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I'll See You Around

Writers: Aaron, Heather
Date Posted: 4th March 2021

Characters: T'ner, Ayressa
Description: Ayressa brings some heartbreaking news to T'ner
Location: Dolphin Cove Weyr
Date: month 8, day 1 of Turn 10


Ayressa felt half-way sick. Over the last three months she'd had a lot of time to think and she had finally come to a conclusion. She'd fallen in love. She hadn't planned on it, hadn't expected it, but it had happened nonetheless.

She had never thought she would find someone that she would love the way she did T'ner, but she had come to love P'mar in a way that she had never loved anyone. It showed her that the love she felt for T'ner was more on the level of a best friend, and not on the level of a lifelong-lover.

Now she just had to tell T'ner. P'mar, a brownrider, wanted her to be his weyrmate, exclusively. No sharing. The thought sent a little flutter through her chest. First though, she had to break the heart of her best friend and the father of her son.

"T'ner?" she asked, stepping into his weyr.

T'ner smiled brightly to see Ayressa. Over the last three months, everything had been absolutely perfect. He had everything he could have ever wanted and more than he ever could have known he might want, and he was riding high on life.

"Hey, love!" he greeted her cheerfully. He stood and walked to her to pull her into a hug.

Ayressa returned the hug but not the greeting. T'ner was a man with a tender heart and she knew her news would crush him, even though she was sure he would be supportive of her finding her happiness.

"Can we talk?" she said as they pulled apart.

T'ner tilted his head, curious as to what was on Ayressa's mind. She did not seem quite as... Well, something was off.

"Of course," he said. "Is everything alright?"

She didn't know how to answer the question so she avoided it. "Let's sit," she said, tugging him over to the couch. Once seated, Ayressa tucked her legs beneath her, and then took a deep breath. "So, you know, we both agreed a while back that we wanted to leave ourselves open to meet other people." She knew that T'ner often spent time with that greenrider, F'aen. "Well... I've been seeing someone, a brownrider, named P'mar."

T'ner sighed with relief when Ayressa told him. Was that all? He smiled and reached out to grasp her hands in his.

"That's great, I'm really happy for you!" he said. "I'm glad you changed your mind about talking about it. What's he like?" He leaned forward with keen interest.

"He's a little older than we are. Solid. Caring...." she trailed off before looking up at him. "He wants me to move to Barrier Lake with him to be his weyrmate."

T'ner's eyes started to move back and forth as he thought through exactly what Ayressa was saying to him.

"To be his..." His voice caught in his throat, and his lip quivered. To be his weyrmate. Not T'ner's weyrmate anymore. To move to Barrier Lake. Far away from T'ner.

"You said yes?" he asked.

Unshed tears glittered in her eyes. "I haven't yet, but I want to. It's not that I don't love you, T'ner, but the love I feel for P'mar is... different. It's exclusive. When I'm with him, I don't want to be with anyone else. No sharing."

No. No, this was all wrong. He shook his head and fought to keep the tears out of his own eyes.

"Please," his voice broke. "I. I'll do better. I can... I can be more..." What had she said? "Solid. I'm sorry, please, I'll do better," he repeated, and the tears overflowed.

"Please, don't leave me."

Ayressa stared at T'ner in surprise. She truly had not expected him to ask her to stay.

"It's not something you did or didn't do, T'ner." She assured him. "I love you, it's just not the same way that I love P'mar."

T'ner swallowed and tried to breathe. This was happening. And there was nothing he could do to stop it.

}: I'm coming, :{ said Lehystrath finally.

**No. No, stay there. Finish eating. I don't want her to get scared when you come flying in, OK? Please?**

}: OK... but when she goes, I am coming. :{

"I..." What could he say? The words just kept playing over and over in his head. He made her want to be with him. No sharing. She loved him in a way she didn't love T'ner. His breaths became ragged as he struggled not to break into sobs.

He closed his eyes and tried to think of anything else but the hurt. There were other things he was going to have to think about. If he thought about the practical considerations, then maybe he could stop thinking so much about the emotional ones.

"You're... you're going to Barrier Lake, then. And... Resser?" he asked.

"Resser will go to Barrier Lake, too. Since you have Lehystrath, you can visit whenever you have rest days or free time." Ayressa hated to part father and son, she knew how great a father T'ner was, but she also could not bear to be parted from her son.

"I want you to let me come. I... I won't try to cling to you or... convince you to take me back," T'ner promised. "I don't want him to grow up a thousand miles away from me. I want to be there for him. Please."

Please had done nothing for him so far, but he could not help but beg for this one last thing he would have left when she walked out that door.

"T'ner, I'm just a Candidate. I don't have any power over where you go. You'll have to submit a transfer request. If it's approved, then you can go to Barrier Lake." Ayressa tucked a strand of her golden hair behind her ear. "I would be happy for you to go there, of course, so that you can be with Resser."

"That's all I'm asking. I want you to know what I'm doing, to be OK with me being there. I..." T'ner blushed deep red. He was still emotional, still felt hurt, but his change in focus left room for him to be embarrassed by his first reaction.

"You're not _just_ a Candidate. You're my... You're my son's mother. And my... friend?" he asked hopefully. "I want you to be so, so happy. And I don't want you to run into me there and think I'm... stalking you, or..." He rubbed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose.

"And I want you to be happy, too," she said, taking his hand. "We can always be friends, T'ner. We've been through a lot together, after all."

T'ner squeezed Ayressa's hand. He was sure he would meet P'mar eventually. But that was nothing he was rushing into. He would be wounded for a little while. But he would get better. Eventually. T'ner could feel Lehystrath relax slightly, become ever so less anxious for Ayressa to leave so he could come back to the weyr.

"I'm... I... Thank you. For... for everything." He could not think of anything else to say. For the time being, this felt very final. He had to stop himself from thinking about what-ifs and maybes. This was always the way it would have been. But instead of leaving to find her true happiness, she would have grown old resenting him and the never quite enough he would have always been.

"I'm... sorry for making this harder on you."

"You didn't, T'ner. There was no way to go about this without it being difficult." Ayressa pushed to her feet, rubbing her palms on her pants. "P'mar's waiting for me to get lunch. I'll see you around, then?"

T'ner tried not to show the stab of pain at hearing that. He's waiting. The man I really love. He nodded. There were so many more things he wanted to say. Or maybe he wished he knew how to say more. You can always call on me if you need anything. I love you. Goodbye.

What he said was,

"Yeah."

Last updated on the March 9th 2021


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