Courting Tunnelsnakes


Bowen.jpg Max.jpg

Date: 10/1/10
Location: EW: Beast Cavern
Synopsis: Bowen shows up early the morning after encountering Jaya and gives Max the rundown of events, including how things are going with his offer of protection over Cheusia. The men talk of Vaputero and courtship rituals and make plans.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Bowen

Morning finds the beast caverns their usual hive of activity, save for one beast manager who is currently having a bit of a problem trying to dodge a herd of porcine being driven ahead of a young stablehand as he makes his way over to Renegade's stall. A piglet darts out of the small pack and makes a run for it … straight between Max's legs thus successfully managing to trip the man up and bring him down hard. Cavern floor, meet beast manager! A shouted curse from him and a roar of laughter from Waine as the herd separates and flows around him. Offering his supervisor a hand up the big brute gives with high amusement, "Taken down by a piggie, who woulda thunk." All he gets is a glare and a low growled, "Took you out once, can do it again!" All in a day's work, right?

It’s amidst the roar of laughter that Bowen enters the beast caverns, having gotten very little sleep the night before and looking the part. Though, not all of it was because of Jaya and her intimidating bodyguard to be sure. He looks up the aisle ahead of him, making his usual easy-going and casual pace as he arrives a few steps behind Waine this morning (out of swinging distance just in case in all the commotion he might not have heard Bo’s approach). “Wouldn’t mind payin’ marks ta see that, actually,” Bo comments dryly on Max taking Waine out, not that he doesn’t believe Max. He’d just pay to see it. Men can be such brutes sometimes. Then he nods to the two of them, polite like, before settling a concerned look on Max, “Got a minute?”

Hauling the beast manager up to his feet, Waine sends a cocky grin out, "Got lucky," he states. It's then that Max is made aware of Bowen's presence and brushing himself down sends a grin the tanner's way, "Aye?" casting a glance over to the burly stablehand, "Whaddaya say? Wanna come gimme a kiss?" Waine simply snorts a rough laugh and rather then be suckered into that trap heads back to whatever his duties for the day are. The humor slips off with that concerned look coming from Bo, "Aye. Office?" assuming it to be something not to be discussed out in public.

Bowen watches Waine head off to his duties, smirking faintly, and then nods to Max and his suggestion of his office before he turns to head in that direction. He’s looking a little bit better today, though could stand a shave, and doesn’t seem to be favoring that leg as much as he did yesterday or the day before. Before he is even in Max’s office, however, he’s prompting quietly, “Waine tell ya that barkeep, Jaya, stopped by last night?” That much wasn’t as interesting as Bo’s own conversation with the woman, and so allowed to be a little more public, or so it seems to the tanner.

Keeping pace with Bowen, probably out of consideration for the man's injury, even if he doesn't seem to be favoring that leg as much, or probably to keep conversation to just themselves, Max sends a short nod the tanner's way, "Aye. Said she came by. Didn't say why though." A light frown forming at the end there as he steps into his office and waiting until his friend is inside closes it behind him. Arms fold across his chest as rather than seat himself, he takes to leaning his butt against the desk, legs stretched out before him, "Something happen?" His turn to wear concern.

The tanner nods as he hears that Waine did pass along the message, seeming to approve in some way. “Ayup,” Bo finally says softly, not really needing to lower his voice since the quiet man usually speaks in husky tones to begin with, “She had a big guy with her. Didn’t introduce us properly, but th’ way he was shadowin’ her, an’ th’ way his frame spoke, ‘e seemed like he was all ‘round thug, an’ one I wouldn’t wanna tangle with even if he’d been in his cups, from th’ looks of ‘im.” Not that Bo is scared by nature, but he knows his limits, and he tries to avoid fucking with someone who’d probably kill him in the first round. He continues softly, moving in to rest a hand on the back of the chair that sits in front of Max’s desk, but not taking the seat himself, as he speaks, “So, she came in with ‘im, an’ lookin’ fer ya an’ when I told ‘er ya wasn’t here, she introduced herself an’ made no bones of askin’ where that thief was stashed, sayin’ she had business with him. I pretended not t’know whut she was talkin’ ‘bout.” He pauses here, gathering his thoughts before continuing, “Sh’ said she hadn’t been filched from an’ she wasn’t there t’break him out. She j’st had … questions fer ‘im.” Bo purses his lips together a moment and then says, “But sumpthin’ ya said made me think sumpthin’ ‘bout her was off. Y’said this was mixed up with some Bitrans, yeah? Well, I ain’t no expert, but there was a couple of times she spoke whut made me think of a feller I used t’know at Southern, who was from Bitra,” the accent, in other words. Another pause. “Now, she suddenly wants some boots from me. Was goin’ down there this afternoon with some samples. Any of that make any sense t’ya? Anything I should know ‘bout her before I go?” And gets himself killed by mister monk bodyguard himself … or something.

Brows go up and Max's head drops toward his a chest a little as a chuckle flows out when Bowen describes the man that had been with Jaya, "Aye. That's Shijan. One of Indira's. She's got him watching Jaya's back." His head lifts a more sober expression in place, "Wouldn't want to take him on either." He's seen the man in action and like the tanner is well aware of his own limits. Which might beg the question as to how, being of a more wiry build, he'd been able to do so with Waine if the brief words exchanged between the two when Bowen had come upon them, is anything to go by. Dropped into silence, his attention settled onto the other man as he talks, a deeply approving expression forms for Bo having played 'dumb' with regards to the thief currently in his custody and then a frown starts to form and deepen. Arms unfold and a hand brushes through his hair as a sigh is exhaled and an uncertain look passed over to the tanner, "Not sure how far you're wanting to be involved in this, Bo. It could get ugly," especially considering the little Jaya's told him of this Vaputero person, "I'll tell you this much. Shijan won't touch you unless you make an actual threatening move on her. But aye, she's Bitran." He'll give that much out until such time as his friend has stated how deep he's prepared to get into it all.

In all of this, Bowen merely frowns as he listens to the beast manager, though not in displeasure with him as much as just displeasure with the whole situation, and generally thinking about it all. He draws his free hand down his bruised chin, slowly, and sighs a little at the end, “Alright, so good t’know I still got it when I can pick out a man who’d kick m’ass.” Beat pause. “So, dis Bitran, Jaya … she in on it with us? Or yer mother and yerself thinkin’ she’s behind it somehow?” He lowers his hand to join the other on the back of Max’s chair as he looks at him, “I reckon I threw m’hat in down th’ bottom of th’ whole fuckin’ well back when Che got that crazy note, Max.” Another pause, though shorter, “Speakin’ of, I moved cots so’s I was sleepin’ next t’her in the Low’r Cavern. An’ … whut’s a man do these days t’court women? Is it still flowers, candy, an’ baubles?” Because, hell if Bo knows. He never really courted his wife to begin with. Just got her pregnant. And that’s probably the most varied number of subjects the man has ever had in a single conversation, and nearly single breath. Someone’s had his caffeine today.

Grimly, "Its deep dark well, my friend," Max gives on Bowen throwing his lot in with him, and then he pushes off of his lean against his desk and takes to his chair. Looking up at the tanner now he nods slowly, "Vaputero, Bitran crime boss," he starts out, stops, frowns and then continues, "She used to work for him back in the day. That thief in there," a jerk of head in the direction of the tack room, "Jinnet. Says he's one of Vaputero's." Passing a hand over his a face a frown is left in its path, "Why I can't figure though, is if he's reaching down here to get at her, what the fuck were they doing trying to take Renegade? Less of course he's trying to kill two wherries with one stone." The beast manager's mouth twisting into a wry smile for the dark pun. And then Bo's asking for dating advice and he's unable to do little but blink a little at either the change of topic or the nature of the question, or both. Chuckling, shoulders shift around a shrug, "Damned if I know. Gave Ahni a runner shoe," which may make him the worst possible person to have asked. Rubbing his thumb over his lower lip in contemplation for a moment he then at least makes attempt to try and help, "Find out what she likes. What's important to her, or to the two of you, and take it from there?" Then he catches onto something said a little earlier about cots being pushed together and a crooked smile appears, "Offer still stands of that empty stall iffen you two are wanting…some privacy?" Meaning that the tanner makes it his sleeping quarters and not intending to mean that it be used as a place to meet up in secret. There's very handy storage rooms for that, as he'll attest to.

“Vaputero,” Bowen repeats slowly in a murmur, committing it to memory and nodding quietly. He lapses quiet again, letting Max explain everything, including the dating advice and the suggestion for privacy, before Bowen speaks again, seeming to settle back into his slow, sedate self once more. As a result, he speaks on the matter of courtship first, grunting a little, “Ain’t like that … needin’ privacy,” pause, “Yet. An’ no offense, Max, but th’ only place whut smells worse than a runner stable’re prolly my curin’ vats. But I’ll keep th’ offer in mind. Thank ye.” There’s another thoughtful pause as Max gives some good advice, about finding out what she likes. So far, he can only remember her telling him that she likes kissing him. She might have said something else, but the fact that she likes kissing him kind of eclipsed anything else. He’ll have to look into that again. A frown touches his lips as he ponders that, and then, he blinks, “Y’gave yer woman a runner shoe? An’ she didn’t club ya with it? Jays … ” He now looks a bit awed by Max, at least briefly, before he is clearing his throat again, and seems like he’s ready to speak, but doesn’t. He considers things said for another longer moment and then says, “Mebbe Renegade was meant as a distraction and sumpthin’ went wrong? Wait … whudja mean ‘bout two wherries an’ one stone?”

Max gives a short nod of confirmation to the name handed over and then he's doing his best to keep a sober expression in place as Bowen comments on the misuses of a runner stall. He fails, for a chuckle spills out and he shrugs looking over at his own sleeping area, "You wouldn't have to be sharing it with a runner, Bo. Ain't all that bad." That to the various smells that can be expected to waft about beast caverns despite scrupulous maintenance and cleaning but also suggesting he wouldn't mind having proper quarters at some time or another. "Better'n being stuck with a whole horde of snoring oafs." A grin that holds a suspiciously smug line to it goes to having given Ahnika a runner shoe. Although in all fairness, the actual delivery of it had been thanks to his mother. "Naw, climbed right into my lap," stretching the truth a little from the redhead having actually stumbled and fallen into his lap rather than having done so under her volition. Again, all humor drains away and the beast manager's expression closes down when his friend questions his ill made pun, his jaw tightening a little as he looks away from the tanner, studying the handle of the closed door in silence. Eventually shadowed eyes stray back toward him and he gives in a tight tone, "Might be he's here for me." Which putting two and two together along with the attempted theft of Renegade might explain the strange note Che had been sent. Striking at those closest to him.

In all actuality, as much as Bo loves his Strider, he probably would prefer sharing it with his runner, but it’s not his sensibilities he’s worried about as much as Che’s. “Once this here mess is straightened out an’ we know Che ain’t in any danger no more an’ I don’t need t’ sleep close by wherever she is, then we’ll talk s’more ‘bout it,” Bowen allows slowly with a thoughtful nod. “It ain’t me I’m worried ‘bout,” he clarifies, “I’m stirrin’ them vats most o’th’ day an’ can take j’st ‘bout any smell, Max,” which hopefully gets the point across that it’d really be up to whether or not he still needed to sleep near Che and she was okay with it, or whether or not things progressed to a point where sleeping together was more or less a given, really. He grunts a bit at the snoring oafs comment, being one of said snoring oafs himself, but leaves the comment there, merely shaking his head a moment later at the tale of Ahnika climbing right into his lap for a runner shoe. He is quite thoroughly amazed about it, but obviously feels the information about Vaputero being a little more critical right now, and so leaves that explanation for another day, perhaps when and if he should ever actually meet this mysterious weyrling he hears so much of. “Fer you,” he says, enunciating the ‘you’ more clearly than he usually does. The tanner stiffens a little and turns his blue eyes in the direction of the thief in the tack room, murmuring, “We gotta plan?” to the beast manager.

"Ah, right. I got it," now understanding Bowen's having moved cots to be closer to Cheusia, "Good idea," this given to the actions taken," and then with a short smile, "Anything changes, you know where I am. Might be I could to talk to my Ma and get you two set up with a room or something." Because it's about -who- you know, not what you know sometimes, not to mention that having a mother as a Headwoman has got to have it's advantages, especially where the comfort of friends are involved. To Max's mind, in any event. The tanner meeting Ahnika one day and hearing a slightly different side of the story is likely to earn the beast manager a smack upside the head. Lips press into a grim line and he nods slowly, "Aye, for me. Don't know though," shifting a little uneasily in his seating, "Could be I'm seeing ghosts." Slowly a cold smile appears and he follows his friend's gaze toward the tack room, "Aye. Beat the shit outta him until he gives on who he's here for," and with a little more levity, "This Vaputero…his type don't care much for their hirelings, so trying to trade him back ain't gonna work none." And then he stops and frowns realizing that in having said that, the Bitran crime boss cares enough about Jaya to have extended his reach all the way down to Southern. Muttering quietly as though to himself, "She must have some good shit on him."

Returning his attention back to the beast manager, Bowen considers the other man’s words in that lengthy quiet he’s mastered. The comment on getting a room together with Cheusia has the tanner swallowing visibly, seeing that as being a little too close to getting hitched for his comfort right now. Hell, the poor man has only recently gotten over most of his fear and trepidation about women in regards to Che at least. He still holds it with most women at large, to be sure, which is probably why some of Jaya’s smiles and charm last night didn’t work on him. Not that she was likely trying as hard as she could have been, he was pretty sure. And then there is the other matter of Che feeling hurt over Kason, too. With a slight press of his lips, Bo offers softly, “He hurt her, Max.” He draws himself up a little and crosses his arms over his chest as if meaning to stand there and take some metaphorical bullet for Cheusia personally, though what conclusions he may be drawing on that front are probably not exactly correct. “That Kason feller,” he clarifies, “hurt her. So, I reckon I oughtta let Che decide on any room sharin’ t’be done if it’s t’be at all … gonna take it slow an easy fer her,” which suits this tanner just fine, really. Then he nods a little, “but good t’know people,” and this is punctuated with a meaningful gentle smile, briefly, before his stoic demeanor returns. Back to business. He ponders Max’s words for a long time and then frowns thoughtfully once more, saying, “I reckon if’n he wanted Jaya dead, she’d’ve been dead by now. That makes me think more th’ runner thievin’ was probably more meant t’distract th’ folks in charge investigatin’ that t’get Jaya,” pause, “or y’self out.” He frowns again, “Assumin’ it’s all related at all.” He lets his eyes move in the direction of Renegade’s stall before looking back at Max, “How’s beatin’ th’ shit outta him werkin’ so far?” Meaning The Plan. “Getting’ anythin’?”

"Hurt…her?" Max's expression clouding over and becoming decidedly thunderous despite the fact that Bowen is well capable of, and probably has more right to go pound on Kason for having hurt the Journeywoman. Aside from a figuratively muttered, "I'll kill him," he leaves it there and nods instead to the tanner wanting to give Cheusia some space to decide for herself and in her own time what she's comfortable with. Settling back in his chair the beast manager nods to what is said of the Bitran trouble, and then a slight smirk appears, "Or she's just that good at covering her tracks." A margin of grudging approval shows up for the bar owner having managed to evade the thug's clutches thus far. As to any Bitran eyes being cast his way, he conveniently glosses over that particular issue, keeping the focus on Jaya. That smirk deepens and draws a dark edge about it at the other's last, "Got a name outta him didn't I?" he gives on how terrorizing his prisoner is working thus far. "Although…" brushing fingers against his chin and dropping his hand away to fix a contemplative look onto the man that has fast become a close friend, "Maybe if I let Jaya in there…" pausing and then adding, "under supervision of course, we can…'persuade' him to give up more, aye?" The audible air quotes lending voice to what his idea of persuasion is likely to entail and having enough respect for Bowen by this stage to value his opinion on the matter.

Watching Max’s expression cloud over, Bowen dips his head slightly in mutual agreement over the matter, his jaw working a little for what he’d like to do to Kason. “Get’n line,” he says, with regards to killing him. Then he relaxes, lowering his arms, realizing that there’s little he can do about it now, “At least he didn’t leave ‘er with a baby on th’ way b’fore he left ‘er.” There’s a little shake to his head over the matter entirely, and his fingers flex a little at his sides, itching to throw a punch at something again, preferably Kason, and then they relax and he looks to Max for his comment of Jaya being that good. Turning the chair around with its back to Max’s desk and lowering himself, straddling the seat while his arms rest across the back, Bo mentally rewinds his encounter with her from the night before and the brief encounter with her in the bar. “Mebbe,” he says, sounding uncertain, and then clarifying, “She was awful ‘chatty’ last night, considerin’ she didn’t know me oth’r than I picked a fight in ‘er bar.” He nods then to Max getting a name out of him, seemingly respectful and appreciative of the fact, despite what it probably meant on a human rights level, and then he shakes his head, “I dunno. She might give too much ‘way …” if she is in there with the prisoner, “Unless she means sumpthin’ to him an’ we can play like we’re gonna hurt ‘er or kill ‘er until he spills.” Sometimes, Bo’s train of thought is rather unconventional. “Gag ‘er if ya do.” If only all women could be gagged forever. Except Che, of course. She doesn’t count anymore.

"Gladly," Max gives to getting in line, his eyes narrowing a fraction, having not even considered the possibility that Cheusia may have been left with child, "lucky for him." He states darkly and then snorts at Bowen's words for Jaya having gotten chatty with him, "She gets like that when she's trying to bamboozle you into doing something she wants you to," having banged heads with the woman enough times to have at least figured that much out about her, "likes to press on nerves too." The thought of gagging the bar owner draws forth the edge of a sardonic grin, "If it only it were that simple." Shaking his head at the suggestion of using her as bait, "Naw, don't reckon that'll work. Had the man believing we'd done that Passan fellow in right next door to him and all he gave was that name. More worried she's gonna cut him than say too much." Not that he's adverse to such measures when carried out on a lowlife piece of scum such as Jinnet was proving to be but he'd rather not end up with a dead body on his hands.

On the matter of Kason, Bowen simply nods. Lucky for him. Lucky for Bo, too, because that would have complicated things exponentially. He’s not quite sure what he would have done if she was pregnant with another man’s child, though he’s pretty certain he wouldn’t have abandoned her altogether as Kason had. He grunts a little over Max’s words on Jaya and his take on her techniques, but doesn’t really comment other than to just nod when Max finishes, taking it all in and filing it away, both what Max had already done to get Jinnet to talk and what his real worry about letting Jaya in there with him might mean. “Well, I reckon ya know ‘er better’n I do,” he says at long last on the matter of how Max may use her to get Jinnet to talk, “but at least I ain’t gotta worry ‘bout ‘er an’ that … Shijan, comin’ at ya in th’ middle of th’ night no more.” With this, he stands, turning the chair back around properly. “If’n I hear more, I’ll pass it ‘long.”

Dark eyes roll at Bowen's response to him knowing Jaya well enough to predict what she's likely to do. "Dunno, Bo. Got Indira on my back about letting her in there with him too. Reckons it'll give her some peace or something if she can see for herself he's tied up good and proper and ain't gonna be coming after her any time soon." He's still dubious about the whole affair however. As the tanner stands so does he, lifting his arms above his head and stretching the kinks out of his back, and then suddenly states out of the blue, "Saddle up Strider and take her out for a picnic somewhere." Meaning the sort of gesture the other man might make toward the Journeywoman. "Worked well enough with Ahni, just" and here a slightly sheepish chuckle breaks out, "don't go playing with no tunnelsnakes on the way." Remembering that whole rather unfortunate encounter, which in retrospect, had worked out pretty well in the end. However, Bowen might take the way those words were intended entirely the wrong way.

There’s a little shrug from Bowen, not really arguing the point. Max knows Jaya better than he does and he meant it as such, indicating that he’d stand by whatever decision Max makes about letting her in to meet the prisoner. Then he gives a little dip of the head, “J’st lemme know if’n ya need me t’do anythin’. I’ll stick t’watchin’ out fer Che and tryin’ t’track down th’ feller whut sent her that note in th’ meantime.” He carefully avoids mentioning that Che will be the one comparing handwriting samples for the time being. The suggestion earns Max a lifting of that pair of eyebrows on the tanner’s head and a slow, sly smile forms there before he slowly shakes his head, “Y’all got some funny notion’s a’courtship here … tunn’lsnakes.” Then he grins a bit, nodding, “She’s been wantin’ t’learn t’ride, so, I was thinkin’ somethin’ along those lines, yeah.” He rubs at his stubble briefly, ignoring the smarting of his bruise, “A picnic sounds nice, too, I reckon.” He salutes with a tip of his hat, “Much obliged.” And turns toward the stable door.

"Might have a need of you for something else," Max replies with although this is with a slightly enigmatic smile in place, but he'll leave that chat for another time. He does however look a little confused by the sly smile coming from Bowen and as such his brows knit together briefly as he utters a quiet 'Huh?' to the manner of courtship at Eastern and so tries to clarify by saying, "Damn thing slithered out and before I knew it I was flat on my back." Which probably does little but further add to any unintended innuendo the tanner may be reading into his comments. A chuckle greets talk of teaching Che to ride, "That's what I was trying to do with Ahnika until the whole tunnelsnake affair. You gonna use yours," meaning Strider, "or will you be needing to loan one?" Nodding as the tanner makes his farewells and goes to leave, "Later, Bo. Let me know how it turns out, aye? And…thanks for keeping me informed." Genuine gratitude there for learning more and more just how far this man can be trusted.

The comment about Max having need of him for something else, even with the enigmatic smile, just gets a little nod of quiet acceptance. It is the additional commentary about the tunnelsnake on Max’s date with Ahni that earns a bit of grunted laughter from the stocky tanner as Bowen turns back around, briefly. It subsides with the question though and he just nods slightly, “J’st Strider fer now. Takin’ things slow’n easy,” and more than just riding lessons. He gives another ‘salute’ with his hat and nods, “I will, an’ yer welcome. We’ll get it all straightened out and then mebbe we all can get back t’normal lives.” As normal as lives can be living here. Bo can hope at any rate for such a quiet, simple, and sedate future life.

"Normal lives," Max gives in wry echo, "you'll have to tell what one of those is like one day." Amused more than anything else. In agreement with the tanner's statement, "Ain't nothing wrong with slow and easy." With that he'll wait for Bowen to make his exit and then follow on his heels. At least until he's gotten as far as Renegade's stall which is where he'd been heading before a piglet had upended him and his friend had come upon him.

Closing Credits Theme Music: Rascal Flatts - "Stand"

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