Sir Nealan of Queenscove had many bad habits. For one, he liked to go on and on about subjects that nobody other then himself had any interest in. For another, he would only be reassured that his friends were healed correctly unless he did it himself, or unless he looked over it (which, while touching at first, eventually became rather infuriating). Neal was also extremely sarcastic and had a drawling voice that, when droning on about something nobody particularly cared about, could grate ones nerves, not to mention he was known for saying things without thinking about them first, something that had gotten him in trouble before.

Neal had another bad habit, however, and that was the habit of walking in on people without knocking or even announcing his presence. Now, one lucky knight named Keladry of Mindelan was safe from this, often embarrassing (for both parties), vice of her best friend's. Kel's saving grace was that she was a girl, and Neal was sensible enough to knock before entering Keladry's private quarters.

This bad habit of Neal's would soon get him into quite a lot of trouble. It started when he received a piece of information (not at all important to the story, but if you really wish to know it pertained to an ongoing bet Neal had had with his cousin Domitan of Masbolle since Neal had been around 10, regarding his great aunts collection of tea cups) that he was anxious to tell his aforementioned cousin. So, naturally, Neal made his way to Dom's room, and (not knocking or yelling through the door, as anyone with common courtesy would do) he barged in.

Before I tell you just what it was Neal saw when he entered his cousin's room, I should let you know that Domitan of Masbolle had had many lovers before. So, when Neal's eyes adjusted to the dim and saw the extra body sleeping in his cousin's bed, it wasn't that there was an extra body there; it was who that extra body was.

Because it just so happened that, sleeping right next to his favourite cousin (although Neal would vehemently deny that fact multiple times), curled up against his side and very bare, was Neal's best friend, Keladry of Mindelan.

There were many reasons for Neal to be so astonished about this fact. For one, he had had no idea that Dom and Kel even had romantic feelings for each other (another bad habit of Sir Nealan of Queenscove- he was, at times, rather self-involved). For another, Kel had always been strictly professional. How many times had she scolded Neal for talk of Neal's own wife, Yukimi, when more important matters were to be discussed? And here Kel was, with all her talk of how lovers compromised your focus, curled up against Dom's side, sleeping contentedly after a night of obvious love making! On top of that, well, it would be a great shock to anyone, really, walking in on your cousin and your best friend.

This brings us to another bad habit of Neal's- often, he forgot to think. Now, he was good in a crisis- he was a knight, after all. However, instead of cautiously leaving the room and coming back later, or even knocking on the door and giving them time to hide before pretending he had no idea of anything, Neal just stood there, gaping, until Kel was roused from her sleep (most people tend to wake up when others are looming over them).

When Kel awoke, she yawned, stretched, smiled up at her lover's still sleeping face, and then, turning to sit up, saw her best friend standing there, staring.

That was when Kel screamed.


This shout immediately awoke Dom, who did sit up, the blankets falling to reveal a perfectly sculpted chest many women had drooled over. Rubbing his eyes, he focused his attention on Neal.

"What," he growled, simultaneously attempting to cover Kel's body from his cousin's eyes (although I can assure you, Neal did not want to see his best friend naked. That was sure to complicate their relationship) and searching for something to throw at Neal's head (preferably, Dom thought, something hard and pointy), "are you doing here?"

Neal, for his part, did probably what was one of the smartest things he had ever done in his life. After a quick babbling (along the lines of 'you… Kel…you and… Kel and… you and…?') Neal ran.

Kel, who had tried to obscure herself behind Dom, emerged, eyes glaring at the spot where Neal had just been. The only sound was the breathing of the two, until finally Kel turned to Dom and said the only thing (one which was, even in its simplicity, perfectly fitting for the situation) that she really thought could be said.


Dom, who had been looking at Kel with one eye and watching the door (which Neal had conveniently closed following his quick departure) with the other, now focused his entire attention on the girl sitting beside him. He smiled, blue eyes twinkling, before bringing her head closer to his and capturing her lips. As he lowered them so he was slightly above Kel, lying on the bed, all thoughts of Neal were promptly forgotten.

For now.

Panting and doubled over, Neal slunk into the stables, quickly climbing up onto the rafter's above. Dom and Kel must surely be chasing him- it would be best to just stay up here, waiting it out until the danger was over.

Yes, Neal would just wait. Although, after what felt like an hour but was, in actuality, about ten minutes, Neal (with a rather sore bottom) began to wonder just how long he would have to wait for.

It didn't matter, he resolved. Surely, surely Dom and Kel were looking for him. He was much safer up here, sore bottom or no.

Settling back into the darkness, Neal waited.