Let It Rot


Ahnika.jpg Max.jpg

Date: 5/15/2011 - IC: Turn 3, Month 2, Day 9
Location: Beast Caverns
Synopsis: Ahnika pays a visit to the filly in the Beast Caverns, only to be happened upon by the Beast Manager himself.
Rating: PG
Logger: Ahnika

It’s twilight when Jhath and Ahni set down just outside the barrier for the feeding pens. With all the rain they’ve been having lately, it’s a slightly soft and muddy thud when the stocky green sets down. Her rider makes a secondary soft thud as she unbuckles and slides off the green’s neck and removes her cap and goggles, looking around. Regardless of whether Max is around, Jhath will eat. That hasn’t stopped her before. The question of whether he is around bears more importance to Ahnika’s visit of Firestorm, the filly he had, at first, given to her months ago, only for her to insist that the young runner be something shared between them. Ownership is moot at this point, as far as Ahni sees it, but she is still interested in seeing the filly grow healthy and happy … just as long as Max doesn’t see her. And so it is as the infrequent times before, Ahnika makes her presence known just inside the beast caverns proper that she finds some young stable lad still at work mucking one stable or another and inquires if Max is about. When she gets the answer that he isn’t, the greenrider’s shoulders visibly relax and she even smiles, “Thank you,” before moving on down the aisle to Firestorm’s stall, stopping in first to pause and greet Springbreeze with her very own redfruit, before moving onto the next one where Firestorm is kept and producing one for her as well. “Hey there, girl,” Ahni greets in a soft murmur, smiling a little.

Coming in from some or other out of Weyr errand, male voices precede the two that enter the beast caverns. Waine's voice sending back some or other witty comment can be heard first, followed by a snort and a dry comment in return by the beast manager. It's the second in command that first sees the greenrider and stops dead in his tracks causing Max to walk straight into his broad back. "Keep it movin', Chuckles," the dark-haired and well dressed young man states as he steps around the man, "Some days I think that noggin of yours took more beatin's than was healthy." And then he sees what it is that has brought the big stablehand to an abrupt halt. Dark eyes latch to the redhead and whatever humour had been there before drops off as lips purse faintly. Turning to the big dolt that's still standing there staring, "Go find Ma and tell her, Messon's got her next shipment ready for collection." As Waine comes back to life and lumbers off with a worried look sent the way of his boss, Max's attention goes back to Ahnika, bland expression bracketed by a new edge of hardness that wasn't there before, gaze shadowed by heavy guards that speak to a man gone into deep hiding. And there he stands, hands to hips, not leaving, but neither is he coming any closer to where she's visiting with the filly. Next move hers.

Well, Ahnika’s been caught and there’s no getting around it this time. Other times she’s swung herself over into the stall and hid until the voices have passed and then snuck out again. But this time she was too distracted and the voices too low for her to realize who they belong to until it was too late. More’s the pity. As Max looks to Waine and gives his next orders, Ahnika gives just a glance to the side to confirm before looking back at Firestorm and sighing softly. She continues to hold the redfruit out for the filly’s second bite, juice and runner saliva foaming together before it slips from the redhead’s fingers and into the stall where the filly goes after it to finish it. Ahnika doesn’t bolt, not immediately, but neither does linger where she’s sure she’s not wanted now that the filly has more interest in the redfruit as opposed to getting petted. Taking a handkerchief from her sleeve and wiping her juice-and-slobber-doused hand on it, she remains standing in front of the stall for the time being. She doesn’t speak, not really having anything to say or perhaps not trusting her voice to remain stable and without tremble.

And so it might seem that the two have reached an impasse for the beast manager has long since passed the stage of trying to mend bridges and thus isn't about to try again. Instead removing his hat, he continues on the path he'd initially been on, toward his office which might make it seem like he's moving toward Ahnika being as how she's situated in the middle of point A and B. Only as he comes abreast of the redhead does he pause in his path to turn his head slightly in her direction and note in a tone that leaves no trace of what he might be thinking or feeling. "She's yours, greenrider," using her designation rather than her name, "You can visit her any time you wish to. You need only say when and I'll be sure to stay out of your way." Only with that last does a faint bitterness enter his low held tone and then he's turning back toward his office.

Her hand-wiping slows and then goes still as he walks behind her toward his office. Ahnika doesn’t turn to look at him, not as she’s listening to him and not when she opens her mouth to speak. “No,” she says, allowing a pregnant pause to pass before elaborating. “She was ours together. I’ve no need of a runner I cannot ride,” not clarifying if she means physically or emotionally, “so I’ve long since given my rights to her to you. But if by your statement you are giving her back to me again, then I will give her to your daughter.” Ahnika’s grey-eyed gaze settles on the filly, “It seems fitting she should have Firestorm anyway as I probably would have given her to learn to ride on eventually … had things been different.” Had the couple remained together and brought Hope up as their own, that is.

Ahnika's words momentarily stop the beast manager in his tracks and as she doesn't turn toward him, neither does he turn toward her. Her words on turning the filly back over to him, (yet another of his gifts needlessly returned) stabs deep and causes a laugh that's bitter and empty of mirth to echo about the caverns. The next rhetorical; "You really hate me that much?" Max's words are flat when they come and without anything further said he closes the small distance left to his office and enters it. He's not gone for long before he returns grim expression in place with the knitted afghan she'd given him under one arm. Saying nothing he moves to where Ahnika stands at Firestorm's stall and drapes it over the half-door of the stable. Giving it a pat of hand he steps back and states in that same flat tone, "Now we're square." And unless she stops him, he'll head back to his office except that this time he'll not come out until she's left.

Ahnika tucks the handkerchief back up again and opens her mouth to respond to his question, rhetorical though it may have meant to be, but Max is already making strides to his office and she hears his boots retreating, so she closes her mouth with a quiet frown. She is just getting ready to depart when he returns, and this time she lifts her head and looks in his direction, steadying herself for a slugging match as she suspects might be coming from the wounded Southern crimelord. When she spies the blanket, however, the tension in her shoulders relax and she almost smiles with amusement (more at herself and the absurdity of it all than at the returned gift) before catching herself and maintaining that stoic countenance. Then Max is placing the blanket across the stall door and leaving with those words of vengeance and Ahnika just shakes her head sadly. She watches him leave, then, and when he disappears into his office once more, this time apparently staying there (as she does wait a moment to see if he is coming out again), she sighs, “I hate what you’ve become.” Perhaps why she has only returned his more recent gifts and not the ones more humbly made by his own hand, earlier in their relationship. Such subtleties lost, it seems, Ahnika sighs and turns away from the stall, already weary, and departs the way she came in, through the feeding pens, leaving the blanket behind to be picked up by someone else or simply rot where it rests.

Closing Credit Theme Music: King of Anything - Sara Bareilles

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