Bathing In Barbs


Ahnika.jpg Merendezen.jpg Nenienne.jpg

Date: 7/28/10
Location: EW - Baths
Synopsis: Ahni and Zen find themselves in the baths together at the end of the day and Zen confronts Ahni with how she is dealing with the situation with Max, which digresses into a rather big argument for the two would-be friends, and poor Neni gets dragged into it.
Rating: PG-13 - Language and some vague nekkidness
Logger: Ahnika

Previous "scene" info: Yes, when Ahni woke up this morning, she did notice the satchel at the foot of her cot left there from Indira (The Heart Of A Mother), but she didn't look inside and instead of doing anything with it at the time, she shoved it in the little strongbox at the foot of her cot, blissfully unaware of its contents all day. When she finished her chores, she returned and stuffed clothes and towels and bathing supplies into the satchel without looking in it again. So, at the start of this scene, she has the satchel, but does not know about the message Max and Indira left her within it.

Eastern Weyr: Baths

Underneath the upper set of hatching sands, this cavern is fairly large in size, though it is dwarfed in comparison to others nearby. A natural hot spring, the steamy water has been diverted into one large pool - capable of holding about twenty odd people - and several smaller ones around the edges. Shelves have been set up along the northern wall, lined with different scents of bathing salts, sweetsands and oils. Under the shelves are benches where folk can dress and undress. Even given the tropical nature of the climate, this is still one of the most popular places in the weyr.

It’s the end of another long day of Candidate work and as such, it finds a tired but otherwise no worse for wear Ahnika making her way to the weyr bathing chamber. A non-descript satchel containing some fresh clothes and her personal bathing supplies is slung over her shoulder as she carefully steps in and moves past the largest of the pools, which seems preferred by the riders. Instead, she heads over to the wall with the shelves and benches, setting her satchel down beside her as she starts to undo her braid and eyes the smaller pools for one that would suit her preference tonight.

The end of the day finds Zen wandering into the pools, towel wrapped around his waist already and walking in with no shame. No, he's likely walked straight from the barracks in that towel! A fresh set of clothes are draped on his arm as he makes his way deeper into the pools. Ahni? She goes unseen for the moment as he settles in that smaller pool, because he's got a one track mind at the moment. Bathe. Bathe. And then finally he's in the pool, towel abandoned on the side and he sinks in low with green eyes closing. And yes, there's a moan of pleasure for the feel of the water.

It’s a public bath space, so Ahni doesn’t immediately notice someone new entering, especially as after that initial inspection of the area to determine which of the smaller pools she was aiming for. Her attention returns to her braided bun, now down, and currently being unraveled by the redhead. It is, however, the moan of pleasure that brings her attention with wry amusement to the pools once more and Zen’s presence. Ahni waits until her hair is completely unwound before she greets aloud, “Hi Zen. Looks like you were given quite a work-out today.” She herself apparently ended up in the laundry area, this the day after being assigned to Indira, and so while she is tired and sore, she doesn’t really feel as grimy as if she had had to work the latrines, or the stables for that matter. She stands up then, turning back around to face the bench and her satchel, and begins to disrobe in a very perfunctory manner. Nothing sensual about it at all – tugging first the tunic over her head, and then her breeches pulled down. And once in the buff, she haphazardly sets those dirty clothes on the bench where she had just been seated, and withdraws her clean clothes from her satchel, putting them beside her dirty, and finally taking up that satchel with towel and bathing supplies still inside and meandering over to the pool Zen just entered.

Merendezen turns his gaze to Ahnika, green eyes searching her quietly. "Was in the Stables, got the chore that someone seemed to pass along. A lot of people ended up swapping. Ladon, he wanted to work the kitchens so I switched him." He chuckles and drops his head back, eyes closing. "What were you up to today?" This is just to make conversation, it seems as he slowly stretches out once more. He isn't watching her undress as he might have before, he doesn't even send her those little looks.

Right now, if Ahnika actually thought about the fact that Zen isn’t his usual flirtatious self around her, she would probably be relieved. Not because there is anything wrong with Zen, but because she just really needs more of a friend than she needs any more men complicating her life. Later, however, if/when she thinks about it, she might actually be concerned. But distracted as she is, it is only Zen’s mention of ending up with stable-duty after a long line of chore-trading that Ahnika frowns a little. It was probably her fault from two days ago, but she doesn’t seem able to bring herself to admit as much to him now, so the frown is the only indication of her guilty thoughts as she settles on the edge of the pool, putting the satchel beside her, and letting her legs get accustomed to the hot water before she pushes off and sinks in, opposite Zen, allowing the young man his personal bathing space, but still being sociable nonetheless. There are holders who cannot deal with communal bathing, but Ahnika’s rural upbringing requiring communal bathing in a lake has allowed the redhead to be used to this particular weyr custom more than some might think. Once down in the water to her shoulders, she allows her own sigh of pleasure to push past her lips, her expression relaxing and the frown fading, and finally answers the other Candidate, “Laundry.” There is a pause and she reopens her eyes, looking from Zen to the surface of the water, “How … were the stables?”

Merendezen eyes Ahni for a moment, watching her expression and chuckling softly. "So, that's who started the chain." His head drops back once more and he remains in this position, not looking at the other. "Boring stuff." He muses at her answer of laundry before he chuckles. "I got offered a job if I don't Impress. The BeastMaster looked 'bout ready to kill someone, namely E'ro… Was talking to him about you and he seemed to tense up and be angry. So either… You pissed him off or you broke his heart. He doesn't want me to let the bronzerider near you." Maybe Zen just feels like stirring crap, either way, he's not looking at her again.

In one of the smaller bathing pools, Ahnika and Zen are enjoying the hot recirculated water this evening after a long day of Candidate chores. They are opposite each other in the pool, seeming to allow for personal space but still being companionable as they talk. Behind Ahni on the edge of the pool is a non-descript satchel where, presumably, her bathing supplies and towel are being stowed for when she needs them. Her clothes are on the nearby bench along the wall. Near Zen’s side of the bathing pool is the young man’s towel. “Sorry,” Ahni murmurs contritely to Zen, her cheeks flushing as she accepts that responsibility when Zen pegs it true. She’ll vehemently deny accusations when she is genuinely innocent, but when presented with her own guilt she can be rather mature and accountable about it. “If it helps … I had a really good reason to trade with Gavin that day,” she tries, water dripping from her chin back into the pool, and once feeling good and properly accustomed to the temperature of the water, she ducks her head back to soak her hair up to the edge of her face, and then straightens it again, turning slightly to start to reach into the satchel for some of her supplies and then stopping and whipping her head back around to look at Zen over her bare shoulder, eyes widening, “Wait … what?!” She looks completely flabbergasted.

Merendezen shrugs, "don't worry about it. I prefer the work anyway, letting me get a proper job instead of that kitchen work. Shells." The man grunts softly in response to her supposed reason. "Sounds more like you were running away from a problem you'd rather not face." He doesn't sound approving of this fact, either. His head tilts and green eyes find the other candidate with a rather bored look. "You heard me, Ahni. Stop running from your problems, it makes you a weak woman."

Nenienne purposefully walks into the baths, looking a fright. She is covered in dirt, with mud on her face where she sweated. She heads over to one of the small unoccupied pools and strips down to her skivvies, not quite yet comfortable with being nude even if others are doing it. She sinks into the water with a blissful sigh, not yet aware of her surroundings.

Scowling, Ahni reaches into her satchel, her hand pushing aside something cool and metal to get to her little bag of sweetsand, but she is too angry and indignant to think anything about it. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, Zen,” she snaps, though not really denying it, and speaking with less venom than she would have had he not said the words ‘broke his heart’. That definitely gave her pause. So did the E’ro bit for that matter. What the shards did Max know about E’ro and her? Not that there was an ‘E’ro and her’ … but still … “And even if I were running from … him,” Ahni resumes petulantly, no point in being vague now that Zen appeared to know so sharding much, “ … it’s better to do the leaving than be the one … left behind, hurt and broken.” She is unable to hide the crack that comes in her voice as she says the last bit. So, she tries to pretend it wasn’t anything and just clears her throat. She starts applying the sweetsand to her shoulders with far more vigor than necessary. Her skin will be red and raw if she’s not careful. But for the time being, she is too distracted and irritated at being called out like that to really care or notice. “Not that it’s any of your business, but he already made it clear how he wants things, and … “ she scowls, “Why am I even talking to you about this?” She looks up as Neni passes and Ahni blushes furiously anew, too upset and lost in her own internal dialogue to give Neni a proper greeting, and now she is duly interested in getting finished here and leaving as soon as possible anyway, so she just resumes her thorough washing with sweetsand.

Merendezen's attention only briefly drifts to Nenienne at her arrival, but, then drifting away once he comes to recognize the woman. He turns attention to Ahnika, "I'm staying what I saw, Ahni." He watches her, then, shrugs. "Sounds like you're just shardin' afraid, but, thanks for the confirmation." Really, Zen was just tossing stones in the air without seeing his target. Ahni just made the target visible for him. He's pushing from the pool after a moment, "no. It's not my business. I, frankly, don't give a damn about this sort of thing. You either face your problem yourself and stop running away from it or don't whine or mope or lose sleep over it because it's your own fault. This is why I don't involve myself with serious relationships with women." He's drying off without having properly bathed, though that doesn't seem to bug him at the moment. "You're talking about it because you want a shoulder and someone to feel bad for you and tell you how to fix it, or someone who will try and comfort you. I don't do that, Ahni. You may cry because of what I say but I sure as hell won't be rushing back and apologizing. Why don't you talk to her," a gesture to Nenienne, "because she will now think I'm an evil bastard for what I've said to you and then she'll bond with you and you'll make a new friend who you can share your problems with and I won't care whether or not you talk bad about me." And then, he takes his clothing and drifts away from the pool so that he may dress.

Nenienne has relaxed, letting the heat work on her muscles, when she finally realizes there are others in the room. She glances over at Ahnika and Zen's pool and then at the other pools, but doesn't seem to be listening to any conversation in particular. When Zen singles her out, however, she becomes aware of the conversation and catches the final gist. Her expression, as usual a frown, doesn't change.

“I’m not crying,” Ahnika denies vehemently with a look at Neni and then back at Zen, “Do I look like I’m crying?” No, she’s pretty damn pissed, actually. And that’s about when it hits Ahni, and she frowns, narrowing her eyes at him, “What the shells crawled up your arse today, Zen? You’re acting like … like … “ she searches, landing on, “… like I somehow insulted you! Did it ever fucking occur to you that maybe I am trying to respect what he wants?” Which is a sort of mixture of the truth, at least in Ahni’s teenage brain, “No, because rather than get the whole story, you’d rather just assume I’m guilty … “ she eyes him seeming to make some sort of connection, “or is it that all women are always guilty for you? No wonder you’re the womanizer that you are. Well, go on then, have fun getting back at every woman in the world for ever having been sharding born. I wash my hands of it. Hopeless case.” She mutters the last, and resumes washing furiously.

Merendezen continues to dress, turning to look at Ahnika with a rather bland look and shrugging. "You cried before. Don't think it wasn't easy to see." He tugs his shirt on, "I'm not acting like you insulted me, Ahni. You haven't insulted me one bit, I just can't stand women who are weak or can't face their problems themselves. Have you talked to him, Ahni? Because you're switching your chores, not seeing him and straight out avoiding him, you're avoiding your problem." He doesn't seem at all upset by the swearing at him, or her ideas of what he is thinking. "Most women are guilty, Ahni. Think about it… You haven't talked to him." At the mention of his thoughts once more, he shrugs, smiling. "You think what you want, sweetcake. You think what you want, I won't correct you on your childish ideals." And his boots are tugged on, the ring necklace tugged from his pocket and slipped around his neck before he tosses out a jaunty salute to the rest of those in the pools and heads on out without a care in the world. He just created a mess and he is still rather calm about the whole thing.

Nenienne makes no pretense of not listening to what's going on since she was indicated. Her frown deepens at Zen's words, but she waits until he is gone to say anything. After dunking under the water to wet her hair she surfaces, looks over to Ahnika, and asks "What was *that* all about?"

Ahnika scrubs more and more furiously as Zen talks down to her. If she keeps this up, she will need to pay another visit to the Infirmary for some sort of lotion. As he is leaving, the teenager can’t quite come up with any better come back than, “I’m so sharding glad I never kissed you when you asked!!” Yeah, Ahni! That’ll get him! What a zinger! She glowers at his departure a few moments after he is out of line of sight, and then goes back to her washing, now so heavily distracted that she is washing parts she already washed, and lapses into mostly incoherent soft mutterings about men and dimglow idiots. It’s not until Neni directs the question back to Ahni than the redhead remembers she bore witness to the whole thing, and while she still looks irritated, she does have the cause to blush a little, “Sorry,” she says in a normal tone so that it can carry between the two bathing pools. Then she takes a long, deep breath and exhales, which seems to help a good bit, “To be honest, I’m not entirely sure where the shells it came from either.” She shoots a wary glance back to the exit once again, and then looks at Neni, “It was wrong of him to bring you into it like that though.”

Nenienne nods at the last statement. "It was," she says agreeably. She's about to say something else when another candidate enters, looks around, and heads over to where Neni is. In a low voice she says something, evoking a sigh from Neni, who climbs out of the water and dries off, then looks mournfully at her dirty clothes before putting them back on. As she leaves she glances over her shoulder and says, almost perfunctorily, "If you need to talk, just let me know." Then she half-runs out, following the scurrying younger candidate.

Ahnika watches the other candidate come in and then the both of them leave, giving Neni a nod and half-hearted but polite smile in return as the other girl departs. Then in the near silence of dripping water and alone with her thoughts, Ahnika exhales a long shuddering breath, trying to calm her nerves down from the tiff. No, not tiff, that was a full-blown quarrel, at least to her mind. She muses to herself as to how unsettling it was and seemed to have come out of no where. She feels blindsided and confused, and she was already confused about other matters to begin with! Then, with adrenaline beginning to finally ebb, Ahni puts up the sweetsand and reaches into her satchel for the particular shampoo-like soap she likes to indulge in for her hair and hits the altered runner shoe that had been left therein. She furrows her brow a little and takes hold of it, withdrawing it. Her attention cannot help but be drawn to the shoe first, which she examines with a growing crestfallen expression, pain and conflict plainly evident in her expression as she turns it over carefully in her wet hands and reads it. “Oh, Max,” she says on a sigh, “What are you doing to me?” And then there is the note that was left by Indira and Ahni reads it and frowns thoughtfully, her attention going back to the shoe a moment before she grips it tightly in her hands and closes her eyes, whispering, “What am I doing to myself?”

With that, Ahnika sets the runnershoe out on the edge of the pool and heaves herself up and out. Her hair washing will have to wait. She gets toweled off and hurries to get dressed in her fresh clothes, which consists of her nightshift and robe since it’s the end of the day and she intended to just go to bed after, as usual. Looking at herself a moment, she frowns, and decides to put on her other dirty clothes over her nightclothes, and passes up on taking the time to make her night braid. She has someone she needs to see and she needs to see him as soon as possible. She gathers up all her belongings and bathing supplies into her satchel, but carries the note and runnershoe in her hands, slinging the bag over her shoulder and shoving her feet into her ankle boots without lacing them up before hurrying out of the baths.

Closing Credit Theme Music: Devo - "Whip It"

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