A Good Or A Bad Thing

Title: A Good or a Bad Thing
Time Period: January 16, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: It's up in the air for a bit there.

The thing about breakfast in bed is, there has to be someone to make it and bring it up. This particular morning, that someone happens to be Mariah. While Cas slept, she slipped out to get things ready, counting on a late night, a day of hard work and another late night to keep him sleeping until she can get their meal up to the room. So there is a good reason her side of the bed is empty so early.

However. Cas isn't the only body there, all the same. It's hard to say how a badger managed to get into the Dovetail and into this room specifically, but for the moment, it perches on Cas' chest as he sleeps, staring down at his face. Waiting.

It's likely the familiar hasn't actually told his mage what he's up to this morning.

When asleep in this particular bed, Cas tends to do so rather soundly, especially when he has nowhere to be today. No jobs waiting for him to do, no chores he needs to perform. It hasn't happened nearly as often as he might like, and it's left him lazying about in the bed with only light sounds of breathing.

At least until he finally starts to stur.

It may only be the weight on his chest that finally pushes him out of whatever dream he found himself in. A hand reaches up, as his addled state seems to take the shape to be something else entirely, until fingers brush fur.

That pushes through the fog, if only because it confuses him. Hand moves away as his eyes open, squinting, blinking away the sleep.

And he sees the badger. The first moment he just looks, his hand going to his eyes to rub at them, until he can look again. Still a badger.

"Aaaa," he intones with a shaky voice, body seeming to scoot a little until it's clear there's no real escape from claws and teeth. This is the absolute last place he expected to find a badger.

At least the teeth aren't coming into play just yet, although the claws do make their presence known as he starts to move. Not really an attack, just a matter of clinging so as not to topple over during the scooting. This is a very determined badger. And one with personal space issues, as it gets right up in Cas' face. Despite that, however, it doesn't disturb his still healing nose even in it's aggressively curious stance.

And it's into this moment that the door opens. Mariah doesn't notice anything strange right off, because she's occupied with trying to quietly carry in a large tray of food and drink. Balancing it while she fiddles with the door is a bit of a challenge, but she's taking it rather slow.

Even if the badger keeps teeth to himself for the moment, Cas still tries his best to go deeper into the pillow in an attempt to get away, a soft sound in his throat that is certainly bordering on fear. Despite that, it's not close to how afraid he was of the man who did bruise up his still healing nose. Still an animal smelling him is better than the possible alternatives.

The sound at the door makes his eyes shift to the side, finding, as he suspected, the bed empty, and the young woman who'd been in it a moment before standing with a tray and breakfast. For the first second his mouth opens, as if he might call for help. Until he looks back at the badger and chooses another action, reaching for the sheet with his hand. A flimsy protection, that won't really protect him, but perhaps he's not intending to protect himself.

When Mariah does look over, there's a very telling moment where she doesn't look surprised at all to find a badger in her room. But it is just a moment before she double takes to look again as it registers that Cas is awake during this visit. "Masque," she says as she slides the door closed with a foot and moves to set the tray down on a table. She's not quite dressed for the day, but is apparently much less worried about badger teeth.

What are you doing? We talked about this, she manages to speak to just the familiar instead of doing so aloud, although she prefers to actually speak to it when they're alone. A quirk. And as she comes over to pick up the creature unceremoniously, he chitters at her, which might mean he prefers an audible form of communication as well. I didn't hurt him none, is the familiar's excuse to her, though and she lets out a huff before setting Masque over on the couch.

If mages and familiars are supposed to be closer than lovers, Mariah and Masque seems to be the equivalent of an old married couple at this point.

It actually takes a few moments for the fact she's unsurprised registers. Cas almost raises the sheet as if to wrap the badger up and keep him from her, but then he legs go as the burden is removed and he can breathe again. He hadn't realized he was practically holding his breath, only taking gasps of air when his lungs absolutely demanded it.

"What— when— ?" he asks unfinished questions as she carries the badger away and sets him down with no trouble at all.

With a glance to the side, it's as if he's replaying every visit in his head to make sure there wasn't a badger hiding somewhere in the corner. No, no badgers.

Rubbing a hand over his chest as he sits up, he lets the fear drain away. "Uh— when— is that someone's pet?"

That question serves to get both their attention. Mariah straightens up, as his voice cuts in as a reminder of how difficult this morning is turning out to be. But Masque seems to take offense at the question he eventually gets out, and he looks around Mariah to let out a low growl. Pet, indeed.

Now I'm going to have to turn around and explain this to him, you know. Thanks much, she says as a hand reaches up to rub over her face. So there's a pause before she turns around, perhaps ready to just run with the pet story, but when she actually looks at Cas, the lie has a hard time making it out.

"Are you alright?" She opts for dodging around it altogether, at least for the moment, and she comes over to sit on the edge of the bed.

"Ah— yes, I'm okay. Barely a scratch," Cas says, even as he finds a bit more than that. Nothing that drew blood at the very least, but he couldn't help but move and the creature was determined to retain his perch. "Though I seem to have offended— " he points at the animal, unsure what to call him.

"Startled me a bit, though— I woke up with a squirrel next to my head once, when I was sleeping in his tree, and he was shaking his tail all angry and chattering at me. But— this isn't a tree. Or…" He trails off, looking past her and at the beedy little eyes instead.

"Masque. That's his name." Mariah leans over to have a look at his chest as well, just making sure he's not just being stoic. The familiar meets Cas' gaze, and while it may be hard to read an animal's expressions, it's clear enough that this badger is not like… other badgers.

When Mariah sits up, she looks over at Masque as well, and her lips press together for a moment before she looks back to Cas again. "He's not… wild. He's… well, he's mine," she says, and her voice carries more than just the affection one has over a pet. And Masque takes the cue to hop off the couch and trot over to hop into her lap. She looks down at him, and despite whatever bickering the two exchange, there's a warm smile on her face as she rests a hand on his back. "And I'm his."

"Aah— hello. Masque," Cas says as he sits up more in the bed, having briefly smiled at the woman as she checked his chest for cuts. It seems the whole thing isn't really making him smile as much as he often does, but it could be the early shock that met him when he woke.

As she explains, he gets out of bed to put on trousers, focusing a little too much on what he's doing in perhaps a telling way.

"I see— I'm surprised I've never… uh— seen him before," he says, tone light and genuine in his statement as he looks between the two. There's something hesitant in his voice, as if he's avoiding something. Like jumping to any conclusions. One doesn't often talk about pets like that.

His demeanor isn't missed, and Mariah seems a bit fixed on looking at the badger as he gets up to dress, although her expression dim from the affection she'd held for the creature moments before. Worry clouds such things.

"I, ah… don't actually bring him 'round many people. Or… anyone, really. Very few." She can count on one hand the total number of people who really know Masque exists. Less than one hand. She turns to look over at him, that worry furrowing her brow, "Cas, it isn't that I— I mean, I don't tell anyone about all this. Luna knows, but that's all." Even if she hasn't exactly explained what 'all this' is. Perhaps she thinks it's obvious.

Obvious perhaps, but still not something that's easy to say. Too many people would still take it as an accusation. Cas wets lips he suddenly realizes are too dry as he finishes getting half-dressed. The small scratches on his skin still have a pink irritation around them, but that will fade in moments. It's only really visible as well as it is because his skin is rather pale.

"It's fine, really— you don't have to tell me… things like…" His hands wave about, mostly in the direction of the badger. That hesitation is still there. Not an easy conclusion to say outloud, even then.

"Is— " He looks back at her, eyes a different kind of anxious than how he normally would look at her. "'All this' something that would… get you in trouble? If— people here knew about it?"

Mariah looks back to Masque, and she clicks her tongue at him with a nod off to one side. And the badger seems to get it, because he hops off her lap and skitters back over to the couch, but under it this time. But Cas can see, he's still watching.

But she gets up off the bed and comes over to him, her hands reaching out to rest on his arms gently. "I don't know about trouble necessarily, but it might get me some… And people in this town already have enough to judge me over, I should think, ey?" Prostitute and all. "And frankly, it's no one's business but mine— " At that comment, there's another chitter from under the couch, and Mariah pauses with a longsuffering sigh before she adds, "And Masque's. And while I do believe I'm not obligated to tell anyone whatsoever, I'd like to explain to you, if that's alright."

"Yes— yes that's probably true," Cas says quietly, head tilting to the side as he watches Masque hide under the couch, even moving a bit to better see him. The cautious and anxious expressions seem to be fading into something else. Curiousity, it would seem, as he looks back at her as she says she would like to explain.

That's when he smiles again, finally, brightening his face and pushing away that nervousness entirely. "Maybe we should— or I suppose I should— little difficult to talk while eating— But I mean I should eat while you explain? So breakfast doesn't get cold," he gestures to the forgotten tray.

Then a moment later seems to remember something. "Oh yes," and moves back over to the bed to get back in. Even if he's got trousers on now. Doesn't mean he can't have breakfast in bed with trousers on, right?

When he moves over to get back in bed, the worry leaves Mariah's expression as she all but breathes out a soft laugh. She looks over his way, her smile tilting crooked before she moves over to pick up the tray again. The plates on it hold plenty in the way of food and choice, as well as a pitcher of coffee. It's possible she, too, wants to make sure he's well fed.

She sets it down in the middle of the bed, close enough to grab from, before she climbs back in as well. Seeing as he's sort of dressed, she doesn't slip out of her robe, but it does slide off a shoulder as she slides over the mattress, but that she doesn't mind so much.

"It's all very simple. I've a bit of magic, that's all." It may be very simple, but she does look nervous, actually saying it plainly and out loud. "It isn't anything dangerous…" She shakes her head a bit at herself, and glances over at the couch. "My family didn't even know," and he knows how much she cared for them, "It just seemed more natural to keep it to myself." She looks back at him, a smile just barely curving her lips, "When I was a girl, I liked to think of it as my own special secret. Just something for me and for Masque and no one else ever had to know. Became habit, I suppose."

The curiousity remains, much as he's looked during attempts to read before he got frustrated by it. Wanting to know about something and being able to understand it are not always the same thing. As she talks, he starts to eat, trying to at least mind the crumbs. With more success in some bites than the others.

"Magic, huh— I'm glad it's not dangerous— even if people don't need magic to be dangerous," he says quietly, looking toward the door and that hallway. "But your parents didn't even know?" that seems to have surprised him, even more than that she is a mage at all.

"No, they certainly don't," Mariah says, her smile turning wry. She doesn't go for the food, not right off, anyway, but she does poor herself a cup of coffee to sip from. If she minds the crumbs here and there, she's not mentioning it.

"Not my parents or my brother. None of my friends growing up. I just— It's always seemed easier to keep it to myself, I suppose." There's a pause before she frowns a bit, a touch of nervousness there again. "You wouldn't mind keeping it between us, would you?" Masque, meanwhile, is slowly creeping out from under the couch. Drawn out by the food, no doubt. Be he just meanders his way over, no rush.

"Oh, yes, of course— I can keep a secret," Cas says quietly, but from the way his eyebrows push together he's not entirely sure that will be the case. Sadly the only other person he knows who knows… isn't exactly someone he can talk to about it.

With a shake of his head, he looks at the approaching badger and reaches to pluck out a decent sized slice of meat, holding it out in offer rather than eating it. "Sorry for the pet comment, mate," he says with a smile, the offering his apology.

"So what exactly can you do?" he asks, still looking mostly at the badger rather than the woman he's talking to.

"Thank you. I'm just… not keen on people knowing too much about my personal life. As odd as that may be for someone like me."

Masque is all too glad to take that meat off Cas' hands. After he's eaten it, which doesn't take very long at all, really, he climbs back up onto the bed to nudge against Cas' arm. Apology accepted, perhaps. But then he moves to the foot to sprawl on something more comfortable than the floor.

And whether it's that she noticed that odd look at the promise or that she's not entirely comfortable with the question that eventually follows, or something else entirely, Mariah and her coffee slip out of bed while he's focused on Masque. She steps over to stand near her window, looking out at the dreary weather.

"I can… put people to sleep. And things like that." She says it mildly, and follows with a sip of her coffee, but just the simple fact that she's not looking his way speaks to her uncertainty.

"Is that why I always feel like dozing off in the tub?" Cas asks quietly, not toning his voice to accuse, even as he watches her move away from him to the window. It makes him frown for a moment, lips pressing together. A glance is cast toward the badger, almost as if he's looking for some help, before he looks back at her again.

"I won't tell anyone— really. I mean, I know I kind of ramble and… and I not great at lying, but— I can talk to you about it. I wouldn't want to get you into trouble… even if you don't think it would be trouble." There's a pause as he looks down toward the tray.

"I actually don't talk about you much at all… Though I think Lady Aislinn might figure it out. I think she can read my mind or something."

"What? No," Mariah says, her tone a bit hurt, even if he didn't mean it as an accusation. Masque doesn't help, but he does give Cas a sort of flat look at that question. But Mariah turns to look at him, letting out a sigh as a hand goes to her hip. "I don't use it, not unless I have to. But you can see how people might assume the worst," she says with a frown, "all things considered. People would think it was me every time they fell asleep in here. Like there isn't a bed to blame."

She drops down onto her couch, looking more than a little unsteady now that it's all out. But his latter words draw her attention over his way again. "Aislinn's not— I'm not worried about her. She's particularly good at discretion."

"Sorry, I was just joking…" Cas says suddenly when he realizes that he had said something he shouldn't have. It makes him bite down on his lip rather than keep eating, at least for a few moments. Looking from her to the badger, he grimaces, them both having a flatness to their expressions. Even if he can only guess at a badgers expression.

"I actually don't want to fall asleep around you. Though I do sleep better… really, I'd just rather be awake cause…" he trails off, looking embarassed. "I doubt it'll come up, but— I'm sorry, I don't really know how to— I've never really been… uh… close to anyone who was— who had magic. Even little things. That— that makes him your— uh— familiar, right?"

When he apologizes, Mariah blinks a moment, and then looks embarrassed herself. She runs a hand through her hair and looks over his way, "I'm sorry, too. It may be possible that I'm not entirely able to talk about all this gracefully." She gives him a weak, but genuine smile there, and sets aside her drink to come back over and sit next to him on the bed.

"I don't want you to fall asleep around me, either," she says, a bit of amusement in her tone. But she reaches over to put a hand on his cheek, and she leans in to kiss him softly, if briefly. "I'm still the same person," she says after in a whisper.

She glances over to Masque, her smile returning, if crookedly, "It does. He's grumpy and over-protective sometimes, but he's not mean despite… the badger thing."

Return the kiss lightly, Cas still looks apologetic of sorts. "I have a few things I'm not good at talking about myself— actually a lot of things. Sometimes I'm not good at talking at all, really…" he says in that rambling way he sometimes does. It's the same quality that made him worried he couldn't keep her secret. When he rambles he sometimes can't stop himself.

"I know you're still the same person," he says, though there's something about his voice that's starting to change again, as he looks over at Masque. "Does that— is that why he was— uh— " He gestures at his face and bare chest. Then his eyes shift to the couch, the underneath of the couch. "Is he always in here?"

"I like when you talk," even if it's rambling. By the way Mariah's smile widens, maybe especially when it's rambling. His question, though, gets a laugh and she sits up with a shake of her head. "No, he's never in here, actually. He likes it outside and it keeps clients from… waking up to a badger in their face, mostly," she says with a wry grin there. "But he's been curious about you."

She doesn't detail why her familiar is curious about him, but from the way she shoots the badger a look, he may be teasing her a bit. This may be another reason she doesn't keep him in her room, he's good at distracting her.

Despite the shy smile at the compliment of his rambling, Cas looks over at the badger and at first seems disappointed that the badger isn't always in the room. "I kinda liked the idea of him leaping out from under the couch and chewing the face off a roudy customer." Like the one who punched him in the nose, no doubt, from the way he rubs on it.

"Not my face, obviously," he says to the badger. Even if he hadn't been a familiar, he probably would talk to him anyway— it's the same tone he uses with the horses. "I am— a total gentleman." He glances at Mariah as if in hope she will back him up.

And notices the look. "Are you two— talking right now?"

Mariah can't help but laugh at that, and given the way Masque hops up onto his feet, be might agree with Cas' idea. "That's exactly why he isn't in here. He'd be running everyone off and then where would I be?" Which might carry the unfortunate implication that she has a few customers that would fit the bill, but she doesn't seem to notice that.

But she does shift to slide an arm around his waist as he goes on, "Total gentleman. I agree." But his question causes a shift in her expression, from amused to a more hand-in-the-cookie-jar type. "Yes?" She replies, perhaps a bit embarrassed at being caught. "I'm sorry."

The implication is not missed by Cas, from the frown that creases his mouth for a moment. It luckily doesn't last long, as she apologizes for talking to her familiar. His hands go up and he waves them around in a quick way as he speaks, just as quickly, "No no, it's perfectly fine. I— that is actually the one mage thing I always wanted— being able to talk to an animal, even— well a magical one."

He glances apologetically at the badger, even as he continues rambling, "Really I'd love to talk to all the horses I train. I talk to them anyway, and while they can understand tones and even a few simple words and commands, it would be amazing if they could understand everything I say— or if I could understand what they might say back. So you can talk to him around me, or— well— uh— "

There's that curious look again. "Too bad he can't talk to me."

"Well, you can talk to him. He understands more than just the commands. I mean, if you want to." Mariah looks over at Masque, who stumbles over to steal a bit more breakfast. He's mindful, though, because he takes it and hops down to the floor. But he lingers nearby this time, instead of hiding under the furniture. "He'll find his own way to communicate back, if he likes."

When she looks back to Cas, she smiles softly and scoots in closer to him. "So you're not… mad? That I didn't tell you before? This wasn't exactly how I imagined telling you, badger in your face and all that…"

"That's good— Though if you like to hang around outside I'm not sure how often I'll see you," Cas says, following the breakfast thief with his eyes as he speaks, and obviously speaking to him. Talking to an animal actually comes pretty naturally to him, he just doesn't often expect to be understood very well.

As she gets closer, though, he looks back at her, a curious expression still there as she expresses her worries. "Well— no, I'm not mad— I— I'm not entirely sure how I. I've never really been as I said— close to anyone with magic. None of my family had any— at least I don't think any of them did…" he trails off, looking to the side, perhaps wondering if maybe one did and just did what she did and kept it secret. With a shake of his head, he looks back at her, then down at his chest. "I do wish I'd found out differently, yeah, but… I'm not mad. Did you— want to tell me? If you imagined it?"

Masque looks up when he's addressed, and there's come chittering, but whatever he's saying, it gets a smile from Mariah. She chuckles a little before she nudges Cas some. "He says there's plenty of time when you walk home from here."

When he goes on, though, she lifts a shoulder and tilts her head a little. "I'd been thinking about it. I mean… it's you," she says with a gentle smile, as if that made sense outside her own head at all. "I just hadn't thought of a way to sneak it into the conversation."

"Oh, that works. My walk home is always pretty boring," Cas says, smiling over at the badger and looking like he's looking forward to the experience. A trip home with a badger to talk to. It would almost be like actually having a horse.

"Me…" he adds softly, smile fading a bit as if from embarassment. He even rubs at his face as if making sure he didn't get any food on it. He hasn't been eating as much as he thought he would. "Well, then I couldn't be mad. If you were going to tell me— you know— eventually. If you hadn't— um— been beaten to it, at least." That's when he raises a hand toward Masque, "Just means he saved you the trouble of figuring out how to bring it up. Badger on the face beats 'oh by the way, I'm a mage'."

"Perhaps he got tried of listening to me try to figure out what to say and decided to do it himself," Mariah says toward the badger in playful accusation. When she looks back to Cas, though, her smile softens and she nods gently, "I would have figured it out sooner or later. But sooner is better than later in these sorts of things, isn't it?"

There's just a momentary pause before she adds, "Just, if I ever tell you to cover your ears, don't dally, yeah?"

"I'm just glad he wasn't chewing my face off, it would have made me think I'm not welcome here at all, after the last few visits," Cas says, touching his wounded nose again. A few scratches isn't enough to make him think he's made a streak. Twice is enough for abuse to his nose.

"What— why?" Not quite getting it at first, but nodding suddenly as he seems to put the pieces together. "Oh, so putting hands over my ears would protect me from… The whole falling asleep thing?" He holds his hands up towards his ears, as if mimicing the gesture a bit.

"I'm glad he wasn't, too. I guess he approves of you. Tentatively." The last is added teasingly, but the badger does give Cas a look that might leave the impression that it isn't entirely a joke.

Mariah nods when he puts it together, though, "Yes. Among other things. I can't pick and choose who gets it, it's sort of… whoever hears me at the time. But, you never know when you might have to pull the ace out of your sleeve, as it were. I wouldn't want you caught up in it."

"I'll have to make sure he stays approving," Cas says, looking over at the badger even as he talks to the young woman near him instead. Luckily he doesn't start rubbing his face again.

It gives him a few moments to eat on the breakfast again, as he ponders situations where she could use it. The eating doesn't last long, cause he's talking again. "I'd trust you not to do anything to me while I sleep at least— I mean I have to already and I haven't woken up with my face painted or— anything. But I guess in certain situations I could fall and hurt myself. And I— wouldn't like that, I don't think."

"I think you'll be fine," Mariah says as she settles against him and reaches for a slice of toast herself. Now that the bomb has been dropped. "Hmm, don't tempt me for next time," she murmurs playfully. "We do have paint around here, you know." The teases eases off, though, as he goes on. "Exactly. Something like that. I once knocked my entire family out trying to get some bandits to let us be… that was somewhat awkward."

"That's great! Now I won't have to worry about you walking by yourself when I can't walk with you," Cas says, looking and sounding as if he means it. "Not that I still won't walk with you when I can, it'll just be nice to know you can knock bandits out if you need to."

There's a glance toward the door and he adds in a slightly softer tone, "And rowdy costumers too."

Mariah chuckles a little, but she nods, "I hope it doesn't bother you that I'm not entirely a defenseless damsel. But, with or without it, I prefer a walk with you. When you can manage it." There's a snort from ground level, which prompts Mariah to reach for a pillow to toss at the badger sitting there. He dodges, chittering away as he dives back under the couch again.

When she looks back to Cas, it's with a bit of sheepishness. She's really not used to people witnessing this part of her life. Or this part of her life commenting on… people. But his words bring out a more sobered expression. "Sometimes," she admits, "Can't use it too often or people would start to get suspicious. But in a pinch. Now and then."

Though he can't hear both sides of the conversation, the interaction between her and her familiar makes him smile. Cas can imagine, and he seems to like what he imagines of the overprotective badger. Even if it's maybe at his own expense. "You'd have to put me to sleep to stop me," he says with a grin, reaching over to touch her throwing arm.

But it's her lip that gains his eyes as her expression sobers, the cut, specifically. His hand moves away to touch the healing cut gently with his fingers. "I'm glad. That you're not a… helpless damsel. I mean I'm hardly a ideal… knight. Or even a very good noble bandit. So I'm glad that— " He trails off, as if unsure how to continue the ramble. It takes a second, and a breath, before he adds, "I wouldn't want anything to happen to you."

When he touches her arm, Mariah sits back again, his words (and probably his smile, too) making her grin in return. Her arm slides back around him, and she leans in to kiss his cheek.

But when he touches her lip, Mariah reaches up to take his hand and presses a kiss against his fingertips. "Don't worry. Nothing's going to happen to me. And even if it were going to, Masque is never terribly far and can apparently break into my room. But Cas, you know… I don't put much stock in knights or any of that. I prefer you outside of all the heavy armor," she ends with a gentle smile before she sits up some.

"Also, I feel compelled to tell you, this," she notes with the gesture to her lip, "wasn't a customer. I sort of… got into it with one of the other girls the other night. It wasn't anything to worry about, just a little tussle is all. I just don't want you to think I let the others knock me around or anything… like that."

The smile only grows, and in fact, as she gives that assurance he looks relieved, again. "That's good. Last time I tried to defend your honor I got a bloody nose for it— but if it was as scuffle I don't have to," Cas says, a little sheepishly. It's a joke, really. He would probably more likely get punched again if he did try, and he probably knows it.

"I'm glad you have someone around who can protect you if you need it, too," he looks over at the badger. Who snuck into the room. "But we should probably— uh— finish this breakfast. Before we get distracted— more." Though with an audience that may not be as much a problem as usual?

"You did, at that. But… I was flattered, you know. Most people wouldn't bother with my honor much. Or any of ours." The other girls, that is. "But this time, happily, it was just a couple girls finding alternative means to work out a disagreement," she says, also joking, at least right then.

"I'm glad I do, too, actually," Mariah admits, also glancing the badger's way. But he doesn't come out again until there's mention of finishing breakfast, which gets him over and up onto the bed again. Which probably means the distractions won't be too much of a problem. At least until Mariah shoos him back out again. "Good idea. Hopefully it's not too cold already, ey?" She takes a moment, though, to kiss him one more time before she sits up properly. Even though it makes Masque chitter at her again.

"Trust me, I've ate colder," Cas says with a grin, smiling over at Masque, until he's returning the kiss and listening to the chittering in response. His eyes are closed for a few moments after the kiss, too. Only when he opens it does he look back at the badger now on the bed.

"That sound, was it a good or a bad thing?"

"Yes, but that doesn't mean you should have to eat a cold breakfast here," Mariah says with a gentle smile. When he looks over at Masque, Mariah does, too, for just a moment. She turns back to Cas to explain.

"He's teasing me. And thinks he's terrible clever about it. Which he isn't," she adds as an aside to the badger over her shoulder. Masque only comes over to flop in her lap. "You're not cute, either," she comments, but quite clearly doesn't mean it.

"Oh, I bet he's clever— and he's definitely cute," Cas says with a grin, reaching over to boldly scritch the badger's wide back with his fingers. If it were any other badger in the world, he probably wouldn't have wanted to get his fingers that close to it.

"I mean you're clever and cute, so your familiar should be too," he adds with a teasing grin at her.

Mariah opens her mouth to protest that beginning, but closes it again at that addition and eyes him instead. "I should never have let the two of you meet," is the conclusion she comes to. But she doesn't mean that, either.

Masque eyes him a bit, too, when he scritches him, but in the end, he settles in and between Mariah's lap and Cas' attention he even starts purring. He might not even worry too much about breakfast, at this rate.