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RP: Spineless

[[Reserved currently for Gladstone and Lilly and this stupid curse.]]

Not a day and potentially not even a minute depending on your perspective after being drowned in a sea of climate change warriors (ironically), Negaduck had squeezed out of his self-imposed community service to find the gander gone. 

Curse his rotten luck.

In fact, curse this curse. At this rate, he would actually get through the list of forty thousand, five hundred and one personal apologies only added to by Ariana and his darling daughter, even-

Huh. Well now. That could work.

The doorchime at the bookshop rang.

    • Lilly Teal
      Lilly Teal

      Lilly looked up with a welcoming smile.

      And then, when she saw who it actually was, it fell, to be replaced with a look that could almost be called wary. What had he ever done to her to cause such a reac- you know what, don't answer that. She watched him carefully, as if expecting him to pull out a chainsaw, another Negaduck costume, or all of the Fearsome Five from under his cape like a very unwelcome magician.

      "I don't hear any sirens," she said carefully. So you're not here to hide. Possibly. He didn't seem covered in the marks of battle, and wasn't carrying any stolen goods as far as she could see. How... normal. How odd.

      In the slightly awkward silence, she cleared her throat. "Do you, um, want your coffee?"

      Past experience pointed to yes, but nothing about this entry was exactly usual, so it was worth just being sure.

      • Negaduck
        Negaduck

        "I want one thing."

        Not breaking his intense gaze into her eyes, Negaduck withdrew a machete and stalked towards her. 

        Dropping, at only the last moment, to one knee. 

        "To offer my sincerest regrets for the foul treatment you have suffered by my hand." The blade presented flat across both palms for her taking. "And to allow you to avenge your righteous wrath upon me personally, so my unworthy soul might be sated."

        That's it, feel the emotion. Let the magic do its work. It'll be worth it, just wait and see. 

        • Lilly Teal
          Lilly Teal

          Wait.

          This... this really wasn't how the interaction was supposed to go.

          "Av...enge? What?" she said in genuine confusion, coming out from behind the counter. "I'm not... I don't want to take any righteous wrath out on you. But. Um. Oh please stand up, I'm not going to do anything of the sort."

          Hesitating a little, in case he was going to lop her hands off the minute she reached for it, she very, very gingerly took the machete and laid it on the counter instead. "There. But thank you. For apologising, I mean, that's very good of you," she added much more optimistically. "Er. Are you feeling alright?"

          Because you're apologising.

          "... are you sure your unworthy soul can't be sated with a cup of coffee? I've got that really unnecessarily strong and bitter stuff you like."

          • Negaduck
            Negaduck

            Relieved, or at least what would have passed for relief had he thought for a moment she might have actually done it, the supposedly ex-crook stood.

            "That would be heavenly."

            Dropping once more, this time into a sweeping bow with a dramatic flourish of his cape as he went.

            "Although not half as heavenly as a moment in your presence."

            Catching her gaze along with her palm with a roguish grin, not pushing the point too heavily however. It was the sort of flirtatious fun one might employ on a friend, not a fawningness. 

            She was taken, and he was a drake of honour. Apparently. 

            • Lilly Teal
              Lilly Teal

              "Uhhh..."

              Blink blink. The world does not make sense. But this is... nice?

              She let out a little laugh, disbelieving and confused as he took her hand. The roguish grin wasn't unattractive, but far more importantly, it was an infinitely preferable expression to his usual ones of malicious delight or raging annoyance.

              "What's gotten into you today? Did you have a particularly nice morning?" she asked, pulling away as she stepped back around the counter to the coffee pot. "Whatever it is, I like it. Sit down, I'll get you your coffee."

              The bag was still mostly full, he being the only one who actually liked it in large amounts, and liked it black. Setting it to heat, she set out a cup and came back around again, waving him towards the chairs.

              "Anywhere you like."

              • Negaduck
                Negaduck

                Anywhere? What luxury. And check out this adorable decor. How was it possible for anyone to be in a bad mood in this place?

                "Perfection as always, Miss Teal."

                In the short time they'd known each other had he ever used her name properly? How rude, glad that could be corrected. 

                As he took in the surrounds with a renewed appreciation, however, something else drifted to his attention. 

                "What is that.." How to people describe non loathesome things again. "Delightful smell?"

                Not as delightful as the blackest, brimstoney brews to ever blight a bookshop, but still distractingly delectable. 

                • Lilly Teal
                  Lilly Teal

                  Awwwww you flatterer.

                  She certainly did look flattered, more so when he complimented the compliments just kept rolling in, and perked up considerably, her smile bright.

                  "I've just made some apple turnovers. Fresh out of the oven. Um. It's a bit of a new recipe so they don't look very neat-" getting the little pockets to stay shut without slowly leaking their contents was a fiddly business and definitely not one she had mastered yet- "But they still taste good! Would you like one?"

                  An apple turnover and a hideously strong cup of coffee didn't sound like... an ideal combination. It was entirely possible he couldn't taste anything for half an hour after drinking coffee the way he seemed to prefer it, but she plated the pastry and cupped the coffee with good will as she brought the pair over to him.

                  "... don't turn it around, this one opened up all down the back, let's just pretend it looks nice."

                  • Negaduck
                    Negaduck

                    He stared at the - what did she call it, a takeover? - too uncertain to move. Actual food. Not stolen from an paraplegic's bake sale or eaten for dramatic effect, but an honest-to-goodness homecooked meal. 

                    Couldn't hurt to try though. It's not like it could be more nourishing than evil. And Lilly of all people would never have the nerve to try to poison him, right?

                    Ahahahahahaaa.

                    With far more hesitation than he chomped down on anything else, Negaduck took a bite.

                    "Nnnglll aghh oh gods what-"

                    Was he dying? Disgusted? Some combination of the two?

                    "-is this this is amazing!"

                    Forget the fork he lifted up the bowl and gobbled up the rest, complete with various slurping and an aaah of satisfaction. 

                    "I'd say that was angel cake because it was so heavenly but even angel cake has got nothing on that!" When made from fresh angels, the glitter did tend to spoil his appetite. "You know, that's made me feel better. Less in the grumps. Like something has been sated."

                    A thought hit him, which he played up to look quite literal. "Do you mean, all this time, I was merely 'hangry'?"

                    Laughing, and not with the derision that concept deserved but with whooping relief, he scooped Lilly up under the armpits and twirled her around. 

                    "Sweet songbird of serenity, you've cured me!"

                    Of being him? That was possible, sure. 

                    • Gladstone Gander
                      Gladstone Gander

                      As far as scenes to walk in on went, the sight of a lady held aloft and mid swirl by a ...'gentleman' was perfectly acceptable in romance movies or a certain kind of television program that catered to those who wished for white knights or at least bad boys with a heart of gold (and well maintained upper body strength).  But when that someone being held aloft like a magic sword at castle Greyskull was your girlfriend and the wielder was not only not oneself but oneself's most disliked acquaintance that's when things got a little... tricky.  Gladstone had merely opened the door to the bookstore before he froze. 

                      He blinked. Leaned back outside checked the name of the store, the color of the sky, the date on the closest newspaper, felt out his pulse, and then very scientifically pinched himself. Despite all hints to suggest otherwise he was simultaneously: at the right store, not dead, not in another dimension or divergent timeline, and not asleep. None of this cheered him. But he did burst back through the door like the mascot jug of a of sugary red chemical drink mix , somehow managing to maintain a vague semblance of keeping his "kool". Well he was smiling anyway. That's what it's called when you show all your teeth at once right? So 'smiling' the gander approached the duo, eyes falling on the blade on the counter, fingers twitching at the sight of it, before he just leaned against the nearest armchair and watched with narrowing eyes.

                      "Testing for air resistance Crassanova?" He suddenly recoiled, as if he'd seen something revolting, which was actually a good word for this whole scenario but more specifically. "What are you doing with your face? A-are you smiling? Stop that it's disturbing." His attention snapped to Lilly suspiciously. "...what did you do to him?"

                       

                      • Lilly Teal
                        Lilly Teal

                        As nice as his revelation was, Lilly had been about to point out that she wasn't entirely sure that it was possible to be 'hangry' for as long as all that, but her train of thought was completely driven off the rails when he picked her up. Letting out a startled sound that quickly turned into a laugh.

                        "I'm so happy for you?"

                        That was when Gladstone walked in, and he felt significantly less happy. However, he was smiling, so Lilly saw very little that was suspicious. Tail wagging with happiness as soon as she saw him, she patted Negaduck's shoulders. "Can I come down? Honey hi!"

                        One of the patting hands was reached out for him to hold, but the suspicious glance was met with less welcome. "Oh don't look at me like that, I didn't do anything. I just gave him some food and coffee! Look what a good mood he's in."

                        She beamed, bright and optimistic. Oh yes, everyone was in a good, good mood, Gladstone, wouldn't you agree?

                        • Negaduck
                          Negaduck

                          The lady needn't have worried, for upon the interruption she was lowered with the touching familiarity of friendship, because that's what they were now right, friends? Gladstone scowling suspicion did nothing to remove the smile; if anything it increased it. Funny how that worked.

                          "Have you tried her cooking? It could turn the krampus into a caroller," Adding as a sidenote while he finished the last of that tasty brew, "Unless you don't think it's good enough to have that kind of power, in which case by all means tell her, I'm sure your honesty will be appreciated."

                          Yes, by all means crush her innocent, hopeful little heart. I'd love to watch.

                          "Actually, you're just in time. I was about to offer to properly re-do that reading I had promised." A manner that would probably not involve revving a chainsaw at children but hey, if she asked nicely.. To Lilly he held up a few hardbacks that could be bettered with a baritone. "What say you to a little Don Quixote? Or even The Princess Bride? I could go heavier, what with all the options in the astonishing selection you have here, but it's entirely up to you."

                          It wasn't being nice. It was the worn covers, the carefully placed bookmarks, the special little pile of what were presumably her favourites. It was being observant.

                          • Gladstone Gander
                            Gladstone Gander

                            Horror of horrors. That smile was... so wrong. His hand reached out and took Lilly's pulling her away, slowly and carefully, as if Negaduck was foaming at the mouth. Which realistically might happen... it might have already happened, it could happen every twenty minutes on a constant rotation and it wouldn't have surprised the gander. 

                            "Lillypad, did you make his heart grow three sizes with-" He help up a finger, sniffing the air. Which was unfortunate because Negastank was permeating the surrounding area but there was a hint of... "-apple turnovers? I'd say I was surprised but I'd be lying. They are that good."

                            The fact that he had spent a rather confusingly productive amount of time with this very same visage of villainy being saved from death traps, building cookie stalls, and saving the planet seemed to finally rear it's head as the literature was presented. Gladstone started to think. It was easy to spot by the smoke coming out of his ears. He lifted an eyebrow at the books and well gee if he just didn't light up like the sun itself. Look at all these smiles Lilly. Everyone was SO happy.

                            "Well shucks that's mighty generous of you, a regular  Mister Roargers. Got a cardigan on under that suit? But dear oh dear those books are  long. We wouldn't want you to read yourself into a stupor." And here a chummy slap on the back accented that oh so friendly grin before Gladstone scooped up a few thin books from a very colorful shelf. "And there are some really tough words in those ones. Why not start with something as small and as cheerful as you." Three horrifying options were presented. Each one centered around smiling big eared buck teethed protagonists cuter than should be legal. "I think 'I am a Bunny' might tickle your fickle, Reading Rambo. Should we get comfy? Do you need to do any vocal exercises before story time?" 

                            • Lilly Teal
                              Lilly Teal

                              "Oh, you want to read to the children again?" Lilly said in absolute delight. That had been what he'd attempted to do last time, after all. How sweet of him to try and make up for it. "That's wonderful! I can arrange that quickly enough. Oh, but those books would be a little advanced for children..."

                              She giggled a little, flicking her hand at him in an 'oh you' sort of way. "Unless you were planing to just read to us, in which case they'd be just right!" He did have a good voice for reading and listening to. Admittedly, nothing he said was very pleasant to listen to, but she certainly wouldn't mind having daring adventures being read to her in that voice, especially if Gladstone was there to enjoy it too.

                              Now see! The books Gladstone picked were so much more age appropriate! If... maybe a little too young. She squeezed the gander's arm with a grateful smile, so happy to see him participating enthusiastically!

                              "Those are wonderful choices darling, but we don't really get such young children here on their own. Maybe we can find a little compromise between the books the both of you have picked? Oh! The Phantom Tollbooth, maybe. That's a very popular one. Or Momo. I still love them myself," she added in a stage whisper to Gladstone, just in case the offer of just the two of them being read to was still on the table.

                              • Negaduck
                                Negaduck

                                The presentation of those heartwarming tales produced what only looked like a brain hemorrhage in the heathen, staggering backwards while trying to maintain his friendly visage. Somehow, that only made it more horrific. 

                                "How about we shelve those ideas for the moment..."

                                Waaaaay up the back of the shelves. Down a crevasse. On fire. He could only wish. 

                                "You can utilise my many talents here any time. What we really should focus on is Lilly. After all the stress I've caused you, sweetness, I really ought to be helping you to unwind. Massage?"

                                Rather than await an answer, he had already yanked over an armchair and then her, plonking the poor girl down to get straight to work on her shoulders. Which he was surprisingly good at. Something about the finger dexterity required to twist people into knots made it easy untwist them too. 

                                • Gladstone Gander
                                  Gladstone Gander

                                  The Phantom Tollbooth would be preferable to watching your girlfriend being pawed at by the Tantrum Uncouth. 

                                  "Utilize your talents."He grumbled to himself about as salty as brined turkey dumped in the Dead Sea for flavor. "I'll utilize your talents alright." 

                                  "Honeybunches-" he managed to say quite calmly as he leaned in toward Lilly, before being distracted by the actual massage she was receiving and then narrowed his eyes at Negaduck. Without looking he took her ankle, lifted her leg up, used one finger to flip off her shoe and started massaging her foot, all while maintaining scathing eye contact with the drake. "-you know I love how sweet you are right?" Wait what? O-oh well that was a palpable blow to the villain's...oh... oh wait no he was still talking to Lilly, without looking at her... while working her webbing. "...but aren't we forgetting that this is Negaduck?  Should we be letting him massage our shoulders? When they're so close to our pretty neck? Don't think that's a little... risky?"

                                  Unable to contain himself he smacked one of Negaduck's hands then went back to his own task, but finally looking back at the lucky lady with a rather pained smile. 

                                  • Lilly Teal
                                    Lilly Teal

                                    Lilly's subsequent reactions to being manhandled into the chair could be briefly summarised as:

                                    Oh?!

                                    Oh!

                                    ... oooohhhh...

                                    as she started, tensed up immediately, and very rapidly started melting into the chair. Had her back really been that sore? Her shoulders that stiff? Whatever they were, they certainly weren't any more oh that felt so good aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh...

                                    Gladston'e really very sensible objections were met with a dazed, half-lidded "Hmm?" as now her feet were being rubbed and while this was all very strange and she should really ask them to stop because they were going to all this trouble it just felt really nice and-

                                    Risky?

                                    "It, uh, is?" she asked, as she tried to reboot her brain. "Oh, there, between the shoulders, that's, oh- oh!" Realisation, maybe Gladstone DID have a point.

                                    "If you say so," she sighed and reached up to take his hands carefully to stop the massage (Nooooooooo), having somehow slid halfway down the chair, making it very easy to look at Negaduck upside-down if she tilted her head back, having almost completely forgotten why we didn't want his hands near our pretty neck. "Oh Gladstone don't hit him." Oh you noticed that did you? And to Negaduck, "Goodness that was amazing thank you so much! Really. Good. Wow. I am completely unwound, I assure you, any more and I'll just be lying on the ground."

                                    See I stopped him!

                                    • Negaduck
                                      Negaduck

                                      "Pleasure, treasure, not that I'd complain about having you sprawled on your back." Topping that off with a wink, a wink, nothing over the top mind you, merely a harmless flirtation between friends.

                                      So much better mannered than that spiteful little slapper over there.

                                      "Naww now, don't be like that." So bravely shaking off the entirely unnecessary and mega mean digit abuse to address Gladstone. "Come here, I'll do you too."

                                      A Nice spell, was it? Because somehow the image of Negaduck stalking forward, hands outstretched for one's neck, pretty or otherwise, was more zombie death thriller than nice. Particularly not with that smile.

                                      Particularly not, as he realised, when spinal manipulation could fall under the bounds of 'nice'.

                                      Tackle!

                                      • Gladstone Gander
                                        Gladstone Gander

                                        Was there time to protest? Well possibly, but Gladstone was too distracted trying to think of an appropriately scathing reply to get out more than a startled squeak before he was tackled to the ground.  Then it was more panicked observations than actual verbal sparring.

                                        "ACK! WHAT? NO! GET! OFF! WHAT IS THAT SMELL? ARE YOU MARINATED IN EWW DU TOILET?! DON'T TOUCH MY HAIR! WHY ARE YOUR HANDS STICKY!? HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF TOOTHPASTE?! MOUTHWASH!? HYGIENE?! LILLYPAD SAVE YOURSELF! THIS HAS BEEN HIS PLAN ALL ALONG! SHIELD YOUR EYES! SAVE YOURSELF!"

                                        • Lilly Teal
                                          Lilly Teal

                                          Shield her eyes from... what? Her boyfriend going hysterical at the thought of a massage? They were perfectly nice massages, Gladstone! Oh... but they didn't get along very well, of course, perhaps he wasn't comfortable.

                                          That was a sensible thought, Lilly, and maybe YOU shouldn't be comfortable with all this either.

                                          But that was no reason to be THIS rude, either. It took her a moment to wake herself up from her comfortable daze, but when she did so, she immediately moved over to them and tugged at Negaduck's arm.

                                          "I don't think he's comfortable Negaduck, let's not. But you shouldn't be so rude, Gladstone, can't you see he's doing his best to be pleasant?"

                                          Minus marks, buddy, minus marks, as the duckette held the masked villain's arm protectively like he was her younger brother who had just gotten a scolding. "There, I'm sure he didn't mean it. DID you, darling?"