Closing Honesty


Jaya.jpg Jonavan.jpg

Date: April 29, 2011
Location: The Bar and Jonavan's chambers, EW
Synopsis: Jonavan comes by during a packed night at the bar and confrontation erupts between him and Jaya. Later in his room, she tries to get through to him on difficult matters, but is blocked at every turn enough to leave them both frustrated with each other.
Rating: PG-15 for some language
Logger: Jaya

The bar was near-packed. Despite the ups and down of Weyrlife, Jaya’s business has been as stable as if it were beyond the confines of Eastern Weyr. Jaya’s barworkers – Suli, Hayli, and Shijan – are present as they always are, making sure that the bar survives another busy night without any mishaps. The card tables are packed and in full swings, boasting the usual groups of farmers, traders and weyrfolks alike. Even the bar counter was seeing its share of patrons, one of them currently trying to regale the bar owner of tales from the seas. The man was bulky with weathered skin, but his face was one of youth. Jaya was busy pouring ale into a row of mugs for a waiting Hayli, half her attention on the man as he was talking about a recent storm that pushed up on the way to the southern continent. “…and I know I could have lost my life,” he was telling her, seeming a lot like he was boasting of surviving such exploits. “About half of the men drowned. Half! I’m sure you haven’t heard –“ – “I hear of everything,” Jaya cuts him off, not liking the superior and dismissing tone he was starting to take with her. “I am a barkeep.”

It would be easy enough for Jonavan to lose himself in this crowd, were it not for the fact that he's half a head taller than most of the other patrons present. He strides past the man stationed at the door with nary a glance for him, and the look he sends towards the bar is nearly as short, truncated rather than lingering. Rather than head for the counter, his usual haunt in times past, the healer goes wandering the card tables, snatching glances of hands here and there and leaning in at one point to blow a game with the announcement, "He's bluffing." Save for a small smirk, Jonavan acts oblivious to the annoyed glances of the players as they set down their cards, and he joins the table one-over where a rough-looking assortment of men greet him with nods and grunts that might include a few indistinguishable words. Jonavan pulls out the spare chair, which seems to have been saved for him given the number of others milling about with no place to sit, and puts his hands out before him, fingers loosely wound together as he awaits the deal. "What's the game?"

Shijan catches Jonavan’s entrance like he does all others, and he’s as equally silent – which was the norm for him. Dark eyes does flicker in the healer’s direction, however, as he moves toward the card tables rather than the usual counter. The table Jonavan joins gives him dubious looks in kind – more for the reason that he literally appears out of nowhere to them and drops into the only vacated seat without so much as a greeting. The largest one at the table, who also looks the grungiest, pausing in his dealing of cards to regard him. “You lost?” the one to the left of him grunts, but the big man merely raises his brow and answers Jonavan with a blithe, “Dragonpoker. You got marks?” For that was really the only reason why he hasn’t tossed the man from their table yet. The man to the right of him – scrawny and young-looking with rough stubble on his chin – snorts and adds in, “Yeah, I bet he does got marks. Look at how he’s dressed!” in which they did. In that pause to ensue, the petite blond barmaid stops by their table with an easy, but weary smile. “Another round for the table?” she asks the lot of them, though her blue eyes fall for most part on Jonavan. For him, she even tacks on with a warmer smile, “It’s been awhile. Thought maybe you forgot your way to the bar.”

"He invited me," Jonavan replies with a nod towards one of the men who haven't spoken. Closer inspection and the man in question looking surprised reveals otherwise so that the healer modifies, "Or someone else did. Maybe it was for yesterday." Regardless, he's here now, settled in a casual slump, untroubled by missing one game and joining another. To the question of marks, Jonavan gamely answers with a question of his own. "What's the ante?" He starts rolling up his shirtsleeves, glancing along the table when his appearance is remarked on. It's true that he's put on a fresh shirt, which is perhaps what sets him apart from the rest of the lot still wearing the cares of their day along with the grime, but still, it's been a day or two since he's bothered to shave. He has one shirt sleeve rolled up and is starting on the other when Hayli comes by, looking back at her with an even regard. "Nah, just been drinking my way through my own supplies. Takes longer to run out if you don't share." The substance of what he says is actually more or less true, but the bland way in which he says it transforms it into a droll joke.

“Maybe you talk too much,” One of the men to the left drops out the corner of his mouth, snorting as he picks up his cards. The leader of the table seems to hesitate for a moment in bringing in the newcomer – especially one he does not know. What’s the ante? He drops a price, and it’s a high one. It would be hard for one to determine if the price given is inflated just for them, for the marks at the center of the table are a jumbled pile. “I’ve seen you around,” one of the other men pipes in, his eyes narrowing as he leans over to see the healer better. “You’re one of those healers about this place. Didn’t know you healers hung with the ill-trodden.” Perhaps before Jonavan could answer, cards are now being shuffled in his direction from the leader. “Always welcome new blood,” the leaders says then, though the words seem to stick in his throat. His eyes turn towards Hayli’s arrival, her question for another round getting a nod towards his men and a grunt. Jonavan’s answer for her gets a small, but warm smile. Seeming to take his words at face value, “I’ll get you all ale,” she says them, including the healer in the group before she saunters off with the men looking. Once she’s out of earshot and all the cards are dealt, “So what business do you have with us?” the leader asks to the group, though it was well obvious who he was talking to. Some of the men look Jonavan’s direction from their hands furtively – it was common for business to be done at the card tables in the bar, and done by the more prominent groups like the traders and farmers. If a stranger ventured to pull a vacant chair, it was usually for a reason. If one looks toward the counter, they would also see the blonde barmaid passing a few words with Jaya and nodding towards the table she had just left.

"Maybe," Jonavan agrees. He shifts to the side so he can extract a handful of mark bits, sorting through them to pick out the required ante and toss it towards the pot, not questioning the amount of his buy-in. He drops the rest of the marks in front of him, leaving them out as a small pile for playing. Looking towards the man who recognises him, at least by profession, the healer quips, "I won't tell if you don't." Waiting for the whole hand to be dealt before picking up his cards, Jonavan watches Hayli take the order and head back towards the bar, then turns his attention towards the cards as he scoops them off the table. When the leader of the group questions his further, Jonavan's mouth twitches, an easily missed sign of internalised amusement. "Can't a man just sit down for a few rounds?" he answers rhetorically, only taking his eyes off his hand to glance up once, gaze flickering past the man he addresses towards the bar at the other side of the room, then looking back down again.

The men seem to visibly relax when Jonavan produces marks. Marks always seem to make men more pliant towards a stranger. The answer on him being recognized gets a snort from the same man that reocognized him, shaking his head – but there’s a small smirk touching his lips now. To Jonavan’s question now, “Only a man that has business sits down for a few rounds with our sort,” the leader of the table answers, peering over his hand at him. “We ain’t traders, and we ain’t dragonriders, either.” He ain’t exactly saying what they are, at the same time. The leader looks up again to catch that look towards the bar, his black gaze shifting to meet Jonovan’s face before asking, “Spying on someone?” He wasn’t sure who, but the look on his face shows one that was looking to find out. Hayli come back then with the round of ale, setting a mug at each man’s side including the healer’s. Leaning particularly towards the later, she sends a brief look behind her before muttering near his ear before straightening, “You’ve been noticed.” Of course he has. She was the one that brought attention to him.

"Like I said, thought I was invited." Jonavan pauses before putting on a tone overdone in its exclamation, with amped-up hints of a childish petulance. "That's my story and I'm sticking to it!" He visibly hunches over his cards, inflating the stubborn set of his expression as he tries to get back to the game, but it hardly lasts. Eyes back up, he nods after Hayli, the smirk that follows as insinuating as his reply. "Ain't allowed to have a look?" Jonavan continues his game with interested expression for when the barmaid comes back, openly eying her (surely she's used to it by now). On a completely different tack from what she says for his ears alone, Jonavan answers, louder, "What? Meet you after closing? I thought you'd never ask."

Most of the men at the table appear dubious at best, looking at each other before the leader of the pack grunts without looking up from his cards, “Well, you weren’t. That ain’t answering the question, neither.” He doesn’t pursue it, choosing instead to rearrange his cards while some of his companions discard one of theirs and pick up another from the deck. The healer’s answer gets some of the men to look towards Hayli when he does, and the leader acknowledges her return and the drinks with a sharp nod of thanks. “Who said anything about ‘allowed?’” the leaders put to him, no smile gracing his lips as he reaches for his mug. Hayli’s still there though, the men furtively watching their exchange up until Jonavan openly answers her unintelligible words loudly. Hayli’s face goes blank, not expecting that sort of answer from him before she turns a look upon the now watching men at the table with wide eyes, looks back to Jonavan with a frown, turns, and leaves the table. She goes by the counter, far too brief for perhaps any words to be exchanged, but the barkeep is certainly watching that table now from where she stands. At that moment, a group of dragonriders enter the bar, one of them detaching from the group at the entrance and makes a beeline for the counter while his friends move off to join the card table already populated by their type. “I want something strong,” he directs to Jaya while she works on an order, not having caught her attention yet. When he does, her reaction is one of surprise and pleasure. “S’las!” she calls, the smile touching full lips as she passes on filled mug across the table towards a waiting Suli. “I see you’re back in Eastern!” The bronzerider laughs, brushing a hand over his shoulderknot before the men to the side of him move to give him some room at the counter. “As if I can leave the south,” he drawls as he settles into a vacant stool. “And I was serious about that strong drink, if you will.”

Jonavan's expectant expression turns to puzzlement as Hayli first frowns, then departs. "Guess that was supposed to be private," he can only offer as the explanation for her lack of response. "Apparently she doesn't want it getting out that she's available after hours for the right price." He slanders Hayli casually, though at least waits until she's out of earshot - high consideration from Jonavan. Then he shrugs and applies himself to the cards, discarding and drawing from the deck like some of the others. He's happy enough to play without any further comment, reaching only for his ale, until Jaya's called greeting for one of the entering riders filters through the noise of the bar and reaches his ears. Curiosity has him glancing towards the bar again, though he still applies himself to the game in throwing in a small mark piece to up the stakes, betting on his hand.

“Perhaps she changed her mind,” remarks one of the men, in which the lot of them starts to rumble their amusement. Apparently they don’t mind the slight of the barmaid either, for none of them come to her defense. Just as well she left when she did. They fall silent then and drink their ale, though after a long moment one of the rougher-looking ones at the table remarks, “When we leave for the north?” The leader a momentary glance in Jonavan’s direction, his careful reply being, “Not yet.” Pause. “The cargo hasn’t arrived yet.” – “It’s been two sevendays,” another one seems to warn him, trying to quell his outrage. Apparently he doesn’t like the idea of staying on the southern continent much longer. “And I’m outta marks,” another seems to complain then, frowning at the marks all gathered at the center of the table, to which the leader replies back tersely, “Maybe you should refrain from losing at cards and drink more, then.” It certainly wasn’t his fault.” “Ain’t my fault it’s late,” he even voices, hoping that stops further complaints. He hates having to even be put in this position infront of a stranger. “Whaddya want me to do about it?” and he throws a mark piece into the center of the table behind the healer. At the counter, Jaya’s preparing S’las his drink and asks, “So are you going to tell me about Igen?” S’las leans back casually, turning his body in a way that he could watch the patrons behind him more. “Oh, Igen hasn’t changed much,” he drawls, shaking his head. “The Weyrleaders are as flippant as ever, and my parents still seem convinced that I Impressed on purpose.” Jaya passes his drink over and shakes her head at the news. “And here you’ve been on your best behavior,” she notes wryly, to which he laughs. “I went by your family’s camp, too,” he notes now, though his amusement starts to ebb on this particular news.

Jonavan shakes his head once as if in regret. "There goes my night. All that's left for me is cards and booze." A terrible combination, his tone suggests. He stays quiet through the exchange about the unnamed cargo, minding his cards and his business, only shifting to take sips of his drink and setting it down with a good finger-length gone. S'las, studying the patrons milling about the place, might catch him looking once or twice, an attention that drifts between the conversation at the table and the stranger who's got Jaya's congenial attention.

“I hear Bila’s available for a good tumble,” one of the men suggests to Jonavan with a meaningful look, seeming to sympathize with the man’s ‘rejection.’ Bila was one of the laundresses that was always seen flirting with some man or other in the bowl. The men rumble their amusement again, even though it seel half-hearted. They seem more downtrodden about the cargo than anything else. To the leader’s question, no one answers at first. One of the men shows his hand then, and all the rest follows. It seems as though one of the rough-looking ones was going to win the pot, and he in particular looks in Jonavan’s direction in anticipation. He’s also the one that breaks the silence on the matter with “Whadda we want you to do about it? Let us go and find the cargo!” – “You saw my father,” Jaya was saying at the same time to S’las, setting to bringing over the empty mugs deposited by Hayli. S’las sends her a look before snorting. “Ol’ Bhadri’s just as onery as ever,” he says, shaking his head as his gaze sweeps over Jonavan. Not having met the man before, his gaze doesn’t linger long enough to lend pause. “Still pissed off that your sister snuck down here to visit you all those months ago, you know. Probably sees it as some sort of betrayal, and you know your brother Nacor’s pretty much his mouth piece.” - “That I don’t doubt,” Jaya notes coolly, returning that hard look that was sent. “I’ve gotten a recent letter from her telling me she’s practically on arrest now, but if they think they can keep Beddie in their sights forever…” and she shakes her head at that. S’las shrugs, taking a short pull of his drink. “Dicoris aren’t exactly family material,” he notes without apology, knowing full well that Jaya would likely agree with him. “It’s a wonder they’re all still together.”

"Yeah?" Jonavan makes a show of looking discretely interested at the suggestion of the laundress, looking at the man speaking over the rim of his glass. "How good?" He fiddles with his hand while the men talk shop, watching the hands go down one by one. He hesitates with the man with the good hand watching him, slow to follow suit, then finally shows his hand with faked ambivalence. "Is this good?" He's lucked into a full house, better than the other man's queen-high flush. The corner of his mouth is just starting to edge upwards as one after another the men at the table recognise his good hand. When the man he's just beat out of the pot starts swearing it makes his triumph complete, though the healer likely knows he's starting to make himself unwelcome at the table for winning the marks at stake on the first go.

For the first time, the man that is speaking on Bila is finally showing yellow-toothed smile. “How good?” he echoes, sharing the smile with his mates. “You ain’t going to go back to that infirmary of yers until the next afternoon. I’ll tell ya that much!” A couple of the men around the table are nodding, perhaps in testament to his words. When Jonavan finally reveals his hand, that rotten smile wipes off his face. A few of the others around the table tense slightly, though there’s no reason seen why. The leader is the only one that remains as relaxed as ever. “Beginner’s luck,” he grunts in the silence, nodding for Jonavan to collect his winnings. Indeed, the group that was starting to warm up to him was now starting to cool again. It was one thing for a strange to join their game. It was quite another for that stranger to win it. The leader now reaches forward to collect up the cards again, casting a furtive glance in the healer’s direction. “Stayin’ or goin’?” he asks him now as he shuffles. Over at the counter, the pair lapses into a brief silence before S’las puts in, “I’ve seen Vaputero and Ritalia at the camp.” Jaya knows what camp he’s talking about, and it was chilling her to the bone to hear that the crimelords of Nerat and Bitra were in the Dicoris’ vicinity. “What did they want?” she asks him with malice, turning over some drinks to a waiting Hayli. Shaking his head shortly before nearly draining his glass, “Nothing good, I would imagine,” the bronzerider answers her gruffly. “Your father seemed to welcoming them with open arms, which is enough to have anyone worried.”

"Well if she's as good as you say she is…" the healer trails off significantly, leaving the rest up to their imaginations. "Who said I was a beginner?" Jonavan puts the maxim voiced by the leader of the lot to question as he leans across the table to sweep the pile of marks towards him. He takes his time in counting out the profits to rub it all in, clearly not looking to make any friends. "Oh, I think one hand was enough for me," he says casually, fully aware that it's bad manners to win the pot and then leave but planning to do it anyway. The marks disappear into his hands and then his pockets as the healer pushes out his chair with a shallow scrape along the stone floor. A cheeky sort of superiority and mockingly superficial generosity show themselves when he flips a mere 32nd piece towards the center of the table before heading towards the bar. "Thanks for the game."

It was definitely bad manners, to which the men around the table is giving the healer the Eye, but a look from the leader has the tension somewhat dispelling. “You’re a beginner at this table,” the man answers Jonavan blithely, reaching to tap the table in between them while his men look on at how slow it takes the other to collect his winnings. It was a lucky night that the men weren’t drunk enough to cause a scene – or rather, the leader seems intent in not doing so. The one mark that gets thrown to the center of the table seems to silence the leader however, a few of the men grating their jaws as they look at one another. Keeping his back straight with just the flicker of movement of his head to the side, as if trying to see Jonavan at an angle without turning around to look at him straight on, “For your sake, don’t take any leisurely strolls outside of the Weyr anytime soon, healer,” is his farewell to him, the warning delivered matter-of-factly before the healer could go out of earshot. At the counter, the barkeep is grating her own teeth as well by the news she hears from her old friend. “He has no business talking with them!” Jaya leans forward briefly and hisses to S’las, looking around briefly in the case that anyone should hear. “Fuck! What is he up to?” It was rhetorical, for the Bitran woman does not specify which ‘he’ she is referring to. The bronzerider in kind shake his head gravelly, seeming to sympathize as he drains his glass slowly. “Maybe Bhadri misses his old life,” he suggests, again it being a testament to how close their friendship is for him to suggest such a bold thing. “I’ve heard both my dear relative Ritalia and your old boss has been recruiting heavily these days – like they’re expecting something to go down soon.” Glass is drained and he sets it audibly down on the counter.

Jonavan shrugs at the distinction. "If that's what you need to call it." He takes the threat in good humour, hardly seeming to consider it serious when all that follows is a smirked rejoinder. "Ah, well, I could say much the same about winding up in the infirmary." He means it as a final sally, wanting the last word in the exchange as he saunters away. It takes a minute to wind his way towards the counter, catching more of the tone between barkeep and patron rather than the exact words. Jonavan fills in a spot along the bar as it comes free, leaning round a pair of men who stand between him and S'las. He's half-inclined over the counter in order to loudly and rather obnoxiously call across to Jaya, "Could use a drink down here."

Jonavan was long gone before the men at the card table could respond, whatever return words now being swallowed up in the den of noise. At the counter, Jaya is not feeling the news of their being heavy recruitment going on in her home area. The look she sends S’las’s way is dark, and the woman was about to retort on something before the loud, familiar voice cuts into her thoughts. She turns finding the familiar form of the healer there behind two men set on their drinks. A hand lifts toward the bronzerider to stall any further words, not sure if she could even trust herself and her thoughts on the matter right now. Moving away to approach Jonavan now with a slightly dubious air, “Since when have you started hanging around those type of men?” she asks rather than greets, moving to set an empty glass right in front of him. Clearly she has been watching him since he arrived. She was regarding his expression, it being a long time since the healer has graced her bar with his presence since before her turnday. There’s almost an awkward kind of silence that settles as she pauses, sifting through questions she wanted to ask and yet ending up with “What will you have tonite?”

Jaya's recognition is prompt enough to forestall louder attempts to gain her attention that would be more obnoxious still. Jonavan, not yet even getting to bang his fist down on the counter, is undecided whether to be gratified or disappointed. "Since when do you check up on me?" The question he responds with has the resonance of a challenge. There being no stool, Jonavan leans slightly on the bar. His expression gives little away on its own, more revealing from contrast from times prior, residing in the lack of his easy, sarcastic amusement. The tall healer's gaze roams the bottles stocked behind the bar, looking there rather than at Jaya in her silence until she asks what he'll have. "I was having ale," he says, deciding to stick with it rather than mix his drinks.

Jaya regards his face longer than she should and is proper. She does note that his expression was more revealing than closed off, that fact seeming to interest her since there’s a long pause and a blink before she responds to his question. Meeting that challenge in his tone, “So I shouldn’t?” It almost sounds rhetorical, her brow lifting imperceptibly at Jonavan. It’s been awhile, but she could tell that the healer was not like he normally is. Frowning some, “What was up with those words to my barmaid?” she asks then, indicating Hayli. When he answers on the drink he wants, it’s only then that she turns and gets the ale. For something to say, for there were more personal words she wanted to utter but not so in public, “The ale’s fresh tonite. I trust your buddies there weren’t complaining.” And then she pours him a glass.

Feeling her eyes on him, Jonavan pulls his gaze back towards Jaya, leaving off his study of gins and whiskies and brandies. If the humour absent from tone and expression is usually wielded as a weapon, this more saturnine version of the healer adds another layer to the distance he imposes between himself and the barkeep. His brow lifts for her question, a pause stretching on that nearly leaves it unaddressed. However, what he does say only addresses it at a slant, unsatisfyingly. "I think you should get me my drink." The healer answers quicker for the inquiry about Hayli, as well as more directly - perhaps too directly. "Oh, I propositioned her," he says offhandedly. Not actually knowing what was communicated between the bar owner and her employee, Jonavan makes it up as he goes, drawing on the actual substance of the few words that passed between him and Hayli earlier. "You'd think a simple yes or no would do, but no, here I am, still waiting. Women do like to string you along, don't they." Jonavan's gaze is more direct now, while he waits for the ale, and the hard undercurrent to his tone suggests that he isn't really speaking about Hayli.

The indirect way Jonavan orders her clearly sets Jaya on edge. Straightening up once she finishes her pouring, she looks crisply content to shove the drink across the counter towards him and lets her barmaids deal with him. His later words pause her from doing so, however. “That’s not what Hayli said,” she directs his way, but it was in a tone to suggest that it was really neither here nor there with her if this was the reception from him she was going to get. It’s the last – clearly directed at her as far as she could see – that sets both hands, palms flat before her as she braces herself against the counter. She slips his ale close now, “Of course,” she drawls that a bit coolly, drawing the attention of S’las who has been eavesdropping. “Just like the men that don’t know how to fuckin’ make up their minds.” Brow lifts in that ‘Are you sure you want to play the blame game with me?’ tint to it, her jaw visibly tightening. “Especially when those men were handed opportunities to do so.” Yeah, Hayli is apparently not the main topic of this conversation, but at least now it was dawning on her what the source of his ire was with a brief look behind him towards the entrance.

Some of the pale foam topping Jonavan's ale sloshes down the side from the force with which Jaya serves up his drink. "Did she compliment my immaculate way with words?" He spins out a possibility with a small lift to his voice, not immediately reaching to collect his drink when Jaya takes up what looks like a confrontational stance on the opposite side of the counter. It's the confrontation that restores his sarcastic wit, though not his mood, which is as dark as ever. He looks back at her evenly through the accusation he has no doubt is leveled at him, the tic of his eyebrows lifting the only crack in his composure, an echo of her Jaya's own visual landscape. She scores a point, maybe, as Jonavan doesn't respond directly to the points raised against him. Speaking again, the man sounds conversational. "People who pay the people they fuck - what's that called again?" He pretends to search the ceiling for an answer. It never was about Hayli.

“Hardly,” Jaya answers on the account for Hayli, keeping her answer short. She watches Jonavan’s reaction to her point, not looking the least bit triumphant. She falls silent instead until the end, his question immediately narrowing her eyes before Suli comes by with a drinks order. With the look she sends the Telgari barmaid’s way, “Oh, I see,” she drawls, her confrontational stance weakening as she takes a step back with a guarded look present. “This is how you want to be.” She drops her gaze for a moment as if searching for something to say, though in reality she was trying to hide her hurt. Looking up at him once more, her expression still guarded as she turns to start on the drinks order, “If you want to call me a ‘whore’ or a ‘tart’, do so,” she states too coolly as she works, while Suli waits. “I’ve been called worse in my life. However,” and she sends him a look, “I thought we were above name-calling, and I would prefer to have this discussion in private.” Jaya is never proper, so that fact that she’s speaking like some holdbred lady suggests her being disturbed by this. Eyes fall on S’las, but he’s looking at Jonavan.

Guilt? It's not an emotion Jonavan does well, and as soon as that niggling voice of doubt starts to push at his conscience, he pushes it right back from Turns of practice at being a bastard. "Nooo." He draws out the vowel. "It's the other way around really, isn't it?" He doesn't have to look towards the door where Shijan stands to indicate Jaya's bodyguard, doing it instead with a subtle lift of his chin and gaze slanting to the side. He largely ignores Suli, like he's ignored the dragonrider nearby who's so obviously listening in. Private would have been far more appropriate, but Jonavan doesn't do appropriate in the best of times and certainly not now when he can do more damage otherwise. The fact that he doesn't in fact say more is an exercise in restraint, leaving it with those few pointed comments when he could easily go on.

"You know where I live," he says, a concession that still sounds confrontational as he extracts payment for the ale and controls himself from slamming it down on the counter. The mark piece merely makes a firm click, wood on wood. "If you can remember."

The lack of response other than the furrowing of brows from the barkeep shows that Jaya clearly has no idea what the healer’s talking about. Jonavan gestures subtly towards the door and she follows that look briefly. She just stands there, not saying anything through all of his words until and having paused in her activity until two fingers tap her shoulder to draw away her attention. “I think you should go to the infirmary,” Suli tells her with a pointed look towards Jonavan. “I’ll take care of the bar for you.” It’s been months now that things have cooled between Jaya and Suli since Shijan had made his presence more prominent in the bar, so perhaps it was curious that she was giving her suggestions. Then Suli puts words to action, gently nudging Jaya out of the way so that she could continue working on the drinks order that she stopped. She had been overruled. Lips thinning to a severe line, “I’ll follow,” Jaya tells Jonavan then since he pays for his drink, nodding towards the entrance if he was to walk out now.

So much for Jonavan's carefully calculated insult. He looks slightly disappointed when the barb fails to hit home, but any satisfaction coming out of his interactions with the bar owner is of the hollow kind. Suli's intervention is an unexpected move that has the healer looking at her for a moment, surprised out of his chilly disregard. "How kind," he says after a pause, but the sarcasm lacks direction. Not entirely sure if he wants Jaya following as she's volunteered to do, Jonavan delays his exit to gulp down his ale, untouched til now. The glass leaves a wet ring on the wood counter when he sets it down finally, moisture smearing when his fingers push the pint towards Suli so she can clear it away. When the healer does leave, it's without the least look at Shijan, or back to see if Jaya really does come too.

Catching that look of surprise, Suli shuffles close to Jonavan with downcast eyes when Jaya moves over towards S’las, and her words are low enough for only one person to hear: “I like him less than anyone.” The comment could easily be overlooked and not heard, for the barmaid was putting herself on the line should certain parties catch wind of it and its reference, but she’s taking the emptied glass once Jonavan’s done and has already turned away by the time she comes back in contact with Jaya. “Don’t leave the Weyr until we talk about this,” Jaya is saying to the bronzerider, and S’las merely nods with a curious glance towards the healer as he gets up. Jonavan then leaves and Jaya follows, passing by a tensing Shijan that looks about to flank her until she gives the barest of a shake of the head. She didn’t want him to follow – not this time. Those close to her knew that she needed a bodyguard less these days with Max becoming a crimelord, so their interaction as such was a mere formality. But then, everyone really knew the real deal by now. She’s out of the bar then, wiping her hands on her skirt as she keeps her distance behind the healer as she walks in silence with her gaze pinned to the back of his head.

Jonavan's brow lifts at the admission, but he doesn't question Suli's remark. Instead, the healer looks at her intently in the moment before she turns away, likely guessing at causes for grudges, trying to figure out a woman who he's hardly given the time of day before.

Out in the hallway, Jonavan pauses round the bend where the entry to the bar is hidden from view. "I'm not going to the infirmary," he says, half-turning to speak to Jaya behind him, voice pitched for firmness. "I'm going home." In the low light of the glows, shadows draw out the faint misgiving present beneath the resolute expression he pulls on to echo the tenor of his words and tone. He's never extended an invitation before, jealous of his privacy, and the allowance he makes now is rather out of character for him.

One can be sure Suli’s up to something, but with the bar being so busy, her actions and expressions are lost to the crowd. Just as well Jaya’s too preoccupied to notice. Once around the bend, she pauses when Jonavan does, keeping back in the case the man may pull something foul. Getting attacked or knifed in shadowy areas was something she was used to, and when he chooses to speak again, there’s a glimmer of disappointment that such actions doesn’t happen. A man attacking her is something she understands and can solve. A man deciding to change course to his more private rooms was not. She studies his back for a moment, trying to determine what the reason for this change of destination when never had he invited her there indeed. Questions get quelled down, however. For now, the Bitran woman was letting him call the shots. “Fine,” is all she gives, tight-lipped as she pretends that the destination was of little consequence to her.

"Unless you prefer being in with the sick and infirm." Jonavan's mocking now, the only way he can continue looking at Jaya so steadily. His gaze breaks away to send a look down the hall, back the way they came. "No guard-dog?" His reference to Jaya's bodyguard continues in the same, derisive vein. "I thought he followed you everywhere, even into bed." He doesn't wait around much longer, turning on his heel to continue his path through the caverns towards the residential section where his room is located. He walks at a brisk pace, half-hoping that between the ridicule and lack of encouragement, Jaya changes her mind and doesn't follow him all the way.

Jaya doesn’t respond to the first, save for the exaggerated look that is, but the next barbs send a stiffening to her spine. She actually does hesitate to follow along after that, seeming to weigh the options before something gets her feet moving. “Something tells me you wouldn’t say what’s really on your mind underneath all the insults unless he’s not present,” she talks to his back, her tone brisk and cool. “Of course,” she adds, dropping her tones to frigid climes, “if there’s nothing more at the end of this other than your unfounded jibes then I’ll return to where I’m wanted.” Half-challenge, the Bitran woman was letting him know that she’ll only be pushed so far before she does leave. She was still trying to figure him out, not quite sure what was going on with the healer enough to predict him. So she walks a little faster, but only just, keeping her gaze on his back unless he strays too far ahead and out of her sight.

For once, Jonavan is slow to respond. He's nearly at his door by the time he does, one of the last down a short hallway of rooms hollowed out and fitted for habitation with brisk efficiency. "You're the one who wanted to talk," he reminds her while going through his pocket for the key. "And with the expectations." He gives scant encouragement for Jaya to think that anything besides more insults, harsher this time where there's no crowd to hold him back, beyond the locked door. Jonavan fits the key in the lock and after a turn the door swings open as he gives it a shove. Inside, the quarters are small but adequate, long and narrow, with a table in the middle, bookshelves along the wall, and a bed at the far end.

In contrast to Jonavan's all-work-no-play exterior, his room boasts an interior life that's surprisingly full, if solitary. The bookshelves are full; a battered musical instrument lies in a corner; a pair of charcoal drawings of northern fauna grace one wall, while a larger canvas in reds and blues is hung above a clothespress near the door. Art supplies on one of the shelves suggest that at least some of it's his. With the door now open, Jonavan silently, with slight exaggeration, gestures for Jaya to proceed him.

“And so you merely came to my bad after months of not showing your face, just so you could buy a mug of ale and harass my barmaid?” Jaya’s words come on Jonavan’s own, arms now folding across her chest before the door opens to his quarters. Dark eyes adjust to what she sees then, ignoring the slight exaggeration of his gesture to proceed him as she enters. The room was clearly not what she expected of the healer, but then, she really shouldn’t be. She takes a slow turn around, eyes falling on as much of the room as she could before her attention catches on the charcoal drawings. Moving towards them to see it better. Her mouth working with no sound, “Nice place,” she admits in the silence, studying the drawings. “Different.” Different from him, she means, though she doesn’t make the distinction verbally.

"I came for the cards, actually," Jonavan maintains before a pause has him conceding, "And the ale. And especially the harassment. Hayli can take it. It does not all revolve around you." He stays near the entrance while Jaya pivots in his apartments, letting the door fall to behind him. He watches her while digging out the mixed handful of marks he's won and marks he came with, curious of her reaction and for a minute letting that get the better of his ill temper. In other words, it's gruff but not unpleasant when he points out, "Just fellis and hyssop."

“Very well,” Jaya seems to oddly enough take his answer at face value. She takes her gaze off of the drawings to regard Jonavan then, though it’s brief since for the most part his room has her attention. “Fellis and hyssop,” she echoes, eyes now seeking out the various art supplies. It’s while looking over the supplies that she quietly states, “I don’t understand you, Jonavan.” Silence reigns for a moment after that, then something else in the room catches her eye before she adds, “You spurn me once for caring about you, and yet tonite you enter my bar, acting as if you’re the spurned lover. Which is it?” Facing him now, arms drawing out from her sides in a seemingly arrogant gesture, “What do you want from me, for I was under the impression I was merely nothing more than a teenaged piece of ass to you? Your behavior tonite seems to be stating otherwise.” What cold anger that was on her face is gone, confusion and almost a plead left and laid bare before him.

The handful of marks join general clutter on top of the clothespress, a catch-all place for odds and ends. Then Jonavan crosses his arms and leans back against the door, keeping his distance. The man looks uncomfortable when faced like this; he's better with anger and recriminations and accusations, far prefers to carry on immaturely rather than like reasonable adults. "You mean I have to choose?" His attempt at levity. An answer that actually goes beyond sarcasm and gets at the truth is something that is drawn out of him at length, and in consequence the words come out slow, measured. Jonavan's chin dips towards his chest. "If you were nothing more than a teenaged piece of ass, I would have slept with you once and barely spoken to you after."

With Jonavan leaning against the door, Jaya keeps her distance by moving to the other side of the room. Her arms move to cross once more, seeming to mirror the healer in stance as she watches him – any attempt that seems to want to make him uncomfortable. “It can’t be both,” she answers on choosing, keeping her voice leveled and shaking her head slowly. “You can’t expect me to understand that you’re so angry about me being with Shijan, when all that time before you’ve deliberately kept me at a distance.” A distance that was actually being dramatized now, apparently, since she makes a note of how far apart they are in the small room. His last gets a twitch of brows, but nothing more as she adds, “If I was more than that, then why all the games? Why push me away, then pull me at the least opportunity? I told you,” and she meets his gaze defiantly, “that if you wanted me, come and get me, didn’t I? I’m not your dragon, Jonavan. I can’t read your mind and know what it is that you want.”

The mirrored positioning doesn't go unnoticed, Jonavan raising his eyebrows. He doesn't offer a chair, but there are two, a more comfortable one for reading and one at the desk, and he figures Jaya'll sit if she wants with or without his invitation. "Oh, it can too," he answers brusquely, interrupting, irritated that she wants to sort through this as if emotions and motives were easy, uncomplicated things. He knows full well that his aren't and expects similar of anyone who's worth his time. Jaya's questions, coming one after another, get one answer in total, and even that's an effort when he'd rather not say anything of substance. "I was working up to it," he mutters.

Silence meets those initial words, Jaya seems to pay more attention to his expression than his words. Pursing her lips briefly to it and uncrossing her arms, it’s only after his second is delivered that she states, “So you don’t want to talk to me.” Jonavan’s brisk manner and short answers seem to irritate her, especially the nature of those answers. “You rather want to just take your anger out on me and fuck all to the reasons why.” Shaking her head now, appearing clearly frustrated, “I can’t fight a mountain,” she says low, eyes darting at any place but his face and frowning before meeting his gaze. “I’m not some holdbred girl, Jonavan. Where I come from, life’s too short. You see what you want, you take it. You see something being taken, you fight for it. That’s all I know, and that’s the lands I’ve been brought up in. Fuck knows I could be dead tomorrow than to worry about whether a mug is half-empty or half-full.” The words meant to show him of herself and where she comes from, why it was hard for her to understand his complexities, her tone remaining level.

Basically, yes; Jonavan's expression suggests that Jaya's interpretation is not far off and holds quite a lot of merit. Jonavan uncrosses his arms and brings one hand up to scratch the back of his neck, looking to the side and letting his gaze fall still on the abstract oil painting as Jaya expresses her frustration. "And how do you propose fighting someone who's always there?" Though not the crux of the matter, there is still the sticking point of her bodyguard as the third wheel that can't be got rid of. Looking back to her, he does resemble the mountain she compares him with given his inflexibility, his unwillingness or inability to bend to meet her partway. "You make yourself sound like a possession. Is that how you see yourself?" The low, rough tones of his voice are calm. "I didn't think you were so passive." A marked contrast to all the talk of action prominent in her speech.

“I said to go out and take,” Jaya seems to clarify, though there’s a roguish tilt to her eyes as she looks at him, “but that doesn’t mean it, or she, wouldn’t put up a fight. We all have our choices, and choose what risks to take.” Chin lifting then, “So no, that is not how I see myself, and you know it. Don’t twist my words.” She’s not dignifying that the passive comment with words, only a look that is contrast to it. Stepping forward as she resumes her study of his room, “I’m a fighter and a thief is all I’m saying. There was never any gray areas in my life before here. Things either were, or they weren’t.” Her gaze sweeping where Jonavan is, she now addresses the first question: “Shijan was never the threat….until now.”

"I wouldn't want to get in the way of the happy couple." Sarcasm again, Jonavan's forte - and refuge, something to shelter in. A more open discussion, unsurprisingly, seems a risk he's unwilling to take, especially with the odds against him. "I'm sure you will have a litter of sullen, scar-faced babies." Jaya's latter comment goes unremarked upon; the biggest threat to Jonavan is, was, and perhaps always will be himself; he is his own worst enemy.

Jonavan’s first response has Jaya frowning. The sarcasm seems expected, but nonetheless she doesn’t seem pleased by it. She doesn’t respond to it, even moreso the second response though her eyes narrow slightly at it. Shaking her head, “Must everything be to the extreme with you?” she asks, though a hand lifts and she tacks on it, “Don’t answer that. I know you won’t.” Hand dropping, there was much she wanted to tell him – to talk to him like she always wanted – but it became difficult when the door is closed in her face for it. So she blinks, shakes her head again and slowly crosses the room to where the door is – in which Jonavan was standing in front of. Expecting him to step aside to free the path to the door, “Good to know things haven’t changed with you, shuga,” she drawls coolly, reaching for the knob if she could. “Who’d have thought I’d meet someone more immutable than a renegade leader in a Weyr?”

"Yes," comes the healer's catty reply, answering because he's told not to, answering because he is contrary, difficult in the best of times and this is hardly that. Yet without some kind of buried regret, surely he wouldn't bother with all these carefully aimed attempts to wound. Jonavan steps to the side, though doesn't go far - just enough for Jaya to open the door and slip by, if that's her choice. He doesn't make it easy. "Big word," he says, commenting on the style rather than the content. He echoes her deliberately, looking down at Jaya with a sullen, stony sort of intensity. "Who'd have thought you had any harper training in you."

The catty reply gets a thin-lipped look, and Jaya approaches him with Jonavan slipping slightly out of the way. Her hand is on the doorknob, not yet turning. Silence meets those words from him as she flicks her study over his frame, then meets that sullen and stony look with one of her own. His last barely registers a blink. "Wish I did," she says on the training, watching his face carefully. "If I did, then I would have known how to get through to you. All the same," and the Bitran woman straightens casting a look over his room once more, "getting through to difficult men isn't my expertise. I steal what I need and leave them to their darkness. Since I'm clearly wasting your precious time, I'll go." There was little enough pause between the last statements, them being delivered in such quick succession to be a run-on.

Jonavan sets his hand against the doorframe, bracing himself, not impeding Jaya's exit but not exactly getting out of the way either. Under Jaya's intense regard, the minute shifts in expression will perhaps be noted, though perhaps not what they signify. Following her remarks, he tries on a smile for size; it doesn't fit, is at odds with his whole demeanour. "You don't need to get through to me." Though trying for casual, he mostly sounds stiff. "You have your bodyguard."

Jaya's eyes regard his hand on the doorframe, her frown not lessening in the least at his short words. It's a long time that she considers the healer, words warring within her as she casts about for anything to be said. His stiff, short manner shuts that down, however, and it leaves the barkeep cold. Looking away, her expression darkly guarded as she turns the doorknob, "Suit yourself." Those are the two words dropped into the heavy air, her cool Dicori mask in place as she brushes past him while pushing the door open in preparation to depart.

Jonavan doesn't exactly step aside, but shifts his body enough that she can pass. She'll have to come close though, and it's as she starts to slide past with that final, brusque statement that he caves, slightly. "Jaya —" But he doesn't stop her beyond that one, exasperated call of her name.

Jaya was going past the threshold, her gaze carefully averted to see the door right across from her outside she hears her name. She does pause, but doesn't turn, her face still a mask. With her steps faltering, her hand still gripping the doorknob, her head turns just a fraction in Jonavan's direction before stating woodenly, "Hope you find whatever it is you're looking for, shuga," the barkeep says in her low, husky voice with little inflection. It's only then that she turns slightly to meet his gaze, hers unflinching, firm, and guarded. "Be it making Master, or not." The pause lingers as she stares at him, as if for the last time, then she continues on out of the room with a toss of words over her shoulder, "Whenever you get that stick from up your ass and deem me worthy of honest words, you know where to find me." Then she's heading out to the hall. It was in short, the proper parting shot of an improper Dicori woman.

For a moment, Jonavan's face is open enough to show his frustration as he looks back at Jaya. Then she's leaving, the door open behind her, and he shuts it in her wake with something just short of a slam. With her gone, he lets himself rest his forehead against the doorjamb, cursing colourfully. "Fucking wherry balls."

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