Nobody S Perfect


Max.jpg Randi.jpg

Date: 2011.05.17
Location: EW - Weyrleader's Weyr
Synopsis: Max finds Randi cleaning out J'cobi's weyr. They catch each other up and their friendship strengthens when support and understanding is given from both sides.
Rating: PG18 - Language (It's Max & Randi)
Logger: Max

It was a dark and stormy night …

Well, not really, but that's how these things always seem to begin. It is, however, raining cats and dogs. And also night. So 2/3 right. Curled up on a couch that's too big for her and worn smooth in all the wrong places is Kaseth. Just why the Junior queen is lounging in the Weyrleader's weyr becomes - well, less clear, actually - when her rider appears from another, smaller annex room loaded down with a pile of boxes. Setting them on the ground with a thump, the young blonde runs her forearm across her forehead to wipe sweat from her brow. Dressed in light cotton sleep pants and a noodle-strapped shirt worn almost too thin to be called a proper shirt, she is still flushed. Humidity does horrible, horrible things to the human body in motion. Taking a moment to rest, leaning her bare skin on the wall and moving her bare feet under the rugs to press both against cooling stone, she stares out the entrance at the pouring rain, catching her breath and breathing out curses at the same time. Talented, no?

Since hearing from various sources that the goldrider had returned to the Weyr, Max had been trying to track her down but between his duties (both legitimate and nefarious) and the rather annoying habit a dragonrider has of hopping from one place to another, he’d not had much success. One helpful lower caverns girl, all simpering smiles and batting lashes, had finally pointed him in the right direction and earned little more than a ‘Thank you’ in return - Much to her disgust.

And so it is, that dripping wet from his dash across the bowl that one soggy beast manager drips his way up to the ledge and steps in just enough to get out of the rain. “Darlin’,” a slight bow of head in acknowledgement of the gold snoozing nearby and then he’s calling out, “Randi, you in here?”

Kaseth - not quite as somnolent as she may seem - croons a soft welcome of recognition to the beast manager as he enters and passes. She knows him; there is no need for worry, here. Grinning the tired smile of the long-at-work, Randi tosses Max a towel from the top of one of the nearby boxes and leans back against the stone once more. "Did you take a dip in the lake on your way over?" She cranes her head to peer around him. "Or is it just that bad out already?"

Automatically he reaches out and catches the towel lobbed his way, a lopsided smile appearing. “Naw, figured I’d take a bath with my clothes on,” Max quips in return as dark eyes stray over parts of her anatomy were clothing might be clinging. Forgive him, he is male after all. He does however quickly set to rubbing the towel over his head and then sets a more sincere look onto Randi, concern evident in gaze and tone both. “Been worried about you. You ain’t been checkin’ in like I thought you would.”

Randi's been checking in with Max - and in various states of dress and undress - for long enough now that she doesn't even notice the wandering eyes. It's just part of how he says 'hello'. "Really? Usually you're angling to do more with your clothes off. Wouldn't think I'd ever hear of you adding clothes to one of the few properly naked pastimes." Pushing off from the stone, she turns her face away first so that he can't see the guilt and worry that war for control of her expression, then moves her whole body back into the smaller annex room, piling spare straps, buckles and leathers into a larger box. Kneeling in one of the plush furs on the ground, she folds neatly and packs two sets of practice straps away before she answers. "The last jump … went wrong, Max. It went very, very wrong."

Over the past little while, their’s has become an easygoing if not odd friendship which has Max comfortable enough with the goldrider to give her the middle-fingered salute with a smirk attached for her comment about what he likes to do how and in what state of undress. “Spyin’ on me again?” he teases in return. Jest falls away as Randi turns from him, a light frown falling into place as she employs classic composure tactics. He watches in perturbed silence a moment as she starts to fold the straps up, wanting to ask her why she’s packing up the Weyrleader’s weyr but then she says what she does and dark eyes flare briefly. Moving toward her, he drops down to hunker before her and reaches out a hand to gently tip her chin toward him if she allows, “Tell me what happened.” Voice held low for the seriousness of the topic. A topic known only to himself, his mother and the handful of people Randi’s been working with.

It's slow, the sadness that creeps past Randi's defensive neutrality, but it's thorough in its conquest. Letting the straps fall, she rocks back to sit on the rug tailor-style, fiddling a single tin buckle in her fingers. "We were running out of 'when's." Her voice is quiet, a bit hoarse - as if she's holding back a tide of emotion with her bare hands - but still understandable. "D'lan said we should start cycling them, returning to the same 'when' but taking from different places. I was afraid that would cut off our options in too short a time. We've got to have enough to last until the farms and the herds and the boats pick up. I was afraid if we ran out of options too soon … " She swallows hard and runs the buckle's catch underneath a nail dark with packing dust. "I out-stubborned him and Kaseth outranked his Wyncrath, so we jumped farther backwards; farther forwards. We went to High Reaches. I messed up. We - " She swallows hard this time. "We met up with a greenrider named O'ren and his Salarth, stranded out in the snow."

Max listens in silence, compassion coming to the fore for the melancholy goldrider, knowing how that feels and wanting to simply reach out and pull her into his arms to comfort her. But he refrains from doing so, dark eyes watchful of each small gesture that speaks to her discomfort and sorrow, a muscle twitching in his jaw for the lengths Randi had gone to, to ensure the wellbeing of the Weyr. Mention of the brownrider tightens his jaw slightly but still he says nothing until right at the end when she mentions the doomed greenpair that had been whispered about since their frozen bodies had been found in the snow almost one hundred and fifty turns ago. “Fuck!” the expletive spills upon realizing the consequences such an encounter could result in. “Are you serious? O’ren and Salarth? What the fuck was D’lan thinkin’! I warned you that brownrider was trouble.” There being no love lost between himself and the brownrider, the man having been a thorn in his side before he’d left High Reaches Weyr. Hands lift and rub over his head in frustration, “So now what? Are any of the others sick?”

"He'd forgotten." Randi's voice is hollow and she has to sniff twice to keep her nose from running, but her defense of the brownrider is firm. "It was an old story and we weren't meant to have gone back quite so far. Kaseth and I were too tired to have made that jump. We should have had them wait." Her face falls until her chin meets her chest shoulders sagging. "They'd crashed into the side of a cliff. Salarth was highly fevered and her wing was completely shattered. I spent my whole life in the Dragonhealers' caverns, but even with Kaseth's power behind me I just couldn't save her." It's a fact that obviously still weighs heavy on the girl's heart. Lifting her head again - heedless of the twin tracks of moisture being fed down her cheeks by her eyes - she inhales a shaky breath. "It hit half of us in total. Sasha was already feeling fatigued before we left. I didn't know the signs of it, then. She and her blue didn't even make it back. Kaseth and I made the quick run with D'lan to the stores and then we took off, but she was so tired and I couldn't stop thinking of poor Salarth and - " She stops suddenly, holding her breath until the diaphraghm stills and she can breathe - and cry - without the shuddering breaths that go with it. "Sasha we lost in the trip. M'pret and H'tek came out a full sevenday after they should have. I was so afraid we'd lost them, too."

“He’d forgotten,” Max echoes with a snort and then he blinks. “Wait. You worked on Salarth?” A cold chill runs down his spine and clenches in his gut. And for a moment the southern crimelord goes deadstill, the horror stories his Weyrseconding father had told him of what the consequences would have been had the green pair lived long enough to spread the sickness, crashing back in on him. “Shit,” he mutters quietly under his breath having been somewhat fond of the bluerider now lost Between. And now if she’ll allow, he’ll draw Randi into his arms offering what comfort he can for really, in such a situation, there’s not much to be had. A worried look goes over his shoulder back the way of the gold that’s curled up in her couch, “What about Kaseth?”

Leaning into comfort she doesn't really deserve, Randi rests her head against Max's shoulder and just breathes the comforting, familiar scent until her lungs have settled and she can continue without the interruption of hiccoughs. "Kaseth brought us back to Telgar." She sniffs again and swallows. "Faranth only knows why - she's Igen born - but she did. It's a good thing, too. My mother and I got the whole lot up into some caves used by refugees we'd helped when I was small. All but three came down with it. In the end, we lost eighteen." Out of thirty riders, to lose more than half is … it's a heavy weight to carry. Max's mention of Kaseth seems to conjure her forth. Smallest of Pern's golds, Kaseth manages to squeeze her shoulders in and lie on her stomach, curling her neck around the two humans and whuffling warm breath against them both. "She got sick last." Laying one hand on the queen's muzzle, Randi doesn't seem to notice that it's shaking a little. "She may not have gotten sick at all if I hadn't - these dragons were my responsibility. They never would have caught this if it hadn't been for me. I couldn't just leave them and she wouldn't leave me. Without her, we would have lost more of them."

Given the type of things he’s often found himself unwillingly turning his hand to in the past turn since taking on the mantle of crimelord, Max is the last one that would deny someone comfort, deserved or not. Absently one hand strokes blonde hair and then he leans out a little, using a thumb to wipe tears away, it tearing him up that Randi was bearing such a heavy burden for good intent gone wrong. “Eighteen are gone already?” he asks, shock evident in the way his lowheld tone tightens. When Kaseth squeezes her way in and wraps herself around them, he can’t help but eye her a little warily given his last encounters with Jhath. And then it’s his turn to display distress when the gold’s rider speaks to her being sick too, not at first assimilating what that’s likely to mean for the other dragons of the Weyr. “You’re not feelin’ well, darlin’?” concern deepening his tone as he puts a long look over the pale gold, noting the way the dragon trembles. “Aw jays, Randi…you can’t do that, darlin’,” beat herself for it, “you did what you had to do. Shit, we all did. If anythin’ Ma and me are just as much to blame for givin’ the names of them riders in the first place. If it weren’t for you, half the Weyr would be starvin’ by now. But…” and here he pauses and tries to capture her gaze with his, “they knew the risks. Knew what they were gettin’ into, knew there was a chance they might not come back, aye? What you gotta focus on now, is findin’ a way to stop this before it gets any worse.” Apparently he’s full of faith for her capabilities as a dragonhealer.

Kaseth whuffles a soft, breathy croon towards the beast man, eyes whirling in comforting shades of blue. "The ones that didn't die were weak for a while, but they've all gone back to duty now. Even Kass pulled through - eventually." She rubs a dry spot on the queen's muzzle and frowns. Another oiling needed, looks like. "That's why I was gone so long. I couldn't risk coming back here until I was sure it was safe. She spent time around mum's green when she was getting back the first bit of strength and Presth hasn't come down with anything." She notices the shaking, too, and worry clouds behind her dark eyes. "She's gotten some of her lustre back, but she's still so dim. She gets tired easy and storms coming in make her joints ache. I've been getting her sun and rest as much as I can, but it worries me. She's so young, Max. What if she never rises again? Never clutches?" That Eastern can ill afford that possibility is left unspoken; thick and heavy in the air between them. "And what's worse is that Mum told Grandmother." 'The Moste Illustrious and Imperious Weyrwomanne of Telgar…eth.' She flinches slightly at the memory. "I've never seen her so angry before, but it's good in a back-handed sort of way."

Relief is evident when Kaseth is declared past the worst of it despite her pallor and talk of her becoming easily tired and sore. “Atta girl,” he sends to the gold, a small smile lifting up. Max shifts in his position a little, dropping down onto his butt and drawing his knees up, providing a sort of safe harbour with his body for Randi to remain in should she so wish. “It’s stormin’ out there,” he states in response to the worry that clouds the goldrider’s eyes for the tremble that had passed through her gold. Silence prevails over talk of the gold perhaps never rising or clutching again. And what he says next might be considered to be sacrilege to some but to him; it’s merely ensuring the survival of the Weyr. “Then I’ll take a few with me and go back in time and…take what we need,” grim toned as he alludes to stealing eggs from other clutches. Lips purse and he gives a slow shake of head, followed by a sigh, “Your grandmother would likely have done the same had she been in your position, darlin’.” He having reached the point of being tired of the Sanctimonious preaching on the rights and wrongs of things while all the while expecting someone else to do the dirty work for them, so long as they don’t know about it. “Aye?” Max’s head tips slightly in curiosity, “Good how?”

And Randi takes comfort in it, letting herself float in that harbor - boneless for a too-short respite before taking on the choppy waters once again. At the mention of such theft, Randi shudders. She shudders, but she does not rebuke. It speaks to the kinds of dark places her mind has been visiting of late that she does not even make an attempt. Instead, she lets her hand slip from Kaseth's hide to rest on Max's arm. "She says it's punishment, but Mum says that's just the way she is about things." One shoulder makes a half-hearted attempt at a shrug. "She says it's not fair that I encouraged such bad behaviour in full-fledged riders only to send them back for someone else to deal with. So she is arranging - quietly, apparently - to have each of them transferred from their home Weyrs to Eastern, where she says I can live with the box of tunnelsnakes I opened." She sniffs lightly. "Mum says she pulled a lot of strings to get it done, too. Called in some old favors." Her tone is one of quiet awe, like she isn't entirely sure she believes it. "Twelve full pairs." Already through Weyrlinghood, trained and ready to join the wings. A flash of lightning outside illuminates the boxes around them and she sighs. "And Faranth knows we'll need them. I told J'cobi they were coming - they're his wings, after all - and he … well, he lost it." And knowing the Weyrleader's temperment, it wouldn't be hard to imagine the tongue-lashing that would have followed. "He's returning north - already is there. Said he wouldn't spend another night in a Weyr full of criminals. I've - I stayed to try and pack his things away so the last of the weyrlings can take them north tomorrow." She drops her head to rest her forehead on Max's shoulder. "I don't know who I'll get to lead drills and Fall. Maybe if we combine drills with the last of the weyrlings, W'red and I could do it… I'd do it myself, but - " And she stops herself there with a glance at her gold, though she flinches as if shocked a moment after, grumbling out a low, "Kaseth informs me that she is not dead nor ill and apparently thinks she could lead the wings in drills, if not in Fall."

Leaning his back more against the rocky wall behind him, Max’s head tips backwards and with an arm draped loosely about Randi he lets out a heavy sigh. “Them riders ain’t exactly weyrlin’s darlin’. Take D’lan for example that eejit is just full of it enough to…” words cut off and he tilts his head forward again a brow lifting. “They’re comin’ here? All of ‘em? Huh.” He goes quiet then giving that some thought and then a low growl emits when the goldrider explains why she’s packing up the Weyrleader’s weyr, “Fuckin’ wimp!” Oh how he would have loved to have had a go at the bronzerider before he left, possibly noted in the way his shoulder’s tense. And then Max gives an irritated shake of head, “Don’t need the likes of him here.” Ignoring the ‘Weyr full of criminals’ comment, or maybe not. “Aye, we’re all shardin’ criminals until someone needs somethin’, then it all changes, don’t it?” Something that’s apparently somewhat of a sore point with him judging by his tone of voice. Both arms move to wrap back about Randi as she drops her head to his shoulder and gives her a light squeeze before dropping a kiss to the top of her head and then low laughter rumbles out, “You and her lead the wings in a Fall?” He’s not mocking her, far from it; he’s simply amused by the idea. “I’ll pay good marks to see them bronzers havin’ to fall to your will against Thread.” Pausing and then adding with a warm smile, “We’re gonna be alright, darlin’. You’ll see. Soon as this whole sickness thing blows over and the others are settled in, it’ll be wine and parties every rest day and I’ll be back to houndin’ you for a kiss.” Yeah, he knows it’s not quite that simple but you can’t blame the man for trying to put a smile on her face.

"Fall I don't know about." Randi sighs heavily. Not so very long ago, she would have jumped at the chance to lead a whole flight of dragons against Thread. Now… Now she doesn't know what to jump at, only what to jump from. "But drills I think… I know we can do. We have to." She smiles, unseen, at the kiss on her hair. It's a nice feeling, finally having someone to lean on a little. Just so long as no one tells him that. "Criminals… We're all shardin' criminals, aren't we Max?" She sounds so small and far away and lost for that moment, reeled in only by the sheer mental bulk of her lifemate and steered towards happier, safer grounds. Sniffing deeply once, she turns to place the softest of feathered kisses on Max's neck - the heartfelt thanks she couldn't possibly put into words just now - and moves to stand out of his embrace. "Here now, since you know and don't hate me, you can help me finish this mess and get it cleaned out for an extra guest weyr." She gathers her balance and offers Max a hand up, bumping her rear against Kaseth's muzzle as she does so. "And you can tell me what I've missed. There must be some good what's happened since I've been away." She snaps her fingers at a stray memory. "That's right!" Her smile is forced and overly bright, but she is making the effort, at least, not to drag him down entirely with her own sorrows. "Ahnika graduated just a bit ago, didn't she? I'll bet the pair of you are thrilled to bits, finally having the rules off your back."

A soft tsking sound comes from the back of Max’s throat, “Fall ain’t nothin’ but strategizin’ your actions and plannin’ out your wings.” Which coming from a non-rider might sound odd. And then it’s a snort, “Everyone’s a criminal, darlin’. Just some like to think they’re above bein’ so.” Hinting there on the yin and yang that all carry within them. His dark regard settles once more onto the gold wrapped about them, the same concern of earlier flashing briefly in his eyes and then it’s gone again. That soft kiss to his neck brings with it a blink of surprise from the young crimelord, such a thing unexpected but he says nothing, merely smiling in response before loosing his hold on Randi as she stands, following her up with his gaze and then taking the hand offered out to him. Upright once again he sets an amused look onto the weyrwoman, “Free labour, eh? Must be my lucky day.” But he’ll get down to gathering up the bits and pieces that lie about, hefting one of the heavier boxes aside to make room for another. An entirely boyish smile turns out on good things that have come to pass in her absence, “Aye, I got my kid back.” Hard pressed to hide his joy for that but it only lasts a moment and disappears behind a hard and implacable façade when Ahnika is brought up. Heavy silence reigns as Max puts his attention to packing up several pairs of worn boots until finally he states in a tight tone, “She and I…its over.”

Joy and surprise mix on Randi's face - true emotions, them - and she turns to smile a proper warm smile; if it's a tired one, maybe Max will have the grace not to notice. "Max, that's …" Turned as she is, the young weyrwoman bears witness to the change in his demeanor and stares at his back as he answers her. For a moment she is torn between concern, confusion, a desire to know more and a desire to help. Making a split-second decision - and not even realizing that she's done it and even still can - she steps closer and rests her hand on his shoulder, giving it a single squeeze. She stays there for a few heartbeats' count of time, offering silent warmth through that single, small point of contact. She pulls her hand away, fingertips inadvertantly trailing down his back as she does so, then turns to pick up the box of straps to heft out into the larger room. "Tell me about your daughter?"

That boyish smile turns into a grin and Max lifts a hand, his thumb rubbing at his brow in sheepish gesture. "She's uhhh…a handful," he chooses to say diplomatically of the little hellion that is his daughter. But then that all goes south and lips press into a thin line, not flinching from Randi's touch but only turning his head over his shoulder once her fingers leave his back, dark eyes shadowed with hurt latching to brown in that moment and he then forces a smile out. A crooked pale little thing and then broad shoulders shrug, "She's better off without the likes of me around," flatly spoken. Aware of the weariness that wraps about the goldrider, he immediately moves to try and take the box from her, "You pack, I'll move." A more genuine tilt of lips appears, "Ma reckons Hope is payback for the shit I gave her as a kid. But she's bright you know?" warming to the subject. "Picks up on everythin'," even the things she shouldn't, "got everyone pegged too," including calling him 'Arsehole'. And then he hesitates, "Randi, there ain't many that knows she's mine. Some are figurin' she's Ma's and…we ain't fixin' to set 'em straight any time soon."

Sticking her tongue out at him in an oh-so-mature response, Randi nevertheless sinks back to the floor to finish packing up those boots Max began. She doesn't say anything, but when she thinks he isn't looking, the expression she wears while watching him is grateful. Those flat words make her brow crease, but she senses that now is not the time and lets it drop. The kid seems to be a more entertaining subject for conversation, anyhow. She laughs softly at the description of the kid and shakes her head, putting a lid on the boot box and handing it up to Max with a softer smile. "Hope, hmm? What a fitting name, especially for a child reared here." Her expression becomes thoughtful. "Sure wish we had a bit more of that around here." Hope, that is. As he speaks of secrets, she raises her brown eyes to meet his dark ones. Holding on to that box, she holds his gaze in all seriousness for a moment and then lets go of the crate with a soft smile. "Well of course she's your mum's. Her being yours is just silly. Why would the 'mean old weyrwoman' spoil rotten a kid of the beast manager she fights with all the time, hmm?"

An amused shake of head greets that tongue getting stuck out and Max snaps out a hand in a playful attempt to catch at it. One of the boxes is lifted and set closer to the entrance and then he heads back and takes up another, missing any looks being sent his way. An odd sort of smile appears and he nods to the name he’d given his daughter, “Figured maybe if she had the right sort of name things might be different for her, aye?” He draws quiet then, moving another crate and then turning a careful look onto Randi for her words on wishing there were more hope to go around. “Hope is all that some of us have left darlin’. You let go of that, you let get of the future.” Quietly spoken confession on that likely being the only way he himself gets by most days. He’s not the same man he was when she left to run the much needed raids and neither is she the same woman and so Max meets that gaze dead on, expression sombre for a moment and then he takes the crate into his possession and sets it with the others. Amusement lifts up once again over words of her spoiling his daughter, “She already struts about the place like she owns it and now you wanna encourage that?” There is however a fond note that lights dark eyes when she touches on the rather rocky and tempestuous start to their friendship. “All you had to do was kiss me,” a wink sent as he slides back under the cover of the charming rogue he’s so good at playing.

That tongue zips back into its rightful place as fingers come a-snatching and there it stays, cowed into better behavior - for the moment. "You can still win a race with a bad start, but you'll pay for every length. A good name's about the best start you can give 'em to begin with." As for hope… "Well, seeing as Hope is home and properly safe and sound - with a whole weyr full of dragons to stand between her and those what might try and take her - I'd say we've got to make a future for her, yeah?" Deliberately bending his meaning and her own metaphor, Randi shifts over to the next set of crates and stacks hides in neat piles inside them. "But certainly I'd encourage it. This place is kept running by strong wills alone, some days. I'll take all I can get and start training them early." Hides stacked, she moves to ink bottles, wrapping them in rags and setting them carefully on top. "Pfft. And then we'd have had a fantastic sevenday of hay-rolling before you disappeared with nary a word." The words are lightly spoken, but the humor just isn't there. "So I hit you instead. And you've stuck around, haven't you?"

“Then I’m fucked,” Max states with blunt humour given that he was named for his now dead father. Waiting until she’s done packing up the crate, arms fold across his chest and he flickers out a warm smile before giving a more noticeable snort, “What and have her become some prissy dragonrider what thinks her shit don’t stink?” Could he be anymore crass? He can’t deny what Randi says next however and so he gives a nod of head as he bends to retrieve a belt buckle that had fallen to the floor, a low laugh spilling out,“You ain’t wrong there,” about strong wills keeping the Weyr going. “Tell you what, spend a day with the kid and then we’ll talk some more,” his smirk suggesting that he’s pretty sure the goldrider is likely to come begging for mercy and handing his daughter back after just a morning with her. Grinning cockily, “It’ll be a sevenday you’ll never forget.” He’s bad and he knows it, but it’s far easier to fall behind teasing and jesting than not to. Again a snort sounds out and if she’s done with the box, he stacks it with the others, “Maybe I like bein’ hit,” teasing and then adding, “Ain’t got no place else to go,” downplaying just how much keeping the Weyr intact means to him. “Besides, I’ve grown rather fond of this one goldrider. Fulla shit but a real mate when it counts.” Warmth showing through the jest.

"I went through Candidacy and weyrlinghood at Igen, Max. Trust me, even the prissy riders have nasty shit." Says the girl who got turfed to latrine duties for fighting on more than one occasion. With the box of ink and hides out of the way, Randi moves on to spare leathers and clothes, the room almost empty now. "Oh, I'll spend the day with her. I'll bet you she behaves right as rain." After all, Randi has a dragon who rather likes playing with children - of all kinds and species. Max does not have this weapon in his arsenal of child-rearing. "Funny," she snorts. "That goldrider sounds an awful lot like this beast manager I know." She shrugs and squishes the leathers down into the box. "Small world." She hides a smile behind a curtain of blonde hair and then turns to hand the closed box up to Max. "I've got to stand a minute. My arse has gone numb." Rock floors don't make the best places to sit, after all. She pushes herself to stand and walks over to rub at her golden dragon's eye ridges, watching Max thoughtfully. It's only after a few moments of such silent observation that she speaks again, her voice quiet and serious. "I guess that means you got Kelarad off your back, then?" It's a simple question, but the opening is there for the flow of more information.

Laughter greets that notation and the fact that Randi doesn’t flinch from the comment he’d made, “Knew there was a reason I liked you.” Turning the belt buckle that’s crafted in the shape of a dragon’s head over in his hands brows lift along with his gaze, “Don’t come cryin’ to me if you land up with some strange name like…Rainbow or Redbutt,” the last for the red riding leathers she’s known for wearing. On the quip she returns to his comment, he palms a hand down his chest and grins, “Must be a handsome chap, that beast manager.” Incorrigible he is. A hand is offered out for her to haul herself up with and then he sets the belt buckle aside, aware that she’s watching him but not lending hint thereof. Turning back toward the goldrider, Max is quiet for a time, he never having been sure how much she wants or needs to know of his dealings with the underbelly of Pern, the question is unexpected. Inhaling he nods on the exhale and takes to leaning against the rock wall of the Weyr, one boot crossing over another in lazy posture, “Aye, gave me his hand in alliance and was the one that helped to get Hope back and uhhh…helped Lord Tillek out with that little problem of his,” that being one conniving, cheating bitch of a wife. “Met with Harvis,” the Istan crimelord, lips twitching faintly around a slightly amused line, “Decent sort, look to have an alliance there too.” A sigh exhales and he pushes away from the wall, “Figured its only right I try to meet all of ‘em before the peace talks, ‘specially after the message I left for ‘em and the stunt that Bitran bastard pulled.” This likely all sounding a little disjointed to Randi.

Randi snorts. "Rainbow sounds like what a kid names their first pony." And thus, of course, not at all the kind of name she'd end up with. Right. Sure. She rolls her eyes at his palm-to-chest declaration of good looks, but there's a twitch of a smile that goes along with it. She reads his hesitation accurately - for once - and chews on her lower lip as he does finally speak. "Full disclosure, Max." The words ring with familiarity, though they are softer and more kindly spoken this time. "I've been hopping through time for … far longer than I want to think about. I stared at J'cobi for three whole minutes the other day, trying to remember if he had caught Rauzath or Kaseth." It's a temporary and not unheard of side-effect of timing it, but it's frustrating all the same. "You're going to have to start from the beginning." She reaches up higher to scratch at a spot itching her gold. "Please?"

For a moment dark eyes hold to Randi when she speaks of wanting full disclosure and Max lifts a hand rubbing at the back of his neck. Having been down this path before with another, he’s reluctant to do so again. Then again, he had given his word that he’d keep her appraised. He could with a drink round about now, however, the weyr looking relatively dry to him, he instead takes up residence on a nearby crate, and leans forward, arms dangling over his knees. “You remember that I brought Kelarad’s cousin back with me, aye? That she’d been raped by the one that runs Bitra?” eyes grown dark with anger for that, “She got pregnant,” he decides to start there, “with his kid. Insisted on keeping it too. Either way, Rad was pissed and it’s causin’ all kinds of trouble in the brotherhood. Word has it Vaputero’s on his way down here to see the kid.” So there’s that and then he jumps back to the heads up he’d given the other crimelords. “Back at the start, after I came back from Telgar and meetin’ with Kelarad, I knew that lot weren’t goin’ to take me seriously unless I sent ‘em a message they couldn’t ignore, to stay outta Southern.” Max’s gaze drops away and to a point on the floor between his boots, his voice dropping to a monotone as he works on keeping emotion out of it, “Got a hold of Jonavan and had him find me a dead body. Someone what died of natural causes and had none to claim him.” He needs her to understand that part of it. “Kept it on ice here at the Weyr ‘til the time was right then,” swallowing slowly, “I uhh…borrowed a flamethrower from outta the stores and made it so’s he couldn’t be identified.” The smell of charred flesh and burning clothes and hair still sticking in his throat even after a turn has passed causes him to clear it before continuing on, “nailed a message to its chest makin’ it seem like maybe he was an informant for one of ‘em and dropped it out over Nabol where I knew Serevan would pass the word.” And there he pauses, giving Randi time to assimilate what he’s just told her. Yeah, he could really do with a drink round about now.

Evidently, great minds think alike. Having scratched her dragon's itch, Randi - now two shades paler than she had been, though hopefully hard to tell in the dim light from glows and lightning - moves to one of the mostly empty boxes and pulls out a glass bottle of amber liquid. Pulling the cork, she takes a hard swig, swallowing and coughing against the burn before offering it Max's way. "I think I remember the girl. Didn't realize she'd kept the babe, though. That could be trouble." She eyes Max, then, quiet for a long moment. "That's a clever thing you did, Max. And by doing it you bought my Weyr safety." She reaches for the bottle back, wanting another swig as her all-too-vivid imagination very helpfully provides images to flash behind her eyes. "I hate that you had to do it, but I - " She swallows thickly. "I don't think I could have." She looks up into his face, then, shaken but firm. "Thank you."

Sounds of Randi moving about draws his head up, dark eyes turned almost black in the low lighting follow her movements and lock to the bottle she finds. “Aye, she’s called Relly now. Had her hidden with weyrlin’s workin’ with W’red, figured he’d be able to keep her safe enough until her time came.” The bottle handed to him his briefly abused as Max lifts it and swallows down two healthy mouthfuls before coming up for air, eyes moist in reaction to the burn it brings to them, or possibly for another reason entirely. A rasping inhale of breath is taken and then he holds it back out to Randi, wiping his sleeve across his eyes and then shrugging as he frowns against unbidden memory, “We all do what we gotta do, darlin’. It ain’t just your Weyr.” Going quiet a moment studying his hands that have now laced together between his knees, he gives a nod to the thanks given and then pushes away from the sickening topic, “Got word from Serevan not long after that the message was received loud and clear. Took counsel from Keane, the barkeep up Telgar way,” and his mother’s beau but that’s for her to tell the goldrider should Indira choose to do so, “what’s in the know with how they all work and started makin’ it my business to try and meet ‘em all one on one. See what I’m dealin’ with and all that.” Pausing he flicks an odd look up to Randi as he discloses the next, “Got Jaya workin’ for me. She and that bodyguard of hers have made a few runs for Kelarad in exchange for favors. Nothin’ too wave makin’ though they did manage to get a kid out of Rad’s hold and into the Seacraft Hall.” That draws a faint smile into being. Next comes something she may or may not have expected, “Set up a gym just outside of Landin’. Been trainin’ fighters down there for the fights comin’ up in Tillek. Good place to network, find new sources, get a feel for what the others are thinkin’ and doin’. Got Jon on standby to patch ‘em up if they come apart in the smaller bouts down here.” He doesn’t however mention that in a fit of temper he’d put his prize fighter out of action and was going to be fighting in his place. In fact, there’s none that know what he’s planning on that count.

If Randi notices the wetness in his eyes, she rather wisely keeps that knowledge to herself. Instead she takes the bottle back gratefully, though she holds off on drinking any more until she hears the rest of it. And a good thing, too, though some of it is not as much a surprise as he might expect. Chugging down two full swallows, she tips the bottle back down and coughs again. A wine girl - and Benden white wine, at that - is not accustomed to such hard liquor, but the warmth that sets up residence in her belly is welcome, indeed. "I'd wondered about Jaya. She seems the sort that would be valuable to have at your back in a fight." Her voice is a bit hoarse from the whiskey's burn, but she manages not to entirely embarrass herself. "Vaputero wouldn't actually dare to come here, would he?" Because that could be mildly problematic. To put it lightly. She falls quiet for another minute, mind processing all that she's been given to digest. "Take me with you." That is probably not what Max expects to hear after that silence, but she brazens it out anyway. "If I dress down and arm up, I could pass as one of your underlings. I know enough medicine to be able to help Jonavan, and I want to see this for myself." She's really got the bit between her teeth, now, speaking faster as if worried that he'll say no before she can get it all out. "M'pret and H'tek wouldn't draw too much attention - " And watch her back when Max wouldn't be able to. "And between the three of us we could get out quick if things went south. Kas would stay back here if I explained things properly and it'd give you a boost, wouldn't it, to show up with a pack of able men - and a pretty lady - at your back?"

Male ego is likely grateful that Randi makes no mention of such things. There is however the very faintest idea of amusement as she tosses back the hard tack but Max affords her the same respect she’d afforded him and keeps his attention averted. “Jaya…used to work for Vaputero,” he states carefully lifting his gaze to the goldrider, wanting to gauge her reaction to that and then he nods to the barkeep being valuable, “Aye, that she is. Rad was pissed that she chose to side with me rather than him. Seems he’s been after her uh, talents, for a few turns now.” And yes, that’s a vaguely smug look he’s got in place there. Which slips off on talk of the Bitran’s impending visit to the Weyr, “Ain’t gonna stop a man like that. I’ve been counselled to let him come. Put on a show of strength, let him know I ain’t gonna stand for his shit.” There’s a pause and then he adds, “But we need to get Jaya out the Weyr while he’s here. She’s on his shit list and it ain’t safe for her to be here.”

It’s just as well that bottle’s firmly in Randi’s care or else Max would have been likely to choke. As it is he’s left staring dumbly at her. Finding his voice brows go up, “To the fights up in Tillek?” incredulous. And then he’s actually looking to be giving that serious attention. “I uhhh…sure, why not?” hands lift and fall back to his knees in a gesture of helplessness, “You ever been to a fight before?” Assuming she hasn’t given their underground hush-hush status.

"Getting her out of the Weyr is easy enough. I can send her up to my mum for the day to bring back some of the new medical texts I've been after." It's a menial task, but a plausible one - nevermind that a messenger as 'in' on things as Jaya could be trusted to bring Rialla a message 'off the record'. She bristles a bit, though. "I don't like the idea of him being in the weyr proper, though, Max. If he shows up here, you'll be meeting him with a full wing at your back." Defensive of both her home and her friend, Randi speaks before she thinks, then deflates as the absurdity of that idea permeates her thick skull. "Well, okay, maybe not something that obvious." Another swig of the whiskey and then she's handing the bottle back to Max. "But it would probably be a good idea to set something up for while he's here. Make it look like you're the one running the show, here. That the riders answer to you. Something subtle, but not something he could miss." She ponders that for a moment, startled out of it only by his acceptance of her request. A slow grin pulls up the corners of her mouth and even takes on a wicked tilt. "Not to one like yours, no. When we were Candidates at Igen, though, we'd go out at night and fight each other. Marks changed hands. Apparently it was a desert thing, but even the girls fight at them." Including yours truly. She sits on another crate near Max. "It was fun, even if you did pay for it the next day."

Gratitude washes across Max’s expression as Randi agrees to help get Jaya out of the Weyr when the Bitran arrives and then his expression turns grim. “I ain’t exactly hoppin’ about with excitement about it either, darlin’. But not to let him come here would only serve to tell him we’re scared of him.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. He opens his mouth to counter her suggestion of having a full wing at his back in plain view only for the weyrwoman to realize for herself how that wasn’t a good idea and so a small smile lifts up and curves about the bottle as he lifts it to his lips. Taking a drink, he hands it back to her again as she settles on a crate near his. “It’s your show, Randi,” he states quietly, “Mine’s just the ugly face what gets shown to them lot up north, aye?”

He can’t help but shake his head in amusement and he gives a friendly nudge of shoulder if she’s close enough for it to connect, “And how many did you win, hmm?” As to fighting being fun he can’t deny that, evidenced in the knowing laugh that accompanies the nod of head, “Aye, that it is. Can’t say I don’t miss it myself.” Something he’s intending to remedy in the upcoming Tillekian fights, having spent the better part of the past few months putting himself through rigorous training in preparation thereof. With the hour drawing late he slowly unfolds and stands to his feet putting a long look onto the pale blonde, “You gonna be okay?” Low spoken and genuinely caring enquiry made given what everything that she herself has faced in the past while.

"No, Max. We're in this one together. You find out when this bastard's meant to be showing his ugly mug and then you and me? We'll sit down and figure out the best way to show the tunnelsnake he'd be better off picking on someone else." Accepting the bottle, she takes another large swig and sets it aside, with only a shudder this time for the burn. Looking at the glass container thoughtfully, she snorts. "Too bad J'cobi jumped ship. That man could irritate the Masterharper to death, I swear." She's only half joking. Randi grins at that shoulder bump, returning it as the tip of her tongue pokes between her teeth at one side of her mouth. "It depended on who I fought." That grin goes a bit wicked. "I had better luck with the big ones. More of their own weight to use against 'em." And it is a safe bet that she used it well. "And, well, you've seen my right hook first hand. Plus, if I could get away with fighting dirty, I had an even better chance." Smothering a yawn behind one hand, she watches him stand. "I will be, now." It's her quiet acknowledgement of just how much she'd needed this - and of how much more still it will be needed in the days to come. "I'll meet with W'red and your mother tomorrow. Let them know about J'cobi and sort out what we'll do with drills. I hear Ciara's been picking up a lot of the slack La and I left." There's a flash of pain in her eyes at the mention of her longtime friend, but she says nothing of it. "I can lead the wings for now. Never was much good at the hidework type stuff." She stands and rests a hand on Kaseth as the queen rises and stretches, herself. "If you'd have some of the drudges come clear this lot out and do a thorough cleaning, though, I'd appreciate it."

What Randi says about being in it together gives the young crimelord long pause, dark eyes searching her eyes and then slowly one corner of his mouth lifts up, “We only need to keep him under control while he’s here, the brotherhood,” or Kelarad whichever moves first, “will see him sorted out,” the last spoken with a dark edge to it. “Need to let Relly know he’s comin’ too. Reckon she might not want to be around either,” understandably so. As to the former Weyrleader he utters a snort but wastes no words on the man. With a wry chuckle he lifts a hand and rubs it over his stubble shadowed jaw, “Aye, you fight dirty alright,” deliberately twisting her words around on her. “Surprised you and Jaya ain’t best friends by now.” Considering how they’ve both had a go at his face. The yawn is noted and he’ll step in and enfold the slim woman in a hug if possible stating quietly, “You ever need anythin’, day or night. You know where to find me, aye?” There’s a light frown and a short sigh given both for Alara’s absence and the burden the newly graduated goldrider has taken on and then shifting to tuck a strand of hair behind Randi’s ear, he offers an encouraging smile, “We’re all doin’ our part, aye? Ci’s a clever lass,” having met her before, “reckon she’ll catch on fast.” And then he’s letting her go and nodding to getting the rest of the weyr emptied out, “I’ll see it done in the morning.” Turning and heading back toward the rain drenched ledge, Max pauses and turns a look over his shoulder, “Thanks, Randi.” For listening, for not passing judgement as others are so quick to do and…for being his friend.

Theme Music: Ana Johnsson - We Are

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