"I think he's happy," Ty said slowly. "I mean, I don't have the Daeva package, and I can't read his mind, but he seems happy. And pregnant." He cupped a hand over the small bump of his own stomach, barely a suggestion, yet, of the life growing inside. "How's Niki doing?"
"Sulky?" Shiva sighed. "Always sulky. But I think he's getting better."
"You spoil him," Ty was surprised to hear himself say. "You let him walk all over you, Shiva, and then you're surprised when he complains when you don't."
That made her ears go flat, and for a moment, he thought he'd gone too far. "That's…" The knock at the door cut her short. "Damnit, Ty." She looked around; Niki and Jamian were missing, and Manira was in the corner, ignoring the door. Since Shiva was so obviously looking for anyone else to do it, Ty got up himself to answer it. He wasn't expecting anyone, but they were a popular crew; people did just drop by. He opened the door. Ib didn't qualify as someone who would "just drop by," or someone Ty was comfortable with holding a sleeping - unconscious? - Jamian.
"What…" He pulled to mind the words of one of his favorite Workings, but held it in abeyance for a moment. "What happened?" he asked sharply.
"Easy, Ty," Ib said, although he didn't sound particularly concerned. "I came to bring you what's yours, not for a fight. Can I bring him in?"
"Yes, please. What happened?" he repeated, stepping out of the way and holding out his arms. Ib delivered Jamian into them; yes, he was out cold.
"Your Kept here," Ib said, "was caught fraternizing with someone else's Kept, without her Keeper's consent. When said Keeper confronted him, he picked a fight."
"Fraternizing…" Ty ran through the list of Kept in his mind. It wouldn't have been Callista, and Mark was unlikely to pick a fight about Ivette, any more than Rafe would about Joff. "Who?"
"Does it matter? But it was Kendra." Ib took a step back, for which Ty was grateful; there was a healthy respect there, in both directions, but there was no love lost between them and Ib didn't seem to want hostilities any more than he did.
"Of course it matters, if I'm going to have to deal with a Keeper." He shifted Jamian gently in his arms. "Thanks, Ib."
"I think Ofir will be more concerned with his broken nose. This one was giving as good as he got, until I broke them up. You're welcome, by the way."
Ofir could probably do with more than a broken nose, but Ty was going to have to deal with him being all righteous. The little shit had learned all the wrong lessons from Agatha. "Thanks," he shrugged. "I need to get him taken care of...?
"He'll probably come around soon, although he won't be happy about it. And I'd seriously consider a shorter leash - or a choke chain." Ib took a few more of those sidling steps, not quite walking backwards. The technique spoke of a certain caution, withdrawing without risking walking into anything or turning his back on the people in front of him. Nonetheless, it brought him back over the threshold.
Choke chain. Once he'd kicked the door shut, Ty set Jamian down carefully on the couch, and met Shiva's eyes. "Even Niki didn't go getting into fights like this," he complained.
"Not on you, maybe, but Niki does it to me for attention. I doubt that's what Jame' was doing."
"Seriously?" Ty scoffed. The idea of Niki picking a fight seemed laughable. "With who?"
"The Thornes, first. I mean, he tried with Nikolai, but Nick just laughed at him."
"And Acacia didn't just take him apart? Or hell, take him home?"
"I intervened. And bluffed. And they were drunk." Shiva shrugged. "Are you going to? Put him on a short leash, I mean?"
Ty sighed, shaking his head. "I think I'd better hear his side of it before I do anything."
"See?" she smirked. "You can learn."
Jamian groaned woozily on the couch, blinking his eyes open. Ty leaned over him, examining him briefly; there hadn't seemed to be anything wrong with him beside some bruising, but you never knew. "Jame? Hey, Jame, are you okay?"
"Ow," Jamian complained. "Jas… ow. Jasfe tlacatl Jamian oro'Ty." He blinked again. "Ty? How did I get here? Ib…"
"Ib brought you here," Ty confirmed. "What happened?"
"Ib knocked me out! I was doing just fine against Ofir, but then Ib had to get involved!"
"And why exactly were you fighting in the first place?"
Jamian quailed at Ty's expression. "Well, he was going to hit someone," he explained weakly.
"So you volunteered?" He sighed, leaning forward and putting his head in his hands. "Oh, Jame..."
"Well, better me than Kennie. He treats her like his own personal punching bag!"
"I think I see exactly what happened." Ty shook his head; this was going to be a mess. Not that Jame was wrong, of course; it tickled him pink to think that someone had socked it to Ofir for the way he treated that girl.
Jamian was looking worried, though. "You're not mad, are you? I wasn't, you know, doing anything, just talking with her about class."
"No; no, I'm not mad. You realize we're going to have to pay Ofir off, though."
"It's not against any Law to talk to someone's Kept!"
"But it's definitely against the rules to start a fight. If he demands reparation - and he will - we'll have to settle with him."
"Oh." He looked down at his knees, looking chagrined. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean…"
"Of course you didn't. Don't worry; your timing was bad, but there was nothing wrong with your thought. I'll fix this."
Copyright © 2009-2012 Lyn Thorne-Alder with Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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