Cold On The Outside Warm On The Inside


Indira.jpg Keane.jpg

Date: 2011.06.05
Location: Telgar, Blood & Bucket
Synopsis: Indira, exhausted and in need of a break heads up to Telgar, leaving Max to find a way to bond with his daughter. Seeing how worn out Keane is too, she tries to convince him to sell his bar and move down South.
Rating: PG13
Logger: Indira

Indira couldn’t remember when last she had felt so tired; almost every part of her ached and she longed to do nothing more than indulge herself by taking a long soak in a hot bath but the past few months had seen bathing performed as a perfunctory task and nothing more. Finally when she found herself furnishing the same weyrling’s weyr twice and restocking the sweetener bins in the kitchens with salt, she knew it was time to take a break.

Having decided it was about time that father and daughter figured out a way to make a connection, she’d dropped Hope off with her father who’d looked like a wherry staring a dragon down (that still amused her no end), packed a carrysack, dragged poor Warin out of bed and given him a detailed list of instructions then had the first available dragon take her up to Telgar.

And so it is, that with the north being behind the south in time, she arrives on the doorstep of the Blood & Bucket quite literally, in the middle of the night.

The middle of the night was a cold one by Telgar's standards, and as such the bar is closed after a chilly night. When Indira's foot touches close to the doorstep, she would probably hear low growling on the other side of the door, the door itself locked from thieves. Despite the place being dark save for the pale moonlight shining through its grimy windows, Keane is still up. The old barkeep hardly sleeps much these days, choosing to read through the stack of letters he receives almost daily when he can. One particular letter had him up for the last sevenday in thought - the one from his sister, Yaira. She was having a bad turn already with her crops, and she had heard from one of the runts that was their brother. The canine Rordan brought back one day was another that kept him up, the big black beast growling at every shift and sound he hears. Luckily he hasn't bitten anyone, the pup apparently trained to obey orders. Yet.

It's so that when the big black starts growling in the middle of the night, the sound heard all the way to his open door chambers, Keane looks up from his stare into the burning fireplace to listen. Already he has learned the little nuances of his growls, and this one signaled that someone was near his Blood and Bucket door. He can already imagine seeing the canine's black fur sticking up on end on his back with his ears back, glaring the door down as if he could see right behind it. Keane's almost certain that he could. He waits longer for the growling to abate, and when it doesn't, the barkeep sighs and heaves himself up out of his char. He throws a heavy, brown robe over himself as he shuffles out, heading down the hall towards his bar to see what got the animal so riled up. If it was thieves at this time of night…

Despite having donned a fleece lined leather jacket in readiness for the wintry north with a thick polo-neck sweater beneath it, gloves, leather breeches and knee-high boots, Indira is unable to suppress the shiver from a blast of icy wind that howls from around the side of the building. The growling from the other side of the door has her cocking a brow. That…was unexpected. Tired and cold and with little to no sense of humour left, she lifts her gloved fist and bangs on the door, “Open up! It’s blood freezing out here!” Not sure if her voice will even carry through the thick door and down to Keane’s chambers. Perhaps sending the man a heads up beforehand might have been a good idea after all though it’s a moot point now given that her ride has already left.

It's the banging on his bar door that has Keane briefly stopping in his tracks. His eyes track where the darkest shadow is in front of the door, catching where the big black canine was growling. The growling immediately lets off when the bar keep appears, moving absently ruffle his fur once he approaches the door with a frown on his face. "Got ourselves a visitor," he tells the canine, turning abruptly once the familiar female voice reaches both their ears. "Indira…?" He couldn't believe his ears. Canine looks up at barowner while he looks down, frowning before he removes the heavy block of wood barring the door and throws it open to find his lady love freezing outside in the night with no ride nor rider there behind her. His eyes drink her in before he reaches out as if to physically bring her in out of the cold himself, the canine once again taking up growling until he hisses at the beast to silence. "What in the darkness….?" he sends her way, bidding her to come in before adding, "and don't worry about that black mat over there. He won't do anything if I have breath still in my body. Is that really you, Indira?" his eyes were deceiving him, surely….

Framed in the doorway, Indira just moments away from having her teeth setting to chattering doesn’t step inside once the door is flung open but rather hesitates and eyes the big black brute warily. “No, it’s the ghost of lovers past,” she sends in smirking return to his last, sloe eyes flowing hungrily over Keane. Apparently she does still have a shred of humour left in her that hasn’t frozen in the cold yet. “Surprise?” the tousled blonde utters next, warm humour in her tone and despite his reassurances about the big canine, she remains where she is, hovering on the threshold arms wrapped tightly about herself. Apparently there is something the Headwoman is afraid of after all, though she’s not about to admit it.

When Indira doesn't immediately step in, her eyes going from hunger of him to the wariness of the canine, Keane looks over his shoulder at the big black and whistles. Waving shooing motions towards the beast, "Go on to your real master," he shooes softly, the canine watching Indira just as warily before he spots the bar owner taking a menacing step towards him. "Git!" The canine's yellow eyes regard Indira longer before he shuffles back, and it takes Keane looking as if he was going to chase the canine off personally for him to finally turn and bumble towards the chambers where Rordan sleeps. "Rordan brought him back," he explains, the man watching the canine go until he finds it hard to distinguish the shadows from the big black himself. Turning back and gesturing her urgently inside with the chill settling on him through his heavy robe, "But yes, surprised. Did something happen? Max?" There's concern in his tone, the young crimelord now having become as important to him as his ladies down south. Shaking his head, "No matter, we'll talk all about that soon enough. Come on, get in and I'll set you up close to the fire. You're a lucky woman to have caught me still awake," he tells her, amusement lacing his fatigued frame. "Rordans claims that once my head hits the pillow that all of Pern could go up in flames and I'd not hear it, the rascal. So he says." That hungry look sent get returned then as he looks the woman over, pleased nonetheless by this sudden warm surprise that came straight up from the south.

Dark eyes meet yellow but Indira manages to stay where she is and not take a step backward. “That beast is…Rordan’s?” eyes narrowing as they track the canine’s departure so as to suggest she might quite likely have a go at kicking her man’s butt for him. A deep smirk curls about her lips when Keane mentions her son, “Oh I’m sure he’s about ready to pull his hair out about now.” But she explains no further for once the mutt is gone and she’s waited a moment or two to be sure it’s not coming back, she steps gratefully over the threshold, drops her carrysack to the floor and immediately moves to try wrapping her arms about the tavern owner. But she’s just sneaky enough and craving warmth enough to try getting them in under his robe if she can which will likely have the effect of shoving ice blocks down the poor man’s back. “Mmm, I am a lucky woman indeed,” and by the very inflection in her tone, it’s clear to see that her response has nothing to do with having caught him awake, “And lucky for you that I’m here now to ensure you get some good sleep in, hmm?” Quietly and with warm sincerity in her tone, Indira’s eyes lift to his, weariness evident in the pallor of her skin, “I’ve missed you, Telgar.”

"He thought the place needed an extra pair of eyes and ears," Keane remarks dryly in explanation, his gaze following after the vanishing black beast. When he turns back he could detect Indira's discomfort, and he knows it wasn't his bar or himself causing it so he adds with a nod, "I'll see about having the beast tag around Rordan. He doesn't cause trouble, normally," though he does not point out which the remark refers to: Rordan or his canine. Her answer on Max definitely sparks his interest, but he wasn't going to question now. Right now, with his Headwoman out of the cold and into the moonlight shadows of the bar with him, right now all he wanted to focus on was her. He wraps his arms gratefully about her when she does him, looking like two halves of a redfruit made whole. There's rumbling against his belly from his chuckling when she digs past his robe to reach the warmth of his skin, the ice of her fingers causing skin to tense only momentarily before he frees her from his hold enough to gesture for them to head to his chambers. Guiding her in the darkness, "Mmmm, are you?" he rumbles on her helping him sleep. "I seem to recall doing little sleep sometimes in your company, Headwoman. You, as well." His own tone is weary but warm, the man clearly happy to see her and be reunited once more. To her last he reaches up to brush her cheek, his answer to that being the longing kiss he offers her like a man dying for his taste of good wine.

Indira finds herself unable to argue Rordan’s thinking and so gives a smile and a shake of head to Keane offering to keep the beast out of her sight and then a light frown forms and concern creeps onto her expression. Tipping her head to one side, “There’s been trouble here?” But then she’s wrapped in his embrace and a soft sigh spills and all else melts away for the time being as while still keeping an arm draped about him, she allows the tavern owner to guide her to his chambers. Eyes lift to his, moonlight dancing mischievous patterns across their dark depths despite her weariness, “Is that a complaint?” Teasing on there not having been much sleep to be had some nights the last time they were together.

And then he’s kissing her and with a soft whimper that speaks in turn to how much she’d missed him, Indira presses herself more fully against her barkeep, lips parting beneath his and cold hands sliding up his back. Breaking it she pulls away and puts another look of concern onto Keane for the weariness she sees on his face. “You’re working too hard,” she notes quietly.

"Not anymore than there usually is," Keane answers on trouble, running a hand through his white hair. "Rordan seems to think there's not enough protection here though, so I indulge the boy a little. Admittedly he's been a lot of help here, so I don't mind the mangy beast." There's a light twitch of a shrug, more into having the woman in his arms than in talking about his barman. Hands steal down her back to her ass, the rumbled chuckle verberating through his robe for her teasing words on sleepless nights as he guides her back to his chambers. Once there he only lets her go long enough to close the door, moving the both of them close to the fireplace where most of the warmth in the room resides. "I never complain," the bar owner states on the matter then, resting his arms about her waist along with that welcoming kiss. When she presses herself close to him, he responds in kind with his own body before pulling away to study her face in the gentle fire light. Her concern for him show in his face, the man lifting a hand to run it into Indira's blonde hair before answering with a wry, "Aye, my lady. It seems like someone, somewhere, always wants something from me. Goes with the bar, I suppose, but, sometimes I wonder how much longer can I ignore my own life for that of my bar and those that come with it, ehh?" Quiet words, heavy words, words that seem to come from the deep recesses of his thoughts. Words he feels comfortable sharing with her. His gaze going beyond her towards the bed briefly, "How long will I have you here?" he asks, meeting her eyes. "You only have the one carrysack? You hungry? It must have been light down south, hm?" Ever the host, the bar owner looks to getting Indira comfortable, though he's not offering her a room. The only room she was staying in was his own.

Indira studies him for a moment, searching for signs of Keane trying to brush her concerns off and then she gives a slow saying nothing more until they’re in his quarters and after the kiss is broken. Turning her head slightly into his hand that runs fingers through her hair, her smile is soft, “I worry about you out here, love.” A faint frown appears as fingers trace down along the collar of his robe, her eyes following suit, “I think it’s coming near to the time where you need to start taking a stand for what it is you want in life, hmm?” And then out of nowhere before she’s even had chance to think about what she’s saying, “Sell it. Sell the bar and move to Southern. ” The eager light, though brief that sparks in her eyes making her look turns younger. As to how long she’s able to stay, the tousled blond steps out of his embrace, fingers deftly unbuttoning her thick jacket and then shrugging out of it and a faintly remorseful smile appears. “Only a few nights I’m afraid, I don’t want to be away from Hope for too long. Besides with the way things are at Weyr at the moment…” her words trail and Keane is rewarded with a warm smile for playing the gracious host. “I would kill for a nice, long hot bath uninterrupted save for the presence of this incredibly sexy barkeep I happen to know. And if he’s really good,” sauntering a step back into the older man, sloe eyes flowing an openly hungry look up and down his robed frame, “I may even let him wash my back,” wink.

Regarding Indira idly as he fingers a lock of her blond hair, "I love this bar," Keane admits to her offers, taking a look about him. "Always thought I would die here. Seems poetic." Beat. "Leaving though…not a lot of crimelords in the area would like that. What would an old barkeep do down in southern, hmmm?" he adds the last with a touch of amusement, actually considering the possibility of selling his precious bar. He was getting tired, after all. He nods once to her staying for so short of time, though there's concern flaring as he asks, "How is the child, and the Weyr?" but he doesn't linger on it, choosing instead to tighten his hold about her waist when she requests a hot bath. Chuckling, "A bath does sounds nice," he drawls, his smile quirky. "I can draw us up a good and hot one, and while I wash that back of yours, you can tell me of what's been going on down at the Weyr." He really ought to get an informant down there.

“I know, love,” Indira responds quietly to the ties he has to the bar, a hand lifting to touch lightly to his jaw, “but when do you start living for you instead of everyone else, hmm?” She’s a fine one to talk when it comes to such things. And then a dark blonde brow lifts on what he’s to do down in Southern, “Anything you damn well please. Though I’m hoping that when it comes to the doing, you’ll lend some thought to a certain Headwoman, hmm?” that last spoken with a sly smile attached. A smile which turns tender when he asks after her granddaughter, “Better than I expected given the circumstances, though she and her father still have a few things to work out. Which reminds me, there’s some that seem to think she’s yours and…well, I haven’t said anything to lead them to believe otherwise,” for obvious reasons though she does have the good grace to drop her eyes and look somewhat sheepish for the confession. As to the weyr, the tousled blonde frowns slightly and then lifts her arms and laces her hands behind his neck as he tightens his hold on her, “Bath first, talk later, hmm?”

Keane's skin warms to Indira's touch, more than the fireplace could ever do as he listens to her words. When indeed, does he start living for himself? He thinks that over. "Lord Holders and Weyrleaders aren't the only ones that gets the whole of Pern weighing down their shoulders," he grunts, nodding. "Aye, perhaps someday soon, my love. I would want my bar put in the care of someone I fully trust first, and I'm still not sure if Rordan can handle this place on his own for longer than a sevenday." Looking around again, "This place is more than a bar," he explains to her, pride flickering in his rough tone. "Turns and turns this place has seen the fall of Thread and crimelords, Weyrleaders, Lords. This is a neutral ground for enemies and friends alike, and it takes a certain mind to keep this place as such. I worked hard to get the Blood and Bucket to this place, and it would grieve me to see someone behind me return it to its former failures." Meeting her gaze then, "Someone would have to be able to handle the likes of Lorien and Kelarad," he adds, listing the closest crimelords, "and be able to command respect while giving it to them. Lorien trusts few as it is, and Rad would snatch the opportunity to manipulate if he sees one. They'll need to own a strong set of balls to stand up to them without offending. I don't think Rordan's near ready for that. However," and he nods once, "perhaps I can search to for the right replacement. May take sevendays, or turns, but I wouldn't turn this place over to anyone and cause war." He chuckles to doing her and whatever he wants down south, touching her face as he grunts back, "I'd do you as much as it pleases, my love. Ain't fond of the Weyr, though. Thinking of living right outside of it, or Landing." When Indira tells him about the situation with Hope - her being his, that is - brows lift and fall with amusement in place. "You don't say?" he drawls to that, finding it interesting. "Always did fancy myself to be a father." That was his way of being okay with it, regarding that sheepish look fondly. When Indira speaks of the bath first, he chuckles and again and steers her towards the door with a gesture. "I'll stoke the fires and it will be ready in a moment," he tells her as he reaches for the door. His eyes look her over, as if he could see through her clothes, before the door is wrenched open and he gestures for her to proceed him.

Indira stills watching Keane’s face closely, taking in every nuance of expression and shift in his tone as he explains just what the Blood & Bucket means to not only him, but also to those that rely on its neutrality. The solemnity she’d been wearing fades away and is replaced by an expression at once both sly and enigmatic as she states, “I might know of just such a man. There is however the small matter of his having pissed off the one running the lands of the Reaches.” Downplaying the trouble a certain former harper has tailing him. She says no more on the matter however choosing rather to turn her head so that soft lips graze against his hand that touches to her face, “Landing is closer than Telgar,” she concedes, “not to mention warmer,” a light shiver going through her body as if to emphasize the point. His amusement at being touted by some to be Hope’s father chases away whatever unease she might have felt for letting believe what they would of the child’s origins and lifts her head to place a gentle brush of lips against his. “You’d make a good father. Thank you for understanding.” When Keane speaks of stoking fires, Indira flashes him a wicked look and gives with a seductive smile, “Definitely ready in a moment,” sly innuendo lent to her words as she follows him out.

When Indira mentions that she may have someone in mind, Keane regards her for just a moment before asking, "Who? And you mean, Borrento, that is?" Curious on this one, he lingers on it in thought before the softness of her lips drives such thoughts away. His chuckle is warm and inviting when she speaks on Landing, "Been interested in the things going on down there from those patrons that like to visit," he explains when he feels the shivers of her body against him. "Landing's safe enough, and I reckon, some of the crimelords wouldn't be adverse to visit me there as opposed to the Weyr." Her words on him being a good father, gets a fond grin, his finger drawing down to her chin as he adds, "And you make a good mother, love. Hope's in good care, either way." Pause. "So then, let's get to that bath, hm?" and with sly words delivered his way, the old man looks eager to put those words to the test as he leads them down the hall and towards the small baths room.

“Aye,” to it being Borrento and, “Never you mind. When you decided the time is right, then we’ll talk over the who,” Indira states with a wink going more than a little weak at the knees for that warm and inviting chuckle of his. When he mentions crimelords that might visit him down at Landing she sends him a careful look, “Max…has business that he takes him down to Landing every other day, love.” Pausing she then adds, “But I’m sure that so long as he’s kept in the loop and they don’t cause trouble in his territory, he’ll be amenable to such things.” She hopes.

Reaching for his other hand, fingers lace through his and then draw their joined hands up to her lips, kissing each of his knuckles softly before saying with a gentle smile in place, “Perhaps one day if life sees fit, my love.” They’ll have a child of their own, but she doesn’t go so far as to finish verbalising that thought, mind turned instead toward sharing some steamy bath time with the man she’s come so far to spend some time unwinding with.

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