“Stop being such a baby, Alba.” Hands outstretched, Sammy plodded around the foot of the bed and reached for the panicked elf. “C’mon, let me touch you!”
“No!” In one leap, Alba landed on top of the bed, out of the gnome’s reach. “You keep your glowy hands off me!” Horrified, he watched the small, black cloaked figure disappear beneath the bed. “You should have taken a job with the Night Terrors,” he hissed. His boots churned the bed sheets as he spun back and forth, eyes darting from one side of the bed to the other then focusing hard on the foot board as Sammy chuckled. Squashing the pillow under one foot, he pressed himself against the wall.
The air to the left of the bed darkened and a loud thunk rang out. Cursing loudly, the gnome crawled into the open, holding his head. Alba hopped to floor on the opposite side and headed for the door.
“It’s not safe to use shadow speed in a restricted space,” he advised, then stopped short when Trypette balled her hands into fists and braced her boots against the tiles, blocking the exit. “Oh come on!”
“Whatever the problem is you two need to work it out in 10 seconds.” She shot a look out the door toward the water cooler. “Alba’s coming, and Argenta is right behind him.” Her brown eyes gleamed for a second as the Birch Elf became uncomfortable.
“Alba— what? He’s right here.” Picking himself off the floor, Sammy brushed at invisible dust on his cloak, and gave Trypette a curious look. Easing around the Reaper, he edged closer to her and reached for her hand. “Can I touch you?”
“Stop it!” Pulling her hand away, she stepped quickly to the side. In the next breath she cursed him as Alba leaped through the gap she had made and landed in the hall.
“Ha, nice one!” Smirking, he spun in a circle on one foot and stopped with his arms outstretched in a cloak-flapping flourish. “I win!” The smirk faded as he spotted the tall, broad, Birch Elf wearing a long, white coat and a stethoscope around his neck. The rataphant stomping beside him looked pinched and hostile. “Well, crap.”
Faint scratching could be heard as the taller elf’s hair brushed against the ceiling tiles. Appearing to use the big elf as a shield, Argenta stood just behind the doctor, nervously stroking one of his own ears with the fingers of his trunk.
“What are you doing here, Alba?” Stopping in front of Trypette, the senior elf gave his nephew a curious look which turned quickly to surprise as his gaze shifted to door. Slipping carefully past the golden haired healer, Sammy stepped into the hall.
“Hey doc. Got some discharge orders for me?” Dead-eying the gaping faces of his doctor and nurse, the gnome raised both eyebrows as the senior Alba cleared his throat.
“Not so fast, Sammy. We need to go over a few things before you can go.” He extended a hand toward the gnome’s empty room. “Why don’t you have a seat for a few minutes.” Focusing solely on Sammy, he ignored the looks being exchanged between his nephew. At the speed of shadow, young Alba streaked away. With quiet steps, Trypette followed after him.
Looking delighted at his Sammy’s delay, Argenta shuffled forward a few steps, crowding the gnome toward the door, but the little Reaper wasn’t having it. Extending his arms outward, he gave the rataphant an excited smile.
“Come at me, bro. Ever since I put this on I’ve been dying to touch someone.” His eager expression turned to disappointment as the nurse froze, then took two steps back. Argenta’s trunk rose in the air and began petting his ear again. Looking fascinated, Sammy fixed his eyes on the activity. Faltering, Argenta lowered his trunk and looked away.
“I’m certain you haven’t had a chance to take the oath yet, Sammy.” Like the younger elf, the older lacked eyebrows so his slanted eyes could only widen a little. “How about we leave Argenta to his work,” he shooed at the nurse with one hand, “And have a quick discussion about your decision.” Tipping his head toward the doorway he silently urged Sammy inside. Shaking his head, the gnome walked purposefully past the rataphant, and around the elf in a half circle, placing himself in the perfect position to follow Trypette and Alba.
“I don’t think so,” Sammy stated. “Everyone here has made a point to not explain things to me. You fed me cookies and birch— whatever, and let me sleep the majority of my days away. Nobody has said a thing about Tink, or even mentioned getting him back, and YOU TOOK MY CLOTHES!” Yanking the hood back from his head, Sammy’s face was infused with self-righteous wrath as he speared the elf with a vicious glare. “You left me a Reaper’s cloak, and I put it on.” He snarled. “I think we’re done here.”