Give Or Take


Jaya.jpg Jonavan.jpg

Date: Nov. 19, 2010
Location: The Bar, EW
Synopsis: Jonavan comes by with a gift of sorts and doesn't quite apologize. Jaya puts a blunt question to him and leaves the encounter more frustrated with him than before.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jaya

The bar is leaning a bit after closing time, the patrons having left already after a night of dismal card games. It may have been dismal for them, but it was a rather profitable night for Jaya with her standing behind the vacant counter, counting out her marks to get the profits of the night. Hayli and Suli have already retired, leaving only Shijan sitting at the entrance in case any stragglers should arrive – and with her luck, a few usually do. In fact, two such stragglers enter right then – appearing to be farmers – to approach the counter and immediately order up a couple mugs of ale for them both before they choose a table closest to the entrance. “Whatever you say, Deo,” the Bitran woman drawls, recognizing at least one of the farmers to arrive as she stops what she’s doing to collect up two mugs. “But one drink a piece, hear?” she warns out loud, fitting them both with a look. “I haven’t the patience to entertain you both all night just because you feel the need to drink after closing.” – “When do you ever, Jaya?” the one called Deo quips back, smirking her way before he nods his acquiesce to her warning and hunkers down to apparently talk business with his companion in low voices.

Jonavan had meant to come by the bar earlier rather than chance Jaya alone at night. A minor emergency kept him late though, and after a quick bath to wash off the work of the day it was nearly past the point when he wanted to risk it. However, he had spotted the farmers in the hallways with a clear destination in mind and now slips past Shijan with a nod. He walks quickly to diminish the chance of Shijan throwing him out with a look from Jaya once she's seen him, glances at the farmers as he goes by their table, and heads for the bar. Once there, Jonavan braces himself against the counter with one hand, a leather-bound book of some sort in the grasp of the other. "Hey," he says without immediately ordering a drink, perhaps not up for giving Jaya ammunition or the chance to refuse him service.

With Jonavan being so quick to slip by, Shijan is easy to notice him but doesn’t choose to throw him out just yet. No such sign comes from Jaya after all – not that she’s yet to notice him, anyway. Her attention is on the farmers, having made their drinks so she’s coming from around the counter with two filled mugs in hands before dropping them off. By the time she returns behind the counter, she doesn’t appear to be surprised to find Jonavan there. Well, she’s not particularly smiling or giving him reason to think she’s happy to see him, either. Slipping her profits off the counter deftly into a waiting pouch, “Hey,” is returned from her cordially enough, working to clear the counter top before she fits a glance to the leather-bound book he holds briefly, and then it lifts to meet his gaze. Her expression unreadable in the brief study, “What can I get you?” she asks then, making the estimation that the healer was only there for a drink – and she was not one to turn down profits from anybody, even from ones she was still pissed at.

Jonavan regards Jaya steadily, looking for a reaction - or a lack thereof. The latter draws him to conclude, "You're still mad, aren't you." He doesn't sit, preferring a more transitory presence at the bar that doesn't try Jaya's hospitality or commit himself to staying. "No, I'm not drinking," he starts off with a shake of his head. He stops to reconsider - perhaps he should - but says nothing to belay the negation. "Here," Jonavan says instead, casually tossing the book out onto the counter (fortunately not into any puddles of ale); a quick glance at the pages would show them all blank. "You can write things like 'Jonavan is an ass'" 'like a fifteen Turn old scribbling petty annoyances in a diary' is the part he wisely leaves off, "or tally your profits or whatever." He presents it with seeming unconcern. "I had an extra, thought you might like it."

Jaya says nothing when Jonavan tosses the book onto the counter between them, the taken aback expression indication enough that it was the last thing she was expecting the man to do considering their last encounter. Blinking a few times as she regards the book but doesn’t yet reach for it, she slowly transfer that look from the book to his face and regards him in the lingering silence. “Is this your unique way of apologizing?” she breaks her silence, shifting weight to the side as she leans one turned hip towards the counter. A hand lands, palms downward, on top of the journal eyes trying to meet his own as her expression betray either emotion from her. Then, as if an after-thought, “And are you admitting that you’re an ass?” There’s just the barest flicker of amusement there, mixed with her sarcasm – though it’s fleeting enough to be almost missed by the healer.

Jonavan lifts his shoulders in his shrug when the question comes about the inferred apology. "If you like." He steers clear of asking for a full pardon though, meeting Jaya's gaze squarely. "Though I stand by what I said. Maybe not the way I said it, but—" That's where the apology comes in. "Of course I'm an ass. I'm usually an ass. You don't know that by now?" His amusement is more fully realized than Jaya's.

“Does your vague response actually work on the teenaged girls you favor down in Landing?” Jaya questions then before giving into a snort. She meets Jonavan’s gaze evenly enough, his half-apology as it was getting a dry but matter-of-fact, “I see.” Both hands on the counter now as she deliberately leans forward and lowers her voice, “So, I’m not suppose to question, and I’m not suppose to give a shit,” she summarizes the very things he wasn’t taking back from before, head tilting slightly to the side as she says it with the same clinical detachment she’s perhaps heard him speak before. Pausing before nodding to that, “I get it, shuga,” she drawls that out, the smirk that peels out mysterious at best before going to lean away and finally claim the book in one hand. Perhaps her response is odd, considering the way she stormed out before, but then, not much is being reveal by her demeanor alone. Something is clearly held back, and it’s this something that has her fitting that smirk to change into faint amusement towards his last. “Ever dismiss me like that again? And you’ll be needing one of your fellow colleagues to patch you up in your place of work,” is her rather wry response to his being an ass. It’s even given with one of her cheeky smiles. Well, you can take the girl out of Bitra…

"Technicians," Jonavan corrects, tone similarly dry but starting to smile. It fades almost as soon as it's materialized once Jaya leans closer, dimming from the seriousness he's shown a distaste for. Still, he brought it up and has come more or less prepared for it. He remains stationary, response momentarily withheld as his attention is caught by the remark following Jaya's dispassionate review. "Do you." It's halfway between a statement and a question, expression slightly inquiring. The warning that follows has the healer the closest to rueful that he's been thus far, though the tone he takes is is sardonic. "Who? Cheusia's gone frolicking off to Southern and next she'll be playing house." Jonavan clearly does not appreciate her sabbatical and its implications, seeming to regard them largely as a personal inconvenience. He finally slides onto a bar stool.

“Uh-huh,” is all Jaya says in a monotone to that correction regarding the technicians, a brow twitching upwards as she doesn’t argue the point. In fact, noting the demeanor and response from Jonavan in regard to her dispassionate review, she looks to very well not touch that one any further either. She doesn’t answer that right away, clearly detecting that slight inquiring even though she now sets herself to closing up shop behind the counter. It gives her reason to look elsewhere for the most part, although occasionally her eyes do draw towards the farmers conversing in low tones a few tables away from them. “I do,” she counters that, her voice careful, nodding once when she meets his gaze. “Don’t let anyone get too close, shuga. I get it.” Leaning away as she reaches to set the journal along with her inventory sheets before bringing them both towards her, “Sure you’re not drinking?” she asks again, feeling it’s her barkeep duty to ask once he takes a seat. His words over who would patch him up gets a sardonic snort from her as she starts to rifle through her stack of lists, responding with a rather dry, “I heard about that, but no. I’ll make one of the others there fix you. Or Max,” she adds that with glance being shot toward his way. “I punched him in the nose once. He should know how to fix someone by now.” Right. “So the rumors are true,” she returns to the account of Jonavan’s fellow healer, though the barkeep didn’t really know her nor Bowen all that much to have any opinion on the matter herself. “The laundresses are having a field day with the rumor mill these days.”

Jonavan offers no distraction, leaving Jaya in peace to move about her business. "Mmhmm," he hums in affirmation, sounding wry about it. He hooks his feet into the lower rungs of the stool and tips towards the bar, bringing both elbows down onto the countertop. "Well, I wasn't going to," he hedges, which means that there's probably room for one; he doesn't specify which, but Jaya likely knows by now that his tastes run towards the harder alcohols. Her remark about Max gets a smirking grin, and he nods once to confirm what he's heard of Cheusia and Bowen though isn't inclined to gush over their eternal happiness. Settled now, Jonavan turns a measuring look on the bar owner and after a moment, perhaps feeling that he owes her the partial explanation he's prepared to give, notes, "It's probably not what you think." A pause, then he calmly goes on. "I'm not the one who's hurt, Jaya, I'm the one who does the hurting. So giving a shit - it is stupid - it won't lead anywhere good. I'm sure you have other men in and out of your bed, if you want them there, who would be more deserving." His regard holds steady; on one level, he's interested if she'll confirm his suspicions.

The lists goes down at Jonavan’s remark on him not initially wanting a drink, and Jaya turns to reach for a glass wordlessly and set it down before him. “So according to you,” she says, bending briefly to pull up the appropriate liquor decanter and checking the label with an unreadable expression in place, “I shouldn’t give a shit because you’ll hurt me down the line?” She leans over, tipping the decanter so that a dark amber colored liquid pours into the glass. Briefly letting her gaze settle on Jonavan as she pours, “That, you’re only going for the ass?” Once the glass is filled and she passes the drink over to him, she leans back with the decanter and sets it aside to run a hand over her loose black hair. His latter statement sets her lips together, eyes narrowing a fraction before she answers with, “You’re really going with the whole ‘I’m no good for you – go be with someone more deserving’ speech,” with her own gaze steady. Jaya regards him for a long moment before she moves up to the counter and settle her hands to prop herself up on the counter. The question is deliberate as she asks flippantly yet firmly, “Do you want me?”

Jonavan looks dissatisfied when he hears his words echoed back and mutters, "That sounds pathetic." And melodramatic, which he has a personal vendetta against. It must have sounded better in his head. Even though he interprets the second question as rhetorical he does not let the opportunity for a quip sail by unattended. "Well, you do have a good ass. Thanks." The latter is for the drink, which he reaches for now. Jonavan starts to look like he's having his teeth pulled as the conversation progresses; the drink is to numb it. "Well, maybe not more deserving." His ego still appears intact as he reassesses that wording. Making short work of the drink, the man sets it down with a substantial measure missing; using the time to choose his words carefully, Jonavan looks at Jaya directly and aims for clarity. "Look. As long as I'm here, I'll be working my ass off until I make Master. That's all I'm here for." He stops himself from saying more when it might carry too much sentimentality. In that light, he rather appreciates the bluntness of Jaya's final question, as much as he isn't inclined to answer it. He sits back and momentarily looks elsewhere, considering something equivocal - 'for now' or 'what do you think?' - but in the end candidness deserves candidness, and having brought this upon himself Jonavan cannot in good conscience answer with anything else. So the healer looks back at Jaya and answers unswervingly. "Yes."

Jaya throws a look his way for his comment on her ass. She watches Jonavan now as he speaks, her expression betraying nothing as he lays it down for her. Even beyond that, the only slight reaction showing on the barkeep’s face is answer to her very blunt question. Considering what he said moments before, she wasn’t clearly expecting him to answer that way, and so she blinks her faint trace of confusion but continues to say nothing. The farmers beyond him gets her attention, the men still speaking quietly with each other, before the Bitran woman steps back from the counter and makes her way from around it to approach Jonavan from where he sat. Stopping close by his side, she’ll take a pause before reaching out with one hand to trying and take him by the chin gently to look her way. Lowering her voice for his ears alone as she stares steadily into his eyes, “Then fucking show me,” is perhaps a heated order, each word being delivered heavily and carefully. Leaning forward if she has his chin to press lips to his cheek, “If that’s all you’re here for, Jonavan,” she says soberly, leaning back alittle to meet his gaze if she can, “then that’s all you’ll get. Good ass.” Pause. “If you’re lucky.” Cheeky to the last, Jaya will drop back and turn to return back behind the counter unless stopped. Even then, despite sober words, she does look over her shoulder at the healer with one corner of her lips lifting for just a moment before saying, “I like the journal. Practical. Thanks.”

There are differences in degrees of wanting, and priorities, and the lengths to which he's prepared to go. Jonavan says none of this though, displaying just a trace of a smile unmotivated by mirth. He swivels around to face Jaya when she steps out from behind the bar and proves pliable insofar as he doesn't pull away from this proximity. But that is all - when Jaya moves back, he does not move to try to stop her or kiss her, though the opportunity may present itself. It seems too much like yielding. If her words have any impact, it is internalized. After a moment, the healer slides off the stool so he can dig in his pocket to extract payment for the drink. "You're welcome. I thought you might."

Jaya’s not one to beg or pout – the scarred faced woman having felt she had exposed herself and her feelings enough for the healer to pick apart. Therefore, having said what she has with no return response, the proud Bitran leaves it at that. The ball was, essentially, in his court. Making it back behind the counter, she looks up only enough to find Jonavan digging into his pocket for payment and nods firmly when he does speak – her expression back to its guarded but cordial state. “Good,” she returns in rather clipped tones, fingers deftly going through the stack of inventory sheets she had abandoned moments before. Brow lifting imperceptibly with only the barest trace of ironic amusement, “Now get out of my bar,” she states with a chin nod going towards the entrance, knowing full well he was paying to leave anyway. The farmers could leave, too, for that matter, but she has yet to give them the customary toss-out either.

Jonavan could hardly have expected different. He places the wooden marks on the bar, each piece making a deliberate click against the countertop. Glancing up to put an image to the brusqueness heard in Jaya's tones, the man pauses. With payment made but not needing change, he lingers temporarily without clear purpose; there is a difference between leaving on one's own accord and being told to. In that moment when Jonavan looks at across the bar at Jaya an apology nearly materializes, but in the end he merely says, "Good night," and departs.

Jaya keeps her gaze on him, his pause being noted along with his lingering around once the marks have been place. She doesn’t make any moves to collect, either – the barkeep seeming to hold her breath as she meets that gaze of his and he says his farewell. Jonavan leaves and once his back is turned that breath she holds seems to deflate as her own frustration with him is seen on her face. It’s only once he’s gone that she starts to collect up the marks and the empty glass, nodding a wordless signal to Shijan waiting at the entrance to go and kick out the last of her patrons out so that she could gratefully retire for the night.

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