Tears For Fears


Max.jpg Ahnika.jpg

Date: 2010.11.18
Location: EW - Feeding Pens
Synopsis: Nara wakes Max up to let him know that Ahnika needs him. What he finds outside at the feeding pens is one very distraught redhead battling with the harsh realities of life.
Rating: PG13
Logger: Max

Somewhat unsettled and agitated, Ahnika stands right where Nara left her a little ways out past the fencing for the feeding pens, Jhath seated in her usual dignified and stately position beside the weyrling. Inefredath, however, is taking advantage of the opportunity for the midnight snack and is currently inside the feeding pen, picking out an appropriately-sized morsel, while greenrider Nara slips into the beast cavern directly, taking care to make her arrival known with a knock to the door. She is not quite her lively self, considering she had been woken up from a tangle of pretty and muscled flesh in her weyr by Inefredath who indicated it was urgent, passing along the message from Jhath. She took the time to get dressed at least, but doesn't linger after knocking on the door and calling out, "Oh MAAAaaaaAAAx! Your pie is looking for you! She's out at the feeding pens. It's important, Darling. Don't keep her waiting now!" And she doesn't wait for him to acknowledge before she wanders off, presumably in search of Waine somewhere in the beast cavern.

Sleep befuddled, Max is a little slow to stir, blinking owlishly at first and then setting the older woman with a wary look as yet again, he finds the greenrider in his quarters. Although the moment her words register he’s sitting bolt upright and immediately searching for boots and his shirt, his expression clouding, “What’s happened?” his heart doing a flip-flop of worry. But by the time he glances up, Nara’s gone already. “Shit,” muttered as not bothering to do the buttons up, he takes up his knife belt and straps it to his hip and then he’s out the stall and stepping out into the night, carefully skirting about the herdbeast milling about in fear for the green currently feasting on her snack. Dark eyes strain through the darkness and land on where Ahnika is waiting, a small amount of relief washing through with his initial assessment that she didn’t seem to be in any immediate danger. Ducking his head under the upper pole while stepping over the middle one, he’s soon at the weyrling’s side and seeking to pull her into his arms, “Hey baby.”

Ahnika had held herself together once she got over the initial fright from the nightmare long enough to chat a little with Jhath and make the decision to seek Nara's help to see Max tonight. It couldn't wait. It had to be tonight. But once she sees Max approaching, her heart lurches in her throat. Jhath, sensing the impending tears well before Ahni's eyes start filling up, issues a frustrated growl and snort, but her head is turned away when she does it, as if she is frustrated at the situation and not Max. She rustles her wings in further agitation, but it's clear she has no one or no thing she can direct it at, which is part of the frustration. Ahnika's tears start to slide down her cheeks as he pulls her into his arms and she presses her face in close to his neck, choking out a soft sob, "Max … tell me I didn't fuck up. Please. Tell me I didn't kill him."

Jhath is sent a light frown. Not because he thinks she might be pissed with him, but rather in his trying to divine what it is that has so obviously upset both green and bonded, frustrated for not having that same mindlink with the dragonet, that Ahnika does. If the unexpected late night visit and then ensuing tears weren’t enough to worry him, what she manages to choke out, does. Arms tighten about her, with one moving to stroke a hand soothingly along her lower back. After a moment of just standing there holding her, he finally asks quietly as he ducks his head down, trying to find her eyes, “Killed who, love?”

Jhath begins to pace a little around them as Ahnika's soft sobs continue, rumbling another deep, throaty growl. She's itching for a fight, a fight she can't have. "N-net. Jinnet," she manages to stammer out tearfully, "N-nightmare," as if that explained everything. Jhath growls again. Ahni's body shudders a little in his arms, though she's not cold on this summer night. She put on pants and a shirt before coming out to meet him, but left her loose night-braid down instead of winding it up in a bun. Inefredath answers Jhath's growls from the darkness within the feeding pen with a herdbeast-mouthfilled warbling of her own, but it doesn't appear to be in challenge so much as a query. Ahni continues on regardless, whispering and stammering over her words, "Jinnet was running and running and running and ran off a cliff," she does a sort of sobbing gasp in punctuation, closing her eyes and pushing more tears out, "He screamed all the way down … it was my fault. I let him go. Max … he's alive right? He made it? Was just a bad dream?"

It's likely obvious that his heart breaks a little at seeing Ahnika in this state, however he shows nothing of it, other than his jaw starting to set ever tighter as she explains, dark eyes seeking out the log used for chopping wood on that he knows is set off to one side somewhere along the fence line. Finding it a few paces away, Max will try to guide her toward it, his expression set into a grim line with him making no comment to what is said until he's settled onto the lump of wood and drawing her down into his lap, unless she disallows as much. If he's been successful, a hand will lift to brush a thumb gently over each cheek, wiping at the track of tears as a long sigh spills out. He's quite sure the man responsible for her nightmares is in all likelihood, dead. And as much as he's loathing to say as much and cause her further distress, he also knows that these are the cold facts of life. More in particular, the life that he leads and that she by fact of association with him, has been drawn into. So rather than lie, the beast manager pulls her in closer against chest, and states quietly, "No love. He's likely dead by now. He would have been the minute I let him go, even if I had been able to take him up to Bitra. Those that talk and are seen to turn on their handlers…are usually shut up for good." Regret for this sad truth strung into his tone. "It's why Indira and I do what we do. Help people to disappear. It's the only way," of keeping them alive long enough to start over again. Whispered into her ear as he turns his head in against hers, "I'm so sorry, baby." Sorry that she's come into close contact with the uglier side of life and in such a manner when all she'd been trying to do, was something good for someone else.

Ahnika is in no position to resist going along with him even if she wanted to resist, which she doesn't. It's dark and her tears have made it nearly impossible to see. So she stumbles and shuffles along as he leads her to the log and she curls up in his lap as best as the log will allow. With his initial words, her body shudders with more tears, but they are quieter. Jhath snorts again, continuing to pace for a time, wings ruffling some more. Ahnika clings to him, weeping harder but quiet, gasps in the darkness the only indication that she is sobbing, other than the way her body shudders. She buries her face in his chest next, face hot and puffy and flushed. When she speaks, she stammers again, "I fucked up … and someone died … again. I don't … know how … to fix … this … Max. How do I fix this? Tell me …"

Attention flickers briefly over to Jhath, a measure of frustration once again filtering in as he finds himself unable to help in any way with soothing the dragonet, being able to do little else but hope that in comforting her bonded, the same might filter through to the green. And so a frown fits into place and his attention returns to the sobbing redhead curled up against him. At first, Max doesn’t speak, simply uttering low soothing sounds, holding her as close to him as he can, his head turned in against her neck, offering her what type of ‘cocoon’ from the outside world that he can with his body. With her speaking again, he presses a kiss in against her neck, just under her ear, his voice coming in a low rumble, “You can’t fix it, baby.” Tone strangled for wishing he could make it otherwise for her. “You did what you thought was right, aye? And that makes you a good person, with a good heart, baby” whether Jinnet had deserved it or not. “Now…you grieve, and then…you move onto the next person that needs help.” The rough tone of his voice suggesting he’s been through this more than once before himself. It’s a hard fact of the ‘work’ he does. Something said however has him lifting his head slightly away and asking with quiet puzzlement, “Died…again?” Not sure he’d heard her properly.

With a thumping of wings and flurry of movement from the feeding pens, Inefredath lifts off briefly, but seems only to settle onto the ground again, this time outside the feeding pens and out of the way of any other late-night feeders where she curls up and waits for her rider, Nara, to return from parts unknown. To say she isn't paying attention, however, is inaccurate. Her swirling multifaceted eyes are cracked open as she regards the others from her dozing position. Jhath seems to find some comfort in either Max with Ahni or Inefredath's example, somehow, and decides to take up a sort of guardian position by wrapping her tall, stocky body around the section that Max and Ahni have claimed on the log. Of course, this means that they are likely only visible from the direction of Jhath's lowered head and tail. Ahnika curls her fingers into his shirt as she lets the tears continue, nuzzling against his chest, and sniffling softly. "It was dark," she tries, not willing to let the comfort of denial go just yet, "maybe he got away. Far away." She sniffles again, "Maybe …" she shudders in his arms. She lets out a sigh that ends in a hiccup, and sniffles again. At least the sobbing as stopped, and she nods against his chest, "Again. Before … it was …" she swallows hard, and the tears start all over again, unable to speak for the moment. Jhath croons worriedly from near their feet.

Inefredath’s arrival on their side of the fence seemingly having a calming effect on Jhath, Max puts all his attention onto the redhead, just a faint smile put out as the green sneaks in closer to them. Then a heavy frown pulls into place as he wrestles with letting her hold onto the fond hope that Jinnet had gotten away and making her face the likely truth of it. However, he’d meant it when he’d said he’d never lie to her and it is the latter that wins out. Pressing a kiss against the damp skin of her cheek, his tone, while gentle, is laced with grim certainty as he puts laces together hollow hope and fact, “No, Ahni. He’s dead by now. But maybe your having let him go when you did afforded him chance to see his loved ones one last time before Vaputero’s men caught up with him, aye? Most don’t get that opportunity.” A knuckle brushes another line of tears away and then his thumb does the same at the corner of one of her eyes. Worry flares deeper as she sets to sobbing all over again, but he needs to know what this burden is that she’s obviously been carrying with her. “Baby…don’t shut me out,” using her own words once spoken to him, “Before, it was…?” prompting gently.

Ahnika settles into another shaky rhythm of quiet sobbing for awhile, the build up of all the stress and suppression of her grief and guilt just pouring out of her now, gushing like a geyser. There's a low rumbling from Jhath, but other than that she is settled for now, curled up protectively around them. Ahnika is slow to speak again, but she does eventually, through sniffles and gasps and hiccups, she manages to get out, "There was so much blood … it was … everywhere … I just … froze. We lost them … both. Seren said … it wasn't my fault … but when she told me what to do … I didn't hear her … couldn't hear her … was just … so much blood … I was too late, too slow … and we … lost them. And now … Jinnet … and you and the gardener … everyone thinks he's dead now." She curls up closer, clinging even more tightly, "Stay with me, Max. Hold me. No more nightmares … please," as if the Beast Manager had a way of controlling that.

Luckily a good part of his job is piecing various bits of information together to try and create a whole picture for he otherwise might have ended up more confused than before with what Ahnika is able to get out. Max is however quiet for a moment as he sorts through what was said. Remembering she’d said that her foster mother was a healer, is the starting point. Next comes the bit about there having been two lives lost at the same time and a lot of blood. That’s a little trickier but there he makes a wild stab and guesses, putting it forward as quiet query, for him to either correct or confirm his suspicions. “Losing a mother and baby in childbirth, happens, love. Happens here too,” in the beast caverns, which isn’t quite the same thing, but it’s what he can relate to. “And sometimes no matter how hard you try, there’s just nothing you can do other than to know…you did your best, aye?” At her request to stay with her, he fixes an intent look onto Jhath putting his next out clearly and succinctly, the words directed at the green herself, “Could you have Inefredath let Nara know that I’m taking her to my quarters where she can rest for a bit. She can come passed there to pick her up whenever she’s done,” with Waine or whatever else the older greenrider might be doing. He won’t however leave just yet but will wait until the green gives him some sort of indication that he’s free to go ahead and carry the redhead to his stall. Back to the grieving young woman curled up in his lap, “Ain’t going nowhere, baby. Always here for you.” The nightmares, he indeed has no way of controlling other than to know that the one night she’d spent with him, his own had been banished for that time and that perhaps the same might work for her.

Ahnika would protest whether she did her best, not seeing how just standing there frozen could be anyone's best, but she lets that argument go for another day for now. A lot of her energy and tears and anxiety spent, Ahnika just remains curled up against him, her weeping beginning to slow and then stop, merely the sniffling and that terrible headache that always comes in the wake of so many tears. If his words had any effect or if the crying just stopped on his own, Ahnika doesn't say, but it is a safe bet his love and attention tonight helped. Jhath uncurls herself from around their position and stands, issuing a loud, soulful and mournful cry skyward before padding her way closer to the beast cavern entrance without actually breaking down the fence this time, intending to escort them the scant bit of distance there is, it seems. Apparently whatever was communicated between herself and Inefredath, Jhath seems intent on getting as close to the beast caverns, and Ahni, as possible, even if it means curling up and sleeping on the ground by the fence closest to the entrance. "I love you," Ahni whispers between sniffles, "I'm sorry for waking you." Well, yes and no. She is and she isn't, really.

To which he’d likely have replied that not being cut out for something, is hardly one’s fault. Especially not when thrust into a situation not of their own choosing. But that is neither here nor there right now. Some of the tension, though not all of it, releases from his shoulders once Ahnika starts to calm down a little, with his brushing lips gently against her temple, “You’re going to be okay, baby.” Even if it takes him the next decade to ensure as much. Max’s head lifts up and away from hers for that sad and mournful cry that comes from Jhath, the sorrow emitted embedding within him somewhere and striking an unspoken chord but he says nothing to it, merely emitting a sigh. With the green dragonet moving over toward the entrance to the beast caverns, he takes that as permission granted and stands with the redhead still in his arms. Sure, she could walk, but he’s not wanting to let go of her right now. Unless of course she struggles and absolutely insists on being set down on her feet. Passing by where Jhath has settled herself, a grateful nod is given her, “Thank you, Jhath. I promise to take good care of her, aye?” Crossing through into the caverns proper and heading towards his quarters, the beast manager dips his head to brush a kiss across her lips, “I love you too, baby.” A faint smile arriving as he kicks the door to the stall open more fully, “I ain’t.” Sorry that she woke him.

Ahnika would prefer not to walk right now anyway. She's feeling vulnerable and stupid and pitiful. As they pass Jhath, she reaches out with one hand to give Jhath a long, affectionate and soothing stroke until she is out of reach, and then she sighs, a staggered sigh, but still just a sigh. No more tears for the moment. "I know I will be," Ahni whispers softly on a stuttered sigh, "I have you." Jhath rumbles a little more approvingly as he promises to take good care of her Ahni. That is not to say the green particularly enjoys sleeping out on the ground when she'd rather be curled up protectively around Ahni on her warmer and softer couch, but Jhath is not known to complain about her own ailments and problems, just the injustices served others. And she's not going to start to complain about her own problems now. If this becomes a habit, however, Ahnika may just recommend they set some hay aside near the entrance for Jhath or something. While Max is looking after Ahni, Inefredath is looking after Jhath, and Nara is looking after Waine, probably. At least for the next few hours before Nara comes to wake the couple, after Ahnika had fallen into a more restful sleep in Max's arms, and escort the young woman and her Jhath, back to the barracks for another hour or two of sleep there and then it will be time to get up for the morning feeding and physical training.

Closing Credits Music: Michael Buble - Hold On

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