|An unexpected crow(d).
||[Nov. 24th, 2012|11:22 am]
Negability Prime--Negability in time and space.
Overstrom opens a bleary eye. 'Is that food I smell?'
'I expect so,' Sir Isaac mutters, curling up more tightly. 'The servants dare not speculate what would happen if they don't keep you fed.'
"You might start eating THEM," says Ivy. She's drawing on Blake's arm with a quill pen, holding the inkwell in her other hand. Blake, his face half buried in the pillow, doesn't seem to notice.
'Possibly, if I had even enough energy to move a muscle,' Overstrom replies. 'I wonder how I'll be able to eat what they've brought us.'
"Well, your jaw seems to be working."
'Go to hell,' he mutters, pulling a pillow over his head.
'Oh, now now, surely that's not called for,' Sir Isaac says, sitting up.
A sleek black rat lifts his head from his nest in Ivy's pillow and says, "Not yet anyway, we haven't had breakfast."
Sir Isaac reaches around to throw the covers off, but looks back over Overstrom's shoulder, startled at the new voice. The crack and rustle of flapping wings sounds over his head, and he whirls around again to find a large crow settling on the headboard above his pillow, leaving plenty of room between herself and a tiny sleeping owl. The owl shuffles her feet at the jolt to her perch, but doesn't open her eyes.
The rat climbs over to drape himself over Ivy's right shoulder. She shifts slightly to accommodate his weight on her drawing arm.
'Where did these come from?' Sir Isaac exclaims. 'This is not one of your little tricks, is it?' he addresses Overstrom's still form, once again completely covered by blankets.
'Go away,' comes the muffled answer.
"Where did YOU come from?" the crow rasps. "I'VE been here the whole time."
'No you have not,' Sir Isaac says to her, without batting an eye at the unlikeliness of the conversation.
"I've never NOT been here and you know it."
'What are you?' Sir Isaac asks, but his tone of voice suggests that he already knows.
'You know who we are,' the rat says.
"He might not know YOU," the crow tells him.
'He would if he'd been paying attention.'
"Since when do we pay attention?"
'Might I have my breakfast while you converse?' Sir Isaac asks the crow politely.
'Better bring me some if you know what's good for you,' Overstrom interjects from under the blanket.
Ivy turns around. "What are you talking about?" The rat chitters happily and dives into her shift. "You all are going to make me smear this," she complains.
'It's a bit risky to do that in a bed full of people and daemons, don't you think?' the rat points out in a muffled voice.
"And what?" Ivy stares down her own sleeve at him.
'US," the rat squeaks as loudly as he can.
"Wait, were you here before?" She blinks.
'Of course,' the rat says, peeking out of the neck of her shift.
"I thought we'd been through this," complains the crow. She flaps onto the table and spears a piece of ham.
Sir Isaac clears his throat. 'I believe that was for people and not for animals,' he points out subtly.
"YOU'RE an animal," the crow retorts with her beak full.
'I am not an animal. I was made in the image of God and you were not.'
"Then why can't you get out of bed and defend your own breakfast?"
'Well!' Sir Isaac tosses off the covers and slides out of bed. He snatches the tray away from the crow and carries it back to bed. 'It is MY breakfast after all,' he mutters to the crow.
'And mine,' Overstrom adds, peeking out from under the covers.
"And ours," the rat adds for Ivy, since she's turned around to continue drawing on Blake's arm.
Sir Isaac sighs. 'I'll ring for some more food,' he says. 'What do you animals like to eat?'
"We're not ANIMALS," the crow croaks. "But I would like some raw liver, as usual."
Sir Isaac stretches out his hand for the bell pull.
"Calla will want that too," the rat says firmly. "And I'll just have what you're having."
Sir Isaac stares at the rat, then nudges Overstrom's still form. 'Can you not make them go?' he asks in a stage whisper.
'Make who go where?'
"I don't think you'd like it if we went," the rat informs him. "I certainly wouldn't."
"Mm-mm," Ivy agrees absentmindedly.
'How do you know what I would and would not like?"
"Must I demonstrate?" the crow croaks.
'Will you all please shut the hell up?' Overstrom chips in. The rat lashes him gently with his tail, to no apparent effect. 'Now if only someone would bring me something to eat....'
'I've got the tray, if you would care to sit up and partake.'
A sharp knock sounds on the door, and Hawkins' voice says, "Sir Isaac, are you in there?"
'Of course I'm in here, where else would I be?' he shouts back.
'PLEASE BE QUIET,' Overstrom tries again. 'SOME PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO SLEEP.'
Hawkins pokes his head through the door, taking in the demonic menagerie. "Good God," he mutters.
Ivy rolls around. "Oh hi, Hawkins!"
The owl shuffles her feet and her round dark eyes blink open. 'It's too early to be awake,' she whispers in a voice like a single panpipe.
'My apologies sir, but the household was concerned when we couldn't find you this morning. Then one of the servants said you were here, and I just...thought I'd make sure you were in, um, good health.'
Blake suddenly rolls over to look at them all, nearly knocking over Ivy's inkwell. "Whhaaa," he remarks.
"Exactly," says Ivy's rat.
Overstrom peeks out from under the covers. 'We do not need any more people in this room,' he says firmly to Hawkins. 'Or any more animals either,' he adds, eyeing the black-and-white border collie at the clerk's side.
"We will leave once we are certain that Sir Isaac is well and has no need of our presence," the dog replies, her legs stiffening slightly. Hawkins looks down at her with surprise.
Sir Isaac looks down his nose. 'I need not answer for my actions to a demonic talking dog,' he sniffs.
"As you wish, sir." The dog flicks a look at Hawkins.
Sir Isaac's expression softens. 'Well at least someone here pays attention to my wishes.'
He reaches for the bell pull, and a servant steps in with suspicious promptness.
'Please bring up more food, to feed--' he counts--'five people and four animals, and please include some raw liver in the next tray.' The servant, trailed by a wiry-haired brown and white terrier, nods quickly and departs.
Hawkins' border collie is watching Overstrom with unwavering suspicion.
Overstrom stares back.
She looks away, but holds her ground. Her tail thumps the side of Hawkins' leg just once.
Hawkins looks down at her. 'Don't fret, Janet,' he says with a grin. 'His bark is far worse than his bite.'
Blake smiles sleepily, and rests his cheek on his hand. Overstrom rolls over, and reaches out from under the covers to touch both him and Ivy. Ivy hands the inkwell to Blake, who reaches around to place it on the bedside table.
The rat rescues the quill and shimmies up the headboard to tickle the owl with it. She flicks a wing at him, and he boasts, "You're such a lightweight, I bet I could knock you over with this feather."
She yawns and shows him the back of her head.
He makes a swipe with the feather, but she hops neatly to the side, and he gives up and drops it into Blake's hair.
Soon three servants stagger in under enormous platters, carrying foldable tables. They spread out a massive feast and promptly disappear.
'Please bring me something to eat,' Overstrom asks Sir Isaac politely, keeping his arm around Ivy and Blake.
Sir Isaac looks down at his recumbent form, shakes his head in disbelief, and gets out of bed. 'Why do I allow him to exercise such influence on me?'
'I wish I knew, sir,' Hawkins answers, stepping to Sir Isaac's side. 'Why don't I help you sit down, and I'll serve the, um, others.' He helps Sir Isaac walk unsteadily to a chair, then pours him some tea.
Sir Isaac accepts it gratefully and leans back in the chair. The crow flies from the bed to perch on the top of the chair over his head. Sir Isaac looks up at it. 'Did I make you?' he asks. 'I don't remember.'
"About as much as I made you."
'YOU?' Sir Isaac starts to get irate. 'YOU cannot make anything as you are not God.'
"Wouldn't that be frightening?" she cackles, and hops down to grab a bit of liver.
'I don't know if it would be frightening or not.'
Hawkins gathers up a couple of plates of food and passes them on to the inhabitants of the bed.
Overstrom reaches for a roll. Showing remarkable restraint, he rips it into pieces, then leans over Ivy to feed one to a blushing Blake.
Hawkins shakes his head in disgust, retreating to the other chair in front of the fire.
Overstrom smirks, and leans further across Ivy to kiss Blake lightly on the mouth.
"Um, heLLO," Ivy protests, startling Blake's eyes open.
'Who are you?' Overstrom teases, but kisses her too. Taking advantage of her distraction, he rolls over her into the middle, then sits up to reach for the tray Sir Isaac had left at the foot.
"You are pushing your luck, mister."
'Oh? Do tell.' He balances the tray on his lap and gathers both of them in his arms.
Blake can't resist burying his face in Overstrom's neck--or maybe it's just that he feels shy.
Overstrom strokes his hair, and leans his cheek on the top of Blake's head.
"Seriously, why are you acting so obtuse?" the crow argues.
'Did you just call me obtuse? How dare you!!'
Hawkins tears himself away from his horrified perusal of the bed, and eyes Sir Isaac with concern.
"Next you'll claim that you've forgotten my name."
'You don't HAVE a name!'
"Even I know what her name is," Ivy's rat remarks from the edge of Sir Isaac's plate.
'I will not be shown up by a talking rat.' Sir Isaac says to him. 'This must be a dream.'
"Yeah? What's her name then?"
'Dora,' he blurts out, then looks very surprised.
"I'm glad you remembered," the crow says drily.
'But how did I know?' He begins to look frightened.
She hops onto his shoulder and nuzzles his ear. "You've always known, just as I've always known your name."
'That...is ridiculous,' he answers querulously, but he is beginning to sound less certain.
"There's nothing ridiculous about it. I'm your daemon."
Sir Isaac gives a shaky laugh and points at the bed. 'I thought HE was my daemon.'
She gives Overstrom a somewhat uneasy look. "No."
Overstrom looks up at the crow. 'Don't lie to him,' he says to it.
She busies herself with a misplaced feather in her wing, and doesn't answer.
"She's not lying," the rat says. "You're demonic, but you're not his daemon."
'Whose daemon am I then?' he asks.
"Mine," the rat replies confidently.
Ovesrtrom looks down his nose at it. 'I am certainly not a rat's daemon, don't be absurd.'
"Don't put yourself down, boychik," he chortles. "Reach for the stars."
Calla pulls her beak out of her tan-and-white-striped breast feathers and stares at them with amazement.
'I refuse to converse with animals,' Overstrom declares.
"Why--" Blake falters. "Where's yours?"
'Where's my what?' Overstrom asks, doing his best to make it sound like an innuendo.
Blake looks like he wants to protest, or at least protest that he wants to protest. "Your--daemon."
'My what?' he repeats, genuinely confused this time.
"You know," Blake says helplessly, and Calla flutters down to perch on his hand. "Your--other person."
'There is only myself, I am afraid,' he answers. 'If that's not enough, there's not much I can do.'
The rat leaps back to the pillow and nestles in the hollow between Overstrom and Ivy's shoulders. Ivy picks up a piece of roll and feeds it to Overstrom. He greedily devours it and looks for more.
Blake breaks off a bigger piece, and, greatly daring, offers it to him.
Overstrom takes it and favours Blake with a grateful smile, so he breaks off a piece of peach tart and tries again. Overstrom gobbles it down, then reaches behind Blake's head to pull him in for a gentle kiss. 'If you feed me, you can have anything you want from me,' he whispers into Blake's ear.
"It's true," Ivy confirms, but her arm curls possessively around Overstrom's chest. An almost inaudible growl rumbles out from Janet's corner of the room.
He brings Ivy's hand to his lips and kisses it, then sighs. 'Why can't you both be this accommodating all the time?'
"I could be," Blake blurts out. "Um. I mean. If I felt like it."
'Well then I like you best,' Overstrom announces.
Ivy swats his head. "Fickle!"
'Why should I not grant my favours to one who most appreciates them?'
"Appreciating your favours is not the same thing as feeding you," Ivy points out.
'You won't get any if I starve to death,' Overstrom counters.
"Somehow I don't think there's any danger of that," she says, watching Blake feed him again.