Most castle bedrooms are not full of cobwebs, ancient tapestries covering secret passages or furniture placed specifically to cast ominous shadows but Igor is nothing if not a traditionalist. What does stand out of place in this mix are the two large four-poster beds. They have gargoyles on the posts and carved clawed feet, as expected, but the second must have been moved into make room somewhere else in the castle.
Clover Chalk's recovery has been moving along well. The doe is more alert now that the sedatives and painkillers have been flushed out, and the fur is growing back in over the various scrapes and cuts she had suffered. Her abused scalp has been bandaged again, this time with some plaster added to create a helmet-like cast it even has some signatures on it. A blond wig rests on a stand on the night table as well.
Zahn peeks around the doorway. "I hear there is a Lapi feeling a lot better in here," he comments, ready to pull back in case the doe is nude or worse.
Clover looks up from the book in her lap and smiles to the Kadie. "Zahn!" she says happily, and even starts to get out of the bed.
"No, no, you don't have to get up. I'll come in," Zahn says as he quickly goes over to the bed and sits down on its edge. His head tilts this way and that, then he remarks, "Yep, you are looking a lot better. More alert, less pain, and well … less gaunt."
"I can eat real food now," Clover says proudly. Up close, Zahn can easily read the signatures on the Lapi's scalp-cast: Parsley, Igor, Dr. Pike and even Rey, who must have snuck in somehow.
"So, uh, what did Igor do to your head? That looks like his work," Zahnrad asks as he peers at the cast.
Clover pulls back the bed covers and pats a spot next to her. "Oh, Igor did something to get rid of my scars," she explains. "There was this green goo that made everything numb, and something that made a chittering noise. If I didn't know better, I'd think he used some sort of bug to eat out the scar tissue or something!"
"Oh, yeah, the goo. I vaguely remember that when he was pinning and repairing about half of my bones back when … er, well," Zahnrad says as he shudders at the memory. He takes a moment to flick his tail out of the way, then slides back into the offered spot. "Anyway, er, I just stopped by to see how you were doing. I wanted to make sure you weren't having any more bad dreams."
The doe plops herself sideways in Zahn's lap and throws her arms around his shoulder. "If I do, I don't remember them," Clover says, nuzzling at the Kadie's neck. "You could spend the night to watch over me though, if you want… "
Zahnrad, in his usual way, freezes up for a few seconds. "I'm not so sure that's a good idea. I have this feeling you wouldn't sleep much," the Kadie says with a nervous giggle. "And I don't want to distract you from getting better!"
"But having you near will make me get better faster!" Clover argues, and starts snaking her fingers down Zahn's stomach toward his pants… only to stop at the last moment and bolt upright. "Gotta go! Don't leave!" she says, and then hops out of bed and dashes out of the room, her nightgown making flapping noises.
Zahnrad is left in the bed with his hand half-raised and one finger extended as if he's about to make a point about something. Now alone on the bed, he sits there and blinks a few times. Finally, he just asks the room, "What just happened?"
A few minutes past before Clover returns, moving a bit more like someone who hasn't used her legs much in the past few days. "Oooo, I hate that," she moans, and pours herself a tall glass of water from the pitcher on the side table.
Zahnrad picks up the book Clover was reading to get a look at the title. "Uh, what exactly was that? What happened?" he asks, now using the book as a distraction…
The cover shows it to be one of Dr. Pike's lurid romance novels, this one showing a Cervani stag surrounding by adoring Lapi does and titled, "The Forest King." Clover downs her water and crawls back into the bed, just sitting next to Zahn this time.
"It's… just a side effect, I'm told," Clover says. "Getting used to solid food again, and whenever I get a little excited I end having to run to the privy." Seeing the book in Zahn's hand, she notes, "That's not an exciting book."
Zahnrad sets the book aside. "Uh, my lap is still open if you want it," he offers as he runs his hands through his hair. "It's not? Why isn't it? It looks like one of her romance novels."
"They're really dull," Clover says, and perches back in Zahn's lap, although this time her back is against his chest (which puts his chin against her cast). At least her ears aren't smacking him in the face though.
Zahnrad reaches around the doe and rests his hands against her stomach lightly. "I'll probably regret asking this … but what would be exciting to you?" he asks.
"Something with more action and sex and fighting!" Clover says, and opens the book more or less at random. "See here? Almost two pages describing the look on the hero's face when he sees one of the sisters. Who can read through that without losing interest? Dr. Pike thought I'd like this one because the Lapi girls are all sisters."
"Two pages does seem a bit much," Zahnrad has to agree, "But well, the part about Lapi sisters doesn't seem so bad." He tickles Clover's stomach lightly with his fingers, adding, "I've been having fun with a certain pair of sisters! Probably not quite in the way the book portrays it, but it's been fun."
Clover giggles, and flaps her ears (which do smack Zahn in the face this time). "It's just unrealistic. There are six sisters and they never fight! And the hero only seduces them one at a time and tries to keep it hidden from the others, so each one thinks he's all hers."
At that Zahn has to laugh. "I'm as clueless about relationships as they come and even I know all the Lapis talk about things," he admits. "So … now I have to ask… is it expected that a Lapi suitor seduce all the sisters at the same time?"
"Well, no, they usually just do one and then the other goes along with it," Parsley says. "Well, in practice among the Chalks if you have an unmarried sister and you get paired with a buck, then the sister usually does too."
"So … uh, then our situation must be odd. Or at least I guess it's odd, since both of you seem to like me," Zahnrad comments a bit lamely. "But then I'm not a Lapi so I guess I don't classify as a buck in those cases."
"Yeah, Parsley and I are mutants, so we don't get a Lapi buck," Clover notes. "Unless he's been fixed, of course! But you're a special case anyway, 'cause it's magic and baked bread and sharing a skull!"
"So … uhm, does it bother you any that all of this is because of magic and such? I'd have done it anyway, even if I knew the side effects of course, since it was to save your life and all," Zahnrad has to ask.
"Why should it bother me?" Clover asks, half-turning her head. "Does it bother you? I didn't think it even bothered Amy that much."
"No no, it doesn't bother me!" Zahnrad says quickly. "Confuses me? Yes. bother me? No… " Flashing a grin, he adds, "It's usually difficult to think when I'm around either you or Parsley now. When you're together, well; I just end up feeling all … funny."
"Well, that will probably clear up once you've slept with us," Clover notes. "It may take a few tries, of course. Clarity is hard for males, I've found, in these sorts of situations. I guess this must be like falling in love, but without the heart palpitations and embarrassing sweat?"
"You know, the way you say that makes me sound like I'm some sort of Kadie pet," Zahnrad jokes, grinning nervously. "And well … I hope it won't be disappointing, either. It's not like I know that much about Lapis!"
"Parsley hasn't been train- uh… showing you?" Clover asks, sounding surprised.
"No. She wanted to wait until you were all better. She said she felt selfish if it wasn't … uhm, shared," Zahnrad explains.
"So it's just been you and Amelia so far?" Clover asks.
"Er, haven't done anything with her yet, either," Zahn admits.
Clover hmms, and tugs Zahn's hands up until they're resting on her chest. "You do like girls, right?" she asks, and even wiggles her rear end to see how the Kadie reacts.
Zahnrad goes 'grrk!' and freezes again … well, up to the point his hands, in spite of himself, do a little bit of feeling of the doe's chest. "Of course I like girls," he blurts as he tries to stop his hands and shift around a bit to conceal other reactions, "I'm just usually distracted!"
"Oh, okay!" Clover says with a sound of relief. "It would be awkward otherwise! But you really need to relax more. I'd think you'd be used to us by now."
"If I relax I might do stuff," Zahnrad admits, "Like… " Clover feels herself ease back a bit and slide a little to the side. She's tilted just enough for Zahn to be able to nudge her chin with his hand so that she's roughly facing him as he leans his head over her shoulder. And then and there, Zahnrad kisses her. Amateurish, but there are similarities to when Parsley had rather thoroughly introduced him to a Lapine kiss.
In response, Clover twists around in Zahn's lap and throws her arms around him. Then she kisses him back! It's a good thing she hasn't recovered all of her strength yet.
And for the next several minutes, the two are rather lip-locked. Eventually, though, Zahnrad manages to pull himself away, panting. "Like that," he whispers, blinking "And yeah, there's that funny feeling again."
"I'm sure we could do some- URK! Gotta go!" Clover yelps, and hops off of Zahn to run to the privy again.
"But … " Zahnrad says as he watches Clover's departing … butt. He shakes his head a few times, then inhales deep, trying to get the Lapine scent out of his nose. "Even their smell makes me … okay, think about something else."
Clover returns, looking more haggard, and says, "Okay… no more snogging or petting." She climbs in next to Zahn, and instead asks, "So, how've you been? What have I missed since I've been gone? Any new invasions or scandals or children?"
"Hm. Well, Olivia has gone a bit weird. And the strange gypsy bat, Liliana is missing," Zahnrad ticks off as he thinks it over. "And I've learned that one of my ancestors was hurt in the same way you were. Only he didn't have anyone to save him, so went a bit crazy. Trying to find out exactly what happened, but the history on that is a bit lacking."
"You mean other people have been kidnapped by trolls in the past?" Clover asks, sounding shocked. "How common is it?"
"Not common at all. I suspect he was being nosy where he shouldn't have been," Zahnrad admits with a shrug. "Most likely lured, too. From what little I've learned they seem to lay bait to lure certain people. I don't know why though."
"I don't think I was lured," Clover says, her brow furrowing. "I can't really remember."
"I think you just got lost in an old tunnel, actually," Zahnrad lies. "From what I could tell, anyway, a floor collapsed as you walked on it and dumped you in an old passage outside the chalk territory. They grabbed you while you tried to find the way up. I repaired the hole and reinforced the old tunnel so it shouldn't happen again."
"Oh, thanks for doing that," Clover says, then blinks. "You shouldn't be in the tunnels you know! You could get into trouble."
"I wasn't in the chalk tunnels. I was in older ones that link to some ruins. Was trying to track down more info," Zahnrad notes. "I know I can't go into the chalk warren."
"Oh, that's okay then!" the doe says happily, and rests her head on Zahn's shoulder. "Do you want to sign my head?"
"I want to do a lot of things," Zahnrad mutters, then catches himself! "Oh, sure, I'll sign the cast! And oh, uhm … will I ever be expected to like talk to your parents or anything?"
"I don't even talk to them, so why should you?" Clover asks.
"Some parents' are nosy about the people their children associate with," Zahnrad notes. "Mine are!"
"Is that normal?" the doe asks.
"For Kadies? Yes," Zahnrad notes. "But they already know Parsley, so I don't think they're worried about you."
"Would they even be able to tell us apart if we weren't seen together?" Clover asks. "Do they know about our birthmarks?"
"They could probably tell. Parents are like that," Zahnrad complains. "Just like how they know when you're doing something you're not supposed to be."
"They do?" Clover asks, her eyes going wide. "Your parents sound scary, Zahn!"
"Nah. You just can't pull any tricks around them," Zahn notes with a shrug. "They've been 'Gunther'ed' afterall."
"I'm not a tricky Lapi," Clover claims.
"So … I should be letting you get back to resting. Want me to just lay here with you for a bit before I go? Anything you'd want from me later? More books? A fan? Anything I can build?" Zahnrad asks.
"Have you got a portrait?" Clover asks.
"A few, yeah. My mother paints," Zahn answers, then blinks. "You want one?"
"Yes, I'd like one while I'm stuck in here," Clover insists.
"Okay, I think I can do that. Should I try to visit more often too?" Zahn asks as he slides down in the bed, then tries to get Clover to do the same.
The does follows suit, resting her head on the just the lowermost of the pile of pillows she'd been propping herself up on. "Visits are always nice. Bring cake, too."
Zahnrad curls up against Clover and drapes his arm lightly over her stomach. "I'll see what I can do. For now, rest. I won't leave until you fall asleep. I promise," he murmurs.
The doe yawns, since the runs to the privy have actually tired her out. "Thanks Zahn," she murmurs.
"Sleep well, Clover," Zahn tells her. He'll just rest his eyes for a bit while she falls asleep …