The Woman I'm Thinking of (private)
The sprig of birch was left on his desk, and the sight was enough to make Thanos sigh. He was tired, bone tired, and had no interest in another verbal battle today. Sometimes he grew very weary of Loretta and her games.
Wanting nothing more than to finally go to sleep, he instead put on his walking shoes and made his way out to the woods surrounding the hospital, tracking the Savia's scent. She'd made it easy for him, which could be good but probably wasn't. It was obvious that she expected him to find her quickly, in any case.
Finally approaching the desired clearing, which was remote enough to be an annoyance but not so far that he felt wary of some trap, he slowed his pace, gently pushing aside foliage and entering between two of the very birch trees from which the sprig had come.
She stood with her back to him, though he knew she was aware of his presence. Was this part of the game? He decided he didn't care, and broke the silence.
"Jiro," she spat, looking him up and down and clearly finding him wanting, "Where -were- you?"
Deciding to avoid going on the defensive, a sure sign of weakness to such a predator as her, he answered, calmly and flatly, but without excuse, "I was in my office. I came as soon as I saw your message."
He was deliberately taking her literally - he found it was safest to do that rather than guess at her meaning.
"You know perfectly well what I mean. Have you forgotten who you answer to?"
Her eyes flashed as she waited for his answer, daring him to defy her, or even disrespect her. It may be daytime, she thought, but by the gods she could still tear him to pieces, in this form or that of the wolf.
Of course, he understood now - she was angry that he had not reported to her immediately after the incident on the docks. Was it because he had spoken to Latzu instead? Or perhaps she was miffed that he hadn't held Tobi's hand all the way back to mommy?
Best to play it cool.
"I have not forgotten, Savia. My mission continued on after the explosion - I was with the Polemarch, gathering the necessary information to provide a full report."
He refrained from adding that it was her decision to make the speech before meeting with him - had she waited, she might have been able to provide real information instead of spewing propaganda. Ah, but that would be his job - getting the truth to the other Vyusher, dispelling rumors, attending to their individual griefs. He supposed she would only argue that she had been forced to go to the podium, as her Jiro had not yet reported in. That was fair, but there had been more important things going on than filling in the Savia.
Her annoyance with the Jiro was rising – his lack of response, his very calm, was all the more infuriating. He could at least look chastened! He was in the wrong, he was well aware that this entire mess was all his fault, he could at least be embarrassed.
“The Legion did their duty. Getting the body count was the least I could do.”
It wouldn’t do to seem emotionally involved – Loretta would not tolerate sentiment.
“Oh, the Legion did their duty? That, Jiro, is so reassuring. It is such a comfort to know that our Mighty Army knows the meaning of the word. So, I suppose since they do their duty, and I do my duty, and my son does his duty, the Jiro can do whatever he wishes?” She raised her eyebrows. “Is that what you think? That Vyusher are sacrificing their lives so that you can answer to whom you wish?”
Was she lying?
His forehead crinkled into hard lines as he stepped forward, invading her space now, but not in any attempt to intimidate.
“Tobi did well tonight – I know you would be proud. Etta – what's this really about?”
The Savia could be petty, he knew, but normally she was above chastising him for something so trivial, especially when she must know, deep down, that he had done the right thing..
She heard a hateful quiver in her voice at that last, and turned to walk away, knowing she was quickly spiraling out of control and wanting the last word and a dignified exit.
“You come to me, Jiro. That's what this is about.”
/ooc Loretta out
He walked away in the opposite direction, lest they meet again on the path.