It was so obvious. Tobe couldn't believe that he hadn't realized it before.
Ever since he and Lady Kel had arrived at Steadfast, he had noticed that she had been acting strangely. She had been blushing often, stammering over her words, daydreaming and not eating much. And the strange thing was that all these symptoms occurred only around Sergeant Dom.
Tobe was sure it was so. He had observed her around Sir Neal, Lady Yuki and her other friends, and she laughed and talked with them as usual. But whenever Sergeant Dom was around, she starting acting more like . . . well, like a girl.
It had taken him a while to figure out why (and the horses hadn't helped- Peachblossom's only suggestion was that he step on Dom's foot), but he finally had the answer. Now, he ran up from the stables to Lady Kel's room, determined tot tell her right away.
Sure, she might have to stay away from Dom for the rest of her life, but that was okay. After all, her condition didn't look like much fun.
Tobe felt slightly bad for his mistress. He liked Sergeant Dom, and so did Lady Kel. Dom was funny and fun and had always been kind to him. But, given Lady Kel's condition, it really would be better if she never had to see Sergeant Dom again.
He threw open the door to her rooms. "Lady Kel?"
His mistress was sharpening her blade. She smiled as he came in. "Hello, Tobe. Horses all settled?"
"Yes," he nodded, then blurted out, "Lady Kel, I've figured it out."
"That's wonderful, Tobe," she enthused. "Figured what out?"
"Your problem with Sergeant Dom."
Lady Kel choked. "I'm sorry- what?"
"You know," Tobe explained, "the reason why you look red and stammer when you're around him all the time."
She turned the very red that he had described. Clearly, her condition was getting worse; now, she couldn't even hear the name Dom without experiencing the symptoms.
"It's all right, Lady Kel," he soothed. "You're just allergic."
Lady Kel blinked. "I'm what?"
"Allergic," Tobe explained. "Allergic to Sergeant Dom."
To his astonishment, she started to smile. Tobe frowned; didn't she realize how serious his was? He knew people who had died of allergies.
He wondered if it was safe to be around her, or whether she was contagious. After all, he definitely did not want this disease.
"Tobe," Lady Kel smiled. "Thank you for your concern for my welfare." Her face was strangely contorted, as if she were trying not to laugh. "But I promise you I'm fine. I'm not allergic to Dom."
"But you are," he argued. She just shook her head. "Then how come you act so strange around him?"
Lady Kel blushed. "You- I- you'll understand better when you're a few years older, Tobe."
If there was one sentence he hated, it was that one. Tobe stuck his tongue out at his mistress, ignoring her grin, and left the room. He was no fool, and as much as Lady Kel might like to deny it, he knew an allergy when he saw one. If he couldn't help Lady Kel, he was going to take this to someone who could.
Tobe rapped on the door to the sergeant's quarters. A moment later, Sergeant Dom appeared, looking quizzical. He smiled when he saw the boy. "Tobe, hello. Do you want to come in?"
"Yes, please," the boy told him, using the good manners Lady Kel had shown him. He entered the room and, noticing sir Nealan lounging in a chair, remained standing politely.
"Tobe!" Neal looked surprised to see him. "Are you all right?"
The boy nodded. "I just need to talk to Sergeant Dom about something."
"Oh." The knight rose. "Does the 'something' concern my good friend, that beautiful Lady knight who we all cherish and love?"
Tobe wasn't sure of what sir Nealan was going on about, other than the fact that he'd clearly been at the wine flask recently, but he nodded.
"Then must I go?" Clearly, Neal was avidly curious about what he had to say. Tobe shook his head. "You can stay. Maybe you can help."
"Excellent. Now, what gems of gossip do you have to share with us about Kel?"
Tobe thought the knight was being sarcastic, but it was always hard to tell. Fortunately, Sergeant Dom saved him. "Shut up, Neal." He seated himself on his bed, ignoring Neal's splutters of outrage, and motioned to Tobe to sit down. "How can I help you, Tobe?"
The boy wasn't quite sure how to say this. "It's Lady Kel, sir."
"Yes?" Dom's blue eyes were understanding. "Is she all right?"
"Well, no, sir. Not exactly." The sergeant across from him went rigid. "She's allergic, sir."
The tension left Dom's figure, driven out by relief. "Mithros, Tobe, you had me worried. I thought she was seriously ill!" Neal made a noise of agreement.
"People do die of allergies, sir," Tobe told them seriously.
"That's possible," the sergeant said, equally seriously. Sir Neal made a choking noise not unlike the one that Lady Kel had made. Sergeant Dom continued, "But it's not very likely. What is it that she's allergic to, then?"
Tobe hesitated. Now that the time had come, it was more difficult than he had thought to make his declaration. "Well . . ."
"Don't worry, Tobe. Just spit it out," Sir Neal prompted.
"It's Sergeant Dom, sir," he finally admitted.
The ensuing pause snickered at the two men, who were exchanging thunderstruck glances. "Me?" Sergeant Dom said, his voice sounding slightly strangled.
"Yes," the boy declared firmly.
There was another pause, in which Neal buried his face in a chair cushion in what Tobe perceived to be misery and horror. He nodded sympathetically; it was a strange and upsetting situation, to say the least.
"Tobe." Dom looked like he was fighting very hard to stay calm. "Uh, what- what makes you think that Kel's allergic to me?"
The boy launched into a recital of his lady's symptoms; how she blushed and stammered, how she looked dreamy and didn't eat, how all of this only happened when Dom was around or had just left. Sir Neal made several more choking sounds, while a small smile was playing around the sergeant's lips.
"Ah," Dom said when he had finished. "Well, this particular- um, allergy I can do something about."
"He makes a lot of women allergic," Neal put in, then collapsed into laughter. Probably Sir Nealan was just relieved that Sergeant Dom could help Lady Kel, Tobe decided. Mithros knew that he himself was.
"Thank you, sir. Should I take you up there now?"
"I think that would be wise," the sergeant said gravely. "We should cure this allergy as soon as possible."
"Will sir Nealan be all right, sir?" Tobe asked, in some concern. The knight had fallen on the floor and was now laughing hysterically.
Sergeant Dom prodded sir Nealan with his foot. "I think he'll recover." He held open the door. "Shall we go?"
When they arrived at Lady Kel's room, Sergeant Dom said, "Tobe, I think you should probably wait out here while I, ah- cure Kel, as it were." He paused. "In fact, perhaps you should wait for us down in the mess hall. This could take a while."
Slightly mystified, Tobe nodded, and the sergeant slipped inside the room. Tobe caught the murmur of voices, though he couldn't hear what they said. After a few minutes, he heard a stifled gasp. Then there was no more talking.
Tobe waited for a while, but as neither of them emerged, he finally decided to go down to the stables. At least horses were easier to understand than humans and their incomprehensible allergies.
This was originally a present for Nita (Averna), in tribute to her wonderfully funny and fluffy K/D fanfiction and her wonderfully funny self. If you haven't read her work- well, where have you been? She enjoyed it (the fanfic, I mean), so I'm posting it up here.