"I suppose you think you're a sharp one?" Jaina fumed at Weft. Her drink shook in her hands, which were turning purple. "If you have a job, why don't you go do it and leave us alone?"
The animals' noises caught her attention and cooled her anger -- for the moment. Without taking her eyes off Weft, she gently set down her drink and reached to scritch behind Skerv's ears.
Earrubs are known to make Baskerville forgot everything that's bothering him. His only regret was that Jaina was standing and thus had no lap to climb into. (However, since approximately 180lb or 82kg of dog is an alarming prospect when it jumps on you, we can assume JJ would not have shared in this regret.)
Weft had to crush down the initial impulse to whine But I was here first! Purple glowing hands were a new one on him, but perhaps round these parts all the peasantry resonated when being rude.
"I tell you, almost nothing would give me greater pleasure than getting far away from you, and all the better options involve bladed weapons," he muttered.
Jaina barely had time to register that one before Suitov snapped a phrase in gutter Weftworldian. The meaning wasn't discernable; his voice, though, had a tone of command she had definitely never heard him use before. Surprisingly, Weft shrank back and dropped his gaze, seeming as though he'd just been told off. It only lasted a moment.
"You know what -- whatever. I don't care about your stupid low-class girlfriend. You're a pair of inferior aliens and I didn't ask to be given this lousy duty anyway!" There was a hint of flounce in his exit.
Baskerville was going to pitch a giggle fit any second. This was it. This was high comedy.
"One day, I'm going to figure out how exactly I end up in the places I do," Lance muttered from outside the Inn, scratching his head with confusion.
"I mean," he continued talking to himself, "One moment, I could be anywhere, doing anything. And then, next thing I know, I've been in a state somewhat akin to a coma for a couple of years, or months, or however long--I mean, how am I supposed to know anyway, I'm the one that's been out of it!--and then poof! I'm either back where I started only different, or I'm somewhere completely different from that. I think someone is having a go at me. Or is just really lazy and unreliable."
Somewhere in the Authorverse, Erin whistled innocently and twiddled eir thumbs.
After a few more moments of contemplation on this very odd topic, Lance eventually came to realize that he was failing his manly duty - there was an Inn, and he was a man who liked beer (or any other alcohol that's going, really). So why was he standing around outside having an existential crisis?
"New friends, old friends, parting friends and drunk friends!" Lance sang tunelessly as he bounded up to the door and swaggered inside.
Jaina's ears figuratively pricked. Some voice sounded long-familiar. She stopped in mid-scritch, freezing for a heartbeat, and then bounded excitedly to the door.
"Lance!" she called out to her friend. Catching a glimpse of the departing Weft, she quickly interposed herself between the two males. She also placed her hands on Lance's shoulders to give him a gentle push, an incentive to quickly enter in Inn and get away from Weft. "It's been ages, you scoundrel. Ooh, nice shades. Now get yer butt inside so I can buy you a drink."
She'd hug the lug later, when Weft was further away.
There was an animal screech, and another, and a human "hey!" from the kitchen, followed by a flutter of wings and more screeching. The coiling bunch of wings and necks and tails tumbled through the air, and after some struggling found a perch near the ceiling. Ayu-Asra's heads squabbled over something bright.
Sylvie looked in on the mess and the company, and after a frown at the dragon - what a waste, he wasn't eating a quarter of it - asked brightly, "So, would anyone else like pancakes?"
"Jaina! What's good to drink around here?" Curiously, Lance found himself being thrust away from the exiting Weft, who seemed to be having a small, quiet hissy fit. "Seems a bit chilly in that direction," he murmured, "What's happening there?"
The word of pancakes reached Lance's ears and he grinned widely and threw his free arm open (the other was still busy affectionately hugging Jaina). "Pancakes? Pancakes and alcohol sounds like a good start to the day. I'm in!"
"Sounds and smells good," Suitov Iceheart replied to Sylvie. "Yes please. Did you manage to find pots and plates and things?"
Baskerville squirmed past her, wagging, and rose on his hind legs to reach a shelf. He could only just fit his jaws around the honey pot, and might have difficulty putting it down again, but at least he had it. "Aaummmee," he said, pleased.
Weft, who currently hated pancakes and everything else in the worlds ever, had retreated to the gardens at the rear (since Lance was still near the front door). After calming down for a minute he found a clear patch of ground and put himself in the formal meditative position. No chance of achieving a trance state. Not when he was this frustrated.
"Not many plates, and very old pots, judging from the rust. I can fix that later."
Sylvie waved the company into the kitchen. "Get them while they're hot." She had piled the pancakes on a platter, and stacked the plates she could find nearby.
She was in a great mood - she already had had breakfast, and could finally make herself useful. Feeling like she owed things was not something she liked.
Suitov excused his way round Sylvie and took some more crockery out of a straw-packed crate, ready to distribute it.
Baskerville started begging food from anybody female.
"How exactly are you going to eat with a honey pot in you, um, mouth?" Sylvie grinned at the hellhound.
Meanwhile, Ayu-Asra plummeted to the ground and nipped at some fragments of his breakfast.
Once inside, Jaina kicked the door shut and hugged Lance just as tightly as he hugged her. "Ice has this great stuff called Djew. You've got to try it. It's just begging to be mixed with vodka. And pancakes, apparently."
The redhead eyed the closed door before speaking of Weft. "I take it you don't remember him then. I don't know much about him. He takes every opportunity to insult me and tell me I'm not good enough to hang around Ice. And he seems inordinately attached to Ice. Personally," she said with no small amount of spite, "I think he has a crush on Ice and is annoyed that Ice prefers me. Ice seems to put up with him just fine, though. You should ask him if you're curious about the violent little freak."
Except he wasn't violent, Jaina realised. He'd never attacked her -- physically anyway -- even though he'd drawn blood in the past. What kind of sicko went from assault to insult?
The delicious smell of Sylvie's pancakes interrupted Jaina's muddled thoughts. "Oh Goddess," she cried happily, "food! Blessed, glorious food!" She wasted no time grabbing a plate, accidently dropping a pancake off it in the process.
Baskerville cocked his head to one side and whined. "Aaa gumph yerf!" The jar was stuck between his teeth.
He shook. The greaseproof paper that functioned as a lid came loose.
Comfortably inside and having had the quick look around that was necessary to make sure nothing scary was looming nearby (AKA, Lucifer), Lance turned back to Jaina and turned his half-hug into an enveloping bear hug.
"I haven't seen you in ages!" He grinned, only to be knocked to the side as Jaina made way towards the pancakes. Lance wasted no time in following.
Seating himself and tucking in with no ceremony, he offered Jaina one of his to replace the one she'd dropped.
"Oh yeah, Weft - I remember him," Lance muttered through a mouthful of pancakes. "He was the one that knocked me unconscious trying to teach me a relaxation technique. A little too effective, methinks. Why's he having a tant--wait, I caught some innuendo in there. Are you making smoosh with the Suitov?" That grin had turned lecherous now.
"Lance? H'lo there." Suitov joined them, since their table was safely out of range of whatever Baskerville was doing, and let the pair of them continue talking.
"Unconscious my ass," Jaina scowled around a mouthful of pancake. "You were bleeding! Trust me, there was blood; I know 'cause I freaking slipped in it."
Between Suitov's arrival at the table and Lance's inquiry, Jaina's face glowed neon red. "Hi, Ice," she managed. She was too mortified to say more, so she concentrated very hard on eating her pancakes and not getting syrup on her hands.
"Hey Icypole," Lance grinned and waved at Suitov. "We were just talking about you."
Noticing Jaina had suddenly gone both quiet and very red in the face, Lance got all the more interested. "Oh no you don't," he said excitedly, tugging a lock of Jaina's equally red hair. "Tell me everything! Is there smoosh-making?"
If Zade had been here, he probably would have commented on how very gay Lance was being right now. It wouldn't be much of a stretch until the angel started throwing around the world "girlfriend" in a flamboyant fashion.
Ice raised an eyebrow. There was more than a hint of a smile. He did not rescue Jaina from her embarrassment.
"Hold still for a moment... I have it, let go!"
Sylvie held the now half-empty honey pot at arms length to keep the sticky stuff off her clothes, but she was still grinning.
"Next time think before you grab something?"
She looked around, not entirely sure if she should just put the pot down, or clean it first, and if then she should rather wash her hands or first lick off the honey.
Baskerville was nonplussed. 'Think'? What is this word 'think'?
"Thank yoooou." He tried to put on a cute look, but his tongue kept creeping out of his mouth and licking his muzzle.
Sylvie cleaned the pot and her hands superficially with a rag leftover from cleaning the pan and plates.
"Jaina, don't you want to introduce your friend and me to each other?" She hadn't really been listening, and got only a vague impression she might want to change the topic of the conversation.
Ayu-Asra meanwhile had found his way outside. Quite full, he preferred staying on ground to flying, but a bit of sugar had made him restless. He leaped after insects (sometimes after two at the same time,ending in a short quarrel), but eventually spied another quarry, which would be more of a challenge, that required care and teamwork.
And so, the mighty Destroyer of Pancases stalked Weft.