Gifts Old And New


Indira.jpg Ahnika.jpg Hope.jpg

Date: 2011.05.03
Location: Headwoman's Office
Synopsis: Ahnika drops by with a basket that contains gifts for Hope as well as gifts given her by the toddler's father that she is now returning.
Rating: PG
Logger: Indira

It took her a good couple days to get it all ready, well, a couple days and a solid month or two so prior. Having been with Max and even helping him think of a plan to discredit Lady Garnalla, Ahnika knew the day would come when his Little Bit would arrive at the Weyr. She'd always had faith in Max, and even now, she knows he'll do well in his new role. For whatever reason, Ahni stuck to the project, modest that it was, that she had committed to commissioning well before that fateful night outside the tavern on their Turndays. Now she was simply adding to it. She was grateful to hear that the Headwoman had installed the child in her quarters instead of the nursery, and that Ahni wouldn't have to take the package to Max directly. She wasn't even sure she wanted to face Indira, but she felt like she could face her better than Max right now. She still ached for his embrace, his strong arms around her, despite the distance and despite the time, and couldn't rightly trust herself around him anymore. And so it is with oversized covered basket in hand on a rainy and cool evening, Ahnika arrives at Indira's office, nodding to the guardsman outside of it and politely inquiring if the Headwoman was about.

Doran of course used to seeing Ahnika come and go from the Headwoman's office over the past two turns, looks up from whatever it is he's whittling, bits of wood lying scattered about the floor at his boots and gives a nod along with a smile. "Go on in, though I'd be ready to sidestep real quick if I were you, the little one's on a rampage tonight." Er what?

What indeed for should Ahnika then turn the handle and step through the door she'll find Hope come streaking past, a fistful of jewellery clutched in her little fist, shrieking with laughter as Indira, looking more than a little harried and with a tiny nightdress in hand, tries to catch the child with the mop of dark curls who is currently wearing…nothing.

Having been raised in a foster cothold filled to the eaves with kids, Ahnika's done her share of critter-sitting, so to speak. With Doran's warning, Ahnika smiles ruefully and steps in, moving carefully to try and intercept the child as she streaks past, though trying to do so in a way not to hurt her. She's not, like, trying to clothes-line the kid or anything like that. "Hey there, little one. Aren't you quick as can be?" Ahni says with a warm and gracious smile, the smile she used for the littles in the cothold and the ones in the group that Indira brought to Eastern with her.

Woah, stranger! That’s enough to draw Hope up short, eyes the same as her father’s thrown wide and she dives for the first pair of available legs to hide behind not realizing that they belong to said stranger, that being Ahnika. “Ahnika,” surprise colours Indira’s tone as she bends, reaching for the little girl to scoop her up into her arms, and once she has the green weyrling is put under close study and then a careful smile appears, “I’m afraid I’ve had to cut down my hours and am only handling requisitions during the day now. But if it’s something urgent I can send Doran to go and find Warin for you?” Hope in the meantime has decided that her grandmother should wear the thieved necklaces and so is currently trying to get them over the tousled blonde’s head.

Ahnika continues to smile warmly at the toddler behind her legs until Indira picks her up, and then she is smiling at them both, though her attention settles on the Headwoman, despite the distraction of jewelry trying to be forced over the woman's head. "No requisition, but thank you for asking and offering. This is a social call of sorts, though I know you're busy," Ahni knows just how demanding childcare can be, "so I won't impose long. " She brings the covered basket up in her hands, and says, "I had a couple things made for her, and now that I'm in my own weyr, I did some tidying up of my trunk and felt some of my things would be better if she had them now." Then she rethinks that and rephrases, "I'd like it if she had them, I mean." Seeing as how Indira's hands are full, she moves over to one of her office chairs and sets the covered basket down in it.

“A social call?” Indira queries in a slightly guarded tone, as one by one she starts plucking the necklaces off her head and out of Hope’s hands with the little one giving a pouting ‘No’ each time she’s left with one less, until eventually chubby little hands are empty and she’s looking anything but pleased about it. On the matter of having her hands full a wry smile breaches the otherwise unreadable expression the Headwoman had been wearing, “She’s more her father’s child than I’d imagined she might be.” Headstrong and with a mind of her own it seems. “Please, sit,” the chair indicated as she moves toward her own, the basket Ahnika holds up given a look of interest and then she’s smiling as she settles Hope into her lap and begins dressing her. “That’s very sweet of you, Ahnika. But you really didn’t have to, especially after…” words trail and the Headwoman leaves that though unfinished, simply ending with a fleeting smile of apology. “I’m sure Max and Hope will appreciate the gesture,” which of course, so does she.

"Good for her," on Hope being like her father, "She'll need his strength and determination in life," Ahnika says genuinely with a glance for the toddler in Indira's lap now, as she, herself, takes the offered seat. To Indira's second statement, Ahni shakes her head, "I had already committed to a couple of the items, and as for the rest … they really were destined for her in the long-run anyway," added somewhat cryptically. Then she nods, politely, not seeming certain that Max would appreciate it, really, but not saying as much outloud. It will be what it will be. "How is she settling in?" Ahni asks next, switching the subject while looking at Hope and smiling tenderly.

Both Ahnika’s initial comment and more especially what she says on the contents of the basket, has Indira flicking a glance over to the redhead as she does up the buttons on the back of Hope’s nightdress. “Perhaps…” a small pause allowed for as the older woman chooses her words carefully, “I’m not the right person to have brought them to, hmm?” Not that she thinks Max and Ahnika should be in the same room as each other right now, but more that there seems to be unfinished business judging by the cryptic words from the weyrling.

Realizing she’s under study and feeling safe in her grandmother’s lap, Hope with thumb in mouth returns Ahnika’s gaze with a solemn one of her own for a moment and then lunges for the pile of tangled up necklaces Indira had dumped on the desk before she can be stopped. One of them, an expensive looking affair that appears to have sapphires set it into (or something very close in colour) is picked up and offered to Ahnika. “P’itty,” she states and then she flashes a shy little smile. It would seem the child is a bit of a magpie when it comes to shiny things.

To Indira's first, Ahnika's attention switches back to the Headwoman. She continues to smile, but the tender quality of it becomes slightly more somber, "They are for the child. I brought them to her, and by extension would have left them in the care of whomever is tending to her." There's no barb in her tone. She isn't putting in a dig against Max for not taking care of the child himself since Ahnika knows it wouldn't be as sound a judgment to do so. It is simply a convenient explanation for her avoidance. Her attention returns to the child and the offer made and something in Ahnika's expression breaks a little. She blinks several times, quickly, but manages to get a smile back in place and nods to her, remaining "safely" on the other side of the desk. "Yes, yes it is, dear," Ahnika says softly. Then with a clearing of her throat she stands up, "Well, I shan't impose any longer. It's getting late and I'm sure you're in the process of getting her tucked in for the night, and drills come early for me in the morning. Goodnight, ma'am." A brief look is given to Hope once more, "Goodnight," simply and softly put and then she turns to make her way to the door unless stopped.

Ahnika’s response has Indira lifting a brow and for a few moments she says nothing and then states simply, “As you wish.” Then pausing a moment she adds, “Max…is out of Weyr. He gets back tonight,” and then frowns, not quite sure why she’d felt the need to say that. Perhaps a part of her hopes the two will sit down and talk things through. Either way the Headwoman quickly sets it aside and with a smile carefully disengages the necklace from Hope’s fingers and sets the little one who is now squirming, down to the floor.

The toddler then appears to make a beeline for Ahnika as she stands and then halts, her attention captured by the basket set on the other chair. Oh, something new to investigate! And soon she’s trying to scramble up and onto the chair to see for herself what might be in there, as if she somehow understands it has something to do with her. “Bye,” Hope gives in her soft little voice, even going so far as to pause in her efforts and wiggle baby fingers about in a wave.

“You’re not imposing,” Indira gives with a long look sent the redhead’s way, “besides, she’s far too wound up on the bubbly pie Cook snuck her, for me to have any hope of her falling asleep any time soon.” This likely explaining the naked runner the toddler had just tried to make. “But you need your rest, so don’t let me keep you up,” a smile attaches and then the Headwoman stands, scooping up the tangled mess of jewellery and moving toward her room to deposit it back from wherever it came.

"That's … nice," Ahnika says to Max returning tonight, mid-step and pausing, not really sure what to do with that information either. Finally she adds, "I wish him well with his … endeavors." It is Hope who keeps her from saying anything else, thankfully. Ahnika doesn't exactly tense with the girl's approach, but it's clear she'd rather avoid contact and thus risk getting attached, well, any more than she already is. However, with the child safely distracted and no longer in danger of going after Ahnika, and Indira essentially giving Ahni her leave, the redhead resumes her trek to the door. She's already said goodnight and made her farewells, so will not linger further, especially as the child is rifling through the basket. Ahni opens the door and steps out, closing it behind her, closing her eyes and exhaling a held breath. Doran may or may not still be standing there. She doesn't care. She takes that second or so to steady herself, pick her chin up again, and continue on, though she'll politely say goodnight to Doran on her way, if he is still there.

The basket contains a knitted baby blanket, one the appropriate size for dragging around like a "wubby" in typical Linus fashion, made more for emotional comfort than warmth at night as it would barely cover her. It also includes a stuffed doll of soft material in a pretty and frilly little pink dress. Beyond that, there are tangible items that Max had given Ahni over their relationship: the Harper Tales books, the wooden box containing the lovely green necklace, and her … Gather dress, or at least the material of it. It didn't come from Max originally, but he bought it back for her and gave it back to her and she cannot wear it ever again without thinking of him and their time together. She has carefully cut through the stitching along the seams, leaving simply the beautiful deep blue and lavender panels of the exquisite and expensive material. A simple note is attached saying, "Use the material for a baby's dress or save it for when she gets older, whichever is more to your preference, with my blessing. I hope it serves her well." Perhaps of note to Max, should it ever come to his attention, is the fact that Ahnika apparently saw fit to keep the bracelet of runner hair and the runnershoe, in the end, for whatever reason.

Pausing in her path toward her private quarters, Indira looks back at Ahnika, and dark blonde brows flirt toward each other in a frown, her lips pressing firmly together for the redhead’s response. Then her expression smoothes into something unreadable and the smile when it comes is cool, as are the words that attach, “I’m sure he wishes you the same.” She remains there, watchful as the weyrling leaves and then with a sigh turns to Hope, who oblivious of the tension in the room has discovered the wooden box and is busy shaking it vigorously back and forth, seemingly captivated by the sound the necklace makes as it knocks about inside.

The other contents of the basket are given short study, that same frown reappearing and then Indira takes out the knitted blanket, the doll and the Harper Tale books (Not being aware of their significance), manages to pry the wooden box from Hope and deposits it with the other items. But not before Hope’s bottom lip starts to quiver, “Those are daddy’s, aye? Not yours. This is yours,” an encouraging smile edged with sadness appearing as she distracts the little girl with the pretty doll. The basket of mementos is carefully set to one side and then Headwoman and toddler retire to her quarters for the night to await the return of the man at centre of the evening’s tensions.

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