Log:Kip and the Infestation of the Bobs

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Kip and the Infestation of the Bobs

The Infestation of the Bobs


November and Kip

30 August, 2019

November is too Fae for her own good, and some bunny-like hobs who stole a shiny rock from her won't give it back because she's scary. She enlists Kip for his stammery much more human social awkwardness and has HIM retrieve it for her. It ends with shinies and tears. Of joy. And bobs infesting Homepage.


Homepage and H21

It's the pre-Labor-Day book blowout blast sale event down at Homepage Books! Okay, it's really not. But you'd probably think /something/ was going on by the fact that Kip actually has a customer and that customer is actually involved in a transaction that gives Kip's till some money. "And the balance is fifty seven twenty eight after tax," he's saying to the mother and teenage son that he's checking out at the counter. There's a small stack of textbooks that were pre-ordered. Online classes are his bread and butter at this point because despite being online, some of them actually use physical textbooks. He's just taking their money and the teenager looks ready to pack it in and flee, likely because he's with his mother and also because the store is a damn freezer at this time of year because someone uses the air conditioning instead of investing in a dehumidifier for his precious, precious books. Which is why Kip is wearing his trademark v-neck sweater over a contrasting color undershirt that probably has some sort of nerdy logo on it even though you can't see it. The sweater's sleeves are pushed up halfway to his elbows and he's got on dark denim pants and those poor Converse he's always wearing. The good part about his hair is that it's clean and pulled back nice and neat. The bad part is that it's in that ridiculous man bun he wears because he never gets his hair cut, either out of laziness or some other reason. "And did you want the receipt in the bag?" he's asking as he files away the cash he's handed.

      November can give that teenager ample reason to want to be elsewhere. Okay, she can technically do that for just about every human with any form of functional hindbrain and fight-or-flee response. As usual, she doesn't even have to say a thing, simply stepping into the bookstore dressed in a gown more appropriate for a vampire movie or a ball, as very fluidly bloody as that satin skirt appears. Satin to them. Blood to Kip. Quite literally blood, with an overskirt of quite literally fire.

      In his book store.

      November approaches the counter with an oh so pleasant smile to wait her turn.

"Perfect," Kip mumbles as he puts the receipt and books all into a bag and pushes it across the counter to the woman who takes it. "Have a great weekend and thanks for--" there's a stumble to his words as he looks over the woman's shoulder and spots November, but he recovers quickly, "--choosing Homepage Books." He flashes his best smile at the pair who are are suddenly in a hurry to leave and watches them scoot out of the door that closes behind them with a chipper chiming of the bell and a soft thud. "November, do you really have to scare all my customers away? I have so few most of the time," he says with a half smirk as he tidies up the packaging from the box he took the books from. At least the box doesn't have the Amazon logo on it. He's better than that.

      The faerie Ancient maintains her smile, her colours, to Kip's eye, a bland and inoffensive Stepford palette until the departing duo has escaped the store.

      "If those two qualify as 'all' of your customers, you're in a sadder state than we thought," she remarks, colours resuming their brighter, more energetic flow across the spectrum, though some of them do mimic Kip's attire. Briefly. There isn't much excitement in it TO mimic.

      November leans against the counter, heedless of the fact that, you know, she's pressing EMBERS AND FIRE into its surface, and extends a long and graceful arm to cup Kip's face with one icy, slender hand. "I need your stammering uncertainty and social fear. Will you join me?" An illusion, very well made, of Princess Leia bending over a droid appears. She very seriously says, "Help me, Oh-my-God Kip-no-Pee. You're my only hope."

Crinkle crinkle crunch goes the packing paper that was shoved into the box around the books and once it's balled up as good as he can get it, Kip chucks it into the trash next to him and then drops the emptied box behind the counter somewhere so he can kick it around until he feels like actually cleaning it up. "Oh you have no idea," he mumbles to himself about the sad state. But he glances down at his clothes, then at November's garments and then up at November's face with a smirk as she takes his face in hand. "If you promise not to call me that again, it makes it sound like I have a bladder problem," he jokes. "But what do you need, oh Rainbow goddess of my heart?"

      No one can do innocence as well as a liar.

      November's is perfectly wonderfully convincing, too -- or it would be, if Kip didn't know her better than to believe it.

      "I have a teensy weensy problem," she begins, regarding the courtless wonder through the frosty fringe of veiled lashes. "It involves entering the Hedge and dealing with some hobs on my behalf. None of them are trolls," she adds, forestalling THAT objection, "and none of them are truly aggressive, unless one counts obsessive pilferage of anything shiny from one's person."

The second the T word is said, Kip's mouth is already opening to object, but she cuts that off right quick so he closes his mouth again and just looks as patient as he can manage. "Hobs. Why does it not surprise me that you pissed off some hobs?" he asks with slightly raised eyebrows. "And why is it you think dealing with them requires someone of, what'd you say? Stammering uncertainty? and not someone better equipped to handle all the shit the Hedge seems to throw at people? Or maybe it's just me that attracts shit in the Hedge. Either way, am I /really/ the best option? I mean /really/?"

      The holographic Leia puts her fingers in her ears like antlers and soundlessly raspberries Kip from behind November's back.

      "Frightened," the rainbow herself corrects, both pedantic and resigned. "I frightened some hobs. They won't accept my word that I am not one of the Fae, and they have pilfered a shiny rock which I would like returned to me."

      Straightening, the admittedly believably too-Fae Fairest adds, "I'll be there to keep you safe, lovely, from the scary plants and mushrooms you shouldn't be nibbling without a trip sitter anyway. Plus, the hobs are less than a foot tall and look like bunnies."

Mmmm hmmm, comes hummed quietly from Kip as he crosses his arms on the counter in front of him to lean his weight onto. "Well honestly, November, do you /blame/ them? You do come across all..." he motions a hand briefly as if to encompass all her Novemberness, then returns it to the counter again. "And when you say shiny rock, why do I think it's not actually a shiny rock at all? But I suppose I can help you with that. I need a distraction lately anyway. What's the worst that can happen? I mean I've already been stabbed in the ass, covered in troll snot, thought I was dying, went insane, had a heart to heart with the ghost of my dead brother and got one of my closest friends turned into one of us and then go blind. I'm pretty sure nothing else can probably compare to my previous forays into the Hedge."

      Upon listening to all of Kip's attempts to reassure himself, November leans in good and close.

      "Kip?" she asks, only waiting for some form of acknowledgement before continuing with, "You do know that, as a Changeling, you're infinitely closer to Fate than a human is, right?"

      Again, she waits for any form of acknowledgement, then concludes with a helpful, brow-raised, "You really shouldn't tempt it by saying something like that."

      The faerie rainbow straightens then, glances down at herself, then at the nerdy book dude. "I'm a god, lovely. Apples practice diplomacy with Fae. We deal with them on our own terms. They -should- be afraid, but they should also be reassured, because it's highly doubtful they could even come remotely close to the two or three topics which would actually make me angry." She turns, skirts swishing, and begins to saunter toward the exit with a graceful, leggy stride. "You..? You could come closer."

Kip tucks his phone into his back pocket as he always does when he's leaving the counter and follows along. Oh, she got her acknowledgement on both counts in the form of little nods and shifts in his expression. Though he frowns at the tempting fate part. "You know, next to you I feel extremely under dressed. Do we have time for me to go find a tuxedo and tophat?" he jokes flatly.

      "Best not to," she replies, holding the door for him in a reversal of gender roles once she reaches it. "You look more charmingly disarming in your didn't expect to be dragged into a land of danger, pain and gruesome psychological restructuring clothes."

      The androgynous Ancient adds, "Changing your shoes might be helpful, unless you've a way to walk on mud properly. They live in a fen, and you'll be awfully soggy."

"Well looks like I'll be getting these even more trashed because they're all I got," Kip says with a quirk of a grin as he reaches over to turn off the OPEN sign and flips the sign to CLOSED. Once outside he grabs his keys from his pocket and locks the door. There, now he's as prepared as he's gonna ever get. "If muddy shoes and damp feet are the worst of my problems today, I'll say we're doing well. Plus it helps with the whole look, the bookish guy who doesn't really belong there but golly gee gosh doesn't he look approachable."

      November takes Kip on a thoroughly mundane trip across the river, aside from the fact that she does cartwheels through the meadows, climbs trees to sing and dangle upside down, and does it all in four-inch heels without landing on her face.

      It looks like she's going to take the route through the mine, but nope. She takes a side-Gate, bypassing the Everdark -- because she's nice like that. And because she needs Kip alive.

      After some trekking through treacherous territory, at last, they reach their destination: the stinky, rotting fens...and the trees which tend to grow within them. "Don't breathe too deeply, lovely," she instructs, "and you should be fine." She, not having any trouble with either the watery bits or the mucky knee-deep mud, blithely continues onward, appearing to know precisely where she's going.

Kip, having given his best patient look at November as she engaged in her antics (which to be fair, he kind of expected), finally ends up in the fen. The second they're there, he's making a face at the smell and pulls a couple of tissues from his pocket to put over his mouth and nose even though it really doesn't do much at all about the smell. Still, he tries. "No worries," he grumbles, even though the hand sometimes has to leave his face when he holds his hands out to the sides to keep his balance through some of the muck and mud and water. "I'm burning these clothes," he mentions even though that requires finding new shoes, which is something he was supposed to have done ages ago and never did. The Cons are /comfy/. And now pretty much destroyed. He's a little slower to follow along, but keeps up fairly well all things considered. Especially considering it's Kip. "Tell me it smells better when we get closer." He knows it won't, though. It's clear in his voice.

      There may be a reason November brought him here and DIDN'T make him change his shoes first. That reason would be all shoe-kind, since Kip abusing his poor Converse sneakers for so long was giving footwear a bad rep.

      "It smells better when we get closer," the Ancient dutifully repeats, albeit without any great conviction.

      Soon enough, they're approaching a particular tree, which suddenly pops out miniature rabbit-like creatures like .. a tree popping out a swarm of miniature rabbits. They're absolutely adorable. They have squeaky voices, tiny tooth-pick like swords, and big quivery fearful whiskered noses.

      They're also all shrilly cat-calling November and complaining that they'll never submit to the whims of the Fae, those stinkers, all they want is to eat their babies, and turn their mates into slave chowder, and...

      On her part, November lifts a single frosty brow and gestures Kip forward. His turn.

Kip is blissfully unaware of any such plots to revamp his foot coverings. To him, they're shoes and as long as they are comfortable, all is well. So he just follows along, trying to cover his face as much as possible and not puke even though there are some quiet retching sounds coming from him when he breathes in too much. Why can't he be lacking a sense of smell? Whyyyy?

The first creature popping out makes him stumble slightly, but he recovers quickly. Then the others are out and he's drawing back a little as if uncertain of what to do. He looks at November and then just gives her an expression that clearly reads 'SERIOUSLY? You weren't kidding about bunnies?!' and then looks resigned before looking back at them and taking a few hesitant steps forward. "Now now, stop that. November isn't one of Them. She's... November. And she's not here to do any of that. Your babies and friends are fine. You're all fine. Alright? She won't come any closer, I promise." A glance is shot over his shoulder back to her and he decides to go for broke and kneels down on one knee so he's not so tall. A slight squishy sound accompanies the motion and he tries his best to not make a face and instead forces a smile. "Hi there. I'm Kip. I just wanted to talk. Promise. That alright?"

      November, upon hearing Kip's assurance, obligingly remains as still as a statue. A very tall, very alien, very colourful-despite-swamp-awfulness statue which is glittering and shimmering and...yeah. She totally looks like she could be one of Them.

      The squeaky bunnies, staring up at said Could Totally Be Fae deity over Kip's shoulder, squeakily demand in a chaotic chorus just how he knows she isn't Fae, and why they should trust him. He could be hers! He could belong to her! He could just be lying to them to try to make them her slaaaaves.

      A few of the bunnies get big wibbly eyes, horror twitching in whiskery faces, and faint dead away at the drama of it all, while others poke at Kip's knee with their pointy swords. They don't actually touch it. Yet. One of them does sniff him, however, interested in the fabric.

"I promise, I'm her friend, not... I don't belong to her--HEY! Put the swords away. I don't have one. It wouldn't be a fair fight, now would it? You can keep them handy, just not out and poking me. I came here to ask very nicely if I could please have something back that belongs to her. That's all." Kip looks back again with a 'Why did I let you talk me into this?' sort of expression before looking back to the hobs once more with a smile. "I'm a friend. I promise. I give my word as a Custodian of the freehold I belong to. Is that good enough for you?"

      The bunny-hobs, bobs, one might call them, stare suspiciously up toward the manbun-wearing Custodian, then huddle in conference, occasionally darting big-eyed looks his way.

      The bobs with the swords do back away, but only a few steps.

      Eventually, the huddle breaks apart, and the bobs demand, "No! You must be put to The Trial!!!"

      Whereupon both Kip and November are forced to wait for a good five minutes while the bobs get some sort of high priest and priestess dressed up and smeared in smelly goop which looks (and smells) like fermented berries, but rotten fermented, not good fermented.

      "Kip, Custodian to his freehold!" the miniature priests proclaim in squeaky unison, held up on the shoulders of some trembling believers to make them taller. Their little bunny ears are erect and proud, whiskers stiff, noses twitchy. "Do you swear before the great and mighty aaallll-" they pass rattly sticks with leaves dangling from them over the assemblage, then up and around to encompass the world, "-that you speak the truth, and are deserving of the shiny which the Colourful One seeks?"

      Kip may note the familiar tug of the Wyrd's presence, the invoking of a one-sided pledge by way of ensuring honesty.

"Trial?" Kip echoes when the word is said, look back at November to see if she has any sort of clarification on what this means. But then he looks back and waits for this to unfold. And unfold it eventually does. Too bad it's not before his knee is soaked through with glop where it rests and his joints are already protesting. No, they have to leave him waiting for this to get more and more uncomfortable. But he stays where he is, even straightening up a bit when the little priestly ones come out. "Yes. I, Kip, Custodian to my freehold, give my word that I speek only the truth and am deserving of-- of the shiny that my friend November seeks." He at least manages to keep a straight face during this, helped along by that tug. He tries his very utmost best to sound sincere.

      Thankfully, the Wyrd doesn't care if someone keeps a straight face when they're binding things into its warp and weft. It only wants the fabric to be whole.

      The sense of presence disappears, and the bobs, upon seeing nothing awful happening to Kip, cheer loudly and applaud, stomping little bunny feet on the squishy ground. The priestly sorts pass their leafy sticks about in blessing, and proclaim, "Then let it be as Kip has spoken! Let the Colourful One's shiny be returned to the god's hand!"

      Unfortunately for Kip, what this translates to is a ceremonial honour guard of bobs who request safe passage in his pockets or his arms, because no way in Faerie Hell are they actually going to touch November near their home. The other gods wouldn't like that.

      Safe passage. All the way home. To Homepage, since that's neutral territory and acceptable to November. And...So Many Shinies!!!

      ...And this is how Kip came back from the Hedge and developed an infestation of blissfully squeaking bobs.