Date: 8/15/10 (IC: Immediately following Love and Whiskey
Location: EW: Corridors
Synopsis: As Ahnika leaves Jaya's bar, she makes her way toward the kitchens, pondering the discussion regarding male attention, not realizing that another one's attention is drawn to her at the same time.
Rating: PG-13
Writer: Ahnika

Slipping out of Jaya’s bar amidst a mix of slightly staggering and mostly sober patrons, Ahnika managed to avoid bumping into them as she headed further down the stone corridor. Her hand went to the back of her neck, rubbing there a bit as her thoughts turned to the conversation she just left.

Pfft. So much male attention? Tall? Gorgeous? Please. Hardly. Well, maybe she is taller than most girls her age.

Okay, she can be bold and outspoken at times, too. But still. There are plenty others in this weyr who she knew were much prettier than she was with her awkward height and raging red hair. There’s Randi for one. Alara. Ciara. Andi. Isilna. Uveline, Ahnika thinks with a wry twist of her lips, is much prettier than Ahni ever could be. Nenienne. Vanielle. Teallan. They're all pretty. Even Rocio, with her mysterious veiled look, offers more allure than Ahni thinks she could.

And then, Max’s words for her ears only drifted into her mind, soothing like a warm cider on a cold, winter’s evening: “beautiful” and later “a vision,” he had called her. Smiling at the memory with heat surfacing against those freckled cheeks, Ahnika sighed wistfully, her fingers fondling the bracelet of braided runnerhair still around her wrist.

There came another sigh, and then the young woman straightened and shook her head a bit, moving on down the corridor, too lost in her thoughts to notice the shadow falling into step behind her.

Rocio had an interesting way with words, Ahni thought to herself. So much male attention? Hardly, Ahni gives a soft snort. Whatever interest E’ro may have had in her at one time, as Rocio suggests, he obviously didn’t have it in her anymore. And really, wasn’t that for the best? She frowned thoughtfully. Usually, the man was fond of all the places that Ahnika’s duties took her, including the Laundry area, but she hadn’t seen him. Guilt warred with concern in her grey eyes, guilt for needing Rocio to remind her about him enough to miss him and genuine concern for his well-being. Surely if the bronzerider had fallen to Thread, it would have been all over the weyr. She didn’t love him. He was infuriating! But she certainly didn’t want him hurt any more than she wanted any of the riders hurt.

She turned down a less traversed drudge hallway, taking a shortcut to the lower caverns and then onto the kitchens. About ten yards in, some skittering of small stones behind her captured Ahni’s attention and she drew slowly to a stop, and then turned to look over one shoulder. Not seeing anyone there, she gave a soft mutter about tunnelsnakes, and then continued on, down a small flight of steps and then across the well-populated room to take another flight of stairs up into the kitchens to begin making the dough for her sweetcakes so that it can rise while she is sleeping and be ready for her to make them in the morning first thing.


The weyr lockdown made the man itchy. Not that he had anything to do with those eggs being destroyed, he frowned. He was a man of integrity, after all. A man of worth. A tradesman of quality goods, primarily weaver-quality fabrics, furs, and carpets and the like. Not someone who’d ever hurt anything as crucial to Pern’s survival as dragon’s eggs.

But as a tradesman, he was a man of the road. It ran hot in his blood. His business had long since been completed here now and he needed to be on his way. Twas unfortunate timing he was here now, with this mess about the eggs, making him an unwilling, if tolerant – he thought – prisoner here. He clenched his fist, and then, looking at it, relaxed it.

At least the gambling tables provided a nice distraction, and this new bar was better than most he’d encountered on the road. The young woman, the seemingly would-be barmaid with the fiery hair was easy on the eyes as well, a very tall drink of water who reminded him of his Sadie back home, his Sadie who was sweet and tender … that was before she’d ruined him, of course. His hands tensed again, remembering the feel of Sadie’s slender neck in them, the pleading of her grey eyes as breath escaped her. She’d realized all too late he was not a man to be teased and crossed like that. It was no matter now.

He must have had too much to drink tonight as he didn’t realize he had actually begun to follow the young redhead until she heard him and looked back. He just wanted another look, a smile, those grey eyes. What was the name he’d overheard the bar owner give her? Ahni. That was it. Ahni. What a curious little name for such a girl. He smiled. Perhaps she would be back at the bar again tomorrow. She’d make an even better diversion than the gambling tables. If he was to be sharding held here at this weyr for so long, he might as well have a pretty to dandy on his knee in the meantime, no? Just as long as she didn’t tease and taunt, or cross him as Sadie had.

He’d keep his eye on this one. Maybe she’ll give him another pretty smile again soon and ease some of the ache to be on the road and be free.

Closing Credits Theme Music: Sarah McLachlan - "Possession"

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