Friends In Need

Characters Alexa, M'ti
Synopsis M'ti's hurting and Alexa is here to help.
Out-of-Character Date November 2, 2019

Igen Weyr - Galleries
From this vantage point, you can look over the balcony to the Sands below. The seating here stretches out around the perimeter of the Sands, the rows of seating rising high above. The benches are wooden, simple bleachers, and the stone steps have been worn down along their center from turns of foot-traffic. Above the bleachers, the ledge of the galleries is pocked and marked from dragonclaws where dragons have perched to watch the hatchings as well.

warning: Language/suggestive

You know it's Igen when the Hatching Galleries are actually cooler than the Weyrbowl. The sands themselves are blistering, baking Raaneth's clutch of five to perfection while the sooty-queen looks on. Alexa, however, has taken to the much more reasonably temperature-d galleries, a pile of paperwork at her side. A tray of light snacks as well as two tall pitchers of iced water sits on the seats behind her, ready whenever she needs them. For the moment, she's paused in her paperwork and is gazing down at the sands, watching Raaneth gently fuss and turn a few of her eggs into the 'perfect' position, a soft, silly smile on the young woman's face.

Having been trapped in Xanadu following it's hatching due to a storm, pending it's conclusion the last thing M'ti wanted was to return to his completely empty weyr at Fort. Head muddled and thoughts whirling all directions, he'd could only think of Alexa and Igen clearly. With understanding, Cherith arrives high above the bowl and wings down to a landing to deposit her rider before taking off again to find the perfect sand pile just for her. However, Matty doesn't trudges aimlessly in search of his goldrider best friend as he turns his feet towards the hatching cavern and galleries. There is no beaming smile and wide wave as he appears there and spots Alexa in person, he merely propels himself forward to claim the seat beside her that was not currently occupied by stacks of paperwork with a bit of a grunt. Heavily lidded but also sort of raw and reddish hazel eyes are cast forward, "Five, huh?" he breathes out in a sigh, "They healthy?" Where was the enthusiasm? Where were the smiles? Truth be told, he'd left it all in Xaandu.

It wouldn't be hard to find them. The curse of being a weyrwoman is that everyone tends to know where you are. Alexa is no exception. And with Raaneth on the sands, her location is even more conspicuous. Stereotypical, even. But there's nothing to be done about it. She is not, however, expecting company. The arrival of M'ti is met with surprise, green eyes flashing to the greenrider as he heads her direction. Surprise makes way for delight, which quickly turns to confusion, and then concern, as he settles beside her. "Shells, Matty… what happened?" It doesn't take a genius to see that he's upset, and Alexa has the benefit of having known him. Her eyes flick to the sands where Raaneth has paused to peer up at the invader Fortian, a rumbly sound in her throat. It is not a warning. Not really. More of an 'I see you and just so you know, I will bite you if you try something'. He shouldn't take it personally. She greets everyone like that when she's brooding. "Five?" Eggs. "Oh. Right. Yeah… One more than last time. Dragonhealer's say they're healthy," she assures. But while she might be fond of her queen and proud of her clutch, her friend's distress is clearly distracting — and far more important. "Seriously… what happened? You look like… well. Not good."

M'ti had been a bad friend as of late seeing as he'd purposefully thrown himself into whatever distraction he could muster. This had included, but wasn't limited to, his craft work and taking care of Cherith, and all in the effort not to think too hard about the very source of why he looked the way he did now. Clearly, that hadn't worked out so well for him. The greenrider caught glimpses of Alexa's expression, seen a bit of that change before he'd plunked himself down beside her, uncharacteristically silent and wholly melancholy. He'd come here for so many reasons, which included of course seeking the support of the one single person left in the world he trusted, so why does a shrug come in response to the goldrider's inquiry? M'ti has no idea, but that's his response, releasing a shaking and uneven breath even as he welcomes Raaneth's brooding rumble and does his best to reassure her with stillness that he hadn't come there to disturb her eggs. "Mhmmm," comes with a nod. Yes, five. Five eggs. Gaze sliding towards Alexa as she replies, it's fleeting, all too soon returning to the gold and her clutch with a jawline that was just as hardening, "That's good." is exhaled. Healthy was the goal, as was the growing number of eggs. As for what happened and the reason for the whole lot of wherry dung he looked? "Men suck," he replies and even that brings moisture that stings and spills over his lower lids, quick to try and hide it with a brush of his finger beneath.

There are a million things Alexa could say to that, but this is clearly not the time for jokes. So instead of spilling the first thing that came to mind, she settles for, "I'm sorry," and swinging an arm around him. It's the tears that do it. She might not be especially maternal, but this is her best friend and he's obviously hurting; a state which requires she take action. She twists in her seat, both arms wound around as much of M'ti as she can get, her cheek resting on his shoulder unless he wants to claim hers instead. And while she is deeply, desperately curious about what has happened, she bites her tongue and keeps the questions to herself. "No one can see us," she promises. "Raaneth is the only one here, and she doesn't care. And neither do I," she adds. "If you want to cry, it's alright."

Really, if M'ti had stopped and thought about what he'd just said and put it into the sort of context that would have been the very last thing on his mind at the moment, he would have blushed. Deeply. As it stands, there's nothing like that in his response to Alexa, just the stubborn determination not to break down as he clings to his stoicism desperately in light of the alternative. Then there's the fact that Alexa does exactly what's needed but by the same token takes a sledgehammer to the greenrider's resolve. Her empathy, the swing of her arm, and by the time she's wrapping both around him putting her cheek to his shoulder it's far too late. With a twitch of tightness to his jaw, tension gripping his shoulders, M'ti begins to tremble ever so slightly, Alexa's promise and permission promptly finishing him off. With a stifled sob, his head bows as he covers his face with one hand, a cascade of golden brown hair serving as a privacy curtain as he begins to cry. It's relatively quiet at least, none of that wailing and ugly crying that sometimes happens with teenagers when they're upset, but the depth of the greenrider's upset is profound and deep nonetheless. With his single free hand, which he's dropped to Alexa's knee, he holds onto her tight.

Alexa meant it. The tears do not bother her. Nor do they bother Raaneth. And isn't this exactly why he came? Isn't this — her arms around him and a sympathetic shoulder — exactly why he's here? It turns out the goldrider is not as bad at consolation as she might have thought. Her arms remain, but she wiggles one hand up so that she can pass her fingers through his hair; an utterly maternal gesture that means nothing more than 'I am here and I understand and it's OK; cry all you want'. And she proves to be a rather patient companion; perfectly happy (or at least, perfectly *willing*; she's certainly not happy that he's upset) to remain as they are until M'ti has cried himself out. She does not pepper the silence with meaningless platitudes. There are no 'it's alright' and 'shh, there-there' murmurings from the goldrider. Just companionship and the reminder that he is not alone that comes in the tightly wrapped arms of a friend.

It's a good thing that the tears don't bother Alexa or Raaneth, because they are profuse and seem to come all at once rather than at a slow and easy trickle. M'ti does his best to downplay his heartbreak and longing for the one who'd done all that damage, although the reality of it is plain enough to see and hear regardless. Perhaps at some point the greenrider will realize how selfish coming here after months of silence for consolation had been, but at the moment he was falling apart a bit and would need her to try and stitch him back together again so he could function sooner rather than later. Lamenting and wasting away wasn't really an option for him with Cherith to consider and his duty to Fort, and again there would be guilt over that. That there is silence as Alexa offers her presence without the addition of those platitudes one usually receives in situations such as these couldn't have been more perfect, if one could attribute such a thing right now. It keeps things simple at the very least, her sweep of fingers through the baby soft thickness of his hair soothing, and eventually there are no more tears to shed for the time being, the greenrider drying out and finishing up with a shuddering exhale of breath he blows out, "Mmmsorry…" he mutters, still covering his face, still stiff, but having found his voice again.

"It's alright," murmurs Alexa, the words much less commentary on his state of being, and more so on her acceptance of it. That it is 'alright' for him to be upset; she doesn't mind. With the lessening of tears and the halt to all that upset, her hold loosens, and she twists enough to reach her tray of snacks, claiming a glass of water. "Here," she offers, pressing it into his hand. "You should drink something." She also has tasty snacks, should he want to munch on something, but for now they stay on the tray and out of reach. "Are you going to tell me what happened?" she asks, shifting in her space so that she can lean against him — and he against her. "It's OK if you don't want to." And it is. She just might go crazy with all the thoughts swirling in her head, fueled by far too many stories and compounding on each other, until they are utterly ridiculous in nature.

Being on the same page had only been an issue for he and Alexa when they'd first met and since it hadn't been in the least. The goldrider always seemed to know what to say or do, a voice of reason in troubled times, and she was the only one that he'd wanted to see while he was this upset. Sure in some ways he was the stereotypical greenrider, gay and emotional, but that didn't mean he wanted an audience or the rumor mill to start swirling around him. Nor, had he wanted only Cherith for company. With Alexa's hold of him loosening, M'ti doesn't do much more than sit there in the same position, not until he had that glass of water offered to him and only then does he grasp it between his two hands to reveal his expression. He looked absolutely miserable, that was certain, brows knotted and pale cheeks streaked with his upset as he drops his gaze down to stare emptily at the floor between his knees, "Thanks." He really was grateful even if he didn't sound it, several long moments of nothing followed by a single sip of that glass's contents. As Alexa leans against him, M'ti leans against her, quiet for a while even after she's asked her question of him. There's a nod to confirm he understands he doesn't have to explain himself and that it didn't mean that all the friendly support she offered would cease to continue if he didn't, but it takes him a decent amount of time to gather the effort he needed to set her imagination straight, "His name's Keruthien, or…it was. I don't know what it is now. He just Impressed to green at Xanadu…" There was no cohesion of thought, no rationality, just words as they flowed out his mouth in a relatively quiet volume, "…and I…I think I'm in love with him." Why else, would it hurt this much?

Alexa is patient. Outside, at least. Inside, she might be a riot of chaos as increasingly creative tragedies tangle together, one after the other, until clearly the world is ending and we're all gonna die. When it turns out to be love, and not DOOM DEATH AND DESTRUCTION there's a moment of pause and then a quiet, "Ah." But her support remains, as does her empathy; expression creased with worry and heartache that comes because he is her friend and he is hurting, so she is hurting. "Impression doesn't mean… you know… it's not the end?" But really, she's got next to nothing to go on except 'new greenrider named Keruthien' and a whole lot of upset greenrider named M'ti. "Does… he know? That you love him?" She'll totally decide that it IS love, even if he's not sure yet. Clearly it is, or he wouldn't be so upset. Right? Of course, she's not dumb. All that upset can't just be over M'ti's lover being a weyrling. Weyrlinghood is not forever. And so, while she might wince and try to soften the words, the question is posed even if she's afraid of the answer. "Does he love you, too?"

It's actually a shame that M'ti couldn't read minds and wasn't in a better state with his own, otherwise he would have laughed at all of the everything that was going on inside of Alexa's head just then. As it stands, the world was kind of ending for the eighteen turn old, who'd officially experienced what it was like to well and truly fall for someone and that most of the time it wasn't like all that he'd heard and possibly read about. In fact, it kind of sucked. With an affirming rumble, the greenrider falls back into misery tinged amiable silence, leeching the strength he did not have through the contact point of his arm and shoulder in contact with hers with the occasional sip of water as happier events past haunt him ceaselessly and do little more than make him feel even worse, "The timing is bad," he explains with more air than voice, and it's followed by laughter that sounded hollow and thoroughly unhappy, "Probably not," Yes, this definitely sucked. "…I don't think he's the type to know and play it off but at the same time I don't think it even occurred to him that I might be." A sigh comes then, "I don't know if that's because he isn't the type to feel more than…" Now he blushes, clearing his throat with another long sip of water to leave the obvious unspoken, "…or if he's just that much of an airhead." Said one blond to another. Then comes a delayed and painful shake of the greenrider's head, tears threatening once again, because no he didn't think Keruthien loved him at all. "Calling us…lovers…be a stretch…" he ties to joke, but it falls flat as a fat salty bead jumps it's cradle and races down one of Matty's cheeks, his attempt at smile faltering.

Alexa has exactly zero experience with love. At least, the kind of love that M'ti is talking about. She's also got zero experience in the 'we're just fuck buddies' department, because even that is something she's never tried. (Flights do not count.) But she's got a good imagination, and she's read a lot of books, and she can definitely empathize with him, wincing for the laugh and the confession that comes with it. "Oh… Matty…" Cue another hug, arms tight around the greenrider as she buries her face against his shoulder. As if she was the one crying, though no tears fall. "I'm so sorry," she sighs, resting her cheek at his shoulder. She has, sadly, no advice to give. But she does have copious love and support and sympathy and— "Do you want a drink?" She's got booze. That's something, right? "I can get you some wine or something harder, if you want. But— well. If you drink, I'll want you to stay the night. Not with me!" she's quick to add, horrified at the thought. "But in a guest weyr. You know. Cause flying and drinking don't really mix." Her weyrlingmaster's would be SO PROUD.

When it comes to love, M'ti thought he'd felt it a few times for someone other than family, but it'd never hurt this bad before. His heart was aching something fierce and this condition was not helped whenever he thought of Keruthien, although talking about him and the feelings that were attached with Alexa was easing it just a little bit. As for being fuck buddies? The absent and newly Impressed was the only one that M'ti had ever been with aside from Cherith's second flight, and seeing as there wasn't exactly an instruction manual to follow, he'd been stumbling around in the dark and ended up falling for the man. With another shuddering exhale and Alexa hugging him like that, the greenrider lets a few more tears out before pressing his face into the poor goldrider's hair. Thus this is all there is for a spell and until such a time as M'ti can manage to pull himself back together before falling apart all over again, "No," he declines gently as he turns his head to rest his cheek against her hair, "Rather not start down that road if I can help it." It never ended well, dulling the pain that way, at least from what he'd heard. Blinking as Alexa makes a point of offering a place to stay that is not her weyr, M'ti slides hazel eyes downwards to what he can see from his vantage point, "You get that I'm gay, right?" Perhaps this attempt to be funny will land somewhat better than his last, "I don't really want to be alone right now," comes more honestly and seriously intoned, "But I totally get it if you can't be alone with me." Was he kidding? Yes, he was teasing her, as he knew Alexa didn't feel that way for anyone and really he didn't actually think of himself as all that great. Still, maybe a little bit of Keruthien had rubbbed off on him after all.

It is times like these, in the face of blatant teasing, that Alexa chooses the high road and sticks her tongue out and blows a raspberry at him. Totes mature. Totes worthy of her age and her rank. A moment later, and her hand is pressed to her forehead, feigning a swoon. "Yes, you've found me out. You're just so sexy I can't stand it; please, throw me down and fuck me before I die in aching agony!" Clearly, someone has read way too many terrible romance books. Another moment, and she's choking on her own laughter and throwing a punch at his shoulder. "Dick," she decides, though at least it comes with a grin and is said in affection. "I mean, you are hot. Objectively," she decides. "It's a fact. But I'm just not into it." Any of it. Even if she wanted to be. She's sorta, mostly come to terms with this. Enough that she can joke about it. "In all seriousness, if you wanted to stay, you could. In my weyr and everything. I've got a giant bed, and it's super comfy, and dude— I can get room service." Being a weyrwoman has definitely got perks.

It's faint, but there is a slight pull upwards to one side of Matty's lips as a tongue is stuck out at him in such a way, along with a single soft sound of amusement and a bit of a shoulder pop. HOWEVER! This reaction is pale in comparison as Alexa pretends to soon and using the sort of language in such a way that has the greenrider's eyes widening and blinking several times over before all the blood in his body starts to creep up into his face from the neck up, "Alexa!" How unladylike, right? Well, it was more the fact that she knew those words and their contents to begin with, never mind felt comfortable enough to use them in a sentence. And so, M'ti continues to stare and impersonate a redfruit even as the goldrider laughs and punches him, resigning himself to the fact that if this trend continued between his best friend and the man he'd been bumping uglies with, he'd be desensitized and likely swearing like a crudest of sailors in no time, "Faranth, that mouth." He wasn't offended, not at all. It was kinda funny to hear those sort of things coming out of the mouth of someone so innocent looking and for a little bit there, M'ti smirks at her. With a noise that was more snort than laughter,"Eh, that's debatable but I appreciate the sentiment anyway…" He was hot? Since when? Sadness leaking into his expression without even his awareness of it, "I'd love that. I…" There's a smile then, but it doesn't reach his eyes, "That sounds great."

Alexa just squints at him, face screwed up into an expression torn between exasperated and disbelieving. "You've looked in a mirror, right? You know, all that false modesty and 'I'm just average, don't call me hot because I'm so, so not' bullshit gets old. I have eyes, Matty. I can see you, and even if I'm not drooling over it, I can one-hundred and ten percent tell you that you're attractive." Lecture finished, she rolls her eyes and reaches for her own glass of water. A few sips later, and she's sighing and pinching at her shirt, fanning herself in vain in an attempt to get some cool air going. Igen. Hatching Sands. Her chances of not sweating are in the negatives. "Great," she declares, ignoring the sadness in favor of slinging another arm around him and offering a squeeze. She can see it, but she's not going to focus on it. They can wallow over hot cocoa and too-many cookies later. "Raaneth doesn't actually need me here — or, well. She says it's alright if I go." The queen was definitely independent enough to manage without her weyrwoman. "Wanna get settled? And are you going to need a change of clothes? We can probably find something in the stores."

"Uh, not in a while, no…" M'ti confesses and from the look he wears just then, he was being serious. He'd never been the vain sort to stand in front of a mirror and admire his own reflection, even if the last time he looked there wasn't much to appreciate. Sure, even he had to admit that he wasn't a lanky and gangly thing anymore, as he could tell that much whenever he'd changed clothes or bathed, but beyond that? "I don't actually own a mirror, so…" Last he'd checked, acne had punched him hard in the face, and that had been enough of a deterrent to keep him from wanting to see himself if he could help it and he'd even gone so far as to avoid looking even when the chance arose. "…I'll take your word for it." Would he though? Not really, truth be told, and with everything going on in his personal life the last thing he really wanted to do was gaze upon his own hideousness. It'd been one of the reasons he often hid behind his hair and why Keruthien's continued interest seemed so strange. Brows creasing, he watches Alexa as she seems ever so slightly irritated with him, which was making him wonder with increasing interest if it wasn't time to bite the bullet and take another look at himself. This is set aside as the subject changes to their impromptu sleep over, tension he was unaware of starting to drain out of his shoulders and back, eased by Alexa's arm sling and the squeeze that followed, "Only if you're sure. I know that this is an important time for you both." Eggies on the sand and all, and there might be a bit of guilt for showing up and falling to pieces all over the poor woman now. Bobbing his head once, "Sure, and yes. I might melt here if I keep up with my leathers."

Doesn't take vanity to know when someone's attractive. Even if that someone is themselves. Something Alexa knows well. She would hardly consider herself to be vain, but she's at least come to appreciate that there are many which think her good-looking. Especially since the acne has cleared up, and her skin is smooth. She's caught the looks; the eyes that follow her. She's heard the comments, both intentional and not. She's been flirted with enough times to recognize that it's not an abnormal occurrence, even if she has no real interest in reciprocating. "Right," she decides, with all the dryness she can muster, eyes rolling freely for M'ti's lack of a mirror. "Kay. Well. Then as your friend, I'm here to tell you that you are *very* attractive, so I don't want to hear another word about it. Seriously. I'll hit you." She totally will. She pft's away his concern, another eyeroll offered. "It's important, but it's not… you know. *Important*. I'm seriously just staring at eggs while Raaneth does all the work, and only because I got tired of looking at the office." And because sometimes Raaneth *does* need her, even if neither of them will admit it. "Alright, let's go then," she declares, twisting to the side so she can gather up her paperwork. "If you don't mind carrying the tray? I had to make two trips earlier…" And she really doesn't wanna do that again.

Shoulders drooping somewhat, the greenrider's eyes hood a bit as a knot forms upon his brow, appearing a bit perplexed by Alexa's continued disbelief. He could have taken offense and adamantly defended his position but he was taking her reaction to heart, which was only amplifying his building desire to take a look for himself. Curiosity can sometimes bite you in the ass, but everything the goldrider was saying and doing just then was convincing him that he wouldn't be as disappointed as he had in the past. Which, honestly, brought sense to a lot of things that just hadn't before now, "Okay," he breathes out, slowly nodding his head, then blinking rapidly upon threat of physical violence. Yep, he needed to look and he was going to as soon as he possibly could, even if the results weren't as Alexa was building them up to be. That said, there's another nod, hazel eyes darting towards the sands. Paperwork and egg staring. Man, that didn't seem much fun to the greenrider, but then again carving hunks of wood or studying woodcrafting techniques would probably feel the same to his bestie over there. "Oh, yeah. Sure. No problem." Distracted on several fronts, his heartache takes a backseat as M'ti gets to his feet to collect the designated tray. "Oh?" he inquires, unable to help himself, "No sands-side service?" He kids. He kids.

A snort, and Alexa's eyes slide the way of the greenrider, though she resists rolling them again. It's a wonder they haven't rolled right out of her head. "Unfortunately, no. Well, actually…" she continues, reconsidering as she gathers up her paperwork. "They probably would. But that seems kind of excessive." Work gathered, she clutches her papers to her chest as she heads down the stairs, pausing on the threshold to say a proper farewell to Raaneth. It isn't as if she's going far, or for long, but the gold comes over to wuffle her regardless, and she spares a moment to stroke one butter-soft, kohl-dusted eyeridge. "Get some sleep," she murmurs aloud, only to earn a chuff of annoyance in return. Grinning, she glances toward M'ti to make sure he's close before heading out, directing them the short distance over to the Weyrleader's ledges. "We can drop this off in my weyr before going to the stores. Sound good? I'd offer you a pair of pants but, uh, I don't think anything I have would fit you."

Thank Faranth for connective tissue otherwise the goldrider might have a serious issue on her hands, literally. How would one explain detached retinas in that way to the healers? M'ti couldn't even being to guess, although the thought is transient at best as he focuses in on discussion rather than the eeriness of errant thought, hefting the tray up while trying to keep it's contents balanced. It wasn't all that difficult and the awkward thing wasn't that heavy, "No disagreement here," he replies, happy to have the distraction even if he was all too aware that the subject that had brought him to Igen was going to have to be readdressed and talked about in greater detail once they'd settled in over snacks in their jammies. Following after Alexa, each step measured and calculated before being taken, not wanting to drop anything, and waits for the gold pairing to say their good evenings to one another. No longer plagued by pulses of unspoken jealousy in the face of that intimacy between rider and dragon, it brings the faintness of a smile to the greenrider's face. Then, they're off. "Yeah, sounds good…" he echoes, lips going slightly crooked at the image of himself trying to wriggle into a pair of Alexa's pants. They were both on the smaller side, but his friend was shaped much differently than he was. "Probably best just to hit the stores." And avoid that horror show.

They would have been loose, linen pants, but probably still too small all the same. "Works for me," decides Alexa, climbing the few steps to get to the administrative ledge. Her feet take her on autopilot, until they're ducking into a cavernous but distinctly empty space. Past Raaneth's couch and its meager assortment of pillows, and the inner weyr is not much busier. At least she has a bed. And a wardrobe. And a desk. And bookshelves — some with books, even! But otherwise, the space is definitely lacking that homey vibe. After a turn and a half of living there, one might wonder why Alexa hadn't bothered to furnish the place. But the weyrwoman seems not at all worried about it, tossing her paperwork onto the desk, she motions toward the empty space for the tray, and once that's down, she's hooking her arm through M'ti's and hauling him back out. "To the stores!"

With a nod, M'ti follows after Alexa, still carrying that tray as that was the purpose of him for the moment. Nothing wrong with that and thinking about not spilling things was keeping his mind off the sorts of thoughts that would do him no good publicly, as dissolving himself in hi sorrow was not how he wanted strangers to see him. It was a pride thing more than anything else, not having grown emotionally enough to brush aside the general opinion of others. Upon breaching weyrwoman territory, hazel eyes round out a bit as he takes it all in, and definitely notes the lack of that lived in feel. No comment is made on this, nor does he try to awkwardly compliment was did exist inside the goldrider's weyr, devoting himself entirely to tray carrying. This is why he looks so weird a few seconds after he'd puts it down in the spot Alexa's designated, floundering for the next task to give him something to do other than wallow or inadvertently insult his bestie and hostess. Thankfully, she was awesome and saves him from any missteps, finding her arm hooked through his and off they go, "Is it far?" he asks lamely, trying to fully focus on the next distraction, allowing himself to be lead.

"Not far," assures Alexa, offering M'ti's arm a squeeze. "And most of the walk will be in the caverns." Where it is much, much cooler thanks to 1) STONE and 2) Modern A/C! Indeed, the walk from ledge to Living Caverns is deceptively quick; across the stone, down the stairs, and right on into the cavern. Her mind on the mission, Alexa bypasses the half-empty tables and assortment of snackage — they have plenty of time to pick stuff up on the way back — and right on into the less-used but still-familiar (to her) lower cavern tunnels. A few twists, a few turns, and they find themselves in a wide space ringed with shelves, with all manner of unused but perfectly serviceable clothing. "Hopefully we can find your size," she muses, finger tapping at her lips in thought. "Alright, let's start here," she decides, hauling M'ti over to a shelf of folded garments and grabbing a few at random. Pants. They're all pants. And apparently, they all get to be held up and pressed to his hips to determine fit.

There is relief there, somewhat, in confirmation that their journey to the storage cavern wasn't far. M'ti might be dubious when it came to his looks, but he'd been balling his eyes out for while and that can't have made any improvements. Again, using his hair as a curtain, he leans a bit into Alexa as they walk together in response to that arm squeeze. He may not say as much, but he's equally thankful not to be spending much time walking outside, trying not to picture himself looking like a fried egg on a rock. Obviously there must be a reason for those weird get ups he's seen the riders wearing at Igen. Mind wandering a bit, he lets Alexa lead him through the tunnels, returning to the here and now more or less as they arrive at their destination. "I think I'm pretty average?" he states, not trying to rile the goldrider again, as he means his size rather than his looks this time. Then he's hauled off towards all those pants and very much like his foster mother used to when he was small, she goes and grabs a few as well as holds them up like she does. "Heh, someone's going to be a good mom someday…" is teased.

"You might be," agrees Alexa, squinting at a pair of pants three sizes too big as if they *might* still work. "But the storage cavern is not where 'average' sized things wind up. This is the place for the odds and ends that no one else can fit into. So, you either get this," the too-big tent-pants, which are immediately tossed back to the shelf, "Or this," which turns out to be a too-small pair of pants that might work out better as shorts. For a toddler. "Hm." It is mid pants-to-hips pressing (this time with a pair that might *actually* work, (if she just stretches them a little…) that his comment comes through. A snort. A smirk — though it is the dry and self-deprecating sort — and she shrugs with a nonchalant air. "Sooner than you might think," she drawls, all casual-like.

Looking down, M'ti arches a brow as he sees the pants that are being held up against him could either fit three of him or pitched outside in a pinch. Yeah, those aren't going to work. "Oh," he voices aloud, never having given it much thought about how at least the clothing portion of the storage cavern worked before now, "I guess that makes sense." The too bigs and the too smalls had to go somewhere, "Though, if we had a weaver…" But no, Alexa tosses the too big ones aside and M'ti gets a funny look on his face for the pair that was too small, keeping his commentary to himself. Yeah, no, he's going to just leave that one alone. With the third pair in hand, the greenrider was not expecting his idle teasing to bear such explosive fruit nor that she'd drop it atop his head, "Wait," Had he heard that right? "You're…but…" Right. Flights. Duh. Brain short circuiting a bit, "Who's the father?" Suddenly the quest for pants is considerably less interesting, but then again, another strange expression passes over his face, "You don't have to tell me, though if you don't want to…"

Alexa snorts, eyes rolling as she tosses the third pair aside and goes for a forth. But it is not the pants that elicit that response, but rather then greenrider she's dressing. Or attempting to dress. "I'm what?" she chides, slanting a look at him, arched brow and all. "What am I, M'ti?" But she'll acknowledge the 'flights' business with a sigh and a dry, "Mm", nose wrinkling for the next question. "Some guy." Super helpful. "I kinda forgot his name. It was two months ago!" That is totes her excuse, and she is sticking with it. "And it's not like… it's not like we had some deep conversation or anything. He practically ran out of my weyr," and she was very happy to encourage it. "All I remember is tattoos. A freaking lot of tattoos. Including this one on his ass that was someone's name — don't ask. I was not looking long enough to read it." And even if she did, she definitely didn't try to remember it! "I do remember he was from Fort. Because apparently, Raaneth has a thing for Fortian bronzes."

Hazel eyes dart towards the third pair as it's tossed aside, though that's short lived with Matty's attention quickly returning to the snorting and eyerolling goldrider. The look he receives ushers him into silence, blinking at her a few times, and undoubtedly serious in his contemplation of just how wrong he might have been, "You're not pregnant?" he asks, baffled and perhaps a little embarrassed with himself for jumping to conclusions up until she actually confirms his suspicions. There's a bit of a wince for her as 'some guy' turns out to be the father, but alas such is the nature of flights. M'ti might know who he ended up with his first two, with the latest more awkward than he could possibly express, although in his case it was over and done without any physical evidence left behind. Lamely, a nod is all that the greenrider can muster as Alexa reveals she can't remember the guy's name, "I'm sorry," he breathes out, deciding that fourth pair of pants — slightly oversized but close enough — will do and takes them off her hands. He didn't have to tell her how awkward flights could be and instead offers her empathy as only the rider of a female dragon could. However, as she starts to describe the guy, the whole many tattoos thing stick with him as does the fact that he was apparently from Fort. "Wait. Did he have black hair, golden brown eyes, and a loop of metal on his lower lip?" Okay, sure, the ass tattoo kinda throws him a bit because that he wasn't aware of but man was that some juicy gossip right there. Okay, no. Focus M'ti. "If that's all a yes and he was crazy hot, that sounds a lot like J'en. He's in my wing."

At least that forth pair is likely to fit, though there's a bit of a grump from Alexa for being relieved of it. "Black hair, yeah," she agrees, perusing the shelves for a shirt, now. "The rest… I can't confirm. I wasn't exactly looking at his face that closely — I was trying not to look at him at all," she admits. "It's wicked awkward waking up naked with a stranger in my own bed and he wasn't too keen to chat, either. I saw more of his back than his front," and for that, she might be grateful. "I do remember he had scars, too." But unless Matty's gotten an eyeful of the naked bronzerider, that part might not be helpful. "As for 'crazy hot', well…" Shrug. "I mean. I wasn't really thinking about that? I was kinda just glad he didn't want a second round — he was kinda terrifying, truth be told." And the idea of an overly-eager bedmate wasn't something she wanted to dwell on. The name, however, is filed away for later. "Once the Healer's clear me for Between, I'm gonna try and find him. I mean… I dunno. Wouldn't you wanna know, if you got some girl pregnant?" He might not be the best person to ask, but she's asking anyway. She's also throwing a couple shirts at him that, while technically 'too big', will be perfectly fine for their little slumber-party. "Alright. Snacks?"

Hey now, those are totally his pants, no takebacksies! There is a soft and fleeting sound of amusement from M'ti for that bit of grumping, but he was rather more focused on her news and the mystery bronzerider she'd found all naked and such in her bed post-flight. Moving along with her as she looks for a shift to go with those new pants, "I get that." And he did. If anyone understood not wanting to look too closely at the naked stranger beside you, it was M'ti, although the news that they were together in her bed comes as bit of as shock, "How the…how'd that even happen?" That's what guest weyrs were for, Alexa! "I can't even imagine how that might of felt for you. Ugh! I am so sorry!" Really, his skin crawled for her, even if it'd been the super hot J'en. It as still a stranger in her bed! As for the scars? Matty's shoulders are lifted and dropped, as he had no idea. "Can't say I've ever seen him undressed enough to tell you if he's got scars or not. I heard Leketh only chases golds, but he and his weyrmate moved to Fort from Monaco last turn or so." A sigh, because he wasn't dead, "S'van." Give him a second. "There's just something about two stupid hot bronzeriders together that…." Flushing as a result of his digression, M'ti waves a hand dismissively moments before he grabs the shirts tossed at him. A nod, "Yeah, he's….not the approachable type. Kinda gives off this 'come near me and I will cut you' sort of vibe." That's not to say that they had the right person and all, but it was starting to seem like they'd hit the nail on the head. "Uh, well…" he says with a short laugh, rubbing at the back of his neck, "So far that hasn't been an issue but…" Oh man, why hadn't pregnancy ever occurred to him? There was definitely brown and blues with female riders. "I guess so? I don't know…that…" Didn't seem like it'd be a fun conversation to have. but now was not the time to express that. "If you want back up, Lex…let me know." Snacks? "Uuuugh, yes please. I'm starving." He will not discuss nor think about why he's skipped his last couple of meals.

Alexa's nose wrinkles. "Honestly, I didn't want to use the guest weyr. Raaneth can roust anyone out of my bed if they're not interested in leaving of their own volition. The space is large enough for that." It would be a squeeze, but the queen could do it. "Frankly, I feel weird enough knowing I had sex with a stranger; I'd rather not *also* wake up in a strange bed." To each their own. As for J'en and his lack of approachability, Alexa can only shrug. "It won't be a fun conversation, but it will be a necessary one." And since she doesn't actually *know* if this guy is the same guy, she'll have to do it face to face. Assuming she'll even recognize the guy. Sigh. Dragonrider woes. "Thanks for the offer," she decides, looping her arm with M'ti's once again. "But I think I've got this." At least right now, safe in Igen and months away from having to spring the news, she's confident. "Let's go get snacks."

While M'ti still would much more prefer using a guest weyr, he does nod as he comes to understand why it was that Alexa would much rather use her own bed, certainly not about to argue the merits of the former. She was allowed, just as much as anyone else, to handle the— less attractive aspects— of being dragonrider as she wished, "Even I'd think twice about overextending my welcome in that situation," he quietly muses, picturing a full sized gold hovering far too close. Between this and their conversation about J'en, M'ti had almost all but forgotten about the reason that he'd come to Igen in the first place, which honestly could not have worked out more beautifully. As Alexa loops her arm through his, "Anytime. I can be there for you too, you know." For in that moment the greenrider seems to realize that this lovely friend of his has 'saved' him on more than just a few occasions. It was only fair to at least offer to return the favor. The mere mention of food was making Matty's stomach growl, permitting himself to be swept away and holding on to every single distraction he could until such a time as they were secure and hidden away, only then would he be able to really talk about Keruthien and why he'd been so upset upon arrival in Igen.

The process of snack-snagging is an easy one. Alexa navigates the familiar twists and turns with ease, swinging through the living caverns to load up on supplies before heading back out to her weyr. In no time at all, they're getting comfy on the too-big bed, a table pulled close so their tray of drinks has somewhere safe to rest, while the snack-options remain scattered around them. Alexa apparently went for local favorites to cover all the basics. There's salty-and-crisp in the form of roasted chickpeas, sweet-and-chewy in the form of dried fruits, slightly-spicy with some cayenne-pepper dusted popcorn. There's toasted bread and soft cheeses and preserves in little jars. And a healthy option in the form of veggies (mostly fingerroots), olives, pita and hummus. Hopefully M'ti doesn't mind Igen-fare, because that's what was plentiful. Changed into something comfy (aka, giant oversized t-shirt and loose cotton pants) and hair in a messy bun, Alexa is happily working her way around options one bite at a time. "Alright. Spill."

M'ti is there at Alexa's side and more than willing to walk with her as well as carry things, wanting to be as useful as he possibly could be even if he wasn't imposing on her good nature with his wherdung. Food and drink items procured, changed into his recently acquired and impromptu sleep over with the bestie attire, the greenrider settles in on the bed and makes himself as comfortable as he possibly can given the circumstances. There is zero complaint and plenty of munching to be had, wanting to ease the bestial rumblings of his belly before he got too upset again to even think about eating, pushing an olive past his lips just as Alexa tells him to spill and with that he pauses before chewing up that morsel far too slowly. His procrastination, along with a upwards dart of hazel eyes, doesn't last overly long. Sighing, M'ti nods, "I met him by accident at Gemstone cavern," he explains, "I was there on craft business, he came across as the type that was looking for something to amuse him and to pass the time. I was attracted to him instantly, but at the same time I wasn't all that impressed with how he seemed to assume I was an easy target and I honestly expected he'd move on to someone else once I left, but he followed me all the way back to Cherith with this grin on his face like he knew he could change my mind." Shaking his head, "I was annoyed at his audacity but…I couldn't stop blushing or stammering. Which only made it worse." Yep, even now Matty's cheeks were pinking up, but he does his best to ignore it, "He backed me into a corner, figuratively and literally, then let me go. It kinda felt like he was playing with me and I had no intention of seeing him again, but I couldn't get him off my mind. It wasn't even a sevenday later and…" Flare! Those cheeks go almost instantly red. "…Cherith rose in her maiden flight and I woke up next to him."

Alexa is munching those chickpeas like popcorn (ironic, given there is legit-popcorn within reach), listening avidly as M'ti speaks. There are appropriate facial expressions (mostly consisting of arched or furrowed eyebrows, as she alternates between 'OMG whaaat?' status and 'seriously, Matty?' status. "Wait," comes when he's apparently done, the goldrider clearly not convinced that this is the end of the story. "You can't just say that and not explain. Like… how the hell did he get there when Cherith rose? Where were the other riders? Why did he even come to find you like that? Seriously suspicious, Matty…" Just look at those squinty side-eyes she's tossing! Definitely not believing it. "And please tell me there's more, because so far he kinda sounds like a creepy stalker, and I am not into it."

The greenrider was doing a whole lot of picking at his fingers with only the occasional upwards glance before sliding his eyes off to this or that. Considering the sparse nature of Alexa's weyr, his options were limited and it was blatantly obvious that even he was having a hard time rationalizing everything to this very day. It just, was. Her interjection has him looking up and meeting her gaze however, lifting his hands and waving them a bit, "I was going to, promise." Oh there was plenty more to the story as it most certainly did not end there. "I uh, I guess I uh…" Poor poor Matty, he looked so very embarrassed with himself. "I was proddy, so I…uh…kind of went looking for him. When I found him…" The weight of that moment is profound, "…I sort of slapped him across the face and then pounced him." Much neck rubbing ensues as the greenrider's eyes sliiiiiide off to the side, for if there was anyone that was a creepy stalker, it wasn't Keruthien. "Ir's still sort of fuzzy."

Alexa just stares at him, handful of chickpeas poised as though she meant to tip them into her mouth. "You… slapped him, and then you slept with him?!" Crunch-crunch, and she polishes off that mouthful and rubs the salt from her hands. "Let's back up," she decides. "You were proddy, so you decided to hunt down some random, creepy guy who wanted to get you into bed that you originally said 'no thanks' to because you didn't want to feel used… so you could use him?" It's not an accusation, so much as Alexa having a very hard time following this story. "And… you did this right before Cherith rose and that's how you ended up with him instead of…" hand-wave "… whoever?" She doesn't need to know — that's not important. "OK. So… Hm. Well. Apparently, he liked it, cause it sounds like that wasn't the last you heard from him." Whoever the stalker is, the weyrwoman's still gonna squint suspiciously for this Keruthien-guy.

"Yeeeeaah…" M'ti breathes out, conjuring all of the awkward in the world right about then, unable to meet his best friend's at eye level for the time being. That was the jist of it. He's slapped the guy then slept with him, but despite having been Proddy at the time, he wasn't trying too hard to make excuses for himself. "Yeah…" he answers again, "…I thought I'd put him out of my mind, but as Cherith started to glow I kept feeling more and more irritated about what he seemed to be suggesting that day and before I knew it I was tracking him down to give him a piece of my mind." At least, that had been his intension. "Cherith rose and well…" Pouncing happened instead. Blushing deeper, finding the trimming of the woman's wardrobe far more interesting than it really was. That Alexa wasn't eyeballing M'ti in place of being squinty over Kerithien at this point was somewhat of a miracle. "He was really nice to me, Lex. He didn't laugh or take off, he wanted to make sure I was okay and even offered to take me to breakfast. He made sure I could clean up and that I was warm…I don't know…despite all the smirking and carefree…he turned out to be a decent guy and I was really surprised by that."

Oh, she's definitely eyeballing M'ti, too. There's just a whole lotta suspicious eyeing in general. Alexa might be twenty, but she's still got those teenager side-eyes skills. "I seriously hope you don't track down every guy who tries to sleep with you, just to give them a piece of your mind. You'll have nothing left to do, Matty." But rather than re-open that particular 'hot or not' can of worms, she'll just snort and reach for a bit of dried mango to chew on. "Yeah. Sounds super nice. Tries to get you in bed on the first meeting. Then, when you show up to give him a piece of your mind, he does get you into bed because your dragon happened to rise…" She's definitely been there with the whole mating flights thing, but clearly, she's not thinking too highly of Keruthien's habits. A snort and she decides, "Least he could do, after that. Honestly." Hmph. "And then what? You decide to start seeing him on the regular?"

And Matty deserved all of that eyeballing, he really did. It sounded lame and half-baked coming out of his mouth, regardless of the fact it still seemed to make sense rattling around in his brain. FWOSH! Turning a brilliant shade of crimson, the greenrider sputters, suddenly staring hard at Alexa as if he couldn't believe she'd just said that, "O-of course not!" Though, really, there hadn't been a plethora of potential suitors to begin with. If anyone else had tried to hit on him, it'd likely gone right over his head, as he couldn't recall a single instance otherwise. "He didn't say it outright or anything, it was just a feeling." Was he defending the guy now? A little, yes. When it comes to what happened after that, again, Matty's eyes drift. Uh oh. "He started writing me letters. They, got a bit…graphic…" Twitch. Twitch. "I went to Xanadu to tell him to stop and we…uh…ended up doing it again…" What can he say? He was weak against all that self-assured confidence and hotness. "And it pretty much went that way whenever we ran into one another after that…" Before Alexa can think M'ti is either a complete dope or a super mega slut weak to flesh of cute guys who give him a lick of attention, "It wasn't just the physical, we talked a lot about stuff. He's surprisingly easy to talk to and he didn't laugh or make fun of me when I talked about what I was like before Cherith found me. He just seems to get me…" A long sigh then, "I dunno, it's hard to explain."

"Yeah, Matty. He was hitting on you. That's what guys do. Only the real asshole ones walk up and actually say they want to get you into bed. And usually not so nicely." Alexa may or may not have personal experience with that, and she sure as shit isn't going to confirm it. "That 'feeling' was your brain going "oh, this guy just wants my dick" Or maybe your ass? Probably your ass." Clearly, Alexa has no class, regardless of that weyrwoman's knot. Another handful of chickpeas later, and she's deadpanning him; straight up teenage look of doom. "Writing you letters. Graphic letters," she repeats, with all the dryness she can muster. "Did you /ask/ for these letters?" At this rate, Keruthien might get a black eye the first time he meets Alexa. Really. It wasn't getting much better. "Okay stop. I really, really, really want to believe that this guy is genuine, but Matty… you're not making him sound good. First he tries to get into your pants before he knows your name." She's assuming that last part, but isn't about to stop for clarification. "Then, you go to yell at him and he gets you into bed cause Cherith rises. Then he starts writing all these graphic, unsolicited letters… and when you go to tell him to stop, you sleep with him again?!" Keruthien better be damn glad he just Impressed, because that (and Raaneth's clutch) are about the only things keeping Alexa from flying down to Xanadu and kicking his ass (or at least trying to). "Uh huh. Talked. After he basically stalked you and harassed you. I'm sorry to say this, but it sounds like you're better off without him. Especially if he's not serious about you."

Unnoticed by M'ti, his eyebrows had starting to creep upwards, a blink coming as Alexa reaches the 'asshole' part of her statement. Then another. It might seem like it sometimes, but the greenrider wasn't dense, merely inexperienced in how the adult world worked. However, considering her tone and wording, it strongly implied personal experience and for just a moment M'ti looked sympathetic. While he could understand why men would flock to Alexa by the dozen, she was drop dead gorgeous, there really wasn't any excuse for the kind of behavior she was describing. He might have commented, mouth opening to suggest he was, except it snaps closed as she diverts attention back onto him and his situation. "Alexa!" The greenrider blushes darkly, neither confirming or denying what exact sexual activity took place between himself and the now Xanadu greenling. Even before he can gain his footing back, chickpeas aside, she's looking at him like that. Again, his mouth opens, breathing out a soft "Well, no I didn't but…" This is as far as he's able to voice before the goldrider tell him to stop. And he does, pressing his lips together, brows knotted. Expelling the heaviness of a sigh, his shoulders drop in agreement, because she was right. He was really bad at explaining how he and Keruthien got from point A to B. Although, his hands do come up once more, "We exchanged names in the tavern…" he interjects, but Alexa goes on and he redeflates, his eyes shifting off to the side with a guilt look on his face and any hint of extra color draining out of it. M'ti hadn't even told her about the reason he'd shown up so upset and really, it seemed moot now. Had he really been so desperate to love and be loved that he'd mistaken his own feelings? Hazel eyes start to fill with the moisture he'd managed to replenish since his arrival in Igen, spilling over and draining down his cheeks as he lowers his gaze to somewhere along the bed they were perched on, his expression a complex mix of emotion from heartache to shame and yet, "I miss him…" is whispered.

"I can see that." And while Alexa might hold no friendly feelings toward Keruthien, her tone is gentle when it comes to M'ti. He's her friend, and he's hurting. But that does not mean that she understands at all what he sees in this now-weyrling. Snack bowls pushed aside, she scoots over until she's hugging him once again, cheek at his shoulder as she sighs. "I'm sorry. I'm not trying to make you feel bad. I can see that you have feelings for this guy." And she'll even be nice enough to bite back the 'though I have no idea why' that wants to be added to that. "I'm just worried about you. I'm worried you're going to get hurt. Or that you are hurt. You just… you seem to fall so easily…" Biting her lip, her nose wrinkles as she wars against saying what's on her mind versus shutting up. For the moment, at least, while there are tears involved, she'll go the 'shutting up' route. Mostly. "It scares me that you're this upset about him having Impressed…"

At first, M'ti doesn't have much to say, hearing Alexa but a bit too wrapped up in the feelings he was experiencing, especially after hearing his best friend's take on about half of everything that had happened up to this moment. With snacks pushed aside and the goldrider's arms wrapped around him, it was apparently time for round two and he buries his face into the crook of her neck. He's at least quiet as he cries this time, shoulders jerking even as he wraps his arms around her in turn and holds her close to him, hands stiff and fingers tight whatever she might be wearing for a top. There's a slow nod in there, confirming those feelings Alexa admits she sees, because while Matty had never been in love before: Why else would this hurt so much? Even as he lets out the repercussions of his feelings, he listens to what else Alexa has to say in relative silence. He understood of whom she was referring to, but for now he leaves that kettle of fish alone right now, mostly because he's shaking his head. "Not, not because of that…" It takes him a moment or two, but eventually he explains, despite the fact that Alexa already seemed to have made up her mind that Keruthien was bad news, "I…I'm pretty sure I saw him flirting with someone else…a sevenday or so before the hatching…" Before she can leap on that with teeth and claw, "But…you should have seen his face when he caught me walking away. He'd followed me like it was nothing, abandoned that other guy to ask me if I wanted to go do something fun, like he had no idea why I was telling him no or why I ran away…" Another pause, albeit brief. "He wrote me more letters, but they weren't lewd. It was just random stuff he's seen and thought I'd like, and when I didn't reply he kept asking why. The way he wrote it…he seemed so sad…lonely…and then he asked me to come to the hatching." With an uneven exhale, "I was so angry at him for not being able to see I was falling for him, angry that he was all firty and nice with someone else and then acted like it was nothing, but…I never told him why. I never told him how I felt. I was too scared of what he'd say, that he'd reject me on the spot or worse…apologize for leading me on…I wanted…I wanted to stay in that perfect bubble of just him and me and not think about anything else outside of it…"

Alexa's answer is a sigh; deep and heartfelt. And while she has plenty she'd like to say on the matter, she bites her tongue and keeps it to herself. Literally. Her teeth are on her tongue to stop it from betraying her in this moment. So instead of speaking, and allowing that traitorous tongue to say things that would undoubtedly hurt him, she just hums a little acknowledgement and holds him, ready to let him cry or just cuddle as long as he'd like.

Having braced himself for impact, not having given Alexa the chance to speak until he was finished and silence fell over them again, M'ti is surprised when she merely hums and continues to hold him. Even he could see the loopholes in his understanding of his situation and with her quiet, his own doubts begin to creep in. However, the human heart was a fickle thing, and not so easily swayed once it had decided on something. It would be quite some time before M'ti could let go of his feelings for Keruthien, if he managed it at all, and life had a funny way of throwing a wrench into even the best laid plans. Thus the greenrider decides for now just to feel what he is feeling and leave it at that, crying himself out and hugging his friend to him fiercely. Eventually his grasp does lighten and he merely holds her, leeching what amiable comfort he can, trying to convince himself at the tender age of eighteen that he wasn't alone. He had Cherith, he had Alexa, who needed stupid men anyway. Well, said the ache in his chest, he did apparently.

There will definitely be *words* later, about this Keruthien fellow and what his intentions might be. But for now, Alexa seems to realize that what her friend needs is not a devil's advocate to poke holes in all his presuppositions, but a shoulder to lean on and someone safe to be with. And so that's what she'll be. If M'ti wants to talk about Keruthien, he can talk about him. If he just wants to eat snacks until they're too stuffed to move, and then pass out in a rather large but exceedingly plush bed, they can do that, too. And, barring Raaneth's need of her, Alexa will be there through it all.

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