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Hope Begins

 
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Katarina Smith
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:09 pm    Post subject: Hope Begins Reply with quote

The Count's ship was considerably the smallest spaceship she had ever encountered. In fact, it almost didn't feel like a spaceship at all. While the makings were still metallic and cold, paintings were placed up on the walls, somehow adjusting the the tube-like curve to the wall. Accompanied by warm lighting and other homey additions, the hallways that usually looked bare felt cozy enough to bring comfort.

With The Count leading the small group, Alik broke off into the direction of his room, which he already seemed to be familiar with. Wishing them to find their room well, the Captain named Edward went to finish the final preparations for departure. Finally they stopped in a dead-end hallway, but there was no door in sight. "Your room is here. If there is anything else you need, don't hesitate to ask. I'm sure we'll be taking off shortly." Christophe gave a warm smile to them both before heading back out of the hallway.

Katarina wasn't looking for a door. Instead she looked down at a barely visible hatch, and rearranged the bags on her shoulder so that she could use her arms and one leg to press down against it. The hatch gave way with the pressure and revealed a set of short ladder that revealed their room. "Shiny. Hol' this." Giving him a bag to free both of her hands, she went down the short ladder before holding up her arms to indicate for him to drop the bag back down.

Locke's expectations for the trip had been completely different from the reality. Except for his magical transportation from Fridmond to RhyDin, he remembered just about every first time he'd been in a vehicle. The bout of seasickness he'd felt as a child when he'd gone out on the ocean with his father on a boat, the unpleasant prickling sensation that accompanied Locke's trip to New North Umberland, the sensation of wind whipping his clothes around while flying high above the city in an airship. He also remembered the way his first trips had all too often been escapes, from bad situations and family troubles. This didn't feel like an escape, but a voyage towards something even better.

Most of his familiarity with space and spacer types came from time spent at Star's End and the spaceport, which, while being clearly high-tech, was stark and sparse in its general design. Thus, Locke was expecting something along a similar line, gray and bulky and uninviting. The artwork on the walls, the lighting (which was far nicer than the harsh white fluorescent he was expecting), and the general attitude from those present on board the ship was surprising. It was that surprise, and his complete unfamiliarity with the technology present, that kept him silent as they walked through the ship. He took the bag with his free hand, his own messenger bag draped over the other shoulder. When Katarina motioned to him, he dropped the bag before climbing down the ladder himself.

As soon as she received the extra bag, she sent up a quick warning, "Watch yer step, i's a li'l slippery." It wasn't really with the shoe choice she had with the traction on the bottom of her boots, but she could tell the metal was slick when her palms touched it.

Turning away, she inspected the room with an immediate sigh of relief. It had more space than she anticipated, and the bathroom was it's own separate room, rather than being exposed or parts being built into the wall that could be used and stowed away at will. With the bed to the left, a dresser right across from it, and a loveseat past the foot of the bed next to the opened door to the bathroom, the arrangement made the room look bigger than it actually was. With colors of deep burgundy, forest green and rich gold, it reminded Katarina of the set from La Bayadere. Obviously from another planet and of rich taste. "Wow." She had been on nice ships, but even this was exceeding her expectations. "All this fer a spare room 'n a private boat." A slight smirk of amusement and shake of her head, before she began unloading the bags she was holding and those strapped around her onto the bed.

Of course, her warning about the slippery metal was enough to make the smoother soles of his dress shoes nearly slide off, but his balance was superb, and he was able to recover with only a slight pause and bobble in his descent. Once he was on more solid ground, he set his bag down next to hers. Impressed at the opulence of the room, he whistled lowly. "This bloke doesn't mess around when it comes to decoration, does he?" It was Locke's turn to shake his head. In the brief amount of time he'd spent with the Count, he'd gotten a decent idea of how expensive the man's tastes ran, but this was even beyond what he was expecting. He adjusted the cuff of his charcoal pinstriped suitcoat, then fiddled with the silver cuff links some.

"The bloke dun mess 'round much, period." She gave Locke a warm smile and was about to say something else, when a baritone voice came over the intercom, "This is Captain Edwards speaking; we should be taking off in roughly fifteen minutes."

Katarina started to head towards the sound that filled the small room, muttering, "Where is it.. where is it.. ah!" Finding the speaker, there were a few buttons alongside in different colors. Pushing on the dark blue one, she talked into the speaker, "Capt'n, is it 'lrigh' ta come up an' watch, er there windows somewhere's?"

The voice filled the room again, "There is a viewing window in the dining room straight down the hall, past the cargo room. You will see the opening on your right, Miss Smith."

"Thanks!" Letting go of the button, she sent Locke a wink, "Ya gotta watch a' leas' once, yeah?" Pressing a big red button, it opened the hatch once more and she carefully climbed up the ladder.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I was hoping to watch us lift off, although I must confess, I was not expecting to be able to. Nor do I have any idea what's in store." After she had climbed the ladder, he followed suit, this time keeping his grip on the rungs. Back in the hallway, he swept an arm across his body to gesture down the length of the passageway. "Lead the way, melamin*."

She rolled her eyes and chuckled once he joined her in the hallway once more, "Ya didn' thin' I wouldn' find'a way ta le' ya see?" Closing the hatch once more, she reached for his hand and started back down the hall with a slightly quicker pace than normal. After walking past rooms, they cleared out of the hallway and walked on a metal bridge-like walkway over the cargo area. Past that, they entered a hall again that had an immediate opening to the kitchen and dining area. The room was not quite as decorative as the bedroom, but the cabinets were made of wood instead of metal, and in the middle of the room was a large and long dining table. At the end of the room was a large window that was currently the main source of light, though the warm lights were aglow in anticipation for the darkness of space. Pulling up a chair from the table, she scooted it over to the window so that she could sit and watch.

"Well...I did think you would find a way to let me view it, but I thought maybe you were considering jettisoning me out one of the..." There was a momentary pause, as the word he was searching for escaped him. "Airlocks, or escape pods, in order to give me my view." If they hadn't been moving so swiftly towards the dining room, he might have nudged her in the side. As it stood, he would have to settle for a good-natured, teasing laugh.

She laughed as well, "Trus' me, escape pods er usually kind tigh' packed an' all. Mahbe if we're real nice-like ta th' Capt'n he'll let us watch fra th' cockpit nex' time." Though as she thought about it, they wouldn't have another chance on this ship to take off again. They would be using a different vessel to go to Hope after the conference. "Now sit down er else yer gonna tumble 'round all ova th' place durin' lift off." Though by the glimmer in her eye and her grin, it was obvious that she was lying.

He dragged a chair over from the dining room table and set it beside her, then suddenly swiveled it around so that the back was in front of him. He grinned wickedly back at Katarina, before sitting down, arms resting on the back. He'd seen Johnny do it once before, and he remembered the way the upper crust at the sidewalk cafe they'd been at reacted to the silversmith's casual gesture. In some small way, it was Locke's own private rebellion against the Count's luxury. "And we would hate for me to dash my brains out across the dining hall. Might make meals a little less palatable for the others here, savvy?"

"Yeah, an' 'm bettin' th' meals ar' gonna be pretty shiny, so dun ruin it fer th' res' o' us." A black-gloved hand reached out to tickle him lightly behind the neck before she heard the engines start and the ship rumbled slightly with the potential power. Her hand lightly went down his back before going back into her lap. The ship didn't feel like it was moving much, but it was carefully backing out of it's container before seamlessly jetting up into space. There was a first pushing sensation from the force and gravity, before it eased up and felt normal again. It was obvious that they were moving with rapid speed, the way Rhy'Din was unrecognizable within just a few short blinks.

The launch happened so fast that Locke was barely able to latch onto to the images from the window as they came into view and commit them to memory. He saw the planet he had spent most of his life on in a way he never thought he'd see, in a way he had barely even considered possible, in a way he hadn't considered for quite some time. From that far up, he couldn't tell which of the continents floating in the vast blue oceans across RhyDin's surface was the one they had come from. There was a long silence from him as they sped further and further away, before he straightened up from his slouch against the chair's back, so that he could better reach for the hand in her lap. "...nothing like the globes in school."

His breaking the silence didn't seem to startle her. "Nah?" Her palm turned up as he reached for her hand, "Looks th' same ta me as las' time. Bu' I ain' really seen many globes o' this planet, 'cept th' one 'n th' Teas 'n Tomes." That memory alone brought a warm, dreamy sigh. "Bu' they kinda all look th' same afta some time, yeah? "Cept mahbe fer color. Like, Hope looks real brown an' red 'stead o' blue."

"The ones in school were similar to the ones in Teas 'n Tomes, just a touch more...aged. Instead of showing the world you want to see, I think it was magicked to try and keep track of all the different changes in RhyDin. It didn't work very well, quite honestly." He laughed a little as his fingers tickled against hers.

She giggled as well, and tried to grasp his hand tightly with hers to protest the tickling, " 'Parently nah, if ya kin't even say wha' ya're seein'." She turned her eyes to the window again, now surrounded by what seemed to be thousand upon thousands of stars, though a trained eye could see the differences in colors from planets. She was silent for a few moments, before speaking quietly, "Wha'cha see, ou' there?"

* My love
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He went with the literal answer first. "Space? Stars, I think? A lot of black. I would imagine some of those are suns." He paused briefly, glancing up at the ceiling and then out the window again. "The same stars we see when we're on solid ground?"

She shrugged and gave a rueful grin, "They migh' be. Just 'cause 've spen' some time travelin' 'round space dun mean I know a lick 'bout it."

"And some of these...there must be other planets out there? It can't just be RhyDin and Hope. And wherever Johnny went." He grimaced slightly, even as he brought it up.

She offered a slightly sad smile, "Yeah, there's lot'sa planets and moons, some inhibited an' some nah. There's also spaceports, entirely man-made an' all tha'. Usually they’re Alliance buildin's, major cities an' hospitals an' all tha'."

Locke nodded, before continuing on his train of thought. "It would be silly to assume that if there were multiple realms, that there wouldn't be multiple planets inhabited within said realms." If he'd been asked, though, Locke likely would have confessed that he - and most of the populace of RhyDin in turn - spent much more time contemplating and dealing with the consequences of the multiverse than they did with other planets in the world they inhabited.

"Nah all planets were mean' ta hav' life 'n 'em. Planets run outta room, yeah? So they try ta make planets habitable, with th' righ' air, gravity an' all tha' - then drop off a settlement wit' 'nough food ta git 'em started. Sometimes i's successful, an' sometimes it ain'. Th' dirt migh' nah be fertile ta grow an' harves', er there nah 'nough wata sources. While some planets thrive wit' technology, some struggle ta be able ta keep livestock an' meat available." She was looking out the window, but her eyes weren't focused on anything.

"So your ancestors were...immigrants, or refugees of some sort? Or settlers?" He was bouncing from word to word, not quite sure which one was correct. "I guess my mum and I are all of those things, technically, if in a slightly different way from what you just mentioned."

She blinked and her eyes came to focus again on him, "Yeah, they were settlers 'n Hope. Lookin' fer a new life an' all." She pursed her lips in thought, before nodding, "I guess i's jist more tha' we hav' 'n common, yeah?" She offered a wink.

He rolled his eyes a little playfully, before winking back. "As if we needed any more commonalities." The vastness of space set out before him seemed to inspire his thoughts to drift and wander. "I wonder how they settled upon Hope. How they found it. Or why that planet as opposed to any other."

"Free space?" She offered a simple shrug. "I dunno, ta be hones'. There's so many otha places like Hope tha' i's hard ta say tha' they're really distinguished fra one anotha."

"I couldn't even begin to fathom a guess as to how many planets there are out there, like that. It is somewhat humbling, yeah?" Instinctively, despite the fact that the heavens were all around them and not just above their heads, Locke looked up. "I don't know why I'm here, to be perfectly honest, as opposed to any number of worlds and realms and universes I could have been sent to when we left."

"Ya dun hav'ta hav' a reason. I's nah like ya really had a choice 'n th' matta, yeah?" She patted his leg affectionately, "Bu' whateva th' reason is, 'm pretty happy fer it."

"If I didn't know better..." He left the rest of the thought unspoken, shaking his head with a warm smile for her.

Her brows rose up in a silent question, before she gave voice to it, "If ya didn' know betta...?"

"I would say it was fate, or destiny. Or whatever you wish to call it." He lifted one shoulder in a shrug.

She laughed lightly before giving a half-smile, "Bu' since ya dun believe 'n 'em thin's, we gotta call it somethin' else."

"I am open to suggestions." He put a hand to his ear, leaning just a bit closer to her, trying his best to exaggerate the gesture and the goofy look on his face.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She giggled, watching him come closer but she kept in place for the moment, "Well, we kin't call it luck eitha, 'less i's luck tha' someone else made. So mahbe someone er somethin' made tha' kinda luck fer ya?"

He started counting them off on his fingers. "So fate's out. Destiny's out. Luck and Lady Luck are out. Hmm...quite a conundrum." He moved away from her, scratching his head with his non-counting hand.

"Yer th' one tha' has th' conundrum." Just because she could, she pointed a finger at him, "Mahbe 'm conten' wit' callin' it one o' those thin's."

"Which one would you pick?" The counting fingers folded up until he was pointing back at her, smiling a little smugly. The tables were turned, he hoped.

She batted at his pointed finger, before returning her hand to her lap, "I thin' I'd pick destiny. Like, we're placed 'n places an' situations tha' forces us ta make a choice, bu' doesn' make th' choice fer us, yeah?"

He giggled a little as he brought his batted finger back closer to his body, before he started to scratch his chin, contemplating her words. "Free will, versus predestination."

She nodded, "Othawise... whay botha, ya know? If i's all figured ou' fer ya."

"It isn't as exciting, and it isn't as rewarding, if you've done nothing to work toward it, and have to do nothing to keep it together." He chuckled, as he thought of something. "It's a terrible metaphor, I'm sure, but it's like playing a slot machine. Even if you win big, all you've really bloody done is spoon-fed the thing silvers and pulled a lever. No real physical or mental effort at all. There's no reason to feel proud."

"Otha 'en th' fac' tha' ya've won money tha' ya didn' hav' bafore?" She chuckled warmly, "Bu' yeah, I git wha’ yer sayin'. Kin't imagine findin' any joy, livin' tha' way.''

"There's more satisfaction when you count the cards right and beat the dealer at blackjack. And there's been more satisfaction in knowing that we have poured our hearts and souls into what we have, and reaped the benefits as a result. Whatever it was that brought us together, we did all of the heavy lifting."

"I'll say, yer nah as ligh' as ya look." She kissed the tips of her covered fingers and pressed them against his cheek as if her teasing has left a mark, "Bu' I couldn' agree wit' ya more."

He kept his fingertips against her face, turning a silly dimpled smile her way. "I am glad to hear that, Katarina."

It was perhaps her favorite smile of his, and she mirrored it. She turned her head to press her lips to his hand, and muttered into it, "Me, too."
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Ready?" Katarina finished tying the lace of her last ballet slipper, before doing a quick series of footwork to prep her feet for the performance to come. Traveling to the Red Star for the conference was blissfully short, enough for the ship to be entertaining rather than confining and boring. With the first day of the conference nearly over, Katarina couldn't wait for her performance to be over and continue the trip to Hope.

"Yes. Though I must say, I am not used to reflecting so much light." Alik's costume for Scheherazade was elaborate with beadwork and gems that flickered with each movement.

When Katarina studied his outfit further, she noticed that it was the first time she had ever seen him without the bands around his wrists and neck, "Hey, where ar' ya bands at? I didn' even know tha' ya could take 'em off."

Alik's lips showed a wisp of a smile, "I was told that the silver clashed with the gold." When the sound of applause filtered backstage and the curtains drew closed, Alik motioned for Katarina to head for the stage, "Best wishes on your performance. It has been a pleasure working with you."

The weight of finality in his words sent a shiver down her spine. She wasn't sure where why he was sharing his goodbyes before they had even started the performance. It didn't help in her assessment that Alik was just a little odd, "Yeah.. ya too." She didn't have more time to think of something better to say as the lighting changed and they took their positions for the ballet.

Despite Katarina's continuous disliking for Scheherazade, over time she discovered it's beauty and grace that held the ballet's appeal. The music painted pictures of long nights with undertones of mystery and longing. Backgrounds were practically unnecessary to understand the passions involved for the man wanting the woman (and her never-ending stories) and the woman wanting to save her life.

Still, even during her performance, she had to block out the thoughts of the dancing that required closeness. References to passion and sensuality that didn't exist. To make it believable was even harder. They had spent several hours of practices to have angles to infer further sensuality between the pair. Making sure that everyone within the theatre would think they were sharing a kiss or a caress while no skin actually touched.

Scheherazade was shorter than most ballet productions. Katarina just felt that she was fully warmed-up and in the zone with the ballet was nearing it's end. A weight lifted from her shoulders when her mind started to turn away from focusing on the performance and actually realizing that she was almost done. All the stress and worries about this performance would be over, and never again would she have to think about it.

With that last well-practiced angle to cover a kiss, Alik closed the small gap and pressed his lips to hers.

It was over so fast that Katarina didn't even realize what had happened until they were only a few beats away from the end. Her breath started to rush out of her lungs and her cheeks were pink, but it was not from the exhaustion of the ballet. They smiled, bowed, and headed off the stage before Katarina could even process the single feeling she had - resentment.

How long had she been waiting to once more share a kiss with someone? After Caleb, her heart had been too broken to consider being in a relationship for a long time. And when that time was over, she simply had no interest to start all over again. And then came Locke, with his big heart and love, and still, something so simple as a kiss was far from reach. She had sworn to wait, to possibly never share a kiss again, and Alik had broken her oath for her.

When she finally came to her senses, Alik was still backstage. Heading to Hope right away was going to have to wait. Her bubbling anger would not be ignored.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Katarina, just calm down."

"You.. what? Did you see what he did?!" Deep backstage and away from most of the lights, Katarina was standing toe-to-toe with Alik with her fists held tightly together at her sides. Still dressed in costume, signs of her anger were present with red blotches against her exposed skin, white knuckles, and her quivering. She would have continuing yelling in Alik's face until the Count had stepped in and tried to get in the middle of them.

"I'm sure it was just an accid-"

"The hell it was!" While Alik had several inches on Katarina, Christophe did not, and so she glared straight on at him, "You don't make mistakes like that! Mistakes are making wrong turns or too many steps. Don't you ever," she turned and pointed a finger up to Alik's face, "come back to dance in Rhy'Din. I'll be sure that no one in the 'verse would consider you, now."

"Katarina, that's not your choice to make."

"Just because you're pocketbook is involved doesn't put you in charge." She gave one last warning look to Christophe to stay out of it. She hadn't even given the chance for Alik to speak for himself, much less apologize.

"Katarina-"

It was too late. As soon as Alik opened his mouth to speak, she threw all of her strength into a punch right to his nose. His head whiplashed, and even without the bright lights she could see blood falling rapidly out of his nose before he had the sense to cover it.

She heard Alik's cursing, and the Count's shock, but it didn't matter and she didn't care. While the Count was removing his hankie to help with the bleeding, Katarina turned on her heels with even intention of leaving.

As soon as the applause had died down in the auditorium and house lights had come up, Locke stood and hurried in a different direction than most of the audience. By and large, the majority of them were headed for the exits in the back, but Locke was rushing backstage, to congratulate Katarina.

He tugged at the cuffs of his tuxedo as he walked, stopping only when he saw the equally well-dressed usher and security guard. Locke smiled warmly at the man, before pulling a lanyard out of his pocket with his badge for the conference attached. He showed his identification to the guard, who nodded and gestured to indicate that Locke could pass. The ice elf couldn't help but grin cheekily as he slipped by and returned the badge back to his pocket.

The grin faded as he heard arguing from down the hall. It disappeared entirely when he was able to pick out one of the voices from the din. He couldn't understand the words, but even without the accent, he instantly recognized Katarina. There wasn't much of a place to hide there, so rather than press his back against the wall or duck into one of the dressing rooms, he stood near the door back stage, trying to look like he was just waiting for someone to leave. His stance was casual, and the look on his face was neutral, almost bored.

Her steps were quick as she walked away from the bleeding Alik and outraged Count. She didn't want them to trail behind her, or try to sort things out. Most people that were milling around backstage were trying not to stare, but some didn't bother to hide their surprised and confused expressions. She barely saw them anyway, with the red haze that was surrounding her vision. Having no other outlet for her pent-up anger, she was still quivering as she went through the door that led to the hallway to the main building, and almost walked right past Locke. Saying nothing, she grabbed his wrist with more grip than necessary and dragged him down the hall to the third door on the left, quickly ushering him in and shutting the door behind her. As she leaned against the door, she finally realized that her right hand was hurting quite a bit, and she brought it up to her face for closer inspection, wincing as she tried to spread her fingers.

Even after what he had heard, he hadn't been expecting her reaction. He recovered quickly, though, and shuffle-stepped with Katarina through the hallway as she pulled him into a different door that led to a room, rather than backstage. Under normal circumstances, he might have given the room a more thorough examination, but all of his attention was on her. When he spotted her staring at her hand, he rather quickly put two and two together. "...you punched somebody." Locke backed up against the door, hand bumping against the area around the knob to check and see if there were locks.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Yeah." Her uninjured hand gestured to the center of the knob that had a simple lock. "Shoulda gotten the Count too, while I was at it." She finally stepped away from the door. The room was a small dressing room, that had her original clothing and belongings carefully placed about. With the light better in here, she glanced down and noticed the red blotches were still present on her torso and neck. "If I ever see him again I'll..." she trailed off, and looked at him with wide eyes, "you.. didn't see it." It was a statement rather than a fact.

He twisted the lock into place with a satisfying *snick*, before folding his hands in front of him. He lifted an eyebrow to her, before shaking his head. "Was there something I was supposed to see, or something I missed? From where I sat, it looked like an aces performance. The audience seemed to believe so as well."

"Yeah, it was all great and shiny until he kissed me!" That anger was bubbling up again, and so she started taking off the various jewelry and accessories. The quicker she got dressed, the quicker they could leave. Her right hand was still not opening up all the way, "That was never practiced. We worked so bloody hard to get the angles right for appearance, and then..." She was practically ripping pins from her hair.

"...Why would he do that?" He took a few steps deeper into the room, closer to where she was removing the accouterments of her performance. "May I?" He lifted a hand towards her pinned-up hair, offering to assist if she would let him.

Her hands fell away from her hair so that he could help. "I don't know!" Tears of frustration pooled in her eyes, and she was quick to wipe them away, "I don't know what he was thinking. So I punched him."

He attempted to remove a pin or two, but the gloves made the task awkward and clumsy, and he stopped before he could make things worse. He took a half-step back, glancing down at his hands, then nervously at her hair. "Do you trust me?"

Even though she could have looked at him through the mirror, she looked over her shoulder at him. "You know I do."

With a wistful smile, he nodded, before pulling off his gloves and placing them in the back pocket of his trousers. The task at hand reminded him of picking locks or cracking safes, only the stakes were different. Failure wasn't the difference between a big score and walking away empty handed. It was the difference between keeping her uninjured or accidentally hurting her. He flexed each of his fingers, one by one, then wiggled them in rapid, random succession. "It will probably still be cold." With that warning, he stepped in closer, carefully studying her hair to find the ends of the pins. When he found one, he reached up and carefully pinched it between the pads on his thumb, index, and middle fingers, pulling it out slowly. He kept at the task in silence.

She actually welcomed the feeling of his cold hands so close to her skin. When she didn't talk over his silence, her anger eased and cooled, bringing her skin to it's normal hue and without the quiver. when she felt her hair nearly free, she finally spoke with a slight tone of confusion, "Whay haven' ya said anythin' bou' it?"

"About the kiss?" The words were slightly garbled by the hair-pins he had removed and placed in his mouth to keep his hands free.

"Yeah. Er... anythin', really." She turned slightly and held a hand palm up for his to place the pins in rather than his mouth.

"It would seem to me you handled one of the most important parts of the situation well enough on your own." He pretended to throw a jab, well away from where she was standing. "Other than that, I do not believe there is much more that I can say, except...amin hiraetha. Amin ikotane hiraetha*. Actions will speak louder than words, now." He put the remaining pins in her hand. When he was done, he plucked the pins he had been holding in his mouth from there and looked at them sheepishly. "Terribly sorry. Shall I throw these away?"

She nodded and pointed to the small trashcan by the door. When he was done, she walked up to him and placed her cheek on his shoulder and wrapped her arms around him. She stayed silent for several moments, before sighing and muttering, "He has a face o' a brick."

*I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.
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Katarina Smith
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

She had beaten him to the action he had been thinking of, and he had to suppress a chuckle at the thought, before he angled his hand behind his back to remove his gloves from his pocket. He put them on quickly, then hugged her back tenderly, not caring one bit if she got makeup on the lapels of his tux. "You probably punched him wrong."

Her lips twitched, and she almost nuzzled his shoulder, but already saw some powder on his tux that she tried to gingerly brush off with her left hand. "There's nah way ta do it wrong. I made his nose bleed." There was definite pride in her tone.

Now he laughed, shaking his head just a touch. "I will say this, Katarina. I am suitably impressed that you punched him." He paused briefly, waiting for a teasing nudge, tickle, or poke, before continuing. "But if I were a betting man - and you know that I am - I would wager that you probably broke your ivory throwing that punch."

She didn't disappoint him, and lightly tickled his side before frowning. "Nah, dun say tha'. I dun need a broken finger righ' bahfore seein' mah folks." She held up her right hand at him and pouted. His reaction to the situation had eased her greatly. It was already on the far back burner of her mind to be examined later.

He giggled and squirmed as he tickled, trying to maintain a modicum of seriousness as he spoke. "And sadly, there aren't too many other ways you can break those bones in the way I think you broke them. Just...tell them you punched a wall or some such malarkey." He stuck out his tongue, playfully, having clearly shaken off what little solemnity was left in him.

"Tha' malarkey is yer kinda thin', nah mine." She stuck her tongue out at him too, before glancing to the clock above the door and sighing. "Well, lemme change outta this, an' 'n we kin go huntin' fer our nex' boat, yeah? Is'a good thin' we already grabbed th' rest o' our thin's."

"Right-o. Need me to wait outside?" He already began moving for the door, just in case.

She waved a hand absently, "Nah, truly? I dun really care. An' nah particularly righ' now, yeah?" Still, she was quick in changing out of her costume into her dress. It came with years of having to change in and out of costumes within moments.

Before he had a chance to say anything else (or blink, really), she had changed. Locke let out a long whistle. "I wish that I had that skill, salkamin*."

She chuckled, sitting down to carefully remove her ballet slippers. Along with her hand, her feet were beginning to ache, "Ya sure? 'm pretty sure ya'd walk 'round naked all o' th' time if ya weren' livin' wit' me." She slanted him a look and grinned.

"Well, yes..." He trailed off as he rested his fingers on his chin, regarding her thoughtfully. "But you know how bloody long it takes me pick my wardrobe every day. Being a quick change artist would certainly save me some valuable bloody time."

"Nah, wha' would sav' ya time would be nah havin' so many options." Though her things took up just as much of the closet as his did. She crinkled her nose as she inspected the fresh blisters on her feet, before tossing the shoes into the bag and putting on simple flats. "Ya ready? Wai', check th' hall firs', yeah?"

A quick nod, before he needlessly placed his fingers on his lips in the universal "Quiet!" gesture. As quietly as he could, he unlocked the door, then opened it, peering out into the hallway. He glanced back at her, hissing a whisper. "Who am I looking for?"

"Alik er th' Count. Nah 'n a mood fer round two, yeah?" She slung her bag over her shoulder, mindful of her right hand.

He nodded fast, then opened the door just a tad more. With his free hand, he waved her forward, before swinging the door open to the hallway. There was a small ballet troupe milling about in the hallway, with their director addressing them in a language that Locke didn't immediately recognize, but no Alik or Christophe. "Coast is clear, mate."

*My dancer
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

She scooted closer to him, but when she was just a breath behind him, she wasn't so focused on the peeking anymore. His voice brought her out of her thoughts and she grinned, "Shiny." She waited for him to get out first before walking down the hallway, "Is our stuff still 'n Christophe's ship, er did ya set it down somewhere's?"

"There's a bloke up at the front desk holding onto all our bags for us. We just need to go there, tell him what's what, and Bob's your uncle. You have everything else that you need?" Once they were out of the room, he shut the door silently behind them, taking a moment to glance both directions down the hallway.

"Yeah, I go' everythin'." Knowing her way around well enough, she turned down another hall that led into the lobby. She walked up to the front desk with a warm smile, "Hello! We're here ta pick up bags fer Locke an' Katarina?" She wasn't sure what name he listed them under, but the man seemed to recognize Locke well enough to nod and leave to return with their things. "Thanks!" She grabbed a bag with her right hand absently, before gingerly putting it in her left.

Locke took care of the rest of the bags, awkwardly carrying them in both hands. "Which way to the port, melamin*?" Most of his body was hidden by the luggage he held.

She gave him an apologetic look for not taking another bag. "Righ' back th' way we came." She led them out the door and turned right, "An' th' ship's name is Th' Red Rose. Shouldn' be too hard ta fin'."

He moved at a much slower pace than usual, following in her footsteps as she headed down the sleek gunmetal gray corridors that would take them away from the conference and to their next spaceship. Despite the burden, he easily dodged the waves of arriving passengers as they streamed by.

"I's usually nah this busy, yanno? I's a small kinda planet tha' only th' high an' mighty live here, yeah?" She talked to him over her shoulder, before they walked into a clearing that was filled with different spaceships and crowds. She was looking up at the beams in front of each ship that had a screen with the ship's name and destination. "Stayin' 'n Rhy'Din was th' bes' thin' fer me, yeah?" She looked over her shoulder at him and winked.

The wink and her words made him want to drop the bags and embrace her at that very moment, but he stilled that notion in favor of a crooked, dimpled grin for her. "I'm finding it impossible to think of any argument to the contrary." He peered around the clearing. "Find our ship yet?"

"Uh, yeah. Thin' i's towards th' en' there. See th' sign?" She vaguely pointed at the beam with a screen that said "The Red Rose. Destination: Hope." She crinkled her nose and muttered under her breath about her hand.

He headed for the beam, gratefully handing off all but his duffel bag to the baggage handler standing near the beam. He offered to take Katarina's bag and hand it to the man as well, before looking at the ship's steel gangplank. The ship seemed to have been emptied of passengers some time ago; there appeared to be no one else on board beside the flight crew.

"Thanks." She blew Locke a kiss as he took the bag, and walked up to the young man handling their bags. "Evenin' there. Room fer Katarina Smith?" She opened up her bag and pulled out a white envelope to hand him.

After he opened it to look at the thin white paper ivories, he handed her a key. "Room ten. Down the right hall and the last hatch on your left. We're picking up a few more people on Rialto before heading to Hope. You're the only pick-up here."

"Shiny." She walked across the gangplank and seemed to not mind finding the way to their room on her own.

Once the last bag was taken and stowed away, and Katarina had exchanged their tickets for a key, Locke waited a moment or two to follow after her. He fished some silver coins out and gave them to the handler with a grin, before scurrying after Katarina to board the ship and go to their room.

*My love
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