Whatever Happens


Jaya.jpg Rocio.jpg

Date: Dec. 15, 2010
Location: The Bar, EW
Synopsis: Rio comes by the bar for a glass of wine shared with Jaya. Jaya comes clean on her trysts with Kaskan, considering the new turn of recent events.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jaya

The bar has just closed with the barmaids Suli and Hayli about cleaning up the floor while Shijan was still manning the entrance. Jaya was there behind the counter alone, starting to count her profits for the night as the last patron was walking out of the bar. There's a tense silence in the room save for the activities of marks hitting the counter and floors being swept - the usual banter between those running the bar missing these days since Solak's arrival.

The woman in the dark clothing and the pale veil around her head pauses at the edge of the bar, near the threshhold, before taking a look around and stepping in. Solak is a new one on Rio, and gets the longest perusal, before she'll cross to where Jaya is, and settle on a nearby seat. No words just yet. She is bound to be noticed.

One mark drops, then the next when movement from the entrance draws up Jaya's attention from her counting. Shijan at the entrance, upon recognizing the familiar veil, nods to Rio as she passes him but says nothing at all. Both Suli and Hayli regard her as she passes them on the way towards the counter, the latter frowning slightly as her gaze lands specifically on the veil. It's Jaya that breaks the silence since no one else in the bar does, the woman's face breaking out into a fond smile for her friend and confidant before that smile suddenly turns to one of concern. Setting the marks aside before she moves over to face the woman, she reaches out both hands toward Rio from across the counter and says, "Can I get you anything, Rio?" It was the best she could come up with, considering the fact that she knows about the recent events going on, but she's not bringing that up just yet. All she wants to do right now is hold and comfort her friend.

"Wine?" Rio asks. "Supposedly…. Supposedly we're allowed to drink that. In moderation. Figured I'd like my first glass after this long time, to be with you. How are you, Jaya?" Black shadows under Rio's eyes attest to the lack of sleep the gold weyrling has had, of late. She settles after the hug, and glances over to the new faces, for a second. "New help?"

Rio's words seem to warm the barkeep's face at her initial words, the smile grateful as she turns to get a glass and the appropriate wine. "I'm glad you can," Jaya notes on that particular rule being relaxed, the woman coming back up with both things in hand. Dark eyes fall on what she can see of the weyrling, her concern still touching her face while preparing the glass of wine. She answers the second question first: "Just Hayli," and she nods sharply over towards the petite blonde sweeping the floors with Suli behind her. "You know the other two. I've been…" and there's a pause, a slight frown marring her features before continuing again with "…well, I can really use a break from all this. Yourself?" The wine is poured and she passes the glass over, eyes intent upon Rio along with her question as she holds back saying anything else.

"I may not leave the Weyr." Rio intones. "And I'm very busy. The first is a frustration, the second, I suppose, a good thing in disguise. I…Nights are the hardest. Nights, when Eovarijath sleeps." When she starts thinking about that, which she dare not consider during the day. The gold is not normally a jealous creature, but lately there have been rages. Rio takes a long breath and nods to Jaya. "Your glass?"

The frown lingers, Jaya remaining silent as Rio speaks before a glass is mentioned. She takes a step back and bends to retrieve another glass, coming up and pouring without hesitation. While doing so, "I know about….Kas," she finally admits quietly, pouring the wine close to the top before she carefully claims the glass. Dark eyes seeking Rio's in the pause, "If you could leave here, I'd want to take you with me when I go for a couple of sevendays," she admits quietly, the longing there in her voice. "How is…Eovarijath?"

Rio reaches for her glass only then and lifts it to Jaya's, for a light touch that rings pale in the near-empty bar. Then she takes a sip, regarding Jaya. "How?" Rio hasn't told a soul, so stands to reason… Then again, there was a drudge standing by, in the first encounter, when Kaskan ran from the kitchen. Rio's gaze studies Jaya, though her thoughts course over those possibilities.

With their glasses touching briefly, Jaya doesn't drink right away. Eyes are intent upon Rio at that question before she looks away, the glass finally reaching her lips. After taking a long drink, "I…had gotten to know Kaskan," she says with a tightening of her jaw, "but trust me, shuga, I didn't know that…" and stops. Lips press together and she runs a hand through her unbound ebony hair with a heavy sigh. The glass carefully goes back down, and the barkeep is looking towards the barmaids that seem to be doing a lot less sweeping than they should be now since they're obviously trying to eavesdrop on the two. Her voice lowering as she looks intently towards Rio once more, "I am so sorry, Rio," she says, the concern still lingering in her husky voice as she watches her.

Curiosity sharpens into something more keen. Rio's breath stops, and she achieves a haunting stillness, a default value for a woman kept in a prison. "You got to know him?" Rio repeats, quietly. "And what are you sorry for?" Her glass also settles back on the counter.

Jaya regards Rio for a long moment, watching her reactions and it's showing in the stiffness of her frame. Going for blunt rather than beating around the bush - especially since that was Jaya's nature anyway - "We had some fun. Nothing more. If…if I had known who he really was…to you…" she falters here, the woman shaking her head since she couldn't continue there. Choosing to answer the second then, "I'm sorry about….everything, Rio. Everything. I…want to be here for you, shuga. What can I do?" Eyes are near-pleading, the barkeep beyond caring whether the barmaids or her baodyguard is listening at this point since the weyrling was her sole focus.

Her hand tucks down under her veil, and Rio's gaze immediately breaks with Jaya, to stare at some unoccupied point of wall. Again, that eerie stillness, that complete internalizing of whatever she is thinking or feeling. The Weyrling's eyes close for a moment, then, even shutting visual stimuli out, before she'll murmur, "None of us knew. There is nothing…To be sorry for, Jaya. If…" Her voice falters. Rio's eyes open to look at the wall again, then close again for another long many heartbeats of quiet, before she can speak again. "I had hoped he'd have moved on. Figured me for dead. Or gone." Unconsciously, under that veil, her hand touches the brand on her other forearm, and her shoulders and arm betray the motion. "He would have made a good husband. Should… Be able… To do that. I—" Another quibble in the syllable, "I cannot in good conscience, lay a claim on the man, and force him to play second harp to Eovarijath. — Who is insane with jealousy."

Jaya was expecting the veiled woman to be upset, and the guilt she was feeling was hard to hide on her face at this moment. Frowning down at the glass of wine, "I'd still understand if you….hated me," she says quietly, looking up to meet the weyrling's eyes. "I know that…none of us knew, but…still…if it was me…" Yeah. All of that said but doesn't need to be finished. To the rest the barkeep takes her gaze off of her confidant before slowly shaking her head. "I think he did," she answers on the guard. "As much as I know. He didn't talk all that much about his life, or past to me. I can't speak for him, but….I don't think he was ever over you." Gaze landing on Rio then, "I can say I know men a bit, shuga," she admits with a bit of wryness. "He had a lot going on - that much I could tell. If a man keeps a woman at arm's distance from his life…" and the look turns a bit pointed at the end of that, not needing to finish the sentence. "Anyway, did….did you tell him that? Explained about Eovarijath?" Then, even quieter, "Don't you still….love him?"

Again, the deliberate pause before Rio speaks, as if she would not speak words out of turn, or without deep consideration. "I promised myself to him. Then Will took a liking to me. And I was… Disinclined to marry. But he put pressure on my family. They might have lost their holdings. Kaskan and I plotted. That I'd agree, and we'd run away together. But once I agreed, Will of Crom set his hounds upon me, and I was never unattended. And I was wed. And…" She speaks much of this to the wall, really.

"I was imprisoned immediately. They put me on trial, but would not release me to banishment until they determined if there was a child. And there was. So they kept me that long, and then… By then… It was nine months later, and I a branded outlaw. I cannot go back to Crom. So. It was better to simply hope Kaskan had moved on. Found…Someone else." And there's the other concern, "And if there are assassins, I dare not put him at risk."

"Eovarijath… Is not … Pleased with … My reaction. I have told him it is unsafe for him to be around me while she is awake." The last question is finally answered, obliquely, "Whether or not I love him…Is immaterial now. I am a Weyrling to gold Eovarijath and a Junior Weyrwoman to this Weyr. I am no longer able to live for just myself."

A longer silence meets Rio as she speaks on what had transpired up in Crom, Jaya studying the woman as she tries to gauge her feelings for her. Towards the end, she finally responds - that being, she gives an awkward nod as she takes everything in. "Do not fool yourself," she notes then, a hand lifting to touch the rim of her own untouched glass. "You may be a Weyrwoman now, shuga, but that doesn't mean your feelings, and his, are invalid." Meeting her eyes again, "I see dragonriders weyrmating and getting along all the time in my bar. Even Alara. Eovarijath, for now…sure, she would be upset. That will change." Hands spread out on the counter before her now. "I just…..don't give up on him, Rio," she says in a near-whisper, regarding the other closely. "You've changed. He's changed. I think at least….you two need to know each other again." She's overstepping boundaries, getting involved, and she knows it - but Rio means more to her than she realizes and wants her happiness as much as her own.

"He is not a dragonrider." Rio points out. "Those who weyrmate, usually are." An exhaled sigh, and slight shake of her head, "He's walked off on me, twice, Jaya. I don't think… This is…Something he can do. With me. He… Still calls me Rocio. He does not know who I am. He loves someone who isn't, anymore. And I look at him and… Wonder all the ifs I thought I let go, a turn ago. What if I had not killed the man. If Kaskan and I could have escaped. What it would have been like, with him. When…"

Rio's swallow is audible, and now the tears start, silent, tracing paths down her cheeks, "When he grabbed me and hugged me…I had visions of what happened with Will. What he did to me. Overlaid," true distress in her voice, "On -Kaskan-." Again she turns to look at the wall, now hugging herself unconciously. "I was terrified. There's never been another … Another man since…That happened." She shakes her head, then, angry. "It's not something he needs, Jaya. I'm not anything he needs."

Rio's words cause Jaya to frown more, but it's not until she catches that tear escaping the veiled woman's cheek and she starts to hug herself that she takes the steps to move from around the counter and goes to offer Rio her embrace when she's close. "Damn, Rio…." she breathes the words in a near-whisper. "He walked off on you again?" Disapproval is in her tone, the scarred woman frowning heavily at that. "I…shit, I'm sorry, shuga." If she could, she would reach out to brush a thumb across her veiled cheek, then finally nods in understanding to what is said. "So that's it then? You both just….forget it? Forget everything?" To her, something didn't seem right in all that, either.

Rio leans into her friend, and Jaya will be able to feel the tremors, the absolute knotted tension with which the slight Weyrling holds herself. The tears seem to travel a path worn well these days, and they continue to flow. Just silent weeping. Another lesson of long captivity is that noise brought guards, and guards… Were unpleasant. Rio can be a master of silence, in her movement, her stance, her breathing, her bearing and now, her grief.

"Time and violence has separated us," Rio breathes, "From who we were. Both he and I. Kaskan was a gardener. Was going to breed a variety of rose and name it after me. We danced, we played, we teased, we dreamed. We kissed and held each other by moonlight, in forbidden places, at times we were not allowed to be out or together. We laughed and loved, but never…'had fun'." Rio shakes her head slightly. "But now… He is this angry person who swears oaths of revenge without consideration. Whose anger…" Rio draws in a long breath and releases it with deliberation, "Blots out what he found joy in, once upon a time. And he loves a woman named Rocio, who died with her husband, I think." Rio was born then, but it took Eovarijath to put the name onto the woman. "I… Will not forget what once was. But I cannot foolishly think that that is, now. Anymore."

Jaya tightens her embrace around the gold weyrling when she feels the tremors in her, continuing to offer her own silent strength. Dropping her chin on Rio's shoulder, "Sometimes there are those that can only react to such violence with like kind," she says quietly for Rio's ears only, seeming to speak from experience. Turning her head a little towards her, "He still needs you," she says low, close to her ear. "To take the anger away. To know Rio, not Rocio. For old times' sake, shuga." She straightens up then to look at her face, giving the woman an encouraging smile. Making sure she has Rio's attention, a hand lifting to grab a hold of her by a veiled chin, "You know that I would do anything for you," she says that with fervor, watching her intently. "You mean that much to me. I have few people in my life that I can say this to. You….I believe that it's going to be alright. Whatever happens, shuga."

Rio doesn't believe Jaya's comforting words, but she'll lend the impression of believing them. The weeping will eventually stop. She'll gain control of herself once more. And she'll finally reach for that wine, for another sip. And another. Anything, so she can sleep. But Rio can't even finish the glass, before she's standing, before she'll turn into another embrace. No words this time. Rio won't lie to Jaya, and anything else she thinks she could say, right now, could not possibly be counted as progressive. But Rio's on her way back out again, after that hug.

To the silence that meet those words, Jaya only holds onto that lingering hug until Rio finally pulls away. She'll watch the other drink the wine, fall into that embrace again before she's standing there and watching her friend walk out of her bar. No further words is given from the barkeep, her sadness for the weyrling as present as the tension in her frame as she watches the other go - and with the stress of the encounter pulling at her features, Jaya only turns away from those watching her for the counter, reaching for the wine instead of returning to counting marks, letting the heavy silence fall about her like a dark shroud.

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