Tess planted a small kiss on the edge of MK’s mouth before shooting another sideways glance at Nod. “What the hell are you doing over there?” She pinched his shirt and tugged lightly. “I signed on for both of you.”
"Oh thank god, I thought I was the only one who was annoyed," M.K said with a little laugh, dragging Nod closer and kissing his cheek before wrapping her arms around both of their waists, leaning in and kissing the spot just under Tess’s jaw. She worked her way back to Tess’s mouth, running the tip of her tongue over the scar on Tess’s lips before kissing her again.
"Just waiting for the invitation, didn’t want to break the moment," Nod murmurs, pushing MK’s hair aside and kissing her neck. "Wanted the focus to be on Tess." He scrapes his teeth against MK’s skin before he sucks down lightly.
Tess glanced over at Nod, noticing his withdrawal from the hug and giving him a questioning look. But MK grabbed hold of her attention, and she shook her head, smiling. “Nah, why put it off?”
Leaning forward in a kneel with a hand on either side of MK’s legs, Tess brushed her lips against her queen’s, smiling against the other woman’s mouth.
M.K kissed Tess back happily, threading her fingers into the other woman’s dark hair and pulling her closer.
Nod settles in a little closer to them, but he doesn’t want to be the guy who finds two girls kissing to be hot—although both Tess and MK are hot, and it’s hot that they’re kissing, but this isn’t about him.
Tess pressed her cheek against MK’s shoulder and wrapped her arm around Nod, still a little scared, but so defiantly happy. They meant so much to her, and contrary to everything she’d learned from flings in the past, she knew that she could trust them.
"Thank you," she whispered, smiling and breathing them in.
M.K’s arms tightened around Tess as she smiled against the other woman’s neck. After a few moments, she pulled back slightly, smiling shyly at Tess. “So, can I kiss you now, or do you wanna wait on the smooches?” she asked playfully.
Nod bites his cheek and waits. This is more about MK and Tess right now than about him, and he settles in.
She swallowed, fighting the urge to stare down at her hands. Seeing them helped.
"What we—The arrangement we discussed yesterday… I gave it a lot of thought on the walk back last night and when I woke up this morning. Last night… I-I was scared. Nod knows this, but," she glanced over at MK, feeling a bit of shame creep across her mind, "I’ve been with a lot of people. It was my way of dealing with my grief and anger after my mother was killed. And all of those relationships crumbled."
"I was scared because, for the first time in awhile, I actually, really care about you two. I didn’t want to kill our friendships over something I wasn’t sure would even work." She smiled—a small, hopeful thing. "But… that might be why it could work. The other relationships didn’t mean anything to me, and I didn’t want them to. But with you two, I want to try. I want it to work.”
M.K beamed brightly at Tess, bouncing excitedly. “That was a yes!” she said happily, leaning over to throw her arms around Tess’s neck in a tight hug. After a few moments, she reached back with one hand and grabbed Nod by the front of his shirt, dragging him closer so he could join in the hug.
Nod muffles his laugh as he wraps his arms around both women. MK’s excited and that’s wonderful, he loves to see her happy.
He really wants this to make Tess happy too.
Tess nodded, finishing off the last of her fruit and drawing her legs up onto the bed as she turned to face the two of them. “Yeah, I guess this is a good a time as any. Where do you think should we start?” She brushed her bangs away from her face and folded her hands together in her lap. Just breathe and relax. It’s Nod and MK.
M.K held up a hand as she pressed her lips together tightly, trying to keep her laughter in and failing. “Oh my god I’m sorry,” she said between laughs, “I’m just- mouse in the room oh my god.”
After M.K had calmed down - seriously though, “mouse in the room” - she took a deep breath and looked at Tess with a small smile. “It’s up to you, remember?” she said.
Nod rolls his eyes before he looks at Tess. He’s not sure what to say or do here, so he doesn’t say anything. He’d probably just stick his foot in his mouth anyway, and he waits.
"It was a very nice kitchen," Tess remarked, adding a bit of butter to her roll. "I didn’t really get to look around, but it seemed like a good kitchen. Everything smelled amazing."
"Did you sleep well?" she asked, tearing off a piece of bread and popping it into her mouth.
"It was nice seeing them full, I normally only go down at night when there’s no one there," M.K admitted. "I should probably visit and thank them more often seeing as they feed me."
Nod grins at them both. “Yeah, I slept okay apart from the self-tangling. And maybe, it’s up to you.” He finishes his roll and dusts off his hands. “So. Is this the time to talk about the mouse in the room?”
Tess settled herself near the foot of the bed with a soft roll and fresh, sliced fruit. “Yeah, come sit down, ya twig,” she replied, grinning and patting a spot near her. The bread was still warm and sweet. “Wow, that’s really good! Better than the bakery near my dad’s place.”
She glanced over at MK appreciatively. “Thank you for breakfast.”
"No prob," M.K said past her own mouthful of food, covering her mouth with one hand. She swallowed before grinning brightly at Tess. "One of the perks of being Queen," she said with a small laugh.
"And yeah Nod, we got food. But you’ll have to share with us since we didn’t think you’d be up when we got back."
Nod sits down by Tess and he reaches for a roll. “I didn’t intend to sleep,” he points out. “I just..rested my eyes a little. Ooh, honey butter.” He eyes the two of them and asks, “So how were the kitchens?”
Tess flashed a smirk at MK and wandered over to the bed, crossing her arms and standing over Nod. “What’s the magic word, Mister Leafman?” She paused, tapping her chin thoughtfully. “Of course, we could just leave you there… Flustered is a good look for you.”
"At any other time, I would be all for that," M.K said, setting the food down before coming back over to the bed, "but if he pisses himself, I’m the one who has to deal with the smell, so let’s not.” She began to carefully untangle Nod from his cocoon, pressing her lips together to keep from laughing too much.
Once he’s free, Nod presses a quick kiss to MK’s cheek. “Thank you.” He flees out the door and returns in a few minutes, feeling much better but also very, very red. He coughs to clear his throat and he sticks his hands in his pockets. “So, uh, food?”
Tess nodded gratefully, “Thank you—uh, Renée.” She was probably pink in the face, but saying her thanks properly was the least she could do for someone who fed her. “I-It all looks delicious.” She stepped toward the door and held it for MK, mindful of her full arms.
"G-Good luck with lunch!" she called softly, turning to follow the Queen’s lead.
"We’ll leave you to your work then," M.K said cheerfully, bowing her head to Renée with a smile. "Thank you for everything!" With that, she turned and left, smiling her thanks at Tess as she passed through the door. She led the other woman back up to her room, keeping up a light conversation as they walked. When they got back to her room, M.K bumped the door open with her hip, turning in and stopping at the doorway, snorting loudly.
"Oh my god, you dweeb."
"Mockery helps no one," Nod grumbles. "You could put that down and help me out of these, they’re getting tighter and," he flushes, "I need to relieve myself."
Mandrake spotted movement in the undergrowth and adjusted his grip on his cudgel, muscles tensing into readiness. His breaths deepened and slowed, drawing great lungfulls of air in through his nose, but yesterday’s rain had stirred a vast number of scents into life, and they overwhelmed each other, leaving him with little information about this intruder.
Still, he had his eyes. He brought his grackle closer to the tree trunk, partially obscuring it and himself from view, and peered through closely knit branches.
A Jinn woman -neither Leafman or Flower Jinn- was gathering herbs from the forest floor, dressed in modest clothes, and not apparently armed beyond the small knife she used to cut stems. Herb collecting was a common task for Jinn, but it was reckless when conducted so near the border. He had to wonder at her sense. However, her boldness -or ignorance, whichever it was- might serve him. As much as he despised plant life, there were helpful remedies to be found in the herbs she collected, and he could so easily take them from her.
She was entirely preoccupied. Mandrake kicked his grackle’s sides, and it swooped down to the forest floor, landing mere inches from the herbalist and her spoils. Mandrake slid off the bird’s neck. He was prepared to simply take the plants -chase her off them, if necessary.
Aurie stills. Something’s not right, and she feels the back of her neck prickle. She feels a strange reluctance to turn around, and she gropes for her crossbow, putting her finger on the trigger. She tucks her knife into her boot before she forces herself to turn around, aiming the crossbow.
She suddenly wishes she was not on the ground as she looks up at a tall Boggan with a bat skin for a cloak. “Back off,” she bites out. “There’s certainly enough herbs for all, and I’m not taking all of them. Back. Off.”
The crossbow took him by surprise. He hadn’t seen it. He slowed to a halt as he wondered just how good her aim was -he had excellent reflexes, but he didn’t quite trust them to dodge a bolt fired from so nearby.
Thinking quickly, he spread his arms wide to show there were no other weapons on his person, and took a single step backwards. An apologetic smile worked its way onto his face. “Goodness, my mistake,” he said, eyes fixated on the glimmering tip of the bolt. “You’re clearly a woman who knows how to take care of herself, and not just some hapless, wandering Jinn, eh?”
Get her guard down -at the very least, confuse her- and then strike. Knock the crossbow away. Then all she’ll have is the knife…
"Awfully brave of, coming so close to the border."
She narrows her eyes. That smile doesn’t look like anything real, and the other Boggan she’s met here didn’t bother with the niceties. She steadies her stance. “You think I’d dare come so close to the border without some measure of weapon?” she asks sharply. “Please, I’m not so foolish.” She indicates her bag. “I’ll be leaving soon, I just need to finish my herbs.” Berige is perched on the tree branches above, and one gesture or shout from her, and the chickadee’s prepared to dive-bomb the Boggan. She relaxes a hair, though her grip on the crossbow doesn’t waver.