2237-06-28 - Tensions on the Court

Tavo teaches Rothschild to play pyramid. Rothschild teaches Tavo that there are limits to their relationship.

Date: 2237-06-28

Location: Pyramid Court, Cutter //Vanguard//

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1175

Jump to End

For years -- decades really -- the pyramid court was where Tavo felt the most comfortable. Now, oddly, he feels awkward as he bounces a pyramid ball idly off one of the backboards, tugging at the shoulders of his sleeveless University of Celeste Wildcats shirt and then catching the ball once more, posting up with his back to the door to take a shot -- that rims off spectacularly.

Rothschild meanders into the pyramid court with that air of belonging -- certainly a Leonese dominance thing, or perhaps just a Rothschild thing. Either way, she does not seem an ounce concerned of being a complete amateur on this court. She is dressed in a pair of leggings, loose tank tops, and a pair of sneakers that have the most neon laces ever seen on a pair of athletic shoes. She catches sight of the miss, and she arches a brow. "I might change my mind. I thought I was going to get a lesson from a pro." Her warm alto is soft with humor.

Tavo chases the miss down by instinct, grimacing as he does, only to start a little at the joke from behind him. Turning toward her with a sheepish grin, he shrugs, "Hey, even the best don't shoot much more than sixty percent from the field." With someone guarding them. Not wide open with no pressure. Still, he lofts the ball toward her, then catches sight of the laces and chuckles, rubbing at his eyes with the heels of his hands, "And I think I'm gonna be shooting a whole lot worse now that your laces blinded me."

Rothschild manages to catch the ball without much trouble, and she starts to bounce it a bit, as if testing its elasticity. Then she looks up at him, her brown eyes soft and almost teasing as she approaches him. She is stalled just a moment to kick up her shoe, and then she shrugs. "I love my laces... don't judge." She then tosses him the ball once she's closer to him. In fact, she keeps closing the distance between them so she can murmur, "Where have you been lately?"

Tavo chuckles at the comment about the shoes, shaking his head and holding up his hands as if to show that he's not going to touch them. His hands come together again to catch the ball, "No judging." The close step and the murmur draws a slower shrug from the big man, "Down to Paran twice. A couple of skirmishes. Gunny's been keeping me busy." He spreads a grin across his lips, probing a little with a not-quite-as-teasing-as-he'd-like, "Miss me?" And then he pops the ball up between them a little, perhaps distracting himself from her response, and grabs for it once more.

Rothschild takes a small step back when he pops up the ball, and then she starts to laugh in a deep, full-throated chuckle. "Yes." She looks up at him now, her dark eyes almost smoldering. "But Davy has been a suitable distraction." If Rothschild catches how that statement could be taken by her chosen lover, she misses it entirely. She instead nods up to the hoop and its backboards. "Hmph. I've never gotten the hang of this. But I'm a willing learner."

Her two statements spur entirely contrary reaction in Tavo, even as he's turning away to catch the ball and flicking it back to his other hand. His shoulders start to relax and spread, and then tighten up again, and he grunts as neutrally as he can. "An old boyfriend?" Shaking off the question, he nods toward the hoop again, "Okay, so here's the idea. When the ball's in the team zone," he points toward the triangle in the center of the court, his words hurrying on to avoid the awkward question that slipped out, "You can't touch the ballcarrier, but once it's out, anything short of a punch, kick, or joint lock is allowed. Ballcarrier gets three steps, then has to pass or shoot. Passes go direct or off the backboards. And that's pyramid in one easy lesson."

Rothschild registers the quick question, though Tavo's rapid continuation draws a faint smile on her full lips. She listens dutifully all the way through, but only then returns to his earlier question. "My father would have liked Davy to be a boyfriend, but no. Closest of friends, dearest of siblings, even if unrelated entirely. Davy was my father's last Favorite." Then she tilts her head to the backboards again. "Mmm. And you can just shoot for the hoop to score?"

And she goes right back to the more important topic, and Tavo clears his throat, "Okay then. Brother-type." He sounds somewhat mollified, and then he chuckles at her question, "Up to three steps from the team zone or wherever you caught a pass, then yeah, anywhere outside that little triangle in front of the hoop." Turning back toward her, he pops the ball easily over to her, then takes a couple of steps back toward her so that he's only a foot or so away, crouching down a little with his feet spread wide, "Just shoot to score." There's a little challenge in his voice there.

"Mmhmm." Rothschild watches him with a quirk of her brow and playful smile. Only then does she focus back on the lesson. She watches him with a slight tilt of her head. Then she pops the ball a few times in her hands before she gives it a chance. She steps forward quickly, counting her steps before she shoots for the hoops without much thought of aim or care. Doing as she is told, it seems.

One step, Tavo gives her. The second, however, he's shuffling across in front of her, one hand dropping down toward her hip to press and stall, while his other hand goes up, looking to swat away her shot. "If you want to hide what you're doing and protect the ball, you'll want to turn your back." Which will likely put her back to his chest while he's guarding her.

"I thought you weren't allowed to touch the ballcarrier," Rothschild protests once her shot is swatted from the air. She lets the ball bounce a few times, her gaze cutting over her shoulder to the larger gunner. She starts to smirk ever so slightly. "Or did you wait until the ball was no longer in my hands?"

Tavo shakes his head, grinning broadly, "Not while the ball is in the team zone." His hand pats her hip, and then he moves to step around her to retrieve the ball. "Starts all possessions there, but as soon as you take the ball out, it's live." He crouches down to touch the ball to the ground in the middle of the team-zone, bracing his crouch with his other hand on the ground and his feet spread, "Come on, you don't think I would've used this to pick up girls in college if you couldn't touch the ballcarrier, do you?"

Rothschild watches him as he maneuvers around the court, but it's the crouch and follow-up comment that has her snorting and rolling her eyes slightly. "Well, I'm certainly not seeing how this could result in any play beyond the pyramid court... or am I missing something?" She arches a brow at him then before she starts to saunter back toward her side of the court. Or where she presumes he wants her to be.

Tavo nods her to get between him -- his back -- and the hoop, and then straightens up partially, backing a step away from the team zone. He stays partially crouched, however, protecting the ball and presenting his back to her. "Well, try to get the ball." The way he holds it, well out away from him, will likely force her to body up to his back or side to get at it.

Rothschild stops in her original path, and adjusts to follow his nod. She slips behind him several paces away. She consides the big Scorpian a few moments before she offers a half-nod, and drops a bit lower in her own footing. She darts forward, showing some speed in that frame of hers. Per his intentions, she ends up close against his side, pressing it to try to thump the ball sideways so it pops out of Tavo's grip.

Tavo juts out his backside to get himself a little more room, forcing Rothschild to curve around him. The whack to his arm is a good deal harder than many others he's received in a similar situation, without the slow, ponderous power of some, and he bobbles the ball a moment, finally having to turn and grasp it between both hands. "Hup... almost..." Pivoting on one foot, he fends her off with his back a moment longer, then spins about to face her, the ball going up over his head as he straightens up, "Getting a better idea?" He tries to play off his near-fumble, teeth bared in a grin.

Roths is quite committed, showing perhaps some of her own failings as taking something far too seriously. When he fends her off, she pushes in a bit harder, only to be out-towered by the Scorpian with the ball held far over her head. She snorts up at him, not retreating back despite their now verified closeness. "Yes, but I find the overture quite dull. You don't need to get me on the pyramid court to achieve the same thing." Then she offers him a slow smile, and she holds out her hands for him to give her the ball.

"Nope," Tavo agrees cheerfully enough. He glances across to the somewhat distant hoop, then shrugs to himself and hands the ball over, "But it's still good exercise. And even if you don't know the person, a good match can get you tuned up. A whole mess of grabass." Pausing then, he considers and adds, "Not usually literal."

Rothschild looks quite amused by this all, but she shakes her head and gives the ball a test bounce once more. Then she pops up the ball, catching it easily. It is almost like she's testing the ball more than anything else on the court. Her dark eyes lift to his. "Mm, okay. So. Three steps, pass, on-boards or straight pass. The ballcarrier is safe until he or she leaves their part of the court. What else should I know?"

Tavo would be watching the ball if he were serious about the game. Instead, he's watching her, a little grin on his lips. Each recitation of the rule draws a little nod, and at the end, he adds two more, "No shooting from inside the restricted zone in front of the hoop, ball goes back to the team zone after a score or a turnover. Oh, and call your own fouls." He crouches down a little, left hand low, right hand up, ready to defend any advance on the hoop.

"Hmph. No shooting from the restricted zone, and ball goes back to the team zone." Then Rothschild full lips quirk ever so slightly into a smooth grin. "And call your own fouls." There's something almost devilish in her smooth alto before she barrels forward, taking three long strides before she pops up as high as she can and aims straight for the hoop in a tall arc.

Tavo is busy watching her, not the ball, and he is left scrambling, chasing after her to knock into her -- after the ball is loosed. One arm comes up to brace against the padded support for the hoop, the other dropping low in an attempt to loop around her waist and keep her from running into the padding. Laughter lifts to his lips despite the impact of their bodies, and he shakes his head, "What part of 'ball goes back to the team zone after a turnover did you miss, Dora?'" There is a great deal more amusement than complaint in his voice.

The ball goes in, but Rothschild only barely sees it swoosh through and bounce back onto the court. She's too busy giving into Tavo's tackle, joining in laughter as he loops her up in his arm. She quirks a brow at him as she settles into his heavier frame. "Mmhmm. Well, I heard you say that, but then I chose to disregard it. You said to call my own fouls, and I decided that wasn't a foul." That must be a Leonese thing. She

The ball goes in, but Rothschild only barely sees it swoosh through and bounce back onto the court. She's too busy giving into Tavo's tackle, joining in laughter as he loops her up in his arm. She quirks a brow at him as she settles into his heavier frame. "Mmhmm. Well, I heard you say that, but then I chose to disregard it. You said to call my own fouls, and I decided that wasn't a foul." That must be a Leonese thing. She then gives him a light nudge. "But, I will acquiesce to your limitations."

"I'm pretty certain that's a foul." Tavo chuckles, the arm around her waist tightening a little, "Not calling your own foul." Finally, at the nudge, he looses the enfolding arm, stepping back and plucking the ball from the return, "Fine though. Cheaty-face one, Right and Honorable zero." He makes his way back to one of the neutral zones, leaning down to rest the ball on the floor.

"Please, darling... I am merely called Cheat." Rothschild then pats her hands together before she drops into her own low stance. Her dark eyes watch him, and she paces sideways as if trying to gauge where he might go... or to tempt him to go the way she wants him to go. It is hard to say.

When Rothschild sets up further away from the centerline, Tavo shakes his head slightly, his grin spreading. He doesn't even protest the 'darling,' although it quirks up one corner of his grin. "No, we have to acknowledge just how cheaty your face is." And then he takes a single step straight toward the hoop, using it to square up, and then elevates to make the long-distance shot with a smooth hooking motion of his right arm. "You've got to stick close to your man," a bit of teasing sinks into the next word, "darling."

Rothschild is too slow to catch the abrupt movement from Tavo, and she can't close the gap in time. She grimaces as he hooks the shot, and she backtracks to fetch the ball. She palms it between her hands, and considers the large Scorpian. "Hmph. You are finding it far too easy to make fun of me." Then she maneuvers for a neutral zones, placing the ball in it with a low dip of her torso. Her legs remain loose though, bent at the knees.

"I have been playing this game since I could walk." Tavo steps aside to allow her past, then settles in right behind her, crouched down a little himself, his left hand just shy of touching her hip, his right hand extended up and out to his other side to cover any movement in that direction. Since she's in the neutral zone, he doesn't quite touch her, but he's certainly very close to doing so. "Besides, I'm just trying to inspire you."

"No one likes a braggart," Rothschild teases him as he crouches in low and close. She glances over her shoulder at him, and then her eyes narrow slightly. She doesn't immediately draw up the ball, but instead tries to stay tucked into the neutral zone as she moves, escaping the line at the last possible minute. She barrels up against him, pushing close while also pushing forward, trying to take those three steps to the next neutral zone.

"That's not what they said..." Tavo cuts off as she moves, immediately dropping his hand to her hip and stepping into her movement instead of away from it, inviting the contact. There's an approving grunt as she muscles through his block, although he still works to cut off her movement to the neutral zone, trying to strand her in the middle of the court with no shot on the hoop -- or at least force her to go to the ground to dive for the neutral zone. "...back at school."

Rothschild twists hard away from his hand, trying to slam her shoulder up against his in a very bodily movement. He's quite larger than her, and she finds herself instead having to reel out of his immediate contact zone and, well, dive for the neutral zone as predicted. All the while, she manages to breath out a sharp, "Hmph. And what do they say now?"

As Rothschild dives for the neutral zone, Tavo dives as well, reaching out to try and knock the ball from her hand but coming just short, ending up sprawled half across the back of her shoulders. He stays there a moment, grinning, "Well, I don't brag as much anymore." Only then does he push up from the sprawl, moving to place himself between her and the hoop again, "Not in front of most people, at least. Nice move, by the way."

Rothschild feels the weight of the Scorpian across her, and she starts to chuckle with her body half-sprawled in the neutral zone. She has to keep the ball carefully balanced there while she heaves herself up to her feet, squatting a bit. "Thank you." Then she quirks her head. "And what would you brag about if you could?" She carefully watches him as he stands close once more. Then she makes a move like she's about to dodge out onto the court again, but instead circles back a bit so she can open the space and make a forward rush for the hoop.

The withdrawal catches Tavo thinking about her question, and opens up some space, enough that she's able to get two steps closer to the hoop before he can get in front of her again. His right hand drops to her hip this time, then rises up to the bottom of her arm, jostling her grip as his left arm reaches in to try and tangle with her left arm as well, wrapping him almost entirely around her. "Now?" He grunts thoughtfully even as his limbs spar with hers, "You."

He jostles the ball right out of her grip, but it is hard to say if it is because Rothschild is surprised by his response or that he actually bested her in such close-quarters. She fumbles a bit, trying to resume her grip, but he obviously has the ball. She takes a small step back, considering the big Scorpian. "Me?" Her brows arch then. "And what would you brag about?"

Tavo bobbles the ball, and it ends up going rolling away from both of them after a desperate attempt by the big man to grab it again. He starts to rush around her when she disengages, but when it becomes clear she's not immediately going for the ball, he desists, glancing down at his shoes as he scuffs one toe against the floor of the court, his cheeks coloring a little, "You're the hottest thing on the ship, Dora. I bet half the people onboard have thought about seeing you naked. And you're a damned good person too. That's something to brag about."

Rothschild battles between a sudden warmth spreading in her cheeks and a slightly opposing feeling in the base of her stomach. "So, you would like to brag about what we have been doing in our spare time?" She offers the question almost casually. Perhaps too casually.

Tavo glances up from under his brows, his head still ducked down, "No." He looks up again then, shrugging awkwardly, "I mean, if I really bragged, that'd be what I wanted to brag about." One hand plucks at the long leg of his sports shorts, shrugging again, "Haven't felt the need to since college." There's another pause, and then he admits, "And not even much then."

Rothschild feels the start of a frown at the corner of her lips, combined with a small bud of uneasiness. She glances across the court as if to distract herself even while she finds herself drifting forward a half-step. "I hope that you understand that what I'm about to say is solely out of my own... concerns, but." She pauses, licking at her lips. "Neither of us should brag about what goes on between us. I enjoy keeping the press focused on the possibilities between myself and Eshfield. I enjoy the... privacy of what we have."

Tavo's shoulders tighten a little at the response, but he shakes his head, finally looking up, "I'm not going to brag about anything, Dora." His grunt is slightly disappointed, "It isn't what I do. And yeah, you've got the journos to worry about." His jaw tightens a moment, then releases as he forces a smile that is meant to be easy across his lips. Spreading his arms, he adds, "Like I said before, I'm safe. I'm not going to get clingy or anything like that, starting spreading rumors."

The disappointment that fills his response draws her own mouth tight. The spreading of his arms and the words that accompany stall her in her almost-approach. She drops her gaze slightly, hands finding the tops of her hips. "But that isn't what you actually want from this." She hates the moment she says those words, feeling herself starting to untie a knot that had been keeping them so easily together.

Tavo blinks in surprise at the accusation, shaking his head, "No. It's just what I was looking for. Good company, good times. Best traditions of the Scorpian Army." He rubs at his chest a moment, then shakes his head again, "I'm good. Really. Forget I said anything, Dora." This time, the smile is less forced, "I'll pretend I'm gonna brag about qualifying expert instead. Since I'm not gonna brag anyhow."

The knot already loosened, Tavo's words do not seem to retighten it. Rothschild still looks a bit unconvinced, and her frown remains taut at her lips. "Alright," she says, tone a bit airy. She then clears her throat and shuffles back a small step. "Your ball. I've only got time for one more tussle before I need to hit the head and then the bunks." Not that she's trying to flee, or anything. Really.

Sharing her sense of disquiet, the big man nods, stepping around Rothschild to collect the ball and head back to one of the corner team zones. "One more then." The ball is placed on the court, Tavo crouched over it, and then he nods, "One all, this one's for the Cup." It's a bit of enforced levity, a vain attempt to break up the sudden awkwardness.


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