“Sit up!” Someone prodded Alex's stomach.
“Oof. What?” He looked up at Phi, who was pretty in the firelight.
“We need to be alert. Seymour's about to have a discussion with the tribespeople...”

He gave her an offended look, because she was wiping her prodding finger on her top as if she might've contracted germs.
“Excuse me, I washed under a waterfall.”
She raised a doubting eyebrow at the dusty and disheveled Dwarfer, not entirely sure he was telling the truth.
“Never mind that, sit up. You're being rude.”
“Huh. People used to pay to touch my body, you know” he grumbled, hurt-pride overriding modesty for an instant.
She gave him a disgusted look and wiped her entire hand.
“Ew. Get up, do you want Seymour to be... beheaded... or something?”
He shrugged his lips and considered it a moment, before sighing and pulling himself into a reluctant sit, which made his staples pull and itch. He quickly positioned his left arm over them so as not to remind the keen, but not always entirely savvy, junior doc of their presence.

He hadn't realised the others were all upright, busy as he'd been examining the lazily blooming stars, and enjoying the feeling of having smoked something for the first time in however long they'd been here. Not exactly a fag, mind, but it had a nice kick to it.

He'd actually felt quite companionable during the shared smoke.
Which was odd.

We should smoke peace pipes more often.

Seymour was talking with Jamie but they hadn't started the discussion proper because, predictably, the fussy git was flapping about something. Alex sighed and took another nip of his Philcohol.
At this, Phi, still seated to his right, glared at him furiously but said nothing - the pre-conversation chitter around the fire was simmering down and it would have been disruptive to scold.

In his poshest voice, Seymour announced the discussion as officially open, and began doing his thing while an increasingly bewildered Jamie translated in strange hisses and, occasionally, large gestures.

Feigning extreme, polite interest, Alex discreetly began manoeuvering the flask back towards his pocket. Before he could put it away though, Phi – patient-concern obviously more important to her than germs - quietly tried wrestling it from his hand. She was surprisingly strong.
He knew she meant well, but there was no way he was loosening his grip.
Not this time, sister.

“No. I need it” he mouthed.
She shook her head, and experimented with the tip of a fingernail, digging it gently into his hand. He scowled and held on.
“C'n we do this another time?” He hissed.
She dug more nails in, harder, now.
Despite the danger to his drink, he found it mildly erotic and the edge of a smile tugged at his face.

“It's not funny” she mouthed in return.
The smile grew.
She grimaced and pulled hard.
He pulled back.
She pulled harder.
He pulled harder, smile abandoned now.
But there was suddenly nothing to pull against, because Phi had spotted Seymour and the others glaring sternly their way, and in a sudden rush of flustered obedience had unconsciously snapped her fingers open.
At the unexpected lack of resistance Alex's hand - and the flask - shot up, and he punched himself in the face.


“Have we quite finished?” Snapped Seymour, not entirely unlike a very weary, very angry, headmaster.

Alex rubbed his jaw. “Yeah. Carry on.”
“How kind of you to grant us permission.”
Niples rolled his eyes and turned away to Jamie.
“That man has a brain of pure horse excrement” he muttered.


Jamie started hissing and gesticulating, his hands quite clearly describing a large animal pooping.
“No! Don't translate that bit!”

Someone snorted.
The Ssala exchanged bemused glances.

Well, the conversation was off to a steaming start.

<Tag anyone but especially Seymour. The conversation.
Hope this makes sense. I was fighting falling asleep as I wrote it.>

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