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Can We Just Skip to the Tea?

((This one's a bit more dialogue-heavy than my last two because it was done as a chat RP initially. Sorry, much less of a look into Cambor's head tonight, but he's not really the important one this time anyway!))

 

Cambor had woken up last. He had not been unhappy about this, as Firie had chosen to wake him in a very pleasant way that he generally didn’t get treated to all that often. However, she’d also started a bit of a conversation about friendship and gratitude at the same time, and the two activities together did not lead to a particularly productive response on his part, so when she had offered to do any one thing he’d asked of her, his brain had stalled out. Something he wouldn’t normally do, something to thank him for taking care of her, she’d said.

"... I'm going to have to think over this one for a little while, Fi. Not to be wasted, you know?" He squirmed against her for a moment, then smiled wryly. "And not to be mused on while distracted."

Getting out of bed had been a tiny bit of a struggle, but less so than he’d expected. He wasn’t so epic at cooking as Firie, but he could make a passable pancake. Eating, at least, was less distracting than cuddling most of the time. Firie hadn’t complained, though she was a little disappointed she didn’t get to cook for somebody else.  But curling up in bed and being waited on was pretty nice too.

Cambor stifled a laugh when he returned and saw her expression. "Don't worry. I'm still never going to argue with you feeding me. I'd just like to do it for you on occasion." Once he’d given her a plate, she still ate like a bear just like always, so she clearly wasn't too upset with him.

Once they’d both cleared their plates, he licked his chops and gave her a curious look. "Y'know, when I met you, I never would've imagined you'd enjoy wearing a leash."

"I enjoy pushing my limits and doing as much as I absolutely can. Doesn't really matter how. This... Is a nice way of knowing that I'm doing everything needed."

He nodded, licked his lips again and then drew a hand through the thick fur on the back of his neck. "So... about this special thing you'd like to do for me..."

She set her plate aside and sat cross-legged, looking up at him.  "Mm-hmm?"

"... Something you wouldn't ever do, something I wouldn't normally do? Leaves a couple of options." The worgen scooted back on the bed a little, wrapped his arms around her, scooped her into his lap and cuddled gently with his chin on her shoulder. 

"I want you to tell me everything... not omitting anything, no evasion, just honesty, and I know that you know what I'm asking for... about ‘him.’"

Firie leaned against his chest, cheek against his collarbone, one arm going around his waist.  She tensed for a moment, then let out a long breath.  "Explanation, huh? Aright. I told you ‘no’ before, because it shouldn't be a thing. It's a thing I need to get over and make go away, because bothering him with it will just be unfair to him. I just need to wait until it goes away. But if you want to know..."

"I want you to trust me with the knowledge."

A long pause.  "...Arkav."

Cambor didn't say anything to this, only nodded. He didn't want to interrupt any further.

"He's not interested in humans, or anything from this planet. He had a bad time of his life and someone here did some pretty bad things to him, and I'm not even going to make this an issue with him. I can't do that to him."

"All sounds fair. Why do you want to?"

".. Because I do. He's... He saved my life, twice, put me down in head on fights, fixed my armor, kept me from going insane while I was possessed by the Sha...  He's good. I turned into a smoke dragon and he tackled my neck and suplexed me through the snow and into the ground while rockets were blowing up all over both of us! He's... good."

Cambor was quiet for the entirety of that last flood of words, making no attempt to interrupt or ask questions until he was sure she'd gotten out as much as she was going to. Then he nuzzled at her cheek. "He took care of you and put you down when you needed to be."

"And I know none of that stuff was as special for him as it was for me looking up at him for it but it was special for me."

"And you don't want to burden him with something you know he won't return?"

"With something that'll actively hurt him."

Cambor blinked. "Sorry, how's that?"

"Not only can he not do anything to help, but people putting pressure on him has been badly abused in the past. I won't do it, not even by implication. He's the one who first figured out that there was something wrong with me, and... He used to give these beautiful history lessons in Ironforge and his stutter disappears when he teaches... He doesn't anymore, but... I went to all of his."

He had fallen quiet again, though he did squeeze her a little tighter for a bit. "So is he your friend?"

She goes quiet for a moment in the hug, and nods.  "Yeah.  Good friends with him and Xillia."

Cambor shifted a little bit, just enough to pick her up and let him scoot away from her. He didn't go far, sliding off the bed to kneel in front of her so he could get a good look at her face. "You know what that sounds like, right?"

There was a sudden look of fear on her face that he’d learned to recognize by now, one hand coming up to the corner of her jaw as she stared at him.  "...no?"

He offered a simple little smile, reaching up and gently taking her hand away from her face. "Sounds like you're in love, is all."

She leaned her head down against his hand, then made a strained noise of frustration.  "I know! ... Maybe. I don't know. I thought... Anyway it doesn't matter. I just have to... wait it out."

"Fi, you're adorable when you do this. If you're not in love, you're crushing harder than I am on Kaewynn."

She answered with a sulky growl at him and a mock bite at his hand. He whined a very doggy whine and shook his hand as though badly hurt, then chuckled and leaned back on his knees. "It wouldn't hurt you to admit it, even to an empty room or just to me."

".... He doesn't drink. He used to, but... It wasn't good for him. Xillia told me he doesn't go to clubs or bars because he doesn't want to be around booze or drunk people."

Cambor nodded, settling comfortably into his kneeling position on the floor and clasping his hands on his lap. "Not the most unfamiliar tale."

Firie just looked down at her hands, not saying anything more for the moment. He cleared his throat. "So... Does he know that you do that for him? I haven't seen you so much as sip anything since we met, and I know you've wanted to."

".. I doubt it. I never said anything. I mean, he might. We're friends, he might have noticed."

"Awful lot of might-haves for somebody you see relatively often."

"It's not really the sort of thing you go around bragging about."

Another soft chuckle from the worgen. "No, but it sounds rather like you're letting your fondness of him make you afraid of him."

"No, just not dumb enough to walk up and say 'so I'm trying to be somewhat less repulsive for your benefit.' Either I am or I'm not, and in either case it doesn't need to be advertised and it doesn't end up mattering."

Cambor shrugged, then scratched his cheek thoughtfully. "Does that mean you actually do talk to him, then?"

"I do. He's the blacksmith at the garrison I'm at."

"Well-l-l... you probably can guess what I think would be helpful to you, but I get why you haven't done it yet."

She sighed and took a minute to look up, hand at her jaw again.  "...what?"

He spread his hands in a partial shrug. "You know me. I don't really go for hiding from certain things. Fretting over them, maybe, but... No one is going to burst into flame if you admit to loving them." Finally, he stood up again, stretching his arms above his head. "If you didn't faint dead away when I said it the other day, he won't.

"I know it's terrifying, and I know you have lots of reasons not to--many of them valid, though possibly not as terrifying as you believe--but I doubt that you telling him that you admire him, are grateful to him, and respect him will be anywhere comparable to whatever some piece of trash did to him before."

He gave a proper shrug then. "But, you know him better than I do."

"I'm not going to make things more stressful for him, even if it wouldn't be much more.  He doesn't deserve more mess from me."

He nodded and leaned over to pick up the plates from breakfast. "Which I understand. But I wonder if he'd be any happier knowing how much you beat yourself up over it."

"It's my own issue. I ask him for help with things he can help with. I had him fix my armor. But this isn't his problem, it's mine, and he doesn't need me laying it on him."

"As you like." And with that, he took the dishes out.