Breaking Rules And Promises


Ahnika.jpg Jonavan.jpg

Date: 10/9/10
Location: EW: Infirmary
Synopsis: Ahnika comes to the Infirmary looking for some fellis for an unpleasant task. Jonavan challenges her on its purpose but eventually agrees to give it to her … for a price.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Ahnika

The infirmary is quiet this afternoon, in a lull after the morning rush of weyrfolk worried about the tickle in their throat that developed during the night. Curtains drawn for privacy around a couple beds suggest that a few patients remain for observation, with an apprentice monitoring them when not industriously washing instruments with disinfectant. The healer on duty is clear at the other end, sprawled out in a chair he's requisitioned and staring into space. Jonavan has papers to read, too, but the opposite wall seems far more interesting.

It is only after the usual morning activities of weyrlinghood and Jhath’s afternoon meal, leading to Jhath’s afternoon nap, that Ahnika finally makes her way to the infirmary. There’s a light smell of perspiration and dragonet oil about her by this point, but nothing terribly overbearing. Wait until the end of the day and one can probably smell the PT-over-achieving weyrling a mile away. There are no obvious injuries of her person, no limping, no bleeding, no rapid breathing or dizziness, but she steps in and looks around the infirmary for assistance with a polite air. It is only after she claps those grey eyes on the Journeyman Healer that she goes a little still and looks off in the direction he is staring, attempting to find what it is.

The wall suffering Jonavan's - and now Ahnika's - gaze looks ordinary enough, with glass-fronted cabinets housing bottles both big and small. The counter is tidy, nearly bare besides a jar full of tongue-depressors. The Healer doesn't take his eyes off it though, even when the weyrling approaches, and gives no indication of noticing her.

Ahnika turns her attention back to the Healer in the chair, assuming the man is one. She glances at his hands for the usual redwort stain indicator, and then proceeds to look for an apprentice, preferring to deal with one of those anyway for what she needed. The apprentice is apparently presently occupied behind a curtain with another patient, so with a little sigh, she approaches Jonavan more closely, speaking in the soft tone one reserves for infirmaries and archives, not that she’s ever seen the inside of an archive before, “Pardon me, sir. Are you … are you on duty?”

When Ahnika speaks, Jonavan holds up a finger to request silence. His hand does indeed have the pinkish stain characteristic of healers, visible too under the bed of his short-trimmed nails and slightly darker in the creases around the knuckles. He still doesn't look at Ahnika for several minutes, keeping her waiting as he considers the far wall, and finally, after stretching it out for quite some time, turns towards her. "What can I do for you?" The words are pleasant, but his tone suggests an interruption in progress.

The finger has her blinking, but Ahnika dutifully and politely remains silent. If she had a hat in hand, she’d probably be turning it and twisting it, but as it is, the weyrling merely stands there and waits, and waits, and waits. When he finally speaks, Ahnika frowns a little an looks at the infirmary floor, but it is a thoughtful frown, as if she had forgotten why she was there in the silence and needed to remind herself. This bodes well. Finally she looks up at him again and says softly, “Nothing, sir. You’re obviously … busy,” said without an ounce of sarcasm, perhaps he’s not the only deep thinker she’s encountered here. “And my needs aren’t that urgent,” which are quite true since she’s not clutching her own entrails in some disaster with a dragonet and bleeding all over the place or anything, “Sorry for the interruption. I’ll come back later.” She dips her head with deference to his rank and turns to leave.

"I was just wondering how long you'd wait," Jonavan says forthrightly, letting Ahnika in on the secret behind his prolonged silence. A brief glance has him adding further comment. "I can see they've got you weyrlings trained." When Ahnika starts to go, he doesn't immediately move to stop her; a quick calculation has him weighing his desire to be left in peace against his own boredom, and the latter must win out for he comments, "Well you obviously came here for a reason. What is it?"

As he states that it was a test and, essentially a waste of her time, Ahnika stops in her tracks for the exit and frowns. She studies the floor a moment to cool her thoughts and sighs, exhaling a little before turning back around with an expression schooled polite and indifferent, though it’s hard to shake the irritation in her expressive grey eyes. “Just something to help with some soreness, and maybe something for easier sleeping at night, sir, if it’s no trouble,” she says simply, her attention wandering a moment to some movement, presumably the apprentice, behind one of the curtained-off areas.

Jonavan watches Ahnika closely, interested in her reaction; the irritation he perceives is rewarded with a slight smile. "Alright. I'll give you a couple things you can make into a tea." The healer pushes out of his chair, dumping the papers on the counter, and opens a nearby cupboard. He rummages around until he finds what he's looking for and pulls out a couple containers along with two neat squares of cotton. Once the parcels are wrapped up and tied shut with string, he turns back around to present them to Ahnika. "This one's red willow salic, for the soreness," he says, left hand extended, "and this is verbena, to help you sleep. Steep about a spoonful in hot water for a few minutes."

Ahnika’s attention returns to Jonavan, and even before he’s given the items to her, the simple statement of telling her he will has her politely and quietly murmuring, “Thank you, sir.” She moves back to be a little closer to him so he doesn’t have to walk all the way over to her, though allows him his personal space of course, and it is when he presents them with instructions that the redhead looks uncertain and chews her lip. “Thank you,” stated quietly again, and then, “Red willow salic for the soreness,” she repeats, as she gingerly takes the parcels, as if she’s too afraid she’s too dense not to remember without repeating aloud, “and … verbena?” Something about the way she says the second suggests the young woman has the audacity to question it. “I was sort of expecting … fellis. I mean,” she falters a little, scowling at a nearby empty cot, though it’s meant for herself to get herself together and then she exhales a soft breath, looking up at him with her grey eyes, “that’s what I always heard that puts people out. My foster mum, she was a midwife,” pause, “Journeywoman Healer.” She chews her bottom lip and with her free hand she rubs the back of her neck, “So, this verbena, is it strong? Will it put a person out right away?” her gaze slides to a point past his shoulder.

"Are you secretly pregnant and about to give birth?" Jonavan eyes the weyrling critically, making a show of looking for a bulge he has somehow overlooked. "Because pushing a kid out would call for something as strong as fellis. But I don't hear you screaming 'Oh Faranth it hurts, knock me out,' so perhaps you can understand my reluctance to give you a powerful narcotic." He pauses to give Ahnika time to digest that, obviously not impressed that she's questioned his prescription. He carries on but in a different vein, arms now folded over his chest. "Or if you're just trying to score a hit because you used to steal doses from your midwife fostermum, you might as well just out and say it."

Ahnika looks visibly stricken and even looks down at her stomach as if she’s questioning her own awareness of her body itself. And then she shakes her head, knowing it’s been since well before the Hatching and she’d have definitely known by now. She clears her throat, frowning and distractedly looks back at Jonavan, much of the fain nervousness now replaced with more irritation and indignation as the redhead draws herself up to her full height and straightens her shoulders, though she isn’t irate and a lot of that likely has to do with her forcibly quelling her own anger for fear of rousing her passionately militant and large-for-her-age green dragonet. “I would never steal much needed medicine for such a purpose, I’ll have you know!” Well and truly indignant at the suggestion, and then she remembers where she is and drops her voice to a hurried whisper to continue on, “I’m trying to save two men from certain death.” A little bit of melodrama in the putting it out there, but there’s nothing in her gaze or expression to suggest she’s lying because, the way Ahnika sees it, she genuinely thinks she’s saving Max and Jinnet from being killed.

Jonavan raises an eyebrow at Ahnika's indignation but otherwise seems unfazed, perhaps even as if he's enjoying it a bit. "I don't see why not, lots of people do," he answers, humour hidden beneath matter-of-factness. "Dragonriders are still people, as far as I can tell." Ahnika's confession and the secrecy she affects to tell it gets his interest, the healer now looking at the weyrling with a mixture of skepticism and condescension. "And drugging them with fellis is part of your awe-inspiring plan. Why didn't you just come out and say it?"

“First of all,” Ahni states in an authoritative voice, though softly spoken voice (still), though with great emphasis for all the hushed tone, “weyrlings aren’t allowed to get drunk or have sex, so they sure aren’t allowed to do worse than that, and second of all, even if I was pregnant, dragonriders go *between* for that,” spoken as if she’s known this, herself, from birth, even though it was all but maybe four or five months ago that she learned that little gem, “We don’t waste precious resources that will be needed during Threadfall,” so sayeth the high and mighty Ahnika, when more than likely there are more dragonriders out there who are not so honorable and noble as to not indulge themselves in some less than savory addiction or substance abuse more than alcohol. “No,” she crosses her arms over her chest defensively at his criticism, “well, maybe, the one, if he got unruly, but the drugging was meant for the man holding him captive.” She makes a soft, frustrated sound and throws up her hands, “Because no one is supposed to know about it, apparently,” the last said with a grumble as if she’s not really sure what the big deal was for keeping it secret because, to her mind, direct confrontation is better than all this sneaking around devious stuff, which (obviously) explains why she couldn’t even get some simple fellis from the Healer without giving her grand master plan up. “I had it all figured out, too. It would have worked just fine if I could have gotten some fellis from you. Just forget it, I’ll find something to hit him over the head with,” and the redhead looks to mean it, too. Poor Waine. She turns on her heels and starts to head out, unless stopped, but is still carrying the parcels, so maybe she does really need them for herself and was just going to spare a little fellis for the man guarding said captive. Maybe this is all some sort of weyrling fraternity prank, maybe not. She does seem a lot more earnest than when she first approached him for the medicine, however, assuming this too isn’t an act.

"And weyrlings always follow the rules," Jonavan chimes in, clearly having little faith in that idea Ahnika so fervently puts forward. When the weyrling confirms that she planned to drug someone, a prisoner at that, and that it's all some sort of big secret, the Healer tips forward to try to clasp Ahnika by the arm before she can get very far. He's intrigued, and the bits Ahnika's told make this more interesting than prolonged staring at the cabinet wall. "Whoa there. I didn't say I wouldn't give you fellis, just that I wouldn't give you fellis for yourself since you clearly don't need it. Getting the drugs you want doesn't work when you lie. But if you tell me what this is all about, maybe I'll help out."

Ahnika is about to protest and claim they do always follow the rules, and then she remembers her own penance served out for breaking rules, though it wasn’t for drinking or sex in her case and it gives her pause. Just long enough for her arm to be clasped just as she counters snidely with, “When it counts,” in defense of herself and her fellow weyrlings. She has a knee-jerk reaction to being grabbed which has her swinging her other hand, the one with the parcels in its grasp, around intending to club him with the harmless things in reflex, but she stops herself just in time as the words ‘didn’t say I wouldn’t give you fellis’ sinks in. She draws herself up after a moment, grey eyes setting a fierce gaze on the Journeyman, and then she jerks her chin up a little, “I’m … not used to lying.” Clearly. She chews on her lip a moment more as she eyes his hand on her arm, “I’ve done enough damage by saying all that I have already. He’d kill me if he knew,” though she means that as hyperbole, there is definitely some slouching involved to suggest she’s not looking forward to that particular confrontation, “But since I’ve lost him anyway …” she shrugs a little, sighing as she continues, “He seems to think we’re not all on the same side here. Some Bitran has spies or something here,” and she lifts her gaze to narrow her eyes at Jonavan, squaring her shoulders, “How can I know you’re not one of them? If I let you help me?”

Jonavan jerks back and immediately lets go as Ahnika rounds on him, no stranger to people about to take a swing. "Careful with your medicine!" he sings out, a little mocking. He takes a step back to lean against the counter and indicates the seat for Ahnika, if she wants it. "In addition to being melodramatic, you're a terrible liar," he agrees. "Which means that if I was some spy and lying about it you probably couldn't tell either way, so it doesn't really matter what I say, does it? Could be." He shrugs, not at all serious and enjoying it as he plays on Ahnika's doubts. "But if you want your fellis, I guess you'll just have to choose to believe that I'm not."

Adjusting the parcels to put one in each hand to be less awkward, Ahnika crosses her arms over her chest and looks at Jonavan severely, “Melodramat—?” she cuts it off with an indignant snort. Apparently, she doesn’t find her being a terrible liar all that objectionable, however. She doesn’t take that offered seat, however. Instead, she looks around for that wandering apprentice and makes sure they are far enough away from said apprentice and any other patients before sticking that chin out again, “I won’t say anything that will get any friends in trouble, but there’s someone who was caught doing something they shouldn’t have here, and that person, well, okay, a man, is being held in secret to try and get information about his Bitran spy friends here. I only found out about it yesterday. He’s not under weyr guard. I don’t even know if they told the weyrwomen. This is all supposed to be a secret because if the Bitran knew he was compromised and by how much and where this man was, he’d send one of his other thug spies to get at him. So, this other person, who is in charge of this bad man’s keeping, is planning on taking him back to Bitra, alone, of all the nonsense, and only going to end up getting both of them killed and while I don’t have a lot of love for the bad man, himself, sending him to his certain death for just some of the mischief he’s caused doesn’t seem just to me.” And Ahnika is all about what is fair and just, it seems, “as for the other, well,” she works her mouth as if tasting something bitter and blinks several times before muttering, “he just can’t be reasoned with, so if he doesn’t have the good sense to not do this, then I’d rather get that man out of there if I can, and bring him here for tending, if he needs it, under weyr guard or … set him free if he doesn’t.” And she looks as if she’s not really sure about those last two options, but that’s mostly because she’s not entirely sure the condition she’s going to find him in and if he isn’t going to just try and attack her in the process of trying to escape by himself. That part will be more or less played by ear.

"Relax," Jonavan drawls as he watches Ahnika check for onlookers and eavesdroppers, "that one avoids me at all costs. He's a quick learner. It's fun. All I have to do is look at him in the wrong way. Watch." And Jonavan stares across the room towards the apprentice, who catches the glower out of the corner of his eye and suddenly heads for the sink, conveniently at the other end of the infirmary altogether, to re-wash instruments that have already been disinfected. Jonavan looks throughly pleased as he gives his attention to Ahnika once more. "So…your big plan consists of getting a thug-spy-thief into my infirmary? And out of where he's being held, which is presumably secure? And then possibly let him loose to thug and spy some more? And this is a good idea why?"

Ahnika glances over at the poor Apprentice who goes off to rewash the instruments as Jonavan directs her to, and the redhead frowns a little for it, and then looks back at Jonavan as he speaks and her frown deepens, “No, my big plan was to knock out the guard and get in there and talk to the fellow, and after that, it was just going to depend on what he said and how he looked.” She narrows her eyes again at him and sniffs derisively, “If you don’t want to give me the fellis, just say so. You don’t have to be so sharding insulting about it.” She turns to go again. She doesn’t bother telling him to keep this all a secret because it would be moot. She doesn’t know him and he doesn’t know her, so why should he keep his word to keep it a secret? What’s the point of asking him to, in her mind.

"But then it wouldn't be so much /fun,/" Jonavan quips before rolling his eyes. "Oh, the melodrama!" He throws his hands up with the words, mostly for his own benefit as the weyrling's back is turned. "There you go making assumptions again. I don't care what you want fellis for, as long as it doesn't backfire and come back to me."

Ahnika stops and slowly turns around, narrowing her eyes at him but this time not in ire as much as in skepticism, and then finally she lifts one eyebrow and her expression, including body language, relaxes a little, “It won’t. I don’t know your name and you don’t know mine,” not that there are a plethora of redheaded meddling weyrlings running around, “If I’m able to do this right, they won’t even know who knocked out the man standing guard.” Let’s hope she’s better at drugging big guards than she is at lying. “It won’t come back to you,” she says, straightening a little and looking at him curiously, “So … I’ll be able to get some fellis then? Enough to knock out a man about so high,” she demonstrates with her hands, “and so big?” again a demonstration with her hands.

Jonavan lifts an eyebrow at the weyrling with the declarations of anonymity, but says nothing outright to contradict her. Instead, he merely says, "Sure. For a price." He pauses a moment, clearly expecting some affronted protestation, then adds, "This isn't for medical purposes, so don't expect me to treat it like one."

Perhaps oddly, Ahnika doesn’t hesitate to that other than to mentally kick herself for not bringing her marks-purse with her. Of course, she’s not had much need for it since Impressing and so keeps it locked in her strongbox at the end of her cot. It just gets in the way of physical training. “Fine,” she says readily agreeing, “I’ll have to fetch the marks. I don’t have any on me. How much?”

"Excellent," Jonavan answers, going on to name a price that's roughly double the going blackmarket rate; he doesn't expect that Ahnika would know what that is. He smiles at the weyrling for perhaps the first time, waiting for agreement before rousing himself to actually fetch the fellis.

No, Ahnika wouldn’t know what the price of blackmarket fellis is, but she does know how many marks she has to her name, which considering she was holdless when she arrived, isn’t that much. Still, it’s only an extra delay, and in her mind every bit worth it considering she thinks she’s saving the lives of two men, one of whom she cares a lot about, “I’ll have to sell my gather dress, but,” but she likely wasn’t going to be needing that ever again anyway, especially with her and Max on the outs, so she nods, “agreed.”

The woes of Ahnika's financial straits do not motivate Jonavan to drop his price, alas. He just nods in return, considering the deal done. "Right. You bring me the marks, and I'll have it waiting for you. There'll be enough to send him straight to sleep, and you can go cajole your prisoner to tell you all his deep, dark secrets."

“I have to do this in the next couple of days,” Ahnika says, though doesn’t explain why, “So, I’ll try and have the marks for you this afternoon.” If she finds his readiness to sell her something like this and in such a manner distasteful, she doesn’t show it. It could be she’s just too wrapped up in her next step of The Plan to really care about what it says about his character, or hers, for that matter. Time is of the essence. She does, however, shoot him a little scowl for the reference to the man being ‘her’ prisoner, but since she just reached an accord with him over the fellis, she’s not about to say anything that might have him taking back the bargain. Then she draws herself up briefly again, inhales and nods, “Pleasure doing business with you then. Thank you.” Perhaps oddly, she leaves off the ‘sir’ this time.

"If you haven't got all of it by then, you can have the fellis on credit," says Jonavan, willing to cut Ahnika at least that much slack, scowls and all. Likely he doesn't care one bit about what blackmarket dealing and taking advantage of weyrlings with tricky situations says about him. "I'll see you soon then," he replies, leaving off the 'you're welcome' but otherwise cordial.

The offer to have it on credit gives Ahnika pause and she nods slowly, seeming careful but saying congenially, “Thank you. I appreciate it.” And with that, she will turn to go, pausing in the doorway once to look at him over her shoulder, unless he tries to stop her once more, before she departs. No fond farewells, or by your leaves, just a quiet, efficient departure.

Closing Credits Theme Music: Disturbed - "Inside The Fire"

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