Flight To Fort

Participants:

Jaya.jpg Jonavan.jpg Hope.jpg Hope and M'las npced by Max

Date: 5 June 2011
Location: Healer Hall, Fort
Synopsis: Sent by Max away from Eastern on the eve of Vaputero's arrival, Jaya and Hope show up on Jonavan's doorstep and are there to stay for an indeterminate amount of time.
Rating: PG13 for some language.
Logger: Jonavan

The cold of Between seems to work as a preview of the coldness of Fort, for once they get beyond the blackness, a blast of cold air hits Jaya in the face. She hold Hope tight, their clothes not suited to the sudden climate change as M’las and his brown circle about the tiny building of the Healer Hall seen from above. He makes a lazy turn downwards, the Hall getting larger and larger and the barkeep busy trying to keep the wind from her face. It doesn’t take long before she feels the whump landing of the brown, her head moving forward then back, and then everything stills. She takes a breather before straightening up and finding them near the entrance to the Hall, and then she looks herself and Hope over wordlessly before she peers over M’las and asks, “You’re coming in, right?” Yeah, she was going to need someone to hold little Hope very briefly, but she wasn’t about to say why.

The late morning sun warms the courtyard down below but the early spring air is fresh, crisp, with a chill to it that makes hold residents, harpers, healers and patients alike tuck their chins against their chests and pull their collars up high. A dragon arriving is no great news in Fort, which sees regular traffic to and from all the ends of Pern. Space is made - there is always space - and while some turn towards the Eastern brown with curiosity, most ignore it and go about their daily business.

The tears abated, Hope has said not a word, keeping her face burrowed in against Jaya until the brown lands. Only then does she lift her head and peer up at the woman that has now suddenly become her minder, "See Bastard now?" she queries with a flicker of forlorn hope. As to M'las, the brownrider is quick to unstrap and dismount, steadying himself to help woman and child down. "Max said not to leave you alone 'til we find the healer, ma'am." In other words, he's coming in.

Regarding the little girl’s face as she makes sure she was as much intact here as she was back in Eastern, the question gets a twitch of lips a long with a bit dry “Yeah, we’ll see a bastard, alright,” from Jaya. “Come along, shuga. Sure he’ll be overjoyed to see you.” She was another matter, and the barkeep adds “Hold on tight”, to her as M’las helps them both down from the dragon. Booted feet hit the ground audibly and she just can’t help but to look around with interest – this being the first time she’s ever stepped foot in Fort territory. She look like she was casing the outside of the place as she holds Hope close to her without really realizing it, swinging them around as she gets a full feel for the new atmosphere and its people. When the brownrider answers, “Good,” she gives back crisply. “I’ve got some brief business to take care of,” and then she waits for the rider to proceed her into the Hall.

If they think it's busy outside, just wait until they enter the Healer Hall. Inside, the bustle of people moving this way and that on various errands reaches new heights, but there's still always someone on hand to spot new arrivals. Today, the woman with that task is a fair-haired, middle-aged woman who wears a Healer's colours and the knot of an administrator, stepping forward now with polite, calm efficiency. "Rider," she addresses M'las first, coming forward to meet man, woman and child. "Can I help you?"

Hold on Hope does, doing her barnacle to the side of a ship thing as she wraps arms and legs about Jaya. The people moving across the courtyard along with unfamiliar surroundings once again have her thumb finding her mouth, large dark eyes taking it all in. With his passengers safely to the ground and leaving their luggage strapped to the side of his dragon, M'las casts about, not familiar with the Healer Hall himself. The woman's comment earns her simply a sceptical look. "You're not to go off on your own," he warns and then eventually deciding on the most likely direction, he sets off, sending glances back every now and then to ensure Jaya is keeping up with his long-legged stride. The brownrider stops so abruptly when the middle-aged woman steps forward and offers help that hopefully Jaya doesn't go crashing into his back. "Ah yeah, Eastern's duties," he starts out with the formalities first, "If you could point us in the direction of Journeyman Jonavan, we'd be much obliged." He doesn't make any introductions.

“There goes my plans,” Jaya quips all snarky-like to M’las’s words, standing to one spot with Hope clutching onto her until he moves. She walks slower than does, so luckily, she stops before crashing into his back when the older woman appears. She moves to flank the man then, to get a closer look at the healer and saying nothing. Really, she was more into the surroundings and those milling passed her than the exchange, the sights, sounds and smells of Fort almost foreign to her. More to herself than for those around, “So this is ol’ Jorro’s land, huh?” She knows Hope wouldn’t know who that would be, or the brownrider either for that matter, but she’s saying it anyway. She clutches Hope close to draw and add warmth, seeing that they both were in the clothes of hotter climes than colder. Hearing Jonavan’s name does draw her attention towards the two talking, her face guarded and free of any reaction other than one of curiosity for the Hall.

"And ours to Eastern," the woman automatically responds before a bit of a wince crosses her expression. "You haven't come to make a complaint, have you?" Funny how she immediately jumps to that conclusion. "Allow me to be the first to apologise." The woman doesn't hear Jaya's remark, or if she does, it doesn't register.

Jaya speaks and Hope, lips almost blue with cold tips her head curiously to one side not understanding what she thinks is a question being put to her. And then she's peering at the woman addressing the big brownrider, "Hope come see, Bastard," she announces somewhat unhelpfully. M'las shoots the child an odd look and then clears his throat, "Ah no, ma'am. No complaints, I'm to be putting these here ladies," Jaya and Hope, "into the journeyman's care. Would you be knowing where we could find him?"

Jaya could see Hope’s lips starting to turn blue with a slight frown, and she turns a heavy frown on the pair as she drops, “I’m hoping it’s much colder in there than it is out here. Surely we can get inside and do this?” and she’s turning Hope at an angle to show the woman that the little girl was not dressed for this. She lifts a hand into the girl’s hair, putting her face close to her skin if she can until Hope makes that announcement. She looks at them both then, now moving closer and paying more attention to what the two are saying with a lingering frown.

"Oh, I see," the woman says after a pause, taking in Jaya and the toddler with unmistakable curiosity. She's too polite to ask a direct question and instead busies herself rectifying a situation that, in her eyes, has gone amiss. "I believe he's in surgery - perhaps you'd like a cup of klah while you wait?" She gestures behind her, back towards where she came. Presumably there's a waiting room of sorts available for those in their position. "Yes, yes, of course," she adds hastily as Jaya draws her attention to Hope's lack of proper clothes. Leading the way in, she adds, "If it's urgent," and here the woman glances back at Jaya and Hope, "I'll send an apprentice to fetch him."

Starting to tremble with the cold, Hope leans her ice cold cheek in against Jaya's, not protesting the offer of warmth. That woman and child, both dark haired and dark-eyed, look nothing like the tall green-eyed, blonde brownrider they've arrived with, goes a ways to suggesting they're not related to him. "No ma'am, no klah, just the journeyman," M'las repeats a stubborn note laced with a sense of urgency creeps into his tone for he'd rather offend a healer than piss Max off. The offer to send an apprentice for the healer in surgery is met with a sharp nod, "Thank you kindly."

When the woman looks her way, Jaya looks right back – tight-lipped. She nods, starting to feel the chill too after having her blood thinned by living down south for two turns. She continues to hold Hope close against her good cheek, keeping a hand into her hair on the back of her head while the two before them work things out.

"Well, if you'll just wait right here then," says the woman briskly, leading the trio into a lounge area and gesturing towards couches, chairs. "Oh, and a word - he's made Master now." Turning away, she tries to keep her mutter to herself, but it floats out as she scans the immediate vicinity for an apprentice to flag down. "And he's insufferable about it." Finding a messenger takes her out of the room, briefly leaving the three from Eastern on their own.

M'las turns a querying look to Jaya like she should have known, "Master?" The woman's mutter as she leaves means nothing to him, he having luckily never having been in need of healer care during Jonavan's sojourn down south. Noticing how woman and child are feeling the cold, he shrugs out of his jacket and without invitation or a word, drapes it about Jaya's shoulders and then goes back to watching the exit the woman had taken like a hawk.

When the healer mentions that Jonavan had made Master, her face gives nothing away to M’las other than the fact that it was news to her, too. Once inside the warmer Hall, the barkeep starts feeling better as she loosens her hold on Hope and resumes her study of the unfamiliar area. Then the dragonrider drapes his jacket about her shoulders, the woman not expecting the gesture and so, nods her thanks and says as the woman leaves, “Insufferable, huh?” Yeah, she heard the mutter, and she will exchange a glance with the dragonrider if he looks her way. “Master?” As for Hope, she moves to one of the chairs and sits, removing her hand from the back of the girl’s head and peer at her face and make sure that nothing vital has frozen off – like a nose or something.

Even with her burning curiosity and suspicions, the woman is strictly professional. She pretends she hasn't heard Jaya pick up her choice of words and exits swiftly. "Would you please find Master Jonavan and inform him that there's a woman and a child waiting for him with a rider from Eastern Weyr?" That's the extent of her message, but those who hear it likely interpret it just the same way she did, and by the time Jonavan's located and dragged out of whatever he was doing, a disapproving mutter follows him down the Hall - "For shame, leaving behind a woman and child like that."

Realizing that Jaya's staying and not likely to dump her and leave, Hope starts to relax a little and will even go so far as to wriggle off her lap once she's seated. A shiny object lying under one of the chairs immediately catches the toddler's attention and she's soon trying to squeeze herself in under to get at it. M'las sends Jaya a sideways look, "Heard about him. Never had to see him," thank Faranth, his tone infers, "Was he really that bad?" And then his gaze casts back in the direction he assumes the Masterhealer will appears, hands clasped behind his back and rocking on his heels. Healers make him nervous, a hall stuffed full of them, even moreso so he's itching to get the shards outta there.

When Hope wriggles free from her, Jaya’s looking anxious after her – for Max. That’s what she’s telling herself. So she’s watching the girl and huddling close under the jacket from the dragonrider while they wait for the woman to show back up, M’las getting a dry, “He’s a good healer,” she admits at least grudgingly, especially since he made Master, and anything else about his person seems to be missing. Perhaps the dragonrider could read between the lines. She could tell that he was nervous in the Hall though, and that seems to interest her. Wryly, “I doubt one will come out with a needle to stick in you, shuga,” she remarks, one corner of her mouth lifting for his demeanor.

Jonavan is his old self, more or less, as he rounds the corner that takes him to the entrance and yells at the whisperers behind and before him, "Oh shut up!" When he appears, too, there are certain similarities - still refusing to follow protocol and wear a knot. He's kept his cleaned-up appearance though, at least for now, and looks hardly any different than he did in those last few days before his departure from Eastern. Jonavan stops at the door, the woman who sent for him not far behind but not quite hovering, and looks at the three there waiting for him. Then he drops into a crouch, down to Hope's level, and calls out, "Hey, monster. Miss me?" The words have a wry edge, though all the toddler will hear and see is the welcome of the man who opens his arms for her.

M'las sends Jaya a soft snort, "There be sicknesses here," he drops flatly, attention darting about as if said sicknesses might be about to ambush him. Little butt stuck up in the air, Hope eventually manages to grab the item and quickly reverses out from under the chair a flush of triumph adding to the colour of cheeks already rosied by cold, "Got'it!" And then whether Jaya wants her to or not, she'll start to try scrambling back onto her lap only to be stalled by Jonavan's entrance and words. With a squeal of delight the little girl launches herself at him, "Hope come wisit!" In a very 'ta da' type announcement and then she'll immediately set about digging in one of the pockets of the oversized jacket she's wearing, brow creased with concentration to find whatever it is she's looking for, "Got sumfing…" Dig, dig, dig.

“There be sickness back home, too,” Jaya counters with a touch of amusement, watching M’las before it all vanishes with both Hope trying to get back onto her lap, only to launch herself towards the newcomer. The Bitran regards Jonavan with a hard stare, taking all of him in as he welcomes Hope with open arms. It was the first time she sees them interact so she’s regarding it with interest, but for the most part her eyes lingers more on the now-Masterhealer. For now, all she does is slowly get to her feet and move to stand by the brownrider, watching Hope and Jonavan with him with barely a smile gracing her full lips.

"Yeah, I see that," Jonavan says, still on his heels, waiting until Hope's done searching for whatever it is her jacket contains before he moves to pick her up. "What are you wearing?" The question's really for the other two, accompanied by the lift of his eyes and brows towards the two adults standing up. "I've barely been gone a sevenday," he continues, watching Jaya more than M'las. "I would have thought you could at least wait two, three."

"It gathers all up together in the infirmary," M'las gives with a sage nod of head to Jaya and then sets both barkeep and Masterhealer with a curious look for the tension that appears to be between the two. Hope is starting to get exasperated now, having to bend to get her hands into the bottom of the deep pockets that drape around her feet somewhere, she's even muttering a few of the curses she's picked up since arriving at Eastern. "Dacket," she gives single word answer on what she's wearing in a 'Like Duuuh' tone. "Got'it!" comes that triumphant announcement once again and she holds out a very scrumpled piece of paper to Jonavan, "S'hole say Bastard mus' wead." The small instruction given the toddler after Jaya and M'las had left his office. The piece of paper holds but a single line of text written in Max's handwriting. Short and to the point, it bears no names:

The Bitran is here. I'm counting on you to keep them safe for me, mate.

Snorting, “Ever gotten sick from an infirmary, shuga?” Jaya puts to M’las with forced amusement – more to distract herself from the scene before them than anything. She watches Hope search for whatever it was that had her attention, and a brow lifts to Jonavan’s question. His later gets a dry-as-wood response to that: “Max seems to think you’re trustworthy enough to protect his daughter,” she’s leaving herself out of the equation, “especially since he seemed to know you were here. Lucky he has friends like that.” Turning, not talking to anyone in particular, “Is there a place to put our things? Might as well get sorted. Who knows how long we’ll be here.” Perhaps Jonavan should fear.

"Yours?" Jonavan asks Hope, sounding amused. He waits patiently until she extracts the note, unfolding it in front of her. Reading the note takes hardly a second, but he stares at it for a good deal longer. "Well, fuck me." He crumples the note again and thrusts it into his own pocket, then moves to scoop up Hope, jacket and all. "You can leave now," he tells the woman who had greeted the Easterners with as much insolent cheek as he can muster, glancing behind him; she departs post-haste, leaving this little 'family' reunion to unfold without further witnesses. Jonavan doesn't respond to Jaya except for her last remarks, replying in a tone that sounds like he's capitulating, "Yeah, you'd better get your things."

"Yeah, went to visit my sister in the infirmary once and I got this scratchy throat, eyes swelled up and everything," M'las states leaving out the bit where he'd eaten shellfish just moments before said visit had occurred. Dummy. Hope tips her head to one side, processing the question from Jonavan and to what it might apply but she can't figure it out and so instead she opens her little fist and solemnly presents him with what looks to be an engraved metal button, the shiny object from under the chair, "Hope find it." In other words, she didn't yank it off of some hapless passerby. Finding herself scooped up the little girl slings bulky jacket-clad arms about Jonavan's neck and presses a kiss to his cheek. "Hope get Chicken Shit," she states and looks about to wriggle free until M'las gives a nod to the masterhealer, "I'll get them. You stay here where it's warmer," that to Jaya.

“Sounds more emotional than sick,” Jaya wrinkles her nose a little, continuing to watch the exchange between Masterhealer and Hope in the meantime. Jonavan’s lack of words seems expected, so she offers no more when talk of getting their things off the dragon is bandied. When M’las speaks, looking to leave, the barkeep opens her mouth to protest. “You can’t carry all of that by yourself,” she starts, holding his jacket about her close and making to look like she was going to follow anyway – Hope, for the moment as she watches her kiss Jonavan’s cheek and is secured in his arms as such, she didn’t look worried that anything bad will happen to her if she walks out.

"Why thank you," Jonavan says gravely as Hope fishes out the button. "Keep hold of it though, and in a minute I'll tell you who to throw it at." At the mention of Hope's ill-named pet, the healer looks pained. "Oh, great." He steps out of the way, still holding the little girl, so M'las can slide past. "Why, how much did you bring?" he can't help but ask as Jaya suggests that the baggage is rather a lot, but puts himself back in her way as she starts to follow the dragonrider out. "He can get it, that's what dragonriders do, haul bags about. I've a question for you though - where do you expect me to put you?" Preventing Jaya's exit isn't just a ploy; the otherwise empty room provides privacy so that Jonavan can put to her, "They're going to think you're my family." He sounds bitterly amused as he spells it out. "So do you want the couch, or would you rather play estranged and have your own room?"

"Don't have a problem with making two trips," M'las responds sending Jonavan a tight look for the slur on his ilk though he is somewhat relieved to escape the building tension in the room. Secure in Jonavan's hold on her, Hope unwraps her arms from about his neck and turns the button over in her hands, "Hope frow it?" Mischief lighting dark eyes as she's already casting about for a likely target passing by outside. The conversation the adults are having, well that's a little bit beyond her understanding for she's sending Jaya a coy smile from under lowered lashes.

M’las is declining, Jaya’s face is falling, and Jonavan is now back in her way from the entrance. She frowns heavily his way while Hope sends her that innocently coy smile, the Masterhealer’s initial question getting a terse “Two carrysacks and bottle. I’m sure he will need help.” Moot point though, with the dragonrider already gone. She turns to face him and Hope fully now, staring him down for the next question put to her. Her immediate reply was on her lips – that she would want a separate room with Hope since she was sure the Hall could spare one – but then his further words get that mutinous look and her narrowed eyes. As cold as outside, “Couch would be perfect,” she states, chin lifting defiantly. “Who am I to keep Hope from her Bastard?” Arms come to a fold across her chest then, “And besides, who are you to care what anyone thinks, hmm? Aren’t you the Masterhealer now?”

"Yep, just keep hold of it and I'll tell you when," Jonavan tells Hope distractedly. "I've the perfect person in mind to hit in the back of the head." He looks at Hope rather than at Jaya, giving the kid a bounce or two. "Oh, yay. Just what I was hoping for." Heavy sarcasm, Jonavan's specialty. "Not the Masterhealer," he corrects, glancing at Jaya again. "No way I want that job. I'd actually have to, you know, talk to people." As for why he'd care - well, he leaves that one well alone, and instead steps aside with a gesture of his free arm for Jaya to proceed him.

M'las? Despite how he's freezing almost to the bone for not having his jacket, he's taking his own sweet time about bringing in two carrysacks, a bottle and a crate with one Chicken Shit in it. Eventually he can bear the cold no longer and so the brownrider reappears just as Jonavan is stepping aside and allowing Jaya to proceed, he hanging back and following a pace or two behind wherever the three are heading. Hope has now begun to pick up on the tension between barkeep and masterhealer and is darting wary looks between the two and then casting one back to the crate M'las is carrying, the little girl suddenly having gone very quiet.

When Jonavan speaks to Hope so, Jaya turns to plant a challenging smile her way and walks up to them both. Holding out her hand, “Hey, shuga, can I see what you got there for a moment?” she asks in what she thinks is her ‘sweet’ voice, her tone easy. Flicking a glance towards the entrance as if expecting M’las any moment, she catches the heavy sarcasm quick enough to throw Jonavan a look. Should Hope does give over the button or not, she’ll turn and then head in the direction Jonavan indicates – stealing a glance behind them to find the dragonrider trailing along. As she walks, “So, there’s a difference, I see. I only assumed there was the one major Master you wanted to be. But you made Master, like you wanted,” she goes on to say, keeping to her tone neutral and cordial for those in their company – and those that should be eavesdropping. “So what’s to be the next goal in your life now, having gotten what you wanted?”

"Spoilsport!" Jonavan accuses Jaya as she swindles away Hope's button, but doesn't actually prevent her. Besides, his hands are full of Hope. "Was going to have her chuck it at that nosy bitch you met earlier." He's collaborating, see? He glances back at M'las and, assuming the dragonrider will follow, leading the way towards the interior of the hall where the residential quarters lie. There are onlookers, yes, but most of them at least pretend to be circumspect. A note of humour enters his tone as he answers Jaya's question. "Hang around and find out."

Hope hands the button over to Jaya along with a conspiratorial whisper of, "Hope frow it." Not realizing that in handing said button over, she's not getting it back and so her mission fails before launch. But there's a lot going on, new surroundings, new people and trying to decode what the adults are saying and so for now at least, she's distracted away from her encouraged misbehaviour. Though one can be sure it won't be long before she remembers that Jaya has her button. Starting to relax a little more, she lifts a hand and tosses out a cheery, "Hiii," to any they pass by, with M'las the pack-runner, toiling along behind.

Taking up the button and turning it over with a thumb, “Right,” Jaya says to Jonavan’s explanation of who the button was meant for, and he can be sure that she didn’t sound like she was believing that, either. Hope’s whisper gets an equally whispered, “Got something better for you when we get in the room, hmm?” She flashes one of her roguish smiles to her before the button gets pocketed. She turns around and continues to walk, Jonavan’s answer to her question getting a blithe, “Don’t much like surprises. All I’ll likely see and hear is you harassing those that work with you.” Hope’s voice rings in her ears again when she greets a passerby, the grin going to the little girl before catching M’las’s eye.

The healer looks suspicious, catching Jaya's comment for Hope. "Sure you don't want your own room?" He sounds hopeful. Jonavan takes a back set of stairs rather than go up the front, which diminishes the passers-by but doesn't get rid of them entirely. "For." Jonavan sounds cheerful, blase as he turns down a hall, pauses outside a door. He has to shift Hope around a bit to get at the key in his pocket. "Work for me." He is insufferable. "You got the preposition wrong."

Jaya's whispered response in return draws a giggle from Hope along with an eager nod of head, "S'uga also frow?" And where she's trying to go for a wink such as she's seen Max make use of, all she's able to produce is a blink-blink with tongue sticking out the corner of her mouth in concentration. When Jonavan stops at a door, Hope leans forward and knocks on it, "Open up!!" and then giggles. At least she's having fun, the sad farewells of earlier, forgotten for now.

That scared of us, masterhealer?” Jaya puts forth on his hopeful question, darting a look towards him over her shoulder. “Yeah, sounds about right. Well, if you think it’s safer for you, I’ll take another room. Don’t want you running around, making mistakes and cutting the wrong thing on some poor victim.” She winks toward Hope then when she asks if she was going to throw too, the smile far too bright as she drops, “Would you like that, shuga? For me to throw with you?” The wink she tries to do is entirely cute, and the hardness in Jaya just melts another inch. They reach his room and Jonavan’s correction of her words get a roll of her eyes and a dry, “Is it really that serious?” rhetorically. Hope’s knock to the door gets an unbidden smile, shaking her head as she waits for Jonavan to open the door.

"Yes, utterly," Jonavan replies, as dry as they come. "Or maybe I just find it appealing to yell obscenities at you all across hall." He doesn't suggest separate rooms again though - perhaps part of him (not the mouthy part, the silent part, the part of him that's avoiding looking at Jaya whenever possible) doesn't want it. As Hope knocks at his door, he fits the key in the lock, turns it, and pushes it in. The rooms beyond are bigger than those he had at Eastern, divided into public and private apartment, and it's clear from one look that he hasn't finished unpacking. "In with you," he says to Hope as much as to Jaya, setting the kid down on her own two feet.

"S'uga frow wif Hope," the child declares with a vigorous nod of head and then claps hands together. And then Jonavan's opening the door to his quarters and setting her down. A moment is taken to peer about her surroundings and then Hope's off like a shot, making a beeline for the masterhealer's bed onto which she scrambles and then, proceeds to jump up and down chanting, "Bastard bed, bump 'is head…la…la…mawning." She can't remember the children's ditty that is sung about it raining and pouring and so makes up her own version.

“Sounds like home,” Jaya drops just as dry, perhaps indicating the Weyr. Once the door is opened she steps in, taking in larger room with veiled interest. Of course she’s casing. That’s an automatic, but there’s nothing she sees of closer study just yet. Hope’s declaration getting a little laughter from her as she gets down and runs into the room, the woman watching where she goes and jumps up on Jonavan’s bed and makes up that song. That one gets something garbled between a snort and outright laughter, following the girl in along with drawled words, “Bastard’s going to give you that bed to sleep in, so don’t trample it too much.” Yeah, ‘Bastard’ said no such thing, but it did amuse her to no end all the same. Turning at an angle and keeping Hope in her sights, “So where’s the couch?” she asks allowed then, it meant for Jonavan.

Jonavan turns to take some of the luggage from M'las, more willing to help now that he's put the kid down and, perhaps more importantly, didn't have to haul things around down halls and up a flight of stairs. "Thanks, I've got it," he tells the dragonrider briefly. "Tell Max…" He pauses, listening to Hope. "Tell him that when he's done kicking ass, he should drag his up here because then it's my turn to have a go." Jonavan gives Jaya a dirty look as she offers up his bed to the toddler jumping on it, but it's just for show, lacking real force. "Turn to your left," he directs Jaya. The sofa is hardly made up for company, though, and currently has a bunch of Jonavan's things scattered over it.

M'las is happy to turn the luggage over, the crate with Chicken Shit in it set down a tad too hard causing the fowl to utter a disgruntled squawk. Starting to take a step backward he sends Jonavan a sceptical look for the message he's to deliver to Max and then gives a nod. "Yes sir." To Jaya, "Sorry ma'am, going to need my jacket back." Whether it's Jaya's words to stop messing up the bed or the fact that her pet chicken squawked is left undetermined as Hope slips off the now rumpled up bed and dashes over to the crate, poking her fingers through the holes and crooning softly to the fowl. Then she lifts her head and peers between barkeep and masterhealer and follows their looks to the couch, "S'uga no sleep wif Hope?" For she's gotten used to sleeping with Indira over the past month or so.

M’las gets his jacket back quickly, sending the dragonrider a “Thanks, shuga.” The message Jonavan wants to send to Max gets a quip from the barkeep: “Now that’s something I’d love to see.” She meets that dirty look and then Hope’s dashing off to her pet chicken, bringing a small smile to the fore that’s genuine – and then it slips off at her question. Sleep with her? “Dahhhhh….” Yeah, that thought clearly never crossed her mind, the woman looking like her mind was washed blank as she herself looks over towards the couch. Lips twisting, “Shuga’s staying on the couch,” she says, head tilting down at her with an odd little frown. “Sure I could make the couch comfortable enough that you could stay with me, uhhhh….” She moves to the couch then to inspect it, looking it over before adding to the little girl, “Wanna sleep on this with me?” she asks, jerking her chin towards the disarrayed couch behind her. “Cuz, you can, but Chicken Shit can’t, alright? Shuga likes her eyes intact.”

"Oh, it gets better and better. Fowl," Jonavan exclaims with mock-enthusiasm, watching M'las put the crate down and then Hope rush towards it a moment later. "And this Bastard likes his own bloody bed," the healer mutters in the doorway when it looks likely that Hope will have him relegated to the couch faster than he can counter it. Now with Jaya and Hope is his rooms and M'las aiming to leave, Jonavan, leaning in the doorway, hasn't the faintest clue what to do with the lot of them.

With his jacket returned, M'las shrugs back into and giving a salute is on his way with no small amount of relief for being able to do so. Hope slowly gets to her feet putting a long solemn look on Jaya as she appears to be flustered about what sort of reply to give her, then she glances toward Jonavan and there goes that thumb to her mouth. A gesture that tells of the little girl being somewhat out of her 'safe zone'. "Sleep with S'uga," she finally decides on with through a whispered lisp. "Hope frow now?" suddenly remembering that promise made by both adults to have some fun.

With M’las leaving, there went the notion of turning back. Jaya watches him leave, leaving all to look at each other in the rooms and in the silence. Once Hope decides to sleep with her in the couch, she nods to that and answers to the question, “Got something better.” She turns, picking up her pale yellow carrysack and unlacing the lid. Crouching down, she rummages through her things inside with both Jonavan and Hope looking at a loss in what to do. “She finds what she’s looking for – it’s a yellow hairpin, sewn with lace and small cut gems of pale greens and blues, looking ornate enough for a Lady Holder’s daughter. She brushes a thumb over it as if it harbored memories before she passes it over to her. She reveals the button as well, both offered to the girl as she says, “Goes in your hair, shuga. You can have it, hm? And throw the button. I think Jonavan has a likely target for you,” and she flicks a boyish nod towards the masterhealer then before she gets to her feet. Leaving the carrysack where it sits, she goes to the couch and starts picking at Jonavan’s things strewn over it and dropping them to the floor. Neutral, “If you had someplace to be before we came, you can get back to it,” she tosses over her shoulder to Jonavan as she moves to prep the couch. “Hope and I’ll be mice in a barrel. You’ll barely notice us here.” Beat. “Well, maybe not,” she corrects herself, knowing Hope would be, indeed, not a quiet mouse. “But uh….thanks, for…you know.” The room and the couch, her hand waves about to say where she can’t.

Jonavan gently closes the door once M'las departs, giving the rider a nod for his efforts. After a pause, he enters the room further, moving to perch on the end of the coffee table rather than alongside Jaya on the couch. He folds in on himself, elbows on his knees and rubbing his chin, watching Jaya move his stuff off the sofa without offering to help. He looks at the things she drops rather than the woman herself and bends down to collect a shirt. Laundry, by the looks of it. "Don't mention it," he answers, trying too obviously to sound at ease.

Curious as the proverbial feline, Hope sidles up to Jaya and crouches down next to her in that ridiculously oversized jacket she's wearing. The hairpin that's produced has dark eyes growing wide, shining with wonder at the sparkles the item produces, the button almost forgotten but not quite. Little face lit with joy, arms fling about Jaya's neck with the toddler kissing the side of her cheek and then she reaches for both items and lisps a shy, "Fank ku." With Jonavan settling himself onto the edge of the coffee table she darts over to him and holds out her treasures for his inspection, "P'iiiitty!!" Yeah, the child has an eye for bling.

Hope kissing Jaya has her taken aback for a moment, the shy smile given back to the girl quick on her lips. It was hard to be cool in the face of her, she was learning quick. “Just don’t loose it, hm?” she tells her, nodding towards the pin. “Has special value to me.” It was likely stolen, for Jaya was never rich. She watches the girl rush off to show Jonavan her new acquisition, the smile lingering before she goes back to clearing off the couch. Knowing that Jonavan was watching her without having to turn her back, “So, tell me about the tests. Must have been easy for you, hm? I suppose congratulations are in order,” and she looks over at him. “Masterhealer now. Must be beside yourself. Got folks working for you and everything.”

"Very," Jonavan agrees, touching the hairpin held in Hope's small hand. He sounds distracted though, and doesn't pick up the pin for closer inspection. "Thanks," he says into the awkward space between him and Jaya, balling up his shirt and throwing it towards his bedroom. He leans forward farther, gathering up other pieces of laundry that are close enough for him to grab. "Wasn't hard," he affirms when asked about the exams. "Oh, yeah, I'm overjoyed." And doesn't he sound it?

She doesn't understand what's going on between the adults and so Hope turns her attention back to Jaya once she's gotten the appropriate comment from Jonavan and gives a solemn nod for taking care of the hairpin. Pulling her oversized beanie off of her head she's soon back at the woman's side and patting at her disarrayed curls, "S'uga put in?" This folks, is a little taste of what it's like to try and hold any kind of adult discussion with a kid around.

Jonavan’s sounding very distracted, and Jaya could tell. The couch gets clear and she turns and sits right down on it. Apparently that’s the extent of ‘cleaning’ that she’s willing to do for the day. She reaches to pull her carrysack on the floor towards her, setting it next to her on the couch until Hope approaches. The career thief leans to pat over her little curls to find a nice spot to put the pin in, all the while flicking a glance over towards Jonavan for his short answers. “Figured it wasn’t,” she says blithely, finding a nice purchase on the side of Hope’s head to slide the pin through. “Always thought you would.” There’s a long, equally awkward silence as she slides the pin through soft curls and makes sure it’s well secured that it won’t slide off. Then, “Imagine you’re not too glad to see us, or me,” she corrects, lips pursed together as she leans away to see all of Hope’s face. “Well, think of it this way, shuga. We’ll be gone real soon,” and her gaze slides from Hope’s face to Jonavan’s. More dry, “So relax. Just a little discomfort is all, and then you’re free.” Beat. “Fits you nicely, if I say so myself,” she adds to Hope, her tone lighter as she absently brushes fingers through her hair. “Fit for a Lord Holder’s daughter.”

"Very nice." Jonavan remembers to voice his own approval for Hope's new look before he applies himself to collecting the rest of his dirty clothes, pushing off the low table and going around collecting this and that, then practising his aim on a laundry basket sitting just inside his bedroom. "It's not that, you know it," he grumbles at Jaya's fairly accurate account of how he feels to see her and Hope dropped at his doorstep. Grabbing the last few items, pairs of socks, he walks over to shove them into the laundry as well as the things he's missed that now lie scattered around. "Hey kid," he says suddenly, meaning Hope, "Chicken Shit probably needs a run, doesn't she."

Jaya has Hope free from her hands, going straight to her pet chicken and that run Jonavan suggests….is so happening. Jaya jumps up but doesn’t give chase, not with that answer given from the masterhealer. She shoots a frown his way and then turns as if to actually make the couch more presentable – or perhaps it’s to give her something to do. With her back to him, then, “If it’s not so, then I think the proper emotion is a little more than what you’re giving.” The couch is smoothed over and then she once more, sits on it and starts rummaging through her carrysack once more. Now with Hope out of earshot, taking a look around, “Seems like, you’re doing well up here. Nicer room, cushy title, folks bowing to your every whim…. Must be the life.” Meeting his gaze then, “I can see why you would want to rush out of Eastern without so much as a farewell,” she drops, her tone heavily guarded. “But I suppose, at least you told someone. Didn’t know you and Lomaxin were that close.” Beat. "And Hope. I can tell she adores you."

"Take her in the hall and see how many times you can go up and down!" Jonavan suggests a game that is certain to piss off all of his neighbours, not to mention the cleaning staff, as he holds the door open for Hope. He sticks a book in the door so it doesn't close completely, so he can keep an ear out for Hope and so she can get back in when she's ready. "What emotion do you want?" he says to Jaya's back, tone low and tense now that the child's out of the room so it won't upset her. The man gives no response about his life at hall, coming back to take up his slumped seat on the table again. "I told Indira," he says after a moment. "Slipped out with Max. He asked me to take care of Hope if anything happens, so here you are." Literally; his arm sweeps out to demonstrate the fact.

Hope is spared a dwindling smile from the barkeep before Jaya turns on Jonavan for his return. “Surprise me,” is her cool counter on that, and then she resumes going through her things. When he says he told Indira and Max, she looks his way and says nothing for a moment. Lips thinning, “Hmm. I suppose I can’t blame him,” she grudgingly gives on the man, nodding once. “He trusts you. That much I can see.” She looks away then and pulls out the thick short coat more suited to Fort’s weather, the woman dragging it across her lap to the other side of her before she takes up rummaging once more. After a while, as she pulls out some thick-looking beige linen along with a wooden box, “And he has me watching his daughter,” she adds, refusing to think of it as being sent away for her own safety. “Protection detail, he says.” Setting the carrysack aside, she scoots herself up further on the couch until her back hits the wall and she drags all the things she pulled out with her. Frowning with a raised brow, “You sure you don’t mind us creeping in your space?” she asks him, indicating his room with her sweeping eyes.

Emotion is rarely Jonavan's friend, and rather than give way to it as Jaya indicates would be the better course of action, the normal course of action, the man looks towards the door and listens for the sounds of Hope's laughter, the hen's clucks, and other people's exclamations. Fortunately the morning is a quiet one in the residential quarters, with most of its occupants otherwise occupied. "You need the space, and I wouldn't forgive myself if anything happened to Hope" he says to her question, a neat answer that lets him avoid acknowledging that yes, he minds, or is at least conflicted about it. He shifts the question onto her. "Tell me what happened?"

Jaya’s eyes slightly narrows at the way Jonavan words his answer, not liking how it sounded one bit. Coolly, “We’re in Fort, so I wager we’re safe enough, no matter where,” she drops, setting all the stuff to the side of her. “I can protect Hope in another room just as well as in this one. Don’t put yourself out on my account.” She gets off the couch and starts to put her stuff back in the carrysack, as if she was going to walk out and find this elusive other room herself. His question, not wholly unexpected, gets a terse, “Nothing did. My old boss is coming and Max doesn’t want me to gut him open like a fish. So I’m here with his daughter until Vaputero leaves.” She slings her carrysack over her shoulder with ease, looking like a traveler in her worn, barkeeping clothes since she had no chance to change in Eastern. “Dunno how long he’ll be down,” she tells, him, giving a jerky shrug. “A few days, maybe a seven. Vaput always flew by the seat of his trousers.”

"Oh, don't be so melodramatic," Jonavan gripes back at Jaya in an effort to stop her from re-packing. If Jaya reads him correctly, it's his way of saying that he doesn't want her to go. "It's fine." He stands and reaches out as if to stop her, pausing before his fingers touch. He shifts tacks and passes his hand over his head instead, letting it rest on the back of his neck. "Besides, they'll kill me if there's a chicken in the guest rooms." Right, blame it on the chicken. And since when did he care about putting other people out? Jonavan delights in causing problems. The man drops his hand and starts to turn away, saying, "I should get back. I'll be back later - have a wander if you like. Or go through my stuff or whatever it is that you feel like doing. Someone'll point you to the dining hall."

The words seem to hesitate her, but it’s the reaching out without quite touching that pauses Jaya completely. Her face stony, she turns back and drops a gaze onto his hand before he moves his hand to his face instead, watching him. Her answer? She lets the carrysack slide off her shoulder to slump to the ground. “You’re the one that gave her the chicken,” is her accusation to that, brow lifting for the excuse that it was. She steps back to the couch but doesn’t sit down, watching the masterhealer as he speaks further on heading out. Nodding stiffly as she looks around, “I’ll look for your diary,” is her quip, little humor there in her eyes when they meet. “And I’ll shower, but I’ll make sure Hope is well first before I do. I’m sure she’ll be hungry.” With that, she seems to give him leave, the Bitran turning to pick Hope’s things now and set them near the couch so she could start to unpack her things.

Jonavan's expression carries the complexities he's refusing to give words to: frustration, resignation, guilt, the unwillingness to admit that he's glad to see both Jaya and Hope. "Her father lives with animals; it seemed the thing to do." The wit intended in the remark doesn't carry past the words, not reaching into his tone or eyes; there is no light of mischief. "Right," he agrees to everything, diary included, in his haste to head out, pausing on the way to swing Hope around a few times and ensure that she's both giggling and dizzy by the time he sets her down and continues his escape.



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