Name the Stars

Title: Name the Stars
Time Period: October, 121 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: A night of work is interrupted by bad dreams, and stories.

It's a late night in the Banes household - a normal night, by most means, for one of it's occupants. Arthur Banes sits silently at his desk, tucked away in the corner of his bedroom, scribbling away at the paper in front of him by light of a pair of oil lanterns. One hand rests against his forehead, fingers laced into his hair as he stares down at the paper in front of him. Fake is nowhere to be seen, and instead his eyes flick over to vial of ink in front of him - a decidedly classic approach to his current task.

"No, no, no! You're wrong, this will absolutely look authentic enough… what do you mean my ink blend is wrong, and how would you even know?" The pen settles against the food surface as Arthur looks up at the vial and pulls off his glasses. "If you keep doubting me, I'll head up to the market and get that lovely porcelain container I saw and make sure you find your way into the rubbish bin! Ruddy old glass vial, what do you know…." grumbling he leans back a bit, glasses pulled from his face as he looks down at his work. "I think it's marvelous."

It's also not out of the ordinary for the quiet of the night to be pierced by screams coming from the room occupied by Arthur's sister. And usually, it's followed up by the sound of Marcus Banes' footsteps in the hall, never hurried, to the girl's room where he murmurs words of assurance until she calms down enough to sleep.

Tonight is atypical in the sense that Marcus and his wife Kiley are both away from home, visiting Kiley's sister in the next county over. Which means Patience's screaming has gone unchecked so far. At least the neighbours are aware of the girl's… past, and never complain about the brief outbursts.

It does mean she's a bit more distracting than that ruddy old glass vial he's been arguing with, though. Patience thrashes in her bed, halfway between sleeping and waking, terror only exacerbated by the way that the blankets have coiled around her body and are restricting her movements. Her face is streaked with tears, her blonde hair stuck to her cheeks. At twelve years old, one would think she'd just about outgrown nightmares.

Screams are never something that one can ever get used to, particularly not someone like Arthur who gets so absorbed in his work sometimes. He jumps with a start, knee banging into table as he rises, knocking the vial of ink of balance - and ultimately, on to it's side, ink spilling out across the table, and all over the documents the seventeen year old had been in the middle of authoring. The pain from the impact is immediately offset by the sight of his work being utterly ruined, eyes wide as he snatches his glasses up before the pooling ink can find its way to them too.

"Oh, no! No! Oh, you've got to be fucking kidding me! Oh, come o- what? Sorry? Fine! I'm sorry I knocked you over, but would it have killed you to have a bloody lid or something?!" It does, actually, just that Arthur hadn't yet put it back on. Something to think about as he scrambles to protect the few sheets of paper untainted by the black mess. A scowl sits on his face as he shoves them on to his bedstand, hands lacing up into hair and settling on the back of his head afterwards.

"What? Oh, you can spend a little bit on your side, it'll give you some time to think," he retorts to the ink vile, eyes narrowed intently for a moment. But he falls quiet, listening to words no one else can here, and after a moment his head tilts. "You're right, why hasn't- oh Lord, that's right… father's not home." Scowl turns to a frown as he looks back over his shoulder and sighs. "Yes, I suppose you're right. I should check on her." A beat. "No. You stay there and think about what you did. Or didn't do. Or whatever, I don't even care."

He waves a hand dismissively at the desk - it'll surely be stained, but there's more important matters - as he makes his way out his door and across to Patience's, pushing it open slowly as to not startle her further. "Patience? Can I come in?"

It takes a moment, but the screaming dies away and Patience simply stares dumbfounded at her adoptive brother for several seconds before she nods her head dumbly. Then she holds out her arms and starts sobbing anew, in a gesture that likely asks him to break every rule regarding teenage boys and displays of affection. Especially for little sisters.

"I'm sorry." Sniffling miserably, she shudders once as she tries to bring herself under control again. "Did I wake you?" She can tell she didn't, because he doesn't look drowsy like her father does when she's woken him, but his hair's a mess. Then again, Arthur's hair is quite often a mess. All the same Patience lets the apology, and the question stand.

Arthur mutters something to himself, "Good lord," it might sound like to a trained ear. His irritation lasts only a moment, though, as he pushes open the door and steps into her bedroom. One hand rubs at the back of his neck as he approaches the bed slowly. He doesn't make a habit of public displays of affection - aggression is more likely to be shown in most cases, but at home it's a different enough matter. So climbing knee first on to the bed (though not without a small sigh), he moves up to his sister and wraps his arms around her.

"Sorry it took me so long to get over here," he says a bit too loud into her ear. "I forgot that mum and dad were out. I was up working on some papers, nothing terribly much." Ruined papers, but he keeps that bit to himself. "Fake might be mad, though," he half chides, half jokes, "wherever that useless bird is. I'd say something to him when you see him."

Patience buries her face into Arthur's shoulder when he settles in next to her. He can feel the wetness on her face through the fabric of his shirt, already damp with her tears. "I'm glad you're here. I just feel like something awful has happened." Something awful did happen, but it was so long ago…

Fair head lifts suddenly, eyes wide and full of horror. "Fake! Where's Fake? Oh, Arthur! We have to find him!" Panic starts to take over again, her chest feels too tight around her heart and her lungs. Her breathing grows short. She gathers his shirt in fistfuls, so earnest in her fear.

"What in the world. Fake? Dumb bird's probably up on the roof keeping watch over the house," Arthur opines with a bit of a shrug as he leans back a little bit. "That or he got what he deserves for his late night hunting, but by all accounts, I'd know if he'd gotten his dumb ass caught up in somethin'. Fake's fine, Patience. Calm down." He can tell she's scared. About what, he has no real idea, and he seems confident that it's nothing to worry about. "Everything's fine. I'm here, you're here. I'm sure if I shout loud enough, Fake'll be tapping his talons on the window, so I'll count him as here. An' I'm sure mum and dad are fine."

The girl wriggles free from her brother's embrace, and all but throws herself off the bed, tumbling to the floor in a tangled mess of nightie and sheets which it takes a bit more effort to extricate herself from. Dragging herself back up to her bare feet, she scrambles toward her window. Patience throws the latch, and the damn thing always sticks, but she pushes at it until finally she gets it to open.

Then, dear Lord on high, she leans out of it and cries ragged out into the night. "Fake!!"

There's not even enough time to hear the echo of Patience's voice as it bounces off the buildings outside before Arthur's patience (…) finally runs out, irritation returning to the surface as he scrambles up from his kneeling position. His foot catches in Patience's covers and brings him back down to the bed with a whump, eyes wide as he reaches out towards his assuredly insane sister. "Patience, don't be daft," he hisses, reaching to grip her shoulder. "We can go look for him if you want, but you're going to get the whole neighbourhood on us! Mum was reluctant enough to leave us here alone, come on back in here!"

Pulled back inside, Patience starts crying again. "But what if something's happened to him? Just like—" She takes a deep breath then, staring hard at her brother's face as reason's obviously beginning to return to her, banishing the irrationality of nightmare. "You would know if something happened to him."

Wrapping her arms around her brother again, she hides her face against his torso. A muffled query. "We can leave the window open for him, right?"

"Don't be daft," Arthur repeats, this time less forceful and disdainful. "Nothing's happened, I promise," he reassures as he pulls her back in for another hug. "THe window can stay open. COme on, get your shoes on. We'll get some fresh air and look for him. Just don't tell mum, she'll kill us both, okay?" He quirks an eyebrow at his adopted sister as he sits back up, moving to the edge of her bed. "Or you can come sleep in my room until he gets back. I'll be working a bit longer, now."

After a few seconds of deliberation, Patience pulls away from Arthur and scurries to her closet to drag out a purple coat which she pulls on over her nightie before sliding her feet into a pair of matching shoes that needed replacing months ago. The family hasn't had the means. She wiggles her toes for a moment, trying to make the snug fit more comfortable, and then turns back to her brother. "You don't think there are hobs out there, do you?"

"I don't think hobs could get ahold of Fake even if they wanted to," Arthur replies nonchalantly, watching Patience for a moment before he slides off her bed and heads towards his room. His coat is a bit of a tight fit too, something he notes to himself that needs to be fixed. "You'll see. He';; sweoop down to your shoulder when we get outside, and hten you can yammer at him while we get some air." His scarf is thrown around his neck and he pokes his head back in, motioning for her to follow. "Come on."

Patience scurries off after Arthur, wiping the damp from her face as she goes, and tossing her unruly blonde hair over one shoulder. "I hope you're right. Hobs are scary." That she's frightened of the creatures isn't a new revelation by any means. Tales of hobs bandied about like simple ghost stories have always left the girl in tears.

Once outside, she reaches for her brother's hand. Which must also break the rules of acceptable behaviour between siblings as decided by teenaged boys, but at least she isn't wailing like a banshee any longer. "I used to have a cat when I was little. Mum says it started hanging around after I was born. Fake would have hated it, I'm sure. It used to leave birds on the doorstep, Mum says. Like gifts."

"I think I would've made Fake like it," Arthur replies wuth a furrowing of his brow as he listens to her. It does break all the rules of acceptable public behaviour between siblings, but the fact that Patience isn't wailing like a banchee any longer is exactly why Arthur is willing to take his younger sister's hand as they turn down the street. "He'll listen to me. Not well, but if I tell him to do something, he'll usually listen. The cat… well, I suppose that might've been a problem. I don't know what I'd do without Fake." He free hand reaches up, rubbing his chin. "Shame you don't have the cat anymore, though. A normal pet about the house would be nice."

She smiles and squeezes Arthur's hand tightly. She's milking this indulgence for all it's worth tonight. Tomorrow, they won't speak of it. Such is the nature of sibling kindness. "I like Fake." As if it were an admission of something less than obvious. But Patience took to Fake the moment she realised the bird was hanging about Arthur more than any bird ought to. "I wish he would be something that could sleep on my feet at night and keep them warm, though."

Naturally she assumes if Fake were to be something warm and cuddly, it would be for her and not for the one he shares a bond with. "Does he like me back? I think he likes me back because he doesn't try to eat my fingers when I ruffle his feathers. My cat liked me even when I pet it the wrong way."

"I figure if he didn't like you, you'd find him squawking in your face and pecking at your fingers," Arthur replies with a bit of a laugh as he leads the young girl along. "Not that I have to figure. He thinks you're good for me," he remarks with a shrug, before reaching up and ruffling Patience's hair. "I think you're a brat, but I guess it all works out, eh?" he teases before retaking her hand. "I think you're outta luck on the whole warm and cuddly thing. I think he likes looking scary." Hand flat against his brow to shield his eyes from - nothing really, it's mostly habit, he starts looking at roofs for Fake, hoping to appease his sister's worries.

"Fake isn't scary," Patience insists. "I think he's just trying to scare you. So you'll behave." She giggles, a sound that's exceedingly rare for the girl. Especially after her nightmares. But Arthur's the one who can draw that merriment out of her. It's the reason he was asked to join the family, after all. "If I'm a brat, it's because you taught me," she tells him matter-of-factly. "I'm just trying to be like my big brother!"

Though she's never tried her hand at forgery before.

The sudden solemness is commonplace on Patience's face, but it shouldn't belong there. She's only just beginning to lose some of that cherub-like quality to her cheeks, face thinning out to show the woman she'll become someday. "I was only four when my cat died. And I knew it when it happened. I don't know how, but I just woke up screaming like I did tonight. I knew something terrible had happened to it. That's… That's why I'm worried about Fake." She also turns her face upward to survey the sky. "Faaaaake," she whispers earnestly. "Come home, Fake!" Looking back over to Arthur, a worried frown on her face as she asks, "Fake could take on hobs, right? My cat couldn't."

"Don't tell Fake that. You'll shatter his delusions of being the big, scary bird of prey." Even though Fake isn't that terribly big at all, at least not compared to other birds of his type. As Patience grows more serious, so too does Arthur, staring ahead as she relates the death of her cat to him, and begins calling for Fake again. "Taking lessons from me'll only get you in trouble. But if you're gonna, one of these days I should really show you the ropes," he remarks with a smirk, even as he looks- and stops, eyes fixed on the small house at ahead of them. Grinning, Arthur points upwards, slowly so that it catches Patience's attention - and there, sitting on the edge of the roof, assuredly watching them (and Arthur assumes laughing) is Fake.

Anything the girl might have been thinking about offering in reply is banished from her mind when she follows Arthur's direction and spots the sparrowhawk. Patience squeals with delight and bounces excitedly. "Fake!" She reaches out with her free hand to wave to the bird, then gesture for him to join them. "Fake, you're okay!" And now, so is she.

The bird, as if willed by Arthur to come join them, unfurls it's wings and takes to the air, gliding it's way down to the pair. He comes to land on Arthur's shoulder, causing the older brother to wince a bit as the talons dig into jacket. "See? I told you there was nothing to be worried about. Fake can take care of himself."Arthur says with a hint of pride as he looks at the bird on his shoulder. His expression sours quickly. "What? What do you- Oh, I certainly well can take care of myself."

Wrinkling his nose, he looks down at Patience. "I'm sorry, it seems he won't be fine for long. I think Fake fancies himself the main ingredient in a stew of some sort."

Patience gasps and whaps her brother in the arm. "Arthur! Be nice. Fake's just playing." And she gets up on her tiptoes so she can ruffle at the feathers about the avian's neck. "Don't worry, Fake. I take care of Arthur." Always the two gang up on the boy young man. As much as they can for all that Patience is unable to understand her brother's familiar.

"I left my window open," she tells the sparrowhawk. "If you feel like meeting us at home. I know we're too slow for you. Did you catch any mice?" Patience fits her hand back into Arthur's whether he likes it or not, even as she considers this semi-one-sided conversation that kind of goes on around him, while also through him. "It's nice having you around. We never have any mice. You're as good as my cat was!"

There's a moment of silence before Arthur grins the widest grin. "Mice? Well, you could say that. Big ones too. Exciting." Turning slowly on his heel, he faces back towards their home. "He'll be up on the roof for a bit, in case we need him. Probably won't be inside until long after you should be to bed," he half chastises, waving a finger at Patience. "…or, never mind. He'll roost in your room for the night, if it'll make you feel better." Arthur shrugs a bit, not really caring either way. "So! Back home, or shall we continue our stroll?"

"Can I sleep in your room tonight? The hobs won't come near you. You're almost a grown-up." Even though there's absolutely no evidence of any hobs about at all. "And… can we walk a little longer? The pond is really pretty at night. The moon reflects almost perfect in the water. I never get to go out there this late, though." Patience tugs at Arthur's hand rather impatiently. "Pleeeease?"

That was precisely the last request Arthur wanted to hear, and he wears it on his sleeve through the expression on his face - hidden, he hopes, by the presence of Fake on his shoulder. He grits his teeth a bit, having been wanting to finish - or, well, restart, his work, but with Patience there it would be something that would have to wait.

Still, it's not really something he can say no to. Particularly not with their parents out.

"Sure, Sure," he says with a bit of a forced grin. "On both counts. Just don't take all the covers, they're thin enough as it is, alright?"" He pauses, looking down as they walk, before turning in the direction of the pond. "Keep an eye out for any small, flat rocks, and I'll show you how t' skip them on the water."

Sensing her brother's reluctance, Patience nearly withdraws both requests, and that shows in the way her brows come together, slanted high in the middle and sloping down on the outsides. "You're sure?" she asks in a soft voice, uncertain. "We don't have to if you're tired. But I'm not sleepy at all and… And you'll really teach me to skip rocks?" When she looks up with her eyes so full of hope, it's a wonder their parents ever tell her no at all. Patience has got those pleading looks down to an artform.

"Tired? Listen harder next time, I was working when you woke up," Arthur replies quickly, tugging her by her hand. "Come on, kiddo. Just don't get yourself wet while were over there. I don't want to explain to mum how you got a cold because I took you out after your bedtime so you could learn how to skip rocks," he says with a growing, more genuine smile. "Then when we get back, you can get the covers from your bed and we'll spend tonight nice and warm. Sound good?"

"Being an adult must be great," Patience reasons, a broad grin on her face. "You're up late, and you aren't even tired! And nobody makes you go to bed, either." Her shoulders quake as she unsuccessfully attempts to stifle a giggle. "'Cept maybe Fake!"

She stops suddenly in favour of throwing her arms around the man's middle in a big hug. "I love you, Arthur." She tips her head up to glance up at him. "I won't tell anybody if you won't."

"I never said I wasn't tired at all. Just, sleep's not really on my mind at the moment," Arthur corrects as he bends over to pick up a piece of smooths tone that's come dislodged form somewhere. No matter, it'll make a great skipping stone. "Fake wishes he could make me go to bed."

He stops when the hug assault is launched on his midsection, and whatever code or rules there may be for affection between brother and sister in public, this time he seems more than willing to ignore it as he hugs her back. "I love you too, Patience. Doesn't have to be a secret. I wouldn't be around still if I didn't."

"You're the best big brother in the whole world," the girl insists. "I'm glad you came to live with me." Her, as opposed to us, her family. A little selfish of her to think so, but probably not entirely off base. Then she breaks away, so she can scamper ahead a few yards and scour the ground for suitable rocks. "And I'm glad Mum and Dad let me stay home with you."

"I think they needed a break, myself," Arthur retorts, keeping his leisurely pace as Patience continues on ahead. "I might too, by the time they get back." Nothing really said on the matter of why he chose to stay with them - he prefers not to think back on it, and instead just focus on how things are now, not why they are what they are now. He simply smiles, shaking his head as he watches her look for the rocks.

"Yes, a break from you," Patience retorts without missing a beat, looking back over her shoulder to stick out her tongue. She picks through a cluster of rocks at the roadside and comes up with a handful of suitable options. "Race you." Without warning, she takes off at a run toward the pond, counting on her head start to help gain ground over the advantage Arthur has with his long strides.

"Wha- oh, Patience!" This time, Arthur's not too worried about too loud, exasperation in his voice as the younger of the two bolts of. "God, you'd think she'd know better than to go running off on dark streets. Keep an eye on her until I catch up, Fake?"

The familiar's agreement is signaled by the unfurling of it's wings as it takes to the air and off after the wayward child, Arthur sighing and taking a deep breath before he bursts into a run after his sister, glasses bouncing up and down on his nose.

Patience hazards a look over her shoulder to see how close Arthur is behind her. It means she doesn't see the unevenness of the surface ahead of her, and she goes tumbling down with a startled cry. And she skins up her knobby knees in the process. With a hiss, she pushes herself up to a kneel and then rocks back onto her bottom so she can inspect her injuries.

Dirt and bits of gravel are wiped away, and before Arthur can catch up, she's willing the angry red marks away from her pale skin. "I'm okay," Patience offers sheepishly when her brother does catch her. But her eyes track Fake worriedly, silently pleading with him not to say anything if he happened to catch her little deception. With as good as the familiar's vision is in the dark, she can't imagine he didn't.

When Arthur does catch up, he doesn't seem particularly out of breath, though his hair has flopped decidedly over the front of his face, forcing him to brush it out from under his glasses. "Please don't run off like that again," he asks as he looks down at her, an eyebrow quirked. "Okay?" He sounds sceptical at first, glancing over at Fake for a moment. "Fake says you should be a bit more careful. Almost took a bad spill or something, I take it?" He shrugs a bit and offers her a hand. "That's what you get for running off like that. One of these days,you're going to be too fast for me."

Taking the offered hand after gathering her dropped stones, Patience murmurs, "Sorry." And wonders if Fake can read a thank-you in the way her shoulders relax. "You've always been the faster runner. I don't think I'll ever be faster than you are." Starting at a walk again, biting her lip against the stinging in her knees, she shoves the rocks in her coat pockets so she can take Arthur's hand once more. "You're fast, and you're smart, and you aren't even afraid of anything. I wish I were more like you."

A bit of a guilty look washes over Arthur's face as he takes the young girl's hand again, choosing to look off and away from her and let her lead them toward the pond. "No you don't. Besides, you'll be better than I am, I'm sure. I'm just an old cheat who gets lucky ever now and then. I wouldn't wish that on you at all." He laughs, trying to diffuse some of the self created tension as he pats Patience on the back. "You'll be fine, trust me. I need to be a faster runner. You don't."

Patience is young enough that a lot of things sail right over her head. But she's also old enough that there's a lot that doesn't. She glances up at Arthur with concern etched in her features. "Why do you need to be a fast runner? And you only cheat when we play cards. I know Fake tells you what's in my hand."

"Eh. Because the other boys are arseholes, and I'd rather not get into more trouble than I already do." Not entirely a lie, but certainly not really the truth. At least, not all of it. "And I only cheat at cards when I paly other people. I wouldn't do that to you and dad," he replies in a snobbish manner, mocking offense at her accusation. "Come, get one of your stones out, pond's just up ahead."

Excitedly, the girl digs into her pockets again and picks up her pace, but is smarter than to break into an all out run this time. Even when the gravel gives way to grass, and she doesn't stop until she's at the water's edge, waiting for her lesson. Staring out at the surface of the pond, she oohs appreciatively. "So pretty!"

"Not much further. Remember, you're gonna a get it if I get in trouble for this," is a teasing warning from Arthur as he steps up beside her, holding the stone he had picked up earlier in hand. "Okay… skipping a stone is prety easy," he starts with a smile. "First, you've got to to dig your feet in a bit…" And he proceeds to show exactly how to go about it - proper finger placement around th edge, how to draw it back properly, and how to let it slide and spin out of one's hand flat so that it skips when thrown. Arthur's own stone skips twice before sinking into the water.

Patience is so confident that she's following Arthur's instructions to the letter. Naturally when she lets her stone fly, it plunks into the water and sinks like a— … Well, like a stone. It doesn't skip at all. Her next three attempts end similarly. She shoots a perturbed glance up at her brother. "This is harder than it looks." She offers her last couple rocks up to Arthur. "I'd rather watch you do it."

"Oh, keep at it, you whiner," Arthur replies with a roll of his eyes as he bends over and takes one of Patience's rocks, rolling it in his hand as he tries to show her how to hold it . "Don't just toss it. Throw it from the side. Open your fingers gradually, let it spin out of your hand. Throw it parallel to the water. Not at. I'm sure you can get it!"

Patience huffs, but listens again to the instruction, trying to watch more intently than before for some secret magic technique she surely missed the first time. This time she takes a deep breath and kicks her too-small shoes off into the grass behind her before she digs her heels and bare toes into the soft earth at the pond's edge, and tries again to throw the rock like her brother taught her.

To her amazement, her last stone doesn't simply sink into the water as all the others before it. It skips one whole time, and the girl's face lights up, pale eyes big as saucers as she turns her face up to look at her brother's as if to ask if he saw it too. "I did it! I did it, I did it!"

"See? Don't give up so da-rn easily," Arthur replies as he lets his hands sink into the pockets of his coat, remembering to speak more carefully around the young girl. "Just keep trying. Odds are you'll get it right eventually, so why give up?" He smiles a bit as he looks down at her, reaching over and ruffling her hair. "Wish you hadn't taken your shoes off, though." He notes, shaking his head.

"They don't fit!" Patience protests as she attempts to smooth down her already hopelessly mussed hair. "They hurt my feet. Do you think I can get new ones soon?" For all that she can make her shoes look nicer - which nobody needs to know how many scuffs she's hiding on her dress shoes - she can't make them fit. "I won't get mud in your bed. Promise."

"Tell you what, " Arthur starts as his gaze moves out over the pond. "If you wash your feet when we get home, I'll get you a new pair next week. Save mum and dad the expense. How's that sound?" Mental note: Extra work to do now. But Arthur was pretty sure he could handle it. "Want me to get you some more rocks?"

"You mean it?" If Arthur's kid sister gets anymore excited, she may burst. She twirls a tight circle and beams up at the man. "Can we look at the stars? I bet you know all their names!" Turning her back to the water, she takes a couple running steps along the bank, up high enough to where it's more grass than mud, and flops down onto her back, staring up at the sky. "I know that one." She points up rather vaguely at a cluster of stars. "It's the bear. But I forget its name. Ursula?"

"Ursula, no. Ursa, I think? I'm actually not sure. Stars a bit outside my area of expertise." Which is a nice way of saying that he's never really cared about the stars or the sky or anything like that. He needs to keep his attention on the Earth around him, "But it is a bear, I know that much," he confirms for her, his own gaze moving upwards as he slowly follows after her. "Why do you want to look at the stars, anyway?"

"They're pretty. I'm never up this late, so I never get to see them quite like this. And it's not cloudy, for once!" There's an air of of course to her explanation, as though it should have been obvious to him. "And I don't wanna go home yet. Because if we go home, you'll go back to work." Patience pats a patch of grass next to her. "C'mere. I know loads of stories about the stars."

"Not if you're staying in my room, I'm not." Because Arthur knows the young girl would do nothing but distract him and ask questions if she doesn't go straight to bed, and of all the things he is capable of getting his little sister to do, getting her to actually go to sleep is decidedly not one of them. "We can stay out a bit longer, but if we head home soon, I'll get one of my books to tell you a story." Meandering slowly towards the the young girl, it's with some reluctance that he plops down next her. "But I guess I can hear a story or two of yours for once first."

Offense is brief, but intense. "I'll let you work! I don't bother Mum at all when she's working." Though Arthur can't make her march to her room without supper if she bothers him. He can try, but it never works out that way. But he lays down next to her, so Patience is appeased again.

"Okay, here's how this goes. I start the story, and then you continue it." Little golden head rests on Arthur's chest so he can follow the line of her arm as she points out another constellation. "Those're the twins. They're called Gemma and Nyree. They're both princesses from the milky way. That one's the hunter. His name is Ryan." She tips her head back so she can glance sort of cockeyed and upside down at Arthur to make sure he's following along. "This is a story of jealousy. All the best dramas are stories of jealousy."

Now, Arthur may not know much about stars, but he's pretty sure those aren't the actual names. Still, unsure if his sister if taking artistic licence or just ignorant of the actual names, when he finds himself ready to correct he instead just closes his mouth and nods quietly. "Jealousy?" he remarks with an eyebrow raised. "That's such a girlish thing to assume," he teases, hands folding into his lap as he prepares to listen. He doesn't particularly care much about the story, but it seems worth the time to indulge his sister, at least.

"And I'm a girl." As if she had to remind him of that. Unperturbed, Patience continues, weaving a tale about how the sisters both fell in love with the hunter, and the predictable fighting ensued. And as it seems to be reaching its climax, she stops for a deep breath and says:

"Your turn. Give my story an ending!"

If Arthur didn't know better, he might think his little sister is evil.

Nonplussed, Arthur is silent for several moments as he thinks. Typically, his turn would be used to turn the story tragic - both sisters, at the height of their fight, unintentionally killing each other, or the hunter never really having loved either of them at all. That, he would say, would seem more in line with how things seem to work in the real world, rather than in a silly little story.

Running a hand back through his hair, he nods, slowly, and turns to more directly face Patience so he can tell his part of the story. It's not as well told as that of his sister, but he manages to put more of a happier spin on things, with the younger sister, at the height of her their fight, realising the harm it was doing to the sisters, and agreeing to step aside. Which worked out, because the older sister was the one the hunter himself was in love with anyway. Satisfied with this, he nods and leans back, waiting for his sister's approval or disapproval.

While Arthur takes his turn, Patience listens with her head resting over his heart. At first she prompts him with questions like and then what, but quickly figures out that if she keeps interjecting, he's going to stop telling the story. So she falls silent, allowing her older brother to continue without further interruption.

But when he ends the story and waits for her verdict, one isn't forthcoming. Patience has fallen asleep against him.

"Of course," Arthur mutters when he realises what has happened, rolling his eyes. "Had to get one more in on me before the end of the day, huh?" he remarks as he moves, trying his best to scoop up his sister without waking her up. It's a bit of a walk back to the house, so he doesn't expect her to stay asleep the entire time (and she's kinda heavy for him, but he can manage). Hopefully, though, he can keep from waking her too much, so that it's easy enough to just slip her into bed. Then, maybe, they can both get some real rest.

Mercifully, Patience doesn't stir when Arthur lifts her into his arms, even as she's jostled now and again on the walk home. When he settles her on the bed, however, her eyes open halfway. Rather than immediately talking, as she always seems to with him, she only smiles sleepily, and scoots over toward to the far side of the bed, curling up real small to make extra room for her gangly-limbed brother.

Well, Arthur had been inclined to sleep on his own as originally planned, but he's been caught, and he knows his sister will pitch a fit if she wakes up in the middle of the night and he's not there. Or just crawl into his bed, whichever is easiest. So with a bit of resignation, he retrieves his own covers and climbs into the bed, so that they can both be warm as possible tonight.