Not Worth It


Merendezen.jpg Ahnika.jpg Max.jpg

Date: 2010.08.20
Location: Max's Office and undisclosed tunnel
Synopsis: Boxtol's son (NPC'd by Ahnika) who had been set the task of tailing Ahnika, alerts Zen and Max to her being in trouble.
Rating: PG13 - for violence and language
Logger: Max

Morning chores bring Zen into the Beast Caverns, but more importantly, to Max's office in which he makes his first stop. A knock onto the door frame announces his arrival before he's easily stepping in. "Max." A grin falls along with the greeting instead of the normal salute that he has taken to. "What's on the agenda?" One can only hope for a lazy morning.

In the process of reaching for his hat and setting it to his head, Max turns a welcoming grin out at the greeting, “Zen.” Unsheathing his knife and laying it on his desk, “Was hoping you’d be up to giving me a hand to break Renegade today. Bastard’s taken to the stiff-legged bronco dance every time I back him. Figured we’d take him down to the stream,” this likely explanation of why said weapon is being left behind. Bucking bronco plus knife is not a good combination.

Merendezen nods in response to the greeting, green eyes flickering briefly to the knife. "'course. It'll be… Fun." Depending on your explanation of fun, at least. "Got another spare hat? Didn't think to grab one before heading in this direction."

Catching the glance to his knife, Max’s mouth twists wryly, “Being knifed in the ass ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, trust me,” says the one bearing the faintest trace of a scar on a butt cheek to bear testament to that. With there usually always being at least two or three hats hanging on the pegs in his office at any given time, his head nods in the direction, “Help yourself.” And then with a grin sent to Zen, “You do swim, aye?” Because this little session is likely going to involve a fair amount of that.

With one side of his face still a little pink and looking tender from either having walked into a wall or from getting a bit of a smack, Boxtol's son arrives at the Beast Manager's stall door, looking a mixture of worried and guilty. He is definitely out of breath, though, having run all the way here, and one hand feels at the tender spot on the side of his face while he works to get his breathing under control enough to get a word out. His gaze goes first to Max, and then to Zen, and then back to Max again. The first word, the one meant to convey the most urgency, is the one he sets to his lips now. On an exhale heavy with the effort from his having run here so hard and long, the boy merely offers, "Tr-trouble." No real indication of for whom or where or what kind, but there it is.

Merendezen laughs, "can't imagine. Being knifed hurts in general… In the ass? No thanks." He shakes his head, quite content with not imagining the feel of such an incident. The hats are given a look before he heads in that direction, selecting one at random and settling it into place. "I swim well enough." Anything else that is following is lots to the sight of Boxtol, the lad given a look with a brow lifting. And then, finally the indication of trouble is blurted out. Green eyes flicker to the Beast Manager and he leaves the interrogation for details to the man as it likely involves his woman.

With rueful laughter at his own expense, “Made seating a chair or a runner a bit tricky,” Max gives in return. And then his grin slips sideways at the arrival of the young lad, taking in the heavy breathing and the colored mark on the side of his face. Being as how he’d set Boxtol’s son to keeping a discreet eye on a particular red-haired candidate his expression goes dark at the stutter of trouble. Eyes snap to Zen and he gives but one word in a low growl, “Ahni!” before grabbing the youngster by the scruff of his neck, “Show us where!” Not too interested in the Who of it all right now.

Flinching with the grab to his scruff, but only briefly, Boxtol's son sets his feet in motion with a nod, making a run through the rest of the stables and down the beast tunnel toward the weyr proper. He only waits a moment at the end of the tunnel to turn around and watch for Max and Zen, not wanting to lose them. Of course, with his shorter stride and being already winded, he likely wouldn't.

"I can imagine. Did you go into the infirmary for that one?" Zen grins in response. Silence lingers as the other man growls and his expression is soon set into a grim one as Max meet his eyes. And when the boy takes off, he's quick to follow on his heel. No hesitation to take off running.

"Not a chance," Max returns and then all matters of being knifed in the keester are left behind as he takes off with Zen at a run following hot on the young lad's heels. His knife left behind his desk. Which might not be too bad a thing in the long run depending on what the two are likely to find when they arrive at Trouble's destination.

The boy remains ahead for the most part, occasionally nearly colliding with some other person along the way, and sometimes pausing to check to make sure they are still with him, and other times pausing to try and remember which tunnel he needs to take them down. Eventually he comes to the entrance of one of the side-tunnels. He slows down once he is within it a few feet and frowns, breathing hard, and looking up ahead and then turning around to look a question at the two men behind him. No Ahni. She's gone. When he is finally able to speak through his near-bursting lungs, the boy says, "Was right here. I swear."

Merendezen makes no response to Max, anything else completely forgotten until they reach the spot where Ahnika once was. "Did you hear where they were going, at least? Before you took off running?" Green eyes search the lad before he's moving to can the area.

He’s fit enough that Max is at least not breathing too hard once the lad comes to a halt. His expression colors darker as he takes a threatening step toward him, “If you’re taking the piss…” leaving the dire consequences thereof to the boy’s imagination as he brushes past and stalks deeper into the tunnel leaving Zen to interrogate the youngster.

Looking wild-eyed with alarm for Max's threat, Boxtol's son is slow to stammer at Zen, "N-no. He caught me followin' her and gave me a smack for it." He feels his face again, and then lowers his hand, looking to Zen once more, "She musta heard something because she came back down the tunnel at us, saw me and him, and started in on him." He kicks some of the loose stones on the tunnel floor, looking a little guilty, either for having been caught tailing her, or for her standing up for him getting her in trouble, "Didn't sound too good so I went for Max, just as he told me to. She was still dressin' him down 'bout hitting me when I left. Right here. Swear." He eyes Max's back as he continues on down the tunnel which forks off a several times before eventually getting to the laundry area, should Max go down that far.

Merendezen furrows his brows a bit more, folding his arms. "Which means he was following her, too…" He considers. Green eyes flicker to Max's back, considering. "We'll go look down some of the other tunnels, see where she could've gotten. We'll meet up with Max after we've checked. couldn't have gotten too far away." And with that, he gestures with his head and starts down the tunnel.

Max stays long enough to hear the first part of what the lad says with only the beginnings of the rest of his explanation hitting his back as he leaves. Head swinging back and forth, listening for any telling sounds at the entrance to the various side tunnels he passes working his way toward the laundry area. Coming to a brief halt at the entrance to one, a scuttling sound has his hand dropping to where his knife should be and finds air. “Shit,” the curse muttered darkly for having left it behind in his office and then followed by another oath as a tunnelsnake sweeps out and back the way he’d come.

Boxtol's son nods to Zen, looking relieved a moment, and then falling into step with him as they move on after Max, looking in some of the other tunnels as they pass. A good thing that they decide to check some of the other tunnels rather than give up and leave Ahnika to her own heroics, for as they pass one of the darker and unfinished tunnels, the echo of an alarmed gasping shriek travels up it to the tunnel they occupy now. It is followed by a demanding, angry feminine tone, "Let me go!" Should they look, the tunnel in question curves off, but a dimglow at the other end that must have been put there for the workers digging it casts some vague shadows of movement on the opposite wall. Then another shriek comes that is immediately muffled.

Merendezen isn't going to pound the boy, at least, for the help that he has provided so far. The sound of the shriek has him pausing, stiffening and gesturing for the boy to stop or gesturing for him to get lost. Either way, he's making his way into the tunnel and nothing the shadows of movement. His lips are pressed into a thin line to muffle the string of curses as he moves to go deeper into the tunnel, Max or no Max.

His pause to allow the tunnelsnake to continue on its path unheeded has the duel effect of allowing Zen and Boxtol's son to catch up with him and for that all too familiar voice coming from one tunnel over to reach his ears, a jaw stiffened glance going his mate's way. The ensuing shriek draws a low snarl from Max as he breaks into a run and flings himself down the dimly lit tunnel, not stopping to check who or how many there might be waiting for him. Ahni's in trouble, that's all that matters. Besides, Zen's right there and has his back and he Zen's, right?

Boxtol's son actually hesitates at the entrance of the tunnel as Max and Zen move down it. It is only after they round the corner toward the shriek that he moves to follow, wanting to both be out of their way and see what is happening so he can go get help if he needs to. As they move down the tunnel and come around the curve, the trader, Phineus, and Ahnika come into view. He's got her firmly by her upper arm with one meathook of a hand, and covering her mouth with the other. The fiery redhead, not so easily subdued, kicks awkwardly at his knee, trying to break it, but her aim is a little off and she merely delivers a kick to his lower leg. Meanwhile, she digs at his face with her fingernails, managing to rake some deep gouges across his face, blood already springing forth and smearing with her efforts. This only serves to piss him off even more, however and he snarls, "Teasing wench!" and pulls back the hand covering her mouth to deliver a sound backhand to her face that sends the willowy young woman reeling, her head hitting the wall behind her and her balance slipping. All that keeps her up is his hold on her arm for that moment as she looks either unconscious or just simply too stunned to keep her own footing.

Merendezen watches Max, brows furrowing and allowing the other to take the lead. He is, however, right on his back, easily falling into a place where he can assist as needed. When they round the corner the scene is witnessed with a low hiss, but he does not launch forward. First strikes go to the man who means to protect his women. So he waits, restrained, jaws clenching tight along with his fist. Luckily, he is strong enough to hold his own leash until Max gets a shot.

Ahnika in trouble is one thing. However coming face to face with her situation as she struggles against the trader is entirely another, Max’s face draining of all color as white hot rage explodes when Phineus backhands her. No restraint such as Zen displays evident as he launches himself at the man with roar of anger, a fist coming up high and aimed at the man’s head with all his body weight and momentum behind it. Not even pausing to see if the redhead is conscious or not, too intent on ripping head from shoulders right now.

Phineus scowls at Ahnika's sudden inability to stand up and yanks on her arm a moment, "Stand up! I won't be taking you here. I have standards!" but Ahni dazedly sinks to the tunnel floor. At least she is blinking her eyes opened, though she seems to have trouble focusing, and a little bit of blood trickles from one corner of her mouth. And that's when Phineus finally realizes that they're not alone, but all too late as Max launches at him and his grip on Ahnika's arm is ripped free with a grunt as he staggers back from the unexpected fist to his head. "What the?" he starts, and then swings back at Max with a closed fist toward Max's gut.

Merendezen waits until Max jumps in to follow, only… More of trying to get Ahnika out of the way before piling into the other men. Once Ahnika is secured, hopefully with not too much struggle from the redhead, she's set aside and carefully placed there before he's jumping in to go after the other man. Who cares if it's unfair? He maneuvers behind him, and aims for the kidneys with his fists, careful jabs meant for damaging.

That fist makes its connection with Max doubling over slightly with a grunt, eyes landing just long enough from that position on Ahnika taking in that trickle of blood from her mouth as Zen (the one with at least some sense) moves her out of the way. Any last shred of reason flees as a black veil descends behind his eyes and he’s rushing at Phineus, head down with a mind to knock the man off his feet and getting him down to the ground, “I’ll fucking –kill- you!” Dark promise snarled out. Instead, with Zen having moved in behind the trader he takes his chance to wrap his hands around the man’s throat instead as his knee comes up and aims for his abdomen. Fair fight be damned indeed!

And so it is as Max rushes Phineus and Zen gets behind the trader and lands a hit at his kidneys, Ahnika's assailant first arches his back, putting himself right into Max's attack, and hands are wrapped around Phineus' throat successfully as he grunts with that knee in his own gut and doubles over. He's not quite down and out just yet, however, as he makes a sloppy attempt to sweep out a leg behind him for Zen, while his own hands move to mirror Max's, reaching toward the Beast Manager's throat.

Merendezen doesn't check on the poor Ahni after he places her in her safe spot, expecting Boxtol's son to at least watch over her, if anything. Because really, someone interrupting the fight would likely make both men pout while making a happy trader. There's a stumble as that leg sweeps out, but he's quick to return the favor and make two swift kicks to the man's knees.

Once his grip is established, Max presses his thumbs inward against the trader’s windpipe, intent on crushing the life out of him. Which would be why it is just as well Max is currently knifeless. If Zen’s kick to the man’s knees sends Phineus down, he’ll release his grip to plunge an elbow into the man’s face, ducking the reach for his own throat.

The odds are definitely against the trader with Zen's well-targeted kicks to his knees having him crumble to the ground just as Max's elbow meets his face with a sickening *POP* as blood erupts from where his nose is supposed to be. He gives up, never one to really like any fight that didn't include him being able to easily overpower the other person, like a young woman, or a boy, and with a groaning wail, he puts his arms up over his face as he hits the tunnel floor and then proceeds to curl up defensively. "No!" the recovering Ahnika is the one to make a protest now, and she tries to stagger to her feet, only to sink back to the floor again, and call out, "Max! Zen! Please stop! You're killing him!" a pained expression from her own shout and the rattle it causes in her still recovering head crosses her pale, freckled features.

Merendezen stops after the man goes down with the kicks to the knees. There's a snort, more in disappointment for the weak little man now cowering on the ground. Green eyes roll and shoulders do the same. "Weak ass." Is spit out to the man on the ground. Another blow would follow for good measure but Ahnika is calling out and as if he just remembered that she was there, he considers her before cracking his knuckles. "The fuck deserves it. Going after anyone who's weaker than him then cowering when faced with a real fight…" He grunts, moving to stop Max before anything more can be done. "Not worth it." Is finally admitted, because he hates weak foes. "C'mon… Help Ahni." And if the Beast Master keeps launching himself at the cowardly man, he will take it upon himself to physically attempt to haul the other away.

Phineus going down and curling up does little to sate Max’s rage as the front of a boot aims a hard kick to the man’s gut. He’d never been one to lay claim to fighting clean, or fair. He has one purpose in mind. To literally beat the last breath of air from the trader. From somewhere within the roaring in his ears, Ahnika’s plea pricks through, but it’s dim and only at the edges of his consciousness. “You don’t deserve to live,” his face contorting into a dark mask, spurred on by the weak shmuck’s cowering as he bends to try and yank the man to his feet, “Fight like a man, you sick fuck!” Yup, Zen’s going to have to try and snap some sense into him.

Fixing Zen a dark 'look' of disagreement for his response, Ahnika at least feels good enough about Zen restraining himself that she doesn't need to shout again. When Max shows no signs of slowing, however, Ahnika covers her mouth and nose with the flat of her hands together, watching and growing misty-eyed for the unfolding scene before she is finally half-staggering, half-crawling forward toward the scuffle. Boxtol's son does make a little effort in holding her back, but she slaps his hands away and continues on. "Max!" she cries out again, "Shard it! Don't do this! I need you! Max!" Her thoughts spiraling off to the possible consequences of Max flat out killing the man who has so obviously yielded. Crime of passion or not, she pulls herself more up onto her feet finally and works to close the distance, now pleading and enduring the painful throbbing in her head, "Max! Love, look at me … I'm okay! Max!" and she tries to reach out for his arm now that she is closer.

While Phineus grunts again and spits out some combination of blood and bile from the boot to his gut, and he works to resist being pulled up to his feet, remaining quiet while the redhead he had been planning on taking complete advantage of to some extent is actually now the one trying to save the trader's life.

Merendezen moves in when Max tries to get the other to his feet, growling softly and making to shove the man back on the ground with no pity as he once again makes a grab at Max, this time moving to grip his arms. "Not worth it, Max. He's not going to fight back. He's not a man…" And then he considers the man, eyeing him and quite looking like he is pondering to deman the man. But, he doesn't, turning full attention to restraining Max. "Shit. Max. Ahni's hurt and she's…" A pause as green eyes blink with the redhead being closer, "right here… Hurting herself more. Pick her up. Take her to the infirmary." Then Boxtol's son is sought again. "Go get someone to clean up this trash."

Fist bunching to lay another to the side of Phineus' head if he can get him up on his feet enough to do so, Max lets out a growl as his arms are suddenly gripped and almost rounds on his friend next as he loses his grip on the trader. Breathing heavily more from anger than anything else, the beast manager slowly shakes his head working to try and clear it and make sense of the words coming at him from both Ahnika and Zen. Dark eyes still fixed onto the man lying crumpled at his feet, they slowly track over to where the redhead is and the glowbasket suddenly opens in his head, driving the last of the fog away. Shrugging his shoulders in an attempt to get the man holding him to release his grip he mutters, "M'fine," and then following on the heels of the order given Boxtol's son, a heavy sneer appears but he says nothing. And then he has eyes only for Ahnika moving quickly toward her if Zen's let him go, expression saying what he doesn't right now.

Jumping a little as he is addressed, Boxtol's son nods vehemently and goes to get one of the guards at the nearest of the posts. Phineus, bruised, bloody, and beaten finally passes out with the final blow delivered to his head. Zen's statement about the infirmary actually drawing Ahnika's attention briefly in alarm before she is reaching for Max as he comes the rest of the way, assuming Zen lets go of him, falling in against the Beast Manager, choking out, "Shells, Max …never again. Never," she whispers, though if that was meant in promise to something or in demand, she doesn't say. Perhaps both.

Both men are entirely lucky that Max does not turn his fists onto Zen, otherwise there'd be a second mess to worry about. Once Max begins to think again, he releases the man to allow him to approach Ahni. He takes a step back, looking to the man on the floor with a disgusted look. The urge is resisted and he simply gestures for Max to pick up his woman and follow. To the Infirmary, where Ahni can get checked out.

There comes a dark satisfaction as Phineus blacks out and falls to the floor in a crumpled mess but Max doesn’t linger on it for long, drawing Ahnika in against him tightly as he sends Zen a grateful look over her head for his part in it all. No words needing to be exchanged between the two men, he scoops the redhead up in his arms and follows behind the other, stating low with most of the earlier heat of the fight gone from him, “Don’t ever do that again.” Wander off somewhere that’s not well traversed and lit? Take on a man such as she did Phineus? Scare the life out of him? Probably all of the above.

Ahnika sighs against Max's chest, grateful to be able to close her eyes again and not try to focus so hard. Her head is pounding, but she knows she can relax now. It's over. All over as far as she is concerned. She completely misses any looks between the two men, preferring to keep her eyes closed for now. The blood at her lip is drying quite well now, and her face is swelling, but all that pales in comparison to the throbbing in her head, made worse when she shakes it, even slowly, to his comment. She doesn't resist being scooped up by Max - how could she? - but she does issue a low protest against his throat as her head rests gingerly on his shoulder, "Not the Infirmary, please. Anywhere but there. The baths. Baths are good."

Merendezen remains in silence, only changing his path briefly for Ahnika's request. To the baths he will lead, but not go in. He remains a guard at the entry way until they are finished, and then, he will mysteriously disappear… To chores, or something.

Closing credits theme song - Disturbed - 10,000 fists

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