"Man of mystery."


Bhedri.jpg Jaya.jpg Kaskan.jpg

Date: Dec. 6, 2010
Location: Eastern Weyr Kitchen
Synopsis: Kaskan goes for a late night snack and learns he shouldn't get between two strong-willed twins, especially when one is determined to draw him out despite his advances.
Rating: PG. Slight language.
Logger: Kaskan

[ Eastern Weyr: Kitchen ]

A typical Weyr kitchen, this room contains a small section for immediate storage, large stoves, pans and containers of immense size, and continuous activity. The cooks and Bakers claim their domain, utilizing almost every bit of space in this smallish kitchen. Hooks for cutlery and pans stick out of the walls, and the gleaming polished countertops usually boast plates and platters full of various kinds of food.

Only time to catch Jaya in the kitchens, most would probably know, is after the bar closes down. Having finished her meal for the night, the barkeep is currently lounging back in a chair at the sole table with her twin sister taking up the other one and talking up her usual prattle. "….so where did you go up north the other day?" Beddie's asking for the tenth time probably, and Jaya's merely looking the smooth-faced woman over with a blithe, "I told you. Found a new drink. You should be proud." Sardonic to the last word.

Kaskan saunters into the kitchen already rubbing his hands. He's on a mission. To find dessert. Lo and behold, he finds not just one sweet treat, but two! His boots skip a step when he first spies Jaya, blue eyes narrowing. With his recent encounter with Beddie still fresh in mind he isn't about to make the same mistake twice. Still, he's pretty sure he's got the right woman this time when a glance at her companion confirms it. With a sense of relief he moves up quietly behind Beddie, quickly signaling with a finger to his lips when Jaya sees him.

"I really don't know why you're being so secretive with me, Bajie," Beddie is saying, leaning back more comfortably in the chair as she dramatically waves her hand around. "Is it really that serious? What's up in Crom? A secret lover? It's a lover, isn't it?" By this point, Jaya's mouth is open to retort about her saying that nickname of hers out loud when eyes light on a stealthy Kaskan. The barkeep blinks as she watches him with her lips still parted before she addresses her sister with, "No, Beddie. Only you do secret lovers. Why would I need to hide them?" Perhaps she says this to distract the other twin, her curiosity getting the best of her as she forces her eyes to meet her sister's then. "Knock it off about the trip and tell me about all the gossip I've been missing back home." That oughta keep her doubly distracted!

Kaskan is nearly to the unsuspecting Beddie when a single word stops him dead in his tracks. Crom. Devilish smile is whisked from his face like smoke, replaced with a dark shadow of jolted shock. His gaze darts to Jaya and his expression instantly blanks in countermeasure to that brief lapse. What does Jaya have to do with Crom? Why is Beddie asking about it? Too many questions bombard his thoughts and are squashed with a teeth-grinding measure of effort. Forcing himself to resume his original intent he closes the short distance to Beddie and pauses while looming just behind her. Looking to Jaya again he quirks a dark brow for the topic of their teasing, hinting without words that perhaps it'd be more interesting to wait and hear what else the barkeep's sister might have to say about Jaya and her love-life.

But no, he relents almost immediately. Mental images of what he's about to do nearly cause a snicker that gives him away. So without further ado he leans over and slips his hands around Beddie's head to cover her eyes, lowering his head beside hers at the same time and aiming a husky whisper directly over her ear. "Fancy meeting you here, sexy. You'll never guess who."

Oh yeah. Jaya caught that. Beddie's mention of Crom has her catching that brief look that flits through Kaskan's features, It was taking much of her self-control to not look at him for too long should Beddie notice. But just as quickly, Kaskan changes to the devilment at hand and that gets an eye to lift. She'll definitely be asking him about what that was about later, but for now…

"Gossip?" That gets Beddie's mind off of Crom in an instant. Straightening up, "Oh yes! I have so much to tell you, Bajaya, starting with that boy you were suppose to marr-" and words stop when she finds herself suddenly blind. She jumps at the touch of his hands, that familiar husky whisper that's been plaguing her thoughts and dreams since that night causing a faint blush to start out on her cheeks. Tightening her jaw (and her legs), "I see this Weyr allows their ruffians to linger everywhere without a leash," she states with a sniff, moving her head back so as to remove his hands from her eyes. Then batting at him with one hand, "I know very well who you are, Kaskan!" she tells him huffily. "I never forget a voice, nor a face!" - "Nor an ass, too," Jaya pipes in the crass remark wryly, which would have earned her a glare if Beddie eyes were uncovered.

Damn his timing! Too late to catch the rest of that aborted sentence he casts a pointed look at Jaya even as he accosts her twin, his amused expression full of promise for future conversations. Oh yes, it says. I caught that.

Attention drawn back to Beddie as the woman responds and shifts Kaskan looses a loud, rolling laugh and drops his hands to her shoulders. Giving them both a firm squeeze he dives in for a quick kiss to her cheek. Just as quickly he bounds lightly out of her reach (perhaps subliminally leery of another stinging slap) and rounds the table to Jaya's side. Arriving just as she shares her own witty quip he twists his hip toward her and slaps the side of his buttock. "Don't you know it, babe!" he snorts with a gleam of smug pride.

Leaning over he appears to aim a kiss at her cheek to match her sister's but at the last minute veers to cover her lips with his instead, molding soundly to those lush curves for several moments before separating with a lingering pass of his tongue. "Thanks for not giving me away," he murmurs, tone thick with both amusement and a generous portion of the heat in his slate blue gaze.

Seems to be the night for secrets, it seems. Jaya meets that look of his without no shame, hiding the inward relief at her sister being stopped from finishing the last of that particular sentence. Before Beddie could stop the guard, however, Kaskan's planting that kiss to her cheek and moving away before she could even think to lift a hand. Watching him slap his own ass, "Didn't know you considered yourself a slut, too," Jaya responds to that before Beddie could, a trace of amusement in her tone for the insult set to both of them as she leans her head to the side for that kiss coming for her cheek…only to have his mouth covers hers soundly. Beddie's practically gawking at them. Rolling her eyes expressively, "Oh get a room, the both of you," she seems to dismiss them both, though she doesn't quite hide the amusement in her own tone as he murmurs his words to Jaya. "And I'd be careful who you're calling a slut, sister!" Well, she's not exactly denying the charge put against her, either. Legs crossing almost daintily, "Glad you're here, anyway," she adds to Kaskan with a roll of her slender shoulders before shooting a glance towards Jaya. "You can help me suss out what my sister's been doing up in Crom a few days back." - "It's a boring tale," Jaya interjects, shooting Kaskan a three-second smile before turning a pointed glare over towards her scarless twin. "Nothing to tell, like I said. Drop it."

Kaskan just smirks with barely restrained mischief at both sisters, holding Jaya's gaze a few seconds longer before sliding the look to Beddie. Turning to the side he plucks a chair from nearby and neatly spins it on one leg before setting it backwards against the table. Straddling the seat he sets his arms across the back of it and smoothes his expression carefully, aiming to reflect casual interest in Beddie's bating questions. Tension pulls the muscles taunt along his arms and pulses a nerve at his brow beneath layered raven bangs. With concentration he keeps his posture appearing relaxed, turning as innocent a facade on Jaya as he can manage. "You need some 'sussing', Jaya? I've been told I'm a damn good susser."

Watching Kaskan sit intently, "I don't need any 'sussing'," Jaya directs at them both, leaning back in her chair with her arms folded across her chest. "Nothing happened in Crom," she then directs this with some force towards her sister, in which Beddie's not buying. Eyes narrowing slightly as a thought occurs to her, "You're not stealing again, are you?" she suddenly asks, which causes the barkeep's shoulders to tense up immediately. Forcing it to subside in the face of the two, "Don't be ridiculous," is all she says, then turns towards Kaskan with a deflecting question: "Did you tell Beddie that you're a guard? Kaskan's a guard," she adds the last to her sister lightly, the tone fake. "From South Boll, no less. I know how much you enjoy your, ahh, guards." The suggestive glint at the end of that causes Beddie to snort, but the deflecting tidbit does give her pause to regard Kaskan. "Awfully far from Boll, guard," the scarless twin says, interest and curiosity showing on her face. "To what does this Weyr owe the pleasure of your….visit?" she then asks.

Clicking his tongue Kaskan moves his head slowly side-to-side, muttering, "Too bad, too bad. That's a shame," to her declining his offer. As the sibling banter continues he watches Jaya closely while trying not to look like he is, noting nuances of expression and tone. A ray of surprise alights at the woman's reaction to the question of stealing. Kaskan is torn between relief and concern. On the one hand if it's stealing she's about then she's less likely to already know of his deadly connection with the area, but by the same token if she has dealings there she could easily find out.

When Jaya brings up his vocation Kaskan nearly starts but turns the flex of muscle into a gesture, lifting his arm to sift fingers back through his hair. Sliding his gaze to Beddie he gives her his best ruffian smile, a flash of white amidst scruffy shadow. "On assignment," he explains matter-of-factly, then draws a breath to direct his words back to Jaya attempting just the right amount of casual curiosity. "I've heard Crom is pretty boring. Why would you want to go there?"

If Jaya's noticing Kaskan watching her, she's trying her best not to return the gaze at this point. Any spot in the kitchen seems to get her attention while he speaks, with Beddie putting in, "You do realize I know when you're lying most times?" but in that same vein, she finally takes the pressure off of her to turn towards Kaskan with continued interest. Eyes on that arm of his, "What kind of assignment would bring you down here?" she asks then, though when Kaskan questions on Crom, bringing the topic she dropped right back into the fray, her own curiosity gets the best of her. Jaya's eyes slightly narrow at Kaskan for his question, though she keeps a pointedly casual air in her tone as she answers. "It is. I just went up there to bring down a new drink. As I said," she tacks on the last for Beddie's benefit. "Hardly stealing, now is it?" Eyes lighting on Beddie, "I've turned over a new leaf, Beddie," she tells her, nodding once. "Haven't stolen from one person in a long while." Technically true. Victims in question were plural.

Kaskan senses shadings in Jaya's reply but not knowing more of her background (heck, he didn't even know she had a twin!) he can't pin-point exactly what they are. His regard shifts briefly back to Beddie knowing he has to at least appear to answer her questions as well if his keen interest in Crom is to remain subtle. He smiles again, this time the line of his lips holding a bit of wry distortion for the reminder of his charge and what the young man has been putting him through the last few days. "The teenage kind," he tells her. "The kind that draw trouble as easily as they breath."

"A new drink?" Kaskan chimes a moment later, dark brows shooting up at that news. Barkeeps are the worse when it comes to gossip - they hear it all. He forces a grin as if the drink itself is all he's concerned with, digressing for the moment to throw off any suspicions. "We must sample! What's in it?"

"Babysitting?" Beddie practically balks at that one, hearing that the man's looking after a young charge instead of something she considers 'exciting.' She doesn't notice anything strange from the guard on the talk of Crom, anyway, either. "What's so special about this 'teenage kind'?" she asks, looking from the guard to her barkeep sister. "Is he a son of some Lord Holder or something? And surely you must have done something wrong to get an assignment like that!" Hence, the look in her eyes - amused as it is - is practically screaming 'ruffian'. With Kaskan being so secretive about his life so far, Jaya is particularly quiet while Beddie speaks the words she hasn't uttered yet. In a way, it was good to have the ballsy debutante-like traderwoman around for delicate situations. Beddie usually asked the things that one shouldn't. Kaskan's sudden interest in her Crom mission, however, gets some of that tension to rise to the fore for Jaya. Beddie turns to her twin then at the question, seeing what her reaction would be while the barkeep darts a long look Kaskan's way. "Well, ah, I'm still working out the kinks on the mixing of certain tastes, see," she tries to evade the questions, planting a tight smile on her face as she looks back at them both. Yeah, they're not making this easy on her tonite. "It has redfruit juice in it and this new spiced liquor…" she pauses, flailing since there was no new drink, really, so she waves the rest of her words off and tacts on, "…Once I get the flavors settled right, I'll let you both taste. The one I had up in Crom isn't exactly right for the south, so…why did you get stuck with such a task, anyway?" Yep, she's flipping the tables off of her onto Kaskan now, her gaze pointed at she directs the conversation back to his charge.

Kaskan follows the volley of topics with feigned ease, trying not to be obvious with his true feelings. Beddie is given a wry grin for her questioning, the wanton tone of her disappointment obvious. If she only knew! He knows first-hand how treacherous life on the edge of survival can be. The duties of a guard have been nothing compared to that. "Apparently someone decided I was responsible," he drawls, shifting one shoulder in a self-depreciating shrug. Traditional and sly enough too, but he leaves that part out. "So I'm just lucky, I guess. If they hadn't I would never have met you lovely ladies." Pulling a shamelessly flirtatious smile he beams at both of them, adding a slight waggle of dark brows for Jaya.

Listening to the supposed new recipe Kaskan's expression takes on a doubtful cast, eyes narrowing as if concentrating on the mixture. He knows full well that no such concoction is well known in the area but dons an innocently speculative tone as he says, "Sounds… interesting. Will you be going back?”

Flirtacious, indeed. "Oh you're too much!" Beddie is flapping fingers at the guard for his words while Jaya merely snorts at that brow waggle. "Big responsibility," the barkeep notes in comment to it, her suspicions of the man not as huge as it has been before. Well, she still hasn't seen his charge, but for now… "Yeah," Beddie takes up lightly, amusement on her face. "If not here, you'd probably have met Jaya here by more notorious means!" Jaya shoots her a dirty look, but Kaskan's question on the questionable drink gets a blithe, "To Crom? Of course not, shuga. Got a bar to run. Why?" she asks then, eyes intent on Kaskan now for his line of questioning while Beddie looks on in curiosity. "What's in Crom?" - "You're not really from Boll, are you?" Beddie is tacking on behind her, now questioning the slight accent she's hearing from him.

Dragon shit! Kaskan curses inwardly ten ways to the Red Star and back. Apparently he wasn't casual enough in his curiosity. Beddie's teasing her sister sharpened his attention; the reference being that Jaya is still currently involved in something nefarious. That being just the sort of thing he's supposed to keep an ear out for strikes an anxious chord within him. Maybe he doesn't want to know after all. Before he can form a fitting response to that the pair are pouncing on connecting him to Crom and his wayward thoughts are jerked back viciously to the present. "Well good," he replies first to Jaya, sitting up a little straighter and flipping a hand in rolling gesture. "I was…" On a whim he takes a tact he wouldn't normally attempt hoping it will distract their line of reasoning. "… hoping you'd say that because I'd miss you. And… the bar doesn't do nearly as well with Suli behind the counter, you know." A quick shrug dismisses the first half of Beddie's question, a scrunched expression forming for the second. A touch of wounded pride helps cement the effort. "Of course I am. I certainly didn't just borrow a random kid and try to pass'im off as the Lord Holder's nephew. That wouldn't get me far with his daughter being a greenrider here."

Yeah, Beddie's saying too much. "Notorious, as in," Jaya tries to clarify for the guard, that smile suddenly easy, "I did work the bars up in Telgar and Nabol before here. Didn't own anything, but both of them had clientele that didn't exactly, ahh, play by the rules?" That's right. Flick the attention off of herself. But then Kaskan is answering their questions, his words on missing the barkeep getting a quick look of disbelief from her. She notes the fact that he didn't answer the first part of Beddie's question, too, which lifts her suspicions just a bit. "Suli runs the bar well without me," Jaya counters, knowing full well that profits tend to be lower when the towering Telgari is taking over things while she's gone. "But I appreciate the sentiment." Yeah, Jaya's not that naive, But Beddie's sure smiling at Kaskan's words for her twin as she simply says, "Now that's sweet. For a ruffian." The scarless twin gets to her feet then, smoothing out her skirt and stretching her back languidly as she says, "I'm going to bed," she delivers to them both, covering her yawn with one hand. "Thought I'd see about going to Landing tomorrow, so I better be bright. Don't stay up too late, Bajaya." She turns and bends over to plant a kiss on Jaya's cheek, then turns to toss a wink Kaskan's way before she's sauntering out of the kitchen humming a sleepy tune to herself. "Disregard everything you've heard come out of her mouth," Jaya quips the moment Beddie is gone, her tone dry as she regards the man. She also tucks away the last he says for later, too, though she currently makes no comment on it.

Kaskan jumps on the chance to move the conversation away from himself and gives Jaya a completely bad-boy grin when she speaks of Suli. Blue irises seem to focus more intently on hers, memory offering up images of the last time Suli was running the bar and Kaskan made quite a mess of it with his partner-in-crime, Bowen. The scar is nearly gone from the knife wound Jaya gave him that night. Lifting one hand he leans his elbow on the chair's back and lightly rests his fingers on the spot at his temple where her knife grazed. It might just look to be a thoughtful pose if she doesn't make the connection.

As Beddie rises to leave Kaskan flashes her his best ruffian smolder, then pouts when Jaya gets a kiss and he merely a wink. Playing it up, he keeps the disgruntled look until she's gone then the facade melts like snow in the sun with the onset of a low, rolling chuckle. "Oh, I don't know about that," he drones for Jaya's benefit. "She said I was sweet so I'd say she's pretty smart."

Settling back into her chair, "Don't let her fool you," Jaya notes on her sister, her gaze lingering after where the scarless one had exited. "She's the crafty sort. May not seem like it, but…" a shrug is given and she turns her gaze back on Kaskan with a light smirk. "So it was you who groped my sister in a dark hallway?" Yeah, now she's made the connection, even though Beddie didn't give her any names. "And I dunno about sweet. You seem pretty incorrigible to me." Beat. "So when am I going to meet this charge of yours, guard?" she puts to him then, brow lifting playfully. "Before I take off again? After I get back?" Looks like the barkeep's planning another trip, which means she lied earlier - at least for Beddie's sake.

Kaskan has the good grace to color slightly. That wasn't the connection he meant for her to make but now that she does he's surprised she didn't know already. Those fingers scratch at his temple and his features screw up into a look of humored chagrin. "She didn't tell you it was me? It looked like you in the dark! I uh… might've been a little rough with her." Then that randy smile is back as he sits up a little straighter and puffs out his chest. "Course, she seems to have recovered well enough."

That little demonstration of willful testosterone continues for a few moments until Jaya's new line of questioning lets some of the air out, poking serious pins at his balloon of amusement. "Whenever you want," he counters, fingers rolling in gesture. "He's busy with his training and all but I see him every day. In fact, little bugger tried giving me the slip the other day going out trekking with some of the boys he's met but I followed them. But what do you mean 'before you take off'? I thought you just said you weren't going back to Crom?"

"Of course she's recovered," Jaya drawls, leaning back more comfortably in her chair so she could regard Kaskan with that dry tone. "Beddie jumps on anything in a trouser pant! Told her the men of the Weyr are off-limits though." Territorial much? Perhaps. "And no, she left out your name but did keep mentioning some ruffian. Only 'ruffian' I've been sleeping with these days is you." Sardonic to that last, but a crooked smile peels out and lingers when Kaskan talks about his charge and she shows amusement about the teenager trying to get away from him. But of course, he caught that bit of her heading out again. "What's his name again?" she asks, showing slight innocence in the pause before she finally chooses to answer his question on Crom with a blithe, "Who said anything about Crom?" Blink. Eyes slightly narrowing, "What's your obsession with Crom?" she asks now, the man having connected the place again.

Dark brows snake upward at Jaya's reply, his grin twitching at the corners. "I see," he muses, then, "Lucky for us both that you're more discriminating." Rocking in his backward seat a bit he starts to drum his fingers idly along the back. "Jhorn," he answer her question. Dark lashes fall as he blinks in surprise at her next quickly fired inquiry, having expected something more along the lines of his charge. Alas, she didn't take the bait and simply confirm her destination. He tries again, adopting as innocent a wide-eyed expression as he can and shrugging off any untoward interest of his own. "You did. You were the one talking about going there for your recipe or whatever it was."

Jaya merely snorts on his comment on her being more discriminatory when it came to her partners, it's a testament that she makes no comment. Instead, "Jhorn? Hmm," she puts that name to memory as well, nodding firmly to it before she addresses the topic of Crom. Eyes study the guard at his answer, a slight frown starting out as she responds with, "I just came back from Crom, yes," in an agreeing manner, "but I said nothing about going back. You did. And it was a drink." Arms coming to a fold across her chest, eyes lingering over his form, "Ever been to Crom?" she suddenly decides to ask him then, something not sitting right with her. "It's a pretty nice place. Good booze."

Drumming fingers pause at her denial, Kaskan's brow shadowing with lines of doubt as he plays up a look of thoughtful confusion. "Are you sure?" he asserts, angling his head then giving it a shake as raven strands drift across his view. "Oh, maybe it was Beddie…" he offers, trying to plant doubt. As her posture changes to a more defensive pose he strengthens his own blank but focused regard, gaze automatically dropping for a split second over her frame and lingering for the rest of that second on the way her crossed arms pressure the chest beneath to rise. "I might've passed through," he replies off-handedly, nearly muttering. "Wouldn't know it to be 'pretty nice'." Then, trying to lob the ball back he adds, "Must've been a pretty impressive drink to pull you all the way up there just to learn it."

Jaya regards that thoughtful confusion with a slight one of her own, but in the end she snorts again and merely drawls out, “Looking for another knife kilt to the temple, shuga?” But what has the most of her attention, defensive pose and all, is the answers Kaskan gives to her question. “Passed through,” she echoes that, not exactly sure she’s believing it in the way it was delivered. Catching that muttered addition, “I dunno. Seemed a pretty nice place to me,” she says, borrowing his off-handedness. “Why don’t you tell me about it.” Body shifts to something a bit more comfortable, giving him the signal that she had all night to hear about why Crom wouldn’t be pretty nice. Granted, this was the most she had gotten out of the guard, even though she read a lot of it through his body language when Beddie was there. She was becoming certain that there was some connection between him and Crom, and so she was still pondering on this when he turns the tables back on her in this sudden interview on one northern locale. “Yeah, it was,” Jaya answers to his last with forced non-chalance, meeting his gaze now without flinching. This was a tango she could dance to. “Pretty tasty, and I’ve had my share of drinks. I’m sure you’ve had it before,” she plays the card, fingers lifting from cross her chest as she drops her gaze to examine them in a show of indifference. “If you’ve been to Crom. So where in Crom did you go while you were…passing through?” Dark eyes meet his once more, that light smirk playing around the corners of her lips. “Maybe I’ve been there.”

Kaskan reads that comfortable demeanor of hers, then the determined air she exudes and recognizes trouble when he sees it. The woman is too damn persistent. And he got a little too careless. "Nothin' to tell," he shrugs, at an apparent loss for detail. "You know more than I do if you were just there." Walking a thin line he sticks to the truth within the lie where shades of grey could go either way depending on your perspective. It's been long enough now that he wouldn't know the current social climate, though not long enough that it would have forgotten him. Thus a sudden anxious barb to redirect her curiosity jabs at him.

Leaning forward, the chair pressing to his chest, he lays his palms flat on the table and slowly strokes it as if just noticing it for the first time. Fingers trace the wood grain distractedly as he listens to her baited comments thinly veiled to draw him out. When he looks to her again she's looking right back and even though she glances away to continue her little charade he is swallowed in that moment by the lure of another tact entirely. Tapping his fingers lightly to draw her attention he drops a blatantly admiring gaze over every curving inch of her frame that he can see. When he's sure she's watching he smoothes his palms on the table again and pointedly glances over either shoulder at the dark emptiness of the room. The unspoken insinuation is there for her to read.

"Oh…" he seems to muse, his tone dismissive as if he can barely recall, "I'm sure you have. It was no where special." Again it's true - just not the whole truth. His tone deepens, resonating with a huskiness she should recognize. "Jaya…" Her name is a purr from his lips. "Have you noticed how firm and sturdy these tables are?"

Jaya may be a lot of things, and many of those names will probably fall on the troublesome side of the spectrum too, but gullible is not one of them. Kaskan’s answer draws a slight brow raise, her expression far too neutral to tell whether she believes him or not. She remains silent as she watches him with the table. Oh yeah, he has her attention whether he wants it or not. She also notices his lewd study of her, too, and the sudden shift in her demeanor to something suggestive is a rather abrupt one. Catching his cues, and even that drawl of her name, it’s only when Kaskan verbally speaks about the table he’s been molesting that she makes her move – swaying hips bring her closer to the man, her lips parting into that smile full of trouble. A hand laying flat on that table as her attention falls on it, “Quite sturdy,” she agrees with him, her hand running down it until it reaches the edge. Dark eyes lifting to meet his then as she tacks on with a slight inflection of sarcasm that flits in and out of her tone that would be easy to miss, “Noticed a lot of things myself.” Brow lifts to that, regarding him – watching him – standing so close to him and seeming to be waiting to see what he does next.

Sky blue irises darken to stormy slate, a steely gray-blue with the intensity of heated metal. That regard keenly watches the distinctive sway of Jaya's hips and the flow of adept fingers over wood. What started out as a distraction ploy latches onto the sudden tension thickening the air and bursts into a flaming life of its own. In one smoothly swift move Kaskan rises and twists his body around the backward chair so that it is no longer in the way. Strong arms wrap the barkeep, one across her shoulder blades the other around her waist, and yank her close to his chest. Muscles ripple with the shift in his pose as he moves with strength enough to control them both but not with so much force that she couldn't stop him if she really wanted. With one quick twist he turns her back to the table and leans, laying her flat with himself positioned between her dangling legs. Once that far he'll have his taste of her even if she were to demand he let her go, the blood boiling through his veins calling for the press of her lips and slip of velvet tongue. The arm behind her shoulders curls, drawing her to him even as he presses downward leaning over her. The brush of his jaw is rough with a shade of scruff but his lips are warm as they part hers for a brief but thorough sampling of the uniquely tantalizing recipe that is Jaya. When he slowly parts the contact, hovering close, his breath still mingles with hers as he growls playfully, "You think anyone else will notice if we test the quality of this table a might?"

Always trust Jaya to have a wild card up her sleeve, even when it seems like she doesn’t. She lets the guard wrap her up in his arms and lean her against the table in question, and she lets his lips meet with hers in that searing, heated kiss. Oh yeah, she’ll let him taste her, too, her own lips parting until he breaks the contact as she meets his eyes and merely regards Kaskan and his playful words. She lets the silence linger, continuing to say nothing to him as she stares back – but then, just as abruptly, as if the heated kiss hadn’t happened, the barkeep is shouldering his hold from her and if that succeeds, she’ll detach further and put some distance between them. Knocking a fist to that table a few times, a little smile playing on her full lips, “Actually, I think Crom has stronger tables,” she notes, letting him know that his evasive move did not work this night. That smile growing, “But I guess we’ll never know, shuga.” And then, blowing a kiss in the guard’s direction that was very similar to the one Beddie had done, the barkeep turns on a heel and looks as if she’s preparing to depart from the kitchens with a “Sleep well, ruffian guard.”

Kaskan doesn't let her go easily, teasing her by keeping muscles taunt and only loosening his hold in slow increments making sure that every move brushes their bodies together at one angle or another. The grin that spreads his lips by time she completely detaches herself is pure lecherous criminal smugly self-assured. Crossing his arms, he merely levels a humored grin in return as she refers to Crom's table strength and attempts to leave, inwardly congratulating himself for the success of his efforts to dissuade her questioning. He might not have gotten far but at least she isn't drilling him anymore. Speaking of which… he isn't quite ready to give up yet. At her farewell remark he steps quickly toward her, catching her arm as she turns to go. Gripping her elbow he leans close, voice a silken rumble over her ear. "Not up for the challenge of a public testing, barkeep?"

Regarding that lecherous smile of his, “Public testing?” Jaya turns to echo when Kaskan has her by the elbow, leveling a look over towards that table as if she was noticing it for the first time. Meeting his eyes then, the Bitran barkeep leans suddenly close as if she were going to kiss him, but abruptly her lips move to his ears and she breathes out in a low voice, “You can’t cheat a pro, shuga.” Leaning back and further stepping away, her voice rising to normal levels, “The only challenge I’m interested in right now is you telling me exactly what it is about Crom that has you wanting to fuck me over a table all of a sudden.” Her laughter sultry as she throws a hand up in the air in a wave as she turns from him, “Unless you’re playing my game? I’m not interested.”

With a husky laugh for the aborted kiss Kaskan reaches for her hips to stop that turn and his fingers grip her firmly as he steps into a grinding approach. Angling his chin to look into her eyes he feigns a wounded pout. "Jaya… since when do I need an excuse to want to fuck you over, under or beside anything?" Adding a darkly ruffian smolder he slips one hand more firmly around her waist while the other rises to grip the front of his shirt over his heart. With a grunt as if suddenly stabbed he flounders, "Not… interested? Jaya, you break my heart! Say it isn't so, darlin'!" Intending on helping her do just that he aims some nibbling at her neck, growling low in his throat as teeth graze her skin. His hold is firm but not as securely tense as previous encounters, both relief and humor lacing the larger flow of lust through his veins.

Caught by the hips, “Since when?” Jaya counters back, regarding that pout with an arched brow. “Since you chose to use a table to deflect my interests in your connection to Crom.” Yeah, she’s on a mission now. Kaskan’s not going to get away from it all that easily, and his growing ardour with her is only serving to make her more suspicious. So, first tactic: Guess. With his arms more securely around her, “What’s in Crom for you? Bad memories? Bad incident? Were you bad?” The last getting a rising smirk from the barkeep, and then she spies his hand falling on his heart at her response and she rolls her eyes. When he nibbles at her neck, she turns her head to look directly at him – which probably ends up offsetting him from his target. “You’re drying me up, shuga,” she openly notes boldly, a hand lifting to claim purchase on the guard’s chest. “With all this evasion. I’m not fucking stupid, so don’t treat me like I am.” It’s all said with that slight knowing smile, the hand on his chest only tightening should he choose to lean in again.

If there's a hitch in Kaskan's attentions at the phrasing of her questions it's a small one. Hesitation is brief but not so much the struggle to control his expression. He isn't about to look her in the eye with the memories her questions stir laid out in subtle shadows, crinkled wrinkle, and soulful blue depths too easy for her to read. Keeping his head angled to her shoulder he ignores her prodding with more generous groping and a throaty, dismissive chuckle helping himself to her familiar curves.

A spark of anger rises as she persists in resisting him, signaling a determination he isn't going to distract this time. His eyes dart to hers then, irises a steely blue, his serious tone still underscored with aborted passion. "I don't treat you like you were stupid, Jaya. I would never do that." Final words pointedly articulated he stares with focused intensity into her eyes, wordlessly conveying an internal battle. In the wan light of the night-time kitchen shadows mark the deepening lines of his brow and jagged scars a pain he can't express.

Finally, breath comes heavily on a sigh blown through his nostrils, lips closed in a tight line. Tipping his chin upward he blinks once slowly. Hands drop behind her back, his fingers pressing the base of her spine in an intimate but loose embrace. His voice when he speaks is thick with regret and weary of emotion, angled low for her ears only even though they are alone. Old habits die hard. "There are things about me you don't want to know, Jaya. Things you can't know." He stops short of adding more, knowing that every bit he adds will only drive her curiosity further. His only hope lies in protecting her and everyone else he cares about by not inadvertently bringing down the wrath on them that nearly destroyed him.

Jaya watches every nuance and move in Kaskan’s frame – something a barkeep does well to test the waters of their current patron. She does this now as he avoids looking at her, letting him touch her frame but finally succeeding in getting a reaction from the guard that didn’t have anything to do with his lust – anger. She meets those eyes of his and she regards his response in silence, any argument she has to put to that dying on her lips for the moment. She continues to say nothing – to reveal nothing of her emotions – when he starts to speak again, the registered words causing her eyes to immediately narrow onto him. She watches Kaskan for a long moment like this, seeming to search his stormy gaze before she finally gives him a reaction: a derisive snort. Very typically Dicori. “Man of mystery,” she dubs him, her drawling tone only slightly sardonic as with a roll of her shoulders, she maneuvers herself from out of Kaskan’s embrace. Taking a step back, “I get it,” she says after a pause, another step taking her farther away from him with a slight lift of her proud chin. “Please, shuga. You’re not the only one here with such a mysterious past.” Another step. “But perhaps you’re right,” she chooses to say then, continuing to head back towards the entrance. “Perhaps I shouldn’t know.” Another few steps and she’s at the entrance, a hand lifting to touch the frame before she adds guardedly, “I need to check on my sister. Take care of yourself, Kas.” Because this time, she’s leaving whether he tries to stop her or not.

Kaskan lets her step back without moving, his lean frame stiff with tension. His hands slowly fall back to his sides. A small, wheedling voice chides him ruthlessly from behind the thick wall that guards his innermost self.

Careless. Soft. And whispered most fierce of all: Fool.

Fingers curl at his sides, the only reflection of emotion left on the blanked visage he projects. The urge to grab her, shake her soundly and pour out his heart grips his muscles with a nearly painful intensity. But it's been too long of a habit to remain aloof and he hesitates too long, Jaya gone before he fully realizes it. Her sarcastic tone etches his conscience, her words stinging like pinpricks across the plain of his determination. "Jaya….." he blurts in a wretched tone.

Too late. She is gone.

With a fierce scowl he snaps booted feet to the floor and takes off down the tunnels himself, food forgotten in the need to beat the hell out of a straw practice dummy.


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