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28 June 2008 @ 08:51 pm
:who: Jane Grey and Sasha
:where: the campground
:when: morning

Jane woke early enough the next day, and the sound of life through the canvas of their tent made her startle before she remembered. Morpeth. The carnival. They were in a good place. At least, for the time being. Time would tell when it came to those sorts of things. It always did.

All the same, she was awake, even as Charles slept peacefully by her side, Dulce curled at her feet. He needed the rest. She was protective of him, as if he were her younger brother. She supposed it was being his voice that made her feel that way, that and worry that the injury that had taken his own voice had left him damaged in more ways than he would let on. But she wasn't thinking about that, deliberately not thinking about it. She was thinking about getting out the case of knifes, her whetstone, and sitting out in the sunshine and sharpening them until Charles woke and they could see about some food. So she carefully did just that, silent on her feet like a cat until she emerged from the flaps into the dusty air. That was one thing the years had not made easier on her, the omni-present feeling of dust and grime. She was fairly sure her very bones were dusty, at this rate.

But she didn't complain. Complaining never did any good. She just took her knives and stone, settled on the ground by the tent, and started the meticulous process of cleaning and honing each blade, falling into the rhythm easily, her unbound hair falling around her face like a wave of chocolate as she concentrated.
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 01:14 am (UTC)
Sasha had woken to the sound of metal hitting stone. For a moment he considered taking a hit of his opium pipe and going back to sleep, usually the best way to avoid the day. It was the nicotine craving that roused him from his pile of sheets. Pulling on his dark pants and a dirty undershirt he made his way out of his tent.

Sitting on the ground, knees drawn up he lit his cigarette, taking a much needed inhale. It was only after he did this did he notice the young woman sharpening knives some feet away.

"What do you do with those?" he asked.
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 01:18 am (UTC)
Jane looked up, pushing her hair back. "Oh, wee bit of this, wee bit of that," she told him with a little bit of a smirk, her soft burr a little stronger first thing in the morning. "Mostly, try not to kill people, but depends on the day."

She looked him over, just a flick of her eyes, top to bottom. Skinny, all angles and planes, and he looked rough. But this was rough country. "What's your party trick, then?"
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 01:22 am (UTC)
For a moment Sasha watched her carefully, wondering if she was another blade swallower. He'd heard of some people turning the trick with only knives.

"I swallow swords" he offered, "You don't swallow those do you?" his voice revealed a bit of anxiety he couldn't hide.
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 01:26 am (UTC)
"No, no, no, no, no. Don't you worry about that. I throw them," she said, then she grinned wickedly at him, preparing to act on a thought as soon as it occurred to her. It only took her a millisecond to judge the distance, how many rotations it would be between her and him. Like a flash, the knife in her hand flew through the air and hit the dust sharply, blade jammed in the ground, right by his foot. "Like that, you see? Neat as can be."
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 01:29 am (UTC)
He jumped back, scared. Realizing the knife hadn't hit his foot he grinned. "You're good". She clearly knew what she was doing he observed, none of the drug addled clumsiness he couldn't keep out of his act.

"You came alone?"
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 01:38 am (UTC)
Jane shook her head. "I've a brother, he's still in there. He's the target." She pushed herself to her feet to retrieve the knife. She was lanky, like a filly, all arms and legs, none of the grace she could show on-stage. "We've been walking a while, he needs rest," she explained as she yanked the knife from the ground, then returned to her own spot, cleaning it with a rag and starting to hone it all over again.
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 01:41 am (UTC)
Sasha noted she wasn't graceful either and grinned. Trailing behind her a little he followed her back to her sharpening stone.

"Can I see?" he asked, pointing his cigarette in the direction of the knives.
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 01:45 am (UTC)
Nodding, Jane flipped a blade around and extended it towards him, handle first. There were flowers worked into the handles, roses that had once been vibrant red but had darkened with use to a deep burgundy. They were still feminine, despite being deadly instruments. "We picked up the set when we came south. I liked the handles of these, they're mine. My brother has his own," she explained, then paused. "I'm Jane."
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 01:50 am (UTC)
"Sasha" he said not looking up. He ran his free hand over the handle of one of the knives.

"These are very nice" he remarked, taking the knife from her. Sasha couldn't help himself, he didn't think to ask before leaning his head back and setting the blade down his throat. While the length wasn't a challenge for him Sasha was still learning to stack hand knives in his mouth just the right way.

It took him a second to realize he should probably take the knife out of his mouth. Wiping it on his pant leg he handed it back.

"Sorry, can't help myself sometimes"
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 01:56 am (UTC)
"Next time, ask a bird before sticking her personal things down your throat, eh?" Jane suggested, wiping the blade again herself and settling in to hone it again. There was a playful touch to it, almost flirtation, then gone. It was friendliness to her, or so she thought. Her social skills after her teenage years had proven slightly warped, after all. "You're not native, then, are you? With a name like that. Sounds Eastern Bloc, Russian, that sort of thing. Am I near enough?"
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 01:59 am (UTC)
He nodded sheepishly. "Yes, Russian. Came here when I was elven" putting the cigarette out on the ground and kicking it a little ways away he lit another one quick and fluidly. Sasha loved his smokes as much as his opium, it was clear from the nicotine stains on his fingers.

"You're not from here either?" he half asked. He detected an accent but couldn't place it.
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 02:07 am (UTC)
The cigarette smoke hardly bothered Jane. She could smell something else on him, but she didn't ask. There were some things that were best unknown, and who was she to ask? She didn't know him, and she wasn't about to go prying into his business upon first meeting him. By the third or fourth meeting, maybe. "Scotland," she said simply. "We came here a few years ago. Suits us fairly well. It's more stable than Europe is these days. And there's work."
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 02:11 am (UTC)
Sasha nodded. Acting on impulse he let out his response "Want to get breakfast?". It was his attempt at flirtation.

"Food's usually ready by now"
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 02:16 am (UTC)
Jane quirked her head at him like a curious puppy, then glanced back at the tent. There was no sound, and even if Charles didn't make any sound when he woke, Dulce usually would. She should let him sleep, and get some food for herself. They'd scare something up for him when he finally rejoined the living. There was no harm in her eating on her own.

She looked at Sasha and smiled. "Sure thing," she agreed. "I'd like that."
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 02:18 am (UTC)
Sasha grinned. For all his twenty years he'd rarely spent much time women. He started walking slowly in the direction of the chow tent, which wasn't too far off, making sure he didn't walk ahead of Jane.

"I still can't believe we get fed everyday" he admitted to her.
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 02:24 am (UTC)
Jane laughed a little. "Wonder of wonders. It is a big bonus, though. We've been pretty hand-to-mouth for a while, it's good to not worry as much," she agreed. As she talked, walking beside him, she twisted her hair into a loose roll and tossed it back over her shoulder, mostly to have something to do. She was a much different person when she wasn't throwing knives at people, less composed.
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 02:29 am (UTC)
Sasha watched Jane more than he payed attention to where he was going. Almost tripping over a stool set up outside the chow tent he did a little run skip, trying to cover his move.

"Here it is" Sasha motioned to the food. Now more focused on his hunger than anything else he went right over to the fire and filled a plate with eggs and sausage. Next he took some bread. Quickly walking to a table and setting his food down in front of him he didn't wait for Jane to begin eating.
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 02:35 am (UTC)
Jane was a little more delicate about the whole thing, some of her breeding still showing through, taking ladylike portions. She settled across the table from Sasha and tucked in herself, not about to begrudge him the chance to eat. He looked like he needed the food, really, something painfully thin and birdlike about him. But she was still delicate about it all, eating with a refined kind of detachment, even though she was half-starved herself. "It's good," she said, trying awkwardly to strike up a conversation.
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
He nodded putting his fork down momentarily. He noticed that she was more refined than many of the people he'd come across. A little embarrassed at his opened want he tried to slow down his eating.

"You said you came with your brother?" he asked, not very gifted at small talk. Lighting another smoke he resumed eating, a little slower this time.
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 02:47 am (UTC)
Swallowing her mouthful of sausage, Jane nodded. "We go everywhere together. Can't do a double act alone, after all. No good flinging knives at a blank board, nowhere near as exciting," she explained, sopping up some of the egg with a crust of her bread.
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
He finished off the last bits of food on his plate.

"It's good you keep your family together". Placing his fork on his plate he stood, "You want tea?"
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)
"I could murder a cup of tea, you've no bloody idea," she said gratefully, smiling up at him, tucking her hair back behind her ear. "Thank you."
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
Making his way over to the kettle he poured two cups, putting a little jelly in his own. Bringing a small sugar bowl over to the table he set a cup in front of Jane before sitting down.

Taking a sip he put the cup back on the table, a little unsure of what to say next.

"You have very good hair" he stammered, his accent growing a little thicker with his embarrassment.
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 03:01 am (UTC)
Jane laughed softly, smiling. "Thank you," she said again, her cheeks going sweetly pink, then she busied herself with the sugar bowl as if it was the most fascinating thing she'd seen in a while, stirring in a small spoonful. "I can't believe they have real sugar here. I mean, real sugar. It's bloody hard to get, I haven't seen it in a while."
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 03:04 am (UTC)
"I know" he was still amazed there was enough food, let alone things like sugar or milk.

"When did you start with the knives?"
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 03:10 am (UTC)
"Oh, that," Jane said with another laugh. "Few years back. Just sort of...sorted out that we had a knack for it, that I had a steadier hand than Charles, so we just...started doing it to pay our way south once the money ran out." She took a sip of her tea, closing her eyes for a moment and relishing the sweetness of the white sugar.

"What about you?" she asked. "Did you wake up one morning and decide that day was a good day to swallow swords?"
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 03:12 am (UTC)
He shook his head.

"I learned when I was young. It's the only thing I've ever done really. I'm not built for labor" he snickered.

"And the pay is steady if you find somewhere to preform regularly which is more important."
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
"I like being on the move, too. There's a lot of world to see and staying in one place...it's rather a waste, isn't it," Jane said, nodding a little, wrapping her fingers around the mug of tea. "But this is about the only thing we're good at. Well, it's the only thing I'm good at, really. I've no idea what else I'd do if it weren't for this."
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC)
He let his eyes drift down to the table and then back to Jane.

"I guess all of us ended up here" he said, gazing around the fair grounds.

"Not that it's a bad place to end up"
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 03:33 am (UTC)
"Carnivals are the land of the dispossessed," Jane said with a sort of wistful authority, looking around as well. Everyone who ever stepped inside the tent to perform had ghosts around them, carried on their backs and in their eyes, or so it seemed to her. There was nowhere to go but forward, on to the next town, the next mark, the next show. Looking back was unthinkable.

"It seems like a good place. Good people, I think," she said, smiling at him.
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 03:41 am (UTC)
He smiled. "Everyone I've met so far seems like good people", he hesitantly began to scratch at his arm, one of the little ticks that started when he began to crave a taste.

"Want to go back to the campground?" he asked, figuring he could smoke a quick pipe and then resume their conversation.
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 03:53 am (UTC)
Jane nodded. "I should get back before Charles notices I'm gone and worries," she agreed. "Never mind the knives need finishing."

She paused and smiled at him, that momentary flirtatiousness back, all in the quirk of her lips, in the way her hair fell over her one eye, like a long-ago movie siren. "But if you want to keep me company, I daresay I wouldn't mind."
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC)
He couldn't hold back a wide smile. "Of course" he said getting up and beginning to head back to the campgrounds. Trying to conceal his excitement for both the interest Jane was showing him and the opportunity to chase the dragon he quickened his pace.

"Who's older?"
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 04:06 am (UTC)
Jane laughed merrily, walking along with him. "Neither. Well, I am by a few minutes, but it's nothing to write home about. 4 minutes, Mum used to say," she explained, grinning. She liked being a twin, she liked the novelty of it, the knowledge that she had someone in this world who was her exact, absolute equal. Charles made her make sense, and she made him make sense.
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)
Sasha smiled. Coming up to the campground he stopped walking, thinking quick about an excuse he could make for his little disappearance into his tent.

"I've got to take care of something quick, but I'll be over soon" he offered, the excuse was weak but he couldn't muster up anything better.
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 04:13 am (UTC)
Jane shrugged one shoulder, pushing her hair back again. He was antsy. Was it her, or was it something else? She wasn't sure, but again, it was better not to ask. Not yet, at any rate.

"It's all right. It's not like I'm going to run about anywhere," she said pleasantly. "There's nowhere to go, really."
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 04:19 am (UTC)
Sasha nodded, heading over to his tent. Once inside he packed he pipe as quickly as he could, hands shaking just a little- they usually did before a taste, the anticipation almost too much for him. The bowl he'd packed was small, but would do. Smoking it with haste he burned the drug down to an ember as fast as he could.

Giving himself a good few minutes to enjoy the initial high he leaned back against his elbows, eyes half closed. Bringing himself back to the present moment he sat up blinking a few times before going back outside and heading over to Jane's tent. He'd been gone no more than twenty minutes.
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 04:23 am (UTC)
Jane was just as she said, sitting outside, working on her knives, only her little white dog had joined her, luxuriating at her feet, more fluff than dog. She smiled up at Sasha when his long, lean shadow crossed over her like a slender eclipse. "Everything taken care of, then?" she asked, running the edge of one knife against her thumb nail to test for sharpness. Dulce, the dog in question, looked up at Sasha as well, ears pricked forward in interest.
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 04:27 am (UTC)
Sasha watched the dog carefully before answering Jane. He was never too sure around animals.

"Yes, every things handled" his accent just a bit more thick, his speech a little slowed from the drug, but other than that he was fine.

"Does this belong to you too?" he asked motioning towards the small dog.
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 04:32 am (UTC)
"Sure enough. His name is Dulce. He was a gift from an admirer a few years ago, I'm attached to him. He keeps an eye on Charles, too," she explained, and as if on cue, the dog's little tail started to wag, thumping in the dust, sending up a small cloud around him. "He's friendly, I promise, or else I wouldn't keep the wee thing."
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 04:38 am (UTC)
Sasha calmed a little, upon hearing the dog wasn't violent. Sitting down close to Jane he offered a hand out to Dulce, as if to say "I'm ok, don't bite me".

"Your brother must be worn tired" he commented upon hearing her mention her twin's name.
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 04:41 am (UTC)
Jane nodded. "He carried the trunk and things, I think he thinks he's a pack mule. Or if he's up, he's keeping to himself. Sometimes, it's not worth it to bother him until he's ready to be bothered. He's a private thing. He has his books, he doesn't need much else," she explained, watching as Dulce inched forward to lick Sasha's fingers.
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 04:45 am (UTC)
Sasha let the dog lick at his fingers briefly before pulling away, thinking about where the dog's tongue might have been. The high was starting to take full effect now, making him a little drowsy. Leaning back further so he was balancing on his elbows, legs outstretched and crossed he shot her a smile.

"You two know how to read?" coming across someone with an education was a rarity in these times.
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 04:49 am (UTC)
"Oh, yes. Learned when we were small. He always liked it more than I did. I never took to it well. I was a willful thing, or so Mum used to say," she said simply, shrugging. Watching him just made her feel languid and tired. "He's the clever one. I suppose that makes me the pretty one." At that she laughed, rolling her eyes and tossing her hair back before picking up another knife to hone.
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 04:52 am (UTC)
Leaning down a little further and moving in closer to Jane he watched her hone the knives with ease.

"What do you think about mid morning naps?" he asked, a lazy smile crossing his face. The best part of it was just coming on, the warm rush. It felt like what he'd imagined being in the womb felt like.
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 04:55 am (UTC)
Jane chuckled again. "I suppose you're going to take one whether I approve or no," she said, amused. That lazy smile was entirely appealing, she didn't know why. Maybe she just liked it when men smiled at her, that was the logical conclusion. "That's all right, Dulce and I will keep an eye out. We're usually good for that."
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 04:57 am (UTC)
He gave up resisting and lay on the ground. "C'mon, the grounds not too hard" he said, patting the dirt below them.

"Feels good" he let out, eyes closing for just a moment.
grey_blades on June 29th, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC)
Jane smiled, shaking her head. He wasn't entirely lucid, she could suss that out, so she just watched him, and Dulce snuggled up by his chin, wagging his tail in the dust. It seemed Sasha was getting a nap partner whether it was the one he wanted or not. So Jane just let her dog snuggle and kept sharpening her blades, the repetitive motion soothing. Maybe this had been a good call, coming here. It was certainly starting to seem that way, she decided.
czar_of_steele on June 29th, 2008 02:31 pm (UTC)
Sasha didn't shoo the dog away, in his calmed state the little animal was welcomed company. He gave up fighting it and submitted to sleep, curling into himself. The hot sun felt good against his skin.