Luring the Human with the badly dyed hair and sleazy grin up to her room had been repellently easy. Aeryn was beginning to believe no male on this dirtball thought with anything above their waistline. He got points (reluctantly) for courage however. Unlike every other Human he hadn’t screamed, fainted or tried to flee when confronted with D’Argo, but had made a grab for a weapon. The sensation of cold metal to the back of his head convinced him not to complete that move.
A thorough search (and Chiana had been very thorough, especially when the prisoner started to flirt back – Aeryn wasn’t sure who was the bigger tralk) revealed he didn’t have any keys on him. So they’d gone back downstairs, her wrapped around him, hip to hip, gun to backbone, to where his friends were sitting.
The blond male Crichton said was some sort of religious official raised his head from his newspaper and sneered, eyes and mouth narrowed in distaste. She forced herself not to snarl back. Their previous, fortunately brief, interaction had reinforced Aeryn’s opinion that religion didn’t stop someone being a drannit; they just became a sanctimonious drannit.
The brunette Human looked up with a mild expression. Aeryn tightened her grip on the pistol. She'd thought before that he was a nonentity, but this time there’d been something, briefly, in his gaze that touched off her survival instincts.
“Hey there,” her prisoner’s smooth baritone sounded easy and untroubled, “Can I borrow the keys to the jeep?”
Obviously there was something unusual about the request. The blond Human lowered his paper onto his lap and the boy twisted around and was staring at them wide-eyed. The brunette Human raised an eyebrow. The reptile curled up on the table beside him suddenly flapped its wings and chirped, and he put out a hand to stroke it.
“What do you want the jeep for?” he asked.
“I’d like to take the little lady for a ride.”
Aeryn gritted teeth behind her smile at the less-than-subtle innuendo and reminded herself - satisfaction aside - shooting the hostage at this stage would be counterproductive.
“There's only desert for hundreds of miles. And it’s a little dark to go dri . . .”
“She smells funny,” the boy suddenly declared.
“That’s not a very polite thing to say about the lady,” the brunette gently reprimanded him, bowing briefly at Aeryn, “Please excuse him, miss.”
“But she . . .”
A paper fan appeared from nowhere in the blond’s hand.
“Saru! You were told to mind your manners!”
Apparently religion didn’t stop you being a violent drannit either.
The brunette continued, ignoring the squabble beside him, “Very well. But you will be careful, won’t you?” Suddenly the air vibrated with lightly restrained violence; “I do so hate it when my possessions get damaged.”
He knew. Aeryn wasn’t sure how, but the brunette somehow knew. Aeryn wondered why she’d ever thought his smile warm or mild.
“Not a scratch,” she promised him.
Cold green eyes weighed her sincerity. And she’d dismissed him earlier as no real threat? Her intuition was usually much better than this. Then he nodded and fished some keys out of his top pocket, tossing them to her prisoner.
“Jeep’s at the back of the inn. Have a fun trip,” he said, then started murmuring to the little reptile, obviously dismissing them.
“You know life’s always a laugh with me,” replied her prisoner.
“A laugh? Try a joke, you moronic half-wit,” snarled the blond, “Always thinking with your dick.”
Well, that at least they could agree on. Aeryn eased the pistol out of sight as they turned. A quick backwards glance showed the blond and the boy still staring but the brunette ignoring them, playing with his pet.
“You know, sweetheart, if you were a guy I’d be real worried about what’s digging into my hip right now.”
Aeryn just pushed the gun a little harder into him, ignoring his chuckles as they left the room. Crichton was at the top of the stairs and she mouthed ‘back door’ at him before guiding her prisoner out the front door and around the inn to the rear. Finding the jeep and picking up the others went smoothly, possibly too smoothly for people with such a frelling awful record for plans always going wrong. So she kept the gun on the prisoner until the last possible moment. That, and ignoring his irritating smartarse comments and flirtation with Chiana were more than enough to focus on.
As Crichton drove
them out of the inn yard she looked back to see the brunette walking over to
stand beside the stupidly grinning and waving redhead. Well, he was too late
to do anything now. They were out of here.
“So,” Gojyo slid his eyes sideways as the cloud of dust that signified Jeep and his passengers finally disappeared, “You don’t like your possessions getting damaged, huh?”
Hakkai smiled serenely back at him, switched to ‘Selective Hearing Mode’, “Quite. But I’m sure three or four hours driving through the desert at night won’t harm Hakuryuu.”
Gojyo snorted at the evasion.
“Though speaking of damage, I’d avoid Sanzo if I were you – he’s not too happy about spending another day here.”
“When is old sourpuss happy about anything? Though I must admit it’s a pretty damn boring fleapit now the only entertainment’s left.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” Hakkai’s smile turned alarmingly raffish, “I’m sure I won’t find it boring.”
“Huh?” Gojyo asked eloquently.
Hakkai slung an arm around Gojyo and steered him back towards the inn.
“I do believe various reparations are due. Payment for the gas those people are using, for example.”
Goyjo stifled a laugh.
“You do know I’m broke at that minute, don’t you?” he said with his best 'poor innocent me' look - the one that never failed to get him instantly judged guilty.
“Well, I’m certain we can come to some. . . arrangement.”
Gojyo smirked as the hand on his shoulder slid downward.