Standing Up And Falling Down



Date: 8/20/10
Location: EW: Tunnels
Synopsis: Ahnika confronts her would-be stalker and learns a very humbling and maturing lesson about choosing your battles, or at least the how, where, when and who to bring for back up for them. This scene immediately precedes Not Worth It
Rating: PG-13 for violence
Vignette Writer: Ahnika

One of the greatest things about laundry duty, Ahnika thought, is the delivery work at the end of each dried and folded load. It enabled her to see more of the weyr and meet new people, talk to them about various things, learn new things, and with a little luck, maybe even learn some good and useful information about who was responsible for killing those two unborn dragonets. Or at the very least she could possibly find out who has been filching the clothes that have gone missing.

And so it is as she is on her way back to the laundry area, too large but now empty baskets are settled in the crooks of each elbow. The redhead runs through all the facts of the situation as she knows it, her gaze settling on the tunnel floor in front of her as she walks through one of the drudge shortcuts toward the laundry area.

Lost in thought as she was, Ahni doesn’t catch the voices at first; it’s only the sharp thunk sound followed by more hushed, urgent voices that drew her to a stop and peer down the tunnel behind her. Report anything out of the ordinary? Of course. But first she has to actually have something substantial to report. So, she retreats around the bend, and that is how she finds the trader Phineus hovering over Boxtol’s son on the tunnel floor, and the boy is gingerly holding his face and looking up. It doesn’t take long for Ahnika to draw certain conclusions and before the sensible side of her (she has one?) catches up with that fiery quick temper, Ahni closes the distance. “Phineus!” She hisses, causing both the man and the boy to startle, “What’s this about? Did you actually hit him? What cause did he give you?” Because Ahni isn’t above corporal punishment if it is to correct certain manners, but it has to fit the crime, in her opinion.

“Ahnika,” Phineus starts, smiling patronizingly before saying, “I caught him following you. He was up to no good.” He frowns down at Boxtol’s son and starts to deliver a kick to the boy’s leg, but the boy and Ahnika both react at the same time with Boxtol’s son rolling out of the way with remarkable agility and Ahnika darting forward to shove Phineus so his aim is off at the same time, flinging one of the empty baskets down in the process.

“Stop!” Ahnika glares, her grey eyes pinning the trader still for a moment as he recovers from her unexpected shove.

“Ahnika, my dear,” he brushes down his shirt, “Don’t think you understand.” He smiles at her nonetheless, but there is a condescending light in his eye as he adds, “But you will. In time.”

This has her recoiling a bit, and she draws herself up to her full height, muttering, “You’re a sharding dimglow, Phineus, if you think I’ll let you get away with that sort of thing.” But she’s watching him, a bit wary at least even if she doesn’t know well enough to mind her tongue when the odds are against her.

The trader’s patience quickly reaching an end scowls at her, “You’d best mind your tongue, my dear. You’ll regret it. Don’t begin something you’re not able to finish.” He frowns, thinking of his Sadie and then looking at Ahnika, smoothing his expression calm once more, “Now, how about we take a walk together? Clear the air? Resume exploring what,” he steps into her personal space, moving a closed hand across her cheek affectionately, “has started blossoming between us, yes?” And here he smiles.

As a result of both their attentions being well occupied, both Ahnika and the trader miss the boy slipping down the tunnel, backing out the way he came and making a run for the Beast Caverns. She recoils back from Phineus, obviously disgusted and preparing to get as far away as fast as possible, stooping a little to retrieve the basket she had dropped, and making the mistake of muttering, “You’re a loony.”

With a hiss, his hand darts out and grabs ahold of that bun at the back of her neck, nearly snapping her neck as he yanks her back in against his side, startling her mute for a moment, her chest heaving with the sudden intake and expelling of breath. He rips the baskets from her grasp and tosses them down the nearest tunnel before hauling her by a grip on the back of her neck and her arm, snarling, “I see I need to teach you some respect, wench!”

Her initial reaction of being startled subsides as he starts to half-escort and half-drag her into another tunnel and Ahnika begins to piece together just exactly the sort of danger she’s allowed herself to be in. She first tries to pry herself free of his seemingly impossibly strong grip and manages at one point to pull her arm free and staggers backward a few steps before he grabs hold of her once more and hauls her forcibly deeper into the tunnel before throwing her up against the wall and gripping her shoulders firmly as he stares into her eyes, muttering, “She was just like you, a tease, but she learned her place and you will too.”

Ahnika hisses at him, part anger and part disbelief, “You’re truly mad!” and then shoves with all her force at his chest, trying to make a break for it. He does stagger back a pace or two, but uses her contact to take her arm in his iron-clad meathook of a grip. She does a very rare thing for Ahni, sending a sound slap to his face with her other hand, which leads to a struggle for that arm as well with Ahnika managing to keep it free from his grasp.

The pair gasp and grunt and trade insults as they move back and forth against the wall with Ahnika putting up a decent, if unskilled, fight with the trader over what feels like, to the redhead anyway, an eternity. Feeling like she is quickly getting overpowered here, Ahnika lets loose with a shriek as his grip tightens on her upper arm, and then follows it with, “Let me go!” which is when the trader manages to get his free hand past her defenses and clamps it down over her mouth just as she got off the beginnings of another shriek.

… The rest of the scene is concluded in Not Worth It.

Closing Credits Theme Music: Drowning Pool - "Step Up"

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