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Date: 2010.10.18 - backdated to have occurred upon Max's return to Eastern Weyr.
Location: EW - Max's Office
Synopsis: Max returns from High Reaches to discover his prisoner gone.
Rating: PG13 for language
Logger: Max

Word gets around the beast caverns pretty quickly. All had known about the thief locked up in the tack room, and now, thanks to the door standing unlocked for the first time in sevens, and the commotion of the night before, everyone knew about his escape too. Everyone that is, except for the beast manager himself.

With his trip back to the Reaches having been successful in more ways than one, it’s no wonder that Max is wearing the first true grin in days on his face. Thanking the Reachian brownrider for the lift and pointing him in the direction of the headwoman to set himself up with temporary accommodation, he made his way to the beast caverns, stripping off the heavy winter wear as he went.

Being as how it was only the next day since Ahnika in her ill advised plan, let Jinnet go, Waine was still doing the bandy-legged hobble as he moved about repairing the fencing that Jhath and Tuorth had broken through. Yes, there were others he could have set to the task but seeing as how he was feeling more than a little responsible for the whole mess, he’d taken the task upon himself. The steady thunk-thunk of a hammer driving in a nail drowned out any sounds of approach from his boss.

Hearing the sound, Max paused in his path frowning lightly and then re-routed toward the feeding pens instead. Dark brows went up once presented with the shirtless Waine labouring over fence repair and then a crooked grin turned out with his approach. “Another flight go up while I was away?” knowing that sometimes the dragons in their lust induced feeding frenzy were sometimes none too careful about such trivial matters as fencing.

Thickly muscled shoulders tensed and Waine went still. Uh oh. He’s back. And sooner than he’d thought he’d be too. Slowly the head of short cropped hair turned over his shoulder and he set a wary eye on the approaching beast manager and mumbled, “Not quite.”

Max’s steps slowed upon realizing there were no herdbeast milling about in the pen as there should be. That and Waine’s guarded response had dark eyes narrowing onto the big man, a sense of foreboding starting to spread through his gut, which had the effect of wiping the grin from his face. “What do you mean, ‘not quite’? Where are the herdbeast? What happened?” shooting questions off at his 2IC in rapid manner.

Waine straightened up and with deliberate care, set the hammer down next to the bucket of nails and replacement lengths of wood. “Herdbeast are up in the top corral,” that one he was able to answer easily. The other two questions put to him, not so much. A sharp whistle called one of the other stablehands over, “Get this finished up, me and the boss, we got to talk.” Which earned him a look of sympathy from his replacement. With a jerk of head toward the beast caverns, Waine set off in that hobbling style of walk he was being forced to use at the time, not wishing to discuss his rather monumental cock-up in range of public hearing.

Stepping over the lowest plank of wood to have been replaced and nailed to the new fence post, Max cast another narrow eyed look over the area, landing it on the replacement Waine had called in to finish the job. The stablehand squirmed a little and hurriedly looked away as he dragged the next section of planking into place.

The odd manner of walk being employed by the big burly man was given a short span of notice too as they moved on into the beast caverns, but he didn’t question it just then. However, it wasn’t long before his attention was caught by the repairs being made to a few stalls that had been kicked in by panicked runners and his expression turned grim “What the fuck happened!?” his tone demanding an explanation.

Waine remained silent throughout, only the barest trace of a grimace appeared when the beast manager made note of the repairs underway within the caverns. Pushing the door to the office-stall open, he waited until Max had stepped through and then closed it firmly behind them. Thick muscle corded arms crossed over his barrel of a chest and his mouth twisted into a discontented line for the news it had become his unhappy task to deliver. “He’s gone,” simply stated.

Moving over to his mattress, Max dumped the overcoat, beanie, mittens and thick scarf onto it, and then dropped to an edge of it and set about pulling overly warm thick winter boots off. He glanced upward, “You’re going to have to be a little clearer than that, Waine. Who’s gone?” Not immediately putting two and two together. For all he knew a gold had gone up and there was a new Weyrleader in place.

“Jinnet,” Waine stated and took a half step back toward the door knowing just exactly what was about to go down and trying to put as much space between himself and Max as possible despite the fact that he didn’t plan on running and intended taking full responsibility for his part in the whole mess.

Having gotten one boot off, Max’s hands stilled and he looked up at Waine, not quite comprehending what had just been said. Wait for it… Waaaait for it… “What!?” the beast manager suddenly launched up off of the mattress. One boot on, one boot off. Ah! There it is! “Are you fucking kidding me!?” snapped out as he stalked toward the door, en route to go and check this out for himself only to find it blocked as the burly stablehand positioned himself determinedly in front of it.

“Sure as my nuts are telling me I’ll never have kids,” Waine gave out tightly, refusing to budge despite the glare coming from Max. He of course had no idea if that was true or not, but it sure as shards felt like it could be.

“What…how…” Max blustered, as he tried to get his head around his prisoner mysteriously now being gone. And then it sank in. His one bargaining chip - Gone. Cue the explosion. “Two days, Waine! Two fucking days I’m gone and this is what I come back to!?” Anger had him hurling the boot still in his hand at the unfortunate stablehand and then he stalked in closer, reaching up to grab the collar of Waine’s shirt, “You better start talking, and start talking fast. How the fuck did this happen!?”

Waine, for all that one blow of his fist would knock the beast manager clean into next seven, remained impassively in position. Not even ducking the boot that fortunately missed his head and thudded dully against the door behind him. Arms remained folded across his chest as Max grabbed a hold of his collar. With a sigh his shoulders twitched backward and he jerked himself free as he stepped out of range. Slowly but surely he related the tale of having been duped by one very convincing redhead, of how he’d let her talk him into letting her into the tack room in order to extract what further information she could from Jinnet.

By the time Waine got to the part where she then engineered it so as to actually free the man, the beast manager listening in stony silence, was white faced with anger, his hands clenched into tight fists at his sides and pacing back and forth growling out curses like a wounded feline as he went.

Dragonets breaking down fencing and trying to force their way into the beast caverns, did little to improve his temper. However, by the time it came to the part where Ahnika had then managed to get herself cut and the thief had made his getaway, Max was livid. Having reached boiling point, he launched himself at Waine, aiming a fist to the side of the brute’s jaw. “You stupid fucking moron!! What the shards were you thinking!?”

Waine didn’t even try to duck the blow or put up any kind of defence of his own, simply letting his head snap sideways with the impact. Poking his tongue out to test the cut opened on his upper lip, he slowly turned his head back again and after spitting out a mouthful of blood, put a dejected look onto Max. “’m sorry, boss,” and he truly was, “her idea was a good one,” he tried explaining about Ahnika having gone in to the tack room under the guises of letting Jinnet believe she was there to help him escape, “didn’t know she was really gonna do it,” that last bit mumbled.

Flexing the hand now aching from having just met the equivalent of a solid brick wall, Max, with chest heaving from pent up frustration and anger took a step back from Waine, head shaking from side to side in disbelief. It was a moment or two before he was able to say anything, and when he did, his words came spoken in that deadly quiet tone that those who have come to know him, associate with that dangerous point that goes beyond outright anger, “You’ve just signed her death warrant.” Expression devoid of any emotion now, the beast manager waved a hand toward the door as he turned away from the big man, “Get out of here.”

Alarm struck clear across Waine’s expression for the beast manager’s first, “Boss? She…I don’t think she meant badly by it…” seriously worried for the green weyrling’s safety and sending an uncertain look over to Max. Surely he didn’t intend….the thought was too awful for even him to consider. Instead of doing as bidden and leaving, he took a wary step closer to the beast manater, “Boss don’t do it. She made a mistake. Surely you can see that?” he started pleading on Ahnika’s behalf not wanting any harm to come to the girl despite what she’d done.

Distracted with his own turmoil of thoughts, Max turned a perplexed look onto Waine as he spoke, “Huh?”

Waine’s eyes dropped and settled to the ground before him as he tried to think of a better solution. “Let me take her away from here. Some place else. Maybe Southern Weyr. Just don’t…” words failed him once again and he sent Max a look of pure misery.

Despite his anger at the whole situation, bewilderment was the expression that formed on Max’s face, “What the fuck are you talking about, man!? Take her away? What the shards for!? This is her home!”

Waine’s turn to look puzzled, “But I thought you meant…” he stopped and frowned heavily before chancing a glance Max’s way, “You’re not gonna…you know…” and he drew a line across his throat in a slashing gesture.

Stunned. “What!?” Max’s eyes draw wide with shock. “Fuck no! Are you some special kind of crazy!? Jays!” Frustration and outright disgust that Waine could even suggest such a thing, had him sweeping a hand through his hair. “I love her, you idiot! I’d rather die than see anything happen to her! Why the hell would I do something like that? I’d like to put her over my knee and give her a damn good spanking but I ain’t gonna…” he paused and put an incredulous look onto the big man, “Faranth’s arse, you seriously think I’d do something like that!?”

More than a little shamefaced for having thought his boss even capable of such a thing, Waine mumbled quietly, “No…but you said…you know, the thing about her death warrant, so I thought…” Yeah, he jumped to the next illogical conclusion. Twit!

Dark eyes rolled expressively, “Not me, you moron! Them. The Bitrans that sent him down here in the first place. They know her face now.” He shook his head slowly, “Nice to know you think I’d do something like that though.” A rough snort and then hands planted to hips and he stared hard at the floor, “If she’d just waited for me to get back. Told me what she had in mind…” suddenly his head lifted and he pinned a look onto the miserable looking Waine, “I’m a reasonable man aren’t I? I woulda listened to her.” Right, like he listened to her the night she eventually got mad enough with him and called it quits on him. Not even waiting for an answer from the burly ‘hand he turned toward his desk and with a growled curse of high aggravation swept his hands across it’s top, sending everything crashing to the floor in a jumble of papers, ink pots and half empty bottles of booze.

Left with a mouthful of teeth, Waine shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other, “I don’t think that, boss.” Which is why he’d been mortified in the first place when he’d completely misunderstood what Max had meant. As such he wasn’t about to put his foot in it again by answering the question put to him and so simply nodded in acquiescence to the beast manager being a reasonable enough man. Well, he was really. Once he’d had time to think things over, that is. Now being one of those times. By his reckoning anyway. He flinched as the desktop took the brunt of the man’s annoyance and stepped toward the door. As he opened it, he halted with his hand still on the handle, “I’ll go get everything fixed up right as rain again boss. And…you should go see if she’s okay.” A long silent look got sent to the heavily brooding man who was now slumped into his chair, and then he was gone, closing the door quietly behind him.

Max barely registered Waine’s departure as he leaned back in his chair, hands covering his face and grappling internally with how, in just over a seven, his life had gone to manageable in terms of complications, to downright, fucked up! If ever he needed her by his side, it was now. But being as how she’d called it quits on him and even gone so far as to release his prisoner in further demonstration thereof (the Pernese equivalent of keying his car), that wasn’t going to happen.

Closing Credits Music: Ana Johnson - We Are

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