Yesterday Today And Tomorrow


Max.jpg Ahnika.jpg

Date: 2010.10.27
Location: EW - Lakeshore
Synopsis: Max eventually having had enough of trying to keep his past and present separate, comes clean with Ahnika about everything, resulting in another important hurdle in their relationship being successfully overcome.
Rating: PG13
Logger: Max

Past the hour of the dinner meal, for both Ahnika and Jhath, but before Jhath's final bath and oiling of the day and of course Ahnika's bath as well, Ahnika was returning to the barracks from her supper in the Living Cavern when she caught sight of Max trying to get a moment of her time. There was only a little pause before Jhath marshaled her way out of the barracks (having been waiting for Ahni to return from dinner in there), and the tall, stocky green dragonet appoints herself chaperone for the young couple as they decide to go for a leisurely walk around the lakeshore. Ahnika walks between Jhath and Max, her two protective champions, essentially sandwiched in, though she's far from squished. She is talkative at first, her expression showing some worry as they walk since Max has never actually asked her to go for a walk with him, well, not like this anyway, since Impressing. But she is patient too, waiting until they have made it to the lakeshore proper and the crowd thins around them before asking softly, "Net was found, wasn't he?" Oddly fearing the worst for the man whose death is very likely on her own hands here.

Having given Jhath her dues in polite greeting, and Ahnika too, though with obvious more warmth for the latter, Max had slipped into what he hoped to be a companionable silence only reaching for the redhead's hand to lace his fingers through hers once they were well away from prying and likely disapproving eyes. Nodding here and there and making short comment at intervals to her chatter, quite at ease with the tall dragonet's presence, he had otherwise maintained an uneasy silence. With their path having led them to the shores of the lake he starts to steer their path toward where a shelf-shaped boulder has been left after the excavations as impromptu seating. Gesturing for Ahnika to take a seat before doing so himself, the air of unease he'd been trying to keep hidden during the short walk down there, unveils in a light frown, "No, love. He's gone. Well out of the Weyr by now. No point in even trying to look for him." Because all that would likely to be found, would be a body but he doesn't have the heart to tell her as much.

Ahnika is easily led to the boulder-bench seat with their fingers entwined. Jhath continues her marshaled pace, much slower than normal considering the dragonet has a longer stride than the two humans beside her. In a dignified manner, Jhath curls up in the soft, sandy turf around the boulder, calculating the side of which is most vulnerable to attack and situating herself there, preparing to defend them. From what she thinks she will be defending them is anyone's guess, but this is her reasoning for choosing where she will settle. As tall and stocky as she is, at four months now, she is dwarfing the shelf-shaped boulder, and inadvertently making for a little more privacy, at least from that side. There's a pause where Ahnika seems a little unfocused in internal dialogue, and then she settles on the stone that's grown a little cooler in the evening, though not by much considering this is summer. As Max speaks, Ahnika actually seems to relax a little, not having the same exposure to the underworld as he has had to know that Jinnet's disappearance is not as much a good sign as it is a bad sign. But she doesn't verbalize her thoughts. "Okay, so … we're focusing on Passan now, and the farmer. How is that coming?" She asks quietly, curious, but her expression still a little worried for Max's behavior.

Watching as Jhath situates herself in what he can only imagine must be some sort of position of defence, Max exhibits a faint margin of amusement and then that slips away as seated beside Ahnika, hands still entwined, his reply comes somewhat distracted. “No, Passan’s long since gone. He was the one that knifed Bo when they came after Renegade.” So, likely dead too. As to the farmer, “Got some feelers out.” And then he slips into silence, brows slightly furrowed and attention focussed on their hands for a moment. Finally he lifts his head, dark eyes seeking out grey in the moonlight, “Ahni…” mouth forming about a light frown and then inhaling slowly he tries again, “You said you wanted to know everything, aye? About me. And, what I do.” Low held voice carrying a note of uncertainty to it.

Jhath snorts at the mention of Passan knifing Bo, even if she's never met Bo. It's the principle of the thing. One thing is for sure, the talk of violence doesn't upset this militant green. Ahnika nods a little, shifting just a little more to be able to rest a hand against Jhath's side while her other remains laced with Max's. His comment to the 'feelers' being put out has Ahnika lapsing quiet again, but her gaze is for the moonlit lake itself as she starts to go over everything and try to work out a way to draw the farmer out. She seems about ready to speak again when Max begins talking again and she turns her attention back to him, meeting that gaze in the near darkness. She furrows her brow a bit and then nods slowly, her expression relaxing and she squeezes his hand encouragingly. "I don't want to be shut out, Max," she says softly, "I want to be a part of your life in every way, so yes, I want to know everything there is to know." Her voice trails off, but her attention remains on him now.

Jhath is given a brief flicker of attention for the snort and then he nods slowly to Ahnika’s response. His thumb brushes over the back of her hand in reaction to the squeeze of hand. A moment taken to gather his thoughts, gaze breaking away from hers and being sent out over the lake, silver streaked by the moons. Slowly he begins speaking, his tone held emotionless, “From around the age of ten turns, I started to realize that…my Ma and Pa were more than just an assistant headwoman and brownrider. Talking in hushed tones that abruptly ended whenever I walked into the room, strangers turning up at all hours of the day and night and introduced as either distant family, or friends. It was around the time I almost blew the stables up, that I discovered what they were up to,” not going into detail there. “That’s when my Pa sat me down and explained it all and when he got me positioned with a part time job working in the stables to pay back the damages done. Every spare moment I had was either down there,” the stables, “or at his side, being trained to take my place with them one day.” Here he stops for a moment flicks a sidelong glance over to the redhead and then continues, “Pa…” frowning a little, “well he thought it could only be done a-dragon-back. Ma thought differently,” hence some of the enormous arguments that had unfolded between his parents, “Either way, he had this wherry brained idea that one day I’d impress.” Tone wry at the end there before dropping away entirely so as to allow her time to digest what had been said so far.

Ahnika remains quiet as he begins to speak, and while his attention goes to the lake, hers stay on his face, or the shadow of it with the hour. Her brow furrows again as she listens, this time at the mention nearly blowing up the stables, mostly for the sheer confusion over how that could have possibly happened and what sort of combustible she will need to make sure their own son, one day, will never, ever have access to such a thing. But she doesn't interrupt, and as he continues to talk, her expression smoothes out once more. When he casts that sidelong glance at her, she simply nods slowly, indicating she is still listening and paying attention. His last comment earns a frown though and she stiffens a little, just as Jhath lifts her head briefly, and Ahni distractedly rubs Jhath's side where her hand falls. She murmurs, "Not a wherry-brained idea," considering she'd thought it herself, though wasn't entirely sure if she actually wanted him to Impress and being more exposed to the danger of Threadfighting. "If you wanted to," she amends softly. Now really wasn't the time to go into this, but she didn't want Max to feel like he couldn't join Search if it was something he was genuinely interested in doing, and she definitely didn't like the idea that he thought the idea was wherry-brained. So, she voices those two objections, and then lapses quiet once more, letting him continue.

A brow lifts and Max casts her a dubious sidelong glance, “Aye, well Indira has a point to her argument about the involvement of too many riders.” Not expanding on that just yet as he picks up the thread of his thoughts again, frowning a little and eyes finding a distant point to fix on for the next, “When Pa…died,” his voice dropping lower to barely audible, “I…” went off the rails but it doesn’t get said, “lost interest,” he chooses to say instead, “figured that without him, there was no point. So when Lord Tillek offered me a position as junior stable manager down at the Hold, I took it. S’where I met Yaron. He was one of the hold guards.” Figuring the further away he got, the better to leave it all behind. And then he draws silent again grappling with his thoughts. “I was angry…confused…and just…wanted it all to go away.” Not an easy confession for the man. Sighing, “And so I got into the fight circuits held down the docks,” turning his head fractionally in Ahnika’s direction and then back out over the lake, he continues on, slower now, “I liked it.” Simply stated. “That’s where I met Waine, knocked me clean out the first round,” a wry expression forming for that. “Anyway, he…was in trouble and so we put a plan together. Yaron would place bets and we’d win or lose our fights according to the highest odds being paid out. The marks went to his paying off his gambling debts.” Here he goes quiet again before sending a searching look onto the redhead, wariness evident all across his expression even for the darkness.

Ahnika frowns a little at his first comment while Jhath lowers her head and issues a throaty rumble that is not unlike thunder really, and louder than she had meant it to be. But Ahnika seems to relax as a result, so whatever is going on between the two, it seems one is finding strength in the other as Max continues to speak and Ahnika continues to listen, not interrupting. Her expression evens out again, mildly sympathetic without actually appearing piteous for his confessions here, but in all of it, she doesn't actually appear disapproving or disgusted. Quite frankly, she's not altogether surprised to hear he liked the fighting. It fits what she understands of Max already, and well, come on now, how often have the two of them fought since their relationship began? She lifts her brows a little at the explanation of meeting Waine, wondering how Max got out of that with his head still on his shoulders, but she says nothing and in the end when he settles that searching look on her, she more or less blinks at him, figuring she should say something but not entirely sure what she should say, so she just offers, "That was … generous of you both, helping Waine out like that." And she means it … she just has a feeling she is sort of missing something here. It could be the fact that the fighting circuits aren't what 'respectable' people would approve of, but since when has Ahnika marched to the beat of anyone's drum but her own? So, she doesn't seem to think it a problem, Max's involvement in the circuits.

With a faint smile, his attention slips over to Jhath, "Don't worry, darlin'. I'll explain why in a bit." The blink and ensuing words coming from Ahnika over Waine keep it in place a little longer, although it holds a rueful edge to it, "That's…kind of what my parents did…do," correcting himself there on Indira's behalf. "It's what we still do now," now including himself in that line of work, "We help people that have fallen into trouble and need a hand out of it." As such and despite his having wanted to have nothing to do with it after his father had died, he'd fallen into it due to Waine without having even realized it at the time. Continuing on the topic of what they do, "Most of the time they're in serious trouble, so we do what we can to get them out from under it. New names, new backgrounds, new places to go to and start over again." As to the fight circuits, he states, "The fight circuits are usually run by the crime bosses. Kelarad runs Tillek. He runs the betting on runner races too." Starting to get off topic a little, although not entirely, he exhales and picks up the tale, "I fell into it easier than I thought I would. Next thing I knew Waine was telling me of a young woman, whose husband owed Kelarad a gambling debt over runner races. We were able to get one of the Hold's runners signed up for the race without the Lord's knowledge. Yaron dosed the reigning champion so that Blue Streak and I would have a better chance at ensuring a win and paying the husband's debt back for him. We didn't know at the time that he'd already been…dealt with or that the champion had belonged to Kelarad. Only found out after the race. We took his widow with us and got her a job working the laundry back at the Hold under a new name." Having seemed to have had an easier time speaking on the topic Max suddenly goes quiet and sets Ahnika with a long and unreadable look, bringing their joined hands up to his lips and kissing the back of her hand. "There's more to Tillek though, Ahni," said as he drops their hands away again, "Lady Garnalla…took a liking to me and…" frowning heavily, "I was flattered at the time. Had no idea the kind of poison I was getting involved in," a sound of disgust is uttered and then swallowing slowly he states quietly, "She's…Little Bit's mother."

Jhath may look like she is bored, lying there beside them, but in reality, this is all starting to sound like an exciting heroic tale to the stocky green, and perhaps unbeknownst to Max, the green's estimation of him goes up a few notches. Not, you know, a lot, considering the involvement of criminal activities, but Jhath can appreciate the anti-hero nearly just as much as the hero. For her part, Ahnika nods through most of his explanation, seeming calm and undeterred, remaining where she is and listening attentively, a few of the puzzle pieces more or less falling into place - some with a little more force than others, but there nonetheless. She looks momentarily confused at the mention of a runner race being fixed, but she's not put off by it in the least, just trying to wrap her head around it all as she takes it in, not just learning more about Max, but about the seedier side of Pern at the same time. When he kisses their joined hands together, she strokes his hand with her thumb gently, her expression opened and encouraging, and then he continues, talking of Lady Garnalla and of flattery and of poison and then that shoe drops and her thumb stills. To be sure, her expression doesn't change much. There's no look of disapproval or shame on his behalf. Neither are their slaps on the back and congratulations for 'tapping that' though, of course. She blinks a lot, very quickly, and her gaze drops to the ground as she takes that in, but her expression reveals nothing. Jhath lifts her head, however, turning a large multi-faceted eye on the couple with interest before nudging Ahni a little in the shoulder with her nose. The redhead reaches over with her free hand and absently rubs the green's headknobs. "She's your daughter’s mother," Ahnika finally states in a somewhat flat tone.

It’s that flat tone, right at the end when the realization sinks in over who his daughter’s mother is that has Max’s expression turning into a tight and pained line as he utters quietly, “Aye.” And then bitterness taints his tone, “The bitch, scared of the consequences of being caught in having screwed around on him, somehow convinced Lord Elisser, the baby was his. I would have stuck around longer at Tillek if only to be able to…be near her,” his daughter, “but by that time Kelarad had figured out where we were operating from so we had to leave.” Which would be around when the three had joined up with Indira’s band of holdless on the road to Nerat. “Can’t go back for her now either. Not with Kelarad still sniffing around. If he figures out she’s mine…” shaking his head with lips pressing into a grim line, “She’s safer being thought of as the Lord’s daughter for now.” Something that clearly eats at the man with every day that goes by. That aside, dark eyes flicker over to Ahnika regret for whatever pain his confession might be causing her, “I’m so sorry, baby. I just…I wish it were different…” sighing, “Told you I was bad news.” Not looking for sympathy but instead stating the reason why he’d tried to stay away from her right from the get go.

Satisfied (about what no one but the two of them can possibly know), Jhath lowers her head back down to the ground and resumes listening. Talk of Lady Garnalla initially earns another rumble from Jhath, but it's meant in agreement to Max's reference to her as a bitch, not derision. Ahni merely smiles at her green a moment, despite the conversation, for the fact that Jhath is warming to Max's side a little more, and then she looks back at Max and it's not until he has finished talking completely that she exhales softly and leans forward to kiss him lightly, settling back more comfortably on her butt before talking, "It was better that you came," not to mention if he hadn't, Ahnika might not have ever met him. "It's not ideal, but it all makes it safer for her, if she's within the Lord Holder's home and believed to be his own," and if anything he's said has caused her any pain, she's doing a good job of hiding it as it's not showing in either her tone or expression. She's distracted for a moment, either with some internal dialogue with Jhath or just simply her own thoughts, and then she looks back into his face, though much of it can't be seen clearly at this hour, "I wish it were different as well, but only because you're clearly not happy and … . I love you, no matter your past, and I want you to be happy and have everything that you want, including your daughter … one day." Pause, "When it's safer for her." With this, Ahnika smiles and leans in to rest her head against his shoulder if he allows, murmuring, "What do you need me to do, Love?"

If there was anything being hidden behind his brutally honest words and admissions, it was likely the deep seated fear that in knowing the truth of him now, that she’d leave. So it is that Ahnika’s perceived acceptance, however she might be hiding her own feelings on his past and the light kiss are met with a hard swallow, his hand releasing hers to pull her into a fierce hug before she settles back on her butt. His regrets are less about past actions in trying to help someone in trouble and more to do with the topic of his daughter and the situation surrounding her existence. Not however, voiced at this point. Max goes quiet for her response, a smile curling faintly onto the one corner of his mouth and then dropping off again as she leans in against him. Wrapping an arm about her, his head resting against hers, “I need to know what you’re thinking, baby,” not seeming able to still the gnawing anxiety in his gut right now and he doesn’t have that mental connection with her that Jhath does, “Because I can’t do this on my own anymore.” Now more than ever, he needs her to believe in him, in what he does and to be at this side. It’s the realization that she simply may not be able to that has him waiting in silence for her reply, the hand of the arm around her, stroking it’s thumb up and down where it rests on her upper arm in agitated movement. Anything else, such as his needing to leave for Telgar in a few days and getting back into the fight circuits, can wait until she’s had a chance to fully digest what he’s already told her.

It's his fierce hug that draws Jhath's head up suddenly with a whoofing warning sound from her throat, not menacing or threatening so much as 'Hey! Watch it!' in reference to Ahni's still healing injuries, and Ahnika tenses and grunts a little against him, and probably best that with the hug he can't see the wince before she recovers and smoothes her expression out once again, and Jhath hesitates before lowering her head once more. As she adjusts her position for more comfort while curling up against him, she settles her injured arm gently over his thigh, hand resting on his knee, and then she closes her eyes and smiles a little at the cuddling up with him, as he lowers his head against her own. Right now she's thinking how being here like this under the moons and the stars feels so right and so good and how could she have been so stupid as to storm out of his office as she had when they were fighting before he left for High Reaches Weyr. But she also knows that's not what he is asking for, so she takes a moment or two to gather her thoughts and organize them (she really was headwoman material, wasn't she?). The silence really probably doesn't help Max, but she isn't silent beyond a few heartbeats, and she simply says, "I think … it all makes so much more sense now." She opens her eyes a moment, but doesn't dislodge her head from under his, just stares out in the direction she's facing, across the dark lake. "Like a piece of the puzzle that's been nagging at me to find it has just slipped into place … you and your mother, Waine and Yaron, and all the people you seem to surround yourself with," like the man guarding Indira's door, "even this mess with Jaya and the lengths you seem to be going to for her." Not that Ahnika wouldn't, herself, of course. But the fact that Max would, she understands better. "I didn't think I could possibly love you any more than I do, Max, and here you go and tell me this and I just think you're one amazing, incredible, generous man and I do love you more for it all." Well, okay, Max wasn't terribly kind and generous with Jinnet, but Ahnika tries not to dwell. Maybe it was really Waine who roughed him up. Yes. She'll tell herself that. Perhaps oddly, the fighting circuits she doesn't really think about one way or another. Of course, that might change if she ever saw one. "As for Kelarad and your daughter," she says, slowly, thinking he is asking for her input in a planning sense, "I think, until we can be sure we can keep her safe here, away from him, she's better off there, as you say. But Jhath and I will muse on how best to go about getting her away from the Lady Holder in the meantime. I'm sure we'll come up with something good." Jhath rumbles her approval to that statement, but otherwise remains still, curled up against the side of the boulder. Ahnika gives his knee a little squeeze in both encouragement and comfort, "We'll get her back," she whispers to him, "Don't fret, my Love."

It wasn’t that he’d forgotten about her injuries so much as in that instant he would have pulled her right into himself if that were even at all possible. As such the warning rumble from Jhath combined with the slight tensing against him from Ahnika has Max pulling away and sending a wary look down onto her. And then it clicks, “Oh…jays…sorry, baby.” Dumbass! With her curling up more comfortably against him, “Hope you’ve been seeing the healers regularly about these,” a nod going down to her arm. Him being a fine one to talk when it comes to visits to healers. And then that silence spreads out from her, his frame stiffening fractionally in response and remaining that way for a fair portion into what she says. At the point where praise is given and she goes on to further state her love for him, there comes an odd movement of his chest, that might be mistaken for a hiccough, his head swinging away and settling in the opposite direction of the side of him she’s curled up against. And so it’s many a long moment before the soft sound of a long exhale might be heard by the redhead, his arm tightening where it had slipped to rest about her waist. Somewhat dumbstruck by her reaction, he shakes his head a little and then turns it tightly back in against hers, murmuring against her hair, “I was so sure…” she was going to leave him? Tone filled with small wonder as he breathes out in open relief, “Baby you are…just…amazing!” And if she weren’t injured (and he’d already just squished said injuries) he’d likely pull her as tightly into his arms as he dared without crushing the air out of her. He settles however for a quiet and deeply sincere, “Thank you.” Which seems so entirely inadequate but he’s still a little awestruck right now, so he could be forgiven for perhaps not being more verbose about the deep sense of gratitude felt both for her understanding and the simple fact of having her in his life at all. Finally, he addresses what she’d said about her and Jhath putting together a plan to get his daughter away from Tillek Hold, “I have complete trust and faith in the two of you doing so, love.” And he honestly does. He goes quiet for a moment, not wishing to break what to him, is rather profound moment in his relationship with Ahnika but he knows he has to and so adds in low voice, “There’s a reason I told you all of this now, baby.”

There comes a sigh from the redhead and Ahnika briefly appears miserable, but does answer somewhat wearily, "Yes, yes, three times a day since they discovered the infection and had to take the stitches out." She's still not really sure about the scarring, but is trying to be optimistic that the ointment will remove most of it. But she lapses quiet again, enjoying the moment between them even if he is having a little more of a profound moment of revelation than she is, but that speaks a lot to her obliviousness and inexperience in such matters, really, and not so much to a lack of compassion. His reaction, subtle that is it, garners no response to her until it becomes verbal, and at that point Ahnika furrows her brow a little and asks curiously, "You were so sure of what?" but as he says the rest, her curios expression transforms into a little blush - such that it can be seen at this hour in the moonlight - and a coy smile, and her hand rubs his knee again fondly. "Hardly," to her being amazing, "You're one to talk. You're the amazing one. Jhath's practically gushing over your heroics over there." She makes a vague gesture to the stocky green who is doing anything but gushing, at least physically, and she gives a much more dignified rumble of approval instead as if to prove any thoughts of any gushing completely inaccurate. Then Ahnika smiles a little to his 'thank you' and nods, smiling a little more at his faith in her and Jhath, and then furrows her brow a little to his last, her expression to one of concern once more as she replaces her hand on his knee. "Go on …" she prompts gently.

A brow lifts unseen in the dark, “Infection? Love, if you were having trouble tending them, you should have come to me.” He’s no Healer by any standards but he could at least have been some help with regards to cleaning, numbing and redressing her wounds. There was however no underlying chastisement in his tone. As demonstrated by the kiss dropped to the top of her head. Given quietly as to what he’d been sure of, “That you’d want nothing to do with any of it, and…leave me.” Having only had her last reaction with regards to Jinnet and Bitra to go by. Max dips his head in an attempt to try and capture her gaze in the dim light cast by the moons, “Don’t sell yourself short, baby. A lesser woman would have been long gone by now.” His head turns to regard Jhath with an expression made up of faint amusement and scepticism before stating with faint amusement, “More like going in where fools fear to tread.” He does however appear gratified in finding some kind of favour with her bonded. Setting his hand over hers on his knee, a glance goes back to Jhath, down onto Ahnika and then out over the darkened lake for her prompt to continue. “I needed for you to know all that, so that maybe you’ll understand why I have to get back into again,” the fight circuits, “And why I need to go up to Telgar in a few days time.” Expanding on the latter first, “Jaya’s former employer, Keane…he got roughed up by Vaput and his men that went there looking for her and she’s worried about him, wants to check in on him. I can’t let her go on her own.” Jaw tightening he forces himself to say the next, “The barmaid, one of ‘Rad’s family working there at the time was…taken against her will,” unable to make himself actually say the word, looking and sounding somewhat sickened for the topic, “I figure maybe if we can help her,” the barmaid, “That maybe…” shrugging in small helpless gesture, “he’ll see the debt as paid and it will open the way to getting Little Bit back. “When I was in the Reaches I had a trusted rider deliver a note to Auren, she’s the laundress at the Hold I told you about? Or she was. I’m not sure if she’s still there. Thought I’d start getting what information I can about Little Bit before we go in.” Information she can be sure will now be turned over to her in order for Ahnika and Jhath to put a plan together. Then he touches back on the fighting circuits, lips pursing a little beforehand, “The fights they’re not run with the best interests of those involved. It’s all about the gambling and the marks. The men…they don’t get the medical help they need, when they need it.” Pausing and turning an unseen smile down onto her, “Your intel about Jonavan gave me an opening to start putting together a way to get it to them. But…they’re not going to trust me if they don’t see me as one of them.”

"It was more about not being able to treat them properly and keep it a secret. So, the number of times the cuts needed my attention outweighed the number of opportunities I had to treat them discreetly, that's all." For some reason, thinking about the potential scars and what he'll think of her for them causes her a little bit of anxiety, though she doesn't show it except for the chewing on her lip. Jhath, however, lifts her head again and snorts, though considering the timing it could simply be in reaction to Ahni not being able to attend to her wounds properly. Jhath lowers her head while Ahnika sighs and simply says, "It's fine now, though. I've made an arrangement with the … Infirmary." Referring to the facility and not the Healer specifically. Inquiring about Max's visit to Jonavan needs to wait, too, for that matter. Now is not the time. She lapses quiet, but briefly, and then she makes an incredulous sound, "Leave you? After just getting you back? And over this? Hardly. My love, the past is the past. There is little point in dwelling on it once we've learned from it." Spoken as if she were in her 50s or something and not a teenager. She goes quiet again as he continues, and her thumb plays a little against his hand as he rests his over hers. Then, as the rest of it unfolds from his lips, her expression shifts from open acceptance and even mild indifference and into confusion and concern. She remains silent as he continues, though, not interrupting him. Her thumb stops moving, though and little by little she tenses until finally she sits up from him, drawing one knee up in front of (not against) her chest. She swallows a bit, something (probably what happened to the barmaid) leaving a bad taste in her mouth, and she frowns thoughtfully out across the lake, as Jhath rumbles seemingly in disapproval for something, but it sounds so much like her approving rumble it may be hard to tell, before Ahnika exhales a long-held breath. "Let me understand … you and Jaya are leaving … for Telgar … to check on her old boss and this barmaid of his … and somehow find a way to help her … in order to clear your debt with Kelarad … and then we can proceed on working to get your daughter back with help from a laundress named Auren …" her tone is guardedly uncertain, "How do you plan on helping this barmaid?"

“Ah,” that small sound of understanding coming from Max having been in the situation of needing to hide injuries more than once himself. “Just promise you’ll keep up with the regular visits, aye?” Having seen the wounds for himself, he’s probably already realized there’s likely to be scarring. A fact that doesn’t seem to bother him except for him having been the cause of it all in the first place, something he doesn’t think to put voice to at this time. The lack of light goes a ways to hiding the small and somewhat sheepish expression that crosses his features for having thought she’d leave him, his hand squeezing briefly over hers, “Aye well, it would be the nail for a lot of women, baby,” given soberly and then with dry tone to his voice, “The past has a way of coming back and biting you in the ass unless you deal with it.” He’s at least learned that much. As Ahnika draws away from him and exhales in what he interprets to be a sigh of foreboding his head turns, trying to gauge her reaction and expression through the dark even before she begins speaking. He remains warily quiet however until she’s finished. “Aye,” he confirms to what it is he’s planning on doing, “Taking Shijan with us and of course the brownrider Indira’s got on hand to get us there,” which means that there’ll at least be dragon-to-dragon communication channels available if need be.” As to how he plans to help the barmaid, shoulders shift in a shrug, “Dunno, baby. Need to get there and see what she needs first. Medical care if she needs it. Indira has someone with apprentice Healer training up that way. Take her to Tillek if that’s what she wants or back hereabout,” to the sweep area covered by the Weyr, “if she needs to disappear.” His next is earnestly given, seeking her understanding and silence, “Ahni…Ma can’t know about Tillek just yet, aye? There’s too much at stake. The more that know, the higher the risk of someone being compromised.”

"I will," Ahni smiles a little, trying to sound reassuring. The fact was, she had to now. Jonavan will turn her in if she doesn't. So, yes, she will make her appointments, but she's not ready to tell Max about that encounter with Jonavan yet. This conversation was a bit heavier in other matters right now. She frowns at the past biting one in the ass comment, but she holds her tongue on that as well, only visually showing her disagreement with a slight pursing of lips, for all that it may go unnoticed considering the hour and the lack of proper lighting. Then the pursed lips turn into a curious, thoughtful frown, "Shijan?" Trying to recall the name and face to go with it, but the expression relaxes at the mention of dragon-to-dragon correspondence at least. She remains studiously quiet through the rest of what he has to say, and distracted and thoughtful. Jhath shifts a bit restlessly beside them on the boulder, itching for a fight with something, someone, a reflection of what Ahni is feeling, but the green remains where she is other than the restless shifting. When Ahnika speaks again, it's softly put, and explains a lot of why her lifemate was behaving restlessly, "After Phineus attacked me …" she exhales a little breath, "it was hard not to feel … helpless … like I couldn't protect myself … wasn't in control of my life anymore … I had trouble sleeping … nightmares," then she shrugs a little, "and I was really embarrassed. Was terrified of who would find out …" her shoulders slump a bit and Jhath, who rarely whines, does so now, "and that was with him not actually forcing himself on me. I can only imagine with her, she might be feeling those things ten times worse, Max. I don't know if she'd really welcome the help of a perfect stranger, though perhaps moreso than her own family," she says, putting herself in the other woman's shoes for a moment to try and riddle out what she might do or want or need. Then she shivers a little involuntarily. How close had she come to being in that woman's shoes? "But Jaya knows her? That'll be good. Help coming from a friend she can trust, a woman, even if you're behind it all," suggesting perhaps an approach to take with the barmaid, "And a feeling of being in control again," she exhales a long, slow breath and closes her eyes, shivering again - not from cold weather obviously - and nuzzling closer. With her eyes closed, she starts to say, "I won't te-" and then stops, realizing that she'd pretty much said as much that she wouldn't tell when he told her about Jinnet. How good is her word now? Worthless. She frowns, and tries with, "I don't see a point in telling anyone about Tillek," she certainly isn't going to need fellis any time soon, "It'd be foolish to do so." Hoping that by acknowledging that, he'll trust her word this time.

Seeming happy to accept what she says about having her wounds tended, he puts a smile over to her, “Good. Or else you’ll have me to deal with when I get back,” teasing. Then again, maybe not. As to her querying the name given he simply states, “Jaya’s bodyguard.” A querying glance goes Jhath’s way for the restless shifting but before he’s able to ask, Ahnika has started talking along lines that draw a tight expression to his face over the man that had attacked her, his thumb moving light strokes across the back of her hand despite the way his fingers in subconscious gesture, curl tighter about hers. He remains silent throughout, gaze cast to where the water laps along the shoreline in a bid to afford her the space to speak more comfortably on the matter. A rough sigh spills out and he turns a pained expression onto her, “Wish you’d never had to go through that, baby,” although eternally grateful that Phineus hadn’t indeed gotten so far as to force himself on her. “I don’t know if Jaya knows her, but as you say, I’d imagine she’d rather be approached by another woman,” somewhat frustrated that his very gender may prevent him in following his instincts to actively help on a one on one basis. With his arm having fallen away when she’d pulled away from him earlier, Max wraps it back about her when shivers giving in quiet tone, “The choices will be hers, love,” seeming to understand the need for the barmaid to feel like she’s in control again. Another sigh followed by a slight frown, “I wish you could come with us, Ahni. This is something I could really use your help with.” The admission given probably easier than she might have thought it would be. On the matter of her keeping silent over Tillek, a small and somewhat dry smile appears before he’s responding soberly, “Think of it this way, baby. In my having told you what I have, you now hold the lives of other people in your hands.” And not just his and his daughter’s either. “Keeping quiet, keeps them alive.”

Ahnika is quite certain she'll have to deal with Max in an unpleasant way if she is unable to make her appointments, and isn't about to call his bluff on it, even if she wasn't going to get in trouble with the weyrlingmasters in the first place. The explanation of Shijan gets a brief nod, and then she finds comfort in his thumb stroking across her hand. "It's not something I'd like to ever repeat," she says on the experience, "but having gone through it? I think I can understand experiences other women have gone through, like this barmaid, so maybe something good can come of it at least, if we can help them better." She lets herself be drawn in against him once more with his arm around her as she shivers, and sighs, closing her eyes. She reopens her eyes at his statement that he could really use her help and that single statement from him probably made her entire turn. Her expression brightens noticeably and she leans her head up to kiss him on the lips lightly, and then says, "Thank you. I wish I could too, my Heart," Ahnika says, followed by another rumble from Jhath, to which Ahnika grins and explains, "Jhath wishes she and I could go with you, too." And then she settles in more against him again, until she is practically in his lap (which may have been her intent), cuddling up with him. She nods to his last, "Right. When you get back, and when we start getting information from the laundress, I'll talk to you about some of our ideas and if we need to involve someone else, I'll let you make that decision, Love." See? Teamwork. They can do this. "When are you going to Telgar?" She asks after a little pause.

A warm smile appears when she uses the term ‘we’ in what she says with Max’s thumb stilling against her hand, “Ahni if…we can convince her to come back here to take some time to gather herself together again before going back to her family, would you be willing to spend some time with her?” It’s probably a lot to ask given that she’s slap bang in the middle of weyrlinghood, but he really doesn’t know of anyone else that might be able to reach through to the barmaid. And then his head dips to meet that light kiss, keeping his own pressed against hers a little longer in a show of the gratitude he’s not currently able to properly express. Lips curling against her own in a smile he breaks away and turns a look onto Jhath and then gives with sincerity, “I promise you both that as soon as you’re able to leave the Weyr without escort, there’s no question about your active involvement,” pausing and then adding, “As far as the two of you are comfortable being involved, aye?” Knowing that everyone has their own personal limits and boundaries of what they in good conscience can do and cope with. Waiting until she’s settled herself more comfortably against him, in his lap, or wherever she chooses to end up, he turns his head to press a kiss into her neck, “Thank you, baby,” sincere before adding, “Waine has to stay to keep an eye on things in the beast caverns. I’ll let him know to bring Auren’s response to you if one comes while I’m away.” On the matter of his trip up to Telgar, “Soon as Jaya’s gotten the bar sorted for running while we’re gone and I’ve gotten what supplies I can out of Jonavan.” And then, turning his head in against hers, resting his cheek against her head once again, he pulls her in a little tighter against him in gentle manner, “I love you, baby.”

Ahnika adjusts her position a little more to now actually be cradled in his lap, but in the direction that would allow her to keep her injured arm in her lap. So, she doesn't even hesitate in her response to his first, "Of course I would. I'd only be happy to, Love. I don't know how much help I can be, but you can count on me with her, if she wants to come here. If she stays long enough for Search, she might even get in with Candidacy, and that would make it even easier for me to spend time with her," with the thought that, whether she Impresses or not, sharing barracks will allow for a lot of time together without anyone thinking it suspicious or calling attention to it that might get yet some other crime lord sniffing around her. Jhath rumbles, this time the thunder is a little louder as she actually opens her mouth for it, and Ahnika supplies, "And Jhath says she vows she will keep the woman safe as long as she is around us." Then Ahni smiles at him for the promise and nuzzles his neck a little more, "Thank you for not shutting us out, my Heart," which turns into a little open-mouth kiss against his neck, just under his ear, just as he is thanking her and kissing her own neck. And then she is lifting her head and looking up into his face as he resumes, and she nods a little about Waine and Auren, filing it to memory. It's his next with the mention of Jonavan that has her otherwise relaxed frame tensing a little again, easily noticed with him pulling her in tighter against him, more than likely. Distractedly, Ahnika replies, "I … love you too, Max."

A short chuckle greets Ahnika’s words on the barmaid and candidacy, “I don’t think ‘Rad would be too impressed with that.” The pun intentional as he leaves that topic to turn a long look onto Jhath and then in approving tone, dips his head in acknowledgement of the message relayed to him, “My gratitude, Jhath.” Turning his head into the nuzzles, savoring the contact, “I’m sorry I had to, baby,” shut her out initially, “But I couldn’t take the risk before I was sure.” Of where they stood both as a couple and her as an individual getting involved in such secretive activities. Not mention having been more than a little wary of Jhath and the draconic gossip network. With her now being curled up in his lap, Max feels her going tense against him, her distracted reply drawing a light frown, “What is it, baby?”

To all of his comments, Ahnika nods a little, smirking faintly about the pun, and smiling a little more with his reply to Jhath. His statements about shutting her out, well, they merely earn a sobering look and a little sigh, but she doesn't object or get angry for that matter. It's his last that has her hesitating before Ahnika says, "Well, it's about Jonavan … He was treating my infection last night and … he said some things." A lot of things. "Did you go harass him on my account, Love?" She asks softly, not really upset about it, as much as just concerned over the consequences.

Max stiffens a little when Jonavan’s name comes up, eyes narrowing into the dark for the Healer having said things and recalling Cheusia’s reaction to the man’s comments made about her. “Aye,” this to his having gone to see the man, “went to find out what his deal is with the fellis.” And then with a slight clearing of his throat, “Mighta mentioned you too.” Might have? Brows draw together slightly, “What did he say to you?”

"It's not really important what he said," Ahnika says, curling more into him and nuzzling his neck and closes her eyes. "I just wanted to know what you were doing there talking to him." So, apparently Jonavan didn't tell her, "So, fellis?" She frowns a little thoughtfully, but doesn't seem to object. "Wait, is this for helping the fighters in the fighting circuits?" remembering something he said about the men there not getting the help they needed.

“Runnershit,” Max gives quietly in return on it not being important, though he doesn’t press her on the matter. Which could be due to her nuzzling into his neck or simply that he plans on addressing it at a later date. Turning his head to brush a kiss across her forehead, his initial response is somewhat distracted by something or another, “Hmm? Oh, aye.” For the fellis being for the fighters. “That and whatever else he can lay his hands on to make up basic first aid packs.” Blackmail, such a handy tool in the fight against injustice, right? Mmhmm. “Not sure about him though. Figure I’ll take him down to one of the fights first and see if he has the stomach for it,” vaguely mocking Jonavan in his absence. “First prize would be getting a few of them,” the fighters, “trained up in basic first aid.” Following the philosophy of ‘Teach A Man To Fish’, there.

"That's a good idea," Ahnika chooses to say after a long moment of listening to him, though she doesn't specify which she means, so perhaps she means the whole thing in general. Jhath lifts her head and looks at them pointedly, and Ahnika frowns a moment before saying, "I doubt it, Nobleheart." Jhath makes a whoofing sound, barely pushing out any air from her muzzle and then rumbles, and Ahnika sighs a little, explaining, "She wants us to go with you and Jonavan to the fights. I told her I doubted it'd be allowed right now." Though Ahnika doesn't particularly seem repulsed by the idea, herself, just thinks it's too early for her and Jhath.

The edge of a smile forms, “Aye?” Her approval meaning more to him than she likely realizes. Having relaxed a great deal since they’d first arrived down at the lakeshore, Max visibly tenses once Ahnika reveals what it is that Jhath’s trying to convey and then he goes very still, silence drawing out before shaking his head slightly in the negative. “I’d be fighting, baby,” voiced dropped low indication that he’s not so sure he wants her to see that for herself but not saying ‘No’ outright either. Just…uncomfortable with how this might push the boundaries between them.

The redhead smiles and nods a little to his first question, but the smile is wiped clear away as he says his next. "What?!" Ahnika says sharply, loudly, completely forgetting where they are. "You? Fighting? Whatever for?" One hand, the one of the injured arm in her lap, lifts to grip his shirt. Everything in her frame speaks of tension. Jhath snorts. That's what she thinks of that.

Yup, Max actually winces a touch at her outburst, eyes dropping to where her hand has his shirt gripped and then he looks away, a muscle ticking in his jaw as it tightens. Finally he gives in a stiff tone, “Told you I was going back. What did you think I meant?” He’s not removing his arm from about her or his hand from hers but has gone completely still, “It’s the only way to gain their trust.” Repeating what had he’d said earlier about getting back into the fight circuits. And then with a sharp exhale of breath, his head turns back toward her, expression guarded, “It’ll only be for a short while,” which could mean a few sevens or a few months, “until I’ve identified the main players down here, Ahni.”

"I thought," Ahni says, drawling it out in a lower growl now, "That you meant you were going to hang around the place, maybe place bets, not … sharding get in the pit or whatever it is." She takes a breath, and lifts her free hand to rub her forehead a little, thinking it through. Then she exhales. "You're going to get hurt," she states simply, knowing it to be a fact, "Maybe you'll hurt them even more. Maybe you'll kill someone, Max." That gets Jhath to growl throatily, "I mean …" her mind starts spinning off all the terrible consequences.

"Plan on doing that too," placing bets and getting a feel for the operators on the outside of the ring itself. Lips press into a thin line and then he's shaking his head for the simple frustration of Ahnika being too new at it all to know how it works and as such schooling back any rising annoyance. "Aye," this to the given fact he's likely to take more than a few knocks himself, "It ain't a sewing circle." Unintentionally sardonic. As to her comment about his killing someone, he simply pins a lookonto her but gives no verbal response, instead he swings the conversation around back onto her, "And you don't run the risk of getting hurt going up there?" his chin jerking up skywards. "It's what we do," her fighting Thread in the future, and he fighting whatever else comes his way on the ground, "We take risks." Jhath is simply fitted with a narrowed look for her growl and then he's slipping into a short brooding silence before uttering quietly, "I ain't just gonna pitch up one day and throw myself in the ring, Ahni. I need to get back into training again." Oh, so he does actually have a brain after all. And then in addition, "No knives, no weapons." Anything else goes apparently.

When she gets that look for saying he may kill someone, Ahni frowns and gives him one right back, "Unintentionally, of course, Max, but it could happen, and you know it. It doesn't always take a knife." And here they go again. At least Ahnika's not storming off this time. To his statement of her possibly getting hurt up in the skies, Ahnika mutters, "That's different!" sounding petulant and more than a little in denial. And then she, herself, is lapsing into silence, letting go of his hand in order to cross her arms over her chest, despite the smarting it causes, maybe even because of it. Allows her to stay mad longer. She doesn't get out of his lap, but she's certainly still tense and she's not cuddling any more per se. Her attention is on the dark lake and she murmurs, "I still don't like it. You getting hurt. Hurting others. There's got to be another way." With a sort of weary-sounding snort, Jhath lays her head back down again. Ahnik just sulks. She'd kick a stone right now if she could, but she's not exactly in the position to do so.

Dark eyes pin a long hard look onto Ahnika, “Haven’t yet and don’t plan to.” And then in case she was referring to his encounter with Phineus, as that had been the only time she’d seen him fight he mutters darkly, “That dirtbag that went after you…that was different.” Him, he might quite likely have killed and that simply because that dark cloud of rage had descended over sanity, but in the ring? Different matter entirely. “How?” Max gives on her fighting Thread being different, “Just because Jhath found you on the Sands?” snorting softly, “It’s all about choices, Ahni. The moment you agreed to Stand, you put your life on the line. You made a choice again when you threw yourself between Waine and Jinnet.” A brow going up as he sends a pointed look down onto her bandaged arm. “Neither one of which I’ve busted your ass over.” Well, not directly in any event. She sulks and he broods, but at least he’s not shouting and neither one of them are storming off just now. Brooding slips to a sullen silence and then fades away with a heavy sigh, his tone turned more toward petitioning her to understand than argumentative, “I ain’t asking you to like it. Just…to understand why I have to do it.” One of his hands that had remained still now moves to stroke in what is meant to be a reassuring manner along her lower back if she’s sat up in his lap that much so as to make it possible. “I’ll be okay, baby. Just might not look quite so pretty afterwards,” said in a bad stab at dry humour. He’ll even try wrapping an arm about her to pull her back in closer in order to lay a kiss to the back of her neck. As to there being another way he gives a short shake of head, “They need to see how it works. Someone taking hits and having what they need on hand to get patched up again. Waine’s knees are up to shit,” which would be how he’d taken him down in the first place, “so I can’t send him in.” Not that he’d ever ask that of the big stablehand to begin with. “And Shijan needs to stay with Jaya.” His getting hurt doesn’t seem to bother him as much as her current disapproval does. Hoping to add further reassurance, “Yaron’ll be there.” And initially of course, Jonavan too. “But he never took part himself. Only placed the bets and posed as my handler.” Not to mention having spent hours training him from an angry young man throwing punches and hoping they’d land on target to that of being a lethally proficient fighter that took to the ring with calculated calm and discipline. Having said all that he slips into deep silence, and then after a long time, perhaps even after she’s begun to respond to everything he’d just said and despite of it and his apparent determination to quite literally take the fight upon himself, his voice comes quiet out of the darkness, “Fine…” the reluctant allowance heavy in his tone, “I’ll…not fight…if…there’s going to be a problem.” Between them and trying to offer demonstration that he is at least willing to take her thoughts and feelings into consideration. Though one can be sure that’s not a concession given easily, sure as he his that this is the most convincing route to go in getting the men to trust and respect him.

Ahnika sulks in silence, though after a little while she lowers her arms; she can only take so much of that chest wound smarting like that. She stiffens when he launches into the risks she's taken to fight Thread and the choice she made to Stand, and Jhath rumbles disapprovingly, though if it is at Max or at Ahni or even at both of them for fighting (again), only Ahni would know. But she remains quiet through-out it all, her gaze for the dark waters in front of them, a frown set to her lips. The rubbing of her back seems to ease a little of the tension from her frame, though certainly not all of it. She doesn't struggle or resist when he pulls her back in against him and kisses her neck, and a little bit more of the tension from her shoulders eases out once more. His stab at humor earns a deeper frown. She's not laughing. In the end, it's his willingness to forego the idea that has her relaxing more against him, turning a little to be able to put her arms around his neck as she remains in his lap, and pressing her face in against his neck. She sighs there, and after a long moment, she speaks, giving in a little too, "Yaron has to be with you every time, and Jonavan, or that other one you like, Cheusia, one of the Healers. Promise me." She doesn't wait to hear his promise, or objections, before she is kissing his neck where her face is, slow, open-mouthed kisses up to his ear. "And promise me you won't get cocky and push things too far. I did, and look what happened?" apparently willing to concede that point he made earlier of her putting herself between Waine and Jinnet. "If it looks too bad, too much for you, promise me you'll stop, and you'll get out of it. If I'm not enough of a reason, alone, then … think about Little Bit. She'll need her father to come rescue her and he can't do it if he gets himself killed." Ahnika settles her face back in against his neck, just resting there and talking. Of course, if he does, one can be certain that Ahnika and Jhath will pull out every stop to do it themselves, but that's not the point. "And the risks Jhath and I are taking in the sky are different," and before he can interject, she explains, "We won't go up every time and get hit by Thread. In fact, there is a decent chance of us never getting hit. I've seen riders into their thirties and forties here without a single scar from Thread and the same for their dragons. But you, you'll be in there and there is no getting out of there without getting hurt. On some level. It's guaranteed, Max." Granted, going in and knowing you're going to get decked isn't exactly going in and facing lethal damage a hundred percent of the time as she and Jhath will be facing, but she makes the argument nevertheless. "And we have each other, working together against Thread, communicating with a blink of an eye, Max, with the whole wing if we need to. You can't do that with Yaron, especially not if your eyes are swollen shut and your jaw is broken," Ahnika frowns at the image, and then swallows against it, before an idea strikes her, "Maybe Zen should go with you, too, he can signal Tuorth who can signal Jhath and me."

With Ahnika initially still displaying tension over the topic of his returning to fighting, he doesn't push it. Heck, his mother would likely tear him a new one if she knew, and that before he'd even gotten a chance to explain. The fact that the redhead has even taken the time to hear him out (her protestations expected) has simply furthered his growing respect for her ability to view things from all angles despite her personal feelings on a matter. And so it is that he remains silent, shifting to accommodate her injuries when she wraps her arms about his neck and nuzzles her head in against him, his moving in against hers and then pulling away slightly distinctly dumbstruck, yet again, (that's twice in one evening) as she relents. Unable to do anything but simply nod at first, he finds his voice enough to state, "Not Cheusia. Bo would have my nuts for earmuffs if I dragged her into it." He's about to give her his word on having Jonavan and Yaron there, but then she starts in on those open mouthed kisses along his neck and he gets somewhat distracted, the hairs at the back of his neck rising up as he suppresses a shudder. The faintest of smiles appears in the dark as she admits that her having thrown herself between Waine and Jinnet was probably somewhat rash but he says nothing other than to point out on the matter of being cocky, "A fight only ends when one or the other concedes defeat." Generally by being either knocked out cold or simply too broken to have the will to carry on. Of course he's not about to tell her that. And who knows? Perhaps Southern's circuits are little less…intense than what he'd experienced up on the Northern continent. It's what she says about herself and his daughter being reason enough to keep his wits about him that has Max going still, her words more than a little sobering to be sure. After a time of silence where he gives that more than a little serious thought he turns his head more in toward hers, seeking her mouth out to lay a tender against her lips as he murmurs, quietly, "Aye, I promise, Baby." That to the caveats laid out thus far. On her words to the fight in the skies as against the fight on the ground and the likelihood of her getting hurt as against him doing so in the ring, he has to concede to what she says, "Aye, I know, baby. But…I can't…lose you…not like that." A soft snort greets comment of his getting is jaw broken and a small amount of male ego slips into place, "Ain't never broken nothing yet." Unless you count his nose and a couple of ribs here and there. Dislocated? Yes. Broken? No. Having agreed to everything, the only thing he stands firm on is the matter of Zen getting involved, "He can't, Love. He needs to stay as far away from this as possible." Respecting the bronze weyrling's choices on the matter.

Ahnika only pauses a few times as Max interjects here and there, but for the most part, she doesn't have anything more to say on the matter, returning his kiss to her lips in loving tenderness as he agrees to her conditions, and one of her hands behind him roams up to the hair at the back of his head and sifts through it gently. "We are what we are," she finally murmurs to his statement of not wanting to lose her to Thread. Her a dragonrider, and him an underground networker in the fight circuits, perhaps even a budding crime boss of his own, with a noble bent? Who knows? "I guess we're just going to have to accept it and learn to deal with the risks we each have to take and trust that we both know what we're doing and only stick our noses in it when we ask for help …" her voice trails off a moment, and she nods a bit about Zen, seeming to respect that, too, "I'll tell Jhath not to contact Tuorth anymore if we get in trouble over …" over things that involve the seedier side of things Max gets mixed up in. She frowns, thoughtful a moment. Maybe L'ron? Maybe not. Not that she didn't trust him, but the thought of such a sunny disposition being spoiled by darker things … "We need another rider then, or someone with a firelizard …" she stops, straightening and then smiling at Max, "You could get a firelizard, Love. It'd solve everything." Well, not everything, but it'd sure be handy for communication between the two of them, especially considering all they're embarking upon, separately and together.

Leaning his head back a little into her hand at the back of his head, Max’s eyes close briefly, suddenly exhausted which considering then tension he’d been holding during most of this evening, is probably understandable. Murmuring quietly in wistful tone as his hand moves in idle movement up and down her back, “I’d give anything to spend the night with you again.” Leaning his head forward again and resting his cheek against her hair he listens to what Ahnika says on their respective occupations, “Aye, that we are, love.” With warmth infusing his tone, he hugs her closer against him, careful not to cause any further discomfort, “Together…we can anything.” A possible prediction of the formidable force the two of them could become in the future? Perhaps. A light frown forms and he moves his head vaguely against hers in a negative gesture, “Let me speak to him first, baby. It eases the worry knowing he’s keeping an eye out for you when I’m away.” Not to mention he’d not seen hide nor hair of the bronze weyrling since their last rather awkward meeting. Probably meaning he’ll be hunting the man down in the near future. Talk of firelizards jerks his upward and with a snort he sets a dubious look down onto the redhead, “Those things are nothing but trouble if you ask me!” And while it’s actually an inspired idea, which he’d have no choice but to concede to should such a thing ever occur, she’d likely have to try and foist one on him at about the same time she gets him drunk enough to put the bell Jaya had spoken of giving her, around his neck.

"Mmm," Ahnika says, smiling a little ruefully, "Open up one of the walls in the beast cavern and set Jhath up with a couch and we'll come and stay with you every night, my Love." Yeah, because that will go over well with the weyrlingmasters. But then more earnestly, she kisses him lightly and says, "I can't wait to curl up with you again, sleeping beside you all night," And she definitely can't wait to make love to him again, but that is left unvoiced, and probably more for their own benefit than for Jhath's at this point, who seems rather bored at the idea of sex, what she understands of it from the other dragons. The chasing part, she can get on board with. It will teach strength and agility in the air and make for better fliers and Threadfighters, but then the coupling? Whatever for? It's dumb. Waste of time. Ahnika keeps her eyes closed and relishes the feeling of his arms around her now, nuzzling his neck once more. She considers his words on Zen a moment before saying, "Well, I won't stop you … but he seemed pretty clear he didn't want any part of it when he was carrying me to the Infirmary. Said he had been trying to lay low and the whole business was pretty scary. I don't want to put him in an awkward position like that again, exposing himself just to help me, not when there might be another way." As he jerks his head up, Ahnika blinks her eyes open and purses her lips with his words, straightening away to give him a look. Then she says, "Just think about it. Think about the number of times it would have been helpful to us by now already, even with Phineus? What if you hadn't found me in time? And then while you're thinking it over, every time I get my ass in a sling in the future because you couldn't get to me in time, you think about that then." With that, she'll leave the argument there, nodding once and goes back in to nuzzle him some more, because, damn if it didn't feel good to be back in his arms, smarting wounds or no.

Oh don’t go giving him ideas because next thing you know, he’ll go and do just that – set Jhath up with her own ground level weyr and couch right up against the beast caverns. Of course the animals housed therein might not like it too much not to mention the fit the weyrlingmasters would be guaranteed to have. As such it’s nothing more than a low chuckle that greets the suggestion of doing so as he turns his head into that light kiss, smiling against her lips and then giving in entirely wicked tone, “Next time we share a bed there’d better be no sleeping going on.” There, he said it. In a roundabout way of course. Brows lift upward in the dark, “Zen…said that to you?” and then furrow together into a frown of concern, “I’ll…speak to him.” Seeming more determined than ever to do so. Max is therefore quiet as he lends thought to his friend and this new bit of information given by Ahnika only breaking out of it to utter a distracted, “Hmm?” Before sighing and shifting a little on the rock, “How about you just keep your ass out of trouble, hmm?” a half note of a tease in his tone, realizing that’s about as likely as trying to get water from a rock. And he too leaves the matter there preferring instead to enjoy the nuzzling and cuddling before they’re having to once again go their separate ways.

Truth is, even if such a thing as a private ground weyr could be accomplished with the weyrlingmasters blessing or just without them knowing, Ahnika probably wouldn't use it every night anyway. There's a certain feeling of camaraderie in going to bed and getting up with the other weyrlings, those will lives will be in your hands (and wings) just as much as yours and your dragon's will be in theirs. It's part of developing a sense of belonging and community and bonding within the wing and even if Ahnika can't really explain it on such sociological or psychological terms, she inherently understands the need for it, which is why, on those infrequent nights she is out, she works so hard to be up and back at the barracks before most of the others are awake and getting up. Not to say she and Jhath can't stay with him on occasion, and who knows? They might just dare it one night in the future, but she probably wouldn't want to give up the barracks altogether, even if she could, not until she had graduated to her own weyr at least. Such a thought, of having her own weyr one day, combined with Max speaking on what they hopefully won't be doing the next time they share a bed together, and Ahnika is smiling a little more suggestively up into his face and making a satisfied throaty, "Mmmmmm." But the smile fades a moment later when he brings up Zen, and thinking he might give Zen a hard time about it, she says, "Don't be hard on him, Max. There's been a lot going on with him … a lot of it I don't even know, really," she admits, other than she can relate to Zen on a fundamental level of being a dragonrider. She blinks a little at his next statement, frowning up at him before lowering her head against his shoulder again, and muttering, "You make it sound like I do it on purpose." Pouty much? Well, she's not looking it but she sure is sounding it. A gruff sound emanates from the dozing green wrapped around their flat-top boulder.

Having been somewhat of a loner most of his life, for all the people he surrounds himself with during the day, and those he feels bound to help, Max has never really been one for sharing his personal space, or his personal life in so far as opening up to others for that matter. Which is probably just as well the roles aren’t reversed or else one can be sure he’d not be quite as enthralled with the whole bonding with clutchmates thing outside of weyrling classes and duties, probably spending as much time away from the barracks as possible. The fact that he’d be willing share his personal space with Ahnika (and Jhath by default) on a more daily basis some time in the future testament enough to what she’s come to mean to him. None of which she could possibly know and likely never will unless she’s somehow able to figure it out on her own. The suggestive smile coming from Ahnika is simply met with a wink before he’s putting a strange look onto her, “Why the shards would I be hard on him?” a slight of roll eyes which might be missed in the darkness, and a muttered, “give me some credit, woman.” A little disgruntled that she seems to think he’d go bust the poor guy’s ass simply for having a lot on his plate at this time. In normal tone once again, “He’s a friend, Ahni. Just want to check up on him, is all. Haven’t seen him since…he came to announce his offer of ‘help’.” The air quotes audible in his tone as he refers to the slightly touchy subject of her green going up in mating flights. With a soft snort, “Starting to get the feeling he’s avoiding me.” Like a certain tanner seems to be too, but then he at least is probably within his rights to be doing so. The edge of a smile trickles out and the beast manager turns his head to brush his lips against her cheek, “Mmm, about as much as I do it on purpose.” Nuff said.

Ahnika grins at the wink. She likes the wink. She likes what the wink represents even more. Then she sighs softly, lifting a hand to rub at her eyes tiredly, "I wish it didn't take so long. Weyrlinghood." But she understands it, even if she can't do anything about it, and doesn't like it. She's blinking at his look then and frowning a little for his reaction. "Well, his dragon did help tear down your fence, with Jhath, so, I thought … I don't know. Wait. He offered to help?" She frowns a little in confusion for that, considering what Zen said to her that night. She nuzzles him again, though, forgetting Zen for the moment as Max kisses her cheek and she snuggles more down in against him in his lap, letting the comment about getting in trouble on purpose go for the moment, "Maybe Zen is upset about something else?" She offers.

"Aye, you and me both, baby." That to weyrlinghood being what it is. Faint concern for the tired rubbing of eyes and as much as he doesn't want to, Max shifts slightly against her, as if starting to haul himself out of his slight slump made up more from being simply drained than relaxed as such, "It's getting late." Glancing up at the stars that arch across the night sky above them, he adds with a soft smile, "Much as I'd prefer to just stay here with you. I'd rather see these," a nod toward her bandaged arm, "coming off you sooner rather than later." And sleep is a great healer. As to Zen there comes a slight twist of mouth before he corrects and clarifies, "With Jhath's flight," flat. A soft snort following that for the bronze weyrling being upset about something else, "Aye. Seems to be the order of the day recently. People being pissed off with me." Assuming that whatever's bothering the weyrling has to do with him considering the wide berth being given to which he adds query, "You didn't tell him the fences go down at least twice a month?"

He had to say something about the hour. Ahnika probably would have been fine otherwise. But he brought it up and now she finds herself unable to stifle a yawn. Afterward, she cuddles up more against him, "No, no, I'm fine. I still need to get to the Infirmary before retiring anyway." With Max's clarification, Jhath rumbles, reminding them - as if they could have forgotten - that the stock green is still there, and still listening. Ahnika opens her mouth a little, blinking at Jhath and whatever was said internally, but sound is slow to come out, and then she eventually says, to Max, "Oh." It's very soft, though and she's thoughtful a moment before sighing a little and distractedly responding to his last, "Hmm? Oh, no, I haven't had a chance to talk to him alone much since …"

With Ahnika cuddling up more against him after stifling that yawn, has him sending a fond smile down onto her. And now he shifts in a more deliberate action, though one can be sure that if she protests that’ll be about all it takes for him to remain right where he is. Heck, he’ll take an uncomfortable night sleeping in a sitting position on a hard cold rock, rather than relinquishing her from his arms. However rationale is what comes to the fore, “We’ll go together,” to the Infirmary. Rationale and perhaps a touch of his wanting to keep an eye on Jonavan should he be the one to end up treating her wounds. The interaction between green and weyrling on the heels of his comment about Zen’s offer of ‘help’ doesn’t go unnoticed and thus he frowns a little, “What was that about?” setting a disquieted look over to Jhath.

Ahnika doesn't seem to object to his shifting. Even if one or another smarts, she will do her best not to show it, preferring that he get himself comfortable. She does frown a little at his saying he'll go to the Infirmary with her, though, but does concede, "If you like, Darling. It will be long and boring," she warns, "And … they have to have me without my tunic on." It could be she's warning him because she doesn't want him to get any ideas with her like that. It could be she's warning him because she's afraid he might get upset about that. It could be both. His question about the conversation over Zen and Tuorth earns an uncomfortable clearing of her throat and Ahni starts to stir out of his lap, if he lets her. "It was just about something you mentioned … her flights." And Zen and Tuorth.

Putting a crooked grin into the dark, his shoulders move against her in a light shrug, "You'll be there" words to him thus not finding it boring trail off and that grin deepens somewhat at mention of her having to remove her tunic, "even more reason to be there." Said in such a manner as to suggest Max's words being favourable of the 'show' rather than the fact she'd be removing it in front of someone else too. Weyrbred enough for that not to be an issue for him. Unless of course there's undue touching and fondling anywhere other than where the bandages lie. Then he'll have to rip someone's head off. With Ahnika sounding uncomfortable for his query and then making to remove herself from his lap, he doesn't stop her but does sets a long and unreadable look into place. "Are you going to tell me, or shall I just leave that between the two of you?" sounding a little frustrated at being cut out of conversations. His words and tone of voice however, might suggest he were referring to herself and Zen rather than herself and Jhath but he says nothing more that might clarify it either way. Either way, if she's completely taken herself out of his lap and arms, he'll slowly straighten and then stand from the boulder in silence.

"Don't be fresh," Ahnika says in mild chastisement to him, though her tone suggests she's more amused than upset, "Not there anyway." The infirmary, that is. Fortunately, Jonavan has been completely professional, so she doesn't think Max will be inclined to rip his head off, if he's there, but Max may rip his head off for some of the things Jon might say to her, if past experience is any indication. But Ahni seems willing to give it a go anyway, just the same. Tonight's been an important night for them on a relationship level, him opening up to her, her accepting him and his past, and them getting all the closer for it, emotionally, not really able to get closer physically. Yet. To his last, she slides off the boulder with a little thud and a wince and sighs, "It wasn't anything … pertinent," and of course Jhath would rumble some mild disagreement to that fact right then. But Ahnika does continue, not shutting him out as she has so often accused him of doing, "She was just saying … essentially … that Tuorth doesn't have what it takes to catch her, so you've no need to fret over it." Ahnika is clearly uncomfortable with talking about it, and not a little because it's more or less like talking about potential suitors for your daughter when she's only like thirteen or fourteen and thinks she knows everything. But also because if E'ro's bronze is chasing and M'zen's bronze is chasing, and Tuorth doesn't catch? Not pleasant to think about either. "That's all it was," she says again, dusting off her pants.

A smirk is all that greets Ahnika’s comment on not getting fresh, entirely unapologetic for his comments. Dark eyes fix to her as she winces upon hitting the ground and then an eyebrow goes up and he points out in a quiet tone, “Maybe not to you.” Because to him, anything at all to do with the subject of the green’s mating flights, is pertinent to him. A look is flickered over to where Jhath is and oddly enough despite that Tuorth not catching may in her mind mean, Yzuruth catching another smirk flickers into place with just the tiniest hints of a smug expression joining it, “It will be, what it will be, baby.” His tone free of any kind of self pity or disgruntlement over a matter that not too long ago could get him riled up in a heartbeat. Does the whole idea sit ill with him? Of course it does. However, he’s a man with a plan and for now that’s where he’s pinning his hopes. Reaching a hand out to her to take if she wishes, “C’mon then, let’s go flash those Healers.” Her that is as he has absolutely no intention of doing any flashing of any kind. Not in the Infirmary at any rate.

Ahnika gives him an odd look when he seems to so easily let it go, Jhath's flights that is, but she doesn't speak on it for fear of starting another fight over what would essentially be a good thing, Max being more tolerant that is. Jhath yawns and stretches as she gets to her feet, flexing her wings a little, which has Ahni yawning again and nodding as she takes Max's hand. "Oh yes, let's," she says dryly, not enthusiastic about it at all. Yet, as the couple start to head in with Jhath falling in step on the other side of Ahnika, the redhead doesn't whine or complain, knowing full-well it was her own actions that have led her to this point, of needing the infirmary as she does.

In teasing tone as she takes his hand and they start to make their way toward the Infirmary, “See why I love the Healercraft so much now?” winking. If Max noticed the odd look being sent to him with regards to Jhath’s flights, he’s doing a good job of not having done so. It’s a beautiful night out, he’s got his girl at his side and the hurdle they’ve just overcome together in their relationship in dealing with the knowledge of his past and what is coming up in the future, has him feeling like he could take on the world!

Closing Credits Music: Tantric - The One

OOC: Please note that everything in this log is to be treated as OOC knowledge and not to be used IC unless you’d like your character to at some point have been a part of Max’s history as told to Ahnika, or to have somehow found out about it. In which case grab me on game and we can figure out the whys and wherefores before putting it into play IC :)

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