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Medicine

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Netl hadn't meant to eavesdrop, but with Lord Rose Hip holed up in his room, there were only so many places in the mansion with people around and they were always more interesting than investigating yet another empty dresser in an unused room. What he'd heard was more than a dinner order and one made so casually it had to be common.

At least Netl knew, now, why Lord Rose Hip disappeared from time to time and wouldn't even take the medicine that Angelica's friends had so carefully prepared. It wouldn't do anything for him; he needed something a little different from medicine.

Netl knocked gently at the door to Lord Rose Hip's room, medicine in hand anyway, before reaching for the knob.

"Lord Rose Hip," he called, not at all afraid. "Lord Rose Hip, I brought medicine for you."

From the shadows in the far corner of the room there was movement. Netl was surprised how dark it all was, for midday. Normally a bit of daylight wasn't a bother...

"I won't take it, now please go, Netl." The words were a bit ragged and that just made Netl push forward. He could do this. Even as, in the dim light escaping the drawn curtains, he saw Lord Rose Hip.

He did not look ill, exactly, but certainly not well, either. Netl stared at him for a long moment, finally absolutely sure that he'd solved the puzzle.

The medicine was quickly dropped into a pocket before Netl reached for the top buttons of his shirt.

"Maybe this?" he questioned as he tugged aside fabric to bare his neck and collarbone. "The butcher will make sure you get all you need, but for now, so you can feel a little better?"

"Netl, do you know what you're offering?"

Netl nodded. He'd heard stories, of course, and there was an entire shelf in the mansion's library that had helped Netl figure it all out. Most of the text was too complicated for him, still, but there had been illustrations...

He knew.

"I still cannot accept. You should go."

Netl shook his head and made his way closer.

"You do so much for me," Netl said quickly. "You take good care of me. Now it's my turn. I'm healthy enough, I'm sure!"

Closer, closer, until he was nearly touching Lord Rose Hip and the loveseat he was resting on.

There was a long silence until finally, Lord Rose Hip nodded.

"Come up here beside me." He reached and Netl quickly obeyed, scrambling up to sit beside his guardian.

He didn't make a sound as Lord Rose Hip's fingers touched his skin, nor as he felt the tickle of Lord Rose Hip's hair. He was certain of this; and happy to help.

"Go ahead," he said finally, softly, and that was enough. Lord Rose Hip leaned and Netl felt his lips first, and then a sharp pain that made him flinch despite his intentions.

"It's okay," he managed, reaching to stroke Lord Rose Hip's soft hair. The pain wasn't that bad at all, Lord Rose Hip was warm against him, and he could use the medicine he'd brought on himself when Lord Rose Hip had finished.

Yes, it was okay. They'd both feel a lot better.

He'd gladly be Lord Rose Hip's medicine time and time again.