Bren wearily approached the doors to his Bu-javid apartment. Jago shadowed him silently, one of his two ever-present and Guild licensed security. Bren idly wondered where Banichi, the senior of the pair, had disappeared to. He knew better than to ask Jago – she'd inevitably reply with some variant of Nothing you need worry about, Bren-ji. Translation - Don't ask; don't force me to lie to you. So he didn't, he just rolled his shoulders, trying to ease the tension there. It had been a long day spent with Grigiji, the Astronomer Emeritus. Him and his theories. At the door Jago reached easily over his shoulder and keyed it open, simultaneously disarming the security wire, and probably other equally deadly devices that Bren had decided long ago he didn't want to know about.

He sighed as he stepped into the apartment and gratefully surrendered his formal coat into the hands of one of the ever-present staff. Narani appeared at his elbow asking

"Tea, nandi?" Bren rubbed the back of his neck and said

"No, thank you. But a bath would be most welcome, Rani-ji." Narani bowed and said only "Yes, nand' paidhi." Bren turned and headed toward his bedroom, greatly anticipating a good, long soak in a hot bath. He knew that by the time he'd shed his court finery that the bath would be ready. Jago followed, after a quick nod to Algini, who currently manned the security station. In the bedroom, staff approached to help Bren out of the many layers of fabric and lace that constituted appropriate court dress this season, stopped, bowed and retreated. Bren looked back and saw that Jago had entered with him and dismissed the staff. She leaned forward, tall, black, an ebon-skinned goddess, a member of the Assassin's Guild. She placed her hands on Bren's shoulders and began to skillfully massage the tense muscles in his neck and shoulders. Bren sighed again and leaned back into her touch.

"You are very tense, Bren-ji." Bren looked up into Jago's golden eyes and said

"Jago-ji, the Astronomer Emeritus is assuredly brilliant, but the paidhi is not. My head swims with numbers, and I have no greater understanding of his theories than I did this morning." Jago found this amusing, and grinned. Being atevi, math was as natural to her as breathing. Bren removed the last of the ornate clothing, which Jago quite handily gathered up and put away. Bren headed straight for the waiting bath, freeing his hair from its braid as he went. He sank into the steaming water all the way up to his neck, closed his eyes and leaned back against the edge of the tub. He heard a small noise, and the rustle of clothing falling to the floor. He opened his eyes only when he felt the water ripple. He saw Jago, lithe, dark as night, sinking in to the water with him. She gathered him into her strong arms, her atevi warmth as welcome as the heat of the bathwater. She ran her dark hands through his blond hair.

"Jago-ji," he began, but she stroked his cheek and interrupted with

"Shh, Bren-ji. No worries. Tano and Algini are in the security station, and Banichi will be back soon." Bren blushed, a reaction he'd been unable to quell ever since he learned that Banichi wasn't only Jago's partner, but also her father. That earned a laugh from Jago, a light, delicate sound, all the more treasured for its rarity. She kissed him then, deeply, sensually. Bren had never had the courage to ask if atevi kissed normally, or if she'd simply done her homework. He didn't care to ask, just now. It was then, of course, that her pocket com beeped. Her lips lingered on his just a moment longer, then she reached over and retrieved the com from her discarded uniform. She thumbed it on and listened for a moment, then said something in verbal code. Immediately she began to rise out of the bath, all business. As she shrugged into her black, metal-sparked jacket she said

"Apologies, Bren-ji." Bren smiled, a little wistfully.

"No need, nadi. Go." She paused a moment at the door, threw him a look.

"I'll see you tonight, Bren-ji." Then she was gone, off to join Banichi, wherever he was, most likely. Bren smiled again, no longer wistful. He rose from the bath. As he was wrapping himself in a soft, atevi-size towel, Narani appeared with his robe.

"Tea, please, Rani-ji." Narani settled his robe about him, bowed and departed. Tea, thought Bren, And then answer some of the ever-growing pile of correspondence. As he picked up the silver message bowl, which was again filled with scrolls, he thought that all of a sudden tonight was much too far away.

Translation Notes:

Nandi, nand' – 'Honorable', suitable address when speaking to a Lord, someone of higher rank or someone held in great regard

Nadi – Mister, miss, suitable address for those of equal or lesser rank, used in formal and informal settings

Paidhi – Interpreter.

Example: Nand' paidhi - Honored interpreter

-ji – Sir, miss, ma'am, suitable address for close associates in informal settings. Used like an adjective to modify a noun (Bren). The '-ji' always appears at the end of a proper name.

Example: Bren-ji – Bren-who-is-my-close-associate, Bren-who-I-feel-affection-for