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Clean Up

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Ferio started it – at least, after it ended, there was a general agreement among everyone to blame Ferio for it – but nearly the entire dining hall had joined in the food fight before it ended, so no one was in much of a position to complain at him.

Umi set a table back upright and then leant against it, laughing at Caldina’s complaints the baths were going to be too full this afternoon to be relaxing. But she still noticed when Clef made his way out of the chaos of everyone tidying up piecemeal, the lack of organisation and occasional revenge being taken keeping the room in a state of chaos. She grinned at him, unrepentant.

He stopped barely a pace away from her, folding his arms across his chest. “You threw a teapot at me.”

“It was a food fight!” Umi said, laughing at the way he tried to scowl at her. “…You like tea, it was appropriate?”

“Tea, yes – being knocked unconscious by the pot it’s in? Not so much!”

“Come on, Clef, we both know you’ve got better reflexes than that.” She leant back against the table and checked him out, head to toe and back again, only partially to see how well he’d managed to keep dodging once she lost track of him. She appreciated his new form, very much; she’d let him know so rather… empathetically, about a month ago.

Right now, he shook his head, losing the battle to not smile. “You are a menace. You also have something on your face.”

Umi reached up, and poked her cheek; her fingertips ran into something sticky; the sweet thick liquid which was so close to honey she always forgot its actual name, though she was pretty certain that it was actually a fruit juice. (Cephiro didn’t seem to have a precise equivalent to bees. But it did have an abundance of really weird fruit.) “Oh, yeah. Hikaru managed to hit me with a bit of cake earlier.” She pulled a face. “…I really hope that didn’t get in my hair, that’ll be a pain to wash out. And now my hand is sticky too. Brilliant.” She stuck her fingers in her mouth, figuring it wasn’t like she’d touched anything but food, anyway.

Clef shook his head at her, and stepped closer, one corner of his mouth twitching up. “It hasn’t yet, but it will do if you keep shaking your head like that – here, let me…”

“…What are you-“ Umi started, and shut up when Clef leant right into her space and reached to tilt her head to one side, his fingers warm on her skin, and then –

Then he was licking across her cheek, and she squeaked, grabbing onto his arms to keep herself from falling over.

“Wait- Clef, that-!” she managed, and she could feel when he grinned against her skin.


His other hand was resting on her waist, and she couldn’t think of a single thing to actually say. Beyond ‘do that again,’ anyway, and apparently she had a thing for being licked now? Umi tightened her grip on him, and Clef smiled again, lips tracing across her cheek whisper-soft, not quite ticklish but – enough she was pulling him closer, until he was pressed against her.

There was another patch of not-really-honey on her jaw, and she shivered when he licked it off – and then his mouth was trailing down to her neck, and she whimpered, letting go one of his arms to wind her fingers – still slightly sticky – into his hair, pulling him closer.

“Hey!” Ferio called, from – closer than he had been the last time she paid attention. “You two! Get helping with the clean up, or get out of the way!”

Umi flushed, but instead of being embarrassed, Clef huffed a laugh against Umi’s throat and looked up at her. “I am cleaning up.” He pointed out, voice just a fraction husky.

When Umi glanced over, Ferio was doing his best to frown, instead of laughing.

There was a lot of that going around today – then again, the whole of the Castle had just got into a food fight. It was close to the anniversary of the rebirth of the land, and a kind of festival mood was taking over, stronger than it had ever been before.

Or maybe they just hadn’t been here at the right moment to appreciate it. (And Umi – was very much appreciating this.)

“You are in the way.” Ferio insisted, shaking his head theatrically. “Go do that somewhere else!”

“Well, if that’s an order from our Castellan…” Clef leant in again, and actually caught Umi’s lips this time. She bit at his, and it was his turn to make a startled noise, before slowly pulling back just far enough to talk. “I have a bath in my rooms. If you want to let me make a thorough job of this…”

“…I think I could be persuaded.”

Clef kissed her once more, before he was leading her across the room. “Shirkers!” Caldina called out, after them, but Umi just laughed and held onto Clef’s hand tighter when he showed no sign of stopping.

(And the rest of that afternoon was not something she felt like sharing with the public. She did, however, thoroughly appreciate it.)