The Thief And The Harper


Jaya.jpg Shijan.jpg NPC'd by Max

Date: Jan. 4, 2011
Location: Secluded Cove, Somewhere in Southern
Synopsis: Jaya and Shijan spend time watching a sunset during the retreat - having come to some terms on their feelings far away from the Weyr along with facing the apparent trouble both of them are in in various parts of their lives. In the end, they eventually get to know a little bit about each other in the process.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jaya

Secluded Beach
Tucked away in a hollow of the coastline, surrounded by steep rock on two sides (one of which bears a chambered cave), thick jungle behind and cool ocean in front, this is a veritable piece of paradise lost. Waves lap gently at the shore and a chorus of avian life blends to provide a sense of peace and tranquility. Privacy, along with the pristine white sands that are Southern’s trademark all come together to make this the perfect hideaway.

Days have passed since the time Indira's dragonriding contact had dropped the barkeep and her bodyguard on the private cove many ways off from Eastern. Much relaxation have taken place (along with unexpected heated connections between the two in the process), but Jaya has thoroughly given the cove an exploration with open satifaction. This day - after a sunny day of trying her hand at meditation with Shijan, fishing attempts, more skinny dipping and just the overall pleasure of keeping her mind free of all the stresses and thoughts left behind - Jaya finds herself watching the sunset once more in Shijan's arms. She's fully clothed in a peasant top and a flowing skirt, settled comfortably before the bonfire with her gaze on the setting sun. There's an easy silence between the two that's been there for days, the woman having shared her break with her bodyguard more than she intended to and haven't even touched the crate of her favorite brandy in the process. Five days in and no brandy??

"I remember you mentioning the harpers," Jaya finally breaks her silence after their bathing, her hair still damp as she leans her head back against Shijan's chest. "And you sing. You're a harper?" Or used to be, at least. She finally makes some connections of things let slipped, choosing now to ask him about it while she absently, brushes her fingers over his arm around her.

While Jaya’s fishing attempts were improving, her attempts at greeting the day in meditation with him, had had Shijan swallowing his amusement on more than one occasion and eventually giving up, the need for such mental focus and conditioning not as necessary in this idyllic setting as it would once again be once back at the Weyr. Nor was it nearly as enticing as skinny dipping with her always proved to be. With the bonfire crackling and warming his back, Jaya wrapped in a loose drape of arms in front of him and the sun setting before them sending deep rosy hues streaking across the sky and ocean, there was little he wanted for just then - Except perhaps for another seven away from the harsh realities of life where things were guaranteed to get very complicated, very fast.

As she breaks the silence, he tenses internally when she calls up the topic of harpers. That translating externally as his frame stiffens against her, his silence drawing out probably more telling than if he’d simply answered outright. Eventually, baritone wrung through with caution his reply comes low spoken as he corrects, “Was a harper.”

Muscles relaxing against him exhausted from all the activities of the day, Jaya picks up on Shijan tensing against her expectedly. It was why she phrased it as so, to try not to scare him and draw him up the way her bulldog tactics have done to the other men in her life. She doesn’t break the silence when he doesn’t answer right away, eyes lingering on the shifting colors of the sky set against the flickering flames of the made bonfire before them. She was far too relaxed to try any aggressive moves, willing to let the topic fade away should he choose not to want to talk about it. So when he does speak, she couldn’t help the brow that barely lifts. Fingers kneading into his arm in a comforting gesture to try and keep him calm, “Was a harper, now a guard,” she summarizes what she now knows, nodding a bit before adding in, “Something happened.” It’s a far cry to jump from being a distinguished harper to dealing with the things that she knows Indira and Max deal in. She’s silent a few moments longer, not asking what would come so naturally from her lips, but she does put forth then, “Must have been quite a singer, and dancer,” she remembers the way he moves, how easy he is on his feet. Head turning a fraction to brush her head against his chin, her eyes closing to the soft breeze pulling from the waves, “I never believed that you were a nobody from nowhere, going nowhere,” she notes quietly, bringing up those words he had told her on their very meeting. A corner of her mouth lifting as she faces the sunset once more, “I know the kind of business Max and his mother run – protecting people. Keeping them safe, like you’ve been doing for me.” Eyes sliding open then with amusement in her tone, “Shijan’s probably not even your real name,” she boldly notes, but she’s not questioning. She merely shows her curiosity about his mysterious past, new still in learning the kind of business that mother and son are involved in.

With Jaya not badgering him as is usually her way, his gaze goes back to the horizon and the sinking sun, not offering up any further information on the topic. That is until she correctly identifies that something had happened to draw him away from the Harper hall. While Shijan’s frame doesn’t tense this time his arms do pull her in tighter against him for a brief moment, mouth patterning fleetingly about a rueful line. He glosses over the first and finds the second perhaps safe enough to bear answering for his voice breaks free of its constraints, a wry edge fitted to it, “Junior apprentices are expected to attend all the classes, little one.” Couching his words in such a way as if to suggest none of what he says directly applies to him as he goes on to touch on the various disciplines, “Voice training, art, dance, music and politics. The seniors, under the guidance of their respective Masters then move into dedicated areas of focus so that by the time they’ve walked the tables, they’re usually working in a specialised field.” And there the former harper turned bodyguard stops, a smile starting to curl up onto his mouth for the line he’d fed her upon first meeting. That is until the very faintest edge of a frown banishes it when she correctly comments over a name that was not his at birth. Grazing a kiss against her temple a soft sigh exhales, “Does it matter who or what I was before?”

Feeling his briefly tight hold, “Know little about the Halls,” Jaya admits, continuing to knead fingers into his arm to soothe him. “Well, not unless someone there had something valuable worth stealing out of the place.” She remains silent through Shijan’s words, his kiss to her temple and the latter causing her to shift her head to the side so that she could see some of him in her view. Dark eyes roaming over his face, “No, it doesn’t,” she answers that truthful, his past not mattering either way with how she felt about him. “I guess I just … can’t help it. Being curious. Knowing. It’s alright,” and she lifts a finger to his brush his lips briefly, sending him a warm smile to dispel the caution she feels in him. “I won’t ask. You don’t need to confirm.” It was taking much for her to say that, it going against her nature, but she turns back to rest against him and does so to keep the peace easy between them. Eyes falling on the dwindling sunset, “Gotten so used to being out here, that I don’t think I want to go back,” she admits, the smirk lingering for the disappearing sun.

Oddly enough a low chuckle greets Jaya’s opening words, “The Harper Hall’s not really got much in the way of stealing.” Save for information gathered by those such as himself but he leaves that bit out. “Now the Gemcraft Hall…” he’s teasing right? Hopefully. With her shift of head coal black eyes meet hers with Shijan studying her face in silence, lips parting as if to speak and then closing again as he grapples with wanting to share his past with her but at the same time knowing that the less she knows, the safer she’s likely to be. Especially if what she’s come to be to him ever becomes known. It’s her warm smile that finally has him speaking just one word, “Malesh.” His name. And then he’s capturing that finger she brushes against his lips, drawing the palm of its hand to his lips to press a kiss into it, “In time, little one.” His promise to tell her all as and when he deems it safe to do so. Smiling against her hand he releases it and wraps his arm back about her, hunching his shoulders about her as if he could provide a cocoon from which they’d never have to emerge, “There’s nothing to stop us coming back.” Silent for a while, simply enjoying the peace as the sun’s last rays reluctantly leave the sky and night starts to gather her dark cloak about them and then he starts to hum, baritone stroking across the cooling evening breeze that comes in off of the ocean. Words join the lilting melody styled along the lines of old earth’s celtic people telling of a sailor thought to be lost at sea who overcame all the trials thrown at him to return to his love who never gave up hope of his return.

A brow lifting at Shijan’s amusement, fitting a look onto him, “Think you could convince Max to let me play thief again?” Jaya asks, seeming to be teasing herself at that quip on the Gemcraft Hall. “They do have some good stuff to pawn off. There was this one little piece that Vaput-“ she stops, blinking away the memory, it drilled into her head that such business – even the business of a former boss – should not be revealed. Such teachings kick in, stilling her tongue as she stares at the bonfire and shakes her head but a fraction. To recover, “I always wonder what would have become of Beddie if she had gone off to the Harper Hall all those turns ago. Bhadri just wouldn’t allow it.” That was the extent of her knowledge of a Hall so very far away from Bitra, such things never bothering her until recently when Beddie was in town. When Shijan meets her eyes, the barkeep could almost detect the warring within him on what to say, regarding him in the silence herself until is speaks that one word. “Malesh,” she seems to caress the name in her husky tone, trying it on as she fits the name to his face. She’s silent for a long moment after that, searching his gaze as the bonfire’s flames become a more prominent light source with the sun sinking down to the gentle waves of the ocean. Finally, when she moves, there’s a flicker of a private, genuine smile meant for him as she shifts a hand free and holds it out for him to shake. “Well met, Malesh,” she greets him in an official status, looking at him as if she was seeing something in him for the first time before adding her own: “Bajaya Dicori. Dicori traders.” If he takes her hand with her other still touching his lips, the kiss planted into her palm there along with those words on patience makes that smile more solid. In time. She can do that. Then he wraps himself about her and she’s easily taken there, the usual tough woman from Bitra relaxed enough to drop all those masks in his presence out here where there’s no others to see them. “Staying here …” she truly thinks about the possibility now, longing for the beauty she sees surrounding them and them staying there with no trouble to find them. “It would be perfect. Simple.” But then Shijan starts to hum, then sing, the unexpected move causing her breath to still as she listens to him. Fingers tighten on his arm briefly as she settles against him more, reveling openly in his smooth voice, falling silent to its spell as it transports her to the images brought on by the old song’s words with a faint sigh.

A soft snort of amusement is given on the matter of Indira’s son, “I could convince him he preferred men to women if I was of a mind to.” Thus lending further hint to just how his innate abilities can be used in darker ways and might explain the respectful caution the beast manager maintains about the former harper. Jaya starting to speak of something from her history with the Bitran crimelord and then halting midway draws an understanding and knowing look from Shijan. Both of them with pasts, both wanting to share them and yet both are likely to only be able to do so over time. And so he lets the matter go, a strange expression falling into place in hearing his true name spoken by her. Slowly a warm smile falls into place and he takes the hand offered, elegant fingers fitting about her smaller hand, “Well met, Bajaya of the clan Dicori.” With Jaya pulled in against him, the teak skinned man stares into the dancing flames of the fire, amusement cast across his expression, “And what shall we do here all day, hmm?” His tone dropping to octaves suggestive of all manner of ways they could entertain themselves and each other. The song is haunting; some may even call it melancholy. As the last few bars sung drift and dissipate on the evening air, the head of ebony curls dips, lips seeking hers out briefly before almost out of nowhere he states, “One day, when all this is over.” The ‘all this’ he’s currently keeping safely to himself, “you should meet my people.”

Shijan’s help in dispelling her haunting nightmares lends credence to him having some rather intriguing skills, and so Jaya could easily agree that he could. How else could the man manage to get through all her defenses without a single punch thrown? Once he takes her hand and such official introductions in place, “It’s a beautiful name,” she admits openly to that strange expression she sees on his face, then she settles her gaze on the dancing flames and adds wryly as his question, “Day’s almost ending,” she notes the darkening sky, the suggestive manner noted in the drawl of her voice. “I’d offer you a drink, but the Headwoman seems fit to think that you’d be more than a roughened Bitran woman could handle while under the influence.” Brow lifts at that, giving a pause there before she continues on. “Hmmm … you could tell me a story, my heart,” she suggests then, tacking on, “unless you’re looking to utterly exhaust me for another night.” That was probably going to happen anyway. She listens attentively to the song, eyes only opening once his voice fades and she turns to receive that kiss eagerly. Smiling against his lips before he breaks off to speak, “That would be nice,” she agrees on that, on meeting them one day when things aren’t the way they are now. “I want to show you the clan, but …” But. Eyes glance towards the flames then, lips pressed together before saying, “Haven’t seen any of them in turns. I was kicked out. Saw no reason to go back ever since.”

It having been so long since he last spoke his name himself, let alone heard it from the lips of another that there draws a long silence after Jaya speaks her approval of it. His gaze strays from the flames and back to what he can see of hers in profile, “I miss it.” Shijan admits quietly. Hearing his own name spoken, his people, and even the Hall. But he leaves off defining as much turning instead to her comment of offering him a drink. A wry smile forms, “Loose lips, sink ships,” he gives her the old cliché by way of an explanation as to why it is that he doesn’t drink. There intimation of how it might be that the Headwoman has come to have what she does on him. A low chuckle forms and rumbles in his chest never quite making it passed lips that curve about a smirk of amusement, “A story, hmm?” Dipping his head down, he draws his lips close against her ear, “Shall I tell you the one about the thief that stole the heart of a harper?” Evocative words drop away as she speaks of having been kicked out of her clan and again the former harper once known as Malesh, goes quiet with just the crackle and hiss of driftwood burning in the fire and the ocean in the background to fill the silence that forms. Eventually he injects his voice into the serenity, “Those born to a clan, will carry their clansmen with them to their dying day,” spoken with the voice of authority that tells of him having firsthand knowledge thereof. “You must return to them to make your peace, little one. But you shall not go alone.” Arms hugging her against him giving indication that he fully intends going with her.

Smiling some, eyes lingering on the dancing flames, “A beautiful name for a beautiful voice,” Jaya drawls when Shijan admits that he misses his name, his old life. Turning her head to see him, rubbing her scarred side of her face against him, then there’s a short chuckle to his words on drinking before she feels his lips close to her ears on the account of a story. Voice low and evocative, her gaze is one of Bitran debauchery and trouble as she answers that one with a wry, “Mmmm, sounds like a favorite. I wonder how it ends.” She lifts up to press her lips to his chin, then drops away when her trader clan is commented on. Eyes falling on the flames again, his words causing silence at first, “I’ll always be a Dicori,” she agrees with a firm nod, her pride in her voice. “Nothing will change that regardless of what Bhadri says. I have too much of him in me, anyway.” Enough to be recognized, that is. His suggestion gets a crooked grin for the flames, shoulders rolling as he hugs her to him more before she drawls out, “So you want to get hit by a flying pot, too, huh?” for Shijan coming along. With a small amused snort, “Oh yeah, that should be interesting. Bhadri would wonder why I’m still alive while my dear brother would play his little canine pup. He’s going to piss me off, you know. Just like I will. Always happens.” Turning to look back at him, “That’s if I can even get my ass into Bitra, shuga,” she adds then evenly. “Vaput’s got that place locked up tighter than Beddie’s panties. Not to mention the guards.” Looking back at the flames then and settling back, “Don’t see it happening unless I’m looking to make going to the mines a reality,” she admits it, shaking her head. “I’ll fight to the death before going to that place, love.”

Low laughter greets that drawl, “Flattery, little one, gets you everywhere.” No mistaking the innuendo set into Shijan’s tone and mirrored in his expression as he meets that licentious one of hers. A crooked smile appears next on how the tale ends, “Only the beginning has been written. The rest is a work in progress.” The press of kiss to his chin draws a low sound of approval followed by a soft snort in response to getting hit by a flying pot, “Hasn’t happened yet and my mother used to throw them all the time.” He goes quiet then listening to her outlining what she expects her family’s response to be to her return to their camp, jaw tightening a fraction when Vaputero is brought up though he leaves that particular subject alone for the time being. Tone held low out of reverence for the peaceful setting he finally puts thought into words, “You won’t know until you get up there, Jaya, and you owe yourself and them the opportunity to at least try. Whether or not they accept the hand of peace you extend, is their decision to make. You’ll know you’ve extended yours and that is where your peace will come from.” Now he addresses the matter of her former boss, cold certainty deadening his timbre, “Vaputero’s days are in short supply after which you need never fear the mines again.” For if it comes to it, he’ll personally ensure the Bitran’s secrets die with him.

Smoky laughter greets his first, her head thrown back at the deepness of it before putting out there, “You mean to tell me that all I had to do before was compliment you to get a favorable reaction other than that well-executed ‘know-it-all’ smirk?” Jaya asks, fingers tightening on his arm about her for the innuendo heard there. “I see! So I now know how to operate if I want you to, say, go soak my underthings?” The tease is light, lingering through Shijan’s words on the story of the thief and the harper as she adds, “I like where this story is going.” Eyes fall on the dark sky now, not helping the short laughter to his comment on ducking flying pots. “Ah, did she? Hmm. My mother was never the ‘pot-throwing’ type, but then, we didn’t get a chance to really know her all that well,” she confides to him, the words flowing easily on her family. “Yaneah Dicori was actually brought up far too properly, I was told. Holdbred, so she was the oddity of the clan if you knew how the Dicoris usually operated.” The cool breeze has her falling silent then, Shijan’s words on the matter getting a pause before she gives into an acknowledging nod. “L’ron had me write that letter home, you know. I sent it in the hopes of finding closure. It won’t be easy … going back. So much time has passed.” Looking up at him briefly, “I miss it,” she admits then, her mind going back to those times before she was exiled. “Bitra is such a exciting place. The races, the gambling, the people … it’s a different life there.” A life that got her into trouble more often than not. The smirk comes at knowing that, adding dryly, “Probably a good reason why I’m probably better off where I am now.” Pause. “Vaput. He won’t be easy.” Not to kill. “He knows his days are numbered. Knew it when I was there back then. Makes him dangerous. Unpredictable.” And unpredictable, dangerous people do some unpredictable, dangerous things. Shijan’s words do much to calm her nerves when it comes to the mines, however, always having seen that place looming up whenever she looked over her shoulder. “You’ve said you’ve killed before,” she recalls something said long before, eyes lingering on the stars. “But you’re not a killer. You don’t talk like those that enjoy it. Your skill is … holding secrets? You’re not like Waine? Yaron?” Jaya knew of them that hung around Max, the Bitran now starting to realize that those two probably had secret lives and names much like Shijan does. She also figures this to be a safer subject – speaking of the present rather than the past.

Shijan pushes down the chuckle that rises up in response to her laughter as well as the exceedingly crass remark that springs to mind in order to execute a perfectly suggestive expression. Running a hand lightly across her side and over her abdomen, his voice drops low, “I am your body guard, little one, not your drudge. However…” and he now makes as if to disengage his arms from about her, “if you would prefer I fulfill the role of the latter I’m sure it could be arranged….with the Headwoman.” Genuine warmth melts through the jest of those words at mention of the tale to be told, tone gruff with agreement, “I do too, Jaya.” He can’t help the short but melancholy smile that pulls into place for the topic of mothers, “We were eight boys with only one sister so I’m sure we tried her patience daily.” That smile strengthens a margin, “It must have been hard for her.” Referring to Jaya’s mother having been Holdbred and then fondness trickles into his tone for the blue weyrling, “L’ron would have made a good harper. Perhaps working as one of the Hall’s diplomats.” He muses aloud and then catching that look sent up to him, nods slowly. “I know,” stated either about it not being an easy task for her to return one day or on the excitement of Bitra. Possibly both.

Shijan’s expression draws cold in contrast to the flames he turns his attention too, his timbre taking on that flat, dead quality once again, “Unpredictable men lay their own paths to their death warrants.” And then he goes silent, jaw tightening and frame stiffening a touch. Quietly spoken, “None should ever enjoy taking the life of another, Jaya. Remorse shows us that we are still human. However if we let it live with us,” regret that is, “it will eat us from the inside out. You do what you need to do, mourn the loss of the life taken and move on from it.” Thus perhaps explaining his meditation regimen and lending hint that he’s had to kill more than once. That having been said the former harper sets a heavily guarded look down onto the dark haired woman for her words on his extracting and holding secrets, “Secrets…are dangerous things, little one. They change people’s lives.” And there he leaves it for now.

When Shijan makes to disengage himself from her along with those, “Ohhh no you don’t!” and Jaya grabs at one of his arms to try and settle it back securely around her with laughter in her voice. “Yeah I can just imagine what Indira would say to that! Ha! Get me in trouble with her …” Nope, the Bitran had enough trouble that was about to come down on her as it is from this retreat alone. She spies the sad smile and tries to soothe him with idle fingers rubbing small circles against his chest when reveals a bit about his family, something she realizes is hard for the former harper to do. “Big family,” she comments wryly, an easiness in her voice as she studies his face. “And mostly boys?” She whistles at that and shakes her head. “Yeah, I just imagine. My holdbred mother only had to deal with two twin girls, and that for a little while. She died having Nacor, but sure, should she had lived? Nacor at least would have driven her up the wall.” Alluding to boys being more troublesome, though she keeps an innocent expression in place when it comes to her and Beddie. Which speaking of, “I can see so much of my mother in Beddie,” she admits, head tilting slightly. “If she wasn’t so … you know. She took after her, while I’ve got every ounce of the Dicori temperament in me.” Talk of L’ron has her shifting so that she could free one of her hands to sift slender fingers through his curls while Shijan speaks. “You two know each other well,” she surmises, having observed their easiness with each other on more than one occasion. “You’re right. I’ve told him before that he would have made a good harper. Guess it was just not in his cards.”

When it comes to unpredictable men and those that enjoy taking lives, Jaya could feel the cool shift in the bodyguard and she regards him for a long moment – lost in thoughts of her own. “Or find ways to squeeze out of them,” she adds to death warrants, alluding to Vaputero having done so before. “Timekis is good at that, too, considering the numerous times I’ve heard of him slipping free from one of Borrento’s traps. I’ve always considered talking to Mek about bringing Vaput down. Or at least teach him a lesson.” For some reason, she hasn’t. After a pause, “You helped me face my own remorse, for what I did,” she speaks of the nightmares now, her voice low. To Shijan’s last then, eyes intent upon him, “Which makes you either very dangerous, or very valuable.” Or both. She understands that, and she inclines her head briefly into a grave nod, acknowledging so. “Serevan would snatch one such as you up, if he knew of you.” One never knows whether that one does or not.

That humour is now allowed free in the shape of a wide grin as his arms wrap back in when Jaya backtracks with regards to altering his task set by the Headwoman. Eyes slip closed a moment, enjoying the simple soothing gesture of her fingers against his chest. A chuckle slips free as eyes re-open, “Most of my clan have big families. More boys than girls is considered…a sign of virility and strength in the bloodline.” At least he has the grace to sound discomforted by the gender discrimination of his people. Amusement continues to play in Shijan’s expression, especially for having met Jaya’s twin. “Double trouble,” he murmurs as compassion shows through next for her mother having died in childbirth, “A girl shouldn’t be left without a mother.” Arms tighten briefly in comforting gesture and then a corner of his mouth curls up for further mention of L’ron. “Well enough,” he gives on his relationship with the blue weyrling. “He got dealt the right cards,” he gives with fondness to his tone.

Darkly amused the snort that lifts up at those that wiggle free of death warrants, “You can only do that so many times before your luck runs out, Jaya.” And he should know given what he’s ducked and dived for the past five turns. That name. That one name out of the three she mentions draws tension stringing right across Shijan’s frame and carefully disengaging himself from her he stands and moves a step or two away, his obsidian gaze setting out over the darkened ocean as arms come to fold about himself.

With Shijan’s humor slipping back in place along with his arms, Jaya settles her back to him once more with a satisfied sigh. His answer on his family draws a curious “Ah,” the young Bitran never having really given thought to things such as having a family and babies. It was another concept that draws her into silence for a moment, eyes blinking at the flames. “Do you remember much of them, then?” she asks then quietly. Then with a rueful grin for him, “It sounds like you and I have been dealt similar cards,” she notes with him being away from his family, and her being away from her own. Which, speaking of … “Be glad Beddie didn’t deem fit to throw herself on you,” she adds on double trouble, it likely being that the twins share the same tastes in men. “I wouldn’t put it passed her next time, either. I’m still in shock from finding her stark naked in Max’s office.” Some of that amusement ebbs away when he speaks on her deceased mother, his tightening arms having her drop a reassuring kiss down to his arm. “We came out alright,” she drawls on her and her siblings, though there’s a slight tightness around her eyes. “We just know how to survive is all.” Shijan’s dark amusement along with his comment on cheating death gets a short chuckle, but when something said has the man getting to his feet and stepping away, much of that amusement vanishes. Sensing the change in his mood, a slight frown touching her face as she stays where she was seated for a few moments longer to watch him, “Shijan,” she says his name in her husky tone. After a moment, the Bitran slowly gets to her feet, taking a few steps forward to try and slide her arms around him from the back. If successful, she’ll lean into him, the man much taller than her but she moves her head to the side to look up at him better and gauge his expression. In a softer tone, “Malesh,” she speaks his real name then, the frown prominent on her features as she could tell he was troubled. Assuming the obvious first, “What’s going on?” she asks him gently, trying to recall what she’s said to bring this on suddenly. Tentatively, “Is it … Serevan? He’s been really trying to recruit you?”

Shijan misses the reason for her having gone silent for a moment, large families as natural to him as breathing although it’s not something he’s ever considered for himself given the path his life has taken him. A warm smile appears as she questions him on what he remembers of his family, “I used to go back every so often, spend a few days with them reconnecting with my roots. I…haven’t been back in five turns though.” With him not explaining why. Amusement lifts up once again, “She might look like you, little one but, she isn’t you.” Meaning her twin wouldn’t have had much success with him had she tried her feminine charms. Hands drift up and down her arms, a wry smile in place, “There’s surviving, and then there’s living.” Pointing out the difference as show of understanding what it is she lost and found to be lacking in her life.

Curled back into himself, he ignores the call of his name as others know it. He doesn’t however evade the wrap of her arms about him, the flinch that goes through him as she presses into his back more that of a jolt of electricity than discomforted by her close physical presence. “My name,” he eventually breaks silence to quietly state, “No one can ever know it or my earlier association with the Hall. I am no one, from nowhere. A bodyguard and errand boy, nothing more.” Serevan, that draws a cold smirk to break free of his stone-like visage, having no doubt that if the man knew where he was, he’d likely try to recruit him into service. Its a few moments before he gives reply, tone flat, “You’re right, little one. I’m dangerous. Being around me is…dangerous.” Despite the fact he tails her day and night but would be why he’s always held himself aloof and separate from anything other than surface social contact with anyone, until now that is. Spoken so low that his words might get lost in the crash and thunder of the ocean along the shoreline, “You already know too much.”

“A long time,” Jaya notes the five turns, not lingering on it to add, “Wise words. Reconnecting.” Something she hasn’t done herself around the same amount of time she’s been away. Shijan’s words on her twin draws a genuine smile from the barkeep, and this even lingers through his words on surviving as she answers, “Sometimes you have to survive in order to live.” When he curls into himself and speaks of himself, she doesn’t speak right away. She could feel his tension, and his tone turning flat has her stiffening and drawing her arms away to move around and face him. With the flames of the bonfire warming her back as she tries to cup his hand in both her hands to draw his attention on her, “Hey,” she calls, frowning, eyes intently on his own. “And being around me is not?” she notes on danger, the former renegade shaking her head. “Shijan, whatever it is, we’ll figure it out. When you feel you can trust me, we’ll figure it out. But I’m not running anymore,” she says firmly, it being a meaning far deeper than her running from her problems. A hand going to her chest, “You have my word,” she says then, eyes searching his, “but when you’re with me, you are more than that. You are not a nobody, and I can give a fuck if the rest of Pern has to think so. They can think so, but don’t put me in with them.” The determination of an 18 turn old close to 19, staring deeply into his coal black eyes to reassure him in her way. Her way is usually blunt. “Look. You’re in as much trouble protecting me as I am in knowing too much about you. It’s too late to push me away, Shijan, just as much as it’s far too late for me to push you away.” Brushing a palm along the side of his face as she leans in to him, “Be calm, my heart,” she barely whispers to him.

A short look of regret for the time he’s been forced to keep away from his family or any that knew him before flashes in and then out again. Only with her touching her hands to either side of his face, does Shijan shift his focus off the ocean and down onto her. His expression bearing neither self-pity nor self-loathing but instead hardened and chilled to the lines of the man that has killed to keep the secrets he carries. Long moments pass and then at her words, eyes slowly but surely soften from chipped pieces of flint to something more akin to those of the man she’s gotten to see over the past few days as he draws back from that cold and dark place he’d gone to. A pale shadow of a smile tries to edge its way into place and his arms unfold from about himself and wrap about her instead, pulling her in against him as his gaze fixes intently to her, “I’m done running, Jaya. If death wants to dance, it knows where to find me.” Grim determination set into his baritone. He’d found what he never known he’d been looking for and it would take a foolish man to try and pry him loose now. Unless of course her life became a bargaining chip in the dangerous dance he executes for knowing what he does. Then one can be sure he’d disappear and leave his heart behind without a second thought. And so he doesn’t make the same promise on not pushing her away. Instead, a hand lifts from where it had settled against her back, knuckles brushing along the side of her face as he gives in quiet agreement, “It matters not what the rest of Pern thinks, little one.” Fingers then slip in under her hair and to the back of her neck as his head dips down, mouth seeking hers out to still further words, the next chapter of the tale of the thief and the harper writing itself out as the ocean, stars and sands bear silent witness.

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