First: A story featuring a male keeper and a female Kept.
Previous: Thank You
Mélanie woke next to Jasper and found herself smiling before she had even come fully awake. He was warm next to her, his arm thrown over her to hold her close in a gesture that seemed less possessive and more cuddly.
She looked up at the ceiling and the very nice light fixture. “Why?” she asked, very quietly. Jasper was still asleep. She wanted him to get as much rest as he needed. “Why did you try to stop me?”
There was silence in the house. This house, she realized, was never completely silent. It made little groans and squeaks, the branches brushing too close along the outside, the wind moving an old foundation.
Right now, it was making absolutely no noise.
After a moment, a voice barely a breath came to her. “I wanted to keep you safe.”
Mélanie froze. The house – the house didn’t like talking. It had said – written – as much!
But the house was talking to her. Or, at least, had talked to her.
“Thank you.” She kept her reply as quiet as she could. “I’m still glad I saved him.”
Again, silence. And then, in the same whispered breath, “Me, too.”
She wasn’t going to push the house any more than that. Mélanie snuggled against Jasper and enjoyed his warmth. If he was going to cuddle her in his sleep, perhaps she’d sleep a little longer.
His waking woke her, and she nuzzled against his neck, murmuring things that made no sense against his skin. He seemed to understand anyway, and nuzzled her back. THe lights dimmed, the curtains thickened, and they had privacy to enjoy each other’s company.
Mélanie snugged the robe around her. Having baths whenever she wanted was a luxury she could get used to very quickly.
She looked at the bathroom mirror. “You don’t have to answer, but I wanted to say thank you again. I understand, or at least, I think I do. I’ll try to stay a good enough friend to deserve that treatment.”
A moment went by, and then, in the steam in the mirror, a word was written: Friend.
A smiley face came soon afterwards, just beneath it.
“Friends,” Mélanie agreed. She added her own smiley next to the house’s.
There was a warm feeling in her chest. She found that she was grinning. After a moment, she said, hoping the house wouldn’t take offense – and that was a sentence that would never been part of her life 2 weeks ago – “this – you’re the first friend I’ve made in, well, since a while before I was captured, and well, it’s kind of funny that my first friend is a house.”
There was a pause. Then a crude house shape was drawn under the smilies.
“House-shaped person,” Melanie guessed. “And a very good friend.”
The smilie was traced over, becoming clearer.
“I should- I should go out and see what Jasper…” She rolled her shoulders. “Is this for real? Is he – is he going to get all beastlie now that we’ve, now that-“
In the mirror, the words were written slowly:
He is a good person with some bad habits.
This is for real.
A moment later, the mirror was cleaned very thoroughly. Melanie combed through her hair until it looked presentable and turned to leave.
A very cute dress appeared in front of her – along with the required underthings. Melanie giggled.
“All right, all right. But I’m going to work today. I hope you know that. There’s a lot I can still do, you know. There’s a lot I could do to make you more comfortable, too. So let me, okay? Unless he says I can’t work, and I hope he doesn’t.” She dressed herself and checked again in the mirror. She looked very 1940’s, and, aside from the bare feet, rather sharp.
“You have good taste in dresses,” she told the house. “Or he does and you pick stuff out well. Thank you.”
She tried to pretend that her heart wasn’t in her throat – the house had told her this was for real, after all; the house had told her it was okay – as she bounced down the stairs into the kitchen.
Jasper looked up from the table, where he was – oh, no, he was reading her notes on the slavers. Melanie’s heart sank, but the smile Jasper gave her lifted it slightly.
“Good morning, beautiful.”
The blush creeping across her face distracted Mélanie from her trepidation for a moment. Just for a moment, though. She cleared her throat.
“Good morning,” she wasn’t so much feeling daring as not having any idea what one was supposed to do in this case, “handsome.” After all, he was.
His eyebrows went up and for a moment, before the smile on his face seemed to match the blush on hers, she thought she’d done something awful. “I could get used to this,” he admitted. “Here, there’s some breakfast and some coffee. You know, the house likes you a lot.”
“I know.” She sat, noting that he’d gestured at a seat but not said sit, and noting that the fare included steaming-hot cinnamon buns. Cinnamon buns! She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had something so rich and sugary – very possibly before the world had fallen apart. “We’re friends. I like her too.”
“You’re-” He took a long sip of coffee that was clearly too hot for that and sputtered around the heat while a glass of water appeared at his hand. He gulped that down and looked at her. “I’m glad. I’m really glad. I clearly chose well at-“
A towel hit him in the face.
“What?” He looked less irritated and more confused. “What did I say this time? I’m happy. She’s friends with you. Friends. That’s a lot better than the last one!”
Melanie could guess, but it wasn’t her place to say anything, especially not with the towel buffeting Jasper from all sides.
“What? WHAT? You didn’t pick her? Come on, you have to admit that you like her! You already said it! Well, implied it!”
Mélanie chuckled. “Come on, House, legally, he’s right. Me being impressive and you getting along with me is all about him.” Feeling a little wicked, she added, “after all, isn’t everything about him?”