A Lady Of Mercy

Participants:

Jaya.jpg Max.jpg Exon (NPC'd by Max)

Date: June 30, 2011
Location: Max's Office, EW
Synopsis: Jaya returns to Eastern Weyr and seeks out a broken Max.
Rating: PG-15 for some language.
Logger: Jaya


Late evening, finds the beast caverns quieter than usual save for the small knot of 'stablehands' lingering outside the main tunnel entrance with another group just outside of the exit to the feeding pens. Any that so much as look to be wanting to enter are set with looks heavy enough to have them changing their minds quickly and going on their way.

Within the beast caverns proper there is a somnolent hush all the four-legged occupants save for the runners having been rounded up and put to pasture despite the late hour. The door to the beast manager's quarters is slightly ajar and just outside, seated on a stool in the wide aisle, is Exon, one of Max's fighters, though with arms folded across his chest and head dropped forward, he looks to be catching a catnap.

Having been dropped off in the bowl proper, Jaya was going to see to Hope and take her to her father when Waine had other plans for her. So, she was left alone, making a decision on whether to hit her bar or the stables. The stables won out. Curiosity and worry gnawing at her, she approaches the stables as she takes a long look around for any changes in the Weyr - she was figuring the Bitran crimelord to at least burn something down, it being his motive and all - and finding nothing out of miss but the burly men at the entrance, she heads on in wordlessly.

Once in she studies the stables more closely with a frown, rubbing idly at her injured nose as she walks. She notices that it was quieter than usual, and it causes her to frown all the more. Eyes fall on the ajar door to Max's office and she stalks closer, only giving Exon a brief glance before putting her hand on the doorknob with every intention of busting on in.

It had taken some convincing but Waine with Jaya’s help had eventually been able to turn Hope’s thoughts toward surprising Indira rather than dashing off to fling herself at her father. Jaya’s approach has the small knot of stablehands passing surprised looks between each other, not having expected to see the barkeep for another day or so given the orders their boss has snapped out shortly upon his return to the Weyr. They do however let her pass with a few doffing their hats and murmuring a quiet, “Ma’am,” as she goes by. Exon however is not quite so accommodating and also not quite as asleep as he may have looked for the moment Jaya looks set to enter the crimelord’s quarters he’s to his feet and trying to insert himself between her and the gap the slightly open door leaves. “You’re not supposed to be here,” the wiry built fighter sends in a tight tone held low out of respect for his boss sleeping within.

Jaya is quick to notice the shocked looks of the stablehands, but she seems to be passing it off as them gawking at her nose. Either way, she's pressing forward, shaking her head and frowning at those that take off their hats to her - especially that 'ma'am.' That actually gives her pause. She turns back to face them like a wraith, her firm chin lifting at them before dropping, "You're acting like there's been a burial. Has there been a burial for me to be called 'ma'am' to?" Pausing at that, "Save the 'ma'am's for those that earn it," she adds before turning away and now moves to open the door to Max's office - all until she finds a male roadblock in her way. Annoyance colors her eyes as she rounds a look up at him before stating, "Am I not? Well I'm here," and she steps up to the man as if to challenge him, her eyes blazing. "I'm growing tired and ornery from having men think they can order me around. I've dropped a man your size before and can do so again if pressed. I'm getting through that door," and she nods sharply at the one right behind him. "I'll go by force if I must. I'll take you on, shuga. Is today to be that day?" Brow lifts as she waits for his answer, the woman preparing to jump back should the man take a swipe at her.

Exon, tired, cranky and with his shirt smeared with blood, fairly bristles at Jaya’s words and tries another angle, “He’s sleeping.” But when it looks like all she’s likely to do is make a fuss and stir up unnecessary noise, the fighter steps aside setting the woman with a narrowed look and then his mouth twisting about an amused smirk as she threatens to take him on. “You and whose army?” The way however, is clear for her to enter the beast manager’s quarters.

The sound of a small commotion just outside the door serves to have Max stirring from his drug induced sleep but not enough to actually have him waking up. Redwort, numbweed and few other infirmary related type odours hang heavy in the air with a pile of bloodied clothing lying in a heap to one side. As to the crimelord himself, he’s flat on his back and seemingly still out for the count. A clean bandage wraps diagonally about his head, obscuring his forehead, left eye and cheek, bruising is also starting to set in on the right side of his jaw. Wearing a pair of navy blue sleeping pants, his upper torso while bared is partially covered across his chest with another wrapping of bandages, more to provide relief than to actually help the cracked ribs beneath to mend. More bruising can be seen across his right shoulder too.

"Then I'll peek in and leave him to his slumber," Jaya drop each word carefully, still looking like she was wanting to fight. Exon's rejoinder gets laughter - a little unhinged in its sounding, too - before she answers with a thumb thrust to her own chest, "Don't need one, shuga. I could just kick you in the nuts and call it an evening." With that, once the man has moved out of the way, the barkeep walks in. What she expected was just that - Max sleeping - but she was not expecting the man to be in the state that he was in. It stops her completely in her tracks as she looks him over, fearing the worst. Vaputero had did this. Slowly she creeps into the room towards him, taking in the odors and the pile of bloodied clothing. She goes to it and puts her hand through it to examine the stains, her frown and anger growing before she looks back at him. Once she gets to his side, a sigh escapes full lips before she sinks to her knees, not taking her eyes off of him. Now understanding why Waine had brought her home against orders. The only word that could come out of her mouth as she studies what she sees of him is a broken, "Fool."

Green eyes give an elaborate roll when Jaya threatens to kick Exon in the nuts, “Is that the best you women can come up with?” The fighter now more tiredly amused by the woman than anything else though he does add a warning, “You wake him up, I’m telling him you kneed me.” Thereby absolving himself from having let her enter in the first place.

The bloodied clothing that lies discarded to one side proves to be that of two men rather than just one with the one set thick with the addition of mud. The front of one of the shirts is almost saturated with the dark stain of blood that might lead Jaya to believe that those bandages across Max’s chest hide wounds far worse than the eye can see. Initially he seems oblivious to her presence and in fact is breathing so shallowly he could be mistaken for dead if not for the warmth and pallor of skin. It’s that one word and the familiarity of tone that strikes through the last remains of the fellis though the crimelord’s mind doesn’t immediately identify to whom it belongs.

The reaction is instinctive as Max almost instantly comes to life and the hand furthest from her makes a grab for her throat the snarl of a wounded animal on his lips before he’s even properly awake enough to realize what he’s doing. Adrenaline pumping through his system covers the pain that such a sudden movement is bound to induce, chest heaving with rapid breathing and the pupil of the eye left uncovered dilates with shock until there’s virtually no colour but black to be seen.

“The best? Nope,” Jaya tosses back over her shoulder at Exon as she passes him by, “but it’s effective. You can bet marks that it’ll make you cry.” She tosses a wink like one would do a mark piece to a child before Exon was no longer her interest. As to the surprise she encounters here, Jaya continues to study the bloody clothing as she tries to piece together what she sees. There was too much blood she can see, and when she moves to Max’s side to speak, she was angry – angry at him for being hurt so and angry at herself for letting the young crimelord convince her that she was better off up at the healer hall. When she spoke, she didn’t expect any reaction, but she got one – Max’s hand shoots up along with that snarl and she instinctively flinches back a bit too late. He makes purchase before she grabs his hand with both of hers and tightens into a painful grip away from her exposed neck. “Max!” she cries out in shock before getting to her feet and leaning over him as if to restrain him. “Max, it’s me damnit!”

With the residual effect of fellis fogging his brain not to mention the fact that Jaya was the very last person he expected to see, it takes a good few moments before Max registers. And even then the reaction is unhurried in its reversal. Slowly but surely the muscles in his arm start to loosen and his hand relaxes its grip as an uncomprehending expression crosses his face.

"Jaya?" he croaks from a dry throat, "How the…what the fuck are you doing here?" For he's damn sure he had left strict (though mumbled) instructions for both her and Hope to be left at the Healer Hall for a couple more days before the cocktail Jonavan had mixed, knocked him out cold. There is however no mistaking the relief in his eyes for her presence as he flops back down onto his back, a hiss of pain spilling as ribs jar with the action when she looks set to wrestle him back down again.

When slowly, Max releases the tension in his arms, Jaya’s remain the same as she stares him down. His question now comes as no surprise, the woman looking him over slowly – and makes a show of it – before meeting his gaze and answering, “One and only, shuga, and Waine brought me. I suppose it was more his idea than yours?” Brow lifts at that in question. Only then does she let him go slowly but doesn’t remove her presence looming over him. Dark eyes narrow over him as she takes in his injuries, though she’s sporting the one on her nose as she adds, “Of course, he would tell me nothing. No one did. He only says that you need me, and now being here, I see that I’m too late. I want to break your jaw,” and eyes touches his once more as her words remain calm and smooth, “and I will. However, you’re already broken. I would feel a little guilty breaking your jaw now. I need you to tell me what all happened while I was gone first. Then,” and she straightens up with calm, fists being planted on her hips as she looks over him, “once you’re looking much better and have left no detail out, then I will break your jaw. Don’t think I will forget, either.”

"Waine," Max grunts, "Shoulda known he'd do somethin' like this," and then he catches the bruising across Jaya's nose and the brow free of bandaging lifts in groggy amusement, "Makin' friends again?" Still fighting the dregs of sleep away, a tired smile fits to a corner of his mouth, "Just a scratch, darlin'. It ain't nothin'." And then he goes quiet shadows passing in and out of his eyes as she demands to know what happened then some of his natural cockiness is lifting into place, though its pale by comparison, "Break my jaw and I ain't gonna be able to kiss you." As she straightens away, so Max will try pushing himself up on one elbow, jaw setting slightly against the ache it induces. Exhaling a sigh there's a slight shake of head, "Kas and Jhorn and got snatched. Bastards took Neni too."

“Did you tell him not to?” Jaya fits a hard look onto the man, she clearly not being pleased. “You oughta know better, Max. You and I are going to have a long talk about the dynamics between me and you – namely, a man like you and a woman like me that will kick your ass.” When Max notes her own bruised nose, the woman shrugs and states, “You can say that. He just wasn’t playing nice is all.” She wasn’t believing his bravado either, the woman looking over the worst of his injuries that she could see with a frown to mask her strong concern. Then he’s speaking on her breaking his jaw and missing kisses, and then the barkeep straightens up and looks about the room. “Kiss me first so I can break your jaw afterward, then,” is her way of being so helpful, the woman looking back at him and permitting herself a brief smirk. Moving to grab one of the chairs and drag it close to the side of the bed, “Now. What’s this about Kas and Jhorn and Neni getting snatched. Who?” she asks, dropping into the chair and leaning towards him.

No matter how he answers that, Max realizes he’s screwed. And so it’s a slightly stubborn cast that fits to his expression. “I had my reasons,” he finally decides to go with despite how lame it sounds. “I’ll kill him,” comes snarled out when Jaya admits to it having been another man that had hit her. Protective instincts over-ride common sense given that he likely couldn’t do much damage to a rodent let another man right now.

Putting Jaya under an intent gaze as she drags a chair closer and given that he has yet to get a bed frame, he’s at a bit of a disadvantage being down there on a mattress on the floor but that doesn’t stop Max from tilting a roguish grin up to her, “Come down here and say that.” That quickly falls off and lips twist about an angered line, “Long story, darlin’. Some thugs what Kas pissed off back in the day decided it was time for payback. Used Jhorn to lure him to them and then snatched Neni when they thought she had what they wanted. Damn near killed the both of them.” There he pauses and worry darkens his eyes for his friend, “They…beat him pretty bad, Jaya. We should go see him. Check he’s doin’ okay.” The sudden decision has the crimelord trying to pull himself into a sitting position so that he can stand despite the wave of dizziness that has him paling.

“Reasons you care to tell me?” Jaya quips back, looking for a clean towel about the room. “And don’t worry about the man. The fight was good. Needed,” she adds with a touch to her own nose before shaking her head. She does grin at his protective nature rising to the fore though, the woman tacking on wryly, “Does that work on all the frail women in your life, shuga?” She continues to look for something to help wash his wounds as he speak on her coming close to say it, and the Bitran pauses and abruptly drops to her knees. “You’re in no position to be making challenges you know you’ll lose, love,” she drawls, now pressing gentle hands to Max’s chest. She moves those fingers down to touch at the bloody wound she sees there with a frown as he gives some details of what went down. Her eyes on his wounds, “Kas told me about that,” she admits quietly, meeting his gaze. “I didn’t think they would make a move so soon. I told him to watch his back, and that of his charge. How badly are the others? Neni?” But then Max is trying to get up and she tightens her hold on his chest to stall him – a hold that will press further into his wound and cause pain. “You’re in no shape to fuck, let alone go to see about another,” she gives him firmly, her face hard as she looks at him. “Isn’t Jonavan taking care of him? He wasn’t in Fort when we left.” Leaning forward to help lower him back on his bed, “Relax and work on yourself first,” she drawls, moving to press a kiss to the side of his face where she sees scarring. “ I know a bit about these cuts. I have some salve I use in my carrysack over there if you let me put some on.” She’ll even make that sound enticing, too.

Lips press together and frowning a little, despite how it pulls at the recently stitched wound Max goes quiet a moment. "Didn't want to freak you out," he states quietly and then his one-eyed regard lifts back up to Jaya and a wry smile makes an appearance. "You better have worked him over good." The arsehole that had hit her like that. "Don't know any," he quips on supposedly fragile women in his life.

While Jonavan had done a fairly good job of cleaning his face up before stitching him back together again and his chest before wrapping it with a bandage, his abdomen still bears smears of blood. On his desk is a clean bucket of water with a clean washcloth draped over its side. Someone obviously had left it there presuming one of his men would help Max clean up properly once he woke up.

The blood that's smeared from his upper chest and across one shoulder, isn't his and as Jaya's fingers trail toward it, Max moves a hand to try and capture hers and bring it to his lips. "It ain't mine, baby," the blood, "Just a couple of cracked ribs, aye?" That in explanation of the bandaging seen there. "I put a tail on Jhorn but didn't think I needed to put one on Kas too," frustration leaking into his tone for the oversight on his part. "Neni got banged around a little and got her shoulder pulled out but she's okay," aside from likely having been traumatised by the whole affair. "Kas he…" Max stops and shakes his head a little then forces himself to continue, "They beat the shit out of him and threw him in a fuckin' hole to die," anger darkens his features once again. "And Jhorn…that fucker threw him over the fuckin' waterfall. Kas and Waine found him but he didn't look so good." Only barely. "I don't…know if the kid made it or not."

Distress evident and then just as he's trying to shake it off and put a sly grin over to Jaya with the words, "Wanna bet?" on what he may or may not be able to do, she's pushing him back down again. The pressure she exerts just so happens to be right on top of one of those cracked ribs. "Fuck!!" Max growls out falling back onto the mattress, any further words stalled as he works on catching his breath again with just a nod given to her applying salve to his head wound.

Catching where the towel and bucket of water are located, Jaya gets up briefly to retrieve those and the salve from her carrysack. Returning to kneel beside him as he relates all the details, “Whose blood does it belong to?” she asks when Max says that the blood isn’t his. She sets aside the salve to dip the towel in the bucket of water, ring it out and apply first to his face. “And, I’ve seen cracked ribs kill a man once. Don’t make it out to be less than it is,” and she fits a look onto him laced with concern before she continues washing his face gently. On the matter of Kaskan, Jhorn and Nenniene, the Bitran woman shows a grim look and shakes her head when he finishes. “This is bad business,” she drawls low, not liking what she’s hearing. “I trust the men were taken care of? The ones that took Jhorn?” She’s already making a mental note to check them all out as soon as she can. “I told him his past will catch up to him, and Jhorn could end up in the middle of it,” she adds gravelly, the words touching on her own. “That is the way of things. How did they get ahold of the boy in the first place?”

She then addresses what Max had said earlier as she finishes with his face, dips the towel into the water once more and apply it now to his chest. To his challenges continuing to flow, Jaya fits a pointed look to the man and answers, “I’ll take that bet. You can barely even stand. Wanna get broken further?” Pause. “As to not wanting to freak me out, shuga, I wouldn’t have. You know that. I would have slammed my fist into your jaw though for not getting me sooner.” Another look.

Whose blood is it? That has Max going still, dark regard settling onto Jaya and holding to her eyes for a long few moments and then looking away again, he answers quietly, "The dirtbag that did this to me." Instinct has him wanting to jerk his head away but he doesn't and instead watches Jaya's face with an unreadable expression in place as she cleans his around the bandaging. "It ain't the first time," he points out having suffered cracked ribs before, "broken's bad," remembering some of what Jonavan had said. As to the men that had taken Jhorn, beaten Kaskan and abused Nenienne there comes a simply though flatly stated, "Dead." He's assuming Curd's dead by now given his injuries and that he'd strung him up and tossed him over the waterfall for the wild wherries to feed on. "Don't be hard on him, Jaya," Max rises to Kaskan's defense, "we all got shit in our pasts, aye?" A pointed look touching to her with regards to her former boss who had just the day before left the Weyr.

"Don't have to stand for that," the crimelord states through a roguish grin one of his hands reaching for her as if in demonstration thereof. Yeah, he's an incurable horndog. Catching that chastising look, he scowls lightly back and then a gentler expression appears, the hand that had reached for her grazing knuckles down the side of her face, "You worry too much." Though there's no denying that her concern strikes him on a deeper level.

“The dirtbag, huh?” Jaya repeats that in a brisk manner while she washes him gently, Her expression leveled to Max’s unreadable one. Quietly, “I should have been there,” she lets him know the crux of it, the woman still not pleased by it. “You wouldn’t be as fucked up if I was. Where was Waine in all of this? He seems pretty well off in comparison to you.” She grunts her pleasure at hearing the men were dead, dropping a cold, “Good. I would have been on a mission otherwise. Here I was worrying that Vaput would have burned your stables down with you in it, and you’re going off getting your ribs broken.” She frowns a bit on Kaskan and his past before nodding, lips pressing together to the alluding of her own past. “Tell me about him.” She doesn’t need to say who the ‘he’ is, her words even and quietly spoken.

Max’s innuendo was taken with a hard look that slowly melts into a lopsided smile before drawling out, “Uh-huh. A woman like me will leave you bed-ridden for sevendays when we’re done with you. Be careful what you ask for, shuga.” She gives him her hand in any case, squeezing it gently before he speaks about her worrying too much as he touches the side of her face. She leans over then and tries to press her lips to his, gentle at first before deepening it and pulling away. “I wouldn’t worry at all if I was here, love. Don’t ask me to leave again.”

"And if you were there it might have been you lyin' here instead of me," the young crimelord notes in a quiet tone that matches hers, his gaze turning solemn much like his daughter's does at times. As to where Waine was: "We split up to look for Neni when we got to Landin'. I found her first," along with the two thugs, "If it weren't for Waine, Kas and Jhorn wouldn't be alive now." Max easily rises to his second's defense for if it wasn't for the big guy; he very likely wouldn't be there to tell the tale either.

The topic of her former boss is like a bitter pill in his mouth, "That is one fucked up son of a bitch." As if she didn't already know that. "Got pissed as all get out that you weren't here," Max smirks and then shifts a little under her cleansing hands, "'bout popped a blood vessel when we wouldn't let him take his kid. And the whole business with Lorayit that didn't help none neither. " There he pauses and puts a deeply worried look onto Jaya, "Got me a bad feelin' 'bout this, baby."

To Jaya's last a crooked grin wraps into place, "Worth it." The side of his jaw might have taken a fist to it but it's certainly not enough to hinder Max when soft lips claim his, the kiss deepened with ever present hunger and then he's being denied their gentle caress when she pulls away. "Not if I can help it," he murmurs huskily, "I'm glad you're back. I missed you." Not a confession he thought he'd be making.

“Are you so sure?” Jaya’s cockiness on who would be laying where shows as bad as his. Hands work the cool towel over flamed wounds as Max defends his second, and the barkeep shakes her head and says, “Not blaming him, but the me that ran with Vaputero before would have. He had a saying – your job is right if the second-in-command looks worse than his boss after a fight. She remains grim at hearing about Nenienne and Jhorn and Kaskan, but it’s the words on Lorayit that has her lifting her head in confusion. “The gardener?” she asks, frowning anew. “What does he have to do with all of this?” Returning to the talk of her former boss, “Vaputero doesn’t stand by to let a kin of his be surrounded by dragonriders,” she tells him as she works, the words brisk. “Mark my words, shuga. You haven’t heard or seen the last of him.” As to bad feelings, there was nothing the woman could say about that one. Hands pause over him to look Max in the eyes, sharing in the misgivings before she continues. Once the kiss is claimed, the woman hearing his husky tone as she looks him over almost hungrily despite his wounds, “I missed you too, Max,” she says quietly, the words full of meaning as she reaches for his hand, brings it up to her lips and plants her lips to his bruised knuckles.

A crooked smile appears for her first and then Max utters a snort on Vaputero logic with regards to seconds, "That's only cause he ain't got the balls to get into it himself. Probably had his ma fight his battles for him too." Yeah, he clearly doesn't think much of the Bitran. "The gardener," he begins and then pauses putting a pointed look onto Jaya, "works for your former boss. He's lookin' to turncoat on Vaputero but the man has his brother. Told him we'd help him." Lifting his hand to rub fingers lightly over the bandaging across his forehead where the wound beneath has taken to throbbing there comes a sound of disgust, "The kid ain't his, its Relly's. She made that much very clear to him." Approval for the fighting spirit of the Tillekian woman evident in his tone and then he frowns a little before nodding and adding a quiet, "Aye," to not having seen the last of the Bitran crimelord. The sense of unease that knots in his stomach is set aside when Jaya sets soft lips to his abused knuckles and the soul weariness of the past seven that shows in his expression slips away back into hiding. Shifting further toward the wall side of his mattress and then rolling over onto his side with a low grunt when ribs complain, Max uses the hold she has on his hand to tug Jaya toward him and the strip of empty space created, "Come here, baby." For now all he wants to do is hold her and screw the consequences.

Jaya joins with that crooked smile with one of her own, and Max’s answer on the big Bitran earns him an amused snort. “Well, you do have a point there. Don’t think the man would get involved when he can sacrifice someone else. His words.” That amusement fades in light of what Max next reveals – that Lorayit was working for Vaputero. She sits back on that one, taking it more seriously than she should before she utters, “Fuck.” Beat. “You’re certain of this? But he was here this whole time….” She looks away, thinking back, the implications heavy, but perhaps such thoughts were for another time. She shakes her head to it when he mentions the man turncoating before stating, “Then Lorayit and his brother are dead men. Vaput will hunt them like he hunts me, if he’s a care to. Otherwise he’ll send the guards he has in his pocket to do the dirty work.” She looks proud to hear that Olira fought for her son, the barkeep nodding to that. “That she does. Kelarad’s people have such blood. Vaput should have picked a weaker target if he wanted take someone over.” But then, Max is shifting aside and making room for her, and he’s calling her close enough that she is easy to comply. She moves forward to lay next to him, her hand still in his as she regards him steadily before she drawls, “Your lady of mercy is here. What would you have her do to make the darkness fade a little this night?” For she has seen the darkness lurking there in his eyes, being familiar with it herself.

"You never send someone else in to do somethin' you ain't prepared to do yourself," Max states with conviction. A lesson learned at the knee of his father from the time he could walk. Jaya's reaction to the news that Lorayit works for Vaputero is carefully noted. "He was here for you," of that much he's sure given the hints dropped in some of his dealings with the gardener. "Likely figured he could trade you for his brother 'cept I don't get why he waited for so long," that still a mystery to the southern crimelord. "And whoever is sent after him, will come up against me," he notes in grim tone on the matter of the gardener being on Vaputero's shitlist, "he knows we got his back so long as he don't turn on us." On the matter of Olira and her son, Max turns out a short smile and a nod of agreement on the fighting strength that seems to run through Kelarad's family. "Reckon maybe its time he came to pay his cousin a visit, aye?"

As Jaya lies down next to him, Max shifting a little more wraps an arm about her and pulls her in close against his battered chest, her presence soothing. His lady of mercy…that draws a warm smile into place which then fades into an intent look for the words that follow that phrase, "Stay with me." And by the intonation in his voice, he's not meaning just for what remains of the day or the night to follow for recent events have had him evaluating his life and his choices in ways he hadn't done before.

“Words to live by,” by which means Jaya approves of them with an incline of her head. The matter of Lorayit gets a dry “He was always here for me, I think. Much makes sense now. Why he waited long? A mystery to be told, and only he would know the truth. Something to do with Suli, maybe,” and it’s something she’s looking to investigate, too. She hasn’t forgotten the times she has noticed her barmaid in the gardener’s company. She grins on the topic of Olira and Kelarad, his suggestion getting a raised brow. “From what I’ve heard of him, he’s been busy with his fighting event. Perhaps send him a note, or check out what he’s been so busy doing?” Beat. “Granted,” she drawls, adding, “he may already know. He has people here, like the other renegade leaders.” Once Max pulls her close, she draws her arms up about his neck and moves her head close to his. She hardly cares that the blood on him is rubbing onto her. His three words get a considering look from her before the Bitran gives in answer a press of her full lips to his once more. Pulling back, “Ain’t going nowhere, shuga. Will have to fight me to change my mind.”

"You reckon she's stayed his hand all this time?" Surprise evident in his tone if this proved to be true. "Maybe I should pay her another visit." Thus alluding to the fact that he had done as promised and sought the woman out while Jaya had been away. Comment on the upcoming Tillekian fights draws a low groan from Max and a muttered, "Fuck." But he doesn't go on to explain for perhaps his ribs will mend in time that he'll still be able to carry through the plan he'd had in place for the event. A snort is then uttered on those loitering about the Weyr and continent that look to other crimelords, "Maybe we should throw a party and invite them all out of the woodwork." The idea of a gather of renegade minions appeals to his dark sense of humour.

Max is this day the walking example of the literal blood, sweat and tears that goes into his more nefarious position so it's just as well that Jaya isn't put off by it. Right now, he just needs to be holding her, drawing strength from her softly curved physical closeness. "Ain't gonna fight you, baby." That much he's sure of. "Tell me about, Hope," a father's yearning in his low held tone even as eyelids start to droop once again.

Brows lifting, “You paid Suli a visit?” Jaya answers his question with one of her own before giving into an uncertain shrug. “I dunno if Suli is the cause. I just know I would sometimes find her in his company. Thought maybe it was because she liked the garden, but now…” Eyes narrow slightly when Max curses at hearing about the fights, but for now, she does not question him further on it. Instead, she snorts on the idea of a party for all the informants and presses closer to the man as she settles. Just as well he doesn’t fight her, for the Bitran wasn’t going anywhere, anyway. When he asks after his daughter, there’s an unbidden, fond smile for the little girl that takes her off-guard. “She’s grows like you everyday,” she begins to tell him, letting fingers brush what she could of his chest in idle gestures. “Strong, independent – Perceptive. Taught her how to throw a fist,” and she smiles at the memory, “ and to know Vaput by name. She does. She was well, up there. She’s fond of Jonavan, I see.”

"Aye, even had a couple of drinks with her and didn't put her on her arse either," and Max sounds rather pleased with himself for that, almost like a big kid that knows he's done right somehow. "We…came to an understandin'," he adds on and then affects a perfectly neutral mask when he realizes he almost gave himself away with regards to the upcoming fights. The arm wrapped about Jaya shifts as she settles in closer, his hand coming to rest at her lower back and as she talks of his daughter a tired smile of pride draws into place followed by a low chuckle. "You're teachin' her to fight?" drowsily amused as he fights hard to stay awake, still weakened by blood loss and wearied from the chaos of the night before as he is. "Jon's good to her," Max agrees quietly and then he shifts again as if unable to get comfortable with a slightly frustrated sound escaping his lips only to be soothed away by the gentle caress of her fingers across his chest.

“Wonders never cease,” Jaya drawls wryly on the first, shaking her head at the notion of Max and Suli getting along. “An understanding, huh? Amazing it took Vaput to show up for you two to finally get along,” and she gently nudges him in the shoulder. She watches his face as she speaks on Hope, his question getting a nod and an easy “Well, she can form a fist, at least. May take some time before the girl’s gone swinging. Seems appropriate, her being the daughter of a crimelord.” She smiles lopsidedly at him then before she can see the man was really tired. So, she lays her head down against his chest as he answers on the master healer. “He’s good to you, too,” she says in indication, fingers to continuing to soothe him before she turns up her lips to kiss his chin. “Now go to sleep. We’ll talk in the morning, and I’ll see about that salve then.”

While he wouldn’t call the understanding reached between himself and Suli, getting along as such, it’s certainly a step in the right direction away from the previous snapping and snarling. So it is a slightly sheepish smile that turns out in response to the nudge to his shoulder. “She’s gonna need to know how to protect herself.” Max replies in a slightly rueful tone knowing that he won’t be able to keep the link between him and Hope a secret much longer and that when it’s out, his daughter will forever run the risk of being a target. When Jaya settles her head in against his chest, he dips his and kisses the top of it, inhaling the scent that is unique to her. “Thank you for keepin’ her safe, Jaya,” deep gratitude husks through his voice as eyelids flicker and then slide closed and there’s a few moments of silence where she might think he’s fallen asleep before Max adds, “Jon’s like a brother to me.” Quiet another moment or two and then he murmurs almost inaudibly, “Just gonna close my eyes for a bit.” A bit that turns out to be the rest of the night as sleep fueled by the fellis still in his system once again claims the young crimelord.



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