From Barkeep To Barkeep


Jaya.jpg Keane.jpg

Date: Jan. 24, 2011
Location: The bar and barkeep room, EW
Synopsis: Keane finally makes it to Jaya's bar at night. The two discuss Kelarad's arrival along with revealing the new changes in their lives.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Keane

The bar is really busy this night, and all the players are present to make that happen. Shijan is at his post by the entrance, eyes on each and every person that passes by with his unnerving gaze. Barmaids Hayli and Suli are bustling about the tables, with card table after card table filled to the brim with both traders and dragonriders alike. Through it all, Jaya’s there behind the counter, her laughter alluding to her being present despite it being difficult to see her.

Keane is simply amazed at how busy the bar is tonite. Stepping in and pausing at the entrance, his gaze slowly takes in the type of clientele in Jaya’s bar (most of which wouldn’t be caught dead in the vicinity of his bar up in Telgar) before his eyes land at last on the bodyguard posted there – who is watching him. The old barkeep merely grunts his greeting to him, noting a long look at the man that must be Shijan – and therefore Jaya’s new lover – before he steps into the bar. He tries to note all the décor expertly as he slowly approaches the counter, his amusement and pride slow at how much the young Dicori had accomplished since leaving his bar up north.

When he reaches the crowded counter, Jaya turns with filled mugs in hand and nearly drops them at the sight. “Keane?” she cries in shock, turning to set the mugs heavily on the counter to the side of him so that she could step forward and look him over better. “Is that really you?”

“Didn’t you know I have a twin like you?” Keane counters good-naturedly, purely glad to see his protégé hard at work. Making a show of looking around at the crowd, “You’re doing really well here, I see! Really well.”

The smile that threatens Jaya’s mouth comes forth, the barkeep bursting into shocked laughter as she throws her dishrag down and turns to leave from behind the counter with a loud, “Fuck if all I know!” Squeezing through dragonriders and weyrfolks alike to approach him, she throws an arm over the older man’s shoulders and roughly pulls him towards her into a hug. “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming?” she asks once she releases him, looking him over briefly. “Here, let’s go to my chambers! You want something to drink? I have the best Bitran brandy this side of the south! Suli, run things for me, hmm?” She’s tugging him a long behind the counter as she speaks, her joy shining on her flushed face as she grabs up two empty glasses and stoops down to then collect up a bottle of Bitra’s finest. She’s barely letting the man get a word in edgewise, either. “The bar’s not always busy like this,” she goes on to say once she has her hands full, now steering the man towards the locked door behind the counter amidst cries for her name. “Hold this-“ and she pushes the glasses and bottle into his hands as she pulls out a key for the lock. “It’s the card tables that pulls the lot of them in, but you and I know that if not for drink and the illustrious barkeep that holds them … there we are! Come inside!” Before the man could protest, he’s ushered inside and the audio levels drop to more manageable levels the moment she closes the door behind her.

Keane wasn’t going to interrupt her, his amusement at just seeing the young woman so animated and … so different from the young woman who was his barmaid up in Telgar laid bare before them. Setting the glasses and bottle down on the table, “I must say,” he drawls, straightening up and taking a long look around the chamber, “I am very impressed, Dicori! Might have been a good idea of you coming down here after all.”

Jaya takes him up in another embrace, this time a lingering one before she steps back and takes up the bottle. Gesturing for him to sit, “You came on the best night,” she notes as she pours brandy for them both, sending a fond smile his way. “You should have told me you were coming, though.”

“Wanted it to be a surprise,” is all Keane says on the matter, it being simple for him. Settling in one of the chairs at the table with a sigh, “Found some free time, finally, now that I got that man your boss’s mother sent up working over. The bar’s been running smoothly ever since, now that it’s back in business.”

Passing a glass over, “How did you even manage it?” Jaya asks then, settling herself into the barkeep’s appointed chair and leaning back more comfortably with her glass in hand. “Did you pay a dragonrider off? Took a ship?”

For some reason, on this question Keane suddenly looks a little uncomfortable. Taking a lingering drink to avoid answering right away, “Well, uh, you know Kelarad was planning to visit, right?” he asks instead, eyes landing on the Bitran then.

No, she didn’t. Jaya blinks once, takes a drink, then sets it down as some of her joy evaporates at the mention of the renegade crimelord’s name. “Thought that wasn’t for sometime now,” she comments soberly, frowning a bit at the barkeep for bringing the matter up.

“Sometime has passed,” Keane counters, his own voice growing sober. “Kelarad allowed me passage, so …” hands lifts, showing that here he was.

Here he was … and so was Kelarad.

Kelarad. Somewhere in Eastern Weyr.

Jaya is stiff with shock, her face not showing such emotion as she just stares back at him for a moment. “But … when did … how …?” She wasn’t sure what to say to this, blinking a few times and shaking her head until Keane lifts a hand her way.

“This morning,” Keane answers her, dropping his hand for his glass. “I imagine Kelarad and his second are in their room as we speak. I’m not sure if Max knows they’re here, so …” He sends a pointed look her way, hoping she gets word to him if he doesn’t know already.

“I’m sure he knows,” Jaya answers that with a hard look, lips pressed together at this new dilemma. Kelarad was here, and they were far from prepared for him, but what did she really expect? For him to drop a calling card via firelizard? The barkeep was hoping that Max sends for her when Kelarad seeks him out. She definitely wanted to be there for that. But then, something connects in her head on something else Keane said and looks sharply at him with slightly narrowing eyes. “Wait a minute,” she halts, a hand lifting at him. “You’ve been here since this morning? Took you this long to get to my bar? Where have you been?” Suspicion colors her tone, regarding the older man steadily.

Keane was expecting this. It was why he doesn’t bother looking embarrassed or uncomfortably by the questioning. Appearing strictly relaxed in his seat as he makes a show of himself lingering on his drink, “If I tell you not to worry about where I’ve been, would you drop it?” he puts the question to her instead of answering, amusement lingering in his gruff tone.

Jaya raises a brow. “Why all the questions, Keane?” she counters, clicking her teeth.

“Why the suspicions, Dicori?”

“Not suspicious. Curious.”

Keane drops his chin and looks flatly at the young Bitran. “This is being curious?” he asks with a touch of dryness.

She rolls her eyes and flaps her hand at him before stating, “Why not just answer my question, shuga. Unless you were doing something you don’t want me knowing about.” Eyes light on the man then from across the table.

Sighing, “Perhaps it took all this time to get me and the men secured in our rooms, hm?” he continues to play with her, knowing full well that Jaya was not going to let this go. Having a go at changing the subject, “How about you tell me about what’s been going on in your life, hm? Or rather, who’s been in your life?”

Despite the faint blush that creeps on her cheeks at this new turn of questioning, Jaya probes further with “Don’t change the subject. You taught me well, remember?”

“I did teach you well,” Keane agrees on that easily, nodding a few times as he takes a liberal look about them at the room. “You’ve really done well with yourself, Dicori. Never thought you would make a place for yourself in this kind of business. Been worried about you, girl.” He meets her gaze then, finding her watching him in silence before he finally sets his glass down and states, “Tell you what. You tell me about this business involving you and your bodyguard, and I’ll tell you about what kept me all day from you. Barkeep to barkeep. Deal?” It was an opportunity she couldn’t resist, he knew.

An opportunity, indeed. “Alrighty,” Jaya agrees to it, that blush still present as she keeps her half-filled glass close to her lips. “You can tell me how you found out, first of all.”

“Indira,” Keane drops the name easily and without hesitation. “What’s his name?”

Brows furrow. “Indira told you?” Jaya asks, her tone dry. “What, you two became best friends or something?” Pause. “Shijan,” it’s her turn to drop a name easily and without hesitation now. “You’ve met him.”

“Been keeping in contact with her since she came up to Telgar,” Keane returns on the Headwoman with a bare shrug. “Her, ah, services have been much benefited to me.” Yeah, good job at keeping a straight face. “I remember him,” he says on Shijan then, nodding. “Saw him on the way in, too. He like us?” Translation: is he like the type of people that he and Jaya have grown up around all their lives.

“Really,” Jaya’s studying him hard now, a finger tracing the rim of her glass idly. “She gave you and Kelarad the rooms?” Beat. “Not really,” she answers then on Shijan, a smirk starting to come forth.

“Of course,” Keane answers that blithely. “She is the Headwoman, right?” Beat. “What do you mean, ‘not really’? What did the man do before he became a bodyguard?”

Jaya smirks as she feels herself getting somewhere. “So, after you got the rooms, what then? Got some rest or something?” The next line of questioning has some of that amusement fading, however, simply answering wryly, “Does it matter, shuga? He’s not a renegade, and the man’s more moral than I am. He doesn’t drink. He’s a good guy, actually.”

Frowning, “What man doesn’t drink?” Keane drops on that matter, delaying his own answer to her first as he drains his own glass now and pushes it towards her for a refill. That catches him off-guard as though he had forgotten what was asked, but after a moment of silence, “Been shacking up with Indira, Dicori.” Best to be blunt about it. He even tacks on dryly, “Not that it’s any of your business. Shuga.”

What man doesn’t drink? Jaya gives him a look, “He has his reas—-wait …” Yeah. She had just heard the last. The woman blinks, staring at him for a moment as if in disbelief before a frown starts out. She did not just – “You … and Indira?” she asks that in open skepticism, regarding him hard now as she slowly refills his glass and hands it back to him.

“You heard right,” Keane notes, setting the topic of her bodyguard lover aside for now. “Me and the Headwoman. Don’t look so shocked, Dicori.” The man seems to swell up with pride, his chin lifting at her as he tacks on, “What, got a problem with it?” He’ll challenge her if he has to, but he was hoping he wouldn’t have to defend his relationship with the Headwoman to a woman he considers his daughter.

Silence. It’s a shocked silence, really, as Jaya finally pieces together all the times she had walked in on a very distracted Indira. Refilling her own glass and swallowing it all down in a couple gulps, she sets the glass down audibly and simply says, “Well.” Dark eyes seek out Keane’s then, “No, I …” she clears her throat and leans forward across the table, “I’ve got no problem with it, Keane. You know me.” After a lengthy pause, “Does she … make you happy?”

“More than either you or even her knows,” Keane answers that one with pride in his voice. Taking a long drink and setting it down, “You know me, Jay,” he notes gruffly. “I ain’t one for relationships, but with Indira, I …” he shakes his head as he tries to explain it, failing. “It’s different, shuga. Different than it was with Regane. I’ve got a bad case, and it’s pretty bad.”

Nodding and blinking, “And so you came down, to be with her.” Jaya finds the root of his being here, and while a part of her pinches at the thought that he didn’t come down for her, it was there and gone in less than a second.

“You know you’re my girl,” Keane, perhaps, notes the way she says that, the old barkeep frowning in slight concern. “I would have come for you if you truly needed me to. I still would for you, and for Olira. Treat you girls like my daughters, and you’ll always have a place in me. Believe that.”

“Aye, I do,” Jaya flaps a hand in dismissal of it, the smirk returning to the fore now. “Don’t get so sentimental. Hey, if you’re happy,” and she raises her glass to him, leaning forward to toast, “then I’m happy. Been trying for months to get you all shacked up before, remember?”

Keane’s glass meets Jaya’s, the man chuckling low before taking a drink. “Me, sentimental?” He snorts. “What about you and that bodyguard lover of yours? Bet you’re plenty sentimental for the both of us!”

Jaya rolls her eyes, but she can’t deny it. “He makes me … happy,” she openly admits now, calm stealing over her. “I think I know how you feel, shuga.” She drains her glass again, then sets it down. Eyes on it, “Does Max know?” That he’s fucking his mother, and that the feelings were mutual.

“Doubt it,” Keane answers the last first, smirking a bit. “Hoping he accepts. Not going to change my mind about her either way, but …” a shrug is given, and the drink is taken up. After a moment of silence then, when he sets the glass down, “I oughta meet him,” he notes, not referring to Max at all. “This man that’s above drinking. Gonna be here for a sevenday so, I’ll have plenty of time to do that.”

Jaya brightens at the idea of having her former boss here with her for a sevenday, the young woman laughing out loud and saying, “A whole sevenday? And I’m sure most of that will be in the Headwoman’s presence, hmmm?” She chuckles again, reaching for the bottle and adding with a pointed look his way, “Fine, I don’t mind it,” she adds, finally giving her consent and approval to his and Indira’s relationship. “So long’s you come by my bar often when you can while you’re here. You and I have some serious catching up to do.”

Getting Jaya’s approval means a lot of him, and so Keane raises his glass briefly to her with an incline of his head. “I’ll have time for you, and for everything I intend to do down here,” he answers, his spirits lifting. “And I’m serious about meeting this Shijan of yours. Seems like the right thing to do and all, if you’re serious about him.”

The notion of having the Telgari barkeep about for a whole sevenday has her pretty much agreeing to anything said. “Yeah, yeah, whatever you want,” Jaya answers easily on his demands to see Shijan, the matter probably not really hitting her until much later in the night. “Perhaps we can go fishing or something. Or go try and steal something off someone influential?” Okay, the last is a tease. Sort of.

Keane gives her a look for the last bit. “Shijan oughta be careful you don’t steal off of him,” he counters wryly, leaning back as he knocks the last of his brandy back. “Didn’t you lift marks off the last one, as I can remember?”

Shrugging, “Caught him with some simpering holdgirl,” is Jaya’s excuse, lifting her glass to her lips before there’s a knock at her door and it cracks open to reveal none other than Suli.

Hard eyes taking in the position of both barkeeps with barely a smile, “Emergency at the counter,” she sends toward Jaya now, her head peeking through.

“Go take care of your bar,” Keane says, getting to his feet and coming around the table to lay a firm hand on her shoulder. “I better go check on Kelarad before I turn in.” Return to Indira, that is.

Jaya gets to her feet too, and when Keane comes around and lays a hand on her, she pulls him into another embrace – something uncommon in the Dicori – before releasing him and turning towards Suli to say, “Right behind you.” To Keane, “Let’s have breakfast on the lake in the morning, hm? Late morning,” she corrects herself with a warm smile, knowing full well with whom he’ll be spending every night. She leans in to kiss his cheek, a hand lifting to pat his shoulder firmly before turning and heading out the door behind her barmaid.

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