She regards the man in her bed. Sweet Faranth, how she wished him gone. The invasion of her personal space is bad enough on its own. The constant reminder of the Flight…
It wasn’t his fault, she knows. It was the dragons. But she could never resent Ramoth. Or Mnementh, for that matter; she’s always been fond of the bronze, and besides, Ramoth seems so happy with her mate. One doesn’t blame dragons for being dragons.
But that doesn’t help the overwhelmed, violated feelings left once dragonlust receded. Hating F’lar is easy.
And otherwise she’d have to look closer at herself.
Finally she has recovered her strength and is no longer being treated as an invalid. Finally she has been able to deliver her message and convince all the Weyrs to come forward. After the meeting of the full council of Weyrleaders, it is little wonder she is exhausted at the end of the day.
And yet, sleep eludes her.
She shifts restlessly. She does not know why she is unable to get comfortable until her mind begins to wander and she finds herself fantasizing of curling into the curve of F’lar’s body, the warmth of his skin against her own. She nearly laughs at the irony as she recalls many nights when she had wished for nothing more than space; so much has changed in the past months. Now it feels so wrong to sleep in the wide bed alone.
She slips from the bed and pads into the outer weyr, where Ramoth shifts to accommodate her. Cradled between her dragon’s front legs she finally falls asleep.
She dreams of home.
She is utterly unable to sleep; the child is kicking her to pieces inside. Finally she gives up and slips out of bed.
Her restless wanderings eventually take her out to the ledge. Benden Weyr is dark but for the whirling eyes of the watchdragon on the far side of the Rim, and silent until the sound of footsteps behind her disturbs the stillness of the night. Her mate has come after her.
“You alright, love?”
“I’m fine. It’s a nice night.” She rolls her eyes, but she knows he’ll never stop being proprietary of her. And she’ll never admit it, but she’s secretly touched.
He draws her back into their weyr, and in doing so catches her shivering in the night cool autumn air. Pausing to unshield a glowbasket, he grabs his flying jacket from its hook and drapes it around her shoulders.
The heavy wherhide garment dwarfs her slight form, and she protests that she looks ridiculous.
“I don’t care,” he snaps, unyielding. “I’m not risking you catching a chill. I could just bundle you back into bed, if you’d prefer…?”
“No,” she assures petulantly.
“Thought not.” A slow smirk spreads over F’lar’s face. “Besides, I rather like the look of you in my clothes.”
Lessa drifts off quickly after their lovemaking, but F’lar wills himself awake for a little longer for the pleasure of watching his mate in repose.
Lessa’s fire of spirit and force of personality are such that it’s easy to forget the slightness of the body that contains them. Now, relaxed, she appears younger, more innocent and vulnerable. Unbound from its customary tight plait, her long hair frames her face and flows over her back like a waterfall of dark silk, lending her an air of gentleness. (He loves her long hair, the look of it, the feel of it. The way it spills over her back like a waterfall of dark silk when unbound. Loves pulling loose the ties that keep it in its tight plait and running his fingers through the silken strands as they make love. Previously she had snapped at him when he reached for the tie, complaining that he would get it all tangled; he had only laughed and said that if that was what she was focused clearly he was doing something very wrong.) Despite being fully aware of her ability to take care of herself, he cannot help being struck by a desire to protect her.
The sights affects him all the more because this is Lessa is always fighting, Lessa who is always wary. She never lets her guard down around anyone else – save Ramoth who knew the entirety of her mind and heart – and she draws defensively into herself so quickly.
Yet now, somehow, he is privileged to see her with all defenses down. She does not curl into herself but against his body, lying so trustingly in his arms.
The morning will bring a thousand tasks and battles that he will need her at his side to face, but for the moment he wishes she could always be so peaceful.
F’lar’s energy always seems to be practically limitless. He is vigorous, vital… (Virile, her mind impishly suggests before she can sharply call it back to order. That was so not the synonym she was looking for. …Even if it was a fair description of the man who manages to be amorous even in the middle of strategizing and brainstorming – quite effectively, too – on issues threatening the entire planet, after a long, hard Fall.) Always thinking, always moving, he is like a force of nature, nigh unstoppable.
Watching him in sleep, she finds a reflection of that energy even now. The way he constantly shifts and turns, it is as if he protests the necessity of rest.
He is watching her. Can’t take his eyes off her, in fact. Though he has more than enough to do, he cannot help stopping to savor these moments before he plunges into the day, watching as she stirs beside him.
She must feel his eyes on her, for she demands suspiciously, “What are you looking at?”
There are some things one can hardly remember life without, for they feel as natural as breathing and so indefinably right. First and foremost is his always-awareness of Mnementh, that connection that hums in the back of his mind. But that she is the first sight he wakes to each day is another such thing. How beautiful she looks, all big grey eyes and sleep-tousled hair.
But he doesn’t know how to explain those thoughts, doubts she would get it, so he simply smiles and says smugly, “You.”