We Don't See Each Other Enough JP M'gal/Kassia



With everything going on, Kassia had cleared the Caverns as much as possible. That meant nights to herself and not enough time spent with her lovers. Now that K’ren had given her the things to calm her down more, Kassia was starting to miss spending time with her lovers. With less work on her plate, she had a bit more time as well. So she wanted to spend time with her men.

“Mine, can you contact Ozayith for me?” she asked. “I want M’gal to visit.”

If the Queen objected, then she’d be out of luck so she hoped that Foreth would agree.

After a moment Foreth relented and reached out to Ozayith. ((Mine wants Yours to visit.))

Ozayith relayed the message, then took pity on the queen. She’d been cooped up on the Sands for much longer than he’d have liked for himself. {{He’s on his way. How are you feeling? Do you need me to bring you anything?}} he asked. 

M’gal headed over, his young blue wher whelp on his heels. It felt odd having this little blue companion with him every day. He’d never had a firelizard, and Mitzi, his calico,  wasn’t in his head like the wher was. He also needed to make a conscious effort to keep the whelp with him. 

When he got to the entrance of the Hatching grounds he realized he hadn’t asked for permission to bring the whelp with him. She knew about him; hopefully she’d be amenable. 

Just to be on the safe side, he went around using the Stands to walk to the temporary weyr. “Hey,” he said, greeting Kassia with a kiss.

((I am fine,)) Foreth said, a touch gentler than usual. ((I just need my eggs safe.)) At that there was a note of worry and anger not aimed at the bronze.

Kassia was sitting and reading on her sofa. She was trying to take K’ren’s advice and keep her mind off her duties for a while.

She looked up as M’gal arrived and smiled at the blue wher. Brogan was lying next to her and got up to greet the whelp. 

“I’ve missed you,” Kassia said, rising to meet him.

“I’ve missed you too,” he said, hugging her. He buried his face in her hair, not realizing until now how much he’d missed being able to hold her. “How are you feeling?”

{{If you need me to come help guard them, I will,}} Oz said. Though the gold could compel the bronzes to do her bidding, and though it would be instinctual for them to guard her eggs, the offer still meant more being offered rather than coerced.

 ((I will let you know.)) For Foreth she was being downright pleasant.

Kassia held him tight and for longer than normal. He was warm and steady. Finally she pulled away and went back to sit on the sofa. From there she could see Brogan and the whelp. Brogan was already trying to play with the little guy. The sight made her smile.

“I’m feeling a little better. Finally. K’ren stopped by and gave me some things to help me sleep.”

M’gal nodded. “Good. You need your sleep.” He glanced at her belly. “And while I can’t help relax you in the ‘normal’ way, there are things I can do for you to help.” He waggled his brows. But that wasn’t why he was least, he didn’t think that was. He was here to see his weyrmate, and hopefully make her feel better.

“I know things have been extraordinarily stressful lately. I hope K’ren’s remedy will help relax you.”

“It’s supposed to.” She wrapped her arm around him and leaned into him. “He has a healer that specializes in pregnancy checking on me just to make sure that everything is going well. We’re hoping with reduced stress things will...go better.”

“I hope so. I know the chances of the baby being mine is very low, but I’ve never been a father before.” He glanced at Laston. “I’m not sure I’d be any good at it. Laston’s been hard to get used to. But he’s taking to his training very well.”

“It’ll be all your babies in a way,” Kassia said. “But I want to name it after you. And maybe Sh’ain if we can come up with something.”

She turned to look at the baby wher playing with Brogan who was being so gently toward the whelp (she always made an effort to use ‘whelp’ instead of ‘pup’ to make sure people knew they weren’t like dogs) and smiled. Smiles were rare these days. 

“He’s so cute. It’s been so long since Brogan was a whelp, it’s hard to remember. But between yours and Sh’’s been fun to watch. And thank you for agreeing to take him on. It’ll mean so much to me. It’ll be worth it once he’s full grown and trained. You won’t need guards as much.”

~~’ston be good guard, ‘tect ‘gal~~ Laston said laying down by M’gal’s feet. M’gal smiled and scratched his headknobs. 

“Yeah, he still sleeps a lot. I’m apprehensive of the ‘teen’ years, where he’ll be into everything with no break. The other day he was playing with a ball, and fell asleep over it. I couldn’t help laughing.” He smiled and hugged Kassia closer. 

“So how bad has it been, being stuck in here?” he asked. In previous Clutches, she could leave more often. But this one it seemed that she never came out of her weyr.

“You’ll have your hands full,” Kass agreed.

The smile fell and she looked around the room. She shrugged. “It’s hard,” she admitted. “Foreth is more bearable right now than when she was gravid. She’s really worried about the eggs, which makes my worry over them even worse. Having to give up my work is a double-edged sword. I don’t need the stress of all the work, but otherwise I’m stressed by being bored. I guess I should get some of my art stuff down here. Maybe I can be nice and paint a large painting of the eggs and then I’ll have it for later to put in my weyr. But otherwise it’s making me...I haven’t been myself. And it’s affecting the Weyr, I’m afraid.” She knew he’d never say anything or she’d never have admitted it to him.

“You have a lot of responsibility,” he said. She did. And she took on more than she needed to, because that’s who she was. It would do no good to tell her to relax--she already knew she should, she just didn’t know how. And while she’d told him about her past, he didn’t know her then, so there were nuances that he knew he was unaware of.

“I think the art would be good. You should do that with all of her Clutches--paint them. I’m surprised you haven’t.” Or maybe she had but had never shown them to him. 

“Usually I don’t have this much time,” Kassia said. “But maybe I should make an attempt now. I know the Candidates will appreciate least I think they will, and I’d love to have the memento. I can’t bring in anyone else, but I should be able to do a decent enough job.”

She gave a derisive snort. “The Candidates think that they can’t wait for the Hatching. They’ve got nothing on me. On the other hand, that means two golds I’m responsible for. I can give some of the work to the junior golds, but they’re not experienced enough.”

M’gal studied her. Yes, the weight of the Weyr on her shoulders.

“So they’re not experienced enough. Were you experienced enough when you started taking responsibility for the Weyr? If you give them more responsibility, at least they have you to fall back on. And R’tal. And, well, any of us previous Weyrleaders, though I’ll admit I only have a small idea of everything you do. But it’s not like there’s no one else with experience who can guide them.”  He wondered, was she insecure in her position? She needn’t worry, she had more champions in the Weyr than she knew.

“I guess I wasn’t when I started doing my first gold training,” Kass admitted. “But I still had the Weyrwoman over my shoulder. And now there are two.” As if he couldn’t count and also that the number was something like ten instead all at the same time. “The last time we had two golds, it went very badly. They were arguing. Tyne went through Impression Anxiety. Then we have one dead goldrider and a dragonless one.”

She shook her head. “I’m trying as hard as I can to give an idea of what a gold Weyrling goes through to prevent Anxiety Impression, but something about golds seems to bring it out. Why do you think I was testing the girls? I was trying to limit their chances of Impressing. I mean what if Shalia Impresses? I have no doubt she’s strong enough for a gold if she wants one, but she really hates the idea.”

“Then keep her far away from the golds. If…” He realized who he was talking to. Another who didn’t want a gold. Or, rather, didn’t think she deserved a gold. That was different. A lot different.

“When you Impressed Foreth, did you actively not want gold, or did you want her but feel that you wouldn’t get her because you were bisexual?”  Not that he’d seen that part of her. Maybe she was still attracted to women, but couldn’t that have been a young, sexually experimental time of life? He was no Mindhealer, but even he knew that everyone had an experimental phase in their lifetime, even if they didn’t act on it.

“I actively thought I wasn’t worth Impressing, let alone a gold,” she said. “That I like women, maybe not as much as men, but I definitely still do, was just another factor.” She left off the part that her first love was a woman and would probably always be the one she loved the most, deep down. He didn’t need to know that.

“I’ve told you about my time at Fort, right?”

“M’gal nodded. “Weyrwoman Masena did a number on you. But Fort was not a good place to be for anyone. And those that have come here, from Fort...some are very resilient, and some I believe are ruined for all their life. You, I think, are in the resilient category. But a place like that will always be with you.” And he wished he had been there to hold her and comfort her during that time. Something she probably would have refused.

“I don’t mean to belittle what others have gone through,” Kassia said. “But between that parents...I didn’t think much of myself. When I Impressed, a lot of people thought I’d get gold, more than I realized at the time. They thought more of me than I did. Plus I was still reeling somewhat from my miscarriage. I never thought I’d Impress, let alone gold. 

She took a breath. “We never quite bonded in the beginning, but really...I think it was Foreth that saved me in the end. She was too determined, too strong, let me go. We might not have a normal bond, but without her I don’t think I’d have made it. She helped me find myself. Believed in me. For all we fight sometimes, I think we’d both be dead if she was a different dragon.”

M’gal didn’t quite believe that. Oh, he believed she felt what she felt, but he thought that the human-dragon bond was more than that. Foreth was strong, as a gold should be. But Kassia was strong also, and when they bonded Foreth reached in and used Kassia’s strength for her own. Maybe Kass was right, but he had his doubts. Which he’d tell her at some other time--right now she was too vulnerable.

“You’re both strong,” he said instead. “You helped each other. I’m glad she saved you from yourself--I do believe that a green or blue would not have been able to.

“The point I’m trying to make is that you didn’t feel worthy of Impressing at all. You had no real preconceived notions of what you wanted or didn’t want. Shalia does. She doesn’t want gold. She does want blue, or green. Faranth help us if she actively wants brown or bronze. But I think that with her mindset, she won’t Impress gold. I do think she will Impress once she gets on the Sands, though.  As for two golds, I didn’t know Tyne or the other person who Impressed, but if they didn’t like each other to begin with, then of course they would still fight. You’ll have to assess how the two girls who Impress get along. If they don’t, then you’ll need to sit them down, with their dragons, and just beat it into their heads.” He thought about what he said.

“Well, not physically,” he added, probably unnecessarily.

“You’re right,” Kassia said, relenting a bit. “I bet Shalia will get a blue from this Clutch. If ever a Queen could will a dragon to Impress someone, it’d be Foreth for Shalia. Even if she does want it to be a different color. Foreth doesn’t even like my other daughters the way she does Shalia. Maybe Sarati, but less so now that she Impressed a green elsewhere.”

She shrugged. “I think that if the girls have issues to start with, that doesn’t help, but the gold dragons themselves won’t help. Especially Foreth golds. I doubt they’ll be relatively soft like Ormanth or especially Wendeth. They’ll need really strong riders and I have no doubt they’ll be competitive. There will be trouble even if neither has Impression Anxiety. But yeah, I think we’ll talk to them as soon as the dragons can handle it. “

“I haven’t seen too many of the Candidates to make any good observations,” M’gal said. “Not that it matters. How often do you feel the gold dragon has picked the right candidate?” He thought about the last Clutch.

“Actually, Delysia was a good choice. For this clutch, I’ve seen Sehrael in action and like her. I think Ysolde is strong-willed enough for a Foreth gold, but she could be trouble too.”  He tried thinking about the other females in the mix.

“I don’t really know any of the others. Not that it matters. The dragons will decide.”

“Probably never, to be honest,” Kassia said. “Maybe Delysia, even though I don’t like her much. She’s too ambitious. Andronda’s not bad, but she’s not from here. She hasn’t shown it, but I think she’s too ambitious as well. Part of the reason that I’m scared to give over any power. I don’t want to have to have a power struggle over either of them.” Faranth knew, Kassia never liked to give up even an iota of power.

“But, goldriders are ultimately needed and we can only hope that it works out well. Each of those golds are worth hundreds of dragons over their lifetime. I can’t not want them.”

Her assessment had M’gal thinking. “Kass, how many girlfriends do you have? Not lovers. Just, well, female friends? Actually, how many non-bedmate friends do you have?” He should know this. But he didn’t.

“Uh...” Kassia had to stop and think. “There’s I’des and N’shen, he was a friend before he became Weyrleader. And uh...not many else that I haven’t slept with outside of a flight. Wygelle was a friend, and rival. But I really don’t have friends. It’s hard to have friends when you’re Weyrwoman. Too many are intimidated by the rank and the others just want to take advantage of the rank. Plus, I’m hard to get along with.”

“Well, a true friend wouldn’t be phased by the hard to get along with, but I do see your point. And I see why you sometimes try to go out disguised as a general nobody.” Which was how he met her, actually.

“If there is anyone who you think you could get along with--maybe they’d have to have some rank to not be intimidated--but you need that. I think that if you could go join a game of poker without people letting you win, or if you could have a cup of klah with someone without them feeling pressured into it, it would help you a lot.

“I just don’t know if you could do that.”

“It’s very hard for me to let down the Weyrwoman mantle as well,” she said. “That requires a vulnerability that I can’t show most people. Even when I go out pretending to be Sar, I never completely let go of the mantle. There are very few people I can just be Kassia with. Sometimes I’m not even sure who she is.”

M’gal hugged her close. “To me, she’s strong and willful, with an underlying sweetness and caring that she will only allow those closest to her to see. She hasn’t had any fun in a long time, and needs it. And I would love to see her laugh without any worry holding her back.”

“She gave a laugh even as tears sprang to her lips and she clung to him as tears fell freely. The list of people who got to see her cry was very small.

He hadn’t meant to make her cry, but he also felt that it was something she needed. Maybe she hadn’t realized the depth of his feelings for her; after all she did feel that anyone she met as ‘Kassia’ wanted something from her. 

So, he chose to stay silent and let her cry. Anything he could say right now would seem inane.

The tears flowed for a few minutes before they slowed and eventually sat back, wiping at her face.

“Sorry,” she said. “I didn’t mean to cry all over you.”

“I don’t mind,” M’gal said. “You wouldn’t have cried if you didn’t need it. How are you feeling now?”

“A little better,” she admitted, managing a small smile. She leaned into him. “I love you.”

He bent his head down to kiss her tenderly. “I love you too.”