Missing Home


Hope.jpg (NPC'd by Max) Jaya.jpg

Date: June 8, 2011
Location: Runner pasture, Healer Hall, Fort
Synopsis: Jaya and Hope take a meal at the pastures and chat as best that any criminal barkeep and a toddler could. Jaya also teaches the girl how to fight.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jaya

It was late afternoon and Jonavan went out to take care of his daily duties, leaving Jaya and Hope to their own devices. The Bitran barkeep chose that time after meeting with Evie (and sobering up) to take Hope about the Hall, showing her to interesting places she had found only a day previous. The girl was easy to amuse and awe, and Jaya found a ready vassal for all her stories - both real and not. By late afternoon, the two settled on a wooden bench in the runner pastures where the Hall kept their runners, watching the stablehands tend the beasts while wolfing down an early dinner of meatrolls and soft white cheese with bread. It was by this time that Jaya had to grudgingly admit that she enjoyed Hope's innocent company, and was beginning to understand why the masterhealer was attached to her so.

"Enjoying your time here, Hope?" she asks the little girl while swallowing one of many meatrolls, bundled up in warm clothes with the girl while keeping an idle eye on the stablehands and their runnerbeasts.

So much to see, do and be intrigued by will have most two turn olds, hyper, which Hope had been with her childish chatter and wide-eyed expressions for the stories told to her. Now, bundled up against the cold and with crumbs scattered across her lap from the simple yet filling meal and the wintry sun adding warmth to a full belly, the little girl lapses into silence, her dark and solemn gaze cast to the stablehands and the runners in the pasture. The question asked has the little girl casting a look up to the dark-haired woman and rather than answer she puts forth one of her own in soft lisping tones as she tilts her head to one side and studies the bruising on Jaya’s face. “S’uga fall down ‘gain?”

Jaya eyes those crumbs scattered across Hope's lap and pops her last morsel of meatroll into her mouth before reaching out to brush the crumbs off. Hope's question in turn has her pausing in those motions, frowning her way before she reaches up to rubs at her own nose - it's still dark, but not as bad as the day before, which is something. Wrinkling up her face as she straightens up, "Shuga always fall down," is her drawled answer, looking the little girl's way. "Except, I made someone else fall down, too. He tried to cheat me, he did." She wasn't sure if Hope knew what cheating was, though, or even how to explain it. Pressing a thumb to her bruised nose, "This will heal, though," she tells her, nodding before she moves the thumb to her scar down the side of her face. Then she adds, "But this one won't."

There’s a bit of a giggle at first and a lisped, “S’uga silly!” for the always falling down bit and then Hope twists her head this way and that as if in doing so she might better be able to understand what it is that Jaya says next. Quick as a flash she scrambles up on her knees on the bench and peers at first the woman’s nose and then the scar and then opens her mouth and snaps it shut with a sharp click of teeth in demonstration of her next words. “S’uga bite!” such advice given by the toddler because biting always seems to work for her.

One of the runners out in the pasture suddenly goes racing past and draws the little girls attention after it, her gaze locked to the creature as something about the familiarity of the pastoral scene before them has her turning a quick look up to Jaya. “Where S’hole?”

When Hope giggles, it seems to wipe out Jaya’s nose pain. She blinks at the words, appearing taken back before there’s a slow smile and then, laughter. “Yeah, guess it is pretty silly,” she admits to herself and Hope, idly brushing off the crumbs from her own lap. Then, next thing she knows, Hope’s on her feet and studying her face close. Jaya reaches out her hands as if wanting to keep the girl from falling, clearly out of her element with all of this but letting instinct take over. When Hope demonstrates biting, her words get a blank stare before erupting into raucous laughter. It draws the attention of a stablehand, but she doesn’t notice. “Bite him?” she puts to the girl then, trying to understand her logic. Shaking her head, “Naw, biting doesn’t always work, shuga. Good fist does,” and she even balls up a fist for her and demonstrates a sharp thrust meant to be a hit towards the air. “Good, sharp one-“ and she repeats it, making it fast, “-towards a face and they’re down!” and she reverses the balled fist to have it going towards and stopping at her scarred side of her face. Yeaaaah, maybe not a good idea to be showing Hope how to punch someone’s lights out. When one of the runners race past and draws Hope’s attention, the question to come now has some of her amusement fading before she drops her hand and answers with, “He’s home, shuga,” in an even tone. “He sent us away, to protect us from a very, bad man, hmm?” and she peers closely at Hope’s face. “Miss’em?”

Toddlers of course don’t understand about small nuances of social interaction such another’s personal space as just demonstrated by Hope getting up in Jaya’s face like she did. Giggles quickly turn into the infectious belly laugh that only a child can produce when the Eastern barkeep laughs, with the little girl even going so far as to hop up and down with delight where she stands on the bench. Just as well Jaya has those steadying hands to her.

Giggles subsiding, the dark-haired toddler peers curiously at her caregiver and tries closing her hand in the manner that gets demonstrated, though she leaves her thumb wrapped tightly under her fingers, “Good fiss?” And then she’s trying the jab thing, hopefully not smacking Jaya in the face as she does so, “Blam!” Cussing, biting, throwing things and now taught to throw a punch and this all before her third turnday. Pern beware!

At Jaya’s reply, little fist-balled hands lower and then fall to hang loosely at her sides, the woman regarded with large dark eyes when she speaks of a bad man. “Mama bad…” Hope lisps in a whispered tone darting a look about as if Garnalla might suddenly materialize out of thin air. And then she’s nodding solemn reply on whether or not she misses the beast manager and without invitation, will try creeping into Jaya’s lap, “Hope wan’ go home. Hope wuv S’hole.”

Hope’s laugh is infectious. It’s even hard for a criminal like Jaya to be hard to, the woman shaking her head and holding onto the girl as she starts jumping up and down in her excitement. Then the little’s girl’s trying to copy her fist, the barkeep moving one hand to close over those little fingers. “See, like this…” and she tries to position Hope’s fingers together into a tiny little fist if she could, leaning back as the girl tries to jab with it. Jaya demonstrates an upright punch again, chuckling when Hope tries, her excitement easy to join into. “Awww, you’re going to be a mighty fine ball-hitter, just wait,” she drawls, seeming pleased with the progress. Pern, indeed, beware! “Gotta protect yourself, shuga. Some man gives you issue? Bam!” and she mimics hitting an invisible side of some man’s head. “Knocks them right out.” Pity the man that does if Jaya continues to be this girl’s teacher.

At sober words, however, those hands fall when Hope mentions her mother. Jaya knows a bit from what Max has told her, and so she nods slowly and meets those dark eyes. “She wasn’t good, no,” she agrees with a frown. “Some women just shouldn’t have children, shuga. She ain’t coming, ever,” she adds now when she sees Hope darting a look around. “She’s gone.” But then, the girl was crawling into her lap, and Jaya momentarily stiffens as her guarded walls taking a battering against those innocent, helpless gestures. She holds Hope to her then, eyes lingering on ahead before she solemnly says, “Mmmm. I love that asshole, too, shuga. We can’t go home right now, but when we can, you oughta tell him that, hmm?” and she looks down at her to get her attention. “That you love him? I think he would really be happy to hear that you love him, shuga. Promise me?”

Little fingers are easily manipulated into a better fist, with Hope watching on with intent interest and then she’ll try reaching for Jaya’s hand and doing the same, turning it into a game. She of course completely misunderstands the woman’s words and declares proudly as she demonstrates her version of an uppercut, “Hope, hidda ball!” Potential heiress to daddy’s fighting circuits one day? Maybe. Especially if Jaya continues to have a hand in moulding the child’s fighting skills.

Sombre the expression cast across the little girl’s face as she studies Jaya when she assures that the woman that had birthed her was gone and wouldn’t be coming back. Despite not looking convinced, Hope gives a small nod and then once in the Eastern barkeep’s lap, her thumb finds her mouth and she snuggles her head of soft downy curls in against the woman’s neck.

When she feels Jaya shifting to look down at her, Hope lifts her head and dark eyes latch to the woman’s that are of a similar shade. Only understanding bits and pieces of what is said to her she tips her head to one side, “S’uga wuv S’hole?” It’s the request made of her that draws the little girl’s sunny nature back into place, a smile curving her rosebud mouth upward and she nods enthusiastically, “P’omise. Hope go home now?” Oh dear.

With Hope getting her fingers and doing the same, moving her fingers into a fist, Jaya studies the girl’s face intently in silence. The grin comes when the girl succeeds, holding up the fist out of her reach playfully until the girl misunderstands and speaks of hitting balls. That gets laughter, “Oh ho! You have no idea, shuga.” She mimics trading blows then, punching the air before her towards the runners before laughing again wrapping arms about the little toddler in an almost protective manner. She finds Hope then snuggling into the crook of her neck with a thumb in her mouth, the barkeep’s guards rattling once more before she lowers her head and could smell the soapsand in her hair. For a moment there, she holds her like that, her bruised nose buried into the girl’s hair, her arms tightening a little about her. When Hope asks if she loved Max, there’s a tentative smile before the Bitran drawls, “Yeah, Shuga loves Shole. He’s a good man. A good da for you, hmm?” She lets her go then, feeling that bright and sunny nature returning to the fore when Hope promises what she asks. The question gets a shake of head though, and Jaya reaches a thumb out to brush down the side of Hope’s cheek as she says, “Not yet. Bastard needs us right now, right? Then we can go home, okay?” Well, it was a half-truth at least, though the barkeep suspects that there’s more truth to her words on Jonavan needing the toddler around than she can guess at. Then, giving more of the truth since that was something her own father would have done, “Bad man in home right now, shuga. Can’t go back until he’s gone. Vaputero.” Perhaps it’s for the best the girl learns his name early, the way she was figuring how involved Hope will be as long as she’s with her father.

With Jaya wrapping her arms about Hope, the little one in turn flings her arms about the woman’s neck and squeezes. The comfort she’d sought is found in that embrace and the small silence which follows. Once again, Hope studies Jaya in curious silence as the word ‘Da’ is not something she associates with a father figure, Lord Tillek having used the term ‘Pappa’ with her. The tentative smile that the dark-haired woman produces and the confirming reply she gives over her feelings for the little girl’s father does however have the child perking a smile back at her.

However, words of not being able to return home just yet draw a scowl to Hope’s face, creasing the soft skin of her forehead into little puckers of annoyance that soon smooth out when she’s told of Bastard being in need of them. “Hope wuv Bastard then go home,” a confirming nod is given as she lisps her understanding of the matter. But then Jaya’s putting a name to the bad man and the little girl’s inbred fighting spirit rises quickly to the fore. “Waput bad man! Hope make good fiss an’ hidda ball!” the two turn old states with all the ferocity she can muster as she curls a little hand up into a fist and punches at the air in front of her like Jaya had shown her to do earlier.

When Hope wraps her arms around Jaya and draws in that comfort, Jaya was doing unintentionally doing the same She lets that silence linger, hugging the little toddler in a way she vaguely remembers having being held herself by her deceased mother back in Bitra before the embrace breaks. Through the smiles and that scowl Hope forms upon hearing that they weren’t to go home, it’s the scowl that drawls a crooked smile from the barkeep for its familiarity. Idly rubbing the girl’s back, “Soon, shuga,” she tries to soothe the girl’s ire, the smile there as she recognizes the scowl in herself. “Soon, and for now, we stay here for Bastard, okay?” Even more unexpected for her was Hope’s inbred fighting spirit, the woman blinking as the girl picks up how bad her former boss is with those fighting words, her smile brightens a tad more and she chuckles. Nodding, “Very bad man!” she agrees, pleased at how smart the toddler is, and she studies that fist made before nodding her approval. She’ll even ball up both of her own fists and punch the air before them in quick succession. “Ha! In a turn, you’ll be better than those fighters Max is training,” she gives, her tone easy.

As mercurial as children are, Hope’s soon giggling once again, the melancholy and homesickness of earlier, forgotten for the time being as planting a kiss to Jaya’s cheek, she scrambles off of her lap and dashes toward a big klah-coloured gelding that’s grazing nearby. “Hiii,” the toddler croons in sing-song tone, completely unafraid of the much bigger beast as she stops a few feet short of it and drops into a crouch. The startled animal throws up its head snorting and pawing at the ground, showing the whites of its eyes for Hope’s sudden appearance. “Hope, no hurchooo,” the little girl lisps out, starting to inch forward with arms outstretched as if she intends hugging the runner.

Hope's easy grace puts Jaya at ease, her smile coming back as gets that kiss to her cheek and then watch the girl scramble off her lap and run off to the nearest runner she could reach. She couldn't help the warm chuckle that escapes before she's up herself and following slowly after the toddler like a slow shadow, getting there in time to hear Hope greet the runner. When the animal appears startled, she steps forward boldly to place a hand on the beast in hopes to calm it, sending soft soothing sounds close to the runner's ear as her hand slowly starts to rub it in long strokes. "He'll be just fine," she sends down at the girl's next words, her smile gentle before she joins Hope in that crouch. "Bet you want a runner yourself, huh?" she says, reaching out to stroke the creature's flank before adding, "You wanna rub him?" and she'll hold out her arms for the girl to climb into so that she could stand and put Hope at the runner's height to do so if she wished.

The gelding had taken to nodding his head up and down rapidly, a sure sign that he was unhappy with the sudden intrusion upon his peace. It’s only when Jaya steps up to him with soothing touches and calming words that the runner starts to quieten, his coat twitching over muscles in places the only remaining sign of agitation. With the dark-haired woman crouching before her, Hope tears her gaze away from the gelding and touches it to Jaya. A quick nod along with an enthusiastic smile appears, “Hope have wunna like S’hole and S’uga and dwagon like Darlick and canine and…” The little girl looking set to continue to add to what is fast sounding like a veritable zoo until that is, Jaya holds her arms out to her. Quick as a flash she takes up the offer her attention immediately swinging to the gelding as she’s lifted up. And while the creature rolls its eyes and looks set to back away it calms the moment the fearless child lurches forward trusting that Jaya will simply hold onto her and lays her cheek against its rough fur, little arms stretching out across its neck. “Hiii,” she whispers nuzzling her face against it.

With the gelding being so nervous, Jaya keeps a momentary steady hand on him in the case that he turns violent. Hope’s forming list of the things she wants get a snicker along with a wry, “I want more runners and a wagon and perhaps, maybe get to trade alittle like I used to when I was your age,” she tells her in a low voice, knowing full well that the girl wouldn’t know what she was talking about. “What’s a ‘Darlick’? And a canine? You want a canine pup?” Already she was forming ideas, though the last thing the girl could use was another pet. She could see the look on Max’s face at that! It makes her smirk, the girl jumping into her arms and the barkeep swiftly getting to her feet so that she could pet the runner. With Hope in one arm, balanced well, the other reaches out to pet the runner too – but more to calm the runner down than anything. “Pretty nice runner, yes?” she sends Hope’s way, looking at her as she pets. “I think you’ll make for a fine rider of runners, shuga. Just like your da.” It was peaceful like this, out in the cold with a toddler in her arms, petting a runner in a pasture. It was definitely something she wouldn’t have thought of doing if asked a turn ago what she would be doing.

Hope lifts her head from the gelding’s warm neck, understanding at least part of what Jaya says to her, a smile tilting rosy lips upward, “S’uga want more Moo’beam?” The rest of course is beyond her except for the question asked of the other name she’d given out. “Darlick have Kasef, Hope wanna Kasef.” The girl is ambitious it seems. Mention of a canine pup has Hope perking and putting a shiny-eyed look of excitement onto Jaya fairly beaming, “Hope have puppy?” Uh oh.

“P’itty wunna,” the little one agrees softly her hands taking up to copying the petting motions Jaya makes along the gelding’s flank as a little shiver runs through the child. “Hope wide like S’hole,” she then declares starting to make the connection between the word ‘Da’ and Max.

And then, with a breeze lifting up and stirring the frosty air about along with a full belly weighing on her eyelids and the peace and quiet of the setting, she turns and snuggles her cold face in against the dark-haired woman’s neck. Stifling a yawn, “Hope go see Bastard now.” Though she’s more likely to be asleep by the time they get indoors again.

“Shuga wants lots more Moonbeams,” Jaya gives to Hope, the smile cunning as she tips her head towards the girl’s own. “A stable-full,” and she holds her free arm out as if to demonstrate how big. Of course, the barkeep was looking lost on the account of who ‘Darlick and Kasef’ was, but the woman was murmuring “Kasef….Kasef….” to herself until her eyes widen a little and she looks sharply at Hope and drops in, “Kaseth? Dragon?” in guess. Uh-oh, indeed, when the toddler’s eyes brighten up in mention of the canine pup, the Bitran rethinking that one. Ahhh, need to ask your da, first,” she answers that quickly with a little laugh that was too light. “Don’t think Chicken Shit would like that, either. But, we’ll see, ehh?” as she thinks on how she could convince Max otherwise. She continues to pet the gelding with her, those little words on getting a gentle smile unknown to herself before the breeze causes Hope to snuggle close. Arm closes more protectively about the girl, hugging her before the girl makes the announcement to see Bastard. She turns away from the gelding then, nodding towards an approaching stablehand as she answers, “Yeah, we’ll go see him,” she seems to promise, though with one look at the girl’s face, it was obvious that Hope wouldn’t be lasting long now before she was made for the couch. Catching up the carrysack left behind on the bench she shoulders it and starts to head back into the Hall with Hope falling asleep in her arms.

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