A break at the Hessings. Going to a fair!
Time passed pretty quickly! In no time at all, Duncan was letting everyone know they’d be landing at the farm in a few short moments so this would be the perfect time to get ready for departure!
And thank you for riding Shadowstar Express. We appreciate your patronage and wish you all a happy trip. *He ended the comm-link and grinned at Tiny who was sitting on the chair across of him.* What do you think?’
Duncan: And thank you for riding Shadowstar Express. We appreciate your patronage and wish you all a happy trip. *He ended the comm-link and grinned at Tiny who was sitting on the chair across of him.* What do you think?
“Grreeeooww!” Tiny went!
Brennen: *Had a nice nap, a great shower … Wasn’t wearing a bra! Yes, he was feeling much better!*
Duncan: Thanks. I was worried I sounded … fake. *Slowly landed the ship! And hopped out of the chair, picking up Tiny! He met the others by the door!* I called ahead to my Ma and Fa, by the way. Hope you don’t mind.
Duncan: *Smile!* Wouldn’t dream of it, Cap’n! *He stepped out into the sunlight when the door opened and stretched!*
Tiny had already hopped out of his arms and was stretching!
Dion: …Do they do that sort of thing? *Dion asked curiously, pulling yet another ciggy as he trailed behind Brennen!*
Cassius: Aye… watch the old man. He’s got a mad swing with a shovel.
“DUNCAN! BRONWEN! MACBETH!” a familiar voice called out! Ma Hessing was waving at them from beside a fence with a basket against her hip!
Brennen: Not a clue. *He muttered to Dion as he stopped. He blinked at Ma Hessing!* Who the hell is that!
Cassius: That would be a devil in angel’s clothing, Bree. *Cassius was clearly being foul mooded!*
Ma Hessing put the basket down and walked over to them! She smiled. “What a treat!” She clasped her hands. “You can never have too many men to play with! Hello.” She waved to the Shadowstar men.
Brennen: *Glanced over at Cassius! He raised an eyebrow at him.* That thong of yours isn’t riding up your ass again, I hope.
Dion: An angel, indeed! *Dion gave the madam a graceful bow and a large smile!* It’s a pleasure to meet a lovely new friend.
Cassius: You just wait an see. *He muttered. Casting at scowl at Dion’s stupid chivalry act!* Stop mooning at her like a bafoon, she’s married.
Ma Hessing smiled, putting one hand to her cheek. “Mr. Dion, you’re far too kind! My husband is out in front getting everything ready. But I’m sure he’ll be glad to meet you all when he’s done!”
“Don’t be silly! Duncan explained to me and Fa how you all needed somewhere safe to stay for a bit. We could never turn away people who needed us.” She suddenly had an idea and clapped her hands. “I got it! You can all go to the fair with us! You see Fa entered his best stock and produce in the country fair this year. There’s lots of food and games. Plenty of fun!”
Duncan: Ma! *He gave her a big hug!* Oh, hey, I want you to meet Tiny!
Dion: I could sure use some fun and good company. *Said Dion with that smile again!*
“Grreeooww!” Tiny went!
Ma Hessing smiled. “I’m sure you’ll find more than your fair share here.” She turned to Tiny who promptly jumped into her arms and curled up as if it belonged there!
Petting Tiny, she turned and pointed to the house! “Just go around the corner. He’s probably still hitching things up and making sure everyone is nice and secure. The last time one of the straps was so old it broke. The bull broke out and … You get the picture.”
Cassius: *The corner of his eye twitched! The witch! He knew there was something weird about her!*
Brennen: I … think I’ll go and help you. Wait up, Mac! It was a pleasure to meet you, Madam Hessing. *And then he went to catch up with Mac!*
“Why don’t you come and have some tea with me, Bronwen? Gentlemen? I’m sure it’s been a long trip.” And then she made her way to the house!
Fa Hessing with was silent as ever and only grunted out instructions when men appeared to help!
“Just a country fair. Farmers enter their prized goodies and measure it up to each other’s …” She chuckled softly. “Then again, when you think about it, that’s what all men do, isn’t it? They even have dance competitions and games and eating contests …” She entered the house from the back, walked into the kitchen and placed Tiny on a soft cushion on the counter that was just its size! She started the tea.
Cassius: *…She even has a cushion for it! Cassius was practically shooting mind bullets at the furball as he begrudgingly dropped in to a seat!*
Dion: *Dion wasn’t sure he wanted to know why Cassius was staring death rays at the Furball. He was more interested in the beautiful Madam Hessing and her humble home!* Has anyone ever told you that you’re as pretty as a Toru Princess?
Whoever could possibly want to shoot mind bullets at something so soft and adorable and furry! Especially since Tiny was just lying there, napping!
Dion: Ah… Nothing too exciting for me in a long while. Except the rescue staged by my little sister. Imagine a man’s surprise waking up in a drugged stupor to see his two older brother’s dressed as nurses – not very pretty nurses – and thinking you’ve met your maker.
Cassius: The damned plan worked, didn’t it? The whole lot of you rag on my disguises, but they do the trick! *Lying there napping his ass! That thing was probably planning the next attack of his sock drawer!*
Dion: A piece of cake would be a slice of heaven. Say,… do you have any younger sisters, Madam Hessing?
Dion: That is very much the truth. Then again it’s hard to stay in touch when they’re right across the room glaring at innocent animals too. *Dion enjoyed his piece of cake! It’s been ages since he’s had real food!*
Cassius: *Caught giving that hairball attention. Cassius forced himself to pay attention to more important things. Like shooting mind bullets at Dion.* Speaking of family, don’t you think Brownie needs a good cocaptain? That’s a bigass ship for one little girl.
Dion: You know… He might be right. Have you asked MacBeth about it? He’d make a good partner.
Cassius: *Cassius choked on his tea!*
Cassius: Grand old Brownie thinks she can handle MacBeth on the long term. Why don’t you tell her what he did to you, Dion. That’ll be an eye opener!
Dion: *Dion paused mid bite, looking confused!* … Besides a lot of back talk and walking right in to a fight without thinking, he was pretty good crew. He was too restless to stay, though.
Cassius: *Cassius rubbed his face with his hand.* You’re not helping the cause, here, Dion. *And the witch was smiling all pretty and silent with the hellbeast curled up like a lion in waiting! He’s was pretty restless himself! If he weren’t for Fa Hessing and that shovel, he’d be outside!*
Brennen: *Staggered into the kitchen!* Can I … have some water, please?
Dion: *Dion just lightly shrugged his shoulders staring over at Brennen.* …All of those muscles really are just for Heather, huh?
Brennen: Hey! *He droppd into the chair Madam Hessing had offered him and glared at Dion!* Farm work is something my body isn’t used to!
Cassius: *Cassius snorted!* Some romance novel filled with poetry and sex, no doubt.
Brennen: *Glared over at Dion.* Anyways, what are you doing over here? Don’t you think you should be outside, helping? *He blinked over at Brownie!* Actually … I haven’t opened it yet. *Sipped the water.* Jealous again, Cassius?
Cassius: *The grin on Cassius face suggested he was much happier with the ladies at Heather’s place than any ideas of Heather herself!*
Dion: *Of course Dion was just nodding in agreement, though not really specifying who he was agreeing with. My this crumb cake was delicious!*
Brennen: I just haven’t had time, that’s all. What with getting out of there and then getting Dion and all the little adventures along the way.
Cassius: This is what happens when I man tries sticking to one woman. His brains get all muffled up and he starts acting like a baffoon. *Smirked Cassius!*
Brennen: *Sheepish grin.* I really shouldn’t … I left Mac out there with your husband and Duncan.
Cassius: Madam, one woman is like telling a dog he can only chew one bone! It’s a nightmare.
Brennen: *Saw the way Dion ate that cake, though …* On the other hand … I have time for a little treat before I head back. *He took the offered cake.*
Cassius: Now, if a woman wants to strut around with several men, that’s her own business! And they tend to get paid well for it too!
MacBeth: *Was still outside, toiling hard with Duncan and Pa Hessing! He took a moment to wipe the sweat off his forehead.*
Brennen: Now what’s this about cocaptain. We’re not trying something like that again, are we?
Dion: Cassius had the excellent suggestion of making MacBeth Bronwen’s cocaptain.
Cassius: Like hell I did! That was your stupidass idea!
Brennen: *Raised an eyebrow and glanced from brother to brother.* Mac seems like a real good choice.
Fa Hessing looked like he could work another 20 hours without breaking a sweat! Of course, he was delegating a lot of work too. That was one huge wagon of goodies to load up! Upon seeing Bronwen he thrusted a basket of bunnies at her!
Duncan: *Was tightening the straps for the crates and making sure they were nice and sturdy!* Okay, Pa! Nice and tight on my end!
Dion: Haven’t had much time to chat with him, but he does look good and grown up now, doesn’t he?
MacBeth: *Was on the other side of the crates doing the same thing! He finally nodded and whistled to signal his was tight too!*
Brennen: This crumb cake is delicious, Madam Hessing. *He smiled at her and then nodded at Dion.* Definitely. I think we’ve done fine jobs of raising him. Especially since he gets along with Brownie so well. Never thought I’d see the day where she could stand another man besides us that she wasn’t ordering around.
Cassius: Oh yaa, gets along real great with all that dancing, busting my balls, and anti-cassius mumbo jumbo. Real great!
“Cook ’em.” said Fa Hessing with a straight face. Ather expression, he suddenly let out a big toothless grin! “They’re mah show bunnies. You watch ’em. They don’t like mens.”
Dion: That is pretty great. I didn’t think anyone could get Brownie to dance! She any good at it?
Brennen: Awh, come on now. You know you love that kid. *A grin at Cassius!* She was good enough to beat the hell out of Cassius from what I hear!
Cassius: Confused the hell out of me, is all. SANG while he did it too, then she broke my damned nose.
Brennen: To tell you the truth, I don’t know why you’d bring up a co-captain. The last time we did, we got into so much bickering Fa threatened to disown us.
Fa Hessing was hitching up his bull and admiring a job well done!
Duncan: *Hopped off of the crates! He dusted his hands!* Phew! Haven’t done that in awhile! Hey, Cap’n! How’s it going?
Cassius: Bronwen and running a ship is just bad news is all I’m sayin’! She’s gotten down right uppity and MacBeth just backs her up like a, like a-
Madam Hessing walked outside to see how things were going! “Fabulous! You really did it this time, Fa!” She walked over to her husband and gave him a kiss after he was done getting the bull hitched up!
Dion: A good first mate? Man, he’s doing better than I thought. Half the time he’d be flipping me off if I barked out an order.
Brennen: *Snickered!* At least he stuck around with you. He was always off somewhere else when I wanted him to do something.
Fa Hessing grinned like he was seeing sun for the first time! “It’s all ready to go.”
“Fa’s prized bunnies. Be careful with them, dear. They’re Borivian Razorteeth bunnies.” She clapped when her husband said they were ready to go. “I can’t wait!”
Duncan: *Blinked!* Borivian Razorteeth bunnies! *He shuddered!*
Cassius: …You idiots aren’t seeing the point here. Bronwen needs a good steady, reliable, cocaptain to tell her what to do and keep her out of trouble.
Brennen: *Sipped his tea!* You know, this is some fine crumb cake.
Dion: You know, he’s right Bree. We ought to stop second guessing MacBeth and just see what he can do for our sister!
Brennen: *Sighed!* … Alright. Alright. You’ve got a point. But you realize we can’t use the same tactics we’d use on any other guy that might be interested in Brownie.
Duncan: *Eyes went wide!* ACK! No! Not again! *He ran away!*
Dion: He knows all the tricks, anyway. Hell, we taught ’em to him. Might just have to leave him be.
“Oh dear!” She ran toward the basket and caught it. “There, there, sweeties!”
Fa Hessing took the basket from his wife, tut-tuting at the scared young people of today. Poor little furry angels. He packed them up in the wagon!
Brennen: You know that’s a very good point …
“Oh, speaking of which! Duncan, I have a present for the adorable furball you brought home! It’d be a shame to make it stay here while we were away.”
Cassius: *His jaw dropped for a second, before he shook his head.* He’s NOT interested in Brownie. No one is interested in Brownie.
Duncan: *Poked his head out from the front of the vehicle they were taking.* Uh … I don’t know, Ma. Everytime I take Tiny somewhere with lots of people … Uh, things happen.
Brennen: *Innocent blinking.* I thought we were talking about co-captains. But Mac and Brownie … Hm …
“Oh, shush, Duncan,” Ma Hessing scolded. “Your Tiny has a voracious appetite but I’m sure it will behave.” She took his hand and started for the house. “Now come on.”
Duncan: *Sighed!* Yes, Mother … *He went with her, wondering what she had in mind!*
Dion: There’s a thought! Now that I think about it, I couldn’t imagine someone better for our little sister… Well… if they even like each other. What do you think, Bree?
Cassius: *Cassius slowly stood up and was pushing up his sleeves! At some point his brothers dun lost their damned minds, so he was about to sock some sense in to them!*
Brennen: One way to find out. There’s a fair coming up and we’re all going to go … You’re brilliant, Cassius!
Just then Ma Hessing walked into the kitchen, holding Duncan’s hand and Duncan trailing behind her. “Cassius, how nice of you to roll up your sleeves before you washed the dishes!”
Cassius: I’m what?! *Of which he replied to both Brennen and Madam Hessing! He was about to shake his fist at the woman but… No! It’s alright! A Fair was the perfect way to see how you DON’T like a person! Cassius was grinning with ideas as he picked up the dishes!* Right away, Madam Hessing!
Dion: That was the best cake I’ve had in my entire life, Lady Hessing. Brennen and I are really looking forward to the fair. *Dion didn’t seem too worried about Cassius’ trademark up-to-something grinning!*
Madam Hessing smiled. “I am pleased you enjoyed it so much. I’ve entered some of my pies in a few of the contests. Maybe if you have some time, you’ll be able to sample some.”
Brennen: That sounds delicious. I think I’ll go and see how everyone is doing outside.
Dion: Don’t forget to check on Operation Co-Captain. *Dion winked, not neglecting a grin at Cassius!*
Brennen: Or Operation Match-Maker? *He laughed softly as he walked out.*
Cassius: *Cassius nearly dropped one of those teacups, but he kept his cool! He had PLANS! Good unshakable plans! And this time, there wasn’t going to be any damned old ladies getting in the way!*
Madam Hessing turned to Duncan and gave him a lovely black collar with blue jewels. “Now. Just put this on the little angel. As long as it behaves, everything should be fine.”
Duncan: *Looked at the collar his mother had given him and then over at Tiny.* Uh … Okay. *He walked over to the sleeping furball who woke up and stretched when he stopped beside it.* Here, Tiny. *He put the collar around Tiny’s neck and fastened it.* You have to leave this on or I can’t take you to the fair. Understand?
Tiny watched Duncan put the collar on! Once it was fastened, Tiny’s form and features shifted until it had become a beautiful but average white cat with blue eyes. “Grreeoow.”
Ma Hessing scratched Tiny between the ears. “Tiny, you’ll have to behave at the fair. That means leave this collar on and no eating something Duncan doesn’t get for you.”
Cassius: Aye, like people or little children. *Muttered Cassius from the sink!*
Madam Hessing turned away from Duncan and Tiny. “Oh, Cassius, you have such a sense of humor!” she said, having overheard him somehow! “As soon as you’re done, come and join us. Duncan, Tiny, let’s go.”
Dion: Yeah, real funny, Cassie. *Said Dion as well, making sure to follow Madam Hessing and Duncan out quickly before something sharp was thrown at his head!*
Brennen: *Poked his head around the wagon!* So … who are plotting to run over with a truck?
Brennen: we (plotting)
Brennen: Lynched by a mob or go and enjoy the fair … I’d have to go with the fair.
Fa Hessing appeared like a grissly bear out of a fog! “If yer goin’ git on!” He said, gruffly pointing a finger at the wagon!
Brennen: Well, this should be fun. What do you guys think? *He asked as they stopped and everyone got out!*
Fa Hessing gave a snort. He had his little babies and was taking them personally!
Mama Hessing chuckled softly. “Those precious bunnies of yours are sure to win first prize, love.” She gave Fa Hessing a kiss on the lips.
Cassius: *Cassius through an arm around Bronwen’s neck, his best toothy smile!* You’re not afraid of clowns? Does the poor lil’ sister need her big strong brother to babysit her today? *…And then he was giving a grimace at the Foxy Ma Hessing kissing on that old coot!*
Brennen: *He had a different reaction to Mama and Papa Hessing kissing!* That’s awfully sweet. Good luck on the contest, Pa Hessing
Dion: Hey Cassius, is that one of the models from the Miss Galaxy pageant…? *Said Dion, pointing off somewhere in the distance.*
Duncan: *He was looking around, taking everything in.* Wow. It’s been so long since I last came to one of these. *His mouth twitched for a bit.* Not much has changed.
Cassius: Huh, where?! *Any rebuttal died when he spotted a thin pretty blond!* … I’ll be back. *Cassius took off in to the crowd of people!*
Brennen: *A soft chuckle!* That’s Cassius for you. He could spot a woman with a pulse for miles around.
Mama Hessing reached over to pat Duncan on the cheek gently. “Of course, it hasn’t, son. That’s the beauty of it.”
That Fa Hessing was dead silent with a goofy grin on his face before he suddenly coughed, grumbled something about being late, and was carting his bunnies off towards the contest tents.
Dion: I wouldn’t mind meeting some pretty ladies here myself. *Dion mentioned as he pulled a cig from his pocket and lit it up.* Madam Hessing has been the only pretty girl I’ve spoken to in months.
“That’s so sweet of you, Dion. But I’m sure you’ll find the girls here very friendly.” She smiled a bit sheepishly. “Sometimes … a bit uh, too friendly.” She blinked as if she’d just remembered something. “I better get going myself. I don’t want to miss the contest.” She waved. “Have fun, dears. Duncan, you and Tiny stay out of trouble.”
Dion: *A large grin from Dion!* How IS Heather, Bree?
Brennen: *His sheepish grin disappeared when he coughed politely into a fist.* She’s uh … doing quite well, thanks. Uh, yeah … Quite well indeed.
Duncan: I’m going to get Tiny something to eat. I’ll see you guys around. *He waved with Tiny in the crook of one arm and disappeared into the crowd.*
Dion: Food, there’s an idea. Come on, Bree. You can tell me how Heather is, while I keep the ladies to myself. *Dion flashed a smile at Bronwen and MacBeth.* Have fun. …leave those clowns alone.
Brennen: Haha. Very funny. *He muttered but walked over to Dion and Duncan.* But that’s if Cassius doesn’t screw them all first …
Duncan: *He scratched Tiny behind the ears as they neared the food court.* Guys … do you think the Captain and Mac will get into trouble or anything around here?
Brennen: *He blinked at Duncan.* What do you mean …?
Dion: It is Bronwen. …And MacBeth. I can only imagine what they get in to working together. *Replied Dion with some humor.*
Duncan: Uh, yeah. My point exactly. They’re great and all but the trouble they get into … *His voice trailed off as if not quite sure how to describe what he meant.*
Brennen: *A chuckle!* Is more than any two people should ever legally be allowed to get into before being thrown into prison for the rest of their lives?
Dion: *Dion stopped at a stall to get himself a good mug of ale, and puffed on his ciggy.* Shouldn’t be too much trouble at a Fair. ..It’s Cassius I’m worried about. I think he’s jealous.
Brennen: Jealous of who …? Brownie or Mac …? *He raised an eyebrow as he also got himself some ale.*
Dion: *He laughed softly and shook his head.* Both, no doubt. Little sister steals our Cadet, then Cadet steals little sister. Throw in a bruised ego and I’m surprised Cassius hasn’t tied them both to chairs and given his “I’m the King” speech.
Brennen: *He laughed.* Point taken. *He gave a soft sigh.* I always figured Mother favored him a little too much when we were kids.
Duncan: Um … One of those giant Mneorian steaks please. *He ordered.* And some fries. Oh, can you make sure it’s a steak with a really big bone in it?
The guy taking Duncan’s order looked at him strangely but then agreed before he disappeared to give the order to the cooks.
Dion: Middle son Syndrone. Bet she feared he wasn’t getting enough attention and then smothered him in it. *Grinned Dion as he leaned down to give Tiny a good pet.* Now if we could just find him a lovely Lady like Heather…
Tiny purred as it was pet! It liked this one!
Brennen: I bet we could find him a match if we put him on auction or something.
Dion: *Dion tilted his mug to share with Tiny. He wasn’t afraid of the critter biting his hand off.* Until he opened his mouth. What do you think, Duncan?
Tiny sniffed the ale but then took a tentative lick of it. Then it took another and another until it tilted his head back and licked its chops.
Duncan: I honestly don’t know about Cassius. Or if there’s a single woman alive who could handle him. *He took the steak and fries on a tray and went to sit on an empty table.*
Dion: You have have a point there. *Laughed Dion, taking one of the other seats to finish off his cigarette and sip on his ale.* In that case, we better do what we do best and meddle.
Tiny found itself on the table, watching that steak as if it was going to grow legs and run away. When no one was looking, it bent down and devoured that steak–which was at least two inches thick and a foot and a half wide–in one swallow! It belched up the giant bone and started to chew on it with its small mouth.
Brennen: *He chuckled softly.* Indeed. This brings up the discussion we had with him back at the Hessings. He mentioned a co-captain … probably to keep Brownie and Mac in line.
Dion: No doubt he was talking about himself. Unless he thinks he’ll convince Aaron to take charge… Mind you, Aaron is probably going to do it anyway, but Cassius’d likely spin it in his favor…
Brennen: I just hope Brownie doesn’t feel hurt when he does. Aaron’s a good guy but he was always a bit more strict on Brownie than on the rest of us. Takes after Da.
Duncan: *Looked up at them as he finished a fry.* Uh … This Aaron guy sounds scary already.
Dion: Aye… She’ll let him have the ship, but she’s going to be damned pouty about it. *Out came another cig… He’d be chain smoking the things since they landed!* Aaron’s great. Takes everything a little to seriously, occasionally smacks the hell out of ya, but he does it out of love.
Brennen: *A soft chuckle.* Egoes were bruised more often than our bodies, that’s for sure.
Tiny was lying down, still chewing on that bone.
Dion: And when it comes to Cassius and Brownie, ego bruising is probably the worst punishment you could give them. *Dion grinned, it might as well of been true.*
Brennen: *He smiled.* Yep. And we have a lot to catch up on. *That was when he noticed…* Hey, D. You alright …?
Dion: You got double D’s here, Bree. Better be specific. *He knew who Brennen was talking to, but Dion wasn’t one to offer up anything freely.*
Brennen: *A soft sigh!* Of course. Dion Dominick Shadowstar, why the hell have you been smoking like it’s about to be outlawed?
Dion: *Dion paused, casting a wry grin at his brother.* You try spending a few months locked up in a hospital without smokes, [i]Ma[/i]. *At Brennen’s expression, he sighed himself.* Just concerned is all.
Brennen: Sorry, bro. *He raised an eyebrow slightly.* Concerned … about everything?
Brennen: Sorry, bro. *He raised an eyebrow slightly.* Concerned … about everything?
Dion: *Another long puff of his cig as he remained silent for a moment.* Morgan’s really earned her Mad namsake… Obssessed with recapturing her youth. I look good for my age, and now she’s thinkin’ Shadowstar blood is the elixer of life or something…
Brennen: *He narrowed his eyes at Dion.* You’re not thinking about that old story Da used to tell about some treasure and the secret of eternal youth, are you?
Dion: *He goft a soft laugh.* Not me. I’m fine leaving well enough alone. But Morgan didn’t have me up in that hospital for a checkup. She’s lookin’ to live forever be it crazy miracles or stealing a damned body.
Tiny was still chewing on that bone, despite it being at least five times bigger than it was!
Brennen: All this talk about Morgan and her quest for eternal youth is giving me the creeps. Whatever happened to that poor bastard she married?
Dion: Dead, I believe. Flat out murdered. …Aaron would know better about it. *Dion himself couldn’t figure out how anyone would take a shining to someone like Morgan. Their Da must have been hella drunk.*
Brennen: Figures. *He drank some of his ale.* Ha. Aaron knows a lot of things he’d rather not know.
Dion: Think we all do now. *Dion lit up yet another cig… But that serious expression slowly faded to an easy smile.* Haven’t seen a sight of Cassius yet. He’s either caught his girl or about to ruin Bronwen’s day.
Duncan: *He’d finished his fries and was looking around now.* So … what are you guys going to do after this stuff with Morgan is over?
Cassius: Good shot, Brownie. *And that was when Cassius appeared right behind Brownen and leaning low enough to be staring her in the face when she turned around. …Wearing full clown makeup!*
Cassius: *THOCKHONK! There was a squeek of his big red nose as Cassius stummbled backwards to nurse his face!* G’damnit woman…!
Dion: *Dion tilted his head as he thought about it a moment…* Throw a party. Big fancy party with many pretty ladies. There’s people I haven’t seen in years.
Brennen: *He grinned.* I’d go spend some time with Heather. Maybe even ask her to marry me. *A small shrug.*
Cassius: *Argh.. his poor damned nose! That honking foam didn’t spare it at all. But Cassius was quick to follow them both, swinging an arm around Bronwen’s neck to pull her away from MacBeth.* Not playing games are you? How about you and me go try out that haunted house. Betcha there ain’t nothin’ in there scarier than us!
Dion: And how about you, Duncan? Going stay in the employ of a Captain Shadowstar?
Duncan: *He was thoughtful for a moment.* Um … I think so. I mean … things weren’t looking very well for me when I first met her and Mac. *A sheepish grin.*
Cassius: You’re gonna deny your big brother quality time with his favorite sister? That’s cold Brownie, real cold. *He responded, completely ignoring MacBeth!*
“Ladies and gentlemen! Gather ’round! The dance competition for our annual country fair is about to begin! Everyone grab a partner and come over to the center!” an announcer’s voice suddenly boomed!
Cassius: DANCE competition?! *Cassius stood there dumbfounded for a moment, watching their escape… Oh hell naw. HE was going to teach these two a lesson, and if they can do fancy footed shit, he could do it too. …Thus Cassius sweet-talked himself a rather round and rolly-polly milk maid in to trying the competition with him!*
Dion: Ah… And how do you like your Captain and her First Mate? They run a good ship at all?
In the center was a very large dance floor, more than enough to accomodate the people beginning to gather! There were two people walking around for the contest. One carried pieces of paper with numbers on it and passed it out. The other, beside him, scribbled names on a paper and their respective numbers! They got to Bronwen and Mac. “Why hello there, Miss. Gonna try our dance competition today? First prize is a grand old trophy and plenty of goodies and drink.”
Duncan: *A grin!* One thing’s for sure, it’s never boring. *Then he went thoughtful and silent for a bit.* I know we’re a small crew but I think we’re doing better than we could be. Between the two of them, Mac and the captain have taken down bounty hunters, squid pirates, and Morgan’s goons. *He reached over to pet Tiny.*
Dion: *Dion was looking pretty thoughtful himself!* That’s pretty impressive… Squid pirates even? People don’t normall walk away from them alive, let alone without losing an arm or two.
The man nodded and handed her and Mac two pieces of paper with the same number 52. The other man jotted down \”52.\” \”Names please.\”
Cassius: Heh heh heh… *This idea was so perfect, he couldn’t stop the cat-eat-canary look on his face. He had way more experience at lady-wooing, and dancing was a cinch. …Plus he planned on playing dirty and using this big woman’s rear end to his advantage.* Now, you just follow my lead, sweetcheeks and we’re gonna get us that trophy.
The man scribbled down the names, nodded, and he and the other man moved on.
Duncan: I don’t remember a lot. I was hiding at the time. But I remember hearing the captain yell something over and over at the squid.
Dion: …I’m going to have to ask them about that one. Last time I had a ship run in to squid pirates they took out half my crew and blew a hole out my cargo hole. You remember that time it took us three days to dodge the bastards, Bree?
It took a few minutes but everyone finally had a number and was registered. The announcer stepped up on the platform. “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your patience. We have wrapped up registration and are ready to begin. The rules are quite simple. We will play music and while you dance, you will be judged. If your dancing isn’t up to the standard, we will tap you or your partner on the shoulder and ask you to sit. The last couple standing wins a trophy along with fine treats and drink.” This was followed by the introduction of the judges and then the music finally began. It was a nice upbeat kind of song to warm them up!
Brennen: *He shook his head in disbelief.* No kidding. We were late with the cargo and the client was so pissed. Didn’t even believe us when we told ‘im there were squid pirates. Jack ass.
Cassius: *If Cassius could get away with cackling, he might have! Instead, he whisked his big busty lady in to his arms and prepared for an easy dance! He was real sly about edging too close to other partners, getting all in their way. It was easy thanks to this woman’s huge rear end!*
Dion: Can’t say that I blame him. Most people that say they survive the squid pirates are lying. *Dion flashed Duncan a bright smile.* You might just be their lucky charm!
Duncan: *He blinked!* Wow. You think …? *He scratched the back of his head.* I always figured I was more like dead weight …
Dion: Can’t call a good pilot dead weight, now… I figure you’re far more helpful than you realize. *He said honestly… A good judge of character, Dion was certain Duncan was a good crew mate… and both his sister and MacBeth seemed fond of him. …So did the lil fuzzy angel, and those things didn’t like anyone.*
With a little back planet town like this, these people took their competitions seriously! Cassius wasn’t the only one trying to dance a little dirty! One guy ended up tripped right off the dance floor! They weren’t going to go easy on them outsiders either. Slinging a foot out here and there to try and catch people unaware!
“Duncan! Is that you?!” someone gasped! Duncan was suddenly assaulted from behind when a beautiful woman threw her arms around his neck! “Wow, you’ve grown!” She had dark red-brown hair and dark brown eyes, dressed in a milk maid’s dress and apron!
Duncan: Ooof!! *He looked up, startled, but then relaxed.* Oh, hey, Ceri! It’s great to see you! Did you move back or something?
Dion: *Dion was about to light up another ciggy when he paused! …Slowly, he put that lighter and ciggy away as he cleared his throat and stood from his chair.* Who might your charming friend be, Duncan?
“No. Just home for a little while. And you …?” the woman was asking Duncan.
Duncan: No, just uh– *He blinked!* Oh, sorry! Uh, Ceri, these are my friends, Dion and Brennen. We all needed a little vacation. Dion, Brennen, this is Ceri. She’s an old friend.
Cassius: *Speaking of Cassius, he hadn’t expected the additional competition himself! But he got his revenge! Cassius made sure to make a wide turn with Ms. Betty, with full intent on running his sister and her first mate down!*
Brennen: *There Dion goes. He stood and waved, then sat back down and drank his ale.* Pleased to meet you.
Ceri smiled. “Hello, the pleasure is mine. Are you all enjoying the fair today?”
Dion: *Dion was the first to move forward and offer his hand!* Most certainly please, Ceri. …To meet you. *He corrected quickly, and swallowed! This was interesting, normally he was a little less nervous. Too much time in that hospital.* The fair’s been very nice so far. I have to ask about this lovely dress you’re wearing…
Ceri blushed after taking Dion’s hand and shaking it. “Yeah … I got entered in the uh, milking contest. Mother thought it’d be a great idea.”
Dion: *Dion didn’t release her hand, but instead turned it to take a look.* That takes some skilled work. Do you do any painting or play music with these hands? *Now Dion had the vague idea he was ignoring Bree and Duncan, but at the moment they might just have to forgive him!*
Cassius: *Grumbling, Cassius had to stop himself from screaming GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY SISTER. … Especially because it some seemed some other sap was already doing that to another couple. Only it was “Wife” and the guy tackled the man! …That’s when Cassius got another bright idea! He and Ms. Betty swooped in close and with a quick switch… he was trading partners and trying to steal Bronwen!*
Duncan: *He looked over at Brennen as he sat down, then tilted his head at Dion and Ceri.*
Brennen: *He shook his head at Duncan and then gave a small shrug, indicating he shouldn’t disturb them and it was no big deal. This was Dion, after all.*
“Th–thank you.” Ceri blushed even more. “I used to play music but I not anymore.”
-the second I
Dion: That’s a shame, I bet you were beautiful when you play. …What you played was beautiful. *A small cough from Dion, who then realized he’d been holding on to her hand a little too long. He let go.* Would you like to get a bite to eat? …Unless, I’m stealing you away from Duncan? *He turned to eye the other man questioningly!*
Duncan: *He quickly looked up and shook his head.* Oh no. You two go right ahead. I have to uh–go check on Ma. *He stood and picked up Tiny.* I’ll see you two later. *A smile and a wave!*
Brennen: I think I’ll go sample some of his mom’s treats. *He grinned.* Have fun, you two. See you later. *He disappeared with Duncan and Tiny!*
Ceri waved then turned to Dion. “Well, I uh … guess I’m all yours. I haven’t had a bite to eat for awhile. Too busy seeing everything.”
Dion: I think their leaving so quick was a suble suggestion that I need to get out more. *Dion replied with a wide smile. He offered her his arm.* I think trying a little bit of everything is in order.
Ceri laughed softly and took his arm. “I’ve never had such a cute escort before.” She smiled.
Dion: *Dion had to clear his throat. He’s not a blusher but there might have been a twinge on his face.* What would you like? There’s the brilliant Hessing family pies, cotton candy, a very strange looking creature on a stick… * He said, casting a curious look at one of the food stalls!*
Betty giggled again and playfully waved him off! He must be teasing her!
Cassius: *Cassius was just a smirking though, dodging her attempts to stomp on him and easily moving her farther and father away from MacBeth. In fact, he was about to make sure she went spinning in to the nearest barrel of beer!* Don’t you love dancing, Bronwen? The music, the ladies… Me winning a great big trophy and smashing it over that boy’s head…?
Cassius: *Cassius was going to reach out and snatch her back, but upon turning around and opening his arms his was MAULED by a giant Betty! He lost his footing at the edge of the dance floor and went tilted backwards. Only the loud sound of an OOMPH as Ms. Betty landed and giggled on top of him!*
By now there were only six–no, five more couples left on the dance floor!
Ms Betty had her arms around Cassius and obviously had no intention on letting him go anytime soon!
Cassius: *There was quite a bit of muffled complaints from Cassius, but he thought his back might be broken so he wasn’t able to escape just yet…! He was going to KILL MacBeth!*
Ms Betty finally got off of him after smothering his face with kisses! But only so she could pick him up and carry him off!
Suddenly the music stopped, there was thunderous applause, and the announcer walked up to them! “Ladies and gentlemen, the winners of our annual country fair dance competition! Ms Bronwen and Mr MacBeth!”
Cassius: *Cassius was getting hauled off by a viking of a woman! He was howling for help, but CLEARLY those sonsofbitches didn’t care about his precicous body..! He and Ms. Betty disappeared in to the crowd!*
Duncan: *He and Brennen stopped by the pies his mother was selling with Tiny perched on his head like a furry hat!* Hey, Mama. How’s it going?
Brennen: *He took a whiff of the pies!* Mmm … They smell divine, Madame Hessing. Just divine. *Oh, was that the smell of rumberry coming from this pie right here?*
Ma Hessing turned to the three of them. “Hello, sweeties. It’s going just fantastic.” She clapped her hands and beamed at Brennen. “I see you got your eye on my rumberry pie. A fine choice. Would you like a slice?”
Brennen: *That pie looked so delicious! But … he glanced down at his belly! He really shouldn’t! … On the other hand, when was the next time he was going to have a chance to have rumberry pie? It’s not like Mac was too keen on baking …* You know, I’d love a piece. Thank you.
Ma Hessing smiled and cut the pie up into slices. “What about you, Duncan? And that adorable furball of yours? A slice?” She offered Duncan a plate with two slices, one for him and one for Tiny after handing Brennen a plate with a slice of his own.
Duncan: *He blinked and accepted the plate!* Uh … Thanks, Ma. *He looked like he wasn’t quite sure what to do with it!*
Tiny, on the other hand, sat on his head and hunched down to take a better look–and a better whiff of it! “Greeeoww! Grreeooww!” it went!
Ceri smiled. “So, Dion, you must have quite the tale to tell.”
Brennen: *Had long since grabbed a fork and taken the first bite!* MMmmm!! *The look on his face told everyone who was looking just how wonderful this pie was!* Oh Madame Hessing, you are a godsend. *He said, once he had finished swallowing that bite and savoring it!*
Ma Hessing laughed softly and waved Brennen off. “You’re the second man to say that to me, Brennen.” She winked. “The first is my husband.” She leaned to the side to catch a glimpse of her spouse on the other side of the fair and waved.
Dion: *Dion cast her wide, almost embarassed smile.* You have no idea. I have to say, for once I’m happy to spend a day doing something normal and talking to someone interesting.
Fa Hessing gave a big toothless grin from across the crowd! Waving a big razortooth rabbit and nearly sheering someone’s head off!
Duncan: *He looked embarassed!* Ma … *He winced and looked up at the furry thing about to fall off his head and onto the plate! He grabbed a slice but made sure to keep as much of his fingers off of it as possible!* Easy does it, okay, Tiny? *He gulped!*
Ceri blushed. “You look like the exploring type, goes places, do things most people only dream of doing.”
Tiny hunched down and eyed that slice of pie as if it was prey! Its tails flicked back and forth and it licked its chops! The rest of the world had disappeared! It was only Tiny and that slice of pie!
Ma Hessing gave a lovesick sigh and cupped one hand to her cheek. “Oh, that man …”
Dion: *He laughed as he stopped by one of the food stalls, gestering to one of the cups honey dipped nuts!* You’ve got a good eye. Let me take a guess at you… Ah… Smart girl with a good career that… secretly wants to run off and battle evil?
Duncan: *Another sigh and he closed his eyes!* Gah … Ma … *He whined!*
Duncan: *His eyes flew wide and he froze! That was the sound of Tiny chomping on that pie! But had it also chomped on something else it wasn’t supposed to?! He gulped!* Uh … Did I just … Did it just …?
Ma Hessing waved to Bronwen and Mac! “Bronwen! Mac! Do you want to try a slice of rumberry pie?” But she was already putting slices on plates and offering it to them! My, she was fast!
Brennen: *He looked up at Duncan’s head, at the furry little thing curled up!* Uh … Nope. Your hand’s still there. Nothing left of the pie except crumbs. *He laughed!* And somehow it managed to swipe that slice of yours off the plate, too!
Cheri laughed and scratched her head. “Looks like I’m not the only one with the good eye. But somehow, running off to battle evil takes a backseat to a bunch of other stuff.”
Duncan: *He blinked and looked down at his plate! What the hell! He sighed and closed his eyes! … Well, it wasn’t like he hadn’t tasted his mother’s rumberry pie before …*
Brennen: *He turned to Bronwen and Mac and grinned.* This old friend of Duncan’s came by and before you know it, our Dion was whisking her away for a tour and something to eat.
Ma Hessing blinked, looking interested. “Old friend …? Which one, sweetie?”
Dion: *Dion gave a wicked look!* This is where I offer to whisk you away from your job and family and take you on an adventure… But I think I’ll spare you the danger and ask if you’d like juice or some hot coffee.
Duncan: Uh … Ceri, Ma. She said she’s only back for a little while.
Ma Hessing nodded and smiled. “I ran into her mother …” She blinked. “But her sister, Betty, was supposed to help me at the stall awhile ago. I hope nothing bad is keeping that poor girl.”
Duncan: *He looked at the trophy and picked it up!* Wow! Really?! *He read the plaque!* I can’t believe you guys won the dance competition!
Ceri gave him a sideways glance, still smiling and laughed. “Speaking of family, I’m not tearing you away from some lucky girl, am I?” She glanced around.
Still perched on his head, Tiny was peering at its reflection in the trophy. “Greeoww! Greeoww!”
Brennen: *He eyed the trophy!* I see you two have been busy. *He whistled.*
Brennen: *He moved closer to Bronwen!* What’s up, Brownie?
Dion: There are many lovely ladies all over the galaxy, but none quite right for me. *He said with a grin.* I might change my mind though if you tell me you’re single.
Ma Hessing chuckled softly. “I’m pleased you two came out of that competition in one piece.”
Ceri laughed and held up her left hand, wiggling the fingers. “Never married. Not even close. It’s not that I’m not looking … just not er, actively … pursuing it.” She gave a sheepish grin as she felt around for the right words.
Brennen: *He blinked a couple of times! Had she just smirked?!* Huh? Did he land himself that blonde he was eying earlier?
Dion: Not one of those grab and run girls, eh? *Speaking of grab and run, he could have sworn he saw Cassius being carted away by a woman. Dion shook his head, grabbing some food from the vender and paying up. He offered Ceri one.*
Brennen: *A soft sigh, a moment to close his eyes!* He’s got issues, that one. *He opened his eyes.*
Ma Hessing shook her head. “He best be careful. Many girls around here and their families think nothing of kidnapping a man and forcing him to marry a girl.”
Duncan: *He was still checking out the trophy! But now, he was huffing on it and polishing it! This was going to make a fine addition to the collection!*
Ceri laughed softly. “Thank you.” She shook her head. “Nope. If I find the right man, then I find him. If not, then well … I guess I’ll be buying myself a dog for company.” She smiled and winked to show she was teasing.
Ma Hessing smiled and offered Bronwen a plate with a slice on it with a small fork. “Not all, sweetie. But a man like Cassius is bound to have sown his wild oats in just about anyone.”
Dion: I have a feeling that there’s not a sane man in the universe that’s going to let you live alone and unloved. *That might have been a bit silly even for him. Dion coughed and rubbed the back of his head.* … Hobbies! We should talk about hobbies before I say anything else weird.
Ceri smiled sheepishly. “Ah, good idea! I’ll uh, go first. Horseback riding, swimming, playing the violin … kickboxing ..”
Brennen: *He flashed a grin!* You startled us all, Brownie. Of course, you gave Cassius the worst images.
Dion: *He nooded at every one, pausing when she mentioned kickboxing, to give a slow amused smile.* Kickboxing? You’re definitely planning an escape to defeat evil…
Ceri cleared her throat, still wearing that sheepish grin of hers. “So … your turn.”
Dion: Ah, right. Me… well. I guess you can call me one of those book dweebs. I like to read, learn new languages, the occasional bar fight, and slay dragons. *The last part he said with a perfectly straight face. Morgan was dragon if there ever was one.*
Brennen: *He coughed politely and looked slightly embarassed.* Cassius just got worked up. You know how he gets when you’re involved.
Ceri laughed softly. “You’re a lot more active than many of the other men I’ve met. So … are you pretty confident in dancing?”
Dion: Dancing is another one of those hobbies. *Dion said with a grin.* Care for a dance?
Brennen: *A quick grin!* Heh heh … *He scratched the back of his head.*
Ceri smiled. “I’d love to.” She even gave a small curtsey before they headed to the dance floor! There were only a few couples, enjoying a nice slow dance played by a live band.
Duncan: *He looked up! He had his arms around it and his chin resting on the top of the trophy!*
“Grreoow!! Greeoww!” sighed Tiny, sitting straight up on Duncan’s head and flicking its tails!
Dion: *Dion was very gentlemanly, and very professional with his dancing… but today he was a bit off! A little stiff in movement, especially when she’d smile. He gave quite a strang lopsided grin.* I think I’m a little rusty, you’ll have to be patient with me.
Ceri smiled. She couldn’t help it. Dion made her want to smile when she was usually quite the opposite! “At least we missed the dance competition, that would have been tough to be in and dance to.”
Dion: *Dion laughed!* That actually sounds like my family’s kind of competition. No fun unless someone’s getting hurt. *He grinned and turned with her.* Although, I’m liking this uninterrupted dancing.
Ceri blushed. “There’s a reason the Infirmary stall is right over there.” She nodded just across the dance floor to it where there were still people from the dance competition being tended! “Oh. You must have some family.”
Ma Hessing chuckled softly. “You can’t find anyone better to care for something so precious.”
Dion: *Dion took a look over at the infirmary stall… Yeah, that’s Shadowstar style, all right!* Three older brothers and a little sister. We maybe very well be the scourge of the galaxy. *He said jokingly!*
“And yet you end up in this little place.” Ceri smiled and blushed. “I’m glad.” She let Dion spin her before each of them raised one hand and pressed their palms together. Then they circled each other once before she turned back to him and put one hand on his shoulder, and held his other hand with her own.
Ma Hessing smiled and waved. “You’re welcome. Have fun.” She leaned to one side to catch a glimpse of Pa Hessing and blow him a kiss!
Bless Ma Hessing’s beautiful heart, Fa Hessing made such a fuss to catch that kiss, a couple razortooth bunnies got loose. That wasn’t going to be good for anyone under 3 feet.
People turned to stare at Ma Hessing for distracting her husband! She smiled widely. ‘Heh heh. Oops,” she said before they all fled!
Dion: *Dion took a riskof getting slapped by pulling Ceri good and close.* I’m glad too. I think we might stop here for a visit more often.
Duncan: *pulls out a pitchfork to stab the chat with!*
Duncan: *He closed his eyes and gave another deep sigh … while standing on a table, still clutching the trophy!* … This cannot be normal.
“Greeoww! Greeoww!” Tiny hopped off of Duncan’s head and landed neatly on the table in front of Ma Hessing! “Greeoww! Greoww!”
Ceri looked a bit surprised when Dion pulled her close but she didn’t pull away and blushed instead. “It would … be nice to see you again.”
Dion: Then… *He started off slowly, thinking about the best word.* How about a date? Maybe… two weeks from now?
Ma Hessing raised an eyebrow at Tiny! “I want those bunnies back unharmed,” she said in a serious tone, crossing her arms. “There’s a reward in it when you do,” she continued in a lighter tone as she bent down to undo Tiny’s collar!
Duncan: *He stared at his mother as if she had grown two heads when he saw her undoing the collar!* Ma! What are you doing?!
Brennen: *Yeah … There was no way he was moving off of this table–the same table Duncan was on!*
Ceri was still blushing! “Um … two weeks …?” She was silent for awhile and then she smiled and nodded. “Alright. Two weeks. Where should we meet?”
Dion: *With her acceptance, he was smiled brightly.* I’ll probably be staying with the Hessings again, and I’m sure Ma won’t mind a visit from you first.
Ma Hessing undid the collar completely. “It’s called trust, sweetie. You understand.”
Tiny hopped off of the counter and onto the ground where it grew a little bigger, big enough to get those rabbits but small enough not to send everyone into a full panic! If they weren’t already there, already! It spotted a bunny and went streaking off after it!
Duncan: … This cannot end well. *He muttered, watching Tiny zoom off.*
Ceri smiled. “Well, she and her husband do enjoy Ma’s chocolate. It’s her specialty.”
Speaking of those bunnies, they were pretty fast little suckers! They were scattering all over the fair and one was leaping after MacBeth’s leg for a bite!
Dion: Really? I wouldn’t mind trying it m- *Before another word was out Dion was scooping Ceri up in his arms and taking a few quick steps backwards. There was one of those damned rabbits! He hadn’t even realized people were running and screaming!* Well…! Looks like Fa’s critters got out!
Ceri clung to Dion but quickly loosened her grip a bit when she realized she might be choking him! “Oh dear.”
There was a white streak that ran past Dion and Ceri! It seized that bunny and when it stopped, there stood Tiny with the bunny in its mouth by the scruff of its neck! Its tails flicked as it looked at Dion and Ceri and then Tiny was off again! It handed the bunny to Ma Hessing before it disappeared again!
Dion: Quick little furballs. *Dion glanced around quick. Tiny might be on the job, but one never knew how many rabbits were loose, and they breeded quicker than you could shake a fist. Dion carried Ceri over to on of the nearby trees.* I hope you can climb. There’s a branch that’s just out of jumping reach.
Ceri knew now was not the time to argue! She climbed up that tree and onto the branch Dion had pointed out! She offered her hand out to help him up!
Dion: *Dion took her hand and hauled himself up on to the branch too. They had a good view of the chaos now. Dion grinned!* This ought to be a nice little break spot. I’m sure they’ll get those bunnies rounded up in a minute.
For only a basket of bunnies to get knocked over, there sure were a LOT of rabbits zooming around trying to bite legs off now! They really did breed fast! Fa Hessing was chasing them around himself making smacking noises and trying to offer carrots!*
Of course, Ma Hessing was also on the scene but she went for the less subtle approach and rounded up the bunnies trying to jump into trees to get to people finding shelter there.
Tiny zipped up and around, here and there!
The small boat drifted in to a building that had… some very unsusual decorating choices! It seems either the designers couldn’t decide to do a horror ride or a couples ride… And if that wasn’t it then the person must have just gotten a divorce! There were cherubs hanging from branches shooting old hags holding brooms but dressed for wedding!
Ceri looked down and then up at Dion! “I know there’s no one else I’d rather share a tree with.” She laughed softly.
Dion: You’re a lot prettier and more pleasant than one of my brothers, love. ..Ceri! Ceri. *Cough! Dion had nearly lost it! Thank goodness it was just him and Ceri. And the bunnies.*
Ceri blushed. “Dion, you’re so sweet.” Then she laughed softly. “What a way to spend an afternoon, huh?”
Worse yet, there was the groom smiling happy as could be, but there was a ball and chain wrapped around his neck as he hung from a tree! Then there was a familiar chirp and growl.. and the flapping of tiny wings! Gatorbats! Up in the rafters!
Dion: *He was sweet. …and he was turning beet red. Another cough!* Strange afternoon, but well worth it.
Ceri didn’t dare move! The last thing she wanted to do was make this branch break and send her and Dion to some very painful death! “So, uh … your brothers … are they like you?”
There was a BOOM! and a CRASH! Something furry and white streaked alongside the river that ran through the horror house!
Dion: Ah, no… Well, Brennen and I are most alike. We get along the best. Cassius is a bit of a prick, to put it bluntly, and Aaron thinks he’s our father half the time. What about your siblings?
There was a nice wave on the water now, giving the boat a good shake. Gatorbats up above darted down to chase after the furry white meal!
Ceri took a deep breath. She just had to keep her mind off of you know what! “Ah well. Me and Betty are nothing alike. She’s always looking for a husband, she loves to cook and clean, and she’s scared silly of anything even a little dangerous. We get along alright, though. The only big fight we ever had was when I told her that guy she was hankering for was a worthless, backstabbing jerk.”
Tiny had to skid to a stop from chasing after that bunny when it heard gatorbats! The bunny disappeared and then the gatorbats were coming! “GReeowww!! Greeoww!!” it roared as it jumped up and caught a gatorbat in its mouth! It had already swallowed it when it landed and wasted no time in turning to flick its tails like whips and bring down a couple more!
Dion: She likes those bad men, does she? We’ll have to keep her away from Cassius then. He’s probably as bad as they come for women. *Not that he, himself, had ever been a one woman guy… But he was really reconsidering that now.*
Ceri nodded. “Yep, that’s her.” She was thoughtful for a moment. “On second thought, I guess she does live dangerously.” She looked at Dion. “Cassius? So, what does he look like? Although it might be too late to warn Betty. She can spot a bad boy a mile away.”
As expected, the bottom wasn’t more than a few simple feet. Shallow enough to stand in. The gatorbats were now trying to flee Tiny, flapping all over the place!
Tiny was able to swallow a few more that couldn’t get away! The rest it chased when it went “Greeoww! Grreeooww!!”
Dion: Reddish brown hair, built like a horse, a good deal taller than me. He’ll probably stand out in a crowd like this, I’m surprised I haven’t seen him complaining about these rabbits. *That was unsualy for Cassius!*
Ceri was thoughtful. “I hope he’s alright.” She sighed softly. “I just hope my sister is just hiding and not doing anything she might regret.”
That person was… Blocking the way out of the place! He was standing in the water holding a big stick! He was a bit curious about the gatorbats getting eaten up, but he had more people halt! “HALT, Ye passengers through the Love Tunnel of Doom! You must pass the test or forever be chained to the horrors of unhappiness!”
Dion: *Dion was still in a tree with Ceri, but it looked like those rabbits were finally getting under control.* If she’s as smart as you, I’m sure she’s fine.
Ceri: *She laughed softly!* With Betty’s luck, she probably kidnapped some poor man and is giving him more than he bargained for. *She glanced over her shoulder at him.* Are you worried about your siblings down there?
“That wasn’t the test.” the guy replied, looking mildy annoyed before he got back in to character again. “THE TEST will be answering mine three difficult questions! Then if ye should pass, you may move on to the stage of life! But if ye should fail… THAT-” he pointed behind them! “Shall be your fate!
Dion: *There was a very loud laugh from Dion!* Oh no. I am fairly certain they’re handling things just fine. Must be better than normal. Nothing seems to be on fire…
“Come on lady, I’m getting a bushel of Garslok wine if I do this every time!” he complained, not being all that concerned with her gun. Seems he had a lot of those pointed at him today!
Ceri: *She gave him a curious look.* So you weren’t joking when you said your siblings were probably the scourge of the galaxy?
Ma Hessing: *She dusted her hands as she caught a few more bunnies–to add to the countless others, she’d caught by now–into the basket. But not after giving them a firm lecture about scaring all those people!* You should all know better than to start breeding like you were the last razortooth bunnies in the galaxy. *She gently chided.*
Duncan: *He glanced around! It had been awhile since he’d seen a Borivian razortooth bunny hop past so … it might be safe by now! But still …* Uh, Ma. Is it safe for us to get down now?
Dion: Ah, well… There’s good moral values for the most part, but trouble seems to be a favorite passtime.
Ma Hessing: *She put her hands on her hips and looked up at Duncan! Her poor baby! He looked so embarassed and so frightened too! She smiled.* I’m sorry, sweetie, but not until your Da and Tiny return. It won’t be long.
Ceri: *She smiled.* In the genes …?
“Right!” He cleared his throat, back in to character again, and waved his stick! “If thyne were being tortured by the Mad Maniac of the Galaxy and had to choose between thyne true love or the lives of hundreds of kittens… WHAT WOULD THOU CHOOSE?” How he said it with a straight face was a miracle.
Brennen: *He was patting Duncan on the back!* You have to admit, your mother is one skilled bunny-catcher. Between the three of them, they’re doing great.
Fa Hessing: DARNSARNED IT BLOODY BEASTS! *Screamed Fa Hessing, who seemed to have lost his patience for his little pets and was now actually kicking them in to baskets when he caught up to them!*
Duncan and Brennen stood there, blinking and speechless!
Dion: *Dion grinned back at Ceri.* You could say that. *Glancing around, there didn’t seem to be any more bunnies in sight. Dion lept down from the tree branch and offered his hand to Ceri!*
Brennen: … On the other hand, it’s a good thing your parents have so many bunnies now.
Tiny had returned by now with three rabbits in its mouth, by the scruffs of their necks! It dropped the bunnies into the baskets and sat down! “Greeowww! Greeowww!!”
There was an answer the guy hadn’t heard! “Uh..okay… You have Passed the first question!” He waved his stick over his head! “Your second question… THYNE FAMILY HATES your true love and you have run away to get married at Lunari 17! What is your wedding song?! CHOOSE WISELY!”
Ceri: Thank you. *She said after she’d taken his hand and jumped down!* No better ice breaker than getting chased by bloodthirsty bundles of cuteness and teeth.
Ma Hessing: *She laughed softly!* You have such great aim, Da. Tiny, thank you. I’ll cook you something special tonight.
Dion: It could have been worse. *Dion grinned.* My brother met his current love in a brothel.
Ceri: *She studied his face, smiled.* So you really can find love anywhere. That’s amazing.
Once again here was an answer the guy wasn’t expecting! “Not unless you think that’s gonna get you bonus points, buddy.” Hey, guys do just about anything for the chick!
Dion: *laughly softly, he nodded, leading her off to see if they could catch up with Duncan and Brennen.* He’s even talking about proposing. Pretty damned impressive, I think.
Ceri: *She smiled and laughed softly, too.* Wow. And what about you, Mr. Tall, Fair, and Handsome? I’m sure women are fighting at the door for you.
Dion: *That had Dion blushing and he coughed lightly!* As interesting as that sounds, I don’t think I’m the guy women fight over. I get one on the mind and that’s all I tend to see.
Ceri: *She was still smiling, that gentle grin of hers!* She’s going to be one hell of a woman. Oh, there they are! *She waved at Duncan and Brennen just getting off the table!* Are you alright?
Duncan: *He waved, while still clutching that trophy!* We’re er, still alive! Ma and Da went to put the bunnies back in the wagon. Where did you two go?
Dion: Sure is. *Luckily she didn’t see him grinning at her now! Dion had to force himself to give a more appropriate expression. There was no reason to be senseless about it, he wasn’t so young anymore.*
Brennen: *He grinned and ran his fingers through his hair!* And not a moment too soon, by the way. *He looked the two over and then at Dion! Oh, he knew that look!*
The guy wasn’t sure if that was sweet or just plain crazy! He coughed, Loudly to make sure they were paying attention! “WELL THEN… What a touching moment. Your final question, and this is going to be easy for you two, since you have to be so damned smitten, What do you like the most about your true love! Or face your doom, yadda yadda.” He pointed behind them again, a little less enthusiastic than before!
Dion: A little lunch and a dance. Then were sat up in a tree until the commotion was over. *Ah, Brennen caught him. Dion flashed his brother another grin.*
Ceri: *She was blushing a bit, then she smiled!* Chances are, there won’t be razortooth bunnies on the run for food on our date.
Duncan: Wow, a date? *He blinked and smiled!* That’s great! I hope you two have fun!
Brennen: *He didn’t know whether to laugh, smile, or just keep blinking at Dion until he looked like a bloody owl! He settled for giving Dion a sideways glance, especially when there was a mention of a date!* Excuse us, real quick, please. *He snagged by the elbow and was already carting him off out of earshot!*
Dion: What’s this now? You’re not getting jealous are you? *Dion joked, but he had a feeling he was about to get a bit of a lecture..!*
Ceri: *She was still blushing, maybe blushing even more! Her cheeks certainly felt warmer!* In a couple of weeks. I’ll uh, still be around or if not, I’ll make it back.
Brennen: *He just stared at Dion and then he wagged a finger at him and shook his head.* Oh no. Nonononono. This is far too juicy to pass up. You are the very one who never sees a woman twice. *He placed the back of his head against his forehead.* Hm. A little warm … You feeling okay?
The guy looked a little disappointed! “That’s it? Over shooting a hag in the face for a daring double rescue and singing a wedding song… All you got is respect and loyalty? And I thought you guys were different!” He grumbled as he stepped on out of the way and waved his stick. “Go on! Have your merry life together!”
Dion: *Looking a bit sheepish, he brushed Brennen’s hand away.* Maybe I’m just looking up to my older brother and thinking about settling down?
Brennen: *He studied Dion! He was serious! He finally sighed and clapped him on the shoulder!* After the shit, we’ve been through, it’s only natural. *He ruffled Dion’s hair! Something he hadn’t done since they were kids!* C’mon then. We’d better round up the clan. *He walked with Dion back to Duncan and Ceri, still chatting!*
Dion: *Not his hair…! Dion was brushing it back in to place again as they returned.* I guess Cassius is still absent? Or is he off harassing Bronwen and MacBeth?
Brennen: Brownie and Mac said something about him being busy and having found some woman or other. So, Duncan, if you and Ceri were such good friends, and I may be so bold, why h aven’t you hooked up yet?
Ceri: *She blushed a bit!*
Duncan: *He grinned sheepishly and was much redder than Ceri!* Ceri was … well, she was my babysitter when I was younger. Ma and Da were away a lot and Ceri and her family are our closest neighbors.
Dion: *Another sheepish look from Dion, but at least he wasn’t the hitting type. …Although he was pretty damned tempted.* Way to be subtle there, Bree.
Brennen: *He flashed a quick grin at Dion before turning back to their companions.*
Ceri: Duncan’s like a brother to me. *She smiled.* His parents were real kind to mine when we needed help.
Dion: You know, Brennen here is the one I was telling you about. My brother in love. You ought to tell her about your romance with Heather. *Turnabout was fair play.*
Brennen: *His jaw dropped! Oh, that was low! But he cleared his throat.* Well, look at the time, we really should get going … *He blinked! Oh no!* It was uh, nothing, I was just going to uh … *He started to sneak away!*
Dion: Package, eh? Just for Bree? I think I’d like to hear about that, myself! *Dion reached out to snag Brennen by the collar.* You might as well tell us, because I’d hate to assume it might be something dangerous and then have to go looking for it. *It was just an empty threat from him. …But Bronwen would likely run with the idea.*
Brennen: *He blinked and winced!* Oh no! Tiny would tear up the letters! *He realized what he’d said and gulped!* I mean, uh, you know, ruin the er, really pretty box it came in! Yeah, that’s it!
Dion: Love letters. *Head leaned to say to Ceri, with that grin on his face.* Ah, pardon me… Ceri, this is my little sister Bronwen and her First Mate MacBeth. This is Ceri, a friend of Duncan’s.
Ceri: *She laughed softly.* That’s sweet. *She waved to Bronwen and Mac.* It’s nice to meet you. Are you two enjoying the fair?
Brennen: *He was very red at this point! He coughed politely.* Not that it’s any of your business but it’s not like she could send them to me.
Ceri: *She laughed softly.* No thank you. I once chased my sister and a date of hers down there. Well, I tried to sneak after them but that’s rather hard with gatorbats in the rafters.
Dion: *Dion just grinned wide at Brennen.* Gatorbats in the rafters? Well, we know where Bronwen won’t be going. *He leaned closed to Ceri again.* Completly horrified. She’ll start crying…
Ceri: *The sheepish smile on her face disappeared when she remembered something. She blinked and looked around.* Speaking of sister, I should go look around for her. She’s usually back by now.
Dion: That’s a good idea. I look forward to meeting her next time. *Dion took Ceri by the hand and kissed the back of it with a grin.* In two weeks, then?
Ceri: *Oh dear, was she blushing again! She smiled!* Two weeks then. Thank you for the fun time. *She reluctantly pulled her hand away and smiled .* It was a pleasure to meet all of you. Goodbye. *And then she disappeared into the crowd!*
Dion: Bye, Ceri… *He was watching her leaving and waving… Then had to cough loudly!* Ceri is very attractive. …And very nice to talk to. It’s not easy finding a girl like that.
Ma Hessing: *She returned with a very small Tiny in her arms and she smiled.* Are we all set to return?
Fa Hessing: *Fa Hessing appeared with his rabbits now securely caged instead of in baskets. …But he did have one big golden ribbon!*
Ma Hessing: *She smiled!* Congratulations, darling. All that hard work and love you gave paid off. *They started for the wagon!*
Dion: *Dion fell in to step, thinking about what he’d do for that date until he cast a grin at Brennen.* Are they dirty love letters?
Brennen: *He quickly went to a dark red shade!* They’re not dirty! They’re personal!
Dion: A good dirty love letter is nothing to be ashamed of, Bree. It’s perfectly thrilling. *…he kept his straight face for a good minute before he finally laughed!*
Brennen: *He shot a glare at Dion but then sighed and ran his fingers through his hair!* Hahaha. Very funny.
Dion: Better me than Cassius. I think you’re lucky he’s more interested in what those two are doing. *He replied with amusement.*