Ahnika.jpg Jhath Max.jpg

Date: 12/27/10
Location: EW: Feeding Pens and Max's Quarters
Synopsis: Ahnika and Jhath arrive at the Feeding Pens for Jhath's daily meal and an encounter with Max brings up important news for the couple along with resetting some … expectations.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Ahnika

Having gotten used to the lower air currents here at the Weyr since she first took to the air over a month and a half ago, Jhath could really arrive to the feeding pens from above to eat her daily meal. But she just won’t abandon Ahni across that much of a distance, and since she can’t carry her rider yet when she flies, well, to Jhath that simply means they both will walk. She doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone else, anyway, does she? With a little flap of wings, Jhath carefully hops the fence and begins selecting which bovine will be her lunch. Meanwhile, Ahnika pulls a length of leather strap from her satchel, returns the satchel over her shoulder, the strap settling diagonally across her torso, and climbs up onto the fence to keep her dragonet company for dinner. She does cast a glance around her for Max, a longer gaze lingering on the entrance to the beast caverns itself, but knowing that it is still afternoon-enough for there to be work to get done, she doesn’t actively go in search for him and risk intruding on his workday. She’s not really sure she’s ready to tell him what she has to tell him anyway. She sets to working on the leather straps instead, keeping up a mental conversation with her green as she snaps at a beast she selected and misses, sending the doomed herd within the feeding pens, into a bit of a scatter.

From the other end of the feeding pens, the northern section where a gate provides access for the workers of the beast caverns to be able to replenish stocks through, comes the lowing and complaining of herdbeast being driven ahead of a group of riders. Dust thrown up, clouds much of the air surrounding them, however, the bulky form of Waine isn't hard to miss as being the one sent ahead to throw the gate open and ensure what livestock is in the pens, doesn't try to make a run for it. Max, doesn't appear to be one of them. And so it is that perhaps the sound of hooves approaching not from top side of the pens but rather from behind where Ahnika is situated, might go undetected. Then again, with Jhath being as vigilant as she is, maybe not.

Jhath is normally pretty attentive, but she’s a little preoccupied and getting frustrated as another herdbeast escapes the snap of her jaws. It is the commotion at the gate that gets Ahnika’s attention, and it is through that that Jhath is mentally related what is happening so that the green can concentrate on her lunch. As such, Ahnika doesn’t notice the approach of hooves behind her, or if she does, she is simply confusing it with what is happening at the gate. With a friendly smile, Ahni waves across the pen at Waine, and then puts her hands back to work on her leather straps, knotting them around the rings as the leatherworkers had shown her, and then holding her work up to try and help picture the finished project, harnessing her big green before working on it a little more. Meanwhile, Jhath finally gets a break and snatches a squalling herdbeast, settling down to eat it, her camo-colored hide glistening in the afternoon sun with a fresh oiling.

Waine, managing to cut a herdbeast off at the proverbial pass, catches the wave coming off of the weyrling and lifts his hat in greeting before getting back to the task of herding the newcomers deeper into the pens as they pass through the gate. And as such, with both Jhath and Ahnika's attention taken by the commotion up ahead, that Max is able to sidle Starflight right in up against the fencing where the redhead is seated. Tipping his hat back a little from his sweat and dirt streaked face a roguish grin breaks free for the straps being held up. Think they might be a little big for me, baby. Level of tone insinuating all kinds of innuendo.

Ahnika doesn’t start but does turn a little to look over her shoulder at him. Jhath briefly looks up from her bloody meal, entrails dangling from her mouth, and then goes back to eating. Grinning a little, Ahni looks from Max to the straps and back to Max, “You are too modest, my Heart.” Keeping her voice just loud enough for his ears only, which isn’t too difficult considering the noise being kicked up elsewhere in the pens, “You’re a lot bigger than you apparently believe.” Despite the jest, there’s a shadow of worry in her grey eyes and she looks back down at the straps, saying more lightly as she gets back to working on the straps, “Have you had a good day?”

Low laughter greets the obvious stroking of ego with Max leaning out of the saddle a little to try and drop a kiss wherever it might land on Ahnika, except that Starflight chooses that precise moment to jink sideways (likely due to the lovely picture Jhath presents just then) and he misses. "Flight straps?" He guesses, using a light press of knees and twitch of hand to remind the beast whose in control. The big runner's repositioning of itself does however have the effect of putting the beast manager in a better line of sight to catch the faint air of worry coming off of the redhead. “All the better for seeing you,” tone and smile warm and perhaps a touch probing with his next, "You okay, baby?"

Having already started to return her attention to the straps, Ahnika misses his attempt at stealing a kiss, but she nods to his question. “Yeah, flight straps. The Weyrlingmaster said that even if our dragons were ready, if we didn’t have our leathers and straps done and ready to go, we wouldn’t be able to have our first manned flight.” Whenever that is. Ahnika’s not taking any chances on missing out even if it’s a good few months away, and some of the other weyrlings are choosing to procrastinate. She continues to work on the knots a little longer even after he speaks again, “I’m fine. But …” she keeps her gaze on the straps, but her hands slow and finally still, “I have something to tell you and you’re not going to like it.” Beat pause. “You might even yell at me.” Muffled with herdbeast carcass, meat and sinew, Jhath snarls in apparent warning. But she’s really much more interested in her meal.

"Ah," caught more as a sound in his throat than actually given any kind of voice. "Know a tanner if you're looking for tools or leather or…" whatever else it might be she's in need of to complete her first set of straps. It's what Ahnika says next that has Max stiffening, body tension transmitting through to Starflight who begins chomping nervously on his bit and shuffling his hindquarters about in uneasy movement. Dark eyes, one of which now sports little more than a pink scar jagged through the eyebrow, flicker from the redhead and over to her green for the snarl coming off of her. Considering the last bit of 'news' Ahnika had had for him with regards to her Weyrlingmaster's most unhelpful warnings and advice, his jaw tightens and he goes silent for a moment before uttering in a carefully modulated tone, "If W'red's been spouting his version of masterly wisdom at you again…" not quite able to fully disguise the threat in his tone. Threat aimed more toward the brownrider than the weyrling herself.

“Thank you,” Ahnika says to him on the offer, still looking at her lap, “I will probably need more before I’m done.” She glances over to Jhath a moment, frowning thoughtfully, and then begins shaking her head as Max speaks again on W’red and his ‘wisdom’, blurting out before he even finishes, “Relly’s pregnant.” She pauses to let that sink in, and then adds, “And she wants to keep the baby.” Ahnika’s hand runs down the length of strap in her lap, “I’m sorry, Max. I … know this makes things a little more … complicated.”

Staring at Ahnika in dumbfounded disbelief for a moment or two. "She's what!?" Max finally manages to grate out, anger suffusing his face before a string of expletives roll out, his voice rising louder with each and serving to drive the runner's agitation higher until on the last curse, Starflight rears up on his hindlegs as if in protest of what his rider's just been told. Thus it is that it takes a short while of him fighting both his anger and the stallion's protests before he gets both under control enough to send a tight look onto the redhead. Lips press into a thin line and while his tone is still laced through with the very obvious complications this is going to cause, his words are at least meant to be reassuring, "It ain't your fault, Ahni." A rough sigh and his attention falls to Jhath and her meal, "Why the shards…would she want to keep the spawn of something like that bastard, huh? Can you tell me that?" Because it's quite clearly defying his imagination and he's needing to try and understand that before he's able to even begin thinking how one earth he was going to explain this to Kelarad.

Cringing visibly with his initial reaction, Ahnika frowns at her lap, but it is his string of expletives and the rearing of Starflight that has the weyrling turning more on her perch on the fence to watch with obvious concern. Jhath looks up too, curious, but briefly, as she seems to be thoroughly enjoying her meal. Ahni watches him get the stallion under control, and then looks away somewhat guiltily, “I probably could have prompted her to get examined sooner … I just … every time I tried I didn’t know how to bring it up with her. I mean … he … he … violated her.” Ahnika shivers and swallows. But that only lasts a moment as she stiffens in defense of Relly’s decision, “I don’t know, Max.” Beat pause, as she significantly adds, “But I think you would.” A reference to Garnalla not exactly being a saint and how Little Bit no doubt shouldn’t pay for it.

To his credit, Max keeps his reaction to Ahnika having not prompted Relly to get examined earlier from his expression, although the very tight grip he has on the reins might give hint away. Then again, he could simply be quite literally keeping a tight rein on Starflight. Silence greets her words with the beast manager simply sending her a stony look when she tries to relate the Tillekian redhead's situation to that of his own with his daughter. "It ain't the same," he eventually gives, his voice dropping to keep the conversation just between the two of them as a stablehand staggers by with buckets of water to refill the watering troughs. "That bastard took what wasn't his to take. She has a choice in the matter. I didn't." That to the issue of Relly wanting to keep the child. With an oddly strangled sound of frustration, he swings down from the stallion’s broad back, setting to looping the reins securely about the fence post in grim silence.

Ahnika gets that stubborn look and set to her jaw, narrowing her grey eyes at him as he tells her it’s not the same, “For the point you’re trying to make, it is the same.” Her words remain firm, but the volume is kept to a level just between the two of them, “Or are you saying you wish Little Bit was dead? That she’d never drawn a breath simply on account of whose womb she came out of? You can’t tell me you do. I won’t believe it if you tried. She’s too important to you, Max. So, how can you judge Relly for wanting to keep her own Little Bit? You’re looking at your …” she pauses for a quick look around them, “… daughter as her own person. She’s not her mother. She’s a baby girl who needs her father’s protection. She could end up just like her mother if you let her stay with her, but you’re not going to let that happen … because no matter who birthed her, you still love her and want to look out for her. She’s a part of you. If anyone here can understand Relly’s reasoning, I’d think it’d be you, Max.” She pauses and glances at Jhath as the green begins to slow down, now, starting to get full, and then Ahni turns back to Max, “What happened to bring Little Bit into this world was a sorry affair with a sorry, terrible woman, but you’re not letting the act or the woman define Little Bit. No more so than Relly is letting the act that got her with child or the man who did it to her define her baby. For that fact alone, I admire her. I can’t say if Phineus …” her voice trails off and she looks away, swallowing, and finally saying, “I can’t say I’d have the courage to do it myself if I were in her boots.”

Max's expression sets into a similar line of stubborness, although he does pale slightly beneath the tan. Dark regard however is kept to the task of ensuring those reins are firmly secured about the fence post, his silence remaining until eventually eyes lift and fit to the redhead. "That's unfair, Ahnika," spoken quietly through a tone gravelled with the complications of his daughter's existence. His jaw tightens and he looks away again, the next almost not audible, "I begged her to end it. She refused. What's done is done." And despite the heaviness of tone, there's no denying the protective edge to his voice for Little Bit, despite her origins. A rough sigh exphales and troubled dark eyes seek grey out as he comes to stand next to her, arm slung over the top of the fencing, "What's she gonna do if Vaputero finds out, hmm? What if he, like me, wishes to lay claim to it? Then what? Has she even thought about that?" Glancing away again another expletive is muttered, torn between continuing to protect the Tillekian (and now her baby) put in his care and…seriously worried about the possible far reaching consequences of doing so. "Kelarad needs to know," given flatly and he was about to add more when Ahnika's last words hit him. Expression forming around an ill concealed snarl he takes a moment to school back the disgust and rage that comment linked with the trader's name immediately brought to the surface. "I'd have killed him." Cold and flatly given leaving no doubt that he would have done just that should Ahnika have found herself in a similar position as Relly.

Ahnika purses her lips, frowning at him, but not giving an inch, “Fair or unfair, you don’t wish her dead. And you don’t want her to pay for the crimes of her mother. That’s the truth.” Then more softly, “She’s a part of you, Max,” one hand gently reaching out toward the pink scar across his eyebrow, and then pulling her hand away. Somehow unsettled, whether over the discussion or over his scar, it surfaces in her expression briefly and she looks toward Jhath again and swallows. Then, tugging the satchel more in front of her, she opens it and stuffs the leather straps back into it. She leaves off the uncertain future and Vaputero’s potential claim to the child, responding only to the mention of Kelarad. “I’m sure he does, but it’d probably be better coming from her own lips than yours.” There’s a pause as she watches Jhath, now finished with her meal, launch herself in a winged hop over the fence and land with a little scatter of dirt and rocks a little distance away, giving a little shake of her muscles and wings, then settles into her usual poise with dignity. “Well, fortunately …” her voice guarded and eerily quiet, “that little problem disappeared entirely, didn’t he? So, we don’t have to worry about it.” Not that she really likes the fact that the creep mysteriously disappeared under silly rumors of being eaten by a dragon, and not that she isn’t entirely sure Max or his mother wasn’t somehow involved in how, too, though she’s never asked him directly. She’s too afraid of the answer he’d give. With a little exhale of breath, she hops down from the fence, avoiding his gaze.

Refusing just as much to give any, "That's because she's here. Relly's still got…" options? His voice trails off not able to really argue Ahnika's logic there. Eventually it's with a sigh that much of the fight goes out of him. Just the faintest trace of sheepishness greeting that questing hand of hers toward the newly formed scar he's wearing but if she's not asking, he's not telling. Lips press together in a discomforted line, dark eyes holding firmly to Ahnika as she settles the straps back into her satchel. Snorting softly before offering quiet suggestion, "Reckon it might be a good idea if someone were with her when she tells him." Someone like Ahnika herself who might be able to talk Kelarad down from Max assumes to be a reaction similar, if not worse, than his. "I'll…get a hold of Flack and see if we can't get Rad down here sooner rather than later, aye? Might need to move her somewhere else like the kitchens or something too." including her in that decision and thus conceding to finding her input of value. Shoulders go taut and his gaze drops away, following Jhath as she leaves the feeding pens. All he gives in return to the mysterious disappearance of Phineus is tightly spoken, "Aye." Nothing more than that to indicate he has knowledge of, or was involved in the man's 'relocation'. Once Ahnika hops down from the fence, the beast maanger turns back in toward her, a hand lifting to reach for her arm, fingers seeking to lightly stay her departure, "Do you need to go?" Spoken in such a way as to suggest there's something else beyond Relly's situation and Phineus troubling him.

Still looking a little unsettled and conflicted, Ahnika just purses her lips again to his first response, studying the ground. “I suppose it would,” Ahnika says of there being someone with her when she tells Kelarad, “But only if that’s what Relly wants.” Another pause, “Maybe,” but her tone suggests she’s not sure the kitchens would be the ideal place. It is only after his hand lightly takes her arm that Ahnika finally looks up at him, and then away again, something obviously working in her mind and not in a good way, “I … no.” She steps into him then, hands reaching for his upper arms, her head tilting to rest against his chest, “I’m sorry. I guess I’m just a little worried … about the whole thing. I don’t have to go right now.”

Concern for the continued unease settled about Ahnika pushes through into his expression and as she steps in and rests her her head against his chest, Max wraps his arms about her, heedless of what Waine or any of the riders finishing up in the feeding pens might think and despite the smell of a hard day's work and riding has left on him. "I'm sorry, baby. I didn't mean to yell at you like that." Not that any of his frustration and anger had been directed at her personally. "We'll figure it out, aye? Whatever she needs," Relly that is, "she's got it." His words giving acceptance to the Tillekian redhead's decision and putting himself firmly behind her in support thereof. Standing like that, with her in his arms, quiet for a moment he nods, and then arms release her as he steps back and sets to unwrapping Starflight's reins from the fence post. "Jhath okay with us talking in there?" a tilt of still hatted head toward the cooler environs of the beast caverns themselves.

Not seeming to care about his sweat and smell or who might be seeing, either, Ahni settles in against him a moment longer, simply shaking her head a little to his apology, and then nodding a little to his next about them figuring it out. To his question on Jhath as he steps back, Ahnika opens her eyes and looks over at her lifemate, though says aloud to Max, “She’d prefer to join us, but she’ll stand guard out here and wait for me, she says.” And with that, Jhath hunkers down a bit more and curls up for presumably an after-meal nap.

A quick flicker of a smile greets Ahnika's response and then he's sending the same over to the green dragonet, "Thank you kindly, Jhath." With reins in one hand, his other reaches out for one of hers and then with a last glance up to the top section of the feeding pens to ensure his men have the job well in hand, he's leading them toward the darker and cooler beast caverns. Usually one to take care of his own mounts, Max hands over care of Starflight to one of the young stablehand's. Stopping near a bucket of fresh water, he releases the redhead's hand, removes his hat and pulls his sweat dampened and grimy shirt up over his head, dropping it on the ground near his feet. Any marks left over from his encounter with Kaskan now reduced to little more than a light pattern of thin white lines scattered across his back against the tan of his skin which are likely to fade into near nothingness with time. The next few moments are spent with the beast manager scooping the icy cold water up and sending it over head and shoulders, heedless of how it splatters across trousers and boots. Hopefully not splashing Ahnika in the process. Silent throughout.

Taking his hand, Ahnika follows him in, murmuring, “I can’t wait until we have our own weyr and we don’t have to leave her out like this.” Well, of most things. Jhath probably won’t want to come along for everything, then again … she might have been serious when promising she’d offer to judge Max’s trial of stamina. She leans against one of the posts, quietly watching while Max rinses himself off and the stablehand takes Starflight away. “How is Springbreeze by the way?” She asks in between splashes so as to be heard, and if a few sprinkles get on her, she doesn’t seem to mind.

Warm, touched through with faint apology for Jhath not being able to fit inside the beast caverns, is the smile turned over to Ahnika in response to her comment. "Aye. Not long now, baby," giving her hand a light squeeze. Riiight. Not long at all. Just around another turn and a few months, but at least he's being positive about it, yes? Hands sweep over his face and back through his hair, making it stand up at all odd angles and he casts a glance down the way of where the pregnant mare's stall is, "She's 'bout ready to drop I reckon. Sometime in the next seven or two. You spoken to W'red about being here when she births yet?" This asked as he tips his head toward his office, being careful to keep physical contact to a minimum between them in front of the cavern workers bustling back and forth.

Squeezing his hand back, Ahnika smiles a little at him before letting go so he can rinse off, and looking on down toward Spring Breeze’s stall. “Maybe she’ll be ready to go on rides again about the time I’m able to leave the Weyr and we can try and pick up on those riding lessons you started me on so long ago.” Almost a whole turn now, in fact, just a few months shy. Her smile fades a little and she shakes her head, “I didn’t bother trying. He’s not going to think it’s just for a runner birthing. Not when he knows about … us.” The last is said at a whisper and then she nods to his tip of his head, straightening from the post she had been leaning against and moving in that direction, slipping in discreetly and quietly.

Pausing in his path toward his office, Max fits her with a deeply knowing smirk before winking in roguish manner in response to furthering her riding education. Standing aside to allow Ahnika to enter first, a short smile appears, "Aye, by then she likely won't mind leaving the little one behind." All that greets her comment on her weyrlingmaster probably dis-allowing her to attend the birthing of a foal, is a frown and faint pursing of his lips. Leaving the door standing slightly ajar, the beast manager heads over to the private sleeping area of his quarters. Pulling a shirt out from the press, and not bothering to towel off first he shoves arms into sleeves and foregoes buttoning it up down the front just yet. Moving back to wherever she's taken up residence, his concern of earlier settles into place as he addresses the redhead's earlier unease before broaching the subject of what it is that's troubling him, "You sure you're okay, baby? Something else happen that you're not telling me?"

Ahnika is eyeing the desk a bit critically while Max is getting his shirt on, and then looks around the room itself for things to pick up to help tidy it up, if there is anything to pick up after him at all. “I’m fine,” she says, not exactly honest about it, but she’s not quite as distracted-seeming as she was a few moments ago, “I don’t … I just . . need to think.” Pause, ”About some … things.” Yeah, that doesn’t sound wrong at all. “But there’s something on your mind, isn’t there? Something you wanted to talk to me about in here?” Away from public eye.

His room…is a mess of clothes left right where he's dropped them when taking them off. Either Max has been that busy, or…he usually makes an attempt to tidy up beforehand if there's a chance of Ahnika dropping by. Catching where her eyes had strayed a low chuckle sounds out, "The whole thing damn thing finally went belly up," thanks to Kaskan having leaned heavily on the corner of the already sagging piece of furniture, although she might make the assumption that's how he got himself that scar on through his eyebrow. "Ole Drogan fixed it up…" Words fade off and a bemused expression slips into place when the redhead confirms having something on her mind, "How 'bout we trade, aye? The flicker of a smile appearing as a hand is held out to her, "You tell me yours an' I'll tell you mine."

Another speculative gaze goes to the desk upon hearing it finally went belly up and Drogan fixed it up, “Maybe you should get a new one.” And then she is resuming tidying up for him, moving around the room in a very similar fidgety fashion as she used to do before becoming a weyrling. Unable to keep still or idle. “No,” to his held-out hand, she hands him the bits of clothes she’s gathered, “I don’t think that would be a good idea. I haven’t worked it out in my head yet. I don’t want to disappoint you.” She turns her attention back onto the rest of the room, looking for other things that need picking up. “What did you have to tell me?”

Max glances back at the desk and gives a shrug, "Maybe." Seemingly unconcerned about the recently revamped piece of furniture staying on in his office. A frown fits into place for the manner in which Ahnika sets about tidying up his clothes, deepening as finds his outstretched hand filled with his clothing instead of…her hand. "Ahni…" concern showing openly as he steps forward toward her, "stop. Look at me, baby." Tone turned gentle and whether or not she does so, he gives softly, "There ain't nothing you can do to disappoint me, love." However, he's not about to push her either and so with a sigh runs a hand through damp hair and turns instead to what he'd wanted her advice on. "Seems Indira's starting to get wind of something. Had Jaya come down here a few days ago to find out what I'm up to." Which really doesn't explain a lot and so he adds with a perplexed expression, "Jaya says she ain't gonna lie and that I should tell Ma 'bout Little Bit. But…" shaking his head slowly as words trail off once again and he sets Ahnika with a troubled look, "You don't know how she can be, baby."

Ahnika goes still when he bids her to stop, but she stands there where she is, not looking at him. She opens her mouth to speak, but closes it when he continues on, now talking about Little Bit and whether his mother should or should not know. Turning now to face him, she takes a step closer, her grey eyes are soft and compassionate. “I imagine it’s not going to be easy, and she may yell and scream and throw a fit, but regardless of her reaction, Love, it won’t change the facts. And with her knowing about it, it will help. If nothing else, it will mean you don’t have to spend any effort or resources in trying to keep it a secret from her. In the best case scenario, she might even put in some of her own resources to help.”

It's the fact that she continues to avoid looking at him, that seems to perturb Max the most but given that the obviously troubled redhead is now turning to the topic of his daughter and her as yet, uninformed grandmother, he sets it aside for the time being. A small length of solemn silence develops with dark eyes meeting the soft grey of hers and then he's pursing his lips together and shaking his head slowly. "I dunno, Ahni. It ain't the screaming and yelling." Well it is, for Indira in full tilt is a frightening spectacle to behold but he at least he knows to expect it. "When it comes to family…" hands set to hips in the short pause that forms, "She'd kill for us if need be." Ahnika included in that while also giving clue as to where he gets his own fierce protective instincts from. "I don't know if we can take the risk of her storming up there and making things worse before I've had a chance to lay a trap for the bitch."

“Then it’s a matter of trust. Tell her the plan,” Ahni says, “Tell her that you’re entrusting her with it because she’s important to you and Little Bit is important to you, and you don’t want her inadvertently mucking up the plan with meddling, no matter how well-intentioned it is.” She steps a little closer, looking up into his face, “It’s a risk, but I think it’s a calculated risk compared to the risk of your mother finding out on her own and taking matters into her own hands without knowing that you have any measures already in place and a plan in mind.” She licks her lips a moment and then adds, “Besides, it might actually help her to quell her knee-jerk reaction to get involved if she sees you trusting her with this information without her having to go digging around for it, herself.”

Dark eyes still filled with troubled shadows lift as Ahnika steps a little closer, one hand falling from his hip and moving toward her as if to pull her in against him. Uncertain the expression that forms when she outlines the best approach to telling Indira of his daughter and then finally he concedes with a small nod of head to her logic. In a rarely seen gesture that puts him square at his youthful twenty turns of age, rather than Southern's emerging crimelord, Max chews on his lower lip a moment before asking almost hesitantly, "You'd come with me, aye?" For there's no way he was going to face the Headwoman with such news on his own. At least not without around a half bottle of whiskey in him first.

Ahnika is pulled in, smiling gently, and slipping her arms around his waist, resting her head on his shoulder and nuzzling his neck, “Wild runners couldn’t keep me away, Love.” Responsibility toward a green dragonet might, but let’s hope they can schedule it between classes or oiling. Her hands move up and down his back as she hugs him, stroking affectionately and comfortingly, “It’s all going to be okay in the end.”

Strong arms lift and wrap about Ahnika's shoulders, his head leaning in against hers on his shoulder. With her agreement given to go with him to deliver probably the most important news of a personal nature that he's had to thus far in his young life to his mother, a fair amount of tension eases out of his frame. Turning his head to press a kiss against her ear, he murmurs quietly, "I love you, baby." And even although one can be sure he's not likely to properly relax until they've made a plan to meet with Indira, he turns back to whatever it was that had been troubling the redhead earlier. "You going to tell me what's eating you, love? Or do you still want to think about it more?" Gently queried in such a way as to still leave the proverbial ball in her court.

“I love you, too,” Ahni says, and as he kisses her ear, she kisses his neck, a soft, closed-mouth and somewhat chaste kiss. Her stroking of his back stops for a moment with his questions, and then slowly begin to move once more, “It’s … a couple of things, really.” And she’ll start with the easier admission, “I find myself envying Garnalla for one. I’m not proud of it, but I can’t deny it. She has something with you that … I don’t have.” And if he continues to think along the lines he did the last time they talked about this topic, it may be something she’ll never have with him.

Max doesn't exactly go tense at the confession, but he does draw his head away from hers in an effort to try and capture her eyes with his. An arm disengages from about her and a finger moves to trace along the outline of her mouth, his smile a little sad in it's presentation, "More than anything else on this planet, I wish she were ours, baby." Deep apology set to both tone and expression for that not being so and then he's adding, "This is why I wanted her to end it." Pausing and then frowning a little as gives in quiet tone, "I have no right to ask you to accept another woman's child as your own. The fact that you're prepared to try and do so, that just…" small wonder creeps into his tone. "You're an amazing woman, baby. Don't you never forget it." Quiet for a long enough time that she might think he's finished saying all that he was going to and then it's broken with a cautiously spoken, "There ain't nothin' I want more than to have children with you, love. Our children." And somehow, he'll just suck it up and shove down that fear her brief description of the pains and dangers women face giving birth, had so starkly struck in him.

Looking up into his eyes as he traces her mouth and speaks, Ahni gives a very slight shake of her head, “You may have asked her to end it, but you don’t regret that she’s alive now. Remember that.” Especially when they have to help Relly. “And I’m sure there will be challenges,” Ahni adds in that pregnant pause, not really sure she’s as amazing as he says she is, since, well, his daughter isn’t here yet, “but I do promise to try.” One hand comes from his back to cup his cheek gingerly, and she smiles up at him as he talks of their future children, “I love you,” and then leans up to meet his lips in a tender, loving kiss.

Quiet a moment and then it's Max shaking his head, a crooked smile in place, “No, I don't regret it. I do regret not having stuck around long enough to have seen her though.” Open longing to do so set into his tone. Warmth infuses both tone and expression, “We'll figure her out together, aye?” Thus admitting to his being just as nervous about actually having his daughter with him one day and being able to have a more hands on approach in rearing her. Arms tighten about Ahnika's shoulders as he holds her in against him, lips meeting hers in a similarly styled expression of love and tenderness. Only breaking it to murmur against her mouth, “I love you too, baby.” Pulling away slightly, “I don't know what I'd do without you, Ahni.” Truth. Suddenly he's grabbing her up in a bear hug, luckily the wince that gesture brings from a rib still healing is hidden when he ducks his head to playfully blow a raspberry against her neck. “C'mon then, reckon we should get you out of here and back to your Jhath before that weyrlingmaster of yours starts to get suspicious, aye?”

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