Kittens And Kisses


Max.jpg Ahnika.jpg Randi.jpg

Date: 2010.07.20
Location: Beast Caverns
Synopsis: Ahnika returns to the beast caverns later that night with the requested basket and blanket in hand. Somehow between kittens and first kisses and Randi’s sudden arrival, Max manages to get decked by the junior weyrwoman. Bad Max, no biscuit ;)
Rating: PG18 for adult situations and language
Logger: Max

[ Eastern Weyr: Beast Cavern ]

Sweeping upwards from the tunnel's entrance at the easternmost end, this cavern arches well over the heads of its inhabitants; both two- and four-legged. Wooden stalls and pens have been built in rows. Two rows are built into the north and south walls and two are back-to-back down the center, leaving two aisles up and down. Each animal enclosure is spacious, well-built and solid; the whole place smells of new timber and sawdust, with the subtle undertones of leather, animal and hay. The western end opens out into the feeding pens and from there into the upper bowl. The opening is large enough to allow a decent amount of sunlight to enter the cavern, but not quite big enough to allow the adult dragons inside.

[ Players ]

[ Exits ]
[FP] Feeding Pens
[BT] Beast Tunnel

This time of the evening will see the beast caverns devoid of most activity with just the gentle nickering and shuffling coming from runners in their stalls, breaking the silence. Lighting is kept low adding to the overall ambience of peace and quiet. Max, is currently nowhere to be seen.

A sour expression mars Ahnika's pale and freckled face as she walks past the feeding pens and into the beast cavern proper, her booted feet kicking some loose dirt and gravel as she goes. She is not quiet at all. Whether she is vexed or bothered by witnessing dragons feed outside, or something else entirely, it may be hard to discern. But what is evident is that as she enters, she is slow to look around, her thoughts preoccupying her attention a full few feet into the entrance before she appears to realize that there seems to be fewer glows and it's awfully quiet, relatively speaking. In each hand, she carries a basket. One is uncovered and holds a folded blanket. The other is lidded. Ahnika stops midway into the cave and calls out, "Hello?" in a standard volume, but in the quiet acoustic space, it seems like shouting and she winces a little.

It’s quite amazing how quietly booted feet can move. Especially if one keeps to the straw strewn pieces of the aisle between stalls. Wearing black trousers, a white shirt buttoned save for the top few left open, damp hair standing up all over the place and a cocky grin, Max is able to be almost right behind Ahnika before drawling out low, “Evening, darling.” One hand in his pocket, the other moving toward the damp towel draped about his neck, dark eyes move to first one and then the other basket she carries, “You did as I asked.”

As tense as Ahnika is from the encounter with E'ro in the living cavern merely a few minutes previous to her arrival, or at least that is what and who she will blame it on should anyone ask, it is perhaps not surprising that the redhead jumps with a sort of squeal of a brief scream as Max's voice comes from behind. She whirls around in her jump, swinging baskets madly toward the source of the voice, either unaware of any alarm she may cause the runners around her or too genuinely startled to care.

From several stalls in the nearby vicinity, runners do indeed startle, though not nearly as much as the one in the stall directly next to where the two stand. Hooves clattering against boarding as the big black stallion goes into a fit of outrage for the sudden squeal, draws an annoyed expression to darken Max’s features. Dropping his damp towel in the basket with the soft blanket that Ahnika carries, his words in contrast carry lazy amusement, “You want to see me with my shirt off again, you just have to ask.” This to the likelihood of needing to make repairs the following day. And then he’s gone into the stall, unintelligible words coming in low soothing tones as he settles the big beast.

Ahnika looks at once relieved to see who it is, and then at once furious. What is it with the men here? Something in the water? She doesn't respond to his comment right away, starting again as the stallion gets a little worked up, and backing away and up against the stall across from the stallion's, and working to catch her breath in likely much the same way as the stallion is doing, only she doesn't have a handsome fellow to soothe /her/ nerves. Finally, her breathing normalizes, but she holds her tongue to wait until Max re-emerges from the stall, not wanting to shout at the beast manager while he is trying to settle the stallion down. That would be impractical and defeat the whole purpose. Ahnika is nothing but practical, at least when she's not trying to get her heart out of her throat. Nervous filly, indeed.

Amid much snorting and eye rolling, the stallion eventually calms enough that Max is able to leave him to his own devices and re-emerge looking a little less cleaned up and put together than he did before he went in there. With a piece of straw stuck in his hair, a smudge across the once clean white shirt, he stands there, hands to hips and breathing heavily for the exertion, eyeing Ahnika backed up against the opposite stall. Comical if not for the intent look he’s currently giving the redhead. In a low voice that only barely makes it out of his chest, he beckons with a finger, “Come here.” Sounding more like an order than anything else.

Ahnika, for her part, remains right where she is as he emerges. So, he got his clean shirt dirty? She sniffs a little as her eyes dance across his form, then back to his face. She hasn't even had her own bath yet tonight because that is something she does before retiring for the night altogether, so she isn't looking picture perfect herself… though she isn't typically working with runners and likely doesn't smell as bad. With his command, Ahnika bristles, her conversation with E'ro still fresh in her head enough to allow her to transfer some of that animosity, "I think not. It's not my fault he startled. You startled me. What do you mean coming up behind a girl like that?" She starts to put her fists to her hips, and then realizes she is still holding the baskets, one of them with his towel on top of it, and so she lowers her arms back to her side.

Ahnika’s bristling has little effect other than to draw dark brows upward. “For one thing,” he begins as he stalks a step closer, “There’s only one way in or out, unless you want to go out through the feeding pens and take your chances with the dragons.” Another step closer, “For another, you never ever make any sudden movements around a nervous animal,” sloooow the smile that starts to emerge as Max arrives right in the redhead’s personal space. She won’t come to him? He’ll just go and get her. Suddenly a hand moves off of his hip and wraps fingers around the girl’s wrist in a grip firm enough to keep a hold of her but gentle enough so as not to hurt. “I said,” that smile turning more toward the edge of dangerous, “come here.” With that, he’ll turn slightly and tug her forward in the direction of the stall next to the one serving as make-shift office and sleeping quarters.

The beast manager is obviously ahead of his class when it comes to handling nervous creatures, for while he edges closer, speaking to her, she is paying more attention to him and his natural presence than the closing distance between them. Before she knows it, he is in her space indeed. She lifts her chin as he is *right there* so as to look up better into his face, the back of her head resting lightly against the wood of that stall, silently reminding her she has no where to go and -well with him *right there* does she really want to go anywhere? And then he is grabbing her wrist, her skin there warm and soft to the touch. Her hands may be slightly calloused, but her wrists have managed to escape a lot of hard-work trauma in her 16 turns. Somewhat bespelled and confused, she glances down at his hand and her wrist, but shuffles along behind him without resistance. Ahnika does manage to get out, "Where are we going?"

There are a few heartbeats of time that pass with Max standing there, his hand wrapped about Ahni’s wrist with dark eyes boring into hers before he drags her off behind him. Prooobably just as well she has no idea what exactly was going through his mind right then – pretty young thing trapped between him and the barrier of a stable? Nuff said. Bumping the half stall door open with a hip, the beast manager leads her in and toward a corner where fresh straw has been laid out. As he kneels, he pulls her down with him, head turning to capture that grey eyed gaze of hers. “This,” he says, free hand moving aside some of the sweet smelling straw to reveal tiny bundles of fur ranging from grey to pitch black. Four recently born kittens. Only then will he release his grip, watching intently for the redhead’s reaction.

As he pulls her along and pushes through to the stall and heads for the bedding of hay, Ahnika's eyes widen with a mixture of astonishment and genuine fear, fear that she miscalculated the kind of person Max is, fear that he might actually hurt her after all. The young so often think they are invincible, and Ahnika is no exception, but this would be the first time she actually thinks she misjudged a person and put herself in a dreadfully dangerous situation. She tugs her wrist urgently, trying to break free of his grasp. She herself breathing hard, and her mind racing to solve this potential problem, suddenly wondering if she screamed loud enough and hard enough and started a stampede perhaps someone, or the feeding dragons, would notice. With her imagination going far wider than the actual truth, and him brushing away the top layer of hay, she drops both baskets in an effort to free herself, using the other hand now to grab at his fingers. "Don't you dare!" She says, short of breath, and so perhaps not as loud as she would have liked. But she is inhaling sharply and opening her mouth for a full-fledged scream of enormous proportions when the kittens are revealed. She blinks, looking at them with open confusion. When they start to move and wriggle and perhaps yawn or smack their lips, the tension in her frame evaporates, though her hand remains on top of his that covers her wrist. Finally, a small smile touches her lips, and her expression suggests distracted fondness, and finally she manages a blush, realizing that she had assumed the worst and feeling genuinely bad for it, "They are," she breathes, "very cute." She looks from the kittens to Max and then flushes again, and looks away entirely, starting to pull the hand that covers his away.

When Ahnika had struggled like that, her other hand clawing at his to break free, Max had jerked her closer, growling out low, “Quit it!” Her struggles having achieved little other than to draw a predatory cast to his expression, his jaw tightening in an effort to rein it in. As such, it’s a while before the beast manager replies to her awkward embarrassment when the real reason he’d dragged her in there, is revealed. If anything, his silence probably comes across as brooding. Finally in a tone still slightly constricted, “Their mother was killed this morning when she got trampled by a herdbeast out in the feeding pens,” studiously keeping his eyes off the flushing girl and down onto the little bundles of fur. Once all contact is broken, he lets out a short breath of air and reaches to gently scoop a kitten up and pass it over to Ahnika, “You’re going to need to feed them every two hours. Got a milk goat you can use, but you’ll have to ask Indira about a nipple or something for them suckle off.” This is his realm, this is what he does and so it likely doesn’t even cross his mind that the word used with such ease might set the poor girl off into another bout of blushing.

Awkwardly silent through the whole affair, Ahnika merely rubs her wrist where he had his hand, even though it hadn't hurt as much as she is just looking for something to do with her hands now that they are free of the responsibility of holding the baskets. Her adrenaline from the brush of being potentially deflowered against her will, even if it was just a misunderstanding, is not helping with the urge to fidget either. For a fleeting moment she actually looks a little dejected as she realizes that this was his whole intention all along and why he asked for a blanket and an empty basket. Teenagers - so temperamental. But that is gone with simply another examination of the kittens and her heart goes out to them, "Poor things," she murmurs. While some would protest and remind Max that they are /not/ beast crafters of any sort, Ahnika merely accepts the responsibility, and the chance to learn something new. She nods gently, moving in a little closer to the kittens and carefully reaching in for one, "Milk." She repeats, making a mental note, "Nipples." She says again, in much a similar matter-of-fact tone. Only a moment later does she make the connection and blush a little more. She tries to hiding it, hoping the kitten doesn't squirm so much as she brings it to her face to nuzzle affectionately, and then she shifts her weight so sink a little into the hay-covered corner, back against the wall, and finally allowing a soft giggle at the kitten. "It's so fluffy," she murmurs, another lilting bit of soft laughter, though this time with a hint of nervous energy bleeding off.

Right from the beginning, when the invitation was extended for Ahnika to visit the beast caverns, Max probably already knew exactly how she might interpret it. Why then did he not clarify anything? Only he knows. Dark eyes take in every nuance of the girl’s movements and body language, his mouth quirking up in one corner as he leaves her to the cuddling of kittens while he stands and retrieves the baskets she’d dropped. Taking up the soft blanket he sets it and the basket it had fallen out of, next to her, “Soft blanket and empty basket,” he re-iterates his words from earlier in the day, a brow lifting in an ‘Understand now?’ gesture. That done he hunkers down next to her, hands dangling harmlessly over his knees as his attention roves over the tiny critters, “Figured you were the sort that would be responsible enough to see them reared proper-like. They stay they’ll just end up the same as their mother.” Lips twitch with the effect it takes to bite back the chuckle that lodges in his throat for the blush over words used, and he turns an amused look over to the redhead, “How old are you anyway?”

Her grey eyes glance at him over the soft fur of the kitten in her hands as he retrieves the baskets and blanket, nodding a little at that arched eyebrow, and then saying, "I brought two." She draws her knees up as he sits down beside her, but not for any tension of skittishness as much as wanting to make a cradle of her lap for the kitten. She lowers the squirming kitten gently there, reaching for another one from the pile and adding, "You didn't say whether the basket should be lidded or not. So I brought one of each to be prepared," And Ahnika is nothing if not prepared, or at least tries to think ahead and anticipate problems. She smiles a little at the responsible compliment, offering with yet another little blush as she deposits a second kitten to her lap, "Thank you. I learned a lot about taking care of things at the cothold. I can see to them, though," her head turns a little to regard him, "I'll need your help, I'm sure. There were others at the cothold that took care of the animals, primarily. Not me," The last question earns a slow blink and she turns back to the kittens, responding with a little stiffness, "Ten and six turns." She studies the two kittens in her lap rather intently, "How old are these little ones?"

“Both empty?” Max finally allowing that amusement to spill over into a rough chuckle. Approval for Ahnika’s preparedness comes in the following, “I should introduce you to my mother. She’d love a clever little thing like you.” What it is that he would or wouldn’t like, remains unspoken. Broad shoulders shift in a shrug under the cloth of his shirt as he stands, “Welcome here anytime,” he comments on her possibly needing help somewhere along the way, “Just…not so much with the squealing and shrieking. I aint’ going to hurt you, little one.” Sounding condescending, the rueful smile that attaches to the words perhaps taking some of the sting out of them. Standing now, the beast manager moves back toward the doorframe and leans a shoulder up against it setting a contemplative look over the redhead once she reveals her age. “Born a seven ago,” he responds on the age of the kittens.

"Aye," Ahnika confirms the first, adding, "Well, I had the blanket folded in the open one," with a nod toward the blanket in question. She looks mildly confused at the second comment, her brow furrowing, "Don't you know? I already have met your mother," and Ahnika smiles, her attention returning to cuddling the kittens in her lap a little more, "Lovely, sensible, and clever in her own right. I give anything to be just like her." The redhead admits, thoughtfully, "I try to help her in her duties, run errands for her, and sometimes just help the drudges in general. Your mother's the one who sent me to talk to you," she reveals, "about the hunting party and what you'd need for skinning and tanning, and the party, and then the weyrwoman asked me to pass along the message about the mare. Oh—" Ahnika looks up, "You never did say what you wanted." Her grey eyes seek his darker ones, "for entertainment. Food. The gather that is." She lapses silent, listening as he tells her he'd not hurt her, and she looks like she believes him, and her gaze drops once more with a small sigh. It could very well be mistaken for disappointment that he has no intentions of hurting her, and Ahnika in her finite 16-year-old wisdom doesn't realize that. She does seem mildly despondent, putting the two kittens from her lap back into the pile carefully before grabbing for two more new ones and cuddling and imprinting herself on them, as well. Perhaps she has some nurturing instinct to her as a foster mother that's yet seen much light since being here.

Passing a hand over his face as Ahnika passes out reminder of the relationship between her and his mother, Max chuckles, “Sorry darling, musta slipped my mind.” Lets not go to –why- that might be. The query on what it is he might want in terms of entertainment has the beast manager dropping his head and chuckling even harder. He doesn’t give those desires voice either, simply clearing his throat as he moves back toward the girl, “Ain’t fussy. Booze and food and I’m good.” Hunkering down back next to the redhead as she deposits the first kitten and takes up another two, he moves a hand to capture her chin and turn it toward, “Sixteen turns and never been kissed before,” statement, not query, dark eyes glittering in the low lighting.

The redhead leaves off why it might have slipped his mind, too, apparently not seeming to think it important to warrant further investigation on her part. Ahnika gives him a sideways glance as he retakes his seat, however, but the tension in her shoulders doesn't come until he reaches for her chin and draws it up and out. The comment has her cheeks burning anew and she closes her eyes a moment before reopening them, finding some pillar inside to cling to and offer some bit of challenge in her gaze. She sticks her chin up even higher, and says, "You don't know that. Besides, it's none of your business anyhow. What would the weyrwoman say if she knew you were being so fresh with me like this?" Apparently having come to the conclusion that Randi and Max are an item of some kind.

Once again amusement forms as one corner of Max’s mouth pulls up into a lopsided grin, his hand spreading to brush a thumb over that spreading color on her cheeks, “Tell me I’m wrong.” Taunting low on the topic that has Ahnika blushing so fiercely. All jesting falls aside as the beast manager moves in closer, his eyes holding to that challenge in hers as he inhales her scent. “Screw the weyrwoman,” he mutters just moments before his lips claim the redhead’s. Rough stubble (he forgot to shave) in contrast to the gentle but firm manner in which the man starts to dig, what may well end up being his own grave.

Ahnika opens her mouth to protest either the challenge or the show of disrespect to the weyrwoman, and finds his lips on hers. Her eyes remain open for a heartbeat of startlement, before instinct takes over and she closes her eyes. Despite her suggestion to the contrary, it is quite plain by her inexperienced kiss in return that she has, in fact, never been kissed before. At least not like this. A peck from a foster mum doesn't count at this caliber at all. Her body relaxes visibly, and she really should pull back and smack him before getting the heck out of there, but the teen doesn't. After a moment, her lips actually begin to tentatively try to move against his. An experienced kisser might reach for him, or lean into him, yet Ahnika does neither of these things, remaining where she is seated and simply trying to follow his lead and learn as they go. Her breathing, meanwhile, seems to grow more shallow. Kittens? What kittens?

Nightfall finds the low lit caverns devoid of activity, save for the higher lighting in the stall the beast manager uses as make-shift office and sleeping quarters. It’s the one next to that, in an empty stall, that currently bears witness to nefarious misleadings of the young and innocent. Sensing no resistance from Ahnika, and picking up on her inexperience, a chuckle rumbles in Max’s throat, lips curving into a grin against hers. He’ll even dare to go so far as to try slipping an arm around the young redhead to pull her in closer, his own breathing starting to grow uneven as poorly suppressed hunger has him deepening the kiss. Intervention at this point would probably be a good thing.

Oh. Oh this is so good. Even better than her imagination had been dreaming it all day since he told her to bring an empty basket and a blanket to him tonight. Ahnika is nothing if not a quick pick-up, and being the lover of new experiences and learning new things that she is, perhaps that is part of the beginning of her undoing here. As he draws her in a little closer, grinning against her lips, she smiles back against his grin, even giggling as she catches her breath, but doesn't dare break the spell with words, though a million questions is racing through this girl's mind right now, the pre-eminent one being whether or not she is getting this right. She doesn't resist as he draws her in, despite the distant warning clamor that strikes up in the logical part of her brain somewhere. She definitely wants more. Everything in her body language says she is yielding to him, says Teach Me, says Show Me. And then there is the tiny, urgent squeal of distress from her lap, that being the two kittens who are likely finding it hard to get comfortable with the moving around now. However, the sudden tingling warmth that is currently spreading with reckless abandon through Ahnika's body is quite comfy, likely. The redhead gasps softly and starts to pull back, alarmed over possibly hurting the things.

Randi has arrived.

A bit stumped and still in her funk from the night before, Randi strides into the Beast Caverns from the outside entrance. Over top of some obviously borrowed - but dry - clothes she's wearing, the young weyrwoman has a long brown duster that's quite obviously a size or two too big for her. "Lomaxin!" she calls out as she strides down one row of stalls. "Where the shell-rocking fardles are you, man?" Obviously, when she pokes her head into his office-stall, she's not prepared for what she finds. "Good sweet Faranth's rotting wingsails! What the fuck are you doing, Max?"

Teetering on the brink of rational thought and giving in to what he deems it clear to be that Ahnika wants as he feels her yielding, it’s the squealing of little furballs being squished that snaps Max back to reality. That, and the sudden appearance of Randi. Breaking off the kiss, dark eyes smoldering, he abruptly stands, turning his back on the young redhead and pinning the junior weyrwoman with a hard look. With a swing of head down to Ahnika, “You should go.” Voice low and gravelly with just how close he’d come to breaking his own rule - Never touch an innocent. Not to mention what his mother was likely to do to him if she ever found out. Back to Randi as hands pocket, a deep smirk forms despite the crackle of frustration for having been interrupted, “What the fuck does it look like?”

She was mildly alarmed and startled at the thought of accidentally squishing the kittens in her lap. But hearing the weyrwoman, and all the various consequences that getting caught implies to Ahnika's uninitiated mind, she scrambles. Her trembling hands swiftly move to deposit the kittens from her lap to the nearby basket. Her face is flushed crimson, whether that could be discerned in the dim light or not is anyone's guess. She busies herself with the task of moving the rest of the kittens into the basket. As she is summarily dismissed, her cheeks heat all the more and she is startled as she blinks back some moisture in her eyes, not yet succumbing to genuine tears though. She swallows, willing herself some backbone as she stands, basket in hand and kittens therein, and glances from Max to Randi before exhaling a long breath at the language and tension, "No," and with a little effort, she sticks her chin out, with the chin being the only exception to otherwise looking slightly disheveled and like she wants to throw up. "I'm very sorry, Weyrwoman. It was all my fault," says the alleged innocent, "please don't be cross with Max. He… he didn't betray you, I swear. My fault. Entirely." At least we know the young assistant-headwoman-wanna-be can handle being accountable should it ever come up.

"It looks like you're defiling one of the girls under my charge is what it looks like, Lomaxin." Randi's voice, now that the initial shock has worn off, is calm and conversational, but with a definite edge to it. "I'm not worried about anyone betraying me, Ahnika." She offers the girl a warm smile to back up her words. "And I highly doubt it's your fault at all. I'd wager good marks that Max has wooed more women than you've seen Turns, sweetling." One brown brow arches above the other and arms fold over her chest as she turns to regard the beastmaster. "Isn't that true, Max?"

Breaking his attention away from Randi for a moment, it falls to Ahnika, the beast manager frowning for the tears that start to form in her eyes. The crease between his brows drawing even heavier as she then stands to his defense. Annoyed to see the girl put in such a position, his response to the young redhead cuts out terser than is intended, “Don’t.” It might have been the use of his full name (which he hates), the words themselves, or the edgy conversational tone they’re delivered in that draws a low snarl from Max as he reaches to take Ahni’s elbow and try steering her out the stall and send her away from the building tension. This all done as he snaps a low, “Fuck off, Randi,” in the weyrwoman’s direction. Her words having clearly struck a nerve in him somewhere.

The potentially defiled girl in this scenario recoils a bit at the comment, flinching. And then Ahnika straightens once more, looking back at Randi and listening to what she has to say, by the end of it, she actually looks confused. She shoots an uncertain look at Max for his answer. His reaction only seems to confuse and startle her even more. She is rather numbly ushered out of the stall, standing somewhat dumbfounded on the outside of it, kittens in basket in hand. The earlier flinch is nothing compared to the expression and look as if she'd been slapped hard in the face now. There is raw hurt in her grey eyes as she seems unable to find either a desire to stay or words for any of it, but to her credit, she doesn't flee the stables in a flood of tears. She blinks a lot, trying to stay the moisture behind them, and swallows once, and then with a respectful dip of her head toward Randi, and not Max, Ahnika walks calmly but swiftly toward the tunnel entrance with the kittens.

And as soon as she registers that 'fuck off', Randi's gaze chills and her eyes darken. Hands ball into fists clenched so tightly that the knuckles turn an unhealthy shade of white. To her credit, she waits until Ahnika has walked most of the way towards the tunnel entrance before she steps inside and takes a hard swing at Max's jawline. "I trusted you, gave you a home when my own Weyrwoman doubted your worth, and you would dare to say such a thing to me? What is your problem?"

Much as everything he’s said and done thus far has been in a poorly executed effort to protect the young redhead, Max realizes he has clearly failed. Once he’s gotten her out of what he deems to be harm’s way, and out of sight of the goldrider, he drops a kiss down onto her head before letting her go, “Don’t cry, baby.” Voice rough with the mental ass kicking he’s currently giving himself. And then he’s back in there and finding the hard edge of the goldrider’s fist hitting him square in the jaw. Shaking his head groggily for a moment, frustration of several different varieties has the beast manager leaping at Randi, seeking to grab her wrists and pin her bodily against the siding of the stall. With blood starting to seep from the cut opened on his mouth, the words are snarled out, “I am –not- one of your fucking pet bronzeriders, -weyrwoman-!” the title ground out, “And I don’t give a shit what you think about me, but you leave her out of this! What I do with my spare time has nothing to do with you.” Dark eyes prowl lasciviously over the blonde, “Unless of course,” his cut mouth twisting into a smirk, “you’re jealous.”

If Ahnika was confused before, the kiss on her head and the murmur compounds that confusion. In stunned, perplexed silence, she continues to the cave exit, moving faster as the sounds of a more serious altercation drifts through the acoustics of the cave from behind her. Soon, she and the kittens are but a memory here, but hopefully a fond one for some.

Ahnika has left.

To be continued in a separate log…

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