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No One Will Miss You

Writers: Devin, Aaron
Date Posted: 4th June 2024

Characters: R'lor, Ç'pier
Description: Ç'pier turns in his latest haul to be paid to Saedyna in restitution. There may or may not be anything else going on-- certainly nothing that concerns Ç'pier.
Location: Dolphin Cove Weyr
Date: month 7, day 4 of Turn 11
Notes: Mentioned: Saedyna, Ay'ell, Blue, "The Duty Song" from Masterharper of Pern


R'lor

R'lor
Ç'pier

Ç'pier

Ç'pier had already finished drawing up his receipt for the day's work.
It detailed the exact jobs he performed, where he went, whom he
ferried where, to whom he delivered what, and how much he was paid for
each transaction. He had been keeping such meticulous records for as
long as Yuliuth was big enough to carry him about to do the work. He
supposed he would always be a trader at heart.

He ordinarily would have visited R'lor later in the day, but Ç'pier
was well aware of his erstwhile classmates' graduation, and he knew
the Weyrlingmaster would be busy in attendance. He had no intention of
presenting himself for public ridicule, anyway. So he was turning in
his restitution payment early. He saluted, laid the receipt out in
front of R'lor on his desk and set the pouch of coins beside it for
him to count, if he wanted, then stood silently at attention.

R'lor quickly counted the money and glanced at the detailed receipt.
He certainly couldn't fault C'pier's record keeping. "You should get
cleaned up before dinner. Brush your riding jacket to make sure it's
clean."

"If it's all the same to you, sir, I mean to have dinner at home
alone," said Ç'pier. Of course, if R'lor had made it a point to tell
him to be ready, his chances of being allowed to skip were slim to
none. But the worst he could do was say no. Well. The worst any
ordinary person _would_ do was say no. Of course, someone with an
interest in punishing him could certainly find worse to do to him.

"It's graduation today." R'lor looked up. "You'll be attending with
your clutchmates."

Ç'pier breathed a short, silent laugh, but he refrained from shaking
his head. There was no use in arguing, lest R'lor actually decide he
needed to do worse. But if he couched his answer in concern, perhaps
it would not be perceived as arguing.

"Wouldn't I distract from their happy occasion?"

"You can sit by yourself if you'd like." R'lor thought the others
would probably prefer that. "Most of the Weyr will be there, they
might not even notice you."

**Then they wouldn't notice if I wasn't there, either...**

}:I suspect we both know that isn't the point,:{ said Yuliuth. }:We
have borne every other punishment to this point. Now we will bear this
one together as well.:{

"Yes, sir."

R'lor knew it was unkind, maybe even petty. "You have some time to get
ready before then. You're dismissed."

Ç'pier saluted and then left to do as he was told.

- - -

R'lor kept his eye on C'pier as he joined the other Weyrlingstaff in
handing out knots to those too young to join the Fighting Wings. There
would be no knots for C'pier today -- he'd keep his Senior Weyrling
rank and repeat his entire training with the next weyrling class. Once
R'lor's task was complete, he went to sit next to the young
brownrider.

Ç'pier was nothing if not a good actor. He kept his face stoic
throughout the ceremony. He had no friends among this cohort, and he
had little reason to lament not moving on with them. After all, he
still expected that he would meet with an unfortunate accident once he
was in the fighting wings, anyway.

"Congratulations," he said once R'lor joined him-- to gloat, he presumed.

"You can graduate next time." R'lor struggled with what else to say.
He was still angry and still haunted by the image of Saedyna lying on
a cot bruised and bleeding with the healers uncertain if she would
live. But he couldn't let C'pier get so miserable he wanted to die.
"This is a punishment, but that's not all it is. You have to learn you
belong to the Weyr now, that your life is in other's hands -- and
their life in yours. Considering your actions, I didn't think going
through training once would be enough."

"If my life were in my own hands," said Ç'pier, "it would be over by
now. I think I'm capable of understanding the situation I've put
myself in. And of course, I'll do whatever you require of me. I
thought I had made that clear by now. Once I jump through all of the
necessary hoops, those others in whose hands my life rests will
finally be free to dispense with it as they see fit."

"However others might feel about you personally, it's their _duty_ to
keep you alive," R'lor said. A cheer came from the front of the hall
as someone was chosen for the Weyrleader's Wing. "Past mistakes, or
bitter rivalries, or jealous lovers -- none of that matters when
you're up there fighting Thread. We put all of those personal feelings
aside to protect Pern. To protect each other."

"In thought and in favor, in word and in deed..." Ç'pier sang. Not
half bad, really.

"Exactly that. And the fact that you still believe your future
wingmates would abandon you and Yuliuth to Thread means I was right in
holding you back."

"Had you been second guessing yourself? _I_ can't say what they'll do.
I have been convinced that not _all_ of them would abandon me," said
Ç'pier. "And those would see fit to protect me as I protect them, hm?
Whatever happens happens."

R'lor should be satisfied that C'pier was miserable. The brownrider
was doing his training as asked, took care of Yuliuth, and was working
to pay his victim money. But he couldn't take the hopelessness. "You
were willing to do anything to protect Blue. There must be some part
of you capable of caring for other people."

Ç'pier raised an eyebrow.

"You really think I don't care for other people?" he asked. He had not
thought R'lor capable of insulting him, but that stung.

"Would you fight to protect them from Thread? Would you defend the
lives of your wingmates even if some of them hate you?"

"Of course, I would." It was practically the only reason he had left
to exist. It was Yuliuth's entire purpose. He was genuinely baffled
that R'lor genuinely thought he would not.

"Then focus on that instead of the doom you're imagining for
yourself," R'lor said. "You have a duty and a purpose."

"You brought it up." Ç'pier chuckled. R'lor always seemed so surprised
to be having this fight right after he had picked it all by himself.

"I'm trying to get you to understand that your future isn't death."
R'lor gestured to where the other weyrlings were receiving their
knots. "At least not more than any other rider in a Pass. It's true
that you might not survive long as a wingrider, but not because the
other riders will leave you to die. And not because of a lack of
training. Even though I'm still furious with you, I'm still doing my
best to teach you how to survive because it's the right thing to do."

"You're doing an admirable job," said Ç'pier. At least, it was better
than he deserved. "I have no lack of faith in my training."

"Just no faith that we want to keep you alive."

"It only takes one." Ç'pier should know, after all. Only one other
rider who owed Ay'ell money or favors.

R'lor wanted to argue that no one would ever do such a thing, but he'd
also thought no one would try to murder a Candidate. "You can't live
your life waiting for someone to kill you, C'pier. We'll do everything
we can to protect you."

"Whatever protection you would give me, use it to watch over Blue,
instead. I still don't know whether they'll try to punish me for
failing," said Ç'pier. "And if anyone actually deserves your�""

}:Do I not deserve protection?:{

"Your..."

}:Will you not protect me with the same ardor with which you protected
that boy? Do you truly not love me even one fraction as much as you
loved him?:{

"I..."

Ç'pier sat and stared, gobsmacked for a moment. He could feel
Yuliuth's impending heartbreak if Ç'pier dared answer that he did not
somehow love him a thousand times more. Of course, he did. Somehow. He
could never have imagined a love even twice as powerful, but somehow,
he loved Yuliuth a thousand times more.

He covered his face to hide the torrent of tears he could not hold back anymore.

R'lor patted his shoulder. This young man, not much more than a boy
really, who he was still angry with. Whose betrayal still hurt R'lor
like an unhealed wound. But C'pier was only human, even if he'd done a
terrible thing. "I can protect both of you."

Ç'pier took a moment to pull himself together and then wiped his face
on his sleeve and pretended he had not just embarrassed himself in
front of R'lor. There was no arguing with him at this point.

"I know you'll try."

Last updated on the June 7th 2024


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