Dems Fightin' Words


Bowen.jpg Max.jpg

Date: 11/7/10
Location: EW: Beast Manager's Office
Synopsis: Bowen updates Max on the latest in the investigation, including the upcoming trip to Southern Hold with Cheusia. In the end, punches are exchanged and Max throws Bo out, but appearances can be deceiving.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Bowen

Mid evening, past the dinner hour with most settling in for the night finds Max in his quarters, at his desk with the door standing slightly ajar. The heavy volume dealing with the anatomy and physiology of runners is off to his right with several sheets of paper filled with notes scattered about the desk. Despite the signs of him appearing to be working on something related to his job, he is currently poring over a letter, the contents of which appear to have put that heavy frown into place that he's currently wearing.

“Max!” To say that Bowen shouts to herald his arrival is a bit of an overstatement. The normally quiet man doesn’t really shout like other people shout, but it is a markedly increase in volume for the tanner, enough at least to get the attention of either the Beast Manager or anyone who may be eavesdropping. “I’ve had ‘nough of ya,” he warns loudly as he pushes open the door, “an’ warned ya ta not lay a hand onner. Yerself an’ I, we’re gonna get dis straight, ev’n if it takes a mouthful of fists ta do it. Man ta man.” He slams the door shut behind him, and then leans back against it, crossing his arms as he looks at Max, grateful that he was, in fact, ‘at home’, because otherwise he’d feel a little stupid at the rest of it. With a wink of one eye, he slams his back up against the door in pronounced fashion and grunts audibly. Has the man lost his mind?

A brow goes up and Max sends a bare flicker of interest in the direction from which his name is called and then he goes back to the letter. When the stall door gets pushed open further and Bowen comes busting in shooting his mouth off about the beast manager having laid his hands on a female someone, dark eyes narrow and his expression turns from frowning to thinly veiled anger as he stands, leaving the letter on the desk. All bristling testosterone and seemingly quite prepared to put fists to work if need be. His voice silts out in deep annoyance rather than raising as the tanner's is, "What the fuck is your problem, coming in here accusing me of…" words cut off when that wink registers and he sets his hands to his hips, fitting the other man with a narrowed look, "You been drinking or something?"

“Reckon I’d play th’ part of th’ jealous man,” Bowen murmurs in his more customary softer volume, “since it’s whut folks’r lookin’ fer me t’do.” He motions Max back to his desk with a little nod, and starts to move past in an attempt to get to the chair on the opposite side, unless Max stops him, “We’re leavin’ fer Southern in th’ mornin’ an’ I got a lot t’catch y’up on.” It could be on him and Che, or it could be on Lo. Or maybe both. Bowen wants to get away from the door before he speaks again, though, even if he is speaking softly.

Now both brows go up before settling back down into a heavily dubious expression and silence stretches out with Max not yet moving an inch as his face shifts once again, this time into that of vague perplexity, "Not sure I'm understanding you. What folks?" Because he sure as shards hasn't told a living soul about himself and Che. And then he gives Bowen another scrutinizing look as he takes a step back, his guard still high. "Who's leaving for Southern?" And then he fathoms what he thinks it is the man is trying to say, and he frowns heavily, "You mean to tell me, that you and her," the journeywoman healer, "are leaving the Weyr because of … ancient history?" not bothering to hide the incredulity transmitting itself there.

“Newp,” Bowen responds to Max’s last after one of the tanner’s lengthy pauses wherein he takes that seat across from Max’s desk. Point of fact, Bowen actually looks to be feeling a little better about all that. His expression is certainly not as dark and looking to kill Max as it was last time. In fact, if the stoic man could ever be said to look chipper, he looks it now. “Got m’self sent on an errand by Lo. I sure as shells ain’t gonna leave Che here, though,” both for reasons of the danger and for reasons of some of the lingering insecurity as well as knowing that part of her would likely wonder the entire time he was gone if he’d ever come back, considering what happened between her and Kason. Then he says, “I think yer right ‘bout him bein’ ‘nvolved somehow, Max, but I gotta tell ya, I ain’t convinced he’s behind it as much as just anuth’r player.” He turns his blue eyes onto the Beast Manager, “He’s in a tight spot o’trouble. I get th’ sense he’d not be ‘nvolved ‘t’all if sumbody wasn’t holdin’ sumpthin’ ov’r him. Lev’rage. Blackmail. Whutever. But …” He shrugs.

No? Excuse Max for looking not more than a little confounded as he slowly starts to move back to his own chair, "Then what was that all about?" The whole, 'Imma beat your face in' bit. And he might have pressed for answer if not for the slight change in the man's demeanor and what Bowen says next. Yet again brows go up as he pauses briefly in lowering himself to his chair. (At this rate he's going to end up with eyebrow muscle strain or something.) To his credit, he doesn't say anything just yet, using the time while the tanner speaks to gather up the sheets of paper scattered about the desk, place them on the page of the open book and then close it, using them to keep his place. Leaning an elbow to one arm of the chair, the beast manager sets the other man with long look, his expression giving away little. Just when it might start to become uncomfortable to be perceived to be stared down like that, Max inhales a sharp breath and exhales as a slightly troubled look settles into place, "So you're saying this Lo character is just another link in the chain down here?" Which wouldn't surprise him to hear. And then brows fit together in a frown, and he goes to the topic of the man being in trouble, "This…trouble he's in…" carefully choosing his words now, "He strike you as the type of man that if it were to…go away, he might…shift his loyalties?" Didn't take him long to start linking 'help the helpless' to his newfound interests in the underworld and thus seeking to get those such as the gardener to switch to his side of it all, now did it? Then again, helping Lo and gaining his loyalty would strengthen his purpose of helping Jaya significantly.

Being that Bowen is usually the one prone to lengthy pauses, he doesn’t seem all that unsettled by the one Max imposes. In fact, it sort of gives him a little more time to gather more of his thoughts on the various bits and pieces and try to put them together in some semblance of order. “I wuz mad atchya,” still, “an’ since whoev’r wuz behind dat runner thief likely wuzn’t too happy with ya either, I let ‘im see me mad atchya. If he wuz ‘nvolved, I reckoned he might be more likely ta let sumpthin’ slip if he thought I hated ya.” He jerks his head toward the door, “Dat wuz j’st in case anyone wuz ‘round ta hear an’ get ‘chatty’.” He lifts a booted foot and rests it across the knee of the other leg, his hands resting easy on his lap before he shrugs, “I’m sayin’ I’m still lookin’ inta it, but dat’s how it looks ta me. He’s got me deliverin’ some package fer him ta some woman named Ermina in Southern Hold. I’ll see whut I can get outta her when I get there.” His voice is still that soft, husky timbre as he continues, “If th’ trouble were ta go away … I reckon he’d be more likely ta shift ‘is loyalties back ta neutral at least an’ probably leave, possibly takin’ most of dem farmers he has some influence o’er with ‘im. Dunno ‘bout him shiftin’ ‘is loyalties ta our side, ‘xactly, though.” Our side. So, at least Bowen still feels like he’s on Max’s team anyway, regardless of his execution of his mission. It’s not like Bo was trained by the Pern equivalent of the CIA or anything, and mistakes in judgment are bound to happen. “But I could be wrong ‘bout that. He seems ta care ‘bout ‘is brother a lot an’ might be mighty grateful.”

Max listens quietly at first an expression of discomfort crossing his face for Bowen having been mad at him but he can't rightly deny the man his right to having been so and as such he says nothing to that. Discomfort soon becomes approval with that then morphing into an expression of being downright impressed as the tanner explains his methods and reasoning, right up to the ruse used not a few moments ago. A smirk peels out as he notes through a low chuckle, "You're a dark runner I never saw coming, and I can guarantee, neither did Lo." Some of the tension easing out of him, the beast manager leans back in his chair, legs stretching out beneath the desk as hands lace together over his stomach, "You're doing a run for him?" interest coloring his tone for the name and the woman's location given out as he files that away, nodding to the other getting what information he can out of her too. And then he slips silent again, mulling over the gardener and where his loyalties might land. Stated in musing tone, "If he is in with Vaputero and he's got influence over the farmers here, he's a mighty big hand of trouble, Bo. 'Specially for Jaya. But if we can get him working for us, giving us information on what that Bitran bastard's up to" the rest not needing to be said. Its Bowen's last that seems to decide Southern's new crime lord, undisclosed as that information currently is. Leaning forward in his chair a little as if to emphasize what he says next, "He ain't gonna trust me further'n he can throw me. You it seems, he might," having already deduced that the tanner must have formed some or other bond with the gardener, "Offer him the chance to get his brother out and brought down here and see what his reaction is." Only now does he address the matter of Cheusia being taken along on the trip to Southern, with the following, "You need an extra runner for the trip, you can take one of the Weyr's."

There’s a pleased smirk, faint though it is, when Max essentially compliments Bo’s methods. Yeah, after last night with Cheusia, things were definitely starting to look up for the tanner. After a slightly shorter pause than usual, Bo states, “Not sure if it’s a smugglin’ run or a test. So, I’m gonna leave th’ package ‘lone, turn it ov’r ta dis Ermina intact. Figured th’ deeper I get ‘is trust, th’ more we’ll learn, an’ th’ more we can ‘elp ‘im.” Beat pause. “An’ Jaya.” He thinks Jaya’s okay, mind you, when she’s not wielding a knife, but he’s not quite as interested in seeing her out of trouble as much as Max is, probably. Lo’s another matter. “Ev’n if he ain’t workin’ fer V’putero, Max, th’ way he lords ov’r dem farmers, he’d be a thorn in yer side a good bit judgin’ by th’ way he’s takin’ such a dislike of ya.” Not that Bowen hasn’t contributed some to that. Oops. He nods in agreement to Lo not trusting Max, and how Bo’s developed a little bit of an in with him, though Bo’s loyalties are less clear and black and white, he generally is interested in keeping the peace all the way around, and helping Lo get his brother out of hock, so to speak, as well as not going up against Max. Though that punch may be still coming one day. It’s just not right now. Bo got some good luvin’ last night and he’s still kind of riding that high, in as much as the stoic man can look high. “I did, sorta. I off’r’d ta help dat is. I think he’s thinkin’ ‘bout it.” He lowers his foot back to the floor, “I reckon this trip ta Southern, if it’s really a test, might be th’ thin’ dat makes ‘is mind up.” He shakes his head then about the extra runner, “Thank ya kindly. Already got th’ provision’s set up though. Cart. She ain’t an ‘xperienced ‘nough rider ta go alla way out ta Southern on a saddle. I’ll have Strider an another pullin’, an’ will have tack with me if she wants ta get s’more practice in ‘long th’ way. Gonna be a good trip, I reckon.” The man actually smiles a little, getting up from his chair.

Nodding his agreement to not tampering with the package on this run, "Good thinking." Max's expression tightens at mention of the dislike coming his way from Lo and then he utters a snort of dark amusement, "Little turd better watch his step or he'll be head down in the latrines quicker'n he can say, shit!" As if he merely continues to tolerate the gardener's presence about the Weyr for his own amusement when in truth, he wants the connections and influences the man might have up north. Silence reigns once again as he puts thought to what Bowen says over further earning the man's trust to get in deeper with him, "Feel him out when you back. See where he stands on his brother and what he's prepared to give to get him outta trouble, and we'll take it from there." Quite prepared to leave dealing with Lo to the tanner, trusting him (despite their personal elephant) to get the job as need be. A quarter smile edges out in response to Bowen's for the upcoming trip with his woman to Southern, "Give my left nut to take such a trip myself…with Ahni," he quickly tacks on should the other think he was referencing Cheusia, "lucky bastard," he gives with good natured wistfulness attached. As the tanner stands, so does the beast manager, stepping around the desk to plant himself before the man, feet hip distance apart and neck rolling as if preparing for something. And preparing he most certainly is, as his next words demonstrate. Though spoken in near resigned fashion, there is however a hint of humor at play in dark eyes, "Reckon we're gonna need to trade a few punches if you're story is to hold any water out there." A jerk of head to indicate the beast caverns and the prying eyes of those beyond. "Just…stay away from the nose, aye?" Well now, it seems Bo is going to get his chance to deck the beast manager after all, even if it is in order for his story of hating the man to continue to appear legitimate.

To Max’s statement about Lo better watching his step, Bo arches one eyebrow a little. Of course, Bo doesn’t yet know about Max’s claim on the southern continent. The expression smoothes a little when Max talks of Bo feeling him out and the tanner nods, more or less agreeing to what he had been planning to do anyway. He smirks a little to being a ‘lucky bastard’ and doesn’t object, feeling quite lucky today indeed, after the breakthrough he had last night and the turn his relationship with Che has taken. He pushes his hat a little more off his head as he regards Max, eyeing the man uncertainly as the Beast Manager seems to get ready, “Y’sure?” Because as much as Max is probably the better fighter, especially in the ring, Bowen does have power in that stocky build of his. It’s not going to tickle. Then he nods, smiling wryly, “Not th’ nose. Got it. Same goes fer me.” He rolls his shoulders a bit to loosen up, and without much fanfare, pulls his fist back and launches it. Only, he veers the sucker off course, intentionally pulling it. “Ah, fuck, Max, I ain’t drunk ‘nough ta hit ye fer no good reason.” He shakes his arms out a bit at his side, shifting from foot to foot. “Help m’out here, man. Tell me Che’s got a nice, sweet ass ‘r sumpthin.” Let’s hope Ahnika doesn’t come walking in on that statement, if Max does.

Yeah, he's been up against men along similar builds as that of Bowen's and knows that punch is going to hurt like hell when it lands and while it goes against his better instincts to simply stand there and take it, stand there Max does, flinching only slightly as that right hook of his let's loose and then blinking dumbly for a moment of two when it doesn't connect. Almost disappointed, "Aw c'mon, Bo. Don't be such fucking woman! Hit me for Faranth's sake!" A snort of dry amusement sounding out directly afterward for making any comment touching on Che, "What I got stupid written on my forehead now?" Aside from that, he actually likes the tanner and would never intentionally cause him any hurt. Without so much as a second thought one of the beast manager's hands whips out and basically 'bitchslaps' the tanner across the face offering reason for the man to get himself going and actually land a punch this time. And if that's not enough perhaps the words of intentional taunt that accompany the action will help, "Prolly best ya stick a flower up your arse and call ya'self a Pansy!"

The first taunt actually has Bo trying not to laugh for whatever reason, finding it rather funny and not actually offensive, and the second one earns Max an appreciating grin from the tanner. It’s the slap that gets the blood moving faster and after Max’s final taunt, Bo comes back with, “Whut an’ steal yer costume idear fer th’ next Gath’r?” Here comes the punch, that solid right fist swinging in for a hook aimed at Max’s jaw, though Bo actually pulls the force a little being as he’s just simply not mad enough to give it the full monty of all his strength. So, the force if it is probably more along the lines of what someone Max’s frame might offer. Still has a kick to it, but it’s less likely to actually break Max’s jaw.

A smirk twists out and he's quick with a comeback on costume ideas, "Was thinking of going as your Ma…" Max doesn't quite get to finish that out as the tanner's fist connects with his jaw. Crunch! Holy mother of all things winged and crawling, that hurt! Stunned for a moment or two, the beast manager shakes his head a little, spits out a mouthful of blood as he takes a step backward and then with the incentive of pain provided, puts his shoulder into it and lets fly with his left, aiming for the side of Bowen's head just around where his cheekbone is.

Bowen’s chest rumbles with mirth at the thought of Max going as his mother. So much for family loyalty there, “Bring yer rollin’ pin. She loves ta ehstmnoof,” the last bit garbled as Max’s fist connect with his cheek and the inertia carries it against Bo’s eye before his head is whipped around from the impact. Shaking his head a little now down to his shoulders, he blinks quickly and then grins at Max, “Nice ‘un. Y’aw-right?”

Laughter is held in Max's eyes as it just hurts too damn much right now, to try grinning through the throbbing in his jaw. Nodding as he flexes and shakes his left hand out (he's much more used to fighting with bound hands), his right rubs gingerly at his jaw, his tongue poking out to test the corner of his mouth that oozes blood. "Aye," that grin finally emerges in a crooked and bloodied display, "So a rolling pin, eh? Not sure which is worst," pause to spit more blood out, "that or Indira's right hook." Setting Bowen with another amused look for the trading of punches, "Feeling better?" Yeeeah, his idea had been duel purposed it seems. And then after a pause his hand goes to the handle of the door, "Reckon we look good enough for me to throw your butt outta here now?" Enjoying this whole little ruse for some truly weird and inexplicable reason.

Bowen watches Max test his jaw and lip out a bit and he, himself, gingerly touches the cut along his cheekbone and the swelling already starting around his eye. That’ll be a shiner. Maybe Che will baby him a little, or give him candy, and he’s not talking about the kind she hands out to Max and the kids in the infirmary. “I reckon I don’t wanna try Indira’s right hook ta off’r comparison,” he answers, nodding, both to Max’s next question and then his last, “Much obliged,” he says, perhaps oddly, but then men like Bo and Max seem to march to a beat of a slightly different drum. He makes his way to the door and says loudly (which for him is shouting) “Go fuck yerself, Max!” And then as a softer aside, “I’ll see ya when we get back, prolly in a month ‘r so. Ya take care now, y’hear?” Beat pause, louder, “Dis ain’t ov’r!!”

Swiping his sleeve across his mouth and leaving a bloodied streak across the beige fabric, Max simply inclines his head slightly in acknowledgement, an understanding light in his eyes. And then a faint smirks fits into place for ruse, his return low stated and the smile sincere, "Take it easy out there, Bo." In the lands beyond the Weyr. And then in louder, 'angrier' tone snatches the door open and glares at the tanner, "Get the fuck outta my office!" Waine working nearby takes a step toward the beast manager and the tanner but is forestalled by the faint shake of head sent him by his boss. Putting a sneer (painful as it is to fit into place around his recently abused jaw) "You can bet your last mark it ain't." In such a tone as to suggest he's referring to himself and the journeywoman Healer. Snorting before turning and uttering a loudly mumbled, "Prick!" One can just imagine how ears are going to burn with this juicy bit of gossip heard and witnessed by not more than a few gaping stablehands who hurriedly turn back to their work.

There’s a little nod to Max’s first comment, but when the door swings open, Bowen’s expression clouds, in as much as his expression can really do anything different, and he stomps past Max, glaring once at Waine on the way, but keeps moving down the tunnel and out into the bowl.

Closing Credits Theme Music: Trace Adkins - "Whoop A Man's Ass" and "Fighting Words"

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