Day Four, part 2
Mahchen stands with the handful of clothing, the kiss still fresh on his lips, and confused frown battling with a contented smile to replace it. Shrugging and shaking his head once again, he pulls first the shirt over his head, shaking his shoulders until it settles into place. And then he whips his towel off and flings it over a shoulder, before sliding into the rest of the ensemble.
Padding down to her room, she takes a moment to slip into her dress before going to her vanity and putting on her perfume and a layer of lip gloss. She puts up her still wet hair, allowing many of the tendrils to fall to touch her neck and shoulder. Finally refreshed and primped sufficiently for the party ahead she heads back to claimer shoes, putting them one while she balances against the door jam. Taking one last look in the mirror, she heads out her door to meet the party.
Almost running Jakira over, the Voice of the Ali’la encounters the doctor at just the same moment that she exits her room. Offering a few mumbled words of apology before he genuinely takes a look at Jakira, his words soon catch in his throat as he is almost floored by how stunning the doctor looks. Quickly recovering, Mahchen offers his arm to escort the Zeltron down the stairs.
Whether the Hobben realizes it or not (more than likely not), he cuts a rather striking figure as well, amplified more so by being in escort of Jakira. The clothes that the doctor picked out for Mahchen manages to be stylish but with a great deal of class, and they do their utmost to emphasize the Voice’s physique and natural grace. Mahchen may indeed turn a head or two.
The Zeltron smiles as the Hobben leader nearly runs her over as she leaves her room. Looking him over with an appraising eye, she smiles as she adjusts the lay of his collar slightly before taking his arm.
"Definitely going to break some girl's heart tonight," she says with a grin as he escorts her down toward the party. Her heels click on the floor of the stairs as they head down, her hand moving to hover over the rail out if habit and not out of any true need to hold onto it.
The music from the party crescendos as they draw near and she directs Mahchen to the first of her guests she comes across. She greets them by name if she’s aware of it, giving her acquaintances a kiss on the cheek. For those she recalls not being on the list, she keeps a note of them to inform the security to watch out for.
It doesn’t take much to start a party on Zeltros, and once one starts it takes even less time for word to spread. The procession of party-goers that sashays through the doctor’s front doors could easily double as the red carpet a-list for some galactic holovid premier, as the beautiful and wealthy of all manner of species comes to see Jakira off.
Mahchen stands along with the doctor, greeting and directing as initially is deemed necessary, and then once the bulk of the party attendees are situated, or at least the ones the doctor deems important are, the Hobben all but disappears into the throng, being appropriated by some of the academics he remembers from his first gala, as well as all manner of well-wishers, social climbers hoping to get into the Boton family’s good graces, and as Jakira had predicted, no small number of “interested parties”.
Unconcerned for the well being of her Hobben friend in his current company, Jakira goes about mingling with the various guest, making her way toward the hors d'oeuvre Mauva would have set out. Setting out a good sampling of the fare onto her plate she goes back to mingling, eventually making her way to where the academics had stolen Mahchen to.
“Fascinating, truly fascinating! And you say these insects actually absorb and store the photon particles?!”
Mahchen turns to respond to the first question, when another scholar interrupts the first, drawing the Hobben’s attention.
“And you say that your people are descended from Zabrak explorers from eons ago? Astounding, I wonder as to your genetic compatibility; have you attempted any breeding tests?”
As the Hobben turns, it is the touch of a delicate hand on his shoulder that stops him this time, and as Mahchen looks up he blushes furiously, as he finds that the hand belongs to Kadrian.
“Oh, I can assure you professor Vrick, he is *very* compatible.”
The surrounding academics erupt in fits of laughter, causing the Voice to blush even deeper. As he looks up and catches sight of Jakira, his grin is strained, but mostly good-humored.
Jakira provides him a reassuring grin as she continues to circle and mingle with the guests, content that he had found some company. Eventually she makes her way to the small group integrating herself as they continue to turn Mahchen in circles with their questions. The shade of red Kadrian inflicted on him was amusing to say the least.
“Kadrian, Professors. You’re enjoying yourselves I hope?” she asks mildly, smiling at her guests.
“Immensely doctor Boton, we truly will be at a loss with your leaving.”
One of the scholars pipes-up, and a chorus of agreements rise to join him. Most are genuine, some are not, but on the whole everyone at the party appears to be sad to see Jakira go.
“Although Jakira, if your adventures tend to attract such... “ Kadrian taps a finger on her lips in faux-contemplation while her other hand strokes around the ridge of Mahchen’s horns.
“Rare specimens, I do say you should go out on furlough more often.” The Zabrak grins wolfishly, and there is another hearty round of laughter. A great many more approvals meet this statement, many of them coming from the female faculty members who stare after the Hobben with some avarice, but Kadrian’s steady eye keeps them at bay.
Mahchen, for his troubles, exhales a steady sigh but it does nothing to decrease the deep crimson of his blush. Blinking suddenly, he cranes his head around slowly to glance out into the throng of party-attendees around them.
“Have you seen the Elders, Jakira? I thought I caught sight of them earlier around the refreshments, but I was swept up into more, ah,” The Voice coughs at this as he glances up at Kadrian, who tickles at his scalp in response, “Pressing concerns.”
Jakira couldn’t help but to giggle at his emphasis on his last statement. “They did say they could take care of themselves and claimed to understand what would be happening tonight.” She looks at Kadrian and gives her a small smile as the Zabrak seems to cling to the Hobben. The woman was playing the game, attempting to seduce the naive leader. The question was, did he want to be? “Did you want to find them?” she asks with a raised eyebrow, giving him a way out of Kadrian’s claws should he wish it.
Mahchen's head bows as he thinks for a moment, although his concentration is briefly waylaid as Kadrian circles a finger around the Hobben's ear in a way that makes his brain go numb. Blinking, the Voice gathers his senses and then clears his throat as he rises slowly to his feet, seeming to hesitate as he disengages from the Zabrak until he's standing and straightening his clothing.
"I think that we should. A claim to understanding and an actual understanding are two seperate things entirely; at the very least I will feel better in making sure they've not done themselves any harm, or anyone else for that matter..."
The Hobben bows briefly to Kadrian, who's secretive little smile Mahchen doesn't see. "Madame Kadrian, if you will excuse me for a moment, I will not be long.
"Go, go, there will be plenty of time for Madames and Mistresses later, hm?" The seductive wink that Kadrian gives Mahchen is anything but hidden or secretive, making those hopefuls in the academic crowd fume, but she does wave him away to go accompany Jakira on their endeavor.
Taking the towering Hobben's arm, Jakira gives her Zabrak assistant a coded "watch it glare" hidden in her customary smile as she takes her leave of the group to accompany Mahchen to find the Elders. Out of earshot she leans in to whisper, "Well now. Didn't take long for her to sink her claws into you, now did it?"
"Madame Kadrian certainly lacks your degree of... subtlety, to be certain." Mahchen rumbles down to Jakira, flashing a weak grin before he turns his attention back to the crowd in search of his comrades.
"Where your seductions can be considered artful, for Kadrian it is all a contest, and she is not one to lose..."
"Hmm.." she says, glancing casually back at the Zabrak as if she was looking for the Hobben. "If I enjoyed the contest, I may actually have shown her who is the better. Besides.. as the target I think it's best if you have most of your falcuties so you can function tomorrow." In turn, Jakria also looks around, but truthfully isn't much up for actually finding what had happened to the Elders.
Mahchen's eyebrows raise in surprise, as he had not counted on the doctor to come to his rescue. He chuckles to himself and shakes his head, preparing to respond but some bit of movement from the corner of his eye catches his attention and as it does, words catch in his throat and he all but hauls Jakira off towards one of the refreshment stations.
A small throng has gathered around the table, most of them clapping or singing in tune with some song, and as the Hobben and Jakira make their way to the center of the party-goers, what they find are the two Elders dancing and singing some meandering melody in the Hobben tongue. There doesn't appear to be any empty drinks nearby, but by their slurred speech and dizzy movements, it is obvious something has them both rather inebriated.
A delicate hand comes up to cover the giggle issuing from her mouth as she looks at the inebriated Hobben Elders. "It looks like they've found a way to enjoy themselves..." she starts, looking up at Mahchen to see what his reaction to the scene was.
Mahchen does not appear to be amused in the least bit. His lips compress to a thin line, and as he looks around the assembled mass of party-goers laughing and singing after two of the most esteemed councilors of the Hobben people, Jakira can feel an aura growing in the Voice.
Gone is the sensual electricity, replaced with something akin to the authority the doctor had felt when Mahchen had first silenced Elders seemingly so many days ago. But this has something more... dangerous, more menacing to it, and as it grows many of the party goers begin to edge away from the Voice, suddenly feeling uneasy.
She watches him as his ire seems to grow, "Hmm.. Shoe seems to be on the other foot tonight. Mahchen, take a deep breath, is this really worth getting angry over?"
"Yes. I can be made to look a fool; I am learning to navigate these waters, and I will do anything for my people. But these people make sport of my Elders- of my people, and that I do not think I can abide..." Mahchen begins to angrily step forward, most of the small crowd moving out of his way as he starts, although Jakira has plenty of time to stop him or accompany him should she choose to.
Tugging on his arm, she hopes to make him pause for just a moment. "Now wait a minute. I don't going up to them angry like this is going to accomplish much other than some bad attitudes. And what if you're reading this wrong? What if this was their idea to have some fun?"
Mahchen does indeed stop, although it does take some effort on his and Jakira's part. He folds his arms angrily across his chest, and as he looks down at his companion his glance is skeptical.
With the crowd in front of the Voice thinning, the two Elders catch sight of Mahchen and began to cheerfully wave him over. Mahchen doesn't move from his position, but he does chatter in the Hobben language to the two Elders and although Jakira may not understand the exact words, she does know the tone and it is not pleased.
The two Elders straighten up quickly, like soldiers on inspection, but suddenly they surprise everyone by bursting out into a fit of laughter and what must be rude gestures to the Hobben people, all directed toward the Voice. Mahchen is left standing, jaw agape, as Magdalia and Gerv (the male Hobben) move back to refreshment table to stock up on whatever's put them in their jolly state.
Jakira is equally surprised as the two Elders rudely denounce the apparent concern of their leader. Regaining her senses she motions for one of the servers to approach her. "Inform the bartenders that they are to serve those two elder Zabrak, non alchoholic beverages from now on," she says. "Make sure they know to be subtle about it." With her instructions said, she dismisses the server to carry out her wishes as she turns her attention back to the stunned man beside her. "I wonder what's gotten into them," she asks rhetorically. Of course she didn't expect Mahchen to know the answer.
The server nods slightly to Jakira and then melts back into the crowd, the message spreading to all of the bartenders. Mahchen stands for a moment longer in abject surprise, before his expression turns to one of genuine hurt. The Voice simply shakes his head as he watches the Elders bumble away, a train of jubilant partiers in their wake.
"...They asked me why I was so concerned now, when I have not seemed so concerned about their welfare over the past few days. I suppose I deserved that. I think I no longer have a taste for this party, doctor. Perhaps I should depart until the gala has ended, so as not to hamper your enjoyment."
Mahchen attempts to give the Zeltron a stoic smile, but it falters soon after when he turns to try and find his way out of the mass of people, feeling suddenly claustrophobic. Jakira still has a grip of his arm, and can choose to pull him back, or dissuade him in some other fashion, other way he will make for the stairs and the balcony adjoining the library.
A pout spreads over her features as Mahchen talks about leaving. Knowing that a friend of hers wasn't enjoying himself at her party was going to be distracting to no end. It just wouldn't do. As he tries to pull away to head off to the library, she holds fast to his arm. "Please don't leave. Isn't there anything I can do to make it better?"
"I... I do not know Jakira. The Elders are right to be mad; in trying to find more for my people, perhaps I have lost myself. Do you have any elixirs for that doctor?"
Although the Voice has regained his composure, the Zeltron can still feel the the hurt in Mahchen through their bond, knotted up tight and shoved deep down within himself. The encounter with the Elders had been a rude awakening for the leader, and one that he did not immediately know how to handle. Mahchen genuinely looks to Jakira for some answer, but if none is forthcoming then he does pull away and departs up the stairs.
Jakira thinks for a moment. "Are you sure what you think you have lost was what your people expected from you, and not who you really are?" she asks slowly, not feeling worthy enough to have such trust from this leader of an entire people.
"They likely do not expect me to drug my Elders, and leave them to go on dalliances with gorgeous foreign women. I suspect such is rather frowned upon." Although the joke isn't said with much feeling, Jakira can feel that it does make the Voice feel slightly better, inspiring a slight chuckle.
But then Mahchen thumbs the expensive shirt coming his frame and looks out over his party, and the lightening of his mood threatens to darken again. "But I cannot say that that this is who I am. These past few days with you have been life-altering doctor, and I would trade them for nothing, but have I done right? Right by my people? Myself? Have I done well by you, or simply indulged myself and taken advantage of your good graces."
The Voice frowns, a myriad of thoughts racing through his mind, but with a shake he stills them and pats Jakira's hand delicately, marvelling as always at its softness. "Perhaps I am over thinking these things."
Jakira looks at him, a slight frown of concern threatening to take over her usually jovial contenance. Instead she takes on an unusual seriousness. "I can't speak for your people, but I can truthfully say that you've done right by me. I never could have imagined what you have shown me in just these last few days. I suspect there's to be even more wonders to be encountered in the future." Finally she smiles at him, her free hand coming up to cover his. "Don't be too hard on yourself, Mahchen."
At last, the Hobben lets the knotted-feelings go, the hurt and the worry slowly leaving him. He lifts her hands to his lips, kissing them delicately in appreciation. "I thank you, doctor, for all that you have done for me here and all that you will do in the future. I hope only that I am worthy of your faith when it is tested the most."
Mahchen then lowers Jakira's hands, but does not let go of them completely as he gives the doctor his most dashing grin. "And I must be hardest on myself; I have a great deal of pushing to do to reach your level of wisdom and confidence."
Jakira at first frowning at his enigmatic comment laughs, "I would hardly call myself wise, but I suppose we all have our moments." Squeezing his hands, she glances back over to where the Elders had gone. "Did you still want to leave?"
Mahchen frowns as he overlooks the party before returning his attention to Jakira. "I had thoughts of going elsewhere, but I would not have you worry over me, nor would I have you leave on my account. It is your party after all."
“Besides, if I do not return in some fashion, I suspect that Kadrian would hunt me down and take me as a trophy to mount in her den."
Jakira watches Mahchen intently as she laughs lightheartedly, freeing a hand to wave off his concerns over the Zabrak assistant. "Kadrian can be dealt with if you would rather not have her company tonight. She may not like it initially but I think I could find someone to divert her attentions." Smiling at him she adds, "I will not be offended if you'd like to leave, though I would be a little sad that you had been so put off to party."
Mahchen laughs as well, although he does spare a glance to see if the Zabrak was anywhere in the immediate area.
“While madame Kadrian would likely make the evening very exciting, to put it mildly, I do not think I feel like being conquered this evening, at least not in the way that she would intended.”
The Voice then shakes his head as he chuckles, disbelieving his own speech. It hasn’t been but a week removed that so suggestive a talk would have had him fumbling over himself furiously. He lifts his freehand to stroke the Zeltron’s cheek.
“Well, we certainly must prevent sadness at all costs. I will remain, and will find more pleasant distractions for myself.”
The Zeltron beams up at her companion, touching his hand to her lips as she draws in closer to him taking his arm again in a companionable manner. With a sly grin she suggests, “Perhaps a dance will distract you.” Eager to give it a try she attempts to direct him toward the dance floor. He had after all picked out her dress for just such a purpose.
.Mahchen allows himself to be pulled along behind the doctor, but as they approach the dance floor, it is the Hobben that is leading Jakira, the Voice proving rather eager. When the couple arrives, there’s a waltz going into its decrescendo, and the band sounds like it’s segueing into something spicier.
“I’m accounted a fair dancer amongst my people, and I have studied a fair number of dances from across the galaxy. Care to test my knowledge?”
The Voice’s smile is perfectly predatory, and Jakira gains the impression that she’s being lured in.
The young doctor’s eyes seem to gleam at the challenge and lured onto the floor by the prospects she takes her place with her companion on the floor. Not paying any of the other dancers any mind she draws away for the start of the dance, her arm outstretched to keep a light grasp on his hand. A sly smile forming on her lips as she anticipates an exciting dance.
Mahchen begins with the slow waltz to accompany the fading music, his movements precise and almost clinical. But when the beat picks up in pace, the Hobben flashes another roguish smile as he dips the doctor for the opening of a more sensual dance. The music segues into something resembling a tango, and as Jakira and Mahchen’s movements heat-up, many of the dancers on the floor turn to watch and cheer, while a scattered few attempt to mimic the movements in obvious jealousy.
The bond helps the fluidity of their dance, their bodies feeding off of one another in almost perfect harmony. Suddenly, Mahchen spins Jakira away to arms length, the music peaking in a furious crescendo, their hands still conjoined although the Voice leaves the doctor open to guide their next steps.