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We Have a Bump in the Road

Writers: Heather
Date Posted: 1st July 2019

Characters: Arion, Benamil
Description: News of Nazli's pregnancy is a happy occasion for everyone well... almost.
Location: Amber Hills Hold
Date: month 10, day 12 of Turn 9
Notes: Mentioned: Nazli, Karhal, Zathris
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Benamil
Benamil

Arion circled his finger around the edge of his wine glass, clearly sulking as he sat at the end of the bar by himself. The gossip had been all over the Hold that day- another Benaroy heir was on the way, courtesy of Benamil and Nazli. Hadn't there been some nasty rumors about Benamil? Well, those must have just been rumors, because his new bride was expecting a baby!

The vintner snorted at the imaginary conversation in his mind, rolled his eyes, and swilled down the wine from his glass in a single gulp.

"Another," he told the bartender at the tavern, pointing a slender finger to his glass.

"You've already had four," the bartender said haltingly.

Arion's gaze sharpened on the man as he tapped the vintnercraft knots on his shoulder. "I said another."

More wine was slopped into his glass. So much for the art of pouring, Arion thought with another roll of his eyes.

By the time he'd finished his sixth glass of wine, it felt as though a nice calming blanket had descended on him, and the space behind his eyes felt like someone had stuffed it with wool.

**Time to hoe... Time to show.... Time.. to... Go.** He chuckled to himself and slipped off of his barstool while simultaneously slapping payment on the counter.

It was going to be a long trip back to the Hold, Arion decided as he pushed out the door, half-stumbling into the cool, refreshing night air. His feet felt weighted and the ground uneven. Time had slipped away from him while he was in the tavern and the last slivers of the sun were fading from the horizon.

A candlemark from midnight the vintner finally arrived outside his quarters in the Hold. Arion's head was marginally clearer from the journey, enough so that he only fumbled and dropped the key to his door once.

"Go me," he cheered as he closed the door behind himself and hung his key on its peg. "Who turned the lights out?" he muttered as nothing but darkness greeted him. Sliding his hand up the wall, his fingers found the light switch, and with a shuddering blink the lights in his room snapped on.

"Arion."

"Great hops!" The vintner exclaimed, surprise jolting through his body like electricity.

Benamil sat at his table, his angular face hard as stone. His normally lively eyes were piercing, and the flame that Arion saw in there made him immediately feel as if he were in trouble.

"Ben?" he squeaked.

"Where have you been?" Benamil asked in a tightly controlled voice.

"At the tavern," Arion said, annoyance beginning to blossom. Why was Benamil making him feel like some child who'd been out past curfew?

"You were there a long time," the beastcrafter commented.

"Yeah? So? Are you keeping tabs on me?" Arion snapped.

Benamil stood, hands clenched into fists as he fought to maintain a civil tone. "I came to share good news with you, but you weren't here... so I waited."

Good news?! Arion wanted to laugh; actually, he did, although it was mangled and slightly hysterical. "Good news? Oh yes, you impregnated a woman, Benamil. Congratulations! Gee, why didn't I stick around all evening waiting to hear all the juicy details about how you f- "

"Don't go there," Benamil warned with a snarl, hands grabbing Arion by the front of his shirt. "Don't talk about her like that."

Arion blinked up at Benamil, surprise clearly written in his green eyes as he looked down at his lover's hands, still fisted in the front of his shirt. "Are you going to hit me Benamil?" he asked, voice taut.

Benamil released him quickly and took a step back, a hand anxiously smoothing through his hair. "Of course not. I just ..."

"You love her, don't you?" Arion's voice was barely above a whisper.

"Arion, don't..."

"Say it," he demanded.

Benamil turned agonized eyes on him. "I love her, but not like I love you."

Hurt sliced through Arion. "You said this was only a marriage of convenience."

"It is.. It was..." Benamil sighed. How had this conversation gotten so turned around?

Arion's chin trembled. "I see."

"No, you don't," Benamil insisted as Arion turned away from him. "I want to take care of Nazli, see to her needs, make sure she's protected."

"I get it," Arion bit out.

Benamil wrapped his arms around Arion, pulling the vintner against his chest as he whispered into his ear. "I want to do all of those things for you too, and more. The love I have for you is all consuming. It makes me take stupid risks, like going down to the Vintner Hall to see you every night, like getting caught by Karhal with you outside the Hall, like telling Zathris to go /between/ when he even thought of ending our relationship. I would do anything for you, Arion. You hold all the power. Don't you see that?"

Arion squeezed his eyes shut against the tears in his eyes, but Benamil continued. "When you weren't home, or at your office, I had to wonder where you were... And who you were with.... I was jealous.... And a little scared that maybe you had finally come to your senses and left. That your sister had taken you to the Weyr, perhaps."

The vintner turned in the Benamil's arms and buried his face in the curve of his neck. "I'm sorry. I just heard the news by word of mouth today, and even though I knew that you and Nazli had been working to have a baby, it just... hurt. Knowing that you had been intimate with her..."

"I wouldn't call it intimate, intimate is what I am with you. What Nazli and I did was procreate. There's a difference." Benamil didn't want to break any of Nazli's confidences by telling Arion that she'd had to get drunk to even endure the evening. "I'm sorry I was in a bad mood when you got here. It was insensitive of me not to realize how hard the news would be on you."

"Stay here tonight?" Arion whispered, clinging to Benamil.

"I wouldn't be anywhere else," Benamil vowed.

Last updated on the September 3rd 2019


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All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are © Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2013, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author. The Dragonriders of Pern© is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.