A short nap and a long shower in – in her new shower – found Senga unwilling to stop cuddling Erramun.
Which was, she supposed, kind of ridiculous. She had things to do. She had places to be.
She had a man who was amazing in bed, who could handle what she did, who had a mind.
Maybe that’s why Great-Aunt Mirabella had done this.
And maybe pigs flew.
Her stomach growled, and Senga gave in to the inevitable with a sigh. “Dinner,” she muttered.
Erramun tensed. “If my mist-”
“Erramun. sa’Death Comes Silently.” Please, please let the honorific get his attention.
He stilled and looked at her. “sa’Mountain of Death?”
“This house comes with a full staff. And besides, we generally eat together – the crew. So by ‘dinner’, I meant, urm. I meant we should probably put pants on and go find the crew and the small dining room so we can do just that. And then deal with Chitter freaking out at -”
“Senga?” A pounding came on the door.
Erramun snorted. “I’ll get that.” He stood and adjusted the towel that was currently his only clothing.
Erramun took his time walking to the door. If he had been any other man, she might have thought he was showing off. Even if he wasn’t it was certainly fun to watch him, all that muscle and naked skin and-
“Eep. Eep, you are not – NOT – you are not Senga. Senga?” Chitter peered around Silence Mountain. “Senga, dinner, we ordered a big pizza.”
Senga snorted in surprise-not-surprise and Erramun, either cued by her or simply remembering he could have his own feelings, chuckled.
“The cook is going to hate you,” he informed her. “The first time she’s had a Household to cook for and you order take-out pizza.”
“Well, I didn’t want to impose. And I didn’t want to, you know, assume? I guess.”
“That’s… I should talk to the cook. If we have a cook.” Senga frowned.
“If you would like, I could work with Candavish to handle such things for you,” Erramun offered. “I’m not exactly the Manor House sort of person, but I could probably manage it for my Mistress.”
“…All right, if you two are going to be kinky, you can hide out here and not share the pizza.”
“Chitter…” Senga inserted herself before Erramun could taunt her friend more. “I know you’ve had a Kept. We all did at the same time.”
“That’s different. That’s not Mistress and having a manor house and-” Chitter flailed her hands. “I hear we have a job.”
“I heard the same. Ezer is bullying me into taking Erramun along. He doesn’t like the gunshots.”
“I don’t like the bullet wounds either! Geeze, Senga, you can’t act so chill about it! You could have died!”
“I’m a little harder to kill than that. You know that. You remember the time with-“
“No! No, I do not. I have worked very hard to not remember that time, or the other time, or that time with- Pizza. Pizza, Senga. Come downstairs and eat pizza. You and your mountain.”
“Thanks. I’ll throw in-“
“No, no you won’t. You notice you just handled rent indefinitely? I mean, unless you’re going to charge us rent, in which case, you can pay for the pizza, who pays for this house anyway? It has to have some sort of maintenance and upkeep costs…”
“There’s a trust. I mean, I really ought to-“
“I’ll talk to Candavish about it. I’ll do that now and then come have some pizza?” Erramun managed not to say Mistress this time, but it was still handing in the air.
“Thank you.” Senga stood on her toes and kissed his cheek. “I’d appreciate that.”
He headed off, presumably to stalk down the butler, leaving Senga alone with Chitter.
“He’s… He’s something. When did the Mistress thing start? Because I’m not going to lie, that’s a little creepy.”
“Oh, leave him alone about that for now,” Senga pled. “Please? He’s adjusting to the collar, and you know, you know what that’s like, when everything is-“
“The literal collar.” Chitter bounced on her toes, the way she did when something was percolating through her mind. “You tattooed it on him. You inked him. Hard to take off.”
“More culturally acceptable than a dog collar.” She made a face; Chitter made a similar face. “And uh. He doesn’t like the feel.”
“I can’t tell if you’re dominating the poor man into submission or spoiling him.” Chitter shook her head. “I mean, tattooing a collar on him is pretty hardcore, isn’t it?”
“It’s not like we’re human.” Senga held up both hands, because Chitter hated that argument. “Hear me out. What I mean, in this context: I can remove it. He can have it removed if he doesn’t have the Words for it himself.”
“Yeah, and how did that logic go over with him?”
“About as well as my great-aunt blackmailing him into being the Bound Servant of someone so much younger than him that he palled around with my grandparents,” Senga countered. The guilt in her stomach, though, was telling her a tale she didn’t really want to hear.
“…pretty badly,” she added after a minute, because Chitter was still staring up at her angrily. “Pretty damn badly.”
“Geez Senga, I know you’ve have a Kept,” Chitter echoed back at her. “We all did. At the same time.”
“That’s different,” Senga echoed right back at her friend. “Those were people that were our peers or younger than us or weaker than us. He is – he is not.”
“I know.” Chitter’s whole expression changed. She suddenly – although only for a split second – looked a lot more solemn. Older. “I didn’t know if you knew, but I know. So you inked your Named on him. Will that help?”
So Erramun has gone off to speak to the butler while wearing a towel.
Only a towel.
Yes, yes he has.
I am not complaining, mind you.
I’m sure you can turn that into an interesting conversation/plot point. 🙂
I also noticed he left in a towel. For me, it emphasized the “still adjusting to the collar, very badly” part of the story. It tells me she has a lot of work to do to help him, and she needs to get used to being in charge, because she didn’t notice the just in a towel bit.
Either that or edit in him pulling on pants, with Chitter getting all embarrassed, and heading out shirtless which still implies the issues I mentioned, just not as strongly.
Pretty sure the butler will very carefully not notice. Unless he wants a dust-up.
This, oh very much this. I’m pretty sure one of the mandatory classes in Butler School is titled something like “Ignoring Master’s Foibles”, with a broad assortment of case studies, illustrated in meticulous detail as necessary. Master’s Bond Servant showing up in a towel probably wouldn’t even make the syllabus.