Before I Go



Date: 2010.10.31
Location: EW - Lakeshore, beast caverns and weyrling barracks
Synopsis: On the morning of his departure, Max leaves something on Ahnika's cot.
Rating: PG13
Logger: Max

A small smile broke out on Indira’s face as her son left her office, list of the possible girls from the lower caverns who might have bought Ahnika’s Gather Dress from her as well as the names of the laundresses in charge of the three shifts, in hand.

He hadn’t said much, simply that the weyrling had sold her dress and bought him a second chance. At the time she’d thought it a little odd, but simply by the retiring smile he’d worn when he’d said it, she realized they must have sorted themselves out. Thank Faranth, because she didn’t think she could have taken another seven of his stomping about like a dragon with a sore head.

She glanced down at the weekly reports from Shijan and Hayli lying on her desk and sighed. He was hiding something from her, though quite what, she hadn’t been able to put her finger on yet.

It had taken him the better part of three days to finally track the dress down in between his other duties, not to mention the lower caverns girl trying her version of extortion on him when he’d named a price to buy it back from her.

And now he sat, perched upon the flat shelf-like boulder he and Ahnika had occupied just a night or so ago before with the brocaded gown laid carefully over his knees, fingers working deftly as he braided together strands of black and bay runner tail hair in a replica of the momento he’d given her of their fateful first ride together. With Rukbat only just starting to streak its golden influence across the pre-dawn sky, there was luckily no one about to pass the beast manager odd looks.

His thoughts drifted as hands worked mechanically, seeing in his mind’s eye her wearing the creation at the Hatching feast, a vision that had played through many times before now. Lips quirked around an undefined line and then his mind leapfrogged and landed present day, more in particular, the night they’d shared this boulder and he’d shared his past with her.

Max’s hands stilled and dark eyes withdrew from the lake surface and set to the bodice of the dress, staring at it in silence. She was going to be here, when he returned from Telgar, when he returned from the fights in the future. Despite all that he’d told her, she’d be waiting for him. Hands lowered and he stroked a thumb over the section of runner tail hair already woven together recalling Ahnika’s sobering words on her and his daughter being reason enough to be careful and not push the limits. Pushing the limits was a part of what he did, but he knew what she’d meant by those words. Slowly but surely a smile grew, the fingers of one hand toying with the ends of the lacing over the bodice, “I won’t let you down, baby.” Sent barely audible out onto the lightening air.

It didn’t take him much longer to finish the braid and knot the ends securely. Standing, the Gather gown draped over his arm he set off for the beast caverns, sending Waine a narrowed look for the snicker he made a bad job suppressing and beckoned him into his office. The next hour or so was spent laying out the duties he expected to see carried out upon his return and ensuring that he’d signed enough blank requisition forms to keep the big stablehand going while he was away. With the meeting concluded the battered black leather jacket was donned, his carrysack taken up, along with the dress and he headed down to the weyrling barracks already deserted at this hour with the weyrlings being involved with lessons as they were.

Stepping into the quietened barracks he encountered a weyrling who had returned for something left behind and who looked at him with round eyes for the oddity of the man ‘wearing’ a dress slung over his shoulder. “Ahnika’s cot,” Max gave as statement rather than query in a curt tone that held for no arguments. The weyrling swallowed and simply pointed back behind him. Nodding the beast manager dismissed him from attention and headed straight to the one indicated. Carefully, the gown was laid out across it, and a book (the Pernese equivalent of Robin Hood) set on top with a note and the length of braided runner tail hair tucked between its pages. A small smile quirked out for the book chosen and then he turned and left to meet up with T’nor, Shijan and Jaya up near the top paddocks.

The note itself simply worded:

If love were a dance, you’d be the music.


Closing Credits Music: Danny K - Unfrozen

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