'kaer," said D'rak.

"Oh, I will!" he answered with cheerful excitement.

Gayatri stepped back to stand beside N'kaer again, and gave him a glance with raised eyebrows, but merely smiled at his continuing enthusiasm. "If you want to go back and eat, I need to go explain some things to Edyth." And write a letter to her parents.