The man bowed, 'I understand. Then tomorrow I will bring that person to you. Thank you for your hospitality, you needn't see me off.' And he left the tent.

If you call hospitality having two of our First String members and two of our performers threaten you and try to hurt you with whips and knives, then yeah. You're welcome for the hospitality 'He almost made Beast and Dagger look like amateurs...' Belle whispered. She covered her mouth with her hands, Did I just say that out loud?! Belle received a few unwelcoming glares from Beast and Dagger

Yep. They heard it.

'Like you were any help! You just stood behind Joker like a coward!' Beast barked. Belle shied away, unwillingly so.

'W-well, I, he, uh, he was, umm-'

'And how could you let him touch Big Sis like that?!' In her defense, though she wouldn't dare say it, the man did have a point. Beast does dress a little...risque.

'I-I-I umm, I mean, that guy was, umm, he uhh-'

'Little Belle's smaller than most, and he was too fast for even the two of you combined.' Joker argued back calmly, though it unintentionally didn't help Belle's self-esteem much. 'She's also the newest member of our family, so be nice.' Once again, Joker stepped in for Belle. She felt shameful for being like this...Being too scared to speak up for herself. Belle often wondered how she even got accepted into the Circus in the first place!

'How can you keep defending her?!'

'Because...Belle reminds me of our little brothers and sisters back home.' All went quiet. Belle looked up at Joker, his face was unreadable. Did he actually say that? Beast, Dagger, and Doc probably thought of the same thing, for they all wore the same face;


Not surprising really, considering what use I am, Belle thought sarcastically, at least I'm not the only one who can't understand Joker sometimes

Beast was finally tired of all the nonsense, 'I've had enough for one night. I'm leaving.'

'Me too!' With both chins in the air, the two First Strings left the medical tent. Joker faced Belle again,

"Now. You go get some sleep, Belle. If it's not too much trouble, I'll have to ask you to help me with the entrance test tomorrow, so you'll probably have to get up a little bit earlier, okay?"

"What do you want me to do?"

"It's not a lot. Just need to help with some of the acts the new guy can try out, to see what he can do for the circus." Joker gently steered Belle by the shoulders out of Doc's tent, with a couple "Goodnights" and Belle whispering, "I'm really sorry I couldn't do much, Doc."

"It's okay, Belle. Goodnight." Doc wearily waved goodbye.

As the two walked out, they passed Belle's tent. As she left to open the flap that gave her enough privacy as a fabricated door can, Belle felt a hand on her shoulder, "Pay no mind to those two. Beast was still angry, and you know what Dagger's like; He'd try to get himself to be more like her, probably by trying to train a lion or a tiger or a bear-"

"Oh my." Sometimes Dagger's devotion to the older woman could be too much for her to handle. And she wasn't even at the receiving end of his affections! What would I do if someone felt like that for me...? Ha! Like that'll ever happen! "Thanks for trying to cheer me up. But you don't have to-"

"Oh, I know I don't. I want to. I don't like seeing others sad, especially if I can make them smile or laugh. Or better yet, both!"

Belle giggled, "Well, goodnight, Joker."

"Goodnight, I'll wake you up when it's time."

"M'kay." Belle yawned...the evening wore her out more than she thought it would...Welp, better get...some

And yes. I did make a Wizard of Oz reference. I don't own anything, except Belle.