Book 3 – Chapter Eighteen

Grimory carries Taveth through the portal back to Dalaran and turns to wait for Alisbeth and Diori. “Sorry about the vase. At least you have a memory, yeah?”

He purses his lips. “I…got a few pieces, actually.” He looks around. “Oh, good, all of Dalaran gets to stare, now.”

“Would you rather walk?” Grimory grunts.

Taveth peeks around Grimory to see the busy street full of people practically tripping over each other. He quickly weighs the pros and cons. “As much as I’d like that, I think it might do more harm than good.”

Alisbeth yipes as she’s yanked through the portal, then laughs when she bumps into Diori on the other side. “Want to go to the healer with them or should we go get a good table at that restaurant?”

Diori looks between Taveth and the café table peeking around the corner down the street and fidgets. “I am hungry…”

Alisbeth taps a finger on Taveth’s scalp. “Hey, Diori is hungry. Mind if we meet you at the café?”

He’s not sure if he should frown or not over the prospect of time alone with Grimory, even though it’s just to be healed. Then certain facts come to mind and he chooses to frown. “If she’s that hungry, yes. Go on ahead.”

Grimory turns and trots up the ramp. “To the infirmary, then. We’ll meet up with you guys after. Shouldn’t take too long.”

Diori jumps with excitement, then runs forward to give Taveth a kiss on the cheek. “Feel better, brother!”

“I will.” He laughs. “As long as Grim doesn’t bite.” He makes a silly face at her just before she’s gone from his sight. He sobers. “So, uh, you don’t bite, right?”

“Not without consent,” the Illidari says, grinning.

~ * ~

Alisbeth scoops Diori up and spins her around. “Time for cinnamon apples!”

Diori lifts her arms into the air. “Yes! And ice cream after?” She gasps. “Let’s get Taveth a get well cupcake!”

The death knight laughs. “I think all of that is a fantastic idea.” She sits Diori at the table and hails a waiter, taking her own seat when he notices them.

The waiter trots over, hands behind his back as he grins. “What can we get you lovely ladies this fine evening?”

“Cinnamon apples!” Diori says excitedly. “Aaaand…milk.”

The man nods and turns to Alisbeth expectantly.

Alisbeth smiles. “Nothing for me, but I know my friend will probably want an ale and a T-bone steak. Oh! And we need a get well cupcake.”

The waiter raises his eyebrows and looks up from his notepad, amusement in his eyes. “I’m sorry, a get well cupcake?”

Alisbeth grins and looks at Diori. “Her brother was injured and we want to get him a get well cupcake. To make him feel better.”

The waiter gives a nod of approval. “I think I get you. I’ll see what we can do.” He winks at the two and disappears into the café.

Diori grabs a leaf on the table and begins picking it into shapes. “Why did you kiss Grim if you’re just friends? Do friends kiss like that?”

The tips of Alisbeth’s ears grow warm. “No, I do not kiss friends like that. But he is my friend. Maybe I just got a little excited.” She gives a crooked, nervous smile.

Diori smiles impishly and gives Alisbeth a sideways glance. “You liiike hiiim~” she sings, then punches her shoulder. “Don’t worry. I won’t tell.”

Alisbeth bites her bottom lips. “Okay, as long as you don’t go snitching on me.” She reaches over to pinch at Diori’s side.

Diori yelps and giggles, then jumps excitedly when their food arrives. She immediately puts a steaming hot apple in her mouth. “Mmm!

Alisbeth laughs and thanks the waiter, who sets the other plate and ale in front of her. “Oh, no, not mine. I don’t eat.” She scoots it to the open seat beside her and smiles at the man.

~ * ~

Grimory turns into the city infirmary and leans his free arm on the counter. “My friend here broke his leg in the name of science. Would y’all mind taking care of it for us?”

The Draenei woman behind the counter blinks and chortles. “Of course we can. Not for free, though.”

“Price don’t matter.” He sets Taveth down on the counter.

The woman comes around to examine the leg. She whistles. “Must have been some science.”

Taveth straightens indignantly. “It wasn’t science. It was historical research! Excavation of a significant time for our people!”

The woman and Grimory shoot one another a glance. The demon hunter folds his arms and leans against the counter. “You definitely need to hang out with Ana.”

The woman holds her hands over Taveth’s leg and it is encased in a glowing gold light. “This is a bad one,” she says as the flesh and bone heal. “You should be more careful.”

Taveth purses his lips at the Draenei, then at Grimory. “Little hard to do when she’s never around, wouldn’t you say?”

“She lives in the citadel. She’ll be around.” He turns to examine a table covered in medical supplies, lowering a his head to look at the jar of leeches.

The Draenei woman removes Taveth’s splint and gives his newly healed leg a pat. “Sadly, I’m not a tailor.” She smiles and stands, then glances over a Grimory. “By the Light,” she chirps in surprise, rushing behind him and grabbing his hair, pulling at it gently.

“Hey, don’t—aagh!” The demon hunter growls in pain. “What are you doing?”

“I can see straight to your skull!” She pushes open the gash in his scalp until pearly white shines through. “Men. I swear,” she hisses, healing his wound as well.

Taveth blushes and hangs his head. “I’m sorry, Grim. You wouldn’t have gotten hurt if you weren’t saving my stupid hide.” He hops from the counter and stares down at himself. “I need to run to my room for a shower and new clothes, I think.”

Grimory shakes his head, touching the closed wound with his fingers and laying some gold on the table. “Don’t be. I’ve died before, remember? This is nothing.” He nods to the healer, then turns to the door. “Do what you gotta do. We’ll be at the café.”

“Thank you so much,” Taveth says to the healer. He chases Grimory out the door. “I have more questions about your deaths, if that’s okay?”

Grimory glances down at the man’s exposed leg and pats him on the shoulder. “Perhaps after you’re finished cleaning up. You look like a vagabond.” He laughs.

Taveth looks himself over again and sneers. “Yes. Quite. I’ll meet you at the café.” He jogs off to Greyfang Enclave.

Grimory nods and makes his way to the café, setting himself beside Alisbeth. “Oh gods, this smells so good. Did you order this for me?”

The waiter smiles. “That cupcake you requested will also be out momentarily.”

Alisbeth gives the demon hunter a wry smile. “No, I ordered it for me. You know how much I love chewing on bones.” She laughs and watches Diori enjoying the apples. “You know, I really like cinnamon, too.”

Still chewing, Diori holds one out in her fork. “I know you don’t have to eat, but you still can, right?”

Grimory sets a hand on Alisbeth’s thigh beneath the table and smiles as though he’s doing nothing. “Thanks, Ali.” He sips his ale and takes up his silverware.

Alisbeth smiles and takes a small bite of the apple. “Mmm! This has enough cinnamon for me to taste! I like to take the sticks and put them in my drinks.” She smiles at Grimory as she swallows the apple. “You living have to eat sometime, right?” She winks at him.

The Illidari chews on his steak and shrugs a shoulder. “I guess we do.” He swallows. “So what’s this I hear about a cupcake?”

“We’re getting Taveth a get well cupcake!” Diori says with a grin. “To make him feel better!”

Grimory smiles and reaches over to rustle her hair. “You’re a sweet kid, Diori.”

Taveth catches his reflection in the mirror as he finishes adjusting the collar of his shirt under his vest. He makes a face and immediately goes to change. After three changes, he stops himself. “What am I doing?” He tosses the new change of clothes onto his bed and shoves his feet into his boots as he finishes tucking in his shirt. He runs a comb through his hair and secures it in a tie behind his head, then slips his spare pair of glasses into his satchel and rushes to meet the others at the cafe.

Alisbeth bites her lip to hold back some of the wide smile spreading across her face. “I think she gets it from that farmboy I once met.” She casts a timid smile at Grimory.

Grimory gives a loud pfft and takes another bite. “He wasn’t sweet. Just a sucker for pretty eyes,” he says through chews. “And a nice ass.”

Diori blushes and covers her own ears, cheeks full of apple.

Alisbeth’s mouth drops open in shock. “Grim!” She slaps him on the arm. “Don’t make me take that steak away.”

Taveth takes the last seat at the table and cocks an eyebrow. “Why are you covering your ears?” he asks Diori.

“Bad words,” Diori whispers, pointing at Grimory.

Grimory laughs and feigns pain, rubbing his arm. “She’s fifty! She knows not to say those things.” He finishes the meat off his steak, followed by the ale.

Moments later the waiter returns with a cupcake large enough for three people. The words Get Well scrawled atop with icing and a sparkler throwing cinders. “Your get well cupcake,” he says, setting it at the center of the table, as he’s unsure who it belongs to.

The tips of Taveth’s ears turn a light pink. Alisbeth snorts a laugh into her hand.

Taveth’s gaze finds Diori. “Your idea?”

Diori nods emphatically. “Mmhm!”

Grimory smiles at the elf’s discomfort. “Happy Get Well,” he snerks, ordering another ale before the waiter can shuffle off.

Taveth smiles wide and eases into his seat. “Thank you, Diori. I love it.”

Alisbeth reaches out and takes a swipe of chocolate frosting, then pokes it into her mouth. She makes a face and wipes the rest on a napkin.

Diori grins. “I didn’t think it’d be so big. Can we share it?” She sucks the cinnamon from her fork.

Taveth checks that her apples have been finished. “Of course you can! I, however, would like to eat first.” He orders salmon with herbed potatoes and a side of asparagus, then smiles back at Diori.

Alisbeth purses her lips across the table. “I’m sorry. I would have ordered for you, but I didn’t know what you like.”

He waves her apology away with a hand.

Diori quickly scoops up a chunk of cake with her fork and holds it out for Grimory. “You have some, too!”

The demon hunter shakes his head, picking the clean bone up from his plate. “I don’t do sweets,” he says, crunching the bone in half and chewing on the splinters. “Sensitive teeth,” he jokes with a sharp grin.

Taveth dives into his meal as though he hasn’t eaten in a week. He moans in approval at the flavor of the salmon. “Highmountain Salmon never fails to impress me. I don’t know what it is, but I swear I’ll find out. Maybe something to do with the water.” He shoves another forkful into his mouth and groans again. “Gods, it’s so good.”

Alisbeth chuckles. “Should we get you and the salmon a room?”

Taveth blushes and stares at his plate. “I’m sorry. It’s just… Well, you’d have to try it to understand, and…”

“And I’m too dead to taste it. Sorry, Tav, you’re on your own.”

“You struck me as a fish person,” Grimory says as he nods, throwing the rest of the bone in his mouth.

Diori furrows her brow, chewing on cake, then smirks. “He’s not a fish person. He doesn’t even have gills!”

Taveth chuckles and rushes to swallow to educate her in the term.

“It’s just a term used when somebody likes something. You’re a cinnamon and apples person. I’m a candy cane and dalapeno person. Grim is a steak person.” Alisbeth smiles. “Get it?”

Diori scrunches her face. “Yeah, joking. A fish person would be cooler, though. Like a murloc!” She shoves more cake into her mouth.

“Murlocs are more fish than people I’d say,” Grimory says thoughtfully. “Definitely more animalistic.”

Alisbeth scrunches her face and shakes her head. “Um, no. They’re more frog than anything.”

“But they make fish noises! Like mrgglglgl!” Diori sucks some chocolate from her finger.

“Fish don’t make noises,” Grimory laughs. “Unless you’re skinning them. Then they croak like frogs.”

Alisbeth and Taveth blink at each other and silently decide to let these two have their moment.

The group continues on for a long while, prattling about this and that, odds and ends. Soon enough the lamps that line the street flicker to life and Diori frowns at them. “It’s that late already?” she mumbles in dismay.

Taveth sighs. “Diori, you still have that chapter on disease to read before bed.” He casts an apologetic gaze to the other two. “Sorry. She is a student, above all else.”

Alisbeth nods emphatically. “Of course. I never would have become such a great paladin had I not studied. Go, please.” She reaches out to hug Diori.

Diori pouts and hugs back. “Okay,” she groans, then releases Alisbeth to hold her arms out to Grimory.

The demon hunter smiles and stands, walking around to bend and embrace her small torso. “Study hard, yeah?”

The little girl nods and smiles. “I will! I always do.”

Taveth hugs Alisbeth goodbye, then takes Diori’s hand and leads her back to their room in Greyfang Enclave.

Alisbeth smiles at Grimory. “Drinks at the Legerdemain? I started a running tab, by the way… You can get food or coffee or whatever you want. Any time. My treat.”

Grimory stretches, wincing at the bruising on his back. “Thought you’d never ask. Whiskey and cinnamon?”

Alisbeth jumps up in excitement. “Yes! Yes, yes, yes!” She grabs both of his hands and walks backward, dragging him across the street.

Grimory laughs quietly, allowing her to drag him all the way to the lounge. A number of people inside are already making merry, playing darts and cards, talking loudly over the crowd. “That bottle,” Grimory says to the elf behind the bar, pointing at a bottle of whiskey on the shelf. The man nods and sets it down. “And cinnamon sticks. Two.” He holds up two fingers and the man again obliges.

Alisbeth finds a long couch near the back and sprawls across it to claim it as she waits for Grimory.

Tossing the sticks into the bottle and replacing the cork, he saunters over to the sofa and, instead of telling her to move, sits on top of Alisbeth. “What a long day,” he sighs, draping an arm over the back of the couch.

Alisbeth giggles and kicks her feet. “Are you quite comfortable?”

Grimory shrugs and shakes the bottle before biting off the cork. “I guess. This couch is kinda lumpy, though.” He takes a large drink.

Alisbeth giggles again and pinches at his butt. “I’ll show you ‘lumpy.’”

The Illidari hisses at the pinch and pushes more of his weight onto her. “It pinches, too. This place could really use some new furniture.”

Alisbeth snorts a laugh through her nose. “It’s about to start biting if you don’t hand over the whiskey! And maybe let me up…”

Grimory drinks again and taps his goatee in thought. “Hm. Hand over the whiskey…let you up. Hand over whiskey. Let you up. Hmmno, I’m not gonna do that.”

Alisbeth growls and grabs his arm, taking it to her lips to bite at his forearm.

Grimory grits his teeth at the pain but grins down at her. “You keep that up and I’ll be forced to return the favor.”

Alisbeth grins and laughs evilly against his arm. She bites harder, her eyes locked on his.

Grimory winces again, then stands to let her up. “All right. I’ve bled enough today, don’t you think?”

Alisbeth continues her evil laughter as she slides from under him and kneels on the couch beside him. “But I wasn’t the one causing it. I thought you liked that.” She scoots in even closer, her face close to his. “What happened to you returning the favor?”

Grimory smirks and leans even closer. “Where would you prefer I do so?” He tilts his head to push his lips against her neck. “Here?”

Alisbeth hums a laugh. “Lower.” Alisbeth hums. “Lower… Much, much lower,” she whispers.

Grimory laughs and pulls away, handing over the bottle. “Perhaps in a less public setting.”

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