Second Fiddle


Ahnika.jpg Indira.jpg

Date: 2010.08. 3
Location: Indira's Quarters
Synopsis: Ahnika seeks Indira out for further information with regards to the laundry 'thefts'. The two touch on a certain beast manager they have in common.
Rating: PG13
Logger: Indira

Early evening, Ahnika has left the Living Caverns, having managed to get a relatively discreet dinner there after the usual rush. Relatively discreet. She did have to face a couple of the candidates and evade questioning on the bruising that's now gone purple and grey across her otherwise pale right cheek, and the healing cut in the corner of her mouth. She is still dressed in her work clothes, but has been wearing her hair down and swept to the right side, the better to hide most of the consequences of that unpleasant event the other day. But now that dinner is complete, the redhead seeks out the Headwoman, first in her office and not finding her there, she knocks politely on the door to Indira's private chamber.

As much as she might give the impression during the day and to most she comes across, Indira is not quite the workaholic that most probably presume her to be. The knock to the door of her private quarters has the effect of the headwoman calling out in a huskily delighted tone, “I was wondering how long it would take you to get here after the lockdown was lifted!” For who else could it be? Dressed down in a simple flowing off the shoulder dress, hair flowing loose about her shoulders she’s quick to the door and opening it with a warm smile in place which flickers away and is replaced by something that could resemble a mixture of embarrassment and disappointment. But its there and gone so fast it might go unnoticed, “Ahnika,” the smile still holding edges of warmth to it. That too wanes when she catches sight of the girl’s face and she steps aside ushering the candidate in with a carefully neutral mask in place.

The embarrassment and disappointment may be fleeting enough to be unnoticed by Ahnika, but the words spoken and the manner of dress Indira is in has Ahnika drawing her own conclusions without the expression even necessary. "My apologies, ma'am," Ahni is quick to say, earnestly. "I can come back another time if you're expecting company." She remains in the doorway, ready to depart with a word, either not realizing Indira has caught sight of her face or too distracted with the idea of potentially interrupting something nice and well-deserved for the Headwoman.

For once in her life, Indira has been caught a little off balance and as such she opens her mouth to say something and then closes it, a low self-deprecating chuckle spilling out as she shakes her head. “Just wishful thinking,” she remarks, her clothing simply being relaxed off-duty attire. The head of tousled hair tips to one side and the redhead is given a long look, “You look like you need to talk.” This stated as she then turns and steps back into her private quarters, moving quickly back to her bed where she’d been perched cross-legged and going through what looks to be letters that are now being gathered together and set to a bedside table in a neat pile. Moving toward the deep red chaise lounge set over to the left of the bed, the headwoman sends a short smile Ahnika’s way, “Come in. Sit. It’s not every evening I’m afforded company.” Not looking for sympathy, simply a statement of fact meant to encourage the candidate forward.

Smiling at the chuckle, Ahnika seems to relax a little, and follows Indira in as she moves away from the door. She's gotten too many stares and questions, despite her attempt to keep it as discreet as possible, not to know Indira is likely talking about her face. "It's … nothing," Ahni says with a sigh, rubbing the back of her neck a little and moving to follow her now to take a seat, "Just … an accident." Maybe she ran into another table. Ahni might even prefer to have the reputation as a klutz than the truth be known, though most people are probably drawing conclusions and possibly even a few giving Max the evil eye on occasion for it. Poor Max. "Mostly, I wanted to talk to you about the laundry, and the investigation you had Max tell me to work on for you. I had some questions."

Settling herself into a corner of the chaise lounge, legs drawn up to the side of her, Indira sets a brow lifted look Ahnika's way when she states the bruising to her face to be 'nothing' caused by an accident, but she doesn't press further. Whatever conclusions she's drawing, she's keeping firmly to herself, although one can be sure there'll be a mother-son conversation held in the very near future. If she knows anything of her son's upcoming departure from the Weyr, she's saying nothing to that either. "Ah, the laundry," dubious the look sent the candidate for this being her true purpose of visitation but she plays along nonetheless, "Aye, there's been an odd assortment of things going missing in the passed seven. Couple of men's shirts, a pair of woman's breeches, underwear and," here she frowns a little at the mystery of the next, "some table linen too." Chances are? She's not in on the wild wherry chase with Max.

Nodding, Ahnika considers her lap a moment before looking at Indira, "Right. I'm still not sure it has anything to do with the eggs. Could be a coincidence. But I thought if I knew who the articles belonged to, I could possibly see if there was a common thread between them." It's pretty plain she is taking the laundry issue very seriously, treating it as part of the larger investigation. "Do you have a list of names? I'll then go and talk to those people and see where they were that night, and the night the body was found, though," her voice trails off and she frowns thoughtfully, "Do you know anything about the body? Max and Zen won't tell me much. I know we don't know who it was … that it was left … . you know, in a terrible state." Whatever that means. "Do we know when the person was killed? Who was the last person down that tunnel?"

"We can't be taking any chances, not with the lockdown having just been lifted," something she for one would like to see remaining lifted if only to allow the arrival of a certain train of trading wagons to get through. Of course, none of that gets said as Indira unfolds her legs, moves into her office and returns a few moments later with a sheet of paper. On it is a list of names and noted neatly next to each, the items they've reported missing. One lower caverns boy, seems to be missing his boots, though how that relates to laundry is anyone's guess. Holding the sheet out to Ahnika, the headwoman's eyes narrow at talk of the dead body and then she states in measured tones, "Stay away from it, Ahnika. No good will come of it," although she will confirm the state of the body with a tight expression and sharp nod of head, "Aye, not possible to identify who it might have been." And then she's shutting the subject down, keeping what she knows between herself and those that follow her and her son's command.

Chances and the lockdown noted, Ahnika agrees silently with a brief nod before watching Indira depart and return with the sheet and list of names and articles of clothing. She looks it over briefly before nodding once more, "Thank you, ma'am." Then looks up as Indira echoes her son and Zen for that matter. In a remarkable demonstration of restraint for the usually fiery-tempered redhead, Ahnika's eyes simply narrow briefly at the order to stay away from it before her expression relaxes neutral once again. "Yes, very well," she says all too easily, "the laundry piece at least will be looked into, as you asked," and she rises from her seat, "Thank you for the list, ma'am. This will make it much easier."

Indira goes quiet, studying Ahnika in that silence as she rises to make her departure. With a sigh, her next words are given in gentler tone, “Ahnika, please understand. It takes the most dangerous sort of person to do what they did,” the killing of two unhatched dragons and another human being. Lips purse and an uneasy frown appears for her next which one can be sure is a confession not easily drawn from the self-sufficient woman, as she states quietly, “Even I’m scared, and I’ve come across some real pieces of work over the turns. I can fight and turn a wicked blade, could probably take a fair amount of the men in this Weyr down, but someone like this?” her head starts to shake slowly, there not being very much else she can add to that.

Ahnika remains standing where she is, and if anything in her thought process changes from Indira's comments, she surprisingly keeps it from her features. There is a long moment of silence and then a small exhale of breath as she states simply, softly, "I really did think he was going to kill me." An involuntary shudder goes through her as she speaks up about the incident, even if vaguely. "All I could think about at the time was trying to get away from him, and … all the people I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to. Afterward …" she looks off into the distance, "all I could think about was how close I'd come. How … if Max hadn't gotten there when he did," her voice trails off briefly, taking Max's cue to leave Zen out of it for fear of getting the other candidate in trouble. "And this wasn't even related …" she continues, "this was just a man, a madman, but nothing so terrible as a killer of dragons." Maybe. Ahni's making an assumption there. She exhales again and continues, "Believe me when I tell you that that business shook me up in more ways than I can put words to, more than this bruised face can show. It sobered me. It … taught me." And here her expression stiffens, "But I won't let it cow me. I can't just live in fear and doubt of every man who makes smiles at me for the rest of my life. The same goes for this business. We need to find out who and what did this and why. It is unpleasant. It's terrifying, but," ever the pragmatist, "it needs doing. We just have to be careful. Extremely careful."

Having settled back into her seemingly easy-going position back on the chaise lounge, Indira’s expression darkens by increments as Ahnika hands out information she hadn’t been in possession of up until that time (kudos to Max for having kept his word to the redhead) , her lips compressing into a thin line but she waits until the candidate has finished speaking completely, a heavy silence lingering a while afterward. Eventually the tousled head nods slowly, her tone low and laced with barely contained anger, “This have anything to do with where he’s off to?” A brow lifting no-nonsense querying look being sent over to the younger woman, even if she has already drawn her own conclusions on that matter, she’d like to hear it from the runner’s mouth, so to speak. As to the last there comes a quick snort, “Aye, extremely careful. No place for stupid in any of this.” Some of the carefully schooled tension releases in a soft sigh and she pats the seating next to her for Ahnika to rejoin her, “A woman in a man’s world,” she utters wryly, “But we’ll show ‘em, won’t we?” the barest hint of an understanding smile coming next.

With a long exhale, some of it relief for the sharing, and some of it exasperation at Max, Ahnika sinks back onto the seat and says on that rush of breath expelled from her lungs, "I didn't want him to go. He . . he insisted." Then she bites her lip and rubs her forehead briefly. "I don't even know why we have to actively search the lout out," she adds, shifting uncomfortably, and suddenly her cup runneth over with information. Indira has that way with Ahni. The redhead continues, "and why we can't just send word out and the first cothold he comes in contact with can take him in custody. It's not like he can survive out there for long without help, especially after …" a pause, "After what Max did to him." She takes another breath and shakes her head, "And now Max is on the hunt for him." And who knows what that might lead to. Ahni looks at her lap, "It all happened so fast … I just couldn't come up with anything to say or do to stop him from going." She looks over to Indira with the last and smiles slightly, "Here's hoping we do." Show 'em that is.

Oddly enough it’s a rueful smile that touches Indira’s lips, as she seeks to pat a comforting touch to the redhead’s knee, “Faranth herself couldn’t stop him if he’s set his mind to something, Ahnika,” shoulders shift in a light shrug, “He’s always been that way. At least this time…he has just cause.” Drawing silent either over some of the trouble her son’s gotten into over the turns or perhaps in deliberating whether or not to say what she does next over why Max had likely insisted on going, “Because he’s not one to just sit by and hope someone else will get the job done,” another small smile for her next, “I have a feeling he’d crawl to the ends of Pern for you, love.” Not that her son’s done much in the way of sharing too much with her of late. Chuckling, “He risked my boot up his butt when he turned down having dinner with me on his Turnday,” a knowing wink ends that and then she’s ducking her head to try and capture Ahnika’s downcast gaze, “He can take care of himself, Ahnika. If anyone can, it’s him.” She might not like it much herself either, but there you have it. A more true smile and firm shake of head, “Not hoping we do. We will!” of that the headwoman is very sure and then she adds through a faint smirk, “Why do you think it’s –women- that ride gold and rule the Weyr and not men, hmm?”

Of Max, Ahnika shares that rueful smile with his mother as she describes his tenacity and dedication to a cause or action. She nods in agreement, but remains quiet, flushing a little at the statement how Indira thinks he'd crawl to the ends of Pern for her, and murmuring, "It's getting harder and harder to keep our … feelings for one another secret." Then she looks apologetic, "Oh, I'm sorry, about the Turnday dinner …" she frowns a bit, looking at her lap again, "He didn't tell me you two already had plans … we were just so, so tickled to find out we had the same Turnday … well, essentially," who knows when Ahni's real Turnday is. She nods then, seeming mostly satisfied at the comment that Max can take care of himself. "He can," she agrees, though still looks uncomfortable about it all. A lot of it is just simply wanting to be able to forget it and put it past her, much as she's been able to forget other unpleasant things from her past. Now she has to worry about not just Max doing something to him, but bringing him back, and having to face him again. She rubs her arms against a shiver at the thought and exhales, pressing on, "Right," she smiles gently, "Trust the dragons. They know just who should be in charge."

Amused for the light flush Ahnika exhibits, it's the information she unwittingly provides about Turnday dinners being turned down that draws a smirk from Indira. She'd guessed at her son's reasons but now having solid confirmation a low chuckles spills out, "Next turn, I expect to see the two of you at my table on your Turndays, aye? Call it compensation if you will for having to play second fiddle to another woman in my son's life." Would you look at that! The woman is actually human after all and able to tease despite her earlier misgivings on the whole situation of her son's involvement with the candidate. Picking up on the redhead's discomfort finely arched brows twitch toward each other in a light frown as she sates quietly, "He's sometimes too passionate for his own good sometimes…doesn't always think things through." Whether that be to his handling of the man he's going after or simply in general. Either way, she's picked the young beast manager up out of enough situations when he was younger to be well aware of his failings. Suddenly laughter at a memory flows out and she shares it with the other, "Met a Weyrwoman once who's Weyrleader was of a mind that it should be bronzeriders and not goldriders that should be in ultimate charge of a Weyr. She made him wear one of her dresses, complete with underwear borrowed from a bigger friend and made him handle her duties in that get up for a full seven. Needless to say, the man never ran off at the mouth again."

Another grin, this one somewhat sheepish, and Ahnika is nodding, "Next Turn. You got it, ma'am. Promise." If she lives to see the day, and let's hope! And the grin fades into a simple, fond smile, "Yeah. We make quite a pair, don't we?" Knowing full-well she can be just as headstrong and passionate for her own good, herself, too. She listens to the tale about the weyrwoman and her weyleader and suddenly her head tilts back and laughter is spilling forth at the image of the man in a dress. When she recovers, Ahnika holds her finger up, as if to make a point, "I shall have to remember that one … there are a number of the male candidates alone I would love to see in a dress and doing our work." Well right now, they all seem to be sharing the same chores, but that's not the point. And then her expression sobers a bit and she looks back to Indira, "As far as Max and I … if I should Impress …" her voice trails off and she shakes her head, "It's no matter … it will work out. I have to believe that." The last is more for herself than for Indira. She stands up then, taking the list in her hand, "Thank you, ma'am. I'll not intrude on your time any longer. I have people to talk to anyway," and she shakes the list a little in indication of who she means.

“I have a name,” the headwoman puts out in return to Ahnika’s polite response, her expression amused more than anything else and then she’s smirking, “You give him a run for his marks, aye?” That seems to further heighten her amusement, the idea of her son being put in his place by the redhead. Laughter joins the candidate’s, “Aye, I can think of a few I’d dress up myself. Perhaps we should start putting together a charity box to have on the ready for such an occasion?” It’s what Ahnika says next that draws the humor right off of Indira’s face and she settles a long look over onto the teen. Finally a rueful expression flickers out for firsthand experience of just how difficult a rider/non-rider pairing can be but she says nothing of it, simply nods her head to the determination of the younger woman. As the candidate stands, the headwoman remains where she is sending a small smile, “Don’t stay up too late with that, Ahnika.” And then she’ll let her go, sinking into a deep reverie over topics touched on and not.

Closing Credits: Shaina Twain - Come On Over

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