Lyra has, apparently, snapped one of the strings on her larger harp. And while she keeps a replacement set for just this reason, that still means that she's having to pull the old string and tie the new one and get it into place and tuned, which is a slightly annoying process involving poking around in the back of the resonator cavity on her harp. So she's currently on her hands and knees and muttering to herself as she tries to get the new string threaded properly.
How does someone so large move in such silence? Cinder's voice just quietly looms from above. "Do you need help?" The curtain didn't even ruffle. He's damp, not long out of a bath. Dressed, wet hair slicked back.
Lyra pulls her head back from where she's got it tucked so she can see inside the back of her harp and looks up, giving Cinder a slightly frazzled smile. "Please. When you see the wire come out of that little hole, if you could grab it, that would be great." She gestures to a small hole in the soundboard where the string ought to be, but currently isn't, and then she's back to doing something inside the back until, sure enough, a bit of wire sticks up through the hole.
"Uh...ah!" Cinder does as told. "Got it." A beat passes. "This is such a pretty instrument. I wish I had a crumb's worth of musical talent. Your musical talent." He smiles a little. "Aloy has a pretty voice though. I mean, pretty for her age."
Lyra laughs and comes up to take the string from you, pulling it through until it's taught and then sticking it through the head of the pin at the top and beginning to wind. "It is." She sighs softly. "I am so glad that it survived whatever happened and no one destroyed it. Instruments can be so fragile." Then she grins at Cinder and kisses his cheek, if he's still in reach. "I might equally wish for your drawing talent. I've no ability to capture anything like that. The music is ephemeral. You make something that continues. And I'm sure Alloy's voice will mature and we'll see how she sounds when she's older."
Cinder rubs the back of his neck, bashful. "All art is a way of preserving the past. Music, stories, drawings. I'm just glad that I get to help preserve our loved ones." He looks around a little, folding his arms. "I'm sorry if I've been distant...Aloy's almost at that age. I'm so scared she'll end up like...like Lara. Gone. Or stuck here. I don't know if I can be up here while watching her negotiate her own...clients." He sighs. "It's been bothering me. I stayed away. I'm less bothered now though...so, I'm back to support you two. I am sorry."
Lyra pauses in winding the string for a moment to look over at Cinder and then sighs and gives his a slightly tired smile. "It's alright, dear heart. I know you get fidgety around some things. And there are worse places for her to end up than here. Even if she does end up Fortunate, she may be more of an artisan than a companion." She pauses slightly and then sets her harp off to one side and shifts, opening her arms. "Come, get a hug. It will be well. And whatever happens, we will handle it."
Cinder takes that hug, squeezing tight and parting with a kiss on the cheek. "I just want her to be happy. Lara and Porter are happy. Lara reassures me when she can, in her own ways. Porter is Fortunate but he doesn't understand the hard parts yet. He's a good little tailor too. But, like I said, I feel better over all. Not so fidgety or nervous. Settled and at peace, in a way." He looks to her and smiles. "Do you want more children? I mean, to raise. As opposed to handing over to the other Breeders wholly."
Lyra smiles at Cinder adding a gentle caress for his shoulder as they part. "Possibly. I like being involved in my children's lives, but having others who can take over when needed is a good thing as well. Children can be exhausting." She frowns a little. "The Patrons are discussing who should father my next child. I hope they choose well." then she smiles warmly at him again. "I am glad that you are happier and feeling more settled and at peace. Does Kaethe have anything to do with that? Or has something else helped?" She pauses again. "You know that you are always welcome to come to me for a hug or support or a shoulder when you need one. Particularly when Maylis could use a break."
Cinder chuckles and shrugs a little. "Kaethe has helped. It's very new. The whole of it. I love my family. Maylis and you and my children. I have friends. But Kat is like...I don't know. It's as if she found a crack in my armor and has slowly, steadily started to wind around my heart. Like a sneaky little vine." He snorts. "Xavier is odd but smart and...a different sort of friendship. He's a chemist and he gave me something that has helped put me at ease. I'm not bothered by a million things at once. My regulars are telling me I'm different too. More in the moment, I think. Nothing is that bad anymore." He sighs. "I will be coming to you more. Maylis is getting bigger and will not want to sleep with me much longer. Once the baby is here, she'll be in the nursery." Beat. "You can petition for me again, if you like."
Lyra laughs softly, eyes dancing. "I could. Would you like me to? I certainly enjoy my time with you." She considers him. "We love you, too. And Xavier is... interesting. And concerned about people in general, though I think, also, about you in particular." She takes another moment to study him. "Do you want more hugs or should I go back to working on my harp? Note, you are welcome to more hugs. I just want to know. I have time before I need it playable again."
Cinder thinks for a moment, tilting his head this way and that as he weighs the ideas. "I think I would like that. You are a good mother and I know that I will be asked to breed again soon. I was given a warning, of sorts that I would be asked. Porter lost a few little friends to the War Kids and Savvy the day before last after a checkup. One was the same blood type as me so, I will be asked. They lose enough universal donors, they round us up. I'd like for any other children I sire to come from you. Maylis is on her last, she thinks. I do not want to burden her again myself if not." He sighs. "More hugs, snuggles and cuddles wouldn't be so bad."
Lyra nods and pulls over some pillows for sitting, then, and pats the spot next to her. "Alright, then we can petition. They may say no, if they want more diversity, but we can ask. Aloy is doing well, so far, so they may agree." She smiles warmly at him. "You're a good father, too."
Cinder sits and leans against her immediately. He doesn't hold nearly as much tension in his form. Still, there is a release upon contact. "Thank you. That's all I really want to be. A good father and partner like my...my own. The memories I have of him were enough to provide a model. The bones of it. The children and their mothers have filled in the rest." She moves a bit to kiss her cheek again. "Drak and I make pure children, consistently. No one talks about it but I may have a high rate of early loss." Which could mean Contamination. He doesn't say it outright but the pause does. "I've been bred with others. So far, only you and Maylis have carried to term. Other women either lose early or don't get pregnant at all. It could be bad luck so it's best I stick with sure things. So I'll speak with Eden or another Patron and make my preference known."
Lyra curls an arm around him, stroking his hair and snuggling a little. "Alright." She leans in against him. "I certainly don't object, dear heart. More pure children can only be better for us all, long term. And if I can carry your children when others don't, then that's all to the good." She turns her head a little to kiss his cheek this time.