An Intriguing Proposal

Title: An Intriguing Proposal
Time Period: June, 127 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Arthur Banes rushes home to let his sister Patience in on his latest scheme. This one, he promises, will solve all their troubles. He means it this time. Honest.

"Move it!"

It's not often someone comes sprinting through the dirty streets of Kingsley. The parish is often much too quiet for such things, and more often than not it means nothing terribly good is happening or is about to be happening. Such events only happen when caravans arrive, a fight breaks out, or someone's about to get shot. More often than, though, these all send multiple people moving their way through the streets, rather than the one that shoves his way through a small crowd as he works his way towards a house on the edge of the lane.

"Excuse me," is grumbled out as one particularly large woman blocks the sprinter from moving forward another step. The sparrowhawk that had been sailing through the air just above his head above seems to have a well enough solution for the matter, however, as it's wing flap within inches of the woman's face, sending her sputtering to the side, a feather perched awkwardly on the tip of her nose for just a moment before she lets out a bellowing sneeze. Several heads snap towards her, though not the sprinter's. He continues on his way, an amused grin and a nod offered towards the bird.

"You're probably right about that," he remarks in a low voice to bird as he finally begins to bring himself to a bit of a stop, slowing just enough to avoid slamming into the door, his palms banging against with a thud that was bound to get anyone in the immediate vicinity's attention. The sparrowhaek remains silent as it comes to land on his now immobile shoulder, talons only barely not piercing through the fabric of the jacket he wears.

He has a key, it would be easy enough for him to let himself into his home, but he's out of breath from the sprint, so instead he just knocks again. "Patience? Mum? Anyone home?" he says between breaths, "it's Arthur."

The sound at the door causes Patience to look up startled from her work at the kitchen table, which is currently host to a spread of food fit for a proper dinner banquet. With the wave of her hand, however, it all vanishes. She pulls tighter around her shoulders a well-loved grey shawl, gone threadbare over the years.

At the sound of her brother's voice, and his announcement, however, the girl - No. - the young woman rises from her seat and moves to unlock and pull open the door. "Oh, dear God. Get in, get in." She takes his being short of breath as a sign that he's being followed by someone that he would do well not to be caught by. "Who do I have to alibi you to this time?"

"Please," Arthur replies dismissively as he steps in, adjusting the glasses that had slid down his nose. "Do you really think I would sprint all the way here if I needed a cover? I'd like to look less guilty, not more." Nothing said of all the times he's come sprinting home so that his sister could hide him of course, but then, that's not the point, is it? On his shoulder, the sparrowhawk spreads its wings and takes off for the far edge of the room. "And if you've seen any mice about, I'm sure he'd love to know," Arthur adds as he motions over to the bird.

A smile crosses wide across his face as he turn back to his sister, a hand placed upon her shoulder. "No, no, dear sister, nothing so bad for us this afternoon. Truth is, I came running back home hoping to find you before the day got much older. Were you planning on heading anywhere today? If so, I'm going to have to ask you to cancel your plans." The smile on Arthur's face is one Patience has seen a million times before - one that often means nothing good at all.

"You do run awful fast when someone's chasing you with a carving knife." The woman quirks a brow and fixes the older man with a look that challenges him to say otherwise. She does lighten up some when the bird takes flight, however. "Hallo, Fake," she greets cheerfully as she locks up the door. "I think there might be one under my bed, actually. I'd really appreciate it if you managed to get rid of it. I keep hearing something scurryin' about at night."

For a moment she falls quiet and looks down at the floor. Absently, she adds, "Mum swears it isn't hobs." Swiftly, however, Patience is brought back to the moment, head canting curiously as Arthur asks her to drop everything for his sake. "Brother. You promised we wouldn't continue on like this. We haven't needed to do any of this for months."

"If someone's after me with a carving knife, I'd wager it's too late for a cover," Arthur retorts back, this time almost snapping. His expression is flat for a moment before he clear his throat and begins to remove the scarf that hangs around it, tossing it on to a chair as he steps further in. A glance is given over towards Fake, Arthur tilting his head to motion towards the upstairs as he watches Patience for a moment with concern. The bird, for the moment, seems more interested in staying put, as if it would rather listen to the conversation that has just transpired.

Arthur's face darkens a bit as he turns from his sister, moving towards the nearest flat surface he can pull a chair up to. "What I promised," he starts in a flat tone as he takes a seat, "is that we would…" he pauses, waving a hand dismissively, "continue as long as we needed to." He leans back in his seat for a moment, and as his jacket lays against him, a noticeable, ill fitting bulge is now able to be seen. "But you saw how it was when the last caravans came through. It's only a matter of time."

Shrinking back at the response, Patience lingers at the door while he brother begins to settle in. She likewise glances to the sparrowhawk, but has little interest in sending it away. If it doesn't overhear, it'll find out from Arthur later anyway.

"You're twisting things," Patience snaps in decided opposition to her namesake. "You're taking things as omens to justify your habit." She rounds the table and reclaims the seat she held before, across from Arthur. "I don't like lying to people. Not like you do."

And in response, Arthur simply shakes his head. "You sound like father, when he said 'oh, things'll be fine' right before the last time things got really bad." He looks back up at her, his eyes settling squarely on her, as if assessing her carefully.

"What if I told you that I finally have it?" Not unfamiliar words, Arthur's claimed to have it a few times in the past. "I think I've finally figured out a way so that we won't ever have to worry about any of this again. With any luck, at least." He pauses, tilting his head for a moment as he leans back, thinking for a second. "Who know. Maybe you won't really need to lie, since you dislike it so much."

Her green eyes are rolling before the assurances can even really leave his lips. "Do you even listen to yourself anymore? How many times have you come home to tell me that you've got it, eh? And you never have, have you?" It's dangerous territory, calling Arthur on this sort of thing, but Patience is getting fed up. And also testing the boundaries of what she can get by with, now that she's properly an adult. As though being eighteen suddenly means her family will take her more seriously.

It's an odd little complex developed, having transitioned from only child to youngest child overnight.

"Things go wrong sometimes," Arthur replies somewhat impatiently, fingers lacing together, "or don't turn out as intended. You really think that's my fault? Luck's as much a part of this whole thing as much as good planning is." He quirks an eyebrow at her, giving her a curious look. "Since when you do have your bonnet in such a bunch anyway?" He inquires, but rather than wait for a response, he sits up a bit, reaching into the inside of his jacket.

"THis time is different. This time,it'll be hard to mess it up. But it'll require a lot of dedication from the both of us, Patience. We'd be in for the long haul." Which, from the way he's looking at her, we almost certainly means her. From out of his jacket is produce, of all things, a small oil lantern, set on thet able in front of him, and then offering an almost goofy grin to his sister, he turns and opens his coat, revealing a rather large pocket on the inside. "Like it? Mum sewed it in without even a second thought. I was actually a little surprised, truth be told, but I guess I shouldn't be too surprised…"

At first, Patience means to defend herself and explain precisely why her bonnet is in a bunch, and that it's his fault. But like every other time she aims to argue with her brother, the fire dies out quickly and she returns to the demure girl who readily defers to her elder brother.

What Arthur sees is his sister staring impassively at him while he starts explaining his new scheme in the form of vagueries. What Arthur doesn't see is the way Patience leans forward and buries her face in her hands, biting her lip to stifle a groan of frustration. He does hear her elbows connect with the table, however, while her hands still appear to be in her lap. She's not usually so sloppy. When she sits up again into the same posture she held before, her expression finally changes to one of dismay. "This practically makes Mum an accomplice! We agreed never to involve her or Dad. What did you tell her you needed a pocket that large for?"

"Actually," Arthur starts as he lifts his chin up a bit and smirks, "it's for help carrying things home. I did have to go out for food and all yesterday, after all. Not everything I do involves going out and cheating somebody, Patience. I'm glad you think so highly of me, though." The last part is mostly sarcasm, but there is a bit of annoyance in there. After all, he's the one who's kept them out of trouble the last while, how could she think less of him. "To be honest I only thought to use it like this in the heat of the moment." That part, well… that's not entirely true.

The knock of elbows gets Arthur's gaze to lower back down, his own expression of dismay on his face. But rather than call his sister on her flub, he lets it lay, choosing not to annoy her further before he continues. One hand on the lantern, he checks a flap on the top where the oil is poured in while a finger runs in circular motions cross the top. "Patience, how well do you know Byron Saxon?"

And she does look sheepish when he reminds her that his life isn't all about cheating good people out of the things they've worked hard for. "I'm sorry, Arthur. I'm just on edge. I'm having nightmares again and… Well, it's no excuse." By now, she's taught her brother better than to ask questions about the things that wake her in the night, so she's swift to move past it.

Whatever she was about to say next, however, dies in her throat at the mention of the name Saxon. "Ohhh no. No. If we try and pull one over on Saxon, his father will have us killed." Never mind that the Saxon patriarch is rumoured to have six months left in him, at best. "I'm not only not helping you with this, I'm not letting you do this. I will follow you around day and night if I have to."

For several moments, Arthur is quiet, focused on the lantern, muttering to himself. "And yet, you're going to sit there and hear me out," Arthur points out, accompanying the statement with an actual point of his finger. The tone in his voice isn't forceful, it certainly indicates that he'd much rather her stay than go. "Or rather, you're going to-"

There's a sudden rattle from the lantern, followed by the oil flame inside of it suddenly sparking to life of it's own accord. "Ah! There it goes," the mage says excitely, leaning forward with his elbows on either side of the lantern "Hello, there!" he chirps at the lantern, who responds by flapping the oil lid at him.

"Oh dear, I'm so glad it isn't dark anymore," the lantern suddenly emotes outloud for both to hear, Arthur's eyes darting up to Patience. It's voice sounds remarkably like the matron of the Saxons, likely meaning that wherever Arthur got it from, it likely belongs to her. "Deary me. Hello!" it finally responds back to Arthur.

She is, of course. Going to hear him out. Patience always does. She tells herself it's so that she'll know what the man is up to the next time he's out far too late for her comfort. But really, there is some thrill in his plans. And if they didn't require hurting people - not physically — most of the time - she'd really rather enjoy them.

But when the lantern begins to speak, and it's a voice she recognises, Patience doesn't even bother disguising the way she folds her arms on the table and then buries her face against them. "Oh, God. How did you get that?"

"I was at the Saxon estate earlier, on entirely legitimate bussiness, I promise," Arthur replies quickly, his eyes staying on the lantern. "But I happened across this tiny little thing, and it had just the most interesting story to tell me!" That grin returns, spreading quickly across his face. "Don't worry. I'll return it before the night is done, but for now, dear lantern, why don't you tell my sister what you told me earlier?" With that, he reaches down and turns it to "face" Patience, hands folding into his lap as he waits, well, patiently for his sister.

The lantern lets out a sound of protest as it's turned, and one can get the distinct impression that if it could glare, it would be doing just that right one. "O-Ooh! Please, warn me before you do that!" it huffs out. "Avd I am no tiny lantern! Why, I don't know what any of you would do in the dark without me!" it proclaims proudly, before it's voice shrinks back quiet. "Oh, how I hate the dark//," it mutters once, Arthur rolling his eyes.

"Please, lantern, before it actually does get dark."

He flicks at the lighting device and the flame inside flickers, another sound of protest coming from the lantern. "Oh, well… I overheard the most interesting conversation between Lady Saxon and one of her esteemed friends, and it was the most heated argument! You see-" There's a tap from Arthur's fingers, telling the lantern to get to the point, and the lantern seems to sigh. "'I don't know what I'm going to do with him', she had said, several times as she paced back and forth. 'I can't have him marrying that tramp daughter of the Smiths, but what else am I to do?'. She was very upset about the matter, absolutely beside herself!" On the other side of the lantern, Arthur just smiles.

Patience knows better than to be sitting there and looking unhappy about the situation once Arthur moves to turn the talking object toward her. She lifts her head and sits up straight again, staring at the lantern with the utmost seriousness. She can't understand how these blasted things have feelings, but what she's seen over the years with Arthur's displays has given her a healthy dose of paranoia when it comes to her possessions.

The gossip coming from the lantern does pique the woman's interest, however. Her brows arch and she looks over the top of it to her brother, whose smile means nothing good for her in this case, and she knows it. "Please tell me you aren't thinking what I suspect you're thinking."

"Probably," Arthur replies matter of factly, even as he turns the lantern around, eliciting another protest from it's flap. He ignores it, of course, looking over the lighting device with the utmost attention. "It goes on, of course. About the family fortune, heirs, all that wonderful stuff. It was all really quite interesting." He leans down so that he's closer to the lantern, smiling at it. "Good night, dear lantern. Do keep an ear out for me, will you, we'll be talking again soon."

And just like that, as he runs his fingers across it, the light within dies out, and no more words come from it's flap anymore.

"Think about it, Patience! You're lovely, I'm sure you could turn his head if you wanted to. Give him what he wants to see, even! And it wouldn't be for long. Just long enough to secure us the rights to some of the wealth, one of the caravans. We'd be set forever. None of us would have to worry again. Not you, not father, not mum. And I know that sounds rather good to me, doesn't it to you?" There's a pause and he smirks, quirking an eyebrow at her. "Besides. The ladies down at the inn-" the whores, in other words, "are always callin' him quite the looker. It could work out, you know. Have you ever even talked to him before?"

"Yes, I've talked to him," Patience admits in a quiet voice. Her heart is in a vice at the notion that she's little more than an object to be bartered and traded with. But he raises a fair point. If she could secure a marriage with Byron Saxon, she could theoretically ensure that her family would be set for life.

But there's uncertainty that comes from a lack of practical experience in these matters. "You know I've never… Right?" While he may have his friends at the inn, Patience has done her utmost to avoid earning any sort of reputation for herself. "Are you sure he'd even go for it?"

"I don't really see how that's relevant," nor does Arthur really want to know - pry as he might into people's lives, some things are still people's own business. "I think, Patience, that if anyone can make themselves appealing to him, it's you." He rises form his seat, hand slipping off the lantern. "But to be entirely honest? From how desperate it sounds like Lady Saxon is, you may not need to worry about him going for it. I bet if you give me a week, I can have the whole thing arranged. That said, if you have the confidence, I'm more than willing to yield to you."

He had begun pacing as he spoke, but after a moment, he stops, and turns back to her. "I'm not an idiot, Patience. I know this isn't something you're fond of. But think of the good it could do for us all! And like I said, it would only be for some time. I imagine barely a year, not much more." And if worst comes to worst, Arthur can engineer and accident, although he'd much rather not, and he has no intention of voicing that option. "I have a feeling about this one, Patience. Quite frankly, I'm going to try and find a way to make this work however I can. I'd rather you be on board for it."

"This isn't the first time you've had a feeling, Arthur." Patience's eyes drift down to the table, then to her nails, which she picks at nervously. She's regretful for pointing out her brother's past miscalculations, but… "This is my life you're toying with this time. It isn't like your other plans. I need you to be absolutely certain this won't end terribly for us all."

"What in the world could go wrong?" Arthur inquires with a raised eyebrow as he looks down at his sister. "Hell, if he becomes disatisfied and requests a divorce or anullmement, things would work out pretty well. At worst?" He gives a small shrug, hands slipping into the pockets of his jacket. "He doesn't go for it. We move on. No harm, no foul." He stares down at her for a moment, before resuming his paces. "So yes. I'm absolutely certain. If you're not going to do it, I want to know now, so I can start finding someone else. I'm sure there's a whore a parish oer he hasn't slept with that I could talk into this, for a share. But I'd rather it all go to mum and dad."

Seriously? Patience's brows hike up as she lifts her gaze to Arthur's face again. "Oh, thanks." She pulls a face and drops her voice low to do her best mimickry of her brother's voice, "If my sister won't do it, I'll just get some whore." Disgusted, she rolls her eyes. "You're asking me to sleep with someone. You're asking me to be a whore. Do you know how hard I've worked to avoid having to resort to that?"

The blonde sits back in her seat and fiddles with the end of a small braided strand of hair. "I wanted to marry for love, Arthur. Like Mum and Dad…" Pale green eyes lid halfway, focusing on a middling distance for a moment. He can tell the wheels are turning. He taught her well how to connect dots and scheme all on her own. "If I do this," she begins, looking more serious when she stares up again with the arch of her brow looking severe, "we do it my way. You help out only if I ask, and only how I ask you to. Is that clear?"

Arthur listens for a few moments, before letting out a long sigh as he rubs at his temples. As she continues, he turns, looking back over towards the door, where he spies what he's looking for. Walking over, he kicks his father's cane up into his hands, a nonplussed look on his face as he turns back. He only closes the gap partway before reaching out with the cane and tapping it repeatedly (and gently) on the top of Patience's head.

"You know that's not what I said, or what I meant,"he says a bit more quietly. His tone could be taken as placating, but the look on his face muddles exactly what he's going for. "I'm not asking you to sleep with anyone. Or to be a whore. The only reason I'd turn to them is because I can wave something shiny between their eyes and suddenly I have a new pet. But you know I think better than that of you, dear sister." He takes another deep breath, watching her for a second curiously, "You're smart. You know I'm willing to let you handle it if you have a good idea. But keep in mind, this isn't meant to be forever. You can still have your lovely marriage."

"Who's going to want to marry me after word gets around that I convinced Byron Saxon to marry me so I could be set for life?" A smirk tugs at the corner of Patience's mouth and then she pushes away from the table to rise to her feet, reaching up to deftly snatch the cane from Arthur's hands. She twirls it about as she rounds the table to stand in front of him. "You are telling me to sleep with someone. You just feel better telling yourself that isn't what you're asking me to do. Byron already has had his share of whores. Everybody knows that."

The cane comes down on the floor with an audible click. "He isn't going to marry a woman that won't accept the role of wife and everything that entails. Don't pretend you don't know what the wedding night is for, just because you're never going to get married." Whether that's Arthur's mindset and intention or not doesn't change that it's how Patience sees the man. "And do you know why you'll never get married?" she asks slyly, deflecting somewhat from the seriousness of their conversation if only because she has to ease some of that tension for her own sake.

"So let him keep himself busy with the whores. Pretend not to know. Either way, what you do on your own time isn't for me to decide," Arthur replies, snatching after the cane as it is pulled away. He clenches his hand again, just to make sure his sister isn't playing some sort of illusory trick on him. "And why are you so set on thinking someone's going to be spreading this around. Patience, dear, you know the quality of work I do." Which is usually pretty good. Usually. "The only way someone will figure this out is if I tell them myself, and thankfully, I'm a pretty tight lipped drunk, and when I'm not, no one believes me anyway."

The question gets a bit of an odd look from Arthur, his head canting slightly to the side as his eyes lower to meet hers. "No," he says dryly, a look of amusement on his face. "I don't. But I'm sure you do, and I'm sure you're dying to tell me." His foot kicks gently at the cane, as if trying to knock Patience somewhat off balance. "So, out with it."

Patience lets out a cry of surprise and stumbles forward, face planting into Arthur's chest. "That wasn't fair," is muffled against his shirt as she steadies herself with a hand on her shoulder and pushes herself upright again, retaliating with a light knock to the shin. "You won't get married," she continues with a quiet breath of laughter, "because you won't find any woman better for you than I am." She offers the cane out for Arthur to reclaim once more. "And I'll get married because I can't possibly find any man worse for me than you are."

It's impossible for Arthur to hide a wince as his shin is smacked, though he masks it behind a quiet chuckle at Patience's reaction. A hand pats on her shoulder as she rights herself, Arthur already rolling his eyes as he takes the cane. "I don't think that married life would suit me terribly much anyway. It'd be rather boring, don't you think?" The cane twirls between his fingers once before the head comes to rest on Patience's shoulder. "I'm sure if I really wanted to, I could trick some unsuspecting woman into saying I do. I bet even you, if I were so inclined." He smirks, letting the can head tap into her cheek as he pulls it back and tosses it back to where it had stood. It clatters to the ground unceremoniously, Arthur's hands retreating back into his pocket. "So. What is your way going to be?"

Colour creeps into Patience's face as Arthur taps her cheek with the head of the cane. "Don't be stupid. You'd try and kiss me and I'd laugh in your face and you'd be so upset you wouldn't even know what to do with yourself. You'd never live down the shame of being unable to win over the only woman who knows what you really are." There's a glint of something a bit like malice but more like mischief in her eyes as they narrow. "Fake agrees with me," she teases, slanting her gaze to the bird. "Don't you, darling? Yes, of course you do." Lifting her brows, she gives a mock sympathetic look to her brother. "He likes me better. Don't take it personally."

Meandering over to the corner, Patience picks up her father's cane and sets it upright again as it was before Arthur picked it up. She wonders if it was just a prop he could wave around, or if there's some bit of information he gleaned from the thing. A stormy expression and a frown are both shortlived and kept directed at the wall for their duration. When she turns back to her brother, Patience leans back against the kitchen bench. "My way is that you let me try and kindle a romance with the man. No coercion, no suggestion. Not unless I ask for it. And certainly no bothering his mother or taking her things."

"I think fake does agree with you," Arthur says quietly, with a sly grin on his face that simply dares his sister to have heard him say that. But it flattens quickly as he loooks back at his familiar with narrowed eyes. "You don't know what you're taking about. No, you're not always right." A bit of a screeching sound is all he gets in response from fake, a finger waggled in the sparrowhawk's direction as he turns away. "You and I are going to have a talk later," as if said from stern parent to child, is relayed to the bird, and without a word more he's facing Patience again.

"Oh, well. That's really how I had it in mind to begin with, unless he seemed to be a little too satisfied by the whores. It has to seem as natural as possible, after all," he replies in a very matter-of-fact tone. "And honestly, you think I'd take something of her unless I thought it was terirbly interesting?" A beat. "No, I don't want you to answer that."

Patience's mouth drops open, because she did hear the subtle double meaning in her brother's choice of words. But the corners curl upward, betraying her in tandem with a huff of incredulous laughter. "I cannot believe you. Don't pretend you don't adore me, Arthur." She strides over and reaches up to cup the side of the man's face tenderly. "You already know I adore you."

But she can't let it go at that. Oh no. "In spite of all your faults." Patting his cheek gently then, she retracts her hand. "You realise you're going to owe me big time for this, don't you?"

"I can only adore you so much, Patience. You make it hard to keep up sometimes," is Arthur's retort, a small shake of his head accompanying. When she reaches up to his face, he jerks back a bit instinctively - after all, he is a man who sees whores on a regular basis for information, and they can be a surprisingly uptight bunch - but when she presses it against his cheek, he relaxes and smirks. "Don't tell Fake," he remarks knowing the bird is in the room. "He might get jealous."

When she retracts, he moves to lean against the wall as he looks her dead on, expression returning to a neutral state. "I always do," he says nonchalantly. "Although I'm afraid this time I won't be able to find out if that guy you like feels the same way or whatever rubbish you have in mind. I suppose I could find out more about Byron, just don't hold it against me when I tell you he buys the whores in groups or he sparkles in the moonlight or something preposterous like that."

"It'll be our little secret," Patience agrees, wrinkling her nose up cutely before tossing a glance in the direction of her brother's familiar. That might possibly have been a wink as well. Familiars are people, too. Sort of.

Her brother's patronising, however, draws a look of ire from the woman again. "I'm not twelve, Arthur. I don't need you playing… matchmaker. Besides, don't even pretend you didn't actively sabotage every chance I ever tried to take at securing myself a relationship in the past." But as sour as the notion should make Patience, she can't help but smirk again. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you've been saving me for this very moment."

"If that's the case, Patience," Arthur starts when an amused tone, "then I'm much better at this than I realised. Would be a hell of a long con. What would you do if I jsut walked off with the riches after the two of you got married, hmm?" He's clearly teasing, even if he tries to sound entirely serious. "And I promise - no sabatoge. It's not my fault you tend to fall in line with people who rub me the wrong way, is it? Or, maybe I just don't like the thought of losing such a wonderful asset?" He gives a small shrug before pushing off the way and towards Patience. "So, I owe you. I suppose a few times over, this time. So let me know when you want or ened anything, for the forseeable future."

"You know I would track you down and smother you in your sleep," Patience promises flippantly. "Besides, you'd never leave me, your greatest asset. You'd be so lost without me." She holds her hand out when he approaches again. "Do you fancy a leisurely walk to the apothecary? I'm nearly out of that lovely tea that they make that helps me sleep so wonderf'ly."

Pulling the glasses off his face, Arthur begins to shake his head as he wipes them clean. "Do what you've got to do," is stated somewhat obliquely. "I'll catch up with you a bit later, I think-" He doesn't finish the sentence before Fake seems to swoop in on his shoulder from nowhere, catching his "owner" by surprise. Arthur grimaces at the bird, looking back at Patience with a look of mild annoyance. "Or, Fake wants to go fly. So, sure. A trip to the apothecary sounds marvelous," he says as she closes the distance between them as he takes the offered hand. "Perhaps I can finish my errands while we're out. Nothing terrible, I promise."

"Better not be," Patience warns mildly, like she's almost afraid to believe him. But she smiles and squeezes his hand, moving toward the door to pull it open so the trio can head outside. Before Fake can take to the sky, she reaches up to affectionately ruffle the feathers about his neck with one finger. "You see?" she tells Arthur. "I told you he likes me better."